“No, we need money first.”
This was John Lennon’s response when asked at the Beatles’ first American press conference if the group would sing for the fans and reporters populating the newly-christened John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964. For the band’s cynical critics, it provided simultaneous ammunition and disarmament; an audacious yet charming change of pace from the safe, controlled pop star persona of the day. (Elvis may have been electric on stage, but he made for a pretty boring interviewee.) It’s debatable the extent to which John was joking, but Continue reading “#177: Money (That’s What I Want)”
When I wrote about 1969’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” I lamented its lack of lyrical variation (try saying that three times fast), but the truth is, the Beatles had been thrifty with words from the start. “Love Me Do,” the band’s 1962 debut single, contains just 20 unique words. It’s one of those songs that is objectively pretty unexceptional on every level, but Continue reading “#182: Love Me Do”
This track often shows up on “worst Beatles songs” lists, and it’s admittedly a very curious choice for the band to cover. Originally performed by girl group The Shirelles, this ode to the less fair sex was a regular part of the group’s early setlists, allowing them to nail it in the studio in a single take. The decision to only alter certain lyrics results in Continue reading “#183: Boys”
Listen to the hooks of each song on the first half of the Beatles’ second album and one sticks out like a sore thumb. Sandwiched between sunny choruses promising, “It won’t be long, yeah (yeah!), ’til I belong to you,” “All my loving, I will send to you,” and “There was love all around, but I never heard it singing…till there was you,” you’ll find the decidedly more rain-soaked, “Go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me.” Do I even need to tell you that it was written by George Harrison?
What’s less obvious is that George also wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
Considering it was the first song he ever composed, Continue reading “#190: Don’t Bother Me”
In an alternate universe where the Marvelettes’ definitive original recording of “Please Mister Postman” didn’t exist, the Beatles’ version would serve as a totally adequate substitute. John Lennon delivers a solid vocal and the musicianship is more than competent…but the lads brought nothing new to the table here, aside from swapping the gender in the lyrics.
Well, for the narrator at least. A female mail carrier would have been a little too progressive for 1963.
That said, while I’m fantasizing about alternate universes, I wouldn’t mind living in a world in which Continue reading “#202: Please Mister Postman”
The slaughter of Please Please Me covers continues. In order to properly describe “Chains,” the only thing I could really think to do was head to thesaurus.com and decide on my favorite synonym for “pleasant.” I am settling on “congenial.” Also, did you know that “bland” is synonymous with “pleasant”? I mean, I get it but I’ve never really thought of those words as amiable.
So…”Chains.” It’s hard to really get excited about this song. It’s not all that different from the Cookies’ original. It’s just another in the line of Continue reading “#205: Chains”
“Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la” may not be the most profound lyric of all time, but it can make for a heck of a hook. It’s safe to say that “Baby It’s You” does not suffer for lack of being catchy by any stretch, which is hardly a surprise considering it was composed by Burt Bacharach. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across a version Continue reading “#206: Baby It’s You”