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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 | 449 ratings
Please Please Me
1963
2.89 | 420 ratings
With the Beatles
1963
3.50 | 493 ratings
A Hard Day's Night
1964
2.77 | 422 ratings
Beatles for Sale
1964
3.43 | 506 ratings
Help!
1965
3.94 | 738 ratings
Rubber Soul
1965
4.38 | 948 ratings
Revolver
1966
4.35 | 1069 ratings
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1967
4.15 | 751 ratings
Magical Mystery Tour
1967
4.18 | 836 ratings
The Beatles [Aka: The White Album]
1968
2.53 | 406 ratings
Yellow Submarine
1969
4.49 | 1029 ratings
Abbey Road
1969
3.30 | 579 ratings
Let It Be
1970
3.47 | 212 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
1.85 | 22 ratings
The Beatles Live! at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962
1977
3.27 | 63 ratings
Live at the BBC
1994
2.11 | 9 ratings
Last Night In Hamburg
1999
3.68 | 15 ratings
On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2
2013

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

3.85 | 55 ratings
A Hard Day's Night
1964
3.47 | 46 ratings
Help!
1965
3.15 | 8 ratings
The Beatles At The Shea Stadium
1966
3.84 | 76 ratings
Yellow Submarine
1968
3.94 | 36 ratings
Let It Be
1970
3.38 | 40 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)

3.92 | 13 ratings
Introducing The Beatles
1963
2.16 | 26 ratings
Meet the Beatles
1964
1.93 | 16 ratings
Something New
1964
1.65 | 15 ratings
The Beatles' Story
1964
3.84 | 19 ratings
Beatles '65
1964
2.80 | 24 ratings
The Beatles' Second Album
1964
2.37 | 40 ratings
A Hard Day's Night (US version)
1964
2.27 | 7 ratings
The Beatles' First
1964
2.80 | 38 ratings
Rubber Soul (US)
1965
2.41 | 36 ratings
Help (US version)
1965
3.50 | 12 ratings
The Early Beatles
1965
3.82 | 17 ratings
Beatles VI
1965
3.39 | 28 ratings
Yesterday and Today
1966
2.44 | 12 ratings
A Collection of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!)
1966
3.46 | 30 ratings
Revolver (US)
1966
3.71 | 46 ratings
Hey Jude
1970
3.35 | 105 ratings
1962-1966
1973
3.83 | 117 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
3.97 | 21 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
3.47 | 78 ratings
Past Masters Volume 1
1988
4.03 | 82 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
2.90 | 74 ratings
Anthology 1
1995
3.90 | 79 ratings
Anthology 2
1996
3.67 | 76 ratings
Anthology 3
1996
5.00 | 1 ratings
Words Of Love
1998
3.20 | 44 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 | 93 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
4.40 | 10 ratings
Capitol Albums Vol 2
2006
2.97 | 84 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
4.64 | 66 ratings
The Beatles Stereo Box Set
2009
4.63 | 47 ratings
Past Masters (Remastered)
2009
4.34 | 34 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
4.71 | 7 ratings
1+
2015

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

1.54 | 10 ratings
My Bonnie
1961
3.02 | 19 ratings
Love Me Do
1962
2.79 | 15 ratings
Please Please Me
1963
2.61 | 14 ratings
From Me To You
1963
3.69 | 17 ratings
She Loves You
1963
3.04 | 15 ratings
I Want To Hold Your Hand
1963
2.80 | 5 ratings
The Beatles Christmas Record
1963
3.71 | 14 ratings
Twist And Shout
1963
3.33 | 6 ratings
The Beatles Hits
1963
3.20 | 5 ratings
The Beatles No. 1
1963
2.84 | 10 ratings
All My Loving
1964
3.14 | 9 ratings
Long Tall Sally
1964
4.00 | 7 ratings
Extracts From The Film A Hard Day's Night
1964
3.67 | 3 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
3.64 | 14 ratings
Can't Buy Me Love
1964
3.71 | 14 ratings
A Hard Days Night
1964
3.73 | 15 ratings
I Feel Fine
1964
3.10 | 11 ratings
If I Fell
1964
2.67 | 3 ratings
Another Beatles Christmas Record
1964
4.07 | 15 ratings
Ticket To Ride
1965
4.00 | 16 ratings
Help !
1965
4.13 | 16 ratings
Day Tripper
1965
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Third Christmas Record
1965
3.33 | 3 ratings
4 By The Beatles
1965
3.33 | 3 ratings
Beatles For Sale No. 2
1965
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Million Sellers
1965
3.47 | 13 ratings
Yesterday
1966
4.21 | 14 ratings
Nowhere Man
1966
3.57 | 18 ratings
Paperback Writer
1966
3.85 | 27 ratings
Eleanor Rigby
1966
2.25 | 5 ratings
Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas
1966
4.77 | 37 ratings
Strawberry Fields Forever
1967
3.67 | 23 ratings
All You Need Is Love
1967
3.81 | 22 ratings
Hello Goodbye
1967
2.40 | 6 ratings
Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
1967
4.06 | 30 ratings
Magical Mystery Tour (UK Version)
1967
3.38 | 20 ratings
Lady Madonna
1968
4.26 | 34 ratings
Hey Jude
1968
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Sixth Christmas Record
1968
4.25 | 24 ratings
Get Back
1969
3.25 | 21 ratings
Ballad Of John And Yoko
1969
3.36 | 23 ratings
Something
1969
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record
1969
3.28 | 17 ratings
Let It Be
1970
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Beatles Christmas Album
1970
3.50 | 2 ratings
From Then To You
1970
3.68 | 10 ratings
Yesterday
1976
3.92 | 13 ratings
Back In The U.S.S.R.
1976
3.57 | 7 ratings
Twist And Shout
1977
4.00 | 21 ratings
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends
1978
3.75 | 4 ratings
Movie Medley
1982
2.86 | 7 ratings
Love Me Do
1982
3.60 | 5 ratings
Baby It's You
1995
4.00 | 15 ratings
Free As A Bird
1995
4.03 | 12 ratings
Real Love
1996
4.00 | 7 ratings
Yellow Submarine Songtrack Sampler
1999
4.67 | 9 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

THE BEATLES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Hard Day's Night by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1964
3.50 | 493 ratings

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A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

4 stars A Hard Day's Night is quite a milestone in the history of the Beatles. Firstly, it's the first album with only self-written compositions (and the only Beatles album with nothing but Lennon/McCartney songs on it), and that itself was quite remarkable in a time when most other bands performed songs written by other people. Secondly, it is a big step forward in terms of songwriting, containing songs that sound much more accomplished than most of their previous work. Several of the songs have a level of sophistication not heard in their 1962-63 output. Even if earlier songs like "Not a Second Time", "She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" et al contains several "unorthodox" harmonic patterns (said classical music critics who judged the music in terms of the traditional functional harmony that is characteristic of European art music from approximately 1600 and onwards), they can not match the sophistication heard f.e. in "If I Fell", "Things We Said Today" or "I'll Be Back". Back to this later.

The background for the album was the film of the same name, directed by Richard Lester. It is a rather humorous, often ironic, picture of a day in the life of the Beatles during the height of Beatlemania. The title came about after a particularly hard day of film recording when Ringo sarcastically said: "It's been a hard day's night". After "A Hard Day's Night" was decided as the film title, John Lennon rushed to write the song before Paul McCartney did the same.

Of the 13 songs on the album, 7 were used in the film, and these are packed together on side 1 whereas side 2 contains other songs. This format was later repeated with the Help! album in 1965, as well as the American album version of Magical Mystery Tour. At this stage, Lennon wrote the majority of songs, and on this album he has written 10 out of 13 songs altogether. The three McCartney songs ("And I Love Her", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Things We Said Today"), on the other hand, are all among the very best early Beatles songs.

The album starts off with a bang. Or to be precice, with the chiming guitar chord that preceeds the title song. According to the legend, the chord more or less came "by accident" in the studio during the recording, and it is so complex that even music analytics have different views as to how it should be analyzed (either as a G7add9sus4, a G7sus4 or a G11sus4). The chord is repeated in the fade-out as an arpeggio figure, and in a way it foreshadows the psychedelic period of Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. The actual song is all in all a fairly conventional Beatles song of that time, but it's quite an infectious one, probably with the shift from Paul's singing in the middle eight back to John in the verse as the highpoint in terms of musical energy. Of course it was another number 1 hit.

The rest of side 1 is generally solid, even if not all songs are equally interesting. "I Should Have Known Better" is rather anonymous, and the lyrics - by Lennon's own admission - mean nothing. "Tell Me Why" has a very infectuous and energetic drive, but in many ways it is a good example of how the Beatles could make a minor song sound better than it actually is - the melody is rather monotonous, repeating the same 2-3 notes over and over again. "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" is actually quite interesting with its major/minor ambiguity, but George Harrison's rather anonymous singing drags it down somewhat.

The songs from side 1 that really stand out, apart from the title song, are "Can't Buy Me Love", "And I Love Her" and "If I Fell". The first is one of their simplest hits, based mainly on the standard 12 bar blues form and containing no backing vocals, but the title phrase resembles "She Loves You" in catchiness, and it starts the song in the very much same manner. It also has a stellar vocal performance by Paul. "And I Love Her" is the first real Beatles ballad, and it is a magnificent example of Paul McCartney as a melodist, containing a wonderfully dynamic melody that spands over an octave plus a fourth.

And then there is "If I Fell" whose intro has a rather unusual harmonic structure. Beginning with a chord (D sharp minor, or D#m) that is not the tonic, the harmonic base (C sharp major or C#) is not clear from the start, but if we had already assumed C# to be the main key, the most obvious thing would have been to go from D#m through G# to C#. Instead the second cord is a D major natural, allowing Lennon to keep some of the same melody notes, plus allowing a chromatic descending movement in the bass. The D#m to D pattern is repeated in the 5. and 6. bar, but this time the D major chord leads to an Em, and via A we go back to D, thus establishing D major as the main key in the rest of the song. In the contest of pop music, this is quite extraordinary.

The songs on side 2 tend to have a somewhat darker mood, but they are by no means less interesting, perhaps with the exception of "Any Time At All" and "When I Get Home". Both songs are still well written, and in general there is no bad song on the album. "Any Time At All" is one of many many Beatles songs to contain the minor subdominant (that is, a minor chord on the 4th step, which is usually in major if the main key is also major). "When I Get Home" repeats the "Whoo ooh-whoo-I" phrase from the second and third verses of "I Should Have Known Better", but the composition is pretty dynamic, among other things because the verse and chorus are in different keys.

But "I'll Cry Instead" is the Beatles' first attemt at incorporating country and western, something which would be more common in Beatles For Sale and Help!. At the same time the lyrics show signs of a more vulnerable side of Lennon (the title phrase, as wel as "I get shy when they start to stare"). "I'll Be Back" is especially successful for its elegant mix of major and minor. But whereas it is most common to switch between parallel keys (f.e. between C major and its minor parallel which is A minor), "I'll Be Back" switches between major and minor in the same key. It even underlines the lyrics: F.e. in the first line the narrator says that "If you break my heart I'll go", and here we are in minor, but as the words continue with "But I'll be back again", the music changes to major. It is beautifully underlined by the excellent vocal harmonies. The result is a song of very ambiguous emotional signals, and thus a clear sign that Lennon and McCartney were growing musically and taking more chances.

"You Can't Do That", originally released as the B-side of "Can't Buy Me Love", is based on the blues form like its A-side, but contains a more bitter tone. Like "I'll Cry Instead" it shows signs of a deeper emotional level ("I can't help my feelings, I go out of my mind"). Sadly, the song is also a clear product of a rather patriarchal thinking: "If I catch you talking to that boy again, I'm gonna let you down". The sexist undertones would sadly get even worse on Rubber Soul with a song like "Run For Your Life", but fortunately Lennon later dismissed the latter for the same reason; Yoko Ono probably taught him a lesson or two. Thankfully it's not the purpose of art to be moralizing, and "You Can't Do That" remains a great song and, in particular, a magnificent performance by The Beatles. Lennon sounds like he really means every word, and the raw, almost punky, guitar solo (probably played by Lennon himself) almost sounds desparate. George Harrison shoud also be praised for the riff that introduces the song and which also underlines its musical tension by emphasizing the major/minor ambiguity that lies in blues harmony.

And then, finally, there is "Things We Said Today", the B-side of the title track, and possibly the album's best song. Once again it is due to a sophisticated harmonic structure, and just like "I'll Be Back" it plays with major and minor (the verse/chorus is in minor whereas the middle eight is in major, in the same key). The first really interesting thing happens in the 5th and 6th bar of the verse. The main key is A minor, but in the 5th bar we go to its parallel chord C major. Instead of leading directly back to A minor, it leads further away through F major to B flat major (Bb), thus corresponding to text lines such as "Wishing you weren't so far away" and "Some day when we're dreaming". But then, from the Bb in "far away", we go directly back to A-minor (Am), that is, back home, back to reality. The (Bb to Am sequence adds a touch of the Phrygian mode. And then comes the chorus which begins in A major, so here we have the same minor/major interplay as in "I'll Be Back".

In conclusion, A Hard Day's Night is a really interesting LP, and one that is pointing adhead in many ways. The Beatles were still playing simple dance pop, but there are things happening under the surface that should also satisfy the average prog fan - even if A Hard Day's Night is by no means a prog album. Also, the album was the proof that the Beatles were not just the throwaway music of the moment. The songs have a lasting quality, and they prove that pop does not necessarily have to mean standardized.

 With the Beatles by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1963
2.89 | 420 ratings

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With the Beatles
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

3 stars The earliest Beatles recordings, released on their first album, Please Please Me, show a promising, but not entirely mature band (see my review of that album). Between that album and their second, With the Beatles, the band had gone through quite a change, even though they were still playing simple dance pop and rock'n roll. Lennon and McCartney had revealed their true force as pop songwriters with the singles "From Me To You" and especially "She Loves You", and the band now found themselves in the centre of a mass hysteria (known as Beatlemania).

Listening to With the Beatles, I sense a much more self-assured band, and it is clear that they have improved as instrumentalists too. This may however be due, in parts, to the fact that the album was not recorded in the same rush as Please Please Me (which was recorded literarily in one day, except for the A and B sides). The recording was spread over several sessions, so clearly there must have been more time to correct fluffs and work with the arrangements, vocal performances etc. At least it sounds that way.

With the Beatles contains no singles; a practice that would go for many of their subsequent studio albums, and which was fairly common in Britain in the 60's. Apart from that, the album follows the pattern of Please Please Me by containing a mix of original compositions and cover versions of mostly (black) American music. The cover versions on With the Beatles are generally stronger than those on Please Please Me. "Money (That's What I Want)" is a truly electrifying performance, and it is clearly on par with - probably even better than - their rendition of "Twist And Shout". I would even go as far as to say that it is much better, and more homogeneous that Barrett Strong's original Motown recording. Two other Motown covers appear on the album; they are both infective and well performed even though they may not really add something new to the original songs. Other cover versions include Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven" (Harrison's vocal performance is a bit dull) and - as quite a contrast - the sentimental ballad "Till There Was You" which only Paul McCartney could have sung.

As for the original compositions, there are two songs that really stand out: Lennon's "It Won't Be Long" and McCartney's "All My Loving". The first one is typical of Lennon with an irregular number of bars in the verse and a harmonic structure in the chorus that isn't entirely straight forward. The song is in a major key, but the chorus (which comes first) starts with the tonic parallel and then goes directly to the tonic rather than through a subdominant and a dominant, and then back to the parallel. There is also the nicely dissonant "dim chord" on "till I beLONG to you". In contrast, "All My Loving" is much more straight forward and has hit single written all over it. But also that song begins with another chord than its tonic (in this case the subdominant parallel).

The other original songs are more anonymous. "I Wanna Be Your Man" is rather monotonous, both melodically and lyrically, "Hold Me Tight" was a leftover from Please Please Me which had been brought back for some reason, and "Not a Second Time" sounds like it doesn't entirely knows where it is going (it was famously praised for its Aeolian cadenzes). Then there is "Don't Bother Me" which is Harrison's first contribution as a songwriter and which somehow contains a darker tone than Lennon's and McCartney's songs. It is absolutely not uninteresting (its privacy topic probably suited Harrison's public image well at that time), and there is something a bit resigning about the music - the verse starts with the dominant chord and then continues with what is normally the final four bars in a standard 12 bar blues phrase (with a lower III step chord added between the IV and the I in the 3rd bar), thus possibly signalling a sense of disorder or unease. Moreover, the odd drum that appears on all the downbeats makes the song sound rather heavy. Harrison would make much stronger songs later, but it is clear that there is something else going on here.

Overall, With the Beatles is the sound of a much more self-assured band, and despite some less interesting songs, several key tracks make for quite an engaging listening. I wish I could give it 3,5 stars which is what I think it really deserves. The first truly great Beatles album comes next....

 Please Please Me by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1963
3.05 | 449 ratings

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Please Please Me
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

3 stars Seeing the Beatles featured on a prog site feels rather odd to be honest. I am of course aware that progressive rock wouldn't sound like it does if it weren't for all the sixties bands, the Beatles included, but as far as I am concerned, only Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road really bear any resemblance to prog. In Sgt. Pepper's case it is mainly due to the conceptual ideas, as well as the musical structure on a song like "A Day In the Life". On Abbey Road we have songs such as "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and perhaps the medley on side 2. But even an album like Revolver, though experimental and containing many psychedelic sounds, contains short and relatively traditional compositions. Then of course there is a song like "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" from the White Album with its changes in tempo and mood, but overall the White Album sounds more like a foreshadowing of alternative rock to me.

