The Beatles were a highly influential and successful group of four musicians and songwriters who epitomised the popular culture of Britain and the postwar baby boom generation, and, indeed, much of the English-speaking world during the 1960s and early 1970s. Their influences in popular culture extended far beyond their roles as recording artists, as they branched out into film and even became spokesmen for their generation. The members of the group were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Starkey), all from Liverpool, England.
Originally a high-energy pop band (typified by the early singles "Twist and Shout" and "Please Please Me"), as the Beatles progressed their style became more sophisticated, influenced in equal measure by Bob Dylan and Chuck Berry. Their popularity was also aided by their attractive looks, distinctive personalities, and natural charisma; particularly on television where they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and others.
Lennon met McCartney on July 6, 1957 at St. Peter's Church garden fete. Lennon was in a skiffle group called The Quarry Men who were performing at the event. McCartney joined the band, and brought Harrison along soon after. In 1958, The Quarry Men recorded a demo of two songs; the first was an original Harrison/McCartney tune called "In spite of all the danger"; the other was a cover of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day". A number of songs that were later recorded for Beatles records, were originally written at this time including "I'll Follow The Sun", "Michelle", "When I'm 64", and "One After 909"
When the Quarry Men changed their name to the Beatles in 1960 (sometimes known as "the Silver Beetles"), Pete Best was drummer for the band and Stuart Sutcliffe was the band's bass player. Sutcliffe decided against continuing to perform with the band and remained in Hamburg in the Spring of 1961. McCartney, who had been playing guitar, replaced him on bass.
On December 10, 1961, Brian Epstein agreed to become the band's manager, after receiving requests for the band's music two months earlier in his record store and watching them perform at the legendary Cavern Club. Epstein arranged for the Beatles to audition for Decca Records on January 1, 1962. Decca, in one of the most embarrassing business decisions in music history, rejected the band, on the grounds that guitar music was "on the way out".
The Beatles then signed with EMI's Parlophone label in early 1962. George Martin, who was at first unimpressed by the band's demos, fell in love with the band when he met them in person. Not only did he feel as though they had musical talent, but he felt that their wit and humor made them extremely "likeable". He did have a problem with Best however, whom he criticized for not be able to keep time. The Beatles let Best go, and immediately asked Starr, whom they had met and even performed with previously, to join the band permanently. Martin, unaware of this personnel change, hired session drummer Andy White to play drums on the Beatles' first studio session on September 11, 1962
The Beatles recorded their first full length album, live in the studio, on February 11, 1963 in one 12 hour session. On February 22, 1963 the Beatles' second single, "Please Please Me" went straight to No. 1. On February 7, 1964 The Beatles travelled to New York for a number of U.S. television appearances and performances. Upon arriving at JFK airport, The Beatles noticed thousands of kids screaming and awaiting the plane's arrival. They assumed that there must have been someone important on the plane with them and were a bit shocked to learn that the crowds were actually there for them.
On February 9, 1964 The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. To this day it remains one of the highest rated television programs of all time, with 73 million people tuning in. The Beatles made four more live appearances on the show in months to come.
On April 4, 1964, The Beatles set a record that has yet to be broken when they occupied all five top positions on Billboard's Top Pop Singles chart. Their single "Can't Buy Me Love" was at number one. In August of that year, The Beatles' first motion picture was released, A Hard Day's Night. They started filming their second film, Help! on February 23, 1965 in the Bahamas
On June 12, 1965, The Beatles were awarded Members of the British Empire (MBE) by the Queen. Since it was unusual for rock stars to receive the MBE, some previous recipients complained and protested.
On August 15, 1965, The Beatles started their second North American tour at Shea Stadium, which was the first rock concert to be held in a venue that size. The concert also set new world records for attendance (55,600+) and for revenue.
On March 4, 1966, in an interview for the London Evening Standard with Maureen Cleave, John Lennon made the following statement: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." The statement, was part of a two page interview and went virtually unnoticed in Britain. In July of that year, Lennonís words were reprinted in the United States fan magazine Datebook. leading to a backlash by conservative religious groups mainly in the rural South and Midwest states. Radio stations banned the group's recordings, and their albums and other products were burned and destroyed. Spain and the Vatican denounced Lennon's words and South Africa banned Beatles music from the radio. On August 11, 1966 Lennon held a press conference in Chicago in order to address the growing furor. He told reporters "I suppose if I had said television was more popular than Jesus, I would have gotten away with it. Iím sorry I opened my mouth. Iím not anti-God, anti-Christ, or anti-religion. I was not knocking it. I was not saying we are greater or better."
On June 5, 1966, The Beatles returned to The Ed Sullivan Show, this time with a taped appearance, where they introduced their two new music videos, "Rain" and "Paperback Writer". In later years, The Beatles would appear on the show to introduce more music videos for the songs "Hello Goodbye", "Penny Lane", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Two Of Us", and "Let It Be".
By July of '66, the band headed to the Philippines for a series of shows. The Beatles, while relaxing in their hotel room, read in the newspaper that they would visit the Malacanang Palace of President Marcos. This came as news to the Beatles, who were tired from the tour and didn't plan on using their one day off to visit the President. They spent a relaxing evening in the hotel, and awoke the next morning to death threats and newspaper headlines like "Imelda stood up!' and 'The Beatles snub the First Lady!'. Epstein attempted to make a televised apology for the incident, but none of the local stations would air it. The following day, armed guards attempted to keep the band from leaving the county until they paid a fee of somekind. The Beatles, who hadn't been paid for their shows in the country, paid out of their own pockets. The Beatles literally had to fight their way to the airplane. Events like this, added to the fact that the fans screamed so loud at their concerts that they couldn't even hear themselves perform, led to the band deciding to quit touring altogether. The band performed their last concert at San Francisco's Candlestick Park on August 29, 1966.
With the distractions of touring behind them, The Beatles began recording Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band on November 24, 1966. The album took so much time to record (for a Beatles record anyway) that the press started to suggest that the Beatles had "lost it" and had run out of creativity.
On June 25, 1967 The Beatles performed "All You Need Is Love" for the Our World television special. It was the first television special to air worldwide. Singing backup for the Beatles were a number of artists including Eric Clapton, and members of the Rolling Stones and The Who.
In January 1968, The Beatles launched Apple Corps, Ltd., a disastrously mismanaged entertainment company that included a recording studio, a record label, and clothing store. In addition to Beatles records, Apple released albums by James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston, Badfinger, Ravi Shankar and other artists
Towards the end of the 1960s, members of the band began to pursue their own musical interests and were writing together less and less. This became more and more obvious on releases like 1968's The Beatles (aka the "white album"), and Let It Be. The Beatles (aka the "white album"), was largely written during the band's visit to India, where they had several meetings with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. With the exception of Harrison, the Beatles eventually rejected what they were hearing from The Maharishi - even occasionally writing songs that made fun of him (like "Sexy Sadie", originally titled "Maharishi", and a number of unreleased songs from the "Let It Be" sessions).
