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The Beatles

 
  

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8===>Q: alyn
04:40 / 14.05.03
Hello. My name is Qalyn and I like the Beatles, but I don't own any Beatles records. I'd like to get some, but I don't know where to start! I'm not too into the poppy stuff but I perk right up when I hear Helter Skelter coming in over the transom. What would you recommend?
 
 
Shiva Mule
05:00 / 14.05.03
I really enjoy Magical Mystery Tour. The US Version has Fool on a Hill, Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am the Walrus, All You Need is Love etc.
It was the first Beatles record I fell in love with.

But traditional wisdom would probably point you towards Revolver and Sergeant Pepper's as starting points.

Keep in mind that Helter Skelter is probably the hardest song Paul ever wrote. Nothing else in their catalogue sounds exactly like it.
 
 
at the scarwash
06:49 / 14.05.03
As far as what they did to change the vocabulary of pop music, I think anything Sgt. Pepper or later. As far as what they did to change the grammar of the genre, Help, Rubber Soul, and Revolver. Those are my favorites.
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
10:16 / 14.05.03
My favorite Beatles LPs are British version of Revolver and the US version of Magical Mystery Tour. Help!, Meet The Beatles, and Rubber Soul are also excellent, fun records. Though they are excellent albums in their own right, I'm personally not as fond of the last few Beatles records (Sgt. Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road, Let It Be).

If you want a good crash course in the Beatles, heavy on their early hits, plus some songs which aren't regular album cuts (like "Hey Jude", for example), you can't go wrong with that Beatles 1 compilation that came out a few years ago.
 
 
Smoothly
11:35 / 14.05.03
I have to disagree with Flux, Qalyn. I think that the last few albums are fantastic. Abbey Road (their final album) is, IMHO, the best thing ever committed to vinyl. A sublime experience if ever there was one. Jeez...I feel funny just thinking about it. And I think Let It Be is criminally under-rated.

I think it's fair to say that the Beatles' albums can be broadly split into early- and late-period - that is, before and after Rubber Soul - and people tend to be fans of one phase or the other. Everyone here seems to favour the late period and I'd place myself in that camp also. I'd start with The Beatles (aka The White Album) to get a taste for the period, although the dedicated student might preface that with Rubber Soul, Revolver and The Magical Myster Tour (for the time being I'd hold off on Sgt. Pepper which is essentially an early-period album in a late-period sleeve). Then take the phone off the hook, roll a fat bifter, and settle into Abbey Road. It's what they would have wanted.

You have no idea how much I envy you.
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
12:45 / 14.05.03
Gee. I favor the middle period. What a weird one am I.

The problem with the last three Beatles albums is that they are just too classic-rocky to me. I think that Abbey Road, Let It Be, and The White Album are great records and I would never say that they weren't, but they are a bit too ordinary in parts. Abbey Road has a fair few songs which I just don't think are very good at all - at least half of the side b montage is forgettable (and besides, GBV would trump the Beatles at this game several years later on Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes), and I have very little time for "Because" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Compare that to Revolver, in which every moment is perfect, clever, and poptastic, and it is pretty clear that Abbey Road is a document of a band in decline, heading down the road to Album Rock blandness.

Who is going to argue that the White Album isn't bloated and about 10 songs too long?
 
 
bio k9
13:14 / 14.05.03
Sweet Jesus Christ.

I feel like I've been personally insulted.

The B side of Abby Road is my favorite side of any record, ever. And the montage is part of the reason. I don't even know what to say.











Wowie Zowie sucks.
 