But I am a big admirer of the Beatles, so I'd love to take the opportunity to review their studio albums. Now their music up to, and including the Help album is possibly as far from prog as can be: straight forward dance pop and rock'n roll songs mostly with I-love-you-and-you-love-me lyrics, and it wouldn't make much sense to judge it from a progressive rock point of view.

The early Beatles is clearly not as artistically interesting as their later work. It is pop, and it works on pop premises mostly. However it sounded a lot more honest than some of the pre-fabricated machine pop that came before them in the early 60's (Paul Anka, Del Shannon, Cliff Richard etc.), and in that context the Beatles were clearly a breath of fresh air, and much less streamlined. Also their music had some energy that the above mentioned idols didn't have.

The first LP contains their first two singles and their B-sides. The rest of the album was recorded literally in one day, consisting of songs from their live repertoire. The songs were mostly recorded live in the studio with only a few overdubs (the handclaps on "I Saw Her Standing There" and the piano on "Misery"), and the limited amount of time of course means that the performances are not always flawless. It gives the album an aura of freshness and spontanity, but on the other hand some performances sound rather substandard, and even uninspired. This particularly goes for some of the cover versions: "Chains", "Boys" and, in particular, "Baby It's You" (with terribly off-key backing vocals). The one cover version that really shines above the rest is "Twist And Shout" with its raw energy and raw vocal performance by John Lennon. Probably the highpoint of the album.

Then there are the original compositions, and at this point Lennon and McCartney hadn't yet entirely matured as songwriters. The songs, having been written before the band signed with Parlophone, sound a bit unfocused and unfinished compared to their subsequent work. A good example is "Ask Me Why" where the 9th to 12th bar of the verse sound like they are leading towards something that doesn't really come. Also the chorus sounds too much like the verse, and the middle eight ("I can't believe...") doesn't really make a contrast either, containing a cadence that ends with the tonic (main chord). As a result, the song sounds rather monotonous overall. Similar things can be said about "Do You Want To Know a Secret", and even their first big hit, "Please Please Me" lacks the sense of direction that chacacterizes the best work of the band.

The best original songs are "There's a Place" which also goes beyond the lyrical cliches of the other songs (though not exactly in a subtle way) and "I Saw Her Standing There" which is an uplifting and energetic piece of rock'n roll. Kicking the whole album off with the classic 1-2-3-4! it is a perfect opener, just as "Twist And Shout" is a perfect finale. As for "There's a Place", however, the verse ends in a rather unelegant way, both harmonically and melodically with "when I'm alone", but fortunately the intensity of the rest of the song makes it up for that.

Shortly after this album, Lennon and McCartney would improve drastically as songwriters with songs that sound much more accomplished: "From Me To You", "She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand". Here at this early stage their genius doesn't really show... yet.

Then there is the musicianship. Clearly the greatest music is not always made by great virtuosos, and it it would be fair to say that the Beatles were not the most virtuose instrumentalists, especially not in the early days. But their abilities work very well for the type of music they are playing, and the energy that they are able to reproduce together is indeed very infective. Judged by their individual playing, however, it is clear that they haven't yet entirely found themselves as instrumentalists. Paul McCartney does little more than keeping the bass note, and Gerorge Harrison has clearly not found his sound yet. The solo on "I Saw Her Standing There", for instance, while energetic, it is also very unimaginative. Harrison would later develop a very personal and poetic style, perhaps most prominently heard in the solo on "Something".

But while the Beatles aren't the greatest instrumentalists in the world, there is no doubt that Lennon and McCartney are excellent singers, and a lot of their special energy and charisma clearly comes from the vocals. "Twist And Shout" is probably the best vocal performance on the album.

So all in all it is a promising debut that doesn't entirely show off their true force. But you have to start somewhere.

 My Bonnie by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1961
1.54 | 10 ratings

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My Bonnie
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by The Anders

1 stars "My Bonnie" was the single that made Brian Epstein aware of the Beatles (a fan asked for it in Epstein's music store). One can only say that they were really lucky in this case, for if you listen to the single without knowing who is playing on it, there is really not much to get excited about. It is the sound of an average singer and a decent orchestra at best.

It was first and foremost a single by Tony Sheridan, with the Beatles playing as backing musicians (as the Beat Brothers). Unfortunately Tony Sheridan is anything but an interesting recording artist, and had it not been for him playing with the Beatles before they got famous, he would most probably be forgotten today. Tony Sheridan is by no means a bad singer; he clearly has a good voice, but his Presley-like vocal style tends to sound unnatural and annoying, perhaps because he is trying too hard to sound like somebody else - unlike for instance John Lennon who basically just sounds like... John Lennon. The Beatles themselves would sing with a personality that is lacking here. Even though I am far from being an Elvis Presley fan, I very much prefer the real thing. For the same reason, I also prefer another early recording by the Beatles from the same period, but without Tony Sheridan: "Ain't She Sweet", with Lennon on raw and unpolished vocals.

Another problem here is the choice of material. Selecting a worn out school song like "My Bonnie" is an awkward choice to begin with, but I could forgive it if they had done something interesting out of it. Unfortunately, that is not really the case: We get a slow intro, and then it turns into some very ordinary rock'n roll. And since the original song has nothing to do with rock'n roll, it becomes a bit like a gimmick or a novelty act overall. The effect somehow reminds me of some of the many 90's eurodance revamps of old hits that I had to live through in my early teenage years. "The Saints" sounds similarily uninspired, and it quickly becomes monotonous and boring.

Then there are the Beatles themselves who drag the level up to some extent. The rhythm group sounds competent enough, and George Harrison gets to show off some of his trademark guitar licks of the early Beatles period, for instance at the outro of "The Saints". Still, the band sound pretty decent overall, and I think they lack some of the energy and excitement of their later recordings. A big part of the problem lies with Pete Best: his playing style is simply too boring, and he does little more than keeping the beat. With Ringo Starr replacing him in 1962 they got a much stronger and more unique rhythmic base, and he was clearly a key element in the trademark Beatles sound we know from their proper work. Here the sound is not quite there yet. Another reason for the musical decency on the record is probably the lack of George Martin to guide the band and help them improve their arrangement.

