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The Beatles - Please Please Me CD (album) cover


The Beatles



3.05 | 466 ratings

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3 stars Please Please Me opens with one of the two best pre-1965 Beatles songs, 'I Saw Her Standing There' (the other is 'She Loves You,' by the way). 'I Saw Her Standing There' was written by Paul McCartney, and two of his other tunes here, 'Love Me Do' and 'P.S. I Love You' - - which together constituted the group's first UK single - - are pretty good. Nonetheless, the Beatles' debut LP was the last time McCartney's compositions would challenge John Lennon's status as the group's key songwriter until their sixth album.

Lennon's contributions to Please Please Me include the title track and 'Do You Want to Know a Secret,' sung here by George Harrison. Lennon also belts out the Medley/Russell-penned Isley Brothers classic 'Twist and Shout,' which is one of six cover songs here.

Please Please Me was recorded by a veteran stage act in three 3-hour sessions, all on one day, and it shows. As it stands, the best available recording technology - - a two-track tape machine - - essentially required a live performance with vocals laid down on one track and instruments on the other. On the other hand, the album is not the product of weeks of careful studio work. Although vocal overdubs would have been possible, only 'A Taste of Honey' includes one. The instrumental balance of each song is whatever producer George Martin could come up with. Of course, the relatively low fidelity and lack of polish has been viewed for half a century as an asset on this album, because, after all, it is the Beatles. But to be fair, the fact that Please Please Me sounds as good as it does is a testament to Martin's skills, both technical and musical.

In short, Please Please Me is a good album, but the Beatles were only getting started.

patrickq | 3/5 |


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