Fifty years ago, on March 22, 1963, a day that changed music forever, The Beatles released their debut album “Please Please Me”.
Music historians report the album cost about $500 to produce and less than 12 hours to record. It paid for itself in an instant, staying on top of the charts for 30 weeks, until their second released album knocked it from the number one spot. “Please Please Me” was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of all Time.”
The album turned Lennon and McCartney into song writing machines. They wrote eight of the 14 songs, an uncommon occurrence for the times, and went on to write 217 songs (that were recorded) on 13 studio albums over the next seven years.
That doesn’t include the gems written by my favorite Beatle, George Harrison, who is often overshadowed by Lennon and McCartney. Harrison wrote and recorded an additional 22 songs for The Beatles. His contribution to “Please Please Me”, aside from the instruments he played and background vocals, was the lead vocal on the song “Chains”. His first written contribution for “Don’t Bother Me” would have to wait until their next studio album, “With the Beatles”, released eight months later.
To commemorate the grand occasion, musicians including Joss Stone and The Stereophonics will gather at Apple Studios today to reinterpret the tracks originally laid in 1963. The live session will broadcast on Radio 2 in London, and will likely make it across the pond at some point. Stay tuned.