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Love Me Do by The Beatles

Album: Please Please MeReleased: 1962Charted:
1
17
  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this in 1958, when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but this was the first one they liked enough to record.
  • McCartney wrote this about his girlfriend at the time, Iris Caldwell.
  • This was the Beatles first single. It was released in England by Parlophone Records, but it took a while before they could get a record company to distribute it in America. The Beatles wanted Capitol Records to release it in the US, but they refused, figuring it would flop. It went to Tollie Records, who released it in America during Beatlemania, about a year after it was released in England.
  • By 1962, The Beatles were playing regular gigs at a club in Hamburg, Germany. They played a lot of Blues covers by famous American artists, and it was a big deal for them when they introduced this into their set, as they didn't know how it would hold up against songs by Little Richard and Ray Charles. The song was well-received and gave The Beatles a lot of confidence, which led to them writing and performing more original songs.
  • When they played this for an audition with Parlophone Records, the producer they auditioned for was George Martin, who became a key figure in Beatles history as he helped shape their sound. He started tinkering with the song right away, adding the harmonica part. Fortunately, John Lennon knew how to play the harmonica and was able to come up with something.
  • The Beatles recorded versions of this with 3 different drummers. At their first Parlophone audition in June, 1962, Pete Best was still their drummer. When they recorded this on September 4, Ringo was their drummer, but when George Martin decided this would be the single, he had them record it again a week later. At this session, he used a session drummer named Andy White and stuck Ringo with the maracas. The version with Ringo drumming was released as the single, but the version released on the album had Andy White's drumming. Ringo didn't pitch a fit when he got bumped at the session, but was very upset and felt real insecure, especially since The Beatles had just fired a drummer.
  • When this was released in England, it was not a big hit. The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, was so confident in the group that he gave the single a big marketing push by buying a bunch of copies of it (some say 10,000) for his record store, which helped get it on the charts and ensured more exposure for the band.
  • The Beatles were very close to releasing another song as their first single. At their September 4 recording session, George Martin decided their first single should be a song called "How Do You Do It?," which was written by someone else. The Beatles were not pleased and did some lackluster takes of the song before they were allowed to record "Love Me Do." Eventually, Martin changed his mind and went with "Love Me Do." "How Do You Do It?" became a hit for Gerry & the Pacemakers in 1964.
  • Before they recorded this, Lennon always sang the lead vocal, but when his harmonica part was added, McCartney had to sing it because Lennon's mouth was full of harmonica. Paul claims that you can hear the fear in his voice at the audition.
  • John stole the harmonica used in this song in a music shop in Arnhem, a Dutch town near to the German border, while the Beatles were on their way to Hamburg. (thanks, Leo - Hilversum, Netherlands)
  • Lennon's lips went numb from playing the harmonica at session. He was trying to sound like Delbert McClinton.
  • Paul McCartney called this "Our greatest philosophical song."
  • This was recorded in mono on 1-track tape. No stereo version exists.
  • This song has been covered by The Brady Bunch, The Chipmunks, Dick Hyman, Flaco Jimenez, Madooo, The Persuasions, Sandie Shaw, Ringo Starr and Bobby Vee. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • When John's Aunt Mimi heard this song, she said to him "Well, if you think you're going to make a fortune with that, you've got another thing coming."
  • According to Q magazine, Parlophone employees weren't impressed when George Martin presented this song to them. One staffer inquired whether English comedian Spike Milligan was behind the record.
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Comments: 51

On January 10th 1964 Vee-Jay Records of Chicago released the album 'Introducing The Beatles'...
And on that day the #1 album was "The Singing Nun" by the Singing Nun and ten days later on January 20th Capitol Records released 'Meet The Beatles'...
Four tracks from the album made Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; "Love Me Do" (#1 for 1 week), "Twist and Shout (#2 for 4 weeks), "P.S. I Love You" (#10 for 1 week), and "There's A Place" (#74 for 1 week); these four songs were on the Tollie Records label, which was a subsidiary of Vee-Jay Records...
R.I.P. John and George.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
A list of early Beatles songs sent by B.Epstein - I guess on McCartney´s order - to George Martin on the 6th June 1962, shows Lennon and McCartney´s compositions under their respective authors, rather than as a product of a partnership. For example, McCartney: Love Me Do, Lennon: Ask Me Why.
