My Ranking Of The Beatles’ Movies

the beatles movies

One of my favourite things about The Beatles is their movies. They’re not cinematic masterpieces, or anything, but they have a certain loveable charm about them. Watching their movies has become something of a ritual for me, and I’ve loved them ever since I’ve been a fan!

So today, I thought I’d rank The Beatles’ movies in order, from least-favourite to favourite. Of course, this is only my opinion. But anyway…

5. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

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Paul made a lot of good decisions in the late-’60s. Like Sgt Pepper, or his distrust of Allen Klein. Magical Mystery Tour was not one of these. The film has the honour of being the only Beatles film I dislike.

The movie makes no sense, whatsoever. I’m still yet to work out what the wizards are about – did they plan the mystery tour, or are they there for no reason at all? And what about the “view” during the ‘Flying’ sequence? What filmic purpose does the stripper fulfil? Who are the people on the bus supposed to be? I presume much of the comedy consists of The Beatles’ inside jokes, but as the viewer is not privy to these, they are left to wonder what on Earth is going on. The movie’s considerable lack of a storyline, however, is the film’s most serious downfall. This does not help the consistency of the film, and much of, if not all, of the scenes seem to have been filmed for the sake of it. Its incoherent & amateurish atmosphere made it quite cringeworthy to watch in parts, and I found it to mostly be a product of badly-made self-indulgence.

There are, however, some highlights. I’ve always loved the ‘Blue Jay Way’ song sequence, for the wonderfully-psychedelic camera work, and the fact that the choreography in the ‘Your Mother Should Know’ scene actually worked is pretty cool, too. And, of course, the music is simply wonderful – boasting tracks like ‘I Am The Walrus’ and ‘Fool On The Hill’ – and the accompanying album is perhaps one of The Beatles’ best. However, I felt the positives were somewhat outweighed, and that its status as “one of the most expensive home movies ever” is justified.

4. Let It Be (1970)

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I really like Let It Be. The Beatles must be the only band to have such a fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring such a seminal part of their history behind them, and for that, I’m very grateful!

There is no denying that the film is incredibly difficult to watch in parts. Over its course, you watch the band fall apart before your eyes. You see Paul become more domineering, and more desperate to keep The Beatles alive. You see George become increasingly disillusioned with the band. You see the affect that John’s heroin addiction at the time was having. And oh, I felt so much pity on poor Ringo, who’s clearly fed up with the other three’s almost-constant fighting.

However, the good moments are really good. Classics like ‘Two Of Us’, ‘Across The Universe’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Oh! Darling’ – and even tunes like ‘Octopus’s Garden’ – are created within the film, and watching their evolution is fascinating viewing. And of course, the last 20 minutes of the film consists of the famous Rooftop Concert, one of the most iconic moments in music history. The Beatles’ live performance is stunning, especially considering that they’d been confined to the studio for the previous three years. The magic between the four is enthralling to watch, and the reactions of the surrounding residents are incredibly interesting, too. I find it sad that the only way you can watch the film currently is on bad-quality bootleg, though it’s a must-watch for any Beatles fan!

3. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

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A Hard Day’s Night is arguably the best Beatles film. Rotten Tomatoes ranks it as the fifth best film of all time, and it has been credited with inventing both the mockumentary and the music clip. It has also been said to have influenced the way that movies and music performances were filmed, too. The Beatles’ humour is at its sharpest and wittiest, their music at its most joyfully poppy and the band at the height of their teenage-orientated success.

The Beatles had never acted before A Hard Day’s Night, but there are so many great moments within the film. My favourite is perhaps this scene featuring George – the humour is so sarcastically cynical and deadpan, and it’s absolutely hilarious! Other favourites of mine include the scene in which John plays with a toy boat in the bath (so ridiculously silly that it actually works) and the scene where The Beatles visit a club, and the concert at the end of the film. The movie’s influence on music clips is also clear to to the modern viewer – the various techniques used in the ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ sequences make for a swift departure from miming the songs, which was commonplace at the time. The faux-documentary presentation of the storyline also invented the “mockumentary”, and the irony and sheer ridiculousness of some of the band’s antics clearly influenced future films, such as This Is Spinal Tap. And of course, the music is great, too. The movie’s accompanying album of the same name was the only Beatles album to consist entirely of Lennon/McCartney songs, and though they are still reasonably poppy and “people-pleasing”, it’s clear that The Beatles were beginning to become the influential pop-culture icons they were to end up.

I had the pleasure of seeing A Hard Day’s Night in a cinema, last year, in HD and surround sound. It was a truly amazing experience, and I discovered a new love for the film. Perhaps the only reason it isn’t higher in my ranking is that it lacks the nostalgia that 2 & 1 have attached with them, for me.

2. Help! (1965)

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Help! – The Beatles’ second foray into the film industry – is not technically as good as A Hard Day’s Night. The humour isn’t quite as intelligent, and there’s a faint junket vibe wafting around it. However, I’ve always loved it.

The film, at various points, almost leaps off the screen in its vibrant technicolour. The Beatles’ apartment (furnished with a modernist aesthetic still considered stylish today), in particular, is displayed in comically bright hues of green, blue and orange. When an Eastern cult – the central villains of the movie – attempt to douse Ringo in their sacrificial paint, a river of red spills over the image. The stunning whites of the Swiss Alps glint in the ‘Ticket To Ride’ sequence, and the blue, sunny skies of the Bahamas provide contrast. Leading heroine’s Ahme’s costumes are shown in shades of rose-pink, turquoise and glimmering silver. The innovative and influential filming of scenes such as the ‘Another Girl’ song sequence feature a hint of proto-psychedelia, highlighting the changing times. The Beatles’ music featured in the film shows the end of their early era, predicting the changes that would come with the soon-to-follow Rubber Soul. The movie includes tracks like the folk-rock genius of ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, the keyboard-driven rock of ‘The Night Before’, the beautifully guitar-driven ‘You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’ and, of course, ‘Help!’ itself, and the A-side of the accompanying album is one of my favourites of all time. And whilst the humour isn’t quite as intelligent as that of its predecessor, A Hard Day’s Night, the movie certainly has more than its fair share of witticisms and proto-Python skits. Some wonderfully-funny one-liners stemmed from the script, and of course, the entire film itself is a product of satire. It’s hilarious!

Help!, all in all, is a ridiculously funny and influential movie, showcasing some of The Beatles’ best tunes and foreshadowing their future direction. It was my original favourite Beatles film, and I must have watched it more than twenty times over the past two years!

1. Yellow Submarine (1968)

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Yellow Submarine, in my opinion, is something that the other Beatles films aren’t; a cinematic masterpiece. And though the band were barely involved with it – only featuring for a few minutes at the end of the film – it has become my favourite Beatles movie.

Perhaps the most endearing point about the movie, for me, is its animation. Even more colourful than the bouncy technicolour of Help!, and psychedelically surrealistic & wildly chaotic, the movie is still considered mindblowing viewing over forty-five years after its release. Featuring highlights like the bold pop-art of the ‘Only A Northern Song’ scene, the darting flapper-throwback of the ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, the contrasting minimalism of the ‘Nowhere Man’ scene and the futurism of the ‘It’s All Too Much’ sequence, the film is unarguably one of, if not the, most beautiful films of all time. The music, too, is exquisite – though much of the film consists of previously-released masterpieces such as ‘All You Need Is Love’ and the aforementioned ‘Nowhere Man’, the original songs are mostly darkly psychedelic, creative gems, including ‘Hey Bulldog’ and (the also aforementioned) ‘Only A Northern Song’ and ‘It’s All Too Much’. The humour, though overshadowed by the extraordinary visuals and music, is also stunningly funny. Many of the jokes consist of Beatle-themed puns, which any Beatles fan will appreciate, though many of the other jokes are wonderfully witty and sharp. The movie is clearly a product of its era, centring around a message of peace, love and good music. Some may argue that this is a negative, though I disagree. In a way, it is such an essence of its time that it hasn’t dated at all.

Yellow Submarine is a deserved classic. Innovative, mindblowing and a work of art in a way the other Beatles films are not, it is an exquisite piece of film history. The film was my first Beatles movie, and I’ve loved it ever since.

What’s your favourite Beatles film? How would you rank them? Be sure to tell me in the comments!

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My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 4 – ‘Help!’

Sorry for not posting in two weeks. But I shall make up for such crimes with this very cute picture!

Sorry for not posting in two weeks. But I shall make up for such crimes with this very cute picture! Martha, my dear…

Sorry. Boy, I’ve been a naughty girl. I have not posted in two weeks. I have a large school assignment (or “Independent Research Project”) due this Thursday, and I was working on it for most of last weekend. (I also went to see a groovy film called God Help The Girl, and did a good dose of record shopping beforehand. Let’s just say one of the LPs I bought is white, double and is the subject of a relatively low number…!) I’ve still got a bit to do on the project, but I have found a bit of time to blog today, as well! Yay! So that’s my excuse, and why this month’s edition of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ could seem early…

But anyway, this month we have Help!, the second Beatles studio album I ever listened to, and the first LP I ever bought (almost a year ago). (I actually bought a box set of Beatles records called The Beatles Box slightly beforehand, but I always count Help! as my first actual LP.) I think I listened to soon after watching the film Help!, which is not surprising ‘cos Help! is my favourite Beatles film. (The music — I love ’65 Beatles –, the technicolour, the ski scene, Ahme, that flat…) The album made number five in my ranking from earlier this year.

My copy of Help! is possibly the most valuable in my collection. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s worth a bit. But anyway, here’s a picture.

help one

Wait — tangerinetrees99 has TWO copies of Help!?! Let me explain…

The copy on the left (the newer-looking stereo pressing) was the one I obtained first. But it is not the one that I think might be quite valuable. Why? It’s a 2012 pressing, which I purchased late last year (on the 8th of December, in fact — RIP John 😦 ). And it doesn’t play. Again, why? Well… About a year ago, we purchased an original 1960s stereogram, and that is when I began collecting records. But me being very naive and knowing absolutely zilch about vinyl at the time, I thought all Beatles LPs were going to be priced well-off into the 100s (AUD) and that I’d never be able to buy an original pressing. So I purchased a new pressing from a record shop (not the one I go to now — I was yet to find that one) on that horrible anniversary and I couldn’t wait to get home to play it. The needle in the record player was completely original, and having previously played a few records on the player and experiencing no issues, felt no need to replace it. So anyway, I get home and play the record. ‘Help!’ plays perfectly. But about halfway through ‘The Night Before’, the LP begins to skip like mad. Ditto with ‘I Need You’, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, ‘Another Girl’, ‘You’re Going To Lose That Girl’, ‘Ticket To Ride’… We obviously ended up replacing the needle, but Side One of the record is forever ruined (stupid, naive me)… Not that it matters anymore, though!

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Here’s the actual cover of the record. You can see how much I payed for it — ha ha! Apart from some light discolouring, the cover is in really good condition. And the LP is in mono! Most times for me, mono triumphs stereo by miles, so hurrah! (I didn’t know about the difference between the mono/stereo mixes at the time, though…)

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Here’s the back of the LP — in even better condition than the front! If you look carefully, you will see that I have landed myself a UK pressing! And you have probably already noticed the backflaps, meaning that my copy is first edition. Good job, me. I’ve seen pretty much the same LP going for a lot more than $50AUD on eBay, so even better job, me… My Help! was owned by the same person who owned my With The Beatles, funnily enough — he/she (I assume the latter) must have sold his/her LPs to my record shop…

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Here is a close-up on the catalogue number/backflaps/John. Wow — my Help! was a very lucky fluke. Very…. First-edition. UK. Mono. (Even though the earlier stereo pressings are worth more.). Very lucky.

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Here’s the cover with the inner sleeve/actual record. I have the original EMITEX sleeve in mint condition! How cool is that! “Clark” must have been very careful with her records (as is also shown with my With The Beatles).

