Archive for 9 after 909

Unbutchered

Posted in Unbutchered with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2009 by fred6368

THE BEATLES UNBUTCHERED

The Beatle’s albums are often divided into early period Beatlemania and late period mature artists. Their run of classic albums is universally seen as beginning with Rubber Soul. Difficult for me to disagree with that as Rubber Soul was the first album that I bought and, from Sgt Pepper onwards, each new Beatles Album was BOTH a media event and a musical event, as well as being a coherent artwork. From the perspective of the twenty first century it seems obvious that an album is an album, but at the time Beatles albums were thrown together as they rushed around the world, burning up records. However my own interest in the Beatles is because they created new forms; they imagined new futures. Perhaps they didn’t realise they had invented the rock album until Brian Wilson released Pet Sounds; his response to Rubber Soul. Despite the coherence of Rubber Soul and Revolver my guess is that Sgt Pepper was the first album that they consciously planned as an art work. What we mostly got in the sixties was the “outlier genius” of the Beatles, accidentally creating new possibilities.

As we look back at Rock’s rich tapestry, the Beatles are seen as a corner stone; actually no, they are the foundations, they created its lineaments, one of which is the album as art form. For me their only pre-cursor in popular music is Frank Sinatra’s 1954 (!) “In The Wee Small Hours” a concept album shot through with coherent brilliance. I am going to leave aside that classic quartet of jazz albums recorded in 1959, as jazz’s relationship with the album is different, and argue that Beatles invented the album in it’s modern creative form. And, secondly I am going to argue that they achieved this with Hard Days Night. The reason we didn’t recognise this at the time is that Hard Days Night was (just!) a soundtrack, Beatles for Sale was weak and HELP! was also a soundtrack; leaving Rubber Soul to be revealed as their first stand alone album work of genius.

Now I disagree with George, and others, who see Rubber Soul and Revolver as a dyptich. For me the great divide in Beatles albums is between Rubber Soul and Revolver. Why? Because they went from being great songwriters playing their songs well to being the first great musicians of the recording studio, Pet Sounds notwithstanding. Rubber Soul is both the last album of the glorious Beatles Band and the last of the mid-period Beatles. For me the “mid-period Beatles” released three classic albums.

1) Hard Days Night, a stumble upon multi-media classic

2) Unbutchered; Digg It! The one they put together as their first bite of the Apple

3) Rubber Soul; the delicious flowering up of their genius

And the stone classic five-star album Unbutchered, as we all know, starts with Eight Days a Week. Here’s the cartoon version; Continue reading

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Working Like A Dog

Posted in Hard Day's Night with tags , , , , , , , on August 4, 2009 by fred6368

HARD DAY’S NIGHT

Hard Days Night. Was it a single, an album or a film? Was it fab, a phenomenon, a virus or a multimedia experience? All of the above of course. After giving us the album as cultural artefact they now gave us being a Beatle as pop art. We wanted to be in their gang and this is what it is like. You can’t buy love but you could experience Beatlemania, be their mates for 89 minutes, then run from the cinema laughing out loud with the exhilaration of it all. We identified with them completely; and with their view of the world. If only we could be as cool in dealing with authority.

From the opening declamatory chord of the single, which I first heard on Juke Box Jury, this was the consummate Beatles experience for their fans. And in 1964 the film was second at the box office to Goldfinger, where James Bond makes a point of mocking them, so most of the UK must have seen it. Here’s the Beatlemania vision of the single.

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We Wanna Be Your Band

Posted in With The Beatles with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2009 by fred6368

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.

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1-2-3-4

Posted in Please Please Me with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2009 by fred6368

PLEASE PLEASE ME

I first heard the Beatles when Please Please Me became the Number One single on the BBC’s chart show Pick of the Pops on a Sunday in February 1963. Having followed the mostly depressing, post-war, pop charts for a couple of years the song grabbed me right away as something urgently different; alive, original and catchy. Immediately you wanted to sing along with them as much as you wanted to admire them. You felt that the future just might be interesting after all. Here’s a good fake video of The Beatles performing Please Please Me. I think it is their first American concert at the Washington Coliseum in Feb 64, looks like and sounds like the US Capitol Remasters of Please Please Me.

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