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The Beatles Please Please Me album cover
3.06 | 540 ratings | 43 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1963

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Taste Of Honey (2:05)
2. I Saw Her Standing There (2:55)
3. Misery (1:50)
4. Anna (Go To Him) (2:57)
5. Chains (2:26)
6. Boys (2:27)
7. Ask Me Why (2:27)
8. Please Please Me (2:03)
9. Love Me Do (2:22)
10. P. S. I Love You (2:05)
11. Baby It's You (2:37)
12. Do You Want To Know A Secret (1:59)
13. There's A Place (1:52)
14. Twist And Shout (2:32)

Total Time 32:37

Line-up / Musicians

- George Harrison / lead & acoustic guitars, lead (4,11) & backing vocals
- John Lennon / rhythm & acoustic guitars, harmonica, lead (2,3,6-8,10,13,14) & backing vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, lead (1,2,7-9,12,13) & backing vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, tambourine, maracas, lead vocals (5)

- Andy White / drums (8), percussion (9)
- George Martin / piano (2), celesta (10), co-arranger, producing & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Angus McBean (photo)

LP Parlophone ‎- PMC 1202 (1963, UK) Mono version
LP Parlophone ‎- PCS 3042 (1963, UK) Stereo version
LP Vee Jay Records‎ - LP 1062 (1964, US) Mono, re-entitled "Introducing...The Beatles", with 2 tracks missing (Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You)
LP Parlophone ‎- MFSL 1-101 (1986, US) First full release ever in the US

CD Parlophone ‎- CDP 7 46435 2 (1987, UK) Mono
CD Parlophone ‎- 0946 3 82416 2 1 (2009, Europe) Remastered by Guy Massey, Paul Hicks & Steve Rooke, all in Stereo except tracks 8 & 9; CD-ROM section includes Mini-Documentary video

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE BEATLES Please Please Me Music

THE BEATLES Please Please Me ratings distribution

(540 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (44%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

THE BEATLES Please Please Me reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 1962.

A Liverpudlian act that had been putting in some seriously hard graft on the live circuits for nearly 3 years was given a collective polish by their manager - who some sources say was infatuated by John Lennon. With the now famous haircuts and a nice suit apiece, the band was introduced to the highly talented producer George Martin, after a number of record companies turned them down.

Martin was dubious - the guys were OK, but he couldn't really take the music seriously. But they did write their own songs - which was a bit unusual at the time - one might say progressive, in fact: Most bands played the live clubs, secured a reasonable fan base, then tried to have a hit by recording an established song by a big name act. Once they'd had a hit, the record company would condescend to allow them to record an album.

The Beatles changed all of this - "Love Me Do" was not a top 10 hit, but Martin insisted they record the album anyway - which they did, in a single day.

Their second single though, the title track of this album, went straight to number one, and the record company couldn't get the album out of the door fast enough. It stayed at the top of the charts for an incredible 30 weeks.

More than 50% of the album was original material by the McCartney/Lennon songwriting powerhouse (that's how it was originally credited). And those tracks, on the whole, stand out several miles from the cover material also included on the album - although the Beatles had their own unique way of interpreting the classics, notably their version of "Twist and Shout", the material generally pales beside the originals.

Although this album is in no way Progressive Rock, there is much that was progressive about it at the time - and there are lots of interesting details in the instrumentation and the interpretation of the styles being played in 1962; Mainly entrenched in the multi-part harmony rock and roll of Buddy Holly combined with the rhythmic exuberance of Lonnie Donegan to create that easily identifable "Merseybeat" sound.

It's a hugely enjoyable album and well worth owning no matter what your other tastes in music - and it's historical importance to rock music generally is undeniable.

Sadly, the very most I can realistically award it on this site is 3 stars - but it earns every single one!

Review by Guillermo
3 stars Yes. As a previous reviewer wrote, this album was recorded in one day, and with John Lennon having a cold and taking pills for this condition. But their energy was there, despite this, and as an album recorded in one day it is very good, despite the raw quality. The tracks on this album were selected from their live repertoire, so they were played very well, of course, without many recording takes needed to get the best one to end on the album.

The album starts with the energetic "I Saw Her Standing There", one of my favourites from the early years. It starts with Paul counting "one, two, three, four". A very good idea, it calls for the attention of the listener. A very good opener, which Paul also played and maybe he still plays in his solo tours. It was also performed by John Lennon with Elton John in one of Elton`s concerts in November 1974, on which Lennon was invited to play three songs to celebrate Elton`s success with his own single version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and also the success of Lennon`s single, "Whatever Gets You Through the Night", on which Elton also appeared. Apparently, that concert was the last public performance in concert by Lennon, although he later briefly appeared in one benefit event performing "Imagine", in 1975.