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And the vinyl itself! On black and gold label! Hurrah! Told you it was first edition! Nice break from the orange, isn’t it? This is Side Two. Side One is in mint condition, and plays absolutely perfectly. (Though everything we play on our record player crackles — due to the age of the stereogram.) This side has a scratch through ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’, though I’m very lucky that it doesn’t affect the sound at all! Probably due to that wonderful record-cleaner stuff that we use…

And there we go! One of my most valuable records in a pillow you never gave me (bonus points if you know what song I’m referencing!)…

Haven’t got much else to write. I promise I’ll be back to normal blogging schedule next week (I’ll have handed in my assignment by then). Anyway, it’s only TWO MORE WEEKS to two whole months of Summer holidays and the end of the school year! Yay! I’ll blog as much as I can in the holidays, to make up for posts I have missed. Next week, though, will be a sad post. It will be the 29th of November. We miss you, George.

Have a wonderful day/night/afternoon/morning/weekend/week/[insert period of time], and good day sunshine until I post next! 🙂

 

My Ranking of The Beatles’ Albums

The Beatles with four of their five first LPs. One would assume the photo was taken in between August (Help!) and December (Rubber Soul), 1965.

The Beatles with four of their five first LPs. One would assume the photo was taken in between August (Help!) and December (Rubber Soul), 1965.

A note to begin with: The sun is up, the sky is blue (it’s beautiful and so are you / dear Prudence — why won’t you come out to play?), ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’ is only one hundred and thirty six views away from its thousandth view (well, it’ll be even closer by the time you read this) and COMMENTS HAVE FINALLY BEEN ENABLED ON THIS BLOG! Yay! So be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line, stating point of view! 

I had this idea first a few months ago (about a month after I started this blog. It’s funny to think that it’s four months old — not that old in the scheme of things, I guess, but it feels more like last month that I created my WordPress account and posted my ‘Welcome’ post, as opposed to over a season), and I thought I’d do it today! I hadn’t actually listened to all of The Beatles’ studio albums at that point (well, I knew most of the songs, but anyway), and I’m listening to the only one I haven’t yet done so yet right now. I will not be including Magical Mystery Tour in this post as I believe it is not a proper studio album (instead a Capitol Records butcher job of the songs off the film and the band’s 1967 — that’s not to say I don’t love the album 🙂 ), and please remember this is only my humble opinion. Oh, and please remember that a worst ranking on a Beatles album ranking list in my case still makes it better than pretty much everything ever recorded (with maybe two or three exceptions). Pretty much everything. So I still love it dearly, but just not as much as number one!

Okay, okay, yes, yes — I’ll shut up now and get on with the ranking. Here we go!

12. Yellow Submarine

yellow submarine

I feel The Beatles (or Apple) really should have gone ahead with their original idea for the release of the Yellow Submarine track — a double EP, as with the Parlophone release of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. The songs ‘Yellow Submarine’ (whilst it probably needed to be included on the album for obvious reasons) and ‘All You Need Is Love’ (though I believe the ‘Yellow Submarine’ version is different from the better-known one) had already been included on different albums/singles/EPs, and did we really need the classical George Martin Orchestra bits on the album? This is, in fact, the only one I haven’t listened to in full before now (I opted for the better — IMO — Yellow Submarine Songtrack) — I have watched Yellow Submarine a billion-trillion (okay, maybe not quite that much) times, though, so I’ve of course heard them before. Actually physically LISTENING to the album does make me think that Apple didn’t need to follow in the direction of the Capitol butchers [insert certain famous R. Whitaker-photographed cover here] and create a soundtrack in the style of the US A Hard Day’s Night and Help! albums, but it also takes me back to that Spring day a year ago when I first watched Yellow Submarine. I remember sitting in our top room (the DVD player with the main TV wouldn’t actually work), absorbed by psychedelic masterpiece animation (‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘It’s All Too Much’ come to mind) and the middle-era Beatles tunes, many of which I hadn’t heard before (the only album I owned was 1, and I’d only listened as far as The Fabs’ other well-known hits and Rubber Soul).

Despite my criticism of the inclusion of the GMO soundtrack and songs which had already been on other releases, I absolutely love the originals! ‘Hey Bulldog’, ‘It’s All Too Much’ and ‘Only A Northern Song’ are some of my favourite Beatles songs, and I don’t want to imagine life without them — thus I don’t want to imagine life with the Yellow Submarine album, either!

DID YOU KNOW? Yellow Submarine was the first album to feature the “devil horns” hand symbol on the cover.

BEST SONGS: ‘Hey Bulldog’, ‘It’s All Too Much’, ‘Only A Northern Song’

11. A Hard Day’s Night

a hard day's night

Despite the above being the background image of this blog, A Hard Day’s Night is far from my favourite Beatles album. Why, you ask? Here is my reasoning:

Those of you who know me will know I’m a alt./indie/folk/psych rock fiend when I’m not listening to The Beatles. The Beatles usually satisfy this love — much of their early/late-era stuff rocks really hard, and they were of course comprised of folk and psych rock in their middle era (my favourite). Their only album that I find too poppy is A Hard Day’s Night. Whilst the album is made up completely of Lennon/McCartney compositions, their songwriting hadn’t really started to mature yet, and it’s still all I-love-her-and-she-loves-me (excepting ‘I’ll Cry Instead’, which was probably The Fab Four’s first example of confessional lyricism). I’m not a huge fan of the title song, which I find too poppy in particular, and ‘And I Love Her’ doesn’t have the bluesy Lennon touch (though I think he contributed) that other McCartney ballads have (i.e. ‘Michelle’), and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ I feel needs more pizzazz (I do actually like these songs, though). So I’m probably being a bit controversial citing a so-called “leap” in The Beatles’ career one of my least favourite Beatles albums, but who cares? There are actually some songs on the above that I love dearly, which will be listed below.

DID YOU KNOW? A Hard Day’s Night is the only Beatles album to only comprise of Lennon/McCartney compositions. The next all-original album — Rubber Soul — also had two Harrison compositions.

BEST SONGS: ‘I Should Have Known Better’, ‘Tell Me Why’, ‘If I Fell’, ‘Things We Said Today’ and ‘You Can’t Do That’.

