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THE BEATLES

Proto-Prog • United Kingdom


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The Beatles picture
The Beatles biography
Founded in Liverpool, UK in 1958 (initially as a trio) - Starr joined in 1962 - Disbanded in 1970

It goes without saying that the Beatles were one of the most important, influential and progressive bands in the history of rock and pop music. There are many places on the Internet where a full biography may be found, and their history has been covered so many times that here we consider only their place as a progressive band.

The music of the Beatles was notable mainly for the songwriting partnership of Lennon/McCartney, which bucked the trend of bands going to songwriting houses for their material and helped to convince other bands to write their own songs. On their earliest albums, it was the quality of the Lennon/McCartney songs that stands out from the covers that were also included.

The other aspect of the Beatles music that remained a constant throughout their carreer as a band is the wide range of influences and styles that they assimilated into their own. Their hunger for experimentation in style and sound was to last and expand right up to their swansong album, "Abbey Road".

A frequent speculation is that it was the Beatles who finally swayed Bob Dylan in 1964/5 to use electric instruments, and in so doing brought about the fusion of folk and rock that would lead to the development of psychedelia, via the Byrd's "Eight Miles High" and the San Francisco music scene, "Swinging London" and other movements. In fact, many other factors led to the rise of those cultures, but the importance of the Beatles' music should not be overlooked.

The influences were mutual; The Beatles and the Byrds particularly not only exchanged a number of ideas, but also met several times - including one notable occasion which included Bob Dylan and Peter Fonda that resulted in the song "She said, she said" ("Revolver"). It was Roger McGuinn of the Byrds who turned George Harrison onto the sound of the sitar and led George to have lessons from Ravi Shankar.

Harrison also adapted the riff from The Byrds' "Bells of Rhymney" to write the song "If I Needed Someone", dedicating the song to Roger McGuinn who wrote it, and used the sitar in "Norwegian Wood", both songs appearing on the "Rubber Soul" album, an album that contains so many song writing styles that it can be difficult to believe that it's all the same band. "The Word" particularly seems to herald the off-beat musical and rhythmic style that would be prevalent in psychedelia, and...
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THE BEATLES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE BEATLES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.05 | 474 ratings
Please Please Me
1963
2.89 | 443 ratings
With the Beatles
1963
3.51 | 521 ratings
A Hard Day's Night
1964
2.79 | 448 ratings
Beatles for Sale
1964
3.44 | 535 ratings
Help!
1965
3.95 | 775 ratings
Rubber Soul
1965
4.39 | 987 ratings
Revolver
1966
4.35 | 1112 ratings
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1967
4.17 | 793 ratings
Magical Mystery Tour
1967
4.18 | 876 ratings
The Beatles [Aka: The White Album]
1968
2.53 | 428 ratings
Yellow Submarine
1969
4.49 | 1069 ratings
Abbey Road
1969
3.31 | 610 ratings
Let It Be
1970
3.47 | 222 ratings
Let It Be - Naked
2003

THE BEATLES Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.85 | 42 ratings
The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
1977
1.84 | 23 ratings
The Beatles Live! at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962
1977
3.25 | 66 ratings
Live at the BBC
1994
2.11 | 9 ratings
Last Night In Hamburg
1999
3.71 | 16 ratings
On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2
2013

THE BEATLES Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.88 | 61 ratings
A Hard Day's Night
1964
3.51 | 51 ratings
Help!
1965
3.15 | 8 ratings
The Beatles At The Shea Stadium
1966
3.85 | 80 ratings
Yellow Submarine
1968
3.96 | 40 ratings
Let It Be
1970
3.38 | 41 ratings
Magical Mystery Tour
1978
5.00 | 2 ratings
Ready Steady Go! The Beatles Live
1985
4.45 | 11 ratings
The First U.S Visit
1991
5.00 | 3 ratings
Video Collection
2003
4.09 | 4 ratings
A Long And Winding Road
2003
4.50 | 2 ratings
In Washington D.C, Feb. 11th, 1964
2003
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles With Tony Sheridan - The Beginnings In Hamburg
2004
5.00 | 1 ratings
Destination Hamburg
2007
5.00 | 2 ratings
Turn Left At Greenland
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
In Performance
2008
5.00 | 1 ratings
Yesterday
2008
2.00 | 7 ratings
The Beatles At The Budokan
2008

