Ask Me Why

Ask Me Why single - United KingdomWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 6 June, 26 November 1962
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 11 January 1963 (UK), 25 February 1963 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass
George Harrison: lead guitar, backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums

Available on:
Please Please Me
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2

Ask Me Why was first released as the b-side of The Beatles' second single Please Please Me in 1963. Later that year it appeared on the album of the same name.

Download on iTunes

The song was written in the spring of 1962. As Paul McCartney recounted in Many Years From Now:

It was John's original idea and we both sat down and wrote it together, just did a job on it. It was mostly John's.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Ask Me Why was greatly influenced by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - the guitar motif that introduces the song is derived from their 1961 song What's So Good About Goodbye.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded an unknown number of takes of Ask Me Why during their 6 June 1962 debut session at Abbey Road. Unfortunately EMI considered the songs to be of little consequence, and later destroyed the master tapes.

They remade the song in November 1962, getting it right in six takes. Much of the day was spent perfecting Please Please Me; Ask Me Why took comparatively little time to record.

16 responses on “Ask Me Why

    1. Joe Post author

      I believe the tape was destroyed/erased by EMI before The Beatles became successful. The Beatles definitely recorded it though, according to the studio paperwork. See Mark Lewisohn’s Chronicle or Sessions books for more info.

    2. Aaron

      To these ears, the version that appears as the B-side of Please Please Me IS the June 1962 version featuring Pete Best. The drumming sounds EXACTLY like Pete Best.

  1. SD

    George is also singing backing vocals. Listen to it for example at 0:18 where you can hear two voices (George’s is the lower one) behind John’s lead vocal.

    1. Gilbert

      What you are hearing is the same guitar: John’s Gibson Acoustic-Electric. On the left channel is the sound of the guitar plugged to an amplifier, while on the right channel the sound of the plectrum strumming across the strings leaked into John’s vocal microphone. It’s a nice, if unintended, stereo effect.

  2. Hendrik

    As John often used to say when a new song was needed: “How do we go from here”, Ask Me Why begins where P.S. I Love You ends. The ending of P.S. I Love You is the beginning of Ask Me Why. To me the feel of the song reminds me of German popmusic of that time. It is one of my favorites.

Leave a reply