Beatles Early Singles Volume 1
John, Paul, George & Ringo started their recording career in 1962, thanks in big part to George Martin. At the time, singles were bigger sellers than LPs and The Beatles tested the commercial waters with the first four songs in this set. After resounding success, George Martin rushed them into the studio to follow up with a full album of 14 songs, and on February 11, 1963 the group managed to record 11 songs to complete their first LP, Please Please Me (Hold Me Tight was recorded but held for their second album as it needed some finishing touches). This set of lessons starts a mostly chronological look at the guitar parts that were the foundation of their unprecedented career.
Lesson 1: Love Me Do - The Beatles - Guitar Lesson
The first hit single for The Beatles, Love Me Do, is about as basic as a song can get- three chords, two sections, two sets of lyrics, and simple strumming.
All it took was a harmonica and a vocal hook for everyone to bite. This lesson goes over the progression and arrangement, but also shows how to incorporate the harmonica solos into the strumming.
Lesson 2: Please Please Me - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
As a follow-up to their first single, Love Me Do, The Beatles went into the studio to record Please Please Me, although George Martin still did not have faith in their songwriting abilities.
They had reworked it, come up with some great hooks, vocals, and energy, and the rest is history. Please Please Me became their first number one hit within weeks of its release in early 1963, at least in the UK.
This lesson strums through the chord progression in a couple different ways and also looks at incorporating the lead into the strumming.
Lesson 3: Ask Me Why - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Ask Me Why is mostly a John Lennon tune that was the B-side of their second single, Ask Me Why. The progression uses quite a few chords, most from the key of E, many chords from nearby keys, and an augmented chord to really make things interesting.
The strumming is very basic but most of the chords are barres so you must be comfortable with the РІР‚ВEРІР‚в„ў and РІР‚ВAРІР‚в„ў families to get this easily. The lesson also takes a short look at incorporating the opening bass notes with GeorgeРІР‚в„ўs lead in chords to fill the whole thing out.
Lesson 4: From Me To You - The Beatles - Guitar Lesson
After the Beatles success with their first two singles, originals Love Me Do and Please Please Me, they were inspired to churn out a pile of their own tunes. From Me To You was written very quickly and recorded within a week to be their third single and it shot to #1 a week later.
At this point there was no looking back at doing covers. The progression includes some signature Beatles’ sounds, namely the use of augmented chords. This lesson also incorporates George’s lead fills using parallel octaves into the accompaniment to create a very interesting, and challenging arrangement.
Lesson 5: She Loves You - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
After some big success in the UK with their first three singles, The Beatles finally broke through into the American market with their next few singles, prompting Capitol Records to change their tune and release their albums.
She Loves You was one of these breakthrough hits, which also happens to be really fun to play. It shows some of their non-traditional uses of chord progressions, with a few cool licks of George’s thrown in for good measure. This lesson covers the rhythm guitar parts along with most of George’s additions.
Lesson 6: Thank You Girl - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Thank You Girl was slated to be The Beatles’ third single until they quickly came up with From Me To You, relegating this cool tune to being a B-side.
There really is no second tier sound to this song, which is very fun to play. It starts off with a blues shuffle riff, which can continue as a second guitar part throughout the song. Most of the chord changes happen every two beats, making it important to look for common fingers on consecutive chords.
Lesson 7: I Want To Hold Your Hand - The Beatles - Guitar Lesson
This one has it all– driving power chords, syncopated changes, great harmonies and vocal pyrotechnics, different textures in different sections, and even handclaps to up the fun quotient. I Want To Hold Your Hand is one of the early songs that really showed what the Fab Four had to offer, and the future was no disappointment.
This lesson covers just about everything the guitars do, with particular attention to getting just the right drive in each part. Barre chords, power chords, and the basic rock riff are all used here, along with some standard strumming of open chords.
Lesson 8: This Boy - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
This beautiful Lennon/McCartney ballad starts with a chord progression that is almost cliché from the 50s, adds some three-part vocal harmonies and simple guitar parts, creating a typical Beatlesque take on a familiar sound.
This lesson is done in our “Work It Out” style, starting off with just listening to the chords and trying to figure it out for yourself so hold off on printing out the chart.
We also go over transposing progressions to various keys and trying to think by number rather than absolute chord. There is also a short segment on a second guitar part, as heard on the original recording.
Lesson 9: P. S. I Love You - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
P. S. I Love You was the B-side to The Beatles first single, P. S. I Love You, released in the UK in early October, 1962. It already shows Lennon and McCartney’s “outside the box” approach to chord progression and harmony, using some chords that most songwriters would not in the key of D.
The two songs from this single later appeared on the album Please Please Me, something George Martin stopped doing shortly afterward, leading to the CD release of Past Masters Volumes I & II, which contained most of the singles.
This lesson just covers the chord progressions to the three parts. The strumming is very basic but good command of barre chords is necessary to play through P. S. I Love You.
Lesson 10: I’ll Get You - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
The B-side to She Loves You, I’ll Get You borrows from some of the themes on that A-side (“oh yeah”), but tones it down into a beautiful, lilting melody. It is played in the key of D, using mostly open chords, Bm being the lone exception, using a basic, rock, strumming pattern.
A good song for beginners working on chord changes but I’ll Get You also will present a chance for intermediate players to hone those same changing skills.