10. With The Beatles

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Whilst I think this beats the album below in the covers department (except here in Australia. Ugh. The Australian cover is atrocious. EMI Australia is the Capitol of the record-cover world), I don’t like it as much  I actually rank it equal to the below (you’ll have to wait to see what it is), but one had to go before. I don’t think the covers are as electrifying as the ones on the below, but then my favourite Beatles cover is on With The Beatles (it’s ‘Money (That’s What I Want’). I do genuinely love this album, but I do prefer The Beatles’ later stuff, so unfortunately it ended up here.

DID YOU KNOW? With The Beatles includes the song ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, which was the Rolling Stones’ first hit. John and Paul finished the song off in the corner of a room whilst Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were talking.

BEST SONGS: ‘It Won’t Be Long’, ‘Not A Second Time’, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’, ‘Please Mr Postman’

9. Please Please Me

beatles please please me

This is what ‘the below’ is! Please Please Me! You can probably see what I mean about With The Beatles having a better cover. It certainly ain’t Revolver. And I can see why The Beatles were going to parody it for the cover of Get Back-turn-Let It Be. And Ringo has a quiff.

But seriously (without out-of-the-blue remarks concerning Richard Starkey’s choice of hair styling in the early 1960s), this album is a Beatlemaniac’s secret weapon whilst trying to point out that The Beatles were a rock band, end of story. They rock dead hard on this album. And no wonder – they had come straight from The Cavern and Hamburg!

DID YOU KNOW? Most of Please Please Me was recorded within a marathon 12-hour session. John had a cold that day, and promptly lost his voice after the recording of ‘Twist and Shout’ (the last song to be recorded).

BEST SONGS: ‘Please Please Me’, ‘There’s A Place’, ‘Baby It’s You’ (I have liked the Shirlees’ version for years, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered The Beatles did it), ‘I Saw Her Standing There’.

8. Beatles For Sale

beatles for sale

This is, personally, one of my favourite Beatles covers, but of course the stupid cover butcher-rers over here in the Southern Hemisphere had to ruin it by creating a rubbish replacement. More on that later, though.

This is actually one of my favourite Beatles albums, despite it being 8. If you asked me tomorrow, it could be in a completely different place. It’s got some of my favourite Lennon compositions (‘I’m A Loser’, ‘I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party’), some of the most beautiful harmonies John and Paul ever did (‘Baby’s In Black’) and of course the amazing drums in ‘What You’re Doing’!

DID YOU KNOW? Beatles For Sale (along with With The Beatles) was one of the two albums to have an alternate cover in Australia. Apparently John actually wrote a letter to EMI in protest, but alas to no avail. C’mon EMI Australia – listen to the artist!

BEST SONGS: ‘No Reply’, ‘I’m A Loser’, ‘Baby’s In Black’, ‘I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party’, ‘What You’re Doing’

7. Let It Be

LetItBe

I love this album, but it’s mish-mashy. And it has my least-favourite Beatles song (the Spector version of ‘The Long And Winding Road’. Despite the fact he is a crazed murderer who let off guns in recording sessions at John’s ‘Lost Weekend’, I love his work on John and George’s stuff and most of Let It Be. But ‘The Long And Winding Road’ should have been left as it was.) on it. But it has ‘Across The Universe’! And the album version of ‘Let It Be’ (which I think is far superior to the single)! And ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’! And ‘For You Blue’! And ‘Get Back’!

DID YOU KNOW? Though it was the last album to be released, Let It Be was the second-to-last album to be recorded. Abbey Road was actually recorded after.

BEST SONGS: ‘Across The Universe’, ‘Let It Be’ (album version), ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘For You Blue’, ‘Get Back.

6. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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I know this is supposed to be The Beatles’ best album. But I beg to differ. I don’t feel it possesses the same magic that I feel a certain other Beatles psychedelic masterpiece does. But I still love this album. I listened to it the other day, and it was better than I remembered it. It did give me that euphoric feeling I get sometimes whilst listening to the Fabs, but not as strong as some other albums. But anyway, the thing is beautiful. Completely and utterly beautiful. And that is all.

DID YOU KNOW? The crowd of people on the cover include Bob Dylan, Stu Sutcliffe, Mae West and Shirley Temple. John suggested having Jesus and Hitler, but that didn’t happen. Gandhi was originally on the cover, but was painted out at the request of EMI.

BEST SONGS: ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’, ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘A Day In The Life’

5. Help!

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Help! was the second Beatles studio album and the first actual LP I bought. And yes, I prefer it to Sgt. Pepper — but as I said above, if you asked me tomorrow, it’d probably be a different story.

But however, The Beatles were maturing, and the film soundtrack side in particular is impeccable. Everything from ‘Help!’ to ‘The Night Before’, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ to ‘Ticket To Ride’ was of incredibly high calibre, and breaking boundaries like never before. The second side, not so much, but c’mon – it has ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’!

DID YOU KNOW? The song ‘Help!’ was actually a cry for help from John, who was depressed, trapped by Beatlemania and unsure of the path of his life at the time. He later called this period (going from about late ’64 to late ’65 — poor thing) his ‘Fat Elvis Period’. Some of his best work (i.e. ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, ‘Nowhere Man’) came from this period, but at a cruel cost.

BEST SONGS: The entire first side.

4. The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album)

the white album

 

This would have been far from my favourite Beatles album if you’d asked me a couple of months ago. Then I went to the White Album Concert, and was utterly blown away! It came further and further to the top of this list, and it made it to here!

Everything (well, nearly everything) in this album is good. And the thing is that there’s something for everybody. Whether you like hard-rocking proto-metal (‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Helter Skelter’), Eric Clapton (‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’), soft and hypnotic fingerpicking (‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Blackbird’), satirical social commentary (‘Piggies’), Paul’s — quote John — ‘granny s**t’ (‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’) or even 9-minute experimental avant-garde-ness that involves a monotone voice reciting ‘number nine, number nine’ and Yoko Ono saying ‘You become naked’ (‘Revolution 9’), there’s something for you. And then there’s more!

DID YOU KNOW? The White Album includes John’s only solo Beatle track, ‘Julia’. Paul had been recording stuff by himself and releasing it as The Beatles as early as Help!.

BEST SONGS: ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Long Long Long’, ‘Cry Baby Cry’, ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Helter Skelter’, ‘Blackbird’– too many to list. That’s the beauty of a double album.

