Personalities | The Beatles | The Beatlemania Era (1963) | Key Events


‘Please Please Me’

‘Gentlemen, you have just recorded your first number one,’ producer George Martin told The Beatles after they’d completed ‘Please Please Me’. He was right … just. It was released on 11 January, the same day that The Beatles appeared on the influential Thank Your Lucky Stars networked ITV show. The single made the Top 20 at the start of February and, although it peaked at No. 2 in the most important Record Retailer chart, five other charts placed it at No. 1.


First UK Tour

When ‘Please Please Me’ hit No. 1, The Beatles were on their first UK package tour, bottom of a bill topped by child singing star Helen Shapiro. Eager to please, John Lennon and Paul McCartney had even written a song for her, ‘Misery’, but Helen’s management never showed it to her. By the end of the tour they were closing the first half of the show. On their second tour they ‘supported’ American stars Chris Montez and Tommy Rowe but closed the show after the second date. It was the same situation on their third tour when Roy Orbison wisely decided not to follow them. By then, getting The Beatles in and out of the theatre each night had become a major operation.


Please Please Me

The 10 songs needed to complete the first Beatles album were recorded in one 13-hour session on 11 February. George Martin was looking to capture the atmosphere of their Cavern set in the studio. Paul McCartney: ‘We came into the studio at 10 in the morning, did one number, had a cup of tea, relaxed, did the next one, a couple of overdubs. And by about 10 o’clock that night we’d done 10 songs and we just reeled out of the studio, John clutching his throat tablets.’ He needed them after the hoarse yells on the final ‘Twist And Shout’. Released on 22 March, Please Please Me went to No. 1 in April and stayed there until it was replaced by With The Beatles in November.


‘From Me To You’

Written on the Helen Shapiro tour bus travelling between York and Shrewsbury, ‘From Me To You’ was accepted rather than seized upon by George Martin for The Beatles’ third single. He shouldn’t have worried. Released on 11 April, it spent seven weeks at No. 1. John Lennon: ‘Paul and I had decided not to do anything too complicated. That’s why we always included words like “me” and “you” in the titles. It helps listeners identify with the lyrics.’

Lennon and Epstein’s ‘Affair’

On a hastily arranged break at the end of April, Brian Epstein and John Lennon flew to Torremolinos, Spain, without Cynthia and baby Julian whom Lennon had scarcely seen. Lennon: ‘The rumours went around that he and I were having a love affair. Well, it was almost a love affair but not quite, it was never consummated … It was my first relationship with someone I...

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