THE Beatles’ debut tune that launched Britain into the Swinging Sixties and helped to ignite a worldwide obsession for the four-man band from Liverpool celebrated its 50th birthday yesterday.
Even though it only peaked at No. 17 on the British charts, the single Love Me Do was not only the group’s first record but also their first hit.
Despite half a century passing, the Fab Four’s music remains timeless, according to Warrnambool music store owner Michael Fitzgerald.
Yesterday the vocals of John, Paul, George and Ringo were pumping at Capricorn Leading Edge Music.
Mr Fitzgerald said their music continued to sell, simply because it was great and timeless.
“We sell them all the time,” he said. “It’s just very good music.”
Mr Fitzgerald was seven years old when Love Me Do was released and said he grew up listening to his older brother and sister’s Beatles records.
“I have great childhood memories of them,” he said.
He said John Lennon remained his favourite of the group.
“It’s just the music style in his voice,” he said.
“He is possibly the greatest rock and roll screamer. When he sings the first line of Twist and Shout he is right on the money.
“I also think the songs he did later were timeless.
“We’re forever selling Beatles, the Stones and Bob Dylan because it’s very good music.”
Hamish MacBain, assistant editor at British music magazine NME, said Love Me Do established the band’s policy of only releasing songs that were written by the Beatles themselves.
“The fashion at that time was not for big groups to write their own material, so the Beatles were being quite radical in that sense by issuing a single that they had written themselves,” MacBain said.
Love Me Do was recorded in September 1962 with the so-called “fifth Beatle”, producer George Martin, who pushed for the release of another song, penned by British songwriter Adam Faith but performed by the Fab Four.
But the Beatles got their way, and Love Me Do went on sale on October 5, 1962.
The group’s insistence that they only release songs they had written themselves “established a trend that lasted obviously their entire career and became the norm for big groups that became rock bands”, MacBain said.
“You were not considered a serious rock band by the mid-’60s unless you were writing your own material.”
Co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the catchy lyrics and recognisable harmonies of Love Me Do were recorded at London’s Abbey Road studios, later made famous by the group.
Although it kick-started their career and became a British hit, Love Me Do did not spark Beatlemania, said Simon Zagorski-Thomas, a reader in music at University of West London’s college of music.
“Love Me Do was an interesting song, but it wasn’t the thing that really launched their career,” Zagorski-Thomas said.
Instead, it was the group’s 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States that made The Beatles a phenomenon distinct from all previous British bands and launched them globally.
“Love Me Do is not considered by most observers to be among The Beatles’ masterpieces,” MacBain said.
“In terms of song writing it’s pretty basic, and it’s certainly not as good as the stuff they were coming out with a few months later,” MacBain said. “P.S. I Love You was recorded on the B-side of the track, and both songs were featured on the group’s perennial album Please Please Me,” released in March 1963.