Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Beatles: From Me To You

Our Thursday Repeats and Threepeats feature looks at songs that have been released more than once. Today’s feature is a classic Beatles’ recording that was released in the US on the Vee-Jay label. When Capitol Records passed on the option to release The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” album in the US, a Chicago area independent label picked up the option to release these early recordings by the Fab Four.

While Vee-Jay and its subsidiary Tollie Records released a number of Beatles’ singles in 1963, it wasn’t until the success of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in February 1964 that the Vee-Jay singles took off in sales. One of these singles, “From Me to You,” made it to the charts twice.

As the second proper Beatles’ US release in May 1963, it gained momentum as it was a radio favorite in Los Angeles and peaked at #116 in August 1963. The single was originally issued as the “A” side with “Thank you Girl” as the flipside.

When Beatlemania hit in 1964, “From Me to You” was reissued by Vee-Jay as the “B” side to “Please Please Me.” “Please Please Me’s” original Vee-Jay release had “Ask Me Why” as its flip. Because Vee-Jay wanted to flood the market with singles to capitalize on The Beatles’ popularity in early 1964, there are many label variations for the single, as numerous pressing plants were being used to meet the demand of consumers.

While the resurrected “Please Please Me” charted at #3, radio stations began flipping the record and playing “From Me To You.” Its second time around landed the song at the #41 slot. Over one million copies of the single were sold.

The single is credited as a McCartney-Lennon composition rather than the typical Lennon-McCartney scenario. While later Lennon-McCartney songs often were written by one of the duo, “From Me To You” was truly a combined effort. One of the highlights of the single is John Lennon’s harmonica.

The year 1964 was an interesting year for Beatles’ recordings as singles were issued by a number of labels including Capitol, Vee-Jay, Tollie, Swan, ATCO, and MGM. They probably hold the record for the number of singles' labels in a given year – and they rest they say is history.

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