John Lennon, a big Roy Orbison fan, wrote this in the style of Orbison's overly dramatic singing, and on September 11, 1962, they recorded the song that way. Beatles producer George Martin suggested it would sound better sped up, with more pop appeal, so on November 26, they went back in the studio and cut the version that was released.
In 2006, Martin told The Observer Music Monthly
, "The songs the Beatles first gave me were crap. This was 1962 and they played a dreadful version of 'Please Please Me' as a Roy Orbison-style ballad. But I signed them because they made me feel good to be with them, and if they could convey that on a stage then everyone in the audience would feel good, too. So I took 'Love Me Do
' and added some harmonica, but it wasn't financially rewarding even though Brian Epstein bought about 2,000 copies. Then we worked for ages on their new version of 'Please Please Me,' and I said: 'Gentlemen, you're going to have your first #1.'"
Although in the UK, "Please Please Me" was officially a #2 record, three of the four charts used at the time - Melody Maker
- listed it #1. Only the Record Retailer
chart had it at #2. Their next single, "From Me to You
," became their first official #1.