Paperback Writer By The Beatles

December 27, 2018

The Beatles “Paperback Writer” followed the Rolling Stones “Paint It Black” as the number one song in the United States and all was right with the music world, at least in 1966.

“Paperback Writer” was primarily a Paul McCartney composition. It was written due to a family member’s request to not write another love song.

There has always been a question as to who played lead guitar on the song; McCartney or Harrison.

The song reached number one in a number of countries, including the United States for two non-consecutive weeks beginning June 25, 1966.

Yesterday By The Beatles

May 21, 2016

“Yesterday” was one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. It was also a Paul McCartney solo effort released under the Beatles name.

In the studio producer George Martin suggested the McCartney record the song with just an acoustic guitar backed by a string quartet. It may not have been typical rock and roll but it became one of the most recognizable songs in music history.

“Yesterday” reached the top of the American Singles Chart on October 9, 1965, and there is remained for four weeks.

I Want To Hold Your Hand By The Beatles

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.

On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 by The Beatles

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.

Mother 45 by John Lennon

February 5, 2013

Mother  John Lennon

The Beatles had broken up and John Lennon was now on his own. “Mother” reached the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart during early 1971. If ever there was a song that showed how different his solo music was going to be from that of Paul McCartney’s, this was it.

The song was a raw plea as Lennon’s vocal strained to present the words. While he would have a number of solo hits, this one was just too difficult a listen for AM singles radio at the time. It peaked at number 43 during its six weeks on the chart.

Much of Lennon’s solo work would be melodic and poetical. “Mother,” however, was Lennon at his stark best.

Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down 45 by The Beatles with Billy Preston

December 20, 2012

Get Back

“Get Back” is a Beatles song that ranks as their third biggest single hit in the United States, yet sometimes is over looked in the vast catalogue of music.

It was the only Beatles single to include another artist in the main creits as it states The Beatles with Billy Preston. In addition, it was the first Beatles single to be released in true stereo in the United States.

Released during April of 1969, it would spend five weeks in the number one position on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart in the USA and six weeks on top of the U.K. Singles Chart.

The flip side, “Don’t Let Me Down,” was a primal scream love song to Yoko Ono by John Lennon. It would also receive chart action in the USA, topping out at number 35.

This is one of those singles that has grown on me down through the years and remains one of their best 45 rpm releases.

The Long And Winding Road 45 by The Beatles

December 10, 2012

Long and Winding Road

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.

Ticket To Ride 45 by The Beatles

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.

We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper 45 by The Beatles

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.

McCartney II (Archive Collection) by Paul McCartney

August 3, 2011

Paul McCartney released his second self-titled solo album during May of 1980, just about ten years after the first. He spent the intervening decade touring and recording with Wings, with whom he sold tens of millions of albums and performed to sold out stadiums and concert halls worldwide. It cemented his reputation as one of the superstars of the music world and established his identity outside of The Beatles.

McCartney II was a return to basics as it was recorded in his home with the microphone plugged directly into the back of a 16-track tape machine. He wrote all the tracks, played all the instruments, sang all the songs, plus produced and engineered the album. The only help he received was Linda McCartney’s backing vocals.

The album has now returned in in a cleaned-up, remastered form with a bonus disc of songs, which is ten minutes longer than the original release. This album, and its predecessor McCartney, are the latest additions to his Archive Collection. As with all the releases in the series, there is also a 3 CD, 1 DVD box set, and for the brave at heart, a 180 gram vinyl edition.

I tend to prefer his 1970’s work with Wings as it has more punch and the group setting tended to keep his lightweight pop tendencies in check. Still, the years have been kind to McCartney II, and while it may not be his strongest release, it has grown on me and there are a number of tracks worth revisiting.

The studio version of his number one live hit, “Coming Up,” the ballads “Waterfalls” and “One Of These Days,” the fun “Bogey Music,” and “Nobody Knows,” which has a “Get Back” vibe, remain excellent, if underappreciated Paul McCartney songs.

The bonus disc is hit-or-miss, but there is some very worthwhile material. There is the live version of “Coming Up”” that includes another verse but not the introduction and chanting contained on the original single release. “Blue Sway,” with the Richard Niles Orchestra, is one of the most beautiful pieces of music that Paul McCartney has created. “Mr. H Atom/You Know I’ll Get You Baby” has a goofy appeal. On the other hand, the ten minute, mostly instrumental “Secret Friend” is a bit much, as is the non-orchestrated, ten minute version of “All You Horse Riders/Blue Sway.”

While McCartney II may not be a consistently strong album, it is nevertheless representative of Paul McCartney’s mind and music circa 1980. It is not a starting point when exploring his music, but is essential for any serious fan.