 
Old brown-eye is back
13:14 / 14.05.03
That's pretty much how I feel about Abbey Road, but the other way around. Most of side A other than Come Together, Something and Here Comes the Sun sucks, but the medley is just about the best thing that they ever recorded. I will also quite merrily argue that the White Album is only about three songs too long and that if Rev No 9, Happiness is a Warm Gun, Piggies etc is your idea of classic rock, you're a more picky man than I am. Both (especially TWA) represent a band at the top of their game, laying themselves bare, playing around, fucking shit up. Weirdly, it's the middle period that I like the least. How dull old Revolver has ended on the top of all those best album ever polls is beyond me, while Sgt Pepper has become more and more like a novelty record with each listen.
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
13:22 / 14.05.03
I'd bet that a blind person with no knowledge of the Beatles could tell that the White Album and Abbey Road were recorded by a band in which every member had a beard.

Put on the White Album. Listen to the beards! You can hear them grow!
 
 
Smoothly
13:32 / 14.05.03
I'm with Bio. You can knock Maxwell's Silver Hammer and I'll let it go - but the B-side??? The segue between Polythene Pam and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window is the just the most exquisite thing I've ever heard, and worth cherishing the album for alone. And to dismiss I Want You is just bizare given that it is so crucial to the whole tone and build up. Here Comes The Sun doesn't make proper sense without it. But maybe this is just my beard talking.
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
13:36 / 14.05.03
I don't know. Maybe when it comes to the Beatles, I kinda expect for the songs to be REALLY FUCKING POPTASTIC and stand on their own. I'm not saying that the stuff on Abbey Road is bad, I'm just saying that as songs, and as individual compositions, they just don't come close to what they achieved earlier in their career, from the early singles up through Magical Mystery Tour.
 
 
bio k9
13:50 / 14.05.03
Funny, I never even think about playing a track from Abby Road. Its all or nothing for me. The montage near the end has all these bits (the horns! I love the horns!) from earlier in the record and its sort of meaningless unless you've sat through the whole play.
 
 
Old brown-eye is back
13:51 / 14.05.03
Well, you know, things move on - absolutely poptastic one day, writing symphonies on a sitar the next. Can feel another pointless discussion about why singles are better than albums/albums are better than singles in the air.
 
 
Spatula Clarke
14:00 / 14.05.03
I've got to agree with Flux as far as Abbey Road and Let It Be go; I can't help but find them dull and uninspired when compared to Revolver.

That said, Revolver is pretty much the only Beatles album that I think works as a whole, and even then it's got Yellow fucking Submarine on it.

Sgt. Pepper's, as discussed in previous Fabs threads, is twattish wankery of the highest order.
 
 
8===>Q: alyn
20:08 / 14.05.03
I love you all.
 
 
The Natural Way
20:20 / 14.05.03
You know, thinking about it, I really like the Beatles, too. I just forget sometimes.

I also like their early stuff - how inclusive am I?! Eh?
 
 
Professor Silly
20:22 / 14.05.03
The first Beatles album I played for my wife was Abbey Road (Something, by George Harrison, remains her favorite song of all time), and I go back and forth between it and Revolver when thinking about my favorite. Here's how I'd currently list them (from favorite approaching least):

Revolver
Abbey Road
Past Masters Vol. 2
Beatles (white album)
Magical Mystery Tour
Sgt. Pepper
Rubber Soul/Let it Be
...everything else.

Now for perspective, here's how my wife rates them:

Revolver
Abbey Road
Help!
Beatles (white album)
Hard Day's Night
Rubber Soul
Magical Mystery Tour

I think it's safe to say that Revolver represents some of their best work--it often tops "greatest albums of all times lists" both on tv and in magazines. That said, I do not listen to any Beatles albums without skipping at least one song...such as Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Rocky Racoon, Yellow Submarine--the goofy ones that kids like. I think herein lies the beauty of the Beatles. Kids and non-musicians can appreciate the writing of McCartney (silly little love songs), rebels can delight in the writing of Lennon, and true musicians (like myself) tend to focus on Harrison. Nobody really cares about the two songs Ringo wrote.

So here's my heartfelt recommendation, and bare in mind the Beatles worked in the following method: two albums a year, with singles that did not appear on those albums.

