When I wrote about 1969’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” I lamented its lack of lyrical variation (try saying that three times fast), but the truth is, the Beatles had been thrifty with words from the start. “Love Me Do,” the band’s 1962 debut single, contains just 20 unique words. It’s one of those songs that is objectively pretty unexceptional on every level, but it’s too charming in its simplicity to actually dislike it.
For such a simple song, though, “Love Me Do” has one of the more complicated stories behind its release. There were two versions issued back in the day, recorded a week apart and with different drummers. Our old pal Ringo drums on the earlier version, but George Martin insisted on using a session drummer on a retake, relegating Ringo to tambourine duties. (An even earlier rendition, with Pete Best on drums, was issued on Anthology 1.) If I had to pick a favorite, it’s definitely the final version, which is featured in the Spotify button at the top of this post.
Oh, fun fact, the harmonica that John Lennon plays on every version of “Love Me Do” was stolen from a music shop in the Netherlands. So basically, every time you listen to this song, you’re an accessory to a crime.