The Beatles / Revolution In The Head 1962 – 1969
1962 – 1967
01 Love Me Do / Single A Side Recorded September 1962
02 I Saw Her Standing There / Please Please Me Recorded February 1963
03 Twist And Shout / Please Please Me Recorded February 1963
04 It Won’t Be Long / With The Beatles Recorded July 1963
05 You Can’t Do That / Single B Side Recorded February 1964
06 And I Love Her / A Hard Days Night Recorded February 1964
07 I’ll Be Back / A Hard Days Night Recorded June 1964
08 Baby’s In Black / Beatles For Sale Recorded August 1964
09 No Reply / Beatles For Sale Recorded September 1964
10 She’s A Woman / Single B Side Recorded October 1964
11 Ticket To Ride / Single A Side February 1965
12 You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away / Help Recorded February 1965
13 Day Tripper / Single AA Side Recorded October 1965
14 In My Life / Rubber Soul Recorded October 1965
15 We Can Work It Out / Single A Side October 1965
16 Norwegian Wood / Rubber Soul Recorded October 1965
17 Nowhere Man / Rubber Soul Recorded October 1965
18 The Word / Rubber Soul Recorded November 1965
19 Tomorrow Never Knows / Revolver Recorded April 1966
20 Rain / Single B Side Recorded April 1966
21 Taxman / Revolver Recorded April-May 1966
22 I’m Only Sleeping / Revolver Recorded April-May 1966
23 Eleanor Rigby / Single A Side Recorded April-June 1966
24 She Said She Said / Revolver Recorded June 1966
25 Strawberry Fields Forever / Single AA Side Recorded November-December 1966
26 Penny Lane / Single AA Side Recorded December 1966-January 1967
27 A Day In The Lide / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Recorded January 1967
28 Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Recorded February 1967
1967 – 1969
01 Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Recorded February-March 1967
02 She’s Leaving Home / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Recorded March 1967
03 Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (Reprise) / Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band Recorded April 1967
04 Baby You’re A Rich Man / Single B Side Recorded May 1967
05 I Am The Walrus / Single B Side Recorded September 1967
06 Blue Jay Way / Magical Mystery Tour Recorded September 1967
07 Across The Universe / Let It Be Recorded February-April 1968
08 Hey Bulldog / Yellow Submarine Recorded February 1968
09 Revolution / Single B Side May-June 1968
10 Hey Dude / Single A Side Recorded July-August 1968
11 Mother Natures Son / White Album Recorded August 1968
12 Yer Blues / White Album Recorded August 1968
13 Helter Skelter / White Album Recorded September 1968
14 Happiness Is A Warm Gun / White Album Recorded September 1968
15 Julia / White Album Recorded October 1968
16 Don’t Let Me Down / Single B Side Recorded January-April 1969
17 I’ve Got A Feeling / Let It Be Recorded January 1969
18 Let It Be / Single A Side Recorded January 1969
19 You Never Give Me Your Money / Abbey Road Recorded May-August 1969
20 Golden Slumbers-Carry That Weight / Abbey Road Recorded July-August 1969
21 Here Comes The Sun / Abbey Road Recorded July-August 1969
22 Come Together / Abbey Road Recorded July 1969
As a seventies child, albeit born in the very last week of the fifties, I just wasn’t interested in all those icons and The Beatles were the biggest of the lot. Of course they have always been somewhere in the ether, those annoying tunes played over ‘n’ over ‘n’ over ‘n’ over ‘n’ over on the radio, TV, in shops, on the tube, every fucking where. They have seeped into this nation’s consciousness so much that they are now an instant anaesthetic. No one hears them anymore yet their playing all the godamn time.
Compiling a Beatles playlist was always going to be a challenge. Naturally I started at the beginning. Years ago I’d read ‘The Man Who Gave Away The Beatles’ by their first manager Alan Williams. Detailing the Liverpool club, Hamburg days, it painted a real picture of those different times. It also introduced me to Stuart Sutcliffe, one in a short line of fifth Beatles. Stu remains my favourite, noticeable in all the early Astrid photos emanating James Dean cool.
