It was two years ago today!

Happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles!

Happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles!

On the 5th of June, 2014, I published my very first post on this blog. And today – 13,800 views, 92 posts and 121 readers on – marks 2 years since I first made this blog live. So happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles! Thank you so much to you all for joining me on this ride – for reading what I publish, and for adding your own thoughts in the comments section and for sharing them with your social media followers, too. It is what turns AYNITB from a random site where I post ramblings on music to an interesting and lively community – it means a lot! I’ve certainly enjoyed the past two years with this place, and I hope you all have too… And so here’s to the next year, with all the writing, commenting and musicality that will undoubtedly arrive with it! I don’t know about you, but I for one am looking forward to it very much… ūüôā

All You Need Is The Beatles is now on Instagram, too!

Recently, I got around to setting up an Instagram account to go with All You Need Is The Beatles!

tangerinetrees99 on instagram

I’ll be posting about a few different things: mainly updates about new posts on here, my favourite pictures of my favourite rock musicians, images of my own art, photos of gigs I’ve been to (or played myself!), and pictures of my own music-related stuff stuff, like books, posters, guitars & my vinyl collection. My handle is tangerinetrees99, and you can find me here:¬†https://instagram.com/tangerinetrees99/. (A link can also be found in my About page and along the bar of widgets to the blog’s right.)

-tangerinetrees99

You Say It’s Your Birthday!

I got a little arty for the occasion!

I drew a picture for the occasion!

Today is the 5th of June, 2015. Precisely one year ago, I was writing my very first blog post and publishing my brand-new blog. And 4,974 views, 79 readers (that’s you!), 67 blog posts and 1 year later, I’m writing a post, too! So happy first birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles. To quote John, ‘another year over, and a new one just begun’.

AYNITB has come a long way since that very first post. (It was titled ‘Welcome To All You Need Is The Beatles!’, and you can read it here.) In the profile I wrote on myself in my post, I said that John Lennon was my favourite Beatle and that¬†Revolver¬†was my favourite Beatles album. That hasn’t changed. And oh, I still like making really bad Beatles puns. You can see them scattered throughout the blog.

But so much has changed in the world of¬†AYNITB, too. You may have noticed that I said¬†something about publishing my poetry and prose on here. Which I don’t do anymore. And now, I write about loads of my other favourite artists, as well. This time last year, I would have barely even heard of a few of the artists that I now know and love. And I hated all modern music, which has changed, too. I started this blog as a place where I could write about The Beatles, and occasionally publish my poetry. It’s sort of turned into a place where I can rant about all my favourite artists, review gigs I’ve been to, write about my own adventures in the world of music and…write about The Beatles!

And these past 12 months have been pretty awesome, and I chronicled some great times on here! I wrote about that time I went to my first Beatles tribute, or that time I saw some members of Australian alternative rock royalty perform The White Album in its entirety, or when I¬†finally got my fancy Blu-Ray of¬†A Hard Day’s Night. More recently, I wrote about playing my first gig,¬†and when I met one of my musical heroes, Courtney Barnett!¬†Writing about music is a wonderful thing. Music is something that brings people together; it creates memories. I think it has magical properties. As one of those people who loves music, to be able to write about it is so much fun!

There’s also some posts which I’m pretty proud of, too. I really enjoy writing my approximately weekly posts, and some of my favourites include the pieces I wrote on John Lennon on his birthday and the anniversary of his death, the post I did recently on my favourite bands from the ’60s and ’70s, and my review of Courtney Barnett’s gig in my hometown. (What are your favourite AYNITB posts? I’d love to know!)

And by the way, thank you! Thank you so much¬†for reading my blog. Thank you for adding your thoughts at the end of my posts; I really enjoy waking up the morning after I’ve updated, and seeing all your thoughts and comments. And thank you for ‘liking’ my posts, and sharing them with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers and whatever other social media you may have. Or for sharing them with your friends and family in real life, if any of you do that… You — as the readers — put the ‘community’ in the All You Need Is The Beatles community. So thank you. I really appreciate it! ūüôā

Thank you also to my wonderful family and friends who read this blog. Thank you so much for reading my posts, and for telling me what you think, and for offering me advice and for being really supportive of my blog! You all know who you are. ūüôā

I’m super excited about this next year of All You Need Is The Beatles! I’ve still got loads of Beatley posts, and most of my writing will be about them. But I’m going to do all sorts of posts about my other favourite artists, too. And I’ll be doing gig reviews, and music reviews, and (hopefully!) posts about my own gigs and songs, too! But The Beatles will still be the main focus. The blog is called All You Need Is The Beatles, after all! To paraphrase The Who, ‘I’ve got a feeling that 2015/16 is gonna be a good year.’

