Amazingly it is now 50 years to the day that the Beatles first single was released. “Love Me Do” came out on 5th October 1962 and reached the heady heights of number 17 in the UK charts later that year. It was an US number one when it was eventually released there in 1964. It also finally achieved a higher position in the UK charts on its reissue in 1982 when it peaked at number 4.
The song was mostly a Paul McCartney composition although John Lennon contributed the middle eight. It was most likely written in 1958/ 1959 in one of the notebooks that John and Paul used to write their songs; usually under the heading of ‘Another Lennon-McCartney Original’. Many of the songs the pair wrote in the late 50s were done at Paul’s house and often while they were playing truant from school. (Allegedly at least!)
The first recording of the song in 1962 featured Pete Best on drums. Pete was then infamously replaced by Ringo Starr who played on the next recording of the song. Producer George Martin was unhappy with Ringo’s performance and brought in session drummer Andy White. Ringo was relegated to tambourine for the Andy White session and it is this which makes it easy to distinguish between the Starr and White versions.
“Love Me Do” is one of only two Lennon and McCartney songs that are wholly owned by John Lennon’s estate and paul McCartney; the other is the B Side “P.S. I Love You”. The reason for this is that all later releases were published via Northern Songs. The publishing company has been owned by, ATV, Michael Jackson and Sony at various times.
The song has been covered by many artists including Bobby Vee and Sandie Shaw. It was also played live a few times by David Bowie on the Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972/1973. In a strange coincidence the first James Bond film had it’s UK premiere on 5th October 1962.