"Love Me Do" was the first Beatles' single on Parlophone and was released October 5, 1962. Brian Epstein ordered ten thousand copies for his record store in hopes that the large order would help the song to chart. Capital declined to issue the single, although Vee Jay released it on August 10, 1964.
McCartney wrote most of the song at seventeen years of age when he played hooky from school in 1958. Lennon contributed to the middle of the song. The Beatles played the song when they auditioned for George Martin on June 6, 1962. Martin didn't particularly like the song, although he felt at the time of the recording session that it was the best the group had to offer.
Two versions of the song were recorded. The first version was recorded on September 4, 1962 at Abbey Road. Lennon was originally supposed to sing lead vocal, but at the last minute that duty was given to McCartney so that Lennon could play harmonica, a decision that George Martin made that day in the studio. McCartney sang lead vocal and Lennon sang backing and harmony. McCartney played bass, Lennon harmonica and Rickenbacker Capri 325, Harrison acoustic guitar, and Starr drums. Martin was not satisfied until take seventeen.
Version two was recorded September 11, 1962, with session drummer Andy White replacing Starr on drums, who played tambourine. (Having recently joined the Beatles, replacing Pete Best, Starr was devastated by the move and has chided George Martin ever since.) Martin eventually chose the September 4 version to be released as the single, although version two was used on the Please Please Me LP.
Engineer Norman Smith said that the Beatles' equipment wasn't very good, resulting in poor quality takes for version one. Paul's bass guitar was therefore connected to the studio's own bass amplifier, and John's amplifier had to be secured with rope because it was rattling and buzzing badly.
The Beatles, who refused to wear headphones (and rarely ever did in their early days), were surprised at how differently the music they sang on the studio floor sounded in the control room.
Other Beatles facts about the track and the sessions include the following: Harrison had a black eye at the sessions after the Beatles and Brian Epstein were attacked by fans of Pete Best after Best was dismissed from the group. (Starr's first live performance with the group was at The Cavern on August 18, 1962.) Starr's drum kit was a Premier, a Christmas present he received at age nineteen. Finally, Lennon's harmonica was allegedly shoplifted in Arnheim, Holland. Lennon admired the harmonica style of Delbert McClinton and tried to imitate him. He would use the harmonica on other tracks, such as "From Me to You" and "Please Please Me" but eventually believed that the instrument was being used too much.
The Beatles sang the song on tour in 1962 and 1963. A promotional video of the song was made (long before the age of music videos), featuring the Beatles wearing dark suits while miming the song in the studio.
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