In January of 1969, The Beatles began rehearsals for a new album project (at the time entitled "Get Back"). The rehearsals were filmed for what would eventually become the "Let It Be" movie. Many ideas were thrown around for the "Get Back" album, including the idea of recording it live during a surprise concert performance on top of a submarine, or in a dancehall. Neither happened, but they did end their rehearsals with a live performance on top of the Apple Studios building in London, which was cut short when local citizens called the police. Eventually the band gave up on the project and turned the results of those sessions over to producer Phil Spector. The Beatles themselves were not extremely happy with Spector's work on the album, because he added things like an orchestra and a choir to their "stripped down" performances. The original intent of the record was to bring the band full circle, and record what was essentially a live studio performance - just as their first album had been.
In September of 1969, Russell Gibb, a radio DJ in Detroit, Michigan, announced that Paul McCartney was dead. Other DJs, television news reporters, newspapers and magazines picked up on the story and began to look for clues. This snowballed into what is commonly referred to today as the Paul Is Dead hoax. People that believed the rumors, claimed that McCartney had died in a car accident and was replaced by a look alike named William Campbell. Numerous clues were supposedly hidden in album artwork and lyrics
The Beatles began recording their final album in July of 1969, entitled "Abbey Road". Lennon announced that he was leaving the band soon after that album's release.
The band officially broke up in 1970. The last Beatles studio session that included all four band members took place on August 20, 1969. The final Beatles session was on January 4, 1970.
EMI released "Let It Be" in May of 1970.
On December 8, 1980, John Lennon was shot and killed in front of his New York City apartment. His death was mourned by millions of fans around the world.
Singer Michael Jackson bought the publishing rights for most of the Beatles' music, on August 10, 1985, for $47 million. McCartney, who had been attempting to purchase the rights himself, had told Jackson that he should get into publishing. McCartney did not expect Jackson to purchase the Beatles music. "I wrote a couple of letters and I said, Michael, don't you think that - even if I was just a writer on the payroll - after 30 years of being reasonably successful to this company that you now own, don't you think I could have a raise?" said McCartney. "And he said 'Oh Paul, that's just business'. He won't even answer my letters, so we haven't talked and we don't have that great a relationship. The trouble is I wrote those songs for nothing and buying them back at these phenomenal sums... I just can't do it.
In 1988, The Beatles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both Lennon and McCartney were also inducted separately in later years.
On November 30, 1994, Apple released a 2 CD collection of early Beatles performances on the BBC, entitled Live At The BBC.
In February of 1994, the three surviving Beatles reunited to record additional music to a few of Lennon's old unfinished demos, with Jeff Lynne producing. The first new song, "Free As A Bird", premiered November 19, 1995 as part of The Beatles Anthology series of television specials on the ABC network. The song was also included on a CD with the same title, which was released on November 21, 1995. The following year, a second "new" track was released, entitled "Real Love", on March 4, 1996. That song was also included on the second Anthology collection which was released on March 18, 1996. A third Anthology collection followed on October 12, 1996, but did not include any new material. At least one other song, entitled "Now And Then", was worked on durring these sessions, but remains unreleased.
In 2000, The Beatles released their first ever best of collection, entitled "One". The CD included 27 number one hits by the band and within five weeks, became the best selling album of the year.
In late 2000: The Beatles release the Anthology book, which included interviews with all four band members and others incvolved, plus rare photos. The book went straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
George Harrison fought a long battle with lung cancer throughout the 1990s, finally succumbing and passing away on November 29, 2001.
Several individuals who played an important role in the history or promotion of the band have at various times been called, or called themselves, the "fifth Beatle".
The following inviduals were real members of the band before the Beatles achieved international success:
Pete Best - Their drummer before being replaced by Ringo Starr.
Stuart Sutcliffe - A bassist (apparently very shy) who left the group in Hamburg for the love of Astrid Kirchherr and died from a brain hemorrhage on April 10, 1962 . His life, and his friendship with John Lennon, was fictionalized in the 1993 movie Backbeat.
Chas Newby - bassist in Germany, 1960. Left the band to return to college.
Tommy Moore - drummer for the Silver Beetles for one month in 1960. Quit the band, claiming to have had "just about enough of Lennon".
Norman Chapman - drummer for the Silver Beetles for a few weeks in 1960. Left when conscripted into the Army for two years service in Kenya and Kuwait.
The following inviduals have played a role in the studio when Beatles records were recorded:
George Martin - Their producer, who translated their musical ideas into studio productions, and also did some piano work on, for example "In My Life"
Jeff Lynne - producer for The Beatles Anthology and 1994-1995 sessions
Geoff Emerick - studio engineer
Mal Evans - roadie and assistant
Neil Aspinall - assistant, road manager
Andy White - drummer on the Beatles' first single, "Love Me Do"
Billy Preston - A piano player on "Let It Be", organist on "Get Back", first met them in their Hamburg days while touring with Little Richard
Others have been associated with the Beatles in several ways. These include:
Allan Williams - original manager
Brian Epstein - The manager who took them from Hamburg to the world stage
Tony Barrow - press officer 1963-1968
Derek Taylor - assistant to Brian Epstein, press officer 1968-1971
Alf Bicknell - Chaufeur until 1966, body guard
Murray the K - A disc jockey in New York, the first to claim to be the fifth Beatle
Dick James - publisher
Magic Alex - head of Apple electronics
Klaus Voorman - German bassist; a friend of Stu Sutcliffe's girlfriend Astrid Kirchherr member of the Plastic Ono Band, drew the cover for Revolver.
Jimmy Nicol - temporary drummer on the Beatles' 1964 overseas tour
Roy Orbison - In 1963 the American rock and roll star headlined a European tour with the Beatles. Recognizing their unique sound and extraordinary talent, and the reaction of the crowds to their performances, Orbison was instrumental in encouraging the fledgling group to come to the United States.
Studio Style Evolution
By 1966 the influence of the peace movement, psychedelic drugs and the studio technique of producer George Martin resulted in the albums Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, still widely regarded as classics. Particularly notable, along with the use of studio tricks such as sound processing, unconventional microphone placements, and vari-speed recording, was the Beatles' use of unconventional instruments for pop music, including string and brass elements, Indian instruments such as the sitar, and early electronic instruments. At the height of their fame in the mid-sixties, bolstered by the two films Help! and A Hard Day's Night, the band discontinued touring. The increasingly sophisticated arrangements of their songs were difficult to perform in front of thousands of screaming fans who typically made such noise that the music could not be heard anyway.