So all in all, the single is only interesting as an important document in the history of the Beatles; not as a valueable record in its own right. As with other records, I prefer to judge it as the latter, and it is a tough decision between one and two stars.

 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1967
4.35 | 1069 ratings

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

Review by Zoltanxvamos

5 stars The Beatles were always a hard band for me to get into, I had listened to Norwegian Wood (Rubber Soul), but it was covered by Allan Holdsworth on None To Soon. Abbey Road was never an album I was crazy about but this album is. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a phenomenal album by The Bealtes. The hit songs are very complimenting to the entire album as a whole, the stand alone (AOT [Album Oriented Tracks]) are also very unique and are quite mature sounding Beatles songs. I really think that this is The Beatles best record, it's got amazing vocal melodies, the catchy tunes, great harmonies, and very well written tracks as a whole. Both sections of the title track are very catchy, and they have great harmonies. With A Little Help From My Friend is a great hit track, I've heard this one played on the radio and I've always loved it. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds is probably one of (if not) the most well known tracks by the band. The catchy harmonies and chords, it's a great song for an even better album. Getting Better is another hit sounding track, it's a very interesting song with good lyrics, great vocal melodies, and most importantly, grabbing chord progressions. Fixing A Hole has another really cool hit feel to it with more grabbing chord progressions, and soft vocal melodies. She's Leaving Home, Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite!, Within You Without You are all equally great tracks, everything here is well written yadda yadda. When I'm Sixty-Four is quite a jazz influenced piece, I love Paul's vocals here, his voice really fits the slow feel of this piece. Lovely Rita has more of Paul's best vocals in The Beatles. I love the chord and song structures, melodies, etc. Good Morning Good Morning is a very good piece sung by John, but the real amazing piece is A Day In The Life. It's the perfect ending track to this amazing album, the lyrics are unbelievable, the vocals and orchestration are fantastic, and finally it's just a huge mess but... it's a cleverly written huge mess. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a brilliant Beatles album and a fantastic Proto-Prog album. Need I say more? No.. I won't.
 Let It Be - Naked by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.47 | 212 ratings

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Let It Be - Naked
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Let It Be... Naked removes Spector's production from the original Let It Be album of 1970. McCartney at the time claimed above all for the orchestral arrangement of "The Long and Winding Road" but hearing the song without the strings, one can only give reason to Spector: it it appears unfinished, almost a demo, naked, in fact, and Macca's singing is terrible, sometimes out of tune. That piece, so much desired naked by Macca is actually the ball and chain of the album.

But even "I Me Mine" loses a lot of its quality without the strings added by Spector, and "Let It Be" itself, absolute masterpiece of the 1970 album here appears in a different version with a much less incisive Harrison guitar solo.

The other songs are more rock and less orchestral so they are less affected by the emptying of the arrangements but they also come close to demos, losing part of the artistic quality. The only merit of Let It Be... Naked is to have added a masterpiece, "Dont Let Me Down", written by Lennon, and to have removed two embarrassing sketches like "Dig It" and "Maggy Mae" but otherwise considering the whole album, it is much less beautiful than the original that in my ranking had taken 8+: here it stops at 7+. One point lost. And so these version just reach three stars.

 Let It Be by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.30 | 579 ratings

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Let It Be
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Let It Be, the last Beatles album, released in 1970, posthumously, is not a good ending: the Lps from 1967 onwards are clearly superior to him. Moreover, as is well known, it was the penultimate album to be recorded (early 1969), to then be cassated; it was Lennon who wanted him out posthumously, asking for the help of Phil Spector, who put the orchestral overdubs on it. The album is therefore, on the one hand the most spontaneous and immediate, having been recorded almost all in direct, with Billy Preston on the keyboards, on the other hand it is the most artifact, given that only after, and without the approval of the Beatles , orchestral arrangements have been added. Anyway, it remains a more than good record, and Spector's work was excellent in my opinion.

It starts with Two of Us, a song by Paul, sung in unison with John in the verses, and by Macca in the bridge. Beautiful arpeggio of acoustic guitar, pleasant rhythm and melody, reassuring tone. Cute, but without panache or parts that stand out. Dig a Pony, recorded live, is an excellent John rockblues that joins those of the White Album and Abbey Road. Nice singing, nice tour of electric guitars. Simple but effective. Across the Universe, very famous, is a song that starts with a beautiful sung melody, a nice phrasing of acoustic guitar, a sad tone, but continues in a way too monotonous and low-key, in fact it is a missed masterpiece, perhaps for the lack of originality arrangement and too much repetitiveness. I Me Mine instead thanks to Spector's orchestral arrangement becomes the most original song on the album, with a waltz verse, a hard rock refrain, and an orchestral crescendo that makes it epic, however short. Dig It is a meaningless musical fragment, which closes with an absurd, high-pitched voice, which has the only result of presenting Let It Be as a mockery.

Lennon wanted to insert Let It Be (which he hated, considered it unsuitable for a Beatles LP, as too much as a solo author) between this piece of song and the even shorter (and ramshackle) Maggie May, with the result of ruining the first side. Difficult to evaluate these two short sections but at least one vote must be given, to point out that in fact the end of the side has been a bit ruined. On the contrary, Let It Be is the great masterpiece of the album. Beautiful piano start, warm and well-groomed voice, crescendo rock with electric piano, organ, drums and Harrison's splendid hardrock electric guitar solo, certainly his best solo in the Beatles. Third verse of the rock ballad with a paroxysmal ending between Macca's voice and Harrison's hypnotic guitar, with Spector's trumpets creating greater pathos. The version in this LP is much better than that of the single, in which the guitar solo is very bad and not in evidence.

Two of Us 7+; 2. Dig a Pony 8; 3. Across the Universe 7,5/8; 4. I Me Mine 8; 5. Dig It 5,5; 6. Let it Be 9+; 7. Maggie May.

