Love Me Do
Three Time's A Charm
The Beatles recorded "Love Me Do" on three different occasions with three different drummers:
- They first recorded the song on June 6, 1962 with Pete Best on drums at EMI Studios at 3 Abbey Road in London. This version (previously thought to be lost) is available on Anthology 1.
- By September 4, Best had been replaced with Ringo Starr. Producer George Martin did not approve of Best's drumming for studio work. It was the norm at that time to have a specialist studio drummer who knew the ways of studio work. The decision to fire Best was not Martin's. The Beatles with Ringo Starr recorded a version again at EMI Studios.
- One week later, on September 11, the Beatles returned to the same studio and they made a recording of "Love Me Do" with session drummer Andy White on drums as was the norm. Ringo Starr was relegated to playing tambourine. As the tambourine was not included on the September 4 recording, this is the easiest way to distinguish between the Ringo Starr and White recordings.
First issues of the 45 rpm vinyl single, however, did feature the Ringo Starr version, prompting Beatles' scholar, Mark Lewisohn, to later write: "Clearly, the September 11 version was not regarded as having been a significant improvement after all."
The Ringo Starr version was also later included on the compilation albums Rarities [The Capitol Versions] and Past Masters.
The Andy White version of the track was included on the Beatles' debut UK album, Please Please Me, The Beatles' Hits EP, and all subsequent album releases on which "Love Me Do" was included. For the 1976 single re-issue and the 1982 "20th Anniversary" re-issue, the Andy White version was used.
The 50th Anniversary Limited Edition of the single version, repressed on 45 rpm vinyl, was released in 2012. The record mistakenly first appeared with the Andy White version (now highly collectible and selling for up to $500), but that version was withdrawn and the record was reissued with the Ringo Starr version, as was the case in the original 45 release.
The 50th Anniversary Limited Edition of the single version, although limited, is still available from Amazon as of the posting date (May 2, 2014) of this article.
The collectible, recalled Andy White version is also available from Amazon.
Have a listen to the Pete Best Version ...
—— Love Me Do——
(Pete Best Version)
This first version of the song seems a bit rough around the edges. The vocals are somewhat inconsistent, and Pete Best's drumming does leave a bit to be desired. It's little wonder that George Martin was a little disenchanted with this first version. The Beatles, in this session, seem little more than a regular club band that frequented the bars of Liverpool at the time. The Beatles' story might have ended then and there, but fortunately there was more to come.
Here's the version with Ringo Starr on the drums ...
—— Love Me Do——
(Ringo Starr Version)
This second version certainly adds some polish to the recording. The vocals and harmonies are ironed out, and Ringo's drumming is a definite improvement over that of Pete Best. This recording is ready for the marketplace and has a standard of quality that Beatles' fans would come to expect. This version was used in the pressing of The Beatles' first single — "Love Me Do" backed on the B-side by "P.S. I Love You."
Most of you will be familar with the Andy White version that was used on the album, Please Please Me. You should be able to hear the addition of the tambourine, played by Ringo. Here is that version ...
—— Love Me Do——
(Andy White Version)
In this version, Andy White's drumming is solid, and the addition of the tambourine adds some depth to the overall percussive background. Everything else seems the same as the Ringo Starr version, and it may be that George Martin simply overdubbed the percussion track. I suspect that Martin liked this version the best, since it was used in the release of The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me.
Which version is your favourite?
© The Beatles On Abbey Road — Posted here on May 2, 2014.
Here's a video of the Ringo Starr Version of the song ...