September 10, 2009

The Beatles - "miss them, miss them"

The Beatles are absolutely the greatest band in the history of modern music - really almost indisputable. Their influence is profound. The are not just an influence on all music that followed but on our culture as a whole. They have re-released their entire catalog on (number 9/9/2009) with a significant re-mastering enhancing the sonic detail of each of their albums. In conjunction they have released The Beatles: Rock Band.

If you are only familiar with the Beatles catalog through radio and their best known hits (shame on you), here are my top few albums of theirs that you should pick up immediately:
The Beatles (Also known as The White Album)
Abbey Road
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

And my personal favorite few songs:
"Tomorrow Never Knows"
A Day In The Life"
"Let It Be"
"Dear Prudence"
"In My Life"
...and this list can go on forever which brings me to my next point...

I have always been fascinated with the amazingly diverse and brilliant catalog of the best band ever and what is so shocking ever time I think about it or read about it is just how quickly (just 6 1/2 years) they went from Liverpool unknowns to boy band superstars to the greatest most experimental pop artists we have ever known to leaving it all behind. At the end of his review of the re-released Abbey Road (obviously receiving a 10), Mark Richardson for Pitckfork sums it up perfectly:

"The Beatles' run in the 1960s is good fodder for thought experiments. For example, Abbey Road came out in late September 1969. Though Let It Be was then still unreleased, the Beatles wouldn't record another album together. But they were still young men: George was 26 years old, Paul was 27, John was 28, and Ringo was 29. The Beatles' first album, Please Please Me, had come out almost exactly six and a half years earlier. So if Abbey Road had been released today, Please Please Me would date to March 2003. So think about that for a sec: Twelve studio albums and a couple of dozen singles, with a sound that went from earnest interpreters of Everly Brothers and Motown hits to mind-bending sonic explorers and with so many detours along the way-- all of it happened in that brief stretch of time. That's a weight to carry."

Just by way of a fun comparison: my favorite band, Radiohead, put out their first album Pablo Honey in 1993 and their seventh album, In Rainbows in 2007. That is a little more than half the number of albums The Beatles amassed in 3X the amount of time (as we now stand almost 17 years into Radiohead's run). Even more crazy to think is that while Radiohead put out their magnum opuses in years 4-7 (OK Computer (1997) and Kid A (2000)), within The Beatles time together, they seem as on top of their game as ever with In Rainbows nearly as brilliant as those two apexes. What might The Beatles have continued to accomplish...

26, 27, 28, 29 YEARS OLD and they were done. Shocking and incredibly heartbreaking ever time I think about. But they sure as hell went out on top.


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