Sunday, 24 February 2013

Whatever happened to The Beatles?

Naturally, not a single one of you reading this is old enough to remember but, in the sixties, when the Beatles were at the very height of their worldwide fame and success, you would often hear the old timers say:

        "They play some nice tunes but be honest, in fifty years time
          nobody will remember who the Beatles were, let alone still 
          be listening to their music."

Lo and behold, we have reached (this month) the fiftieth anniversary of the recording of the first album - all laid down in a single twelve hour session at Abbey Road studios.

In a programme hosted by the largely admirable Stuart Maconie, BBC4 (along with BBC Radio 2) decided to mark the event with a collection of live cover versions of the original tracks performed by a range of artists (Stereophonic, Squeeze, Joss Stone). 

For my money, only Gabrielle Aplin and Beverley Knight managed to pay genuine homage (and one or two of the covers would have struggled to raise applause in the local pub).

Nevertheless, the programme raised some interesting facts - such as the sound engineers being warned not to get too close to these musicians 'because they had long hair' (fear of head lice?!).

What struck those involved in the recording was the professionalism shown by John, Paul, George and Ringo. When George Martin and the rest headed off for the traditional music-makers lunch break (ie down the local pub), the Beatles stayed behind and kept playing; rehearsing up to the last minute to ensure the best recordings they could.

Despite not being among the best of the Beatles' albums (or LPs as we knew them back then), Please, Please Me featured three classic singles - "Love Me Do" and "I Saw Her Standing There" as well as the title track. Not forgetting a Beatles gig favourite, "Twist and Shout".

01. I Saw Her Standing There
02. Misery
03. Anna (Go To Him)
04. Chains
05. Boys
06. Ask Me Why
07. Please, Please Me
08. Love Me Do.

09. P.S. I Love You
10. Baby It's You
11. Do You Want To Know A Secret
12. A Taste Of Honey
13. There's A Place
(Courtesy of The Telegraph online)
Of course, the Beatles weren't the only long-haired lads making loud music in the sixties. At least they wore nice suits and ties.
Four lads from Liverpool who made "instantly forgettable" music...
There was an even rougher looking gang of louts called, I think, the Rolling Stones. I wonder what became of them...?

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