on 17 October 2009
So much has been written about the Beatles' music, that I'm going to review this CD on a personal level. I'm time travelling back to 1964 when I was 13. It was Christmas time and I had just seen my first view of a girl in a mini-skirt and white boots as I trudged through the miserable weather in Clacton-on-Sea to buy the latest Beatles single, "I Feel Fine". In the shops I saw the new Beatles LP, "Beatles For Sale" but being a schoolboy they weren't for sale to me as I couldn't afford it. After several not too subtle hints about what I would like for Christmas, I remember the joy of receiving the disc at last. All over the festive season that LP was played so many times that it drove other people mad. In later years I was disappointed that the CD release was in mono only as I was so used to hearing the album in that format. At last, after 45 years (ulp), I can hear this great music again, remastered in stereo for the first time. Not only are the songs so good and still sound fresh, but it takes me back to that dismal out-of-season seaside town where the Beatles helped to make Xmas 1964 so memorable. Hard to pick favourite tracks, but as a Paul McCartney track I'd go for "I'll Follow The Sun", and John Lennon would definitely be I'm A Loser". Some things in life should be preserved and shall never die.
on 17 January 2008
This is actually one of my favourite Beatles albums. And definitely the best one of their early period. Yes, okay, they have gone back to playing some covers again, but it was at the height of Beatlemania, and they didn't have all that much time to record this album. But, nevertheless, the songs on here have a certain something that just make you want to listen again and again. The opening track 'No Reply' is a typical Beatles song from that period, followed by 'I'm a Loser', which is a cleverly-penned song that would certainly have not done any harm with the female fans at the time! 'Baby's In Black', 'Rock And Roll Music' and 'I'll Follow The Sun' follow on, and these 3 strong songs pretty much stand out to me from the rest of the songs. 'Mr. Moonlight' is an unusual style for the Beatles to have covered really, its not really like anything else they've sang, or wrote themselves since, but they do it well. The 'Kansas City / Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey' medley works well also. 'Eight Days A Week' is probably the most well-known song on the album, yet it doesn't stand out on this album, because the other songs are all on that same level, or standard. Buddy Holly's 'Words Of Love' is beautifully performed, and is a fantastic tribute to the great, late, singer/songwriter. 'Honey Don't' fits Ringo's voice perfectly and 'Every Little Thing' is another cleverly-penned Lennon-McCartney tune, in a similar style to the earlier 'I'm A Loser'. The last 3 songs are a little disappointing to me, really. 'I Don't Want To Spoil The Party' is the better song of the 3 and shows-off the vocal talents of both John and Paul, but 'What You're Doing' just seems, well, average really - there's not really anything particularly 'special' about the song, which stand-out. The last song is my least favourite on the album. I don't know if its because of George's vocals, or because its just the choice of cover or what, but it just doesn't really fit-in to the rest of the album as such, to me. Its just like an old style rock 'n' roll song, which I think The Beatles can write songs so much better themselves!
Generally, then, it is an excellent album and well worth purchasing. Once you listen to it, you'll find you won't need to skip through any songs, and you'll probably be left humming to the tunes once you've heard them a few times. Which suggests they are good tunes!
In my opinion:
Best Song = "Baby's In Black"
Weakest Song = "Everybody's Trying To Be My baby"
on 16 April 2009
This one never makes those 'Top 100 Albums of all time' polls - perhaps deservedly so, but usually on the basis of that well worn cliche about 'product churned out for the Christmas market' That may be true, but find any other band who could 'churn out' something of this quality with such a punishing work rate, whilst trying to cater for the demands of an adoring world. The Beatles were knackered by the end of 1964, let's not forget, they didnt just appear suddenly at the end of 1962, they had been touring relentlessly for many (penniless) years previous. So yes the covers may be a little hit and miss, the lyrics a little cynical and weary (something they are subsequently praised for on The White Album), but this is still a minor work of genius, and way way better than some of the so called efforts of more modern bands, eternally indebted to The Beatles, who cheerfully leave three years at least between albums and tours. Contractual obligation product at it's absolute best. Worth investigation, with a superb sleeve photo too, and one of my favourite Beatle albums of their earlier period.
on 9 November 2009
In the 1990s when I started replacing my collection of Beatle LPs with CDs, I was most disappointed to find that their first 4 albums (including "Beatles For Sale") were only available in mono. So when the remastered versions were released in stereo, I just had to buy "Beatles for Sale". Was I disappointed? Definitely not. The songs are still terrific, but sound even better. The only duff track is "Mr Moonlight" - and no amount of tinkering can make that into a good track. Perhaps "Leave My Kitten Alone" (now on Anthology2)should have been put on the original album instead. In fact, on this remastered version perhaps "Leave My Kitten Alone" could have been included as a bonus track together with "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" the a and b side of the single that was released the same time as the original LP for Christmas 1964.