But when Lennon came with their first masterpiece, and their first number one hit Please Please Me, completely written by Lennon, McCartney seemed to be keen to call it a joint composition McCartney-Lennon
Johan - Stockholm, Sweden
"Our greatest philosophical song"? Really? I think he was joking.Zero - Nowhere, Nj
Dick Hyman.. lolCj - Oak Creek, Wi
I listen to this song everyday before school! lol Love, love me do!Megan - Stevenson, Al
Without doubt, the single biggest influence on the Beatles were Buddy Holly and the Crickets. It was where they derived their name, and the idea of writing songs themselves. What is interesting about BH's influence on the Beatles is that the B-side of his first single in the UK (Blue Days, Black Nights) was called 'Love Me', a song that actually includes the term 'Love Me Do'. Were the Beatles subconsiously - or deliberately - paying homage to (or imitating) Holly with their first single?Russell - Bridgnorth, United Kingdom
When this song was released in the U.S. the flip-side was "PS I Love You". According to Billboard this was two-sided Top Ten record. "Love Me Do" stayed at #1 for one week while "PS I Love You" peaked at #10!!!Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
oh come on the fact about Brian Epstein buyin records is total b*lls--t it was nothing more than a hearsay that was never proved true, in fact at the time Epstein didn't have enough money to buy 10000 or even 1000 copies. On the same fact is awesome how such a simple song made it up to the #17 on British charts just to show how great the Beatles were to beDnnz - Aqp, Peru
Great page..you may all be interested in this...I play in a Beatle cover band called Penny Lane..While learning this song..I play bass and Harp...the mouth organ part is played by two different harpd...a C for most of the song and two small parts in a G harp...Took me a while to figure that out...sneeeeky...not so easy to play..using two different harps....John - Antigonish, Ns
John's harmonica takes me for a tripMike - Highland Park, Il
hey, krissy from boston, i have that same shirt. i wore it for valentine's day, and i dont think anybody got it, either. oh my dear god, are people ACTUALLY saying that this is about drugs?! people, put yourself into the shoes of the teenage john and paul. you just skipped a day of high school to write a song and are sitting in your parents' living room. you're very self-conscious and just want to write something catchy enough that you wont be laughed off the stage at gigs. would you write about love or drugs? SERIOUSLY.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
When they first invaded the U.S. they voiced lots of respect to Elvis, R&B and C&W. Love Me Do is definitely R&B/Blues in a Country stew. Elvis would've nailed it but this should have been John's vocal. Along with the harmonica for this song, George Martin always had a smart idea for the lads.Michael - Chicago, Il
This song is amazing, it's the one that got me into the Beatles! About two and a half years ago, I was at a restaurant with my parents and heard it playing on the jukebox. It was familiar, and my parents said that it was the Beatles. I then listened to my dad's One album, and there was no turning back after that! So this is the song that did it for me, great vocal and bass playing by Paul, harmonica by John, and everything else. I knew Paul wrote it when he was 16, but I didn't know that he wrote it for his girlfriend. One lucky chick if you ask me.Julia - *, Oh
John´s Harmonica playing is awesome!!!! This is definetely the song that started the Beatle´s rise to fame.Beatlesfan64 - Dallas, Tx
This is so catchy! The Beatles ROCK!Matthew - Melbourne, Australia
An interesting song. It reached number 1 in the U.S. mostly because after they broke through with I Want to Hold Your Hand, people were buying pretty much any record by the Beatles. I seriously doubt they would have broken through on the strength of this record, but possibly they would have with Please Please Me, From Me to You, or She Loves You, if they had been promoted properly.Steve - Fenton, Mo
Great tune and one of their best from the really early days! Even if Paul was nervous, he did a splendid job on lead!Meredith - Wauwatosa, Wi
Why does everyone think Beatle songs are about Drugs? They're not. Gosh.Bianca Sanchez - Alburquerque, Nm
Actually it came out in 63'. Please Please Me album didn't come out to 63'. So the date on the top is wrong.Krissy - Boston, Ma
No it should sound the same else u got a different veriosn other than the Beatles.Krissy - Boston, Ma
OK, OK! That's enough! Maybe it sounded better in 1962 than it does now.Michael - Oxford, England
Plus if it was so bad it wouldn't have became number 1 on the US chart.Krissy - Boston, Ma
It is not a bad song. It might not be a complicated as Something or Come Together. If you guys love The Beatles as much as you say y r you always picking on them ? I love them.Krissy - Boston, Ma
I'm rather embarrassed now!Michael - Oxford, England
Yeah, come to think of it, it's not that bad. Michael - Oxford, England
