Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"The Early Beatles" by The Beatles (1965)

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl

Filed between: The Beach Boys and (ugh) The Bells

Obtained via: CHICKEN COOP!!!

Reporter: "How did you find America?"
John: "Turned left at Greenland."
-- from the film "A Hard Day's Night"

Key Tracks:
Love Me Do, Twist and Shout, Anna (Go to Him), Please Please Me, P.S. I Love You, Baby It's You, Do You Want to Know a Secret

My Overall Rating of the tracks separately:
HIGHLY Recommended (3.5/4 stars)

There are literally hundreds of conversations to be had regarding the group that I will staunchly defend as the most influential entitiy in the history of popular music.  But with this LP and this blog, one in particular seems glaringly appropriate.

Let's call it zeitgeist.

I didn't grow up in the sixties; I grew up in the CD age.  For me, the entire Beatles' catalogue (almost, I did grow up pre-"Anthology") was neatly sorted and available on a set of fourteen or so discs which I happily collected and enjoyed.  I was content knowing that all I really didn't have access to was a set of white vinyl discs and cover art with meat and baby dolls that apparently outraged lots of people.

But then I got into vinyl.  Any recordphile can tell you two things: (1) originals (and even reprints) of anything Beatles on vinyl gets costly real quick and (2) there are waaaaay more Beatles' LPs out there than you would have ever guessed.  "The Early Beatles" is a great case in point.  It is one of the most unadulterated bait-and-switches I have ever seen.  It's basically a reissue of their previous LP "Please Please Me" in a different order and with fewer songs.  By the way, one of the songs NOT present on "The Early Beatles" is I Saw Her Standing There.  Why?!

And yet, "The Early Beatles" charted higher and sold more copies than many of the LPs I have reviewed previously.  Again I ask, why?!  The answer is simple - zeitgeist.  This came in out in 1965 when Beatlemania was at its apex.  My guess is that kids were in the store and saw an unfamiliar Beatles' cover and just snatched it up.  And man, were there a lot to keep up with.  Half of my Beatles' records are compilations that don't exist in CD format and that I had never heard of until I stumbled across them.

That's what began putting it into perspective for me.  Even with all the crazy stuff they do nowadays with reissues and special editions and iTunes exclusive tracks and whatnot, it doesn't come close to The Beatles' merchandise available in 1965.  It's still hard for me to wrap my head around it all.  But then, I just go listen to that bitchin' harmonica on Love Me Do and remember that there are more important things to consider - things that make me smile really wide.

So is it an album?  That doesn't seem like a fair question, seeing as how I broke the rules when I played this one, so I'm not going to count it.

Up next, "Pelican West" by Haircut One Hundred.

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