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The Beatles With the Beatles album cover
2.90 | 507 ratings | 35 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1963

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. It Won't Be Long (2:13)
2. All I've Got to Do (2:04)
3. All My Loving (2:09)
4. Don't Bother Me (2:29)
5. Little Child (1:47)
6. Till There Was You (2:16)
7. Please Mr Postman (2:36)
8. Roll over Beethoven (2:47)
9. Hold Me Tight (2:32)
10. You've Really Got a Hold on Me (3:02)
11. I Wanna Be Your Man (1:58)
12. Devil in Her Heart (2:27)
13. Not a Second Time (2:08)
14. Money (2:47)

Total Time 33:15

Line-up / Musicians

- George Harrison / lead & acoustic guitars, lead (4,8,10,12), harmony (1,7,14) & backing vocals
- John Lennon / rhythm & acoustic guitars, harmonica, lead (1,2,5,7,10,13,14), harmony (4) & backing vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, lead (3,6,9), harmony (1,5,7,10,11,14) & backing vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, tambourine, maracas, Arabian bongo (4,6), lead vocals (11)

- George Martin / piano (10,13,14), co-arranger, producing & mixing

Releases information

Artwork: Robert Freeman (photo)

LP Parlophone ‎- PMC 1206 (1963, UK) Mono version
LP Parlophone ‎- PCS 3045 (1963, UK) Stereo version
LP Parlophone ‎- MFSL 1-102 (1986, US) First release ever in the US

CD Parlophone ‎- CDP 7 46436 2 (1987, UK) Mono
CD Parlophone ‎- 0946 3 82420 2 4 (2009, Europe) Stereo remaster by Guy Massey, Paul Hicks & Steve Rooke; CD-ROM section includes Mini-Documentary video

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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THE BEATLES With the Beatles ratings distribution

(507 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (42%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

THE BEATLES With the Beatles reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
3 stars Before The Beatles recorded with Parlophone Records (which was directed by George Martin), this label, which belongs to EMI Records, was mostly known as a little label which released Comedy albums by Peter Sellers and others. With the success of The Beatles` "Please Please Me" album, EMI gave more budget and more studio time for the recording of this, The Beatles`second album. Maybe, without being The Beatles in Parlophone, this label could have disappeared, but The Beatles, IMO, helped "survive" this little label, which became an "historical" label being part of the history of The Beatles as a band.

Their second album is better in songs and it is more "poilished" as they had more days to record it. Some of the lyrics are very good (particularly in "All I`ve Got to Do" and "Not a Second Time"). "All My Loving" is one of the best songs of the album, with a very good bass part by played by McCartney. "Don`t Bother Me" is a very good song composed by Harrison, apparently the first song that he wrote and the first of his songs to appear on record."Little Child", another good song, with harmonica and good vocal arrangements."Hold Me Tight", one of the weak songs, which it is good, but sounds more as a filler."I Want to Be Your Man", composed by Lennon/McCartney and given to Ringo Starr to sing, is a good Rocker. My favourite song in this album is "Not a Second Time", with a piano solo played by George Martin, and very good double-tracked lead vocals by Lennon.

There are also some covers ("Till There Was You", with a very good acoustic guitar solo by Harrison;"Please Mr. Postman", composed by Carole King;"Roll Over Beethoven", a very good Rocker composed by Chuck Berry and sung by Harrison; "You Really Got a Hold on Me",a very good song composed by Smokey Robinson;"Devil in Her Heart", with a good guitar and lead vocals by Harrison; and "Money", a Rocker with good lyrics and sung by Lennon).

