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The Beatles - 1967-1970 CD (album) cover

1967-1970

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.69 | 84 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
3 stars So let's say that you're a young, 21st century kind of person and a dedicated prog lover. To you The Beatles are so ancient that they might as well be named Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Haydn but you can't help but acknowledge and recognize their enormous and obvious contributions to modern progressive rock music. Yet not all their stuff thrills you (especially their early recordings) and you have neither the funds nor the inclination to invest a fortune in collecting all their albums. If that's the case then this particular gathering of tunes is within most budgets and has more of their proto-prog songs than any other on the market. It's far from perfect but it'll do in a pinch.

Probably no one was as upset and distraught over the demise of the Fab Four than their record companies in the USA and Britain. Since '63 this group had been a constant cash cow for them and now that golden steer was as dead as chivalry. So they did what came naturally to them. Repackage, repackage, repackage. And "The Beatles 1967-1970" was the second half of a pricey, double-LP greatest hits conglomeration that hit the record racks in 1973.

The progressive angle is well represented here with no less than 12 numbers fitting comfortably in that category. "Strawberry Fields Forever" was one of the first songs to feature the versatile, ground- breaking sound of the Mellotron and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" helped bring psychedelia into the mainstream. The phenomenal "A Day in the Life" remains amazingly prog to this day (although they cut the beautiful, long piano fadeout down considerably here) and "I Am the Walrus" is still a wild trip to wrap your head around. "The Fool on the Hill" with its swirling recorders and the intriguing tempo variations of "Magical Mystery Tour" make them both a treat to hear. "Hey Jude" broke all the then- standard radio format molds with its over-seven-minute length and Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" creates a captivating, mesmerizing atmosphere with its eerie background vocals and crying guitar licks. "Don't Let Me Down" is a great example of how they boldly veered away from the norm in terms of musical arrangements and "Here Comes the Sun" has that delightfully tricky time signature that made it stand out from the herd. "Come Together" displays Lennon's amazing ability to manipulate words into abstract images and "Across the Universe" is so dreamlike that it defies description.

Good ol' sixties-style rock & roll is included with classics like "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Lady Madonna," "Revolution," "Back in the USSR," "Get Back," "The Ballad of John & Yoko" and "Old Brown Shoe." Of course, the pop side of the band shows up in the form of "Penny Lane," "With a Little Help from my Friends," "All You Need is Love," Hello Goodbye," "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La- Da," "Something," "Octopus's Garden," "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road."

Okay, so it's far from being an ideal medley. If I was asked to compile my own 28-tune "Prog Side of The Beatles" album it would kick the living daylights out of this assemblage but I think you and I both know that ain't gonna happen so this will have to do. If anything, the twelve cuts I highlighted certainly show how John, Paul, George & Ringo changed the world and corresponding industry of music and flung open the doors to hundreds of realms where progressive-thinking, creative sorts could wander freely and let their imaginations flourish and thrive. Arguably, prog rock was an inevitable musical evolution just waiting to happen but because of The Beatles it most likely came into being at least five years before it otherwise would have. Any progger worth his or her salt should have at least the dozen amazing songs included here as part of their music library.

Chicapah | 3/5 |

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