My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 8 – ‘The Beatles’ (aka The White Album)

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn't get to see it (I don't think it came to my city), but it looked really cool...

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn’t get to see it (I don’t think it came to my city), but it looked really cool…

For Part 8 of this series of posts, it is only fitting that the Beatles album released in 1968 is the focus. That album being, of course, a very famous double album. It’s called The Beatles. But most call it the White Album! The White Album is one of The Beatles’ most well-known releases, and is famous for its unconventional, inconsistent musical style and its nearly-all-white cover. It made number 10 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’,and number 4 on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums last year. (If I redid the ranking, though, it would probably make number 2 now!)

Apart from arguably being the weirdest album in the history of music (in the absolute best way possible!), The White Album is famous for a few other things. The sessions for the double album marked the first time that the relationship between The Beatles became particularly strained. John, Paul and George would often inhabit three separate studios in Abbey Road, each doing their own separate overdubs for their own separate songs… Ringo quit the band for a few of the early sessions, but was convinced to return by the other three. A few songs on The White Album also “inspired” Charles Manson and his “family” to commit the despicable things that they did… (But that was by no means The Beatles’ fault. It is truly horrible that the wonderful songs that Manson chose to associate himself with will forever be stained by his actions.) Oh, and it includes ‘Revolution 9’. However, the album was one of the earliest rock double albums. It also contains some of the (arguably) greatest songs ever, like the proto-metal of ‘Helter Skelter’, the tender and beautiful ‘Julia’, ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Blackbird’, the Eric Clapton solos of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the satire of ‘Piggies’ and ‘Glass Onion’, the first Ringo-penned tune (‘Don’t Pass Me By’), and the all-round awesomeness of wonderful songs like ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Yer Blues’, ‘I’m So Tired’… Not a bad piece of work, boys!

The White Album is also famous for its packaging. The cover is almost completely white, with the band’s embossed name being the only graphic on the front cover. That is, unless, one has a first-edition White Album. Then one would also have a number on the front, telling them what number White Album they own. Numbered WAs are particularly coveted by collectors… Original pressings also included four head-shots of each band member, and a poster with a collage of Beatles pictures on one side and the lyrics for every song. These posters were originally censored, as pictures of John and Paul naked are included on the uncensored version…

My White Album is my only other first-edition Australian vinyl (along with Revolver). In my opinion, two wonderful pleasures in life are listening to those albums on first-ed vinyl… But anyway, here is my White Album!

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Okay. Perhaps my White Album should really be called the White-with-a-coffee-stain Album. Its previous owner/s clearly mistook it for a coaster… Much like my Revolver, the cover is particularly tattered. Not that I care, though. If you look closely, you can see the embossed ‘The BEATLES’ logo. And if you look even closer…

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YES! I have a numbered White Album! I have the the 26,357th Australian White Album made. In Australia, the very early White Albums were numbered with the prefix ‘A’. Numbering went up to about the 3,000,000th WA, too. So I have a relatively low number! Due to the bad condition of the cover, it only cost me $30 AUD. And all the other numbered White Albums I have seen around here have been over 1,000,000 numbers higher. So tangerinetrees99 is a very, very lucky girl!

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This is the top of the back cover. The back cover is completely white, except for that little ‘STEREO’ stamp in the top right-hand corner. Australian stereo White Albums were made in the US, so it is slightly less rare than the UK-made Aussie mono pressings (which apparently only sold around 5,000 units). But I really don’t care!

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This is the gatefold of my album. As you can see, the spine is falling apart, sadly. On the left-hand side of the gatefold, the track-listing is written down in grey text. And on the other side, the head-shots that would have originally come with the album are pictured in black-and-white. My White Album would have originally come with the poster and headshots, but these have been lost somewhere before it reached me… Oh well!

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(The track-listing. What is your favourite song on the White Album? Tell me in the comments!)

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(The headshots!)

