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  1. #21
    The 1963 singles

    One of the unique things about the Beatles was the insistence that their singles tracks would be not be put on albums. There would be exceptions of course ( notably: A Hard Day’s Night, Help, Eleanor Rigby, Come Together), but most of the British releases tended to be non-album tracks. Thus we have half an album of non-album cuts for 1963. The impressive thing about this is that you can hear the improvements in the Beatles’ craft with each single not to mention to increasing successes that came with them.

    From Me To You: This was the follow up to Please Please Me and a perfect example of what was known as Merseybeat. It has a nice beat and some pretty nice chord changes. I really like this tune.

    Thank You Girl: I first heard this song on the American release of the Beatles’ Second Album. If I recall this is a different take than the British version as the American version has a little more harmonica. I do prefer the British version. It’s a very solid B-side to From Me To You. And that was another thing about the Beatles in general: quality B sides.

    She Loves You: This is probably the song that catapulted the Beatles into the phenomenon they would become, at least in Britain anyway. It’s a hard driving, very catchy tune. It’s also arguably rather dated. I have to admit that, while I like the song, I wouldn’t rate it among my Beatle favorites. I think the yeah, yeah, yeah refrain gets a little old after a while. On the other hand, it’s a great melody and I love that guitar twang after the refrains.

    I’ll Get You: This definitely sounds like a throwaway song. You can hear some guitar work that may remind you of With the Beatles later, but it isn’t an especially inspiring tune. The She Loves You flip is probably one of their weaker efforts.

    I Want To Hold Your Hand: This one, needless to say, is a classic. Capitol Records, an EMI subsidiary believe it or not, laughed at the Beatles for the best part of a year. When they finally released this one and found out they not only had a smash, but they had a phenomenon not seen since the days of Elvis Presley, a bit of panic would hit the company as much of their material had been picked up by other labels. More on that later. As for this song, you know you have a classic the moment you hear the opening chords. One of the most energetic songs the Beatles would ever perform and, while it’s not my favorite early Beatle song, it certainly ranks right up there.

    This Boy: Another solid B-side. Probably not really my speed but nonetheless a nice ballad. It wouldn’t be a flip side in the States, being relegated to an album track on Meet the Beatles (I Saw Her Standing There is the Capitol B-Side). It doesn’t matter much in the end analysis though. I Want To Hold Your Hand was the hit and most deservedly so.

    So the Beatles have not reached fame and fortune, at least in England anyway. But wait, there’s more

    Interlude: Beatles Live at the BBC 1963-1965

    By mid 1963, the Beatles were a big enough entity that they made frequent appearances on various radio shows on the BBC. There was even a program known as Pop Goes the Beatles. This went on for at least two years. Most of these tracks, predictably, were covers though there were some originals including some tracks that were never recorded by the Beatles, instead they were given to other artists. I love the energy on these shows and it seems obvious the Beatles enjoyed doing these. I remember buying this CD when it came out in 1994 and it was almost like discovering the Beatles for the first time. I’m not going to review each song because it would seem a bit redundant. For the most part, all the performances are good but I guess my favorites would be their performances of Baby It’s You (which I think was released as a single), Soldier of Love, the Arthur Alexander standard.. and I Just Don’t Understand, an Ann-Margaret cover of all things.

    And that’s it for this round. Stay tuned as we are about to see the Beatles really explode.
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  2. #22


    A lot of times, a band’s sophomore effort never seems to hold up to the first album. This is obviously one of the exceptions. This is the album that established the Beatles as a major force in the annals of rock n roll and it is leaps and bounds over the nonetheless solid Please Please Me. It is a rather eclectic mixture of original compositions and covers from the energy of Roll Over Beethoven to the wistful Til There Was You. Is it a perfect album? No. But it's probably the best album to come out in 1963 and it stands out as the Beatles best album pre-Rubber Soul. Definitely a must listen.

    It Won’t Be Long: The album starts off with a shout. This is a rocker in the spirit of I Want To Hold Your Hand and is one of the best tracks on the album. Actually, the first four songs on this album I would call must listens. With the energy that is on this track, this could have easily been released as I Want To Hold Your Hand’s follow-up.

    All I’ve Got To Do: Lyrically, it’s a fairly simplistic love song, typical of the time, but there is also a certain moodiness to this track that puts it above the norm. The song flows throughout and, while not a rocker like It Won’t be Long, it stands out on its own merits and has a certain cerebral quality to it.

