quinta-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2013

Deixa-me rir...

Caros Audiophiles, during these past 3 years, incredibly, I have never featured The Beatles. Like the theme song to Love Story, I keep thinking 'Where do I begin?'.

Well, February 11th marked the 50th Anniversary of the single-day recording of The Beatles' first album Please Please Me. This seems a good place to begin.

The anniversary has been celebrated by the BBC and Abbey Road Studios with a 'live' re-creation of that historic day through recordings of the whole album by various contemporary musicians and singers. An interesting idea, but in my humble opinion, a confused and forgettable failure: a few strange choices of singers, and some indecision whether to be faithful to the original versions or to try to offer something different. It seemed to me that the whole concept was planned at the last minute, and most musicians were too scared to perform with real fire and conviction. Panic instead of positive energy.

There have been many fantastic versions of Beatles songs by other artists, but sadly not on that 're-historic' day.

So, here, let's celebrate the original Fab Four.

Please Please Me still resonates with me today. It was one of the only pop albums in my parents' small collection, and I played it over and over and over from the age of four to fourteen when I started buying my own albums, singing along and playing my 'air' guitar into my bedroom mirror. I have a photograph of me aged four or five singing Beatles songs into a microphone and being recorded by my music-loving grandfather!

It may not be regarded as one of The Beatles "classic" albums, but to me it remains perhaps my favourite. Like one's first love, or first child, there is always reserved a special place in one's heart.

It is tempting to post the complete 32-minute album. How can I leave out the less-than-2minutes pop perfection of the uptempo yet introspective There's A Place (and it's my mind) ? Or the expressively melodic and naively romantic PS I Love You ? Or the personal Ask Me Why, or the slow-tempo plaintive singing of John Lennon on Anna (Go To Him) and Baby It's You ?!

But The Beatles founded their early Beatlemania success on uptempo 'beat' music,  and their first album, recorded in just twelve hours during a single day, captured the vibrant urgent raw energy of their 'live' stage performances. And it includes three of their most exhilarating pop/rock&roll songs which still sound fresh and timeless today and guarantee a full and wild dancefloor: I Saw Her Standing TherePlease Please Me, and Twist And Shout.

"1-2-3-4". John, Paul, George, Ringo. "She was just seventeen / you know what I mean". There could not be a more electrifying introduction to their first album. At aged four I could not understand or care, but by fourteen I knew what they meant...:

The title song was their first big hit. Interestingly it began life as a mid-tempo solo ballad, like a moody Roy Orbison, but producer George Martin suggested a faster tempo with harmonised voices. So John & Paul quickly re-arranged the song. As soon as the recording was finished, George Martin pressed the intercom button in the control room and said: "Congratulations, gentlemen, you've just made your first Number One":

The climax to the album was also the final song recorded, around 10pm at night. John Lennon by now was struggling. They knew he had only one or two attempts possible before he lost his voice. First, some warm milk and honey to soothe his throat. What happened next is still today celebrated as one of the most raw intense and primal vocals ever recorded. Come on, come on, come on, come on baby now!  

A proxima.

1 comentário:

Anónimo disse...

Great text! And excellent choice of songs. I am a fan of Twist and Shout and I Saw Her Standing There. I like the simple, direct, very "danceble" rhythm. I have to say that, from that era, my "love" has always gone to the Rolling Stones, but The Beatles have a freshness and an honesty that is very appealing. Thanks P! Bjs. pcp

Acerca de mim

Arquivo do blogue