George Starostin's Reviews 



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Marco Ursi <> (31.08.99)

Amazing, no one has even made any comments on what is probably the most famous album in the history of rock and roll. Sgt. Peppers is my least favourite of all the Beatle albums I own or have heard(Yellow Submarine not included). Mabye it's because I wasn't born when it was first released and I can't comprehend the influential and historical value of it. Than again, you said you enjoy it because of the individual songs. I don't like very many of the individual songs on here, espescially in comparison to the ones from Revolver through Abbey Road . "Within, Without You"? When I'm Sixty-Four"? "She's Leaving Home"? "Fixing a Hole"? They just don't cut it for me. Is it because it's doesn't rock out? Possibly but than again, Abbey Road doesn't rock out much either and that is my favourite Beatles album. I would still probably give this an 8, even just for the wonderful masterpiece called "A Day in The Life".

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

Not a great album - I do like 'when I'm sixty four' much to shagrin of many others, but it has a certain quality. 'Lovely rita''s piano solo is fantastic and for me, the best part of the entire record. This album is excellent, but nothing compared to Abbey Road or Rubber Soul.

Glenn Wiener <> (30.09.99)

I can understand all the talk about this record being a classic. However, I just don't like it that much as compared with other Beatle releases. Maybe its the fact that many of the songs are too giddy for my tastes. Another reason may be that the songs are all arrangements and little substance as there aren't many ear riffs or solos. 'A Day In The Life' is one creative piece of music and 'Good Morning' is very interesting as well. The other songs are very well constructed and sound like they were very carefully constructed. However, the sappy, giddy tone that this record leaves has yet to motivate me to buy it at this point.

Nick Karn <> (06.10.99)

I'll admittedly say I was disappointed by Sgt. Pepper because of all the hype it's received over the years as the greatest album of all time. My only real gripes with this in retrospect, though, are the serious lack of coherence throughout the songs (they just do not gel together at all), and a couple of songs are weak by their standards because the melodies and arrangements aren't as strong, but they're still good, like the too sappy "She's Leaving Home", the very boring Indian music-influenced "Within You Without You" and "Good Morning Good Morning". Elsewhere, though, while the songwriting is in my opinion not as good as Revolver, it's still classic work, particularly the first four tracks, the interesting carnival music of "Mr. Kite", "Lovely Rita" (unbelievably dumb at first but eventually grew on me) and of course "A Day In The Life" (which I actually was bored by in the first few listens, if you can believe that, but now I've come to love the song - ESPECIALLY the "Ahhhhhhh" John vocal part after Paul's bridge!). This album overall has its' amazing moments but strikes me as being slightly subpar for the band, but subpar for the Beatles is excellent by any other standard. A 9 for this one.

Josh Fitzgerald <> (18.11.99)

While Revolver was the best because of the groundbraking songwriting, this was the best because of the groundbraking production. I've never met anyone who doesn't like this album, and EVERY SINGLE BAND that comes around today from Nirvana to TLC has been influenced by this in one way or another. Whether they know it or not! I love it too, but what more is there to say about it?

Michel Franzen <> (12.01.2000)

You know what holds Sgt Pepper back from being hands-down the greatest rock/pop album of all time? It is missing two of the best songs from the Sgt. Pepper sessions--namely, "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever." Add those two songs to Pepper and you get an unbeatable album that holds its own against any Beatles album, any Dylan or Stones lp, and anyone elses efforts as well.

Ben Greenstein <> (13.01.2000)

I honestly don't see how anyone could call this "not a great album." For me, no matter how cliched it is to say it, this one flows better and has better songs per average than other Beatles records. "A Day In The Life" is a masterpiece, "Lovely Rita" is a personal favourite, and "She's Leaving Home" is absolutely gorgeous. I got this album when I was fifteen, and haven't grown sick of it since. How can people call it overrated? For me, it's not a cliche - this album, like the also considered to be overrated Born To Run and A Night At The Opera, is one of my all-time favourites, a perfect ten, maybe 10.75.

Robert Tally <> (18.02.2000)

Okay, I'm going to count myself among those who consider this album to be overrated. But that's only because so many people think it's the best album The Beatles made. There's a few other albums I like more. However, there is a certain something about this album. Even though it doesn't add up to a great album on a song for song basis, there's an indefinable aura present throughout this that makes it greater than the sum of its parts. Maybe this aura is just in my imagination, after the years of hype surrounding this release. My favorite track by far is 'A Day In The Life.' To illustrate how good I think this song is, I'll say two things. First of all, I really enjoy the orchestral crescendos and the long piano chord, but they don't actually improve the song. It's too good to be improved. Secondly, I feel that Paul's little ditty in the middle is somewhat subpar - and yet I would still rate 'A Day In The Life' as one the greatest songs ever written - by anybody. It's too good to be spoiled by Paul McCartney trying to be cute. I also really enjoy 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite,' which does an exemplary job of creating its circus atmosphere. The strongest McCartney song, I think, is 'Fixing A Hole' - nice guitar solo, too. I also like 'When I'm Sixty-Four,' which manages to be nostalgic without being sickening. There's a few others that I think are really strong, but aren't big favorites: 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' (great psycedelia, but the sped-up voice kind of spoils things), 'Within You Without You' (not much in the melody department, but the atmosphere is great), 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (an eclectic and exciting opener - the point when they begin the chorus stills sends a chill down my spine) and the Reprise (the best rock 'n' roll on the album). The rest of the songs all come up short for me: 'Good Morning, Good Morning' (clever, but trivial; rocking, but not that well), 'Getting Better' (I like the bits that John added, but otherwise it's not that great - the incessant high-pitched guitar really annoys me), 'Lovely Rita' (catchy, but a little dumb - George Martin plays that impressive piano solo, by the way), 'With A Little Help From My Friends' (one-dimensional and bland, but not exactly terrible - the Joe Cocker version makes mincemeat out of it). My least favorite track is 'She's Leaving Home' - overly melodramatic, badly sung, and sickeningly arranged (not by George Martin, I should note). Another outstanding cover, and hours of fun just looking at the details.

Sidenote: the original American album didn't have the high-pitched tone in the runout groove or the gibberish in the inner groove. Of course, the CD does. For those who aren't familiar with the high-pitched tone, just play the album while your dog or cat is sleeping nearby, and watch how they perk up after the piano chord finishes fading out.

And that's Paul singing 'Lovely Rita,' by the way, not John.

Rich Bunnell <> (19.02.2000)

It really irks me that people just have to find ways of dethroning great albums just so they don't blend in with all of the other positive reader comments on review pages. I mean, be honest. Do you read the 5-star reader reviews on No. You read the 1 and 2-star ones. It's more noticeable when someone insults something than when they praise it. And this album, gosh darnit, deserves a whole lot of praise. First off, "Fixing A Hole," "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite," "Within You Without You," "Good Morning Good Morning," "When I'm 64" and "She's Leaving Home" are all GREAT songs. Why does everyone always slam "Mr. Kite" for "having no melody"? It has a freaking melody! Listen to it! John is singing a melody, and that melody is good! Why this song, along with "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"(another one of my all-time Beatles favorites) has become the apex of Beatles negative criticism is completely beyond me.

The songs that everyone likes (Title track, "Day In The Life," "Lucy In The Sky," "Lovely Rita," "Getting Better") are all really nice as well-- in fact, every last song on the album is wonderful. Sometimes when people rate an album highly, it's for a reason, people. That's one good facet of your reviews, George-- you aren't afraid to like all of the it's-cool-to-bash-it albums. Like Ziggy Stardust-- that's a great album too. And of course, I give this one a ten.

Adam Harrington <> (13.04.2000)

Is this the proto- concept album as so many people claimed? No, certainly not in the sense of the Who's Tommy or Pink Floyd's The Wall (or even, for that matter, the back side of Abbey Road). So why is this such a breakthrough?

This album encompasses practically every style there is, and it is miles away from the poppy sound the Beatles had originally -- a sound that would never be seen again from them after this. Some of it is rock, some of it is not. While you're right that there have been albums that are more experimental (although they never did as well), this one stands out in a big way, and not just because the highbrow critics decided rock was okay. Every song on the album is emotionally charged to the nth degree, and the album as a whole takes us on an emotional roller coaster that can only be stopped when "A Day in the Life" pulls us back into reality at the end.

The title track gives the impression of a concept album, as does "With a Little Help from my Friends," and the latter does have a kind of poppy edge (although this doesn't detract from its quality). And listening to it may give a false impression that this is going to be a happy, sunshiney album. "Lucy" has kind of a dark, trippy sound to it, be it as it may that the "L.S.D." bit was a myth, but that sound is not enough to change the tone of the album, especially when "Getting Better" (with the exception of the one dark verse about domestic violence) reinforces the happy sound the album started with.

With "Fixing a Hole," the tone takes a little bit of a dark turn (sort of preparing us for what may be to come); the lyrics are introspective (although hard to understand without looking closely), but the music is mostly in the minor key and while at an upbeat tempo, starts to turn the album's tone around. Moving forward, "She's Leaving Home" isn't really dark, it's just sad, but all the same, the emotional content has turned 180 degrees since "Getting Better," a mere two songs earlier.

By the time we reach "Mr. Kite," the album has become as bleak as anything by the Doors or Pink Floyd. "Mr. Kite" is one of the most frightening songs I've ever heard, and while the lyrics about trampolines and waltzing horses are benign enough, the music doesn't match the circus-coming-to-town tone of the lyrics. This is no happy circus music; it is a dark, minor key melody with an ominous and dangerous slant. When I hear the two calliope solos, the image I see doesn't involve two guys who do "somersets" and jump through walls of fire. I see a dark tent with cages full of deformed freaks and a sadistic man cracking his whip at them. It almost seems like our friend John is trying to hide something from us with the lyrics. (N.B. "Mr. Kite" is my favorite song on the album).

The second side is needed to provide an antidote for the circus of horrors we've just been subjected to, with "Within You Without You" giving a philosophical message, perhaps to get your mind off what you've just seen, and "When I'm 64" trying to make the tone happy again -- it works. The next two -- both in major keys and rather upbeat (the dark first line about the dying man in "Good Morning Good Morning" notwithstanding) -- serve to keep up the happy tone that "When I'm 64" reestablished, then -- surprise, it's over! Or is it?

"A Day in the Life" -- the way it goes from the wild title track reprise to the subdued acoustic guitar intro makes it seem like some guy has been watching everything that's happened up to this point on television, and now we're zooming out into his livingroom, back to real life, waiting for him to tell us about his rather weird day. "A Day in the Life," because it is AFTER what seems like it should be the end, finally pulls us off the emotional roller coaster we've been on since the beginning.

Of course, this is nothing more than my own interpretation. Some people probably just see Pepper as a collection of individual and unrelated songs, and practically no one I've talked to agrees with my take on "Mr. Kite." But I think it goes without saying that moreso than any other Beatles album prior to it, the songs here are emotionally charged -- for me, to the point where I am worn out (but satisfied) after finishing the album.

Ed Muller <> (23.05.2000)

I first heard this after it was released when I was very young, and I can only remember that I thought it was magical. Sometime after I got older, I grabbed a copy and thought it was incredible. If you listen to it today, it will never have impact - it's been copied in so many ways that it's easy to overlook. Arguably, for a concept album it has little cohesion, but for listening pleasure it was really fantastic. It was strange and quirky, melodic and hypnotic, overwhelming and underscored, and dabbled with a picturesque and bizarre landscape. Realistically, I don't listen to the Beatles anymore. As a whole we were subjected to so much in our time that it became common background noise. However if you heard this when you were young, before the 90's grabbed a hold of and copied everything that ever came before, you would have also been impressed.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (07.08.2000)

Just a little note about song 'A day in a life'. Actually the man about whom Paul & John are singing is real. He was John's friend and really died in a car crash. After that John composed a song for him but as usual he mixed it with drug mention, social problems, stupiness of FBI (the last verse:'And though the holes were rather small they had to count them all. Now they know how much it takes to fill the Albert Hall') and fussiness of a big city (8-second screaming in the end). But for me it is bad ending - this song should be from other album.

Mike VonBehren <> (23.08.2000)

I first heard 'day in the life' when I was 11 years old along with 'yellow sub' the same day i was takeing bass guitar and piano lessons at the time and if you play an insterment you can tell if something influnces you especially that first magical time. well to make a long story short Iam 16/m and iam in a band called cloud 9 and iam a well taught multitalented instramentalist and i have won talent searches in my city St.Louis Mo. but before i got teogether my group me and my lead guitarst would play 'a day in the life' for judges me/lead vocal piano Niel/guitar and sang pauls "wokeup" part how we learned it is simple it starts in g and the chord progression ends up in Aminor at the end of the first line john sings so we pulled out my gretch which isnt the guitar usrd on the track 'gibson1964 moptop" and sat down at the family piano 'now in the garage' and played the chord progression several times untilwe got it right and its 5 bars i think until that oblegetto of just starting at a and going25 bars up til high g again SIMPLE now 'mr kite' and 'rita' is another story altogether

John Caulfield <> (30.08.2000)

Just a thought. While I am generally not a great fan of compilation albums, the first record of The Blue album combining (with possibly one or two exceptions) the best of Pepper and Mystery Tour is probably the finest combination of songs ever on one Lp.

I have always believed that (in a perfect world) 'Strawberry Fields', 'Penny Lane', 'Walrus' and 'Fool' would have been part of Pepper, replacing 'Good Morning', 'Lovely Rita', '64' and 'Getting Better'. That would then have been the greatest album, not only made, but ever capable of being made. you shoulda seen them kicking Edgar Alan Poe...

Kevin Baker <> (23.09.2000)

Actually, the 1st usage of backwards tape by The Beatles on the song 'Rain' (the B-Side of 'Paperback Writer').  Also, tape loops AND backwards tape were used on 'Tomorrow Never knows' on Revolver.  So The Beatles were no strangers to those techniques when they recorded SPLHCB

Samuel Wayne <> (16.10.2000)

Not ALL the songs are great.  how many times can you hear 'lovely rita'?, or even the caustic, pointless title track, which has nothing to say.  Granted the acid-induced "Lucy" doesn't say much either, but at least the lyrics are trite and contrived like in "pepper's" (well the singer's gonna sing a song, and I'd like you all to sing along).  thank god this album was saved by 'a day in the life', and believe it or not, 'within you without you' (what can I say, i love george).  

Paul Stadden <> (23.10.2000)

What can I say? It's the best. It can't be topped. And Paul is certainly NOT dead.

Daniel Rachal <> (26.11.2000)

I tire of people talk about these Beatles.  I rather be force fed my spine than listen to what many consider the greatest album of all time.  Ha!  I giggle with the enthuasim of Richard Simmons and the outright annoyance of Joan Rivers. 

To begin with, I made it over to my local record store, which was two blocks over.  While at the store, I peered onto the cover with my eyes and saw four long haired creatures that apparently had been raped by a gaggle of open paint cans.  I than noticed that there were their evil clones to their right (this cloning is easily the most innovative thing to come out of this waste of wax and cardboard).  Well, I looked onto the cover and realized that apparently Marylin Monroe, Bob Dylan, and Muhammad Ali liked it so much that they posed on the cover.  "Well, heck," I stated to myself, "why not buy it if all these people like it?!?" I ran up to the counter and purchased it wth MY money.  Now, my 10 dollars are not worth this mere sonic loitering.  I had to work two hours stealing babies to pay for this album!  I should have never listened to Muhammad Ali (nary did I know he got paid for getting in the head.  I thought he was paid for talking loud) Never trust a man who gets hit in the head to pay for his children's food. 

Well, I got home and put it on the old gram-a-phone (you should realize by now I have the spelling ability of an autistic fetus).  I never realized that four people could be idolized by raping recording equipment!!!  It starts off with a intro into the sonic voyage we are about to embark upon.  I've heard elementary school bands defecate out better noise while getting shot at!  Why don't you stick my ears into a threshing machine?

Well, it appears that these acoustic abortions we call the Beatles have friends.  So they made a song about their friends helping them. Who helped them make this album?  Helen Keller?  Then we go into "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".  It sounds like they have an "annoying sound machine" going on hyperdrive while they sing about candy-coated drivel.  Oh, well.  At least they actually get better on "Getting Better".  But they shouldn't try to paint themselves as rock n' roll bad asses by singing about hassling teachers. 

Well, let's skip the next few songs.  Why?  Because they aren't worth my poetic wordplay. 

Alas, we have a few songs left over to make a B side.  Alas, certainly I won't take care of an over the hill rock star who slept on piles of money with beautiful females when he's sixty-four and can not control his bodily functions.  Perhaps when the smell gets bad I'll spray some Lysol on him, but that's it.  Now, everyone praises "A Day in the Life".  Why?  Mozart could have had his brain eaten and limbs torn off and written a better "orchestral" tune.  Why don't we pay the orchestra to play out of tune?  Well, Paul, John, George, and the other guy who's kinda femine, it sounds horrible.  Then they try to make us listen to it forever by adding the crack at the end.  Personally, it's my favorite song, but you can only listen to it thrice before you demand God to deliver you to Him. 

Alas, this is not the best moment of rock n' roll.  Surely, David Lee Roth's "I'm Just a Gigglo" is more meaningful.  Don't we all feel like we're just whoring ourselves off to the world as we blindly go thorough a meaningless capatilistic lifetime of nothingness? 

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

Not to sound bitchy but their first experiment with backwards tapes was on 'Rain', recorded a year earlier. At the time the Beatles had all but locked themselves away and people began to talk. Things such as, "The Beatles are dried up!" circulated everywhere, but Paul McCartney says he laughed and knew he was going to prove them all wrong. Even though some people say 'WIYWOY' and 'When I'm 64' are weak (Paul wrote it when he was 14, hey I'm 14!), they're all right and just add to the atomosphere. Of course, because of this album, the greatness of Rubber Soul and Revolver. In some spots the experimentation overshadows the actual songwriting but not too often. If Freak Out!, Pet Sounds or Revolver weren't enough to change music forever, this was. After this, drug use and overall "hippism" also became more common. Experimental music became the norm and everyone for decades would be trying to compete with this album and out do it, and that's what kept the spirit of rock alive. Recently, the music scene lost that mission and now, as you said in one of your essays, rock'n'roll is dead, but we all have nothing to do but pray for another revolution.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

Judging by the comments on your website, I am not the only one who feels that Sgt Pepper is rather overrated. I still like it a lot and would give it a 9 but there are too many weak moments on it to give it a perfect score. This time the main culprit is John. He has two great songs - 'Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds' and 'A Day in the Life' but his other two contributions don't excite me all that much. 'Mr Kite' is nothing more than a decent song and all of George Martin's tricks in the studio cannot make it more than that and 'Good Morning Good Morning' is a plain bore. Paul's stuff, though, is excellent ('Fixing a Hole' is probably the weakest of his tracks and even that is a lot stronger than the above mentioned John tracks) and George and Ringo get one song each and make the most of it.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (08.01.2001)

Another 10/10 - Never before had so much creativity and musical ideas been crammed together in such a short span of time. At least not since J.S. Bach's Brandenburger Concertos. I won't bother with highs and lows, because for me this album is a whole and I always play it from beginning to end without interruption. I can of course understand that this is not everyone's cup of tea (narrow minded rockers and their like), but all open minded music lovers are guaranteed an outstanding sonic journey.

Steve Hall <> (17.01.2001)

This is not the best Beatles album.I will try to explain why.Simply put,track for track this doesn't match revolver and probably not Rubber Soul either.It is way too Mccartney heavy and there is not enough of Lennon/Harrison's introspectiveness to offset Mccartney's honey covered optimism(He still sounds happy during She's Leaving Home,compared to Lennons vocals in the song).There are only 3 Lennon tracks plus 'A day in the life' which is a part collaboration and just 1 Harrison track.Mccartney has no less than 7 of his tracks PLUS a hand in 'A day in the life' PLUS he wrote 'with a lttle help from my friends'.Now this is not automatically a bad thing of course,but every Beatles fan has to admit that one of the finest things about the Beatles songwriting team is the way the songs of each one both contrast but at the same time harmonise in a unique fashion.I had the feeling something wasn't quite right here the very first time i heard this album when i was 15.Now of course this is a great album nonetheless but how many Beatles albums can boast the inbalance of having 3 Mccartney tracks in a row on any given side(apart from the medley on Abbey Road,which is a medley not 3 seperate and fully complete songs).Revolver and Rubber Soul do not contain anything that meanders as aimlessly as 'Within you without you',no i don't just hate indian influenced music,'love you to' on Revolver is a great and i believe 'The inner light' is one of Harrisons top 5 compositions(another one of those great lost Beatles b-side).'When i'm sixty four' is charming but doesn't belong on 10/10 albums,i'm sorry it doesn't.Of course it has some classics(even by Beatles standards)most notably 'A day in the life','She's leaving home','Lucy in the sky with diamonds' but nothing Revolver doesn't match with it's best tracks.Finally to use an analogy you use in your venom against Pink Floyd,if you take away Sgt Peppers "grandiosity and packaging" the basic tracks do not match the two albums that went before it.A truly great and grounbreaking album in many ways but not the very best of the Beatles work.If Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane opened side B instead of the other two and Harrison had written something like 'The inner light' sooner this would make a 10. 8.5/10

[Special author note: I only want to say here that I have certain reservations about 'grandiosity and packaging'. Apart from crowd noises on the title track here and some animal chuckles at the end of 'Good Morning Good Morning', I can't see anything that takes the listener away from the bare-bones melodies on Sgt Pepper. The Pink Floyd comparison is totally unjust.]

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is a very frustrating record for me to comment on – it's difficult, if not impossible, to separate the glitter from the substance (there's massive amounts of both!). I was initially irritated by fans and music magazines who declared Pepper as the greatest album in history -– it's not, it's not even close. Plus, I agree with the notion that its "grandiosity and packaging" gave it a 'veneer' of greatness that it doesn't quite live up to. But, having said all that, after you remove all the hype, the phantasmagoria, the clothes, the bright colors, etc., Pepper is obviously a wonderful record!

But Pepper is clearly a Paul McCartney Production, it marks the beginning of John Lennon's sad, drug-addled decline and abdication as The Beatles' main inspiration. John only wrote three or four numbers here, and he seems strangely absent throughout this record. If he had participated a bit more, he could've counteracted Paul's over-the-top optimism and given the record a bit more 'balance.'

"With a little help from my friends" is Ringo's greatest moment with The Beatles. It was perfectly tailor-made for his 'sad-clown-lovable-loser-ordinary-guy' persona. The fact that Ringo has a below-average voice and he often sings out of tune just adds to its charm. The harmonies from John and Paul are also sensational.

"Lucy in the sky with diamonds" suffers from a poor arrangement -- John's voice sounds too muffled and some of the backing instruments sound weak and tinny. This is a tragedy because the composition is so magnificent. John often complained that many of his songs did not receive the full attention and care in the studio that Paul's songs did -- in this case, he's exactly correct.

"Getting better" and "Fixing a hole" are terrific numbers. Some people have derided The Beatles for not being musical 'virtuosos'. I will agree, for example, that Messrs. Townshend, Moon and Entwistle were better at their respective instruments than Messrs. Harrison, Starr and McCartney. But The Beatles could somehow make their instruments 'sound' like nothing that ever came before or after. The sounds made by the guitars, bass and pianos on "Fixing a hole," for example, have never been heard elsewhere. And there are many other examples of this through The Beatles' canon. Studio tricks? Maybe. Just dumb luck? Possibly. Unmatched greatness? Definitely.

"She's leaving home" is Paul's weakest moment in the record. It's too sentimental, lush and melodramatic, and I don't think it belongs on Pepper. Not even John's harmonizing ('buy, buy') can save it.

"Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite" is a song I used to love when I was a kid, but it's aged badly in my estimation.

"Within you, without you" doesn't do much for me. Some praise its poetry, but it's far too long and overindulgent. No amount of exotica can compensate for George's lack of original musical ideas (at that time). I actually think that George's "Only A Northern Song" (which was recorded during this period) would've made a far better substitute on Pepper.

"When I'm 64" and "Lovely Rita" are two more McCartney classics, I love these songs to death. Despite their mundane subject matter, they're both infused with enough nostalgia, psychedelia and trippiness that they're perfect for Pepper. (I understand that many fans dislike Paul's penchant for happy-go-lucky vaudeville, but you can't argue with his musical craftsmanship and technical skills).

"Good morning good morning" is a hard rocker (for the most part) but it's too gimmicky, it never grabbed me. It doesn't hold up over the years. BIG disagreement over the famous closing track, "Day in the Life." I just don't think it should rank as one of The Beatles all-time greatest songs. I know many pick this as their best ever song, but why? Is it because of the grandiose orchestration? That rumbling crescendo? The seemingly profound-sounding lyrics? It's a fine song, don't get me wrong, but the best ever?

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

You can argue endlessly that it's inferior to rubber soul ,revolver ,white album and abbey road,but what's the point?These five albums are the basis of any comprehensive collection.I can't think of anything more vital in pop/rock.

Sergeant Pepper's was innovative, no one can deny it .Whether you prefer,like me,the White Album,or as John Doe,Abbey road,is only a question of taste.The Beatles career is a logical progression ,from the very beginning.It's a whole.You coudn't look upon "a day in the life " as the follow-up to "can't buy me love".But " jumping jack flash" could be the direct follow-up to "satisfaction" (Stones' fans,don't be cross with me,I don't mean it pejoratively).

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

Well, so many things were told about this album, that I surely can't say something original. Sgt.Pepper influenced a lot of musical styles and ideas; it served like a point to beginning of three important styles: hard-rock, art-rock and rock-psychedelia.  

"A Day In The Life" is epic great composition, "She's Leaving Home" is wonderful ballad, title track with its reprise is groovy and "With A Little Help From My Friends" is one of the best Ringo-sung compositions.

STEVEN SCHELSKE <> (18.08.2001)

I just listened to this British release on cd for the first time on my amp, from beginning to end, and I must say this one's overall pretty weak. To start with, where the hell's the bass? It's hardly even there! The guitar parts on most songs are pretty weak as well, with a kind of cloudy, distant feel to them; or else they're way too screechy(the lead on 'Getting Better'). The sound effects/tricks seem dated as well, so for the most part I'm kind of left hanging here, although it's not all bad--'Fixing A Hole', for example, has a great flowing pop melody and is one of my all-time favorites from the Pepper/MMT psychadelic period, probably the best track on here, barring any hype for the others, of course.

Also I love the Reprise(fast, kick-ass bass & guitar and a great fun echo harmony, although it's no This Boy, but fun in a totally different, peppy sort of way nonetheless), followed by 'A Day In The Life' (great vocal, although I always feel the last verse seems like the group's losing interest or something, it just seems hurried and John just seems sort of ho-hum about the lyric at times, and the bit at the end I just don't get either). 'Within You Without You' has great philosophical lyrics(theological?) and the strings really work here. 'Getting Better's got some good flowing bass hooks but like I said the guitar...

Now for the clinkers--the 1st 3 songs: the title track is dated and generic-as-hell(again, where's the instruments, lads?), 'Little Help' is of little help, waaay too sugary(c'mon Ringo!), and 'Lucy In the Sky' hasn't aged well at all, it almost sounds like a children's fairy tale for cripes sake! 'Mr. Kite' the same, except for the effects at the end(one of the rare instances where I'm grabbed by the effects--great production there). 'When I'm 64', 'Rita'--no comment. 'Good Morning' starts off with some vintage John "the world is going to hell in a handbasket"-like pessimism but then quickly dovetails into a big cheese pizza after the middle break with stuff like "it's time for tea & meet the wife"(yeah, whatever).

Overall generic, hokey-at-times, sugar-coated "Summer of Love" stuff from the Fabs; in short, it kinda sucks(although all their other releases are superb, to say the very least(except maybe for Let It Be)). I felt like putting on the Kinks' Face To Face about halfway through this, so I'll have to give it a high 6/10, and that's being sympathetic.

Ben Kramer <> (26.11.2001)

Ok, maybe I'm missing something. There is so much hype about this album being experimental, conceptual, ... but I disagree with that. There is no concept and Paul said himself during the Anthology movie that it would work the same way if there were different songs and the only way that there is some sort of concept is the first two songs and that the title track is reprised. Another thing that people talk about is that this isn't rock music and that the instrumentation had never been done before. Well, they used sitars, trumpets, violins... in the past. Sure, Sgt. Peppers may have been less rockish than Rubbers Soul or Revolver, but not by much. I don't see the difference between this and the two previous albums other than the fact that they have reached their maturity, and I don't think the Beatles were ready for that. Actually, I prefer Revolver and Rubber Soul to this one. Before I mislead you, let me just say that I think that this is a great album. But, I would never call this better than The Beatles or Abbey Road or Revolver or Rubber Soul. Actually, I prefer Magical Mystery Tour to Sgt. Peppers as well. Why? The Beatles were capable of more, not a lot more, but a little more. Sure, 'A Day In The Life' is brilliant, but what happened to the beautiful love songs like 'Here, There and Everywhere' and 'In My Life'? What happened to the astonishing harmonies of 'Nowhere Man'? 'With a Little Help From My Friends' is sort of Dylanish, but nothing like 'Nowhere Man', 'Yesterday', 'Strawberry Fields Forever' (single released around the same time)... Still, an average record for the Beatles still wipes away the competition (at least most of it). Also, many of the songs are pointless, probably stuck in there for the Paul Is Dead scam. I don't really care for 'When I'm Sixty-Four', 'Getting Better', and 'Within You Without You' (George wouldn't shine until The Beatles). Overall, I'd give it a 8(13), maybe a 9(14). Maybe if someone could really explain the importance of the album in detail (And I don't want to hear that no one had ever done anything like it before because one could say that about a lot of albums, many from the same year)

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

Who cares if its overrated or not!? This is a wonderful album! Loads of brilliant songs on this one! Just forget about the hype, and listen to the music, cuz truely this is great stuff. Even though its not my favorite Beatles album, these songs i could never live without. Truely classic. "With a Little Help From My Friends" has the best damn Ringo vocal performance ever too! "A Day In The Life", and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" are a few of the greatest songs ever written too! A 9/10 for sure.

Ryan Maffei <> (12.01.2002)

Not only is this A+ album one of the most perfect pop records of all time, this is also probably the only moment on recording where Paul McCartney produces music worthy enough to be called genius. Anybody want to explain to me what exactly makes this guy a great songwriter and not a commercial hack?

[Special author note: how about this take on the subject - Paul McCartney IS a commercial hack, and also a great songwriter?]

<> (25.01.2002)

for me one of the biggest hypes in musical history. not ONE track is as good as anything on revolver. it`s like they were rolling back into times before rubber soul. only best for people who think "unplugged" is a good idea. this record was the first i heard of them when i was 12 or so, and i always thought, if this is called their best one, i need not buy anything else from them. great mistake,of course. so i came up to their REAL good records ten years later.

no question, the beatles were great, but sgt. peppers is really boaring. sorry for my english, it`s not my first language.

