HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO STARR!

Ringo during the 'Get Back' sessions (Image credit: thebeatles.com)

Ringo during the ‘Get Back’ sessions
(Image credit: thebeatles.com)

As you probably know, today (July 7) is the 75th birthday of Richard Starkey, a.k.a. Ringo Starr! Happy birthday, Ringo! Like Paul, I’ve never written that much about Ringo, so today is my chance…

When people are asked to name their favourite drummers, there’s the obvious ones. Keith Moon, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Ginger Baker. And for good reason, ‘cos they’re exceptional players. Moon and Bonham take two spots in my ‘top three drummers’.

And of course, Ringo is the other person in my list. And I think that he’s one of the most underrated drummers, ever. Way too many people underestimate his abilities. But although I’m not a drummer, his playing, in my opinion, is wonderful! What’s special about his style is that it is quite understated; no drum solos, no flashy beats. But that wouldn’t have gone with The Beatles’ style. He was absolutely perfect for them.

Ringo is a very inventive drummer, too — whether it be the bassy fills in ‘A Day In The Life’, or the syncopated rock of ‘Ticket To Ride’, or anything in between, he executes his parts so well! The fact that he uses a right handed kit, despite being a lefty, only adds to his style and makes him even cooler! He made The Beatles drive. To quote Dave Grohl:

Ringo’s swing and backbeat carry so many of The Beatles’ songs. Back then, the recording depended on the feel of the song. There was no digital manipulation of drum tracks, so it was up to the drummer to dictate that feel. And Ringo had his own sound. Pull all the instruments out and you’d still know it was a Beatles song. And that’s the sound of a signature drummer. It’s the kind of thing drummers strive for all career, but not all of them make it.

Here are a few of my favourite Ringo drumming moments:

Ringo’s drumming turned from ‘good’ to ‘mind-blowing’ in 1966, in my opinion. His skill is on full show in ‘Rain’. His beat is peppered with these magnificent fills! The booming embellishments mimic thunder, his triplets complimenting the psychedelic guitars. Quote Ringo: “I feel as though that was someone else playing – I was possessed!”

I was listening to ‘Paperback Writer’ the other day, and the drums caught my attention. In particular, the cymbal fills in the verses, which sound a bit like someone writing on paper, in my opinion. And of course, like everything else Ringo did in 1966, the other fills are amazing, too!

Ringo’s drums on ‘Come Together’ contributes to the laid-back feel of the song. Perhaps one of the most iconic drum lines in history, his bassy pounding is instantly recognisable. I love it!

(‘Helter Skelter’) Ringo had blisters on his fingers for good reason! Ringo bangs out his drumline, playing like a heavy metal musician. He pushes the boundaries, drumming wonderfully heavy-handedly. His drums make the song drive.

‘What You’re Doing’ is possibly my favourite early-Beatles drum performance. The loud beat that begins the song is perhaps what sticks in the listener’s head. In fact, that booming drum intro is what makes it one of my very favourite early Beatles songs, full stop!

And whilst Ringo wasn’t a super great singer, so many kids are introduced to The Beatles by songs he sang. The first Beatles song I heard as a small child was ‘Octopus’s Garden’. Ringo actually wrote ‘Octopus’s Garden’, with a little help from his friend George. (Pun intended.) To this day, I love the song; for the memories, that slide guitar and the drums!

And though I’ve said before that I’m not very familiar with Ringo’s solo career, there’s one of his songs that I love; ‘I’m The Greatest’.  A hilarious, satirical take on The Beatles written by John, I can’t help but smile when I listen to this song! And both John + George play on it, too, so…

And Ringo seems like a really down-to-Earth and nice guy. I mean, there’s certainly good reason behind why he’s The Beatle that everyone likes. I especially enjoyed his contributions to the Anthology documentaries, for his humour and his honesty. He’s probably the most unaffected Beatle, too – this especially shows through in the fact that he runs his own social media, something I find very cool. (His Twitter account is hilarious, by the way!) I loved reading Rolling Stone’s interview with him, earlier this year. I’m glad that he’s now been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, and getting the recognition he deserves!

So happy birthday Ringo! Peace and love! 🙂

Advertisements

10 Underrated Songs From The Beatles’ Solo Careers

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

You could say that The Beatles’ solo work, as a whole, is underrated. So much media attention is directed towards The Beatles as a whole, and very deservedly so. But the music that each former member created after they split is somewhat overlooked by the general public.

But that’s not to say that The Beatles’ solo careers don’t get attention, too. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t heard the opening bars of piano of ‘Imagine’, or the slide guitar fills of ‘My Sweet Lord’, or the screaming vocals of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. But even with this, there are so many great songs from The Beatles’ solo careers that are very under-appreciated. So today, I thought I’d dedicate a list to a few gems in each Beatle’s solo career that I think don’t get enough attention. So in no particular order…

‘How?’ (John Lennon)

John’s pretty piano ballads make up a fair amount of his best-known songs: ‘Imagine’, ‘Love’, ‘Jealous Guy’, etc. But ‘How?’ never seems to quite get the same amount of accolades. Situated near the end of the Imagine album, the piano chords delicately land on the beats, and the violins add a beautifully shimmery extra layer. John’s vocals are also particularly delicate, suiting the overall dainty feel of the song. And like many of John’s songs from the time, the lyrics are quite personal and contemplative, as they were inspired by his Primal Scream Therapy. One of John’s prettiest songs!

‘Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)’ (George Harrison)

George wrote this song about his house, Friar Park, which he purchased early in 1970. The house was originally built in 1898 by a guy called Sir Frank Crisp, hence the title of the song. I think ‘Ballad’ has some of George’s best lyrics; within each verse, the listener is taken around Friar Park and surrounds. Spanning rooms, and gardens, and fountains of perpetual mirth, the words are witty and (like a lot of his songs) spiritual and just gorgeous! The song is wonderful from a musical aspect, too. Laden with reverb and slide guitar and jangly instruments, the song has a beautifully ethereal, dreamy sound to it. In fact, it’s dreamy, full stop!

