With The Beatles – The Beatles (1963)

Album no. 35/1001

IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: IT’S OUR FIRST BEATLES SIGHTING.

It really is remarkable that this album set the biggest band in the world off onto the course of worldwide domination.

Finally, we’ve got an album and an artist that, I think it’s safe to say, most people have heard of.  This was the AWESOME FOURSOME’S second album (after Please Please Me) and admittedly it was filled with a lot of covers and random bits and pieces – but even at this early stage, it’s still TOP NOTCH. Has there ever been a better combination than John and Paul? NO*.

*yes, jagger/richards**

**THEY DON’T SING TOGETHER SO SHUT UP.

Have you listened to this album before?

CL: I haven’t gone back this far in their catalogue before, album-wise. I know some of the songs. But I cannot tell you how excited I am to be getting to music that I, and most people, recognise as proper music. SEE YA LATER JAZZ.

NK: I’ve heard it, but probably only once or twice. A friend gave me a hard drive with (I think) every Beatles album on it some years back.

CL: Illegal.

NK: I haven’t named the friend, have I? Snitches get stitches.

Standout track

CL: ‘I WANNA BE YOUR MAN’ – OH MY GOD. THIS IS LIKE THE OASIS IN THE MIDDLE OF A JAZZ DESERT. ‘Hold Me Tight’, ‘Please Mr Postman’, ‘It Won’t Be Long’ – far out. Finally. FINALLY! I’m so happy.

NK: I like ‘All My Loving’, the guitar is really fun. Also it sounds a lot faster than it is, and when you get to the (very brief) solo, it sounds like it’s in slow motion. ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ is good as well, and ‘It Won’t Be Long’ is a classic.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

CL: Although I liked most of it, this is a bit of a weird album. It’s almost as if every second song is a banger, and the ones in between are rubbish. After some investigation I discovered this is literally true. Every song I liked was an odd-numbered song – coincidence? Probably. Importantly though, all of those tracks are solid gold.

NK: When you want to show off your Beatles knowledge, but not have too much of a good time. I agree with you about this album being inconsistent. The vocals are really good all the way through though, and all the songs are pretty tight.

Why has this album been included on the list?

CL: Oh I don’t know, maybe because THESE GUYS WERE KIND OF A BIG DEAL? I mean, comparing this to the rest of their discography isn’t fair, but in the scheme of things this would have been mind-bogglingly good at the time. Even if some of the songs are a bit uninspiring, the vocals are still awesome. 

NK: It’s really listening to this knowing what they go on to do. There’s no real sign of it here. This is a pretty good early 60s pop record, but I can’t really see the signs of them becoming arguably the best-known band in the world. ‘Roll over Beethoven’ is a cover of a seven year old Chuck Berry song, and while their version sounds better, they’re still not exactly re-inventing the wheel. Not to knock them, I just find it really interesting that they went from the basic pop/R&B stuff to the really strange experimental stuff so quickly.

CL: I disagree! I think compared to something like The Everly Brothers, this was pretty rough and tumble. I don’t think we can appreciate just how ground-breaking this was – in 2016 is there anything TRULY new anymore? This is a question for another time, but really, I don’t think we’ve experienced anything like those lucky bastards in the 1960s did.

Will you be listening again?  

CL: YES. (The odd-numbered ones, obviously)

NK: We’ll see. I don’t think this is the most interesting Beatles album going around, but it has some old-timey classics on it.

Special Beatles related question: Who is the best Beatle on this album?

CL: Paul. Because Paul is the best Beatle. His voice is actually great on this album though.

NK: George. He wrote ‘Don’t Bother Me’ on this album, his first solo composition for the Beatles. I think he sings on it as well.

CL: That’s the one banger that’s an even-numbered song. Just FYI.

Rating

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums. I wish I could give it 5, but there’s too much stuff on here that didn’t fit.

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

Listen to With The Beatles on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

2 thoughts on “With The Beatles – The Beatles (1963)

  1. Please Please Me should have been their first entry – IMHO a much better selection of tracks – the title track, I Saw Her Standing There, Twist and Shout (not written by them but one of their most memorable songs), Love Me Do, Do You Want to Know a Secret, A Taste of Honey

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    1. This is really interesting because Please Please Me actually had way more original songs than With The Beatles (8 out of 14 tracks!) – so why has it been included on the list? From what I can tell, it looks like With The Beatles was the first album released in the US, and as well all know, you’ve never REALLY made it, until you’ve cracked America. Maybe that’s why this album made the list and Please Please Me didn’t? It’s a musical mystery.

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