July 10: The Beatles released A Hard Day’s Night in 1964

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We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the Hard Day’s Night period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”
– John Lennon (1980)

A Hard Day’s Night is the third album by The Beatles; it was released on July 10, 1964. The album is a soundtrack to the A Hard Day’s Night film, starring the Beatles. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

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In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number 5 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The soundtrack songs were recorded in late February, and the non-soundtrack songs were recorded in June. The title song itself was recorded on April 16.

…but A Hard Day’s Night is perhaps the band’s most straightforward album: You notice the catchiness first, and you can wonder how they got it later.

The best example of this is the title track– the clang of that opening chord to put everyone on notice, two burning minutes thick with percussion (including a hammering cowbell!) thanks to the new four-track machines George Martin was using, and then the song spiraling out with a guitar figure as abstractedly lovely as anything the group had recorded.”
– Tom Ewing, Pitchfork

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1970: 20 Songs Released in 1970 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A lot of GREAT music was released in 1970, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Into the Mystic – Van Morrison

    “Into the Mystic” is one of Morrison’s warmest ballads, an Otis Redding-style reverie with acoustic guitar and horns. The lyrics are truly mysterious: “People say, ‘What does this mean?’ ” said Morrison. “A lot of times I have no idea what I mean. That’s what I like about rock & roll — the concept. Like Little Richard — what does he mean? You can’t take him apart; that’s rock & roll to me.”
    rollingstone.com

    Written by Van Morrison and featured on his 1970 album Moondance. It was also included on Morrison’s 1974 live album, It’s Too Late To Stop Now. It was recorded during the Moondance sessions at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in September to November 1969. Elliott Scheiner was the engineer.

    We were born before the wind
    Also younger than the sun
    Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
    Hark, now hear the sailors cry
    Smell the sea and feel the sky
    Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic




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December 4: The Beatles released Beatles For Sale in 1964

Beatles for Sale is the fourth studio album by the Beatles, it was released on 4 December 1964 and produced by George Martin. The album marked a minor turning point in the evolution of the Lennon -McCartney  partnership, John Lennon particularly now showing interest in composing songs of a more autobiographical nature. I’m a Loser shows Lennon for the first time coming under the influence of Bob Dylan, whom he met in New York while on tour, on 28 August 1964.

John, when you were in New York, what did you like best about it?

 I just like cities, you see, and preferably big ones. That’s why I liked it. And we met some good people like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, you know, and I enjoy meeting people I admire.

(Sept 13, 1964 via In The Life Of…The Beatles)

Beatles for Sale didn’t  produce a single for the UK – the non-album tracks I Feel Fine and She’s a Woman performed that role. Nevertheless, that coupling was followed up in the United States by Eight Days a Week, which became their seventh number one.

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December 3: The Beatles Rubber Soul was released in 1965

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

All four faces of The Beatles appear stretched on the cover of 1965’s Rubber Soul, but it is not only the picture that is mind bending, the music within stretches the boundaries of popular music, too. In my mind it is he first truly unified album by The Beatles (and their first recorded within a specified session period), it is a quantum leap compared to the band’s past work. The Songwriting is out of this world, and the instrumentation was cutting edge. A milestone in rock history.
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December 19: The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record: Happy Christmas 1969

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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.

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December 11: John Lennon’s John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band was released in 1970

… Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles — “Mother,” “I Found Out,” “Working Class Hero,” “Isolation,” “God,” “My Mummy’s Dead” — illustrate what each song is about, and charts his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It’s an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon’s catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

I don’t believe in Beatles
~John Lennon (“God”)

Mother:

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