Johannes Wiberg <> (22.04.2002)

I'm a very big fan of your reviews, but in my humble opinion you have a slight trouble when you're reviewing The Beatles. I guess you're already aware of this, and it's of course obvious to avoid since you're a fan. I'm listening to Sgt. Pepper for the first time in years, and damn, it's a wonderful wonderful record, but I think your review would need some straightening up. In your review of for example Pink Floyds The Dark Side Of The Moon, you're mainly focusing on the bad sides of the record - which is a great way of doing it, since you explain that it is, though a great record, gruesomely overrated, and you therefor feel compelled to "set the record straight" (heh heh). But when it comes to Sgt. Pepper you don't work in this way, you don't even mention that it is overrated (which is unevitably is). Otherwise I think your review is interresting and adequate, although I'd like you to say something about the similarity of the guitar theme in the chorus of 'Fixing A Hole' and the brass theme in the chorus of 'Good Morning, Good Morning'. Otherwise - great review of a great album. Cheers.

<> (10.08.2002)

I just have to say that I physically shiver during the silence between the orchestra build up and that final crashing note in "A Day in the Life", every time.

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

This ain't no Revolver! Where did they stash that guitar? Fine, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But, all the melodies are top-notch. Not one stinker in sight! And, though there's no central theme, these songs sound very coherent amongst one another. The title tracks, "A Little Help From My Friends", "Good Morning, Good Morning", and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" are my favorites. And, who cares if this is overrated? It deserves its reputation. Easy 10(15).

Dan Marshall <> (09.09.2002)

Daniel Rachal is RIGHT. In addition to his fantastic review, I have some things to add. The commercial success of Sgt. Pepper's proves only one thing: the Beatles knew they could dupe their audience into buying anything, no matter how atrocious it was. They churn out some Pet Sounds wannabe songs, put an intro and reprise, slap on a cover of themselves with some other--more important--icons, and, alas, we have art with a capital "A." By the way, if you don't believe me about the Pet Sounds bit, for a start, the bass line of "With a Little Help from My Friends" was taken from "God Only Knows," and the intro of "She's Leaving Home" is a speedier version of the intro from "Wouldn't it Be Nice," and this doesn't mention the other rip-offs, including the use of bass melody, the strings, the idea of a concept (which doesn't even live up), and the speeding up of the tape on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite," taken from both "Caroline No" and even an goof-off segment on an earlier Beach Boys album.

By the way, in case you're suspicious of my background, I was raised on the Beatles, including the solo works (if you can call them that) of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, and, yes, even Starr. I was told at a very early age that the Beatles were the best, I believed it, but then I acquired the wisdom to realize that it was absolutely NOT TRUE.

If anyone can honestly say, without bias (yes, stop pretending for one second that you're a Beatle or ignore that you're in love with them), that both "Sgt. Peppers," "Lucy..," "Fixing a Hole," "...Mr.Kite," "Within You..., "...Sixty-Four," and "Good Morning" (which Lennon was quoted as saying was "pure garbage") are good songs, then I'd like to introduce you to something called music.

Bob Josef <> (21.09.2002)

A brilliant leap in production advances from Revolver, only 9 months later! There are incredibly brilliant songs here (especially the mind-boggling "A Day in the Life"). But for me, there are other songs that don't quite make it independently of the album. I don't think I'd ever put on "Good Morning, Good Morning", "Mr. Kite", "Within You, Without You" or "Getting Better" by themselves. The overall songwriting is stronger on Revolver, even if there are more brilliant indivdual tracks here. Still, I can listen to it straight through with no problems at all.

A bit of trivia: when the Bee Gees released their disastrous Sgt. Pepper, A radio station took a poll, and listeners voted overwhelmingly for the originals. Duh! But this resulted in Capitol releasing the opening medley as a single, which made the top 40, and the album recharted. Never try to beat the Beatles at their own game!

Federico Fernández <> (27.11.2002)

Great! Excellent! Grrrrreat album! But overrated.

This is probably the most famous rock album ever: I don't really know where it gets the hype from. Well, maybe I know; It's a fairy experimental and psychedelic album, but unlike Pink Floyd's Piper, Freak Out! and other contemporary avant-garde works this one manages to merge groundbraking arrangements with great pop melodies in an ALMOST PERFECT way. I say "almost perfect" because, unlike Revolver and Abbey Road (which are the two best Beatles albums) there is some clear filler here. YES! FILLER!

Ok, so the first stretch is really amazing with not a single weak point. We have the awesome title track with those crunchy guitars, "With A Little Help From My Friends" which may be the only tune where Ringo actually sings quite well, the trippy "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", perhaps the best psychedelic pop ever writen (much, much better than the trippy bullshit from the following album), "Getting Better", this is my favourite! what a wonderful pop rocker with millions of hooks and great singing from Paul! "Fixing A Hole" is no worse nevertheless: magnificent guitar lines and a new killer melody from Paul. "She Is Leaving Home" is a gorgeous ballad (Although can't hold a candle to the unforgettable "Rigby") Oh! what an amazing collection of songs.. All together! but then... suddenly... from the nothing... FILLER!!!

"Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite" is my least favourite track here. It doesn't suck per se, but it sounds really dated, not fresh at all, with all those stupid carnivalesque tricks which are uncapable of hiding the lack of hooks. "Within You Without You" is... er... neat experimentalism with brillant indian arrangements, but not a very interesting listening. I consider that "Love You To" and "The Inner Light" gave far more convincing results. "When I'm Sixty Four" and "Lovely Rita" were inserted to cover the grounds of "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields" which were stupidly left aside. They both have GREAT MELODIES, specially "Lovely Rita", and a fair charge of new ideas, but they still sound too shallow. "Good Morning Good Morning" is also filler, and the reprise of the title track is... well, just a reprise (and an inferior one, though it gives the great impression of a frantic rush-towards-the-end of the record). The Grand Finale: "A Day In The Life" bring things up to the original heighs. Still, it's slightly overrated. Dark, beautiful and symphonic, but not really that fascinating after repeated listenings. Don't get me wrong: It's an AWESOME song (and clearly the best of the record), but for some reason it doesn't grab me like many others.

Yes, this is a killer, hard to match record. A 9/10, a point taken off for the obvious filler and hookless moments. But, in the long run, it deserves the 15.

David Dickson <> (16.01.2003)

Wow. That's a palindrome. Spell it backwards and it's the same word. Alright, let's see here. How to approach the greatest album of all time? First let me admit that I definitely think it's overrated, but not necessarily in the Revolver sense of the word. It's much catchier and more ambitious than Revolver, and has the SWEETEST Sixties production I've heard outside the Beegees, the Moody Blues, and King Crimson. Plus, it's on the average, harder-rocking--you've got to be dead from the neck up not to bang your head to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," "Getting Better," "Fixing a Hole," "Lovely Rita," (all Paul contributions) and "Good Morning Good Morning," as dead-accurate a stream-of-consciousness depiction of the Summer of Love as I can think of. Love them horns, too. OO-Yeah!! The essential problem with this one, however, is that it's not ambitious ENOUGH. There's not much underlying concept, either lyrics-wise or music wise--unlike, say, The Who Sell Out. And it has one song--ONE, mind you, that feels more boring than any of the duffers on Revolver: yep, you guessed it, "She's Leaving Home," baby. Paul just hasn't yet figured out how to write a ballad to top "Yesterday", although the lyrics are pretty evocative, and, as far as I can tell, dead serious for a change. The rest, though, is wonderful--even "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!!!!" despite its essential annoying qualities, has some fascinating swirling sound gimmicks. "Within You Without You" is a refreshing change of pace, a lengthy (by Beatles standards) Indian mantra that sounds both memorable and completely authentic, perfectly placed in the middle of the album to add some seriousness to all the happy bouncy trippy fun fun fun that surrounds it. "When I'm Sixty-Four" is frickin' hilarious; sometimes I try singing along to the ragtime rhythm, but I always end up cracking up. Brilliant, P.M. And, of course, "LSD," contributed from Mr. I-Didn't-Know-Lucy-In-The-Sky-With-Diamonds-Spelled-That Lennon, is a classic to end all classics; the keyboard hook and the bassline on the chorus alone are to die for. But whoa, Nelly, that's not all. The best song on the album, and the one that keeps this album from getting a nine like its LOSER cousin Revolver (hee hee), is "A Day in the Life," cunningly placed at the very end. There's so much to rave about in that song that I'll just not mention any of it. It's the best song in the Beatles' catalog, hands down, in my opinion, so I'll just let you discover the joys of the song for yourself.

Anyhoo, to some up, this is a great art-rock album that deserves a ten. I love it MUCH more than I ever will Revolver. There's just one thing about it, though--it gets labeled as the "best album ever" much too often for its own good. There are lots of LPs out there better than this, even some from 1967; Days of Future Passed in particular comes to mind. But it's still worth buying at any price. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go smoke some Lucy. Peace out, yo.

<> (07.04.2003)

10/15. Of course it was a "concept" album, the concept being "Let's pretend we're not the Beatles," as McCartney said in a 1987 interview. So they continued to experiment with electronics, tape effects, sitars, and all the rest (note though I said "continued," most of this stuff having started with Revolver) and avoided the usual teenage lyrics of most rock songs. But what makes the album great are the same things that made other Beatle albums great...well crafted songs with catchy melodies, put over with top notch vocals. Even though Paul dominates the album overall, the standout tune is "A Day In The Life." What impressed me most was the jazzy feel of the band going through the verses before the big orchestral buildup. The way the bass, piano and Ringo's drums interact and play off one another. I wonder if many jazzers have tried to cover this one? John the Acid Head wrote all his songs reacting to things he saw or herd in everday life...his son's art, a circus poster, a cornflakes commercial, the daily newspaper. Quite antithetical to the soul baring stuff he took up going into his John Ono phase and solo career. George, by many accounts, had less to do with the album than most Beatle projects. His "Witihin You Without You" is his best Indian-styled song though, and I like those jagged guitar fills he puts into "Sgt. Pepper's" and "Fixing A Hole." I've often read that they couldn't play the songs from tbis album live. Well, let's see. "With A Little Help From My Friends," "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds," "Getting Better," and "Fixing A Hole" sound like basically four-instrument songs. Same with "Lovely Rita" and the "Sgt. Pepper reprise" if you strip out what are basically incidental sound effects. That's about half the record, and that's also assuming they would stick to the same arrangements as on the record. I still remember the summer this album came out. I first heard it over at a friend's house, and my uncle had it when he was teaching music in Ann Arbor, and I listened to it repeatedly when we visited. Most of the songs were getting played on the radio, though none were issued as singles or considered "hits." It was a pretty happy summer for me (no, I wasn't a hippy or into drugs!) and Sgt. Pepper was the soundtrack.

anlormarechal <> (15.04.2003)

Sgt Pepper isn't the only album to feature an intentional crack at the end ! I've heard that the Who did the same thing at the end of The Who sell out, on the vinyl version, probably to parody the Beatles.

Whatever people say, Sgt Pepper is still a masterpiece ! Full of ideas, melodies, catchy songs !!! I'm not found of the Beatles, in fact, (their first albums do nothing for me) but I have to admit that this album is great. An easy 10/10. I haven't heard Abbey Road yet, though ; I cannot find it !

Richard Nightingale <> (29.04.2003)

A serious letdown after the brilliance of Revolver. The main problem with this album is simple, the songs are really not that good. Mccartney decides to head into the fluffy world of whimsy and Lennon's song's never come any where near the ones he wrote for Rubber Soul or Revolver. With this album The Beatles stopped being innovators.I'm sure many casual rock fans think The Beatles invented psychedelia with this product but here they become followers no longer leading the musical revolution that was the 60's. On Rubber Soul and Revolver George Harrison showed amazing promise as a songwriter but his one and only contribution to Sgt Pepper is the kind of hippy dippy dirge like dross that is laughable beyond belief. However there are some moments of brilliance on this album but they are very few and far between. 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds' and 'Day In the Life' are by far the best tracks on here. Without these two songs the album may not be considered the classic many people seem to think it is. 'She's Leaving Home' would also be considered a great song if it wasn't for the ill-fitting orchestration that ruins the track, this is very much Mccartneys attempt to write another 'Eleanor Rigby' but he fails miserably. 'Lovely Rita', 'When I'm sixty four' and 'Fixing A Hole' are pathetic compared to the contributions he made to Revolver: 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Here There And Everywhere', 'Good Day Sunshine', 'For No One' (What a brilliant song!), and 'Got To Get You Into My Life'. Do any of Mccartneys songs on Pepper come any where near the songs I have just mentioned? I think not!. Lennon's songs also suffer in comparison but at least he seems to have a hold on the psychedelic genre something Mccartney clearly doesn't have with granny music like 'When I'm Sixty Four'. Don't get me wrong and think I'm A Beatles basher I'm not. I really like The Beatles but compared to the ambition and creativity displayed by The Byrds, The Beach Boys and Bob Dylan this band and definitely this album are completely irrelevant.

Willie Simpson <> (06.05.2003)

George, its 2003, and I'm at your Sgt. Pepper reader comments page, and I can't believe what I am reading. Sgt. Pepper is the greatest rock and roll album ever made. Everyone who dislikes this album slags it for some stupid reason, like Revolver had more classic songs, or that the concept goes nowhere. Those issues are meaningless. You have to put this record in context. This was a melding of all possible musical styles since 1400 AD that proved that Rock and Roll was art. Think about that, people still thought ignorantly that certain music wasn't art, and the Beatles had to let them know that all music was art. If it wasn't for Sgt. Pepper, none of the rock acts of the 60s would have been taken seriously; Hendrix would have been portrayed as a clown, The Doors would have stayed in the underground, hell the 60s hippie movement would have been a lot smaller, because after it all, it was Sgt. Pepper that help make the hippies famous.

And in that last fact, therein lies the concept of Sgt. Pepper. It was the first time the Beatles made a full out uncomprimsed album of everything in their lives. And those chose to right about there lives, how they did drugs, went out to clubs, dealt with annoying leachers, a poster in an antique store, reading the newspaper at breakfast, talking about spirituality that wasn't Christianity, and their obvious obsession with all things music. As for the music, I can't see how anyone who likes the Beatles can dislike any of the songs on this album. If thats the case, then you simply don't understand what the Beatles were about.

Fernando Henrique Canto <> (14.11.2003)

Hmm... Okay, I'm not in love with this record. I think I enjoy Plasma Rifle better than this one. I dunno. There ARE great songs in here. I love 'With A Little Help From My Friends' that's much better than that stupid Joe Cocker cover (now crucify me). 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds', 'Lovely Rita', 'A Day In The Life' are all obvious, great classics, and I love 'For The Benefit Of Mr Kite' - damn those long titles. Were they trying to outdylan Dylan and his 'Most Likely You'll Go Your Way And I'll Go Mine' and 'Stuck Inside The Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again'?! The deal is, the athmosphere of the album is 'silly'. Yet the band sounds to me like they're counsciously making the most serious and important artistic masterpiece ever. 'Fixing A Hole', 'When I'm 64', 'Getting Better', title track, these are obviously childish, silly tunes. But I can't enjoy them as silly tunes. There are lots of 'silly' albums that I love, but here, the band sounds so damn SERIOUS! I think THAT'S the reason I don't dig this album that much... and well, I think the kind of "great songs" that this album has don't just grab me. They're "great songs", and I DON'T CARE. For some reason. 'She's Leaving Home' is really good, though. I give it a 12.

Amanda Kenyon <> (15.05.2004)

There's really nothing original I can say about this album as a whole, so I'm not going to try. The only opinion I have on it that's really not popular is that "Within You Without You" is a truly great song. This could be my overwhelming love for George Harrison speaking, but I will defend this opinion to the death. The lyrics are beautiful, the melody (though slow) is very original, and the instrumentation is fascinating. I do understand why people bash it, as it's not the type of song that grabs you and sucks you right in, but it's definitely deserving of more attention and praise than it gets.

Brendan S. McCalmont <> (29.07.2004)

I am not even going to try to be objective, though I usually don't anyway! I just think it's an album that is heaps of fun and really original. If you're down it's a great album to put on and hear the boys shouting something nonsensical. Fantastic! 99999999999999999999999999/10. If it gets any bashing then that's just stupid, IMO. It's actually an underrated album [I'm not mad either]. Seriously, who else praises this album as something that can make them happy. Who else says 'I have fun listening to this album'? They don't do they? There is so much concentration on the 'music as art' idea that people forget this album is vibrant and uplifting. If it was a depressing album who'd want to hear it? Who'd want to be influenced by it? Aside from arty farty pretentious so and so's? Every song is fantastic. Yet, my favourite song was an out-take put on Yellow Submarine, 'It's only a northern song' though! I love it's mindless heavy psychedelia. Unfortunately, there has been so much interpretation from this album and the Beatles music that a) gets underrated and b) gets mis-interpreted. All the music is an art is fine but it's led to all the over-concentration on music that must have meaning, must have sincerity, must have a message, etc. The Beatles really didn't do much in those departments anyway! I mean Let It Be, the album, was just about having a good time and enjoying yourself, really. There wasn't much message. It was about capturing the spirit of an [not live perhaps] improvised session. But it supposedly lacked depth. The repercussions of the ideas that pretentious arty people saw in Sargaent Pepper has had huge repercussions in the way we view music. I think there's just as much negative as bad. Of-coruse there'll never be another Beatles! The Beatles made their name with vibrant mainstream pop but now everyone is so anti-pop, then even if there was a band who recorded Please Please Me, Beatles For Sale, WIth The Beatles, A Hard days night, etc, wouldn't get recognised and wouldn't get national airplay. Actually, the views on music this album started have come back to bight it. Many of these sogns have straight-forward pop melodies, [this album is amazing in it's arrangements and technical tricks] and thus many people are sayign this album is 'too sappy' and 'too poppy'. It is really terrible to see all this. [just an aside, my least favourite words of all time are 'Shlock, Sappy, F**k, Sh** and Poppy] Oh well, freedom of speech! You see, Revolver is a rock album and you see it doesn't get an anti campaign [well hardly]. I mean what is the least popular solo album by any Beatle? Bad Boy, but it's much more similar to the SGT Pepper than say Ringo or Double Fantasy. Actually, it is very similar to SGT Pepper in sound and the fact that both albums are a fusion of old styles with contemporary styles. I'm not trying to be a Ringo fanatic trying to say 'oh well my favourite album! is the best because it is the most similar to SGT. Pepper, it's just they are very similar records, and the fact that Bad Boy is unpopular is the same reason SGT Pepper has had a huge anti-campaign. They are both fun pop records that are mellower than the other albums of the same artist and many people would perceive both to be 'too happy sounding'. Of-course the Bad Boy experimentation is not on the same scale as the SGT Pepper scale but it does contain some interersting instrument sounds.

Anyway,  Maybe I'm wrong though! Love this album so much! [I also love the album Bad Boy in case you were wondering] SGT Pepper is my favourite Bealtes album, Help! no longer is, it's number three now, Abbey Road comming in at number two, thanks to Octopus's Garden and all the other songs!

<> (08.08.2004)

Just a brief line or three to wholeheartedly agree with you regarding Macca's "Fixing a hole" as being the best melody on the album, although this is obviously subjective, it's nice (always) to find someone with the same opinion.

Francis Mansell <> (20.08.2004)

I've no argument with the influence of Sgt. Pepper ... or even the quality of much of it ... but the thing is a monumental curate's egg: there's George's boring Indian track and McCartney's sentimental stuff - however good they are in their own terms (and they are, no contest), 'When I'm 64', 'Lovely Rita' etc. are not groundbreaking stuff, and McCartney has/had written better tunes - I'd far rather listen to 'Blackbird' or 'You Never Give Me Your Money' or 'Maybe I'm Amazed' than those two. 'Good Morning' is not exactly one of Lennon's greatest tunes or lyrics, or anywhere near one of their best rockers, the power of the performance disguises the fact that it's a really uninspired song. 'Mr Kite's good but not a work of genius - and not their first use of backwards tapes; that was on 'Rain', a far better song. 'Getting Better' is ... pretty good but not McCartney's greatest song by any means. Which leaves: 'Sgt Pepper' (so good they recorded it twice); 'Help From My Friends' (great song but why couldn't McCartney have sung it?); 'She's Leaving Home' (superb melody); 'Lucy In The Sky' (psychedelic genius even if it is about Julian's painting); 'Fixing A Hole' (lovely tune, gorgeous guitar solo); 'A Day In The Life' (nuff said). That's a little over half of it that's of absolutely unimpeachable genius.

You say it's full of great melodies - well, damn near all Beatles albums are, this doesn't have the highest hit rate to my ears - it would have been a better album if they'd ditched 'When I'm 64', 'Lovely Rita', 'Within You Without You' and 'Good Morning' and replaced them with 'Strawberry Fields', 'Penny Lane', 'It's All Too Much' and 'All You Need Is Love' (I'm not going to get into an argument about the running order ...)

And if you're talking about taking it as a whole ... well, fergit it. So they ran the tracks together with some fx. So the cover's great. So the timing was good. It's more than the sum of its parts - that means some of the parts aren't actually that good. So it made "classical snobs" take rock music seriously - really? One could argue that a considerable part of it is not "rock" music at all (that's not a value judgement George, just an observation) perhaps that's why - but a lot of "classical snobs" recognised the quality of The Beatles' music well before Pepper. No, sorry, Sgt Pepper is a very good album, but The Beatles were so brilliant that they made even better ones, we can argue till the cows come home about which ones they are (like a lot of people I favour Revolver) but unlike a lot of other albums of the period, I just can't hear it as it must have sounded at the time. It's dated the worst of their post-Help albums.

Paul Watts <> (14.09.2005)

This record was innovative in so many ways. It had a gatefold sleeve. It had tracks merging. It had the Beatles acting the part of another band. It had clever (at the time) production techniques. In my view all of this made it the biggest con job in rock music, because the songs, by Beatles standards, are weak. The band released a brace of singles either side of this which were much much stronger, and the albums either side of it are superior as well. The production just sounds dated all these years later. Sgt Pepper does not stand the test of time anywhere near as well as Revolver, Rubber Soul, the White Album, or most of the singles the band released in the 66-69 period.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (17.12.2005)

Calling anything "the greatest whatever ever" is a pointless excercise because such a judgement is purely subjective, even if some people agree with you. It's bound to cause an angry backlash and understandably so because it's almost telling you what you must think and feel about a given thing. Such hype is almost crying out to be shot down in flames....

But Pepper is a fabulous album. I won't dignify the "its the greatest" debate with a comment.....but if one can read up on the years 1960 - '68 and understand what was happening in the major Eastern and Western nations at the time and catch a flavour of the spirit of those times,then it really is not difficult to see why Pepper was taken the way it was and why it is still reveered. Personally I love all it's songs and 30 years after I first heard it, still listen to it[as I do all the Beatles stuff -and alot more besides !] although broadly speaking, I do prefer their 65,66,MMT,68 & 69 stuff. For some reason Pepper just sums up it's times better than any of the others but that doesn't mean it is better than the others.

I think one of the problems that people have with this LP is that they haven't caught the nature of English as opposed to American psychedelia. American psychedelia generally rocked harder, louder and wilder and was so much more confrontational,Haight - Ashbury notwithstanding, whereas it's English cousin was less concerned with changing the world than it was with changing England ! Most English psychedelia looked backwards to what were perceived as more innocent, child - like times[ look at Syd's Floyd, Traffic, that Scottish duo, The Incredible String Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, even the Kinks,the Who & the Stones], hence all the fairies,flowers, goblins and medieval imagery etc and of course these groups weren't afraid to mix [and in the process, re- energize] their music hall and rock influences. The Beatles were the masters of absorbing and redefining [although later Lennon was savage about this], hence a song like "When I'm 64" could easilly follow a superb groundbreaker like "Within you...". Actually, the more I think about it the more I can see what an English album this is - which is probably why it has always meant less here in England than in the rest of the world.

As for the charge that it is too McCartney top heavy.....well....I don't know.George was in two minds whether to stay in the band having found India, John wanted out but was too afraid to break out and Ringo says his greatest memory of Pepper is that he learned to play chess. But do the facts support the notions ? If you read Hunter Davies' 1968 biography of the Beatles[not to mention Lennon's 2 geat interviews in Rolling Stone & Playboy],we see 50-50 collaboration on "Help from my friends"[which, by the way, also-see 'it's only love'- has the lines "I get high"] and "Getting Better" with "Lucy", "She's leaving home" & "A day in the life" also being collaborations, at least in part. And lest we forget, the Pepper sessions began with "Strawberry Fields" which John wrote and "Penny Lane" which was a collaboration. Facts are interesting things;it's sometimes how we interpret them that causes the headaches.Anyway, I think this is a great album so just enjoy it if you will. For those who hate it so much,you're wasting your time trying to fire arrows, the hype is deeply embedded in the fabric of the universe......

John DeMagus <> (23.02.2006)

For my money the Beatles were a great singles band but they only ever managed to produce one solid masterpiece of an album, and this isn't it. I mean what do we have here? A handful of catchy but lightweight pop songs, a couple of equally lightweight stabs at psychedelia, Guru George at his most boring, the interestingly sinister 'Good Morning Good Morning' and the majestic 'A Day in the Life'. Two outstanding tracks do not a classic make! I'm not saying this is a bad album, but it is a long way - a hell of a long way - from being a great one.


Ben Greenstein <> (18.08.99)

I think it's quite trippy! I never listened to it on drugs (prbably 'cuz I hate drugs), but I imagine that "Blue Jay Way" has got to be one of the most terrifying songs to hear while under the influence. Creeps me out as it is. "I Am The Walrus" is a great tune - silly and groovy to the point where you don't care that it makes no sense. I remember that some guy on the net described it as "traditional blues, with a psychadelice treatment," which leads me to believe that not all folk online are as smart as you or I, George. I mean, hadn't he ever heard "Purple Haze"?

One note, though - "Penny Lane" was written entirely by Paul - I don't think John did anything on the song, in fact - there isn't any guitar! And, for some reason, the "Beatles Greatest Hits" tape has "Hello Goodbye" from this album and not "Strawberry Fields" or "Walrus," which are indeniably bigger songs. Of course, that's not exactly the best compilation available, seeing as it also excludes "Yellow Submarine," "Eleanor Rigby," and everything from the Sgt. Pepper album. Idiots!

Mostly, I agree with your rating. This is a great album!

Rich Bunnell <> (20.08.99)

A very under-rated album, if there's really a such thing as an underrated Beatles album-- just look at the All Music Guide! They give every album 5 stars even though the reviews list obvious nitpicks! I agree with you wholeheartedly on "I Am The Walrus," it has excellent nonsensical lyrics and one of the band's best arrangements-- it's my favorite Beatles song too. "Strawberry Fields Forever" was quite possibly the first song I ever liked (at the age of around 4 or 5, mainly because of the word "Strawberry" in the title-- ah, how easily amused youth are) and it's great, especially when you consider that it's a slowed-down version of the original recording set to fit the orchestration. And the title track just rocks.

Probably the weakest song is "Baby You're A Rich Man" but even that song's catchy, as is the entire album basically. I even love "Flying"! And "Blue Jay Way," leave that song alone all of you people whom I've seen bashing it! That song's one of the coolest trips Harrison ever wrote! Just because this isn't not a real normal Beatles album (an EP and a bunch of single sides) shouldn't make it rated below their others, as it still stands up to their best. Great stuff abounds here and this is another 10, or on the Beatles scale, a 15!

P. S. Oh also, Ben, the reason that "Hello Goodbye" was on the Greatest Hits album over "Strawberry Fields" and "Walrus" was because HG was a #1 hit! Really, I'm not joking you, go look it up! I was surprised as all hell when I saw it there in the Billboard Book Of #1 Hits because it doesn't get that much airplay but apparently it carried weight back in the late '60s.

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

Great record - a sort of ragbag selection, but WHAT a selection. 'I am the walrus' is the best john beatles song bar in my life and the addition of 'strawberry fields' and 'penny lane' is inspired. 'Flying' was the only beatles instrumental for EMI - good job - it is pants.

Steve Maffei <> (07.11.99)

I love the vocals on 'I Am The Walrus'--so full of angst and anger. It's like they're really telling you that no matter what, no matter how the get treated, no matter what goes on, they ARE the Walrus, definitely. Too bad none of the other songs are that good.

Robert Tally <> (19.02.2000)

This CD is based on the US album released in 1967 (and much later in the UK), which was a combination of the UK double EP package and the rest of the non-LP tracks from that year. So, basically, it's not really an album, so to speak.

Two of the songs ('Strawberry Fields' and 'Penny Lane') are actually pre-Pepper. In essence, this is a compilation album - but a very strong and cohesive one. Song for song, I like this better than Sgt. Pepper. The Beatles did not, with these songs, break new ground - not in any big ways; they had done all of this on Pepper. But there sure are a lot of great songs here. My favorite is 'Strawberry Fields Forever.' In fact, I think it just might be my favorite Beatles song. Not only is it the most fascinating track in terms of its recording technique, it's also one of the loveliest melodies ever written. Second favorite? 'I Am The Walrus' - the most absurd and phantasmagorical moment in the Beatles history. Only 'Tomorrow Never Knows' matches it in sheer trippiness. There's also two other indispensable classics: 'The Fool On The Hill' (just a great melody, and a beautiful arrangement - one of the very best songs McCartney ever wrote) and 'Penny Lane' (how could something so proper-sounding be so cool? - another one of Paul's greatest). I also really enjoy 'Magical Mystery Tour' - which does what the title track to Sgt. Pepper does, only better. This album also has two of the grooviest tracks in the Beatles' catalogue: 'Flying' (so simple, but what a groove!) and 'Baby, You're A Rich Man' (just love the verses, but the chorus is kind of dumb). Perhaps the next best track would be 'Blue Jay Way,' which starts off great, but gets too redundant along the way. That only leaves three tunes that I'm not that crazy about: 'All You Need Is Love' (a lot of fun to hear all of those little musical references, and I really like the message, but the song's a little dull), 'Your Mother Should Know' (solid songwriting, but Ray Davies was better at this), and 'Hello Goodbye' (pretty much just a mindless pop tune - catchy stuff, but not much else).

Technical point #1: John may have abandoned the 'I Am The Walrus'-type stuff in favor of the stripped-down rawness of 'Plastic Ono Band,' but he never hated 'Walrus.' He was always proud of the song, and said so in interviews.

Technical point #2: Paul indicated in an interview that 'The Fool On The Hill' was about a guru. I can't remember if that guru was the Maharishi, but it was definately a guru.

Technical point #3: As another reader mentioned, Paul wrote 'Penny Lane.' Also, John did not live on the street called Penny Lane. He lived on Menlove Avenue, which was in the Penny Lane district. And, if my memory holds up, Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army orphanage that was on the other side of John's backyard fence.

