The Beatles

Sheena

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I feel like we've never really properly (shit new exhibitions aside) discussed The Beatles. My own personal journey began with picking up the odd CD charity shopping over the years, liking what I heard, finding some vinyl records in a job lot I bought, then buying a massive job lot which had basically everything in and then becoming mildly obsessed. I've basically got most of their (and Lennon and McCartney's by default) 60s/70s back catalogue on vinyl now and increasingly autumnal nights spent on the sofa doing little bit listening to them has become something of a middle aged man hobby.

I also got the recent Let It Be super deluxe reissue for my birthday last week (having already picked up the Abbey Road and The Beatles/White Album ones) and it's made me fall in love with it all over again- definitely one of my favourite albums of theirs, and the original Get Back album in the box has been a surprising treat (though I'm yet to go into the demos discs).

Anyway, thoughts? DISCUSS.
 

Ag

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I really don't care for them, except for The White Album and the odd track.

I often wonder if they were JUST ANOTHER BAND I'd find them more palatable. The hype around them growing up was very presumptious and I found that off-putting.
 

Sheena

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I really don't care for them, except for The White Album and the odd track.

I often wonder if they were JUST ANOTHER BAND I'd find them more palatable. The hype around them growing up was very presumptious and I found that off-putting.

I felt the same way and it took me a long time to distance myself from that and realise what the fuss was about.
 

funky

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I think I've mentioned before that I rebelled from them considerably as a child, as growing up in Liverpool in the 80s still reeling from the death of Lennon, they were fucking everywhere. Mind you, it was only when I got older I realised that it wasn't just Liverpool that they were universally and obsessively loved, and there in facts parts of America and Asia that love the Beatles far more than Liverpool ever could.

I played guitar as a kid and a lot of the early Beatles songs, which are based on simple rock n roll riffs and easy to play, were part of my learning experience. We never really touched anything post 1965, because their music became so incredibly complex. I don't think I appreciated that until I got older as well.

Anyway, getting into musicology and the history of pop music and evolution etc etc I've really learnt to respect their influence. Still fascinated by how much every artist on this planet seems to revere them. And how can you hear sprinkles of their influence in pretty much every genre since 1970.

There are some fun bops amongst the early stuff - I Feel Fine, Ticket To Ride, Yesterday and We Can Work It Out spring to mind. But their later work is truly exceptional.

"Something" has become one of my top top top favourite songs of all time in the last couple of years. That's the beauty of The Beatles - discovery. They reveal themselves in the most beautiful and unexpected ways, the more you delve into early pop music.
 

lolly

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I adore 'Something', but much prefer the Shirley Bassey version.
 

funky

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And I'm really looking forward to the documentary on Disney next month. I'm glad I learnt more about them and to appreciate them before watching it, it should be a lot of fun to see all that footage for the first time, knowing now how significant it is. Apparently it's set to completely contradict the tabloid gossip and speculation at the time at how horribly toxic the Let It Be sessions were, and that in fact they were all still very close, they were just a family that played together, worked together and fought together and the media only wanted to focus on the latter.
 

lolly

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I like Frank Sinatra's version. He called it possibly the greatest love song ever written.
My favourite two Beatles songs are both George Harrison penned. Something and Here Comes The Sun.

I appreciate their importance but have never had a desire to deep dive, although I feel I recognise the name of pretty much every album track.
 

funky

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There seems to be a quite strange movement on social media and youtube lately from Queen fans obsessing over everyone calling The Beatles the biggest rock band of all time. Because OMG QUEEN'S GREATEST HITS HAS SOLD MORE IN THE UK or something. Er, no. Queen aren't even the in the Top 5 of British Bands ever. Definitely Top 10, but they're not more important than The Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or The Who, let alone The Beatles.
 

funky

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My favourite two Beatles songs are both George Harrison penned. Something and Here Comes The Sun.

I appreciate their importance but have never had a desire to deep dive, although I feel I recognise the name of pretty much every album track.

My top three are George's. Those two, and throw in While My Guitar Gently Weeps, an absolute stunner of a song.

George is probably the most underrated band musician of all time.
 

Sheena

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I find the whole story about them fascinating too. I’d love to go back and feel their impact for myself- it must have been so strange.
 

Sheena

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Eleanor Rigby is my favourite, but I think A Day In The Life comes close.
 

funky

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I think my Top 10 would be, although it keeps changing as I'm still in midst of discovering and rediscovering more songs...

