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Beatles Albums 1964-65

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity Phase Three; Album Artists

By the summer of 1964 The Beatles had used up all that their ears had taught them as an audience-responsive live band and recycled it back creatively as a pop singles machine. They had answered demands for a UK number one, an American number one, a movie theme tune, a classic rock n roll EP and had accidentally invented the modern rock album when they delivered the Hard Days Night soundtrack album with extra tracks, all written by Lennon and McCartney. The studious Beatles however were bored and Lennon entered his ‘fat Elvis’ period doubting the value of fame and “writing every day.”  And then Bob Dylan turned up. Bob Dylan had been blown away by the endless stream of Beatles hit records on the radio when he was driving across Colorado in the Spring of 1964 and their driving rock was to influence him and the rise of folk-rock. But the influence was mutual. George had bought Dylan’s second album Freewheelin’, played it constantly and persuaded Paul and John of its value. They met him at New York’s Delmonico’s on August 28th 1964 and Paul discovered the seven levels. Dylan’s immediate impact can be heard in John’s lyrics, tone and harmonica I’m A Loser; Continue reading

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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

Eight Arms To Hold You

Posted in help! with tags , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2009 by fred6368

HELP!

HELP! is a great mid-period Beatles album. The songs hold up well throughout and Anthology reports that they spent time at John’s house in Weybridge working on them together. This sounds like Rubber Soul; the Prequel, and the songs demonstrate a broader range of influences and styles. Lennon didn’t hide his personal problems on the album like he did seven months earlier on Beatles for Sale. This time his cry for HELP! was the single AND the title of the film. This is how the film presented Help! In his own write Lennon knocked off another single overnight. How many classics like this did he knock off when he wasn’t working?

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