A musical and cultural revolution began quietly on October 5, 1962. Parlophone Records released a vinyl single, "Love Me Do" b/w "P.S. I Love You", which launched the prolific songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The Beatles' Liverpool musical roots were christened the Mersey Sound by the media.

    The 40th anniversary of this landmark recording is a milestone in modern music. Before the Beatles, artists had virtually no control over the material they recorded. A band composing their own material was unheard of in 1962. Largely due to the amazing temperament of Sir George Martin, he produced and arranged the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team, which lead to an outstanding string of quality recordings through 1970.

    "Love Me Do" peaked at #17 on the British music charts on December 27, 1962. However, after the onslaught of Beatlemania, the premiere Lennon-McCartney single later topped the U.S. music charts at #1 on May 30, 1964. A decent debut by a Liverpool quartet, the 45 ruled the airwaves of 1960s Top 40 radio.

    "Love Me Do" was first attempted on tape at EMI Studios on June 6, 1962, with original Beatles drummer Pete Best behind the skins. This first version was later rediscovered as having survived in the EMI vaults and surfaced in 1995 on The Beatles Anthology I disc.

    Ringo Starr joined The Beatles in August 1962. When the beat group returned to EMI Studios, another take of "Love Me Do" was recorded with Starr on drums on September 4. This recording was subsequently released as The Beatles October 1962 Parlophone single.

    Beatles Producer George Martin had selected session drummer Andy White to handle the drumwork for The Beatles in the studio. A final version of "Love Me Do" was laid on tape with White on drums and Starr shaking a tambourine on September 11. This track was included on their 1963 Please Please Me album.

    Ringo Starr later recorded both his own studio and live versions of "Love Me Do" in 1998. His studio take appeared on Vertical Man (Steven Tyler played harmonica), and a live rendition appeared on VH1 Storytellers. McCartney also released an interesting 1990 live single, "P.S. Love Me Do", which combined both sides of that original 1962 single.

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The Vinyls of October
Love Me Do spins 40

by Timothy Tilghman