"Mysery" is a sad song, really, but very good, too. "Anna" is a ballad, composed by Arthur Alexander. "Chains" is another cover, sung by George Harrison. "Boys", another cover, this time sung by Ringo Starr."Ask Me Why" is a very good ballad, one of their earliest ballads. "Please Please Me" is a song which was released as a single before, and it became their first hit single, reaching No. 2 in the U.K. charts. "Love Me Do" was previously released as their first single, and as history says, there are two versions of this song: one with session drummer Andy White and Ringo on tambourine, and one recorded with Ringo on drums and without tambourine. The most played version was the version with Andy White on drums. "P.S. I Love You" is another ballad, not very interesting. "Baby It`s You" is another cover with good harmony vocals. "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" was composed by Lennon and he gave this song to George. It became a hit when it was released as a single by Billy J.Kramer and the Dakotas. "A Taste of Honey", another cover, is a very good song with very good arrangements. "There`s a Place" has good lyrics and good harmony vocals too. The album`s last song is "Twist and Show", which apparently was recorded at the end of the sessions, with John`s vocals very affected by his cold. It was recorded in one take!

Obviously, this album is not Progressive, but I agree with previous reviewers here that it is "progressive" in the sense that McCartney/Lennon were composers with a very own style, the band was very good from the start which also had their very own style from the beginning, and their charisma was already there. Also, producer George Martin was "progressive" in the sense that he had the talent to see in The Beatles something special. He recognized their potential and gave them support to develop their music. Without Martin`s talent and support, The Beatles maybe could have experiened a harder way to success.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars What's this now-ancient album doing on a progressive rock website? Well, an arrow seems pretty archaic until you compare it with a basic sharp stick. In 1963 we youngsters in the USA were listening to surf music and Peter, Paul and Mary and I guess in the UK they were listening to Cliff Richard and Lonnie Donegan's skiffle. Pretty unexciting stuff. Then this hit the airwaves and these guys snapped our heads around so forcefully we may have all suffered mass neck injuries. Their sound, their look, their attitudes were so PROGRESSIVE that they changed the freakin' world. Of course later on down the road they would truly experiment with new directions in music and recording that would be more obviously proto prog but it's important to realize that the simple tunes included on this debut LP marked a 90 degree turn in the evolution of modern music. There were no guitar effects, a keyboard was simply an acoustic piano and drums were just skins stretched across wooden tubs. But with this band those instruments became so much more. The Beatles made progressive rock an inevitability. Just listen to the raw enthusiasm on these songs and perhaps you'll better understand the universal attraction that these fab four generated and why there will probably never be anything quite like them again.
Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Beatles' debut takes some heat for being here, and for not being as good as later albums. I'd like to put it in a bit of context. This is a tremendously different group than what was out there at the time. Some of the hits that year were "It's My Party" by Leslie Gore, "I will follow Him" by Little Peggy March, "Blue Velvet" by Bobby Vinton, and several surfing tunes by the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout" must have seemed like they came from another planet. Even their treatments of the covers were different than what their contemporaries were doing with the same numbers.

Now, it wasn't perfect. There are tracks that don't hold up as well as others ("Anna," "Ask Me Why"), but their charm carries it through. This was a group that had just gotten off a grueling touring schedule, and was eager to try many new things. They were still coming into their own. The chops were there, but the direction was unclear. The fact that they were so bold (dare I say even progressive?) was a clue that this was a band worthy of keeping an eye on.

There is a lot to like on this album. You have solid rockers, and beautiful ballads. All wrapped up in a sense of innocence (history would reveal that they were a bit more worldly than we thought). It sounds dated, and was nowhere near the level of what they would achieve. If you can put yourself in the spirit of the time, you can see the value of this important piece of rock music. Without early innovations like this, prog would not have taken the same course. I can only give it three stars here, because it is not an essential album for prog collectors. However, if you enjoy seeing the evolution (as I do), this is a good one.

H.T. Riekels

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Beatles debut album can be considered one of their strongest from their early period of simple pop and R&B songs. While it doesn't even deserve to be described as progressive, there's still a nice overall atmopshere and a catchy sense amongst the group, who still hadn't really found their edge quite yet. You won't find epic side long pieces, you won't find thought provoking lyrics, you won't find extended solo sections or even virtuostic musicianship. What you'll find here is well crafted and well conceived pop songs that don't stray out the the classic three chord love song. A little more than half the album is original material from the Lennon/McCartney team and the rest is covers that range from old R&B standards to unrequited songs about love. What is apparent, though, is that the world wouldn't be the same once the Beatles came into the speakers and airwaves.

Rather than talk about every track on the album (which is what I usually do with my reviews), I will talk about the big songs on the album and some of my lesser known favorites. I Want to Hold Your Hand is a simple tune with some interesting chord progressions and some nice harmony vocals as well as a good lead from Lennon. Please Please Me is a bit of an ambiguous song title, but none the less the song has some a great melody and is exceedingly catchy. Love Me Do would be the band's first single, and although at first it didn't really succeed, in the long run it would be massively popular. It has an infectious harmonica rhythm and a nice beat from Ringo and some heartfelt vocals from Paul McCartney. P.S. I Love You is another Paul McCartney led ballad that has a nice chorus and some great harmonies. Do You Want to Know a Secret has some great quasi-scat harmony vocals (the doo dah doos) and a sincere vocal performance from McCartney, but overly simplistic musicianship. There's a Place is my favorite song of the album, a hearfelt ballad of sorts with a very somber mood and some very lush harmony vocals (this must be where Yes got their harmony influence). Finally, Twist and Shout is a rollicking rendition of the classic oldie with some great vocals from Lennon and some out of the normal drumming from Ringo. An underrated piece on the album is Boys, which is the first song Ringo sang with the Beatles, funny how they sang a song called Boys, though, since it was a song by the Motwon group The Shirelles. The rest of the album is ok, but I wouldn't call it memorable.

