An exercise of fun for Beatles fans is the ongoing and varied debates centered around the music and personalities that made up the Beatles.
Debates such as “Who is the 5th Beatle?”, “How would you take the White Album (a 2-LP set) and make it a single album,” and “If the Beatles reunited for a one-off concert, what songs would they perform?”
The Public News is pleased to enter the fray and answer the debate question, “What Beatles albums are essential for any music lover?”
We’ll begin in chronological order and put forward “A Hard Day’s Night”. Now, we must specify, we mean the UK version of the album, not the US version. You see, prior to Sgt. Pepper (we’ll get to that one soon enough), the
Beatles American record company, Capital, made it a habit of taking the UK albums and the non-LP singles and creating their own Beatles albums. Sometimes, the label would go as far as altering the sound by adding reverb
or echo that was foreign to what the Beatles originally envisioned when they recorded the songs. In the 60’s, American music buyers were generally unaware of there being a more definitive version of the Beatles work.
The US version of “A Hard Days Night” featured eight Beatles songs along with four orchestral versions of Beatles tracks from the namesake’s movie. “A Hard Day’s Night” hold another distinction. It’s the first Beatles album to feature all original songs written by the band members.
The next pair albums have jostled between them as the all-time best Beatles album. We think they both deserve the recognition. After all, this is our debate!
“Revolver”, released in 1966, shows the Beatles in transition from a live mop top group, to a studio band. Long-time Beatles producer George Martin, begins to shine as the “5th Beatle” in his string arrangements as well as production techniques. One listen to “Revolver’s” predecessor “Rubber Soul”, and then a listen to “Revolver”, shows a much different band and sound as the Beatles began to evolve into their distinct personalities.
The album “Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” is the Beatles attempt at a lose concept album. Their thinking was to create an album as a band other than the Beatles. In fact, the name Beatles appears nowhere in print on the cover art, save the name in flowers. “Sgt Peppers” was the first Beatles album from both sides of the Atlantic to match the other, no more differences between the UK and US versions.
Although many bands in later years would cite “Sgt Peppers’ as an influential work, no single track was released as a 45rpm record during the albums original run on the charts.
“Abbey Road” is the Beatles final studio statement that almost never was. After the disastrous Get Back sessions in January 1969, three members of the Beatles (Ringo, George and John) quit the band at one time or another. John specifically considered the Beatles to be done and started releasing recordings with his new wife Yoko Ono.
Paul McCartney called George Martin to oversee another Beatles album, their last. Martin agreed as long as the members of the band got along and worked together. All four members iwere agreement with this arrangement
and knowing that this was going to be their last album as a group, the group gave the project their best shot. The triumphant “Abbey Road” made its way into history as the definitive ending statement on the Beatles.
“Abbey Road’ was the most sophisticated and polished record in the entire Beatles canon. Even though the Get Back recordings of 1969 made their way out after “Abbey
Road”, “Abbey Road” was the Beatles final musical statement to the world.