    All My Loving: My favorite song on the album and a Beatles classic. Lennon’s rhythm guitar triplets dominate the track. There is a sense he is influenced by some of the early guitar virtuosos of the fifties. It is also one of Paul’s better tunes. It follows the theme of innocent love as was the trend in the early Beatles recordings. Again, a huge favorite.

    Don’t Bother Me: This is George Harrison’s contribution, his first, and he makes it count. If All My loving is my favorite song on the album, this one rates a close second. Lennon’s tremolo sound is a highlight and the dark melody is closer to the kind of sound I generally like. Harrison says he came up with the song when he was sick in bed and really didn’t want to be bothered. At any rate, a great song from the underrated Beatle.

    Little Child: This was meant to be Ringo’s song but Lennon and McCartney would sing it themselves. This is where the album tails off a bit. Not a bad song of course but it pales when compared to the previous four tracks. Some decent harmonica work.

    Till There Was You: I really could never get into this track. It sounds like typical McCartney schmaltz and it was indeed taken from the Music Man. McCartney had a knack for using non rock n roll tunes for his covers. It’s certainly listenable but nothing I would kill for.

    Please Mr. Postman: The Beatles were very big on Motown and this is the first of three covers from that catalog. This one comes off as fairly typical Merseybeat and is a good version of the Marvelletes’ classic. It’s listenable and catchy in its own way. Not a great song but good enough to get the album back on track.

    Roll Over Beethoven: Another great cover. George gets to do the honors with this one. Some very good guitar work and it never seems to miss a beat. Honestly I think this version is superior to the Chuck Berry original and I believe it would get some airplay during the height of Beatlemania in the States.

    Hold Me Tight: Probably the weakest song on the album. This one sounds like it could have been filler material, something that was rare on a Beatles album. Paul’s vocals are rather atrocious to be honest and it doesn’t sound like they worked very hard on this one. Luckily this in an aberration to an an otherwise great album.

    You Really Got a Hold On Me: Another Motown cover, this one from the Miracles. Honestly, Smokey Robinson could have sang the lead on this version as it doesn’t stray very much from the original. It is the same speed and even has the same sort of soulful mood to it. I like this version but it really doesn’t sound so different from the Miracles.

    I Wanna Be Your Man: This song is legendary as the song Lennon and McCartney gave to the Rolling Stones. Here, they give Ringo a shot with this track and he is up to the challenge. It has something of a primal beat to it. Not a great song though a good track. Honestly, I like the Stones’ version a little better.

    Devil In Her Heart: I never really got into this cover, sung by George. In fact, as a kid, I used to make fun of it. There’s nothing especially wrong with it, but I could never really get into it. So imagine my surprise when I heard the original from the Donays (another girl group) and really went, wow! Needless to say the original outdoes the cover in this case.

    Not a Second Time: The last Lennon-McCartney original on this album. Not among their most inspiring tracks but certainly heads and shoulders over, say, Hold Me Tight. George Martin plays the piano on this track, later covered fairly successfully by Robert Palmer many years later.

    Money (That’s What I Want): The Beatles again finish out with a cover and again, I have to admit I prefer not only the original Barrett Strong classic (which is also my favorite early rock song), but the Rolling Stones’ version as well. Still, I like this version and, while it doesn’t end the album the way Twist and Shout had previously, it’s not a bad way to finish up a classic album.

    And that’s it for this installment. Now the Beatles have invaded America and the record companies are in a panic. How panicky? Stick around and I’ll tell you in the next installment
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  3. #23
    Interlude: The desperate American repackagings:

    So while the Beatles we’re riding high in their native Britain, the Americans scoffed. If it isn’t American, it must be terrible the masses said. Dick Clark claims that he moved American Bandstand to Philadelphia because the kids there didn’t get She Loves You on Rate a Record. Yeah, the LA kids were so hip they looked sick when they showed the Strawberry Fields Forever video a few years later. Try again, Dick. Anyway, Capitol records, which had the first rights to any Beatles recording, passed saying they were okay but they weren’t the Beach Boys, or something of that effect.

    So other record companies, seeing how well the Beatles were faring, bought rights to some of their songs, including most of the Please Please Me album. Vee-Jay records had the bulk of them, but other labels too got in the fray. From Me To You showed up on Vee-Jay while She Loves You was released on Swan records. Unfortunately, the fans preferred Vee-Jay's other obscure artist, the Four Seasons, while Swan fans, well they had no fans.

