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The Beatles - Please Please Me CD (album) cover


The Beatles



3.05 | 460 ratings

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2 stars Today it isn't quite evident why The Beatles sound was so inovative and revolutionary. To fully acknowledge that, one has to look back at what was produced in the US and UK at late 50s and early 60s. By that time, rock and roll was most of the time blues-based, danceable songs, with touches of country music.

With the Beatles, it all changed. Not only in the looks or the atitude, not to mention the numbers (popularity, concerts attendance, sales, contracts). The sound changed as well.

This is not to say that the Beatles were the only band to do the kind of sound you find in this album. The characteristic early Beatles records accounted for a music know as "merseybeat" or "merseyside" (reference to the Mersey River that crosses Liverpool). It was an absolutely original and unique sound that mixed early rock and roll, rythm and blues, soul music, doo wop and skiffle. Liverpool benefited from its port status, so new sounds from across the Atlantic landed there earlier. Combined with the monopoly and strict control BBC exerted over the radio waves, Liverpool became some kind of a green house where this new sound developed quietly. It's therefore not surprising, either, that record companies were reluctant to invest in this new kind of sound. When The Beatles, rejected from Decca, signed up with EMI, the merseybeat finally reached the public ears, and rapidly fell in their taste.

The originality of merseybeat becomes even more evident when you compare The Beatles' records to the bands outside Liverpool - like the Rolling Stones - whose sound still relied strongly (and actually almost solely, in my opinion) in rythm and blues. This is to demonstrate how absolutely new this sound was, and why The Beatles were revolutionary from the very start.

Please Please Me is the sum up this early Beatles sound. Though not that appealing today, and pale in comparison to the band's ever-growing achivements in the following albums and years, it has this historical importance. This is not to say that it doesn't have its charm, as well. There are the lovely cover ballads "Anna" and "Baby It's You", both sung by John, the rockers "I Saw Her Standing There" (Paul's lead-singing) and "Please Please Me", this last one a kind of sinthesis of early merseybeat Beatles' sound. Plus, obviously, the screamed "Twist and Shout", a live favorite up until The Beatles quit touring and still a very well-known and appreciated song among both fans and occasional listeners (not quite to my taste, though, to be honest).

If only for its historical importance to rock and roll, it would certainly deserve a 4-star rating. It's not historically important to prog, though, and really not a must among non-Beatles fans. Therefore, 2 stars is a fair rating considering the context of this website.

bfmuller | 2/5 |


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