The Beatles

Just like I do sometimes with movies, I would like to talk about music from yesterday. Today I would like talk about the main discography of The Beatles. You can like them or hate them, but no one can deny they changed music. They made the album a real art form, you can look to at other artist and the records feel like a collection of radio hits, The Beatles included no radio singles on most of albums, except in the case of singles from the first album, the films “Help” and “A Hard day’s night” and at the end of their time together. Even though they were not the first to write their own songs, they made it a must for new bands. For me what makes them the best is their music, every album is a step forward and not like the last one, specially from Help to Abbey Road. So here we go, let’s look at The Beatles.  I will include chart info, but the first records were not the same in America so I won’t include those.
Another fact of the band was the quality of each record in spite the fact that they hardly took time off, now a band takes years in between albums, The Beatles were expected to give two albums a year, along with singles, touring, movies and tv appearances. The demand on them was tremendous and even with the pressure they always gave good music. All albums were produced by George Martin.  Where a song is known to be solely of John or Paul it will stated otherwise it was a collaboration even if most of the song was written by one of them alone.

1.1963 – Please Please Me – After being signed by George Martin on Parlaphone, he made them go to the basic set list they played live and recorded their first album in 24 hours. The album was number 1 for 30 weeks on England charts. The album included 8 Lennon-McCartney originals and 7 covers. I think is a great album and like few debut albums full of great songs and promise of many good albums to come. I think the importance of this record was that they stayed true to. Their wish of focusing on their own songs, something their producer at first did not agree, but it payed off, from this album on their growth in the songwriting was obvious.
–      I saw her standing there (McCartney)
–      Misery
–      Please Please me (Lennon)
–      P.S I love you (McCartney)
–      Anna (go to him) (Arthur Alexander)
–      Twist and Shout (Phil Medley/Bert Russell)

2.    1963 – With the Beatles – The second album recorded just four months after the release of the first record and the one that replaced it as the new number one album and it stayed there for 21 weeks. The album basically followed the same formula of the first album, 8 Lennon/McCartney originals and the first composition of George Harrison that was recorded. The cover was really artistic and looks so great, taken by Robert Freeman.
–      It won’t be long (Lennon)
–      All my loving (McCartney)
–      Please Mr. Postman (Dobbins, Garret, Gorman, Holland, Bateman)
–      Hold me tight
–      Not a second time (Lennon)

3.    1964 A Hard day’s Night – Number 1 for 21 weeks- The album served as the soundtrack for their first film. What they did was use one side for the film songs and the other side of songs they had at the time. Here is a milestone for the band, the first album that only featured Lennon-McCartney originals. Here George Harrison used a 12-string electric guitar that influenced the folk-rock explosion, specially The Byrds. One song I like to single out is Lennon’s I’ll be back; the lyrics are so good and the music and it is a step forward in John’s writing.
–      A hard day’s night
–      If I fell – (Lennon)
–      I’m happy just to dance with you (Lennon)
–      And I love her (McCartney)
–      Can’t buy me love (McCartney)
–      I’ll cry instead (Lennon)
–      I’ll be back (Lennon)

4.    1964 Beatles for Sale – number one for 11 weeks- This is the only album I would say suffered from their schedule because they returned to covers after an album of all originals, but consider that the previous album was released July 10th, this one was released four months later amid all the touring the band did in America a film, even after all that the album is still better that most bands having years to write an album. Also, it marked the change in tone for the band and specially Lennon started to go deeper in his lyrics. The album spent 11 weeks at number one.
–      No reply (Lennon)
–      I’m a Loser (Lennon)
–      I’ll follow the sun (McCartney)
–      Baby’s in black

5.    1965 Help! – Number 1 for 9 weeks – The album that for me marks the real turning point for the band, after this album they simply started to write the best music of their career and in my view the best ever. Taking the same formula as A Hard Day’s Night, the first side includes the songs that appeared in the movie and the second side other songs they had. The albums start with one of John’s best songs Help! and near the end we get Yesterday. Also, George in this album contributed one of his best one’s in I need you.
–      Help! (Lennon)
–      You’ve got to hide your love away (Lennon)
–      I need you (Harrison)
–      Ticket to Ride (Lennon)
–      Tell me what you see
–      I’ve just seen a face (McCartney)
–      Yesterday (McCartney)

6.    1965 – Rubber Soul – number 1 8 weeks – consider this, Rubber Soul is considered one of the best albums of all time, and it was released just three months after releasing Help. Name me another band with that level of productivity and quality in what they release. Anyway, this album is truly a great one and here we get the Beatles writing varied music, not just the love themed songs. Musically we also see a growth in the band that would only continue as the years went on.
–      Drive my car – (McCartney)
–      Norwegian Wood
–      Nowhere man (Lennon)
–      Michelle (McCartney)
–      Girl (Lennon)
–      In my life

7.    1966 – Revolver – number 1 for 7 weeks- This album was voted number 1 on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Albums of all time. And it is easy to agree. Musically the band is at another level. The lyrics now are different and do innovative. The album is regarded as an album that changed the way music was seen. The cover for me it is one of the best covers and ahead of that time.
–      Taxman – (Harrison)
–      Here, there and everywhere – (McCartney)
–      Eleanor Rigby – (McCartney)
–      Yellow submarine – (McCartney)
–      She said She Said (Lennon)
–      For no one (McCartney)
–      Tomorrow never knows – (Lennon)