Matt Reyes <> (26.04.2000)

This is a great album very underated. 'I am the Walrus' is a cool song but far from their best ever. its not even the best on this album. that title goes to outstanding "Fool on the Hill". 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and its other ASide (it was realesed as a double aside single) 'Penny Lane' are both incredible. 'Hello Goodbye' is pure fun and 'All you Need is Love' is a great song as well. 'Your Mother should know' is very underated. All the rest of the songs arent as good but still very cool (P.S. about the Double Aside singles 'Hello Goodbye' and 'I am the Walrus' was a double aside. if you dont like the idea of that 'Hello Goodbye' would actully be the Aside. because 'I am the Walrus' was on the second side, double asides are when both songs are huge hits, i.e. hey jude/revolution)

Record: 10

Overall: 15

Nick Einhorn <> (04.06.2000)

Just a couple of corrections. "Hello Goodbye" was the A-side; John pushed to get "Walrus" onto the A-side but Paul wouldn't let him. Also, "Penny Lane" is a Paul song, not a John song. Other than that, pretty much right on track; this is my favorite Beatles album, if only because it is very solid and has almost no bad songs. The only song I really can't stand is "Hello Goodbye", just because it's annoying as hell. The other ten songs are great; "Walrus" is brilliant, "Flying" is fun, "Blue Jay Way" is cool, and "Strawberry Fields" is probably the greatest experimental song by the band. I think the great lost song here is "Baby You're A Rich Man", which has some great Mellotron playing, softer vocals by John which are very effective, and one of the best sing-along choruses. All in all, this album could school Sgt. Pepper (which lacks only for consistency), the White Album (which has too much dumb stuff like "Birthday" and "Don't Pass Me By"), and Abbey Road (which just doesn't have many truly stunning songs).

mjcarney <> (29.06.2000)

A patchwork album, released as an afterthought,but a glorious one at that.  This album showcases the Beatles in somewhat of a return to their pyschedellic glory of Sgt. Pepper's but with sometimes a more uncompromising form --like the brilliant "I Am The Walrus" and the not-so brilliant "Blue Jay Way".  This was my first Beatles album, and what a great start it was.  This is another triumph for the group--but what album wasn't when you are talking about the Beatles. Yet, it simply does pale to Sgt. Pepper's.  The classic title track can never get boring, it is just pure, poppy Paul, at his peppy best.  It invites you to listen to the album again and again, and believe me, if you have a single ounce of musical taste, you will.  "Fool on The Hill" is another great Paul track, which I can never tire of.  These songs are better than any of Paul's own tracks on the earlier classic release. The addition of the terrific singles from the start of Sgt Pepper's add a few points alone to the final score of this album. "Strawberry Fields Forever"--with its much discussed Paul is dead clue ending, its ending instrumental bit, and great lyrics, is tremendous as well.  The infectous, terrific "Penny Lane" is the second side of this single and as many critics would note, possibly makes for the best single ever released--I can't really deny that either.  They are terrific nostalgic pieces with incredible lyrics by BOTH John and PAUL! The anthemic "All you Need Is Love" with the French national anthem beginning is tremendous, as well as the stupid, poppy, yet classic (Paul's) "Hello Goodbye" which the other Beatles (not just John) hated are great masterful recordings.  The instrumental "Flying" too is surprisingly good, albeit not quite a classic, but farely good.  However, with all these highlights, and yes these highlights are true classics, there are some incredibly annoying tracks to drag the album down.  This is most likely because it is a patchwork album which should make it understandable, but these tracks hurt the album greatly--although I must admit that there are some more of these on The White Album; yet that one still holds up as possibly my favorite Beatles album and favorite album ever simply because of the various styles and amount of masterpieces included on the album.  Still getting back to this release, George's "Blue Jay Way" although boasting a very cool atmosphere, is incredibly meandering, slow and well stupid.  He wrote it in about 10 minutes waiting for their press manager (Derek Taylor) to visit them while in LA, and it shows.  "Your Mother Should Know" is one of Paul's idiotic sappy songs, which he will continue to embellish with and increasingly worsen more and more as the years go by.  This song is just horrendous to me, I simply hate it, and it is one of my least favorite Beatles tracks.  Finally, "Baby You're a Rich Man" is simply ruined with the weird instrument (harmonium maybe?) in the middle which progressively gets more pronounced as the song moves on is poor.  These three poor tracks alone simply harm the album because their other albums circling this did not have nealy 30% of the material being poor to awful.  Knowing this, I would give this album an 8/10.  It is surely a masterpiece compared to many other artists despite its few flaws, yet comparing it to the Beatles releases, and especially to their 3 albums before, and next two following albums this album is just average as a complete entity.

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

John Lennon declared this his favourite Beatles' album, and I say that I rank it highly also. Sure, it's mostly a collection of loose, unrelated singles, but they are still GREAT, AWESOME singles. Many of the songs here were rejects from Sgt Pepper. The only weak song, really is 'Your Mother Should Know'. It's not bad but just not up to par with 'I Am the Walrus', 'Fool On the Hill', etc. It's still kinda cute and adds some novelty and fun to an overall trippy album. 'Fool On the Hill' ranks among Paul's best songs, it is profound and beautiful. 'I Am the Walrus' is my personal favourite, adding melodic nonsense and crazy experimentation. The closing coda is from a recorded performance off an AM singal of King Lear. This is one of the first, popular albums to use the mellotron, so its influence on bands like King Crimson is undeniable. Among the prog crowds, the Beatles are highly respected, and some consider them a prog band. Side one was a concept album, an EP with a psychedelic film and side two are the singles. 'Strawberry Fields' is great, so is 'All You Need Is Love', everything great about them has been said. I would like to praise the underrated tunes like, "Baby You're A Rich Man" which uses an old proto synth for the indian fife noises. Some people think this album horrid and nonsenical and its release demotes the Beatles' legacy but I must say I find them very wrong.

Philip Maddox <> (06.12.2000)

I'm one of the few people who actually thinks this is a little step up from Sgt. Pepper. Not a HUGE step up - it's hard to jump up too much from Sgt. Pepper - but I think, song for song, it's a little bit stronger. Song for song, this is about the most consistant the Beatles ever got. You're dead on about "I Am The Walrus" - that's a cool, cool song, and the scary lyrics contribute to the scary atmosphere perfectly. Yep, it's one of the best songs of all time. The fun little title track has a melody to beat - Paul's melody writing ability was REALLY high here, making his goofier tunes even take on an insurpasable aura. "Your Mother Should Know" rules SO MUCH! Those cool, slightly unpredictable vocals with the groovy chord changes and funny Paul lyrics - I honestly consider it to be one of his best. John's songs here are no slouches either - "Strawberry Fields Forever"? Heaven on earth, my friend - what a cool tune, with that majestically splended, uplifting chorus. I could go on like this for every song, except "Baby You're A Rich Man", which is pretty good, but the melody seems a bit weaker than the rest of the brilliance exhibited throughout. I've always thought the lyrics to "All You Need Is Love" are a little dopey, but when the melody is that strong, who cares? A solid ten. I NEVER get tired of this album and, along with The White Album, this is the absolute pinnacle of Beatlemania.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

Another 9. Has five of the best songs the Beatles ever did (easy to tell which ones I am talking about). George's 'Blue Jay Way' is almost up there with those five and 'Hello Goodbye', although not in the same league is a very nice song. I have to take a point off because of the rest of the album. It is nothing more than filler - pleasant filler - but filler nonetheless.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (08.01.2001)

9/10 - Most of the songs are classics, but the rest are of varying quality (they're all mentioned above). Also, this isn't really an album, but a collection of all the songs that the group released in 1967 in addition to Pepper. Of course it is a very GOOD collection of songs, but nevertheless it's not more a Beatles album than either of the Past Masters. Highlight: the opening of "Baby You're A Rich Man" - Paul's bass! First percussive and muted, then the singing tone of his instrument is revealed before he finally falls down on a rumbling low G (even better appreciated on the new remastered version on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack). PLAY LOUDLY WHILE ADDING MORE BASS! In the usual Indian way, he mostly plays G throughout the song (while chords often go to C). Yeah, I know: a bit of F, too.

Steve Hall <> (21.01.2001)

Well strictly speaking this IS a compilation.The Beatles wrote,recorded and released an EP,Capitol records compiled an LP.So appraising this collection often depends on how you approach the subject matter.I personally prefer to view this as it was intended by The Beatles themselves,as an EP.First i would to say i agree fully with your view of "I am the walrus",undoubtedly one of the Beatles finest tracks and clearly at the tip of one end of John Lennon's songwriting scale,however this only shows up further the inadequacies of what goes before it.The title track is basically a re-heat of Sgt Pepper's title track but without the originality,it sounds contrived rather than genuine."Fool on the hill" is the only track before "I am the walrus" of any merit,it's a good Paul ballad."Flying" is the only Beatles track credited to all members of the group,thankfully there aren't any more,a throwaway.Now we come to "Blue jay way".I have the same issue with this as i did with "Within you without you",another boring trip to........nowhere.They actually "sound" long when you're listening to them,unlike for example "While my guitar gently weeps" which must be as long - but never sounds it.OK "Your mother should know" is another "hat and cane" number from Paul but it lacks the spark of his earlier efforts in this genre,it only helps to symbolize the whole effort.....The Beatles sound tired and the need for extending themselves waning at this time.

The reasons for this lapse?Who knows.The declining competition is probably one,i mean what did Dylan and the Stones do in 1967?not anything memorable and the Beach boys released.....Smiley smile(i rest my case).Also their manager Brian Epstein died around this period so that was certain to have some sort of negative effect and internal strife.Definetely Lennon's output in numerical terms declined greatly at this time aswell.Side B consists of two songs released before even Pepper was concieved (so really can't be asessed here) and probably their most inane single release "Hello Goodbye".That leaves "Baby you're a rich man"-a solid John/Paul number and the anthemic "All you need is love"(apparently Harrisons favourite John song).Not terrific musically this song but still a simple but powerful lyric,especially at the time of his death.6.5/10(for the EP)

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

Magical Mystery Tour is a fun album -- it has all the trippiness of Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band, but is happily devoid of much of the pretentiousness of 'Pepper'. The problem is that MMT really wasn't an album, it was simply a collection of the non-Pepper tunes mostly recorded in 1967. "Strawberry fields forever" is a tremendous song, but it's not one I'm always in the mood to hear. I think the most remarkable aspect of this song are its meandering, stream-of-consciousness lyrics -- like a William Burroughs novel. I doubt any pop song before ever had this quality. John's voice is the best 'instrument' here, he sounds so melancholic and wistful that it just knocks me out. It elicits different emotions from me, given my mood. Sometimes it sounds alienating, other times it 'pulls me in' then 'sends me out' again. It's a totally unique song, nothing else can compare to it! The best way I can describe "Strawberry" is that it's a like a 'document of a dream' -- it fades in, fades out, it's meaningless and meaningful, it's like a mirage.

"Penny Lane" is the polar opposite of "Strawberry fields," but equally as great. Another nostalgic trip to a Liverpool that probably never existed, and pure pop. As a child, I thought 'Penny Lane' was a rather simple straightforward tune, but as I grew older I realized that this is a song of many many parts (typical of McCartney's work from the 1967-1969 period). The song is like a well-oiled machine, bewildering in its many segments and nuances.

"Fool on the hill" is yet another McCartney classic. (I feel a little odd praising Paul so much since John is my favorite Beatle). This song presents an illusion -– it's a deceptively simple arrangement, but the tune itself is astonishingly complex, with subtle chord and mood changes. This may be Paul's greatest composition ever, and that's saying a lot! I don't understand fans' hostility to "Hello Goodbye" –- this is a great great song! You don't like the lyrics because they don't make 'sense'? Does "Strawberry fields" make sense? 'Hello goodbye' always improves my mood -- just love the coda, love the vocal interplay between Paul and John, and love that guitar solo that sounds strangely distorted –- and it's all built upon a rock-solid melody.}

"I Am the Walrus" is John trying to be Lewis Carroll. I liked it more when I was a kid, but it really hasn't aged well (like much of John's stuff from this period). My favorite part has always been the dreamy mid-section ("sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun...").

"All you need is love" and "Baby you're a rich man" are okay numbers, but nothing special.

"Blue Jay Way" is just dreadful, a slightly trippier re-working of "Within you without you." "Flying" is pretty worthless as well.

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

Not really an album,rather a compilation at least for side two.But what a compilation!"I'm the walrus " influenced Bowie("moonage daydream"),Procol Harum ("piggy pig pig"),Genesis(Foxtrot),ELO (their whole career),Eno(the 1973-74 albums of songs)Spooky Tooth (who covered it,not on par with Lennon's terrific vocal).I could go on like that for a while and do the same for almost every track of MMT.Though it was cut a long long time ago,nobody comes near it!

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

George, it seems to me, that I'm not the only person who once had this album as a favourite. Well, once it was my favourite album, now it's one of my favourite; anyway it's magnificent album!  Actually, not worse than previous. "I Am The Walrus" is a masterpiece and the best song on this album! Also great are "The Fool On The Hill" and "Penny Lane". And there was no other anthem of global love like "All You Need Is Love".

Josh Fitzgerald <> (18.05.2001)

Regardless of what may be their "greatest" album, or what I may have previously said, Magical Mystery Tour is my choice for my personal favorite Beatles album. Every song still sounds very fresh and vibrant, and the overall sound is trippy and engrossing. In my opinion, both the songwriting, and the experimentation were at an all-time high, and while Sgt. Pepper had more interesting experimentation than songwriting (even though the songwriting was great, nonetheless), and in Revolver, the songwriting was more interesting than the experimentation (with "Tomorrow Never Knows" as the one exception). I never get sick of hearing this.

“I am the Walrus” is utterly amazing. The weird sounds fit in beautifully and gives you an aural high. The melody and everything in that song is just perfect. Possibly my all-time favorite Beatles song (though that’s an impossible decision.) Other highlights is the haunting “Strawberry Fields Forever”, the majestic “Penny Lane” (perhaps my 2nd fav-Beatles song), “Blue Jay Way”, and pretty much everything, except the lame “Your Mother Should Know”. Love this one!!

My rating (1-15)- 14

Sean Rodgers <> (18.07.2001)

I could go on about this album for a while, but what I suggest doing is looking at the track listing, especially from track six on. Now try to tell me that this album isn't essential. Along with "A Day in the Life" and the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations," "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am The Walrus" are the high water mark of pop music- never again would experimentation and songwriting be blended so brilliantly. The other songs here aren't bad either, mind you. For once Capitol did something right by putting the singles from 1967 onto the movie soundtrack. Although just imagine if they had left them off and stuck them on Past Masters II instead- now that album would really be something (not that it's bad now, of course). Anyway, the only song here I never really warmed up to is "Your Mother Should Know." Everything else is great.

Ben Kramer <> (15.11.2001)

This album is at least as good as Sgt. Pepper's, probably better because of the presence of John's peak songs and a great mood throughout the album (well, at least side one). Magical Mystery Tour contains two of my favorite Beatle songs, both John's (though I feel that Paul was their best songwriter, but that's another story). The first is 'I Am The Walrus', the most famous song from the album. John had to have been stoned out of his mind to come up with the lyrics to this one. The other song is 'Strawberry Fields Forever' which is sort of a mixture between Dylan and 'I Am The Walrus'. I am huge fans of both, hence there is no reason for me to hate the song (although if Led Zeppelin did something with The Talking Heads, two bands I like a lot, I would be scared, but the combination The Beatles did was memorable). The second side is probably the best on the album, containing mainly singles. Paul's 'Penny Lane' is the perfect song to complete the best A/B side single of all time appearing on the flip side of 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. John's 'All You Need Is Love' is one of my favorite Beatle songs and the vocals were rarely topped on any other Beatle song. I guess the only reason I agree with your review is because I don't think as highly about Sgt. Pepper's as you do, therefore, I would have to call this the better album. But they are both great.

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

This is definatly a underrated record. Most people dont even see it as a real album! Just a bunch of previously released singles thrown together with a few new songs, which is what basically it is, but its much much more than just that! First of all, these single songs that were singles are among the best songs ever written!! "All You Need Is Love", "I Am The Walrus", "Strawberry Fields Forever", and "Penny Lane", which are undeniable masterpieces, are on here! "Blue Jay Way", "Baby You're A Rich Man"... man amazing songs! A 9/10.

Ryan Maffei <> (11.02.2002)

The unfortunate underdog of the Beatles' catalog--thank George for giving it the 15 it almost deserves. People don't seem to embrace this one as readily as they do Sgt. Pepper or Revolver, maybe because it was the soundtrack to a terrible movie, or maybe because it contained a forgettable instrumental and some weaker opening tracks...I personally don't like the first side at all, thinking it some of the weaker work of the Beatles' experimental period. Then of course, tacked onto the very end, is the lucky movie-score staple "I Am the Walrus", a stunning piece of art-rock and the Beatles' best recording next to "A Day in the Life" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". Things are all uphill from there. "Strawberry Fields Forever"? "Penny Lane"? "Baby You're a Rich Man"? Undeniable masterpieces. Interestingly, the song tacked onto the end of this (the second) side is the only one I don't like--"All You Need is Love" is thematically timeless, and ultimately memorable, but doesn't is sound just a bit dated? If you know some hippies personally, you may know what I'm talking about. But anyway, a high 9 for this 'un.

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

I actually like this one more than Sgt. Pepper. The songs from the movie have more of an edge than those of the previous album ("Blue Jay Way", "Flying", and "I'm the Walrus"). But, then Paul brings this back to 'normal' with a few of his songs. And, those '67 singles are all superb! All of them! 10(15) again.

Glenn Wiener <> (28.10.2002)

This is a vocal oriented recording. Some neat special effects, a few keyboards, some orchestral support, and next to know guitar. A trippy kind of pop album.

Love 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. Easily my favorite track on this batch. However 'Penny Lane' is very delightful, 'Your Mother Should Know' quite charming and 'I Am The Walrus' kind of spooky.

However, as a whole like Sgt Peppers its a little too giddy for me. In addition, the instrumental prowess is missing. A little too much style and a lack of substance. I'll choose Abbey Road, White Album, and several other Beatle releases to this.

Federico Fernández <> (25.11.2002)

Oh! everyvody here seems to love this album to death. I don't know, I think it is clearly inferior to Sgt. Pepper's and inferior to many other albums by the Beatles. Not bad at all but... a 15? The creme of the creme? No! Overrated!

Flame me, but I feel this album is too messed up for my tastes. I prefer something more stunning as (the equally trippy but with much wiser arrangements) Revolver or Abbey Road. I consider this album as an analog (analog, not equal) of The Stones' Satanic Majesties and Pink Floyd's Piper... and it's all too trippy, too irregular, to stand as a masterpiece.

I still don't know why, but every song here (except the amazing "I Am The Walrus"), no matter how big and hyped is, leaves me a little insatisfied. Take "Strawberry Fields Forever" for instance. This is an OVERRATED song. The best single of all times? I could name at least THREE better singles from the Beatles ("Day Tripper", "Hey Jude", "Paperback Writer") The melody is really nice, won't deny it, but they had to fuck everything up with those stupid sound collagues that, frankly speaking, I don't give a damn about. And what about Lennon's voice annoyingly slowed down?. It sounds VERY dumb. The "followers" Stones made the same stuff much, much better with songs like "2000 Light Years From Home" and "We love you". The single partner, "Penny Lane" is better, with a top-notch melody and an amazing trumpet solo, but it's too lighweight... where the heck are the kick-ass guitars that made Revolver so good?

"All You Need Is Love" is another overrated classic with a repetitive melody and very hokey words... and most of the stuff here is passable throwaway that ranges from decent and unbelievable catchy ("Hello Goodbye", "Your Mother Should Know", title track) to plainly mediocre ("Baby You're A Rich Man", "Blue Jay Way) and barely tolerable ("Flying" what were they thinking about?).

So the only real gems are "I Am The Walrus" one of the most mindblowing / scary / catchy / groovy tunes ever recorded and "The Fool Of The Hill" with one more unbeatable melody from Paul. I'll admit that "Strawberry Fields" and "Penny Lane" are gems also, but not one of the most memorable ones. Buy Past Masters 2 and you'll get more than six or seven tunes that better them.

David Dickson <> (16.01.2003)


Many people claim that this record is "just as good as Sgt. Pepper 'cause it's even more trippy", or that it's "the best Beatles record ever 'cause it's got the most hit singles." News flash, people: THIS WAS NOT ORIGINALLY RELEASED AS AN LP. It started out as an EP of five songs from the movie of the same name--which, by the way, was probably the only Beatles project to receive uniformly negative reviews. The other six songs are from the "Strawberry Fields Forever" single (Feb. 1967), the "Hello Goodbye" single (Aug. 1967), and the "All You Need is Love" single (Dec. 1967). So in LP reviewin' terms, it really shouldn't count.

However, I can't really resist rating it, because I would have never guessed that it was a compilation of singles by merely listening to it. If I didn't know better, I'd think it were some kind of hippie concept album along the lines of Sgt. Pepper. In the standard song order, all the tracks actually flow together quite nicely. "Magical Mystery Tour" is a perfect opener, lyrically, and "All You Need is Love," the hippie/Christian/Hare Krishna/humanist anthem to end all such anthems, is a perfect ending, especially with the repeated vocal refrain and all sorts of honking instruments and "She loves you/Yeah yeah yeah"s in the fade-out.

Now for the rating: This album gets a nine. A strong nine, but a nine nevertheless. The reason for this is simple: melodically, the tunes just don't seem as eye-poppingly perfect as the ones on Sgt. Pepper. None of them are bad, though. In fact, the production on this record seems even more elaborate than on the previous album. And, of course, every song is infused with that unbelievable, relentless, uncanny Beatles ENTHUSIASM, even on the comparatively lightweight psychedelic instrumental "Flying"--which, by the way, is the only Beatles instrumental in existence. Love that "la la la la la" refrain on it. And, of course, "I am the Walrus" has to be the most heavily produced song of 1967. Warning to Beatles newbies: Don't be expectin' no conventional pop structures on that one. It's art rock at its finest--two years before King Crimson.

<> (26.04.2003)

Christmas 1967...that's what I always think of with Magical Mystery Tour. The capper on what for me was a very good year, but never mind... All that stuff in the LP package was fascinating, although it would be years before I actually saw the MMT film, and by then, everything had changed. My cousin was visiting on the weekend (Christmas 1967 that is) and we stayed up singing along with "I Am The Walrus," especially the "ho-ho-ho-he-he-he-ha-ha-ha" part.

"Hello Goodbye" was the A side, though with the Beatles most of their 45s by then got to be "TSWs" (that's "two-sided winner!" in the lingo of WLS-AM, Chicago, which I could just get on my AM radio.) I remember on the Ed Sullivan Show they showed the film of the Beatles in their Sgt. Pepper outfits performing this (all preserved on The Beatles Anthology). Recently I saw on TV the "Back In The U.S." special on McCartney's tour. When the show starts you see McCartney's silhouette holding that Hofner bass against the drawn curtain. The band is playing a G chord, keeping up the suspense, now it's a C, what is he going to do? Then you hear Paul sing "You say yes..." as the curtain parts and the spotlights go up. Don't try and tell me that isn't a great tune.

Capitol Records did redeem itself somewhat for gathering the outstanding 1967 singles to make an album instead of issuing those ridiculous EPs as in England. The other strong impression I have of the album was it was basically Sgt. Pepper II, never mind that historically "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were recorded before Pepper itself. You can compare songs side by side and say well, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" was stronger than the "Magical Mystery tour" title cut, "Within You and Without You" was a stronger George song, but "Fool On The Hill" and "Your Mother Should Know" were stronger Paul cuts than "She's Leaving Home" or "When I'm 64." But it really all came out of the same bag, so I can't really pick between the two. 10/15 of course.

Fernando Henrique Canto <> (14.11.2003)

The "compilation album" REALLY creeps in here, but this is a good album anyway. 'I Am The Walrus' is a classic, period. I like 'Flying', 'Your Mother Should Know' and 'Fool On The Hill'. And 'Blue Jay Way' is so creepy! The songs on side B are top-notch too. Aside from the mildly irritating 'Baby You're A Rich Man', all the others are lovely - especially 'Penny Lane'! I LOVE 'Penny Lane'! I remember that around 2 or 3 years ago, I wouldn't really like this song because of all the stupid un-rock arrangement and the brasses, but now, I finally GOT it! I got around to appreciate these songs. I give this record a, um, 13.

Koen Heringa <> (10.12.2003)

Wow.... I never knew so many people loved 'I Am The Walrus'! Especially since John once said: "Let's face it George (Martin -kh), I don't expect to walk into a bar in Spain and hear someone whistling I Am The Walrus." Well I always thought it's one of his best. So are 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'All You Need is Love' and Paul wrote some of his greatest also here. But everything has already been said.

What's up with the "not a real album" stuff?? So it was an EP with singles added, that doesn't make it any worse. It's just talk about trivial matters, while the music is far from trivial (about as far as you get IMO). A masterpiece indeed. Better than Sgt. Pepper's. Shorter than The White Album:-).

Amanda Kenyon <> (15.05.2004)

My first instinct is to dismiss this album, but when I stop to think about it there's really not a song on it that I don't like. It has two of John's most interesting ventures into psychedelia ("I Am the Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever"), some of Pauls catchiest tunes ("Hello Goodbye" and "Penny Lane") and the best "throwaway" tracks any band has ever put out ("Your Mother Should Know" and "Flying"). It really is one of their best. I'm not sure why I always think I don't like it. Maybe memories of the "movie" are coloring my perceptions. Blah on the movie.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (17.02.2006)

I've just spent an hour going through the reader comments and they are a fascinating cross section and virtually all of it up to this point, useful. I wonder where some of these people are now.....However, I digress ! I think Capitol records should be put on trial for the way they decapitated Beatle records in the US of A up to and including 1966 but if I was their defence lawyer, my ace in the hole would be M M T coz they redeemed themselves there and saved many millions of us having to hunt down an obscure EP [ has anyone ever set eyes on " Long Tall Sally " ? - the defence rests ! ] and B side. Railguitar makes the priceless observation that the songs on this 'album' are really out of the same bag that as the Pepper tracks and he's right. The truth is that in 1966 / 67 the Beatles were on a roll [ when weren't they ! ? ] of stunning creativity and were blowing the competition away and were defining studio technique / usage in a way that was at that time unparalelled in popular music. My suspicion is that the masters of absorbing and redefining were less influenced by their contemporaries in these 2 years and that's possibly why so much of the Pepper / M M T stuff seems like it was coming out of nowhere and why their influence became so powerful. Of course it wasn't coming out of nowhere, they just got more creatively daring and it's not really any surprize that by '68 they seemed to simplify a little.

So, far from being a load of Pepper rejects { actually, the only Pepper reject is ' Only a northern song ' }, I would say that after Pepper had been finished, they carried on writing and recording in similar vein. This comes across clearly in Hunter Davies' authorized biography - he spent loads of time with them in '66 / '67 and we see them discussing or working on M M T, FOOL, BLUE and WALRUS [ and interestingly, stuff that ends up on YELLOW, WHITE and LET IT BE ] and the process is identical to the Pepper tracks that he joins them on or discusses { Getting better, Help from my friends, Within You... Kite }. As Harrison said in the book, they only played together in the studio so everything was started from scratch and made up as they went along.....

STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER [ there were 3 different versions recorded ] and PENNY LANE [ which, lyrically was a collaboration between John and Paul ] were actually recorded in '66 and were meant for Pepper but EMI in the UK needed a single so these were lopped off. They are both absolute gemstones - the former being the sequel to 'She said she said' and kicking off my love affair with the Beatles when I was 13, the latter I remember when it came out back in '67 just as I turned 4. I remember from a window in our house seeing this kid get run over by a car [ we lived opposite a school ] and so it always has had this odd association for me - very strange......In response to it being about a Liverpool that probably never existed, John maintained that the places were real and that they were reliving chidhood while Paul called it part truth, part fantasy. M M T { the song } was recorded 3 weeks after the Pepper sessions had finished and before the as yet new album was released so it would bear more than a striking resemblence to the Pepper content. All the Beatles contributed to this and it's a great track considering they'd been in the studio for nearly 6 months. That summer saw the recording of a number of songs that ended up on M M T and Yellow Submarine, B sides and a TV special. BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN is one of these, actually 2 separate songs, one by John [ called ' The beautiful people ' ], one by Paul, that were crunched together to form one great song. I love McCartney's bass tone on this track. The proto - synth that one of the reviewers referred to is called a clavioline,a 3 octave organ that was meant to be put on and played from a piano. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE was custom written for the first ever satellite TV broadcast by John. He saw it as the sequel to 'The word' . Interestingly, when the Beatles were commissioned to write " a song " for the programme, they were told it was going to be shown all over the world simultaneously so keep it simple for the non English speakers. Good thing they didn't do WALRUS !!! It's not possible to select a favourite Beatles track, there are are 75 vying for that title in my life [ ooh...] but if you held a gun to my head, WALRUS would be the one. This is the complete song in every which way; some of it [ the opening lines ] written during an acid trip as Lennon tried, as with TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS, to convey that universal oneness he felt at the time before he started being weighed under with the bad trips and delusions [ at one point, he thought and announced to the others that he was in fact Christ, returned to earth ] that drove him to stop taking LSD, much of it written in response to a letter from a boy at his old school who told him that they were studying his lyrics in English classes. The idea apparently struck him as absurd so he strung together loads of seemingly nonsensical images into a song for them to study more coz he hated people reading things into his lyrics. Don't forget, he'd been in trouble coz of his remarks about being more popular than Jesus which were taken out of context { look, I love Jesus, but what he said was and still is true. To much of western youth at the time, Sonny & Cher, Bob Dylan, the Queen, the pill and swinging London were more popular than Jesus. It's no different today. Madonna and reality TV are more popular than Jesus. More popular does not mean greater or bigger and the media totally ignored him when he pointed this out. } and there was all the furore about Lucy in the sky with diamonds being 'about' and promoting LSD and the closing track on Pepper being banned by the B B C for " overt drug allusions " as well as the hysteria that all Beatle product was being greeted with. So maybe he was a bit touchy coz this most supreme of songs is one bitter piece ! He has a pop at school, the police, art, religion, culture, class, law and order, health, morality and even conventional sex { the egg man being a reference to Eric Burdon's practice of breaking eggs over women as well as his nickname - 'eggs' for Eric is like 'Baz' for Barry }. Musically everything hangs together well and if you ever get a chance to hear the anthology version, it's fantastic in it's raw bassless state, but it also shows how influential George Martin was in this period with his orchestral knowledge and advice to them to think symphonically. I just don't think that aurally they would have been such an interesting band although their songs would still have blitzed most others. FOOL, HELLO and MOTHER all show McCartney at his melodic best and also at his varied best. The variety of styles that the band could adopt at will and yet be so idiosyncratically the Beatles, is why no band before or since could roll over this crowd. Whether they were the best is irrelevant { how can that ever be gauged ? }. That they were the most diverse is beyond dispute. That does not make them the greatest ! But who cares ? Just dig the music !