Stu was Lennon’s best mate and not much liked by McCartney. A painter at heart, his interest in anything and everything new had a huge influence on Lennon. He also made two vital contributions to The Beatles story. Their very name was his idea and when he finally hung up his bass to paint fulltime, McCartney reluctantly switched from rhythm guitar which immediately bought a new coherence to groups sound. Sadly Stu died young on 10th April 1961 in Hamburg, aged just 21, a mere five months before ‘Love Me Do’.
Now folks on the wrong side of 55 confuse the birth of The Beatles with Love and Peace yet they arrived literally armed with guitars and drums, screaming ‘Stop the world, we wanna’ get on top’. In 1963, British entertainment was strictly regimented in summer seasons and panto. A hit single would earn groups a little more work, yet they never wrote their own songs or played on their own records. The Beatles changed all that. Infact, by March 1964 the times had changed forever. The Beatles first two long players mixed originals and covers, but on A Hard Days Night they went for the previously unheard of all originals option. Suddenly Lennon and McCartney were being hailed as the best thing since Schubert.
Beatles For Sale was hugely influential as well, packed with a new richer sound and chiming guitars, soon to be heard on ‘Ticket To Ride’ and from countless West Coast groups. The Beatles had smoked dope for the first time and boy it showed. The low angled cover shot and proto psychedelic lettering of Rubber Soul were a clue to the hallucinogenic tinges within. It was the last Beatles album produced on the standard two disc a year schedule and was reasonably straightforward. Revolver that followed certainly wasn’t, as The Beatles got trippy. Mingling with their freakier peers like Dylan, The Stones and The Byrds contributed to their new line of thinking but so did their own desire to experiment. Every instrument was tampered with, each song completed with some curious sonic innovation or two. Witness ‘Rain’ recorded at the same time. 30 years later it was still proving so influential that Oasis based a whole career around it. And that was just a B side!
Then, in 1967, came the most discussed album in the world ever!. 700 hours in the making Sgt Pepper blew the worlds minds. The Beatles had been relatively quiet since giving up live work in August 1966, apart that is from the magnificent ‘Strawberry Fields’/’Penny Lane’ double header. There were rumours they were finished as a creative force before McCartney’s drive and confident, creative if cheesy peak moulded pops heritage into brave new shapes. Sgt Pepper arrived as a complete package, the infamous artwork, printed lyrics, seamless joins from track to track etc etc. It was and is heaped with praise yet its not even The Beatles best album and sounds hopelessly dated. But it does contain their greatest stoned moment, Lennon’s ‘A Day In The Life’.
In 1968 the four musicians of the revolution left on a mystic Indian trip to get spiritually high. As they searched for an answer within themselves, out in the real world the students and workers were dissenting and the heavy realities of violence were kicking in. The Magical Mystery Tour was a Sgt Pepper outtakes grab bag. Sadly new sessions for what became the White Album proved the old gang spirit was long gone, made even worse by the presence of Yoko and Lennon’s new heroin habit. Poor old Ringo even walked out for two weeks. Strangely all that negativity produced a rich, patchy epic embracing an incredibly wide stylistic range.
A year later they were still hanging on, the Get Back sessions (temporarily shelved but later released as Let It Be in May 1970) even more miserable. Lennon was intent on promoting himself and Yoko as avant-garde peaceniks while a dispute over who should control the finances saw the group that had represented such an explosion of artistic and spiritual possibilities in the 60s, end the decade as bitter, feuding businessmen.
And yet there was time for one last hurrah! Abbey Road was a real return to form, highlighted by top performances and production values. Even George Martin was surprised by the finished result despite Lennon and McCartney cutting each other down at every opportunity. No matter it proved a fitting epitaph before John, Paul, George and Ringo finally reclaimed their own identities from The Beatles myth and walked away for good. Incredibly some people still argue that pop music was all downhill from there. What a load of bollocks!