The stand out tracks for me are "No Reply", "I'm A Loser" and "Eight Days A Week",all of which were considered as singles before John came up with "I Feel Fine". In fact they are all outstanding tracks - including the covers (apart from "Mr Moonlight"). My favourites of the covers are "Words of Love", "Rock and Roll Music" and "Kansas City".
This album is rated by many as the worst Beatles LP. But it is still a Beatles album, and that means that if it had been released by any other group of the time it would have been regarded as their best.
Or am I just listening through rose tinted ears?
on 4 October 2009
Having bought the original 1988 full collection of CD's in that rather nice wooden box, I started delving into a selection of Beatles albums I'd never heard before. Despite the superb opening track on 'For Sale' I quickly relegated the whole CD to the bottom of the heap. Yes, it is an old album, but the sound of this CD in particular was exceptionally bad, mushy and quite difficult to listen to/enjoy, as has been said before.
Now the remastered version. Well,the difference is astonishing. The old mono version has been replaced with the strange stereo mix of the 60's ( don't worry, the vocals are central and I quite like this myself even through a pair of decent headphones ) but the clarity and general 'punch' of the music is the real highlight. 'Rock and Roll music' for example feels like a virtually new track and the fact that you can now hear the drums is testiment to how bad the original CD was.
Overall, the percussion is louder and crisper, hidden pianos are now heard and the bassline is more prominant, driving what is a very good selection of songs along.
Not the best Beatles album, everyone will have their favorite but with this new sound, this is well worth another listen.
on 11 January 2008
I have read a lot of the reviews of this album by astro-physicists and marine biologists studying the ancient history of 1960's music, and noted their quaintly officious tones about this being the worst Beatles Album ever.
Well, it may not be their best, but it was recorded when such luminary critics were probably not even born !!
I was part of that era, and bought it when it was still only available on vinyl (remember, all those grooves revolving around at 33 r.p.m. ??), and I still listen to that music with an 18 year old's excitement & wonderment !!
The music wasn't contemporary rocket science, but the performances were, and that's what made them great.
on 22 January 2010
For no particular reason I can put my finger on, this is my favourite Beatles album from the 'Beatlemania' earlier part of their career. It even starts with two, rather downbeat songs, 'No Reply' and 'I'm A Loser,' and yet it's still just simply fun.
Maybe Lennon's belting out speaker-busting "Rock'n'Roll Music' - nearly a religious statement for him - is the key.
Have a listen - you might agree.
on 22 February 2009
Hi, if any of you read my review of this album on my "Listmania" you`ll see I didn`t give this album a very good write up. Trouble is, your limited to what you can say on the Listmania and so I didn`t really give this record a fair crack of the whip. The thing is it`s not a bad Album. Of course it`s not it`s THE BEATLES! And there are some very good tracks on here..."I`ll follow the sun" for example shows the slow ballad style that will make Paul mcCartney the best songwriter on this planet and similarly "I`m a loser" also shows the self doubting style that will inhabit many of John`s songs and "eight days a week" can hold it`s own with any one of the early Beatles classics.
The trouble with this album is, well you only need to look at the cover, they`re knaked! And many of the songs especially the covers are lacking that spark and energy that made their early songs so brilliant. So although this is by no means a bad album, I would suggest that it`s probably one for the diehards.
With everything now instantly available on a plethora of social media sites, goodness knows how many television channels (and still nothing to watch), and music available 24 hours, it might seem strange to those bought up in today's disposable society, but the release of each new Beatles album was a headline grabbing, front page, world-wide event and half a century ago today, December 4th 1964, that's what happened when this, their fourth LP, hit the shelves. At the time, there were suggestions the group didn't appear too keen to have another long player on the shelves, but, with the lucrative Christmas market a few weeks away and America demanding more product, it wasn't a question of 'if' but of 'what?'.
