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Back in October 1962, during the dark days of the Cuban missile crisis, another historic event was taking place which would leave its mark on the cultural scene for decades to follow. On October 5th, EMI Records (UK) issued a single called LOVE ME DO, the first record made by a new group from Liverpool.
If the release of LOVE ME DO didn't actually bring the Beatles instant success, it did serve notice of what was to follow over the next seven years, when they set new records for sales figures, concert audiences and musical changes which have remained to this day. They put British pop music on the world map, and set the style for a generation. EMI has paid tribute to this event by re-releasing that first single.
When the Beatles were signed to the Parlophone label in 1962, producer George Martin recorded two versions of LOVE ME DO at the Abbey Road studios. The first version, recorded on September 4th, featured Ringo on drums, but a week later a second version was recorded, this time with sessions musician Andy White on drums and Ringo playing tambourine.
It was the first version that was released on October 5th, which peaked at No. 17 in the U.K. charts on December 29th, selling approximately 70,000 copies in the process.
However, it was decided to include the second version with Andy White on the PLEASE PLEASE ME album which was released in March 1963. At the same time, the LOVE ME DO masters were switched at EMI's Hayes factory, meaning that for the past twenty years, it has been the Andy While version only which has been available in the U.K.
So to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beatles, EMI have now reissued the first version of LOVE ME DO on a 7" single and on a 12" single which includes both versions of the song. Both records were issued in a picture bag and included the B-side, P.S. I LOVE YOU.
On October 18th, EMI also released THE BEATLES GREATEST HITS (PCTC 260), a 20 track compilation album/cassette which features the group's 17 No. 1 singles, two songs which were double A-sides, plus LOVE ME DO.
Linking all these activities together has been an extensive advertising campaign which featured a specially designed logo with a picture of the Beatles (circa 1962) and the copy line 'It was 20 Years Ago'.
Fly posters were followed by posters on buses and in stores, leading to substantial coverage of the event on radio, television, newspapers and magazines, with the interesting result that 20 years later LOVE ME DO reached No. 4 in the British charts, thirteen places higher than it did the first time around!
LOVE ME DO complete track listing:
Love Me Do
From Me To You
She Loves You
I Want To Hold Your Hand
Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine
Ticket to Ride
We Can Work It Out
All You Need Is Love
Ballad of John and Yoko
Just about to cross 'Abbey Road'