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 There, Please 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...: