In 1963 The Beatles went through a few changes change. They had just taken on a new drummer, Ringo Starr, who had replaced Pete Best and had signed with a new manager, Brian Epstein. They had also started working with the producer George Martin.
On this day, June 29, 1963, this new band line-up got the Fab Four their first-ever number-one single. But it was a long road for them.
By the time The Beatles released From Me To You as a single, they had been together for just over five years (originally under the name The Quarrymen before changing to The Beatles). They had also released a slew of singles at that point, as well.
Their first single, Love Me Do, reached number four in the UK charts, becoming an incredible first entry to their repertoire. After that, the group released Please Please Me, which soared to number two in the UK charts. However, the band were still yearning for that number one.
Finally, in 1963, they released From Me To You. Their first UK number one.
But John Lennon later revealed the band was not completely happy with it because of its musical style.
Lennon explained: “We nearly didn’t record it because we thought it was too bluesy at first.” At this point, the band were still working out their sound.
Thankfully, producer Martin stepped in to fix it. Lennon remembered: “When we’d finished it – and George Martin had scored it with harmonica – it was alright.”
However, before they had recorded the chart-topper, they were discouraged by a fellow songwriter who thought the Fab Four were simply useless. Fellow writer Roger Greenaway recalled the event in 1963.
He said: “John and Paul were sitting at the back of the coach and Kenny Lynch, who at this time fancied himself as a songwriter, sauntered up to the back of the coach and Kenny Lynch … decided he would help them write a song.”
Lynch yelled: “Well, that’s it. I am not going to write any more of that bl**dy rubbish with those idiots. They don’t know music from their backsides. That’s it! No more help from me!”
Of course, Lennon and McCartney got the last laugh. With From Me To You hitting number one in the UK, their momentum almost never stopped.
After that, The Beatles’ next three singles hit number one. And overall, they had more than 20 number one singles.
The Imagine singer has looked back on who first wrote the song in the past, as well. The track has been credited to the Lennon-Mccartney songwriting partnership, but Lennon needed to make the truth known. “We were writing it in a car, I think,” he recalled. “And I think the first line was mine. I mean I know it was mine. And then after that we took it from there. It was far bluesier than that when we wrote it. The notes — today you could rearrange it pretty funky.”
Paul McCartney also opened up about the song’s versatility.
Over the years, McCartney has been very open about his songwriting process and history. Just recently, he released a book titled The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present.
But back in 1964, he said of From Me To You: “It could be done as an old ragtime tune — especially the middle eight — and so we’re not writing the tunes in any particular idiom.”
Looking to the future, he mused: “In five years’ time we may arrange the tunes differently. But we’ll probably write the same old rubbish!”