3. Abbey Road

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I used to always think of Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper as part one and part two. Both experimental, both ahead-of-their-time — but I have always preferred Abbey Road. As with below (you’ll see what it is), I first heard it on a plane. I now own it on CD, and I listened to it yesterday — for what seems like the first time, properly. The bass lines sounded impeccable, it sounded like The Beatles were actually in the room singing ‘Because’, The Abbey Road Medley was better than it was before (a feat I thought impossible!)! Just, wow!

DID YOU KNOW? The last song The Beatles recorded together was ‘The End’ (the second-to-last track on AR, if you count ‘Her Majesty’ as a proper track), rather fittingly. Apparently it was pretty much the only session after John got together with Yoko that he attended without her (according to Geoff Emerick).

BEST SONGS: ‘Come T Just do yourself a favour and listen to the entire album.

2. Rubber Soul

rubber soul

Words (not even THE word – pun intended) cannot explain my love for this album. I heard this dead early in my Beatles fandom — only a month after I bought my first album, 1. As I said above, I first heard this on a plane. I hadn’t heard any of the songs before (excepting ‘Norwegian Wood’), and was I in for a treat! Some of the band’s most obscure numbers quickly became some of my favourites. And let’s just say it changed my life almost as much as 1 did. It’s my goal, in fact, to cover the entirety of this album. So far, I’ve done ‘The Word’, and I should be doing ‘I’m Looking Through You’ next.

DID YOU KNOW? The undistorted, cropped version of the cover (possibly my favourite picture of The Beatles) resurfaced after over 47 years early last year. It is still unknown whether it is genuine, but I like to think it is.

BEST SONGS: See ‘Best Songs’ for Abbey Road — or in other words (coincidentally, ‘The Word’ is playing), do yourself a favour and listen to the entire album.

And now for number one (drum roll please, Ringo)…

1. Revolver

Revolver

From the ‘one, two, three, four’ mutterings of ‘Taxman’ to the trippy piano outro of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, Revolver is undoubtedly a masterpiece. And in my opinion, it’s The Beatles’ best album. I first listened to this album (after being mind-blown by ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ two months earlier) in February, after bribing myself with it as a treat at the end of a particularly probing school day. And I was hooked. But nothing — nothing in this world AT ALL — quite affected me like a casual listening to my mono 1st-edition LP of the above one Tuesday evening. About halfway through ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, something hit me. An intense feeling of insane, euphoric love. That emotion continued through the rest of the album, whether it be to the acidic overdrive of ‘She Said She Said’ (my favourite Beatles song), to the clavichord in ‘For No One’, the chorusing in ‘Yellow Submarine’, to the tight, harmonised ‘oohs’ in ‘Here, There and Everywhere’. Of course I had thought before that The Beatles were the best thing that ever happened to the music world, or maybe even the world in general if I was feeling particularly ambitious. But it was only then for the first time that I actually knew it.

DID YOU KNOW? Suggested names for Revolver involved AbracadabraBeatles on Safari, Magic Circles and After Geography. Revolver was decided on three weeks before the release.

BEST SONGS: I’m not even going to tell you to do yourself a favour. It’s essential to your existence that you listen to this album. Every single song on this album is mind-blowing, IMO. Every. Single. Song.

 

So there you go — that’s my opinion. And sorry, that was insanely long (and I’ve been writing this for nearly two hours). But I hope you read it, and I promise I won’t go that long again. Have a fab rest of your day, wherever you are, and good day sunshine! 🙂

My Favourite Pictures of John W. Lennon

Any guesses who my favourite Beatle is?? Well, I think it's been said before on here...

Any guesses who my favourite Beatle is?? Well, I think it’s been said before on here…

Well, good morning, good morning (or afternoon…or evening…) to all who are reading!

Still beautiful weather here in Adelaide! It was slightly cold during the week, but it has warmed up again for the weekend. Tomorrow it’s meant to be 25, but then it goes back down to 17 for the rest of the week. But this next week’s going to be good, ‘cos it’s my birthday on Thursday! Yes, I was born on the 11th of September… But ‘Love Me Do’ was recorded that day in 1962, and recording for With The Beatles and filming for Magical Mystery Tour commenced in ’63 and ’67, respectively, and it’s Ethiopian New Year, too. Not just the 9/11 anniversary. But anyway…

I realised that my favourite Beatle does not have a post just about him, yet! Sorry, John… So I thought I’d do this! As you might assume, about half of the Camera Roll on my iPad is made up of Beatle-y photos, and of course for photos of just one of the boys, John takes up the most memory (not that I care!)! In fact, quite a bit of my iPad memory is taken up by Beatles stuff, whether that be actual music or photos or random things I’ve written about them or PDFs on them… 🙂 But here we are – my favourite pictures of my favourite idol in (you guessed it) a nutshell! Oh, and this post will only include one David Bailey shot (‘cos they have their own post), and only one of him in my favourite brown suede Rubber Soul jacket, ‘cos that might get a post titled ‘The Rubber Soul Jacket Appreciation Society’ soon.

 

I found this one the other day, whilst looking for pictures for an ICT project on the Beatles Bible. My ICT teacher is also an avid Beatles fan, so he encouraged me to make my assignment on the lads!

I found this one the other day, whilst looking for pictures for an ICT project on the Beatles Bible. My ICT teacher is also an avid Beatles fan, so he encouraged me to make my assignment on the lads!

 

Oh my - I love this picture! It's from my beloved 'Help!' period (he's even wearing the outfit he wore in the Salisbury Plains scene), and even though I love him for his music and intelligence first and foremost, I must say he's really attractive here... :-)

Oh my – I love this picture! It’s from my beloved ‘Help!’ period (he’s even wearing the outfit he wore in the Salisbury Plains scene), and even though I love him for his music and intelligence first and foremost, I must say his looks are really done justice here… 🙂 Oh, and those sunglasses…

 

Okay - you must think I have an obsession with that green corduroy! My obsession lays with his brown suede 'Rubber Soul' jacket (because of which I bought a beige corduroy jacket that looks just like it) and his batwing coat from 'Help!' (because of which I bought a navy cape from Vinnies), but I do love this outfit. I think it may have been shot whilst filming the intermission of 'Help!', and looks like someone's a bit tired...

