Tag Archives: The Beatles

R&R Saturday – The Beatles Take Manhattan – Feb 9, 1964

The BeatlesThe Ed Sullivan Show was a fixture on CBS Sunday night TV since launching on June 20, 1948. It was a big deal. Families would gather around the television after the Sunday night meal (pot roast at our house) and watch the show. Sullivan would roll out a various stream of performers to entertain the viewers.

Virtually every type of entertainment appeared on the show; opera singers, popular artists, songwriters, comedians, ballet dancers, dramatic actors performing monologues from plays, andcircus acts were regularly featured. The format was essentially the same as vaudeville, and although vaudeville died a generation earlier, Sullivan presented many ex-vaudevillians on his stage.

If the Elvis appearance on September 9th of ’56 changed the direction of the show, The Beatles 1964 appearance turned it upside down in a Twist and Shout kind of way. Over 73 millions American (more than 40% of the population) were glued to the family set to watch the four from Liverpool make their Ed Sullivan debut.

In late 1963, Sullivan was passing through London’s Heathrow airport at the same time The Beatles were returning from Stockholm. Sullivan was intrigued about how the bands fans were going nuts at their arrival and told his entourage it was the same thing as Elvis all over again. He initially offered Beatles manager Brian Epstein top dollar for a single show but the Beatles manager had a better idea—he wanted exposure for his clients: the Beatles would instead appear three times on the show, at bottom dollar, but receive top billing and two spots (opening and closing) on each show.

There are a handful of events on the Rock and Roll timeline with huge impact — January of ’56, when Sun Records released Elvis Presley’s first single, Heartbreak Hotel, February 3, 1959, when a small plane crash claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens, and Feburary 9, 1964, when the Beatles took the Ed Sullivan stage.

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

The Beatles - 1961 w/Pete Best on Drums

On this day, 1957, The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool and became the most famous live music venue in the U.K., and the home of The Beatles.

In its heyday The Cavern hosted some of the biggest acts of the generation  including The Rolling StonesThe YardbirdsThe KinksElton John,QueenThe Who and John Lee Hooker.

The club closed in March 1973, and was filled in during construction work on the underground rail loop. Jan Akkerman with Dutch group Focus were the last to play The Cavern a few days before the club was shut down in May 1973.

In April 1984 what remained of the club was taken over by footballer Tommy Smith in association with Royal Life. It was re-built with many of the same bricks that had been used in the original club. In 1989 the club failed under massive financial pressures and closed for 18 months.)

In 1991, The Cavern reopened and has become a world-famous tourist spot. The club functions primarily as a live music venue. The music policy varies from ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s classic pop music to indie, rock and modern chart music.

On 14 December 1999, former Beatle Paul McCartney returned to the New Cavern Club stage to play his last gig of 1999 publicising his new album, Run Devil Run. The Cavern Club is still open as one of the UK’s most famous venues. It has around 40 live bands performing every week; both tribute and original bands, although the majority perform their own material. The back room of the Cavern is the most frequently used location for live bands and this mainly plays host to young up-and-coming groups playing original material.

The Cavern Club

Source: Wikipedia

Rock and Roll Saturday – “The White Album”

Week three on a trip through my album collection.

This retrospective had to include “The Beatles”, widely known simply as the white album.

The first time I heard The White Album (WA) I was blown away by the subtle mastery the Fab Four pulled off. From the simple white sleeve to the collection found on the enclosed double album set, this was as close to musical nirvana I’d ever been.

“On this album we rid ourselves of the self-conscious bit. We were doing what we were doing earlier on, but with a better knowledge and technique of recording. Quite a few of the tracks are just straight takes of us playing. “Yer Blues” was recorded in a smaller room just for a change from the big studio, we just did it. And “I will”, “Julia”, and all them, it’s just us singing like that. But the technique makes it a bit better than one of us just singing in the early days. It’s just we know the technique of recording better.

“If we did the first album again, with “Twist and Shout” and all those things on, it would be the same, you know. But we sound more like we sounded then, on this record, than we do on the first record. You know, people who heard us in Liverpool and Hamburg, before we turned into a mass scream — that’s how we played, just heavy rock. But when it was put down on the early records, there was never enough bass in it, the guitar solo never came through, and generally we just didn’t know about recording then. So now we know how to record a bit.”

— Maurice Hindle‘s 1968 interview with John Lennon

The White Album released in November 1968 to extreme accolade. It was their first album in over 18 months and the Beatle hungry public was quickly whipped into a frothy Beatle frenzy. WA shot up the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Considering the meteoric success of their previous album,  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, expectations were high. The WA debuted at #1 in the U.K on December 1, 1968 and held the top spot for a total of eight weeks. WA spent 24 weeks on the UK charts, far less than the more than 200 weeks for Sgt. Pepper.

On the America side of the ocean, WA debuted at 11, climbed to #2 and finally #1 in the third week, staying there for a total of nine. In all WA spent 155 weeks on the Billboard 200The WA is The Beatles’ best-selling album at 19-times platinum and the tenth-best-selling album of all time in the U.S. (Each sale is counted as two sales, because The Beatles is a double record set.)

The trademark all white sleeve with the simple embossing and serial number might be one of the more brilliant album designs in history. Considering the success of Sgt. Peppers with it’s iconic cover, the designer,  notable pop artist Richard Hamilton, chose the all white for it’s simplicity rather than to try to one-up the flair of Sgt. Peppers.