8.    1967 – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – number 1 for 27 weeks. Considered their masterpiece by many, for me it’s a great album but my favorite. But the album undeniably is a milestone in music. Considered a concept album, though Lennon has claimed it is not, I think it is because it has the feeling of a live concert. The packaging of the album was really innovative, from the cover, to the Sgt Pepper cut outs and the lyrics printed on the album sleeve.  The songs are really something never heard before in terms of the instruments used and sounds, and for me the album has two of the most beautiful song John and Paul wrote together in She’s leaving home and A day in the life. I have to say that the 50thanniversary edition is a must for fans, the box set sounds so great and includes a lot of cool stuff.
–      Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band -(McCartney)
–      With a Little Help from my friends
–      Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (Lennon)
–      She’s living Home
–      Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite
–      A day in the life

9.    1967 – Magical mystery tour – This one in an interesting case, in England it was released as an EP with the 6 songs from the movie, in America they added the songs that were singles in 1967 and made an album, in later years the US version became the official album. The movie in truth is not their greatest achievement, but the songs are great. The album is still The Beatles experimenting with sounds instruments and heavy production.
–      Magical Mystery Tour
–      Fool on the hill (McCartney)
–      Your mother should know – (McCartney)
–      I am the walrus (Lennon)
–      Strawberry fields forever (Lennon)
–      Penny Lane (McCartney)
–      All you need is love (Lennon)
–      Hello Goodbye (McCartney)

10.  1968 – The Beatles (White Album) – number 1 for 9 weeks – Also viewed as one of the best albums of all time, The Beatles is my favorite album. The album is so different and goes from pure rock to a ballad, and the songs are so different in lyrics and the band plays so well on this one. The album is known as the start of the separation of the group, and no one denies that, but at the same time they sound like a band again, less production on the songs, just the four of them. For me the album is them at their best. Some say the included fillers like wild honey pie, and others, but even those make the album unique foe me the album is their best one and it is hard to pick one. The best version is the 50thanniversary edition remaster and having the Esther demos of the songs gives so much value to the release of the White Album again.
–      Back in the USSR – (McCartney)
–      Dear Prudence (Lennon)
–      While my guitar gently weeps (Harrison)
–      Ob-la di Ob-la da (McCartney)
–      Happiness is a warm gun (Lennon)
–      I’m so tired (Lennon)
–      Blackbird (McCartney)
–      Mother Nature’s song (McCartney)
–      Sexy Sadie (Lennon)

11.  1968 Yellow Submarine-   number 3 on the charts – This one is considered an official album but in reality, is the soundtrack to the animated film and it featured songs they recorded for Sgt. Pepper, songs that were already released (Yellow Submarine and All you need is love) and two new ones (All together now, Hey bulldog and It’s all too much). The songs were kind of throwaway songs in a sense. They were obligated to supply songs for the film. But even so, the songs are fun and the Harrison songs are really great. The second side of the album is instrumental music for the movie.
–      Only a Northern Song (Harrison)
–      It’s all too much (Harrison)
–      Hey Bulldog (Lennon)

12.  1969 – Abbey Road – number 1for 17 weeks – After leaving the recordings for Let it Be behind they decided to get together and make one final and better album, and they achieved it. The album is a remarkable proof of their talents, here we get great songs from all members of the band. George writes the two best songs on the album and Ringo contributes the very good Octopus’s Garden. The second side is the classic operatic sections where they combined pieces of songs they had and made a medley out of them. Officially the final album hey recorded and what a way to finish.
–      Come Together (Lennon)
–      Something (Harrison)
–      Here Comes the Sun (Harrison)
–      Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (McCartney)

13.  1970 – Let it be – number 1 for 3 weeks – The last official release of the band, the story is filled them fighting, and for some reason it was left abandoned even though the songs are good, and compared to other bands, still better music than most out there. The album was to be a live album of new songs but they never decided on a place to do the live show, they ended up performing on the roof. But the concept was to make an album where they played live without overdubs or orchestras. In the end Phil Spector was given the tapes to make an album out of it and he added choruses and orchestras, eliminating the original concept. The album Spector produced I think made the songs better, The long and winding road sounds so beautiful with the orchestras he added, even though the band version released years later also sounds beautiful. I really like this album, it is simple and contains what I think are two of the most beautiful songs from John and Paul, John’s Across the Universe and Paul’s Let it be, enhanced with the great guitar solo by George Harrison.  In 2003, Let it be…. Naked was released taking all the production added by Spector, it presented The Beatles as they intended on the album, the one that stands in Across the Universe with only John’s acoustic guitar.
–      Two of us (McCartney)
–      Across the Universe (Lennon)
–      Let it be (McCartney)
–      The Long and Winding Road (McCartney)
–      I’ve got a feeling
–      Don’t let me down (Naked version) (Lennon)
–      Get back (McCartney)
Songs not included on UK albums (Official Discography)

Song chart position us Weeks chart position UK Weeks
She loves you 1 2 1 4
From me to you n/a n/a 1 7
I want to hold your hand 1 7 1 5
I feel fine 1 3 1 5
Day Tripper 22 1 5
We can work it out 1 2 1 5
Paperback Writer 1 1 1 2
Lady Madonna 4 3 1 2
The ballad of John and Yoko 8 3 1 3
Rain  (B side) 23 2 n/a n/a
Hey Jude 1 9 1 2
other notable releases chart position us chart position UK
Live at the bbc 3 1
Anthology vol 1 1 2
Anthology vol 2 1 1
Anthology vol 3 1 4
the beatles 1 1 1
Live at the Hollywood Bowl 7 3

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