January 30, 2015
It had been eight weeks since the Beatles had a number one single but that streak ended on August 1, 1964, when “A Hard Day’s Night” reached the top of the charts for the first of two weeks.
The film of the same name premiered July 6, 1964, to favorable reviews. The cream of high society turned out and over 10,000 people gathered around the theater.
One of the highlights of filming was George Harrison meeting Patti Boyd, his (and Eric Clapton’s) future wife, on set.
“A Hard Day’s Night” entered the BILLBOARD Hot 100 at number 21 and two weeks later it was number one.
November 11, 2014
Just as “Rock Around The Clock” by Bill Haley and The Comets changed the course of American music in 1955, so “I Want To Hold Your Hand” Hand” by The Beatles changed it again in 1964.
The song was released in the United States on December 26, 1963, with an initial press run of one-million copies. On February 1, 1963, it became the number one song in America and remained at the top for seven weeks. It sold over 15 million copies world wide and remains their biggest selling single.
George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon became instant stars and their first two performances on the ED SULLIVAN Show were watched by 100 million people. On that February first, 1964, the course of music was changed forever. Their influence in still felt today.
Fifty years after its release, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” is still instantly recognizable as one of the most important songs of the 20th century.
December 3, 2013
Almost 20 years after volume one, The Beatles – On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 has just been released. The Beatles appeared 52 times on the BBC and 37 performances are now available. Some of the songs are the same as the first volume but the performances are different. Also included are 23 short tracks of group banter.
The Beatles were always impeccable in the studio, all of which makes this release so interesting. There are no overdubs and the sound is a little raw as what they played is what you get.
It may not be on a par with their best studio material but there is a lot to like here, plus it fills in a lot of gaps for fans who want everything. George’s guitar on “Boys” and Lennon’s vocal on “Money” are both revelations without any studio trickery. “And I Love Her” finds Harrison using an electric guitar instead of an acoustic performance that appeared on the finished product. “Do You Want To Know A Secret” is performed at a faster tempo than the usual. McCartney rocks on “Beautiful Dreamer” and Ringo gives a good vocal performance on “Honey Don’t.”
Their well-known songs appear next to some unusual covers. “Please Please Me.” “She Loves You,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “I Feel Fine” share space with “Glad All Over,” “I Got A Woman,” and “Hippy Hippy Shake.”
The Beatles – On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 is a nice journey through the often overlooked early part of their career. A must for any fan of The Beatles.
January 16, 2013
When The Beatles disbanded everyone figured John Lennon and Paul McCartney would do just fine. George Harrison quickly released ALL THINGS MUST PASS, which was one of the best albums of the decade. But what about Ringo?
Ringo started out by releasing the commercially unsuccessful sentimental journey and followed that with the very good but moderate selling country album BEAUCOUP OF BLUES.
During the spring of 1971 he hit his pop stride. “It Don’t Come Easy” was a light mid-tempo pop song that was perfect for AM radio. It reached number four on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, which was the first solo hit of his career. A lot more would follow.
December 10, 2012
The Beatles were about to be no more. The most popular and influential band in rock history split during early 1970. Their last album, LET IT BE, produced a series of hit singles including the last number one of their active career.
“The Long And Winding Road” was a fitting end to their career. It was a poignant ballad created by Paul McCartney, who was not pleased with the post-production orchestration added by producer Phil Spector. The song has sense been released without Spector’s additions.
Released during early 1970, it became their 20th number one single in the United States topping the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for two weeks.
It is a song that has grown on me over the years as it has a sad quality to it, which looks back to a time that can never be again.
September 5, 2012
When The Beatles disbanded, it signaled a coming out party for George Harrison. He had always been over-shadowed by the team of Lennpn/McCartney. His 1970 album, ALL THINGS MUST PASS, remains one of the classics in rock ‘n’ roll history and quickly proved that he was a first rate songwriter..
The first single release from his chart-topping debut was the number one “My Sweet Lord'” which was a difficult act to follow.
“What Is Life” has always been one of my favorite Harrison songs. The guitar intro leads into a smooth rock tune that just flows along. It may not have been as big a hit as “My Sweet Lord” but it did reach number 10 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. It may be somewhat lost at times on the ALL THINGS MUST PASS triple album but it remains one of the better tracks of the early 1970s.
July 8, 2012
George Harrison was an exceptional songwriter while he was with The Beatles. His problem was that bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney were two of the best songwriters in music history.
“Something” was issued as a double A-side single with “Come Together” during the early fall of 1969. It was the only Harrison composition to be issued as an A side.
The single reached number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for one week. “Come Together” was named the number one song in the United States and “Something” peaked at number three.
“Something” is now recognized as not only a classic Beatles song but as one of the memorable songs in rock history. It’s beauty is in the simpleness of the music and lyrics. It has been covered by close to 200 artists. Harrison said his favorite version was the one by James Brown.
June 3, 2012
The Chiffons were a girl group that attained their greatest commercial success during the 1960s when they placed 12 singles on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. While “One Fine Day” might be their most memorable song, “He’s So Fine” was their biggest hit. Released during early 1963, it spent four weeks at number one on the Pop Chart and also topped the R&B chart.
Today the song is known for one of the high profile music court cases of all time. A 1976 decision found George Harrison guilty of subconscious plagiarism. It was decided that he used some of the melodies when writing his big hit “My Sweet Lord.” I have heard both songs many times and I have to say, I don’t get it.
“He’s So Fine” was one of those happy, no-nonsense songs that populated the early 1960s pre-Beatles era. “Doo-lang, doo-lang.”
May 10, 2012
“Ticket To Ride” was issued during early 1965 and was part of a musical transition for The Beatles. They were leaving the simple music of their early career behind and beginning to issue a more sophisticated brand of music.
It first reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, April 24, 1965, and during its 11 weeks on the chart, peaked at number one for one week. Its flip side, “Yes It It,” also charted at number 46.
“Ticket To Ride” contained one of John Lennon’s most soulful vocals. He was also the writer of both songs. “Ticket To Ride” was a rare Beatles song that featured Paul McCartney as the lead guitarist.
Shortly after the song reached number one, The Beatles embarked on their American tour, which included their famous Shea Stadium show.
April 18, 2012
During late 1965, The Beatles were in a transition phase in their career. They were leaving the simple music of their early years behind and issuing more sophisticated songs.
The double sided hit, “We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper” was representative of that change. Released during December of 1965, “We Can Work It Out” spent three weeks at number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart, while “Day Tripper” peaked at number five.
I have always preferred “Day Tripper side.” The guitar intro. was memorable and the odd tempo creative. It was the beginning of some experimental music and sounds that would lead to some of the best rock ‘n’ roll in music history.