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