This is a more enjoyable album than their first, IMO.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars No, it's not prog in any way, shape or form. But it's here because the Beatles belong here so it deserves a review by someone who was there when it happened. Please, Please me might be their first album but this is the one that introduced the USA to what England already knew. I can only hope that someday another generation will have their own Fab Four that revolutionizes music as we know it. Even the picture on the cover indicated that these guys were a quartet of individuals that weren't fooling around. They were out to change everything we thought we knew about popular music and they did just that. While the songs included here are basically a further extension of their performance repertoire, they did include 8 original compositions that were better than anything else on the charts at the time. We all got caught up in the initial media-fed excitement but none of us could possibly envision where they were eventually going to take us. Try to listen with virgin ears and perhaps you will understand why this music was so radical to an audience that was fed up and bored of tired Elvis tunes and songs about hot rod cars.
Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Now, here we are on to something. This album was where the Beatles' signature sound was defined. They don't sound remotely like anyone else on any of the tracks. There are still several covers, but they have been given the complete Beatle treatment. There is an energy, and excitement that carries through to the present. The guys were playing with more confidence, and the songwriting is better. They were also getting more creative in their instrumentation, and harmonies. It always amazes me to think about how quickly they grew as musicians, and a band.

Even at this early stage, they weren't comfortable to sit still. Staring out with a the rocker "It Won't Be Long," and going right into the melancholy love song "All I've Got to Do." They tackle Motown with "Devil in Her Heart," and Broadway with a great rendition of "Till There Was You," from "The Music Man." Then it wraps up with the down and dirty "Money." Once again, the Beatles proved to be innovators. The world was heating up, as Beatlemania was about to explode.

Needless to say, I love this album. On any other site, I would give it five stars. It gets three here, due to it's lack of proggitude. However, as I said in my review of "Please Please Me," there is historical value here (along with the great music of course). These four upstarts were pushing the boundaries of popular music. It's fun to observe the "progression."

H.T. Riekels

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Beatles second album, titled With the Beatles, was released shortly after the release of Please Please Me. This time they had a little success riding on their backs so they were able to do some more extravagent things for this record. Unfortunately, though, this record just doesn't really have that kick and that spark that the first album had. There are some very good pop tracks and some budding creativity to go along with it, but for the most part, this album isn't very memorable and it doesn't really hold up against their early albums like Help!, Please Please Me, and A Hard Day's Night. This album would also mark the album debut of George Harrison's first solo penned track in Don't Bother Me. Although the song itself isn't terribly great, it marks the beginning of a great songwriting career for Harrison. Once again like the first album, With the Beatles is about half and half with original compositions and covers.

Anyway, like I did with my review for Please Please Me, I'll review the tracks that really stand out from the bunch. All My Loving has some great chord work from Lennon and Harrison and some heartfelt vocals from McCartney during the chorus. Roll Over Beethoven is a rollicking cover of the Chuck Berry song of the same name, with some great riffing and leads from Harrison as well as a nice vocal performance from him. The Beatles always did good covers of Chuck Berry songs for some reason. Till There Was You is a soft spoken acoustic ballad with some majestic guitar work as well as a spectacular vocal performance from McCartney who really shines on this track brighter than any other on the album. I Wanna Be Your Man was originally a song Lennon and McCartney wrote for the Rolling Stones and Ringo gets a shot at it on this track with a nice vocal performance from him as well. Money ends the album with another top notch cover and some great vocals from Lennon (the same can be said about Please Mr. Postman).

Overall, With the Beatles would be the "sophomore slump" of the group. Although, like Please Please Me, this is in no way shape or form a progressive rock album, you can see the overall progression of the group, as well as the start of a great songwriting career in George Harrison (read the opening paragraph for more). The main problem I believe lies with this album is that it isn't very memorable and despite it being of such a short length (the early Beatles albums were reall really short) it is a bit boring. Fortunately, A Hard Day's Night would rectify the problems that this album was wrought with, and while that album isn't progressive either, it's another step towards what the Beatles would become. As for With the Beatles, fans of the Beatles probably own this, and unless you like non-progressive oldies, you probably won't need this. 2.5/5.

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Better than the debut, the second UK album of the Fab Four still contains many covers of classic soul and r'n'b music of American "black" scene, but this is already a competent, developed musicianship of the revolutionary rockers. Again, it is too early for prog rock, but this album deserves to be heard, even by those who do not like THE BEATLES (are there any such people out there?), if nothing then for the amazing vocal harmonies.
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars Needless to say that the second album of Fab Four will top the British charts. For twenty-one weeks.It is also their first number one in the States (with a different album title as well as track list as it will the standard).