So here’s to the year that was, the year that is and the many years of blogging to come! And now for a song…

Good day sunshine ’till next post! ūüôā

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 5 – ‘Rubber Soul’

John is wearing his suede 'Rubber Soul' jacket! And I wonder what is making George smile so widely...

John is wearing his suede ‘Rubber Soul’ jacket! And I wonder what is making George smile so widely…

‘Ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, and welcome to this month’s edition of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’! This particular series even has a ‘suggested search entry’ on our laptop’s Google Chrome, now! But anyway, I shall start the post…

This post, the featured album is…Rubber Soul! This album is often recognised as the album that splits the early Beatles from the late-era Beatles (though I prefer the three-levels version. Or should that be seven? Google ‘seven levels paul mccartney’ if you have no idea what I’m joking about…) and has been named ‘the biggest leap in The Beatles’ career’ by various people of note. Whilst the band’s growing maturity and concern with lyrics is demonstrated on¬†Help!, it is on¬†Rubber Soul that these leaps are first demonstrated in full flow. And that’s not to mention the musical leaps that this album also made: its inclusion of the French/Greek guitar lines in ‘Michelle’/’Girl’ (respectively), the use of many genres including folk, psych rock, R&B and pop/rock, and the use of sitar on ‘Norwegian Wood’ (the first use of the instrument in rock music) are what makes the album one of the most influential in the history of rock music.¬†Rubber Soul influenced many musicians to begin focusing on the album as a piece of art, and is particularly notable for inspiring Brian Wilson to create The Beach Boys’¬†Pet Sounds. It reached Number Five on¬†Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’, and Number Two on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums earlier this year. (Though I’m not too sure this blog is quite as important is¬†Rolling Stone… ūüėČ )

My copy of¬†Rubber Soul is probably the most expensive LP in my collection. I would have paid $100AUD for it full price, but the nice guy at the fab record shop I buy from gave me a discount, leaving the price at 70 bucks! Those of you who’ve been within the ‘AYNITB’ community for a while might remember it from¬†this post. But anyway, here’s a picture (and yes, it’s from that post):

rubber soul lp one

Some of you might know that¬†Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to not feature the name of the band on the front cover (a practice which was very uncommon at the time). This would later be repeated with¬†Revolver,¬†Abbey Road¬†and¬†Let It Be. But look closely at the picture; just below the ‘Rubber Soul’ text and between John’s and Ringo’s heads are the words ‘THE BEATLES’. Gasp! What naughty record company violated this first?! (And for once, it’s not the¬†cover butcherers also known as¬†EMI Australia…) Yes, my precious pressing is an import. And you’ll soon find out what country it is from…

rubber soul 1

Here’s the back of the album. (I love the photos on the back!) The LP appears to be enclosed in the plastic bag behind it, but it is in fact encased in a plastic sleeve. (As were all the pressing of¬†Rubber Soul from this particular country…) Whether the record is in mono or stereo isn’t indicated, but listening to the album tells the audiophile to whom the album belongs that it is in mono! Yay! There are no backflaps but nothing online suggests that it is anything but a first edition. Though there is barely any information online concerning this country’s version of this album… If any of you know a bit about this record, your information would be greatly appreciated!

