November 12, 2020Series
If you haven't had a chance yet to read the start of this series, here is a link to catch up!!!!
With the Beatles was released exactly eight months after The Beatles' first release (Please Please Me). It came out November 22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I hope that it provided folks some escape and distraction during such an earth-shaking American tragedy. The whole album is 33 minutes long (!) and to my untrained ear it sounds like it could still fit in pretty well with the other music that was popular at the time. Almost half the album is covers. ("Till There Was You" "Please Mister Postman" "Roll Over Beethoven" "You Really Got a Hold On Me" "Devil in Her Heart" and "Money"). I like the idea of these covers more than the actual songs most of the time. It's a great insight into what the Beatles liked to listen to themselves. They were about to become the biggest act in the world, but they themselves were already fans of lots of music, and I enjoy being reminded of that.
Of the original songs on the album, "All My Loving" shows the most promise of what the Beatles had in store for us. It's got amazing harmonies and some fun key changes, and is definitely my favorite song on this album. If I was going to pick a deeper cut that I ended up liking more than I thought I would, Track 2, "All I've Got to Do" kind of snuck up on me. But all in all, With the Beatles is just a nice way to spend a half hour, with only a little hint of what's to come with their next release, Hard Day's Night.
You can listen to the samples of each song from here, and I've got a few thoughts below.
Track One: It Won't Be Long
After waiting for the second album to be released, this must have be an exhilarating welcome back for the fans.
Track Two: All I've Got to Do
Seems ordinary at the start but by the second bridge I'm hooked.
Track Three: All My Loving
The third verse is an exact repeat of the first, but it sounds new and better. This starts strong, builds, and finishes even stronger.
Track Four: Don't Bother Me
There are some fun guitar solos which make me anticipate more of the same on future albums.
Track Five: Little Child
I didn't think I liked this song at all, but then came an awesome harmonica jam session and I changed my mind.
Track Six: Till There Was You
Notable (to me) mainly for how Paul pronounces the word "saw". Also, #musicman #marianthelibrarian
Track Seven: Please Mister Postman
You think you know this song but suddenly, in John Lennon's hands, it's got an edge.
Track Eight: Roll Over Beethoven
How can you resist that opening?
Track Nine: Hold Me Tight
Great beat, great harmonies.
Track Ten: You Really Got a Hold on Me
At 3:01, this is the longest track on the album. Also, quite a bit of soul, compliments of the songwriter, Smokey Robinson.
Track 11: I Wanna Be Your Man
Ringo alert! Also, one of the hardest songs to play on Rock Band.
Track 12: Devil in Her Heart
This song is fine. I know it's lame, but that's all I have to say here.
Track 13: Not a Second Time
Although this is a Lennon-McCartney original, it sounds like something we've all heard before. But it's really good so I don't mind.
Track 14: Money (That's What I Want)
I'm floating a theory that I love all Beatles' songs that start with a piano solo. Stay tuned for confirmation. While this doesn't have quite the impact of the closer on Please Please Me (Twist and Shout) it's got a lot of grit and energy and should everyone excited for the next album. See you next month for Hard Day's Night (movie review included!)