What to say while you listen to "All My Loving". Nothing I guess. Just sit, listen and potentially cry. Sure that shivers will be present as well. At least it is my case. So simple, so straight-forward but so beautiful. It is said that this song (written by McCartney) was aired at the Roosevelt New-York hospital when John was brought after having been shot on that sad December day of 1980.

The recipe is pretty much similar to their debut album (released eight months before). It is a mix of own and cover songs. Even if "Till There Was You" is less known, it holds all the magnificence of the light and profound melodic mood that is so "Beatles". They were the first to write so many beautiful melodies and will probably remain the best ones ever. To be sure, just listen to "Mr. Postman". One of my fave on this album (but there will be at least five of them here).

The version of "Roll Over Beethoven" from the great Chuck Berry has of course nothing to do with the absolutely crazy and fantastic "ELO" interpretation. This one is just a nice and truthful rendition of this rock'n' roll anthem.

But even the Fab Four are not perfect. "Hold Me Tight" sounds pretty weak. A kind of filler, I guess.It was rejected form the "Please, Please Me" sessions for obvious reasons.It was already written in 1961 by McCartney.

My favourite cover from this album is "You Really Got a Hold on Me". A hit from the Motown label written by Smokey Robinson.

Would you believe that "I Wanna Be Your Man" (a daring title for the Fab Four) will be covered by the "Stones" (for whom it is a more appropriate title, right?). The "Stones" being able to release it BEFORE ! Bad guys, I tell you (just kidding...).

The travel back in time continues with this album. Some timeless songs again of which "Not A Second Time" fully belongs. Even if some covers are probably not well chosen nor greatly played, the Fab Four just confirmed their skilled song writing and their care for vocal arrangements. But of course, they will do far much better later on. No question of prog here, of course.

Three stars for this pre-historical rock album.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As my brother convinced me that The Beatles contributed a lot to the development - in fact it was a revolution - of rock music, I started to collect the individual album of the band. Previously I had only some favorite albums like "Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band", "Magical Mystery Tour" and a tribute compilation "All That World War II" (simply because Peter Gabriel sung "Strawberry Field Forever") and "White Album". I traced back the early albums of The Betales. Yes, the music is somewhat raw but I could see it had tremendous impact to rock music, overall.

This second album has nothing different with its predecessor. It has the band's hits and singles like "All My Loving", "Please Mr Postman". This second album reconfirmed The Beatles standing in their music direction. Through this album John Lennon and Paul McCartney demonstrated their talents in songwriting and music making even though the rest of the members did contribute as well. Some songs are enjoyable and uplifting including "It Won't Be Long", "All My Loving", "Roll Over Beethoven" which has become favorites of other bands to cover, "Hold Me Tight".

The unique thing enjoying the music of The Beatles in its inception days is its vintage recording quality and simplicity of its composition. This sounds strange if we compare with prog music which tend to be complex and challenging. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Yeh, yeh, yeh... oh, sorry, this album, the first released in Brazil, with the astonishing name of Beatlemania, included 'She loves you' and 'I want to hold you hands', the Beatles first two huge worldwide hits. Of course that Odeon (EMI representative here) got additional coins issuing the mentioned songs and many more from this album via those small saucers named singles.

With The Beatles is more mature and well-crafted when compared with their debut album but it's still far from the progressive gate (not yet founded) or even the proto-prog status, but otherwise songs are fine, we may feel a certain evolution in their music, in spite the permanent hand-in-hand scheme abiding in the lyrics and the inclusion of a couple of songs from the times they were still poor.

Otherwise and unlike their first album where we can hear all tracks en suite, here I need to do some skippig action cause tracks like 'Little child' and 'Till there was you' are really weak. But here, this weakness is compensated by some strong pieces like 'It won't belong' and 'Don't bother me'. I also like 'Hold me tight' and their cover for the classic 'You've really got a hold on me' - not counting the band's visiting to Berry's 'Roll over Beethoven', one of my favorites early/classic rocks.