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These are the inner sleeves of the two discs. Again, I’m a very lucky girl, as they are the original inner sleeves! As you can see, the sleeves were originally black, probably as some kind of ironic joke! They are falling apart, but I don’t care! They still do a good job of keeping the vinyl protected…

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These are the discs, themselves. The White Album was the first proper Apple Corps release in Australia, as the ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ single was released on both Apple and Parlophone, here.

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And a close-up of Side 1. As you may be able to see, the discs are severely scratched. But they play surprisingly beautifully! Really. Beautifully. The scratches are light enough so that the needle doesn’t skip, and though it crackles a bit, our record player crackles a lot, full stop. There is nothing quite like listening to The White Album on first edition vinyl. It really is an album that needs to be played loud through a good sound system, on an originally-pressed vinyl. Just the way The Beatles intended…

And there is my copy of my second-favourite Beatles album! Next month, I will return with one of the very last studio albums in the series…

Hope you all have a great Easter break! Tomorrow, I’m going to a music festival, which should be heaps of fun… And I’m now on school holidays! Yay! You should be seeing me a little more ’round here than usual. But ’till next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 7 — ‘Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits’

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles' brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles’ brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

And so it is the 1st of March… Happy Autumn (or Spring, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere)! In Adelaide, the month of March (or really, mid February ’till the end of March) is Festival Season. We have lots of music and arts festivals at this time of year, and it is a really awesome place to be! Tonight, I’m going to see a stage production of The Who’s Tommy (as a part of the Adelaide Festival), and next weekend I will be spending three days at WOMADelaide (a world music festival, with the best food, iced tea and shops, too!)! And in unrelated news, we are playing a Beatles medley in my school concert band! Yay! But onto the post…

‘My Beatles Record Collection’ is back — late… Sorry about that. But alas, this month I will be focusing on a The Beatles’ studio album which never really was a proper studio album — Magical Mystery TourMagical Mystery Tour was released (ironically) on December 8th, 1967, as the soundtrack to the ill-fated “film” of the same name (which I have only watched once. I didn’t hate it, but it was a bit odd…) In countries on which The Beatles were released on Parlophone, it was released as a double EP, complete with a fancy booklet and fancy packaging. But in the land of good ol’ Captiol Records (America), it was released as a full length LP along with the Beatles’ singles from ’67, because EPs were apparently “useless” at that point in time. But anyway, due to its different release methods, it is often debated between Beatles fans as to whether it should be included in the core discography or not. Ever since the ’87 remixes, EMI has included along with the core selection as a studio album as the material was never available on an actual studio album. But I am in the latter camp. Magical Mystery Tour, to me, is a Captiol compilation of a similar ilk to pretty much any Beatles album released in America before Sgt. Pepper. But oh well. As an album, some of the tracks include ‘Flying’, ‘Blue Jay Way’ (my favourite song on the album!), ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and the famous ‘I Am The Walrus’ (goo goo g’joob). I’d say it is just as mad and psychedelic as Pepper, and I love mad psychedelia! 🙂

America was not the only place to have a Magical Mystery Tour LP, however. In 1970, the same album was released in Australia, under a slightly different title of Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits. But it was not released on Apple, or Parlophone. It was released on a label named World Record Club (exclusively in Australia, according to the back!), which was a mail-order catalogue type thing. I obtained my copy in a cool record shop in Melbourne back in July, and apparently they are quite rare!

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This is the front cover. Note how it is so different to the US/official cover which we all know so well! The picture is a still from the ‘I Am The Walrus’ scene of the film. The font of the title is different, too. But then, the actual title itself is different too, so…

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This is the back cover (obviously!). I actually like the back cover, as it makes it clear to the listener which songs are from the film, and which ones are “other selections”. I find it interesting how some quirky pieces of text which are synonymous with the original EP/LP — like the “‘No, you’re not!’ said Little Nicola” bit underneath ‘I Am The Walrus’, and the production being credited to ‘Big George Martin’ — are included on the back of this version, too! Oh, and that little star in the top right-hand corner says ‘STEREO’, by the way. By the time that MMT was released in Australia as an LP, mono had long been not used for albums. The Beatles were in fact the first popular band to utilise stereo, as far back as Please Please Me. Funny to think how all The Beatles’ albums were packed in between 1963 – 1970. Amazing…

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This is the vinyl itself! The inner sleeve is quite interesting, as it is made of quite thick, translucent plastic — as opposed to the paper or flimsier, transparent plastic inner sleeves of the Parlophone/Apple releases. You can see the WRC record label here, too. According to Wikipedia, WRC was actually owned by EMI from 1965 onwards — which would explain why the inclusion of a Beatles album in one of those mail order catalogues (they usually weren’t included).

