Though The Beatles would go on to revolutionize the music industry with their later albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver, their debut LP is made up of much simpler Pop songs almost half of which are covers. Though many may prefer the diversity of their later work, I find Please Please Me‘s simplicity to be its strength. It was my favorite Beatles album from the moment I heard it, and it remains so today because it is the most grounded in experiences that I can relate to, rather than the drugged out euphoria that pervades their later work.
Every song on Please Please Me is great. With songwriting on the backburner, the focus here is on performance. The synchronicity of The Beatles, and the energy that pervades the album, is incredible for a band just starting out together. With each original track like “Misery” or “I Saw Her Standing There,” they gave credence to their forbears like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry while simultaneously leaving them in the dust. And even though a lot of the LP is made up of covers, each has become the songs’ definitive recordings and many (“Baby, It’s You,” “Chains,” “Anna”) have become some of my favorite songs The Beatles ever recorded. Not to mention, the album provides one of the most killer closers in history with the raw, rollicking cover of “Twist and Shout” that finds a young John Lennon absolutely blowing out his voice in one epic grand finale. You can almost hear the Punk Rockers of the next generation getting hard-ons. But nothing can top the album’s title track, the first truly phenomenal Beatles song and their first No. 1 hit in the U.K. Producer George Martin wasn’t sure The Beatles were going to make it until he and the Fab Four finished that track. After that, he knew it was only a matter of time before it became their breakthrough. It didn’t take long.