    But a strange thing happened late in 1963. The Beatles exploded with I Want to Hold Your Hand and Capitol suddenly had a change of heart. Now they were starting a Beatles Are Coming campaign. And America asked, “Who the Hell are the Beatles?”

    And America found out. And Capitol had a smash hit and a smash album as well as a smash phenomenon that made Elvis Presley look like Pat Boone. Actually by 1964, Elvis did look kind of like Pat Boone but that’s another story.

    But the other labels still had rights to the songs not on With the Beatles, and Capitol had to figure out a way to stretch one album into two so they could make up for all the money they lost because of their own stupidity.

    And everyone began to trip over each other as they desperately tried to cash in on the Beatles phenomenon. And this is what they hath wrought…

    Introducing the Beatles (VeeJay Records):

    This is essentially Please Please Me minus Please Please Me and Ask Me Why which Vee-Jay would release as a single. They picked one of the dorkiest Beatles’ publicity shots for their album cover. Ringo hasn’t even trained his hair to show off his bangs yet. As far as the album itself, well, it's the Please Please Me album, except that Please Please Me isn’t even on it. I actually found this album in the cut out bin in 1975 and I lost it. Talk about some sick case of karma.

    The Capitol Recordings (Meet the Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, Beatles’ 65, The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help!, Rubber Soul, Yesterday and Today, Revolver):

    Not to be outdone, Capitol, which did have the rights to just about everything else, managed to find a way to stretch seven albums into ten. How did they do that? Well, while British albums generally had thirteen or fourteen tracks, American albums featured twelve tracks tops and, if they especially felt greedy, eleven. Thus Capitol could put I Want To Hold Your Hand on Meet the Beatles and Roll Over Beethoven on the Beatles’ Second Album (even though it really wasn’t). Kansas City and Eight Days a Week were kept off Beatles ‘65’ (The American Beatles For Sale version and actually released in 1964) and placed on Beatles VI instead. Then there was the Early Beatles set which is also essentially the Please Please Me album, this time minus Misery and There’s a Place. At least they kept the weaker tracks off. They saved the best confusion for last though. Help! was a soundtrack album with some George Martin produced movie music as filler. You Like Me Too Much, Tell Me What You See, and Dizzy Miss Lizzie were already released on Beatles VI while It’s Only Love and I’ve Just Seen a Face are on the US Rubber Soul. For even more of an insult, Yesterday and Today, known for the infamous butcher cover, would feature not only Yesterday and Act Naturally, previously a hit single the year before in the States, they pilfered more Rubber Soul tracks. Even better, they pilfered three tracks off the as to yet unreleased Revolver album, rendering the US version with a mere eleven tracks. Thank god they didn’t pilfer Sgt. Pepper.

    The Beatles vs. the Four Seasons (VeeJay Records):

    Not satisfied with their one Beatle album and about to go broke, some enterprising person had the brainstorm to repackage Introducing the Beatles in as many ways as possible which culminated in grouping the Beatles with Vee-Jay’s other cash cow, the Four Seasons. And why not? Vee-Jay wasn’t about to get the rights to A Hard Days Night and the Four Seasons had already abandoned ship and signed with Phillips. So let’s have a competition with the few tracks they still had the rights to. After all, the public is dying to buy a double album set from two bands that were about as similar as hockey was to golf. The album back cover even featured a ten point system as if they were boxing each other. The Four Seasons had no chance; the Beatles sparred with Muhammad Ali for Joe Louis’ sake. Anyway, fans were no doubt disappointed when Vee- Jay didn’t release the next album in their catalog, The Beatles and the Four Seasons go surfing. And don’t forget to buy the other Beatles classic, Jolly What, the Beatles and Frank Ifield.

    The Beatles With Tony Sheridan (MGM):

    It gets better. Not to be outdone, MGM, which had the rights to Tony Sheridan of all people, re-released My Bonnie byTony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, only now it was now the Beatles with Tony Sheridan. I can imagine teenage girls wondering if Tony Sheridan was the next big heartthrob since the Beatles apparently liked him. Um, not exactly. Sheridan, no doubt, is totally innocent in all of this, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he even felt a little slighted by all the fuss. The Beatles aren’t the villains in the piece either. Ain’t She Sweet would chart moderately on Billboard while the album sold, not as many albums as Meet the Beatles.

