Tags

, , , , , ,

The bosses want to know what you’re reading this year?
Need some suggestions? Click the banner for some great titles!

 

Well hello! I knew these guys would show up at some point! Of course I fell in love with them like everyone else, and was GLUED to the Ed Sullivan Show for their two big guest appearances. So was MY DAD! Though he told me he would “withhold his opinion until he heard whether they could actually sing or not!” 😀  I got my very first record player that year. One of those little suitcase jobs. I was 12. And my first  Beatles single was “Please Please Me” with “Ask Me Why” on the B side. One of my fondest memories from that year was going to Combe’s Restaurant and playing “From Me To You” on their jukebox. I could never find the single when it was popular. It had “Thank You Girl” on the B side.

**********************

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they became widely regarded as the foremost and most influential music band. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950’s rock and roll, the Beatles later experimented with several musical styles, ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock, often incorporating classical elements and unconventional recording techniques in innovative ways. In 1963 their enormous popularity first emerged as “Beatlemania”; as the group’s music grew in sophistication, led by primary songwriters Lennon and McCartney, the band were integral to pop music’s evolution into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960’s.

The Beatles built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960, with Stuart Sutcliffe initially serving as bass player. The core trio of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, together since 1958, went through a succession of drummers, including Pete Best, before asking Starr to join them in 1962. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings, greatly expanding the group’s popularity in the United Kingdom after their first hit, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962. They acquired the nickname “the Fab Four” as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the next year, and by early 1964 became international stars, leading the “British Invasion” of the United States pop market. From 1965 onward, the Beatles produced increasingly innovative recordings, including the albums Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles (also known as the White Album, 1968) and Abbey Road (1969). After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed success as solo artists.

The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 800 million physical and digital albums worldwide. They have had more number-one albums on the British charts and sold more singles in the UK than any other act. They are also the best-selling music artists in the United States, with 178 million certified units. In 2008, the group topped Billboard magazine’s list of the all-time most successful artists; as of 2017, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart with twenty. They have received seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988, and all four main members were inducted individually from 1994 to 2015. They were also collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the twentieth century’s 100 most influential people.

On 11 February 1963, the Beatles recorded ten songs during a single studio session for their debut LP, Please Please Me. The album was supplemented by the four tracks already released on their first two singles. Martin originally considered recording the Beatles’ debut LP live at The Cavern Club, but after deciding that the building’s acoustics were inadequate, he elected to simulate a “live” album with minimal production in “a single marathon session at Abbey Road”. After the moderate success of “Love Me Do”, the single “Please Please Me” met with a more emphatic reception. Released in January 1963, two months ahead of the album of the same name, the song reached number one on every chart in London except Record Retailer, where it peaked at number two. Recalling how the Beatles “rushed to deliver a debut album, bashing out “Please Please Me” in a day”, All Music’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine comments, “Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh, precisely because of its intense origins.” Lennon said little thought went into composition at the time; he and McCartney were “just writing songs à la Everly Brothers, à la Buddy Holly, pop songs with no more thought of them than that – to create a sound. And the words were almost irrelevant.”

Released in March 1963, the album initiated a run during which eleven of their twelve studio albums released in the United Kingdom through 1970 reached number one. The band’s third single, “From Me to You”, came out in April and was also a chart-topping hit, starting an almost unbroken string of seventeen British number-one singles for the Beatles, including all but one of the eighteen they released over the next six years. Issued in August, the band’s fourth single, “She Loves You”, achieved the fastest sales of any record in the UK up to that time, selling three-quarters of a million copies in under four weeks. It became their first single to sell a million copies, and remained the biggest-selling record in the UK until 1978.

Their commercial success brought increased media exposure, to which the Beatles responded with an irreverent and comical attitude that defied the expectations of pop musicians at the time, inspiring even more interest. The band toured the UK three times in the first half of the year: a four-week tour that began in February, the Beatles’ first nationwide, preceded three-week tours in March and May–June. As their popularity spread, a frenzied adulation of the group took hold. Greeted with riotous enthusiasm by screaming fans, the press dubbed the phenomenon “Beatlemania”. Although not billed as tour leaders, the Beatles overshadowed American acts Tommy Roe and Chris Montez during the February engagements and assumed top billing “by audience demand”, something no British act had previously accomplished while touring with artists from the US. A similar situation arose during their May–June tour with Roy Orbison.

