Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


The Beatles


From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Beatles Beatles for Sale album cover
2.83 | 511 ratings | 32 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1964

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. No Reply (2:17)
2. I'm a Loser (2:33)
3. Baby's in Black (2:07)
4. Rock 'n' Roll Music (2:33)
5. I'll Follow the Sun (1:50)
6. Mr Moonlight (2:37)
7. Kansas City (2:33)
8. Eight Days a Week (2:45)
9. Words of Love (2:14)
10. Honey Don't (2:59)
11. Don't Want to Spoil the Party (2:36)
12. What You're Doing (2:34)
13. Everybody's Tryin' to Be My Baby (2:23)

Total Time 32:01

Line-up / Musicians

- George Harrison / lead, 12-strings & acoustic guitars, African drum, lead (14) & backing vocals
- John Lennon / rhythm & acoustic guitars, piano, harmonica, tambourine, lead (1-4,6,8,9,11,12) & backing vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, acoustic guitar, piano, Hammond, lead (3,5,7,9,11,13), harmony (1,2,12) & backing vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, tambourine, maracas, timpani, cowbell, bongos, lead vocals (10)

- George Martin / piano, producer

Releases information

Artwork: Robert Freeman (photo)

LP Parlophone ‎- PMC 1240 (1964, UK) Mono version
LP Parlophone ‎- PCS 3062 (1964, UK) Stereo version

CD Parlophone ‎- CDP 7 46438 2 (1987, UK) Mono
CD Parlophone ‎- 0946 3 82414 2 3 (2009, Europe) Stereo remaster by Guy Massey & Steve Rooke; CD-ROM section includes Mini-Documentary video

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy THE BEATLES Beatles for Sale Music

THE BEATLES Beatles for Sale ratings distribution

(511 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(22%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (25%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

THE BEATLES Beatles for Sale reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Guillermo
3 stars After recording a full album with all songs composed by Lennon and McCartney, the band had to record another album in 1964, to satisfy their fans and EMI. So, as they were working hard in 1964 making a film and their previous studio album, plus touring, they had again to include covers in this album. George Martin considers this album as their weakest, and I agree with him. It was an album more done "as an obligation", and it reflects in the quality.

The quality of the Lennon / McCartney songs is not at the best level. Some of the lyrics are depressing ("No Reply", I`m a Loser", and "Baby`s in Black"), sounding tired. The best of all the original compositions are the beautiful "I`ll Follow the Sun", an old song composed by McCartney in the early 60s, "Eight Days a Week", and "Every Little Thing". "I Don`t Want to Spoil the Party" and "What You`re Doing" are filler, IMO.

Some of the covers are very good, particularly "Rock and Roll Music" (Chuck Berry) and "Words of Love" (Buddy Holly).

Pop and Rock music were seeing then by record labels as passing fads, so the labes (and managers too) had to obtain from the artists the best they could to obtain more profits, IMO. So, bands like The Beatles had to record two albums per year in 1963, 1964 and 1965, apart from touring and making films. But The Beatles, year by year, became more respected and passed the test of being "only a fad". Maybe if they had recorded one album per year between 1963 and 1965, they could have rested more to record even better albums than this album. But even sounding tired, the quality of this album was still good.

The title of this album ("Beatles For Sale") is very good, reflecting with some humour how they had to work harder in order to satisfy mostly others `needs.

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This was a rather rushed album as everyone was desperate for more Fabs product, consequently there are rather more cover versions than normal on this album. It is an album that goes from the sublime (No Reply) to the ridiculous (Mr Moonlight) with some good songs in between. It opens with three Lennon numbers which, with hindsight, offer some evidence as to his state of mind at the time (No Reply, I'm A Loser, Baby's In Black). "No Reply" is the best of these, the middle eight being one of the most exciting moments in their early career. McCartney chips in another nice number in "I'll Follow The Sun" and Lennon also contributes the hit "Eight days a week".

Of the other songs, "What You're Doing" (not the Rush song) is an obscure but good McCartney number, "Kansas City" and "Rock 'n' Roll Music" are among their best rock 'n' roll covers, "Every Little Thing" (missing from the track listing here) was covered by a certain well-known prog band and "Mr Moonlight" is so bad, with an incredibly cheesy organ solo, that it must surely have been a joke.

All in all, a good but not brilliant album but better than we had a right to expect considering the pressure they were under at the time.