Okay – you must think I have an obsession with that green corduroy! My obsession lays with his brown suede ‘Rubber Soul’ jacket (because of which I bought a beige corduroy jacket that looks just like it) and his batwing coat from ‘Help!’ (because of which I bought a navy cape from Vinnies), but I do love this outfit. I think it may have been shot whilst filming the intermission of ‘Help!’, and looks like someone’s a bit tired! I don’t blame him…

 

This photo was part of a photo-shoot with Brian Duffy in 1965. It is probably one of my favourite photos of him, along with David Bailey's stuff. Interestingly, I only found out the other day that he took some of the most famous pictures of David Bowie ever taken!

This photo was part of a photo-shoot with Brian Duffy in 1965. It is probably one of my favourite photos of him, along with David Bailey’s stuff. Interestingly, I only found out the other day that Duffy took some of the most famous pictures of David Bowie ever taken!

 

I love this picture! It was taken by Bob Whitaker (a fellow Aussie!) in 1965 - like most of these photos. As I said above, it's my birthday on Thursday, and I might be getting his book!  I love so many pictures of John. I think there might need to be a Part Two to this post soon!

I love this picture! It was taken by Bob Whitaker (a fellow Aussie!) in 1965 – like most of these photos. As I said above, it’s my birthday on Thursday, and I might be getting Whitaker’s book! John with a daisy over one of his gorgeous eyes is too cute! This is my avatar on thebeatles.com.
I love so many pictures of John. I think there might need to be a Part Two to this post soon!

 

image

I can find no information whatsoever about this picture, but that just makes it even more intriguing! I can see it was taken in 1968 (hairstyle and Yoko pictures), but that’s all I really know about it. I think it may have been taken in an art studio at some point – there are calligraphy pens and a large amount of paper on the table – but I guess I won’t ever know. I wonder if the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ drumhead is the original featured on the album cover?

 

I also discovered this whilst browsing the Beatles Bible the other day. Interestingly, the negatives for this only surfaced three years ago. I really like this proof-sheet - in fact, you may have noticed a pattern that I like pretty much any picture of any Beatle taken in 1965. Especially John...

I also discovered this whilst browsing the Beatles Bible the other day. Interestingly, the negatives for this only surfaced three years ago. I really like this proof-sheet – in fact, you may have noticed a pattern that I like pretty much any picture of any Beatle taken in 1965. Especially John…

 

Brown suede jacket time! Taken whilst recording my second-fave album, 'Rubber Soul'!

Brown suede jacket time! Taken whilst recording my second-fave album, ‘Rubber Soul’!

 

This was, in fact, my avatar for quite some time. A still from the Paperback Writer/Rain promo videos, thus taken in 1966.

This was, in fact, my avatar for quite some time. A still from the Paperback Writer/Rain promo videos, thus taken in 1966.

 

Like the mysterious art studio (?) picture above, this was taken in 1968, and John seems to be trying to decide what 45 to play next!  Mum found this on my favourite record shop's Facebook page, and sent it to me a couple of months ago - thanks!

Like the mysterious art studio (?) picture above, this was taken in 1968, and John seems to be trying to decide what 45 to play next! Mum found this on my favourite record shop’s Facebook page, and sent it to me a couple of months ago – thanks!

 

This picture was on the cover of LIFE magazine some time ago, and that's all Google will tell me. I know, however, that it was taken in 1965. Thank you to nymfan97 (a big hello to you if you're reading) for posting this on your blog! I - in fact - drew a pencil portrait of John from this picture, which I a) am quite proud of, and b) must post on here sometime.

This picture was on the cover of LIFE magazine some time ago, and that’s all Google will tell me. I know, however, that it was taken in 1965. Thank you to nymfan97 (a big hello to you if you’re reading) for posting this on your blog! I – in fact – drew a pencil portrait of John from this picture, which I a) am quite proud of, and b) must post on here sometime. Nice to see my favourite Beatle shares an appreciation of red polo-necks with me!

 

Like the LIFE cover picture, I first saw this on nymfan97's blog! I was just reading some of her archived posts, and I saw this picture again. I'd forgotten how I love it. It was taken in February 1965, whilst filming 'Help!' in the Bahamas

Like the LIFE cover picture, I first saw this on nymfan97’s blog! I was just reading some of her archived posts, and I saw this picture again. I’d forgotten how I love it. It was taken in February 1965, whilst filming ‘Help!’ in the Bahamas. John has the loveliest smile – when I post more pictures of John at some point, I must post more of him grinning.

 

Yes, 1965 again. Also found on the Beatles Bible. I thought for quite some time that this was taken in Stu Sutcliffe's studio, without realising that John was not in Germany in 1965, and thus could not have visited Stu's widow Astrid and photographed in her house. Further research revealed that it was, in fact, taken in John's own Weybridge home in his attic art studio.

Yes, 1965 again. Also found on the Beatles Bible. I thought for quite some time that this was taken in Stu Sutcliffe’s studio, without realising that John was not in Germany in 1965, and thus could not have visited Stu’s widow Astrid and photographed in her house. Further research revealed that it was, in fact, taken in John’s own Weybridge home in his attic art studio.

 

Aww! :-) I think this might be the earliest picture in this post. I think it was taken in mid-to-late '64. But regardless of when it's from, John with a stuffed panda is almost unbearably cute!

Aww! 🙂 I think this might be the earliest picture in this post. I think it was taken in mid-to-late ’64. But regardless of when it’s from, John with a stuffed panda is almost unbearably cute!

 

And now for my all-time favourite shot of John! Yes, I know David Bailey took it, but it must feature in this post. I love just about everything in this photo... It also reminds me of The John Lennon Letters, one of my first Beatle-y ventures in the literary world. This is also my current avatar.

And now for my all-time favourite shot of John! Yes, I know David Bailey took it, but it must feature in this post. I love just about everything in this photo… It also reminds me of The John Lennon Letters, one of my first Beatle-y ventures in the literary world. This is also my current avatar.

 

So there you go! Some utterly gorgeous pictures of Dr Winston O’Boogie, and my musings on them.