‘Call Me Back Again’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

Buried on the second side of Venus and Mars, I came to ‘Call Me Back Again’ after hearing it on iTunes’ free solo-Beatles EP last year. It has since become one of my favourite Paul solo song, and for good reason! Paul’s vocals scream out of the speakers, for one. The saxophones featured prominently in the song are pretty awesome, too. I’m particularly loving the lead guitar, too, which is wonderfully intricate and cool. A great song!

‘Well, Well, Well’ (John Lennon)

There are so many reasons why I think this song deserves way more attention. First of all, John’s guitar is amazing; laden with crunchy distortion and an almost-punk sensibility, it’s wonderful! Same goes for Klaus Voorman’s bass performance and Ringo’s drums. They, too, put on an amazingly rocking show! John’s lyrics talk of spending time with Yoko — of going to dinner with her, of their involvement in political activism. And John’s vocal performance is stunning; in the latter half of the song, he howls confrontationally over the grungy instrumentation. It’s not for everyone, but in my opinion, ‘Well Well Well’ is one of John’s best songs.

‘I’d Have You Anytime’ (George Harrison)

The opening track of George’s masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, George wrote this song with Bob Dylan in late 1968. (Harrison and Dylan wrote a number of songs together during this period.) Their lyrics muse on the friendship that had blossomed between the two, and George sings them in his typically sweet voice. I think that George’s slide guitar performance on the track is one of his very best; beautifully emotive and perfect. His choice of chords is very interesting, too. In my opinion, ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ is a beautiful song!

‘New York City’ (John Lennon)

‘New York City’ is the fifth song on Sometime In New York City, an album I would argue is completely underrated, full stop. And it’s a gloriously rockin’ song! I love the piano and John’s guitar and it has a wonderfully rough sound. John’s lyrics are what makes the song for me, though. A witty recount of him and Yoko’s move to New York, and all the people and troubles that they crossed along the way, I especially like the lyrics! An unfairly underrated rocker that’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.

‘Isn’t It A Pity (Version 2)’ (George Harrison)

Whilst Version 1 is also underrated, Version 2 of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is extremely under appreciated, probably because it’s “version two”. The song plays host to one of my favourite guitar performances from George ever, and the organ is also just dreamy! And of course ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is a great song, anyway. George’s slightly sad lyrics are lifted up by the music, which — in typical Harrison style — is simply beautiful!

‘Dear Friend’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

This song is heartbreakingly beautiful. Possibly Paul’s most beautiful song (in my opinion), his voice accompanies piano in such a sad yet gorgeous way. Paul’s lyrics are also atypically emotional and personal. He wrote them in response to the war-of-words that had surrounded his friendship with John since the late ’60s, and he sings them in such a vulnerably-gorgeous way. A wondrous song.

‘I’m The Greatest’ (Ringo Starr)

Not being super familiar with Ringo’s solo catalogue, I’m perhaps not the best person to select one of his more underrated songs. But I feel that this song never gets enough attention. Written by John, the song is a satirical take on the history of The Beatles and Ringo’s life, and it never fails to make me smile! Ringo, John and George played on the track, too, which makes it a Threetles song, which is a plus! An awesomely funny song!

What Beatles solo songs do you think are underrated? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Hope you’re having a great day, and good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂

The Craziest Beatles-Related Conspiracy Theories…

PLEASE NOTE: I do not believe any of these conspiracy theories. I did not create them. This post isn’t to be taken too seriously…

Conspiracy theories. There’s a lot of them, about every single thing you could imagine. So it will be no surprise to you that there are a whole host of Beatles conspiracies! Sure, nearly every music fan has heard of Paul’s “death” in 1966, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Here are a few of the best theories concerning the Fab Four..

1. The infamous ‘Paul Is Dead’

Apparently proving that Paul was 'replaced' (hmm)...

Apparently proving that Paul was ‘replaced’ (hmm)…

Okay. Probably the most famous Beatles conspiracy. Also the oldest. And the one with the most clues. The ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy first reared its ugly head in 1969, after some slightly delusional college students in the US decided, after listening to Abbey Road, that there were many clues proving that Paul was DEAD. It runs like this: on the 9th of November, 1966, Paul supposedly got into an argument with John, George and Ringo and drove off angrily. He, however, crashed his car and was killed. And, of course, the other Beatles decided that this death needed to be covered up to spare the public the grief of just telling them. Paul was replaced with “William Campbell”, and clues telling of Paul’s death were included within every Beatles release from then on. Some of these were: “Paul”‘s bare feet on the cover of Abbey Road; the number plate on the Volkswagen Beetle on the cover of Abbey Road, LMW-28IF; the line ‘the walrus was Paul’ in ‘Glass Onion’ and his walrus costume in Magical Mystery Tour; the indecipherable speech at the end of ‘I’m So Tired’, supposedly saying ‘Paul is dead, man — miss, miss, miss him’ when played backwards; the various phone numbers that can apparently be made from the stars on the cover of Magical Mystery Tour, that were rumoured to be answered by various funeral parlours if rung in the ’60s; and a patch that Paul is wearing in the gatefold picture of Sgt Pepper that reads ‘O.P.D.’ (an acronym for ‘officially pronounced dead’). You can read more clues here.

William Campbell, or Faul, obviously went on to write some of “Paul”‘s best songs, come up with the entire concept of Sgt Pepper, and after The Beatles broke up, started and disbanded Wings. To this day, he loiters on this Earth, claiming to be the real Paul McCartney… 😉 And you know what? The Beatles weren’t even recording on the 9th of November, 1966. Making the entire conspiracy a piece of rubbish!