The second side opens with the rock of I've Got a Feeling by Macca, which dusts the perhaps heavier metal guitar sound of all Beatlesian discography. An angry song, then melodic again, and insertion of a second section by Lennon, on the rhythm of one of his songs which is superimposed on the basic rhythm of Macca. Very characteristic and in its own way remarkable song. One After 909, written by John with the collaboration of Paul, is a rocky divertissement, with good rhythm, and Lennon's bridge. Lightens the disc. Long and Winding Road, Macca's slow piano, becomes an orchestral piece of strings with Spector's arrangement covering the incomplete and sparse initial arrangement. Pumping, meatloaf, however, would have seemed only sketchy if it had been performed naked, as in Let It Be ... Naked. It has a nice melody in the bridge, but otherwise it's a rhetorical and pretentious piece, which ends up being boring. You get to For You Blue which is a light and carefree acoustic blues piece, with an almost Hawaiian sound and with Harrison inciting Lennon in the guitar solo. Simple, unpretentious, but very pleasant track. The second side, inferior to the first in its 5 main songs, ends with Get Back, recorded on the roof of Apple. Good rock and roll by McCartney, which ends without the tail in the 45 rpm version.

8. I've Got a Feeling 8; 9. One After 909 7,5; 10. Long and Winding Road 6,5; 11. For you Blue 7+; 12. Get Back 7,5/8.

Overall, Let It Be is a good record featuring a masterpiece song, a gospel piano ballad with rock arrangement, and at least 5 well-made rock / blues songs, plus 4 nice but weak acoustic ballads; it has a unique sound in the Beatles discography because it resembles that of a studio concert. The basic instruments are those of a rock quintet: vocals, rhythm guitar, solo guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, to which they are added in the background (Across the Universe, Let It Be) or in the foreground (I Me Mine, Long And Winding Road) the orchestral overdubs by Phil Spector. In fact, consisting of only 10 songs (a pity for the presence of the two clips and the absence of Don't Let Me Down), the Beatles album remains less cared for in the recordings, closer to a concert played by a rock group in horse between the Sixties and the Seventies.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,52: Rating: 8+. It reaches four stars.

 Abbey Road by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.49 | 1029 ratings

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Abbey Road
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Abbey Road has a first side of songs that characterize the styles of their authors: two remarkable Lennon rock- blues; two by McCartney, a pop song (the usual Macca song that takes the Beatles out of rock and in light music for families and children) and a remarkable rock and roll; a Harrison melodic classic and a tasty Ringo country. A second side follows where almost all the songs are mixed together, to form a suite that anticipates those of progressive rock (Colosseum's Valentyne Suite will be released shortly after). Both sides are very thick and, in particular, the second side of Abbey Road is the most innovative and certainly the best of all the second sides of the Beatles albums (average 8.00) since in this case there is no , as happened in practice in each previous album, no drop in quality: the compositions intended for facade B are not "minor", compared to those of side A - however, it may also be that the three central segments, by Lennon, if developed into real songs, they would have given rise to minor pieces. Slow, atmospheric love songs are missing from the album, there is not the usual honeyed retro song by McCartney, on the other hand there is a sweet and vocal song by Lennon. Abbey Road, as well as Let It Be, printed later but recorded earlier, marks a return of the Beatles to rock, after the psychedelic hangover of 1966-67, in which McCartney mainly recorded vaudeville and retro songs of every possible musical genre, with orchestral arrangements more than rock, and Harrison raga songs with Indian arrangement.

Abbey Road is a rock album with a much smoother sound than the White Album, but also much more 70s, and in fact the synthesizers appear, the only case in the Beatles discography. In this album, Lennon signs two little Beatlesian rock songs, which place the Beatles on the same level as the rock-blues bands of the time (Rolling Stones, Cream), and two very original melodic and atmospheric songs; Harrison writes his two most famous songs: a melodic classic, and a folk classic; McCartney does not write any of his true classics (but the weakest song on the album) but, in reality, he places on the second side two piano songs, with a beautiful intro, which then evolve into two mini rock suites that constitute the avant-garde peak of the album. The disc opens with Come Together, which for bass and drums constitutes a unicum in the Beatles discography. It is a very refined rockblues ballad, with dark and sensual atmospheres which brings the Beatles towards much more "heavy" music than pop music. On an instrumental level, it is excellent, each Beatles gives its best in the arrangement: bass, drums, solo guitar, singing.

Something is a much lighter song that however delights for the melody, and for the bridge, fantastic, one of the most evocative crescendo of the Beatles, which unfortunately has the defect of not being repeated a second time. Frank Sinatra will make it his own, dilate it and, of course, he will be able to emphasize bridge and repeat it. Something remains a small masterpiece, which could have been a great masterpiece with an extra bridge and greater pathos in singing. Maxwell Silver Hammer opens the Macca songs on the first side. It is a vaudeville goliardic pop, at a slow medium rhythm, which lowers the quality of the disc but which, at least, enjoys a good musical arrangement, suitable for a rock complex, with synths in the foreground, which does not make it appear a song too dated or for children. Oh Darling is a doo-woop song and you don't understand if it is a parodic, caricatural piece or just an emphaticpiece: in any case it's a great song, however retro. It is a rock and roll to listen to at full volume, where Paul stirs the listener between singing and bass. Great work also on drums and guitar. The song alternates the melodious voice with a hoarse voice, scraped up to the throat, which fills the refrain with an emphasis on the limit of excessive.

Ringo arrives (helped by Harrison in the composition) with his pop-country: an excellent solo of Fender guitar by Harrison with a clear sound, a beautiful singing, an excellent arrangement with noises of bubbles in the instrumental part. It is his second (and last) song for the Beatles, and fills the first side with freshness. In closing, I Want You - She's So Heavy, is a long, heavy, gloomy and obsessive song, which makes the most of its minimal text. Not loved by Beatles fans (because it's too rock and gloomy), on the contrary it is one of their absolute masterpieces. The depth and intensity that Lennon knows how to touch with his voice and the hypnotic guitar tour that goes on for 7 minutes is unsustainable for lovers of the cheerful and carefree Beatles of two minutes. The first side ends like this, with I Want You being cut (the recording tape ends, and the Beatles decide to leave this ending). As for the quality of the songs, and the refinement of the instrumental arrangements we are at very high levels (average above 8), however in terms of sequence, smoothness and sonic innovations, the first side of Sgt Pepper (and also of White Album) are superior to it.

