“Love Me Do” is the Beatles’ first single released on 5 October 1962. When it was released in England by Parlophone Records, it peaked at number seventeen; in 1982 it was re-promoted and reached number four. In the United States the single was a number one hit in 1964.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this in 1958, when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but this was the first one they liked enough to record. When they played this for an audition with Parlophone Records, the producer they auditioned for was George Martin, who became a key figure in Beatles history as he helped shape their sound. He started tinkering with the song right away, adding the harmonica part. Fortunately, John Lennon knew how to play the harmonica and was able to come up with something.
When this was released in England, it was not a big hit. The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, was so confident in the group that he gave the single a big marketing push by buying a bunch of copies of it (some say 10,000) for his record store, which helped get it on the charts and ensured more exposure for the band. Before they recorded this, Lennon always sang the lead vocal, but when his harmonica part was added, McCartney had to sing it because Lennon’s mouth was full of harmonica. Paul claims that you can hear the fear in his voice at the audition.