Happy 50th Birthday, ‘Love Me Do’

The Beatles. That’s what passed for a limo in 1962.

Clearly there was something in the water on the 5th of October 1962, not one but two globeshaking British cultural institutions, the kind of worldwide brands that came to define how the nation was perceived from the outside and the inside, both launched on the same day.

So, while the rest of Anglophenia is rightly going berzerk for all things 007, can we just pause a moment to tip our hats for “Love Me Do,” the unassuming, quietly charming first single for the Beatles? It wasn’t the song that made their name in the UK, that was “Please Please Me;” It wasn’t the song that made their name in the US, that was “I Want To Hold Your Hand;” and it isn’t the song most people reach for first when they’re compiling Beatle playlists. But it’s the song that lit the blue touchpaper on British pop music as an international force, and whether you personally like the Beatles or not, some of your favorite songs of all time would not have been possible, had this record never been released.

Some of them still would, of course. But not as many as you’d like to think.

PS: Jon Savage at the Guardian has written a fairly definitive appreciation of “Love Me Do” as a song in the context of its time. Have a read!

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2. He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage. Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic
View all posts by Fraser McAlpine.