Hindsight may suggest that this was rushed out for that remunerative time of the year, but virtually every LP was in those days. Though there were still cover versions, some were substandard (as songs that is, not in the way they were recorded), and many thought recording covers was a backward step after the all original 'Hard Day's Night'. Even so, to hear the two raucous rockers in 'Kansas City' and 'Rock And Roll Music' is to wonder at the luck of how two of the best ever rock singers, and writers, ended up in the same group. Countering those two was the gold lamé horror of 'Mr. Moonlight', consistently voted one of the worst things they ever recorded, which showed the group weren't immune to bad taste, and George swamped by some ridiculous echo and an extortionate amount of sibilance on 'Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby', though maybe it was intentional all along. Both are easily trashed by any of the eight original songs.
Despite the somewhat despondent nature of the lyrics of equally despairing song titles in many of the self-penned numbers, which could have been their way of complaining about having to produce another long player, those eight fresh songs were another step up the ladder of originality, application and sound experiment. Waiting with anticipation, the buying public knew there would be a surprise or two. Outside, this was a gate-fold sleeve (maybe even the first of it's kind) and inside 'Eight Days A Week' was one of the exciting musical moments. Fade outs were commonplace on songs but a fade-in? Such a thing might not be unusual in this Pro Tools manipulation age, but this is where it started. The false ending on the aforementioned 'Everybody's Trying...' was another departure from the norm, which wasn't in writer Perkins' version. As with many of their 33rpm issues (at 36:58, this was the longest running of their first seven), no single preceded it (with one exception, they always gave value for money) and, surprisingly, only one original song made it into their live act.
Discernment also tells us that 'Beatles For Sale' tends not to make a showing in any poll that asks for someone's top five favourite Beatles LP, and when they were all reissued back in 2009, this was the third worse seller. Even though this is looked upon as a holding operation, and most other groups and artists would consider this the pinnacle of their career, it's still an essential purchase.
Unlike the three LPs that went before, there aren't any discernible differences between the mono and stereo versions to get excited about.
Thought it about time I dug out a few of my 'Beatle' albums, this album was their
fourth album release. (1964)
At that time they were almost certainly at the peak of their popularity both sides of
It has been said, had they released a record quoting the first-page of the telephone
directory....it would be number one, they were almost certainly right, it would back
then I'm sure.
Must admit because I followed music-heroes of the late 50's and early 60's although
I liked their early releases I hadn't yet been hooked-in as many were at that time.
Back in the sixties I used to go to frequent shows at our local venue in a foursome,
back in mid 63' the 'Beatles' were three hits into their chart career, those being
'Love Me Do' 'Please Please Me' and 'From me To You' my friend had purchased
four tickets to see a show in which The Beatles headlined at a venue around 40 miles
away, I declined, and didn't go, by late 1963 with the release of 'She Loves You'
followed by 'I Want to Hold your Hand' I was hooked, hurriedly catching up on records
I'd missed......I can tell you it remains one of my biggest regrets....what an idiot ?
When in America staying with friends last year, I had reason to mention how I'd turned
down the chance to see the 'Fab Four' ..he then told me a similar tale, he'd had the
opportunity to see 'The King' in 'Vegas' (around 300 miles from where he lives) he
turned the chance down because the 'Elvis' of then wasn't how he remembered him,
course in latter years 'Elvis' had gained a lot of weight.........well, he also had his regrets,
'Elvis' died pretty soon after.
This album is probably my favourite, back then tracks such as 'I'm a Loser' 'No Reply' and
'Baby's in Black' if released as a single back then they would almost certainly have topped
the U.K chart as many of the Album-Tracks in fact did in the States.
This is a terrific album to own, it included eight Lennon/McCartney penned numbers and
six written by artists such as 'Carl Perkins' and 'Buddy Holly'
The Beatles though only staying together in chart-terms for around seven years did release
many albums and also achieved seventeen number one singles.
The album reviewed is the re-mastered version which I am currently listening to.
(also own the 'Vinyl' and pre-re-mastered CD)
The 'Beatles' remain collectable all these years on.