2. ‘The Fib Four’

The 'tapes' of the Fib Four

The ‘tapes’ of the Fib Four

In 1971, a guy named Martin Lewis compiled a Beatles bootleg discography, naming not-yet-released tunes for ’70s fans to wonder about. Among these were ‘That Means A Lot’ and ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ (both on Anthology 2), and the infamous ‘Carnival of Light’. Also among these songs were four numbers named ‘Pink Limitus Shirt’, ‘Colliding Circles’, ‘Left Is Right (and Right is Wrong)’ and ‘Deckchair’, all ‘outtakes’ from late 1966. ‘Pink Limitus’ was written by George, ‘Deckchair’ a member of Paul’s ‘granny music’ creations, and both ‘Left Is Right’ and ‘Colliding Circles’ were John’s. These songs were stored in the Abbey Road vaults, in case The Beatles needed some cash, pronto. They were never found, thus leaving devout fans of yesteryear to ponder over.

And there’s good reason why these ‘songs’ have never been found. They never existed in the first place! Turns out that Lewis couldn’t find enough outtakes to fill out the discography, so decided to create a bunch of outtakes to take up some space. These became known as ‘The Fib Four’, when everyone worked out they didn’t actually exist. Lewis later became a well respected Beatles scholar, believe it or not.

3. The Beatles were created by The Illuminati to brainwash the youth

No, John and Paul weren't just being cheeky. Apparently.

No, John and Paul weren’t just being cheeky. Apparently.

According to this theory created by some dude named Dr John Coleman, The Beatles were not an actual band. They were, in fact, formed by The Illuminati. Their songs and actions were written and scripted by their ‘bosses’ with the sole intent of brainwashing the youth. The Coleman dude supposedly “proves” in his book (yes, book) on the conspiracy that The Beatles were a “psychological operation” created by The Tavistock Institute. Their creation apparently advanced the Illuminati’s goal of creating a Brave New World-esque ‘New Age Movement’ which “introduced soft drugs to middle-class American youth” and brainwashed them into rebellion. Clues for this conspiracy include the above pictures involving devil-ish hand-symbols, the band’s shadowed faces on the cover of With The Beatles, ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”s supposed references to Lucifer (or Satan!)…

Now, I think this is fairly obviously a load of rubbish. Though I can’t exactly disprove it (nobody has actually come out and responded), so… 😉

4. ‘The Lennon Prophecy’

The conspiracy's book. Yes. Book.

The conspiracy’s book. Yes. Book.

Oh dear. I’d forgotten about this one. Basically, the entire theory resides on this: John, in a desperate attempt to become more famous than Elvis, made a pact with Satan on the 8th of December, 1960. This pact expired in 1980, hence what happened… The clues for this theory include John’s placement on the back cover of Sgt Pepper, the cover of Abbey Road, and many examples of backmasking. And why do these clues all sound familiar? Oh yeah, that’s right. They’re all Paul Is Dead clues, too. You can read more about this one here.

I think we can quite safely say that this, again, is a load of rubbish. I mean, if you’re going to create a conspiracy, at least be original about it!

5. ‘The Beatles, as they were presented to us, never existed’

"Proof" for John.

“Proof” for John.

This is my favourite conspiracy of them all… The Beatles never existed! They were, in fact, played by a heap of different clones over the years! And clones, of course, can only be 95% – 99% accurate. Don’t believe the “researchers”? Luckily for you, they’ve compiled a bunch of photo comparisons, showing differences in height and eyebrows. And ears. And eyes. And guess what? They’ve also created a forum, just so you can discuss this — and all the other conspiracy theories which are definitely true! (Not.)

This theory got a lot of publicity late last year (I think it went viral on Reddit). I just went onto the website to find a picture for this post, and the actual website no longer shows proof! The website now only shows a page telling the reader to ‘please conduct your own personal research before believing what anybody says about anything’, and how all the articles written about their theory last year are not true and are ‘hatchet-jobs’. But thankfully, the forum still exists, and all their research will forever be preserved there. (You can find the website and forum here.) Again, I think we can quite safely say this is not true. Clearly the “researchers” have never heard of shoes, differences in posture and the ageing process…

And there we go! Have you heard of a particularly crazy Beatles conspiracy? Don’t forget to tell me in the comments!

I will be able to post a lot more than I have been very soon, so I should get my next post up (the next installment of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’!) here in less than a week! Yay! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

Some awesomely random little-known Beatles factoids…

Filming the music clip for 'Penny Lane'... I love this picture!

Filming the music clip for ‘Penny Lane’… I love this picture!

I’ve had this idea for a while, but I decided to type it up this week! Ever since I first got into The Beatles, I’ve been really interested in interesting bits of trivia concerning them, and today, I will be writing about a few of my favourites. Many of my sources will be from my Beatle-y book library, or from various websites. And if you have any interesting facts of your own, please send me a postcard/drop me a line in the comments below! But for now, here is my list…