The issue of applying a rating here follows the same principle of Please Please Me and in balance, if we consider those weak and strong tracks, the rating stair is the same. Good.

Review by J-Man
2 stars This is probably the weakest album by The Beatles ever. Their debut PLEASE PLEASE ME was released shortly before, and even that was better than WITH THE BEATLES. This is not prog at all, but even as a rock n' roll album, it's not great either. The main problem here is the covers. The Lennon/McCartney songs are all great early rock songs, but the covers are all of pretty lousy 50's songs. The best songs are IT WON'T BE LONG, ALL MY LOVING, and all the other Lennon/McCartney songs. The best overall song is the first IT WON'T BE LONG, which is a really great rock song that I listen to more than anything else on the album.

Basically, I skip a fair amount of the songs, and after my own cuts to this album, it's only like 18-20 minutes. Some hidden gems are in this mediocre album, but nothing really makes it worth a purchase for a prog fan.

3/5 for rock. 2/5 for prog.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "With the Beatles" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act The Beatles. The album was released through Parlophone Records in November 1963. The material for "With the Beatles" was recorded only four months after The Beatles debut album "Please Please Me (1963)" (released in March 1963). Most of the tracks saw an American release on the US only album "Meet The Beatles!" on the 20th of January 1964 and the rest appeared on the US only release "The Beatles' Second Album" on the 25th of April 1964.

The tracks on "With the Beatles" are in a similar style to the tracks featured on the debut album by the band. Itīs simple, melodic, and vocal oriented pop/rock tracks. The vocals are a real treat and definitely the greatest asset here. Well arranged and inventive vocal harmonies and strong lead vocals too. "With the Beatles" features eight original compositions while the remaining 6 tracks are covers of 50s/early 60s rhythmīnīblues and rockīnīroll songs like "Roll Over Beethoven" by Chuck Berry.

The musicianship and sound quality on the album have increased a bit since the debut but this is still an early 60s production and itīs audible. Raw and authentic sounding, and each track was probably recorded in very few takes, although the material were recorded over seven sessions across three months. If you enjoyed the debut album this is more of the same. A 3 star (60%) rating is deserved.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars THE BEATLES is a very contradictory band, capable of sublime albums as "Abbey Road" but with a simply horrendous early career, to the point of being fathers of what we know today as POP.

Except for Roll Over Beethoven (which is by Chuck Berry), there's are very few decent moments in "With The Beatles", an album full of non transcendental songs, anodyne tunes and harmless music without teeth. to complete the scenario tracks that are not remotely close to the three minutes mark, just all we criticize of mainstream, but because this songs were written by THE BEATLES, people seem to forgive everything.

Even though I agree with the policy of the site to add all the complete discography of an artist, in cases like this one, I wonder if there could be a solution, because this album should be in POP Archives not here, as a fact I believe everything before "Rubber Soul" should be avoided.

Won't even try to review track by track as I usually do, because I believe there's nothing worthy to be analyzed, but as a complete work, the album must be one of the cheesiest and simplest moments in the history of Rock & Roll.

Plus it would be a futile attempt, being that the songs end almost as son as they start, with such similar length that seem manufactured in an assembly line, the shortest lasts 1:47 minutes and the longest 2:47, so there's very little to talk about a catchy chorus and a verse that have aged terribly as most POP releases, created to reach the peak in a short period of time but also to vanish even faster after selling some millions of albums, this ones have survived longer because of the name BEATLES, but not for the quality.

As I said before, the only memorable moments I find are "Roll Over Beethoven" and Ringo Starr's vocal performance on "I Wanna Be Your Man", which has always surprised me, the rest is pretty forgettable.

Two stars because I don't want to start WW III, but was tempted to give one.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Sophmore slump---but it won't be long

If I were forced to rank the Beatles albums in order of perceived quality, this one would likely hold the bottom slot. While not a bad album it is certainly a slide from the excellent debut, despite the iconic black and white album cover showing part of their faces hidden. Released just 8 months after the first album and recorded in nearly as little time, it would be the final fab four album to utilize twin track technology.