Review by Chicapah
3 stars To imply that the band was burned out at this point is incorrect. They were in their prime and still riding the crest of popularity that had propelled them into the forefront of the world's consciousness so their energy was more than up to the challenge. What seems to be occurring on this album is the appearance of the first hints that they were ready to wander off the beaten trail with their original songs. The demand for product required that they still dip into their catalogue of covers to fill out the record so we get Beatle versions of Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Carl Perkins but this would prove to be the last LP to do that. But there's no "She Loves You" here. For the first time we fans started to hear songs that made us cock our heads a bit. "Baby's in Black" had a strange beginning and ambience for the times, "I'll follow the sun" featured a different progression than we had come to expect from them and the odd yet fascinating drum cadence that introduced "What you're doing" showed us that things might become a little more unconventional in the recordings to follow. While admittedly not their best output of the early era, it still rocks with the exuberant joy that characterized the height of Beatlemania.
Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars For the first time, we see some chinks in the armour. This is not a bad album. Had it been done by anyone else, it would probably be hailed as a classic. But, this is the Beatles, and can only be judged by what had been done up to this point.

This is a darker, more despondent bunch of loveable mop-tops. The evidence is in the first three tracks, "No Reply," I'm a Loser," and "Baby's in Black." Not exactly uplifting stuff. We are then rescued by the Chuck Berry classic, "Rock and Roll Music." Another great cover, dressed up in full Beatle regalia. "I'll Follow the Sun" is a nice, seemingly positive tune ... but wait, not really. "Mr. Moonlight" has been chosen as possibly the worst thing they ever recorded. Okay, the harmonies are rough, John strains on the lead vocal, and the organ is cheesy, but for some reason I like it. I think there is a certain campiness to it. If you see the humor, it's really not a bad tune. "Kansas City" is a great blues romp, and "Eight Days a Week" is a classic. Another great job with covering one of their heroes on Buddy Holly's "Words of Love" The standout track for me is "Every Little Thing." Great use of acoustic guitar, piano, and is that a tympani? Once again, a preview of things to come.

Even though I consider this the weakest Beatles album, I would still give it three and one half, to four stars. It is a good album. However, in the context of prog, I only give it two. This does not have enough significance, in the grand scheme of things, to warrant any more. (The Beatle freak inside me is now screaming very loudly)

H.T. Riekels

Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Of all the Beatles albums I have (and I have them all), I consider Beatles for Sale to be the weakest of them all. You can see a band exhausted from an overload of work. After the stellar foray fo A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles went back to the studio and released this album, which is more like a return to the past albums in a way, as this album is about half original songs and half covers. Most of the original pieces are contrived and don't even come close to the quality of the songs on A Hard Day's Night, and even the covers don't match those of previous albums (except for the Chuck Berry cover in Rock 'n' Roll Music). For the most part, though, I'm not really impressed with this album, but there are a few redeeming qualities.

Instead of talking about the faults, I will talk about the songs that save this album from complete disaster. I'm a Loser is the second song on the album and it has John Lennon wailing about his troubles and he really has a convincing performance on this one. On top of that, there's an interesting minor chord progression that really helps the atmosphere. Rock 'n' Roll Music is another Chuck Berry song faithfully played by the Beatles and faithfully sung by George Harrison (or so I believe). I'll Follow the Sun is a fantastic acoustic ballad by McCartney which has a very well conceived chorus and some great guitar work throughout. Eight Days a Week was the major hit on the album and it really is one of (if not the) best songs on the album. Starting with a nice fade-in chord progression, it breaks out into a rocker with a great chorus and an awesome middle eight section. Finally, Kansas City is a nice and short medley of two songs, Kansas City and Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey, faithfully played and overall very high energy. Everything else, though in my opinion, doesn't really measure up to their past works. Although the songs aren't bad, there's just no inspiration in them, in my opinion.

Overall, Beatles For Sale would ultimately be my least favorite Beatles album. Fortunately, they would improve again for their next album, Help!, which I would rate just behind A Hard Day's Night as the best Beatles album in their early days (from the debut through Help!). For progressive rock fans searching for something of interest in this record, you won't find any. It's the farthest thing from progressive rock, but still there some redeeming moments (not saying that it's a bad album because it isn't prog) and people looking into the foundations of arguably the most important rock band that ever existed will probably find something here. But for me, I was left a bit cold after listening to this album. 2/5.

Review by ZowieZiggy

The Fab Four were very prolific in these days. Maybe a bit too much.