  • The Beatles, at one point, were asked to do the voices for the vultures in the film adaption of The Jungle Book. John’s reaction when asked? “There is no way The Beatles are going to sing for Mickey [expletive] Mouse!” Apparently the vultures are still Beatles-inspired, though (I haven’t actually seen The Jungle Book…)
  • John, however, actually came up with a Beatles film idea! He wanted The Beatles to make an adaption of The Lord of The Rings! Apparently J R R Tolkien vetoed it, as he didn’t like the idea of The Beatles playing the characters in his books.
  • By now, it is well documented that none of The Beatles could read a note of sheet music. But Paul (always proud of this fact) was, in fact, the only Beatle who ever tried. He took a few music lessons from Jane Asher’s mother in the mid-60s, though gave up after a very short while due to lack of patience.
  • One of John’s dreams in life was to write a children’s book much like Alice In Wonderland (one of his favourite books!) when he was old and retired. Sadly, he never got the chance. 😦
  • It is rumoured that each verse in ‘Come Together’ is about a Beatle. The theory says that verse one is most likely about Ringo, verse two about George (though some say verse one is George and verse two is Ringo), verse three about John and verse four about Paul. Though no-one really knows if this is true.
  • The first time John wore his iconic granny glasses (excepting the times he was forced to wear them as a child, before he got his Buddy Holly frames) was in the scene in Help! where The Beatles are in the airport, about to head off to The Bahamas. It’s kind of funny how all four Beatles in that scene look the spitting image of what they would look like later on in their lives…
  • Whenever The Beatles played in America, one of their contractual obligations (requested by them, I might add) was that they were never to play to a segregated audience! How cool is that?
  • Both John and Paul had cats named Jesus.
  • In 1964, a song called ‘Ringo, I Love You’ was released by someone named Bonnie Jo Mason. Bonnie Jo went on to become Cher… And who produced that song, you ask? Phil Spector. Who of course has many Beatley connections himself.
  • There are two people who do the voice of “George” in Yellow Submarine. A guy named Peter Batten was the original voice, but he was arrested during the making of the film, and was replaced by another guy by the name of Paul Angelis (the voice of “Ringo” and the Chief Blue Meanie).
  • Ringo and his wife, Barbara Bach, have been together the longest out of any serious relationship involving a Beatle. Though Olivia and George were together 20 years, and Paul and Linda were together 29 (and they would probably all still be together)…
  • David Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) owns the drawing that inspired ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’.
  • You know that infamous John quote — “Ringo isn’t the best drummer in the world. He isn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles!”? John didn’t even say that. It was actually said by a comedian called Jasper Carrott in 1983.
  • George was the first person to use the word ‘grotty’! The ‘grotty shirts’ scene in A Hard Day’s Night was, in fact, the first time the word was used. For all you Americans, ‘grotty’ has remained a popular Briticism (and Australianism!) since.
  • Apparently Nico (of The Velvet Underground and Nico fame) was at Brian Epstein’s Sgt Pepper party. She listened to ‘A Day In The Life’, and thought that the first bit and the orchestral climax were beautiful, but that the “stupid little pop song” in the middle ruined it. She told this to Paul — whoops…
  • It’s rumoured that Jim Morrison was at the session for ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, and that he sang on various parts of it. Though this has never been proven.
  • Brian Jones played on numerous Beatles songs! He sang on both ‘Yellow Submarine’ and ‘All You Need Is Love’, played oboe on ‘Baby, You’re A Rich Man’ and saxophone on ‘You Know My Name’. In turn, John and Paul sang on The Stones’ song ‘We Love You’.
  • Paul played bass on Donovan’s 1967 song ‘Mellow Yellow’.
  • Before John and Yoko bought Tittenhurst Park, John rented a flat in Montagu Square from Ringo. When John and Yoko moved to New York, Ringo bought Tittenhurst Park!
  • In 1979, The Guinness Book of World Records  gave Paul a rhodium-plated disc for being the bestselling artist of all time. Due to his immense sales, platinum was insufficient enough!
  • John was the last Beatle to learn to drive. He passed his driving test on February 15th, 1965, at the age of 24.
  • On ‘All You Need Is Love’, George and Paul experiment a bit, instrument-wise — Paul plays a double bass and George plays a violin!
  • And unsurprisingly, The Beatles are the best-selling artists of all time, with at least 2,303,500,000 certified units sold!

And there we go! Some interesting Beatles facts for you all! Have you got a favourite Beatles factoid, or did I leave something off my list? Please drop me a line in the comments below!

Hope you’ve all had a great week! Today is a public holiday in Adelaide, and I’m off to the third and final day of WOMADelaide in a few hours. I’ve seen some really great acts, like Swedish indie-folk act First Aid Kit, Welsh musician Gruff Rhys (who was in Super Furry Animals), blues virtuoso C W Stoneking and a really cool Adelaide band called Max Savage and the False Idols… Oh, and I’ve been changing the appearance of ‘AYNITB’ a bit! I’m still messing around with backgrounds and headers, but please tell me what you think… Good day sunshine ’till next week! 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 6 – ‘Revolver’

This is the 'Rubber Soul' cover, unstretched and uncropped. Also just turns out to be one of my very favourite Fabs pictures... :-)

This is the ‘Rubber Soul’ cover, unstretched and uncropped. Also just turns out to be one of my very favourite Fabs pictures… 🙂

And ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ returns for another month… Part 6 already, eh? Doesn’t feel like it’s been going that long at all! But anyway, this month we have a particularly special album. In many circles, this deservedly-lauded masterpiece has taken over from Pepper as being regarded as The Beatles’ best album. It arguably began the trend of of “arty” album art. It made number 3 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums (though it topped the same magazine’s ‘Favourite Beatles Album’ readers’ poll). It turns out to be my favourite album of all time. Not to mention the fact that the creator of Mad Men paid $250,000 to feature the last track of this particular album on an episode of the TV show. Thus, I can only be referring to…Revolver!

