B-side: "P.S. I Love You" (Past Masters Version)
Released: 5 October 1962, 27 April 1964 (US) (Past Masters)/11 February 1963
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios: 6 June (With Pete Best); 4 (With Ringo Starr), 11 September 1962 (With Andy White)
Genre: Pop rock
Producer: George Martin
IN THIS VERSION:
John Lennon: harmonica, joint lead vocal
Paul McCartney: bass, joint lead vocal
George Harrison: acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: tambourine
Andy White: drums
"Love Me Do" begins with bluesy harmonica played by Lennon, then features Lennon and McCartney on joint lead vocals. McCartney sings the solo vocal line on the song's title phrase and also its middle eight. Lennon had previously sung the title sections, but this change in arrangement was made in the studio under the direction of producer George Martin when he realised that the harmonica part encroached on the vocal (Lennon needed to begin playing the harmonica again on the same beat as the "do" of "love me do"). This is illustrative of the live characteristics of this particular session - as, when a similar situation later occurred on the "Please Please Me" single session, the harmonica was superimposed afterwards using tape-to-tape overdubbing.
"Love Me Do" was recorded by The Beatles on different occasions with three different drummers:
The Beatles first recorded it on 6 June 1962 with Pete Best on drums, as part of their audition at EMI Studios at 3 Abbey Road, London. This version (previously thought to be lost) is available on Anthology 1.
By 4 September, Best had been replaced with Ringo Starr (producer George Martin did not approve of Best's drumming), and on that day The Beatles with Starr recorded a version again at EMI Studios.
One week later, on 11 September, The Beatles returned to the same studio and they made a recording of "Love Me Do" with session drummer Andy White on drums while Starr played tambourine. As the tambourine was not included on the 4 September recording, this is the easiest way to distinguish between the Starr and White recordings.
First issues of the single, however, did feature the Ringo Starr version, which was also included much later on the compilation albums Rarities (American version) and Past Masters, Volume One. The Andy White version of the track was included on The Beatles' debut UK album, Please Please Me, The Beatles' Hits EP, and all subsequent album releases on which "Love Me Do" was included. For the 1976 single re-issue and the 1982 "20th Anniversary" re-issue, the Andy White version was used. The CD single issued on 2 October 1992 contains both versions. The Pete Best version remained unreleased until 1995, when it was included on the Anthology 1 album.
"Love Me Do", featuring Starr drumming, was also recorded eight times at the BBC and played on the BBC radio programmes Here We Go, Talent Spot, Saturday Club, Side By Side, Pop Go The Beatles and Easy Beat between October 1962 and October 1963. The version of "Love Me Do" recorded on 10 July 1963 at the BBC and broadcast on the 23 July 1963 Pop Go The Beatles programme can be heard on The Beatles album Live at the BBC. The Beatles also performed the song live on the 20 February 1963 Parade of the Pops BBC radio broadcast.
In 1969, during the Get Back sessions, The Beatles played the song in a slower, more bluesy form than they had in earlier recordings. This version of "Love Me Do" is one of many recordings made during these sessions and subsequently appeared on some bootlegs. The song featured no harmonica by Lennon, and McCartney sang the majority of the song in the same vocal style he used for "Lady Madonna".