A new documentary about the Beatles features an eyewitness account claiming that the band’s manager Brian Epstein bought up thousands of copies of Love Me Do, the band’s first hit single, to bolster record sales and ensure their entry into the charts.
Epstein’s friend and business associate Joe Flannery makes the claims in the BBC Four documentary Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62 which is presented by Stuart Maconie and is broadcast this Sunday 7 October at 10.00pm.
Other contributors in Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62 include Sir Peter Blake, Bob Harris, Gerry Marsden and the Beatles original drummer Pete Best, who was replaced by Ringo Starr.
Joe Flannery says:
“He [Brian Epstein] went and he bought 10,000 copies of ‘Love Me Do’ and that was in his store room in Whitechapel, because I’d seen them, they were there, 10,000 copies.”
Rumours that Epstein might have bolstered sales of ‘Love Me Do‘, which went on to become the band’s first top 20 hit and launched their career into superstardom, have circulated for many years, though have never been proved.
Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62 also features Billy Kinsley, who was in another promising band The Merseybeats, which Epstein also managed.
“He [Brian Epstein] found out that we were on tour, he’d look at our gigs, [and say] ‘Oh we’re playing Sheffield’ or ‘We’re playing Manchester. OK will you just go in this record shop and pick up a few copies [of Love Me Do]? Don’t all go in at the same time.’ Which we did. I like to think that we did help the Beatles get to number 17.”
The film includes a rare interview with session drummer Andy White who is now 82 and lives in the US.
He says that just after Pete Best was sacked and replaced by Ringo, he was asked by George Martin to replace Ringo as drummer on one of the many different recorded versions of Love Me Do. Ringo’s version was released here, but George Martin was happier with the Andy White version which was eventually released abroad and went to Number 1 in America. Andy also plays on the B-side, ‘PS I Love You’. And he now claims he is actually the drummer on one of The Beatles biggest hits – ‘Please Please Me’.
In the film Pete Best recalls this news first coming to light:
“[When] it became public knowledge that Andy [and not Ringo] had actually recorded on ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘P.S. I Love You’ and quite a few other little bits and pieces, it was a little bit like, as far as I’m concerned, serves you right. It was a little bit like well thank you for small mercies.”
Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62 is part of the BBC’s nationwide Beatles celebrations, including My Beatles Story which is running on all 39 BBC local radio stations on Friday 5 October.