    A Hard Day’s Night (United Artists):

    And it gets even better yet. While Capitol was turning down anything British in 1963, United Artists signed the Beatles to do a movie, assumedly meant only for British audiences at the time. The Beatles would record seven new songs that would be in the movie. Thus, United Artists had the rights to, you guessed it, A Hard Day’s Night and the other songs on the soundtrack. Here’s the best part. Parlophone retained the rights to those tracks plus other tracks the Beatles recorded for the album thus, Capitol too had the rights. Capitol released A Hard Day’s Night as a single and used the other tracks on the Something New album. United Artists couldn’t copy the Hard Day’s Night album as recorded in England but they could use the songs in the movie on their soundtrack album that also included some George Martin tracks. In some ways I prefer this over Something New if only because A) It actually has A Hard Day’s Night on it unlike Something New and B) I like the single tracked And I Love Her better than the better known double track that is on the Capitol album. So there!

    The Beatles’ Story (Capitol):

    Finally, we get to Capitol’s last foray into making a buck. The Beatles didn’t have any new material as of October 1964 and Capitol couldn’t wait two months before they could release Beatles ‘65’ when it was still 1964. So they released a two record set of the Beatles’ biography. I don’t know who the narrator is but basically it’s a double album mishmash of Beatle interviews and song snippets. Apparently, kids ate it up because it got all the way to number seven on Billboard. Capitol messed up though because they forgot to stretch it into two different releases.

    And so, that’s a small example on the cashing in of the Beatles in 1964. It seemed like everything from records to Beatle wigs to towels used by John Lennon were on the market. Thank God they weren’t able to acquire Ringo Starr’s tonsils.

    Last edited by mrmustard615; September 16th, 2019 at 02:11 PM. Reason: editing
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  4. #24
    One advantage the Beatles had was their stage persona and offstage also in that they were interesting to watch. They were all naturally a bit quirky but in a good way, and they looked like they were having the time of their lives. Emotions are contagious, so it made you feel good to watch them. That's probably why their movies were successful, also.

  5. #25
    1964 EP and singles

    In between albums, the Beatles kept busy with a trip to America where they became regular guests on the Ed Sullivan show. They also recorded some tracks in Paris of all places, notably versions of And I Love Her and Can’t Buy Me Love which we’ll be covering in the next installment. There were some on album tracks in the meantime in the form of an EP and then late in the year when they were recording Beatles For Sale. Some interesting stuff to cover so away we go.

    Long Tall Sally: The title track of the four song EP. Paul McCartney did a great Little Richard imitation and you’ll hear that on several songs in the Beatles’ catalog so it made sense to start off with a Little Richard cover. And it’s a potboiler to be sure. I have to admit this is my favorite track on the EP and certainly one of the better covers. It’s accented with heavy sounding guitars and is very raucous, something the Beatles would do less as time wore on, at least until the Get Back sessions.

    I Call Your Name: This was clearly recorded for A Hard Days’ Night but it would be left off the album and put on this EP instead. It certainly sounds like a track that would fit in this period. The only original on the EP, this is a different take on an early Lennon composition. I like this track. It has the jangly sound that Harrison was beginning to get into. This was later covered in a old fashioned way by the Mamas and Papas.

    Slow Down: A Larry Williams cover. Capitol would release this as a single in September 1964. Not one of the Beatles’ better efforts, it not surprisingly was more of a minor hit, peaking at number 25 on Billboard. Some good lead guitar work and piano by George Martin but not much more to recommend.

    Matchbox: Did I mention the Beatles were big Carl Perkins fans? Well, the Beatles were big Carl Perkins fans. I honestly don’t think they did the best versions of his material. This one is an exception though. Ringo sings the lead and does a pretty good job with it. It moves along at a medium pace quite well.

    I Feel Fine: Now we get to the single from the Beatles For Sale period. This one is known for its use of feedback at the beginning. In one way it sounds like a Byrds folk-rock song with a harder edge. This one has two versions: The American with more reverb that you can hear on their 1962-1966 compilation, and the British version which is a more straight forward recording. I prefer the British version; I think it was how the Beatles’ intended it. I have a feeling Capitol had a habit of trying to water down songs to appease the American public. In the Beatles’ case, it probably wasn’t a smart idea.