George had a rather quiet 1967 comparitively - until you consider 2 of his songs on 'Yellow Sub' and the fact that 'Piggies' was begun just after they'd finished touring [ I'm guessing here that it was continued in '67 ] - and also that he was feverishly searching for the meaning of life, having been to India, taken heeps of acid over a 2 year period and realized the Beatles were not it...BLUE JAY WAY isn't one of his better ones although I really like it. He was at pains to point out the origins of the song ( written in an almost identical way to WITHIN YOU ), that he didn't want the press officer to be a long while coz he was tired and that he wasn't telling people to drop out of society ( as in 'don't belong' ) coz people were misinterpreting that too ! As for FLYING, it's a great track and this is the one all the analysts of drug related Beatle paraphenalia missed coz flying was 1967 English slang for tripping on acid.

If, however, in retrospect, one thing comes across loud and clear to me anyway about the Beatles output of 1967, it's restlessness. Despite the countercultural values and sounds they were not content, especially John and George. All of this ensured that they continued to push those boundaries till they eventually went KABOOM!!


Marco Ursi <> (13.06.99)

I'm one of those people who believe this would have served us better as a single album. Too much filler for my tastes. But there are so many great songs I wouldn't be able to keep all of them if I did try to turn it to a single album. 'Yer Blues' kicks ass! My rating-9

Mike DeFabio <> (18.08.99)

Well, it's... THE WHITE ALBUM! This is just one of those albums you don't really need to say anything about because everybody already knows everything about it, but you should say stuff about it, because it's fun to read about albums you like. I like 'Revolution 9'. I think it's cool. Other than that, I agree pretty much that this, like just about everything the Beatles did, is total genius.

Josh Fitzgerald <> (06.09.99)

This is one HARD album to review! It is one marvelous collection. Definetly one of the most diverse, if not, THE most diverse album I've heard during my lifetime. I guess I won't go song by song, but I'll just mention a few standouts. "Helter Skelter" was never my personal favorite, I used to think it was all about murder, because of the Charles Manson scandal,but it was just a about a famous british festival ride. It's okay. George's songs are very underrated, especially "Long Long Long". "Good Night" is gorgeous."Yer Blues" is definetly their all time best blues song (acually, it's pretty much their only blues song). And "Dear Prudence", "I'm So Tired", "Cry Baby Cry", and "Julia" are all John at his high point.

As for "Rev. #9", it can get grating in the nerves a while. Especially during Yoko's little spiel about being naked, but it is acually pretty interesting at times, but only at times.A great listen, nonetheless. And it was pretty much their swan song to their friendship, before they started to hate each other.

My rating-9

Simon Hearn <> (07.09.99)

This always should have been a DOUBLE ALBUM. That is part of its appeal. Lots of simple and not so simple melodic songs on one album. If we are honest this album shows that the Beatles were the masters of all musical genres and everyone else are just pretenders.

Mike Hilinski <> (19.09.99)

hey, no mention of "happiness is a warm gun"? best song on the album!

Glenn Wiener <> (25.09.99)

I just don't understand all the bias against this recording being overdone because it was a double set. Almost every song in this collection is a winner. Even 'Revolution 9' has some interesting sound effects during its seven plus minute stay. Whether its acoustic, electric, rock, country, or the old time Jazz number 'Honey Pie', this record is the ultimate apple of my eye. Whether its John, Paul, George, or Ringo singing a tune, this is the album I want to take with me to the moon. There are so many great songs on here it is difficult to pick a favorite. 'Back In The USSR', 'Dear Prudence', 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', 'Don't Pass Me By', 'Helter Skelter', and 'Savoy Truffle' are among my favorites. Its just a matter of what day or even moment.

Ben Greenstein <> (13.01.2000)

The bluesy numbers don't do too much for yours truly, but there's enough stylistic experimentation to keep me listening. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" (I won't even tell you what I used to think the lyrics to that were!), "Blackbird" (first REAL song I ever learned on guitar!), and "Martha My Dear" are my personal faves. I think Harrison really had his day here - his songs are all great. Even "Savoy Truffle." I love that. An easy ten.

Robert Tally <> (19.02.2000)

My favorite Beatles album. Like Revolver, this is sort of a 'box of chocolates' album. You never know what you're gonna get. This is thanks mainly to McCartney, who seems intent on proving himself in as many musical genres as possible (and he does). However, you're just flat-out wrong about him dominating the album. The White Album is the only post-'Revolver' Beatles album that McCartney DOESN'T dominate. Even if you credit Paul with 'Birthday' (which both John and Paul claim as a straight collaboration), the John compositions still outnumber the Paul compositions 13 to 12. My favorite song on this is probably 'Dear Prudence,' which is just one of the most touching songs ever - and what a climactic buildup! 'Julia' is also really touching - especially the haunting middle part. I love 'Glass Onion,' 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey,' and 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' for their bizarre goofiness. 'Sexy Sadie' and 'Cry Baby Cry' are both absolute classics. 'Yer Blues' is yet another great moment for that Lennon voice. (Notice how I'm mentioning only John songs so far? This has to be his best album, barring possibly Plastic Ono Band.) George finally comes into his own on this album: 'Savoy Truffle' and 'Piggies' are as inspired as any of the McCartney songs here. But, of course, McCartney's melodies are generally pretty strong here: 'Martha My Dear' (great tune; infectious as hell); 'Blackbird' (uncommonly serious for the cute one), 'I Will' (just a very sweet melody) and 'Mother Nature's Son' (good rural folk music). Those are my favorites, but there's plenty of other good songs: 'Long, Long, Long' (haunting and simple); 'I'm So Tired' (another great vocal from Lennon); 'Revolution 1' (a good blues number, but I'd rather listen to the fast one). Most of the rest sound like lesser songs to me: 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (pretty solid, but a little dull - great solo by Clapton, though); 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill' (a fun quasi-kiddie tune with a morbid edge); 'Honey Pie' (a good vaudeville outing, but 'When I'm Sixty- Four' was better); 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' (maddeningly infectious - I hate myself for liking it); 'Birthday' (one of the best rockers on the album, but depthless); 'Back In The USSR' (good parody ideas, but it really could rock better); 'Revolution 9' (unlike most people, I have nothing against the idea of a 'sound painting' - and this has some interesting and funny moments - but it could be better); 'Rocky Raccoon' (another catchy parody, but a bit annoying); 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road' (another that could rock better - not bad though); 'Helter Skelter' (yeah, it rocks like hell, but McCartney is just obnoxious here). That's leaves only three tunes that I could easily do without: 'Good Night' (actually it's kind of sweet - but the orchestration pretty much ruins it); 'Don't Pass Me By' (poor old Ringo just wasn't very good at songwriting - at least not this time); and 'Wild Honey Pie' (McCartney at his most self-indulgent, and a bad sign of things to come from the pretty Beatle). This was, no doubt, the Beatles' most underrated album cover. It's perfect in its minimalism.

A nitpicking point: George Martin's request for a single album has for the most part been misunderstood. He suggested this at the beginning of the sessions, when the group was showing him some of the songs they had written. After the album was finished, he (like everybody else) found it next to impossible to imagine which songs could possibly be left off.

<> (02.04.2000)

The first of my to favorite Beatles albums ( the other being ABBEY ROAD). I like the diverse musical style. Alot of people dont like double albums because of that very reason. I think it works well though as long as the artist in question is adding something usefull and not just a bunch of filler tunes. The guys definately had enough usefull material here. I dont know what you would get rid of to cut it down to a single album! GREAT !! - From "HEALTER SKELTER" to "ROCKY RACOON" and everything in between!!

Philip Maddox <> (28.06.2000)

This is the one Beatles album I would give a 10 to (although, to be fair, I don't have Revolver). It's a big, sprawling double album with every single type of music you can imagine tossed in. And, with the exception of 'Honey Pie', I love every track on this record. The bluesy rockers are great, the ballads are beautiful ('Blackbird' is my favorite acoustic guitar piece of all time), and I even like the goofy comedy numbers. I know a lot of people hate 'Bungalow Bill', but I love it - it's disjointed, funny, and catchy. The Harrison contributions are great. 'Piggies' is really, really good. 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'is nearly perfect. I even like the more "experimental" stuff. 'Wild Honey Pie' is hilarious and memorable (I find myself shouting "Honey Piiiiiieeee!" all the time), and 'Revolution 9' is creepy and much better than most people seem to think. I guess stuff like 'The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet' desensitized me to all of this kinda stuff. It's not the best song on here by a long shot, but I don't skip it. This is a totally great album. I generally think that some Beatles albums are overrated (still good, but overrated nonetheless). This one isn't at all. Like I said, a 10. I need to get a CD of this - my record is completely worn out! It's the most consistant Beatles album, if you ask me, and it's twice as long as most - quite an accomplishment!

Mike Mannheim <> (15.07.2000)

This album has some sort of mystique surrounding it. It's mere presence in my CD case seemes to overshadow all the others. Even the cover, plain as it is, looks pretty damn important for some reason. As for the music itself, I like the second half a lot more, it has the better songs: "Birthday," "Yer Blues," "Revolution 1," "Helter Skelter" and "Savoy Truffle" are my five favorites.

Rich Bunnell <> (31.07.2000)

Even though the album is definitely too long, this basically means on a Beatles album that there're more classics than usual. The first disc is a virtual greatest hits package, with Paul cranking out popsters like "USSR," "Ob La Di" and "Martha My Dear," John reaching new heights with the gorgeous "Dear Prudence" and "Glass Onion," and Ringo.....uh.....drumming. And singing a novelty song which isn't that good. The second disc is patchier, but still gets mad props for containing "Birthday," "This Song Has A Long Novelty Title Which Usually Sucks Except I Wrote An Awesome Riff" and the original "Revolution," which sounds more like a remake than the rock version does, but that's probably just because I'm used to the other version. I've never been too fond of "Helter Skelter," however. It rocks, but it rocks at like 2 miles an hour, crawling along at a snails pace and completely shredding any sort of infectious melody the song might've had. Ringo's outburst at the end is hilarious, but the song just sounds ugly and boring to me for the most part.

I didn't mention George's songs yet because they're awesome and continue my "Harrison rules" theory, and I wanted to wait to say anything about them. "While My Guitar" is beautiful guitar balladry, as is "Long Long Long," "Piggies" is funny, and "Savoy Truffle" has got to be one of the ten coolest songs pressed to vinyl. I know that this makes me sound incredibly stupid, but it's probably my favorite song on the album. I'm not saying that the other songs are worse, I'm just saying that I personally enjoy this cool, slinky horn-pop ditty more than anything on the other two albums. STOP ACTING LIKE HARRISON WAS MEDIOCRE, YOU FRIGS. Despite what he did during his solo career, his handful of songs the Beatles let him record were AWESOME.

As for "Revolution 9," sure, it's little more than a throwaway collage, and it's obviously not the work of a genius so much as the product of drugs and being married to a Japanese conceptual artist. But I myself think that how fun it is to discuss and argue and bicker about the song makes its existence worthwhile in itself. The Beatles canon would be less fun to talk about without it! It's a stupid argument, but it works!!!!!!

To tie up my previous three paragraphs of rambling incoherence, this is a great, revolutionairy album in spite of its numerous flaws, largely because every one of those vices is met with at least six or seven virtues. Plus, it's easily the most fun and diverse the Beatles ever got. 10/10

Paul Pasquerella <> (02.08.2000)

White Album composition breakdown:

Back in the USSR - Paul Dear Prudence - John Glass Onion - John Obladi Oblada - Paul Wild Honey Pie - Paul Bungalow Bill - John Guitar Weeps - George Happiness is A Warm Gun - John Martha My Dear - Paul I'm So Tired - John Blackbird - Paul Piggies - George Rocky Raccoon - Paul Don't Pass Me By - Ringo Do It In the Road - Paul I Will - Paul Julia - John Birthday - John & Paul Yer Blues - John Mother Nature's Son - Paul Me and My Monkey - John Sexy Sadie - John Helter Skelter - Paul Long Long Long - George Revolution 1 - John Honey Pie - Paul Savoy Truffle - George Cry Baby Cry - John Revolution 9 - John (aided by Yoko) Good Night - John


Ringo - 1 John & Paul - 1 George - 4 Paul - 11 John - 13

Your White LP review states that Paul "contributes the majority and the maximum variety of the songs." Majority? Not from the above tally. As to maximum variety, it is indeed John who offers the greatest range in styles, from the hard rock of "Yer Blues" to the gentleness of "Julia" via the pseudo-swing of "Revolution 1," the Hollywood schmaltz of "Good Night" (wisely given to Ringo to croon) and the sound montage of "Revolution 9:" a left-field item on a pop record, but a style well-known in contemporary classical circles in the late sixties via the compositions of avant-garde twistos like Luciano Berio and Karlheinz Stockhausen. Not to imply that Paul is just standing still, mind you.

As far as the "origins" of heavy metal, the band that has the best claim to this would probably be the Kinks, with their late 1964 hit "You Really Got Me" and Dave Davies' overheated guitar solo. Although Lennon, were he alive today, would probably just say "Bollocks" and point to his band's live version of "Money" from 1963 released on ANTHOLOGY VOL. I as the starting point. Naturally.

Just wanted to clear up a few things.

P.S. The only real clunkers on the White Album, to me anyway, are "Birthday," which I tolerate as an amusing homage/parody of the fifties rock 'n' roll they all loved, and "Savoy Truffle," which I now replace with "Not Guilty" from ANTHOLOGY 3 when I make a tape of the White Album for friends. Too bad they didn't put "Not Guilty" on the record in the first place, but given that the song is essentially a laundry list of George's grievances toward Paul and possibly John, it's understandable - but that's also what makes it so appropriate. "Revolution 9" - sorry, I love it, as only the Beatles could ever force suburban Moms everywhere to listen to something usually the province of anti-establishment bohemians - at least in the days before you could de-program it out of your CD player.

Mike VonBehren <> (23.08.2000)

("Rocky Raccoon":) this song is the most basic fuckin song in the universe

Bryan Bals <> (18.10.2000)

I'm sorry, but I cannot give this album a 10. Pretty ironic that it is called the Beatles when in actuality it was merely each Beatle recording his songs without the other's input. The classic Lennon/McCartney connection simply does not exist here. Certainly, this is one of if not the most diverse albums of all time, but that leads to problems as well. When one experiments, there are going to be failures. I personally cannot sit through 7+ minutes of nothing in Revolution 9. And why did they slow down 'Revolution' into 'Revolution 1' anyways? So, although this album had many good songs('While My Guitar Gently Weeps' would definitely rank in my top 5 Beatle songs), it also had many bad songs as well. I'd give it a 9.

<> (21.11.2000)

The White Album is the single greatest album ever created as far as I am concerned! The fact that it is a double album, and the songs vary from each other is what makes it pure genius. (For example, a hard hitting loud song like 'Helter Skelter' being followed by a beautiful soft song , 'Long Long Long') It is just amazing! I don't think we will ever see anything like this ever again. I am twenty years of age, and I listen too a lot of music (Rock, Hip-Hop, Techno, Pop, you name it) Nothing has what this album has, or any album the Beatles made post Rubber Soul. 'Revolution 9' is just part of the ride. I listen to albums all the way through, I don't skip through the tracks, and to say it should have been a single album is insane. I give it a 10!

Oh yea to the guy before me, they made 'Revolution 1' first (get it 1) they made the faster version for the singel, thought it was too slow. That is what is so great now you have two versions, don't complain, be greatful that the Beatles were so damn smart, and creative geniuses!

Jeff Blehar <> (20.11.2000)

What a fascinating paradox: the greatest Beatles album (and therefore quite possibly the greatest rock album ever made) is the one where there are more than a few songs which are just sheerly BAD.  Note to wiseguys and contrarians: I refuse to believe anyone can defend "Wild Honey Pie" as a great song or anything more than a completely self-indulgent experiment.  And while the others that I'm not fond of on this album are certainly up for debate - "Bungalow Bill," "Helter Skelter" and the repulsive "Piggies" are all pants by my Beatlestandards - no one will argue that this album is totally, almost ridiculously diffuse.

What makes it seem so strong - rather, what MAKES it so strong, because seeming and being are the same thing here - is not merely the songs themselves (why even cover them?  My favorites?  "Dear Prudence," "Revolution 1" and "Happiness Is A Warm Gun": Lennon returns from la-la land with a vengeance), but the ORDERING.  I'm going to come right out and say it now: The Beatles is the most brilliantly sequenced album in rock history.  Never before and never after has a piece of work so lacking in any sense of unity covered its own weaknesses by mere presentation of the music.  I've tried to rearrange this album ten thousand different ways, and I can't - the ordering and pacing is PERFECT.  So many wonderful little touches spring out at you: the hidden logic (1 Harrisong per side, 1 Ringotune per disc, no more than 2 Lennon or McCartney songs in a row).  The "animal sequence" of "Blackbird," "Piggies," and "Rocky Raccoon."  The stark contrast between "Helter Skelter" and Harrison's beautiful "Long Long Long" (this is, I think, his best song on the album).  The jump cut from "Bungalow Bill" to ("EH UP!") "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."  The way "Cry Baby Cry" tails off into that little "can you take me back where I came from?" thing which haunts me in my dreams.

Running with that, the entire juxtaposition of that whole "childhood dream suite" at the end of the record blows me awaaaaaaay.  Yeah, that's what I see it as, a dream.  "Cry Baby Cry," well that's a nursery rhyme, the kind of thing a mother sings to her baby as she's rocking him to sleep...but it's so inexplicably ominous, like there's some sort of horror lurking in the shadows behind the happy Duchess Of Kircaldy and her duke (I hear it in the piano and in the slightly dissonant way the verses resolve themselves before moving on).  Immediately as you "go to sleep" you have the little "can you take me back" link, which is a direct segue to childhood.  And then: the nightmare.  I see "Revolution 9" (which I happen to adore) as a HARROWING plunge into a nightmarish abyss of childhood dreams - think about all those "ma ma, da da, ga ga" noises Lennon & Ono are making, the random sounds of TVs and radios that fly in and out of the picture the way a small child picks up on all sorts of aural input without being able to sort and filter it, the sound of crackling flames and screams...god it can scare the living shit out of me if I'm listening in a darkened room, and THAT'S WHY IT'S SO GREAT.  Music which can discomfit you, put you in a heightened emotional state.  After it all, then they send in Ringo to reassure you that it's alright, sssh, stop crying, go back to sleep.  Anyway, I'm sure you don't see it that way, but I think it's brilliant stuff, and the placement of these tracks is what makes them so wonderful - can you think of any other context in which "Revolution 9" and "Good Night" would have worked so well on this album?  And they weren't conceived with each other in mind, they just happened to fall into place so serendipitously.

Some other brief notes: "Revolution 1" was the original, and the single version was the remake.  Frankly I despise the single version (tho' I can't QUITE pinpoint why - give me time), especially in light of this groovy slow version, which just mops up the floor with the other one!  Shoo-bee-doo-wop is RIGHT, baby.  Not much else to say, or rather SO much else to say that there's no point in going into it.  But the short summary: an album with real flaws is nevertheless the finest thing The Beatles ever did, due mostly to a) a preponderance of awesome tracks, and b) the most sympathetic song ordering I've ever seen.  One day I'll TEACH that class on this album you mentioned, George, given half a chance.  10/10 (15/15).

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

I agree with you completely pretty much on this album. This album was most likely the blueprint for Todd Rundgren's amazing solo career. 'Revolution #9' is kinda groovy but I don't usually listen to it, so I am in the middle ground because I don't really hate it nor do am I in love with it. 'Long, Long, Long' is beautiful but should have been mixed louder. I don't really care too much for BB and that like but they're okay. Like you, I say that to cut-down this epic encylopedia of rock music would be foolish and that the volume contributes to the greatness. With this album the Beatles tried to come down from their ivory tower of grand experimentation and re-enter the world as a common rock'n'roll combo, something they could never do in my opinion. Unfourantely you can hear the band falling apart and you can tell it won't be much longer for them. I only wish I hadn't been born 16 years after their breakup.

Thomas McKeown <> (08.12.2000)

This album seems to be the one that people who think that revisionism for its own sake is cool praise at the expence of Sgnt. Pepper's... Luckily, you recognise Sgnt. Pepper's as the masterpiece it truelly is, and, though I cannot agree with your rating for this album, I can see where you're comming from - this album is a love or hate album (in as much as you can 'hate' any record by the Fab Four), simply because the very things that make it so attractive to some people will make others cringe ie. the novelty element, the lightweightness of it all, the sheer diversity. To me, if you've got some good ideas, and want to create a double album, develope the individual ideas, don't try to get more of them! In other words, the Beatles, working as an effective band, should have developed the songs on here to make them more interesting and better structured and, perhaps most importantly, longer. As it is, there are just too many songs on here, and they can't all be winneres, which indeed they're not.

And the novelty element gets to me sometimes - all this 'ironic posturing' artists feel compelled to do is just a way of covering up your own lack of ideas. 'Back in the U.S.S.R.', for instance, is just a neat way of ripping off the Beach Boys whilst still supposedly maintaning artistic credability. 'Glass Onion' is basically an inadequately short song that recycles old lyrical ideas, once more underneath the banner of 'irony'. These are just two examples of the FAKENESS that afflicts this album. There are other songs on here that I don't like, but foremost, in my mind, is not 'Revolution #9', but 'Helter Skelter'. The song has no melody, and just grinds along in a caustic manner that hurts my ears. People use this song as evidence that Paul could rock too, but to me it suggests just the opposite (not that I'm saying that he couldn't rock, but just that he doesn't do it very well on here). Rev.#9, in fact, has a rather hypnotic repeating pattern that I like very much.

However, I agree very much with your choice of best song - George does the best overall on this album - he's my favourite Beatle in fact (I'm not that familiar with his solo output).

David Lyons <> (20.12.2000)

Right. I'll preface all my comments by stating that a) I like The Beatles and most of this album but b) this is not my favourite Beatles album, to allow all who are so inclined to ignore the following.

That said, it is still a mighty fine offering, don't get me wrong. However, it should be a single album. To my mind, one of the great underlying strengths of The Beatles was their self enforced quality control. They were always far more productive than their schedule of releases demanded, they were faced with a public hungry for any product they had so much as touched, yet this is their only double album. And, it suffers as a result. If only they'd been as critically ruthless with themselves as usual, The Beatles would have knocked my socks off. As it stands, it only tugs on them sporadically.

Just think, the songs that don't come up to scratch (by BeatleStandards) would have benefited from exclusion. This is because they would have surfaced later (giving us another Anthology to buy) as archive material, and we would have listened to them with our archive material ears on, which tend to be somewhat more forgiving.

Time to be specific. The songs that would have to make way for The Beatles' ascent into single album status. First up (in no particular order) is 'Everybodys got something to hide except me and my monkey' (three guesses who the monkey refers to) - for heavens sake, will you put that bell down! You're ruining a perfectly acceptable song!

Next up, 'Good Night' - I'm sorry, but it stinks. It stinks, and it stinks to high heaven. Probably the only one of my exclusions that should never have seen the light of day, not even as archive material. Which leads me onto a close contender for this category, Paul's attempt to fuse Cole Porter, Scott Joplin and George Formby with the occasional Tommy Cooper impersonation - 'Honey Pie'. Oh, and don't forget to take your 'Wild' cousin with you on the way out, Mr. Pie.

Trotting along, we bump into 'Piggies'. It's not exactly bad, it just isn't that good either (remember, we're working to BeatleStandards here). It constitutes the unfortunately not-missing link between Beatles Paul and Frog Chorus Paul. Continuing the wildlife theme, we have 'Rocky Raccoon'. Let's be honest, now, would the album suffer for its absence? Pleasant, yes, memorable, no.

'Revolution 9'. Not fair to the track really, putting it on a Beatles album. Maybe they should have extended it and released it separately, so that those that hate it don't have to listen to it, and those that adore it have more of it to listen to. Onwards to 'Helter Skelter'. Remember I'm ruthlessly following BeatleStandards in order to prune this beast. I actually quite like (large parts) of this one, it just doesn't help it's case by sounding like an archive release already.

'Julia'. Now this might actually be better than I think - if only he'd speak up a bit, or they'd move the microphone closer. 'Mother Nature's Son' is, again, hardly a bad song, it just doesn't light any fires for me. 'Sexy Sadie' sounds, to me, like John practising his solo career in advance - nothing terrible there, it's just that he saved the best ideas for later.

'Why don't we do it in the road?'. Why not indeed, just not on this album, thanks. 'The Continuing Novelty Song Title' can go too, complete with it's initial catchiness which doesn't quite turn into staying power.

Last up is my really controversial selection, the ever so slightly plodding 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. Maybe it's the title (the godawful, nauseating title that then goes on to pollute the lyrics), which, frankly, makes me cringe. It's difficult for me to pinpoint why it doesn't do it for me, and it's a shame because it has many appealing characteristics and I soooo want to like it. Oh well, either way it's for Anthology 4.

So there you have it. A shade under 50 minutes left, and a single album of pure, spun, gold, rather than a double album with more than it's fair share of tin (I cannot stress enough that I mean BeatleStandards tin). Oh, and finally, for Simon Hearn: "This album shows that the Beatles were the masters of all musical genres and everyone else are just pretenders" - oh, come off it, surely another example of pushing the hero-worship boat out a little too far. It's a diverse album, yes, and all the more entertaining for it's diversity, but they are all still Beatles songs at heart, hence the 'parody' element (although I prefer to think of them as homages). Rest assured, no-one from Byron Lee & His Dragonaires through to Bob Marley felt the least bit threatened by Paul's assimilation of Jamaican styles on 'Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da'.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

Dump 'Revolution 9', 'Wild Honey Pie', 'Why Don't we do it in the Road' and a couple of other sub-par tracks and you have the best Beatles ever album - at approx 75 minutes it would still be a double album but every bit of it would be essential. In spite of its flaws, I would have to give it a 10 - there's too much great stuff here to give it any less.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (08.01.2001)

9/10 - 18 classics: 'USSR', 'Prudence', 'Onion', 'While My Guitar', 'Happiness', 'Martha', 'Tired', 'Blackbird', 'I Will', 'Julia', 'Birthday', 'Yer Blues', 'Mother Nature', 'Everybody's Got Something'...., 'Sexy Sadio', 'Long Long Long', 'Savoy' & 'Cry Baby Cry'. The remaining tracks are very varied, but I wouldn't be without any of them. Although '#9' would have fitted better on a B-side or something, where it could be "appreciated" on its own. Yeah, it may be interesting, but it's not very good (or even original) and it certainly isn't MUSIC! It pisses me off a bit that when John and Paul strays a bit too far to the left or right, John is always "forgiven" (he's an ARTIST after all - and dead), but Paul is laughed at. Examples: "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" / "The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill". Both are singalong ditties of equal "importance", but only Paul gets slammed. When will you people realize that the two men added to each other's strengths? By the way, that's John right there, playing the jazzy guitar solo on "Honey Pie". And if you haven't done so, check out the bass on "Dear Prudence" and "Monkey" - oooh! And all of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun".

Steve Hall <> (23.01.2001)

The single most difficult task a double album has to achieve is to hold the listeners interest over 4 sides instead of just 2.Ladies and gentleman here is the benchmark to which all must look up.I have never heard a good reason yet to condense this down to just a single album.What songs could you leave off?"Revolution 9" and "Wild honey pie" definetely,probably "Rocky raccoon" but then.......what?I completely agree with the view you and some others here have stated, that the reason this album is so great is because it's so huge and diverse.I've listened to this album maybe 50 times(no exaggeration)and every time i do another gem or trinket leaps out at me i'd never heard before,it's awesome.The list of great songs,melodies,riffs,intro's,fade-outs,solo's,vocals just too good.You're right,this should be an introductory education for everyone starting out in music.

Interestingly(at least i thought so)was that this album was originally going to be called A doll's house but then had to be changed because some obscure band released an album of that name the same year,a shame because such a title would have summed up brilliantly this varied,diverse,some weird,some sweet,some crazy,some happy,some big,some small,some tragic and some just plain beautiful collection of songs.A clear 10/10

[Special author note: I'd just like to state that, although the very fact was not known to me before, the 'obscure band' in question was obviously Family, and the album was Music In A Doll's House, reviewed here. Not as much of a masterpiece as the White Album, of course, it's still a lost classic well worth finding - and so I don't really regret that the Beatles 'lost the title', because at least they lost it to a very good record.]

Kevin Baker <> (24.01.2001)

The Beatles Encylopedia of Popular Music.  What do they not do on this baby?  You've got country, calypso, folk, jazz, blues, hard rock, piano rock, light songs, deep songs, songs that are in makes my head spin.  The amazing thing is that they make all of it sound excellent!  Except 'Revolution 9', but that's just because I'm not a big fan of sound collages.  But everything else ranges from good to BUTT KICKING WONDERFUL!!!!  Pardon the enthusiasm.

To me, the beauty of the White Album is that there is something for everyone; not a soul is left out, and thus you could pick 30 different people out, play them the whole album, and you might end up with 30 people with 30 different favorite songs.  My personal favorite is the opening 'Back In The USSR'.  Why? I dunno. It just grabs me.  It's so energetic, and the lyrics are quite entertaining.  But I love most everything else! 'Dear Prudence', 'WMGGW', 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', 'Piggies', 'Savoy Truffle', 'EGSTEMAMM', 'Birthday'...OK, I'll stop that. I could list all of 'em like that. I used to hate 'Martha My Dear', but it has such a catchy melody. That's the magic of McCartney; evcen the dopiest songs by him that you instantly hate grow on you just by virtue of their gorgeous melodic strength. Same goes for 'Honey Pie'. Used to hate it, now I enjoy it. 'Helter Skelter' kicks gluteus maximus, 'Yer Blues' is good, I love 'Julia'....I love the whole thing. Heck, on good days even 'Revolution 9' is great. This is the point, the gist---no matter what they were playing, the Beatles could kick everyone else's butts. Why? I don't know. I just enjoy.

jeffrey b.good <> (14.02.2001)

"Revolution 9" was a dedication to Karlheinz Stockhausen. Lennon was much more educated in modern music than you, George

[Special author note: no doubt. He was a musician, after all. However, this still doesn't prevent the 'composition' from sucking.]

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

The Beatles White Album was the very first record I was ever exposed to as a child, and, as such, I grew up with it and practically regard it as something 'holy.' And taken in the context of other pop/rock albums (including other Beatles' records), The White Album is the single greatest achievement in popular music (in my humble opinion). It's hard for me to comment on this record with a clinical and detached eye, but I'll give it a try.

I agree that part of the record's greatness lies in its sheer size and scope and incredible variety. It's got room for everything! I understand that they originally wanted to call this album A Doll's House and that would've been the perfect title! The songs on the White Album are like the various contents of some dilapidated old mansion -- there are precious little things of great beauty ("Julia"), there are some strange and disturbing objects ("Yer Blues"); there's some fun little toys ("Birthday), and there's stuff that are big and worthless and just take up space in the attic ("Revolution 9"). This is an album where even the obvious 'fillers' are outstanding and quite necessary to the whole. This is the one album where overindulgence is actually a welcome element!

