When was it recorded? Feb. 11, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Mar. 22, 1963 on “Please Please Me”
Who wrote it? Lennon/McCartney
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
In a reference I immediately picked up on, the opening lines of Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s “Somewhere” inspired “There’s a Place.” “Somewhere” was written for 1957’s musical “West Side Story,” of which I’m a great fan. Quoth Wikipedia, “McCartney owned the album of the soundtrack at the time of writing ‘There’s a Place’ and acknowledges its influence” in his biography.
Paul and John worked on the song at McCartney’s Forthlin Road home.
“‘There’s A Place’ was my attempt at a sort of Motown, black thing. It says the usual Lennon things: ‘In my mind there’s no sorrow…’ It’s all in your mind.” — John Lennon (David Sheff, All We Are Saying)
“In our case the place was in the mind, rather than round the back of the stairs for a kiss and a cuddle. This was the difference with what we were writing: we were getting a bit more cerebral. We both sang it. I took the high harmony, John took the lower harmony or melody. This was a nice thing because we didn’t actually have to decide where the melody was till later when they boringly had to write it down for sheet music.” – Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years from Now)
According to Wikipedia, “[‘There’s a Place’] was part of the group’s stage repertoire in 1963.”
“There’s a Place” was the first song recorded on Feb. 11, 1963 for “Please Please Me.” The Beatles recorded it in 10 takes, with an additional three takes for the harmonica part, which was overdubbed.
“There’s a Place” was released as the B-side to the “Twist and Shout” single on Mar. 2, 1963 in the US.
A live version of “There’s a Place” recorded for Sept. 3, 1963’s edition of “Pop Go the Beatles” appeared on last year’s compilation, “On Air – Live At The BBC Vol. 2.”
I like this one a lot! It has flaws — despite being less than two minutes long, it started to feel too long near the end — but I’d place the harmonies (and the harmonica) on par with “Love Me Do.”