    She’s a Woman: This is a McCartney potboiler and one of his best. He sings the song with gusto while Lennon’s spirited chords give the song a certain drive. I like this song and, along with the A-side, makes this one of the Beatles’ better two-sided singles.

    Well, that was a quickie, wasn’t it? . Next installment, we’ll have the Beatles’ third album, and the soundtrack to their first movie.
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  6. #26

    With the Beatles’ soaring popularity in England. United Artists signed the fab four to a movie contract which led to their classic movie, A Hard Day’s Night. The movie was a fictional account of a day in the life of the Beatles as they prepared for a television appearance. Wilfrid Bramell, of Stepsoe and Son fame, played the comic relief as Paul’s grandfather, but all four Beatles showed their cheeky humor as director Richard Lester essentially let them be themselves. A must see movie for the few who may not have seen it.

    As for the album in which half are the songs used in the film and the other half were recordings to compliment the album, it didn’t receive quite the glowing reviews the previous effort did, but it certainly stands up on its own. There is a certain maturity on parts of this album, particularly from Paul (though John would quickly catch up). I absolutely love this album.

    A Hard Day’s Night: The title track and my favorite early Beatles song, the title came from one of Ringo Starr’s many malapropisms (he also inspired titles for Eight Days a Week and Tomorrow Never Knows). It opens with that strange sounding chord (Fadd9 according to Harrison) and it never loses steam. This was my favorite all time song as a kid and it was also the song that made me a Beatles fanatic. So yes, there is a special place in my heart for this one.

    I Should Have Known Better: This was a favorite song of mine too as a kid. Lennon’s harmonica rings throughout. It’s a medium paced song that yearns to calm things down a little after the initial throes of Beatlemania, yet it keeps its cheerful tone. The Beatles sound happy here.

    If I Fell: A Lennon ballad. This song is unique with the two versions, the single track version you hear on the American soundtrack album and the movie, and the double track version that Capitol would release (and , I believe, Parlophone as well). This is one of the songs where McCartney’s voice cracks (on the double track), but unlike the previous two incidents on Love Me Do and Hold Me Tight, he recovers rather quickly. A beautifully crafted song.

    I’m Happy Just To Dance With You: This was given to Harrison to sing. A catchy tune, certainly not one of the great Beatles classics and honestly not all that different from the infamous Hold Me Tight. But I have to admit I like this, maybe it’s because of Harrison’s vocals. Maybe it’s the guitar work, but it kind of grows on you.

    And I Love Her: My second favorite song on the album and one of McCartney’s great ballads. The lyrics are relatively simple, but the acoustic guitars give the song a gentle feel. It also rates as one of McCartney’s , perhaps the first of many, great melodic tunes. A gentle tune that I like a lot.

    Tell Me Why: Obviously inspired by Motown, it has a gospel feel to it but, to be honest, I can’t get into this song the way I can with the others. Probably the weakest song on the soundtrack part of the album in my opinion.

    Can’t Buy Me Love: This one is peppy to say the least. I really liked this song as a kid, but it seems to have grown old a bit on me. Another song that has that sort of Motown beat. It’s well crafted and I love Harrison’s guitar solo, but probably my least favorite of the three singles off the album.

    Anytime At All: Now we’re into the tracks that were not meant for the movie (save one). There’s a distinct difference in these songs which seem to mirror the style done on I’ll Call Your Name. As for Anytime At All, I like how the main chorus blends into the verse. Another happy sounding song and a solid effort.

    I’ll Cry Instead: This was meant for the movie but for some reason it wasn’t used. A country tinged tune, not really a favorite of mine , but certainly catchy in its own way. Capitol released an abbreviated version of the song on Something New which made absolutely no sense to me. I think this is the longest song on the Parlophone album.

    Things We Said Today: Paul is really at his best on this album as two of his best pieces are on this album, And I Love Her being the other. This is an electric acoustic piece if that makes sense. The lyrics are introspective and sad. It’s the moodiest of the song that makes this a Beatles classic, albeit an underrated one.

    When I Get Home: This could be I Call Your Name’s twin. It’s a hard edged style that only Lennon could pull off. Probably meant more as filler, the Beatles do a great job at pulling this one off. Lennon would later argue that Ticket To Ride was the first heavy metal song; maybe he should have mentioned this one.