“Please Please Me” maintained the top position on the Record Retailer chart for 30 weeks, only to be displaced by its follow-up, With the Beatles, which EMI released on 22 November to record advance orders of 270,000 copies. The LP topped a half-million albums sold in one week.

On 7 February 1964, the Beatles left the United Kingdom with an estimated 4,000 fans gathered at Heathrow, waving and screaming as the aircraft took off. Upon landing at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, an uproarious crowd estimated at 3,000 greeted them. They gave their first live US television performance two days later on The Ed Sullivan Show, watched by approximately 73 million viewers in over 23 million households, or 34 per cent of the American population. Biographer Jonathan Gould writes that, according to the Nielsen rating service, it was “the largest audience that had ever been recorded for an American television program“. The next morning, the Beatles awoke to a largely negative critical consensus in the US, but a day later their first US concert saw Beatlemania erupt at Washington Coliseum. Back in New York the following day, the Beatles met with another strong reception during two shows at Carnegie Hall. The band then flew to Florida and appeared on the weekly Ed Sullivan Show a second time, before another 70 million viewers, before returning to the UK on 22 February.

The Beatles’ first visit to the United States impacted a nation mourning the recent death of President John F. Kennedy. It has been mentioned that for many, particularly the young, it re-ignited the sense of excitement and possibility that momentarily faded in the wake of the assassination, helping set the stage for much of the revolutionary social changes to come in the decade. According to Mikal Gilmore:

Within days it was apparent that a genuine upheaval was underway, offering a frenetic distraction to the dread that had set into America after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and a renewal of the brutally wounded ideal that youthfulness carried our national hope.

Almost as soon as they returned home from a subsequent visit to India, the Beatles faced a fierce backlash from US religious and social conservatives (as well as the Ku Klux Klan) over a comment Lennon had made in a March interview with British reporter Maureen Cleave. “Christianity will go,” Lennon had said. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I will be proved right. … Jesus was alright but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” The comment went virtually unnoticed in England, but when US teenage fan magazine Datebook printed it five months later – on the eve of the group’s August US tour – it sparked a controversy with Christians in the American “Bible Belt”. The Vatican issued a protest, and bans on Beatles’ records were imposed by Spanish and Dutch stations and South Africa’s national broadcasting service. Epstein accused Datebook of having taken Lennon’s words out of context; at a press conference Lennon pointed out, “If I’d said television was more popular than Jesus, I might have got away with it.” Lennon claimed that he was referring to how other people viewed their success, but at the prompting of reporters, he concluded: “If you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then okay, I’m sorry.”

In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). The film Let It Be (1970) won the 1971 Academy Award for Best Original Song Score. The Beatles have been awarded six Diamond albums, as well as 24 Multi-Platinum albums, 39 Platinum albums and 45 Gold albums in the United States. In the UK, the Beatles have four Multi-Platinum albums, four Platinum albums, eight Gold albums and one Silver album. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

The best-selling band in history, the Beatles have sold more than 800 million physical and digital albums as of 2013. They have had more number-one albums on the UK charts, fifteen, and sold more singles in the UK, 21.9 million, than any other act. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Beatles as the best artist of all time. They ranked number one on Billboard magazine’s list of the all-time most successful Hot 100 artists, released in 2008 to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary. As of 2017, they hold the record for most number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100, with twenty. The Recording Industry Association of America certifies that the Beatles have sold 178 million units in the US, more than any other artist. They were collectively included in Time magazine’s compilation of the twentieth century’s 100 most influential people. In 2014, they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr all released solo albums in 1970. Their solo records sometimes involved one or more of the others; Starr’s Ringo (1973) was the only album to include compositions and performances by all four ex-Beatles, albeit on separate songs. With Starr’s participation, Harrison staged the Concert for Bangladesh in New York City in August 1971. Other than an unreleased jam session in 1974, later bootlegged as A Toot and a Snore in ’74, Lennon and McCartney never recorded together again. Lennon was shot and killed in December 1980, and Harrison died of lung cancer in November 2001. McCartney and Starr remain musically active.