Michael, Get them a break they wrote this in their early years. It was when they first started writing. They weren't very exprinced with song writing so their songs may not be as complicated lyrics as later ones. It is a good song.Krissy - Boston, Ma
I hate this song because of the repetitive lyric. Who's with me?Michael - Oxford, England
I love this song. My sister came back from flordia and got me a sure that is pink and says LOVE ME DO and at the bottom it says The Beatles but it not very big writing. So for that whole day everyone was asking me what my sure meant. IDK....maybe because they are middle schoolers. But I was surpise that so many people asked me about it.Krissy - Boston, Ma
I think that John and Paul wanted to sell records. The model was to write about boy and girl relationships. Love Me Do, P.S. I Love You, Thank You Girl. Now why would they start writing about dopamine? Would anyone say that 'Bye Bye Love' was written about drugs? No. So surely it is reasonable to think that The Beatles were getting on with being singer songwriters in the normal way, without any particular slyness?Calum - Edinburgh, Scotland
This is not about drugs. Most of the later songs were inspired by drugs, but this is way too early to be written about them. Anyway, who would write about a drug like the ones mentioned earlier. They sound like speed to me. Who the heck would sing about speed! Come on!Phil - Holland, Pa
This was perhaps the first Beatles song about drugs. The Beatles were using amphetamines in order to survive their hectic schedule. Amphetamines act as dopamine transporter substrates to competitively inhibit dopamine uptake and increase dopamine efflux via a dopamine transporter. At the time, dopamine was considered the 'reward chemical' of the brain. Thus, the 'do' in Love Me Do, actually refers to dopamine, as in "Lads, I really love me dopamine. Cheers."Zoloft - Milton, Wv
Mike in Germantown, Dylan most definitely did NOT introduce the Beatles to drugs. He introduced them to pot. They were dong drugs like fiends in Hamburg, speed, diet pills mostly, to keep themselves awake with their crazy schedule.Dennis - Anchorage, Ak
George Martin was ready to saddle them with a song from an outside composer (How Do You Do It) for their first single.Jeff - San Jose, Ca
Oops. Sorry, I had'nt read that comment Yet.Mike - Germantown, Md
How Can This be Avout Drugs, if Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to drugs and they Had'nt even het him yet?Mike - Germantown, Md
And just to clarify things,I was kidding.Becca - Hamilton, Canada
This song is about drugs!Becca - Hamilton, Canada
I agree With Calum. Whenever I see the comments to a Beatles song, I always see"This song is about drugs"! It drives me crazy!Mike - Germantown, Md
Very funny Calum!!Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
Great to see that no one has yet said 'This song is all about drugs'!Calum - Edinburgh, Scotland
Interesting fact: Delbert McClinton played harmonica on Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby." They subsequently went on a British tour, which is how McClinton met Lennon and taught him to play the harmonica. I gotta admit that the solo is really awesome and adds a cool bluesy twist to the song. I think more songs today should include some harmonica parts; if not in the forefront, then at least in the background. Bring back the harmonica!Sammy - New York, Ny
McCartney admitted years later than Lennon sang "Love Me Do" better than him and that fans were disappointed with his singing of the song in Liverpool.Mike - Emmaus, Pa
In the song Shooting Star(Bad company) It says
''Johnny was a school boy when he heard his first Beatles song Love Me Do, I think it was and from there it didn't take him long''
Brandon - Morristown, Tn
When they recorded this, all Abbey Road studio had was a twin-track recorder. Since stereo records wern't selling much in England at the time, George Martin used the second track for what little overdubbing he could do, rather that recording the song in stereo.Ken - Louisville, Ky
Yea... i've never heard of "sagging off"Helen - Oxford, England
I read an interview where McCartney was so nervous he asked if Harrison could sing it and Martin, not overly concerned with feelings at the moment, said "He can't sing".David - Waco, Tx
Ed, thats the way it is in America too.Will - Portland, Or
I agree,catherine.HE must have been REALLY nervous.Scott Baldwin - Edmonton, Canada
In fact Catherine, he sounds even more nervous on the Anthology 1 take which is verified in the notes about that session.Adrian - Wilmington, De
Just a small note, skipping school in England is called playing hookey.Edward Hall - London, England
John apparently took up playing the mouth organ because he always thought he would end up in prison and he wanted to be the guy who played the mouth organ.
The Beatles hadn't thought about who was going to sing the song now that John had an instrument in his mouth. George Martin handed the lyrics to Paul McCartney. If you listen to the song even now, i think you can still hear how nervous he was at being given the task.
Catherine - Glasgow, England