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A close-up of the label. The actual text isn’t that different to what one would discover on a regular Beatles release label, though of course the label itself is. Apparently WRC felt a need to point out that it should spin at 33 1/3 RPM…

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And a close-up of the vinyl! It’s in really, really good condition — near mint, actually! The vinyl is still very shiny — to the point where I had to have a few goes to try and not get my iPad reflected on the vinyl! And for a record made in 1970, the vinyl is quite heavyweight. (A lot heavier than the flimsy ‘orange label’ reissues of the same time, anyway…) It plays really well, so I am pleased!

And there we go…done for another month. I am especially looking forward to doing this month’s ‘MBRC’, as it is time for a very special double album. And I am lucky enough to have an equally special pressing of this album…

Oh, and yesterday (February 28th) would have been the 73rd birthday of my favourite Stone, Brian Jones! Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading on Brian (and The Stones). Amongst other things, Brian was a huge influence on The Stones in the early days, and he was an amazing multi-instrumentalist who made many good Stones songs great. I shall write a proper post about him at some point in the future, but for now, I shall post a few pictures of him below. Happy birthday, Brian!

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I’ll go back to my normal blogging schedule next week, I think. I have a great Beatley idea which has been in the works for a very good while, and it shall see the light of day next week! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

My 5 Favourite Albums of 2014

Or my opinion, anyway...

Or my opinion, anyway…

I thought I’d do a non-Beatley post today, and focus on some of my favourite music of last year. Last year was the year that I started to get into contemporary music, and I now foster an intense love of  modern indie music of all kinds, as well as my great passion for classic rock. (Though The Beatles will always be my favourite band.)  I’ve been meaning to do this post for a couple of months, but I’ve really only found a chance to write it now! (Next year, I will try not to do this post 2 months into 2016…) So today, I will list my five favourite albums — whether I judged them via an LP or a YouTube playlist or something in between — of the year that was. And let the list begin!

5.  Lost In The Dream, The War on Drugs

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This is The War on Drugs’ third album, and it was apparently recorded over two years and was rewritten many times! But it resulted in this wonderful album… According to main songwriter Adam Granduciel, Lost In The Dream was basically like a solo album for him. Some of the main influences for the album include Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and synthy ’80s pop, which I can definitely hear. A wonderful album!

FAVOURITE SONGS: ‘Lost In The Dream’, ‘Eyes To The Wind’, ‘Disappearing’.

4. Morning Phase, Beck

beck morning phase

As I’m sure most people have heard by now, Beck’s latest effort won Album of The Year at The Grammys, and deservedly so! (And as for that Beck/Kanye West rubbish, Kanye is definitely the person who needs to “respect artistry” here.) I am very happy that it won! I only listened to this album a short while ago (on a plane, in fact), and it instantly became one of my favourites. I love the folky, “soaring” feel of the album, and Beck’s vocals are gorgeous! As written above, very much the deserved Album of The Year winner in a very mainstream-orientated Grammys night.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: ‘Morning’, ‘Say Goodbye’, ‘Unforgiven’, ‘Waking Light’, ‘Blackbird Chain’

3. Angus and Julia Stone, Angus and Julia Stone

angus and julia stone

According to my faithful triple j 2014 Annual (triple j is Australia’s radio station for all things left of mainstream. Also the home of the triple j Hottest 100, which you have probably heard of.), Angus and Julia Stone — two indie-folk-orientated siblings from Sydney — had decided to never play together again in 2012. But then, an American producer named Rick Rubin heard one of the duo’s songs and was determined to do whatever it took to work with the two. He managed to get them back together, and this piece of indie perfection was the result!