    You Can’t Do That: Released earlier as the B-side to Can’t Buy Me Love, this is another Motown themed song. Unlike Tell Me Why, this one works. This no doubt influenced Christopher Walken when he demanded more cowbell on Saturday Night Live because that percussion instrument is one of the dominant traits of this track. Lennon seems to sneer on this one, almost threatening actually. A good song.

    I’ll Be Back: The Beatles end this set with a rather sad, wistful tune. Lennon and McCartney are perfect in the harmonies and you can hear Lennon’s pain in the middle eight. This wouldn’t be released in America until December where it’s on Beatles ‘65’. I like this track.

    And so that ends the initial phase of Beatlemania as we know so… what? There’s more? Oh, okay

    Interlude: Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl 1964-1965

    Originally meant as a live album, probably in 1965, this disc, finally released in 1977, covers two concerts. As typical of the Beatles’ concerts, they opened with Twist and Shout. You can certainly hear some of the hysteria and screaming that always accompanied Beatles concerts. The sound quality is surprisingly good, especially given they often couldn’t maintain the beat because they couldn’t hear over the screaming fans. They no doubt were told this was being recorded for a possible album, at least in the 1964 concert. They certainly sound better than they would at Shea Stadium, at least with the part that was shown in Anthology.

    And there you have it. Three albums down and a bunch to go. See you next installment when the Beatles get tired of working eight days a week
    Last edited by mrmustard615; September 18th, 2019 at 01:38 PM.
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  7. #27

    After three well received albums, all with a certain amount of energy, this one seemed like a bit of a letdown. You can tell on the album cover how tired the Beatles look and it shows on the record. Some of the originals hint at the exhaustion the four of them must have felt after the frenzy of touring. Frankly, most of the covers on this album are, for the most part, uninspiring. I won’t call this a disappointment though as there some gems on this collection. A couple songs in fact are rather well thought out. So, not as good as the previous three LPs but it won’t be their worst either.

    No Reply: The album opens up well enough. Originally written for Tommy Quickly, the Beatles instead recorded it on their own. You can hear some of the progressions in Lennon’s lyrics from simple love songs to more introspective thinking. A dark song and a rather good one.

    I’m a Loser: One of my two favorite songs on the album, this is where the Bob Dylan influence can be heard. The Beatles had met Dylan during their first tour to America and they were introduced to the evil pleasures of marijuana. This song of course has nothing to do with anything unseemly, certainly at the time, but some of Lennon’s best lyrics can be heard on this track. Harrison’s Gretsch is prominent in the instrumental break. A Beatles’ classic.

    Baby’s in Black: This was done in the waltz style that Lennon especially liked. It’s also where the album begins to tail off a bit. This song is still decent though with its country influenced sound. And some pretty good harmonies by John and Paul make this a fairly listenable song.

    Rock n Roll Music: A workmanlike cover of the Chuck Berry classic. Really not a favorite Beatle track in my opinion, but on this album, it’s fairly par for the course. Not a bad song but not especially inspiring either.

    I’ll Follow the Sun: I think I mentioned in an earlier post that a 1960 recording is a little superior to the official track here. That may be a little unfair. Here, McCartney does it in a more quiet fashion and it does work quite well. I won’t say this is a favorite, mainly because it isn’t, but it is a pleasantly crafted tune.

    Mr. Moonlight: Okay, let’s make something clear. I hate this song. I didn’t like it when the Beatles we’re playing it in their live shows in Hamburg and I don’t like it here. Originally recorded by Dr. Feelgood and the Interns in 1962, this version sounds too much like something you’d hear from a lounge singer. Let’s put it this way; it fits Dr. Feelgood a lot better than it does the Beatles. By the way, I hate this song.

    Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey: Another song that was popular in the Beatles’ Hamburg repertoire. Why the Beatles merged these two songs together, I guess you would have to ask them but it works pretty well. I especially like the Hey Hey Hey Hey part of the song. McCartney has always been good aping Little Richard.

    Eight Days a Week: The best song on the album. Lennon claims the Beatles tried too hard to make this a single and failed and yet, Capitol released it as a single in the US and it went straight to number one. And it deserved it. It’s possibly the most cheerful song on an album that is a little depressing overall. I get why Lennon didn’t like the song as it does sound a little like a Beatles by numbers song and yet, the rhythm of the piece is enough to make this my favorite song on the album.

    Words of Love: A Buddy Holly cover that strangely enough sounds just like the original. It’s an okay song basically, but it isn’t something I’d jump over the moon for.