THE BEATLES Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.77 | 13 ratings
Introducing The Beatles
1963
2.37 | 31 ratings
Meet the Beatles
1964
2.29 | 20 ratings
Something New
1964
1.53 | 15 ratings
The Beatles' Story
1964
3.86 | 21 ratings
Beatles '65
1964
2.79 | 25 ratings
The Beatles' Second Album
1964
2.37 | 41 ratings
A Hard Day's Night (US version)
1964
2.15 | 7 ratings
The Beatles' First
1964
2.82 | 40 ratings
Rubber Soul (US)
1965
2.44 | 38 ratings
Help (US version)
1965
3.13 | 13 ratings
The Early Beatles
1965
3.78 | 18 ratings
Beatles VI
1965
3.39 | 29 ratings
Yesterday and Today
1966
2.44 | 12 ratings
A Collection of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!)
1966
3.48 | 31 ratings
Revolver (US)
1966
3.64 | 53 ratings
Hey Jude
1970
3.35 | 109 ratings
1962-1966
1973
3.84 | 122 ratings
1967-1970
1973
3.24 | 20 ratings
Rock 'n' Roll Music
1976
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Tapes (From The David Wigg Interviews)
1976
4.00 | 22 ratings
Love Songs
1977
4.17 | 12 ratings
Rarities
1978
4.88 | 8 ratings
The Beatles Album Collections
1978
3.17 | 5 ratings
The Beatles Ballads
1980
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Beatles Box
1980
2.50 | 7 ratings
Rarities (US version)
1980
5.00 | 6 ratings
E.P. Collections
1981
5.00 | 2 ratings
Hear The Beatles Tell All
1981
5.00 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Talk Downunder (1964)
1982
5.00 | 6 ratings
The Beatles Singles Collections
1982
2.25 | 5 ratings
The Complete Silver Beatles
1982
5.00 | 1 ratings
First Movement
1982
3.25 | 4 ratings
Reel Music
1982
2.86 | 9 ratings
20 Greatest Hits
1982
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Mono Collection
1982
5.00 | 6 ratings
The Collection
1982
5.00 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Original Mono-Record Box
1986
4.33 | 3 ratings
The Beatles On Compact Disc - Help / Rubber Soul / Revolver
1987
2.17 | 10 ratings
The Early Tapes of The Beatles
1987
3.48 | 82 ratings
Past Masters Volume 1
1988
4.03 | 85 ratings
Past Masters Volume 2
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Conversation Disc Series
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Talk Downunder Vol. II
1990
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Silver Beatles - Original Decca Tapes and Cavern Club Rehearsals 1962
1991
2.91 | 77 ratings
Anthology 1
1995
3.90 | 82 ratings
Anthology 2
1996
3.68 | 79 ratings
Anthology 3
1996
5.00 | 1 ratings
Words Of Love
1998
3.20 | 45 ratings
Yellow Submarine Songtrack
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
Magical And Mystical Words
1999
5.00 | 1 ratings
Things We Said Today
2000
3.97 | 97 ratings
The Beatles '1'
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Big Beat Box
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Beatles With Tony Sheridan - Beatles Bop: Hamburg Days
2001
4.36 | 11 ratings
Capitol Albums Vol 1
2004
4.45 | 11 ratings
Capitol Albums Vol 2
2006
2.98 | 86 ratings
Love
2006
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Beatles - 1967-69 - Acoustic Submarine
2006
4.88 | 42 ratings
The Beatles In Mono Box Set
2009
4.65 | 69 ratings
The Beatles Stereo Box Set
2009
4.64 | 50 ratings
Past Masters (Remastered)
2009
4.43 | 35 ratings
The Beatles 1962-1970
2010
3.75 | 4 ratings
Anthology Highlights
2011
2.53 | 6 ratings
Tomorrow Never Knows
2012
5.00 | 1 ratings
Bootleg Recordings 1963
2013
4.50 | 4 ratings
The U.S. Albums
2014
5.00 | 1 ratings
Meet the Beatles! [also known as: The Japan Box]
2014
4.67 | 9 ratings
1+
2015

THE BEATLES Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.63 | 12 ratings
My Bonnie
1961
3.07 | 21 ratings
Love Me Do
1962
2.84 | 16 ratings
Please Please Me
1963
2.76 | 16 ratings
From Me To You
1963
3.45 | 21 ratings
She Loves You
1963
3.19 | 17 ratings
I Want To Hold Your Hand
1963
2.80 | 5 ratings
The Beatles Christmas Record
1963
3.80 | 15 ratings
Twist And Shout
1963
3.33 | 6 ratings
The Beatles Hits
1963
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Beatles No. 1
1963
3.05 | 12 ratings
All My Loving
1964
3.23 | 11 ratings
Long Tall Sally
1964
4.04 | 8 ratings
Extracts From The Film A Hard Day's Night
1964
4.00 | 4 ratings
Extracts From The Album A Hard Day's Night
1964
2.80 | 11 ratings
Beatles for Sale
1964
3.67 | 3 ratings
Souvenir of Their Visit to America
1964
3.67 | 3 ratings
Four By The Beatles
1964
4.00 | 1 ratings
Beatles for Sale No. 2
1964
3.81 | 16 ratings
Can't Buy Me Love
1964
3.92 | 18 ratings
A Hard Days Night
1964
3.81 | 16 ratings
I Feel Fine
1964
3.16 | 12 ratings
If I Fell
1964
2.67 | 3 ratings
Another Beatles Christmas Record
1964
4.18 | 17 ratings
Ticket To Ride
1965
4.11 | 18 ratings
Help !
1965
4.18 | 17 ratings
Day Tripper
1965
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Third Christmas Record
1965
3.33 | 3 ratings
4 By The Beatles
1965
3.75 | 4 ratings
Beatles For Sale No. 2
1965
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Million Sellers
1965
3.56 | 15 ratings
Yesterday
1966
4.31 | 16 ratings
Nowhere Man
1966
3.62 | 20 ratings
Paperback Writer
1966
3.85 | 28 ratings
Eleanor Rigby
1966
2.25 | 5 ratings
Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas
1966
4.76 | 40 ratings
Strawberry Fields Forever
1967
3.71 | 25 ratings
All You Need Is Love
1967
3.83 | 24 ratings
Hello Goodbye
1967
2.40 | 6 ratings
Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
1967
4.08 | 32 ratings
Magical Mystery Tour (UK Version)
1967
3.44 | 22 ratings
Lady Madonna
1968
4.27 | 37 ratings
Hey Jude
1968
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Sixth Christmas Record
1968
4.13 | 28 ratings
Get Back
1969
3.24 | 22 ratings
Ballad Of John And Yoko
1969
3.40 | 25 ratings
Something
1969
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record
1969
3.37 | 19 ratings
Let It Be
1970
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Christmas Album
1970
3.50 | 2 ratings
From Then To You
1970
3.82 | 13 ratings
Yesterday
1976
4.00 | 14 ratings
Back In The U.S.S.R.
1976
3.75 | 8 ratings
Twist And Shout
1977
4.02 | 23 ratings
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends
1978
4.00 | 5 ratings
Movie Medley
1982
3.13 | 8 ratings
Love Me Do
1982
3.83 | 6 ratings
Baby It's You
1995
4.05 | 18 ratings
Free As A Bird
1995
4.06 | 13 ratings
Real Love
1996
4.13 | 8 ratings
Yellow Submarine Songtrack Sampler
1999
4.63 | 8 ratings
Within You Without You / Tomorrow Never Knows (promo)
2006
3.17 | 6 ratings
Love (promo)
2006
3.75 | 4 ratings
Help! (7 Song Radio Sampler)
2007
1.00 | 2 ratings
Spooky Songs
2020