In the end, the arrival of the Beatles would mark the arrival of arguably the most important band in rock music. Their roots and influences were pretty clear with this album (and the following few albums). Although this album is overly simple and isn't even remotely progressive, it laid the groundwork for the future Beatles albums and eventually they would get a bit of a progressive streak going. In the end, if you're looking into the roots of arguably the great rock band ever, then look no further. Me? It's a good album, but by no means essential to a progressive rock fan. 3/5.

Review by Mellotron Storm
2 stars Significant because this is where it all started for the band. 6 of the 14 songs weren't written by the band although of those "Twist And Shout" was really the only one that became a hit. A lot of these songs make me cringe a bit, but this was the popular music of the early sixties.

"I Saw Her Standing There" is probably the one I like the most off of this record. "Boys" isn't bad with Ringo on vocals.The title track features some good harmonies. "Love Me Do" I believe was the band's first hit, and the harmonica is pretty cool. George Harrison's turn to shine on "Do You Want To Know A Secret".

Nothing really here for Prog fans, but THE BEATLES fans and collectors should be interested this one.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars It is too early to speak about progressive rock here, even about its "proto" phase. THE BEATLES' debut is a significant record just because it is the Beatles' debut album. Contains several classic hits of early "beat" sixties. Not important for prog rock, while for the band's opus "Please Please Me" ranks as minor effort.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars First opus form the Fab Four. Because they ARE fabulous.

But not yet on this release. Still, would you believe that this album is their longest ever that sit at the first spot in the UK ? Topping "Peppers" by three weeks! Probably due to lack of competition I guess. It remained THIRTY weeks as Nr. 1!

Nothing prog here of course. The band is still in its premises and even the ultra talented duo isn't yet composing those lifeless pop anthems we all know and love. The most noticeable here is probably the title track. Their first UK Nr. 1 hit single. The vocal harmonies are already well present and can lift a corner of the veil for great things to come.

This trade mark can also be noticed on "P.S.I Love You" which was the B-side for "Love Me Do" (another of their classic). And this will be the frame for almost each of the Fab Four album.

Even if I really discovered them in 1967 (at the age of .eight), they have written so many songs which seem to exist for ages (and maybe for ever) that to listen to their albums is just a return to the very roots (at least for people of my generation...talking about my genration). It is just a pleasure to listen to "Do You Want to Know a Secret".

Of course, the lyrics are nothing incredible. Childish and respectful. But still, so pleasant music. So full of souvenirs for me. A journey back in time. To be honest, I didn't expect to feel so much emotion when listening to their first album (you can imagine how I will feel while reviewing their whole catalogue.).

There will be some covers on this album (which is normal for the era). The one I prefer by far is "A Taste of Honey". Another classic performed by a timeless band.

If ever you have noticed that John's voice is special on "Twist & Shout", it is just because he had a cold during the day of the recording (yes, one day) and that it was the last song on the programme. The version released was the first take. For the second one, John's voice was gone.

Three stars for these historical debuts. But I'm biased.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I once had a serious discussion with my brother who taught me prog. It was in 1980 when I was so intense with prog rock and at that time Genesis just released Duke album (oh .. I remember that vividly). The argument was simple: I disagreed with him that The Beatles influenced everything not only rock music but also prog as well. How could it be? Most of The Beatles songs were straight forward pop rock music and there were no indications that the music had some sort of curved lines in their compositions. The discussion came out with a deadlock. Time went by and finally I recognized that he was right. Yes, the more I knew The Beatles and also prog rock music, the more I realize the sheer influence of their music to bands that follow later on. In fact, legendary bands like Yes started their career by playing cover of The Beatles ("Every Little Thing"). The early albums of Pink Floyd also had some psychedelic elements that remind me to The Beatles. In fact, there were later I knew that many modern prog music that still adopted the music of The Beatles - although partly.

"Please Please Me" is the Beatles debut album which I think as debut it did serve well musically. The vintage pop rock and rock'n'roll style is quite obvious. Looking at the songs that this album contains, it amazes me how the band successfully composed wonderful song like "I Saw Her Standing There" with a straight forward lyrics and catchy notes. "Anna" also demonstrates the vintage rock music. It's clear that the Beatles laid very strong foundations that determined the future of rock music which evolved as well with what later known as prog rock music. Neal Morse (ex Spock's Beard) and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) adore the music of The Beatles very much. In fact, in Dream Theater's "Octavarium" album there were two tracks: "Sacrificed Sons" and "Cotavarium" which have segments similar with The Beatles.

So, even though this album is not that stand out, however this has laid a strong foundation for further development of rock and prog rock music. You might say nothing so special, musically, about this album but it has historically become a critical phase of rock music. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This album was the second from the Fab 4 released in Brazil, with the creative name of Beatles Again, in early 1964, but with a slight different track listing; nevermind, all songs were previously issued here (1962 & 1963) through those small biscuits we knew as singles.

