Where to start… How do you introduce the most successful, most influential, most important, so on and so forth, band ever? Um….
From Me to You, by The Beatles (their 1st of seventeen #1s)
7 weeks, from 2nd May – 20th June 1963
Maybe I don’t need to. Anyone with even a passing interest in pop music will have heard this song. Da da da da da dun dun daaa… chiming harmonica and exuberant vocals – you can just picture two mop-heads leaning in towards the mic… If there’s anything that you want, If there’s anything I can dooooo, Just call on me, And I’ll send it along, With love, From me, To You…
Gerry & The Pacemakers set the Merseybeat pace with ‘How Do You Do It?’, but this takes things up another level again – as if someone has just found the warp button and pressed it twice in quick succession, leaving Cliff Richard and Frank Ifield as specks in the distance. There’s a lot of great stuff here: the rasp in John’s voice, the camp little ‘oohs!’ at the end of each line, and Ringo’s drum-fills (I’ve never subscribed to the ‘Ringo wasn’t that good a drummer’ theory – he’s the main man here.) And the saucy line in the bridge: I’ve got lips that long to kiss you, And keep you satisfied… Ooh!
But… ‘From Me to You’ isn’t an amazing, Grade-A, one-of-a-kind, bury it in a time capsule for future generations kind of record. Not quite. They will certainly come for The Beatles, of course; but this isn’t it. It’s a little too cheesy, for a start – a little too close to a nursery rhyme in some of its lyrics: I got everything that you want, Like a heart that’s oh so true… Meh. Plus, they should have brought a guitar in on the solo, rather than reusing the harmonica. It makes the record harmonica-heavy, which is never a good thing. I’d even go so far as suggesting that ‘Please Please Me’ would have made a better first Beatles #1… (in my humble opinion…) It’s funny: criticising anything about The Beatles seems kind of futile, like suggesting Shakespeare should have made ‘King Lear’ a bit shorter, or that Da Vinci should have painted the ‘Mona Lisa’s eyes a little further apart… Futile, and way too late.
What ‘From Me to You’ is, then, is a rip-roaring intro to the band that will dominate the sixties and beyond. The band that every other rock ‘n’ roll band from now to eternity will rip off, even if they don’t realise it. And, having listened to this record now five or six times in quick succession, it really does sound like a band that knew they were going to be huge. There’s a self-confidence to this record, a swagger and a wink. Maybe that’s just the hindsight talking; though I’m pretty sure it isn’t.
It feels slightly disrespectful to end my first post on The Beatles – my introductory post on the Biggest Band in the History of Popular Music ™ – so quickly. I do usually try to write a bit about the band in these types of posts, a bit of background to the song and so on… Here goes: The Beatles consisted of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr and you know the rest. Everyone does. I can’t remember the first time I heard them. They were just always there, and I was born fifteen years after they stopped making music, when one of them was already dead and another was narrating ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ (actually, that was probably my first ever exposure to a Beatle, aged three.) My parents love them. My friends love them. I’ve taught English lessons to young kids in Asia using Beatles songs, and they loved them. I have one friend who claims to not like them; but he’s an idiot.
We will hear from them again soon. Then again. And again until the sixties are out. The Beatles have officially landed, and nothing will ever be the same again…
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15 thoughts on “151. ‘From Me To You’, by The Beatles”
Please Please Me was a superior song to me…it should have been their first number 1. It feels like their songs should have been a progression of Love Me Do, From Me To You, and then Please Please Me but it is what it is…It’s great anyway.
I’d definitely say so. Not that they were short of #1s over their career, but still it feels like ‘Please Please Me’ missed out
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From the point of view of what was famous at the time, Please Please Me and From Me To You were jolly singalongs, but the one that was on everybody’s lips was Twist & Shout – EP’s were a big thing back then, had their own chart, and despite the cost, as they were less expensive than very expensive LP’s. Of course, it was the next single that made them stratospheric and 1964 totally and utterly Beatles….
I love ‘Twist and Shout’ – it is one of my karaoke go-tos. Didn’t John Lennon name it as his favourite vocal performance? At the same time, I’m kind of glad it wasn’t a single – in the UK at least – as I like the fact that all their singles were original compositions. And why oh why was ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ never a single? It’s up there with their greatest songs and ten times better than ‘From Me to You’…
It’s one of the greatest vocal performances in pop music, I’d say 🙂 It sort of annoys me that the Trems got a big hit with a weedy version of their version (in fact all of the covers of their songs that they didn’t gift during the mid60’s) as I don’t recall any of the cover versions, The Beatles were the versions that were memorable until Joe Cocker outdid them on one 🙂
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It’s hard to be objective when it comes to this band. The Beatles are my favourite band, and I’ll be honest, I pretty much enjoy all their songs, with very few going below a 2.5/5. I personally think this is a minor pop classic. The melody is lovely, one of my favourites from the band’s early period actually.
This song and “All My Loving” I feel like could’ve been No. 1s in the US. But “All My Loving” was never released as a single there (or anywhere), and “From Me to You” was wasted as a B-Side to “Please Please Me” in the States. Ah well. Still a killer pop song.
This for me falls a little flat when compared to the singles that came before and after: ‘Please Please Me’, ‘She Loves You’ and ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’. They all in their way reinvented pop music, while ‘From Me to You’ is simply a very good pop song.