From Me To You

From Me To You single - United KingdomWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 5 March 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 11 April 1963 (UK), 27 May 1963 (US)

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

Available on:
Past Masters
1
Anthology 1
On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2

Released in 1963, From Me To You was The Beatles’ third single, and their first to top all the UK charts.

Download on iTunes



It could be done as an old ragtime tune… especially the middle-eight. And so, we’re not writing the tunes in any particular idiom. In five years’ time, we may arrange the tunes differently. But we’ll probably write the same old rubbish!
Paul McCartney, 1964

Lennon and McCartney wrote From Me To You on 28 February 1963, on a tour bus heading to Shrewsbury. The title was inspired by From You To Us, the letters section of the New Musical Express.

The night Paul and I wrote From Me To You, we were on the Helen Shapiro tour, on the coach, travelling from York to Shrewsbury. We weren’t taking ourselves seriously – just fooling around on the guitar – when we began to get a good melody line, and we really started to work at it. Before that journey was over, we’d completed the lyric, everything. I think the first line was mine and we took it from there. What puzzled us was why we’d thought of a name like From Me To You. It had me thinking when I picked up the NME to see how we were doing in the charts. Then I realised – we’d got the inspiration from reading a copy on the coach. Paul and I had been talking about one of the letters in the From You To Us column.
John Lennon
Anthology

The Helen Shapiro tour took in 14 shows, mostly in theatres, and lasted from 2 February to 3 March 1963. Other names on the tour were Danny Williams, Kenny Lynch, The Kestrels, The Red Price Orchestra, The Honeys and MC Dave Allen.

I remember John and Paul coming up to me to ask if I would like to hear a couple of songs that they had just written. They were looking for opinions because they were undecided about which should be their next single. We crowded around a piano and Paul played, while the two of them sang their latest composition. One was Thank You Girl, and the other was From Me To You, which I liked best.
Helen Shapiro

The genesis of From Me To You was later recounted by Roger Greenaway of The Kestrels.

The Beatles at this time had had their first number one, and John and Paul were writing songs at the back of the coach. Kenny Lynch, who, at this time, fancied himself as a songwriter, sauntered up to the back of the coach and decided he would help John and Paul write a song. After a period of about half an hour had elapsed and nothing seemed to be coming from the back, Kenny rushed to the front of the coach and shouted, ‘Well, that’s it. I am not going to write any more of that bloody rubbish with those idiots. They don’t know the music from their backsides. That’s it! No more help from me!’ The song that John and Paul were writing at this time was a track called From Me To You.
Roger Greenaway

Although The Beatles had planned to release Thank You Girl as their next single, they swiftly changed their plans after writing From Me To You.

We’d already written Thank You Girl as the follow-up to Please Please Me. This new number was to be the b-side. We were so pleased with it, we knew we just had to make it the a-side, Thank You Girl the b.
John Lennon
Anthology

Lennon and McCartney wrote From Me To You in response to a request from George Martin, who told them to come up with more hits once Please Please Me became a success.

There was a little trick we developed early on and got bored with later, which was to put I, Me or You in it, so it was very direct and personal: Love Me Do; Please Please Me; From Me To You – we got two of them in there…

That was a pivotal song. Our songwriting lifted a little with that song. It was very much co-written. We were starting to meet other musicians then and we’d start to see other people writing. After that, on another tour bus with Roy Orbison, we saw Roy sitting in the back of the bus, writing Pretty Woman. It was lovely. We could trade off with each other. This was our real start.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Lennon and McCartney were particularly pleased with the song’s middle section.

That middle eight was a very big departure for us. Say you’re in C then go to A minor, fairly ordinary, C, change it to G. And then F, pretty ordinary. But then it goes, ‘I got arms…’ and that’s a G minor. Going to G minor and a C takes you to a whole new world. It was exciting.
Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

Another key feature of From Me To You was the falsetto “Whoo!”, which swiftly became a Beatles trademark. Although the group had previously used the motif on Twist And Shout, on the Please Please Me LP, From Me To You was the first single to feature it. The group repeated the trick on their next single, She Loves You.

11 responses on “From Me To You

  1. PythonNF

    I can’t believe there are no comments on this great song!!  To me this is an important song in the history of the Beatles…it was their first no 1 & proved they were not a one hit wonder.