I was a little kid then and had no interest in music, except lullabies maybe and I only visited these tracks in years later. Really amusing and enjoyable but seen from a current perspective this album is heavily dated, with songs edging silliness in terms of lyrics and tunes; in fact, this notion of being dated and even childish had been defined also in the following years, 'cause the mood around 1967, when prog-rock foundations were settled was quite diverse and those that insisted in following early Beatles stuff got themselves lost in time. But at that time, even The Beatles had changed drastically their direction.

Anyway, I can imagine the impact Please Please Me caused when released in Europe and later when its songs reached the other parts of the world - it was something very different and original, being progressive, if one uses this word in its strict aception. Certainly, it shaped many manners for the new acts and set the buttons for what was know as 'beatlemania', but their next release was more influential and adult, doubtlessly.

I believe that all tracks here are well known for the people that care a little bit about music, but in my opinion some are better than others, like the title-track, the romantic 'Anna', the short and interesting 'Misery', the rocky 'I saw her standing there' and the stormy 'Twist and shout'. I like 'There's a place' too, specially that weird time changing (prog?).

And now how to rate an album that's a landmark in the universe of the popular music? Hm, let's see, progsters that are also Beatles' fans have this album in their shelf; some other people will tell you that they don't give a damn about these guys and among so many streams of pros and cons, the only audience remaining are those coming from outer space. Supposing they are eager to know our culture (all times, ages, eras, etc) I'd say to them for leaving this material for a second or third row of purchases. Hence, being good but non-essential, the rating is 3.

Review by J-Man
2 stars Well, this is where the people who invented prog started, and boy am I glad they evolved from here. This is typical British Invasion music. It's good rock n' roll, but that's just about it. There's nothing special about it. You can see the Lennon and McCartney are great songwriters on songs like PLEASE PLEASE ME, but I wish they would all be like that. Sure the title track is a typical early 60's song, but at least it's good. A fair amount of the songs are poor Lennon/McCartney compisitions, and the rest are all cover versions of pretty terrible 50's songs. It has some good rock 'n roll songs, and saying that's good enough considering I hardly ever like early 60's stuff at all. Not prog related at all, and is just good rock'n roll, but only the Lennon/McCartney stuff is good, not the covers. So, if you're expecting SGT. PEPPER or ABBEY ROAD, look away.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Please Please Me" is the debut full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act The Beatles. The album was released through Parlophone i March 1963. After playing lots of shows since their formation in 1958 (which included two longer touring periods in the infamous Reeperbahn district in Hamburg, Germany), The Beatles released two well received singles in "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" (both tracks are also included on this album), which created an intense demand for a full-length studio album, and on the 11th of February 1963, The Beatles recorded the remaining material for the album in one long session. A few overbubs were done by producer George Martin on the 20th of February 1963 and then the album was ready to be released. Eight out of the fourteen tracks on the album are original John Lennon/Paul McCartney penned songs, while the remaining six tracks are covers of 50īs/early 60s rhythmīnīblues, rockīnīroll, and doo-wop songs.

The tracks are structurally simple vers/chorus formats and the instrumentation is sparse too. Itīs the vocal melodies and the harmony and choir vocal parts which make The Beatles stand out and their great youthful energy. The two singles are among the most well known tracks from the album, but the cover of "Twist and Shout" is also legendary, featuring an almost orgasmic screaming vocal part, which send more than one teenage girl into a vivid dreamlike state (not to mention the number of girls passing out to this particular track during the bandīs early live shows). So while the material is to say the least a little rough around the edges and quite a few tracks arenīt that remarkable, the highlights make up for at lot of that.

"Please Please Me" is probably an album best understood and appreciated by those who experienced Beatlemania, because to my ears itīs an uneven quality album and the raw recording quality isnīt that pleasant on the ears either. No one can take away the legendary status of the album and the huge influence it had on pop/rock music, but as a product, the quality really isnīt that high. A 2.5 star (50%) rating is warranted.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars And so it began...

As I begin running through this catalog there is something I have to mention. These early Beatles albums should be rated as "proto" releases and not compared to 1970s rock or prog albums. One has to remember that the year is 1963 and approach your rating accordingly. It's sad to see some reviews on several early Beatles albums that seem to chastise the work not based on the quality of the music or performance, but on the fact that it "isn't prog" or that it is "just pop music." Early pop/rock and "proto" albums should be considered in the appropriate context. But context or not the Beatles debut is a wonderful collection of songs for all ages.

The simple fact is that The Beatles never made a bad album, although the follow-up to this one was certainly a let down. This first disc was recorded and mixed in about 24 hours according to George Martin and the results are a wonderful forbear of things to come. Yes it is early rock, with that late '50s / early '60s quality that is easy to belittle so many years later, the kind of music we imagine as the soundtrack for so many first kisses in cars that were machines to be reckoned with. And yet even this far back you can hear the raw talent in the vocal harmonies and the personality of the members. You'll appreciate the beginnings of the slightly rebellious twang in those ringing guitar chords that would soon lead to Taxman and then Revolution. And you will get to appreciate the work of one of the greatest songwriting teams the world has ever known. This very first attempt already has some solid classic songs adorning it: I saw her standing there, Misery, Please please me, Love me do, and Do you want to know a secret. Even cover tracks like Anna & Twist and Shout showcase the remarkable ability of Lennon to deliver an emotional vocal, one reserved and romantic, the other rowdy and explosive. McCartney's double-tracked vocal on "A Taste of Honey" has his intimate stoicism and shows his own increasing confidence that would eventually propel him to co-leading the band with Lennon. Nice pieces of harmonica and piano embellish here and there but mostly it is the pure charm of the melody and the vocal that makes these tracks memorable. Just a few months after the release of this set the band was moving nationally and days of being just another group from Hamburg or Liverpool were over. Aunt Mimi was wrong when she said to John "that guitar is okay but you'll never make a living with it."

