PS I Love You

Love Me Do single - United KingdomWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 6 June, 11 September 1962
Producer: Ron Richards
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 5 October 1962 (UK), 27 April 1964 (US)

Paul McCartney: lead vocals, bass
John Lennon: backing vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
George Harrison: backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: maracas
Andy White: percussion

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

PS I Love You was written primarily by Paul McCartney around the time of The Beatles' 1962 trip to Hamburg. It was first released as the b-side to their debut single Love Me Do, and later appeared on the Please Please Me album.

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It's just an idea for a song really, a theme song based on a letter, like the Paperback Writer idea. It was pretty much mine. I don't think John had much of a hand in it. There are certain themes that are easier than others to hang a song on, and a letter is one of them. 'Dear John' is the other version of it. The letter is a popular theme and it's just my attempt at one of those. It's not based in reality, nor did I write it to my girlfriend [Dot Rhone] from Hamburg, which some people think
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The sentimental lyrics of PS I Love You proved especially popular with The Beatles' female fans, and it soon became a fixture of their live shows.

That's Paul's song. He was trying to write a Soldier Boy like the Shirelles. He wrote that in Germany or when we were going to and from Hamburg. I might have contributed something. I can't remember anything in particular. It was mainly his song.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Initially the song was mooted as a possible a-side, a notion that Richards quickly dismissed. "I was originally a music publishing man, a plugger, so I knew that someone had already done a record with that title," he said. He was referring to a 1934 song by Gordon Jenkins and Johnny Mercer, originally recorded by Rudy Vallée.

In the studio

The Beatles first recorded an unknown number of takes of PS I Love You at their first Abbey Road session on 6 June 1962, with Pete Best on drums. Then, during the second Love Me Do session on 11 September, they remade it in 10 takes.

Ringo Starr didn't play drums on the record. Producer Ron Richards brought session player Andy White in as a replacement, as Ringo hadn't proved good enough during the band's 4 September session. Ringo, sadly, was relegated to maracas during PS I Love You.

The Beatles recorded PS I Love You three times for BBC radio sessions. The versions appeared on the programmes Here We Go (recorded 25 October 1962), Talent Spot (27 November) and Pop Go The Beatles (17 June 1963).

20 responses on “PS I Love You

  1. SD

    I have some corrections or suggestions:

    1) There is no real lead guitar in here. George is playing a Gibson Jumbo like John and it’s also just an acoustic rhythm part what he played.
    2) Again, like on the song “Please Please Me”, I would distinguish the vocals: Paul is on lead, John is doing harmony (and backing), George sings backing.
    3) There are no drums in it, Andy White played percussion (woodblocks).

  2. Von Bontee

    Kinda silly that George Martin (or Ron Richards?) didn’t think Ringo capable of playing such a minimal rhythm track. (WOODBLOCKS, for chrissakes – a ten-year-old could’ve done it!) Unless they just decided to get the most out of Andy White, since they’d taken the trouble of booking him (for “Love Me Do”.)

    Such a cute, brief little ditty! I always liked this one. For me, it’s all about the “You you you” hook and the one-word-per-bar backing vocal.

  3. M. Whitener

    I think it’s a necessary song. I simple little track that was a slight departure from their rhythm/lead/bass/drums basic setup of virtually all of their early work. I see why it would be a hit live with the ladies.

    The recording sounds a bit muffled to me for some reason. I would like to have heard it live to see if there was a difference in quality. Not one of my favs on the album, but a good B side. Surprising pick to go with “Love Me Do” though, as it’s even slower than that number. But they picked up the pace very soon.

  4. JohnKing67

    I don’t believe it was a case of Ringo not being good enough. I’ve heard George Martin say in interviews that he didn’t even know everything about Ringo coming in to be the drummer and had already hired and paid for Andy White to do the session. And since George had already paid for White, he was going to use him. Afterwards when George got a chance to properly hear Ringo play, he quickly got the job.

