The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus (often quieter than this grade)
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
- Superb sound for the Beatles' debut studio album, with Double Plus (A++) grades throughout this vintage UK pressing - remarkably quiet vinyl too
- Both sides have remarkable presence, clarity and size - it's bigger, bolder and richer, as well as more clean, clear and open than most others we played
- 5 stars: "Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh [and]...it's easy to get wrapped up in the sound of the record itself without realizing how the album effectively summarizes the band's eclectic influences. There's a love of girl groups, vocal harmonies, sophisticated popcraft, schmaltz, R&B, and hard-driving rock & roll, which is enough to make Please Please Me impressive, but what makes it astonishing is how these elements converge in the originals."
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Folks, if you’re looking for a killer copy of the first Beatles release, here it is! Big and lively with superb presence and energy, this is exactly the right sound for this music. The album itself is nothing short of amazing. It captures more of the live sound of these four guys playing together as a rock and roll band than any record they ever made afterwards. (Let It Be gets some of that live quality, too, and makes a great bookend for the group.)
This vintage UK pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What The Best Sides Of Please Please Me Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1963
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Tubey Magical acoustic guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).
There's a subtle smearing and masking that occurs on most pressings. You don't notice it often because you have no better pressing to compare yours to. But when you have many copies of the same pressing, and you are lucky enough to discover a Hot One lurking among them, you can hear instantly how much better defined all the instruments and voices are. You hear the ambience and presence that's veiled on other LPs. Dynamic contrasts increase.
It all starts to sound right, so right in fact that you forget it's a record and you find yourself just enjoying the music. Disbelief has been suspended.
On the better copies like this one, the presence of the vocals and guitars is so real it's positively startling at times. What started out as a great Beatles recording had turned into a great Beatles album. Now it's a piece of music as opposed to a piece of plastic.
Just play Baby It's You to hear what we're talking about. When the boys all say "Oooooh," you can pick out who is saying it and how they're saying it.
Anna (Go To Him) is another stunner. It's Tubey Magical with remarkable immediacy and presence. The voices are smooth, sweet, rich, full and breathy. The overall sound is lively and energetic with a meaty bottom end -- in other words, it really rocks.
What We're Listening For On Please Please Me
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The instruments and voices are jumping right out of the speakers as The Beatles' brilliant engineer for their early albums up through Rubber Soul -- Norman Smith -- intended.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Please Please Me Hot Stampers are a regular feature on our site. We've been telling anyone who will listen for years that The Beatles in their early days were exceptionally well-recorded, but only the right pressing will prove that.
And the odd thing -- not so odd to us anymore but odd to most record collectors I would guess -- is that many of the hot copies have exactly the same stampers as the less than hot copies. It's a mystery, and the only way to solve such a mystery is... to play the record. That's what we do around here all day, and what we heard on this copy was musically involving Hot Stamper sound.
Where Can I Find Your Mono Beatles Records?
We do not sell Beatles records in mono.They spent time on the mono mixes because getting the levels right for all the elements in a recording is ten times harder than deciding whether an instrument or voice should be placed in the left, middle or right of the soundstage.
And they didn’t even do the stereo mixes right some of the time, in our opinion. But wall to wall beats all stacked up in the middle any day of the week.
If you like mono Beatles records you will have to do your own shootouts for them, because we have never heard a mono Beatles record sound good enough to compete with our Hot Stamper stereo pressings.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
The Tracklist tab above will take you to a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
- I Saw Her Standing There
Like any of the boys' most radio ready singles, this song tends to be a bit bright. If this track sounds at all dull, there's probably no hope for the rest of this side.
This track should sound lively and punchy. The best copies have excellent bass definition and superb clarity, allowing you to appreciate how the wonderful bounce of the rhythm section really energizes the song.
- Anna (Go to Him)
Does it get any better? This is the real Beatles magic baby!
Note that the vocals on this track are not as well recorded as they are on the track above. As a rule they're a bit edgier and not as transparent.
Go back and forth between the two songs a number of times and we think you will hear exactly what we mean. Although this difference is more audible on the better copies, it should still be noticeable on any Hot Stamper pressing.
- Ask Me Why
- Please Please Me
- Love Me Do
- P.S. I Love You
Another track with a bit of that "mixed for radio" sound. On most pressings this song tends to be bright, thin, and grainy.
- Baby It’s You
Listen carefully to the middle eight section -- you can hear the rhythm track levels turned down at the first bar and then back up at the last.
Some of the most Tubey Magical sound on the album -- we love this song!
This is the real Beatles All-Tube-Recording-Chain Magic, Parts Three through Seven. Every track from here on out is killer.
- Do You Want to Know a Secret
- A Taste of Honey
- There’s a Place
- Twist and Shout
Notes on the MoFi Pressing
By the way, if you own the MoFi LP, do yourself a favor and buy one of our Hot Stamper pressings. (Actually any good British import pressing will do.) What's the first thing you will notice other than correct tonality, better bass and overall a lot more "life"?
No spit! As I've commented elsewhere, MoFis are full of sibilance because of the wacky cutting system they used. As I was playing this record a few years back, maybe by about the fifth or sixth song it occurred to me that I hadn't been hearing the spit that I was used to from my MoFi LP. You don't notice it when it's not there. But your MoFi sure has a bad case of spitty vocals. If you never noticed them before, you will now.