Sessions for Revolver began in April 1966, after Brian Epstein’s plans for a third film were vetoed by The Beatles. (A third film would not be seen until the — depending on your view — masterpiece and/or complete disaster known as Magical Mystery Tour.) It was decided that the film would be replaced with the release of an LP, which would be one of only two new Beatles releases that year. During this time, The Beatles started using the studio almost like another instrument. EMI engineer Ken Townsend invented artificial double tracking whilst engineering the recording of the album. The album also marks the first time The Beatles went full-out psychedelic, with psychedelic elements evident on nearly every track. The album also included a backwards guitar solo on ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, the first “samples” on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, much baroque instrumentation on many Paul tracks on the album, revolutionary (and just dead awesome!) drum parts from Ringo on most songs and the first real crossover of Eastern and Western music on ‘Love You To’. It is also the only album in which the balance of power between John and Paul — from a tracklisting point of view — is completely equal, and marks the time when George really becomes a very talented songwriter. The album was almost ignored at the time of release — overshadowed by John’s ‘Jesus’ quote — was probably one of The Beatles’ least successful albums at time of release. But anyway, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road are certainly the most iconic Beatles albums, but Revolver is probably the most revolutionary of them all. Though it is very much underrated by the general public, it is often regarded as the best Beatles album by many Beatles/music fans/experts. And very much deservedly so.

Revolver has been my favourite Beatles album since February last year (just before I bought the vinyl featured in this post), but this particularly came to light about seven months later. I remember listening to the album on this particular vinyl after school one night. I reckon it got to the solo in ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ before that particular listen affected me so profoundly that I would never think about The Beatles in the same way again. I read a study conducted mid last year that said that music can get the listener high, and I think that is what happened to me that night. Of course I had called The Fab Four my favourite band for over a year, but it was only then that, for the first time, I really knew what that meant. But anyway…

revolver 1

This is the cover of my LP. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s a bit tatty to say the least. (There are a few rips in the spine, and bits of the cover have fallen off around the other edge, leaving only the brown cardboard underneath.) But I don’t really care. I think that it gives the record a bit of a story, a bit of charm.

revolver 2

This is the back cover of the album. (I really love the photo session from which the photo on the back originates! Bob Whitaker was so talented. And George’s jacket & John’s shirt are gorgeous.) As you can see, it — like the front — isn’t in particularly good condition, either. The vinyl has seemingly marked it over time. But oh well. The vinyl is an Australian pressing, as shown with the text along the bottom of the cover.

revolver 5

But it’s not just any Australian pressing — it’s a first Australian pressing! One of my only two first Australian pressings, I might add. (Though I recently obtained a third-pressing black-and-gold Please Please Me that I’ll have to go back and do after I’ve finished the studio albums.) The backflaps have a glossy finish much like the front cover, which is contrast to the matte finish of the back. And on a different note, have a look in the right-hand corner — where the catalogue number is on all UK pressings. There, you will see two catalogue numbers; one for the mono pressings (PMCO 7009) and one for the stereo (PSCO 7009). The actual catalogue number is on the label of the actual record, so you’ll see in a couple of photos down whether it is in mono or stereo…

revolver 3

Here’s the actual vinyl. There are quite a few light scratches on both sides, but the record plays near perfectly. Also note the black-and-gold label! The vinyl is probably one of the heaviest in my collection, due to it’s first-pressing-status. Maybe why it plays so beautifully… (But then, the album is — in my opinion — the most beautiful album ever released. I’m not sure it would matter that much to me whether it crackles or not.)

revolver 4

Close up of the label. And the catalogue number is PMCO 7009, meaning that it is in mono! Yay! First-pressing, Australian and mono! (Though it doesn’t have “remix 11” of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, as they were only found on the British first pressings.) The original owner has seemingly scribbled their name on the yellow ‘PARLOPHONE’ title — P Bunn. P Bunn looked after their album quite well, I must say.

And there we go! ‘MBRC’ for another month! Next month, tangerinetrees will be focusing on the very first Beatles compilation album, with arguably one of the coolest covers ever designed…

Oh, and I went busking with my guitar on Wednesday, and made $8.70AUD. I also got stuck with a man who tried to sing the various Beatles songs I was playing, but couldn’t really sing. But oh well. $8.70 is a lot more than most artists earn on Spotify. It was a good experience.

Until next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

A Mad Day Out!

In The Beatles' fandom, we don't have 'Where's Wally'. We have 'Where are The Beatles'.

In The Beatles’ fandom, we don’t have ‘Where’s Wally’. We have ‘Where are The Beatles’.

Sorry for not posting in over a week! I’ve been holidaying in Melbourne (involving lots of shopping, more additions to my Beatles t-shirt/vinyl collection and a Jacqui Lambie sighting!) since Saturday, and got back a couple of nights ago, but I’ve found some time to post today. And by the way, welcome to 2015 on ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’! I’ve got a feeling the next 12 months are going to be really awesome for this blog, with heaps of Beatle-y posts as usual, plus some stuff on a few of their contemporaries & some stuff on the 21st-century indie music scene. Not to mention the month-long first birthday party for this blog to be held in June… 🙂 But alas, here is a post I started a few weeks ago and decided to finish today!

Whilst there are a heap of instantly recognisable photos taken of The Beatles pre-Sgt. Pepper/White Album (most of which are taken by an insanely talented man who was the band’s official photographer from 1964-1966 & lived in Melbourne where he hung out with the likes of Germaine Greer, Mirka Mora, John and Sunday Reed and Barry Humphries/Dame Edna/Les Patterson for a few years before that, Bob Whitaker), arguably the most iconic behind the Abbey Road photoshoot (and perhaps the Sgt. Pepper one, too) is one of the band on July 28th, 1968. John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the midst of the White Album Sessions. They weren’t getting on so well. But they clearly got on well on this particular day… The day of the Mad Day Out photoshoot! Below are some of my favourite images from that day (and some not-so-serious captions… 😉 ) — enjoy!

John is wearing his Apple Rooftop coat! (Well, it was actually Yoko's...) And their poses create a groovy effect...

Gorgeous coats, John and George. Where can I purchase garments of such a variety? (“Well, you would need a time machine, for one… Or more money than you’ll probably accumulate in your entire life…”)

Hiding in the hollyhock...

Hiding in the hollyhock…

Boy, you've been a naughty boy(s)...