I particularly love the beautiful guitar-work, the keyboards/synths, the chiming indie-pop feel, the album’s air of danceablility and of course the exquisite vocals from both parties! (The familiar accents are also nice.) A great album to come out of a great country…

FAVOURITE SONGS: ‘Get Home’, ‘Death Defying Acts’, ‘Other Things’, ‘Do Without’, ‘All This Love’

2. Alvvays, Alvvays

alvvays alvvays

I discovered the debut album of Canadian indie-pop band Alvvays (pronounced ‘always’) after reading an interview with their vocalist and guitarist Molly Rankin in my favourite magazine. I checked them out on SoundCloud, and after listening to ‘Adult Diversion’ (one of the “better-known” tracks on the album) on repeat for months, I decided to listen to the actual album. Laden with jangling guitars, synths, thumping drums, a touch of distortion and beautiful, quintessentially indie vocals, I have a feeling that Alvvays will quickly become the next big thing in indie pop! I can’t wait for their second album.

FAVOURITE SONGS: ‘Adult Diversion’, ‘Dives’ and ‘Atop A Cake’. (Another song — ‘Underneath Us’ — was included in Australia as a bonus track. I would also include this song in here, if it were part of the core album.)

And, my favourite album of 2014 is [insert drum roll here]…

1. Turn Blue, The Black Keys

black keys turn blue

The recording of garage/blues/indie duo The Black Keys’ eighth studio album began in early 2013, during a break from the world tour corresponding with their previous album, El Camino. As with their previous album, Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney (guitar/vocals and drums respectively) had not written any of the songs before recording, and simply wrote them on the day of recording. The album was to be produced by Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse). But Auerbach and Carney had different ideas on how the album was to pan out. Things got a little tense between the two and recording was put off for a few months. Later in the year, the duo recommenced recording in California, and until about March 2014, they — along with Burton — created what would be the most psychedelic, sprawling and self indulgent (in the best way possible!) album of their career. The album is based around the theme of a difficult breakup, which reflected the nasty divorce that Auerbach was experiencing in 2013.

This was the first Black Keys album I bought. In fact, it was the first album less than 30 years old that I had bought at all. I love it for it’s sprawling nature, the searing guitar solos on ‘Weight of Love’, the spiky synths on ‘Fever’, the chiming bells, the ringing falsetto counter-vocals, just everything… And it introduced me to one of my very favourite bands. So that, my friends, is why Turn Blue is my favourite album of that great big year that was!

FAVOURITE SONGS: ‘Weight Of Love’, ‘Fever’, ‘In Our Prime’, ‘Gotta Get Away’, ‘Bullet In The Brain’, ‘Waiting On Words’…

And my award for best film soundtrack of 2014 goes to…

Boyhood, various artists

boyhood music from the motion picture

Boyhood is definitely my favourite film at the moment, and its awesome soundtrack is good enough to rival the film itself. As the film was made over 12 years — spanning the life of main character Mason from ages 6-18 — there’s music from all the periods included in that time frame (plus more)! Whether it be a party backed by The Black Keys’ ‘She’s Long Gone’, or a six year old Mason trying his hand at graffiti to The Hives’ ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’, visiting a club to Gotye and Kimbra’s ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’, or the end credits rolling to Arcade Fire’s ‘Deep Blue’, with some Cat Power and Vampire Weekend in between — even a Beatle-related scene backed by ‘Band On The Run’ (!) — the soundtrack is perfect in every way. (Except for maybe the inclusion of ‘Good Girls Go Bad’. I hate that song.) A soundtrack-made-in-heaven to supplement a film-made-in-heaven, in my humble opinion.

FAVOURITE TRACKS: The entire thing (except for ‘Good Girls Go Bad’ and ‘Crazy’ by Gnarls Barkley)!

And so, what were your favourite albums of 2014? Please send me a postcard or drop me a line, stating your point of view!