By then, the stress of their fame was beginning to tell and the band was on the verge of splitting at the time of the release of The Beatles (the "white album"), with some tracks recorded by the band members individually, and Starr taking a two-week holiday in the middle of the recording session. By 1970 the band had split, with each of the members going on to solo careers with varying degrees of success.
In the Movies
The Beatles also had a limited film career, beginning with A Hard Day's Night (1964). Directed by the up and coming American Richard Lester, it was a gritty black-and-white documentary-like account of a short period in the life of a rock-and-roll band. In 1965 came Help!, a technicolor extravaganza shot in exotic locations with a thin, if not almost transparent plot regarding Ringo's finger! The critically slammed Magical Mystery Tour (the concept of which was adapted from Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters LSD-orientated bus tour of the USA) was aired on British television in 1967, but is now considered a cult classic.
The animated Yellow Submarine followed shortly after, but had little input from the Beatles themselves (for instance, the voices of the characters in the movie were not those of the Beatles).
Finally, the documentary of a band in terminal decline, Let It Be was shot over an extended period in 1969; the music from this formed the album of the same name, which although recorded before Abbey Road, was (after much contractual to-ing and fro-ing) their final release.
The influence of the Beatles on rock music was profound. Prior to their emergence as pop superstars, it was common for rock bands to rely on professional songwriters for their material (the Brill Building in New York City was a source of many hit singles in the early 1960s). Whilst by no means the first to do so (Buddy Holly composed his hits), their example made self-composition the standard for rock bands then and since. Although they did not necessarily invent all the new ideas they incorporated in their music, they often competed with and played off of the developing ideas of other prominent acts of the period (such Bob Dylan, The Byrds, and the Beach Boys). As such, they spurred rock music, which hitherto had been largely looked down upon by older music fans, towards becoming an accepted art form. When the Sergeant Pepper album was released, it was hailed by music critics of the time as a major work of art, even compared favorably to classical musicians such as Schubert and Schuman.
It's been said that everyone that watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show immediately started a band. Since the 1960s when the band were still recording and performing to this very day, the Beatles have inspired and influenced musicians from one end of the musical spectrum to the other, including The Brodsky Quartet, Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson, Neil Diamond, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miller, Alice Cooper, Jeff Lynne and ELO, Rich Mullins, Kiss (band), Nirvana, Los Lobos, Guns 'n Roses and Run DMC.
In the studio, The Beatles were always experimenting with new recording techniques and even coined a few common studio phrases that are still in use today. For example, a common vocal or guitar effect where two copies of the same sound are overlapped is now known as a "flanging", thanks to John Lennon who nick named the effect in the 1960s.
Prior to the Beatles, record albums were of secondary consideration to 45s in mass marketing. Albums largely contained filler material along with one or two worthwhile songs. The Beatles, with the ability to produce albums with consistently well-liked material, helped to define the album as the preferred mechanism for releasing popular music, which in turn resulted in the development of new FM radio formats such as "Album Oriented Rock" (AOR) in the 1970s. Even album covers changed during this period, becoming increasingly artistic--works of art in their own right (The Beatles seemed to rebel against this in 1968 when they released their plain white album "The Beatles", known as the White Album). While they were not alone in promoting these developments, they were clearly at the forefront of them. The Beatles' films also anticipated the music video, the essential promotional tool of later popular musicians. In fact, the Beatles themselves began filming promotional music videos for their songs in the early 1960s, mainly because they wanted to send them to television programs so they wouldn't have to appear in person. (George Harrison of the Beatles and Michael Nesmith of The Monkees went on to become pioneering music video directors.)
The popularity of the individual Beatles combined with their considerable instrumental skills led to a better knowledge in the general public of the musical contributions made by lead guitar, rhythm guitar, drums, and particularly bass guitar. Paul was not only cute and loveable, he was also an excellent bassist and listeners learned to listen more carefully because of it. While not flashy, Ringo's drumming was tasteful, precise, and imaginative. The Beatles were legendarily rejected by Decca records because "guitar bands are passť", but Lennon and Harrison refuted that
The Beatles' album covers themselves were well thought out designs that have been copied and imitated hundreds of times; especially the covers of With the Beatles, which featured the four band members faces half darkened with shadows; Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road.
The influence of the Beatles even extended beyond their music. Perhaps the most notable was their influence on male fashion. Their relatively long hair, when they burst onto the scene in 1964, was a shocking fashion statement, one that was quickly adopted by other rock bands of the time, and by the 1970s, long hair became standard fashion for men.
Surprisingly for a band as controversial, prolific and as ubiquitous as the Beatles, there have been very few noteworthy parodies of their work and style although one exception is The Rutles, an outfit created by Eric Idle (of Monty Pythons Flying Circus fame) and Neil Innes, formerly of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and a frequent Python contributor. One notable parody was recorded by the Beatles themselves, George Harrison's song named after a Lennon-McCartney publishing company, "Only a Northern Song" which included many of the swirling studio effects identified with the psychedelic-era Beatles and ironic references to excessive dependency on the recording studio:
If you think the harmony
Is a little dark and out of key
You're correct, there's nobody there.
Throughout their relatively short time recording and performing together, The Beatles set a number of world records - most of which have yet to be broken. The following is a partial list.
The Beatles are the best selling musical group of all time, estimated by EMI to be over one billion discs and tapes sold worldwide.
The most multi-platinum selling albums for any artist or musical group (13 in the U.S. alone)
The Beatles have had more number one singles than any other artist or musical group (22 in the U.S. alone). Ironically, the Beatles could easily have had even more number ones, because they were often competing with their own singles. For example, The Beatles' "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were released as a "double a" sided single, which caused sales and airplay to be divided between the two songs instead of being counted collectively. Even so, they reached number two with the singles.
The most successful first week of sales for a double album (The Beatles Anthology Volume 1), which sold 855,473 copies in the U.S. from November 21 to November 28, 1995).
In terms of charting positions, Lennon and McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history, with 32 number one singles in the U.S. for McCartney, and 26 for Lennon (23 of which were written together). Lennon was responsible for 29 number one singles in the U.K., and McCartney was responsible for 28 (25 of which were written together)
At one time, The Beatles owned the top 5 positions of the Billboard chart
The Beatles' "Yesterday" is the most covered song in history, appearing in the Guinness Book of Records with over 3000 recorded versions
The Beatles had the fastest selling single of all time with "I Want To Hold Your Hand". The song sold 250,000 units within 3 days in the U.S., one million in 2 weeks. (10,000 copies per hour in New York City alone for the first 20 days)
The largest number of advance orders for a single, at 2.1 million copies in the U.S. for "Can't Buy Me Love"
With their performance at Shea Stadium in 1965, The Beatles set new world records for concert attendance (55,600+) and revenue
The Beatles broke television ratings records in the U.S. with their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.
