From Me To You

From Me To You was adapted as the theme song for From Us To You, a BBC radio series. Four editions were recorded, each lasting two hours, which ran on public holidays from December 1963 to June 1965. A version of the From Us To You theme, recorded on 28 February 1964, was included on the Live At The BBC collection.

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A version of From Me To You was also recorded by Del Shannon, who had performed alongside The Beatles on a 15-act bill at the Royal Albert Hall, London, on 18 April 1963. The group had performed From Me To You and Twist And Shout during the concert.

After the performance, Shannon told John Lennon that he intended to record From Me To You. Lennon was initially flattered, but came to believe that a cover version may harm The Beatles' prospects of having a US hit. As it transpired, neither versions were immediately successful, although Shannon's minor hit was the first Lennon-McCartney song to enter the American charts.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded From Me To You on 5 March 1963, just five days after the song was written. On the same day they also taped its b-side, Thank You Girl, and a version of One After 909.

The group had originally wanted the song to begin with a guitar solo, but George Martin suggested that a mixture of harmonica and vocals would be more effective.

We nearly didn't record it because we thought it was too bluesy at first, but when we'd finished it and George Martin had scored it with harmonica, it was all right.

The basic track was recorded in seven takes. The Beatles then added a number of overdubs, including harmonica, the guitar solo and the introduction's harmonies. Curiously, the harmonica which opens the British single is different from versions released in other countries.

Love Me Do is rock 'n' roll, pretty funky: the gimmick was the harmonica. And then we stuck it on Please Please Me and then we stuck it on From Me To You, and then we dropped it; it got embarrassing.
John Lennon, 1970
Anthology

Chart success

From Me To You was released in the UK on 11 April 1963, with Thank You Girl on the b-side. It spent 21 weeks on the charts, and spent seven weeks at number one from 4 May.

The single knocked Gerry and the Pacemakers' version of How Do You Do It - a song The Beatles had recorded and rejected - from the top of the UK singles charts. It was the first in an unbroken run of 11 number one singles for the group.

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.'
Paul McCartney
BBC, 1979

As it turned out, From Me To You was less successful in America, where it was released by the Vee-Jay label on 27 May. In the first month it sold fewer than 4,000 copies and failed to chart. Del Shannon's cover version, released on 3 June, fared only slightly better. Beatlemania was yet to take hold.

Its popularity grew following Del Shannon's cover version, released on 3 June. Vee-Jay took out magazine advertisements to stimulate interest, and sent out further promotional copies to radio stations.

From Me To You was picked up by KRLA in Los Angeles, and it reached number 32 on the station's chart on 11 August. The resulting sales led to the single peaking at number 116 on the Billboard Hot 100's 'Bubbling Under' section. The release eventually sold 22,000 copies.

It was re-released by Vee-Jay on 30 January 1964, as the b-side to Please Please Me, in response to footage of The Beatles shown on The Jack Paar Program on prime time television. The single eventually sold over a million copies in 1964, as Beatlemania took hold in America.

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…

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