THE BEATLES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.35 | 1112 ratings

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by prog_traveller!!

4 stars When they started working on their eighth album, "Sergeant Pepper", they were already extremely popular. They then concluded that there was no point in further performing in front of a crowd of hysterically screaming teenagers. That is why they could record an album, the content of which did not have to be repeated later on stage. Such a concept album seemed unusual at the time. Indeed, an unbelievable work has been created! Although exactly 54 years has passed since its premiere, it is still widely regarded as the best album in the entire history of rock music, which surpassed all artistic and formal barriers that existed at that time. For its implementation, the label gave The Beatles unlimited time in the Abbey Road studio, and the latest technological wonder, four-track Studer tape recorders. For them, however, four tracks were just a drop in the ocean of needs, so when they filled them, they threw the recorded material onto a second tape recorder and added further ideas.

The whole material was worked on for a very long time, the recordings lasted less than half a year and were completed on April 21, 1967.

This effort was not in vain, because "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" turned out to be another inspired and inspiring work of the legendary four. First of all, it was one of the first concept albums. The whole concept came from Paul McCartney, who suggested releasing an album filled with music played by a fictional group of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Orchestra. It was related to the different image of the group and the complete stylistic separation from the first achievements. The guys were constantly looking for new means of expression (not only musical), and the rest of Paul's idea seemed interesting enough to be put into practice.

Longplay continues the psychedelic direction taken on "Revolver" and partly on "Rubber Soul" (although it's definitely not worth closing this material within one genre). This is evidenced by both the text and music content, as well as various hidden flavors. This release is a testimony to unfettered imagination, both in terms of arrangement, composition and production (once again, the invaluable help of George Martin). Even though the lyrics are not too interconnected according to the concept of the album, we are dealing with a fully conscious work. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison were at the peak of their creativity at that time, and this CD is a testimony to this statement.

First of all, the very concept with the fictional Sergeant Pepper Orchestra is fascinating, which manifests itself in an intriguing envelope, not only musical, but also graphic (both constitute one whole). It is about all the gadgets associated with this album or an amazing, very colorful and colorful cover, again according to Paul's idea. You can see the title orchestra appearing in the surroundings of its audience. Of course, the roles of musicians were played by the Beatles, wearing specific costumes and holding wind instruments, and the audience consisted mainly of famous characters. The designs of these characters appear to be drawn, but a different trick was used - photos of individuals were enlarged to their natural size and then glued onto a stiff cardboard (to avoid legal problems, a request was sent to living people to lend their image).

The photo session was organized in the studio of the photographer, Michael Cooper. It took place on March 30, 1967, after two weeks of preparation. This project draws attention to a large number of details, so in order to catch many of them it is worth getting a vinyl edition. Among the audience of the orchestra, there are personalities such as Marilyn Monroe, Bob Dylan, Oscar Wilde, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis and Albert Einstein. There are also images of the Beatles in a younger edition (which was probably supposed to show how much of a road they went in a few years). Initially, it was planned to take into account the presence of Jesus or Adolf Hitler, but it was concluded that their presence in the photo would be too controversial and could cause disgust in some listeners. The title of the work was inscribed on the drum in front of the line-up, and the name of the band, filling the bottom part of the cover, was arranged in an ingenious way out of colorful flowers and green leaves. Many people call this cover the best band ever, and it's hardly surprising. In the context of the release, one of the interesting innovations was the printing of all the texts on the back cover.

