Please Please Me - The Beatles

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"Please Please Me" - The Beatles (1963)

Lennon was partly inspired to write “Please Please Me” by a line from a Bing Crosby song that read, "Please lend a little ear to my pleas."

He recalled:

"I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing "Only The Lonely", or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, 'Please lend a little ear to my pleas'. The double use of the word 'please'. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby."

McCartney writes in his autobiography:

“George Martin suggested we lifted the tempo to distinquish it from Roy Orbison’s style, and suddenly there was that fast Beatles spirit. I did the trick of remaining on the top note while the melody cascaded down from it.”

The simplicity of the hook and the energetic harmonies infused with a unique sound that was unabashedly loud and cocky often overshadow the originality and inventiveness of the song structure itself. At this early point in time The Beatles were just beginning to stumble upon the art of creating magical, exciting and slightly abrasive performances of beautifully simple-sounding, yet complex, melodies.

The call-and-response of the chorus was a standard of most R&B dance records of the time, and it is likely the falsetto interjection was copied from Little Richard.  It is one of the first songs in which we heard the unique, signature sound that they would in the process of perfecting where each member of the group contributed their own unique personality and style into a unified whole.

“Please Please Me” has “we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with” clearly written all over it. With its heightened sense of exuberation it is proud and jubilant and guitar-happy- and probably the first "power pop" number ever.

Says Beatle scholar Alan Pollack:

“The song is emotionally quite gripping, not only because of its apparently incessant drive, but even more so for the very human way in which the hero appears to waver in the amount of self-control he can muster — starting out urgently insistent yet trying to appear controlled; talking through clenched teeth in a forced-polite voice, even while his facade is continually cracking to reveal the true heat and impatience behind it. On one level, it's a fairly obvious seduction scenario, yet you find yourself quite hypnotized if not overwhelmed by the force and subtlety with which the meaning of the words are played-off against the message of the music.”

The track is two minutes of impassioned vocals, meaty guitar work, shifty percussion, and snappy momentum, with a bit of scandal to boot. It seems to laugh off all of its pretense as a little tale of woe and offer up its own rhythmic and melodic energy as a remedy for the emotional and sexual complacency to which the lyrics allude.

It’s been suggested that the lyric "Please please me oh yeah/ Like I please you" is about oral sex. To “please” someone suggests an action taking place, and if so, then the speaker is looking for reciprocation.

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