Thursday 24th May
The Beatles -what can be said that hadn’t been said and written a million times and more. The Beatles were THE group. We all wanted to be I The Beatles; we all wanted to meet a Beatle, we were all in love with The Beatles. Yes, even us boys I am afraid – I had photos all over my bedroom of them, snipped out of newspapers and magazines, some even in colour. It was Beatlemania, and it was REAL. So, where to start – with the records of course.
Now, I only had a reel to reel tape recorder, no record player. I only got my first album in 1969 when I came to London, or actually it was probably not until 1970 that I actually started buying albums. The Beatles were nearly finished by then but I assiduously bought all their albums. But of course, long before then I knew them all off by heart; some of my friends had record players and I taped the songs (maybe that’s where my love of taping started). Please Please Me came out in 1963, shortly after their first two singles took off. It was a rush job; the whole album recorded in ten hours, finishing with a hoarse John screaming Twist and Shout. George Martin was their producer and he managed to capture the enthusiasm, the togetherness, the musicality of these four young men from Liverpool. They had spent almost tw0 years in Hamburg playing two or three sets a night and had a huge repertoire of songs. They had even started writing their own songs (to beat the competition) and they knew the fourteen songs on Please Please Me perfectly; George Martin simply had to get the sound balanced on the two-track tape machines. Well, it is still a good album, all these years later. You can hear each instrument clearly, and the voices sound as fresh as the day they were recorded. A great start. Favourite songs ‘Anna’, ‘Chains’ ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. Only 32 minutes long but 14 great songs.
With The Beatles followed just seven months later. Beatlemania had taken over that summer and a new album was needed. Along with singles and touring and TV and radio appearances the boys had to write and record a second album. They had a couple of days this time and already you could feel the progression. More self-penned songs and a wider sound, piano and a bit of organ were creeping in. The whole album sounds warmer, more confidant and more assured. Best songs – hard to choose – I love ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ and ‘Mr. Postman’ and ‘Till There Was You’ and ‘Devil In Her Heart’, but reaaly there isn’t a weak song on it. A fantastic and iconic cover and this one lasted a whole 33 minutes. Maybe that was really their secret, their concerts were often topping a huge bill and lasted only half an hour or so. They always left you wanting more…