It starts with the eponymous "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band". As the name suggests, this is a text preview of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Orchestra's performance. You can hear the richness of the sound right away, which still sounds quite good and not so archaic today. The track itself was largely based on the hard work of the guitars (sometimes interrupted by brass section inputs). As a result, Jimi Hendrix himself appreciated this number and sometimes started his concerts with it. In turn, the calmer "With a Little Help from My Friends" is a very cute song with a hit melody, great (yes!) Ringo's singing and thoughtful input of vocal harmonies. This is the only case of a piece sung by Starr, which is not only not the weakest in the set, but even the best. It fits perfectly with the carefree pieces he performs, but does not fall into banality or trash.

Although when it comes to catchy melodies, it is unrivaled in this respect, inspired by the preschool painting by Lennon's son Julian, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", with an instantly memorable chorus. It is one of the most psychedelic and hypnotic compositions on the longplay, with mixed time signatures (3/4 for the verse and 4/4 for the chorus) and a polished arrangement of deeply processed guitar and organ sounds. Interestingly, the first letters of the nouns in the title form the abbreviation LSD, but musicians have always admitted that they did not notice it at the time of writing, and the theory that "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" had a textual reference to the abbreviated drug was invented by fans. In such an environment, "Getting Better" sung by the McCartney-Lennon duo makes for a filler, although you can boast of a pretty good bass line from Paul. Interestingly, both in this and the previous recording, George plays the tambourine. "Fixing a Hole" doesn't bring much improvement either and belongs (despite the sonic splendor) to the least distinctive moments on the album. Both tracks are closest to the average, which makes them slightly different from the rest.

As Paul wrote the weaker "Getting Better" and "Fixing a Hole", then he rehabilitates himself with another composition. "She's Leaving Home" is instrumentally easy to associate with the older "Eleanor Rigby", as only a string quartet and a harp can be heard from among the instruments (thanks to which a woman played for the first time in The Beatles recording). And although the older piece was much more interesting, "She's Leaving Home", flowing at a lazy pace and with an interesting vocal part (accompanied only by Lennon in the chorus), can be classified as successful. In turn, "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" it is irresistibly associated with the background for a circus performance (and was indeed inspired by a poster of a circus show). It is worth emphasizing the work of the organ, because we are dealing not with an ordinary batch, but with an exquisite plywood made by George Martin. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" it may be pleasing in terms of composition, but it is the producer's work that makes the hands applaud by themselves.

Despite all the advantages of the vinyl A side, the beginning of the second side looks more interesting, that is Harrison's only composition - "Within You Without You", another one in the spirit of Indian music. The guitarist was inspired by the aforementioned stay in India with Ravi Shankar. Apart from the author, no other member of the band played on it. In return, we get the collaboration of George (playing the sitar and tambour and responsible for the vocal part) with Indian musicians (without Shankar) and people playing the strings. Harrison and Martin have worked hard to get the producer's string arrangement in sync with the rest. The effect was really amazing. Using exotic (mostly) instruments, the musicians create a very soothing and extremely pleasant atmosphere, which is a kind of musical meditation. This work contrasts in an interesting way with the next one, associated with pre-war music of the 20s or 30s, "When I'm Sixty Four", dedicated to Paul McCartney's father. The author reportedly finished writing on his father's 64th birthday, hence the meaningful title.

Compared to many of the suggestions here, I find little interesting in the already quite good "Lovely Rita". Probably the most prominent aspect of it is the vocal layer that can catch the listener's attention. Crazy "Good Morning Good Morning" is an arrangement miracle. It lasts less than 3 minutes, and a lot is happening in it. The sound engineers decided to have fun playing animal sounds (obvious inspiration from "Pet Sounds", especially the final "Caroline, No") or mixing the sounds of guitars and wind instruments. In the middle there is a really good, though unfortunately short guitar solo by McCartney - one of the most interesting points of the song. A lot of energy was also found in the reprise of the title recording, with heavy, hard rock guitar sound. This is the shortest piece in the set, lasting about 80 seconds (and the simplest in terms of arrangement), but adding a lot of consistency to the whole. The sounds of the audience reappear, inaudible for a long time (does that mean that the audience is listening to the performance with full concentration?).

The final "A Day in the Life" deserves a special mention. It was created by combining two different compositions by Lennon and McCartney. The beginning is a melancholic ballad inspired by the headline of a car crash with the emotional vocals of the first one. After this fragment, you can hear the orchestral playing, followed by a shorter, more cheerful part of Paul. Immediately after that, we return to the part of John, kept in the same convention as before. After the vocal lines are over, the orchestra begins to play again in an increasingly intense way, and the last piano chord sums it all up perfectly. When, after a few seconds of silencing, we think it's over, we get several dozen seconds of strange, looped noises.

