Producer George Martin hated The Beatles‘ “Love Me Do.” In addition, he wasn’t a big fan of some of the band’s early covers. Notably, John Lennon had quite a bit to say about “Love Me Do.”
The Beatles put ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Over the Rainbow’ on their demo tape
During a 1995 interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Martin discussed hearing The Beatles’ demo tape. It included covers of “Over the Rainbow” and “Your Feet’s Too Big,” as well as the original compositions “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.” “Pretty rotten songs, really and they still are,” he opined. “You could hear a certain vitality there, but it was pretty rough. Most people who [first] heard The Beatles thought they weren’t much use.”
Martin’s take on “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” is all wrong. Neither of the songs are among The Beatles’ best or most revolutionary songs. However, as bubblegum pop songs, they accomplish everything they set out to do. “Love Me Do” is especially appealing because it combines elements of bubblegum pop, rock ‘n’ roll, and country music into one great song. The tune’s eclecticism is a predecessor to the genre-hopping of the Fab Four’s later work.
John Lennon wasn’t sure if he helped Paul McCartney write ‘Love Me Do’
The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features an interview from 1980. In it, John was asked about “Love Me Do.” In John’s memory, Paul McCartney wrote “Love Me Do” as a teenager.
The “Imagine” singer said Paul composed the song before the start of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. John couldn’t recall if he helped write the tune’s bridge or not.
John Lennon discussed how The Beatles’ songwriting grew more personal over time
John was asked if The Beatles’ early love songs were autobiographical. “They were basically made up,” he said. “They weren’t about real situations. I think ‘In My Life’ was the first song that I wrote that was really, consciously about my life, and it was sparked by a remark a journalist and writer in England made after In His Own Write came out.” For context, In His Own Write was John’s debut book of short stories.
“I think ‘In My Life’ was after In His Own Write,” John recalled. “But he said to me, ‘Why don’t you put some of the way you write in the book, as it were, in the songs? Or why don’t you put something about your childhood into the songs?’ Which came out later as ‘Penny Lane’ from Paul.”
It’s nice that The Beatles started releasing personal songs. However, there was nothing wrong with their decision to write completely fictional songs like “Love Me Do.” Many of the greatest songs ever are about fictitious situations! In addition, “Love Me Do” was probably the sort of song The Beatles needed to release before they moved on to more sophisticated fare.
“Love Me Do” isn’t the greatest song ever but Martin and John were far too harsh on it.
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