When was it recorded? Jul. 30, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 22, 1963 on “With the Beatles”
Who wrote it? Robert Bateman, Georgia Dobbins, William Garrett, Freddie Gorman, and Brian Holland
Have I heard this song before? Yes
What my research dug up:
As Wikipedia noted, “Songwriting credits for ‘Please Mr. Postman’ seem to have changed over the years.” Here’s how I figure all those people got credit for the tune.
According to Wikipedia, “In April 1961, [American all-girl group] the Marvelettes (then known as ‘The Marvels’) arranged an audition for Berry Gordy’s Tamla label. Marvels member Georgia Dobbins needed an original song for their audition, and got a blues song from her friend William Garrett, which she then reworked for the group.” Garrett allowed Dobbins to use the song “as long as he received songwriting credit if the song became a hit” (Wikipedia). Dobbins reshaped the song but then left the group. Berry Gordy hired “Brianbert” – the songwriting duo of Robert Bateman and Brian Holland – to work more on the “Please Mister Postman.” Holland also invited his friend, composer (and The Originals band member) Freddie Gorman, to work on it. Phew.
The Marvelettes recorded the original “Please Mister Postman” in April 1961 and released it as their debut single Aug. 21, 1961. The song became the first #1 Pop Single for Motown.
The Beatles covered “Please Mister Postman” early and often. It was part of their live act in 1962 – one year after the original’s release – but according to Wikipedia, “it had been dropped from their set, and required some work in the studio to bring it up to an acceptable standard.” That said, it still took the band only nine takes to get on Jul. 30, 1963.
A live version that aired Jul. 30, 1963 on “Pop Go the Beatles” appeared on last year’s “On Air – Live at the BBC Vol. 2” (though I’m now trying to figure out when they recorded this one if the album version was recorded the same morning…).
I don’t know, I think the Beatles’ cover might be equally matched to the original in my liking this time! Neither version will be in my Top 25 Most Played any time soon, but they’re both equally fun and well-crafted.