1) Come Together 8,5 ; 2) Something 8+; 3) Maxwell Silver Hammer 6,5/7; 4) Oh Darling 8+; 5) Octopus's Garden 7,5; 6) I want you ' She's So Heavy 9;

The second side opens with a large melodic folk piece by Harrison. Just the phrasing of guitar and singing to delight, in this very simple song. In the middle, a one-sentence bridge repeated 5 times, with crescendo of synthesizers, then returning to the initial melody. A song that remains in mind. Follows Because, voices and synthesizers, a very beautiful melody reminiscent of Beethoven's Moonlight, dreamy choruses, an atmospheric song that lacks development. Here is finally McCartney, with You Never Give Me Your Money, a song little known to most but which represents one of his artistic peaks. Written as a response to Lennon's Happiness Is a Warm Gun, which was a condensation of changes in rhythm and melody, You Never ... is a minisuite, with a beautiful piano start, melodic, to then become a boogie, then return melodic and end with a country atmosphere at night, with the sound of crickets, which is mixed with the medley of three pieces of Lennon's songs. First there is the atmospheric instrumental of Sun King, very nice, it looks like a soundtrack, then the romantic voices arrive but soon transmute into the mocking goliardic of an Italian-Spanish language that it is not known where it could go to save unless the piece arrives by Mean Mr. Mustard (one minute), with a fast pace, which unfortunately ends too early in the guitars of Polithene Pam (a minute and a half), in which the sound of the voice seems distant and the excited rhythm has no time to unfold in something more accomplished. All in all these three pieces of Lennon are interlocutors, and they surprise, amaze with their changes in sound and rhythm but do not give time to be appreciated.

Polythene Pam results in a continuum of guitars in a better developed Macca song (two minutes), a good almost complete guitar rockblues piece (Joe Cocker will make a great cover), She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, which closes too quickly. Overall, so far this medley, made up of a real song by Paul (You Never ...), three pieces by John, and an almost song by Paul, after an excellent start suffers from an incomplete fusion of music and sound in its various passages : the pieces appear superimposed a little too quickly on each other (it would have helped if Lennon's had lasted longer), and before and after Mean Mr. Mustard there are no connecting phrases, however the sequence holds up well and the piece of Mr. Mustard serves to give a change of gear.

After She Came Trhogh The Bathroom Window there is a pause, a part of the medley finishes and another decidedly more compact begins, with Golden Slumbers, which has a great effect: it opens with a melodious and romantic piano line, it becomes serious in the vocal crescendo of Macca, who forgets that he is singing a lullaby, returns melodious with a beautiful background of strings, of a somewhat expressive romanticism, and then explodes in the chorus of Carry That Weight, which is halfway between the goliardic and the epic; then it takes refuge in a reprise with trumpets, beautiful, of You Never Give Me ... The choir of Carry That Way returns and then changes its pitch and rhythm to flow into the instrumental that sees first Ringo then the three Beatles grapple with a solo (always very simple compared to the jams of the rockblues complexes of the time). The three guitarists are called and respond to each other with the same number of guitar phrases per head. The solo of the three guitarists is a very genuine and amused solo, which reflects the Beatles' behavior in the studio: they were having fun, like in the old days. Ringo, on the other hand, did not perform a real solo, because he refused but his teammates fooled him: they removed the guitars from the mix channels and so almost only Ringo's drums remain, which perform a really simple and elementary rhythm, so much so that many criticized Ringo for this rudimentary solo: but he didn't know he was doing it! He was not doing any solo! Closes the percussive piano on which Paul sings the maxim of The End ("And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make"). It was supposed to be the end of the album but McCartney couldn't resist and inserted the acoustic piece by Her Majesty, which was a piece excluded from the previous medley.

7) Here Comes the Sun 8; 8) Because 7,5; 9) You Never Give Me Your Money 8,5; 10) Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard/ Polithene Pam 7+/7,5/7+/ 7,5; 11) She Came Through the Bathroom Window 7,5/8 ; 12) Golden Slumbers/Carry That Way/ The End 8,5/9/8+/ 8,5/9; 13) Her Majesty.

Overall, it is the most adult Beatles album, which leaves little space for cheerful and carefree songs, vaudeville, exuberance (even the rhythms are decidedly medium, not high), with retro arrangements: it is an album completely played by a rock complex (and it is the most refined musically, the Beatles show that they are also great instrumentalists), with the addition of orchestration to make some melodic moments memorable. Like Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road is a well-kept album, which is developed according to a precise idea (both albums have a song that is resumed, to sign a concluded circle, which for Abbey Road is valid only for the second side), however divided in two distinct parts; compared to Sgt Pepper does not have that festive and flowing and varied beginning, sometimes with pyrotechnic sounds and arrangements, which is maintained for most of Pepper, on the other hand Abbey Road is more reflective, homogeneous, deep; psychedelia is replaced by a greater romanticism alternating with blues gloom. Like Let It Be, it is less heterogeneous than the albums ranging from 1966 (Revolver) to 1968 (White Album), more compact, without Indian or retro or orchestral sounds but, compared to Let It Be, Abbey Road is finished with extreme precision and coordination in the studio between the various Beatles and George Martin (while Let It Be is recorded live, only to undergo posthumous orchestrations); moreover, it has better pieces.

