Love Me Do was the first single to be released by The Beatles, on October 5 1962, backed with PS I Love You, on EMI’s Parlophone label. Though historically important as the début record by the world’s greatest ever pop group, it was by no stretch of the imagination a portent of what was to come, reaching only as high as number 17 in the Record Retailer’s Top 50 charts, on December 27. When Beatlemania exploded in the US, however, it became their fourth No. 1 there in May 1964.
Curiously, the song was recorded by The Beatles on three separate occasions with three different percussionists; firstly on June 6, 1962, at an EMI session with original drummer Pete Best; secondly on September 4 with the newly-recruited Ringo Starr; and finally on September 11 with session drummer Andy White.
For reasons that have never been fully explained, it was the version featuring Ringo that appeared on all UK single releases of Love Me Do up until its original deletion in 1968. The Beatles’ 1963 debut album Please Please Me, however, featured the Andy White recording, which became the American hit in 1964 and other worldwide territories.
When re-issued in 1976 EMI (UK) used the White take because the original Ringo master had gone AWOL. The 20th anniversary 12” single in 1982 contained both versions but the ‘Ringo version’ had to be dubbed from the original single supplied by a Beatles collector and all issues since have come from the same source. The Pete Best version was made available on Anthology 1.
Love Me Do was largely a McCartney composition, written in the 1958, with Lennon contributing the bridge in 1962. "Love Me Do was our greatest philosophical song,” said Paul in 1972, possibly tongue in cheek. “During the recordings, all I can remember is being terrified out of my wits, and quaking in my boots. I can still hear it on my vocal."