5 Oct 2012

Beatles' first single turns 50

3:57 pm on 5 October 2012

The Beatles' debut tune that launched Britain into the Swinging Sixties and helped to ignite a worldwide obsession for the four-man band from Liverpool celebrates its 50th birthday on Friday.

Even though it only peaked at No 17 on the British charts, the single Love Me Do was not only the group's first record, but also their first hit.

The song was recorded in September 1962 with the so-called "fifth Beatle", producer George Martin, who pushed for the release of another song, penned by British songwriter Adam Faith but performed by the Fab Four, AFP reports.

But the Beatles got their way, and Love Me Do went on sale on 5 October 1962. Co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the catchy lyrics and recognisable harmonies were recorded at London's Abbey Road studios, later made famous by the group.

Although it kick-started their career and became a British hit, Love Me Do did not spark Beatlemania.

Instead, it was the group's 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States that made the Beatles a phenomenon distinct from all previous British bands and launched them globally.

Sam Leach, the group's first manager, knew he was onto a good thing, but a young promoter called Brian Epstein also recognised their potential and slowly took control.

Mr Leach said hearing their first record was a huge surprise.

"When I first heard it I couldn't believe how good it was, and I gave the copy of the record to my mother-in-law, Dolly.

"I said to her, they're going to be bigger than Elvis, they're going to be bigger than The Shadows and she laughed and she said to my wife Joan, 'Will you listen to your stupid husband?'"