    Honey Don’t: And now we’re at the Carl Perkins section of the album. This is a slight slower pace than the Carl Perkins original and Ringo sings it with his usual positive style even prodding George to do his lead guitar break much as he did on Boys way back. Not a great tune but better than the other Perkins cover on the album.

    Every Little Thing: On this tune, you can hear the Beatles trying to sound a little more mature musically but I don’t think it works too well here. One thing I’ve noticed about this album at this point. The album as a whole seems to lack the energy that was on the first three albums. This song seems to highlight the lack of enthusiasm on the album as a whole.

    I Don’t Want To Spoil the Party: Another country tinged song and much needed. This is one of the better songs on the album. Capitol would use this as the flip side to Eight Days a Week. It’s a nice piece of lyrics by Lennon and again some good harmonies.

    What You’re Doing: I have to admit I wasn’t that crazy about this song at first but it kind of grows on you after a while. Considered filler material by McCartney, it still works pretty well with a nice piano break near the end.

    Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby: The other Perkins cover on the album and probably the second worst final track on a Beatles’ album, second only to Goodnight on the White Album. George sings this one and not very well which is a shame as he was certainly the biggest Carl Perkins fan in the band.

    So are the Beatles in a slump and will they get out of it? Spoiler alert: The next album has been considered the weakest of all the Beatles albums by some. Do I agree? Find out in the next installment
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  8. #28
    ^ I remember a lot of those songs being used in the Beatles animated TV series.

  9. #29
    They likely were. The Beatles cartoon series started in 1965 when this album was still relatively new. They must have had it on for three years because they also had Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane later on. There's a bunch of these cartoons on YouTube I believe.
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  10. #30
    Now it’s time to review the Help! album but first a few messages from our sponsor… cheesy grin

    Interlude: 1965 singles and B-sides

    Yes it Is: The flipside to Ticket To Ride, this is an early step into experimentation by the Beatles. The song is known especially for Harrison’s pedal guitar work. In fact he makes the guitar sound like it’s almost being played backwards. If this is the sequel to This Boy, I think this is an improvement. It’s a great three part harmony. It’s also another example of Lennon’s rapidly maturing lyrics. I really like this track.

    I’m Down: The flip side of Help!, this was one of McCartney’s potboilers. Also not the strongest Beatle B-side, but it does have its merits. McCartney is obviously influenced by the Beach Boys on this one though I don’t think any of them could equal their vocals or harmonies, good as the Beatles were at it. Not a great song but there is a lot of energy which makes up for a lot.

    We Can Work It Out: This song and its flip, Day Tripper, were recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions. This is a very mature song written mostly by McCartney but Lennon contributes to the middle eight. There is a great contrast between McCartney’s optimism (We can work it out) and Lennon’s pessimist (life is very short…). Add the distinctive harmonium by Lennon and you have one of the Beatles’ classic songs. This is probably the first Beatles song I remember hearing on the radio. I would have been four then. I like this song a lot.

    Day Tripper: Possibly the most identifiable Beatles riff opens this song. Lennon intended this as a drug song he would admit later but I imagine the powers that be didn’t pick up on it because it was never banned. I do know this, the catchy guitar riff and the amped up sound makes this one of my all-time favorite Beatle tunes. Lennon plays the classic riff as well as the guitar solo. I love this song more every time I hear it.

    And so here we are to the main feature. The Beatles recorded seven songs for the soundtrack and added seven more tracks to complete the album. The film didn’t quite get the accolades A Hard Day’s Night did, but it is one heck of a romp. The surviving Beatles, in 1995, admitted they had a lot of fun doing the film and drove their ever so patient director, Richard Lester, crazy. As for the album, critics rated it a disappointment. So what do I think, well let’s see…


    Help!: Disguised as your typical Beatles pop song, this song showcases how Lennon can express himself in oh so many ways. He says he wrote this during his “Fat Elvis” period and it is, in a sense, a cry for help. I think I hear some Dylan influences here. Lennon was the most influenced by Dylan and you’ll hear much of that on this album and on Rubber Soul in particular. A good way to start off the album.

    The Night Before: I remember this song in the movie. This was the scene where they are being defended by tanks if I recall. Anyway, I like the electric piano work in this and there is a nice lead guitar by Harrison. This is a nice track.