1 Something
2 Here Comes The Sun
3 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
4 A Day In The Life
5 Come Together
6 Don't Let Me Down
7 In My Life
8 We Can Work It Out
9 Get Back
10 The Long And Winding Road

throw in Strawberry Fields Forever, Yesterday, Blackbird, Hello Goodbye, Let It Be, Hey Jude...
 

funky

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It's crazy how that "1" album is the one of the biggest selling albums of the noughties and as a result, they are one of the biggest selling bands of that decade too, thirty years after they split up.

I'm not sure I understood at the time, but when you look at the tracklist now, it really is a staggering collection of pop history from just ONE band. And to think it barely scratches the surface of their discography.

 

Sheena

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I’m not sure I could begin to manage a top ten, but with the caveat that it changes all the time:

1. Eleanor Rigby
2. A Day In The Life
3. Yesterday
4. Let It Be
5. Come Together
6. Something
7. Strawberry Fields Forever
8. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
9. Help!
10.The Long And Winding Road
 

Marilyn

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If the Pet Shop Boys don’t count as a band, The Beatles are my favourite of all time. I have wavered between being mildly and majorly obsessed with them since I was about 13.

Before getting internet at home I was heavily influenced by music magazines and the Beatles were so intensely worshipped, I just had to hear some full albums for myself. I bought Sgt. Pepper and the white album and that was it, I was hooked forever. My father, who had a thing for entering random newspaper prize giveaways, won the complete Anthology DVD set and that was the next step in getting a taste of their whole career and all the history. I think I bought the 1 comp next, and then all the rest of the studio albums followed

The two that I bought first will always be the most special to me, but each album from Rubber Soul to Let It Be is just astounding, and the early stuff is fun too of course, in smaller doses.

I have a huuuge version of this set of photos at my childhood house, as wide as my bedroom wall, that I’ve never been able to get down to Melbourne :( I miss it

images
 

Suedey

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Well obviously they're great but I've had a few tonight so I'll write something more meaningful tomorrow.

That being said - top 5 Beatles albums:

1. Abbey Road
2. The Beatles (aka The White Album)
3. Revolver (not to be confused with Madame X's Re-VULVAH )
4. Rubber Soul
5. [Ready when you are,] Sgt. Pepper [the Lecter EP]
 

Sheena

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I struggle even harder to rank the albums, but I think:

1. Abbey Road
2. Sgt. Pepper
3. Revolver
4. Let It Be
5. Rubber Soul
6. The Beatles
7. A Hard Day’s Night
8. With The Beatles
9. Help!
10.Beatles For Sale
11. Please Please Me
 

wildchild

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1. All My Lovin’
2. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
3. Penny Lane
4. She Loves You
5. Help!
6. Hello, Goodbye
7. A Hard Day’s Night
8. Can’t Buy Me Love
9. All You Need Is Love
10. Ticket to Ride

I’ve been listening to Dolly Parton’s version of Help! a lot recently :shy: and a little bit of the Bananarama version too.
 

octophone

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1 - A Day In The Life
2 - Tomorrow Never Knows
3 - Nowhere Man
4 - Strawberry Fields Forever
5 - Ticket To Ride
6 - Helter Skelter
7 - We Can Work It Out
8 - Long Long Long
9 - For No One
10 - Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight

That's off the top of my head - it could be completely different later today.
 

octophone

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The joy of The Beatles is how many different "Beatles" there were in such a short time. They began as the loveable moptops albeit with a hidden past. They were cheeky but never rude and so natural on camera that it was almost unfair. By the end of '64 into '65, they had become something else, a gang of sly older brothers who were out all night but would never say where they'd been. They were now thoroughly irreverent, natural comedians who decided that maybe their music should tell a story once in a while. Then they became The Psychedelic Beatles making their greatest album - Revolver - and reshaping the sound of recorded music with George Martin and Geoff Emerick. Losing their collective marbles with Magical Mystery Tour, they went to India to meditate and came back as (arguably) the first indie rock band, making the sprawling but evergreen White Album. But the very act of calling that album "The Beatles" was the beginning of the end - once turned, the circle would not turn again and the "back to basics" sessions that eventually became "Let It Be" failed to cohere; the gang were drifting apart and spent the time joking about or arguing, a sure sign of a dissolving relationship. But they rallied, the muse flowed and they made "Abbey Road" - the cheeky young lads were now grown men with only McCartney declining to indulge in impressive facial hair and their last recordings demonstrate both what was pulling them apart and how extraordinary they were when they pulled together.

Their recording career spans just over 7 years (a few sessions to add a lick of paint to 'Let It Be' notwithstanding) and yet, in that time, they recorded 186 original songs, a pile of covers and came to define their generation.

Not bad for - to quote Ringo - "four shitkickers from Liverpool".
 