Boy, you’ve been a naughty boy(s) / you let your face grow long You sat on the grass when you have clearly read a sign telling you to do the exact opposite…

Whistling and Martha (perhaps John is whistling 'Martha My Dear'? Oh wait -- the song didn't exactly exist at that point in time, and John didn't exactly play on the song either, so...)

Whistling and Martha (perhaps John is whistling ‘Martha My Dear’? Oh wait — the song didn’t exactly exist at that point in time, and John didn’t exactly play on the song either, so…)

Iconic image! See -- I told you so... ;-)

Don McCullin (the photographer): “Y’know, boys, this picture I’ve just taken. I’ve got a feeling that this’ll become one of the most iconic images taken of you.” The Beatles then shake their heads: “Nah, Don. We’ve still got that picture of us walking across that zebra crossing to be taken in a year.”

'GET OUT!'

‘GET OUT! WE DON’T WANT NO CAMERAS!’

'This is a very rare parrot of the...um...er...well...SQUAWKING variety,' say the two leading parrot experts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

‘This is a very rare parrot of the…um…er…well…SQUAWKING variety,’ say the two leading parrot experts, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Aww! And...

Aww! And…

Aww, again! Anyone who thinks that The Beatles hated each other need to take a look at these pictures...

Aww, again! Anyone who thinks that The Beatles hated each other need to take a look at these pictures — they were clearly very close.

Yo we's is da Beatle gansters! (Or perhaps how The Beatles would introduce themselves if they really were gangsters...)

“Yo. We’s is da Beatle gansters!” (Perhaps how The Beatles would introduce themselves if they really were gangsters…)

The man in the above picture has now started an exclusive internet forum dedicated to those who involved themselves in The Beatles without knowing. Notable people who've refused to join include the man on the cover of 'Abbey Road', a masterpiece recorded by (according to him) 'four kooks'.

“The man in the above picture has now started an exclusive internet forum dedicated to those who involved themselves in The Beatles without knowing. Notable people who’ve refused to join include the man on the cover of ‘Abbey Road’, a masterpiece recorded by (according to him) ‘four kooks’,” reports the deadly serious blogger, tangerinetrees99.

No, you four. I don't think it's possible to swim through concrete...

No, you four. I don’t think it’s possible to swim through concrete…

And finally, my favourite picture from 'Mad Day Out'! Peeping out from behind that hollyhock...

And finally, my favourite picture from ‘Mad Day Out’! Peeping out from behind that hollyhock…

And there we have it! Got any more Mad Day Out pictures/funny captions you want to add? Feel free to put them in the comments below… I’ll get back to doing more musically-orientated posts next time, but today I felt like showcasing one of the most famous photo sessions arguably of all time. And by the way, this is tangerinetrees99’s 50th post! Woo hoo! Until next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

P.S. And thank you to Quirky T for mentioning ‘AYNITB’ in their latest post! You can check out their awesome blog — all about music! — at https://guitartrain.wordpress.com/!

Words Are Flowing Out: My Favourite Beatles Quotes

How cool is this?! The original sketch for the cover of 'Revolver' (my favourite Beatles album).

How cool is this?! The original sketch for the cover of ‘Revolver’ (my favourite Beatles album).

[Just a note before I start writing…Recently I’ve gotten a lot of new followers, and I’d just like to say welcome to you all! I hope you enjoy reading my weekly/more frequent than weekly (when I have time) posts, and thank you for following! That goes for everyone, by the way — whether you’ve been here since I clicked the blue ‘Publish’ button for the very first time, or only for a couple of days (or something in between), thank you for reading and liking and sharing and (more recently) commenting! Now I’d better get on with the post…]

Apologies for not posting yesterday. I had a very good reason not to, though, which you will read about further down. But now I thought I would compile a list of my favourite Beatles quotes. Of course we all know that The Beatles always had something inspiring/witty/sad/mesmerising to say, and that we all will probably end up using at least one quote from each interview each of them gave. But I’ve realised that even more whilst researching for this post. The Beatles were very clever with words (as is — obviously — evident in their songs), and this translates to their interviews, as well. So here are some of my personal highlights — enjoy!

“Creativity is a gift. It doesn’t come through if the air is cluttered.”

– John Lennon.

“You’ve got as many lives as you like. And more…even ones you don’t want.”

– George Harrison.

“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.”

– (Sir James) Paul McCartney (MBE)

“I was an only child, with three amazing brothers.”

– Ringo/Richard Starr/Starkey…

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

– John

“The Beatles saved the world the world from boredom.”

– George

“Microphones are just like people — if you shout at them, they get scared.”

– Paul

“When I was about twelve, I used to think I must be a genius but nobody’s noticed.”

– John

“I’d like to think that all the old Beatle fans have grown up and they’ve gotten married and they’ve all got kids and they’re all more responsible, but they still have a space in their hearts for us.”

– George

“The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

– Paul (or should that be Faul? I should do a post on PiD at some point…)

“Everything government touches turns to crap.”

– Ringo

“Trying to please everybody is impossible. If you did that, you’d end up in the middle with nobody liking you.”

–  John

“It’s nothing to do with how many years old you are, or how big your body is. It’s down to what your greater consciousness is, and if you can live in harmony with what’s going on in creation.”

– George

“I don’t work at being ordinary.”

– Paul

“I’ve never really done anything to create what happened. It creates itself.”

– Ringo

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”

– John

“I’d rather be a musician than a rock star.”

– George

” My grandkids always beat me at Rock Band. And I say, Listen, you may beat me at Rock Band, but I made the original records, so shut up.”

– Paul

“My role in society, or any artist’s or poet’s role, is to try and express what we all feel. Not to tell people how to feel. Not as a preacher, not as a leader, but as a reflection of us all.”