What is ironic is how fresh these early recordings feel to me while others obviously see them as old-fashioned. I suppose we've come full circle in some ways. For me much modern music can seem homogeneous and uninspiring, while the simple raw talent and harmony here almost sounds revolutionary. This first album has a certain vibe and energy above some of the other early ones and will be appreciated by any serious rock fan. A necessary title for good rock music collections, and 4 stars without shame.

Review by Matthew T
5 stars Recorded on 11-2-1963 and released 22-3-1963 over 3 sessions which went for a period of 9 hours and 45 minutes this debut was No, 1 in the UK charts for 30 weeks and only replaced by their follow up With The Beatles. The album was mainly recorded in one day. George Martin needed 10 songs as he had 4 already from the previous singles. The album could be regarded almost as a live album as the band played as a band throughout the recording. George Martin was Producer and the album was recorded at EMI studios which would be later known as Abbey Road.

The album commences with John saying 1,2,3,4 and I Saw Her Standiing There begins the album and it also began the history of modern Rock and Roll and music would never be the same again. The single that was on the record at the time was Please Please Me and the flip was Ask Me Why which had been released before the album. With the sales EMI wanted the album to quickly follow. The other songs used on singles I Saw Her Standing There and Twist and Shout were issued over a year later in the US only on Capital.

The version of Love Me Do is the Andy White one with him on drums.The Ringo version which has tambourine added was the single. There are 14 tracks on Please Please Me and 8 only are originals but the most famous cover from the album would have to be Twist and Shout which was the last track recorded for the day as John Lennon had a cold and George Martin was worried that he voice may not make it through the day.

The cover was taken of The Fab Four looking down the stairwell at EMI headquarters.

Although this is not progressive without this band where would todays music be and for that matter prog. For a debut like no other this in my opinion is considered one of the foundations of modern comtempary music and prog.

The album was originally released in Mono but was also mixed in stereo.

1,2,3,4 was the taken from take 9 and the song used was from the 1st take of I Saw Her Standing There.

Absolute Masterpiece

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Beatles 'Please Please Me' album is one of the early singles accompaniments, when they were producing single after single and it is evident when they needed to include other songs around these to fill up the album.

The fillers are interesting and rarely heard, such as 'Ask Me Why', 'Boys', 'Baby It's You' 'There's A Place' and 'Anna (Go To Him)'. They are not good songs really, although some fans would say The Beatles were infallible which is pure nonsense, however there is enough on this album to give it legendary status among the Beatles repertoire. The outstanding tracks are obvious; 'Please Please Me', 'I Saw Her Standing There', 'Love Me Do', 'PS I love You' and 'Twist and Shout' which I have heard more times than I care to remember.

But apart from those there are some real treasures to savour that are less known such as my favourites, 'A Taste of Honey' 'Do You Want to Know a Secret' and 'Misery'. Overall this album is flawed but certainly features some of the best Beatles tracks and worthwhile in every respect. 3 healthy stars.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars The first prog album! Just kidding. I can't believe anyone on this site would give more than 2 stars to this album. Were the Beatles influential? Hell yes! Was this album influential? Hell no! This came out in early 1963, a time when the 45 rpm single was king. It wasn't until 1968 that LPs outsold singles (on both sides of the Atlantic). Before 1965 the majority of albums were just a couple of singles buried in filler. So obviously, the Beatles early success was based on their singles; it wasn't until at least A Hard Day's Night that people really paid any attention to their LPs.

This album doesn't hold any importance even for a Beatles fan. The only real significance of this album is that (unless I'm wrong) this is the only place you can get one of their best early songs ("I Saw Her Standing There") and one of their best early covers ("Twist And Shout"). "Love Me Do" and the title track can be found elsewhere. Realistically, although their early singles were popular, it wasn't until the mid-60s that the Beatles created music that would be influential on later rock music. They influenced a whole generation to want to play guitar and write songs, but it wasn't until say, 1965 that anyone really gave them credit as composers.

One song here that I have always liked, but seems to get ignored, is the Harrison-sung "Do You Want To Know A Secret". John and Paul do some great "do-wah-do" back-up harmony vocals in this song. Apart from the songs I already mentioned, there is nothing else here that really matters. This is only for a Beatles completist and no one else. 1 star.

Review by baz91
4 stars Oh dear, what is 'Please Please Me' doing on ProgArchives? I fully understand The Beatles' relevance to progressive rock, but albums like this just don't belong here. To put it bluntly, there is nothing remotely progressive about this album.

The Beatles' debut is an important album indeed, simply because it's a Beatles album. At the time it was released, The Beatles were starting to become popular with singles like Love Me Do and Please Please Me. The LP itself is simply a collection of songs written by Lennon/McCartney, including the singles already released, as well as some cover versions. The 10 songs recorded for the album were famously all recorded in one day!

