Early Beatles Catalog Highlights (Part One)

A friend of mine asked me for a few quick song purchase suggestions from the pre-Rubber Soul Beatles. I figured I’d take the opportunity to rummage through these oldie-but-good LPs to see what I could see.

Please Please Me.

The good:

    1. I Saw Her Standing There– Paul McCartney takes the helm on this album launching track about the greatest dance party you never attended.
    2. Please Please Me– One of the first Beatles compositions George Martin thought was half way decent. Uses power chords before they were invented on the riff between the lines of the verse.
    3. There’s A Place– First introspective Beatles song. They’d take this thing as far as it could go later with Across the Universe. For now it’s kind of like a weird cousin to In My Room.
    4. Twist and Shout– (See Ferris Bueller)

The not-so-good:

    1. Boys– This song brings to mind Brian Epstein suggesting tighter trousers.
    2. A Taste of Honey– Humanity may never understand why Paul did this to us.

With The Beatles

The good:

    1. All My Loving– John took the first two songs on this album, but the lights don’t really turn on until you hear the famous skittering guitar line of this Paul song.
    2. Not a Second Time– John Lennon gets upset at his wife and writes a damn fine tune. Nice meandering piano solo.

Honorable Mention

    1. Money– George Martin tickles the ivories with a chunky piano line that drives this respectable cover.
    2. Please Mister Postman– Brainless fun.
    3. Don’t Bother Me– George Harrison becomes the serious Beatle.
    4. All I’ve Got To Do– John takes his time, uses an off kilter drum pattern and gets the job done, more or less.
    5. Till There Was You– Paul takes the Beatles unplugged for the first time.

The not-so-good:

  1. This record commits no serious crimes…You got off easy this time Ringo!

Hard Days Night

The good:

The A Side- A nice EP for a breezy day.

    1. A Hard Days Night– You know it you love it. From the unique opening chord, to the hard charging rhythm, to the sentiment of the lyric Alex Chilton would subconsciously appropriate for the middle eight of September Girls about a decade later.
    2. I Should Have Known Better– My favorite early Beatles song, period. Makes me smile everytime I hear it.
    3. If I Fell– We’re slowing down but it’s still a great tune.
    4. I’m Happy Just To Dance With You– Hey, maybe it’s only a Northern Song, but George is lightening up.
    5. And I Love Here– Paul unplugs it again! The melody of this song reminds me of the bridge to an obscure Robyn Hitchcock song, ‘Executioner’…anyway.
    6. Tell Me Why– John hits a single…bases loaded.
    7. Can’t Buy Me Love– Paul smashes it out of the park. Grand Slam! (see mid-eighties Patrick Dempsey vehicles)

B Side Beauties:

    1. Any Time At All– John brings it again.
    2. Thing We Said Today– Paul can’t put the acoustic down, and just wants to remember the good times (in a depressive kind of way.)
    3. You Can’t Do That– More cowbell. If you want to trace the lineage of the melody for of a good chunk of the VU’s ‘She’s My Best Friend’, look no further than this song.
    4. I’ll Be Back– Interesting harmonies (see The Terminator)

The not-so-good:

  1. When I Get Home– It’s like a Frankenstein’s Monster of Beatles songs that adds up to a clunky mess. FIRE BAD!

End of Part One