  5. kedame

    Can anyone tell if it is John or Paul that sings the “Ohhh” at about 1:24 just before Paul chimes in with “you know I want you to remember..”? It sounds like John at first, but it also sounds like the voice Paul uses when singing the “you know..” part. It’s bugging me that I can’t tell!

  6. apple_jam

    Kedame – I always assumed it was Paul since, as you mentioned, he continues with the answering part afterward. However, you’re right — that “Oh!” does indeed sound like John. I’ve noticed on other songs how John and Paul’s voices sound eerily similar, often for just a single word. Case and point: check out “Penny Lane” @ 1:39, when Paul sings the word “summer.”

  7. Bill

    I don’t buy the part about George Martin saying that he didn’t know anything about Ringo coming in on this session and that’s why Andy White was booked. This was the Sept. 11th session, not the Sept. 4th session, which Ringo was already used on. It makes no sense. It seems to me that if George Martin had originally been unhappy with Pete Best’s drumming & had decided to use a session drummer for the next upcoming session, wouldn’t it make more sense to have Andy White at the Sept. 4th session rather than the Sept. 11th one? Something about the chronology of all of this just never sat right with me…

    How’s this for a scenario (I don’t know if it happened this way, but it’s the only way that makes sense to me):

    June 6 – Pete on drums. George Martin doesn’t like it, tells Brian Epstein that a session drummer will be used on all future sessions.

    Sept 4 – Since George Martin is supposedly unaware that Pete’s out & Ringo’s in, Andy White is booked & on Stand-by (possibly in another room or the Control Booth, with The Beatles unaware). Once George Martin is aware of the drummer change, he decides to try Ringo out as long as he’s there. Many times a session musician will be called & not used.

    Sept 11 – Andy White is booked & used at this session to see if there is any improvement over the previous one. There isn’t. Take the tambourine off of this day’s version of “Love Me Do” & this day’s & the Sept 4 versions are virtually identical.

    I’m trying to look at this from George Martin’s point of view at the time. If he was unhappy with the June 6 session, & was under the impression that Pete was still with the group when the Sept 4 session rolled around, why wouldn’t a session drummer already also be booked for that day? Why would George run the risk of having two sessions in a row with (what was to him at the time) unsatisfactory drumming? Not having a session man at the second session when the first one was unsatisfactory just makes no sense to me.

    Let’s look at this from purely a musician’s standpoint also: These early songs are not that complicated. There’s no drastic tempo changes or anything like that. They’re definitely not “Rain”, “Tomorrow Never Knows” or “A Day In The Life”…

    1. Julian

      This is how this confusion got resolved in Lewisohn’s book “Tune In”. As you say, on June 6th George Martin wasn’t happy with Pete & decided to use session drummers from then on, next – before September 4th – George’s assistant (later to become his wife) Judy Lockhart-Smith was notified by Brian Epstein that the Beatles have a new drummer, Ringo. On this second session, things were going well, until – as Ringo says himself – he had a mad moment when he decided to beat his drums with “maracas in one hand & tambourine in the other” instead of sticks. He was SO terrified of his first recording session with the band and of George & Judy, who were “awfully uppercrust” & “posh” in Ringo’s mind. Because of that “mad moment” Andy White was brought in next week. Ringo had NEVER forgiven George Martin for that decision & ALWAYS reminded him of it, although it wasn’t necessarily his decision, but Ron Richards’ (George’s recording assistant). Some months later on November 16th 1962 Beatles & George had an “eye-opening” meeting where George decided to make an ALBUM with them. He committed that day to fully producing them. 10 days later, “Please Please Me” single was recorded with Ringo & now all was well. That’s how it happened!

  8. carlos

    It´s interesting that their first single contains TWO Paul´s songs, considering John was the lead singer on most of the songs those early years. Even on stage. Just funny.

    1. Joseph Brush

      Love Me Do was co-written according to Paul. Prior to the recording, John sang lead on stage. Paul sang lead for the recording because John had to play the harmonica.

  9. chip dunham

    always wondered why ps i love you was the b-side. i know about the “there was already a song
    with that title, but to my ear it’s just a catchier song than love me do ever was. has george martin
    ever talked about that.

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