Beatles Love Me Do
The Beatles, arguably the most popular and most influential band in history, started with two English schoolboys skipping class to write songs. In 1958 at ages 16 and 17 respectively, Paul McCartney and John Lennon penned “Love Me Do” while playing hooky. It wasn’t the first song the iconic duo wrote but it was the first they felt good enough to record.
McCartney’s girlfriend at the time, Iris Caldwell became the inspiration for “Love Me Do” and laid the groundwork for massive success for years to come. Oddly enough, American radio stations questioned the song’s potential in the United States. Nevertheless, the song became a hit in the UK and helped fuel Beatlemania years later in the States.
History in the making. (pinterest)
A Troubled Beginning
“Love Me Do” earned the notable distinction as the Beatles’ first single. However, when they first played the song for George Martin, who served as an influential figure in their success, he wasn’t sold. First, he wanted some harmonica, which thankfully Lennon knew how to play. In fact, he stole the harmonica he used from a music store in Denmark! That meant McCartney had to do the singing. According to the legend, you can hear his nerves in the audition.
Further signs of trouble came when Martin used three separate drummers for the song. The first was Pete Best, then Ringo Starr, and finally they tried Andy White with Ringo stuck on tambourine. That certainly inspired a level of fear in Ringo as they had already fired Best. In fact, many, not only at Parlophone Records, but actually family members of the Beatles held a healthy amount of skepticism for “Love Me Do.” Lennon’s Aunt Mimi said, "Well, if you think you're going to make a fortune with that, you've got another thing coming."
A Push To The Top
Even at the last minute, Martin tried to sell the boys on using another song, "How Do You Do It?" not written by them. He even made them attempt to record it! The Beatles were none too pleased. After a number of uninspired takes, Martin relented and let them go with “Love Me Do.” Ironically, "How Do You Do It?" actually became a hit for Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1964.
When the Beatles finally released their pioneering song, it failed to become an immediate hit. Still, their manager Brian Epstein felt so confident in his group that he bought 10,000 albums, which gave them a big marketing push by getting it on the charts.
A UK Banger
Parlophone Record released it on October 5th, 1963 and it made it all the way to #17 by January. The catchy tune earned the boys credence with radio stations and their next two singles “Please Please Me” and “From Me to You” went #2 and #1 following the success of “Love Me Do.” Before their first single started climbing the charts, the Beatles were playing clubs in Hamburg Germany. They mostly covered blues tunes by American artists, a far cry from the global superstars they would become.
Astonishingly, Capitol Records, Parlophone’s U.S counterpart, felt the song would flop in the States. In the end, it failed to find its way onto American radio until 1964 with the much smaller Tollie label. ‘64 was the height of Beatlemania in America and it went #1 giving the boys their fourth #1 hit on our side of the pond. Famously, Paul McCartney once called it, "Our greatest philosophical song."
Tags: John Lennon | Love Me Do | Paul McCartney | The Beatles
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