Another interesting aspect to this album is that, having stepped aside in favor of Paul, John made a strong comeback, I think nearly half the songs are his. But the crucial difference is that while Paul was still writing songs to please the fans and the market, John ignored all that and (mostly) wrote songs that were meaningful to him, and him alone. Thus, even though John wrote a large number of songs, they're really personal solo pieces (with the other three as backing musicians). It's also amazing that John produced so many songs while he was enduring so many personal crises. I truly believe that The White Album represents John's finest period. He just poured his heart and soul out, while Paul was working the assembly line. Let's take it song by song.

"Back in the USSR" flat-out rocks and rolls. I've heard this was a take-off of the Beach Boys style, but that's only true for the middle chorus, I hear more Chuck Berry than Brian Wilson here. My favorite part is actually John's guitar solo and his funny 'yelps.'

"Dear Prudence" is my very favorite Beatles song ever, perhaps my favorite song of ANY genre. I just don't know what I can say about it. I treasure it above anything else in pop music. Everything about it is priceless, the plaintive lyrics, John's wistful voice, the gorgeous acoustic guitar, the 'round, round, round' backing chorus, the dreamy mood it imparts upon the listener, the subtle shifts – it's just beyond belief how fantastic and precious this song is. And there's nothing pretentious or heavy-handed about it whatsoever. I should also point out that while I have been praising Paul McCartney's songwriting skills so much, 'Prudence' is the kind of song that only John Lennon could create. It's pure inspiration, Paul couldn't write 'Prudence' any more than John could write 'Yesterday.'

"Glass onion" is another great Lennon number, highly original and unique. I like psychedelic lyrics only when they're self-parodying, like this. And that unexpectedly somber ending (cello?) is pure genius.

I know many folks intensely dislike "Obladi Oblada" and I'm not too crazy about it either, but that piano bounces all over the place like mad! Even if John and George hated this song so much, they sure sounded like they were having fun making it.

"Wild honey pie" is pure Paul filler, but I love it. Where else have you ever heard a guitar make such a 'twanging' sound as this?

"Bungalow Bill" is one of John's lesser moments on the album, but it has a place here as a bizarre children's verse. And I always KNEW that Spanish guitar opening was fake and tacked on!

"While my guitar gently weeps" finally placed George on an equal footing with Lennon and McCartney as songwriters. And George would go on to create even better material for the next album. Eric Clapton's solo is just mind-numbingly great.

"Happiness is a warm gun." What can I say? It's pure Lennon, nobody else in the world could come up with something like this. It's like three separate, unrelated mini-songs that were 'welded' together, and somehow its seamless. I love it, it's cool, it's bizarre, it's freakish, it's beautiful, it's disturbing, it's lyrical, it's unforgettable. It's actually better than the similarly-crazy "I am the walrus" because of its tighter arrangement.

"Martha my dear" is a long-time favorite of mine. I think it's a solo effort by Paul, his singing and piano playing are incomparable. The piano intro alone has more sheer musicality and melody than certain whole albums by other groups!

"I'm so tired" is utterly magnificent -- so original, so eccentric, so unlike anything else in the annals of pop music, so Lennon. It's somewhat creepy, too, and that baby-like babbling at the end was a great touch.

"Piggies" has not aged well, I used to like it, but I usually skip over this one now.

"Blackbird" (along with "Fool on the hill") is Paul's greatest masterpiece, plain and simple. Incredibly beautiful melody, very touching guitar accompaniment. The weird thing about this song is that it SOUNDS more complex than it really is (the opposite of 'Fool')! Schubert or Mozart couldn't have improved on this!

"Don't pass me by" is definitely a low-point, but on a double album you HAVE to include a countrified Ringo tune. I love that fiddle, though, and some of the lyrics are hilarious. It's great that they allowed a 'mere mortal' like Richard Starkey some space on this record.

"Rocky Raccoon" is another song that hasn't aged well. I bet kids love it, though. I just wish Paul would have added some 'psychedelic' elements to the lyrics, to make it less straightforward and more surreal (more in keeping with the eccentric mood of the album).

"Why don't we do it in the road?" Wow! Is it filler? Yes, of course. Is it great? You bet. Paul sounds like a caveman here, growling and banging on the piano. The lyrics are subversive because they're almost 'anti-narrative.'

"I Will" is a remake of "I'll follow the sun" (at least to my ears), but it's wonderful nonetheless. It's amazing how Paul can cram so much melody and bewildering chord changes in less than two minutes!

"Julia" is a tune that took me years to enjoy, and now I revere it. It's just John strumming a guitar! Unlike Paul, John can impart profound emotions in his voice very easily. This song has such a 'clean' and 'linear' overlapping arrangement, that it's quietly spectacular.

"Birthday" is great fun, with a terrific opening riff. High energy and fun all the way. So, it's not Shakespeare, so what?

"Yer blues" is a killer song. John REALLY sounds suicidal here (which I guess he was at the time). That electric guitar solo is so dirty, it's like a malevolent snake!

"Mother Nature's son" is another unforgettable McCartney acoustic ballad. Lovely, unpretentious poetry, and a melody that just SHIMMERS like a diamond. An all-time favorite.

"Everybody's got something to hide except for me and my monkey" is a great rocker (just a shade below "Back in the USSR" in quality). The crazy screaming at the end was the ONLY was to end this bit of inspired madness.

"Sexy Sadie" is an underrated John Lennon masterpiece, aided greatly by that unusual piano solo (by Paul, I think).

"Helter skelter" I have mixed feelings about. As you say, Paul did this to match the heavy raucous sound of The Who -- so, it's really a 'manufactured' song. But it's great nonetheless. He probably should've let John sing lead, though, but I guess they weren't talking to each other at the time!

"Long long long" is simply a bore, George's weakest song on the album. I never liked it.

"Revolution 1" is a pleasant diversion, it really brings out the melody that got 'swamped' by the distorted electricity of the single version.

"Honey Pie" is another charming piece of nostalgic vaudeville (with John, of all people, providing the wonderful guitar solo!) Love how Paul intentionally made the recording 'scratchy' so it sounded like something from 1920's radio.

"Savoy Truffle" is one of my favorite George numbers ever! Love the goofy lyrics, and love the beefy horn section. George CAN rock out when he wants.

"Cry baby cry" is a terrific Lennon fairy tale. Quite similar in mood to other of John's songs of this period. I think John himself dismissed this song as garbage, but, musically it's surprisingly strong. (This would've been great on Sgt. Pepper).

"Revolution No. 9" is the peak (or, depending on your point of view, the nadir) of The Beatles self-indulgence. I admit that I personally hate the track and always skip over it. However, I will say that, due to the diverse nature of this album, it BELONGS here! It's funny but, 'No. 9' is one of those pieces that most people hate, but never stop talking about! It's really a Lennon-Ono experimental piece, and I find it amazing that it actually got on this record despite Paul and George Martin's strident objections.

"Good night" is a lovely hymn and the perfect way to close a strange, dreamy, hallucinatory, exasperatingly wonderful album.

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

A book would be necessary for this album.And a five stars award would not be enough.M.Starostin is absolutely right:it's an encyclopedia of pop    /rock in miniature.33 years have passed (think about it! 33!) and it still stands as the most extraordinary eclectic work of all time.I want to quote here M.David Stubbs who wrote in uncut,November 2000:"they swallowed whole everything that had gone before,and have touched everything that has occured since".Nuff'said.

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

Yeah, it's so diverse! And it's very difficult to review. Anyway, it's one of the best rock albums of all time. Hard rock, country-western, swing, blues, reggae, traditional rock'n'roll etc.:all this styles are presented in this marvellous wonferful amazing gorgeous magnificent amzing great double album. The best songs on this masterpiece are:

"Back in the U.S.S.R.", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" - cool harmonies of George and admirable Clapton solo, "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"(guess what Lennon is talking about) and "Helter Skelter". No need to say some other stuff about White Album, it's obvious, that this album was a big influential factor that time.

Maritza Eusse <> (22.06.2001)

paul was the one wrote 'birthday'. the pruebe is that chris thomas the producer of this song(george martin was in vacations) saw the composition process of 'birthday' and said that this song was practically written by paul.


john said in one interview :'birthday' was paul trying to write a birthday song. but is a real throwaway.



Threerandot <> (15.08.2001)


But I just can't see my way to giving The White Album any kind of real status in Rock History. The ideas and material are so flimsy and ridiculous in so many places on this record. I haven't heard it in years, but all I can remember is being repulsed by the lackluster performances on this record.

People can make all the excuses in the world for this record if they want. I did not grow up during Beatlemania and I can have a much more unbiased view as a result. Yes, there are a few good songs here, like "While My Guitar.." and "Blackbird" is definitely a high point. Probably the best, since it is a tune with a real sense of direction, beautiful chord modulations and so on.... but "PIGGIES"!!, as you would say about the Moody Blues song "Deep"(and I agree with you on The Moody Blues on so many points)...what the Shit is that?? And so many other songs that are just so silly and ridiculous they're laughable. Yes, I know that this is supposedly a parody album, but I really don't think it started out that way. When I hear these songs all I can hear is a tired, weary, unenthusiastic bunch of rock stars who've grown old very quickly.

Besides, I really think that the kind of obsession people have with the Beatles has more to do with being there during the 60's and being caught up in the excitement. Did the Beatles change Pop music. Like so many, I would have to say yes. Did they break ground, sure. But I don't think they did as much as people like to make out that they did.

This album shows the Beatles as the fallible, imperfect musicians that they could be at times. I know it is very hard to be objective about this record, but I truly believe it, and Let It Be are definitely the worst of the bunch. The songs here are so insignificant and pointless. "I'm So Tired" offers nothing... no creativity at all... Ringo just bashing away and all I feel like doing is taking a nap. No spark.

"Happiness Is A Warm Gun"... it is supposed to be a joke I'm sure, but I really don't think any tune that is a joke is supposed to be taken so seriously... the reason why people love the White Album and anything else the Beatles did is because... it's THE BEATLES... there, I've said it.

So much of their recorded output is taken so seriously as if it were hand-delivered by God himself to the masses. The truth is it's the hype around the Beatles that has given them this image as being some kind of musical geniuses... hardly. Realistically, yes they were very brilliant, but definitely not geniuses. Good songwriters, true and definitely very creative in the studio too, but I think it's an important point to make that the very best musicians are capable of performing live, the Beatles, just like The Moody Blues, were never capable of this, and therein lies the reality. If they had developed their technical chops to a much higher level, they wouldn't have turned out so many miserable tunes that they did later on albums like this and Let It Be.

So let's give it a rest, eh? The Beatles were definitely pioneers to a point, but many other groups have been able to go way beyond the Beatles musically...Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, King Crimson. And even eighties Rock bands were able to create material that at times was at least as good or better than a good portion of the Beatles' material...even...dare I say it... DURAN DURAN! An album they recorded in 1988 called Big Thing showed Duran Duran doing much more than I think many critics would even have imagined... Sgt. Pepper.. no.. but definitely more listenable than the White Album. I would really appreciate a section on Thomas Dolby as well, a very innovative musician from the eighties with a very eclectic and unusual style. So how about an eighties section? I've seen how bad the Moodies can be... so how about taking a look at some of the eighties material? You may be surprised.

Yes, I know you have said some very harsh things about eighties rock, but perhaps a closer inspection of eighties rock wouldn't hurt eh?

Anyways, I suppose I am getting off the topic here, but I would like to say that I was a very diehard Moody Blues fan at one time, but about 7 or 8 years ago I began to see just how bad they were at times. I have begun to relisten to all of my Moodies records and in many cases I agree with you very strongly about that band, in fact on may counts.

This brings me back to the Beatles... I thought from your introduction to your Beatles section you would be much more objective, but you can't imagine my surprise when I read your review of The White Album, giving it a staggering 15!

Suffice it to say, The White album is, in my own opinion, "a meandering series of trifles and nonsensical tunes with the occasional gem here and there" I would give it a 7.

I hope I haven't stepped on too many toes here.

jyaroch <> (16.08.2001)

I may be completely wrong, but I was under the impression that John Lennon wrote "Good Night" in a deliberately (and derisively) McCartneyesque fashion, showing his growing disdain for Paul's songs. Am I the victim of Beatle Urban Legend?

<> (04.11.2001)

Well,i would like to start this off by saying that this was one helluva contender for the best rock album in the world,at least in my own mind.well,everybody who reviews this album seems to point out the fact that this is seemingly the most diverse album ever made and so on.while i would only be too willing to concede the validity of such a theory,i would also like to point out one more thing.the thing that mainly impresses me about this album is that you could,from the 30 odd songs on it,actually make a guitar heavy or hard rock album comprising the standard number of 14 or 15 songs.what iam trying to prove is that while there are parodies on various styles of music,the heavier numbers dominate this album.well,let us merely assume there had been one such album in 1968 comprising the following songs.

'back in the ussr','dear prudence'(not exactly heavy,but the boosted bass gives it the desired effect),'glass onion','while my guitar gently weeps','happiness is a warm gun','im so tired','birthday','yer blues','monkey' ,'sexy sadie','helter skelter','revolution','savoy truffle' and probabaly 'not guilty'.

well,the result is almost hard to comprehend.they would have blown off competition from the zepsters or whoever that was trying to rock hard.well,as far as the songs are concerned i absolutely adore the undersigned numbers with yer blues and dear prudence coming close to my favorite rock songs .'yer blues' blows me away.well,one of the most minimalistic arrangements the beatles have used (no background vocals,tambourine ,etc) till then and what resulted was one of the heaviest blues-rock numbers ever recorded.amazing solo from george too,almost pierces my ear towards the end.and if anybody had any reservations about ringo`s drumming just take one listen to long,long,long.that was what ringo sounded like if he was given the appropriate far as the other recordings are concerned i find the drums way too buried in the mix.of course it contributes to the overall general atmosphere but i dont practically hear them.well,go and get it folks right away

Ben Kramer <> (23.11.2001)

This is probably, the greatest work of music of the past 50 years (don't know music before that that well). Many people spit on it,. probably more than any other Beatle album. This album alone is more diverse then any artists entire catalog. I like Quadrophenia slightly more because of the feeling Pete gives you when you finally reach the end of 'Love Reign O'er Me' and I think that Let It Bleed is the greatest album of rock and roll. But The White album is the only musical experience where one has the privilege of discovering 30 musical worlds in 93 minutes. The White Album has funny songs, sad songs, stupid songs, intelligent songs, experimental almost songs, parodies, touching songs, country songs, inappropriate songs, political songs, ... Four different people had four different ideas and four different strengths and together they were able to create a masterpiece. Everything seemed to go right on the White Album. Paul has some of his best vocals, Ringo writes a song, George peaks as a songwriter (he would stay at his peak on Abbey Road and All Things Must Pass), and best of all, if you were to take a survey and ask 30 people what their favorite song on The White Album is, you can get 30 different answers. Never in the history of rock/pop has anyone been able to accomplish that feat with 30 songs. No one song stands out, no side of an LP stands out, no artists contributions overshadow the rest and no song sounds like any other on the album. I will not talk about every song because there are too many, but I will talk about a few that I feel need to be mentioned. Any other Beatle fans may want to mention others but I'm writing this so let my have my fun.

Paul McCartney contributed 12 songs on the album and here are a few worth mentioning more than his others. 'Back In The USSR' is a Beach Boy parody with the high pitched harmonies and is mocks their hit 'California Girls'. One of the stupider songs on the album is 'Obladi Oblada' which is a piano driven, hilarious song with ridiculous lyrics, yet it is very catchy. 'Rocky Raccoon' is arguably Paul's best on the album (though technically there is no best) and it is a country western song. 'Helter Skelter' is probably Metallica's influence and it is one of the hardest songs ever with Ringo screaming at the end "I got blisters on my fingers!". One of many classics on the album. 'I Will' is a typical McCartney love song, but a typical McCartney love song can't be beaten (there are a couple of exceptions). 'Happiness is a Warm Gun' is a classic. It is a hard song to describe but it is a fun song to listen to and Paul's vocals are amazing on it.

John Lennon was the most productive in India, writing 13 songs and once again, he doesn't write a less than excellent one. I will start with 'Revolution #9' because many people are divided on weather this song is good or not. It is extremely interesting, and I would never call it filler. However, I definitely would have preferred them replacing it with the hit single recorded at that same time, 'Hey Jude'. I don't hate it, I just don't think it is as interesting on the 5th or 6th listen compared with the 1st. Another Lennon song that gets a lot of crap is 'The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill'. Liking this will depend on weather you like 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' or 'Yellow Submarine'. If you like those, chances are, you will like this one as well. If you don't like those, 'Bungalow Bill' isn't for you. Personally, I like it. 'Revolution #1' (slower than the single version) is one of John's best ever. It is his major political statement as a Beatle. 'I'm So Tired' is the one where at the end, you are supposed to hear John say that Paul is dead backwards. Never tried it, but he does mumble at the end of the song. Maybe it's because he is so tired. 'Glass Onion' brings us back to the days of Magical Mystery Tour and he tells us that "The walrus was Paul". Maybe that will help you solve the Paul is dead thing.

George Harrison tops Revolver by giving us four songs and at least two of them are gems. Many consider 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' the best song on the album, and maybe the best Beatle song ever. I won't give my opinion but when I heard this for the first time, I knew that this was the moment when George grew as a songwriter. 'Savory Truffle' is one of the few "rock" songs on here and it is yet another favorite of mine, maybe the best on side four.

Ringo. He has finally contributed more than a mediocre voice and a simple back beat. He has written a song. Not only doesn't it suck, but it is up to par with most of the album. 'Don't Pass Me By' is sort of a country song (strange how it follows 'Rocky Raccoon') but it sort of isn't. It's one of those songs you have to hear.

That's it for this review. It is by far the most I have written because no two people can have the same point of view on this album, even if they both feel it is excellent. Many artists try to find their style for their entire careers, but The Beatles proved to the world that a style isn't needed to create great music. I give this a 10(15) and the honor of being the best album by the Fab Four and possibly the greatest piece of music of the last 50 years.

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

Definate a parody album! Shows The Beatles werent no ordinary pop band, they were just amazing songwriters and performers! Very ecclectic and proficient at what they do, especially in songwriting. Just masterpieces all these songs are! And most of them are simplistic too. "Julia", for instance, is one of the most beautiful songs in entire music history! Who could of written a more beautiful tune for their mother? Lennon's mom would be more than proud if she ever heard it! This is, in the end, most likely to be my most treasured album of all time. I just cant go wrong with this album, especially since it feeds my cravings for all types of music, from heavy metal ("Helter Skelter") to beautiful classical music ("Good Night") to Rock N Roll ("Birthday", "Back in The USSR"), to pure bliss ("Blackbird", "Dear Prudence"). Only complaints i have is "Dont Pass Me By" i could really do without, the electric, single version of "Revolution" is far superior then the acoustic rendition on here, and "Bungalow Bill" is kinda silly. I hardly wanna listen to it, but its fun, so ill pass. "Revolution 9" is awesome! So fucking scary. Absolute masterpiece. Imagine how this must of sounded in 1968! Amazing. Anyways, i enthusiastically give this a 15/15 (10/10).

Greg Francos <> (02.02.2002)

"Long, long, long" is one of my favorite Beatles songs (maybe #1).  It's really a shame that the recording is so quiet because it's the main reason the song is largely overlooked.  I know Beatles fans who have never even heard of "Long, long, long."  Just putting my two cents in for a very good song that should get a bit more attention than it does.

Mattias Lundberg <> (05.02.2002)

As long as the songs on an album not are intended to be unified by a concept, it really doesn't matter which album they're on. What I mean is that it's now A.D:i 2002 and it appears as if many of the readers and commentators on this page, myself included (and George included), were born long after the productive period of the Beatles. To us there has always been the big Beatles archive of songs, few of which were conceived in relation to another Beatles song (sorry about this little digression which is basically a sort of 'buffer' for what I'm going to say). Since we're rating albums comprising these songs and since we're rating albums on the same standards as double albums, I must say that a rather high proportion of the songs featured on The Beatles are intrinsically inferior to the 'Beatles norm' as we know it (whether we disagree on what that norm constitutes or not). Songs like 'Yer Blues', 'Obla-di, Obla-da' and 'Rocky Raccoon' are trivialities in my opinion, tracks that could have been included in a 'Rare unissued, funny stuff'-collection for Worshippers. (Have you ever reflected on how often somebody is dismissed as a 'rabid fan' of a band, just because s/he is a connoisseur of music of slightly less historical importance ? Well it seems like everyone agrees on this being perfectly acceptable with the music Beatles. As much as I love them, I think there have far too many worshippers out there; why is their music more sacrosanct than that of the Stones ?) Well, if we're comparing albums to double albums we have to think of percentage, and the percentage of brilliant songs on this album is - in my opinion - decidedly lower than, say, Sgt Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour and Abbey Road. For this, and other reasons I consider it the most overrated Beatles album.

Ryan Maffei <> (11.02.2002)


"Revolution 9" is breathtaking, and Yoko Ono's solo work is stellar when it's avant-garde, anyway. Broaden your tastes, Georgie! Be fluent in different kinds of music as well as languages!

Anyway--sure this has some classic songs ("While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Back in the USSR", "Dear Prudence", "Blackbird", "Piggies", "Julia", "Glass Onion", "Sexy Sadie", "Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Cry Baby Cry", "I'm So Tired", "Martha My Dear", "Revolution", etc...) and is diverse as hell, which earns the band musical credibility points, but consider the quantity/quality debate and the famous attempts by George Martin (who himself was a musical genius, people!) to get the Beat Boys to "trim the fat" (ahem). A double album with largely solo stuff can be horrendous at worst (Works Vol. 1, anybody?), and quite good at best, but when Paul's set free to write his throwaway pop, John's set free to rant and do angry, self-serving, derivative stuff, and Ringo's set free at all (actually, I like his sole contribution a lot--never mind), there's bound to be some crap. An album with "Wild Honey Pie", "I Will", "Birthday", "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey", "Long Long Long", and "Bungalow Bill" does not a 10-record make. An 8, because of the classics I listed at the beginning of this thing.

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

Oh, was I ever so tempted not to give this a 15! Well, when I finally got this on CD, I listened to it all the way through. And, it sounded seemless. And, stripped down. Granted, there are some silly moments: "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", "Wild Honey Pie", and "Why Don't we Do It On The Road". But, in the end, only "Revolution #9" comes out bad (At least it's not really a song...). John's songs are almost uniformly excellent here, while Paul and George aren't bad at all. And, Ringo's is very amusing (love that fiddle). So, here we go, yet another 10(15).

Bob Josef <> (07.10.2002)

Despite, the fact that the record is chock full of classic stuff, I'm also going to rain a little bit on the parade. It's certainly the Beatles' most diverse album, but I also think the diversity works against the record somewhat. I've always found the record to be a difficult listen because of the extreme difference in styles. The transition from song to song ranges from awkward to absolutely jarring. Very disconcerting. I suppose you can make the same argument about Revolver, but that album is more pop-oriented, more consistent and less extreme in the songwriting. And some of the songs are the most sarcastic and darkest the group ever recorded (thanks to Lennon, mostly), which undermines McCartney's happy pop to a certain degree. However, the Beatles made a huge jump in performance and musicanship here from their 1967 work, so that is definitely a big plus.

With a too huge variety, there are bound to be songs that people hate. I, for one, just think that "Rocky Raccoon" is a really dumb song. Not clever, just as irritating as a "real" C&W song can be. "Wild Honey Pie" was only included because Patti Harrison liked it. Which only proves that at least three out of four Beatle wives have no musical sense! But it's only a short fragment, so I can forgive it. As for the controversial "Revolution 9" -- I can actually listen to it in the right mood. And although John supposedly based it on the rhythm of "Revolution 1"(I certainly don't hear that!), it should never have gotten past George Martin. I mean, "Not Guilty" could have been included. Or, "What's the News, Mary Jane?", if John insisted on something avant-garde. At least that's kind of a song.

Since the "Hey Jude/Revolution" single was recorded during the sessions, there's plenty of room for them as bonus tracks on the CD version.

Federico Fernández <> (27.11.2002)

This one's a very strange album for me. Not because the MUSIC is strange. It's because, on one side, yes, this album is full of throwaways, fillers and subpar novelty tunes that seem to damage badly the flow of the record... but on the other side one gets the feel that all this tracks (good and bad ones) complement each other miraclously well when placed together, creating a very convincing UNITY of music (because it's so diverse!)

It depends on the mood; sometimes I think I would have cutted off some tracks and sometimes I think it works great how it is.

Among thirty there are, for me, only FIVE real big standouts: "Back On The USSR" that rocks and kicks ass with no mercy; "Dear Prudence", a brillant tension build up with the band in top form, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", George proving he could be as good as his mates, "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" which would be my favourite here because is so tight, and so original, and so captivating (Specially in the coda... what a vocal arrangement!) and "Blackbird", a simply fantastic acoustic song.

There is a bunch of great tracks that come close to those, like "Sexy Sadie" which has a gorgeous melody, "Helter Skelter" which is harder than anything THE WHO ever did! the underrated "Savoy Truffle" with those powerful horns and keyboards, "Revolution" which works fine as a bluesy number and the ethereal "Julia".

The novelty and minor songs are a mixed bag: Ringo's tune is laughable and grating, "Everybody's Got Something To Hide" is phenomenal, "Ob-la-di Ob-la-da" gets on my nerves sometimes, "Rocky Raccoon" is well crafted but quite boring, "I'm So Tired" is dark but unmemorable, "Martha My Dear" is silly but has a great, great!, GREAT melody, "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" is annoying filler, "Wild Honey Pie" is total nothing, "Long Long Long" is soothing but nothing more, "Mother Nature's Son" saves from dullness thanks to it wonderful melody, "Honey Pie" doesn't deserve the bashing that usually gets, "Glass Onion" is worth only for its druggy ending, "Birthday" is mindless nonesense, "Cry Baby Cry" is fine and "Revolution 9" is creepy but out of place, it shouldn't be included (though "Goodnight" fits surprisingly well after it)... I'm forgetting a couple of tunes... The album is worth buying because the high points are really, really good and if you dig diversity... well, this is for you!

Mark Koenigsberg <MKoenigsberg@DCMDE.DCMA.MIL> (21.01.2003)

Ask me what is my favorite Beatles Album? And I'd say the White Album, but ask me next month and it might be Abbey Road or Sgt. Peppers. But that is the Beatles. Listening to their music is like reopening a great old friendship or even more, revisiting a once great love to find nothing has changed.

A few comments about the songs. While it is true that Paul had a sheepdog named Martha, 'Martha My Dear' is definitely a love song to a real woman. "Don't forget me", " You and me were meant to be for each other". These are words of deep love. 'Dear Prudence'. Unbelievable, that two opening chords can be so mesmerizing, da dum, da dum, da dum. 'Savoy Truffle'. Just so much fun. 'Happiness is a Warm Gun'. This sounds like three or four separate tunes. A love song, the fix part, Mother Superior, and then the gun/rock n roll parody. But it all comes smoothly together. That is the Beatles. I never listen to 'No. Nine', but who cares. 'Rocky Racoon'. Perhaps the most catchy of any Paul song. 'I Will' and 'Julia'. The most touching of love songs.

Lionel Marechal <> (08.05.2003)

Well... I don't think it's the most diverse album in history... It's quite diverse, of course, by far the most diverse album by the Beatles, but... it's not true that all genres are here. There are pop (slow pop, power pop, piano pop...), rock and even hard rock, some country, and some avant garde and strange stuff. BUT there is no jazz (maybe a bit "swing" arrangements, but no real jazz), no blues (NO, Yer Blues is not a blues ! it's a rock song with bluesy arrangement ! the Beatles have never been able to play a real blues, I mean, with a blues feeling), no classical music (of course there's a lot of piano but nothing that sounds like a true piece of classical music) etc...

In fact I think the diversity of the Beatles is a bit overrated. Everything they made was "pop" : they never "got into" blues, or jazz, or... of course they have used any kind of arrangements (thanks to George Martin...) ; but their "jazzy" songs (for example) cannot be judged by jazz standards, rather by pop standards. You cannot compare 'Yer Blues' with a song of Muddy Waters, can you ? That's the problem : anyone can understand the apparence (instruments, tempos, arrangements etc.) of one genre, but it's more difficult to understand the true meanings, the deep feeling, the particular rules and the way it functions. I have heard a bit of jazz and if I had some melodic talent, I'd sure be able to compose something that sounds like a jazz tune (with swing drums, walking bass lines, piano chords, and melodic trumpet or saxophone); unfortunately I don't understand this music, where it goes and what it says, so I couldn't play real jazz. The Beatles are in the same situation : they have a HUGE melodic sense, of course, and are geniuses about arrangements, but they couldn't understand the specific rules of jazz or blues or country ; they always sound like a pop/rock band, with any arrangement they could do. Listen to the lyrics ! The words of 'Helter Skelter' don't look like a hard rock band's song, do they ? (actually, it seems that they are about a roller coaster !)

Compare, for example, with Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland. Hendrix understood completely the blues (he had played the blues since his youth), and some bluesmen recognize him as a bluesman, whereas they consider the other rock bands as "funny guys". He could also play rhythm and blues (look at 'Come on') or jazz, I mean, "jazz that can be compared with real jazzmen" (hey, even Miles Davis likes his style !), and a bit of piano pop (look at the harpsichord-driven 'Burning of the midnight lamp') (in this genre, at least, the Beatles can't be beaten). His arrangements are maybe less diverse (because they're more guitar-oriented) but there are more actual genres present.

Of course, all of that doesn't mean that this White Album isn't great. there is a bit of filler (but come on ! there are 30 songs ! I could go without 'I'm So Tired', or 'I Will', or 'Savoy Truffle', and I don't find 'Martha My Dear' as beautiful as some people said; and 'Revolution 9' is too long, interesting, but 3 or 4 minutes would be enough) and it doesn't work as a whole, unlike Sgt Pepper, but there are lots of musical ideas, great melodies all over the place, and the songwriting is of course, huh, awful (damn, whitch record even comes close ? apart from another Beatles record, I mean). An obvious 10(15), of course.

<> (31.05.2003)

This is the one I'd want, if I could only have one on a desert island. Of course that's because it's a double album, but still... I want to give props to Jeff Blehar on his point about sequencing. The songs "Long Long Long" and "Good Night" get a lot of their impact from the tumultuous performances they're following. And now to the songs...

"Back In The USSR" apparently Paul is the drummer, Ringo having walked out. Love that "balalaika" guitar riff on the last verse. I also read Mike Love claimed some credit for coming up with the middle verse while at Maharishi's camp with the Beatles in India.

"Dear Prudence" I think this introduces a fingerpicking style John also uses on "Julia" and also on "Look At Me" from Plastic Ono Band. I'd love to sit down and figure it out some day.

"Glass Onion" trademark Ringo drum crunch to open, really tough bass on this one. John's such a clever lyric writer when he wants.

"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" shows how Paul's shear talent for melody and singing lets him turn deliberately corny material into something great. It was intended to be a reggae song but it doesn't sound like one to me...more like a polka with a heavier rhythm section.

"Wild Honey Pie" one of Paul's jokes on this record. Wonder if he (and John) got a full composer's royalty from this. If he did, it would add to George's grievances.