I was extremely surprised with the quality of the material here! In addition to classic songs like I Saw Her Standing There, Please Please Me, Love Me Do and the timeless cover of Twist And Shout featuring John's raw sounding vocals (since they played this track last on the day), this album contains some top notch lesser-known tracks. Such tracks include the cover of Boys which, despite having homosexual connotations, remains one of my favourite Ringo tracks. It's impossible not to like the incredibly sweet Baby It's You, and A Taste Of Honey is another great tune. The rest of the material has it's moments too! This incredibly poppy album is an intriguing snapshot into early 60s popular music.

Ah, this is interesting. I've noticed that for the proto-prog albums, the ratings guide has been slightly altered to delete the word 'progressive' so it now only reads 'Excellent addition to any rock music collection' for four stars. This perfectly describes 'Please Please Me' and hence I shall give it this rating.

Review by Warthur
3 stars Though there is no doubt that in the early 1960s this album was a huge deal, I wasn't around then, so I can only judge it as a modern listener with a universe of rock music to choose from. To my mind, it's a perfectly decent rock and roll album that proves that the Fab Four had their finger on current trends and a mastery of the genre - some of the harmonies are worthy of the Beach Boys - but it has few clues to suggest their future greatness.

Part of the album's problem is that half of it consists of cover versions, and the Beatles are clearly far more enthused by their own work. Twist and Shout suffers both from this - and the gruelling recording sessions - the worst, lacking energy compared to the breathtaking original. And of the Beatles' own compositions, only Love Me Do really stands out, though I Saw Her Standing There is superb rock and roll and PS I Love You has a very mild whiff of experimentation about it. The album's a good listen but it doesn't stay with you the way their later classics do.

Review by thehallway
3 stars She was just seventeen, you know what I mean? ;)

This explosive debut was recorded and mixed in less than 24 hours, that's the time it takes Yes to record a single note (only to discard it again a week later, probably). Well, the quality is still there. This is basically a live show done in a studio, what we would call a "session" nowadays. Of the fourteen songs, only a few do not sound dated in 2011; it's not an issue with the sound quality (which is surprisingly good on the stereo remasters) but just the cliché compositional style that adorned most early sixties pop records. Despite the predictable nature of these tracks however, several of them are very good tunes, such as the two singles 'Love Me Do' and 'Please Please Me', as well as 'Boys', 'Twist and Shout', and my personal favourite 'I Saw Her Standing There', which opens the album with a bang.

Please Please Me blends blues numbers with mini-ballads, and some early 'surf rock' standards, all characterised with that sixties twang on George's guitar. The vocal harmonies are perhaps the most impressive element though. They aren't complicated, but just the fact that four barely-twenty Liverpudlian boys could sing in harmony is a feat in itself. They all sing lead on this album as well, although Lennon takes the lion's share. My main complaint is that every song falls short of three minutes. This is fine in most cases, but there are a few tracks that feel under-developed, just because someone had to touch that fader at 2 minutes 50 seconds, probably because of the rule at the time that all LPs had to contain fourteen songs.

This music isn't totally to my taste, but it is very charming, and I can't ignore how bold a move it was, and how innovative The Beatles were in the way they did things. The musical innovation would come later, but the fact that they were writing their own songs at all was innovative in 1963. Other people are rating this with regard to progressive rock, which wouldn't exist for another six years, so it's pointless to make comparisons. This is a three star album for me, on any website.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Despite sounding late 50s / early 60s pop this is really an extremely important album in music history. By playing the musical game and scoring pop hits on the charts THE BEATLES found instant popularity in their native UK before conquering the rest of the world soon thereafter. This is the first step in their conquest of the music charts which allowed them the financial freedom to explore music to their hearts desire just a few years down the road which would jump start the entire musical world and allowing free-form creativity to blossom in myriad directions including progressive rock.

Despite being the debut this album has virtually zero indicators of what was to come as THE BEATLES themselves probably had zero clues of what they were to become. This album finds the band with a brand new drummer by the name of Ringo Starr fresh in the seat of the recently booted Pete Best while the famous John Lennon / Paul McCartney songwriting team was only beginning to get their engines greased and their mojo running with George Harrison in their shadow but still sneaking in a contribution or two.

This album is only half originals with the remaining being covers of various artists. This is a mixed bag. Songs I like include.... "I Saw Her Standing There", "Chains", title track, "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "Twist And Shout." The rest I don't like. That means half this album is good and the rest I could live without. If the album was as good as the half I like I would rate this higher but because a few of these good songs are really great early 60s pop songs and this is THE BEATLES, it seems like 3 stars is a perfect fit for this debut album even though I can't imagine not having it as a part of my greater musical collection. Only good but still very essential for me.

Review by jamesbaldwin
3 stars The first album of the Beatles, still in the style of rock and roll of the '50s, consists of 8 original songs and 6 covers, not always famous (sometimes B sides of single rock), well integrated with each other.