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
Once "Please Please Me" rocketed to number one, the Beatles rushed to deliver a debut album, bashing out Please Please Me in a day. Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh, precisely because of its intense origins. As the songs rush past, it's easy to get wrapped up in the sound of the record itself without realizing how the album effectively summarizes the band's eclectic influences.
Naturally, the influences shine through their covers, all of which are unconventional and illustrate the group's superior taste. There's a love of girl groups, vocal harmonies, sophisticated popcraft, schmaltz, R&B, and hard-driving rock & roll, which is enough to make Please Please Me impressive, but what makes it astonishing is how these elements converge in the originals. "I Saw Here Standing There" is one of their best rockers, yet it has surprising harmonies and melodic progressions. "Misery" and "There's a Place" grow out of the girl group tradition without being tied to it.
A few of their originals, such as "Do You Want to Know a Secret" and the pleasantly light "P.S. I Love You," have dated slightly, but endearingly so, since they're infused with cheerful innocence and enthusiasm. And there is an innocence to Please Please Me. The Beatles may have played notoriously rough dives in Hamburg, but the only way you could tell that on their first album was how the constant gigging turned the group into a tight, professional band that could run through their set list at the drop of a hat with boundless energy.
It's no surprise that Lennon had shouted himself hoarse by the end of the session, barely getting through "Twist and Shout," the most famous single take in rock history. He simply got caught up in the music, just like generations of listeners did.
Whether or not you think the Beatles are the best rock band of all time, it’s hard to deny they’re the best rock story. Their narrative arc– of graft, tragedy, and stardom; of genius emerging and fragmenting– is irresistible. More so when you factor in the sense that they drove their fascinating times as much as mirrored them.
But the satisfying sweep of the Beatles’ epic risks doing them a disservice. It makes their achievements and development feel somehow predestined, an inevitable consequence of their astonishing talent. Of course, this isn’t the case: Every record they made was born out of a new set of challenges and built around tough decisions. The marketing of the band over the past few decades by their record label, Apple, has been aimed at creating a sense of apart-ness: Let lesser talents digitize their songs, feature on compilations, sell their music to samplers. The Beatles are different. This flatters listeners who were there, but setting the band apart from the rest of the pop world risks sterilizing their music and making newcomers as resentful as curious.
Besides, at the start they weren’t so different at all. Britain in the early 1960s swarmed with rock’n’roll bands, creating local scenes like the Mersey Sound the Beatles dominated. Rock’n’roll hadn’t died out, but it had become unfashionable in showbiz eyes– a small-club dance music that thrived on local passion. It was raucous, even charming in a quaint way, but there was no money in it for the big-timers of the London music biz.
At the same time the record market was booming. The Conservative UK government of the late 1950s had deliberately stoked a consumer boom: Aping the post-war consumption of the U.S., more British households than ever owned TVs, washing machines, and record players. The number of singles sold in Britain increased eightfold between the emergence of Elvis in 1956 and the Beatles in ’63. Combine this massively increased potential audience with the local popularity of rock’n’roll and some kind of crossover success seems inevitable– the idiocy of the Decca label in turning down the Beatles isn’t so much a businessman’s failure to recognize genius as a businessman’s failure to recognize good business.
The Beatles’ life as a rock’n’roll band– their fabled first acts in Hamburg clubs and Liverpool’s Cavern– is mostly lost to us. The party line on Please Please Me is that it’s a raw, high-energy run-through of their live set, but to me this seems just a little disingenuous. It’s not even that the album, by necessity, can’t reflect the group’s two-hour shows and the frenzy-baiting lengths they’d push setpiece songs to. It’s that the disc was recorded on the back of a #1 single, and there was a big new audience to consider when selecting material. There’s rawness here– rawness they never quite captured again– but a lot of sweetness too, particularly in Lennon-McCartney originals “P.S. I Love You” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret.”
Rather than an accurate document of an evening with the pre-fame Beatles, Please Please Me works more like a DJ mix album– a truncated, idealized teaser for their early live shows. More than any other of their records, Please Please Me is a dance music album. Almost everything on the record, even ballads like “Anna”, has a swing and a kick born from the hard experience of making a small club move. And it starts and ends with “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist and Shout”, the most kinetic, danceable tracks they ever made.
The “evening with the band” feel makes Please Please Me a more coherent experience than other cover-heavy Beatles albums: Here other peoples’ songs work not just as filler, but as markers for styles and effects the band admired and might return to as songwriters. McCartney, for instance, would go on to write songs whose drama and emotional nuance would embarrass “A Taste of Honey”, but for now he puts his all into its cornball melodrama, and the song fits.
Please Please Me also works as a unit because the group’s vocals are so great. At least some of this is due to the remastering, which makes the Beatles’ singing thrillingly up-close and immediate. I’d never really paid much attention to “Chains” and the Ringo-led “Boys”, but the clearer vocals on each– “Chains”‘ sarcastic snarls and the harmonies helping Ringo out– make them far more compelling.
And as you’d imagine, making the voices more vivid means Lennon’s kamikaze take on “Twist and Shout” sounds even more ferocious. Done in one cut at the session’s end, it could have been an unusable wreck. Instead, it’s one of the group’s most famous triumphs. This sums up the Beatles for me. Rather than a band whose path to the top was ordained by their genius, they were a group with the luck to meet opportunities, the wit to recognize them, the drive to seize them, and the talent to fulfil them. Please Please Me is the sound of them doing all four.