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" testifies to the evolution of the music and image of the Beatles. In some respects, it is an exceptional and unique work, but unfortunately not outstanding or without defects. The pampered and unusual arrangements do not hide the fact that in terms of composition, the album is weaker than the previous "Revolver". It certainly doesn't have so many great melodies, but many of its moments definitely stand out as a plus (with "A Day in the Life" and "Within You Without You" at the fore). Besides, this release - along with "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" - at one time clearly showed how much production and sound mean when it comes to recording albums. The breakthrough it has made in the music industry cannot go unnoticed and underestimated, so even if someone (like me) does not consider "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" a masterpiece, this album deserves respect.

 Get Back by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1969
4.13 | 28 ratings

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Get Back
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Paul McCartney wrote and The Beatles recorded 'Get Back' in January 1969. It was released as a single in April 1969, and another version of the song appeared on Let It Be (1970). The single was a No. 1 hit and sold over two million copies. 'Get Back' is a simple, back-to-basics rock'n'roll song, slightly similar to 'Lady Madonna' (1968) which had marked a stop to the band's more experimental psychedelic phase. Although John Lennon later described 'Get Back' as a better version of 'Lady Madonna', I find the earlier song more charming. Ringo's drumming rarely gets as central, but overall 'Get Back' is rather half-baked as a composition.

Paul's original lyrics were a parody of the anti-immigrant views of Enoch Powell, a member of parliament, whose racist speeches had recently gained media attention. Because the song would have been too easy to misinterpret as racist, Paul re-wrote all the lyrics apart from the chorus. Now the song deals with two persons from Tucson, Arizona, and the story is not developed further.

On the B side there's a non-album John Lennon song 'Don't Let Me Down', which I unpredictably like a lot, for all its bluesy and soulful rawness. John notoriously was afraid of being emotionally hurt and let down by the loved ones (think of his earlier songs such as 'Help' and 'If I Fell'). Naturally Yoko Ono was the muse for this passionate and lyrically very bare song, which also has a certain humorous or ironic feel to it, especially on John's vocal expression ("ooh she done me / she done me good"). Billy Preston's keyboards were an essential part of the song's delicious groove.

The prog aspect completely taken aside from the rating, I think this is among the most interesting singles by The Beatles in their later years (despite 'Get Back' being a bit too monotonous), and my four stars are also in line with given ratings here.

 Magical Mystery Tour by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.17 | 793 ratings

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Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by A Crimson Mellotron

5 stars A masterclass in tight songwriting and presentation of concise psychedelic tunes with fantastic pop hooks; beautiful production that brings to front an atmosphere that is unmistakable; intelligent use of effects and a forward-thinking approach to exploring new grounds; daringly experimental in scope, and more than majestic upon experience - or put more briefly, 'Magical Mystery Tour' has to be The Beatles' unspoken and slightly underappreciated masterpiece.

It should not come as a surprise that this album might seem neglected sometimes, when discussing the best by the most famous pop band in the world, given the fact that it is preceded and followed by two absolutely legendary milestone albums - 'Sgt. Pepper' and the self-tilted ninth studio album.

'Magical Mystery Tour' is also the band's only soundtrack album, as some of the songs were featured on a 1967 film of the same name, which was more or less in the same vein as the album (or is it the other way around?) - very psychedelic and lighthearted. Interestingly, the album was released as a double EP in the UK and as an LP in the States, which gives ground for beliefs by some people that this cannot be considered a proper studio release. Also, it was supported by five singles that ideally makes up half of the record!

Different tags have been assigned to this record throughout the years, like art pop, psychedelic pop, psychedelic rock, even pop rock. Truth is, it really has a bit of everything, continuing the experimental and futuristic, I dare to call it, sound of the albums that came before it, like the aforementioned 'Sgt. Pepper' or the astonishing 'Revolver'. There is a great attention to detail, texture, and even vibrance; Moreover, the band explored new technologies and took the most out of the studio equipment that was at their disposal, using effects and tape loops to paint the songs with an extra coating, in a way.

I will refer to the LP track list when referring to the different songs, and starting with side one, we get the film soundtrack - six tracks and nineteen minutes in change, beginning with the march-like title track - it is a great track for an opener both of an album and a film, though it is far from being the best Beatles composition. 'The Fool on the Hill' is definitely one of the more accessible tunes by the band, with lead vocals by McCartney. Then we get the psychedelic instrumental 'Flying', the first really odd track on 'Magical Mystery Tour', also the first to be credited to all four members (it gets bonus points for the Mellotron). 'Blue Jay Way' can be simply described as one of the best George Harrison songs to appear on a Beatles recording; 'I Am the Walrus' is the final track on side one, and I would rather refer to it as a composition - a wacky ride through Lennon's mind, aided by his experience with LSD - just one of the all-time bests by The Beatles.

Moving on to side two we get the five singles for some eighteen minutes of playtime, about which can be safely stated that represent the pure genius of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo, depicting in sounds the full spectrum of their visionary abilities of giving birth to memorable, yet profound songs that leave the listener in a blissful awe.

'Magical Mystery Tour' is a true achievement for rock and pop music that for me indicates the consistent perfection in The Beatles' prolific creativity in this specific period of their history, between 1965 and 1968.

 Revolver by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
4.39 | 987 ratings

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Revolver
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

5 stars Having to review Revolver always made me a bit nervous - which is why it took me so long to get myself together. The reason is simple: Revolver is one of my all time favourite albums. I would normally try to be objective in my reviews, so the question is if I will be able to keep that objectivity here while still giving the album the praise I think it deserves. I don't know, but the following lines will hopefully answer that question.