"The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill" hilarious lyrics from John Ono make this one.

"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is a great transition from the lightweight "Bill" to a heavy guitar-hero vehicle. One of my favorite play-alongs.

"Happiness Is A Warm Gun" while Paul was putting out incomplete fragments as songs ("Wild Honey Pie") John was stringing them together and making it work. The title comes from an ad John read in a gun magazine somebody showed him.

"Martha My Dear" brilliant light pop with the strings done just right. How does Paul do it?

"I'm So Tired" I like it when John puts that tough edge into his vocal when he pronounces the word "you" ("You'd say...."). And listen to Paul's harmony...they both sound like they're stumbling back into the flat after too much partying.

"Blackbird" Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's favorite Beatles tune I hear.

"Piggies" my cousin and I were singing along with this one New Year's Eve 1968 after I got the album for Christmas. Sounds like John putting some real gusto into harmony singing on the last verse.

"Rocky Raccoon" Paul's Dylan parody. not as melodic, but funny lyrics.

"Don't Pass Me By" kind of a heavy backing for such a lightweight C&W tune from Ringo. It's a winner, though the chorus had an oddly familiar ring to it.

"Why Don't We Do It In The Road?" Ugh that's a stinker, way beneath Paul's abilities.

"I Will" another simple Paul love tune, lush acoustic guitars over a slightly eccentric rhythm section. What is that "hoom hoom" sound anyway?

"Julia" a moving John tune, reportedly the last song recorded in the White Album sessions.

"Birthday" more laffs, making fun of songs built around heavy guitar riffs, but not a bad one in its own right.

"Yer Blues" now John's making fun of the British blues scene. One thing about the John Ono phase he'd entered was that John rediscovered his shouting and yelling from the early days. The hype for the Plastic Ono Band album was this was "primal screaming."

"Mother Nature's Son" one from the heart of the country for Paul. Like that meandering D - minor D - G - D pattern..Very subtle orchestration in the background, you have to concentrate to realize all that's there.

"Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey" I bet this is the most underrated song on the album. Cutting lead guitar, exuberant vocals. My only criticism is it sounds like it ends too soon, could have gone on longer.

"Sexy sadie" man John could be a sarcastic SOB, it's great of course.

"Helter Skelter" Paul gets out his Little Richard voice and lets go for all its worth. sounds like about a dozen guitars on this one. It occurs to me that a lot of the songs on this album could have gone on longer by two or three minutes; that was common in the 1970s when bands couldn't fill albums with enough material, so they stretched songs out.

"Long Long Long" can hardly hear this one after its preceding cut, I like that "train" riff at the end.

"Revolution 1" good tune, though I liked the single version better.

"Honey Pie" Paul parodies Rudy Vallee and Tiny Tim while John shows his jazz lead chops on guitar.

"Savoy Truffle" solid George tune, humorous lyrics directed at Clapton's love of chocolates.

"Cry Baby Cry" one of John's songs with Mother Goose lyrics. The piano has a unique sound to it, very arch...same one he used on POB and Imagine?

"Revolution 9" It's hard to be objective on this. It was part of the soundtrack of 1968 for me, calling up all the tumult of that year. I can't argue with the people who say "this is crap" though I can't say the same. Repetition perhaps makes the heart grow fonder, as each tape snippet functions like an instrument's riff in a regular performance. I do wonder from what kind of sporting event the "hold that line" tape came? That's a typical U.S. gridiron football chant.

"Good Night" timing is everything isn't it? The choice of Ringo to sing this is brilliant...all that ultra slick string and choir arrangement and then Ringo's foghorn voice over it.

PS. Forgot the rating. 10/15 obviously.

BILL SLOCUM <> (04.10.2003)

The Beatles give up a surfeit of music, erring for once on the side of abundance, and it's hard to whine about it. Talk about "better off as a single album" sounds like that fellow in "Amadeus" wheedling about "too many notes for the royal ear." Or as Paul so rightly put it in the Anthology documentary. "It sold. It's the bloody Beatles' White Album. Shut up."

There's not much to add between your excellent review and the many stellar comments already collected, except to echo Jeff Blehar's brilliant notice of the singular strength of the album's sequencing, the way one track follows after another in a fashion that creates unity and cohesion where there would otherwise have been chaos. His note on "Revolution #9" and the whole notion of a child's dream/nightmare being presented here in all its tumultous glory is one of the best Beatle insights I've ever read. (Go back and read what Jeff said if you haven't already. He says so much that needs saying, and the best I can add is "Right you are, Mr. B!")

Otherwise, I agree there's greater songs and lesser songs, but having them all together is better than having only half. You would be deluged with greatness otherwise. About every song other than "Wild Honey Pie" is indispensible, and even that number has some things going for it. I love "Don't Pass Me By" and am not ashamed to admit it, the country vibe it carries along with "Rocky Raccoon" is an important nod to rock's roots in an album that demonstrates the genre-bending power of pop's greatest pioneers.

Just noticing the great studio vibe on "Yer Blues," the back-and-forth yelling that reminds us in 1968 the Beatles were still a working collective band bar none. It's only the 134th listen for me, I expect I'll only have more good things to say in whatever life God grants me here on in.

Fernando Henrique Canto <> (14.11.2003)

Screw "diversity". I can make a "diverse" album, too, if that means making a roughly decent song of as many genres as possible. I can do reggae, ska, blues, country, electronica, disco, tango, rock, folk and polka. Is this diversity? Of course, those songs may not be very good, but so what? It's artistic!

No, I'm not a big fan of this album, seriously. It's WAY too big, and too many songs are subpar. I HATE 'Julia'. I mean, okay, so John likes to sing the same note over and over again ('Help', 'I'm Only Sleeping', 'Baby You're A Rich Man'), but here, it's also annoying the the acoustic keeps hitting the SAME A note every half measure. The guitar line never changes, and it takes ages until he reaches something slightly resembling a melody. But then, he returns to that goddamn "Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuulia" every 10 seconds. Bleh. 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill' kinda sucks, too, and then, there are several songs that are "just okay", and completely unnecessary in this album. It's okay if it is a double disc, but... 47 minutes per disc? THAT'S too much. I could make with 39 minutes per disc, and that's pushing it a bit. Not only it's far less unbearable, but it fits in ONE CD-R! Bastards! Granted, there are lots of great songs in here, but I won't rack my brain through 30 songs to separate the good from the bad. So whatever. I kinda like 'Revolution 9'. Kinda. A 11.

Mark <> (19.01.2004)

Okay, I'll get this over with right away....I'm probably one of the biggest Beatles fans ever, so you may think that my opinion is probably to be expected. But The White Album is the greatest fucking album of all time. Nothing ever comes close. Not even The Beatles themselves did anything to top this baby.

A little history.....I first heard this album in September or October 1980, a couple of months before John died. At first I thought it was weird, brilliant at times, silly at times etc. (I was only 10 at the time, and to quote Jimi, hadn't been "experienced"). I thought it was pretty cool, but wasn't going to replace "She Loves You". Then, a couple of days after John was shot, I put it on again, and found some other reasons to like it a bit more. I frequently played the album in the next few months until it finally made sense. Instead of thinking that it wasn't the band's best (because I thought it was all over the map stylistically), I finally realized that it was their best - because it was all over the map stylistically. (And I still hadn't become "experienced"....that came years later).

Most people above mention the "Paul had X amount of songs, John had these many" etc. it fucking matters. A couple of people mention the irony of calling the album The Beatles when it essentially is a collection of solo tracks with the others as a backing band. (I agree, but who cares, really?) I'm not shitting on those who make those points, I'm just saying, does it matter? Not to me it don't. (Mad kudos to the guy who mentions George Martin....good point. Martin said at one point that he thought that the album could have been a single album, but later on conceded that the double works. And good work on "The Doll's House" story.....a lot of people don't know that one either).

There's not much I can say about this that others before me haven't said, and said much better, but I'll try. This album proves beyond a point that The Beatles (the band) were the best group in the world due to their complete mastery of a billion and one styles. (Interestingly enough, I noticed how a lot of the songs go straight into the next one without a break - while not as smooth as the medleys on "Abbey Road" which was edited into a medley, this one works just as well, giving you no time to catch your breath before the roller coaster tears you away into another direction. Even the pauses in between some of the songs seem calculated...or maybe I am reading too much into this....) As someone else mentions (as do you George), name me one other band that could effortlessly pull off an album as diverse as this and do it as convincingly. Fucking no one. And no one ever will again. No matter what your opinion of the band is, you simply cannot listen to this album and not be blown away by their brilliance.

As to the great tracks, well take your pick. "USSR", "Prudence", "Happiness", "Glass Onion", "Blackbird", "Julia", "I'm So Tired", "Yer Blues", "Sadie", "Skelter", "While My Guitar", "Cry Baby Cry", "Mother Natures Son", "Piggies", "Everybody's Got Something" etc etc etc. Even the tracks that I don't like as much I find reasons to be amazed at. "Ob-La-Di" I love the backing vocals (plus hearing John and George mutter "Arm" and "Leg" after "Desmond lets the children lend a hand"), the group vocals in "Bungalow Bill", the horns in "Martha", the barrlehouse piano in "Rocky", the odd voices that count out the time in "Don't Pass Me By", Paul's voice doing the bass in "I Will" along with the percussion, the party atmosphere in "Birthday", George's guitar and Ringo's awesome drums in "Long Long Long" (although I agree that I'd rather have "Not Guilty" instead of "Long"), the vocals in "Revolution 1" (the backing vocals and the trippy atmosphere), John's awesome guitar in "Honey Pie" not to mention the imitation of the old 78 scratchy record in the "Now she's hit the big time" line, the awesome distorted brass in "Savoy" and the absolutely gorgeous strings and brass in "Good Night". Which of course, leaves "Revolution 9". Okay, it's not exactly "Hey Jude" (which was recording during the White Album), but I find utterly fascinating due to the construction. It's not "music", but I always find something new in it that I never heard before. Plus, it's fucking spooky (don't ever listen to this one late at night with the lights off...not pleasant; even if you are not "experienced"). For this reason alone, I can dig "revolution 9". And while it is not music, it certainly adds to the varying styles of the album. (And George, once again, it was probably more Yoko than John, but wot the that point, John and Yoko were JohnandYoko, whether we like it or not. And it was the most "commercial" of their avant garde shit. (For proof, listen to Two Virgins. "Rev 9" IS "Hey Jude" compared to Virgins). But at the same time, I admit, "Rev 9" is the one that I skip over the most.

And this is without mentioning what I like about the tracks that I like the most. I won't, because it's really redundant. On thing I will mention....the guitar sounds. Wow. I read once before that the White Album had some of the most dirty distorted guitar sounds of any album ever recorded. And it does. Listen the the guitar in the middle of "Prudence", or "Happiness", or "Yer Blues", or in the fade of "Sadie", and "EGSTHEFMAMM" and obviously "Skelter". But some of those acoustic guitars are nasty too. Try "Cry baby" which distorts when John slams it (I don't know if this was intentional or not, but knowing John, probably was) and George's pick slide at the end of "Long Long Long". Plus Paul's bass is pretty loud and chunky too....try "EGSTHEFMAMM", "Don't Pass Me By" and "Rev 1". Pianos bash discordantly, every instrument seems like it is treated to sound evil (or at least different) and things seem thrown into the mix or song to sound weird (like the false endings to "Glas! s Onion" and "Piggies") along with sound effects, stereo panning etc. Even some of the "pretty" or "nice" songs have weird overtones to them (like the voices that pop in and out of the mix of "Ob-La-Di" and at the end of that one too).

Okay, that's enough. I could go for days on this one. One thing, though, George. I usually find your reviews/comments insightful and while sometimes I don't really agree, I let it go, because after all, an opinion is an opinion, right? But on your introduction you mention that you don't think the Beatles as musicians were as talented as some of their contemporaries. I strongly disagree with that. I think Paul was one of the best bassists that ever lived. He was not as flashy as Entwhistle or JP Jones, but he was (again, opinions) a hell of a lot more "inventive" than almost anyone. (An opinion that I share with George Martin and Lennon as well). The bass work on Pepper alone was brilliant, one of his greatest moments as a bassist (check out his work in "A Day In The Life"). Plus McCartney was an awesome guitarist as well, doing rock (him doing lead guitar on "Taxman" and some of the solo on "The End"), acoustic (Paul on "Blackbird", "Michelle", "Mother Nature's Son"), piano ("Lady Madonna", "Let It Be" etc). But on the bass, he brought it front and forward in rock ("Paperback Writer" and "Think For Yourself") that no one had done before. As to George, well, maybe George's playing was more thought out and contrived than pure inspiration, I think that it works well for him. Whether it was planned or not, I think that there are a billion guitarists that couldn't do what George could do if they worked on it for years (check out the harmonized lead in "And Your Bird Can Sing" or any of his guitar work on "Abbey Road"). As to John, quite simply, he was one of the best rhythm guitarists in rock, probably only bettered by Keith Richards for pure soul and groove. Not flashy, but with the songs that these guys had, you didn't need to be flashy. And Ringo, well sure, he was no Bonham, Moon or Watts, but again, in his own way, he revolutionized the way people thought of drums and drumming. Listen to his amazing touch on "A Day In The Life" sets a mood all by itself. And it's no wonder that for awhile in the 70's, Ri ngo was one of the drummers that most people used; he could get a groove going on anything. Most people who used Ringo later said that he was one of the most incredible drummers they ever played with.

Anyway, George, I am not slamming you or your opinions at all. I respect them greatly, and you always have something interesting to say and have turned me on to a lot of great shit that I never knew existed before. But I had to mention this, because I always felt that their musicianship was always underrated. But then again, when you could write and sing like those guys could, is it any wonder???? I just wanted you to (hopefully) reconsider your ideas about their musicianship, like you have made me reconsider so many other points. As to the White Album (hmmmm, a little off topic are we....) I give it 10 out of 10. If I could give it more, I would. Wow. It's amazing. After hearing it for almost 25 years it still kicks my ass. Thanks, now sock it to me, George!!!!!!!

Timothy Malcolm <> (24.04.2004)

First off, I've been hunting your site for about 2 years now, and I must say we have pretty similar tastes. The Beatles are my A #1 choice, while I can squarely place the Police at the #2 position. And I agree totally with your theory about the Police being compared to the Beatles. Wonderful job with the site.

Anyway, my comments on the White Album:

No rock and roll album has ever gotten away with having so many lightweight tracks, yet has been so heavily lauded by the masses. As I read the comments, I saw someone saying the White Album is great not because of its quality, but because of its ordering. And this is correct. I'll dive into this theory even more, and add another of my own.

Obviously the White Album has a plethora of lightweight tracks. I can never see songs the qualities of "Wild Honey Pie," "Bungalow Bill," "Piggies," "Rocky Raccoon," "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?," "Long, Long, Long," "Revolution 9" or "Good Night" on any Beatle album (maybe the first two). This isn't to say the songs are bad-- no Beatle song is BAD. However, can you honestly match "Piggies" up with "Taxman," another Harrisong with the same general theme? Basically 1/4 of the White Album is lightweight.

In comparison, another 1/4 is superior, single quality material. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," "Back in the USSR," "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da," "Happiness is a Warm Gun," "Blackbird," "Julia," "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution 1" would be standouts on any other Beatle album. Though "Ob-la-di..." gets panned from time to time, can you think of any better fun pop songs (other than "Eight Days a Week," "All My Loving," "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," and "She Loves You") in the Beatle canon? Okay, four is a good amount, but who doesn't know "Ob-la-di?"

The other 1/2 of the album ranges from mediocre ("Glass Onion," "Honey Pie") to almost brilliant ("Birthday," "Everybody's Got Something To Hide..."). Basically if Martin cut the material in half, putting out the best 14 for A Doll's House, we'd have 8 damn good songs and 6 almost brilliant ones. (let's say "Birthday," "Everybody...," "Savoy Truffle," "Dear Prudence," "Sexy Sadie, "Cry Baby Cry" and "I Will" make the cut). I'd rate that baby under Rubber Soul and above A Hard Day's Night.

And if you were wondering...THAT order:

Side One 1. Back in the USSR 2. Dear Prudence 3. Birthday 4. Blackbird 5. Yer Blues 6. I Will 7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Side Two 1. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey 2. Happiness Is A Warm Gun 3. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da 4. Cry Baby Cry 5. Revolution 1 6. Julia 7. Helter Skelter

So how is the White Album-- with the other 1/2 of the album ranging from mediocre to poor-- always cited one of the top 15 albums ever created?

Yes, the ordering is perfect. Absolutely perfect. Most single albums have poor ordering, and every double album has ordering flaws (with so many songs one always gets misplaced or lost in the mix), but this album has no flaws. The Beatles spent a DAY ordering the album. How crazy is that? Of course, maybe they knew the material was so poor that only the right ordering would salvage the material.

Let's start from the top. "USSR" is a frantic rock track and maybe the best album opener the Beatles ever recorded. The mood shifts back to serious with the light "Dear Prudence," but even that has a climactic spill (thanks to the wicked drumming of one James Paul McCartney). "Glass Onion" immediately shoots down any allegations the Beatles were going to take this record seriously, and they solidify that with "Ob-la-di," which casually laughs and jumps all over the place. Paul flubbs gender roles while George and John yell out body parts in the bridges. "Wild Honey Pie," with its closing flamenco guitar lick, is a bridge to the second half of the side. The Beatles needed something weird and non-Beatley to transition from "Ob-la-di" to "Bungalow Bill" (and to also transition from 4 realized songs to the fractured songs of the record remaining), two very happy, fappy singalongs. Once they secure the transition, we move into the playful "Bill," and as the handclaps and whistles end the tune, John yells "Hey up!" to shift the mood dramatically, again. We know from the get-go that "Guitar" is dead serious because of the transition. The outright deep personality of "Guitar" allows them to end the side with the most poignant and interpreative song, "Happiness is a Warm Gun." There is NO WAY you can put "Happiness" after "Bill" or even "Monkey" on record two.

Side two is the "acoustic" side of the album (disregarding the fills on "Martha My Dear" and "I'm So Tired"). The boys ruined our minds in the first 24 minutes, so they have to quiet it down for a little while. "Martha My Dear" is a sincere ode that doesn't try to do too much. Neither does "I'm So Tired," which John practically sings while he's snoozing (not a bad thing). Side note: listen close to that rhythm section in "Tired." How awesome is it? John's mindless babble at the end leads to "Blackbird," which opens the entire bag up after "Tired"s tight composition. "Piggies" continues the animal theme, and also continues the minor key mood of side two. That's important. "Rocky Raccoon" stays with it, at times trying to escape from its slow lull, but always dragging along. The cute piano flurry into "Don't Pass Me By" links the two country tracks without having you think "that's too much country at one time." Ringo's first song stomps along slowly as well and if anything, offers some joy into a side that includes no "fun" song. "Why Don't We..." is psuedo-country/blues, with the song gaining impact only upon Paul's howls. "I Will" turns everything back around again very smoothly, before John takes us out of the subdued set with "Julia," the epic of side two.

Side two has an underlying theme about it. The side goes from tin-pan novelty to waltz to folk to country to blues to pop to psychedelic folk-- an almost re-telling of western music up until 1968. Lennon said "Happiness is a Warm Gun" is a brief history of rock in itself...coming right before side two. They not only parody styles but recreate them into better interpretations. Side three rocks more than any side, and for good reason. After the calm and acoustic side two, the boys have to break out of the shells. "Birthday" recalls the 50s rock of "USSR," but this time the boys celebrate a Western norm, not an Eastern norm. And how fun is "Birthday," yet it practically borders on Hendrixian hard rock? The mini-warp that fades "Birthday" out descends into a self-loathing sound, capable only to lead to "Yer Blues." Is John parodying blues or delivering it straight? Who knows, but I'd say the latter, because of the song that follows. "Mother Nature's Son" is quiet subdued and could easily find a place on side two, but because of the song's sunny style and because of the brass, it is prevented from such a placement. Brass comes in heavily during the rest of the album, so we need to introduce it somehow. The final flat key leads perfectly into the stomping drum of "Monkey." Maybe the best rocker on the album, and it introduces us to the weird/raving John that shows up a little later. "Sexy Sadie" solidifies his wickedness. This song is too medium paced to be on side one, and too full to be on side two. Keeping with the rock and roll theme, "Helter Skelter" blows everything away with its charge and fury. This song ends the Beatles rock experimentation on the album. "Long Long Long" is an afterthought, but cleverly placed. After the mind-blowing "Skelter," George's third offering quiets everything down. Moreover, the juxtapositioning of the Satanic "Skelter" and George's prayer to the Lord is frightening.

Side four rounds everything out perfectly. The boys croon on "Revolution 1," bridging the acoustic and the electric, and introducing fully the politics of the album. As John begins to get weird, we fade out into Paul's 1920s trip. "Honey Pie" is too weird to be side one, too full for side two and too light for side three. Another perfect match. The silence between this and "Savoy Truffle" is perfect, and George's last is a soulful ripper (though I don't consider it rock). "Cry Baby Cry" starts that "bedtime trilogy" that ends with Ringo telling us "Good Night." Revolution 9 is essential, however. The album itself is a collage, a train-wreck, a pastiche. You need that on one encompassing track, and that's exactly the point of "9."

Look at the Beatles' rock dips in order. "USSR" is heavily influenced and funny. "Guitar" needs help from a guest, but gets serious. "Birthday" is totally group but still has the humor. "Monkey" is also a group effort, but lacks that something to keep it from being humorous. "Helter Skelter" ends it all. It's a full group effort and is totally and deadly serious. It's an evolution.

Same with the folk. "Dear Prudence" has too much rock, and the group isn't fully there for it. "I'm So Tired" is black humor, not to be taken seriously. "Blackbird" ditches the humor but lacks the rock. "Julia" has no humor but the rock still hasn't been realized. "Mother Nature's Son" comes close to acheiving a group effort, but relies too much on brass. "Cry Baby Cry" realizes the serious subject and includes all members of the group playing their parts well.

They made sure not to get George on a side twice, and made sure not to get Ringo on a record twice. They also managed to put strong tracks at the fronts and backs of each record. Yet through it all, side one sets the album's mood, side two unplugs the Beatles, side three plugs them in at high voltage and side four breaks the barriers and realizes the sounds.

The second theory everyone lauds White Album: it tells perfectly the story of the 1960s, just as the decade comes crashing down.

Let's see what the album refers to: the USSR, gender roles, hippy society, counterculture society, sketchy politicians, liberated sexual activity, civil rights, emergence of underground cultures. Meanwhile the boys trash every notion of 60s love by releasing a blank cover, pictures of the boys in black and white (including a nude Paul) and making sure most of the songs are raw and unrealized. All of it culminates in the nightmarish "Revolution 9," a damn good depiction of the 1960s. "Good Night" is the "f-you" of the album. Sure it sounds sweet, but after all that madness, do you really want to go to bed?

There's some underlying notion about this album. There's a reason the boys spent a day figuring out the order. There's another reason why they included "Wild Honey Pie" and not "Not Guilty" or why they included "Revolution 9" and not "What's the New Mary Jane?" There's a reason we all love this album.

Amanda Kenyon <> (15.05.2004)

God, I love this. I totally agree with Prindle's opinion that more Beatles is better Beatles (and I also agree with Rich that this is the only band to which that theorem applies). I actually just finished reading a book called "Revolution," by David Quantick, which is a very insightful (and funny!) documentary of the making of the White Album. Everybody should read this book. That being said, there's really nothing else I can say about the album except that it's brilliant and the best tracks on it are "Dear Prudence" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." I could listen to it all day, and sometimes do.

David Sheehan <> (20.10.2005)

Hi George,

The Beatles is my favorite album of all time. I listen to it waaaay too much, and I had to put it away recently because I think I am running the risk of playing it out. That would be sad. I made an edited version that fits on one CD, at 78 mintues, and my running order is:

1. Back in the USSR 2. Dear Prudence 3. Glass Onion 4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da 5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps 6. Happiness is a Warm Gun 7. Martha My Dear 8. I'm So Tired 9. Blackbird 10. Hey Bulldog 11. Why Don't We Do It in the Road? 12. I Will 13. Julia 14. Birthday 15. Yer Blues 16. Mother Nature's Son 17. Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey 18. Sexy Sadie 19. Helter Skelter 20. Long, Long, Long 21. Revolution (single version) 22. Savoy Truffle 23. Cry Baby Cry 24. Hey Jude 25. Good Night

I really liked having this edit, and I eliminated a few that I don't particularly love ('Don't Pass Me By' is the only real offender to speak of), but I immediately noticed that the album's original running order is indeed flawless. I can't think of another work that achieves such an effect: being wildly diverse and relatively inconsistant, yet so damned cohesive! Anyway, I adore "Hey Bulldog" and thought it would be nice in the slot formerly occupied with the other two animal songs I deleted, even though it's not really from the White Album sessions. I read somewhere that it was the last song they recorded before going to India. Of course "Hey Jude" is great, and goes nicely where "Revolution 9" (which I think is rather brilliant) was, though it does indeed screw up that perfect ending the album had before. And the single version of "Revolution" is great, much better by itself than the shoo-bee-doo-wops of the album version, though again, it doesn't quite seem to fit as well. I'm telling you, there is no way in hell you could cut this album down without ruining its effect. Great, great stuff.

This doesn't really go here, but my personal (current) top five albums:

1. The Beatles - The Beatles 2. Abbey Road - The Beatles 3. Selling England By The Pound - Genesis 4. Beggar's Banquet - The Rolling Stones 5. Before and After Science - Brian Eno

David Sheehan <> (17.02.2006)

I recently listened to a copy of Anthology III, and finally heard the Harrison composition "Not Guilty." What the fuck!? Why was this song not placed on the White Album? It's almost as good as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and easily bests most of the other tracks on here, in my opinion. So of course I had to make a new edit of this album with "Not Guilty" on it. Anyway, such a great album could've been even better had they included it. I think that maybe it was tossed out because it serves very nearly the same role as "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" in that it's another cathartic-Harrison-soul-baring-guitar-prayer-type song. It's great though.

jmichalko <> (27.02.2006)

Hi George, You`ve called the `The White` - a Parody Album. Why? There is no such thing as PARODY itself. Only... parody of s o m e t h i n g ! Back in the USSR - a parody of BBoys? Don`t think so. /Well, maybe...but this is one song!/ Don`t pass my by - a parody of country? Honey Pie - a parody od ragtime songs? come? Piggies - a parody of 18-century folk songs? No.... Yer Blues - a parody of too-pessimistic blues? ...either. And so absurdum. No at all ! These are the songs written just for pleasure of writing `different music` - a "pleasure" well-known !!! I call `The White Album` - Varia Album / Variety Album/. Just because i do think that "the White" is artfully well-crafted `patchwork`. That`s all. But this is my opinion...and surely You`ll disagree with me. Best Regards...)

Maynard Peterson <> (13.03.2006)

I remember reading that at around the time The Beatles was released, the Beatles were not getting along very well, and that they were running low on ideas. (After Abbey Road, this became more and more apparent. For me, the agonizing end to 'Hey Jude' was just the inevitable, metastasizing result, IMHO.) They had an album date coming up, and so they took a bunch of older songs that they hadn't felt were good enough to use on previous albums (not that they weren't any good, just not good enough to make the final cut), and stuck them on there.

I don't know if this is true or not. However, when you consider the diversity of styles on this album, it's almost a bit much to believe that they were all actually written around the same period. I'm not saying that they weren't at all capable of such a thing, but it does make one wonder. However, that obviously has nothing to do with whether the songs are good. I certainly like a lot of the songs, but I think that calling this the greatest rock album of all time, as some people do, is a bit much. It's an excellent listen, however.

Tim Blake (26.07.2006)

I've only just heard this Beatles album recently and I've come to it with a completely clean slate, no preconceptions, having heard ONLY Obla-Di Obla-Da, which seems to be the album's biggest hit. As a huge fan of the likes of Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Magical Mystery Tour, and having just a liking for Revolver, I am supremely disappointed. Overall I'd have to give this like, a 5, because almost exactly HALF the songs suck balls, and the other half are incredibly awesome. If this had been a single CD with all the good songs it would be like, probably the best Beatles album you could have. They could have included all that other shite on a bonus disc or something.

It opens so brilliantly with 'Back In The USSR'. This song freakin' rocks, and those Beach Boy refrains are hilarious and brilliant. 'Dear Prudence', still going strong, grew on me and it's rather beautiful. 'Glass Onion' slides a bit but is still a good song, just a bit too tongue in cheek, a little too self-reflexive. 'Obla-Di'...very catchy, very silly, ok. Now the album turns to total utter crap for a while...'Wild Honey Pie'...ugh god terrible. 'The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill'...this is in my opinion the WORST Beatles song EVER. It's mainly that 'heeyy bungalow bill' crud. Moronic melody, hard to believe this is coming from the Beatles. The verses are bearable-ish though. 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'...weird to have one of the worst Beatles songs right next to one of the best. I absolutely adore this track in everyway possible. It is my favourite Harrison song ('Oh My Lord' a close second). It is actually the best song on this entire album, imo. 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun'...I hated it at first, but once I got a sense of the melody and structure, I now really like it. I particularly like the 'bang bang shoo shoooot' part. 'Martha My Dear' is yet another silly McCartney song but the melody is far too weak to support itself. Inoffensive filler. 'I'm So Tired' is a very boring Lennon song in which he sounds frustrated and miserable, but it ain't too fun.

'Blackbird' is a gorgeous little ditty from Paul, one of his best. Has a strong atmosphere of sadness completely missing from the insipid 'Martha My Dear'. 'Piggies' is stupid and silly. I once read an interview in which Harrison bashed McCartney's songs for being shallow and silly...well, who is he to talk, he wrote this song. 'Rocky Racoon' is godawful, McCartney singing with a really bad accent to a rather crap song. 'Don't Pass My By' from Ringo is actually very jolly and entertaining. Likeable, but still...fillerish. 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road'...what kind of a joke is THIS!? Utter turd! Man, what the hell. How could you really love this album so much without being a complete Beatles fanboy? Judging from the wealth of filler and presence of a number of complete stinkers. 'I Will' has me wishing Paul would return to USSR, but it's still a lovely track I guess. 'Julia' sees Lennon supporting the total lack of energy, but it's nice as well. 'Birthday' is a really, really boneheaded song, but it has a charm. 'Yer Blues', finally something excellent...the best despairing track I've heard from the Beatles. 'Mother Nature's Son'...filler. 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey'...filler. 'Sexy Sadie'...filler. Finally something emerges...'Helter Skelter'. What an awesome blast of pure metal fury, from the Beatles no less. Such a strange album, a classic track.

