BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Sold on Song. Classic songs, covers, songwriting and more. Listen Live.

 Full Schedule

Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!


Please Please Me
The Beatles
'Please Please Me' was started by John Lennon in his aunt Mimi's living room. He'd been listening to Roy Orbision and wanted to write something similar to 'Only The Lonely'.

The words had been inspired by a '30s song recorded by Bing Crosby called 'Please', a number that played on the dual
The Beatles
Song facts
Composer John Lennon/Paul McCartney
Genre Pop
Album Please Please Me
Released 1963
UK Chart 2
meaning of the sound of please and pleas. But the innocent lyrics pointed to a sexual subtext that could be as explicit as the imagination allowed.

They took the song into the studio and played it to producer George Martin at the end of their Love Me Do session. Martin thought the song needed work and suggested they speed it up and add some harmonised voices.

John and Paul, who'd been singing Everley Brothers numbers for years, took the No. 1 'Cathy Clown' as a template. Lennon stayed with the melody while Paul sang the root E as reflected in the bass line. With a call and response harmonised in the bridge, the song drives into the chorus and breaks open into a three-part harmony.

During recording, Martin added the harmonica played by John but changed nothing else. After hitting the stop button he told them "Congratulations, gentlemen, you've just made your first number one."

He was almost right. At that time, there were no standardised charts and though the single got to No. 1 in a number of charts, including Melody Maker and the BBC's Pick of The Pops, officially it came in at No. 2 (behind Frank Ifield's Wayward Wind).

On the strength of this song, they hurriedly recorded an album of the same name and attracted the attention of Dick James who set up Northern Songs, The Beatles' own publishing copyright company.

McCartney on when to listen to the producer
Paul McCartney
Please Please Me was certainly a Lennon and McCartney composition but George Martin's guidance moved the song in a direction that gave it impact and polish. Paul McCartney and George Martin on the song.

Other versions
Partridge Family
 This Partridge Family live performance recalls the female teen hysteria of early Beatles appearances. The 'family',  invented by the same people who brought us The Monkees, made numerous albums before David Cassidy went on to bigger things.

The early Beatles at their best

Derek, Kent

Make a comment

Songwriting tips

Creative Block is a problem for all songwriters no matter how big or small - find out how to beat it in the Songwriting Guides

Thinking about approaching a publisher? Find out about getting the best from the meeting in our Songwriting Guides
Test your knowledge

What do you know about Please Please Me?


Like this song? Try these...

She Loves You
The Beatles
That's All Right
Elvis Presley

Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

What's on

Radio 2 Documentaries
Find out more about current and forthcoming documentaries on Radio 2.


The Beatles Official website
The Beatles Story
The Bootleg Beatles
Please Note: The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy