Day 15: “Ask Me Why”

When was it recorded? Nov. 26, 1962

When was it first released, and on which album? Jan. 11, 1963 on “Please Please Me”

Who wrote it?  Lennon (with noteworthy contribution from McCartney)

Have I heard this song before?  No

What my research dug up:

I somehow timed it just right last to see both Ringo’s performance of “Photograph” and Paul and Ringo’s performance of “Queenie Eye” last night (while watching “Zombieland” on SyFy, no less).  I think I was confused about which Grammy tribute was which – if you look at my entry from yesterday I mentioned a number of other artists were slated to perform a Beatles tribute.  I think that’s the Feb. 9 special.  Also, I didn’t know it wasn’t confirmed that Paul and Ringo were performing together last night – I went in assuming they were doing at least one song together (and I was correct!).  I appreciated that there weren’t any cuts to audience members apart from Barbara, Nancy, Olivia and Yoko during their numbers.  It can be disrespectful and distracting, plus Taylor Swift & Katy Perry seat-dancing can only entertain me for so long.  But I enjoyed a lot of what I saw – apart from Paul & Ringo, I loved seeing the Highwaymen and Kacey Musgraves (remember what I said in “Act Naturally?” I have a soft spot the size of Texas for quality country music) and Daft Punk finally being recognized for their amazing work.  I only wish the final, final performance of the night hadn’t been cut off because everyone up there was killing it.

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(Photo taken by Kevork Djansezian courtesy of Getty Images)

“Ask Me Why” is actually the last A song on the list of Beatles songs I’m using.  Progress!  The tune was written primarily by John – in Paul’s words, “It was John’s original idea and we both sat down and wrote it together, just did a job on it. It was mostly John’s.”  As noted in previous entries, John enjoyed and often sought to emulate the sound of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.  It shows here, with the opening of “Ask Me Why” bearing striking similarities to the Miracles’ 1961 tune “What’s So Good About Goodbye” (particularly the opening guitar riffs).

It was originally released as the B-side for the single “Please Please Me” and was (obviously) included on the album “Please Please Me.”  According to Wikipedia, “It was part of their live act prior to their recording contract and was one of the songs performed at their Parlophone audition.”

Here’s a live version of “Ask Me Why” from “Beatles Live at the Star-Club.”  Does it have the best quality sound?  No, but research how music was recorded in the ‘60s and you’ll know it wasn’t exactly possible to get a live recording as polished as in today’s industry.

“Ask Me Why” was first recorded in June 1962 (part of the aforementioned audition) but those tapes were later destroyed.  Here’s the version from PPM.

Because I used up most of my words in the opening Grammy-recap paragraph, you two words on what I think of “Ask Me Why” — it’s cute.

 

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ask_Me_Why

http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/ask-me-why/

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/amw.shtml

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/mccartney-starr-reunite-grammy-stage-article-1.1592202

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