- Published on 1963
- Author: Dobbin/Garrett/Garman/Brianbert
- Track 7 on “With The Beatles“
PAUL 1984: “Influenced by the Marvelettes, who did the original version. We got it from our fans, who would write ‘Please Mr. Postman’ on the back of the envelopes. ‘Posty, posty, don’t be slow, be like the Beatles and go, man, go!’ That sort of stuff.”
About “Please Mister Postman”
The Beatles included “Please Mister Postman” as part of their live act in 1962, performing it regularly at the Cavern Club. By the time it was recorded for their second album, With The Beatles, it had been dropped from their set, and required some work in the studio to bring it up to an acceptable standard. Ian MacDonald criticised their version for having a “wall of sound” and for a “general airlessness.”
In 1963, Beatles manager Brian Epstein approached Gordy for the rights to record several Motown songs, including “Please Mr. Postman”, “You Really Got a Hold on Me” and “Money (That’s What I Want)“. Rather than the industry standard of two cents, Epstein only offered one and a half cents per record sold. Gordy initially refused, only relenting two minutes before the offer was set to expire.
On 30 July 1963, the band covered the song for their second UK album, With The Beatles. Recorded in Studio Two of EMI Recording Studios, George Martin produced the session, supported by balance engineer Norman Smith. The band recorded three takes in a similar style to their BBC performance, but found the results unsatisfactory.
They altered the arrangement to sound closer to the Marvelettes’ version, recording four more takes with a stop-time intro, drum breaks and a coda, the final take seven deemed “best”. Due to their different vocal range from the Marvelettes, the Beatles modulate their version into A major. Between recording two takes of overdubs, the band added handclaps while Lennon double tracked his original vocal, take nine marked “best”. Martin and Smith mixed the song for mono and stereo on 21 August and 29 October, respectively.
Meaning of “Please Mister Postman”
The lyrics of the song express a plea from the narrator to the postman, asking if there are any letters or messages for him. The narrator is eagerly awaiting correspondence from his loved one and is growing increasingly impatient. The song captures a sense of longing and anticipation.
“Please Mister Postman” is a song about yearning and the desire for communication from a loved one, and The Beatles’ rendition of it showcases their ability to interpret and revitalize existing material with their own unique style.
- John Lennon – double-tracked vocal, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass
- George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
- uncredited (played by the Beatles) – handclaps