After the all-original A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles had to resort to filling their follow-up LP with old-school covers, and frankly, they did a crappy job selecting them for the most part. This is the fifth of six of them to show up on the countdown, and we’re still in the bottom 50. (In fairness to Beatles for Sale, Continue reading “#174: Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!”
Much like with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” my reason for ranking “You Can’t Do That” so low is a bit unfair. Simply put, it reminds me too much of a similar and superior song released that same year. Had “Magical Mystery Tour” and “I Call Your Name” gone unrecorded, “Sgt. Pepper” and “You Can’t Do That” would almost definitely be a lot higher. But this list is about my favorite Beatles songs, not like those purportedly objective “best” lists, since that’s been done to death, and my list is objectively better than any of those.
You know it’s true, editors of Rolling Stone.
“You Can’t Do That” does have one edge over “I Call Your Name” though, and that is Continue reading “#175: You Can’t Do That”
On paper, this Chuck Berry cover should be a slam dunk.
Congratulations, Anthony. You used a sports metaphor correctly.
The arrangement is relatively faithful to Berry’s original, just way amped up. That’s kind of the problem though. Continue reading “#184: Rock and Roll Music”
It’s hard to imagine any band ever working harder than the Beatles did during the first half of 1964. When they weren’t playing concerts, they were recording; when they weren’t recording, they were filming their movie debut, A Hard Day’s Night. Beyond that, Continue reading “#185: When I Get Home”
Just like Ringo’s, George Harrison’s vocal spotlight on the Beatles for Sale album was an underwhelming Carl Perkins cover. This one at least feels slightly less lazy, and needless to say, the vocal is a lot stronger (sorry Ringo), but there’s still a sense of going through the motions. My favorite part of it is the fake-out ending, a technique I always love in songs.
The only thing I like more than fake endings? Happy Endings. Bring it back, Netflix!
And of course, this brings to a close the great Carl Perkins vs. Larry Williams war of 2016, with Larry Williams coming out on top as his “Bad Boy” is still in the running. It’s been real, Carl.
When you start playing “Mr. Moonlight” and hear John Lennon sing the title with such gusto, it’s hard not to get excited about what’s to come. Indeed, if the entire song were as exciting as the first four seconds, this would be one of their finest covers. But man, does it go downhill fast. You can point to so many elements–the uninspired backing vocals, the inane lyrics–pretty much anything but John’s lead vocal, which gives the track some redeeming value, but it’s clear what the nadir of this recording is. Paul McCartney’s organ solo is so un-Beatle-y that if the queen heard it she would revoke his knighthood.
Actually, it’s surprising he didn’t somehow lose it in his divorce with Heather Mills.
The worst part? There was no reason whatsoever for “Mr. Moonlight” to take up space on Beatles for Sale. Ringo and George both had their vocal spotlights, weak as they were. And on the very same day the band first tackled “Mr. Moonlight,” they also recorded the fiery “Leave My Kitten Alone,” which inexplicably languished in the vaults for more than 30 years despite being superior to not only “Mr. Moonlight,” but probably a good half of the rest of Beatles for Sale too.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have hit a landmark with this one. “Tell Me Why” is the first original Beatles composition on the countdown that was not tossed off and given to Ringo like a bag of moldy tangerines. In his later years, John Lennon was notorious for denouncing many of his Beatles songs as throwaways, but he was spot-on in this case. “They needed another upbeat song [for the movie A Hard Day’s Night] and I just knocked it off,” he remarked in 1980.
Some speculate Continue reading “#201: Tell Me Why”
The best thing I can say about “Matchbox” is that it’s short, clocking in at just under two minutes. Somehow, though, this Carl Perkins cover still manages to outstay its welcome. Listen to the first 30 seconds and you pretty much have the gist of the whole thing.
Also an accurate description of every song Sting has released after The Police.
Apparently “Matchbox” was recorded Continue reading “#208: Matchbox”
Larry Williams may not be a household name like Chuck Berry or Little Richard, but his influence on the Beatles, especially John Lennon, cannot be understated. The group tackled three Williams compositions on record, which ties him with Carl Perkins as the most frequently covered songwriter in their core discography. (Berry likely holds the title if you expand the territory to include BBC recordings and early concert repertoire.)
So if you’re keeping track Continue reading “#210: Slow Down”
The Beatles almost always felt obligated to give Ringo one lead vocal per album, and since he only wrote two songs for himself during the band’s tenure, he was basically stuck with the leftovers–Lennon/McCartney dregs or mediocre country/western covers like this one. Nothing against the Carl Perkins composition itself, although there’s nothing exciting about the music or lyrics, but the entire band Continue reading “#213: Honey Don’t”