Take a look at the bottom left-hand corner. As will probably know, The Beatles at this stage were released mainly on either Parlophone or Capitol. But this¬†Rubber Soul was released on Odeon Records, record company that released The Beatles in (among other places)…

rubber soul 2

…URUGUAY! Yes, that’s right — Uruguay. A little country in the south-east¬†of South America, that is in the same hemisphere as my own country (Australia). The Beatles truly were here, there and everywhere… But anyway, I find it very cool that I have a Uruguayan vinyl in my collection. I wonder how much of a rarity it is (or not)…

image

The record sleeve with the cover. Yes, I’m lucky enough to have the original paper sleeve! It’s in absolutely impeccable condition… The cover itself also appears to be in mint condition, as it has been protected by the plastic protector found on each Uruguayan Beatles album.

image

The label of the LP. The image showing the back cover is clearly written in English, but the label is written in Spanish with an English translation in brackets. (I went to Spain with my parents, once, when I was about six. I got tonsillitis in Barcelona…) And check out the label itself! Not black and gold, not orange… But blue! That is because my record is not on Parlophone — it is on Odeon.

image

And Side Two of the album. It appears very scratched (and it is). But thankfully, the scratches aren’t very deep and are easily filled in with the record cleaner we use in our house. If I remember rightly, the album plays like a dream! The vinyl is nice and thick and pressed in mono, which helps. Interestingly, mono LPs always play better on our record player. Probably ‘cos it’s old enough to most likely have at least had one Beatles record spun as a brand new release… ūüôā

And that’s ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ finished for another month! It’ll be back in the New Year, with the album that just turns out to by my favourite recording of all time…

Oh, and congratulations to George (Harrison) who’s receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award (what The Beatles received earlier this year) at the Grammys next year, in particular for All Things Must Pass and the¬†Concert for¬†Bangladesh!¬†Congratulations, Georgie. You deserve it, and it’s sad that you can’t be here to accept it yourself.

And a happy belated (as the Americans would say) half-birthday to ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’, which turned six months old on the fifth of this month! I’ve loved writing this blog over the past six (that many already?!) months, and hope it continues to bring me the joy it does now for many more months/years to come! It also helps that I have a really awesome group of followers, so thank you for liking/commenting/sharing/just generally making the ‘AYNITB’ community a really fab place on the net! I really appreciate it.

Hope you have a groovy day/afternoon/evening/whenever, and good day sunshine! ūüôā

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 ūüė¶ ). 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!

image

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…)

image

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…

image

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.

image

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).

image

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! ūüôā

 

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 ūüôā ), 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

with the beatles

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

sgt pepper

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!

beatles-help-uk-cover-art

 

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

Beatles_-_Abbey_Road

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 Abracadabra, Beatles 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! ūüôā

Things We Polled Today…

A lovely picture of John and Paul!

A lovely picture of John and Paul! Don’t they look sweet? ūüôā

Well – I haven’t done a poll in a while, have I? I also have some other things to write about today (i.e. Ron Howard’s upcoming Beatles doco – for which I cannot wait!), but to start off with – here’s a poll! It’s titled ‘Which Beatles’ period is your favourite’ (as you will see further down), and¬†Option One will be¬†‘the early years’ – the Hamburg/Cavern Club Era (1960) ’till the A Hard Day’s Night sessions (1964), which includes Pete Best/Stu Sutcliffe, the ‘Love Me Do’/’P.S. I Love You’ sessions, the marathon 12-hour Please Please Me session and the With The Beatles sessions, plus the filming of A Hard Day’s Night and their Australian tour. Option Two will be the ‘middle years’ – the Beatles For Sale (late 1964) sessions ’till the Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine sessions (1968 – there’s a slight overlap, here, ‘cos both the film and album Yellow Submarine fit in with the psychedelia of Sgt. Pepper/ Magical Mystery Tour, but were recorded around the time of ‘Lady Madonna’, which is considered as a part of their back-to-basics-rock-and-roll late material. I consider Yellow to be middle-period, but that’s only my opinion), which includes ‘Ticket To Ride’/’Yes It Is’, the album/film/single Help! (which includes classics such as the title track, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ and – of course – ‘Yesterday’), Shea Stadium, Rubber Soul, ‘Paperback Writer’/’Rain’, the groundbreaking Revolver, the Sgt. Pepper sessions, plus (not-so-positive bits) the introduction of pot/LSD, the decision to stop touring (not that was necessarily a bad thing…) and the ‘Jesus remark’ (which was taken completely out of context). And then, the final option will be the ‘late years’, spanning from the ‘Lady Madonna’ sessions ’till the break-up – this involves India, introduction of Yoko and Linda, the White Album sessions, ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’, the Get Back/Let It Be sessions and Abbey Road, plus the mounds of arguments and the split ( ūüė¶ ). If I had to choose, I would vote for the ‘middle years’ – my favourite albums (Revolver, Help!, Beatles For Sale and Rubber Soul) were all recorded in that period – plus the songs I favour –¬†and¬†(not that it matters) I think they looked the best around that period (not that they were bad-looking at any period – except for maybe Paul’s Let It Be beard…)! Oh, and one word: PSYCHEDELIA! But this isn’t a place for me to vote, ‘cos I’m putting it to you. So please choose, and I’d love to see which period is the most popular amongst the people who’ve seen past¬†this¬†large block of text and voted!

