Music March 22, 2013
THE THROWBACK: The Beatles' First Album Came Out 50 Years Ago Today

Hard to believe it's been half a century since the Beatles released their first full-length album.

But it's true: 'Please Please Me' was released in the UK on March 22, 1963. And with the benefit of 50 years' hindsight, it's definitely safe to say the 14 songs on the album have stood the test of time.

The story of how the album came to be is pretty fascinating (check out the doc from the Beatles' YouTube channel above): the band had released two singles, 'Please Please Me' with 'Ask Me Why' as the b-side, and 'Love Me Do' backed with 'P.S. I Love You'.

When 'Love Me Do' became a big hit, the band's label Parlophone wanted to capitalize with a full-length record. But that meant putting 10 more songs to tape (UK 12" records generally had seven songs per side at the time).

Recording that many songs with very limited time might have been a problem for some bands. But this is the Beatles we're talking about.

In the end, all 10 songs were recorded in one day. The band worked with producer George Martin, starting their recording process at 10 in the morning and finishing by 11 o'clock that night.

The last song of the session was the band's cover of 'Twist and Shout' - Martin figured the vocals would ruin Lennon's voice, so he saved it until the end.

And what a performance. The Beatles nailed the song in one take, prompting Martin to say, "I don't know how they do it. We've been recording all day but the longer we go on the better they get."

The album was rush-released in the UK on March 22. By May, it had hit the top of the UK album charts, where it stayed for 30 weeks.

It was only knocked off the top spot when another great record came along. That one was called 'With the Beatles'...

Happy 50th birthday to the album that started it all.


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