There’s just no way I can cover everything in the article in this post. But all the history is there. So if you’re interested in reading more, please see the Wikipedia article here.

`

“Please Please Me” was the Beatles’ first album. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalize on the success of their singles “Please Please Me” (No. 1 on most lists though only No. 2 on Record Retailer) and “Love Me Do” (No. 17).

Of the album’s 14 songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney (originally credited “McCartney–Lennon”), early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called “[their invention of] the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments.” In 2012, “Please Please Me” was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.” Of the song, “Please Please Me”, John Lennon said: “Please Please Me is my song completely. It was my attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song, would you believe it? I wrote it in the bedroom in my house at Menlove Avenue, which was my auntie’s place”.

Nationwide interest in the Beatles had been piqued with the success of their second UK single and Parlophone Records, hoping to take advantage of this, promptly decided to follow it up with an album. Consequently, their record producer, George Martin, urgently needed ten more tracks if he were to include the four sides (“Love Me Do” / “P.S. I Love You” and “Please Please Me” / “Ask Me Why”) of the group’s first two singles: “I asked them what they had which we could record quickly, and the answer was their stage act” Martin said (the norm for British 12″ vinyl pop albums in 1963 was to have seven songs on each side whereas American albums usually had five or six songs per side). Having established that the Cavern Club was unsuitable for live recording purposes they were booked into EMI Studios in Abbey Road and recorded live there instead. Martin said, “It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire—a broadcast, more or less.”

“Please Please Me” has a diverse history. George Martin has stated that the original version of this song was “rather dreary”, was too slow and consequently had little prospect of being the big hit the band were looking for. Martin said, “I was still thinking that we should release their [earlier] recording of ‘How Do You Do It?‘”, a previously taped Mitch Murray composition that Martin insisted the Beatles record which he had seriously considered as an alternative debut single instead of “Love Me Do”. The group replied that they were only interested in recording their own material. McCartney said: “It was symptomatic of our group that we turned down ‘How Do You Do It?’.” Ringo Starr commented: “I remember us all being ready to stand up for the principle of, ‘We have written these songs and we want to do them'”. George Martin was ultimately sympathetic to their appeals, but said later: “[I] would still have issued “How Do You Do It?” had they not persuaded me to listen to another version of “Please Please Me”.

Lennon first conceived “Please Please Me” as a bluesy, slow tempo song. Lennon recalled: “I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing ‘Only the Lonely’, or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, ‘Please lend a little ear to my pleas’. The double use of the word ‘please’. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby”. Originally it was vocally sparse, did not contain any harmonies or responses, nor did it have the scaled harmonica intro.

`

Ok, ok… One more for the road. One of my very favorite Beatles songs…

According to Lennon, this song’s origins can be traced to when the English journalist Kenneth Allsop made a remark that Lennon should write songs about his childhood. Afterwards, Lennon wrote a song in the form of a long poem reminiscing on his childhood years. The original version of the lyrics was based on a bus route he used to take in Liverpool, naming various sites seen along the way, including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Those original lyrics are on display at The British Library.

However, Lennon found it to be “ridiculous”, calling it “the most boring sort of ‘What I Did On My Holidays Bus Trip’ song”; he reworked the words, replacing the specific memories with a generalized meditation on his past. “Very few lines” of the original version remained in the finished song. According to Lennon’s friend and biographer Peter Shotton, the lines “Some [friends] are dead and some are living/In my life I’ve loved them all” referred to Stuart Sutcliffe (who died in 1962) and to Shotton.

In a 1980 interview, Lennon referred to this song as his “first real major piece of work” because it was the first time he penned personal lyrics about his own life. The song is “In My Life.” (This is a cool video!)

`

`
Picture Sources:
Record Player — Cuckooland
Beatles — chilango.com