 

(And now for some more…)

As most Beatlemaniacs will have heard by now, acclaimed director and actor Ron Howard is both directing and producing a documentary on The Beatles’ touring years (1960 – 1966), which is scheduled for release in late-2015! Ron Howard (who – amongst other things –¬†starred as Richie in Happy Days, plus is the creator behind Parenthood) is a self-proclaimed Beatlemaniac himself, and is being joined by Nigel Sinclair (who produced George Harrison: Living In The Material World); the two (according to Rolling Stone) have been granted access to the Apple Corps archives (I can only dream!), and are sourcing footage/photos/material from fans. For more information, here¬†is the link to the article on The Beatles’ official website, which involves information on how to submit your material for the doco (anyone here got any??). You can find Rolling Stone‘s article (the most informative yet)¬†on the upcoming feature here. And Sky News Australia’s two-bobs’-worth is here¬†– whilst short, it contains a cool news-clip about the event! I cannot wait for this to be released, and I’ll be making sure I’m at the pre-viewing if it makes it to cinemas.

As for some other Beatle-y news, The Grammys’ Beatles tribute has been nominated for six Emmy awards! Let’s hope it wins some, ‘cos (in my opinion) watching Paul and Ringo re-unite is much more interesting than binge-watching Game Of Thrones (not that I’ve ever watched it)… And A Hard Day’s Night has been released on Australian iTunes stores (as of the 9th of this month), but it’s rated M. Why M?? I get that John snorts a bottle of coke (the cola kind…) in the train (‘But they hadn’t even done pot at this point, let alone cocaine,’ I protest), there are a few jokes of a sexual nature (Paul’s comment to the effect of, ‘He [Grandfather] could be in an orgy by now!’, John’s ‘Please can I have one to surge with?’ comment, what John and the girl are hinting at in the ‘she looks more like me than I do’ scene, and the stamp collection), and of course, the smoking – but M? Really?? I also read that the Australian BluRay isn’t particularly good, so I’m glad I got my UK export! Talking of my UK export…IT’S BEING SHIPPED ON MONDAY! I absolutely cannot wait for it to come!

Oh, and a big thank you to my good friend (you know who you are) for recommending an interesting¬†book to me, earlier this year – I just finished it yesterday! But what book am I referring to, you ask? When We Wake, a dystopian novel written by New Zealander-come-Australian Karen Healey! The story is about a sixteen-year-old girl living in 2027 Melbourne named Tegan, who’s about to go on a climate-change-action¬†protest with her best friend Alex and her boyfriend-as-of-the-night-before Dalmar. However, a sniper intervenes, and Tegan is shot dead. Tegan had donated her body to science some time before she died, though. She wakes up (as the first successful cryonics – the process of freezing someone who is dead, and then proceeding to try and revive them¬†– patient) in 2128, and soon enough, she finds herself in the middle of the paparazzi, a medicinal-drug-smuggling plot, a secret – and possibly corrupt – government operation and a devout Christian cult, who want her dead. And of course, Tegan is a hardcore Beatlemaniac – her favourite is Ringo, but the majority of Beatles references are somewhat related to John ūüôā ; yay for Johnny! Sadly, though, George isn’t mentioned… However, I really enjoyed this read, and you can buy your own copy here. Again, thank you, my friend, and hope you’re enjoying the holidays!

And one more thing… if you haven’t already noticed, I’ve changed my sidebar widgets slightly! Please check out my profile, and see if you can guess what songs I’m punning on. Good day sunshine ūüôā