The Beatles had shown steps towards more sophisticated and studio-oriented music ever since the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night", most prominently on the Rubber Soul album which contains more deep songs than those on their previous records. But Revolver is a giant leap away from the old Beatles sound. The album contains multiple sounds that are (were) only possible to create in a studio: backwards recording, varispeed recording, sound manipulation and tape loops - the inspiration obviously came from avant-garde and musique concrete. The band experimented with different musical styles that are not usually associated with pop or rock and roll, like classical and Indian music. Plus, many of the lyrics go way beyond the traditional love songs associated with pop. If you listen to the first album, Please Please Me, and then Revolver immediately afterwards, it doesn't even sound like the same band.

Revolver begins symbolically with a count in. The first Beatles album had begun in the same way, with Paul McCartney's energetic "one two three four!" introduction to "I Saw Her Standing There", as if to introduce the music of the Beatles for the first time. The first song on Revolver also begins with "one two three four". But it's a very weird count in this time. It doesn't create a pulse, like the one for "I Saw Her..." did. Instead it is held in a slow tempo that's completely unrelated to the actual song; Harrison's voice sounds kind of grumpy, and it is mixed with studio noise, making it clear that the Beatles's music is now all about studio production rather than live performances.

The song is "Taxman", the first opening track to be credited to Harrison, and his first really great contribution to the Beatles. If the count in sounded unfamiliar to the average Beatles listener at the time, then the actual song is no less unusual. It has an unusual rhythmic pattern - something they had already exercised in "Ticket to Ride" from Help!, and something they would take up later on this album in a rather spectacular fashion. Then there are the distorted guitar chords on the off-beats. They sound angry and agressive, but they also create a hypnotic intensity. Other magical moments include the close vocal harmonies, as well as the extra guitar from verse 3 that follows the bass. Also McCartney's guitar solo deserves a lot of praise.

"Taxman" is followed by one of the most heartbreaking songs I can think of. "Eleanor Rigby" is based on a dualty of on one side its sad mood and the sympathy for tragic human destinies ("All the lonely people, where do they all come from"), and on the other side the brutal depiction of the reality: "Father McKenzie wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave, no one was saved". This duality is perfectly expressed by the double string quartet with the long soft notes in the chorus versus the agressive staccato in the violins.

"I'm Only Sleeping" is the first in a series of introspective Lennon compositions about his journey into LSD and psychedelia. It's a rather strange song, with Lennons voice speeded up while the instruments are slowed down. It creates a strange atmosphere that is further stressed by the reversed lead guitar. But despite the introspection, he is still "Keeping an eye on the world going by my window". Harrison's "Love You To" [sic] is the first Beatles song to take Indian music seriously while still keeping a Western type of song structure. More songs would follow that pattern in the next coupe of years. "Here There and Everywhere" is a simple understated ballad written by McCartney, and one of his own favourites. There's a classicist feel to the melody.

"Yellow Submarine" is a song many seem to hate for its childishness. I don't understand it. Sure it's a children's song basically, but so what? Both the melody and the lyrics about the life of a submarine is very charming, and there's a lot of humour in it. Just take the cacophonic orgie of sound effects, and especially the distorted nonsense dialogue before the last verse. And everything is kept together by Ringo's down-to-earth singing. I love every bit of it.

Side 1 ends in a spectacular fashion with "She Said She Said" - another one of Lennon's LSD driven songs on the album. It was inspired by a dialogue he had had with Peter Fonda during one of his first acid trips, in which Fonda talked about a near-death experience ("I know what it's like to be dead"). The melody, like several others on the album, has an Indian touch which is further stressed by the hypnotic chords. Also the electric guitars add to the song's hypnotic feel. There's some excellent drumming too. Only the bass is underwhelming - it was played by Harrison because McCartney walked out of the sessions for this song for some reason - but the other instruments make it up for that. In some ways the song resembles the 90's britpop.

If "She Said She Said" is a dark song, then side 2 begins with the exact opposite. "Good Day Sunshine" is as uplifting and optimistic as can be, and the great thing is, the optimism is real; there is nothing fake or superficial about it. But even then there is also a bit of sadness lying underneath, perhaps best expressed in the deep piano drone that starts the track. The song has some amazing key changes, great vocal harmonies, a rather "spaced out" vocal fade-out, plus some excellent playing from everyone. It's a perfect opener for side 2. The next song, "And Your Bird Can Sing", is another stellar example of Harrison's lead guitar, but also the intense melody and chord changes deserve praise. Lennon, who wrote it, later dismissed it for what he considered nonsensical lyrics.