For this release, the Fab Four are playing some covers again to fill their fourth album within a twenty-two months period. The honesty is to say that this album lacks in great and unforgettable numbers. It will top the British charts and its US equivalent as well (titled "Beatles '65 and featuring a different track list).

A song like "No Reply" is in line with their good and melodic material, and "I'm A Loser" indicates a step back from their naïve and gentle love songs with a more serious tone. But on the other end, there will more average work than on their previous albums like "Baby's in Black" which feature two lead singers : John and Paul singing through the same microphone to enforce this feeling.

"Mr. Moonlight" is the poorest of all IMO. A cover song which won't add anything to their credit. Just like the Buddy Holly "Words Of Love". As a curiosity for the Ringo lead vocal the next cover is a song from one of the greatest rock'n'roll song writer : Carl Perkins. This fact set aside, there is nothing really great about it (but Ringo is not really my favourite singer...).

The best cover here is "Rock'n'Roll Music". Similar to their own rock'n'roll material. It won't revolutionize this Chuck Berry song but given the average quality of the material, I consider it as one of the best track from "Beatles For Sale".

IMHHO, there are only two great songs on this album. "Eight Days A Week" which was only released as a single in the US (Nr. 1) and which was never played live and "Every Little Thing" is the second one. Although not the single example of this in their career, this Paul song features John on the lead vocals. It was considered too weak for a single and was incorporated into "For Sale". "Yes" will cover this song on their debut album and completely revisited it (like for "America").


Actually, it is very much the feeling here. A sale album quickly released and the weakest of all their work. Not a second of prog to be found of course.

Two stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Looking back the way The Beatles released albums in their career, I can relate well with The Flower Kings - one of the prog rock bands that truly very productive in music making. I might say that the spirit of The Beatles has inspired The Flower Kings to be much more productive with releasing new albums. Almost every year The Flower Kings release a new one. As far as The Beatles, this fourth album strengthened the band's position in the world's pop music industry. This one continued the success of the third album "A Hard day's Night" in terms of music style as well as lyrics and production. Through this album, The Beatles confirmed that they are the world's barometer of rock music during that time. Their three predecessors had successfully anchored their name into a high-regarded pop rock band and this album made their position even better.

The opening track "No Reply" (2:17) is excellent being put at the opening track as this has a good composition, followed with another good song "I'm A Loser" (2:33). "Rock 'n' Roll Music" (2:33) is an upbeat music in rock'n'roll style and it clearly depicts the title of the song. This has become a trademark of The beatles music. "I'll Follow The Sun" (1:50) is a simple song which has powerful lyrics and nice singing style. "Mr Moonlight" (2:37) is my personal favorite plus "Eight days a Week".

It's another good album by The Beatles.

Review by Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars This album was issued here in Brazil with the adventurous title of Beatles 65 and contained the same track listing of the original Beatles For Sale with the exception of 'Baby's in black', later issued as a single. As noticed the release took place in 1965, showing a gap of some months in relation to UK releases that I think it was more in accordance with the North American ordering.

With an audience apparently avid for new band's works then why not mix old material with some newer? The genius behind this idea gave us the more uneven of the Beatles albums and consequently the weaker too. 'Kansas City' and 'Mr. Moonlight' do not combine with 'No reply' and 'I'm a loser' - in fact these last two are my preferred songs here, the latter bearing odd lyrics when compared with their actual stuff, but in the end representing timidly the dawn of a new era for the band's lyrical approach.

Exceptuating the mentioned 'I'm a loser' and 'No reply' and the fair cover of Berry's 'Rock and roll music' there aren't other songs able to really grab the hearer's focus unless you're in a birthday party or something like it. So, with more than 40 years having passed by and showing nothing truly exceptional, Beatles For Sale stands as a release for collectors/fans only.

Review by J-Man
2 stars This where I really wish The Beatles would have continued what they were doing on A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. Sure, that album's just regular early 60's rock music, but it contains very fine songwriting, and yes, there are no covers of lousy songs. BEATLES FOR SALE acts like that album never happened, and goes back to mediocre songwriting and cover songs (although ROCK N' ROLL MUSIC came out pretty good). You can see some progress, as some songs like I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN have wonderful melodies, which are better at times than A HARD DAY'S NIGHT. Luckily, after this they released their first superb album, RUBBER SOUL, but this is not The Beatles finest moment. Buy it if you're a collector or an early Beatle fan, but everyone else should pass this one by.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Beatles for Sale" is the 4rth full-length studio album by UK pop/rock act The Beatles. The album was released through Parlophone Records in December 1964. Itīs also the fourth studio album released by The Beatles in under two years (their debut album being released in March 1963) and the tired and serious looks on the faces of the band on the album cover artwork, were probably due to an extensive and exhausting work load which in addition to writing and recording music also included countless live shows and TV appearances as well as numourous interviews. Sometimes The Beatles played two shows a night. This was not considered unusual at the time and the shows were shorter back then than they are today, but the band were still pushed to the maximum of their physical and mental abilities.