A few contenders  for my favourite album of this year have already come up! I have a feeling that Pond’s Man, It Looks Like Space Again will make my shortlist, and the tracks I have heard on triple j from Twerps’ Range Anxiety sound pretty good, too. But Tame Impala are releasing a new album this year. Though no-one except for Kevin Parker has actually heard it, I think I already have a possible Number One on my hands…

And we have an important Beatle-y celebration coming — it would have been George’s 72nd birthday this Tuesday! Happy birthday, Georgie! I shall post my birthday post for him probably on Tuesday (if I get a chance)! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

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.

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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.

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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…

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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.)

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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! 🙂

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… 😉 )

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 RevolverAbbey 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)…

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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.

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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.

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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… 🙂

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! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

help one

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

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

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).

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

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

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

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

 

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 3 – ‘Beatles For Sale’

As pretty much everyone in Australia knows, The (Rolling) Stones played Adelaide Oval last night, so I will post this picture in commemoration. We were actually in the CBD last night to see a movie, and thanks to my dad driving past The Stones' venue, we got to hear them play 'Honky Tonk Women'. Not my favourite Stones song, but there's no denying it sounded good live.

As pretty much everyone in Australia knows, The (Rolling) Stones played Adelaide Oval last night, so I will post this picture. We were actually in the CBD last night to see a movie, and thanks to my dad driving past The Stones’ venue on the way home, we got to hear them play ‘Honky Tonk Women’! Not my favourite Stones song (by a long shot), but there’s no denying it sounded good live.

It’s that time of month again! Time for another installation of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’! And this month, it’s [insert signature Ringo drum fill]…Beatles For SaleBeatles For Sale was The Beatles’ fourth studio album, and was the last to comply by the covers/originals formula that also went for Please Please Me and With The Beatles (though both Help! and Let It Be included covers as well). It was also The Beatles’ first gatefold album (and must have been one of the earliest examples of such packaging), and is the first album on which one can really hear The Beatles start to mature. Bob Dylan’s influence on the group (especially John) is particularly evident, and the bulk of John’s first explorations of confessional lyricism (he was suffering from depression at the time) can be found on this album. The UK cover/back cover are actually two of my favourite pictures of the group (the latter can be found on my school book labels!), but sadly the cover butcherers also known as EMI Australia decided to ruin the cover here. Not many people rate this album particularly highly, but I beg to differ. Some of my favourite Beatles songs are on this album! But onto vinyl…

I have a couple of dream vinyl purchases. Y’know, a numbered White Album, that sort of thing. And one of the things on my dream list is a UK first-edition Beatles For Sale. But sadly, it is exactly what the list suggests — a dream (at the moment). My copy of Beatles For Sale is much like my A Hard Day’s Night — a ’70s “orange label” repressing. With the Australian cover (which means no gatefold). But oh well. I only got it for about 30 bucks (plus sale discount), and it was definitely 30 bucks well spent! The vinyl doesn’t play as well as some of my other records, but there are no skips and the crackle (most of which probably comes from our record player) is bearable. Here are some pictures:

beatles for sale one

Here is that dreadful Australian cover. Apparently the images are from one of the band’s Sydney concerts. On second thoughts, the cover isn’t that bad — it just looks quite ‘yick’ compared to the beautiful British one! It is pretty bad, though, as far as Beatles covers go. I can see why John complained to EMI. (Still better than any One Direction album cover! Hee hee!) My cover actually needs a glue job, ‘cos the original glue across the top edge has perished. A job for me at some point, I s’pose.

beatles for sale two

The back of the record. A similar kind of thing (the sleeve notes, the track listing, the title and the picture) appeared in black on the left side of the British gatefold sleeve. As you can see, there are no backflaps, and if you look carefully, you can see the record is in stereo (like all other Beatles re-releases of the time). The picture is actually quite outdated, if you think about it. It appears to be A Hard Day’s Night era, and The Beatles had ditched the suits and had grown their hair a bit since then. I quite like it, though.

beatles for sale three

Here’s the really interesting thing about the cover — not specific to the Australian version, but who cares. And what is that thing, you ask? Why, Derek Taylor’s sleeve notes! Especially this quote…

It isn’t all currency or current though. There’s a priceless history between these covers. None of us is getting any younger. When, in a generation or so, a radio-active, cigar-smoking child, picnicking on Saturn, asks you what the Beatle affair was all about – ‘Did you actually know them?’ – don’t try to explain all about the long hair and the screams! Just play the child a few tracks from this album and he’ll probably understand what it was all about. The kids of AD2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well-being and warmth as we do today.

