“Rubber Soul was the pot album, and Revolver was acid. I mean, we weren’t all stoned making Rubber Soul, because in those days we couldn’t work on pot.” – John Lennon
1966 in Camberwell, Melbourne I was seven years old.
It’s fantastic travelling back via Google Street View. Suddenly my memory is digital and I can remember more of 1966 than of 1986. (If you want a bit of a buzz that way, visit ‘Arcade Fire’ website – http://www.thewildernessdowntown.com/ and type in the place you grew up – this works best on Chrome)
Silver Birch tree – cicardas, the fire, flying ants, broken arm from the cherry tree, a lobster in the laundry tub, eating rabbit and being told it was chicken, Peter Pan, the wringer washer, Jenny’s scooter with the tire blow out, these are the things I remember from the ’60s.
I don’t remember much music from these times, although I know my eldest sister Jenny was a big Beatles fan. 1966 was only two years after the Beatles had visited Melbourne. The below link is the Beatles performing Long Tall Sally (the song) at Melbourne’s Festival Hall, 17th of September 1964. Apart from the suits and the bowing, they look like a rock band.
Things are moving and an extremely rapid pace. The Beatles released their first two studio albums in 1963. Another two in 1964, and a further two in ’65. These guys were prolific, releasing quality pop / rock music for three years.
Please Please Me 1963
With The Beatles 1963
A Hard Day’s Night 1964
Beatles For Sale 1964
Rubber Soul 1965
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967
Magical Mystery Tour 1967
The Beatles (The White Album) 1968 (2 disc)
Yellow Submarine 1969
Abbey Road 1969
Let It Be 1970
For me, the best Beatles album was a toss up between Rubber Soul and Revolver, these two seem to be the most complete as albums. The story goes that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys heard Rubber Soul, was inspired to make Pet Sounds, Paul McCartney hears Pet Sounds and is inspired to make Sgt Peppers. In the middle of all this creativity is Revolver.
This is a brilliant album of harmony, collaboration and contradiction. Musically some of the best Beatles moments, but the Beatles don’t play instruments on 2 of the songs. Ringo’s drumming is a revelations on Tomorrow Never Knows, it is powerful and hypnotic, but lax and lazy on Yellow Submarine. The harmonies are spot on, but the discord on the piano by producer George Martin on “I want to tell you” fits perfectly. The lyrics and guitar solo from gentle George on “Taxman” are searing.
It is an album of invention, Indian pop music, backwards guitar, songs inspired by the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Always surprising.
Just a quick note on some of the songs:
Eleanor Rigby : Just Paul, (and John on harmonies) and a string quartet.
Love You To : George Harrison singing, Ringo hitting a tamborine, the rest is just Indian musicans.
Yellow Submarine : wow, this is really crap. Listen to the individual parts, guitar is like church youth group strumming, drumming is just a bass drum or some sort of cardboard box. Lazy harmonies, Ringo is really trying, but …
Got to get you into my Life : pure Motown horns and maybe McCartney’s best vocals.
Tomorrow Never Knows : the beginning of trippiness, not surprising the Brian Eno tried to cover it live as part of his 801 collaboration.
Ok, this is one of the greatest albums, listen to it.
- Taxman Harrison
- Eleanor Rigby Lennon/McCartney
- I’m Only Sleeping Lennon/McCartney
- Love You To Harrison
- Here, There, And Everywhere Lennon/McCartney
- Yellow Submarine Lennon/McCartney
- She Said, She Said Lennon/McCartney
- Good Day Sunshine Lennon/McCartney
- And Your Bird Can Sing Lennon/McCartney
- For No One Lennon/McCartney
- Doctor Robert Lennon/McCartney
- I Want To Tell You Harrison
- Got To Get You Into My Life Lennon/McCartney
- Tomorrow Never Knows Lennon/McCartney