Today in History... The Beatles release their debut single, Love Me Do

It might seem ridiculous now, but The Beatles first-ever single - released today in history, October 5, 1962 - was nearly a song that had been written by songwriters for the '60s pop star Adam Faith.

At that time, the young Fab Four - enjoying their first time in London, and first time at Abbey Road studios - had yet to impress George Martin with their own songwriting abilities...

"It wasn't a question of what they could do [as] they hadn't written anything great at that time," Martin was later quoted as saying.

In fact, The Beatles had been signed up on the strength of their charismatic appeal alone. As was the norm for the era's acts, they were expected to perform tunes written by songwriters from London's Tin Pan Alley, where many of the city's top publishing houses were based.

Love Me Do - pioneering the ideas of a self-contained rock band
writing their own hits and playing their own instruments

It was during an evening session that The Beatles recorded two songs: How Do You Do It? originally written by Mitch Murray for Adam Faith, and Love Me Do. The latter song, of course, was written by group themselves - something which was almost unheard of at that time.

Indeed, Rolling Stone magazine later credited the group with inventing "the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments."

In the end, it was John Lennon's use of a harmonica on Love Me Do - actually stolen from a Netherlands music shop during The Beatle's trip to Hamburg - that sealed the deal for Martin: "I thought it had great appeal..."

Aided by Martin's renowned open-mindedness, the Abbey Road sessions yielded what would eventually become the Fab Four's first chart hit, peaking at #17. But Love Me Do would also be the first stepping stone in the formation of the 20th century's more important songwriting partnership...

Paul McCartney's letter to his female friend, Liz

Funnily enough, The Beatles growing confidence in their own songwriting abilities is also reflected in a key piece of memorabilia from the era: a letter written and signed by Paul McCartney to a female friend during the recording of their debut LP, Please, Please Me.

To Liz, he writes: "Thanks for your letter. Great to hear from you again. And how were your exam results??? I hope you passed everything with flying colours. (Fran too, as I wrote.)... Well, 'Taste of Honey' is on the LP... And quite a few of our own compositions. (cough cough)..."

The "compositions" which McCartney self-deprecatingly alludes to in his letter later emerged as Love Me Do and I Saw Her Standing There, two of the best-known tunes of their era. The note ends with McCartney's signature: "Lots of love, Paul xxxx."

Signed and one-of-a-kind, this letter is currently for sale to collectors priced at £8,500 ($14,025) - and perfect example of how signatures and documents from the era can bring tens of thousands on today's auction blocks.



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