PleasePleaseMeMy love for the Beatles is quite substantial, as most people who know me can tell. Here’s an article about how they influenced many other artists, and there are plenty more examples.

But they too were influenced by other musicians. I was reading Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. So I thought I’d put some of their songs, from the Please Please Me album, and related singles, up against the source material, with links to all.

I Saw Her Standing There”:

Paul explained…the bass riff was stolen from Chuck Berry’s 1961 song ‘I’m Talking About You’. “I played exactly the same notes and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now when I tell people about it, I find few of them believe me. Therefore, I maintain that a bass riff doesn’t have to be original.”

I’m listening for it, and I barely can hear it.

Misery:

The ‘la-la-la-la-la’ outro appears to allude to Pat Boone’s ‘Speedy Gonzalez’, a single that entered the British charts in July 1962 and didn’t leave until October.

Even as a kid, I HATED Speedy Gonzales as a terrible stereotype.

Please Please Me:

The song’s… chorus having been suggested by the 1932 Bing Crosby song ‘Please’, written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, which starts off by playing with the homophones ‘pleas’ and ‘please’.

Love Me Do:

During 1962, the American star Bruce Channel had enjoyed a British hit with ‘Hey Baby’ which featured a harmonica solo by Nashville session musician Delbert McClinton. When [John] met McClinton in June 1962…he asked him how he played it.

McClinton, who I was unfamiliar with until the late 1970s, tells his version of the story.

Do You Want To Know A Secret?:

[John’s] mother used to sing to him…’Wanna know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well’ (‘I’m Wishing’, words and music by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill)… from Walt Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. George later revealed that the musical inspiration… came from ‘I Really Love You’, a 1961 hit for the Stereos.

George later covered I Really Love You.

There’s a Place:

Paul claimed the title was derived from the West Side Story song There’s a Place for Us (i.e., Somewhere) from 1957. Musically, John admitted it was his attempt at “sort of Motown, black thing.”

The Beatles, of course, covered several Motown songs, such as You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, Money, and Please Mr. Postman.

Ask Me Why:

Reminiscent of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ 1961 song What’s So Good about Goodbye.

And, of course, Motown covered many Beatles tunes.
***
Bonus Beatles music: In Spite Of All The Danger

Happy birthday to Beatles fan Fred Hembeck.

One Response to “Music Throwback Saturday: songs from The Beatles album Please Please Me”

  • CGHill says:

    Of course, the most blatant Speedy Gonzales ripoff was Elton John’s.

    There has always been the illusion of the creator that works in a vacuum, utterly immune to outside influences. But it’s always an illusion; things slip in you never knew were nearby. George didn’t set out to rewrite “He’s So Fine,” but that’s what happened. In my younger days, I wrote three songs; two of them turned out to be variations on “Walk — Don’t Run,” and the third swiped a chorus from a Tom Lehrer (!) number. This was about the point I decided I shouldn’t be writing songs.

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