And Derek Taylor must be psychic! Well, he got the Saturn bit wrong (that’ll probably happen in AD3000!), but the bolded sentence is truer than ever. Yes, the kids of AD2000 do draw the same sense of well-being and warmth as they did in the ’60s. And not just 2000. The children of the 2010s do to. And I bet you that the cycle will continue on forever. ‘Cos that is the reality of priceless music.

beatles for sale four

Here’s a picture of the LP with the cover. As you can see, it’s an “orange label” version (most likely late ’70s), and like all Australian pressings (including firsts — I actually have a first-edition Australian), it comes in a plastic sleeve, as opposed to the paper ones found in UK pressings.

beatles for sale five

And here’s Side Two of the LP. Very good condition — not a scratch! It crackles a lot, though, ‘cos it’s so thin and our record player is about as old as The Beatles’ albums. I love our record player dearly, though. Probably my favourite piece of furniture (it’s a proper stereogram) in the house.

And there you go! ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ done for another month. Stay tuned in particular for the next four months, ‘cos many of my more interesting and rare and valuable pieces will feature.

Last night, I went to see a wonderful Spanish film called Living Is Easy (With Eyes Closed). The film (named after a line in ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is about a Spanish teacher called Antonio who is an obsessive Beatles/John fan. When he hears that John is filming How I Won The War in Almeria, he makes a trip out there from his town. On the way, he picks up two teenage hitch-hikers, and the film is basically about their adventures and Antonio’s many plans for meeting John. As long as you don’t mind reading subtitles, I highly recommend it! Google it for more information.

AND IMPORTANT NEWS FOR AUSTRALIAN READERS: A HARD DAY’S NIGHT IS COMING TO AUSTRALIA! Yay! After I thought for so long that it wouldn’t. AHDN is screening in its beautiful remastered glory as a part of the British Film Festival. If you’re Adelaidean like me, it’ll be on at the Palace Nova Cinema on November 9th at 7:30pm. Check the Film Festival’s website if you live elsewhere. But anyway, we’ve already got tickets, and I’m really excited! If you’ve been reading since the beginning, you’ll know how much I wanted to see the film on the big screen, and now I have the chance! I’ll be sure to write all about it after I’ve seen it. I guess last night will go down in my mind as the night I saw a fabulous film, found out A Hard Day’s Night was coming to Australia and heard The Stones play live.

And this Wednesday is the Rodriguez concert! I, too, am really excited about that! My first big concert! Yay! I’ll write all about it next weekend. But for now, 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! 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. One – ‘With The Beatles’

One of my favourite pictures from the Mad Day Out photoshoot - I must do a post on Mad Day Out, at some point.

One of my favourite pictures from the Mad Day Out photo-shoot – I must do a post on Mad Day Out, at some point.

As I assume is slightly obvious (just a bit), I am a hardcore Beatlemaniac (hmm…you wouldn’t have guessedespecially if you read this blog!). Unlike many teenage Beatlemaniacs – or teenage music fans in general – though, I prefer to listen to The Beatles on vinyl. In fact, I collect Beatles records! I have done so since late last year (I’d been a fan for about ten months), beginning with an eight-record Beatles box set, poignantly released in 1980. But that’ll come later in this series, which will get an update each month (or maybe more – not too sure, yet).

If I say so myself, I have some real gems in my collection, ranging from two British-edition first pressings in mono, to an American edition of the 1970s compilation Love Songs (which I inherited from my grandfather). But today, I’m going to start with one of my British monos – my beautiful copy of With The Beatles!