Abbey Road, although not the album that has most affected in the history of the Beatles (and pop music), and although it is not the most innovative album in terms of sounds and arrangement (the palm of these peaks is up to Sgt Pepper), on the whole their greatest masterpiece, as the best rock album, containing the most mature and valuable songs, and as played with the best instrumental skill, and with the same care of Pepper's arrangements; and where Pepper is one of the first albums concept (however broadly speaking), Abbey Road is one of the first albums with suites that anticipate those of progressive. It is a masterpiece of composition and arrangement, with high quality songs, without any significant drop in tone, summa of the Beatles' styles but with an eye to represent it with contemporary rock sounds, without falling into light music, and with a second side that wants be experimental for the long sequence of pieces of tracks mixed together, the original and seminal solution of progressive.

Medium quality of the songs: 8,02: Rating: 9,5/10; Five stars.

 Strawberry Fields Forever by BEATLES, THE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1967
4.77 | 37 ratings

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Strawberry Fields Forever
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The double A-side "Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane" has made history because:

1) It is the first 45 rpm single by the Beatles that did not reach the no. 1 on the British Chart 2) It is one of the most sophysticated single in the Sixities.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" is the Lennon-Martin's second absolute masterpiece - the first is "I Am The Walrus". The beginning is slow and the orechestral arrangement is developed with continuous sounds effects, where both the strings and the winds alternate decorating Lennon's voice of very changing and expressive sounds. The lyrics are surrealistic, the structure of the song was put together by George Martin that linked two different pieces of music written by John Lennon. The final progression of the drums looks like that of a train that increases speed and then fades with the guitar solo. The fade has a psychedelic tail where the train seems to return, transfigured. Great experimental sound, a masterpiece of inspiration, arrangement and production. Rating 9+.

9) Penny Lane is a McCartney's melodic pop -song that reaches the high of masterpiece. Beautiful text, beautiful music, beautiful instrumental pieces with the trumpet - one of the first times that the trumpet got this central rule in a pop song. Rating 8,5.

It was a pity that these two wonderful songs written by Lennon and McCartney thinking about their youth in Liverpool were not included in Sgt. Pepper album, but in this way the Beatles published one of the most beautiful single 45 rpm ever.

Rating 9,5. Five Stars.

 Yellow Submarine by BEATLES, THE album cover Studio Album, 1969
2.53 | 406 ratings

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Yellow Submarine
The Beatles Proto-Prog

Review by jamesbaldwin
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Yellow Submarine is an album by half of the Beatles and half of George Martin, and it is the soundtrack of the 1968 cartoon film Yellow Submarine. For this occasion, in addition to dusting off Revolver's song, the Beatles again used All You Need Is Love (a single already present on the American LP Magical Mystery Tour) to give the film a message. The original songs on the album are therefore left only 4: two by Harrison, from 1967, discarded by Sgt. Pepper (both with an original psychedelic-rock arrangement), one by Lennon (the best on the Lp, a good rock) and one by Paul (a goliardic choir) written specifically for the film. Overall the first side consists of 6 songs all rather original for sound, arrangements, melody, almost all of them with a surreal psychedelic goliardic tone. The second side is written by George Martin, it is all instrumental, it does not contain many melodies, being composed half of descriptive pieces of the scenes of the film, where the orchestration without the images makes no great sense: it is original and pleasant, with some melodic peak, but for the most part it's not music you will remember.

Side A. It starts with Yellow Submarine, the cartoon pop prank released for Revolver, re-presented the same: it sets the tone for the album, with its boating sounds departing. Only A Northern Song, discarded by Sgt Pepper's, has one of the most original beatles psychedelic arrangements, with extraordinary sound effects, too bad that the singer can't drag the melody and make it smoother and more accomplished. It's a missed masterpiece.

Paul's All Together Now is an unpretentious song, a camping goliardic chorus that still manages to be pleasant and contagious. It's the catchy piece. Hey Bulldog, piano ballad, with hard guitars and very high bass, is a rock piece with great rhythm, supported by powerful bass and drums: its progression, between aggressive singing, drums and sour guitars, is really serious, except then to overdo the goliardic tone of the album choirs. Final with bark and howl.

It's All Too Much is the most ambitious song on the album. It opens with a distorted guitar, which then stays in the background forming a basic acidic sound. The very catchy chorus is accompanied by the noise music that distinguishes the piece: in fact it is a melodic pop with arrangement of distorted acid guitars, percussion and cacophonous sounds of trumpets and more. The tail is too long. It remains one of the most atypical Beatles songs, even for the duration, over 6 minutes. All You Need Is Love is a hymn, melodically good but not original.

Side B. The second side opens with Pepperland, George Martin's most beautiful melody, joyful, and excellent is the instrumentation that repeats the pattern with various arrangements. At times he remembers the sound of Gershwin. Sea Of Time starts with oriental sounds, develops slowly, with a lot of inertia, then changes time and sound and becomes cheerful, and then a chamber music that fades slowly. Sea Of Holes starts dreamy, interlocutory, creates a wait, the music is very descriptive and alone, without images, it appears almost abstract. Sea Of Monsters lasts three and a half minutes. It continues the descriptive and abstract sound of the previous one, but with a greater sense of menace, except then to recall the melody of Pepperland, then Bach's air, then free-jazz sounds, to end menacingly as it began. March Of The Meanies contains the second real catchy melody of the second side, played by the brass, a menacing march, perhaps an escape full of danger. Pepperland Laid Waste is perhaps the most ethereal and abstract, with no novelty, except to pick up some menacing sounds already heard. Yellow... is a beautiful orchestral piece that develops variations from the basic melody of Yellow Submarine.

Overall, a pleasent and strange but modest album.

SONGS AND RATING: 1) Yellow Submarine 6,5/7; 2) Only A Northern Song 7,5/8; 3) All Together Now 7+; 4) Hey Bulldog 8; 5) It's All Too Much 7,5; 6) All You Need Is Love 7,5/8;

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7) Pepperland 8; 8) Sea of Time 7; 9) Sea of Holes 6,5; 10) Sea of Monsters 6,5; 11) March Of The Meanies 7+; 12) Pepperland Laid Waste 6; 13) Yellow Submarine in Pepperland 7,5.

Total: 93,75. Medium quality: 7,21; Rating: 6,5. Two Stars.

Thanks to Certif1ed for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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