The problem here is simply the lack of memorable material which is a problem few Beatles albums have. The first two albums were likely culled from a large pool of songs representing their live repertoire of the years late 1962-1963, and it would only be natural that the best tracks they had would be selected for the first. Over the summer of 1963 they probably combined some of the new songs with the tracks passed over for recording on the debut. This would explain the mediocrity. Even the one-two leadoff punch of "It won't be long" and "All I've got to do" are as weak an album start as they would ever manage, without much oomph or charisma. But there are a few gems here that are of interest to fans. "All my loving" is a classic with the interesting guitar and bass parts, and "Till there was you" is another absolutely endearing McCartney vocal. It also features a nice acoustic solo. Lennon has a few rocking covers here that almost get the blood pumping with his sneering attitude and gritty guitar, "Please Mister Postman" and "Money." Aside from those much of the second album just doesn't live up to the debut. I also note those who say that this album sounds better than the debut---to me the first album sounds more alive and defined, this one seems duller somehow in its sound presentation.

While not awful "With the Beatles" is probably one of only two albums I would recommend for fans only. As good as they were, the pace of recordings and shows in this period was intense, though this problem would soon be overcome by their growing studio skills and songwriting abilities.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Beatles second album is a fair singles album with enough catchy radio friendly songs to appease any Beatles addict. For me the highlights are the less known songs that have not been played to death such as It Won't Be Long, Don't Bother Me, and Money. There are some throwaways (gasp) such as Little Child and Till There Was You, but overall this has essential Beatles that appear on near every compilation of the fab Four such as Please Mr Postman, Roll Over Beethoven, and Hold Me Tight.

This is worth a listen for nostalgia and of course there is not a sceric of prog on it. 2 1/2 stars only.

Review by baz91
3 stars Following the success of their first album, it was only natural that the band would release a second album eight months later. In my opinion however, this one doesn't quite stand up to the first!

On the plus side, you have the wonderful All My Loving, the infectiously pretty Till There Was You and another rocking Ringo track I Wanna Be Your Man, which actually sounds quite hard to sing and drum to at the same time! There are some lesser gems like Please Mr Postman and Roll Over Beethoven as well. However, the rest of this album is mainly forgettable! It's interesting to note the innocence of the early '60s: Little Child could simply not have been written today, with the lyrics 'Little child won't you dance with me? I'm so sad and lonely, baby take a chance with me.'

This album really fails to make a great impact on me, and although some of the tracks are really good, there aren't enough of them to make this a must-buy. The decision to exclude She Loves You from this album is an intriguing one, as I can imagine this would have boosted the sales dramatically. However, history tells us that even without this track, 'With The Beatles' managed to do considerably well, which launched the band into super-stardom. In my opinion however, this is not one of the great Beatles' albums, even from their early period.

Review by Warthur
3 stars With The Beatles offers stagnation and progress in equal portions. The Beatles are able to diversify their sound a little - check out the easy listening ballad You've Really Got a Hold On Me or the acoustic Till There Was You - but these dabblings, whilst outside their comfort zone, weren't exactly innovative. In the rock sphere, however, the delivery is noticably improved. All My Loving and Hold Me Tight are highlights of the album, and the more relaxed recording sessions and superior studio equipment improve the sound quality appreciably. If anything, the weakest point on this album is the lyrics, which remain mired in cliche, though Not A Second Time does take things in a darker than usual direction.
Review by thehallway
4 stars It is unfair that people are giving particularly low scores to the first four Beatles albums just because they aren't progressive; unfair because they are, in actual fact, very innovative, but also unfair because prog rock didn't exist in the early Sixties, so how can a band be criticised for not doing it? It's all to easy to say that With The Beatles isn't as good as Dark Side of the Moon, and therefore that it's a crappy album, but hindsight is a wonderful thing and I wonder: how boring and derivative would all of those Seventies albums be if this very band not taken those brave first few steps?

Rant over.

