Watch the Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ Mini-Documentary

The Beatles and George Martin with the silver disc which they have been awarded after selling 1/4 million copies of their hit single Please Please Me.
L-R: Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, George Martin and John Lennon pictured at EMI House in London on April 5, 1963. There they were presented with a silver disk marking 250,000 sales of the "Please Please Me" single. (Image credit: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

This year sees the 60th anniversary of the Beatles’ debut studio album, Please Please Me (opens in new tab).

Released on March 22, 1963, via EMI’s Parlophone label, the George Martin-produced LP heralded the arrival of the decade’s premier band as they climbed up the charts to the number one position.

The album’s John Lennon/Paul McCartney-penned title track was released as a single earlier that year. It was the Beatles’ second U.K. 7-inch (after 1962’s “Love Me Do”) and their first in the U.S.

On this day in 1963, the band appeared on the British television show Thank Your Lucky Stars for a mimed performance of the “Please Please Me” single. Broadcast across much of the U.K., the exposure greatly bolstered the Fab Four’s success.

“We’d had a top 30 entry with ‘Love Me Do’ and we really thought we were on top of the world,” said Lennon. “Then came ‘Please Please Me’ – and wham!”

The Beatles 'Please Please Me' album artwork

(Image credit: Parlophone)

Having sharpened their skills as a live act, the Beatles were well-prepared to cut an album.  

Indeed, most of the Please Please Me LP was recorded during a single session on February 11, 1963 in Abbey Road’s Studio 2.

“It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire,” said Martin. “A broadcast, more or less.”

“To listen to the Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me, is to hear the sound of a world-class recording facility – EMI’s Abbey Road Studios – at the dawn of this technological revolution,” wrote Guitar Player editor-in-chief, Chris Scapelliti.

Naturally, the Beatles used their stage gear for these landmark recording sessions. George Harrison plugged in his 1957 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet (opens in new tab), Lennon used his 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri (opens in new tab), and both employed their Gibson J-160E acoustic-electrics.

Meanwhile, McCartney played his 1961 Höfner 500/1 violin bass.

Order the Beatles' debut album, Please Please Me, here (opens in new tab).

Rod Brakes

Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as GuitaristTotal Guitar, Guitar World (opens in new tab)Guitar Player (opens in new tab) and MusicRadar (opens in new tab) in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.