More Beatle talk (DBO)

by Kermit @, Raleigh, NC, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 13:13 (2204 days ago) @ Funkmon
edited by Kermit, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 13:30

I thought of the Beatles for example as a band that got better and better. Now I think the peak of their powers were right around Rubber Soul and Revolver. After that they became more fragmented, less focused, more experimental, and less consistent. They did amazing stuff like Sgt. Pepper, but it actually sounds more dated.

That's wicked smart, Kermit. I've always wondered why that was but I never could put a finger on it.

When I would talk to my dad about them, he always told me I was lame for preferring a lot of the earlier stuff. I consider Help! to be their best album, but I think you're right. Have you heard Let It Be...Naked? It's actually an improvement on Let It Be IMO, but it also sounds like they're trying to get back to the Rubber Soul Beatles, but they've just gone too far and can't get that back.

Anyway, my dad, growing and maturing with the Beatles, was able to appreciate their experiments and increasing complexities as a teenager, as he was increasing in complexity. Those really resonate with him because of how the band evolved with him.

For me, as a person who had the entire catalogue available at once, I know what I liked and what I didn't like as much, and I heard it all out of context. It's kept me from perhaps liking John Lennon, but it has allowed me to really really enjoy Paul McCartney, and just about everything he has ever done.

They were indeed trying to get back to something during the “Let It Be” sessions. The album was originally going to be called “Get Back.” Yes, I’ve got the “naked” version. The band was kaput, Phil Spector got ahold of it, and his production has always been controversial.

Here’s how I got into the Beatles. In the early 70s, Yellow Submarine was the movie of the week on TV. I saw it, and began seeking out “Eleanor Rigby,” without knowing its name. I bought the Yellow Submarine ST, which, like most of their soundtracks in America (more on that later), had one side of Beatles and one side of George Martin orchestration. No Eleanor Rigby. For Christmas that year I got the red and blue anthology albums, so like you, I was exposed to most of the catalog at once. I also recorded (on 8-track no less!) a 12-hour BBC production called The Beatles Story off the radio. That gave me a lot of context. For my birthday a month later, I got Sgt. Pepper. These were the first four albums I owned.

As a preteen I adored McCartney. Wings was actually topping the charts at that time. There was this older teen stoner dude in the neighborhood who would drop nuggets of wisdom on us kids now and then, he and I got into a debate over Lennon vs. McCartney.

“Paul’s obviously the most talented,” I said.

“Talent isn’t everything,” he said.

By my mid-teens I’d gone through my Lennon appreciation phase and understood what the stoner dude meant. I think John & Yoko did some wacky things, but I’ve always admired his integrity and felt like he came to his positions honestly. I never sensed he did anything to try to please anyone (in contrast to Paul), and I don’t think he ever stopped thinking, which is saying something for a celebrity. (Imagine presents a straightforward Utopian fantasy; Revolution, on the other hand, is a pretty scathing classical liberal response to some of the excesses of the political movements on his side.) He had an amazing self-awareness—he didn’t run from his demons. Listen to “Jealous Guy”—it’s quite a song. By the time some asshole shot him, I was a big fan. (Boy, was that a weird week to work in a record store.)

Anyway “Help” is indeed a fantastic album. I assume you’re talking about the British version. Because I was first exposed to the American version with side 2 being instrumentals, I have trouble judging it the same way. Nevertheless, there was a time after being exposed to the British version when I considered it my favorite, too. The last 20 years or so I bounce back and forth between Rubber Soul and Revolver.

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