The tracks on "Beatles for Sale" are, probably as a consequence of the little time the band had to write the material, again a mix of the bandīs own original compositions and cover songs like on the two first albums by the band (which was not the case on the previous album "A Hard Dayīs Night (1964)", where all compositions were written by the band). This leads to a slight decrease in compositional quality compared to "A Hard Dayīs Night (1964)" but the quality is generally still very high. The vocal melodies and harmonies/choirs are beautiful and well arranged, and thereīs a folk influence on some songs on the album, which is a new thing for The Beatles. "Eight Days a Week" was the big hit single from the album and probably the most well known track of the album. It definitely is one of the highlights of "Beatles for Sale" but tracks like "I'm a Loser" and "Baby's in Black" are also quality compositions. There are a few misses/fillers along the way but itīs been like that on all previous releases too, so really no surprises there.

George Martin has created a well sounding production, suiting the material well and upon conclusion "Beatles for Sale" is a good quality album by The Beatles and a 3 star (60%) rating isnīt all wrong.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Another rushed affair with some success

"The kids of year 2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well-being and warmth as we do today." -Derek Taylor, 1964

Taylor was right. Every year new kids discover the Beatles and take them to heart, perhaps with less fervor than the Beatlemania crowd, but nonetheless. When I discovered them it mattered not that they were some "old 60s" band and the reason for that was magical songwriting. People can say what they want about the "simple pop" of The Beatles but the gift of being able to pen a good tune and have the talent to deliver it is what makes these recordings so special. As I said previously, to me hearing the early stuff again is almost revolutionary in a sense, something I always took for granted and finally took the time and patience to hear.

"Beatles for Sale" is not their finest hour and yet it is here where you can begin to hear the seeds of "A Hard Day's Night" taking root. There is just a bit more worldliness to some of the moods and lyrics, just a hint of what was around the corner. Released on December 4th 1964, "Beatles for Sale" capped off the most amazing year in pop history, yet still it was not their peak. It was another rushed affair recorded in just seven days of studio time a few months after Hard Days, in the midst of their crushing schedule. Nevertheless, the gems are there. "No Reply" and "I'm a Loser" start the album very strongly with two solid Lennon vocals setting a more somber mood than much of Hard Days Night. Then he's barking away to Berry's "Rock and Roll Music" and the delightful "Mr. Moonlight." I'm surprised that weird little track gets so much grief from people, it's one of the highlights to me. A playful vocal by John backed up by Paul on the Hammond organ of all things and George on African drums; it reminds me of "Stand By Me" from a decade later. Paul has the typically pretty "I'll Follow the Sun" while "Eight Days a Week" was another huge hit. Proggers will be very interested to hear the original version of "Every Little Thing," the track recorded by Yes a few years later on their debut album. As you'd guess the original is a much more stripped down affair but still a pleasing number. Some of the others are a bit underwhelming but I believe "Beatles for Sale" eeks out a 3 even if a less enthusiastic one than "A Hard Day's Night." Certainly not essential but one that Beatles fans will want to hear eventually, perhaps after most of the others.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An album that filled in a Sunday afternoon but has enough treasures to earn 3 stars. Nothing like its predecessor A Hard days Night but still has merit. Best tracks are No Reply, I'm A Loser, Baby's In Black, Rock 'n' Roll Music, I'll Follow The Sun, Eight Days A Week, and Don't Want To Spoil The Party. These are fantastic beatles tracks with awesome melodies and harmonies. However the album has some real trashy songs that never saw the light of day outside this album, namely Mr Moonlight, Honey Don't, What You're Doing and Everybody's Tryin' To Be My Baby. The rock feel is very dated on these and Kansas City is only bearable as it kind of has a nostalgic feel. Words Of Love has wonderful harmonies but is ultimately repetitious and Honey Don't is Ringo at his worst. Oh well, it's The Beatles isn't it?
Review by baz91
2 stars In the 18 months before this album was released, The Beatles had recorded and released three albums, seven singles, starred in a feature film, and done a world tour. So when The Beatles were asked to write another album to cash in on the Christmas charts of 1964, it's unsurprising that this was really not their best work. Unusually for a pop album, many of the songs on this album are depressing ballads about love not working, eg No Reply, I'm A Loser, Baby's In Black, Honey Don't, I Don't Want To Spoil The Party and What You're Doing. They don't even look that happy on the album cover! Surprisingly, this album was the first of theirs to be released in a gatefold sleeve - very prog indeed. However, the title 'Beatles For Sale' doesn't exactly sound magical does it.

