500 Greatest Albums of All Time

39

The Beatles, 'Please Please Me'

Parlophone, 1963

The Beatles recorded 10 of the 14 songs on their debut album at EMI's Abbey Road studio in just over 12 hours on February 11th, 1963. For productivity alone, it's one of the greatest first albums in rock. The Beatles had already invented a bracing new sound for a rock band – an assault of thrumming energy and impeccable vocal harmonies – and they nailed it using the covers and originals in their live repertoire: the Shirelles' "Boys" and Arthur Alexander's "Anna"; the Lennon-McCartney burners "There's a Place" and "I Saw Her Standing There." Fittingly, John Lennon finished the epochal all-day session shirtless and shredding what was left of his vocal cords on two takes of "Twist and Shout."

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