The white sleeve was not the original plan. A painting of the band by “Patrick” (John Byrne) was under consideration to be used as the album’s cover. The piece was later used for the sleeve of the compilation album The Beatles’ Ballads, released in 1980.

“If there is still any doubt that Lennon and McCartney are the greatest songwriters since Schubert, then … [the album The Beatles] … should surely see the last vestiges of cultural snobbery and bourgeois prejudice swept away in a deluge of joyful music making…”

Tony Palmer, in The Observer

WA sits at #10 on the Rolling Stones top 500 albums of all time. (Rubber Soul sits in #5, Revolver #3, and Sgt. Peppers claims the #1 spot.)

Side one
# Title Lead vocals 
1. Back in the U.S.S.R. McCartney 2:43
2. Dear Prudence Lennon 3:56
3. Glass Onion Lennon 2:17
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da McCartney 3:08
5. Wild Honey Pie McCartney 0:52
6. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill     Lennon 3:14
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps Harrison 4:45
8. Happiness Is a Warm Gun Lennon 2:43
Side two
Title Lead vocals
1. Martha My Dear McCartney 2:28
2. I’m So Tired Lennon 2:03
3. Blackbird McCartney 2:18
4. Piggies” (Harrison) Harrison 2:04
5. Rocky Raccoon McCartney 3:33
6. Don’t Pass Me By  (Richard Starkey) Starr 3:51
7. Why Don’t We Do It in the Road? McCartney 1:41
8. I Will McCartney 1:46
9. Julia Lennon 2:54
Side three
Title Lead vocals
1. Birthday McCartney/Lennon 2:42
2. Yer Blues Lennon 4:01
3. Mother Nature’s Son McCartney 2:48
4. Everybody’s Got Something to
Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Lennon 2:24
5. Sexy Sadie Lennon 3:15
6. Helter Skelter McCartney 4:29
7. Long, Long, Long (Harrison) Harrison 3:04
Side four
Title Lead vocals
1. Revolution 1 Lennon 4:15
2. Honey Pie McCartney 2:41
3. Savoy Truffle (George Harrison)   Harrison 2:54
4. Cry Baby Cry Lennon/McCartney 3:02
5. Revolution 9 Speaking – Lennon,
Harrison & Yoko Ono
6. Good Night Starr 3:11

Rock and Roll Saturday – The Beatles

I know there was a lot of Rock and Roll grooving America a long time before the Beatles came along. Between Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, Elvis and Buddy Holly, the generation of rock was already well on its way. And then came the “British invasion.”

I was not even ten years old when the first Beatles hit topped the charts. Their song, Love Me Do, released in 1962, officially launched the musical phenomenon known as The Beatles.

Although theirs was a relatively short run, 1960 to their well-publicized breakup in 1970, no other group in the history of rock had a bigger influence on the direction of music in the sixties. An argument could be made that The Beatles influence went past the music and drove many of the social shifts in thought, dress, relationships and politics of the sixties.

No other group in the history of rock and roll evolved their music along different styles to the extent of these guys. From pop ballads and folk rock to psychedelic and even classical arrangements, they captured the ear of a generation.

Producer George Martin worked with the boys in the early years to blend their raw talent into successful studio recordings. By the time The Beatles White Album was ready for production, Martin was in great demand elsewhere and the Beatles took total production responsibility for that effort. It’s safe to say they were successful.

My first exposure to Beatlemania was the Revolver album which included a couple of my favorite Beatle songs, Eleanor Rigby and Taxman. I think this is also when the Fab Four began their morph into the psychedelic sounds evident on Yellow Submarine.

After Revolver came some of the most successful studio albums of all time.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles (White Album)
Yellow Submarine
Abbey Road
Let It Be (Their last studio album)

The history of this pop/rock phenomenon is extensive and readily accessible with a few mouse clicks and outside the scope of what I wanted to present here. I will leave you with a few bits of Beatle trivia — Little known facts about the boys from Liverpool.

    • In 1962 a contest was held by the Mersyside Newspaper to see who was the most popular band in Liverpool. The Beatles won the contest by calling in and posing as different people voting for themselves.
    • The Beatles got their name from a line in the movie “The Wild Ones”. Lee Marvin’s character had a line in the movie where he referred to the women in the gang as “beetles.” The Beatles changed the ‘ee’ to ‘ea’ so it was like the musical term ‘beat’.
    • “Hey Jude” is the Beatles’ most commercially successful single.
    • In 1962 the Beatles made the group’s TV debut performing Roy Orbison’s “Dream Baby” on the BBC show “Teenager’s Turn.”
    • In 1972, “Let It Be” was the first Beatles’ song to be released in the Soviet Union.
    • Paul McCartney got the idea for the song Lovely Rita, (Meter Maid) after getting a parking ticket from a female warden while illegally parked at Abbey Road.
    • The song “Yesterday” was originally offered by Paul to the artist Chris Farlowe however, he was not interested in recording it stating it was too soft for his tastes.
    • Most know that Paul McCartney is left handed which is apparent when he is seen holding his Hoffner bass left handed. Interestingly enough, Ringo is also left handed which may be cause for his “original” drumming style.
    • John Lennon wrote the Beatles song “Dear Prudence” when Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, wouldn’t “come out and play” with Mia and the Beatles at a religious retreat in India.
    • For the “Yellow Submarine” movie, actors were used to voice the Beatles’ lines.

Source: http://www.squidoo.com/beatlestrivia