Podworthy: THE BEATLES

I’m starting a new topic on the blog based on my current “free time” obsession: putting music on my new iPod. The first thing I put on was some Christmas music, since it was the season, but next was my favorite pop group, The Beatles.

The group hit the U.S. music scene when I was in grade school, and at first I was put off by rampant Beatlemania among the girls in our school. I watched their first performance on the Ed Sullivan Show early in 1964 and was more impressed by the screaming teenage girl audience than the music. I was 13, still not quite interested in girls romantically, and anything that attracted so many of them couldn’t be for boys like me.

A little later that year I visited my best friend Tim for a sleepover, and he had a Beatles record that he liked and played for me. Away from the screaming I gave it another chance, and was first drawn to “Do You Want To Know A Secret?” with vocals by George Harrison. Based on that, I’m guessing the record was “Introducing the Beatles” on the VeeJay label, a sort of pirate release before the first Capitol Records ones, unless it was the single version. Maybe Tim will remember and fill me in later…

My opinion of the group began to soften, though what really made me a fan was going to see their film “A Hard Day’s Night” in August of 1964, again with Tim and his sister. I loved it! Loved the music, loved the humor and the personalities of the fab four, loved the excitement of the performances and the madcap hustle created by their sudden fame, even if I realized some of it was staged. I enjoyed all the songs, and remember being particularly impressed with the close vocal harmonies of “This Boy.” I became a firm fan that day, and have been ever since. For the record, Paul was always my favorite, and I still follow his career and music with interest. I never saw The Beatles live, but watching them on Ed Sullivan and in their films was probably better anyway.

Incidentally, great lettering on the film poster, isn’t it?

So, getting the entire Beatles catalogue on my iPod was top priority, and it wasn’t too hard. I’ve had at least two versions of most of their songs, from albums to CDs. I was buying the U.S. albums at first, of course, but later I bought many of the U.K. releases as imports, too. For the iPod it’s much easier to load songs from a CD, and I was able to use them for nearly everything. For the early albums and singles I used the recent “Mono Masters” releases. I like the sound, it’s as they were originally mixed in the studio; the stereo versions were remixed later without the group’s direct involvement. For later albums I had almost everything on CD, needing to download only a few singles: “Hey Jude,” “Lady Madonna” and the single version of “Revolution.” (Had these on vinyl of course.) I also included the two singles from the Beatles Anthology: “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.” “Let It Be,” their final studio album, was always a problem for me. I liked the songs, but not the heavy-handed Phil Spector overdubs, so I was delighted when “Let It Be…Naked” came out in 2003, with all the music as recorded by The Beatles without the Spector production, and I used that one.

The iPod gives you the option of choosing the tracks you want and removing those you don’t, but there were only four tracks among the Beatles studio releases that I dropped. “Mr. Moonlight” was a number I always disliked. Something about the rough vocals by John and the corny Latin arrangement. Then there are the two German language versions of “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Interesting, but I’ve heard them enough, and prefer the English versions. Finally, “Revolution 9.” Again, an interesting audio collage, but I’ve heard it enough, and it’s not a song. So, with those four eliminated, I was left with a total of 210 Beatles tracks. Plenty!

Later I added more from the Beatles Anthology and BBC Live CDs, but I’ll cover that in another post. So, are The Beatles on your iPod or iPhone, or whatever? What are your favorite songs or albums?

4 thoughts on “Podworthy: THE BEATLES

  1. Patrick Rennie

    A fair amount of CD ripped Beatles in my MP3s. I’m a second generation fan, having grown up on them. They tend to be a band I come back to explore further, rather than one I’ve ever sat down and surveyed from beginning to end.

    My favorite Beatles song is Paperback Writer. I like the song, I really like the construction of the lyrics, and I’m sentimental about the content of the lyrics.

  2. Tim

    – Continuing our off-blog chat: We definitely saw “Hard Day’s Night” with my sister. My distinct memory is the din of adolescent girls screaming at the screen, loud enough that we couldn’t hear the witty dialog. And I still have that album, but (having just looked through my records) no pre-HDN Beatles. The Vee Jay single I was visualizing was in fact by Betty Everett. And the only British Invasion singles I noticed were “Don’t let the sun catch you crying” (Gerry & Pacemakers), “She’s not there” (Zombies), and “Willow weep for me” (Chad & Jeremy). Never really bought 45s in a big way… by then I’d already started taping songs directly off WMCA and WABC on my Lafayette reel-to-reel (getting an early start on musical piracy)!
    – So if you recall me introducing you to the Beatles, I’ll take credit but it must have been via one of those tapes. However, the Fab Four were all over the radio back then; I was just a typical 12-year-old plugged into Top 40 radio. Sounds like I did have a role in prodding you over toward the typical/pop side of the musical spectrum. But you’ve always been musical. Podworthy or not, what were you listening to, pre-Beatles? Perhaps you could blog more about your own musical evolution.
    – , the “Let It Be… Naked” album sounds interesting. Think I’ll look for that.

  3. Todd Post author

    Thanks, Tim! It must have been on a tape, then, or possibly even on the radio. I didn’t listen to top 40 on the radio much before then, my musical interests were more the small amount of folk music I’d heard, and Rogers and Hammerstein musicals, which I still like as well as other movie music from Disney films and others we saw. My parents were more into the Big Band era and crooners like Perry Como and Sinatra, but we only had a few 45rpm singles at home, no LP records. They listened to their music on the radio sometimes, or saw it on TV variety shows. At some point around 1964 I got my first transistor radio, and after that did listen to top 40 more. And I got my own record player around 1966 and started buying albums then.

  4. Jim Ladd

    Todd, everything you wrote brought a smile to my lips — it’s as if you were reading my mind, from seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, to choosing the “naked” version of Let It Be for my iPod. I remember finding a copy of Introducing the Beatles in a cut-out bin during college; when I tried to listen to it recently, the mix was so terrible in stereo, I couldn’t get through the first side. Thank god for the 2009 reissues of the UK cds! Anyway, i always enjoy the blog and look forward to each new installment!

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