The Beatles wanted to drop their cover songs and just produce their own material, a tactic which had made 'A Hard Day's Night' so successful. However, with hardly any time to write songs, they resorted to playing more covers on this album, and in some cases they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The highlights of this album are I'm A Loser and of course Eight Days A Week. There are also a few lesser gems, like No Reply, and of course Every Little Thing which, as most of you will probably know, was covered by Yes on their debut album. Most of the songs are quite forgettable though, and some of them are actually annoying! Words Of Love features incessant handclapping for the entire song, which is a bad song anyway! With Honey Don't you feel like telling Ringo to shut up! Mr Moonlight immediately grabs your interest with John's striking voice, only to lose it again when the song actually starts!

I have to admit, this is The Beatles' worst album. It's worth mentioning that the single I Feel Fine was released around the same time as this album, which features incredibly unusual but very well executed feedback in the intro. The deliberate use of feedback is very progressive, and it's unfortunate that they decided not to include it on the album. If you like collecting The Beatles' albums, make sure you get this one last.

Review by Warthur
2 stars The cover songs make an unwelcome return this time, as the Beatles were in the awkward position of being big enough for there to be a huge demand for their work, but not quite potent enough to dictate the terms they recorded under. Once again, the cover versions are idle throwbacks to the 50s rock and roll which inspired the band early on, but the original material - with more acoustic elements, more downbeat vocals, and a bit of Dylan and other non-rock influences creeping in - made it clear that the Beatles were getting less and less interested in retracing their steps in that direction yet again.

Of the original material, No Reply is a strong opener with lyrics that take a creepy, almost stalkerish bent, I'll Follow the Sun and Mr Moonlight's folkish music and proto-hippy lyrics are the strongest clue yet to the band's eventual embrace of the psychedelic movement - and check out the organ work in Mr Moonlight! That said, some of the Lennon/McCartney compositions on offer are clearly throwaways - Eight Days a Week is pleasant enough but pretty forgettable, all considered.

Had the entire album consisted of original material of the standard of No Reply or I'll Follow the Sun, I'd have rated it a bit higher, but as it is there's just too much filler for me to completely embrace it.

Review by thehallway
3 stars This is the only album in which The Beatles take a backwards step rather than a forward one, but who can blame them after so much endless producing, touring and film-making. You can see how tired the band are on the cover. Beatles For Sale is similar to the first two albums, containing eight originals and six rock and roll covers, while A Hard Day's Night was almost completely written by Lennon. But if I had written over 30 songs in two years, I would be equally creatively drained!

'No Reply' is a good, ballsy opener, but the lyrics seem rushed, while on both 'I'm a Loser' and 'I Don't Wanna Spoil The Party', Lennon wears his Bob Dylan influence on his sleeve. McCartney's obligatory ballad, 'I'll Follow The Sun', is decent enough, but very short. His other songs 'Eight Days A Week', 'Every Little Thing' and particularly 'What You're Doing', are highlights of the album. 'Every Little Thing' would be covered by Yes on their debut, and sadly for Paul, their version is better. Of the covers, 'Honey Don't' and 'Rock 'n' Roll Music' are pretty good, but I'm also relieved to know that this is the last time we see Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins on a Beatles record. The rest of this album that I haven't mentioned, is pretty derivative and unmemorable.

What more is there to say? Two albums of this formula was clearly enough, and the band and their fans would both agree on this. The record company wanted another LP though, and this is alluded to in the album's ironic title. Four or five songs here are absolute classics, and because the lacklustre nature of Beatles For Sale isn't really the fault of the boys themselves, I'm going to give it a nice three stars.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Beatles For Sale' - The Beatles (5/10)

The Beatles' fourth album is a relatively uneven piece of work. After the fairly good 'A Hard Day's Night', it seems like the Beatles regressed a step or two, resulting in an album that has more in common with their first two works than anything else. All the same, there are a few great Beatles songs here, and the band's skill with vocal harmonies was really coming onto its own.