Sheena

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I happen to love Magical Mystery Tour- one of the aforementioned job los included the “full” US album version and it’s basically a semi- Greatest Hits, if not a cohesive album. Fascinating snapshot of where they were at the time.
 

ButterTart

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I absolutely HATE All You Need Is Love, but they've done quite a few songs I enjoy. Not sure if I could compile a top ten, but these spring to mind immediately:
Strawberry Fields
Revolution
I Want You (She's So Heavy)
Come Together
I Want to Hold Your Hand
 

octophone

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I happen to love Magical Mystery Tour- one of the aforementioned job los included the “full” US album version and it’s basically a semi- Greatest Hits, if not a cohesive album. Fascinating snapshot of where they were at the time.

Agree. Even tho' the film is the product of a level of hubris to which, in all fairness, one would be entitled if you'd just made Sgt Pepper and watched it soar to Number 1 everywhere you cared to look, the music on MMT is excellent and it's no wonder that US LP became canon - if you have that and Pepper, you have their 1967 and what a year it was.
 

Sheena

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Do we subscribe to the theory that Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane should have made it onto Sgt Pepper or are we purists who like the “no singles” angle of the whole thing?

I really do think they (obviously) sonically fit so well that they would have worked…
 

.org

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1. All My Lovin’
2. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
3. Penny Lane
4. She Loves You
5. Help!
6. Hello, Goodbye
7. A Hard Day’s Night
8. Can’t Buy Me Love
9. All You Need Is Love
10. Ticket to Ride

I’ve been listening to Dolly Parton’s version of Help! a lot recently :shy: and a little bit of the Bananarama version too.
You'll get in trouble for liking All you need is love on here.
 

octophone

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My top three are George's. Those two, and throw in While My Guitar Gently Weeps, an absolute stunner of a song.

George is probably the most underrated band musician of all time.

Well, Long Long Long is, for me, the best track on "The Beatles" and the competition is fierce. He does Revolver a major turn with the bouncy, delightful "I Want To Tell You", the full-on sitar and tabla swirl of "Love You To" and the stripped down chord stabs of Taxman (the lyric to the latter notwithstanding but everything has context...). Not to mention taking 5 or 6 hours of studio time to get the backwards guitar on "I'm Only Sleeping" just right and taking over on bass on "She Said She Said" when McCartney stropped out in the huff. Rarely has a band had a secret weapon so potent.
 

octophone

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Do we subscribe to the theory that Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane should have made it onto Sgt Pepper or are we purists who like the “no singles” angle of the whole thing?

I really do think they (obviously) sonically fit so well that they would have worked…

I do like how they kept singles and albums separate for the most part. But it's difficult to see where they would have fitted. SFF is such a beautifully self-contained meditation on childhood and memory that it would overwhelm whatever you placed on either side of it. Penny Lane would fit well on the album - I can imagine having that instead of Lovely Rita and it working perfectly well (as well as being an improvement).
 

octophone

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"All You Need Is Love" needs to be heard in context. It was a commission for a worldwide television broadcast - IIRC, it was the first time that satellite technology was being used or somesuch. Hence the quote from "La Marseillaise" at the start and the simplicity of the lyric. Geoff Emerick reckons The Beatles didn't care much about it to start with and spent the first session fannying about with unfamiliar instruments - you can hear Lennon on harpischord at the beginning, McCartney's double bass can be heard briefly and the barest sliver of Harri giving it loads on a violin remains (just before the last chorus). It was only when Brian Epstien gave them an estimate of global television audience that they straightened up. It's a period piece and, heard as such, makes perfect sense.
 

Marilyn

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Rather than ranking the albums I'm going to do TIERS

God tier+ (of great personal significance): Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
--
God tier: Revolver, Abbey Road, Let It Be
--
Rubber Soul, Magical Mystery Tour
--
Please Please Me
--
With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Help!
--
Beatles For Sale, Yellow Submarine
 

octophone

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The albums? Oh, ALRIGHT THEN.

1 - The Beatles
2 - Revolver
3 - Sgt Pepper
4 - Magical Mystery Tour (assuming we're going with the 11 track LP edition)
5 - Rubber Soul (would challenge MMT if not for the dreadful "Run For Your Life")
6 - A Hard Day's Night
7 - Abbey Road
8 - Help!
9 - Let It Be
10 - Beatles For Sale (I like the downbeat originals actually - world-weariness suited them, in a strange way)
11 - With The Beatles
12 - Please Please Me
13 - Yellow Submarine (which is actually decent - Hey Bulldog and It's All Too Much are crackers)
 

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