Get the Past Masters albums first--

they contain all the singles except for two (Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane, which are on Magical Mystery Tour) including Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, (the fast) Revolution, Get Back, Across the Unverse,. That's just volume two--I don't have the first volume personally--and most of these songs were hits. No bands since the Beatles have even come close to matching the quality of output in such a short period of time.

Oh, and I don't like the Let It Be album due to the awful production of Phil Spector. That said, the Spector-Harrison produced All Things Must Pass (Harrison's solo album) absolutly rules and should be owned by everyone.
 
 
8===>Q: alyn
22:56 / 14.05.03
So, yeah, what about ex-Beatles? Paul's obviously become a complete putz -- personally, I think he started to turn sour when Michael Jackson broke his heart in the back of the haycart -- but what about the Travelling Willberries? How's Ringo's band? What solo Lennon albums should I consider getting?
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
00:02 / 15.05.03
I just want to say something...

George Harrison's All Things Must Pass blows the last three Beatles albums out of the water, if just for the fact that "What Is Life" appears on it.

Twice, if you've got the reissue!
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
00:04 / 15.05.03
...And for that matter, John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band beats the hell out of Abbey Road and Let It Be too.

And though I'm not crazy about much of Paul's solo work as albums, there's a *lot* of excellent solo Paul/Wings material to choose from.
 
 
The Return Of Rothkoid
04:39 / 15.05.03
If you haven't seen the filmclip for George's Crackerbox Palace, you just haven't lived.

It has a GNOME SOLO. Which is possibly the best thing ever.
 
 
Old brown-eye is back
10:54 / 15.05.03
Am so on the verge of buying All Things Must Pass. Convince me......
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
17:09 / 15.05.03
Well, if you like George Harrison's songs on the last few Beatles records, it's only the beginning for him. He's set free on All Things Must Pass, and it is a collection of very inspired material. All of the first few Beatles solo records have a certain feeling of freedom to them, but this is a far more positive freedom, relatively free of the bitterness that is all over the early John and Paul solo albums. The lyrics are very spiritual, and sometimes a little goofy in that Beatles humor sort of way. It is worth owning if just so that you can listen to its two big hits "What Is Life" and "My Sweet Lord" over and over again.
 
 
Gypsy Lantern
17:43 / 15.05.03
For me, it's got to be the early amphetamine fuelled just got back from playing strip clubs in Hamburg and suddenly find you're in the process of conquering the world Beatles, rather than the beardy hippy follow whatever guru is in fashion stay in bed for a week and make a concept album Beatles of their later years.
 
 
Old brown-eye is back
17:52 / 15.05.03
That sounds just dandy. George was easily matching L&M by the time of Abbey Road (in song goodness if not frequency) and if it weren't for Taxman I'd have probably slung Revolver by now.

Hang on - doesn't Georgy Boy have a beard on the front cover?
 
 
Professor Silly
18:06 / 15.05.03
Here you go, Kiss me Hecate:

All Things Must Pass also includes the song "Beware of Darkness"...and the reissue had a version of this song with just George playing on acoustic guitar and singing without accompaniment. Truly beautiful. Plus it has Ringo and (gasp!) several Eric Clapton guitar solos!!!!
 
 
Matthew Fluxington
18:16 / 15.05.03
Yes. All Things Must Pass is deeply beardy album.

Beards can be your friend.
 
 
Old brown-eye is back
18:22 / 15.05.03
I've made my peace with beards. Quite frankly, in an ideal world a beard would be a universal signifier for nothing more than having a beard.
 
 
A
16:27 / 20.05.03
I'm not too into the poppy stuff

That's because your heart is as BLACK AS COAL!!! Do you hear me??? BLACK, I tell you!!!

Seriously, though, just buy records with "Beatles" written on them until you run out of money. Sure, there'll probably be a couple of (or a few) dodgy songs on each of them, but it's the Beatles, for the love of god. They had classics of every description all over the place.

