Why The Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ Was Originally Much Slower

Paul McCartney said The Beatles‘ “Please Please Me” was inspired by an American rock ‘n’ roll star. Paul said the song was originally slower to mimic that star’s style. Subsequently, The Beatles’ producer had a different vision for the track.

The Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ was supposed to sound like a slow Roy Orbison song

In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul revealed “Please Please Me” was inspired by Roy Orbison. “If you imagine it much slower, which is how John wrote it, it’s got everything, the big high notes, all the hallmarks of an Orbison song,” he said. “But in the session, George Martin suggested we lifted the tempo and suddenly there was that fast Beatles spirit.”

Paul discussed his contribution to “Please Please Me.” “I did the trick of remaining on the top note while the melody cascaded down from it,” he said. “A cadence. I remember a music teacher in Liverpool telling us she’d taught it to her kids. That was good.”

Paul McCartney said The Beatles would ‘steal’ from American artists

Paul used “Please Please Me” as an example of how The Beatles drew inspiration from other artists. “So it began as a Roy Orbison,” he said. “We used to steal consciously, particularly from American Black acts like The Marvelettes and alter it a bit. Something you love, something you’re passionate about, is always a great starting point.”

Paul said “Please Please Me” had a similarity to other early Fab Four songs. “There was a little trick we developed early on and got bored with later, which was to put ‘I,’ ‘me,’ or ‘you’ in it, so it was very direct and personal.” He said “Please Please Me,” “She Loves You,” “From Me to You,” and “Love Me Do” as examples of this trick.

How ‘Please Please Me’ performed on the pop charts

“Please Please Me” became a decent hit in the United States. It reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for a total of 13 weeks. The Beatles included the track on the album Please Please Me, which reached No. 155 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for a single week.

On the other hand, The Official Charts Company, “Please Please Me” peaked at No. 2 in the United Kingdom and remained on the chart for a total of 18 weeks. The tune later charted at No. 29 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for four weeks. The album Please Please Me was No. 1 for 30 of its 70 weeks on the U.K. chart.

“Please Please Me” became an international hit. Who knows if it would’ve been a hit if it were slower?

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