The big song on 'Beatles For Sale' that most will have already heard is 'Eight Days A Week', with which the band scored a hit. It is far from being my favourite Beatles track, but it is upbeat, melodic, and concise; all things I associate with the former half of the band's career. In terms of highlights to this album, 'I'm A Loser' is a very nice, brooding tune that exudes a sincere feeling to it. While the album doesn't generally feel like the band was moving forward, 'I'll Follow The Sun' is a lilting Paul-driven acoustic that sounds like it could fit the next couple of albums the band would release. Besides that, 'Beatles For Sale' is a fairly rocky venture, with inconsistency being the word to describe both the songwriting, and production. It feels as if the album was recorded in several different places, at different times. Even the style floats between the old American-style R&B and a more distinctive pop sound for the band. Naturally, the more modern sounding tracks are far superior to the rather formulaic and shallow rock n' roll material, a style that The Beatles had already exploited to death. Drawing the comparison with earlier Beatles albums, there are also covers here, with the Chuck Berry track 'Rock n' Roll Music' being the most memorable.

The most impressive thing about The Beatles on this album are their vocal harmonies, which have improved greatly in the few years since they started out. Here, the vocals are lush and make the melodies much more vibrant. There aren't many frills to this album, but while simple, it is very pleasant in parts, although it lacks consistency and cohesiveness as an album. Some excellent Beatles tunes here, but it feels more like a b-sides compilation than a legitimate album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
2 stars THE BEATLES were the hottest act in musical history at this point and Beatlemania was showing no signs of cooling off any time soon. Like many early 60s releases FOR SALE was the title for the UK release not seeing a US release until 1987 (but the US would see a slightly reworked version called BEATLES 65.) This was the point when the band was a victim of its own success. The constant touring and release of a new album every six months depleted the band's original songs and because of record company pressure the Fab Four were pretty much forced to cough up another album right after "Hard Day's Night." With very little original material to supply the band reverted back to covering 50s songs only unlike those on the first couple of albums, most of these tracks seem stale and like a retrograde instead of an energized attempt at refreshing their sound.

Personally I find this the weakest album in the entire BEATLES discography. It just feels forced. There are a few tracks like "No Reply" that are up to snuff, but even the single "Eight Days A Week" is one of my least favorite BEATLES hits. The covers are fairly boring and overall this album just feels unnecessary. There are some firsts in the BEATLES evolutionary path here. The band had their only cover song hit #1 in Australia with Chuck Berry's "Rock And Roll Music" and John Lennon was incorporating personal experience as the basis for songwriting as heard in "I'm A Loser" showing his influence from hanging out with Bob Dylan. This album isn't a total waste of time but it's nevertheless the one that I find myself rarely wanting to put on. Luckily things would only get better from here. 2.5 rounded down

Review by jamesbaldwin
2 stars Fourth Beatles album, from the critics considered their worst because without a big hit ("Eight Days A Week" in America will be hit, coming out as a single); from the predominantly acoustic tone (as for A Hard ...), but also in various cases discharged, melancholic; without any substantial change compared to the previous one, if not the step back to go back to the formula of the first two albums: 8 original pieces and 6 rock and roll covers.

Beatles for Sale starts with a minor, subdued song, "No Reply" (vote 6,5), whose progress in the verse is stunted and lacking is the arrangement; as much as they follow more variations of tone and volume, up to constitute a harmoniously rather rich piece and with a good bridge, on the whole the piece is rather split, not fluent, without a great melody and with arrangement too much in the background. "I'm a Loser" (vote 8) is the best original song of the album (Dylan inspirated?), with excellent catchy folk melody, John's beautiful singing, beautiful chorus, beautiful harmonica solo and guitar, everything flows smooth and pleasant. In practice, the album seems to start with this song, after a false start. "Baby's in Black" (vote 7,5/8) is another inspired song, with beautiful vocal harmonies between John and Paul and an excellent bridge where the melody goes on high notes. Lennon sings the fourth song in a row with "Rock And Roll Music", Chuck Berry's cover (vote 8), at a whimsical pace, where the piano and the drums support a remarkable singing, completely involved in the piece, without any instrumental pause until the end; Lennon seems twisted in the song, coming to a performance similar to that of "Twist and Shout".