Originally signed to Parlophone/EMI in the UK, the Beatles' (UK) official studio albums (not including compilations and the like) were:
Please Please Me, 1963
With the Beatles, 1964
A Hard Day's Night, 1964
Beatles For Sale, 1965
Rubber Soul, 1966
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
Magical Mystery Tour, 1967
The Beatles (the "white album"), 1968
Yellow Submarine, 1968
Abbey Road, 1969
Let It Be, recorded in 1969, released in 1970
Of note: The first four Beatles vinyl albums differ based on their location of release. Those released in the US were of lower sound quality and had some of their songs omitted. Also note: Even though the first four Beatles albums were originally released as both monaural and stereo recordings in the United Kingdom, stereo phonographs were quite rare in England at the time. Naturally, then, Martin and the Beatles only spent a lot of time on the mono mixes. Many early songs were later remastered by Capitol Records for the US as artificial stereo with bass on one side and treble on the other side, with loads of added echo, much to the disgust of fans today.
When it came time to release the Beatles catalog on CD, the decision was made to use the original British versions of the albums, since those were the "way the Beatles originally intended them to be." The first four CDs are of the original mono mixes - released for the first time in the US. No official stereo mix of the first four albums has been released on compact disc, but there are plenty of "official looking" bootleg CDs floating around that include the US stereo mixes and even bear the "Apple" logo. Martin and the Beatles started to spend more time on stereo mixes by 1965.
A Hard Day's Night
- The film A Hard Day's Night was written by Alan Owen. It chronicled in a mock documentary-style the Beatles arriving at a theater, rehearsing, and finally performing in a television special. Owen spent several days with the group, who told him their lives were like "a room and a car and a room and a car and a room and car". He realized that by 1964 the Beatles were prisoners of their own fame, and that their schedule of performances and studio work by that time was extremely punishing, and wrote that into the script. The film was shot in black and white in the spring of 1964, and remains the definitive documentary of Beatle-mania. In various places, the Beatles comment cheekily on their own fame: for instance, at one point a fan takes John Lennon for John Lennon; he demurs, saying that his face isn't quite right. The fan agrees.
Two extras in this film would become famous in their own right. Phil Collins was an extra in the concert sequence and later became the drummer in the group Genesis. Patricia Boyd later married both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
Magical Mystery Tour
Yellow Submarine (animated film, artwork by Peter Max, featuring songs by the Beatles but with dialogue voiced by actors)
Yellow Submarine is the title of a 1968 animated film based upon the music of The Beatles. Released at the height of the psychedelic pop-culture period of the 1960s, the movie was a box-office hit, drawing in crowds both for its soundtrack of Beatles songs, and for its lush, wildly creative images. The artistic layout for the film was produced by famous psychedelic artist Peter Max, while the movie was directed by British animation producer George Dunning.
As with most motion picture musicals, the music takes precedence over the actual plot, and most of the story is a series of set pieces designed to present Beatles music set to various images, in a form reminiscent of Walt Disney's Fantasia (and foreshadowing the rise of music videos and MTV fifteen years later). Nonetheless, the movie still presents an entertaining modern-day fairy tale that caters to the ideals of the "love generation." The story takes place in the idyllic paradise called "Pepperland," which is threatened by the evil music-hating Blue Meanies. The Beatles are recruited to save Pepperland from the Meanies, and they succeed through the power of love, music, bright colors, and positive thinking (there are huge stone statues of the words "YES," "OK" and "KNOW" littering the landscape of Pepperland).
The Beatles themselves were not enthusiastic in participating in a motion picture at the time, because they were undergoing personal stress (the band was beginning to break apart at the time), and because they had just produced and starred in the disastrous TV special Magical Mystery Tour. Voice actors were hired to imitated the Fab Four's voices in the film. However, the Beatles, impressed after seeing the finished film, did agree to make a cameo appearance in the final scene of the film, before the closing credits
The movie's style contrasts greatly with the efforts of Walt Disney and other animated films released by Hollywood up until the time. The film uses a style of limited animation that deliberately defies reality and paints a landscape that could never exist in real world, something that appealed greatly to the escapists of the 1960s. The dialogue is littered with puns, double-entendres, and Beatles in-jokes
In contrast to the richness of the movie, the Yellow Submarine album is usually considered the Beatles' most lackluster effort, recorded in late 1967 and 1968 after the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band sessions as a soundtrack for the film. Only four new Beatles songs appear on this album, along with a couple of older Beatle tunes and George Martin arrangements.
The fresh Beatle songs are "Hey Bulldog", a John Lennon piano romp echoing of "Lady Madonna", which was recorded at the same time, but used as an A-Side. "Only A Northern Song", a low key George Harrison track recorded during Sgt. Pepper, is a solid effort, as well as George's "It's All Too Much", a sweeping seven minute epic that is highly underrated. Also on the album is the soccer crowd favorite "All Together Now"
Both "All You Need Is Love", recorded for Our World, and the title track "Yellow Submarine", from Revolver are on this album for their uses in the movie itself. George Martin's arrangements are only noted for their uses in the movie as well, and take up the back side of the album.
"Across The Universe" was originally slated for the album, but was scraped at the last second and instead was put on hold until Let It Be.
This album is merely a mediocre soundtrack; but mediocre in Beatle terms usually means pretty good anywhere else. It was originally released in 1969 and a newer, re-released version of the album came out in 1999 to accompany the re-release of the film. More recognizable Beatles tracks were placed where the Martin suite originally had been
The Beatles Anthology is the name of a video documentary, a three album series and a television mini series, all three of which focus on the history of popular rock band The Beatles.
The Television Specials and Video Collection
Literally thousands of hours of footage were viewed in consideration for inclusion in the documentary, which ended up being a 5 hour special aired on ABC, beginning on November 19, 1995. All of the surving Beatles members and coworkers filmed new interviews to add to older interviews with John Lennon, who had been killed in 1980.
The first episode, ended with a promotional video of the brand new Beatles track, "Free As A Bird".
The second episode aired on November 20, 1995
The third episode aired on November 21, 1995.
The Beatles Anthology won a Grammy', for Best music video (long-form). "Free As A Bird" won two; one for Best music video (short-form), and one for Best pop performances by a duo or group
The entire documentary was released as a VHS 8 tape set with additional material not seen in the television specials. The video collection clocked in at 10 hours of material. The entire set is being prepared for released on DVD, most likely for early an early 2003 release date.
Three Anthology collections were released, each containing 2 CDs of never before released Beatles material
Two days after the first Beatles Anthology television special had aired, The Beatles Anthology, volume 1 was released to stores. The first collection included music recorded by the Quarry Men, The famous Decca Records audition tapes, and various out-takes and demos from the band's first four albums. The song, "Free As A Bird" was included in the 2 CD collection. 450,000 copies of Anthology' volume 1 were sold in its first day of release, the most single day sales ever for an album
On March 18, 1996, The Beatles Anthology, volume 2 was released. The second collection included out-takes and demos from the Beatles sessions for Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Especially interesting is the early demos and takes for Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever", previously available only to bootleg collectors. The song "Real Love" was also included in the 2 CD collection.