(And now for a couple of other things…)

I’m a recording musician! I set up a Soundcloud account last weekend, and uploaded a cover of ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ on it. My stage/alter-ego name is Sadie of Kirkcaldy, taken from two Fabs songs – ‘Sexy Sadie’ (Sadie) and ‘Cry Baby Cry’ (of Kirkcaldy). I plan on uploading a more sophisticated cover of ‘Dear Prudence’ – using my brand new Fender Acoustasonic amp which I got yesterday for John, my gorgeous acoustic-electric guitar – and some of my own self-written songs (once I’ve got a melody for them) on there soon, so please follow me and share with your friends! My account can be found at http://souncloud.com/sadie-of-kirkcaldy , and please listen to my song below, which I’ll embed right now.

Oh, and for the Aussies reading, Nowhere Boy was on SBS1 last night. Nowhere Boy covers the story of John’s teenage years (with some artistic license), and whilst many fans didn’t like it, I love it. It’s very, very sad (I got a bit misty-eyed near the end), but I would recommend it to any Beatles/Lennon fan. Again on SBS1, tonight a documentary called Becoming The Beatles will be on at 10:05 pm, so look out for it!

Good day sunshine for now! 🙂

Some Beatles demos/alternate takes/sessions to feast your ears on…

Taken in the Austrian Alps - made me smile :-) !

Taken in the Austrian Alps – made me smile 🙂 !

 

 Recently – whilst completing a science assignment – I decided to stop listening to Rubber Soul for the third time in a row (I still love it dearly, but I didn’t want to get sick of it – I’d debate whether that’s possible, though 🙂 …) and do some YouTubing as a means of finding something new to listen to (I don’t buy much music on iTunes – prefer it on vinyl). And under my ‘recommended videos’ thing(y) was a video containing a compilation of Magical Mystery Tour/White Album era demos. I gave it a listen, and then I found even more of these videos under ‘suggested videos’! So yeah, it did take two nights to finish my science, but I found a really cool idea for a post! I absolutely love listening to Beatles demos – I feel a little special, hearing a completely different (and often rare) version of such familiar songs that I know and love dearly. Obviously, though, not all such recordings are rare – as we all know, the Anthology project made some of these relatively well-known. So this post pays homage to those bits and pieces John, Paul, George and Ringo may or may not have wanted us to hear – enjoy!

‘The Beatles’ Home Demos: A Hard Day’s Night and Rubber Soul

‘If I Fell’: Crappy sound quality, but that is the case with most home demos (due to primitive recording equipment). I like this version, and it proves that John was good with falsetto notes, even in the early Beatles days.

‘World Without Love’: Funnily enough, my local classic hits station (what else would I listen to? Actually, I might listen to Triple J – the local indie rock station – at some point, ‘cos I like that sort of thing too) plays the Peter and Gordon version of this song all the time, but it took me a good year-and-a-half of Beatles fandom to work out it was a Lennon/McCartney (namely, McCartney) composition! Yeah – of course I knew that most (if not all) of Peter and Gordon’s songs were written by Paul ‘cos Peter was Peter Asher (Jane Asher’s brother) – but I cannot believe I did not clue on earlier. I like this version more than the original, I have to say – probably because Paul’s singing it… 🙂

‘One And One Is Two’: Never heard this song before, but it’s groovy! I like the way Paul sings it…

‘We Can Work It Out’: Ahh – back to actual Beatles songs again! I really like the folksiness of the original, but this version is still folky and still really cool. In fact, the official version of this was just on the radio (spooky!)…

‘She Said, She Said’

Although I am forever saying that I do not have one favourite Beatles song (if an ever-changing list of about 100 tunes counts, well I do), I would cite this one as top dog if my life depended on it. As I said in my ‘Favourite Beatles Song’ post, I love this song, so I find the above very, very cool! Two completely different versions from the psychedelic masterpiece that ended Side One of my favourite Beatles album (Revolver)!

Demo One: This could not sound more different than the original, but I still love it! John was still clearly working on the lyrics (He said//I know what it’s like to be dead…), and Paul appears to be with John at the time (hence dialogue at end). Writing session at Kenwood, perhaps?

Demo Two: This is my favourite out of the two. John had mostly completed the lyrics by this point, and appears to practising it. I love how the acoustic guitar sounds so trippy, even though it likely hasn’t been edited – John had a semi-acoustic (meaning he can amp it up – I, too, have one), so I wonder if he put a pedal on it, or something? I’d love to know what he put on it, if he did anything… Oh, and there is a little bit of language in this bit – such things don’t bother me in the slightest, but just thought I should cover myself.

‘Revolution’

Wow – those people who think that John is no good as a guitarist need to listen to this! That riff at the beginning is incredibly hard to play – and I should know, ‘cos I play guitar myself! And I love John’s vocals in this, too – need I say more?

‘Something’

‘Something in the way she moves//attracts me like a pomegranate!’ Ha, ha 🙂 – need I say more? Also, George and John making up more of those random lyrics…in need for another smiley 🙂 !

Oh, and I didn’t know George could sing like that! Wow, George, wow! Normally, his anyway-gorgeous voice is quite smooth and sweet, but on this, he rocks really hard! And of course, I love this song anyway – in fact, it was this that taught me that George wrote songs, too…

A Random Bloopers Reel

This one – unlike the clips above – is a medley of all sorts of bloopers, in no kind of order whatsoever. It’s very funny, though – lots of laughing (pity a certain version of ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ ain’t on there) and jokes 🙂 ! Oh, and I s’pose I should cover myself over usage of ‘language’, too – it’s mostly from Paul (naughty Paul 🙂 !)!

‘You Can’t Do That’/’Love Me Do’/’Gimme Some Truth’/’She Said, She Said’ (Get Back sessions)

Not all of the Get Back sessions were shown in Let It Be. ‘Of course they weren’t,’ you’re probably thinking. ‘Otherwise we’d have proper of footage of George leaving the band, and we’d probably also have footage of Yoko screaming sufficient enough to make us deaf.’ Well, yeah – you’re right – but what many people don’t know is that The Beatles recorded a lot more material than first apparent within that period of time – whether that be alternate versions of past songs, or the beginnings of songs that will eventually end up on solo albums. The songs I chose to post were swamped-down versions of ‘You Can’t Do That’ and ‘Love Me Do’, that sound so damn cool (!), a version of ‘Gimme Some Truth’, a song that would appear on John’s 1971 masterpiece Imagine, and that song I keep on rambling about – ‘She Said, She Said’ (+ a version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window), the Get Back edition. Apparently they also did ‘Norwegian Wood’ – can’t find it, though… 😦

‘I’m So Tired’…sung by Paul! Oh, and ‘Get Back’/’Yesterday’…sung by John!