I like this album slightly more than The Beatles debut, Please Please Me. Even though there is one particular song on here that I hate more than any other Beatles tune ([%*!#]ing "Please Mr Postman") the rest are really very good. 'It Won't Be Long' is almost a rock song, with some great chords and a shouty hook from Lennon. Then 'All I've Got To Do' takes things down a notch, but we get one of the best and most emotional melodies on the album, and Ringo creates a marvellous R&B beat here. A good start. On side one, I would also like to highlight the first song George Harrison ever wrote, 'Don't Bother Me', which is just as decent as the Lennon/McCartney compositions, and the beautiful 'Till There Was You', a Broadway song that features some of Paul's best ever singing and a great Spanish guitar solo.

The second side has less to offer but there are two excellent songs. Chuck Berry's famous 'Roll Over Beethoven' (and tell Tchaikovsky the news) is a great rock and roll cover, probably quite controversial among lovers of classical music. Also, the album's closer 'Money (That's what I want)' provides a memorable and bluesy ending to this underrated album. I still prefer The Flying Lizards version of that song, however!

With The Beatles is not an essential release from the band, but it is one of their better early records, better still if it had had the coinciding singles on it; 'She Loves You' and 'From Me to You'. The main thing is that there are far fewer 'throwaway' tracks than on Please Please Me and Hard Days Night.

Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'With The Beatles' - The Beatles (4/10)

The influence of 50's rock n' roll is very evident on The Beatles with their second album.While this band is mostly known for their excellent art pop material from 'Help!' onwards, this group started off as a fairly typical group of British youngsters attempting to claim some of the glory pioneered by the American rock n' roll movement of the past decade. The quality of the Lennon/McCartney songwriting duo is not in question, but as it stands, this band was at a fairly adolescent and simplistic stage with this album.

As with every album that The Beatles ever did, there are a handful of songs that stand out, regardless of the quality of the overall album. Here, 'All My Loving' is the big winner, a beautiful tune with great melody and lyrical rhymes. The more rock based songs 'Hold Me Tight' and 'It Won't Be Long' are also memorable, although they cling onto the bluesy American format. 'With The Beatles' is a very simple album, and musically speaking, The Beatles were little more than a typical boyband. The potential of the band is heard here, without it being tapped into. The only strong thing about the band at this point were their melodies, which are straightforward and predictable, but effective. The vocal harmonies that the band would be so famous for later in their careers are pretty rough this time around.

While the band's songwriting is very American R&B influenced, there are actual covers from that scene, particularly a Chuck Berry track, 'Rock n' Roll Beethoven'. Here, they pay decent homage to some greats of early rock music, but as one might expect, there is not anything here that these adolescent Brits are doing that makes it better than the originals. For fans of The Beatles, this is naturally a worthy album to check out, as it features some early examples of Lennon/McCartney songwriting. However, there is a reason that this is one of the less recognized albums by the band.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars Quickly following up a successor to their chart busting debut, WITH THE BEATLES was released only eight months later and succeeded in knocking their own "Please Please Me" off the number one position on the charts. The Fab Four were on fire and the world was eating it up big time. Unlike the debut which was recorded in one day, this album had the luxury of taking three months to record although the music is very similar to the previous one that being mostly based on late 50s / early 60s pop. This album boasts 8 originals and 6 covers. There are a few firsts here for THE BEATLES. George Harrison makes his debut as a contributing member as singer and songwriter on "Don't Bother Me." The track "All My Loving" was the first song ever heard by Americans when they appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show which launched Beatlemania in the USA. Also it was their first album to sell a million copies in the UK. The second album ever to do so.