On October 12, 1996, The Beatles Anthology, volume 3 was released. The third collection included out-takes and demos from The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road
In October of 2000, The Beatles release The Beatles Anthology book, which included interviews with all four band members and others incvolved, plus rare photos. The book went straight to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list.
The album Let It Be, released by The Beatles in May of 1970, was actually recorded in early 1969, before the Abbey Road album. It was produced by George Martin, and reproduced (some critics have said overproduced) by Phil Spector for EMI.
Original album coverThe album, originally titled Get Back, was planned to be the Beatles coming full circle. They were going to record an album live in the studio, just as they had done for their first few albums in the early 1960s. There were discussions during the January 1969 rehearsals at Twickenham Studios about possibly recording the album during a surprise live concert performance - possibly in a dance hall or on top of a submarine. The actual live performance was on a London, England rooftop; this concert was cut short by the police. The cover artwork was going to look a lot like the first album, Please Please Me, with the band looking down the stairwell at EMI. Hundreds of songs were rehearsed during the "Get Back" sessions, including covers like "Stand By Me", "Words Of Love", "Blue Suede Shoes", and songs that would eventually end up on Abbey Road like "Mean Mister Mustard", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Oh! Darling", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" and "Golden Slumbers". A number of early versions of songs that would eventually end up on Beatles solo albums were also rehearsed, like Lennon's "Jealous Guy" (which was called "Child Of Nature" at the time), Harrison's "All Things Must Pass", and McCartney's "Junk" (which was originally written for the White Album).
Apple Electronics Magic Alex had promised the band the world's first 72-track studio for the recording of this album, but unfortunately, the results of his efforts were pathetic and unusable. The band instead had to borrow two 4-track machines from EMI.
Engineer Glyn Johns put together a rough version of Get Back in March of 1969, which included many of the same songs that made the final cut, plus McCartney's "Teddy Boy". Johns played the acetate for the Beatles, who were not really interested in the project anymore. At least one copy of the acetate made its way to America and was aired on local radio stations in Buffalo, New York and Boston in September.
In May of 1969, Johns and producer George Martin, made a new rough version of the "Get Back" album. This was the first serious attempt to put the album together for release. The track list was "One After 909", "Rocker (Instrumental)", "Save The Last Dance For Me"/"Don't Let Me Down", "Don't Let Me Down", "Dig A Pony", "I've Got A Feeling", "Get Back", "For You Blue", "Teddy Boy", "Two Of Us", "Maggie Mae", "Dig It", "Let It Be", "The Long And Winding Road", and "Get Back (Reprise)".
The Get Back album was intended for release in July of 1969. In July of 1969 the album was pushed back to September, to coincide with the planned television special and theatrical film about the making of the album. In September the album's release was pushed back to December, because The Beatles had just recorded Abbey Road and wanted to release that album instead. When December rolled around, the album was shelved until a third mix was made by Glyn Johns in early 1970. The Beatles once again rejected it.
In March and April of 1970, the project was given to producer Phil Spector, who compliled the eventually released album - now entitled "Let It Be". The album and the movie with the same name were released on May 8, 1970; the Beatles had already broken up by that time. The movie captured on film some of the tensions within the band, and also included footage from the rooftop concert. The rooftop performance closed with the song Get Back, and afterwords John Lennon remarked, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves and I hope we passed the audition." These words were added to the studio version of the song that appeared on the album, and they served as an ironic reminder of the fact that the most influential and important rock band in history had long ago "passed the audition".
Abbey Road is the last album recorded by The Beatles, which was released in 1969. Produced and orchestrated by George Martin, for Apple Records.
After the near disastrous sessions for the Get Back album (later, retitled Let It Be for release), the Beatles decided to get together and make an album that they would be more happy with. The two album sides were quite different in character; side one was a collection of singles, while side two contained several medleys of short compositions that segued together.
The song "The End" features the only Ringo Starr drum solo to make it to tape, as well as alternating blistering lead guitar solos from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison
The song "Her Majesty", tacked on the end, was originally part of the "side 2" medley. The medley had been re-edited at one point and somehow, the song ended up at the end of the tape after a few seconds of silence. The Beatles liked the way it sounded and left it there.
"At one point the album was going to be titled Everest, after the brand of cigarettes I used to smoke," recalls engineer Geoff Emerick. The idea included a cover photo of The Beatles in the Himalayas, but by the time the group had to take the photo, they decided to call it Abbey Road and take the photo outside the studio during a coffee break from recording. That cover photograph has since become one of the most famous and most imitated album covers in recording history.
One imitation cover came with a unique tribute. Booker T. & the MG's, famed soul combo, covered most of the songs on the Abbey Road in their 1969 album McLemore Avenue, named after the street address of the Stax records studio.
Come Together (Lennon/McCartney)
Maxwell's Silver Hammer (Lennon/McCartney)
Oh! Darling (Lennon/McCartney)
Octopus's Garden (Starkey/Starr)
I Want You (She's So Heavy) (Lennon/McCartney)
Here Comes the Sun (Harrison)
You Never Give Me Your Money (Lennon/McCartney)
Sun King (Lennon/McCartney
Mean Mr. Mustard (Lennon/McCartney)
Polythene Pam (Lennon/McCartney
She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Lennon/McCartney
The self-titled double album The Beatles, released by The Beatles in 1968 at the height of their popularity, is often hailed as one of the major accomplishments in popular music. It is often called the "white album".
The follow-up to Magical Mystery Tour, it showcases better than any other album of their the range and depth of their talents. Along with such standard rockers as the opening "Back in the USSR" (widely interpreted as a parody/tribute to The Beach Boys and more specifically "California Girls"), it contains classic ballads like "I Will" and "Julia" (the latter written by John--one of his few ballads, dedicated to his mother who was killed by an off-duty police officer when he was just 16), whimsical tunes like "Rocky Raccoon" and "Ob-La-Di", the outright heavy metal "Helter Skelter", social commentary such as George's "Piggies" and John's "Happiness is a Warm Gun", and a mix of other tunes, many of which became popular as singles. A Helter-Skelter is a type of British funfair ride and the lyrics make that clear, Charles Manson took it to mean some kind of apocalypse. Perhaps as a reaction to the trend of dramatic album covers and extras they themselves helped foster, this album had a plain white cover with only "The BEATLES" in small lettering; (hence the nickname). Included in the interior of the album is a set of photographs taken by John Kelley in autumn of 1968 that have themselves become classic.
