Aside from the new vitality provided by Andy White’s steady rhythm, the vocal harmonies from Lennon and McCartney were attacked with even more country-blues gusto than before. McCartney’s solo spots were more competent and comfortable, while Lennon’s harmonica dripped with bluesy despair.
The session of September 11 ultimately served to confirm George Martin’s hunch about the Beatles’ appeal. It may have taken three attempts, but the producer was now confident that he had an unorthodox record which was fresh, yet contemporarily analogous with transatlantic sounds.
The Beatles had stood their ground and remained true to their principals. They were not prepared to compromise their style or sound for the sake of commercial success. They had won their first battle with George Martin, but most importantly Martin had demonstrated the qualities that would make him – and The Beatles – so successful throughout the decade to follow. He proved he was willing to listen, to arrange, to advise and he proved he was willing to go out on a limb.
In a final twist, however, the version which was released on 7” single was the September 4 version featuring Starr, while the Please Please Me LP and later single releases contained the September 11 version featuring White. No explanation has ever been given for the two separate releases, although an error, or a possible gesture from Martin to Starr cannot be ruled out.
To the untrained ear, tambourine is the easiest way to differentiate between the two released versions of ‘Love Me Do’. The presence of the tambourine indicates White on drums, while the absence of tambourine indicates Starr.
Early in October 1962, Brian Epstein supposedly took possession of 10,000 copies of ‘Love Me Do’ and set about employing every contact he had in the record industry to push the release as far as it would go. Rumours persisted that he used his position as a record store owner to buy the single into the charts. However, this is something that the Beatles always denied. If he had bought the record into the charts he wouldn’t have been the first to do it, and he certainly wasn’t the last.
As the world nervously watched the perilous standoff between the U.S. and Soviet Union over the Cuban Missile Crisis and Britain slipped into one of the bitterest winters in living memory, ‘Love Me Do’ began to climb the charts. Distinctive and different, the song stood out it in stark contrast to the cautiously tame mainstream British chart material of the time.