“Please Please Me” was the band’s second single, building on the modest success of “Love Me Do” by going to #1 on the New Musical Express chart, #2 on the more widely accepted Record Retailer chart. As with “Love Me Do”, producer George Martin was initially not a big supporter of releasing the song as a single, again preferring “How Do You Do It”. But he and the band worked at it on 26 November 1962, speeding up the tempo and adding a scaled harmonica to the arrangement, until they had their hit.
Lennon said the song was inspired both by Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” as well as the double meaning to lyrics to a Bing Crosby song that went, “Please lend a little ear to my pleas”. I haven’t read much else about anything unusual with the recording. What is kind of interesting to a Chicagoan like me is that WLS deejay, Dick Biondi, a guy I grew up listening to whenever my parents put the oldies station on (he’d moved on from WLS by then) is said to be the first U.S. deejay to play the song, as early as the day after the record’s release, 7 February 1963. The song was a flop everywhere but Chicago.
A couple other notes. Manager Brian Epstein was upset about the label’s poor promotion of “Love Me Do”, he arranged a meeting with publisher Dick James, which would end up making The Beatles millions. Several U.S. labels passed on the chance to carry the single, including Atlantic, with only small label Veejay taking the chance. Veejay reissued the single after The Beatles broke through with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, and if Veejay had been part of the RIAA, the rerelease would have been certified Gold. And due to lack of uniformity from one pressing plant to another, there were a number of errors, from “The Beattles” to “Please, Please Me”.