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The Beatles - Live at the BBC CD (album) cover


The Beatles



3.23 | 73 ratings

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4 stars "Beatles - Live at the BBC" is a 1994 double compilation album (remastered in 2013 with the addiction of three extra tracks: two speach pieces, one for George and one for Ringo, and one musical piece: "From Us to You"[Closing] ) featuring performances by the Beatles that were originally broadcast on various BBC Light Programme radio shows from 1963 to 1965.

The songs are essentially "live in studio" performances. Most of the tracks are cover versions of famous songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Beatles performed for 52 BBC Radio programmes, since an appearance on the series Teenager's Turn?Here We Go, recorded on 7 March 1962, till a special "The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride", recorded on 26 May 1965. Total: 275 performances of 88 different songs, of which 36 songs never appeared on their studio albums.

This compilation replaces the production of the Beatles' bootlegs (even a 13-album bootleg series), very widespread in the seventies and eighties, and "The Complete BBC Sessions" (1993), a nine-CD box set released in Italy, where copyright protection for the broadcasts had expired (this set contained performances from 44 of the Beatles' 52 BBC appearances).

The tracks for "Live at the BBC" were selected by George Martin who used two criteria: the quality of the sound and of the Beatles' performance. In this album there are 30 songs that they have never performed on their official releases. The selection includes "I'll Be on My Way", the only Lennon?McCartney song no available in their studio albums (it was given to Billy J. Kramer, another artist managed by Brian Epstein). It's a unripe mid-tempo ballad with a rambling solo guitar (rating 6,5).

The album (two-CD, 1994) consists of 56 songs and 12 tracks of dialogue (thirty of the songs had never been issued previously). It was the first official release by the Beatles of previously unreleased performances since "The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl" in 1977.

There are a lot of excellent performance, overall: "Thank You Girl", "Baby It's You" (better than the studio version), "You Really Got A Hold On Me", "Roll Over Bethoven" (much better than the studio version), "I'm a Loser". In these recordings you can feel the grit, the energy, the enthusiasm of these four guys, who express themselves as the rock and roll rebels of the Fifties, with the experience consumed playing all night in Hamburg nightclubs.

Historical find. Rating: 8+. Four Stars.

jamesbaldwin | 4/5 |


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