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The Beatles - Beatles for Sale CD (album) cover


The Beatles



2.78 | 433 ratings

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3 stars After A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles gave a step back with this Beatles for Sale, returning to cover songs and limiting their own contribution to only eight tracks.

Two of these versions, nevertheless, are quite remarkable ones.The extensive use of Hammond on Mr. Moonlight and its weird solo makes it a quite original song for the time it was recorded. Rock and Roll Music, composed by Chuck Berry, is a superb interpretation, adding power, energy, speed and drama to the original recording. It is a rocker in the vein of covers of other albums such as Please Mr. Postman, Roll over Beethoven or Twist and Shout - only that it is better. MUCH better. A great display of The Beatles power and interpretation skills. Not only the incredible vocals supplied by John, but also the instruments, particularly the rocking piano played by 6 hands: John, Paul and George Martin. Can't find words enough to express my appreciation for this song.

Going back to the start, though, again The Beatles provide a great opening song, courtesy of John. No Reply alternates between calmer and harder sections, with a great chorus in the middle and a very good coda, showcasing the impressive pace in which Lennon and McCartney were maturing as composers. No Reply, by the way, is John's jealous-guy song of the album. I'm a Loser follows with a well known chorus and a faster speed. Baby's In Black is the first slow number, shared by John and Paul, and with its intriguing lyrics - its subtle reference to the love for a widow ("She thinks of him, and so she dresses in black/ And though he'll never come back, she's dressed in black") is easily overlooked by the unattentious hearer.

I'll Follow the Sun is the classic Paul ballad, in the vein of previous Till There Was You and And I Love Her, but this time with a less optmistic subject. A goodbye song with a smater image than they used to provide ("But tomorrow may rain so/ I'll follow sun"). Very good.

Eight Days a Week, perhaps the best known song in this record, is also worth mention for its fade-in start - another original experiment at the time. The song in itself follows the steps of previous Beatles' classics.

Paul provides himself some good rockers with cover medley Kansas City/ Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! and original What You're Doing. From the start, both John and Paul composed rockers and ballads and both composers excelled on both styles. So, the common-place image of a raw-straight forward John and a soft-romantic Paul is for the most part a distorted picture. In fact, Paul was the "official" interpreter of Little Richard songs (like the aforementioned Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! a Long Tall Sally, released in an EP), and also composing powerful songs clearly influenced by that style, while John would take the lead vocals in most of Chuck Berry's songs.

The remainder of the songs in this album are not particularly remarkable. Like the previous one, quality drops sensitively in side B. The songs already mentioned are all highlights, but Rock and Roll Music clearly stands out, although it's a cover. Don't confuse this with any statement of weakness in the original compositions, though, as John and Paul were improving fast for all to see.

Excluding the curiosities of Mr. Moonlight and Eight Days a Week, there are not many tricks in this record, still far from the experimental years and, therefore, far from prog-rock. Though a step back in terms of number of original songs, it's a step forward in terms of the quality of those original songs and overall sound. 3 stars.

bfmuller | 3/5 |


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