Beatles review: Please Please Me
February 22, 2010 4 Comments
At the end of last year, EMI/Apple re-released the whole Beatles catalogue as a series (or box sets) of remastered CDs. The Beatles were more or less my first encounter with pop music when I was 8 or so, my first self-bought CD at the age of 12 was a Beatles CD and of course, I had to go out and buy these excellent remasters, I got both the mono and stereo editions. I had many weeks now listening these CDs and re-discovering some of the stuff was quite fun, and I want to share my impressions in a short series of short reviews intermingled with some personal anecdotes. Let’s do it in order of the release of the original LPs and start with ‘Please Please Me‘.
I think this is quite a good career starter. Innocent, powerful, inspired, raw, rocking. It has most of the ingredients of their later Beatlemania success albums, i.e. love songs (P.S. I love you and most others), rockers (I Saw Her Standing There,…), some cover versions , a slightly more exotic song (A Taste of Honey), some Ringo (Boys), some George (Do You Want To Know a Secret), a weird sense of humor (the Beatles covering a girl group talking about ‘Boys’). I really always enjoy this album. It was recorded in one day, and with John having a sore throat, and it shows – positively. From the first through the last song you can literally feel the energy of those 4 relatively unknown guys, and sense that the Beatlemania is already about to start. It is what the Beatles were at this point: a hard working live band. Interesting the last song: a kamikaze version of Twist and Shout, with John shredding his vocal chords. Hilarious. It could have been a total fail (with no second chance to record it), but instead it became music history. The stereo version is mostly relevant for historical reasons, the sound beeing a bit thin and the mixes having several glitches which were corrected in the mono mixes. These mono mixes on the other hand are just great and solid rocking. All in all the album always makes for a happy-go-lucky listen on sunny afternoons, even if it is not one of the totally essential ones. Also interesting to note is also the album cover: it shows the four guys on the stairs in the EMI building. Several years later they did the exact same scene again, now with long hair, for the planned last album (Get Back, which should become Let it Be). Both pictures would later be used for the red and blue best of double albums.
Next one up will be With The Beatles. Stay tuned. Please tell me what you think about the album in the comments.