Chart success

At the end of the 26 November 1962 recording session, George Martin addressed The Beatles over the studio’s talkback system. “Congratulations, gentlemen,” he told them, “You’ve just made your first number one.”

He was correct, to a degree. At the time of the single’s release, 11 January 1963, there was no standard singles chart. In some – Melody Maker, New Musical Express, and Disc – ‘Please Please Me’ did indeed reach number one, after six weeks on sale.

In the Record Retailer chart, also used by New Record Mirror, it only reached number two. The Beatles had to wait until ‘From Me To You’ to score their first bona fide chart topper.

‘Please Please Me’, again with ‘Ask Me Why’ on the b-side, was The Beatles’ debut single in the US. It was released on 25 February 1963 by the small Vee-Jay label. The first pressing of the single, corrected on subsequent copies, was credited to “The Beattles”. Regardless, the single failed to make much impression, selling little over 7,000 copies.

The song was re-released by Vee-Jay on 3 January 1964, in the wake of the success of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. ‘From Me To You’ was on the flipside of the single, which reached number three in the Billboard Hot 100.

BBC recordings

The Beatles recorded ‘Please Please Me’ a total of 12 times for BBC radio.

The first was for Here We Go. It was recorded on 16 January 1963 and broadcast on 25 January. The Beatles performed four songs: ‘Chains’, ‘Please Please Me’, ‘Ask Me Why’, and ‘Three Cool Cats’.

The second BBC version was for Saturday Club, recorded on 22 January 1963 and broadcast four days later. The Beatles performed ‘Some Other Guy’, ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Baby’, ‘Beautiful Dreamer’, ‘Love Me Do’, and ‘Please Please Me’.

The Beatles’ third BBC recording of ‘Please Please Me’ was made on 22 January 1963, for the 29 January edition of The Talent Spot. They also played versions of ‘Ask Me Why’ and ‘Some Other Guy’.

On 20 February 1963 The Beatles made their only appearance on Parade Of The Pops. They recorded just two songs – ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’ – and the show was broadcast on 20 February.

The fifth BBC version was for Here We Go. It was taped on 6 March 1963 and broadcast on 12 March. The songs performed were ‘Misery’, ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, ‘Please Please Me’, and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. This version of ‘Please Please Me’ was included on the 2013 digital album Bootleg Recordings 1963.

The Beatles returned to Saturday Club on 16 March 1963 for a live broadcast. They performed six songs: ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Misery’, ‘Too Much Monkey Business’, ‘I’m Talking About You’, ‘Please Please Me’, and
‘The Hippy Hippy Shake’.

The seventh BBC recording of ‘Please Please Me’ was made on 21 March 1963 for On The Scene, and was broadcast on 28 March. It was the third of three performances, and followed versions of ‘Misery’ and ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’.

On 1 April 1963 The Beatles made their first of three appearances on Side By Side. The episode was broadcast on 22 April 1963. The band performed ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, ‘Baby It’s You’, ‘Please Please Me’, ‘From Me To You’, and ‘Misery’.

The Beatles’ ninth BBC recording of ‘Please Please Me’ was for the 7 April 1963 edition of Easy Beat. It was recorded four days previously, and also featured renditions of ‘Misery’ and ‘From Me To You’.

The tenth recording was for Steppin’ Out. It was recorded on 21 May 1963 and broadcast on 3 June. ‘Please Please Me’ was the day’s first song, and was followed by ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Thank You Girl’, ‘From Me To You’, and ‘Twist And Shout’.

Fifteen editions of Pop Go The Beatles ran between June and September 1963. The ninth edition was recorded on 16 July 1963 and broadcast on 13 August.

The Beatles performed six songs during the episode: ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘Please Please Me’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, ‘I’ll Get You’, and ‘I Got A Woman’. This version of ‘Please Please Me’ was released in 2013 on On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2.

The twelfth and final BBC recording of ‘Please Please Me’ was for Easy Beat. Recorded on 16 October 1963 and broadcast four days later, it also featured versions of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘From Me To You’, and ‘She Loves You’.

Previous song: ‘Ask Me Why’
Next song: ‘Love Me Do’
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