The sequence I'm in Loser, Baby's in Black and Rock And Roll Music is the best of the album. There follows a slow, romantic song by Macca (I'll Follow the Sun, vote 7), with a good melody, but very short and not very developed in the arrangement. The second cover, "Mr. Moonlight (vote 7+), for a long time in the Beatles repertoire, is a semi-unknown song (a B side of a 45 rpm) from the summer weather, sea and beach, with a beautiful interpretation of Lennon, an amateur organ solo of Paul. Cute. Closes the first side Paul singing a classic of Little Richard (Kansas City/ Hey Hey Hey Hey, vote 7,5), with the right grit. It is a good cover of the Beatles for the conviction of the song and arrangements.

The second side opens with "Eight Days A Week" (vote 7,5), the most famous song of the LP, written mainly by Paul but with the contribution of John. It is a song typical of their 1964 Mersey beat, cheerful, with great rhythm, acoustic rhythm guitars. Also in this case, as in some "A Hard" rock songs ... it would have helped a greater electric sound to impress the rock rhythm to the album. Note that the first voice is John's. "Words of Love" (vote 6) is a cover of Buddy Holly, and unfortunately it is neither well chosen (Holly has written many better songs) nor well arranged. Lennon sings, in a choir is not known whether with Paul or George. The song sounds rather monotonous and unconvinced. "Honey Dont" (vote 6,5) by Carl Perkins, also in this case a minor piece by its author, is sung with taste by Ringo who repeatedly calls George to perform the solo. Compared to the previous one has the merit of being more rhythmic but remains discharged as a rock and roll song. These two covers below represent the worst sequence of the album.

Here comes a song by Paul, "Every Little Thing" (vote 6,5/7), sung, however, once again by Lennon. It is not a particularly inspired song but the refrain is good, and has an interesting sound of drums, which together with the piano solo is the musical novelty of the piece. "I Do not Want To Spoil The Party" (vote 7,5/8) is the best song on the second side, a rock ballad with country influences written and sung by John, with a beautiful refrain with a double voice, a beautiful guitar solo. "What You're Doing" (vote 6,5/7) is a rock ballad mainly by McCartney supported by good rhythm and good vocal conviction; also presents two electric instrumental pieces. Pretty, but definitely minor and not very original. "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby" (vote 7), a famous piece by Carl Perkins, played by the Beatles since the early days, is left to sing to George (usually John), who loves Perkins and takes two electric solos; as a cover, however, it sounds scholastic, unconvinced and gritty in execution, to be a very good rock and roll in the composition (in the live at the BBC is played and sung better, it results more engaged).

Overall, John wrote four songs, and sings as a regular nine-piece voice (his four, two of Paul's plus three covers, one of which, Words Of Love accompanied by Paul or George); Paul wrote four songs but sings as the first voice only in three (two of his and a cover); George and Ringo sing in a cover.

The album has some steps in the first side at the height of the previous albums, while in the second side, apart from two original songs, the average quality is also lower than "With The Beatles". BfSale can not be considered a wrong step or a very different Lp from the others, such as compositions, sounds or qualities (apart from "A Hard", which is much better); the acoustic arrangements were already present in "A Hard Day's Night", and the melancholy is not present in all the songs, besides there are at least three good original pieces and two good covers. In short, yes, It is the Beatles' less beautiful album, because it lacks a true masterpiece and only an original song is definitely good, but overall it differs little, in structure and quality, from the first two Lp.

Medium quality of the songs: 7,16; Vote: 6,5/7. Two Stars.

Review by patrickq
3 stars This is the first Beatles album which didn't top its predecessor, although in part that's because A Hard Day's Night was such a great album.

Beatles for Sale returns to the format of Please Please Me and With the Beatles: seven songs on each side, with a total of eight originals and six cover songs. The standouts here are "Eight Days a Week," written and sung by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and Chuck Berry's "Rock and Roll Music," sung by Lennon. McCartney's "I'll Follow the Sun" is also pretty good, and along with such songs as "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party," is a good example of the album's country-and-western inspirations; that Beatles for Sale also includes two Carl Perkins covers further enforces this perception. The Beatles continue to cover R&B tunes as well, including Little Richard's "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey."

