Saturday, January 20, 2018

A Hard Road

Over the summer, the local art museum here in Portland, hosted a series called Deconstructing The Beatles. Each month, they would feature a film that focused on a single album from The Beatles, starting with Rubber Soul, and working its way through Abbey Road...and in it, the host would dig in deep and pull out the details around the recording of each album. This was some full-on music nerd stuff...playing and dissecting different takes for many of the songs.

I enjoy The Beatles, so I figure that it would be cool to catch some of these Deconstructing The Beatles shows. Little did I know just how much it was going to have me obsessing over the band, and pulling out their albums for repeat listens.

Now my record collection for The Beatles stood at exactly one lonely piece of vinyl...and it was some shitty compilation that captured a bunch of cover songs from the 50's like Twist And Shout and Roll Over Beethoven...not exactly what I want when I'm in the mood for some Beatles. So when I was recently going through Steve's old record collection that I'd inherited when he passed away a couple years ago, I immediately pulled out a couple of their albums and placed them in the pile that I was interested in.

Steve's records were a mess. These things were played hard, and were in the need of a good cleaning. I wish that I could hear his stories about when he got them, and what impact they had on him...but sadly that opportunity has passed. Either way, once I'd washed the vinyl, and dropped the needle on the Abbey Road album, I was overcome with such a joyous feeling, and with each song, I'd bump the volume higher and higher. Fuck...this record sounds great, and had me singing and dancing along to it. Queue a small late 60's music obsession in 3... 2... 1...

The other record from The Beatles in Steve's collection was A Hard Days Night. The record cover for this one threw me off a little bit, as it wasn't the cover image that I was familiar with. Oh yeah, sometimes record companies in The States liked to fuck with the original UK layout.

My sweet spot for The Beatles is from 65's Rubber Soul through Let It Be in 1970. While I enjoy their earlier stuff, they aren't my go-to albums when it comes to The Beatles. Records like A Hard Days Night are just more poppy and "nice"...again, not bad, just not my favorite era.

Not only did the record company change the album cover to fit the soundtrack for the Beatles film of the same name, they also fucked with the songs on the record. Some songs were pulled from the US release, and replaced with some easy-listening instrumental versions of Beatles songs. These instrumental songs aren't performed by The Beatles, and are incredibly cheesy. Leave it to the US to think that fans wanted some kind of watered down Beatles record. Honestly, these instrumental versions are so bad and out of place on the record that I can't help but laugh and get a kick out of it.


itallcomesdowntothis said...

Man, I would have loved to attend that series. Sounds very interesting.

mcs said...

Never really had any interest in the Beatles. But also never really understood the timeline of the band and what order their records came in, or anything whatsoever. But a couple of weeks ago I watched the film 'Eight Days a Week' which was really interesting and helped put it all in order for me. Made me actually appreciate them for the first time. And I never knew they stopped playing live years before they split. Great watch if you haven't seen it...