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).
That “I’m a Loser” is the album’s lowest-ranking original is actually a testament to how Continue reading “#85: I’m a Loser”
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!”
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”
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.
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”