For me I like this second release better than the first simply because I like most of the songs on here unlike the debut. The originals are catchy and show how THE BEATLES were masters of their game in the simplified days before they got all freaky and creative on the world. The harmonies are sublime and the music is marvelous. The covers are good choices that add to their sound and an air of confidence is taking root. This is not the band reinventing their sound just quite yet but simply a slightly improved take on what they had been doing throughout the early 60s, namely pumping out some of the best pop rock music of that era. The band was still a few albums away from their best output but as with the debut I find this a mandatory piece in my collection for it is beautifully crafted and charmingly catchy hooks and was a minor step up in THE BEATLES' decade long career. 3.5 rounded down

Review by jamesbaldwin
2 stars The second album of the Baetles traces the same structure of the first, so as to seem the bad copy, if it were not that the songs of the first side are of the same quality (while the second side holds less), and there is less rock and roll and more Mersey beat. Certainly the opening song and the ending are not comparable to those of Please Please Me (in both cases, the incipit is an original, the ending is a successful cover), but With The Beatles places inside it a typically beat masterpiece, "All My Loving", who emancipated from the rock and roll of the 50s of the masterpiece of the previous album, "I Saw Her Standing There", being much more original and in step with the times. For the rest, the album is even more linked than the previous to the soul of Motown (Smokey Robinson in particular) and has, on average, songs with a greater speed: the Beatlemania had begun.

The first piece, "It Won't Be Long", is a perpetual vocal piece in the musical style of Lennon, the typical piece with the contagious exuberance of the Beatles, which here mix the best rock and roll, beat, and 50s vocal ensembles. It is a song that could have been a single, with the usual yeh yeh in the foreground (like "She Loves You"). "All I've Got to Do" is a new ballad written and sung by Lennon (which is the first voice in 7 songs), which tries to imitate the sound of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, succeeding in part. Arrangement thin, good the sung, especially in the refrain. Third track: here is the masterpiece of McCartney, sung only by him, with excellent lyrics, good rhythm, contagious guitar accompaniment, which determines the sound, good solo; the soul refrain, little developed, in the hands of black gospel singers would become a pleasure. Fourth song: first and excellent song by Harrison, who sings a very personal text and that does not go for the subtle, avoids romanticism and expresses his own feelings without embarrassment. Nice song and very original, has an excellent progression in the bridge and in the solo. One of the best original pieces.

"Little Child" is a song with a frenzied rhythm of Lennon, guided by his song and his harmonica, an instrument that is much less present in this album than in the previous one (it could be associated with There's a Place of LP Please Please Me). "Till There Was You" is the second song sung by Paul (who sings in three pieces, in total, like George), and it is a slow, Spanish cover, with voice and acoustic guitar in the foreground. The melody and the arrangement are very good: it is an almost masterpiece. In the next album Paul will write a slow with Spanish guitar that will outclass this cover: "And I Lover Her". "Please Mr. Postman" is a rock and roll cover that closes the first side raising the volume and the rhythm, good but too repetitive in the final.

Side A: 1) It Wont Be Long 8; 2) All I've Got To Do 7; 3) All My Loving 8+; 4) Dont Bother Me 7,5; 5) Little Child 7; 6) Till There Was You* 7,5/8; 7) Please Mr Postman* 7; * = covers.

The second side quality is much lower than the first, no song goes beyond 7+. Start George, singing a very famous cover of Chuck Berry: the performance is scholastic, and considering the goodness of the song, the Beatles version is pleasant but flows away without leaving a mark. "Hold Me Tight", by McCartney, brings up the rhythm, remembering for speed and beat and vocal response "It Will not Be" Long by Lennon: unfortunately the monotonous arrangement, very percussive, and the almost unsuspected singing lead soon to make the exuberance of the rather unpleasant song. "You Really Got ..." is a soul cover of S. Robinson, a ballad, sung well by Lennon, but which does not reach great pathos because it lacks the proper arrangement; good the piano phrase. "I Wanna Be Your Man", a light song written on a par with Paul and John, is sung by Ringo, and it's a bit of chorus and rhythm, with a good George guitar solo and George Martin organ backing: this time the arrangement elevates the quality of a compositional piece easy and weak. "Devil in Her Heart" is another sliding soul cover (almost unknown), pleasant but rather "flat", sung by George, who in the second side sings 2 songs, against one of Paul. "Not a Second Time", written and sung entirely by Lennon alone, is a quite strange beat-soul, with an unclear but well arranged melody, thanks again to George Martin's piano. Finally, the cover "Money", at the time a great hit Motown, as sung with frenzy by Lennon, and arranged in a savage way, can not close with a bang, because the song over time appears more and more shouted, repetitive, forced. The comparison with "Twist and Shout" is clearly lost.

