Man, I don’t know if anyone was ever on a more consistent creative high than John Lennon in 1964.
He chiefly wrote 10 out of 13 tracks on the A Hard Day’s Night album, and he likely considered the simple, stolen harmonica-laden “I Should Have Known Better” an afterthought. “It doesn’t mean a damn thing,” he told Playboy in 1980.
Had it been written a year earlier, it likely would have appeared as the A-side to the band’s third or fourth single, but “I Should Have Known Better” still got a lot of attention as the B-side to “A Hard Day’s Night” and a feature spot in the film of the same name.
When pressed to name my top five Beatles albums, the list is fairly standard, minus the absence of the overrated Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. At the top is the White Album, perhaps for sheer volume more than pound-for-pound quality. The next three, in order, are Abbey Road, Revolver, and Rubber Soul. These four constitute perhaps the band’s most experimental, risk-taking works, so naturally rounding out the top five is A Hard Day’s Night, in all its “if Beatlemania ain’t broke, don’t fix it” glory.
For their third album, the Beatles were in no mood to rewrite the rulebook that had led to such incredible international success. But in between the release of predecessor With the Beatles and recording its follow-up, something happened: Continue reading “#78: Any Time at All”→
Is this the world’s first emo song? Add in some Cookie Monster screams and apply a bit of black eyeliner to John Lennon and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” becomes the greatest prom anthem of the early 2010s. Well, I guess you may need to de-twang it about 75% first, but the point stands.
America fell in love with the Beatles via the purest of requests in December 1963: “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” But just six months later, they made it clear that that was no longer enough to satisfy their insatiable lust.
It’s funny; for an album as historically dismissed as Beatles for Sale, I haven’t written about any of its tracks in quite some time. It’s been over two years and 89 songs in fact, when “Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!” popped up at #174. Only four of the album’s 14 songs ranked lower, all of them covers, incidentally enough. That means that Beatles for Sale makes up an impressive 10% of the top 90 songs, a feat topped only by The White Album (which contains more than twice as many songs).
The year is 1956, and your pre-teen child won’t shut up about this newfangled rock ‘n’ roll fad. “Bah, music hasn’t been any good since Glenn Miller mysteriously disappeared 12 years ago,” you tell him as you wipe the ketchup off your chin from an equally newfangled McDonald’s hamburger. Nonetheless, in a desperate attempt to be seen as the ‘cool parent,’ you decide to treat your child to some of this noisy garbage. You inspect the record store shelves and find Continue reading “#126: Long Tall Sally”→
Man, this track was such a surprise to me when I first heard it for so many reasons. It was the closing song on the Beatles’ third album, and given that the first two concluded with “Twist and Shout” and “Money,” I was all set for another intense rocker to wrap up A Hard Day’s Night.