Please Please Me • Beatles US single

USA vinyl single Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why

‘Please Please Me’ USA single – front cover
Front cover
  • Label: Vee Jay VJ 498 MONO
  • Released: 7th February 1963
  • Sales figures: 7,310
  • Peak position:
    Billboard – Didn’t enter;
    Cashbox – Didn’t enter;
    Record World – Didn’t enter

The Beatles’s first official release in America was ‘Please Please Me’ – a copy of their second British single.

Bagging a deal in the UK was easy enough – but impressing their label in the States was something else entirely. When EMI’s sister company Capitol turned their noses up at the band, Brian had to farm it out to Transglobal – the company that marketed The Beatles’s records in the States. They originally tried to place it with Atlantic label but Jerry Wexler turned it down. (Atlantic would later change their tune and buy up the Tony Sheridan session, putting it out on their subsidiary ATCO.) Transglobal eventually managed to place it with a small Chicago-based label called Vee-Jay, a poor little company with no budget. They didn’t market it right and it sank without …

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USA vinyl single Please Please Me b/w From Me To You

‘Please Please Me’ USA single – front cover
Front cover
‘Please Please Me’ USA single – back cover
Back cover
‘Please Please Me’ USA single – Vee Jay record label
Record label
  • Label: Vee Jay VJ 581 MONO
  • Released: 3rd January 1964
  • Sales figures: 1,185,725
  • Peak position for ‘Please Please Me’:
    Billboard – #3;
    Cashbox – #3;
    Record World – #3
  • Weeks in chart: 13 – from 1st February 1964
  • Peak position for ‘From Me To You’:
    Billboard – #41;
    Cashbox – #46;
    Record World – Didn’t enter
  • Weeks in chart: 11 – from 14th March 1964

After the amazing success of Capitol’s ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ single, Vee-Jay wasted no time in re-releasing all of their old stock. This time around they combined the A-sides of their first two singles, slapped on a black-and-white copy of the album sleeve, and watched it climb all the way to No.3.

Whilst it seemed like a good decision on the face of it, if you check out the sales figures for each individual single then you’ll notice that ‘From Me To You’ outsold ‘Please Please Me’ by 15,000 copies. So why did they relegate it to the flip-side?

Capitol moved quickly to take Vee-Jay to court, and a temporary injunction slowed the sales somewhat, but it still managed to sell a million.

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USA vinyl single (Re-release) Please Please Me b/w From Me To You

During the summer of ’64 Vee-Jay started up yet another subsidiary label, and this time called it ‘Oldies’. Their license to release Beatles singles was due to expire in October, so they were in a race against time to re-release all of their 45s to make a bit more money. Capitol weren’t exactly over-the-moon about it, but repeated the feat themselves a year later with their budget label – ‘Capitol Starline’.

The singles and their B-sides were: ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret / Thank You Girl’, ‘Please Please Me / From Me To You’, ‘Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You’ and ‘Twist And Shout / There’s A Place’.

They also issued a special Christmas sleeve in early October to gain a slice of the Xmas market. Once again, this was not a new release, but merely a replacement slip for …

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USA vinyl single (Re-release) Please Please Me b/w From Me To You

In October 1965 Capitol re-released the four Vee-Jay singles on its budget label, ‘Capitol Starline’. This was the second time in under a year that the songs had been marketed this way. (The first time was on Vee-Jay’s own ‘Oldies’ label.)

The songs and their B-sides were: ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret / Thank You Girl’, ‘Please Please Me / From Me To You’, ‘Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You’ and ‘Twist And Shout / There’s A Place’.

They also took the opportunity to release a couple of best-selling Canadian imports: ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, and ‘Boys’. The only one out of the six to chart was ‘Boys’, reaching No.102 on Billboard.

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USA CD single (Re-release) Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why

‘Please Please Me’ USA single – CD box front
Front of box
‘Please Please Me’ USA single – CD box back
Back of box
  • Label: C3 44279 2
  • Released: 30th November 1988

At the end of the 1980s Capitol decided to issue all of The Beatles’ British singles in CD format, in an unusual long box design.

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USA CD single (Re-release) Please Please Me b/w Ask Me Why

‘Please Please Me’ USA single – CD front cover
Front cover
‘Please Please Me’ USA single – back cover
Back cover
  • Label: CD 15903
  • Released: 10th November 1992

This was issued as part of ‘The Single Collection’ CD box-set.

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