    You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away: This is definitely Lennon doing Dylan from the acoustic sound all the way to the vocals. A nice flute solo at the end as well as the Beatles are beginning to experiment with more instruments. I find it average by Beatles standards but I can see why people would really like this one.

    I Need You: A Harrison composition, it’s a simple song lyrically speaking, but I like the melancholic mood that isn’t unlike Don’t Bother Me. I feel a little more of a folk-rock vibe even though the guitar pedal work is pretty much electric. I would rate this an above average George Harrison tune.

    Another Girl: First a disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of what is known as garage rock. Why do I mention this? Well, garage rock is known for its minor chords, particularly from E-minor to A. And that’s the charm of this McCartney tune. He manages a quite melodic tune with primarily those two chords. Yes, of course he uses other chords too, it is the Beatles after all, but it’s the E-minor/A progression that I remember the most. A favorite song on the album.

    You’re Gonna Lose That Girl: Another song that I like. A straightforward Beatle tune for the most part, but there is some play with the percussion. Ringo plays bongos on this track and you can hear them clearly at the end. Some nice background harmonies by Paul and George.

    Ticket To Ride: My favorite song on the album and a Beatle classic. This is the song Lennon bragged was the first heavy metal song (not true of course; the Kinks certainly would have something to say about this). What it does feature, besides the heavy jangly riffs, is some of the best drumming from Ringo, starting with a drum roll after the first chorus to one simple drumbeat after the last one. A perfect song and possibly a precursor to the heavier parts of Rubber Soul.

    Act Naturally: Now we’re on side two and the tracks that we’re recorded outside the movie and, perhaps it is here why critics aren’t crazy about this album. We start with a Buck Owens cover that Capitol would release as Yesterday’s flip. Ringo sings this earnestly and seems to be in his element, but the country flavored tune doesn’t really impress me much to be honest.

    It’s Only Love: This is one of two cuts that Capitol left out for their Rubber Soul release. It also is the one that doesn’t seem to fit. Still, I really like this song. Even though Lennon doesn’t sound especially enthused, it’s a fairly melodic tune with some folk elements and there’s a nice pedal effect right at the end. Probably my favorite song on side two.

    You Like Me Too Much: Harrison’s other contribution and it pains me to say that this song is just weak. Possibly my least favorite of all of Harrison’s songs, the lyrics seem way too simple and even the piano solo from George Martin can’t save this. The biggest disappointment on the album.

    Tell Me What You See: Unless you count this one. Ringo plays with some different percussion instruments and it probably saves the track from being a complete disaster, but honestly, this song kind of bores me to death. McCartney admitted this was used for filler and it shows.

    I’ve Just Seen a Face: The other track pulled by Capitol. This one fits in better with the folk-rock leanings of Rubber Soul. This is McCartney’s foray into folk influenced music and while Lennon was trying to ape Dylan, McCartney seems more influenced by more traditional English folk sounds. I sense he may have been influenced by Donovan, with whom he’d become good friends with. Nice tune.

    Yesterday: This is Paul McCartney- solo artist at work. He recorded this with only an acoustic guitar and George Martin added the string quartet. This is the most covered song in history. As for me, I think the song is a little too light for my taste but I have to admit, I like the melody as well as the chord changes. It’s a fun song to play on guitar. The lyrics are also quite good but, again, it really isn’t my speed.

    Dizzy Miss Lizzie: Okay, first of all I didn’t especially hate the song, not that I thought this Larry Williams cover was exactly a classic, until I saw the Dick Clark abortion known as the Birth of the Beatles. And in that movie made for television, you learn that the whenever the Beatles had to play a song, whether it was Lennon wearing his toilet seat or Lennon eulogizing his friend Stu, they rock n roll with, you guessed it, Dizzy Miss Lizzie. Every time I hear this song, I feel like Alex in A Clockwork Orange when he is forced to listen to Beethoven’s Ninth. MAKE IT STOP!

    So what’s my final take on the album? Well I look at it as two albums. The side one soundtrack, which is pretty damned good, and side two which is, well, a bit mixed. I guess if forced to choose between this and Beatles For Sale, I’d probably take this one only because of side one though, technically, Beatles For Sale is a little better overall.

    So that’s it for the Beatlemania part of the era. Stay tuned for my next installment as we dissect Rubber Soul
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    And check out Gertie's blog on her favorite top twenty-five albums between 1955-2017 Hidden Content

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