We Wanna Be Your Band

WITH THE BEATLES

With The Beatles felt like the moment that the conquering heros of Beatlemania returned to us, their fans, with their first proper album, rather than just capturing a snapshot of their stage show. It was the first British pop music album whose release was universally anticipated; to the tune of half a million advance orders, notching up over 1.5m sales in the UK in six weeks after its release on November 22nd 1963, the day President Kennedy was assassinated. In my experience each Beatles album had a track which people got excited about as though it was the new single.  This time it was All My Loving.

I heard With The Beatles the day after it came out because my friend Tony was already buying everything Beatle on the day it came out; which was extra-ordinary in early 63, although commonplace by 64. He predicted the tsunami of Beatles popularity, Beatlemania, and made sure he got to town to buy She Loves You first thing Friday before it sold out. Consequently for me With The Beatles had the greatest aura about it until Sgt. Pepper; it was the first event album in the UK. Sitting in Tony’s front room we five Beatles fans experienced an album as cultural artefact for the first time. We admired the cool sleeve, read the sleeves notes, analyzed the tracks (“what’s the next one?”), accepted that “It Won’t Be Long” was classic Beatles and a re-assuringly great way to start the album. Here it is with trademark yeah, yeah yeahs, and that welcomingly urgent intro.

There we were, the five of us, listening to our own preview of the album; would we be cool in school on Monday! A polite bunch of kids just wishing we were in the best gang in the world, The Beatles. They were a group of mates, that’s why they were also known as John, Paul, George and Ringo, and their collaborative music-making approach seemed more accessible than the Cliff and The Shadows star-making machinery model. We wanna be in their gang! We listened intently and shared opinions about the album, just as the Beatles shared vocals and recording duties. We were surprised by George’s great “Don’t Bother Me” on which the loose-skinned Arab bongo’s loosened up our British inhibitions. Here’s an early version.  

Then of course there was Ringo; pure cartoon because he was such a character. How great is the nickname Ringo anyway? How cool is it that it just describes him? Being a guy bejewelled with rings took balls in the early sixties. And he shook his moptop all the way through some songs. Class! He was a great drummer for the Beatles, because first he made the songs work and then he made them rock and swing. Genius! He was another original. His workout I Wanna Be Your Man was also the breakthrough single for the Stones, which I write about in 63/68. Here is a great video that captures that Beatles/Stones duality.

So perked up by Ringo and his rocking Boys we approached the end of the album, full listing here, wondering if they could match the apocalyptic climax that Please Please Me had built to with Twist and Shout. After letting us get our breathe back with Devil in Her Heart (a cover) and Not A Second Time they went for a big show-stopper at the end again. Money is a great rocker and Lennon is wonderfully hoarse and feral, so the album ends on a climax; we put the album on again as an encore and Tony’s Mum brought in tea and biscuits to fuel our rebellion. Phew! Turn it Over!!

If you enjoyed this post you might like my story about I Wanna Be Your Man on 9 after 909.

The View from 9/9/9 Better recorded than Please Please Me it felt like a maturing of their abilities at the time but now sounds pretty similar to Please Please Me. Feels like an album and worth a buy if you didn’t buy the first one. A good early album 72%

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2 Responses to “We Wanna Be Your Band”

  1. […] Oh, and let me know what your favourite track is, you can guess mine. You can see some of the songs in YouTube videos on A Beatles YouTube Album. […]

  2. […] My story is about I Wanna Be Your Man and can be read by selecting With The Beatles from the pages menu. You can see YouTube versions of the songs in the Poll at A Beatles YouTube History. […]

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