"For No One" is a slightly overlooked song, but it's another great example of McCartney's sense of melody. The sad mood of the lyrics is perfectly captured by the composition which seems to stress descending movements, especially in the bassline and melody in the verse. Even though the chorus is slightly more uplifting from a musical point of view, there's not much comfort to get there in the lyrics: "And in her eyes you see nothing, no sign of love behind her tears". The composition is quite classicist which is perfectly underlined by the piano-based production, whereas the horn solo is probably more baroque than classicist. "Dr. Robert" (about a doctor in New York who prescribed drugs for his patients for non-medical reasons) is probably the least appreciated song on Revolver, but it is a crucial part of the album as a whole (even though it was shamelessly taken out of the North American version of Revolver along with "I'm Only Sleeping" and "And Your Bird Can Sing" - the less said about the Capitol albums, the better). The song has some very intriguing chord changes that don't really make a clear tonic base. The chord structure also contradicts lyric lines such as "No one can succeed like Dr. Robert", suggesting that Lennon actually had a rather critical view on drug intake despite being soaked in LSD at the time.

"I Want to Tell You" kind of builds up to the last two songs. The best parts are probably the guitar riff and the "Indian" vocal harmonies in the outro. "Got to Get You Into My Life" deserves praise for its jazzy wind section, but for me the best part is actually the lead guitar just before the last chorus. And then, finally, the album ends with the most radical song "Tomorrow Never Knows" which is a tour de force in psychedelic effects and cutting edge studio production. Usually I like psychedelic music the best if it is based on avant-garde techniques, and the many tape loops and manipulated sounds used here are simply mindblowing. The avant-garde sounds are combined with (once again) an Indian influence, as can be heard in the drone (played with an Indian instrument whose name I don't remember) as well as in the Mixolydian melody. After "Ticket to Ride" and "Taxman", it's the third great example of what you can get out of an unusual drum pattern. The lyrical content about turning off your mind leaves me pretty scared, especially knowing in what state LSD left a lot of people. But one can not deny that the drug inspired a lot of great art.

Revolver is the first Beatles album with nothing but great songs on it, and even though the songs are not related to each other as such, they still add up to an artistic whole, making it a truely unified record. The album is also a good example of how far you can get with relatively short songs and traditional song structure. The sophisticated melodies and chord changes go way beyond the early Beatles style, as do the many experiments with different musical styles (classical European and Indian music, jazz, musique concrete etc.) as well as innovative studio recording. Judged on its purely musical merits, it is probably The Beatles' most accomplished work, and it remains a true masterpiece.

 Abbey Road by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.49 | 1069 ratings

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Abbey Road
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars According to the recording dates or so, "Abbey Road" released in September 1969 could be thought as the 'last' album by The BEATLES. Contrary to the very last album "Let It Be" set with lots of masterpieces, this album features less 'smash hits' than the following one but possibly the four talented musicians especially Paul would perfectly concentrate the overall production. Curiously it's said the producer Giant George MARTIN might have barely influenced nor touched the creation, but in "Abbey Road" George's "Inquiry spirits" and "Creativity" should live vivaciously. In addition, every single track has not only "originality" but also "homage" for the rock vanguards like Chuck BERRY or Buddy HOLLY.

Listen and we can find that the first track "Come Together" by John involves a massive homage for Chuck's "You Can't Catch Me" (later John covered and released in his album "Rock 'n' Roll"). Needless to say "Come Together" has also his innovative interpretation for Black Music and deeply heavy texture though. Such a powerful soundscape can be heard in the last track on SIde A "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" that is so simple in melody lines but at the same time possesses crazy heavy and challenging atmosphere. In Paul's "Oh! Darling" we can touch his heavy- metallic but delightful preference in those days, in the same vein of "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" in the White Album. No complication nor distortion is here. Sounds like he would have created, played and sung this song as he wanted to do. Speaking of 'as he wanted to do', Ringo's "Octopus Garden" is quirky catchy for this album but very enjoyable to feel plenty of sound effects and easygoing vibes. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is quite unique and sarcastic stuff, flooded with splatter bloody hellish but mysteriously cheerful hints.

"Something" and "Here Comes The Sun" by George HARRISON are splendid masterpieces. His deep religious vision or outlook is pretty intriguing. These stuffs are seasoned with such a meaningful flavour but produced to incredibly brilliant, acceptable gems. Makes sense George's "My Sweet Load" won the first prize on Billboard Hot 100 ahead of other Beatle guys. On the other hand "Because" by John reflects his world vision in a peaceful manner. His lyrics are not complex but definitely are thoughtful and energetic enough to ring our bells again and again.

The Side B created by the quartet and produced almost by Paul McCARTNEY is kinda magnificent rock opera itself. Regardless of such a bad group condition as we know well, they completed the excellent suite placed on the top of the rock mountain. "You Never Give Me Your Money" is very suitable to open the theatre curtain with a colourful melodic / rhythmic pattern. Wondering what Paul said with the words 'funny papers' not money but we could easily imagine he would have found no substantial The BEATLES' existence value like 'funny papers'. Sounds at least for me like that John's "Sun King" might take on the role to respect George's vision. Calm, religious, dramatic "Sun King", and stable, sincere but slightly weird "Mean Mr. Mustard" calling for rolling stones all over the world, and the following uptempo, attractive and cynical one "Polythene Pam" are John's massive intention and attitude for missing the beatle spirits, that were featured tragically by Paul.

