The Beatles were such a prolific album act that it’s sometimes hard to abstract their later singles; here, they ride their roots as a bar band in Liverpool and Hamburg to a new kind of glory.
~Dave Marsh (The Heart of Rock & Soul)
The opening circular riff, played on 12-string guitar by George Harrison, was a signpost for the folk-rock wave that would ride through rock music itself in 1965.
~Richie Unterberger (allmusic.com)
“When I first started I never meant to make money. My only thought was to make a living singing, but all of a sudden I was getting $1500 a night. And if you take a 19-year-old boy and put him in those circumstances…it was a bad scene, it shouldn’t have happened on that first record. I didn’t know how to handle a hit: I was only a child, a boy.”
~Gene Vincent in 1969
Gene Vincent only had one really big hit, “Be-Bop-a-Lula,” which epitomized rockabilly at its prime in 1956 with its sharp guitar breaks, spare snare drums, fluttering echo, and Vincent’s breathless, sexy vocals. Yet his place as one of the great early rock & roll singers is secure, backed up by a wealth of fine smaller hits and non-hits that rate among the best rockabilly of all time.
~Richie Unterberger (allmusic.com)
Meet the Beatles! was not their first album released in USA, but as the first Beatles album released by Capitol Records, it was indeed the record where many millions of Americans were introduced to them.
It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album. The cover featured Robert Freeman’s portrait used in the UK for With the Beatles, with a blue tint added to the original stark black-and-white photograph. Continue reading “January 20: The Beatles released Meet The Beatles! in 1964 (USA)”
The first Beatles Christmas fan-club disc to be recorded separately, the 1968 offering is a collage of odd noises, musical snippets, and individual messages. McCartney’s song “Happy Christmas, Happy New Year” is featured, along with John’s poems “Jock and Yono” and “Once Upon a Pool Table.” Also notable is a rendition of “Nowhere Man” by the ukulele-playing Tiny Tim. Also included is a sped-up snippet of the Beatles’ own “Helter Skelter” and a brief snippet of Perrey & Kingsley’s “Baroque Hoedown” which was used three years later in Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Birthday” are also heard in the background for part of the message.The dialogue and songs for the flexi-disc were organised and edited together by DJ and friend of the Beatles, Kenny Everett.
The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play “what will Santa bring me?” games. Harrison only appears briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas. Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo’s song, the guitar solos from The End are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.
The song Jingle Bells is sung, followed by individual messages to the fans. John mocks the prepared statement, doing an imitation of Paul Harvey and includes his own pseudo-words and ad-libbing. When Paul asks him if he wrote this himself, he says, “No it’s somebody’s bad hand-wroter. It’s been a busy year Beople peadles, one way and another, but it’s been a great year too. You fans have seen to that. Page two … Thanks a lot folks and a happy-er Christmas and a Merry Grew Year. Crimble maybe.” The statement is apparently handwritten as at various points in the recording, Paul reads “making them” as “melting them” before correcting himself and George reads “quite a time” as “quiet time” before correcting himself with “great time” as well. Finishing up the record is a brief rendition of the traditional song “Oh Can You Wash Your Father’s Shirt?”