Well I could go on and on but the only remaining track I particularly like is 'Savoy Truffle', which is funny and has a cool energy and melody. Those synths sound wicked, so jumpy and kinda like...longue rock or something. I think the main problem with the White Album is the vast sea of filler. And these tracks are not usually bad in and of themselves, just that they are so devoid of much of anything. Most of the songs are mellow to the point to the point of excess, and they really do blend into each other. It's a big blur of similar filler tracks. The standouts (like USSR...While My Guitar...Helter Skelter...etc) really STANDout, which speaks badly for the album. But really, imagining a two CD set of Sgt. Pepper quality is almost too much to envision, even the Beatles couldn't do it in my opinion. The White Album proves this. It is truly flawed, I mean, c'mon!

I'm so sure that The While Album is a total mess that I even like Let It Be way more. Let It Be has a lot of wonderful songs, it's underrated.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (06.08.2006)

Having followed both bands for thirty years and more, there arises one crucial difference in my mind between the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, particularly after 1965. The Stones are essentially a live band, they loved and love to play and while it would be foolish to say they never put hard work into albums or released any classics, truth is that as far as music went, albums were not the be all and end all of their existence, but simply one piece in an overall puzzle. There are really few Stones tracks that could not be played live and they were not above and beyond taking an entourage of supporting musicians with them once they resumed touring in '69. Their music was far from basic~it was also far from unrepeatable. The Beatles on the other hand, developed along different lines. In a real sense, it wasn't just the fans screaming that was the sole arbiter in their decision to quit live playing coz the Stones had that too; the Stones even had fans mounting the stage to kiss Mick and Brian, and had to endure riots and equipment being smashed to pieces and Keith Richards wasn't adverse to a well aimed kick at the head of protagonists. During gigs, the Beatles didn't have to face this kind of thing. When John told a Rolling Stone interviewer that the Beatles were performers, {"despite what Mick says"} generating great energy, he was talking about Hamburg, ten years previous, a bygone era. Him saying that he and George missed the club dates strikes me as untrue given that it was those two that continually opposed McCartney on live playing. From RUBBER SOUL onwards the Beatles were a studio band. Recording music and recording music alone was their raison d'etre and that was unheard of at the time. It's still an unusual route for an artist 40 years later. Of course it gave them the opportunity to do other things too, much of which wasn't music related. This may be an odd point to digest, but I would say it's a good thing John and George had made the kind of money that meant they didn't have to work an "ordinary" job again coz they didn't deal that well with the real world, right the way back to how they dealt with school and work. But that decision to quit touring accounts for why, IMO, the Beatles made "better" albums than the Stones {while not necessarilly making better songs. In that '65~'70 period, the Stones made many great songs that were easilly the equal of the Beats if not better in some cases}. It also accounts for why the Stones were always at least perceived as the more exciting and dangerous band and why they were seen as more the peoples' band unlike the Beatles who were kind of untouchably remote. But when it came to albums it's true that the Beatles were different class. Because albums became their stock in trade, they had to give them more thought than anyone else and they really put so much thought into the songs that ended up on the White album. When the filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard filmed the Stones doing SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, the song changed over a 48 hour period from a folky piece to it's final samba glory but many of the songs on the White album took alot longer than that to reach the form that we've come to know and love. The Beatles ceased to be happy with a guitars/bass/drums {with maybe some keyboards} line up in their songs as far back as 1965 and so every song presented here can be said to have gone through rigourous examination of the best way to present them. You can see that once you know that most of the songs were already written before the sessions began. Many were written in India but few of them, if any, remained in their originally written form. In 1980 John said the Beatles only existed on record. I would argue that that was true in '68. Apart from REVOLUTION 9, I'd have to say that I love every song on the album and even that one is an interesting experiment even though I can't stand it. It demonstrates that with very few exceptions, this was a band that soaked up what was going on around them and filtered it through their collective whatever and spat it out as something so wonderfully listenable. But I am not one of those that is staggered by the bewildering array of diverse material here. The Beatles were a pretty diverse unit very early on, taking risks with show tunes {'TIL THERE WAS YOU}, sentimental slop {A TASTE OF HONEY}, girl group ditties {BOYS, CHAINS}, Motown extravaganzas {PLEASE MR POSTMAN}, soul before it existed {YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME}, ska {I CALL YOUR NAME}, Dylan {I'M A LOSER}, rockabilly {HONEY DON'T}, Stax {DRIVE MY CAR}, schmooze {MR MOONLIGHT}, latinesque {DON'T BOTHER ME}, country {ACT NATURALLY} etc etc etc. The surprize would have been if there hadn't been diversity; one of the things that makes the Beatles' psychedelia so engaging is it's sheer diversity {Revolver to MMT rocks, floats, cries, observes, looks back, looks forward} and that very diversity revolutionized British pop/rock and ensured that British psychedelia remained fresh and inventive with a healthy respect for music's past . McCartney and Harrison tended to be the ones that aurally pushed the envelope. John's '66~ early '68 input is among the most revolutionary and revered in all popular music, utilizing McCartney's and Harrison's passions for orchestral and Indian instruments and arrangements among other things, but most of this material was recorded while John was losing it on LSD and this made him prone to suggestions that he probably wouldn't have entertained otherwise. To a large extent, going to India for two months and after, becoming lovers with Yoko Ono saved him from becoming a Syd Barrett, Roky Erikson or Brian Jones and he later declared that he'd like to rerecord his Beatle songs as they didn't come out as he envisaged. He was particularly upset with songs like TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING, MR KITE, and I disagree that Paul was in charge during the White album sessions. He definitely was through REVOLVER, PEPPER and TOUR but the White album marks {in John's estimation} the point where John was "back" and ready to wrest control of "his" band from Paul again. In GLASS ONION, he thanks Paul for keeping the band together while he was off on his acid dream {as he says, he thought LSD was the salvation of man and he wanted to go and live forever in the hippie heaven of the Grateful Dead's Haight Ashbury; he was most upset when George actually went and coz he was disgusted with what he saw, stopped taking acid after two years as John's partner in crime} but in typically Lennon style depicts him as the walrus who is actually the baddie in the poem that inspired I AM THE WALRUS. John recorded some other bits for the album {WHAT'S THE NEW MARY JANE didn't see the light of day until ANTHOLOGY in the mid 90s, CHILD OF NATURE later mutated into JEALOUS GUY} but he was once again in bullish mood and was gonna tell the world his feelings on Vietnam {REVOLUTIONS 1 and 9}, religion and feeling suicidal {YER BLUES and I'M SO TIRED}, Yoko {ME AND MY MONKEY, HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN }, heroin {the same two}, and the folly of meditation and the Maharishi {DEAR PRUDENCE, SEXY SADIE} among other things; that Paul and George fought him on a number of the songs merely confirmed to him that he was on the right track and he was determined that no one was going to "sabotage" {his view} his songs with experimentation and jiggery pokery again. He contributes thirteen of the songs, which, if you add the other four he recorded in the year, makes 1968 the most prolific year that John had as a Beatle, beating '64 by three and significantly, none of his '68 output involves any written input from Paul~the first time this had happened. His songs are pretty varied for John {including the Ringo sung GOODNIGHT} but as ever, Paul is Mr Variety himself, matchless in his skill for appropriating every form going, yet unfairly still regarded as a bit of a Beatle lightweight. His mastery of form and his daring in even attempting ska {OBLADI OBLADA}, heavy metal {HELTER SKELTER, BIRTHDAY}, folk {MOTHER NATURE'S SON, BLACKBIRD}, ballads { I WILL}, rootsy tootsy 20s style music hall {HONEY PIE}, country {ROCKY RACCOON}, avant garde weirdette {WILD HONEY PIE}, deliberate throwaways {WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD, CAN YOU TAKE ME BACK~his uncredited 13th piece} and good old rock'n'roll {BACK IN THE USSR} is IMO admirable and while John would sneer at Paul's "granny music", the simple truth of the matter is that without Paul's songs as part of the equation, the Beatles would not have ranked as the single most important band of 20th century popular music. As I've stated before, that doesn't mean they were the best {for me it's a pointless discussion} or even the most inventive, however you quantify that. But if you add up their influence in almost every department, even if you absolutely hate their music, I'm sure objectively you'd have to concede that they were the most important, in the same way Elvis was for 50s rock. He was by no means the best, the most creative, the most inventive or anything like that but rock'n'roll could not have broken out or sustained on the world stage without him and it's taken me 30 years to admit that ! Going back to the Beatles, had John been their sole composer we'd be viewing them in the same breath as the Pretty things or Tyrannosaurus Rex or the Move. Lennon and McCartney together gave so much to each other's music and the White album marks the start of that evolution coming to a close. But not quite. DEAR PRUDENCE, GOODNIGHT and JULIA could have been mistaken for Paul {in fact, in the superb BEATLES - AN ILLUSTRATED RECORD, the author writes a great piece on McCartney's GOODNIGHT !} while the rockers were generally thought to have been contributed by John as he was meant to be the daring artistic heavyweight. Truth is, he was two and a half years behind Paul in the avant garde {though he wrote TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS and half of A DAY IN THE LIFE, the avant garde elements of those songs were Paul's}. He used to say "avant garde is French for bullshit" and it was really Yoko who awoke that desire in him though Paul had obviously planted the seeds. For me, the real musical revolutionary of the band was George, because while Paul had the more comprehensive musical palette, he dealt in areas that were at least recognizable to Western youth. He must take credit for helping to reconnect young people with their musical past but by going Indian, George took on a far more difficult and revolutionary road, both within the Beatles and on a wider scale. From late '65 to early '68 he was heavilly influential in the nature of Beatle recordings and indeed their compositions and importantly, their sounds, all the more amazing as this was a period when he realized that there was more to life than being a Beatle and he actively took a back seat during the psychedelic phase. I don't think he's really been given adequate credit for his role in helping to shape music in the mid to late 60s though one of his main creditors was, ironically John. When asked about WITHIN YOU, WITHOUT YOU, he said that George's mind and music were clear and that he was the one who had brought that India/Western fusion together. Praise indeed. The great surprize is that by the White album sessions, he had abandoned the Indian influence; although the sitar turns up on the LET IT BE album, it's from a session in early '68. I don't know if this is in any way significant, but I've noticed that none of Paul's songs as a Beatle feature any kind of Indian instrumentation and the only one that does have that's identified with him {GETTING BETTER} is in fact jointly written with John.......Three of George's four on the album are among my faves of his; PIGGIES has been almost universally condemned by every reviewer I've heard comment but George {Starostin, that is} and it's nice to actually find someone else that likes the song. I think it's fantastic both musically and lyrically though it highlights for me alot of hypocrisy; this is written by the man who a year previous had said "With our love, we could save the world..." but he sounds anything but loving here. A great encapsulation of what was wrong not so much with the hippy dream, but the people trying to bring about the changes. SAVOY TRUFFLE must be the only song in existence about Eric Clapton's teeth but it really is a steamer, a great rocker, probably his most rocking Beatle effort outside TAXMAN. LONG LONG LONG is ok, it's actually quite lovely and is one of only four peaceful songs here, while GENTLY WEEPS is a superb song and testimony to George's powers of persistence. It was remade twice and the reason Clapton's on it is coz George felt the two chief Beatles weren't taking it seriously and helping him. As has been well documented, the LP was put together over five torrid months of bickering and bad feeling that ended up with Ringo quitting during the recording of USSR which is why Paul plays lovely drums on the opening two {and John plays bass on the opener}. Paul plays drums on two or three others as well and Ringo may have felt a little insecure. It's interesting that when he returned to the group, his drums were covered in flowers with a note to "The world's greatest drummer". Never really rated highly for his drumming {unfairly IMHO}, he once said that even when he was praised for particular drum parts, he knew in his heart that it would have been suggested by the other three and by '68, the likes of Baker, Mason, Moon, Watts and any number of American drummers were rated as much better. He held an honoured place more coz he was a Beatle than coz he was a ranked drummer. But he did chuck in something few drummers did and that was a good song. It may have taken him five years to come up with DON'T PASS ME BY {as far back as '63 he had said he was writing a song of that name} but it was a valiant effort, with great lines like "You were in a car crash/and you lost your hair" ! I think it's wonderfully melodic with that crazy violin by Jack Fallon skipping all over the place. It seems the quality control of the other three rubbed off on Ringo. This album is staggering IMO for the amount of thought that went into each song and how they could best be represented and also for the amount of fighting, remaking and takes needed to achieve such. That's quality control !


Matt Zindroski <> (19.08.99)

The Yellow Submarine album. Yes, it probably is the worst Beatle album. Four original songs? Bleach. Although, the soundtrack is not as bad as it is made out to be, it just really has nothing to do with the Beatles. But, If you have low enough expectations, it isn't that bad. It's just made of their leftovers, George Martin's score, and repeated Beatle songs. 'Only A Northern Song' is in my opinion, better on the Anthology 2 (hell, it should have been on Sgt Pepper as a 2nd George Song). The version on the Anthology sounds more like a song (no annoying glass noises), and is in full stereo, instead of this no center crap. Hey, did you all know that John Lennon liked 'All together now'? It sounds like a McCartney song John would hate, but he dug because it's based on the skiffle music that was so popular when they were lads. Mindless? yes. Fun? yeah. 'Hey Bulldog' is probably the most overlooked classic Beatle song (cause it got stuck here on this album). 'Twas the last song they recorded before their trip to India, with a great John Lennon guitar solo, and some interesting dialogue at the end. For everone who hates Yoko Ono, she was at the 'Hey Bulldog' sessions too. 'It's all too much', was recorded in 1967, so that's the reason it sounds out of date. I don't think they would actually consider recording something like this after The Beatles. It's a good song, not super great. I really like the orchestrated parts, really weird stuff. And George's guitar sound is the best. If you don't like long songs though, you probably won't think much of it. The other 2 Beatle songs were on other albums you should buy before this. The two highlights of the soundtrack section are 'Pepperland', and 'Yellow Submarine in Pepperland' (Probably one of the best classical adaptations of Beatle song. I love hearing 'Yellow Submarine' played by an orchestra). I give this a 4 (one point for original Beatle songs), and a pat on the back for the previously mentioned George Martin orchestrations. One last warning: the liner notes are really dumb. You know your album isn't good when the liner notes arn't for the same album. These happen to describe The Beatles.

Ben Greenstein <> (28.08.99)

Actually, there's a promotional film of "Lady Madonna" which shows the Beatles "plaing" that hit - problem is, they're actually doing "Hey Bulldog"! John is singing instead of Paul, and the words don't match his mouth! Oh, those crazy Brits...

In all honesty, I really, really like Harrison's two songs on here. They are perhaps the most trippy, drugged out tunes by any band - including the early Pink Floyd! And "All Together Now" is fun in a singalong way. The only reason this album is weak is because those, and the indeniably awesome "Hey Bulldog," are the only new songs that are written by Beatles. But they're damn good!

Robert Tally <> (19.02.2000)

Another Beatles album that isn't really a Beatles album. If you're willing to overlook the fact that half of this album is by The George Martin Orchestra and just judge it track by track, it's really not bad. The best song? I think most people agree that it's 'Hey! Bulldog.' Good, funky riff on a solid pop song. I also think that just because 'Yellow Submarine' was on a previous album doesn't mean it doesn't count as one of the songs on this one. It's one of the best children's songs ever written. 'All Together Now' is a lesser song, but perhaps even more fun. I was in love with both of these songs when I was six, and still am. 'It's All Too Much' is one George's best melodies, but it does become a bit 'too much' with that long coda - pretty trippy stuff going on, though. 'Only A Northern Song' suffers only because there's just way too many sound effects cluttering it up. Otherwise, it's pretty cool. 'All You Need Is Love' is one of those songs that never did much for me, even though I can't really think of a good reason why. It's kind of dull, but I like a lot of the details. The George Martin tracks are generally an interspersing of soundtracky abstractions and tuneful melodies. Most of this stuff works better as part of the movie, but it's a lot better than his work on the U.S. vinyl copies of A Hard Day's Night and Help! The melody for 'Pepperland' is perhaps the most memorable of these pieces. Perhaps you've heard The Yellow Submarine Songtrack by this time, which you were referring to. As it turns out, the idea of long-lost songs was either a false rumor or a misunderstanding (a friend of mine had also heard it this way). The 'lost songs' in question are really just the familiarly-known Beatles tunes included in the movie, but not on the original album. All of these are on the Songtrack, but not the George Martin stuff. They've also been given new stereo mixes, and are astounding in their clarity.

Jeff Blehar <> (20.11.2000)

Well it's a total mess, and I could never ever recommend it to anyone.  Though I secretly hope that Beatlefans will buy it of their own accord, so they'll get to hear "Hey Bulldog" and "It's All Too Much," and I won't have to feel guilty about recommending a disc which otherwise has no right to exist.  Those two songs are really great, especially "Bulldog."  I used to praise "It's All Too Much" to the high skies, but upon further reflection it's got two major strikes against it: ridiculously bad, self-indulgent production (George Martin had most definitely left the building while this one was being done) and overlong running time.  This is another example of the increasing self-indulgence in The Beatles' recording methods, which was beginning to noticeably affect some of their songs for the worse: if "Too Much" had been edited more thoughtfully (they cut out an entire verse which, to my knowledge, remains available only in the movie and on bootlegs), it would have been MUCH stronger.  Give me the missing verse over 2 minutes of John, George and Paul singing "TUBA!" anyday.  Much the same comment goes for "Helter Skelter" on The Beatles and "I Want You" on Abbey Road.  For the latter I understand that part of the point was to make it long and unrelenting, but they still could have hacked a minute or so off and made the point just fine.  Anyway, you got those two songs and two more which are outtakes-that-should-have-been ("All Together Now": NO! NONO! and "Only A Northern Song" which is *interesting* but not much more) plus two you already have and a side full of instrumentals: how can I give this more than a 3/10?  Oh.  I can't.  

<> (05.12.2000)

Yes, this is not worthy of being a top rate beatles album, but if you are even slightly into the beatles I would suggest getting it. This is really just another beatles e.p. like MMT was in Britain and for being just an ep, it's quite good. 'All Together Now' is my least fav of the four, but is still great fun. 'Hey Bulldog' is awesome. Simple as that. My Brother doesn't like the Beatles at all, but when he heard 'Bulldog' playing one day he commented that he really liked it. Now this brings us to George's two songs:

They're fuckin' awesome!!!! Granted, you'd have to be a fan of the MMT era sound to really like these tracks, but if so, get ready for two of the most tripped out beatles songs to ever blow your mind. First off, 'Only a Northern Song' is right up there with benefit of mr. kite and blue jay way as one of the creepiest, weirdest sounding beatles songs. If you like dark, strange psychedelia aka the Doors and early floyd then you'll dig this track. I THINK ALL OF THE WEIRD SOUND EFFECTS ARE GREAT! Plus, you've got to love George's cynical lyrics of basically being a slave to the music publishers, northern songs. This tune was written and recorded around the same time as the early pepper tunes and if released then, IMO would've been an even bigger shock to the beatles fans at the time then strawberry fields was when it was released. If mean, hell, the lyrics make a point of this, kinda like "this ain't the same ol' I wanna hold yer hand stuff boys & girls" The version of it on the newly remixed yellow sub songtrack is the best - wonderful stereo sound, unlike the original mix......and then comes 'it's all too much'.....

This song is easily in my top 10 beatles songs of all time and it doesn't even sound like the beatles!! The guitar track (which I heard was played by Paul, believe it or not) features a hendrixian tone unheard on any other beatles track and is simply wonderful. The whole thing, the mantra like organ track, ringo's superb drumming, the great bassline, even the handclaps & yelps are utterly stupendous, blowing the mind. Yeah, George's lyrics are your typical 'acid is love' stuff, but it works. I mean, that's what this song is.....IMO, this song is the ultimate summer of love anthem (and it didn't even come out 'till '69) not the darker airplane singles or the way too hippy-dippy 'all you need is love'. Also, for me, it doesn't drag on too long at all. In fact, I prefer the original eight minute long unedited mix. You are transported onto this lsd rainbow of love that goes on and on and on and, in fact, I wish never ended. The mix on the newly remixed yellow sub is cleaner w/ perhaps a better arrangement of instruments and louder drums, but the blow yer mind guitar track which really makes the song what it is, is toned down and lower in the mix.

Anyway, if you don't think the album is worth getting, just consider it an e.p. w/ an lp price and get it. NOW!!!!!

Morten Felgenhauer <> (08.01.2001)

4/10 - Only "Hey Bulldog" is of the usual standard (John, of course, rated is as a throwaway), while the 3 others are just OK. Then there is two songs you already have and Martin's orchestrations, which is used to better effect in the movie. You need this album anyway, but make sure it's the last one you get. It was actually planned as an EP (the four original songs + "Across The Universe"), but the idea was sadly scrapped. The Yellow Submarine Songtrack is for those of us who are forever hooked on all-things-Beatles, as the songs are remastered and remixed to astonishing effect. (When will the rest of the albums be remastered?) But only as an addition to the original songs, because they are the "originals". It's sad, isn't it? Should I get a life? No, this is my life, thank you very much, and I'm perfectly satisfied just the way things are!

Steve Hall <> (25.01.2001)

Although this album was released after the white album all the tracks were actually recorded before the white album(some even as early as 1967).Knowing this helps to understand a little more why this is so poor.For a start side B is not The Beatles so can be discarded immediately and that leaves just 6 songs.2 are re-issues,now down to 4.Harrisons 2 songs clearly carry on from where he left off with "within you without you" and "blue jay way",too long and mind numbingly boring,that leaves 2."All together now" sounds like something off of sesame street,there is a length to which fun songs can go and this is too far.So as seems to be the universal opinion the only really good song on here is "Hey bulldog" which IMHO is good enough and should be on the Blue album and it stops this being a 2/10 which is all the other songs deserve and raises it to a 4/10.

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

"Yellow Submarine" is an odd part of The Beatles oeuvre, but I'm glad we have it, it's like a bowl of tasty table scraps.

I agree 'It's All Too Much' is 'aimlessly overlong' –- it's like filler's filler! 'Only a Northern Song' is cool, however.

I just don't understand why songs like 'All Together Now' are so hated by so many fans? Does EVERY song have to be grim and profound and serious? These are The Beatles, not Pink Floyd! It's a children's nursery rhyme, people! Remember when you were a kid? What makes The Beatles so great was their amazing diversity! Let'em have some silly fun! It's a cool tune!

The real prize here is "Hey Bulldog." Just an awesome song, with funny lyrics, a driving beat, powerful bass and that 'screaming wild dog' ending! I used to think the title was a take-off on 'Hey Jude' but, of course, it was recorded before 'Jude.'

The George Martin orchestration bits are modestly pleasing, but I wouldn't go out of my way to listen to them a second time.

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

Not the Beatles album to start with.Only Beatles fans need bother."Hey bulldog" is  the stand-out,but "it's all too much "is a close second.

Sergey Zhilkin <> (08.03.2001)

And here's the most underrated Beatles' album. I agree that there're not to many new songs but, man, they are terrific! Funny, but Harrison contributes the half of them and, actually, they are among his best songs ever. Very dark, uncertain, deep and rich. Just like the early Doors! And for some strange reason the best moment on the record for me is when Harrison sings 'You have long black hair and your eyes are blue' from Mersy side hit 'Sorrow' and then 'we are dead... out of blue'. Imagine that! George, not John sings it! 'Only a northen song' makes me cringe, too (by the way, what was the name of Beatles' publishing company? Right, 'Nothern songs Ltd.'). Later George transformed it to 'This song' (even the lyrics of 'This song' had the same meaning).

Lennon's cut 'Hey bulldog' is cool while Paul's 'All together now' is pretty pop song but now they are overshadowed for me by George. As for Martin's contribution, I enjoy only bookmarks of this instrumental part. Though, nothing bad is present in the middle.

So a fair rating for Yellow submarine should be 12/15.

Steven Knowlton <> (16.03.2001)

Actually, the new Yellow Submarine Songtrack is not acompletely ripoff. Every song is re-mixed '90's style. You don't notice huge differences, but if you're listening on headphones, you'll hear the voices in the center and the instruments to the left and right, unlike the 60's mixes where vocals are in one speaker and instruments in the other.

Myself, I never bought the CD with the orchestral scores because of the price, but I felt this version was worth it. Unfortunately, they were bound to stick with songs that appeared in the movie, so the album doesn't feel quite like a Beatles album; it's all mid-tempo, no rockers or piano pop.

Eric Rogozin <> (17.04.2001)

"Hey Bulldog" is one of the best Beatles songs ever! Awesome song! What a riff, what a harmonies! In one word, it's along the best works of The Beatles. "Only A Northern Song" is also VERY good. "All Together Now" is funny. "It's All Too Much" is trippy and groovy.

One mustn't ignore this album, it's another Beatles album after all. And all The Beatles are GENIUSES, they can do nothing bad.

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

The new version of this album is superior to that old version. First, they dumped those boring ass instrumentals at the end, and they totally remixed other classic Beatles songs along with the regular 5 awesome songs on the original!! So its like a new soundtrack album, yet a pretty cool compilation at the same time. But, anyway, talking about the songs, these are great, amazing songs! "Hey Bulldog", "Only A Northern Song", "It's All Too Much" are all underrated, underappreciated classics, by far! And of course you got your 2 already classic previously released songs like the title track and "All You Need Is Love". "All Together Now" is so silly, but so catchy and fun, its great! I think this is really an underrated album. People seem to rate it low cuz of those pointless instrumentals, but really, the new re-issue is better! I'd give it at 9/10.

Ryan Maffei <> (11.02.2002)

People usually say "Bleah" at this one (literally) or "Yuck", but I merely say "So What?". "Hey Bulldog" is excellent, but I never really liked "Yellow Submarine" or "All You Need is Love" anyway, and "All Together Now" and George's tripped-up solo cuts are the pinnacle tunes of the Beatles Not Caring And Writing Crap phase. I like George Martin's orchestral stuff the best...but then, why is this a Beatles album? A 6/10.

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

Get the one with the orchestration! At least it's not as redundant. This time around, save "Hey Bulldog", the Beatles' songs aren't so great/essential... . The orchestration and cartoon are amusing, at least: 6(9).

<> (10.06.2003)

Well, "All Together Now" is a substandard McCartney toss-off. "It's All Too Much" has an uncharacteristically aggressive guitar (from George I suppose) and decent vocal, but it is stretched out a bit and the mix on the rhythm is pretty strange. I like it though. "Only A Northern Song" reminds me of the Band's "Chest Fever" with the organ and bass sound. As time goes on, "Hey Bulldog" emerges as the strongest cut, odd since John called the song a "dog," putting it down. The trouble is, that's it. I can't comment on the orchestral stuff, since I got rid of the album years ago, keeping the four original tunes on tape.

I'm also peeved that they couldn't have filled out the reissued YS to some extent with stuff unearthed with the Anthologies. There were early takes of "Yelow Submarine" that would have been interesting, from what I read in Lewisohn's book. Actually they should have just put the four tunes on Past Masters. Can't disagree with your 5/10, George.

Bob Josef <> (29.06.2004)

In defense of the Songtrack: OK, it may seem like a rip-off to have yet another Beatles compliation on the market. But if you can live without the Martin instrumentals (I can -- they work better within the context of the film), then it's worth finding a cheap copy of this for the new remixes. Some of them aren't all that different, but they were done to make them sound more compatible with today's DVD technology. So, they sound great. "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" sound a lot better than the Magical Mystery Tour mixes (which I'm not sure are true stereo -- I think they may just be rechannled mono).

"Only a Northern Song", I agree, wasn't quite worthy enough for inclusion on Sgt. Pepper's.., but it's a nice trippy tune, with the new mix putting the sound effects in a neat perspective. A big disagreement about "It's All Too Much", which is George's best song from his psychedelic period. Better than "Blue Jay Way" -- unlike that song, I don't think it overstays its welcome over its length. "All Together Now" is the type of trifle that makes people hate McCartney, but it's cute.

It's too bad that it took so long to put the film together, because by the time it appeared, both it and the music actually looked a bit dated. They had already put out The White Album and had evolved beyond it. "Hey, Bulldog" is the only song which could have been on that album, with its stripped down rock music and Lennon's surrealistic, yet sarcastic, lyrics. It also sounds great in the new mix. Beatles fans definitely should plunk down a few (but not too many) bucks to get the songs on the Songtrack.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (18.12.2005)

I happen to be one of those people that are cynical of revisionists yet I can also understand why the new mixes of the LP were put out. It's a good thing in England we still have lending libraries so I was able to hear the new Yellow Submarine album without having to pay big bucks ! It's actually not very good to my ears, but I say that against the backdrop of having listened to the original album hundreds of times since my sister gave it to me in 1976. I recall that my original reaction was one of dissapointment because I already had the title track on Revolver and A collection of Beatle oldies and "All you need is love" on 67 - 70 and I had little time for side 2. But the other 4 songs more than made up for it because without the "Yellow Submarine" LP, we'd never have them. I have always loved those 4 and I still do."Only a northern Song" was George's musical joke,written because he was contracted to Northern songs as a writer, which he didn't own !As others have stated,it was originally his offering for Pepper. I must admit, I think it is as good as (and soundwise,more psychedelically innovative than) some of the what you might call, "2nd division" songs on that album although I am glad it was left off. I think all the Beatles' albums are what they are and that's the way they wanted them......"All together now" and "It's all too much" were recorded just after MMT started but a couple of weeks before Pepper was released - I think the former is one of those delightfully charming pieces of McCartney fluff that showcase this outstanding bands' diversity (apparently a push to keep the band working and not get too complacent now that Pepper was finished) while the latter is for me one of Harrison's outstanding numbers.A beautiful psychedelic nursery rhyme(recorded in the same set of sessions that produced "All you need is love" & "Baby you're a rich man") that is strangely heavy instrumentally yet I don't feel it overstays it's welcome.I quite like long songs anyway.John's "Hey Bulldog" is also a fantastic tune and for those that say the Beatles couldn't improvise,the whole spoken spoken part at the end is done ad - lib,yet sounds like it was indeed written that way.A reviewer I read 29 years ago said that this would have made a great EP and it's hard to disagree but I'm still content with it as is.Back to the title track for a moment....I think it is definitely the forerunner of Pink Floyd's "Matilda Mother".....(at least subconsciously) in using the "telling of a story" motif as the vehicle of the song.There again, maybe Syd wrote his one before august of 66! Like the 4 songs from the "Long tall Sally" EP and some of their obscure but brilliant B sides, miss these at your peril !


Rich Bunnell <> (29.07.99)

By far my favorite Beatles release--those who call it over-produced or silly or anything like that are just wrong. No wait, that's not wrong, it's just an opinion....but how could anyone truly have that opinion?!?! It's different than mine!!!!...sorry. "Come Together" is great of course even though "Something" gets all of the praise because it's Harrison, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is an unbelievably cool dirge, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is slight and funny, and the entire second half, especially starting with the "Golden Slumbers" segment, is perfection. Maybe not as down-to-the-roots as past Beatles albums and actually quite silly by the time Paul's pop symphony kicks in, but musically this is the boys at their best. Even when the material doesn't necessarily jump out, the harmonies are so beautiful ("Because") that it's still an excellent listen!