On the contrary, from "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" until "The End ~ Her Majesty" Paul would tell the 'last' words which should be great fit for their epilogue. Guess Paul might sing his concerns about a mysterious beautiful lady who has stolen the spirit, on this track. Drenched with sad, lonesome flavour ... who knows if they would have a bright future or not. But he tried to dig something energetic and hopeful out in the next stage "Golden Slumber" with powerful voices. Sleeping tight but do not give up his dreams, he should have said via this stuff. "Carry That Weight" featuring the highlight of "You Never Give Me Your Money" is kind of an adrenaline rush just before the finale. Everybody might get optimistic at this moment. And "The End" sounds exaggerating, pessimistic, but dreamy, that must be suitable for the end. The 20 second silence is like their, and our 'empty life' but do not throw our rock spirits out. Because he left small messages for us to keep our mind eternally in "Her Majesty" a tiny short song.

Yes they give such an enthusiastic passage towards the fantastic future.

 Magical Mystery Tour by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.17 | 793 ratings

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Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lupton

5 stars "Roll up, roll up."

The Beatles follow up to the brilliant "Sgt Pepper" never seems to get the same level of praise.If anything it seems to be thought of the equivalent of the previous album's snotty little brother.Possibly the reason is that it was never conceived as an album as such and was basically cobbled together from the double EP of the same name plus a few non album singles.And let's face it - the cover is a bit tacky like one of those cheap budget records that used to clog the record racks.So unlike its illustrious predecessor- not exactly a work of art. The music itself is just wonderful.The opening title track is an exhilarating slice of Classic Prog-Pop."The Fool On The Hill" is also mesmerising with its massed recorder solo.The next instrumental track "Flying" is definitely Proto-Prog and unlike anything the band had produced before.The trippy "Blue Jay Way" is just full on drug fuelled Psychedelia."Your Mother Should Know" is pure McCartney Music Hall at his best. Lennon's classic "I Am The Walrus" surely quells any doubts as to the the Beatles' Prog credentials.Just the fact that among others it has been covered by Spooky Tooth and Zappa says a lot. It's one song I just never tire of hearing.It's bonkers but brilliant.

That's just the double EP. The additional tracks are all exceptionally strong. "Hello Goodbye" is not usually considered one of their best singles even though it was a massive hit but for me it is almost the most quintessential late 60's Beatles song they produced. The legendary double A side "Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane" is also included and both tracks are clearly highlights on the album.While I love both songs equally hats off to Lennon for the shear ambition melotron drenched "Strawberry Fields"

The final two tracks "Baby You're A Rich Man" and the rather repetitive singalong "All You Need Is Love" are probably less essential but I alway love the slightly harmonically off-kilter "Baby".

Overall this is an immensely lovable album and definitely worth the full 5 stars

 The Beatles [Aka: The White Album] by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1968
4.18 | 876 ratings

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The Beatles [Aka: The White Album]
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

4 stars The White Album by English pop/rock band The Beatles is the bands ninth studio release, coming out in November of 1968. This album is excellent, with lots of great songs, great production, great instrumentation, and great vocals and lyrics. Its definitely one of the better Beatles albums. However its hard to listen to this all at once, it is an hour and a half of course. Some of the songs are just bad and not even worth the listen. And since its the prog archives I do not think I can give it a rating higher than a 4 because I personally do not see the impact that this album had on progressive rock, especially compared to other releases by The Beatles. But its still a amazing album and a essential in any classic rock album collection.
 Rubber Soul by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1965
3.95 | 775 ratings

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Rubber Soul
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

5 stars Rubber Soul by British pop/rock band The Beatles, released in December 1965 as the bands sixth studio album. This is the first album by the band to start heading in the psychedelic direction, reaching its all time high in Sgt Peppers, with Revolver coming before that. Rubber Soul shows great instrumentation from everyone in the band, excellent production, and no bad songs what so ever. I consider this to be the most important album by the band for starting to go in that psychedelic direction. Its possible we would not have prog without this record in my opinion, and because of all those reasons I will give it a 5/5. Masterpiece, essential in any classic rock collection, and maybe any prog collection.
 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.35 | 1112 ratings

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Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

4 stars Sgt Peppers by The Beatles Released in 1967 as the bands eighth studio album. It was there second psychedelic record, and this one definitely had a bigger impact on the progressive rock scene to come, simply because it was more popular, and way more psychedelic. that being said I do not think this album is perfect. Some of the songs are bad and the production is not the best. But its still an essential in any classic rock collection. And a decent addition to a prog collection. I would only give it a 3/5 if it wasn't for the huge impact it made. So I will have to give it a 4/5.
 Revolver by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1966
4.39 | 987 ratings

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Revolver
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by Lieutenant_Lan

5 stars Revolver is the seventh studio album by The Beatles, which released in August of 1966, Revolver was the first album by The Beatles to have psychedelic songs and a wider variety of instruments, this will of course influence progressive rock bands in the future, the song Eleanor Rigby had classical influence which will also come to influence prog. So id say that this album is very important to the development of progressive rock because it really showed the potential of what rock could be. There is not a bad song on this album in my opinion and since I think its so important to the development of prog I will rate it a 5/5. An essential in any prog or classic rock collection.
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