Thursday, June 29, 2017

Best Of The Best

After reading a new book on The Beatles, I saw a new idea (to me) for a Beatles' list--best song per album.  Might as well give it a shot.  We'll use the original British albums.  (This is gonna be hard.  Check back with me next week to see if I still agree with myself.)

Please Please Me -- "There's A Place"

With The Beatles -- "Money (That's What I Want)" (only cover to win)

A Hard Day's Night -- "Can't Buy Me Love"

Beatles For Sale -- "Eight Days A Week"

Help! --  "Ticket To Ride"

Rubber Soul -- "Nowhere Man"

Revolver -- "I'm Only Sleeping"

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band --  "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Magical Mystery Tour --  "Penny Lane"

The Beatles (White Album) -- "Back In The U.S.S.R."

Yellow Submarine -- "Hey Bulldog"

Abbey Road -- "Here Comes The Sun" (George's only win)

Let It Be -- "Two Of Us"

Past Masters, Volume One -- "I Feel Fine"

Past Masters, Volume Two -- "Day Tripper"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the albums are good enough that I bet that you could pick any song at random and millions would agree. Except for Revolution #9.

2:31 PM, June 29, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I guess I'm not one of those millions. I expected my picks to overlap with L.A. Guy's almost not at all, given our very different tastes in music, including the Beatles. But we actually matched on four of our picks.

Please Please Me — "I Saw Her Standing There"

With The Beatles — "Money" ("Roll Over Beethoven", another cover, is almost a tie)

A Hard Day's Night — "Can't Buy Me Love"

Beatles For Sale — "Eight Days a Week" ("Rock and Roll Music" is close: a third cover)

Help! — "Yesterday"

Rubber Soul — "Norwegian Wood"

Revolver — "She Said She Said" (but "Rigby" is very close)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band — "A Day in the Life" (can there be any doubt?)

Magical Mystery Tour — "I Am the Walrus" (but SFF and YMSK are so close!)

The Beatles (White Album) — "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (Harrison)

Yellow Submarine — "All You Need Is Love"

Let It Be — "Get Back"

Abbey Road — The medley on Side Two, of course. If that's not permitted, "Something" (Harrison).

Past Masters, Volume One — "I Feel Fine"

Past Masters, Volume Two — Tie between "Revolution" and "Ballad of John and Yoko" (and on that I'm sure I'm in the vast minority!)

If we had to give our top 15 Beatles tracks regardless of albums, I think we would have had less overlap. I consider Abbey Road and the White Album their clear stand-out masterpieces, despite 15% of White Album being crap, whereas LAG prefers their early stuff and their blues stuff.

4:06 PM, June 29, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I'm not sure if you're allowed "All You Need Is Love" on Yellow Submarine, since that wasn't its first album appearance.

There was a period when I might have called "The Ballad Of John And Yoko" my favorite Beatles track.

5:19 PM, June 29, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Fair enough. I don't really consider Yellow Submarine to count as a real album. I'll replace my pick with "Yellow Submarine", which had been a single but never on an LP until the YS album. If that doesn't count, I'll leave this one blank.

By the way, you chose "Penny Lane" from Magical Mystery Tour, but the British MMT was just a double-EP which didn't include that track. "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" appeared on the American MMT, but in England they only appeared as a single.

If I had been in charge, I would have released the Beatles on CD by following the track order of the British albums, and then added all non-album singles as bonus tracks on the nearest albums. That would have eliminated the need for the "Past Masters" series. Having grown up with the Red and Blue albums, I never realized that many of the most famous Beatles' tracks had never been album tracks in England.

6:16 PM, June 29, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I hate to correct you, but if I don't, someone else will. "Yellow Submarine" first appeared on Revolver.

I include MMT as a British album because when the Beatles albums were first released on CD, in Britain (and everywhere else) they put out the MMT album already known in America to make it fit in with the British releases.

In Britain, during their career, they put out an album of all the hits not included in their albums. It was called A Collection Of Beatles Oldies and was released in late 1966. It didn't chart as well as their new albums because so many people already owned the singles.

Later, in America, trying to wring out as much money as possible from the band, they put out the Hey Jude album, consisting of old material that was mostly unavailable from their albums.

7:12 PM, June 29, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Aha. You are right, of course. I probably should have known that. (I also should have known that if I disagree with you on Beatles history, I'm not going to be right....)

I didn't know about the 1966 album. Here it is. It's interesting that in 1966, an album whose earliest songs had been released in 1963 used the word "Oldies"! Was this meant ironically*, or is that a sign of how fast everything (including the Beatles) was changing in the mid- and late-1960s?

* This seems unlikely, but Pink Floyd released a greatest-hits album entitled A Collection of Great Dance Songs, and the title can't have been meant seriously.

9:54 PM, June 29, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

There was a period when I might have called "The Ballad Of John And Yoko" my favorite Beatles track.

I would not have guessed that!

There used to be an awesome video for this song, with great footage of John and Yoko, on YouTube. But apparently the record companies have gotten YouTube to delete all videos with official Beatles tracks on them. I suspect this is done by computer comparison, because covers of Beatles songs have not been deleted.

But there's a great video of "Instant Karma". John looks like he's having a great time, and Yoko is being kinda weird. One commenter claims that at 1:46, John is giving a smile and nod of appreciation to (future Yes drummer) Alan White for one of his amazing drum fills, but I'm dubious about that.

10:03 PM, June 29, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

I always thought the value of The Beatles is that most of the songs sound like classics. I speak as one whose early exposure was my uncles' singles and then some of the novelty albums (Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine) and then catching up with the Red and Blue compilations before getting more the real albums as an older teen (I'm often stated that favorites are determined by what order you are introduced to things).

I'm still a big fan of "Its Only a Northern Song" because it seems to be mocking the idea of pop hits but I generally have a difficult picking a favorite since I enjoy any compilation basically

3:01 AM, June 30, 2017  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I got most of my Beatles Albums at an estate sale in Chicago when the lady upstairs died (we didn't know her, but it was very convenient for furnishing the apartment). Before that, except for Sgt. Pepper, I didn't know the Beatles songs except as singles I taped off the radio during an A-Z marathon. I still sometimes half-expect to hear the next Beatles song in alphabetical order after each one ends.

PPM = There's a Place (match)
WTB = Not a Second Time
AHDN = Things We Said
BFS = I'm a Loser
Help = Ticket to Ride (match)
RS = In My Life ("Girl" is a close second)
Rev = And Your Bird Can Sing
SgtP = Getting Better
MMT = Your Mother Should Know
WA = While My Guitar Gently Weeps
YS = Hey Bulldog (match)
AR = Something
LIB = Get Back

9:10 AM, June 30, 2017  
Blogger New England Guy said...

When I was in Ireland back in the spring and visited Galway Bay, of course the song "Blue Jay Way" kept running through my head. So I'm going to put that as my favorite from Magical Mystery Tour

9:49 AM, June 30, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So many people are going for dreary George Harrison songs.

10:05 AM, June 30, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ergo they are not dreary

8:45 PM, June 30, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

Dreary? Depends on my mood. LAGuy stated that his preferences might shift day by day, and I'm already feeling that I should promote "Come Together" over "Something". The song is so good that even Aerosmith was unable to ruin it.

By the way, "Something" is the only Beatles song that sounds like it belongs in the mid-1970s. If someone in 1976 had magically never heard that song before, and it were played on the local rock station alongside "New Kid In Town", "Dreams", Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now", and some crap by Peter Frampton, he would never suspect that it was half a decade older than those songs.

11:23 PM, June 30, 2017  

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