UK EP release: The Beatles’ Hits

9.00am, Friday 6 September 1963 (50 years ago)

The Beatles’ second UK EP was released on this day. It contained three previous a-sides and one b-side.

The Beatles' Hits EP artwork - United KingdomSide one contained From Me To You and its b-side Thank You Girl. The second side featured Please Please Me and Love Me Do.

The Beatles’ Hits EP first charted on 21 September 1963, and spent three weeks at number one from 2 November. In all it spent 43 weeks in the EP chart. It also spent 18 weeks in the singles chart, peaking at number 14.

The version of Love Me Do was the album one featuring Andy White on drums. All tracks were credited to songwriters McCartney-Lennon.

Released by Parlophone, the EP’s serial number was GEP 8880. The front cover picture was taken by Angus McBean, and the sleeve notes were by Tony Barrow.

The four numbers on this EP have been selected from The Lennon & McCartney Songbook. If that description sounds a trifle pompous perhaps I may suggest you preserve this sleeve for ten years, exhume it from your collection somewhere around the middle of 1973 and write me a very nasty letter if the pop people of the 70′s aren’t talking with respect about at least two of these titles as “early examples of modern beat standards taken from The Lennon & McCartney Songbook”.

The success of The Beatles as a bill-topping, chart-topping team of vocalist/instrumentalist entertainers hasn’t been far short of unique. What makes this foursome’s history quite unprecedented is the fact that two of the boys write (with an output rate which is prolific-plus!) all the songs which The Beatles take to the top of the hit parade. We’ve had successful songwriters before and we’ve had golden-touch recording stars before but the two entirely different facts of Tin Pan Alley fame have never before combined themselves so brilliantly in the all-round, do-it-yourself versatility of a single singing/playing/composing unit.

Chronologically speaking, this exciting little session starts with Love Me Do. In the autumn of ’62 this number went out to the disc stores on the top deck of The Beatles’ first Parlophone single. 48 hours later it had notched up sufficient sales to put it into the charts.

Next came Please Please Me which stayed in the charts throughout February and March of 1963, reached the coveted Number One slot, earned The Beatles their first Silver Disc award and eventually gave its name to a twelve-inch LP programme which was destined to become one of the fastest-selling album releases of the year.

For their third single The Beatles coupled From Me To You with Thank You Girl. The former zoomed to the pop peak in the middle of April and defended its mighty position against all comers for a total of seven spectacular weeks. (Incidentally it was Do You Want To Know A Secret, another item from The Lennon & McCartney Songbook, which replaced From Me To You at the Number One position in June!)

Thank You Girl found another way of proving its undoubted popularity by making a prolonged appearance amongst the nation’s list of best-selling sheet music.

P.S. In case you still doubt my opening paragraph prophesy, you should know that Messrs. Lennon & McCartney have written enough songs to keep them in singles and albums from now until 1973 even if their composing talent were to wither and die in the immediate future!

Tony Barrow

8 Responses to “UK EP release: The Beatles’ Hits”

  1. Tom

    I bought a vinyl copy of this record a couple of days ago. I read the sleeve notes by, Tony Barrow.
    I like the mono version of Thank You Girl, a lot.

    Paul McCartney called it a knock off tune, but I would rather listen to that than his solo tune, My Love released in 1973. The same year Tony was expecting a nasty letter.

    BTW, I am looking for an online copy of that, “The Lennon & McCartney Songbook.” I would like to read it.

    Reply
      • Deadman

        It’s a reference, perhaps, to the words of Barrow, which you quoted: “write me a very nasty letter if the pop people of the 70′s aren’t talking with respect about at least two of these titles”.

        Reply
        • Tom

          I like the P.S. quote, “P.S. In case you still doubt my opening paragraph prophesy, you should know that Messrs. Lennon & McCartney have written enough songs to keep them in singles and albums from now until 1973 even if their composing talent were to wither and die in the immediate future!”

          It make me wonder, What if this was their last record? This was their last record before She Loves You.

          In 1963, Dominique, was about to be released in North America. I was not aware of the Beatles at this point. But in U.S.A., Vee Jay was selling their music.

          1973 was the time of, Dark Side of the Moon, and post Beatles era.

          Reply
      • Tom

        I am referring to the, “very nasty letter,” that Tony Barrow mentions in the first paragraph in the sleeve notes. That was written in 1963, but suggested the Beatles would be remembered in 1973, even if this was the last record, in the last paragraph.

        I remember the trends of 1973. I wonder how different that year might have been if this was their last record. What if the Beatles disbanded before writing, She Loves You?
        Would this record be remembered on September 6 2013? Maybe locally.

        Reply
          • Tom

            If you replace, Love Me Do, with Ask Me Why, then you get the four songs that appeared on the, “Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage,” album.

            Reply
  2. Tom

    Awesome EP.

    I like all four songs.

    I prefer to think of, Please Please Me and Love Me Do as the side one, and From Me To You and Thank You Girl, as side two.

    Reply

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