Blogging the Beatles 5: ‘From Me to You’/’Thank You Girl’ single

Credit: jpgr.co.uk – The Beatles Complete UK Discography site

Credit: jpgr.co.uk – The Beatles Complete UK Discography site


Single: “From Me to You”/”Thank You Girl”
Released: 11 April 1963

The spring of 1963 was a ridiculously busy time for the Beatles. After their marathon session in February to record the remaining ten tracks off Please Please Me, they left it in George Martin’s capable hands to produce the mono and stereo masters for release. Meanwhile, they would be crisscrossing all over Britain on tour. Many of these shows had been arranged by Brian Epstein well before they became famous, so even though they’d suddenly had hit singles and a new album racing up the charts, they were still honoring these tiny shows at hotel ballrooms, local cinemas, and even a few schools! In addition to this, they also honored a few of their scheduled shows at the Cavern Club, played a number of BBC radio programs (thus the wealth of “at the Beeb” recordings available), occasional showcases with other Epstein acts like Billy J Kramer and Gerry and the Pacemakers, and an ongoing tour with Helen Shapiro. And in between all of this, they made time to record more singles and a second album.

It was on 28 February while they were riding on a coach for the Shapiro tour that John and Paul holed themselves up in the rear of the bus and worked on writing a follow-up single. It’s said that Kenny Lynch–the man who’d recorded “Misery” as the first person to ever cover a Beatles tune–had heard them singing the “ooh” in the middle eight, and immediately thought the song was doomed to failure. Five days later they were back in Studio Two at Abbey Road, and banged out “From Me to You”. And despite Lynch’s misgivings, it would end up being their second single to hit number one.

The b-side, “Thank You Girl”, was most likely written around the same time. These two tracks, as well as a long-unreleased version of their song “The One After 909” were recorded on 5 March (a fourth song, a version of “What Goes On”, was practiced but never recorded). The single was released a month later.

Side A: “From Me to You”
Despite Kenny Lynch’s disdain for such a simply-written song, it’s a very catchy tune, and understandably caught the ear of thousands of teenage fans. Playing on the personal “me and you” that worked so well with “Please Please Me”, this love song played on the fact that John and Paul were well aware of their female fans that felt they were singing just to them! The lyrics are light and fun, as if they just want to gush over their sweetheart–if there’s anything she wants, he’ll take care of it, because they love her that much. There’s also a return of the theme of distance, the couple being separated but their love remaining strong and true.

There are quite a few interesting bits to this song, really. Right off, we have John and Paul scatting the opening melody, the “da-da-dah da-dun dah-dah-dah”. That was Martin’s suggestion (which the band thought was rather odd, until they heard the final run through and agreed it actually worked). What’s also interesting is that the main verses of the song also serve as a repeating chorus, with the title right at the end of each verse–“just call on me, and I’ll send it along, with love from me to you.” The bridges are similar, repeated after each verse section. There’s also the solo section, understated yet creatively done: George repeats the verse melody on the guitar, while John echoes it in a higher octave on harmonica and also fills in an echoing of the title [da-da-dum da-da-dum-dum-dah (“from me…”), da-da-daum- da-da-dum-dum-dah (“…to you…”)] before singing the last part of the verse.

Overall, it’s a giant step up from their previous songwriting–by this time, they had a few singles, an album, and a ridiculous amount of touring under their belt, not to mention at least five years’ worth of working on their craft. This was the song that clicked with them, one that wasn’t a throwaway but a well-crafted one they devoted time and work to.

Side B: “Thank You Girl”
“We knew that if we wrote a song called, ‘Thank You Girl’ that a lot of the girls who wrote us fan letters would take it as a genuine thank you. So a lot of our songs were directly addressed to the fans.” — Paul, in 1988

That pretty much explains that song in a nutshell–it might be yet another love song they could write in their sleep, but it was one that the fans could take as a personal note just to them. On the surface, it’s another of their head-over-heels love song lyrics, and musically it’s extremely simple. John later said he wasn’t exactly impressed with how it came out, feeling it was close but missed its mark. Simply put, it’s a song about a man eternally grateful about the woman he loves. But as Paul hinted, there was an ulterior motive: taken from a besotted fan’s perspective, this is a heartfelt “thank you” to all the female fans out there who sent them countless fan letters and screamed at their concerts. So soon into their professional career as musicians, they felt themselves truly lucky and grateful that these fans were so dedicated.

This was actually supposed to be the A-side, but after recording the two, it was decided this would be the b-side. Like “Ask Me Why”, it ended up not being one of their stronger songs, but it was no throwaway, and it the fans themselves were of course happy to have such a song written for them by their favorite band.

*

This was another single released on the VeeJay label in the US, as Capitol still hadn’t gotten on board at this time. “Thank You Girl” was added as a replacement track on later reissues of Introducing the Beatles and later on the US release The Beatles’ Second Album, and “From Me to You” would pop up on a version of Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Beatles (one of the many VeeJay reissues of Please Please Me under various titles), but other than that, neither track would get a straightforward release on an album together until the cd release of Past Masters in 1987. It was unfortunately a missed opportunity due to the legal wrangling between VeeJay and Capitol at the time.

The third track recorded during this session, “The One After 909”, would be all but forgotten until January 1969 when it resurfaced during the Get Back album and movie sessions, but by that time its format was drastically different. Instead of a mid-tempo rock and roll tune emulating Chuck Berry, it ended up countrified and sloppily recorded as an afterthought and released on Let It Be. It very nearly surfaced in 1985 on an aborted compilation of unreleased tracks called Sessions, but wouldn’t get an official release until the Anthology 1 album in 1995.

In the UK, however, it was their second number one single hit right after “Please Please Me”, and they weren’t about to rest on their laurels, not by a long shot. They’d continue touring and recording well into the next year. They’d return to the studio again on the first of July to record what would become one of the signature songs of Beatlemania, thanks to the phrase “yeah, yeah, yeah.”

Next up: “She Loves You”/”I’ll Get You” single

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