Please Please Me
In 1963 it was revolutionary for a band to be self-contained – on Please Please Me The Beatles played their own instruments, apart from some piano from producer George Martin, and wrote eight of the fourteen songs. The album was basically a recording of their live set, as played in the Cavern Club in Liverpool. It takes the a-sides and b-sides of their first two singles, and adds ten new songs, famously recorded in a single day. The cover of The Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist And Shout’ was famously recorded last, as the band were worried about John Lennon’s throat being shredded with his screaming.
Please Please Me is fresh and fun, and it’s strong compared to most full length rock and roll albums from the period, but it’s primitive compared to The Beatles’ string of great later LPs. But there are a handful of top tier Beatles songs here, particularly the Paul McCartney showcase ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and the powerful cover of ‘Twist and Shout’. Ringo Starr’s spotlight on ‘Boys’ is a less heralded highlight, although breakout single ‘Love Me Do’, recorded in 1962, already sounds primitive. The slower material is less exciting – songs like ‘Anna (Go To Him)’ and ‘A Taste Of Honey’ drag.
All four Beatles are talented vocalists, and they have plenty of energy and charisma to make them a very accomplished cover band. It’s a respectable beginning, but the world’s greatest pop band were just getting started.