From Us 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.
Del Shannon cover
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 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.
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.’
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.