The Beatles had many influences in their early years. One of their biggest inspirations was Roy Orbison. The "Only the Lonely" singer influenced many of their tunes, including one of their earliest hits.
The Beatles song Paul McCartney initially thought was 'Orbisonesque'
In his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul McCartney discussed how he and John Lennon wrote The Beatles' "Please Please Me." Either he or John would usually show up to their songwriting sessions with a fragment of a song.
In one session, John arrived with "Please Please Me." According to Paul, John liked the double meaning of "please." Paul confessed that he liked that John liked it. "This was the kind of thing we'd see in each other, the kind of thing in which we were matched up. We were in sync," Paul wrote.
Paul and John liked the Bing Crosby song "Please," with its opening line, "Please lend you little ear to my pleas." There were two meanings at work, and the songwriting partners liked wordplay.
John's initial version of "Please Please Me" was much slower. When Paul first heard it, he knew it sounded "Orbisonesque" straightaway. "In fact, Orbison should have sung it," Paul wrote. "I don't know if he ever did, but it has Roy written all over it. If you slow it down and do an impression of him, it fits exactly."
However, The Beatles' producer didn't like that "Please Please Me" was "Orbisonesque."
The Beatles' producer George Martin upped the tempo
Paul and John took "Please Please Me" into the recording studio to show the rest of the band and their producer, George Martin. The only thing Martin didn't like about it was the speed. He asked the songwriting partners if they could record it faster. They didn't want to do it.
However, Martin was persuasive and told them to try it at least, and if they didn't like it, they wouldn't use it. He told them he thought "Please Please Me" could be their first No.1 if they only played it faster. The band relented.
"So, grudgingly, we lifted the tempo, and it was, indeed, our first number one," Paul wrote. "That was one of the great things about working in collaboration. I could bring something in that John would spot needed alteration. He would bring something in that I would spot needed alteration. Then, if neither of us spotted the problem, George Martin would. That collaboration made The Beatles a very lucky little group to be in."
The Beatles were a lucky little group. The band probably wouldn't have been as famous without one of its most important elements.
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