Many of the songs here are personal and self-referencing; for example "Dear Prudence" is about actress Mia Farrow's sister Prudence who attended Transcendental Meditation classes in Rishikesh, India at the same time as the group. "Sexy Sadie" is about the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who led those classes. "Glass Onion" is John's song for those fans who spent their time trying to find hidden meanings in the group's lyrics; it references several other Beatles songs in its lyric.
Yoko Ono makes her first appearance, as backing vocals in "Birthday" (along with Patti Harrison), singing a single line of "Bungalow Bill" and as a strong influence to John's bizarre "Revolution 9" which is a very early precursor to the concept of sampling.
Eric Clapton, at Harrison's invitation, provides an extra lead guitar for Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"--the tension in the group was quite high at this point and Harrison did not feel the other members were taking his song seriously, so he invited an outsider to the session so they would have to act professionally. (Clapton himself needed the same favor later, bringing Harrison to record "Badge" for Cream under the pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso".
The album was produced and orchestrated by George Martin, and was the first album released by Apple Records.
(All songs by Lennon/McCartney except * Harrison and ** Starkey)
Back in the USS
Wild Honey Pi
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps *
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Martha My Dea
I'm So Tire
Don't Pass Me By **
Why Don't We Do It in the Road?
Mother Nature's Son
Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band is a highly influential album by The Beatles. It was recorded over a 129 day period from December 6, 1966.
Sgt. Pepper is sometimes described as a concept album because the title song, which appears twice on the album, in slightly modified forms, seems to give an overall theme to the album. That song suggests that the record was really a concert by the resident band of the aforementioned club. However, the songs on the album are actually unrelated, and do not form an overarching theme, so in fact this is not a true concept album.
The album features elaborate musical arrangements (for instance, the clarinet ensemble on "When I'm Sixty-Four") and extensive use of studio effects. Many of these effects were the result of collaboration between the Beatles and their producer, George Martin. Other particularly well-remembered songs from the album include "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (a song describing a surreal dreamscape that became controversial as many believed that the words of the chorus were code for LSD, a claim John Lennon denied, instead claiming it was a picture drawn by his son, Julian. Julian, McCartney, Harrison and Starr back Lennon's story up. Starr even says he saw the picture).
This album in many ways represented the culmination of a period of experimentation in Beatles music that had begun with their album Rubber Soul two years earlier. Their followup album, Magical Mystery Tour contained songs that were stylistically similar to those of Sgt. Pepper (even including some songs that were recorded at Sgt. Pepper sessions.) After that, the Beatles begun to return to more conventional expressions of their music
The packaging of the album was as stunning as the music. Designed by Peter Blake, it featured a colorful depictions of life-sized cardboard models of famous people on the front of the album cover; and, as a bow to the interest that Beatles lyrics inspired, the lyrics were printed on the back cover, which was a music first. The package was also the first gatefold album, that is, the album could be opened up like a book, to reveal a large picture of the Fab Four in costume against a yellow background.
The album also came with a page of cut-outs, with a description in the top left corner:
SGT. PEPPER CUT-OUTS
People appearing on the cover include actress Mae West, comedian Lenny Bruce, comedian W. C. Fields, poet Edgar Allen Poe, actor Fred Astaire, singer Bob Dylan, poet Dylan Thomas, actor Tony Curtis, actress Marilyn Monroe, comedians Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe, actor Marlon Brando, author George Bernard Shaw, author Lewis Carroll, child actress Shirley Temple, physicist Albert Einstein, and singer Elvis Presley. What seemed like a good idea to the Beatles, became a legal nightmare for EMI, who was faced with the job of contacting each of the people that were to be represented on the cover for permission. Mae West nearly turned them down. Actor Leo Gorcey requested payment for inclusion on the cover, so the Beatles painted over his image and it does not appear on the cover
The depiction of a guitar made out of hyacinths on the cover was made by a flower delivery boy who asked if he could help with the making of the artwork
When released, it was hailed as a masterpiece by critics, and still is still rated in many critical polls as one of the best albums ever recorded. Within days of its release, Jimi Hendrix was performing the title track in concert
The celebrities and items featured on the front cover are:
Sri Mahavatara Babaji
Sri Paramahansa Yagananda
A Wax Hairdresser's Dummy
Stuart Sutcliffe ( a former Beatle
Another wax hairdresser's dummy
The Petty Girl (by artist George Petty
Dr David Livingstone
George Bernard Shaw
Sri Lahiri Mahasaya
TE Lawrence (AKA Lawrence Of Arabia)
Again, the Petty girl
A wax model of George Harrison
A wax model of John Lennon
A wax model of Ringo Starr
A wax model of Paul McCartney
John Lennon with a French horn
Ringo Starr with a trumpet
Paul McCartney with a cor anglais
George Harrison with a flute
Legionnaire from the order of the Buffaloes
Shirley Temple again
A cloth grandmother figure by Jann Haworth
A cloth figure of Miss Temple, again by Haworth
A Mexican candlestick
A television set
A stone figure of a girl
Another stone figure
A statue brought over from John Lennon's house
An Indian doll
A drum skin, designed by Joe Ephgrave
A hookah, or water tobacco pip
A velvet snake
A Japanese stone figur
A stone figure of Snow White
A garden gnome
Note: All songs by Lennon/McCartney except "Within You Without You", by Harrison.
Recorded in 1967, Magical Mystery Tour was the Beatles' culmination of an 18 month period unsurpassed as the most creative time for any rock and roll band. After Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film based upon the Beatles and their music. The Magical Mystery Tour TV movie was born, and although the film was slandered by critics, it is often praised by filmakers like Steven Spielberg. The soundtrack itself was another masterpiece.
The LP Magical Mystery Tour was divided into two halves; the first side being the actual movie soundtrack, and the second side being a collection of A and B-sides. The first side is pyschedelia at its very best with "Flying", the Beatles only instrumental; "Blue Jay Way", a George Harrison acid trip; and the title track itself.
Side two is celebrated by many as the Beatles' most creative suite of songs. Both Paul and John Lennon are the head writers on three songs on this side, and the songs are as different as night and day. The most famous of these contrasts are John's "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Paul's "Penny Lane". Released as a double A-side, John's "Fields" was a dark and troubled account of a childhood memory, while Paul's "Lane" was about the same subject, but light and poppy. Both songs were in fact recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, but had been left off that album.
"I Am The Walrus", at the end of side one and full of crashing orchestras and dubbed vocals, is John Lennon's response to learning that a Qyarry Bank School English master was making his class analyze Beatles' songs. Lennon decided to make a song that would be impossible to understand, even by an English teacher. Paul counters that with one of the brightest pop songs ever (despite it's lyrical dismay), "Hello Goodbye". Paul also offers "Baby You're A Rich Man", and the anthem of the One World program and pyschedelia itself, "All You Need Is Love" finishes the LP.