With Rubber Soul, Beatles for Sale is one of the group's most acoustic albums, or at least one of their least electric. At this point, Beatles albums still featured standard rock-and-roll instrumentation: guitars, drums, harmonica, and piano; for the most part, they did not demonstrate Martin's inventive arrangements. Without innovative production or instrumentation, the relatively pedestrian material here consigns Beatles for Sale to mediocrity. Nonetheless it's an important album because it signals a permanent, though gradual, departure from the boy-meets-girl, "yeah yeah yeah" commercialism of the band's best-known songs to this point. While "Eight Days a Week" is no more sophisticated than "She Loves You" or "I Want to Hold Your Hand" or "Can't Buy Me Love," songs like "No Reply" and "I'll Follow the Sun" are relatively melancholy. And while they may not be fine poetry, the lyrics to Lennon's "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" and "I'm a Loser" are far more introspective than most of the group's prior work. Although the cover songs lighten the mood a bit, With the Beatles presents a very different side of a band whose prior LP and movie were zany and fun.

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is the weakest Beatles album after Yellow Submarine. Don't get me wrong, it's still better than many other 60's bands best album. The execution is solid, in particular vocals. Musically, songwriting is not at the usual top level and there isn't any progress comparing to the previous album. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2852373) | Posted by sgtpepper | Tuesday, November 15, 2022 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I admit I have particularly fond memories of this album. It was the very first album I ever heard when I was probably about ten and I remembering playing it non stop.I still think the opening track "No Reply"at just over two minutes is one of their best ever pre "Revolver" recordings.The middle ... (read more)

Report this review (#2506321) | Posted by Lupton | Tuesday, February 16, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Following A Hard Day's Night, the Beatles went on their first world tour which was very exhausting. The conditions were often claustrophobic and nightmarish, their schedule was tough, and whereas they had been given plenty of time to compose songs for A Hard Day's Night, the songwriting and recordin ... (read more)

Report this review (#2496591) | Posted by The Anders | Saturday, January 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Underrated! Of all the Beatles albums listed here, this is the most underrated. Indeed, I have hard time believing the low average score. This album contains a number of really important early songs. The first three on the (UK-released) album are amazing, very musical songs ("No Reply", "Baby's i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1698694) | Posted by Walkscore | Saturday, March 4, 2017 | Review Permanlink

1 stars What seemed like a promising album in A Hard Day's Night is partially ruined by this mess. Their style and sound is still the same, but then again, considering its only been two years since their debut, it's really hard to fault them on that. Unfortunately, at least for this album, they are back to ... (read more)

Report this review (#771425) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Rating: 6.5/10 The most traditional album in Beatles' career. They center mostly on rockabilly and old-school rock genres with many covers (really a good spot for Harrison' guitar performance) and attempts to recreate that old-school taste by themselves. It is clear that even with a non br ... (read more)

Report this review (#458478) | Posted by Mattiias | Thursday, June 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars All of The Beatles' albums were at least good. In the early days, they had to come up with two albums a year. You won't find any other band who could 'churn out' something of this quality after having already written one album of completely original material in the same year (whilst on the road! ... (read more)

Report this review (#437941) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, April 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 'Beatles for sale' is meant to be the worst Beatles album. I can understand, I mean some of the songs feel tired and the like. But it is no worse than 'With the Beatles' and rates well alongside 'A Hard days night'; not quite as good. Anyway it is a decent album, not bad, three stars, actually ... (read more)

Report this review (#329507) | Posted by Brendan | Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars The Beatles For Sale could have been a classic album if the decision making was better. I would have added "I Feel Fine", "She" A Woman" and "Leave My Kitten Alone" to replace some of the covers on the album. I feel this album could have challenged the previous album of "A Hard Day's Night" ... (read more)

Report this review (#253806) | Posted by Floydman | Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 m ... (read more)

Report this review (#250429) | Posted by bfmuller | Friday, November 13, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Charming stuff. First of all; please ignore the two stars I have given this album. Qualitywise, it is two stars. When it comes to joyful and charming, add a couple of more stars. This album is not the best The Beatles has ever done. It is pretty substandard, in fact. The rock'n'roll covers ... (read more)

Report this review (#236311) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is quite enjoyable, but it's not SO good for my taste. It's got a few shining moments and a few songs are cool. The Chuck Berry track Rock and roll music is the highlight. There are some good Lennon/McCartney songs like "I'm a Looser" and "Eight Days a week". This album is not prog, ... (read more)

Report this review (#72737) | Posted by | Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Released the same year as A Hard Day's Night, this one seems to be the weaker of the two. Rock'n'roll were still a big influence and I don't think the musical mixtures comes together as well as on A.H.D.N. Let's face it, there are a few quite weak songs here. The album cover is a classic thou ... (read more)

Report this review (#70229) | Posted by 1971 | Wednesday, February 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of THE BEATLES "Beatles for Sale"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.