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)
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 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?”
From 1963 to 1969, the Beatles recorded and released seven special Christmas singles through their fan club. These were closer to “Monty Pythonesque”-comedy than their normal releases. The first ones are whimsical, cheery and thankful for their success, but later records are more esoteric. They reflect their development as a unit, the 1969 recording is four separate pieces.
Each recording was pressed onto a 7″ flexi disc and mailed free to the British members of the Fan Club.
The results are interesting curiosities for all Beatles fans. A compilation album (with all the 7 singles) was released in 1971 and available from the fan club between 1970 and 1972. It was never released commercially, and most copies are bootlegs.
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.
Continue reading “December 3: The Beatles Rubber Soul was released in 1965”