This album may not have been as historically significant as Sgt. Pepper, as valuable track for track as Revolver, as varied as The Beatles, as romantic as Rubber Soul, or as perfectly scoped as Abbey Road, but it holds up as one of the most important recordings of the psychedelic era.
Revolver was The Beatles' seventh album in three years, released in 1966. It is often considered a "turning point" in the band's devlopment, and includes new features that would later become associated with the band and with the times.
George Harrison contributes three songs, including the lyrically incisive opening track "Taxman". The "Mr. Wilson" and "Mr. Heath" in the lyrics refer to Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, British politicians of the time. Harrison also provides "I Want To Tell You", a standard rock song about the disarray of being unable to confess a longing for someone, and "Love You To", his first full dive into eastern culture. On the latter he experiments with the Indian sitar, and includes some backwards guitar work on "I'm Only Sleeping"--Harrison played the notes in reverse order, then reversed the tape and mixed it in. This song is Lennon's, and is about being high, or hungover, laying in bed.
"Yellow Submarine" and "Doctor Robert" also reflect the growing drug culture of the 1960s. These are Lennon's, along with "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "She Said, She Said", two amazing guitar-laden tracks with swirling melodies.
Compared to Lennon's hard rock influence, McCartney brings forth five classics, all considered standards in the popular music canon. There is the most famous, the durable classic "Eleanor Rigby", which was released as a single (opposite "Yellow Submarine") concurrently with the album. This song contains McCartney's best lyrical imagery, along with rapid and sometimes frightening orchestral strings. "Got To Get You Into My Life" is a Motown experiment that uses brass to its highest advantage. This song was released as a single in 1976, ten years after the release of the album.
McCartney also contributes "For No One", often overlooked but sometimes praised as one of the saddest songs ever written. There is "Good Day Sunshine", a Lovin' Spoonful mockery that is as cheery as any song in the Beatles' catalog. Finally there is the epic "Here, There, and Everywhere" which is perfect in lyric and harmony. A straight take on the Beach Boys, this song surpasses all of Brian Wilson's attempts.
Lennon, however, shows the greatest maturity on the album. The song "Tomorrow Never Knows" is the first song of psychedelia. Its backwards guitar, chambered vocal, and looped tape are all in its pioneered state here. This is the first sample of any kind, and maybe the first techno/dance track as well.
Overall, it is widely contended that Revolver is the greatest album in rock & roll history. The case can be easily made to support it. Each song on this album is undeniably different, and many genres of music stem from these very songs (grunge, arena rock, psychedelia among others). It may be the acme of the Beatles history, and similarly, music history
The album Rubber Soul, released by The Beatles in 1965, was recorded in just seven weeks to make the Christmas market, but was nonetheless a major achievement, gaining wide critical and market success. Produced by George Martin (who also appears on keyboards in a few places, for example the piano solo in "In My Life") for EMI Records.
The album represented a major artistic development for the Beatles, as they branched out from their original sound. All the songs on the album were written by members of the group. New instruments, such as the sitar on "Norwegian Wood", were used, and the influence of other contemporary artists like Bob Dylan could also clearly be seen. The lyrics also showed a new maturity, as they began to explore other subjects besides romantic love.
Until Rubber Soul, the Beatles' previous albums had not been released in the United States with the same lineup as their British counterparts. To increase profits, their record label, EMI, split their albums up and added alternate takes and B-sides, so that American audiences were forced to purchase additional Beatles albums (Something New, The Beatles' Second Album, Beatles 1965). As the Beatles became more aware and defensive of the artistic composition of their albums, they became more protective of the makeup of their albums. Beginning with Rubber Soul, all of their American albums matched the British versions (with the exception of Magical Mystery Tour).
Drive My Car (Lennon/McCartney)
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (Lennon/McCartney)
Help! is the title of a 1965 film starring The Beatles and also featuring Leo McKern. It is also the soundtrack album from the film, which has the words 'HELP' spelt out in semaphore.
Produced by George Martin for EMI Records, the album contains seven songs that appeared in the movie and seven that did not, including one of the most successful songs in history, the archetypal Paul McCartney ballad "Yesterday"
Even without the presence of the legendary "Yesterday", Help! is worthy of high praise. It was the first true sign of the Beatles, but mainly John Lennon, under the influence of Bob Dylan and folk music. The title track is Lennon's confusion and cynicism hidden under a maze of rythyms; "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" is a gripping Lennon vocal; "Youre Gonna Lose That Girl" is a spiteful Lennon vocal; "Ticket To Ride", a number one single, is the widely recongnized as the first grunge song due to its descending chords and disabled vocal; "It's Only Love" is another tugging vocal by Lennon.
McCartney, along with "Yesterday" adds "Another Girl", a fast moving congo beat pop song; "The Night Before", a standard rock & roll song; and "I've Just Seen A Face", a rollicking Dylanesque folk song often overlooked by Beatle fans
Even George Harrison enters the fray in this album, contributing the low-key "I Need You" and the headstrong "You Like Me Too Much". His songs seem to be getting better with this album, as compared to the ones he wrote in 1963 and 1964.
The single "Help!" was also covered by Banarama.
This album seems to be the turning point for the Beatles, coming off of Beatlemania and entering a more focused stage. Shortly after this album was released the Beatles played their last live concert in San Francisco in order to concentrate more with the studio.
The film's original working title was "Eight Arms to Hold You". The plot of the movie is about a ring which Ringo can't take off.
Note: Songs marked with * appear in the movie:
Help! (Lennon/McCartney) *
The Night Before (Lennon/McCartney)
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away (Lennon/McCartney) *
I Need You (Harrison) *
Another Girl (Lennon/McCartney) *
You're Going to Lose That Girl (Lennon/McCartney) *
Beatles For Sale was The Beatles fourth album, released in 1964. Produced by George Martin for EMI Records. After the highly successful and bright A Hard Day's Night soundtrack, the Beatles released this moodier album.
The opening three tracks are regarded as the "Lennon Trilogy". John Lennon was the chief writer of the three tracks, and each one has a sad or resentful emotion attached to it. John also contributes "Every Little Thing", a happy and light pop tune worthy of praise
Paul McCartney adds the solemn "I'll Follow The Sun", The Byrdsish "What You're Doing", and the number one hit "Eight Days A Week". The latter track is widely considered one of the best pop songs ever written.
The covers of the album are also staggering. The Beatles not only cover a song, but more than usually, make the song their own and are more highly regarded for the song than the original writer. "Rock And Roll Music", written by Chuck Berry, is a thrilling Lennon performance. "Kansas City" and "Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey", a medley, is a cool jam. "Words of Love" is done more hearfelt than Buddy Holly. "Honey Don't" is a neat Ringo Starr vocal.