– John

“It is better to be an outspoken atheist than a hypocrite.”

George

“Sadness isn’t sadness. It’s happiness in a black jacket. Tears are not tears. They’re balls of laughter dipped in salt. Death is not death. It’s life that’s jumped off a tall cliff.”

– Paul

“I like Beethoven — especially the poems.”

– Ringo

And there we go! Beatles quotes in a nutshell (bringing back that ol’ joke, is tangerinetrees!)… If you know of any other Beatles quotes that you absolutely love, feel free to put them in the Comments below!

And as for my exciting happening on the weekend…I saw A Hard Day’s Night on the big screen! And it was nothing short of absolutely, completely and utterly amazing! Don’t think I stopped smiling for the entire duration of the film 🙂 … I noticed a lot of stuff that I hadn’t noticed before (and I’ve watched it about ten times), and though I’ve watched it before in HD, nothing beats seeing a film on a big screen. Especially AHDN. The audience was full of laughter (though I must have been the annoying audience member that cracked up every two minutes — I started laughing just before John cuts the tape measure and goes, ‘I now declare this bridge open,’ for example…), and we all clapped and screamed at the end. But, wow, it was amazing. And to think that I thought just a few months ago (see June and July archives) that I’d never see it on the big screen… I guess I’ll just need to hope for a cinema release of Help! and Yellow Submarine in 2015 and 2018 (respectively)… 😉

And that’s my post for this week! Stay tuned for something (I’ve got a few ideas that I need to decide on) this weekend, and a profile on perhaps my most valuable LP in ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ for the next. But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

Beatles Song of the Post (and a few other tidbits)

I don't know if I've posted this image before (I think it's one of my headers), but I love these pictures so much! Reminds me of the album they are used to promote, '1' -- the first Fabs album I ever bought, and my key to the wonderful world of The Beatles...

I don’t know if I’ve posted this image before (I think it’s one of my headers), but I love these pictures so much! Reminds me of the album they are used to promote, ‘1’ — the first Fabs album I ever bought, and my key to the wonderful world of The Beatles…

Well, the final school term of 2014 has begun, and 7 weeks left of this school year! Yay! I have a really big History assignment impending, so I apologise if I don’t get to post as much as I’d like. I also have my Grade 3 violin exam coming in two weeks. These next couple of months are going to be very busy. But The Beatles (and this blog) will not be neglected! I also have another exciting event coming up in a couple of weeks, too, which I’ll write more about at the bottom of this post. The weather is really, really hot here in Adelaide today, but it’ll get to a good 15 or so degrees above this in January, so I guess I’d better get used to it. But to sum up this paragraph, everything finally seems peaceful and round in my mind, and to quote The Beatles, “It’s getting better all the time!” For once, my pessimistic nature seems to be taking a back seat… 😉

So today, I was going to do a relatively detailed post, but I’ve got some other stuff to write about too so I decided just to write about a featured Beatles song. And because it’s so hot today, I’ve decided to feature (drum roll please, Ringo)…’Rain’! (Yeah, I know — it is obviously not raining here, but there are lines in this song that refer to the sun…)

‘Rain’ isn’t even remotely well known, yet it’s still one of the most influential songs ever released (IMO). Only The Beatles could do that! It was, in fact, the B-side to ‘Paperback Writer’ (both gorgeous songs), though some say it was actually a double-A-sided single. It was (slightly obviously) written by John (HE’S SINGING IT), and he, er, rather obviously, is singing it. I read somewhere that he sang much of the backing vocals as well, though according to Wikipedia Paul and George also sang a track each. Apparently (again according to Wikipedia), it has been often hailed “The Beatles’ finest B-side”. Well, The Beatles’ B-sides are actually a lot of their best songs (‘This Boy’ is, in my opinion, a far superior song to ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. I considerably prefer ‘You Can’t Do That’ to ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. ‘Yes It Is’ is a B-side, and whilst I love ‘Ticket To Ride’ about equally to it, it is still absolutely exquisite. Not to even mention ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Old Brown Shoe’….), so I really do not know how one could choose a finest B-side. So let’s just say its one of their finest…

Some claim that the song was about LSD, and others claim it is about the horrible weather that John saw when he was touring Australia. I — being Australian — obviously think it would be cool if one of my favourite songs is written about my country, but I honestly don’t care if it’s about acid or not. I guess we’ll never know what is the right story, as John never commented on what the song was about. But anyway… The song is notable for being the first exhibition of BACKMASKING! And I guarantee you that no satanic messages were involved 😉 … Both John and George Martin have claimed that they created it. John claims to have accidentally discovered it whilst listening to a tape of the song whilst he was “stoned out of his mind”, and George Martin also claims that he discovered it whilst playing around with the tapes and thinking it would be fun to do something with John’s voice. Geoff Emerick backs up John, but who knows? John played his 1965 Gretsch Nashville (rhythm) guitar, Paul used his Rickenbacker bass for the first time, George used his Gibson SG and Ringo played, well, his Ludwig drums. Talking of Ringo’s drumming, ‘Rain’ often cited as Ringo’s best drumming performance (including Ringo himself). Quote Ringo: “I think it’s the best out of all the records I’ve ever made. ‘Rain’ blows me away…I know me and I know my playing…and then there’s ‘Rain'” The song just has an amazing rhythm track, full stop. Be sure to listen to it with good-quality speakers and/or headphones!

This song was also one of the earliest examples of the music clip. As you may or may not remember from my earlier post Six Ways The Beatles Changed The World, The Beatles basically invented the music clip, and were using promo films as early as late 1965, but at that point were really just miming their stuff in black-and-white. Though you could technically say that ‘Penny Lane’/’Strawberry Fields Forever’ were the first true music videos (they are truly amazing — look them up), ‘Rain’ and ‘Paperback Writer’ were the first songs that had proper music clips. The Beatles are filmed wandering around the grounds of a British mansion called Chiswick House IN COLOUR, and yeah, they mime, but there you have it! To quote George, “So I suppose, in a way, we invented MTV.”

