Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Beatles




"I immediately liked what I heard. They were fresh, and they were honest, and they had what I thought was a sort of presence - a star quality" - Brian Epstein

I have always had a strange relationship with The Beatles. On the one hand, aged about five, I owned a plastic Beatles guitar (pictured), so they were the first musical memory I had, along with a vague knowledge of Elvis.


A lot of their output was easy for a young child to sing - "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" was probably the first I learnt, to the frustration of my parents, who hated me saying "yeah" instead of "yes". In the mid sixties, The Beatles were simply everywhere, even for five-six year old kids. On the other hand, as the years went by and I started to develop a musical taste, I found the edgy, bad boy, rebellious appeal of The Rolling Stones far more attractive. Even at eight or nine, I viewed The Beatles as "goody-goodies" (despite the flower power garb and later beards) and The Stones as the exact opposite. I knew which side my bread was buttered. Musically too, the riffy, bluesy decadence of The Stones' sound was what I wanted, not what I viewed as twee by 1968, as I did The Beatles' early pre-1965 output.

So, you will have gathered by now that The Beatles are not the holy grail for me. Despite owning everything they recorded (including the much-valued "Beatles In Mono" box set), David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Stones, Van Morrison, The Clash and The Jam for starters are far more important to me on a day-to-day basis. There are also parts of their output I do not consider worthy of a supposed "rock group" (mainly McCartney whimsy or "Yellow bloody Submarine"). However, that said, I was lucky enough to develop my musical taste in the sixties and there are some Beatles songs that are indelibly imprinted on my entire consciousness. I could tell you exactly where I was when I first heard them - Hello Goodbye (on the top deck of a bus one evening before Christmas in Leicester with my Mother, and it was played by some teenagers on their transistor radio); Hey Jude (over the Tannoy before the match at Leicester City v West Bromwich Albion in October 1968); Lady Madonna and Let It Be (at home at the kitchen table listening to the radio with my Mother). So, like it or not, The Beatles will forever be a part of my life.

REVIEWS - I have divided The Beatles' career into two sections - click on an image to read the reviews for the relevant period:-

1963-1965
1965-1970

3 comments:

  1. I'm glad somebody finally agrees with me about The White Album. I'm a Beatles fan and I pretty much agree with whatever great thing anyone says about their other hugely praised albums. But definitely not this one. I can't even make a great single album out of this that measures up to the great albums before and after it. I can come up with about 7 or 8 great ones and maybe 4 or 5 okay ones. And that really sucks for a Beatles album. To be the problem is a lack of great songs. Most of these songs just aren't all that hot. At least not for the Beatles. And every one of the good ones comes on the first half of the album. Except Birthday and Helter Skelter. What the rest of the album is like is kind of what their early solo stuff was like. I mean, it was kind of good but not as good as the Beatles. I like a lot of the early solo stuff but at best it was kind of like second-tier Beatles. And that's what the White album is like to me. kind of like second-tier mostly. Except for the 7 or 8 great ones.

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  2. As I said right the top - I have/had a strange relationship with The Beatles and this will come across in my reviews. Certainly we both agree that The White Album is not the holy grail.

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  3. Yer Blues, Monkey and Revolution are other good ones from the second half, for me.

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