Monday, October 19, 2009

"Ask Me Why"

"Ask Me Why" is a song by The Beatles originally released in the United Kingdom as the B-side of their hit single "Please Please Me." It was also included on their first UK album, Please Please Me.


Written in early 1962, "Ask Me Why" is principally a John Lennon composition, but was credited to Paul McCartney and John Lennon, as were all other Lennon/McCartney originals on the first pressings of Please Please Me album. It was part of their live act prior to their recording contract, and was one of the songs performed at their Parlophone audition in Abbey Road's studio three on 6 June 1962. Complex in its arrangement, the song emulates in style that of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, by whom Lennon was influenced, and draws its opening guitar phrase from the Miracles’ "What’s So Good About Goodbye" (1961).


The song is in the key of E major, with some leaning to it's relative minor of C#, and is in 4/4 time. Structurally, the song is very complicated. As Alan Pollack states, the song contains three different variants of the verse. The song also contains "jazzy parallel sevenths" in most of the chords.


"Ask Me Why" was originally recorded at Abbey Road studios on 6 June 1962 with an unknown amount of takes. Unfortunately, EMI rejected the song and destroyed the master tapes.

It was later recorded again on 26 November 1962, the same day The Beatles rehearsed another Lennon and McCartney song - entitled "Tip of My Tongue" - which, along with "Ask Me Why," was also being considered for the B-side of the "Please Please Me" single. However, George Martin felt that "Tip of My Tongue" still needed some work, and it was eventually given to Tommy Quickly to record.

Other releases

* Capitol Records, EMI's American counterpart to Parlophone, initially refused to distribute Beatle music in the U.S, and so the "Please Please Me"/"Ask Me Why" single was released by Vee-Jay Records on 25 February 1963.
* Vee-Jay included "Ask Me Why" on version 2 of Introducing... The Beatles.
* Capitol eventually released "Ask Me Why" in 1965 on The Early Beatles when Vee-Jay's rights expired.


* John Lennon – rhythm guitar, lead vocal
* Paul McCartney – bass guitar, backing vocal
* George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocal
* Ringo Starr – drums

A-side: "Please Please Me"
Released: 11 January 1963 (UK), 25 February 1963 (US)
Recorded: 26 November 1962
Genre: Beat, Rock and roll
Length: 2:24
Label: Parlophone R4983 (UK), Vee-Jay 498 (US)
Writer(s): McCartney/Lennon
Producer: George Martin


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