  2. Don

    For Part 2 of 5 see “Blue Jay Way.”
    How [not] to interpret a Beatles’ song, Part 3 of 4: Enjoy the small things.
    Not long after The Beatles released “From Me To You,” Paul McCartney had one of the most rewarding moments of his career: “I’d come back from a club and I was just getting to bed and I heard the milkman whistling ‘From Me To You.’ I thought ‘That’s it, I’ve arrived – the milkman’s whistling my tune.’” The lyrics are affable enough, but what really made the song was that simple, catchy tune: “Da-da-da, da-da-dun-dun, dah.”
    It is both comical and frustrating that John had to remind us in a 1970 interview that The Beatles were just a band who made it “very, very big, that’s all.” “I Feel Fine” is another lyrically affable song, but it’s got that riff “that’ll set your feet a-tapping, as the reviews say,” quoth Lennon. The Beatles were a dance band designed to delight audiences and get them moving to the beat. More often than not, the meaning, significance or point of a song is something very simple and small. Usually the delight is in the sound, as when George put a sitar on “Norwegian Wood” or when John played a recording of a guitar riff backward in “I’m Only Sleeping.” Sometimes the catchy detail is a turn of phrase, like the image of “kaleidoscope eyes” in “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or the feel of the phrase “crabalocker fishwife” in “I am the Walrus.” What is the meaning of “crabalocker”? Is it an adjective or a noun? Its context confounds construal, suggesting that its entire significance lies in the simple pleasure of its sound, the feel of the word as it crumbles out of your mouth – especially when the crunchiness of the word is followed by the flimsy “fishwife.”
    Songwriters are artists whose canvass is sound and whose colors and textures come from things that make sound, including vocal chords. A painting needn’t have any point or meaning other than its beauty; the same is true of a song. Sometimes the meaning lies in nothing more profound than a colorful drum fill, a wailing guitar riff, a perplexing patch of pompous prose, or even in something as simple as the whistling of a milkman.

    For part 4 of 5, see “She Loves You.”

  3. jan edvinsson

    Good song! Stands the time..still good taste as it was from the beginnig, Beatles were bluesy right from the start in their songs..Love Me Do..even Please Please me on the maj7 tone (last-) night is a bit a hint of a bent five scale seventh to me.. and this one FMTY and It Wont Be Long, All I Got To Do and many more. Thank you Beatles for all the good songs you made!

    1. walrusgumboot

      First number one?? No, that honor goes to Please Please Me. Also, From Me To You is a good example of how much better the mono mixes are. Sounds FAB in mono, awful in stereo, yuk.

      1. mja6758

        It is a technical point, but “From Me to You” was, indeed, their first number one.
        At the time in the UK there was three different charts. The “Record Retailer” chart, which was compiled for the trade paper of the UK music industry. Plus the two national music papers, “New Music Express” and “Melody Maker” ran their own charts – with the NME chart being the most widely recognised.
        When creating the weekly television chart programme “Top of the Pops” in late 1963 (it was first broadcast on 1 January 1964), they had to settle on a chart to use, and they adopted use of the “Record Retailer” chart. By the end of 1964 the “Record Retailer” chart was recognised as the official chart, from which all chart statistics would be drawn, dating back to its creation in 1959.
        While “Please Please Me” reached No. 1 on both the NME and MM charts, it only reached No. 2 on the “Record Retailer” chart – meaning, officially, it was not a No. 1, and making “From Me to You”, which did reach No. 1 on the “Record Retailer” chart, their first official No. 1.
        This also explains the reason why “Please Please Me” was not included on the “1″ album.

  4. fab4ever

    One thing I’ve always wondered about was why Capital never released “From Me to You” on their label. It seems to me they would have stuck it on “The Early Beatles”, “Meet the Beatles” or “The Beatles 2nd Album” if they had the rights to the song. Was it an issue with rights to the song?

  5. Lennon fan

    Try this: sing along with “From Me to You”, except, when it comes to the bridge (“I’ve got arms that long to hold you, etc.) sing the bridge from “Consider Yourself” from the musical Oliver! (1960):

    “If it should chance to be we should see some harder days
    Empty larder days, why grouse?
    Always-a-chance we’ll meet
    Somebody to foot the bill, then the drinks are on the house!”

    Notice any similarity?

  6. Joe

    Hard to believe that Thank You Girl was ever being considered for the A side of a single. That is surely one of the weakest Beatle songs out there. Thankfully they came up with From Me to You instead…

Leave a reply