Even though this is the fourth number one in the United States for the Beatles, it was their first released record in England. It was backed by “P.S. I Love You” just as it was the States and it peaked at number seventeen on the British charts. Brian Epstein, their manager, bought 10,000 copies of the record to give it boost up the charts. It wasn’t until record number three, “From Me to You,” that they hit number one in England. This song was released in the United States, but failed to chart. Maybe it was too soon.
So, the Beatles were not instant superstars in England like they were in America. The only other artist to put four number ones in the same year was Elvis Presley which he did in 1956 and 1957. However, by the end of 1964, the Beatles will have blow Elvis’ record right out of the water.
“Love Me Do” was written way back in 1958 or 1959 primarily by Paul McCartney although John Lennon says he may have had some input to the song. At any rate, when it was released, it was credited to Lennon-McCartney like most of their songs.
This is a strange song in that it was recorded by three different drummers. Most people know that the Beatles started out with Pete Best as their drummer and then switched to Ringo Starr when producer George Martin decided he didn’t like Best’s work. It was right when this song was recorded that the transition took place. In the first recording of “Love Me Do,” Pete Best was the drummer. Martin was not happy with the recording and brought in Ringo for the second taping. Still not happy (Ringo wasn’t that good when he first started out,) Martin brought in a studio drummer named Andy White. I suspect not too many people have heard of Andy White, but he was the drummer on that third recording.
Now, the unusual thing is that the first recording with Pete Best was thought lost for many years, but did surface later and has been included on a couple “rare” albums. The version using Ringo was the version that was released in England, but it was the third version, with Andy White, that was released in the United States. So, if you have an original 45 record of the Beatles singing “Love Me Do” from 1964, there’s a good chance that White is doing the drumming. Ringo is in there, but he is playing the tambourine. Of course, later, when they started playing live shows, Ringo was always the one on drums.
Another interesting note about this song is the harmonica. John plays the harmonica throughout the song. He got the idea from the song by Bruce Channel called “Hey, Baby” which was number one in 1962. Delbert McClinton played the harmonica on that song and when he came to England to perform, John Lennon asked McClinton to show him how to play.
“Love Me Do” debuted on the pop chart on May 2, 1964 and spent just one week at number one.