Side B. 8) Roll Over Beethoven* 7+; 9) Hold Me Tight 6,5; 10) You Really Got a Hold on Me* 7; 11) I Wanna Be Your Man 7; 12) Devil in Her Heart* 6,5/7; 13) Not a Second Time 6,5/7; 14) Money* 7+.

Overall, "With the Beatles" is an LP that follows the structure of the first album, is faster, has less country harmonica and a more soulful sound, less rock and roll and more Beatles style: mix between pop, rock and vocal harmony; has a good first side, up to the previous album, and a modest second side, slightly lower than the (already modest) side of the debut album both for the quality of the covers and the originals.

Medium quality: 7,23. Rating: 7. Two (and a half) stars.

Review by patrickq
3 stars The Beatles recorded plenty of cover songs, but I think of With the Beatles as their "covers album." In terms of original compositions, it's one of their weakest; John Lennon's "It Won't Be Long" and Paul McCartney's "All My Loving" are OK, but there was nothing like a "She Loves You" or "I Want to Hold Your Hand" here. But what is here is pretty great, including some superb Motown re-makes sung by Lennon: the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman," Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," and the Miracles' "You Really Got a Hold on Me," on which he duets with George Harrison. Among the three other cover songs, Harrison turns in a nice performance of Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven."

In terms of performance, With the Beatles is one of Lennon's strongest outings, and as much as any LP, this one could have been billed as "John & the Beatles." This is also true of the group's original compositions; it's clear that by the end of 1963, John Lennon was doing most of the proverbial heavy lifting in the songwriting department. It's true that at this early date, both he and McCartney were still contributing to many songs credited to "Lennon-McCartney;" for example, Lennon was apparently not the sole writer of "It Won't Be Long." It's also true that Harrison wrote "Don't Bother Me," meaning that just seven of the fourteen tunes here were written by Lennon and/or McCartney. Nonetheless we can hear the dynamic shifting in Lennon's favor on With the Beatles.

Compared to Please Please Me, With the Beatles also represents an upgrade in sound quality. Although the two LPs were recorded during the same year (the former on February 11, the latter between July and October), With the Beatles has better sound separation (for what it's worth, I'm listening to the 2009 EMI remaster of Please Please Me and the original (1987) CD issue of With the Beatles). There are also more overdubs (e.g., Lennon's harmonica on "Little Child"), signaling a departure, however slight, from the "live" sound of their prior LP.

The group's second album, With the Beatles was released just six months after their promising debut. It's a better album in many respects, but the Beatles' songwriting here fails to match that of Please Please Me. Nonetheless, another good LP.

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1 stars With the Beatles is basically a second version of their debut album. Almost nothing in their style and sound has changed, and cover songs still litter half their album. Of the songs they did write there still isn't anything that really sticks out. Some of them are catchy and obviously well sung, lik ... (read more)

Report this review (#771423) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Still slowly making my way reviewing the Beatles regular album releases WITH THE BEATLES is a long way from being a bad album many hits are here: "Love Me Do", "All My Loving", Money", "Please Mr Postman", "Roll Over Beethovan",. All are classics of rock and roll. But are they prog? Nope. Not ... (read more)

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3 stars It was still early days but the band already had some unusual ideas up their sleeves. The opening "It Won't Be Long" is an upbeat number but was very different in its day. I agree with the last reviewer who mentioned that The Beatles pushed typical musical boundaries slightly further here. Har ... (read more)

Report this review (#436391) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Thursday, April 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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Report this review (#84548) | Posted by Thyme Traveler | Saturday, July 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The track "It won't be long" is one of my favourites by the Beatles. No intro or any complexity. Thirteen seconds of playing time and they have already delivered the entire refrain. Isn't that quite odd? Just listen to the energy!!! They never did another track with that intensity, ever! Compa ... (read more)

Report this review (#70231) | Posted by 1971 | Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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