Yep, I’m serious; Paul is singing a song off the White Album, which – I might add – was written about Yoko. Paul singing a love song for Yoko – hmm. As I’ve said before, I really like Yoko (excepting the screaming) and have tremendous respect for her, but we all know that Paul did not feel the same way… But anyway (who he is singing about aside), his version is really quite good. In fact, it’s really good – gives John a run for his money. At the end of the day, though, John wins for me 🙂 ! As for ‘Get Back’ – oh my God! This might just be my favourite version of this song – especially love the tempo, John’s voice and Ringo’s fills. When I listened to this to test its eligibility for this post, all I could do was stomp my foot, clap along, dance and air-guitar along – that is all I need to say… And ‘Yesterday’ – John fooling about with a famously-Paul-only song. Sure, all the Macca Maniacs will not like it at all, but I think it’s funny! By the way, videos one & two are from Get Back, too.

‘Cry Baby Cry’

As I repeatedly state in various places on this blog, my favourite Beatles songs change from day to day. But ‘Cry Baby Cry’ is a bit like ‘She Said, She Said’ – it always remains somewhat near (if not at) the top of my list. In fact, it was the first song I played on my steel-stringed guitar, and I can still remember listening to it for the first time earlier this year, and being completely blown away. I especially love the almost proto-metal electric-guitar version near the end, with John screaming out the vocals in a, well, proto-metal-type way – a complete contrast to the folky official version (which I still love). Sounds really cool however it is played, let’s just say!

‘Yes It Is’

a) ‘One, two, three, bread.’ Deserves a smiley, Johnny 🙂 ! Next time I have to do a count-in, I know what I’m going to do…

b) I know I posted the Anthology version of this song (a mash-up of takes 2 & 14) in an earlier post, but here is the complete evolution of that Beatles song that everyone sadly forgets (except those who know it, of course). I love this song (okay – I love every Beatles song, with the exception of ‘Revolution 9’ and ‘Wild Honey Pie’ – which I appreciate at the very least), so I find this absolutely fab!

‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

‘You cheat, tangerinetrees99,’ you’re probably thinking. ‘That’s not rare at all! It’s off blooming Anthology!’ Yes, and I am well aware of that, but I really wanted it in this post. And it is an alternate version of the official, after all, isn’t it? But anyway, I swear I heard this version of ‘WMGGW’ far before I heard the White Album edition. In fact, I prefer this to the Eric Clapton guitar-god version everyone knows. I love everything about this demo – the acoustic-ness of the whole thing, the fact it is in G minor (as opposed to A minor), just – well – everything! Thank you, George, for recording such a gorgeous version of this song.

Paul sings John a very sweet tribute

Aww! How sweet of Paul? I like his versions, too – I also like what he said before he started… I won’t say too much about this one, apart from the fact that it made me a little emotional – you’ll have to watch it yourself… 🙂

So there we have it – an incredibly long post (I’ll try and be shorter next week), but I hope it was all worth it. Enjoy listening to things you may or may not have heard before – but nonetheless (whether you’ve heard them or not), it’ll make for a fab listening marathon! Hope you have a good rest of your day (whichever hemisphere you’re in), and I’ll leave you with this really funny clip of 1965 Christmas record outtakes, which I guarantee will have you hysterically laughing by the minute-mark (excusing one or two grotty jokes, that might or might not bother you – I’m in the latter, so just covering myself again… Still, it is really funny!)! Good day sunshine 🙂

 

Thank You Mr. Postman!

Look what came in the mail, yesterday!

Look what came in the mail, yesterday!

 

Well hello, all,

School’s out, now, and I have three glorious weeks of mid-term holidays ahead of me 🙂 ! I’m listening to my favourite Beatles album (Revolver) this session, and ‘Love You To’ is currently playing. Well, I’ll get on with what I should write about – let’s see if I can get off this particular tangent before ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ finishes!

(Above mission accomplished – be proud, John!)

A few weeks ago (whilst I was in Melbourne, in fact!) I was browsing Beatles-ville on Ebay, and I came across this little baby – a first-edition Canadian printing of The Beatles In Help!, as written by Al Hine. If you don’t already know, both A Hard Day’s Night and Help! were turned into short novels back when the films were released (oh, how I wish I could have been there!), and I imagine many a teenage girl would have purchased them. I already own an Australian printing of the A Hard Day’s Night edition – by chance, my mother purchased it, and then she discovered I was a Beatlemaniac; thus, I read it about two months until I actually saw the film – so I thought I would get the Help! version, too! My printing is Canadian, as well, which makes it extra-special here in Australia. I posted some pictures of it, below (excuse the fact that my hand is in the majority of them!):

The blurb

The blurb

The title page

The title page

The story thus far...

The story thus far…

A page of text - it's the bit where Ahme is behind Ringo's vending machine, and bites his finger (if you're interested)

A page of text – it’s the bit where Ahme is behind Ringo’s vending machine, and bites his finger (if you’re interested)

A couple of pictures from the eight-page spread of images in the middle of the book

A couple of pictures from the eight-page spread of images in the middle of the book

HELP! (another of the pictures in the middle of the book - excuse my bad photography, on this one...)

HELP! (another of the pictures in the middle of the book – excuse my bad photography, on this one…)

Well, there you go – my latest Beatles collectable in a nutshell! Hope you enjoy – might post a little excerpt from the text when I’ve finished reading it (I’m halfway through Chapter 5). I’m going to enjoy my first night of school holls, now – if you’re reading this in Adelaide, keep warm and beware of the storm that is supposedly coming! Regardless of where you’re from, though – have a good night (cue massive string orchestra) and good day sunshine! 🙂