I got my With The Beatles in February this year from my favourite record shop (in which I am known as Miss Beatle!), using some leftover Christmas money. It plays amazingly well for a record of over fifty years of age, and I swear it is in near mint condition! There is nothing quite like listening to The Beatles on first-edition vinyl – the 2009 remasters are all fine and dandy at first, but to hear The Beatles as they were meant to be heard, you really have to invest in one of these babies. If they play through well, I guarantee you will never have heard The Beatles better.

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Here is (obviously) the cover. Apart from a few discolourations in the white top secion, it is amazingly good condition. Not that it really matters, compared to the record – it is nice to have a good cover to go along with it, though.

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As you can see, the record is in mono (meaning it only plays out of one speaker – unlike stereo, which plays out of two), which makes it rarer than one released in stereo. One thing I should have put in my ‘Six Ways The Beatles Changed The World’ post is how The Beatles pioneered the use of stereo in pop music. In fact, I am fairly sure they were the first band to use it – on Please Please Me. Because of this, though, it means that Beatles records in mono are hard to find, so I struck jackpot with this! As of September 8, you’ll be able to hear most Beatles albums in mono, too, with the new mono remasters. But the original vinyl will always sound better, (pretty much) no matter what.

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The back of the record, complete with the ‘Use EMITEX’ label used on all British pressings of Beatles releases and sleeve notes written by Tony Barrow. Note the flaps of cardboard around the borders – or ‘backflaps’, as they are called. These were only used on first pressings, meaning this was one of the first With The Beatles to ever be made.

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To be exact, though, it was the 206th With The Beatles ever made. Wow – I feel rather special! How fab!

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Here is the side of the record – in absolutely pristine condition! I have two records owned by ‘Clark’ (you may have noted a name on the picture two above), and both are almost perfect. They must have looked after their records very well.

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Here is the British address on the back, plus the EMITEX label – proving it’s a British pressing. Australian versions of this record would have a Sydney-based address, and lack the EMITEX label – and would have a different cover. But that’s a different story, to be explained another day…

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‘Clark’ didn’t just keep her records in perfect condition – she also spiced up the slip-cover, too! Usually, British pressings have a paper sleeve with another EMITEX advertisement plus a warning about replacing your record player needle as needed (and trust me, you should – I may or may not have ruined a record by not. But as with the cover, that story will be saved for the Help! edition of this series). But our ‘Clark’ appears to have cut out all sorts of Beatles scraps and decorated the sleeve (rather like the end-papers of my diary!), making beautifully unique. Now, any guesses of who her favourite Beatle is (clue: it’s probably Ringo)?!?

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Here’s the other side of the slip cover, with a picture of George, a still from A Hard Day’s Night (obviously she scrapped into the next year, too) and a review of the album to pour over!

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And finally, here is Side One of the record – absolutely scratch-less!

(And now for a couple of other things…)

So far, The Beatles: The Night That Changed America – A GRAMMY® Salute (that Grammy special from February) has received an Emmy! It was nominated for six, but only four of the categories it was in were announced today. The rest will be announced on August 25, when The Emmys are broadcasted around the world. So far, it has been awarded for Most Outstanding Musical Direction, but fingers crossed it will get more when the other two categories are announced.

And finally, my good friend kate160801 (you know who you are) has started a blog called ‘The Hunger Readings’, on which she will publish her various pieces of writing. kate160801 hasn’t put much on it yet, but trust me – she is an amazing writer, so make sure you check out her blog here: http://thehungerreading.wordpress.com .

Hope you’re having a groovy day wherever you are, and good day sunshine 🙂

 

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

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

Taken in the Austrian Alps – made me smile 🙂 !

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘She Said, She Said’

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

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

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

‘Revolution’

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

‘Something’

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

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

A Random Bloopers Reel

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

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

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

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

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

‘Cry Baby Cry’

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

‘Yes It Is’

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

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

‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

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

Paul sings John a very sweet tribute

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

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