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The Beatles


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5 stars Quite simply, very few singles measure up to this. In particular the elegant fusion of the surreal and melancholic on "Strawberry Fields Forever" never fails to strike a chord, and is the marginally better side than "Penny Lane", though of course the latter - being largely McCartney's work - was more obviously perky hit material, though given The Beatles' sonic experiments of a far superior quality to anything that had gone before. And to think it was kept from the top of the UK charts by Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me"... There's no accounting for taste, eh?

Were i to sit here in comfy chair, with wind in my hair, happiness to share, with water to soak my feet, with plenty to eat, a warm summer breeze, pen and paper in hand, never have to stand, my wish your command, fish tickling my toes, tissues for my nose, dragonflies on my shoulders, flowers sitting on boulders, lovely lovely day, puppies like to play, come what may through April and May, nothing to say, all is OK, no rent to pay, for many many days, for weeks and cheeks, months and lumps, years and beers, making a list of all of the A-s and B-s better than these...

I wouldn't write a word. A better one-two punch this world has never see.

Report this review (#201213)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever" is a single release by British pop/rock act The Beatles. The single was released through Parlophone Records (EMI) in February 1967. It´s a double A-side single release where the John Lennon penned S"trawberry Fields Forever" was paired with Paul McCartney`s "Penny Lane". While it is widely considered a classic pop/rock single from the 60s it was actually the first Beatles single not to reach number #1 in the UK charts since "Love Me Do (1962)". The technicality that the single had two A-sides meant that the BBC counted the single as two seperate singles and because of that Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me", which sold only half as many copies as the "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever" single, went number #1 and kept The Beatles on number #2. The single went number #1 in the US charts though.

When you wasn´t there it´s easy to forget how important singles were in the 60s, and how much time and effort were put into creating a single release like "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever". The experimental and psychadelic tinged "Strawberry Fields Forever" and the beautiful and melodic "Penny Lane" weren´t just leftover tracks from an album session, or a hit album song with a leftover B-side track (although "Strawberry Fields Forever" was written during the sessions for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)"). Both tracks could easily have been included on one of the band´s albums, but they were specifically chosen to appear together on this single release.

The two very different sounding tracks, which tell the intriguing story of late 60s Beatles (from experimental psychadelic rock act to softer melodic yet still adventurous pop/rock), compliment each other extremely well. Both track were later released on the US/Canada album version of the "Magical Mystery Tour (1967)" but until then they were exclusively available on this single. Bearing that in mind this is an essential release by The Beatles and one of their most memorable and accomplished releases. A 5 star (100%) rating is well deserved.

Report this review (#225639)
Posted Friday, July 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This Psychedelic single is maybe one of the most important singles in THE BEATLES's musical career, one of their best singles, and one of the most influential singles in the later development of Progressive Rock music, in my opinion.

Both songs of this single (which was released in February 1967) were recorded in late 1966, during the early recording sessions for their "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", which was released until June 1967. If their "Revolver" album from 1966 gave some indications about some changes in their music, which became more elaborated, this single also gave more indications for a new and more influential musical style from the band which was going to appear more in their "Sgt. Pepper's..." album. Both songs are "Nostalgical Psychedelic musical trips" to two places in Liverpool.

"Strawberry Fields Forever", composed by John Lennon, has a Mellotron part played by Paul McCartney, plus some use of backwards tapes and effects and an orchestral arrangement by Producer George Martin. As it is very known today, the song has two parts of two different recording takes put together in edition later by Martin, because Lennon liked a part from one take and another part from another take. This caused that the second part of the song has a bit of changes to Lennon's vocals, due to the slowing of the speed of the second part to match both parts because both parts had different tempos. This gave to the song an additional "psychedelic" effect. The song also has a "false ending" after which the "real ending" happens after a brief silence. The lyrics are not very clear to understand or to make some sense. Only the words " is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see..." could have some sense, at least for me.

"Penny Lane", composed by McCartney, is a more melodic Pop Rock song and it is also more accessible than "Strawberry Fields Forever", but also being very Psychedelic. I like this song a bit more than "Strawberry Fields Forever". It has a very good bass guitar part played by McCartney plus a very good orchestral arrangement (also done by Martin) which has some trumpet melodies apparently inspired by one of J.S. Bach's "Bradenburg Concertos" which McCartney watched to on TV one night (as he said in the "The Beatles Anthology" TV documentary in 1995). The lyrics are a description of some places and persons in Liverpool and make more sense than the lyrics of "Strawberry Fields Forever", in my opinion.

Having a very good Producer like George Martin really helped THE BEATLES's as a band to have more freedom to make experiments in the studio. His more formal musical knowledge and trainning also helped them to "translate" their musical ideas to very good orchestral arrangements.

One of the best and most influential singles of the Sixties.

Report this review (#1522304)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2016 | Review Permalink

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