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.
June 14, 2013
When the Beatles disbanded, nobody worried about John Lennon or Paul McCartney. George Harrison quickly established himself as a musician of note with the release of ALL THINGS MUST PASS. But what about Ringo?
Things did not start well for Mr. Starr as his release of SENTEMENTAL jOURNEY was a critical and commerical disaster. It was an album of older tunes that just was out of place and not exciting.
Later in 1970 he returned with BEAUCOUPS OF BLUES. It was basically a country album and one of the best of his career. It remains a unique release in his catalogue of music. The title song was released as a single and while it only reached number 87 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100, it was a nice slice of country/pop.
Ringo would quickly go in a catchy pop direction and 1971-1975, would have seven singles reach the top 10 with two reaching number one. His career is still going strong.
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.
June 23, 2012
Ringo Starr was almost an after thought when he was a member of The Beatles. When the group disbanded, people assumed he would just fade away.
Ringo has done just fine thank you very much and he is still out on the road touring regularly down to the present day.
During late 1973 he issued his second number one single in a row. “Photograph” had topped the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart earlier in the year and now he returned with a cover of the 1960 top ten Johnny Burnette hit, “You’re Sixteen.” It remained on the charts for 15 weeks and spent one week in the number one position.
Ringo was alway able to attract friends to help out in the studio. This time Paul McCartney provided the kazoo work which probably did not really matter.
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.
May 26, 2011
“All Those Years Ago” was a fitting tribute to the deceased John Lennon from one of his old bandmates. It also included contributions from Ringo Starr and Paul McCatney, which was as close to a Beatles reuniuon as we would ever get.
The single was a big hit in the United States. Released May 23, 1981, it reached number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for three weeks.
Given the emotional content, it’s a shame it did not reach number one.
October 14, 2010
“Nowhere Man” was a rare and I mean rare 1960’s Beatles single release that did not reach number one in The United Stets. It did not even reach number two but had to be content with the number three position.
It was released in between “We Can Work It Out” and “Paperback Writer” and as a mid-career release is a part of their transition catalogue as they would move from the pop sound of their early releases to the sophisticated rock of the sixties.
It featured a nice a capella beginning but the melodic nature of the song was somewhat lacking which may have made it a tough go on AM top forty radio at the time.
“Nowhere Man” remains an adventurous release by The Beatles that would look ahead to some of the most creative music in rock history.