The true wealth of this album is on the Lennon/McCartney originals, however. The first three songs are tremendous and would foreshadow Rubber Soul; McCartney's offerings are wonderful against Lennon's. The album cover, due to the music's sadder themes, shows the Beatles in an autumn scene.
No Reply (Lennon/McCartney)
I'm a Loser (Lennon/McCartney
Baby's in Black (Lennon/McCartney)
Rock and Roll Music (Berry)
I'll Follow the Sun (Lennon/McCartney)
Mr. Moonlight (Johnson)
Kansas City (Lieber/Stoller)
Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey (Penniman)
Eight Days a Week (Lennon/McCartney)
Words of Love (Holly)
Honey Don't (Perkins
Every Little Thing (Lennon/McCartney
I Don't Want to Spoil the Party (Lennon/McCartney)
A Hard Day's Night was The Beatles' third album, released in 1964 as the soundtrack to their first film of the same name. All songs are composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
The album , whilst showcasing the development of the band's songwriting talents, sticks to the basic rock and roll instrumentation and song format. Some of the more notable songs on the album include the title track (with its distinctly, instantly recognizable opening chord), and the catchy "Can't Buy Me Love". It also features "And I Love Her", the first of what would become many popular McCartney ballads.
Released by EMI Records, produced by George Martin.
Please Please Me was the title of The Beatles first international hit single, ("Love Me Do" was successful mainly in Liverpool, their home town), and also the title of their first album.
The remarkable thing about this album was that is was recorded in just one day in 1963 (and, like all pop of the time, in mono). Some of the tracks on the album were not actually composed by the group, but were covers of rock standards of the time, and with the exception of "Twist And Shout" have proved fairly unmemorable and only interesting for the insight they give into the band's own tastes in music at the time.
Still, the Lennon/McCartney songwriting duo enters the musical world with some of their best work here. Distinct for it's "One-two-three-FAA!" opening, "I Saw Her Standing There" is a perfectly constructed rock & roll track. "Misery" goes up and down and slows down the Beatles' sound. "Ask Me Why" is a nice slow song, though it's stuck in the early 60s. "Please Please Me", however, is the epitome of the Beatles early sound, Merseybeat. Following that is the band's first number one single "Love Me Do", a pop song with John Lennon's harmonica work. "P.S. I Love You" seems outdated, but is a heartfelt love song by Paul McCartney nonetheless. "Do You Want To Know A Secret" is sung by George Harrison and has a nice melody to it. "There's A Place" could be a reprise of "Love Me Do", but instead, takes on its own identity, almost echoing Brian Wilson's "In My Room".
It is amazing to listen to this record and then Abbey Road back to back. The former being the Beatles first album and the latter their last, you can see how the band's sound changed incredibly in just eight years. The Beatles were hard workers, especially when recording this album. Listen to Lennon's vocal in "Twist And Shout" and imagine how he could pull it out after a whole day of singing songs. The song was a single take, the most famous in history, and epitomized the Beatles unreal approach to music.
With the Beatles was The Beatles' second album, released in 1963. It features eight original compositions (including the first by George Harrison, "Don't Bother Me") and six covers, mostly of Motown and R&B hits.
It Won't Be Long (Lennon/McCartney
All I've Got to Do (Lennon/McCartney)
All My Loving (Lennon/McCartney)
Don't Bother Me (Harrison
Little Child (Lennon/McCartney)
Till There Was You (Willson)
Please Mr. Postman (Dobbin/Garret/Garman/Brianbert
Beatle Page - Comprehensive archive of news and analyses
related to The Beatles, updated daily: News Briefs, Calendar
of Events, Beatles TV Alert, reviews, and more.
Gernhardt's Beatles Page - Extensive listings of news;
information on recordings, fan clubs, and related artists.
Acclaimed source of bootleg information, now available through
BeatleSite - A searchable index dedicated to the Beatles
and their music, with news stories, links to song lyrics, picture
files, .mp3 and MIDI archives, guitar tabs and other features.
Beatles Page - Photos, sound files in MIDI format, tablature
files in text and .tbt (Tab Master) formats, lyrics, chat,
and links to Real Audio clips from CD Now, sheet music from
Sheet Music Plus, and a biography from IMusic.
London News and Information Service - Beatles news; subscription
information and articles from back issues of "Off the
Beatle Track", the London Beatles Fan Club magazine;
information on London Beatles walks, visiting Beatles-related
locations in London and the UK, a list of Beatles fan clubs
Internet Beatles Album - A collection of Beatles related
informational, sound and picture files, made available for
study by Beatles fans and scholars all over the world to explore
the behind-the-scenes details of Beatlemania and its impact
on modern music and our society.
Beatles Site - With Beatles news; UK singles discographies
for The Beatles, George, and Ringo; articles and essays on
Beatles history and other topics including John's psychedelic
Rolls Royce; access to the National Capital Freenet Beatles
discussion group; and subscription information for "The
World Beatle's Forum" newsletter; and a Beatles timeline
- Directory of categorized annotated links to Beatles related
Beatles at About.com - Extensive resources for Beatles
fans including essays, discographies, histories, sound files,
computer files, annotated and categorized web site directories,
chat and message boards. Formerly The Mining Co.
City - A guide to the Beatles and their hometown, including
Beatles partial discography, history of the Cavern Club, a
list of songs by Lennon and McCartney recorded by others,
a Beatles photo gallery, and a virtual tour of the Beatles'
Beatles - VH1 Fan Club - Beatles news, biographies, musical
influences, song samples, photos, video clips, Beatles related
TV listings from Musicstation, Beatles bulletin boards, and
- History, biographies including those of Beatles' associates,
discographies of US and UK releases, lyrics, filmography with
details and link to the "A Hard Day's Night" trailer
in QuickTime format, newsletter and chatroom.
now ... The Beatles - Demos in RealAudio, RealVideo clips,
articles and press clippings, lyrics, interviews, message
Beatles Web - The complete Beatles fansite including band
member profiles, profiles of others involved with The Beatles
story, complete tour history, UK discography, MP3s and other
Beatles Online - Includes information on album, singles,
bootlegs, and covers by other artists; plus biographies, RealAudio
interviews, photos, "Paul is Dead" clues, and a
Accordion Beatles Page - A Toronto, Ontario, Canada accordionist
specializing in Beatles songs. The web site includes reviews,
awards, upcoming appearances, and audio samples in .au and
Lentz' Beatles Website - With pages for each Beatle; plus
an alphabetical listing of all bootlegs, some listings with
annotations; a list of Beatles related video; audio clips
in RealAudio format. Web site is bilingual in English and
The Beatles - A comprehensive archive, with a VR tour
of Mathew Street, ABKCO and other Beatles break-up documents,
John's will, The Beatles on film and television, and many