Sergeant Peppers is great, too, but then I think "novelty music" is a compliment of the highest order.
 
 
agapanthus
21:32 / 20.05.03
Revolver and Sgt. Pepper are my favourites: Taxman, Tomorrow never knows and She's Leaving home , never fail to go down well. I like the early rock'n'roll stuff too: Lennon's blistering vocal on "Money" and "Twist & Shout". Q, if you're inclined toward reading about music, get hold of Ian Macdonald's 2nd edition of "Revolution in the Head", which brought a lot of their music to life for me, and had me admitting a grudgin respect for MacCartney's drive and ideas.
 
 
Our Lady Has Left the Building
23:15 / 30.12.04
I've been more into the Beatles in the last month or so, I suspect it's thanks to the number of Beatles mashs and remixes up at GYBO. Borrowed the Red and Blue albums off of my Dad, listening to the Red more out of duty than any real like for their early poppy stuff, and getting to 'Eleanor Rigby' and... wow! It's like I've never heard this song before. It's like I've never realised songs could do this before! That said, my current two top tracks are 'Tomorrow Never Knows' and 'A Day in the Life'. It's like the law of compression, Spiritualized 'Cop Shoots Cop' is only 15 minutes, Pulp 'Sunrise' is only about 6 minutes, 'Tomorrow Never Knows' is only a couple of minutes long but it feels like it'll only end when the human race signs off.

And I've just read 'Revolution in the Head' as well, which I recommend.
 
 
Peach Pie
00:51 / 31.12.04
Sergeant Peppers is great, too

Without wanting to sound argumentative, I think I'd probably disagree. I think it's very overrated.

I think they were truly great until 1966. I'd recommend

-Revolver
-meet the beatles
-please please me
-Rubber Soul (greatest album IMHO)
-with the beatles
-a hard day's night
 
 
_Boboss
14:21 / 04.01.05
got a record player for christmas, finally freeing-up massive amounts of mine and her vinyl, inlcuding all the beatles' later albums: isn't she good?

the early stuff is fine, containing the best moments of all really: please please me, it won't be long, saw her standing, money, twisten shout. but to say any of the early albums are better than the white album* or abbey road is just silly rubbishes.

people too down on sgt pepper too: it's the pellow factor of course, starts off belting but by track two everyone's thinking 'fuck you pellow, junkie radge' and not many records could recover from that. however, mr kite, she's leaving home, good morning and day in the life are all super-winners. i even like within you without you, but am aware that opinion is often considered risible.

the blue collection is important to get, because iirc it's the best place to get rain, an essential essential slice of middle-period grandeur.

like mister bowie, one should not have a favourite beatles song for long: at the moment the best choices are obviously she said and everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey.

*they may have had more face-hair than they should, but the white album was the one that actually put the fatal bullet in the skull of the body hippy, and should not be dissed with the 'classic' label so readily.
 
 
haus of fraser
15:03 / 04.01.05
Ermmm a great one for the new year to start things off with...

My fave is probably Rubber Soul (at a bloody push)- but theres not a single album I actively dislike- I've probably spent less time listening to the early stuff like 'meet the beatles' and 'beatles for sale' although I own all the albums- Ther past Masters Comps are great too because so many of their singles were just singles and not on the albums.

I love revolver but I think i overdid it at University and rarely play it these days- the same goes for Sgt Pepper- although both are great records. The White Album and Abby Road are probably more likely to get played these days as they were never my favourites- and thus got played less- and now seem much fresher when I play them.

I'm half with you on the All Things Must Pass tip- however the Apple Jam record has been spun far fewer times than its counterparts due to its extended wankyness.

Another Harrison LP to check out is Living in the material world. although I can live without ever hearing later stuff like Got My mind set on you or when we was fab again...

Qalyn what did you end up getting? Your own verdict on Abby road?
 
 
_Boboss
16:47 / 04.01.05
ooh yes, living in the material world: it has 'try some, buy some', the greatest ever pop song about marijuana.
 
  

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