A new BBC documentary about the Beatles, set to air here on Sunday, features people claiming that the band’s manager Brian Epstein bought thousands of copies of “Love Me Do” to boost record sales to ensure the single hit the charts.
The group’s first hit single was released 50 years ago this week.
Epstein’s friend and associate Joe Flannery talks about the long-rumored record purchases by Epstein in the BBC Four documentary entitled Love Me Do: The Beatles ’62.
“He 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,” the network quoted Flannery as saying in the documentary in a Thursday announcement. Rumors that Epstein tried to bolster sales of the single, which became the band’s first top 20 hit, have circulated for years, it added.
Billy Kinsley, who was in The Merseybeats, another band managed by Epstein, also appears in the documentary. The BBC said he told the film team that Epstein would look at that band’s tour schedule and encouraged them to buy copies of “Love Me Do.” “I like to think that we did help the Beatles get to number 17,” it quoted him as saying in the documentary.
Other contributors of the documentary include original Beatles drummer Pete Best, who was replaced by Ringo Starr.
The film also includes an interview with drummer Andy White who says that after Best was replaced by Ringo Starr, he was asked to replace Ringo as drummer on one of the many recorded versions of “Love Me Do.” Ringo’s version was released in Britain, the version with White was released abroad and went to No. 1 in the U.S.
The BBC said White also played on the B-side number “PS I Love You,” “and he now claims he is actually the drummer on one of The Beatles’ biggest hits — ‘Please Please Me’.”
Head HERE to subscribe to Billboard’s free music-business newsletters:
Breaking News, Touring, Top 40, Country and many more.