So there you have it — a profile of one of The Beatles’ finest songs, from my favourite Beatles era. (The music from that era is — excuse cliche — too completely and utterly beautiful for words.) Hope you learnt something!

And my news… I’M GOING TO SEE RODRIGUEZ LIVE IN TWO WEEKS! Some of you may have heard of a guy called Rodriguez (or Sixto Rodriguez) and/or a documentary called Searching For Sugarman. Story cut short, Rodriguez was an American folk singer (slightly Dylanesque) who sold about six records in the US, but was “bigger than Elvis” in South Africa. (He also sold quite well here.) He was actually thought dead by most of his fans until he was found by some South African fans in the ’90s. And next month he is touring Australia! We only managed to finally get tickets a couple of days ago, as most of them had been bought by stupid scalpers. But anyway, I’m really excited, and you’ll be sure to get a post on the gig! I’ll leave you with my favourite Rodriguez song now, so good day sunshine until next week! 🙂

Tribute Songs for John Lennon

Ringo's beautiful birthday message for John. And a picture of the pair in very short shorts and masks...

Ringo’s lovely birthday Facebook post for John. (And a pic of the pair.) The post reads: “Peace and love to everyone else around the world celebrating John’s birthday on John Lennon week. He was my friend. Peace and love R.”

 

As we all know, it was John’s birthday two days ago. Happy birthday again, Johnny! I’m still listening to my ‘John’ playlist on my iPad, and my LP of choice recently has been Shaved Fish, a 1975 compilation of John’s best hits (until that point in time — he still had Double Fantasy to release. And if that Thing hadn’t fired its stupid gun, John would still be here today. And we might have had more.) So today I thought I would keep on with the Lennon theme and write about four tribute songs written for John. They’re all very different, but they also all are emotional affairs and portray the relationship the singer felt with John. So here goes…

 

Paul’s ‘Here Today’

john and paul one

 

As you would perhaps assume, Paul wrote/did the most beautiful John tribute ever recorded. My opinion, anyway. People who think John and Paul hated each other really need to listen to this song. You can’t deny that they were close after hearing it. I really can’t help but tear up when I listen to this song — you will hear why when you listen to it, too.

It was only after I heard this for the first time late last year that I realised that John and Paul were more than just the best songwriters in the history of the world (IMO). They were best friends who loved each other. I’m reading Alistair Taylor’s memoirs at the moment, and I like how he says that (paraphrasing), “John and Paul were closer than brothers.” People sometimes forget that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to another person to love them — that you can love your friends just as much. I think John and Paul are a perfect example of this, regardless of their early-’70s fights. And this song is the perfect testament to their closeness. Thank you, Paul!

George’s ‘All Those Years Ago’

 

This was the first tribute to John I heard (late last year). I listened to it first probably ‘cos George is my second-favourite Beatle! Very upbeat, but still moving. I especially love the electric piano! And the music video (wow!). And the lyrics…as with the above, people who seriously think that John and George weren’t close, listen to the lyrics, man! The Beatles were all very close, I think. Maybe that is one of the reasons as to why they were so darn fantabulous (there isn’t a word in the English language to describe how fab The Beatles were/are)!

I’ve been doing a bit of research on John and George’s friendship lately, and I found this gorgeous story from John’s birthday, 1970, at which time he was recording ‘Remember’ from Plastic Ono Band with Klaus Voorman and Ringo. To quote the Beatles Bible: “During the session George Harrison arrived at the studio, arriving in his dark blue Ferrari 330 GTC. He presented Lennon with a plastic flower and the pair hugged each other.” 🙂 ! As Yoko Ono said, “John loved George and George loved John. Their friendship was very special.”

Elton John’s ‘Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)’

john lennon and elton john

 

I don’t know as much about John and Elton John’s friendship as I do the relationships within The Beatles, but I — like most hardcore Lennonites — know the story of the 1974 Madison Square concert. For those of you who don’t, here it is: Once upon a time John is recording ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’ with Elton (who features on harmony vocals and piano), and Elton tells John that the song will reach #1. John had not had a (solo) #1 yet, and didn’t believe it would, so the two make a bet — if the song is a Number One hit, John (who suffered from stage fright at the time) performs it with Elton at the latter’s upcoming concert in Madison. So the song reaches Number One in the US — his only #1 in his lifetime — and John, defeated, performs it onstage, along with ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and Elton’s cover of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’! It would be John’s last onstage appearance. He was going to tour the world in 1981. But that never happened. But I’m not going to brood today.

As for the song itself, all I really know about it is that Elton John does not perform it live as it “brings back too many painful memories” (I don’t blame him). I love it, and like just as much as Paul’s and George’s!

Queen’s ‘Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)’

 

Whilst — as far as I can see — John and the members of Queen never crossed paths (i.e. never met), this song is still a beautiful tribute to John. The piano is relatively Lennon-esque, and I particularly love Freddie Mercury’s vocals + Brian May’s guitar solo. After John died, Queen would also cover ‘Imagine’ in their concerts, and I believe they cited John/The Beatles as major influences on their work. I think it is just as beautiful as the ones John’s actual friends did, proving again that John was/is loved and sorely missed by nearly everyone in this world.

 

So there we go! What’s your favourite of the above? Do you know any other tributes for John? Please give me a buzz in the Comments below… I’m thinking of writing my own tribute for John at some point in the feature (I’ve got two songs of my own creation and some Beatles covers to do first), which I promise to upload here when it’s done.

So once again, happy birthday, Johnny! I love you. Good day sunshine! 🙂

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

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 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! 🙂