The Beatles: “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” (1962)

John, Paul, George and Ringo (and Andy) record their first single, and love them the world did.

Kronomyth 0.5: Tambourine man.

Beatles fans are a miserable lot. Mention their first single and the conversation invariably turns to the decision to replace Ringo Starr (well, technically Pete Best) with studio drummer Andy White. I’ll spare you the details while speculating that Ringo’s conciliatory role in the band already has its origins here.

Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You have been pored over by historians who are far more knowledgeable than me, so I’ll keep this brief. Both songs feature the vocal harmonies popularized by The Everly Brothers, neither song stands with their best work. In fact, the rudimentary construction of “Love Me Do” seems light years removed from their next singles, “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You.” The B side, “P.S. I Love You,” is more sophisticated and showcases Paul McCartney’s balladry nicely.

The single was first released in the UK, where it climbed to a respectable 17. The single wasn’t released in the US until the Spring of 1964, by which time The Beatles broke internationally, with “Love Me Do” topping the charts and “P.S. I Love You” cracking the Top 10 soon after. It was a testament to the uniqueness of The Beatles that both sides of their singles charted well over their career, something that rarely happened outside of Elvis.

Of minor interest, Ringo did plays drums on a version of “Love Me Do,” and this was the version used for the singles. The track that appears on the album Please Please Me features White on drums and Ringo on tambourine. The presence of the tambourine is how you can tell the difference. Or, you could ignore the difference and get a life, I suppose.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. Love Me Do (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
B1. P.S. I Love You (John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

The Players

George Harrison (acoustic guitar, backing vocals), John Lennon (harmonica, vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Paul McCartney (vocals, bass), Ringo Starr (drums, maracas, tambourine) and Andy White (drums). Produced by George Martin; engineered by Norman Smith.

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single on October 5, 1962 in the UK (Parlophone, 45R-4949) and in March 1963 in Germany (Odeon, O 22 396). Reached #17 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on 7-inch single on April 27, 1964 in the US (Tollie, T-9008) with picture sleeve. A side reached #1 on the US charts (charted on April 11, 1964 for 14 weeks) and B side reached #10 on the US charts (charted on May 9, 1964 for 8 weeks).
  2. Re-issued on 7-inch single in 1976 in the UK (Parlophone, R 4949) with picture sleeve.
  3. Re-issued on 7-inch, 7-inch picture disc and 12-inch single in October 1982 in the UK (Parlophone, 45-R/RP/12R 4949) and in 1982 in the US (Capitol, B-5189) with picture sleeve. Reached #4 on the UK charts.

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