It starts with "I Saw Her Standing There" (vote 8+), a great rock and roll song, which has entered into history: a free-range Paul McCartney opens, singing "two-three-four" with a typical Liverpool accent - Paul who will later forget to to have been a rock singer (years 1966-67, but will try to reappropriate his rocketary voice in 1968-69). The piece has a good rhythm, an excellent text with a beautiful allusive incipit (well she was just 17, you know what I mean ...) and a great Chuck Berry style chorus. Only a good guitar solo is missing. It's the best song on the album. "Misery" (vote 7) is mainly from Lennon, a 1950s style rock and roll, and takes advantage of George Martin's piano touches. The song has a text that does not accompany the carefree music, however, it is pleasant, although too short. "Anna" (vote 7+) is the first cover of the album and shows Lennon's vocal qualities: voice explained, total involvement in the vocals. It's a choral ballad with a good dry drum sound, where the voice makes the difference.

"Chains" (vote 6,5/7) is the typical pop-rock song with country influences due to the Lennon harmonica that characterizes the beginnings of the Beatles: it could be a song of theirs, but it's a cover. It is a pleasant ballad sung by George in the solo part, which is flanked by the choirs. "Boys" (vote 7,5), song of the Shirelles, is a divertissement left to sing at Ringo: piece very exciting and rhythmic. Ringo calls George before his solo, in fact the only true album solo. It is one of the best song on the album. "Ask Me Why" (vote 7) is a slow song, but smooth, well sung by Lennon, B side of the single Please Please Me, delicate and romantic, in soul style. The first side closes with the arrogant "Please Please Me" (vote 7,5/8) that, with its pressing rhythm, offers an excellent example of the exuberance of the Beatles first period: fast rhythm, beautiful melody, arrangement with rock guitars and choirs in a complex vocal style (the voice main is John), harmonica to give country nuances. This is the Mersey Beat of the Beatles first version. It feels like it's not just 50s rock and roll.

The second side opens with "Love Me Do" (vote 7,5), album version: compared to the single (where Ringo plays) the rhythm section is more solid (here a session man plays the drums). The song has a text where the same verse is repeated 4 times, so that it is difficult to consider it verse, it would be more a refrain, but as a structure acts as a verse, which alternates only a bridge. Fortunately, the country harmonica conducts well the song, which despite the repetition is very pleasant. "Ps I Love You", side B of the single Love Me Do, is one of the weakest pieces of the album, as follows the tradition of the '50s vocal lenses; the percussive arrangement is hardly sketched and the voice and the choruses are discharged, do not raise the melody that, even nice, especially in the bridge, remains below and mono-tone. In both songs, the main voice is Paul.

"Baby It's You" (vote 6,5/7) is a cover, a fairly slow-song and monotonous ballad where the only variations are the tones of Lennon's voice. The sequence of the last two songs is the weakest on the album. "Do You Want ..." (vote 7,5) is a beautiful guitar ballad written by John and left to sing to George. Very light, with fifties choirs and a somewhat Spanish guitar, it is one of the LP's coolest songs. "A Taste of Honey" (vote 7+) is a new cover with a Spanish guitar, sung by Macca, with much taste. "There's a Place" (vote 6,5/7) back to be a Beatles' song, with harmonica and vocal harmonies, in Motown style, well sung by John, it solves the rhythm of the album, with continuous variations. Unfortunately it is very short. "Twist and Shout" (vote 8+), a striking final ending the album in "crescendo", with the progression of percussions and voices; sung by an almost voiceless and very cooled Lennon, it remains one of the Beatles' masterpieces, in its simplicity and spontaneity due to the scraped voice of Lennon.

On the whole, it being understood that Lennon and McCartney have collaborated almost on a par for "I Saw Her ...", "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do", Lennon is the dominant author of 5 songs, where he has the main voice (except in one where George sings); Lennon also sings in three covers (total 7 songs); Macca is the author and principal singer of 3 songs, and sings in a cover (total 4); George sings in two songs, one by Lennon and one is a cover; Ringo sings in a cover.

The whole album was played almost live, practically live in the studio, and was recorded in a single day with drums, two guitars, harmonica and bass - rarely some other instrument overlaps, then there are choirs and vocal harmonies. Please Please Me is a nice cool album, in rock and roll style but also full of soulful ballads typical of black music, with slow songs alternating with rhythmic ones, with a country touch due to Lennon's harmonica, where the covers are inserted in the original songs, and vice versa, without sometimes distinguishing themselves, except in Please Please Me, which anticipates the times to come.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,286. Vote: 7+. Three stars.

Review by patrickq
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.

Latest members reviews

2 stars The first Beatles album surprises by the maturity of the band despite using a lot of covers. Their own material is often equal if not better than the covers with the exception of "Twist and shout". Playing is OK if not distinguishable from other bands at the time and the biggest magnet are their ... (read more)

Report this review (#2840201) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, September 15, 2022 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Seeing the Beatles featured on a prog site feels rather odd to be honest. I am of course aware that progressive rock wouldn't sound like it does if it weren't for all the sixties bands, the Beatles included, but as far as I am concerned, only Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road really bear any resemblance to ... (read more)

Report this review (#2404844) | Posted by The Anders | Friday, May 22, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Album that Started it All. While the sound quality and composing style can definitely be dated to the early 60s, the appeal of the fab four shines through on their debut album. This album was released in the UK, and also in Canada under the name "Twist and Shout" with the exact same running order ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698680) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 4, 2017 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Exactly what can I say about the Beatles that hasn't been repeated 800 million times? They've pretty much always been a favorite, and they'll pretty much always be a favorite. Their popularity is very well deserved in my opinion, and those who "get it" already know why; unlike most other teeny-boppe ... (read more)

