Recording: PS I Love You, Love Me Do, Please Please Me

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Ron Richards
Engineer: Norman Smith

Following the session on 4 September, where The Beatles recorded How Do You Do It and Love Me Do, EMI hastily arranged for them to return to London for a third attempt to complete their debut single.

George Martin was concerned with the quality of Ringo Starr's drumming on the original Love Me Do, and so arranged for an experienced session drummer, Andy White, to play on the session. White was paid a standard fee of £5 15s (£5.75).

I had already heard of them because I was married to Lyn Cornell of the Vernons Girls, themselves a Liverpool group. They could have been cold towards me but in fact they were very nice, and kidded about. I was impressed because they were doing their own material, whereas most groups at the time were doing covers of American songs or Tin Pan Alley stuff.
Andy White
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The session, which lasted from 5pm to 6.45pm, was produced by Ron Richards, although George Martin arrived halfway through. Ringo Starr was relegated to playing the maracas on a remake of PS I Love You, and tambourine on Love Me Do.

I was working in London and doing a lot of TV. One Friday I got a call asking if I could do a three-hour job at EMI on the Monday.

That's all I knew about it. I had heard of The Beatles by then because my first wife Lyn was from Liverpool and had mentioned the name, but I didn't know much about them.

But those guys were great, and I worked closely with John and Paul while we tried to get the routines all worked out. They hadn't written anything down as music, so we just worked through it together.

They were great. Ringo and I didn’t have much between us, all my time was taken up learning the routines and he was playing the tambourines so he was only there for the take. I mostly spoke to John and Paul because they were the writers.

It was a really enjoyable experience, and what impressed me was they were doing some really good stuff, but it was all their own stuff and was really new. Everything else at the time was a copy of music from the States, which was very successful, but they were doing something new and you could tell it was something different and very special. But I didn’t know just how special it would become.

Andy White
Daily Record

The band recorded 10 takes of PS I Love You, and 18 of Love Me Do. They also attempted a version of Please Please Me with White on drums. They had rehearsed the song during the 4 September session, but George Martin disliked the slow tempo and Roy Orbison-style arrangement.

The Beatles came up with a new arrangement, which was recorded on this day. Although at the time EMI had a policy to destroy unneeded outtakes, a version of Please Please Me from the session was rediscovered in 1994, and released on Anthology 1.

After the session ended, the best takes were mixed into mono and EMI began pressing Love Me Do and PS I Love You as The Beatles' debut single. Initial pressings featured Ringo Starr on drums from the 4 September session, although these were later replaced by the Andy White version.

Also on this day...

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5 responses on “Recording: PS I Love You, Love Me Do, Please Please Me

  1. scrivenerNP

    The untold story here is that Glasglow native Andy White, now 81 and living in Caldwell, NJ, apparently came up with the snappy signature drum fills in “Please Please Me” as recorded on Sept. 11, 1962, and that Ringo apparently followed the template that White set down when the Beatles re-recorded the tune on Nov. 26th.  It could be argued that the drum arrangement in “Please Please Me” is the most iconic drum track in modern rock history, and it’s Andy White who supplied the seminal strokes.  Ringo did a yeomanlike job of copying his arrangement, but to my ear, White’s fills are more precisely executed, as evidenced by the Anthology 1 track.  Interestingly, Abbey Road engineer Geoff Emerick had claimed in a book that Ringo played on the Sept. 11th track after White supposedly had packed up his kit and departed.  This appears to be fiction, perhaps something of a cover story that was blown by the release of Anthology 1, which credits Andy White.  This is not to take anything away from the stylistic talents of Ringo, who self-deprecatingly has admitted some difficulty in keeping a perfectly timed beat and performing a precision drum roll.

  2. jim mcguire

    If you listened to these songs in the original outtakes Andy whites version is far superior to ringos my understanding is andys version is what we listen to on please please me, and ps i love you? i was told that the love me do recording is ringos version even though andys version is better and petes best version well was crap. ringo was not a very good recording drummer george martin and brian epstein wanted to fire ringo but john lennon step up and said if ringo is fired there will not be a beattles band ringo is a beattle

    1. Julian

      Ringo’s version of Love Me Do is on Past Masters. Andy’s version is on the Please Please Me album along with PS I Love You.
      And for the record, NOBODY wanted to fire Ringo. Andy White was brought in because on the September 4th session Ringo had a mad moment where he was hitting the drums with the tambourine & maracas in his hands. As they already fired Pete, George Martin decided to wait no more and get a session drummer for the next session.

  3. jim mcguire

    paul Mccartney had an interview along with george martin– after the recording session george martin said that andy white will be the beatles drummer as ringo admitted he couldnt keep at the time of the recordings the right tempo and couldnt play a roll to save his life( conan obrien show) and he blieved he was on the way out- but john lennon heard this and told george martin ringo is a beatle and andy is not. this is also on dennis mitchells breakfast with the beattles.

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