The Beatles: Legendary crooner inspired John Lennon's second single

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When John Lennon was growing up, long before he was in The Beatles, he took great inspiration from some of the biggest and best singers of all time. On top of being obsessed with the likes of Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, Lennon used their lyrical prowess and songwriting skills to create his own memorable tunes. The Fab Four’s second single, Please Please Me, was released on January 11 in 1963, but he couldn’t have done it without some big stars.

The Beatles had only been around for a short while at that point. In 1961 they first met their future manager, Brian Epstein, who encouraged their talents and got them on the world’s stage. A year later, in 1962, the band released their first solo single in the UK and US: Love Me Do. The track reached number four in the UK Singles Charts, and they were keen to improve upon that for their second single.

And Please Please Me did it. The single was released in 1963 and reached number two in the UK Singles Charts. It also hit number one in the NME’s chart, but was never counted as an “official” number one.

Lennon later recalled the moment he penned the iconic song. He remembered being “intrigued” by the works of two of the biggest singers around at the time: Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby.

He said: “In my auntie’s house on Menlove Avenue, I heard Roy Orbison doing Only the Lonely on the radio. I was also intrigued by the double use of the word ‘please’ in a Bing Crosby song. So it was a combination of Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison.”

The song Lennon is referring to is Bing’s 1933 song Please, which was written for the film of the same name. In the track, Bing croons: “Oh, please / lend your little ear to my pleas.”

READ MORE: John Lennon wrote ‘best Beatles song lyrics’ about his first wife

In the late 1960s Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, gifted him an old fashioned jukebox. But instead of filling it with rock and roll tracks, he stacked it completely with Bing records.

In 2000 Lennon’s friend, Elliot Mintz, recalled: “There were three songs which John played over and over. I still remember them. They were Crosby with a jazz quartet from the 50s, I think. He would banter and talk in the songs and John thought that was just the end.” Mintz also revealed the singles he played on repeat were Bing’s Whispering, I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter and Dream a Little Dream of Me.”

Lennon was not the only member of the Fab Four who became enamoured with Bing’s music, however. 

In the 1980s George Harrison revealed he was also a lover of the White Christmas star. He said during a radio show: “Bing Crosby was someone I discovered in my gardening period. He had a lovely voice, a presence that sort of crackles. He always remained popular over here [the UK]. I like his stuff very much.”

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