Report this review (#1450039) | Posted by cfergmusic1 | Friday, August 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Although I'm not surprised to find The Beatles is mentioned in this site but it is a bit surprise for me to find Please Please Me is included here. We may call this album is the entry point and The Beatles breakthrough to the the world of Rock n' Roll and certainly the dawn of their marvellous ... (read more)

Report this review (#1150569) | Posted by Novri Leonard | Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Sure, if time didn't exist, this collection of highly infectious (I consider I Saw Her Standing There to be one of the rock-n-rolliest and the rockiest songs ever) but simplistic rock-n-roll and R&B tunes would not even be here. But you have to consider this album in the context of the history o ... (read more)

Report this review (#1076648) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, November 14, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This still has no value to the progressive rock at all, sorry but this is my opinion. Well, I don't need to explain about The Beatles, you know everything about them. Even talking about the easy listening rock albums, this one is booring. The first track, I Saw Her Standing There, is a happ ... (read more)

Report this review (#1013190) | Posted by VOTOMS | Wednesday, August 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is the album that started it all. Unfortunately that is the only claim to fame for this album. Musically, it's as far away from prog or even proto-prog as you can get. Not to mention that the band only wrote half the songs on here. Of the songs they did write, 'I Saw Her Standing There,' Ask Me ... (read more)

Report this review (#771422) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I personally don't care that it's not prog. This fact has nothing to do with the positive impact of this music on me. This is classic early 60's Beatles, and that is all. Hey, if you want prog, then get this: those guys do a bit of blue-eyed soul in their pop music and mix it with R&B (which explain ... (read more)

Report this review (#614001) | Posted by Dayvenkirq | Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rating: 8.5/10 Great debut, most of all concerning the followings "With the beatles", "A hard day's night", "Beatles for sale" and "Help" (the 1st phase of their career); "Please, please me" beats them all.Of course after that 1st period would come up "Rubber soul", but that's another story.Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#458467) | Posted by Mattiias | Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an excellent debut album. I grew up listening to music from the 50's and 60's and there definitely wasn't any band that could perform like these lads could. It may sound dated now (of course, it was released in 1963!) but it was actually progressive in its day because as other reviewer ... (read more)

Report this review (#435076) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Beatles first album is a very good one in the catalogue. Although this is 'pop' or whatever you want to call it (no side-long suites here!) the music is innovative, lively and enjoyable. The Beatles themselves are not really musicians, as such, but music fans. At least, that is the way I ... (read more)

Report this review (#329501) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Today it isn't quite evident why The Beatles sound was so inovative and revolutionary. To fully acknowledge that, one has to look back at what was produced in the US and UK at late 50s and early 60s. By that time, rock and roll was most of the time blues-based, danceable songs, with touches of co ... (read more)

Report this review (#250412) | Posted by bfmuller | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Well, I write this review about the album of the Digital Remaster version that was launched in the famous date: 09.09.09. There is some relevant things: 1. The album was recorded in eight hours and contains some of the most beautiful pieces of the Liverpool group. 2. This is the unique album t ... (read more)

Report this review (#238485) | Posted by fernandoalgarra | Thursday, September 10, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is strangely enough the first time I have ever been listening to this album, back to back (which I have now done five times). I am well past my sell-by-date and this album has not landed in my lap before now. Shocking..... Well, Neil Young and Iron Maiden was much more down my alley than ... (read more)

Report this review (#221718) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Thursday, June 18, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This Album Without a Doubt is a huge stepping stone for music in fact it is probably the most pivotal album of all time. without this album almost everything on this site would cease to exist. The Beatles changed the way society saw music with there rebellious haircuts and there obnoxiously l ... (read more)

Report this review (#209220) | Posted by Canprog | Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Well, I listen to the Beatles since I was in my mom's arms, in 1974. Only started to really pay atention to them in the beginning of high school, and ALL their phases are equally apreciated by myself. In a time where american media started to "recreate" rock'n'roll in a more apropriated form to ... (read more)

Report this review (#152112) | Posted by moodyxadi | Wednesday, November 21, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Beatles started making pop albums, 2-minute songs (just like in that period), with several covers in it. Please Please Me is a good summary of this first period, though it's not the best album. It contains all time classics like 'Love Me Do', great songs like 'Please Please Me', 'I Saw Her S ... (read more)

Report this review (#137273) | Posted by Proglodita | Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

1 stars As I was looking for the Who in proto-prog section, I realised Beatles was added... I checked out the discography whether only their most prog-related albums are added or not... Alas! From their debut on, until Revolver (or let's be generous, up until Rubber Soul) no album has the slightest re ... (read more)

Report this review (#73748) | Posted by Bilek | Saturday, April 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This album is not progressive in any way. The Beatles only started moving toward that vein of songwriting once "Help" and "Rubber Soul" came out, in my opinion. Before that, they were just typical pop stars. I'm not saying it's a bad album, it's just not progressive, and features pre-drug Beat ... (read more)

Report this review (#72960) | Posted by M Joel | Friday, March 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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