José Humberto Mesquita Filho <> (01.10.99)

What else can be said about this gem? Abbey Road rivals The White Album as my favourite Beatles album, the former being more concise, the latter being more diverse. I guess Abbey Road has a slight advantage over the white one, but both of them are perfect tens. Harrison is in top form, Lennon and McCartney do their usual (which is outstanding) and even the only Ringo song on this one is awesome. And who said that their playing is no good? Of course they're not rock virtuosos like The Who or Led Zeppelin, but the sound is tight, nervous, frenetic, ass-kicking. This band rocks, and we all know that, based on their rooftop performance earlier in '69. John's singing is sincere, Ringo plays with strenght and precision, George's guitarwork is accurate, and Paul's bass playing is what we call a classic. He invented his own way of playing it. Excellent bunch of songs, "Here Comes the Sun" being my favourite, but there's more, much much more. "Oh! Darling" is brilliant, presenting Paul screaming at the top of his lungs; "I Want You" makes me swing alone in my room, and their suite on side two blows me away everytime. Love those mad lyrics: "Step on the gas and wipe that tear away", "Sunday's on the phone to monday", "yes you can say she was a-certainly built.. YEAH YEAH YEAH". Producer George Martin told them: think like Mozart, or Bach. And they did. And did it with gusto. The Beatles were gifted - the greatest musicians of this agonizing century. It's very easy to get hooked to this album: my girlfriend never heard a single track of Abbey Road before, and now it's one of her favourite CDs (yeah, she got her own copy). And she's not a rock and roll fan (at least, not like me). This album is just too good to be true.

Abbey Road isn't excellent rock music. It's excellent music, period.

Mike Prill <> (22.12.99)

I just wanna give a shout out to the Beatles for making the greatest Beatles album, and, in my humble opinion, the greatest ROCK AND ROLL album ever. I was not much of a Beatles fan until i heard this record, then i was sold. I found myself caught up in Beatle mania and bought all their albums and i just love them now. Who says young people aren't still diggin' the Fab 4? The Beatles live forever.

<> (24.12.99)

I think that Abbey Road exemplifies what the Beatles were as a band in the late years. I think it's probably their best album! Let It Be was such an unhappy record and it shows in the music even though there are some great tracks. I think at this stage in there careers the individuality really shows. There was probably little collaboration between John and Paul during this time, but I think they learned to just to play their songs to one another and ask for advice from each other. I love the Beatles and their music will last forever.

Ryan Mulligan <> (25.12.99)

IMO, the best Beatles album by far. The quick tunes on side b are all great and even Ringo's song is tolerable this time. 'Something' is by far my favorite on the album(maybe cause i like Harrison the most). I've never understood all the praise for Rubber Soul or Revolver. I'd give Rubber Soul an just sounds like catchy pop tunes to me and I'm not crazy about the "serious" songs('Norwegian Wood', 'Nowhere Man'). As for Revolver, 'Yellow Submarine' is a joke and 'Good Day Sunshine' is only a tad all comes together nicely so i'd give that one a 9. The only Beatles LP worthy of a 10, imo, is Abbey Road. Way too much filler on The Beatles(The White Album) and Sgt. Pepper is just plain overated(not to say it's not great, it is, but not as great as people say). I can't call Abbey Road as good as Blonde On Blonde, but this is a GREAT album, and i'm not even that big of a Beatles fan....I like Dylan and those 4 guys whose best album was their first(??)....later

Ben Greenstein <> (13.01.2000)

Overrated. This will sound incredibly stupid, but I can only give this album a nine. Why? Well, songs like "I Want You," which sucks, and "Sun King," which I've always felt didn't work in the otherwise nicely flowing second side suite, are numbers that I just don't enjoy, and, as much as I love it, "Come Together" really isn't one of my favourites. The good songs on here are Harrison's two, "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," and the majority of that side two suite. Good stuff. If only they could have edited out the two cruddy songs, this could have been a masterpiece. Still good, though.

Robert Tally <> (19.02.2000)

The slickest production on any Beatles album. I think that's the biggest reason it's so popular. I think this album, like 'Sgt. Pepper' is better than the sum of its parts. In other words, there are several tracks that don't quite do it for me. My favorite moment is probably the 'Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam' bit, two of the best rockers on the album, and both very funny. I also like 'Because' quite a lot - hauntingly beautiful, like a lot of Lennon's stuff during this period. The best McCartney moment would have to be 'You Never Give Me Your Money,' which is not only a really strong song to begin with, but also adds to it several clever little medley ideas, some of which rock pretty well. I absolutely adore 'Octopus's Garden' - a children's song that easily compares with 'Yellow Submarine' in its sweetness and clever arrangement. I also really enjoy hearing 'Here Comes The Sun,' which might be the best straight pop song on the album. 'Come Together' is also pretty damned cool. 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' is downright monolithic - and I don't get bored with the long coda! 'The End' is tremendous fun - particularly when they start trading off guitar solos. 'Sun King' is nice and relaxing, but sounds almost like a repeat of 'Because.' Then there's the rest: 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' (okay, it's catchy and clever - another one that I hate myself for enjoying); 'Something' (another one of those that's well-crafted, but I never feel like listening to it - great bass, though); 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window' (I don't know why, but this one just doesn't get me); 'Carry That Weight' (another one that just doesn't get me, even with its reprise of 'You Never Give Me Your Money'); 'Her Majesty' (strictly a ditty, and merely average even on those terms); 'Oh! Darling' (a passable blues tune, with a rather obnoxious vocal from Paul). Then there's 'Golden Slumbers,' one of my least favorite Beatles tracks. Could anything be more overwraught? McCartney sounds simply ridiculous on the chorus. Overall, though, the medley is pretty slick, and the album is, as people say, very slick. (I slipped on it the other day.)

The album cover: simple and perfect. One of the best ever. The Beatles look sooo coooool on that cover, don't they?

<> (02.04.2000)

There isnt much i could add that hasnt been said in you're review or comments from others.The word has been used before , but I will use it again-PERFECTION!. ABSOLUTE PERFECTION !

Fredrik Tydal <> (14.04.2000)

Absolutely essential to any record collection. It's so great that I almost can't comment on it at all. It has George's best songs, Ringo's best song and some of the Beatles' very finest efforts. "Come Together", obviously a nod to Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me", is great of course. But what most people don't know is that Chuck's song itself was seemingly inspired by Big Bill Broonzy's "Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down". "Because" was a song I didn't notice much until it was used during the closing credits in American Beauty (the movie, not the Dead album). The only thing that bothers me about the album is the closing "Her Majesty". As I understand it, it was put on the album by mistake and was kept since Paul liked it. But I think it spoils the epic grandeur of the second side a bit... Ah, well - you can just turn it off after "The End".

Philip Maddox <> (28.06.2000)

I don't think this is nearly as strong as The White Album, but it's still really good. To start out, this album has a couple of songs that don't do much for me - 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is kinda lame, if you ask me. The lyrics aren't as funny as they're often made out to be, and the song just sounds like another music-hall Paul piece. 'Oh! Darling' is ok, but it doesn't strike me as hard as the other love songs on here. Like 'Something', for instance. That's a great song. As is the other Harrison contribution, 'Here Comes the Sun', which is one of the best Beatle songs. 'I Want You' is too long - the riff is pretty good, but it lasts too long and is too repetitive to hold my attention for 7 minutes. It still ain't bad, of course. In fact, that's not only a "pretty good" riff, it's a great riff. But it's still too long. 'Come Together' is great, in spite of being overplayed. then there's the side 2 suite, which is great, especially the part from 'Golden Slumbers' to the end - beautiful music. Still, I don't think the album is as good as its reputation. Of course, it's all pretty good at the worst. I'd either give it a high, high, high 8 or a low, low, low 9. It's still a highly recommended album that everyone should have. I don't listen to it a whole lot, though, 'cuz when I wanna hear the Beatles, 9 times out of 10 I go for the White Album. But that's more of a high praise for that album than an insult aimed at this one.

And 'Octopus's Garden' is pretty cute, too.

Mike Mannheim <> (15.07.2000)

This is the best Beatles album, and the best record in my entire collection. George contributes the two best songs, especially "Something" which is my favorite Beatles song of all time.

paul.w4tson <> (14.09.2000)

I am disgusted with your dismissal of side B of this album. Yes they are some great dinky tunes, but brilliantly put together in a montage, one that has not been bettered since (!!!!!!!!!! Humanity turns out to be a couple thousand degrees more mysterious than I thought previously - G. S.)

Nick Karn <> (16.10.2000)

I find it really odd that everyone who puts down this album always does so for the exact same songs. Everyone calls "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" a dippy, childish novelty tune that's stupid beyond words or whatever, they say "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" goes on for way, way too long despite a good riff, and the medley is a tasteless way for the band to go out and is the nadir of all Beatles music. My opinion? I'll buy into the hype that this is the greatest rock album of all time - it may be my favorite now, or at least VERY close in my top 3. As excellent as Sgt Pepper may be, that album isn't all that cohesive with a few less than stellar songs, and plus it's sound is sort of stuck in the psychedelic era. Every song here just leaves some huge impression, whether it's the sheer beauty of "Here Comes The Sun" (my personal favorite), the ending medley, which flows almost like a towering progressive suite, the powerful and heated "Oh! Darling", the breathtaking "Something", the heavenly harmonies of "Because", the bizarre multi-part "You Never Give Me Your Money", and of course those fun novelty tunes that everyone complains about ("Maxwell", "Octopus's Garden"). This is an unsurpassed masterpiece in melody and creativity - a 15 without even giving it a second thought.

Jeff Blehar <> (20.11.2000)

Slicker than a greased watermelon, but that's no criticism, just a description!  And in point of fact, it doesn't totally apply; while "Come Together" is actually exudes oil in all of its snakey suppleness, "I Want You" is an undeniably raw slab of Lennon's feral desire.  And I won't piss all over it either, but truthfully it's at least one minute too long.  Not three minutes too long - I don't mind that long ending section, as the endless repetition is meant to hammer home John's sickening, addictive need for Yoko - but by the time that white-noise Moog has come in, I've lost a lot of patience with the piece.  It doesn't BUILD, it just kinda plods along until someone cuts it dead, and if plodding is the whole point, then give me a little less of it, thanksgoodbye.  

Anyway, other than that the only weak track is "Maxwell's Silver Hammer," which deserves to diediedie not because of its melody (which I like) or its lyrics (which I emphatically DISlike, but let that go), but because of the way McCartney shredded the last remaining threads of goodwill the band had towards each other by making them run through endless takes and remakes of the song, all the while insisting that it had #1 written all over it.  Bastard.   

And here's George, with not one, but two utter classics!  "Something" and "Here Comes The Sun" are special not only because they're so darn luvverly and catchy, but also because they're two of the only Harrison tunes in the Beatles' canon that lack his usual bitterness and reticence.  The wiseguy in me wants to say that McCartney's been trying to catch up to the middle eight of "Something" for the last 30 years.  But he shouldn't feel embarrassed, because he's our man behind that thingamajig on Side 2, the Long Medley.

Who's going to knock the medley?  Not I.  Sure, "Sun King" is lame on its own, but it finds a nice warm cozy home in between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "You Never Give Me Your Money."  As for "Money," well that could be my favorite Beatles song of all time, and certainly my favorite on the album (I'll include its reprise in "Carry That Weight" as well): there it is, RIGHT THERE, in 3 1/2 minutes, the entire musical history of The Beatles, wrapped up into one heartbreaking piece of joy, loss, and valediction.  It's enough to make me rescind the death warrant I'd like to put out on Paul for curdling any group camaraderie with "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" - here he's saying goodbye to the group, and if he's not 100% sincere then I'm not a pretentious college student and these tears aren't real. 

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

The group's best and last album. There aren't really any weak spots except that I feel "Her Majesty" ruins the climax to their epic-length suite, and their entire career somewhat. This was one of the first rock albums to use moog synthesizers, George uses them and applies them much better than on Electronic Sound. By the White Album it was obvious that George was becoming just as good as a songwriter as Lennon and McCartney. As on the previous CD, he writes some of the best songs. Side one is great, its only real down spot is 'Oh Darling!', at least I think so. I absolutely the "pop symphony" or "big medley" or whatever you may choose to call it, I think it is the best song they ever did. This album's influence on prog-rock is very obvious too, at the time the genre was just beginning and the rock-symphonies, synths and such of this album helped to shape the early prog-rock bands. Anyway, to all the other readers and such of this page, your Beatle's collection is not complete without this album. This truly is the Beatle's swansong.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

Looks like I am the only one who is a little underwhelmed by this. Oh, I still love the album but I'm not going to place it among their best albums. 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is silly, 'I Want You' drags and the big medley is great for the most part but there are sections that do not work for me. I'll give it a high 8 but not more.

Rich Bunnell <> (28.12.2000)

There you have it, people: the most generic Abbey Road-bashing comment ever written! Isn't there anyone who doesn't like "Here Comes The Sun" or something? It's not a bad song of course, but "'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' sucks! 'I Want You' sucks! The side two suite sucks!" is getting a little tiresome.

Robert Grazer <> (07.01.2001)

I used to have two serious problems with this album. "Come Together" and "Oh Darling." Since then I have learned to accept the ladder. It isn't half as bad as I once thought it was. My favorite on the album has always been "I Want You." The ending "jam" is absolutely sensational. As for my general opinion of the album, I used to think it was a high 13. Since I no longer have any problem with "Oh Darling," I can give it a solid 14. I still deny it the highest rating because I just can't bring myself to like "Come Together." The song is the only one on the album with a complete lack of emotion. Sad, but true. This is hardly my favorite album of all time, but I love it. 14

Morten Felgenhauer <> (08.01.2001)

10/10 - Perfect. In addition to Sir M's immaculate production and the ever-brilliant compositions of the group I especially love Ringo's drumming ("Come Together", M8 "Something" and everywhere) and what must be the pinnacle of Paul's career as a bass player (every song). If someone doesn't like anything on this album, they are either deaf or have severe damages to the brain. Yeah, opinions blah blah blah............ "Her Majesty" was originally in the middle of the Medley but was cut out (hence the crashing opening chord, which was the last chord in the previous song) and the sudden ending. It was pasted onto the ending of the master tape by an engineer so that it shouldn't end its days on the cutting room floor. The group liked the surprise effect it had and decided to keep it.

Steve Hall <> (25.01.2001)

This is the Beatles slickest album for sure,the production is faultless(something Phil Specter obviously ignored when producing Let it be).The actual content on the album is mostly excellent covering up a few weaker moments i.e "Maxwell's silver Hammer" and "Octopus's Garden".Harrison's two songs beat Lennon/Mccartney's contributions hands down.The b-side is a great medley of music,however a lot of the songs are a year old emphasizing that this really is the twilight of their career.Us "the fans" deserved a last hurrah from The Beatles and they delivered(as they always did)with songs like "Golden Slumbers" and "The End" summing up the feeling and poignancy of this album.Love it. 9.5/10

Chris Papadopoulos <> (30.01.2001)

To use one of your favourite phrases, George, Abbey Road may well be the Beatles' most 'gruesomely overrated' album. Sure, it boasts their finest playing, particularly from McCartney and Harrison, the production is off the top shelf, and large parts of the 'suite' are inspired (if a little pretentious) but it's not all good news. I think George Martin can probably take plenty of the credit for the popularity of this album - it's certainly the best SOUND the Beatles ever got on tape. Clever Mr Martin, for the flawless production masks some pretty ordinary songs.

Side 1 has a couple of good tracks, but they're negated by the truly awful 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer ' and 'Octopus's Garden' (despite nice guitar licks). I quite liked these when I was a young, impressionable Beatle tragic, but now that I'm a responsible adult I see them for what they are: unlistenable fluff which most of us would loathe if they were made by just about any other musicians. (This is not a 'generic' criticism - a dog of a song is a dog of a song.) Come Together' is okay but far from Lennon's best, and 'I Want You' is saved by tasty playing and a great sound. Apart from the gorgeous 'Because', Lennon's contributions to side 2 are desultory. The suite makes the album, but Macca's insistence on including 'MSH' on the record just about wipes out his bonus points for penning the sublime 'You Never Give Me Your Money' and some great work on bass, piano and guitar (among other things, no doubt).

Harrison's contributions are among the best on the album - clearly he stepped into the spot vacated by Lennon, who is largely absent - and it's a pity more of the really good tunes he had written by this time (e.g. 'Not Guilty', 'All Things Must Pass') weren't included at the expense of some of the crappy songs that did make it. (More contemptuous treatment from Lennon and McCartney?) Then you might have had a great record.

Don't get me wrong, there are moments of sheer beauty here but there are too many dud songs to make this a 10. How people could rate this above Let It Bleed as the best album of 1969 is beyond me. There's no 'Gimme Shelter' on here for a start. I give it an 8.

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

Abbey Road is indeed the Pinnacle of 1960's Rock and Roll! But, I would rate it second to The White Album in The Beatles canon. Why? Well, although Abbey Road is a glittering, shimmering, stunning masterpiece, an utterly incredible innovative musical treasure-house -- there's just one thing wrong with it: it doesn't really engage the listener emotionally. It's too polished, too contrived, too over-produced, too well-engineered (if that's possible) -- such that, it creates a kind of 'distance' between the listener and the music. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that Abbey Road is 'too perfect' –- so flawless that it leaves me overwhelmed, but also kind of empty inside. Perhaps a good analogy would be that Abbey Road is a physically beautiful woman who does not inspire any love or lust, whereas The White Album is an attractive woman with some flaws that you fall head over heels in love with regardless. How's that?

Abbey Road is a diamond, it has no weak songs at all!

The happiest story here is that George delivers two hugely satisfying songs: 'Something' and 'Here comes the sun.' Just glorious music. I usually don't like synthesizers, but in 'Here comes the sun' they're so tastefully done it fits in perfectly. Frank Sinatra himself said 'Something' was the greatest love song he'd ever heard. Who's gonna argue with him? If George could've produced a few more gems like these two, his reputation could've almost equaled that of John and Paul.

Side One (on the old LP) is nicely juxtaposed: The first and last song are John's, the two middle ones are Paul's, the others are by George and Ringo each. Coincidence? Probably not.

"Come together" is like nothing else in pop music (and I don't really buy the motion that John 'stole' this melody from Chuck Berry). The smoky, bluesy, industrial-strength piano from Paul just knocks me out cold. John's voice is strangely distorted, a bit too high-pitched -– just the right tone for this weird song. The ending is just orgasmic! Incidentally, the opening 'whoosh-shoot' was meant to be a musical imitation of someone dialing one of those old rotary telephones. 'Come together'engages me the most on this album (even though it's not really about anything!)

A lot of folks (mostly Paul-haters) dismiss 'Maxwell's silver hammer' but I think it's a tour-de-force! Instead of focusing on the silly comic-book story, just sit back and marvel at the great guitar solo, the flourishing synthesizer, it's wonderful!

'Oh! Darling' is another stunning tune, just can't get enough of that screaming pleading voice.

'Octopus Garden' is a joy. The chorus and the solo are lovely. The lyrics are actually pretty metaphysical!

'I want you,' well, this took me a long to like, but I do. It's extremely indulgent and the lyrics are primitive, but that's the point! The brooding, almost Gothic, tone to this song is powerful –- and it's just a love song, or its actually a demand for love! The ending just builds the tension till it becomes almost unbearable. 'Because' perfectly illustrates what I said earlier was 'wrong' with this album. This is an exquisite song with superb three-part, triple-tracked harmonies -– but it doesn't really engage me emotionally as, say, 'Julia' does on The White Album.

'Because' sounds more like three sages on a distant cloud singing, rather than a flesh-and-blood person here on earth pouring his heart out. Now we get to the highlight of the whole album: the Paul-dominated symphonic pop medley. John Lennon dismissed this, but I love it! The only 'weak link' here is probably 'Sun King' because it slows down the tempo too much. It would've worked better as a stand-alone song. Otherwise, the medley is a masterpiece, it weaves, it turns, it swoons, it jumps, it crackles, it leaps, it soars, it rocks, it rolls, it pops, it does everything one could imagine music to do. And when Paul, John and George (I think in that order) exchange the wildest guitar licks at the end of 'Carry That Weight/The end' it's just mind-boggling.

I'm glad The Beatles quit when they did, because they were at the peak of their creative powers. They might've had one or two good albums left in them, but I'm happy they never became the pathetic, tired old dinosaur that The Stones and The Who have become.

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

In 1969,Ed Ward panned it in rolling stone.In France,the rock critics were condescending.How unprophetic they were!

32 years later.Abbey road is still a diamond,the last jewel on the Beatles' crown.Little did we know at the time it would be their last one!When you speak about such an album,words are meaningless.Let their genius rule!

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

I agree with you, George! Perfection from beginning to end and the encyclopaedia of human feelings. Also the group's swan song, but surely not a swan song of their talents. Great record from beginning to end and one of the best rock albums ever released, but it's rather Paul/John/George and orchestra, than the whole band. But surely it's a whole band as well and it's the example of great collaboration and it shows the songwriting talent of the whole band. Ringo is awesome here with his "Octopus's Garden", "Come Together", "Oh! Darling" and "You Never Give Me Your Money" are my favourite songs from here; Groovy "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" has something familiar with Deep Purple. And the medley is also great! What else to say? Perfection from beginning to end.

<> (29.04.2001)


Glenn Wiener <> (30.07.2001)

Definitely my second favorite Beatles record to the Double White. And the only reason is that the Double White has more songs. And more Beatle songs mean more good Beatle Songs. Anyway whether it’s the side 2 medley somewhat dominated by Paul, Ringo’s charming 'Octopuses Garden', George’s two gems, or John’s heavy rockers, this album totally reeks of Awesomeness! Gosh I must be watching too much WWF TV. Anyway, nearly every second of this is a gem. And the album cover is an all-time classic as well.

Ben Kramer <> (14.11.2001)

This is the first Beatle record I ever heard and your assessment of it is similar to the way I feel. This is probably the closest The Fab Four ever got to perfection (though I prefer The Beatles to this record because of its length and diversity) with classics throughout by all four members, diversity and one of the most satisfying endings of any album ever released. The Beatles were so emotional with negative energy flowing through the band members that some of it rubbed off in the music and an emotional, funny, meaningful album was the result. Critics of the album (None of them would want to meet me on the street) complain that the end of the album is too choppy and that it has childish songs such as 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and 'Octopus's Garden'. The end of the album is one of the greatest creations in music history and is Paul McCartney's greatest success. Also, I see no problems with the childish songs. The Beatles were allowed to have fun, weren't they. They weren't a bunch of uptight snobs and writing a childish tune, especially ones that are as creative as 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and 'Octopus's Garden', can be a great thing for a band. Probably the most surprising thing about this album is that George Harrison supplies us with two serious, and beautiful songs. He showed the world of music that his song writing skills were skyrocketing when he wrote 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Something' along with 'Here Comes the Sun' are wonderful followups. They might be the best songs on this album. This is without a doubt a 10(15) album and it deserves every bit of the hype.

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

The best swan song any band could have recorded. What amazing songs! And 2 of the best songs on the album (arguably) are George's! You also get a really great Ringo song as well "Octopus's Garden". I dont see peoples gripes with "Maxwells Silver Hammer" or "I Want You"!! They are perfectally good songs, the former being as silly as any other Mccartney pop song, like "Good Day Sunshine" or "Honey Pie" or something! And "I Want You" is kinda repetitive, but it definatly doesnt deserve to be called "Sucky", thats just wrong!! But digressing from that, man is that whole 2nd side suite amazing. Outstanding songs. This album is really a masterpiece. And they just happened to have a song "The End" with the beautiful lines "and in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make"! Brilliant! I give it a 10/10 or 15/15.

Ryan Maffei <> (11.02.2002)

No! This is a horribly overrated album. I like the first tunes, all of them, mostly--"Octopus' Garden", "Here Comes the Sun", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", and especially "Come Together", all pure Beatles brilliance and intelligent, groovy, music, but then we get something we might've never expected--non-brilliant, unintelligent, not-so-pure Beatles mediocrity! There's the lesser dreck--"Something" is a pleasant but otherwise unremarkable love ballad (why didn't McCartney write this one?), and some of the overblown medley's tunes are good ("Carry That Weight") is spectacular for its...fifty seconds or so? But then we have some examples of the Beatles not trying hard enough at all to craft something great. "Golden Slumbers" is a good tune gone silly, "Sun King" and "You Never Give Me Your Money" suffer from throwaway lyrics, "Because" is pretty tuneless, "Her Majesty"...yeah, "She's So Heavy" tackles a poor genre (white-noise metal) for predictably poor results, and the medley--well, do "Polythene Pam" and "The End" warrant a great piece of music? Abbey Road shows us the disappointing (albeit amusing) studio-tricksters/art-rockers the Beatles were in the later part of the sixties. Remember Rubber Soul, when the band was actually crafting solid, smart, and admirable pop music? A 7 for Abbey Road. That's right, a 7. Shoot me!

Not really!

Alexis VONSYDOW <> (25.08.2002)

Well, it is sure an incredible piece of work. I'll describe this shortly. On first listen I disliked it. On second listen I found out it it was kinda good. I liked it. And then, on third listen, I realised I loved and worshipped this album. GRRRRRRRREAT!!!!!!!!!

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

Yet, another masterpiece! All the songs rule here, ESPECIALLY in their context together. George sneaks in quite a few effective solos throughout, and Paul is able to make scraps into a very enjoyable medley or two. Songwise, you were dead on. Easily my second (to Revolver) favorite Beatles album: 10+(15).

Dan Marshall <> (14.09.2002)

The ONE thing I do agree with you on about Abbey Road, George, is that it doesn't sound like a Beatles album. When I first heard this album, at about 8 years old, I actually thought it was a collection of ex-Beatles solo songs that my father had recorded onto tape. Dead serious there. But, as far as the quality of this album, I disagree with your assessment, George, and I'll give you good reasons why. For a start, the songs on this album seriously suffer from a lack of progression and thus they get stale very quickly. In addition, many songs seem just thrown out with an "I don't give a damn" attitude, and there is even some originality issues.

The lack of progression I refer to can be heard in "Come Together," "Something," "Octopus's Garden," "I Want You," "Here Comes the Sun," "Because," and "Sun King." To focus on just one, "Come Together" continuously repeats the same two-chord, R&B-derived rhythm and, after some release with the chorus, we find ourselves back in the same quiet "shoot," which absolutely sucks all possible momentum out of the song. Even the solo repeats the same four chords about four times before moving on to something else. "I Want You," "Because," and "Sun King," of course, shouldn't even need explanation. I trust you can see my point on those, if on nothing else. And, also, the consistent reappearance of melodies from song to song, such as the one from "You Don't Give Me Your Money" finishing off "Carry That Weight," shows the lack of fully developed songs the Beatles had for this album; and this comes years after The Beatles had completely given up live performances and at a time when Harrison contributes a record three songs to the album.

As for the songs that seem just tossed onto the album, there's "Oh Darling," "Because," and all the songs that follow "Because." I mean, come on, seriously, would anyone say that any of these songs were good if they were recorded by, let's say, The Zombies? No Way! Had anyone else recorded "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," "Golden Slumbers," or "The End" (which repeats what sounds like "love you" about twenty times), particularly with such throwaway lyrics, they would be condemned by listeners and critics alike. But we tend to be extreeeemely lenient with The Beatles.

As far as the originality goes, there isn't any major problem but some worth mentioning. I keep hearing about "Come Together"'s riff being taken from a Chuck Berry song, which is interesting, but much more interesting is Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun," an obviously slower take on The Beach Boys' 1967 Wild Honey track, "Here Comes the Night," and McCartney's theft of the melody of Dennis Wilson's "Little Bird" (from the Beach Boys' 1968 album Friends) for one of his few medleys on "You Don't Give Me Your Money." Just listen, on "You Don't Give Me Your Money," to the medley that covers everything from "out of college/money spent..." to "still nowhere to go." It's "Little Bird!"

To say something positive about Abbey Road, "Octopus's Garden" has an extremely catchy backing track, even though the song is destroyed by terrible lyrics and Ringo's voice. This album is also easier on the ears than Sgt. Pepper's. All in all, I can't see myself giving this any more than 3 out of 10.

Bob Josef <> (12.10.2002)

Time for more parade-raining, even though it's a fantastic record. Doesn't "sound like the Beatles"? Well, at the time (before Let it Be revealed that the band had been falling apart), it appeared to be an establishment of an entirely new sound for the band as a collective (unlike the excellent, but totally grab-bag, White Album). The production disguised the fragmentation of the group, but also the fact that most of Side 2 consists of unfinished, Smiley Smile-esque song fragments stitched together. (Lennon actually admitted as much.) A couple of the songs , "I Want You" and "Oh, Darling," are good ideas that go on too long for their own good. "Because" is OK, but "Cry, Baby, Cry" was a much better song along those same lines.

But, still, Lennon, Ringo and Harrison put in three great songs that show them at the top of the game -- "Come Together," "Octopus's Garden" and "Here Comes the Sun." McCartney' stuff doesn't quite reach that standard, but "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" has one of those really fun chord sequences (even though John and George totally despised it and wished it hadn't been included). And Paul as you said, was the driving force in the assembly of the medley from those leftover White Album/Get Back pieces, and it works brilliantly as a complete piece. He pushed the other guys to a new level of musicianship. Too bad he couldn't carry it over to McCartney and Ram.

Despite what Ringo says in the Anthology video, I don't think the group initially thought that this would be the last album. Allen Klein had just gotten Apple a huge new deal with Capitol/EMI, of which Abbey Road was the first product. All this ended up doing, though, was binding the guys as solo artists to the company for most of the 70's.

<> (18.06.2003)

Abbey Road was a surprise when it came out in the fall of 1969. By then I was used to seeing Beatles records come out during Christmas season. At the time nobody knew that the group had broken up, yet there was something about "The End" even then that hinted something more than a record album was coming to a close.

My state, Michigan, was the home of a DJ in the Detroit area who started the "Paul Is Dead" rumors that went world wide. Remember all the clues? Just on Abbey Road alone: (1) The Beatles are sort of a funeral procession on the cover. Paul is barefoot, so he's the corpse. John is the preacher, Ringo the funeral director, and George the gravedigger; (2) the Paul in the photo held his cigarette in his right hand and we all know the real Paul's a lefty so this Paul's a fake; (3) the Volkswagen parked on the left has a license plate saying "28IF" which means the real Paul would have been 28 IF he hadn't been in a car crash and lost his hair.

Ironically the real death clue was John whispering "shoot me." The lead guitar work continues to impress me from this album. On George's songs the opening guitar riffs are as much the hooks as the vocals (and also listen to the sound of the rhythm guitar backing on "Something"). I like to think it was George on a lot of the other leads, though one really can't tell. You've got those stinging stabs on "Oh Darling", the extended solo on "Octopus's Garden" and that dense wall of guitars on "I Want You" (which does, I do agree, go on too long.) But it's on the second side that the riffs really shine. Like the riffs that have an almost bell-like tone in "You Give Me Your Money" and that transition riff out of the song and its reprise, or the soloing that leads us out of "Polythene Pam" and into "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window." Finally you have the "sparring" part of "The End" (following Ringo's solo which at the time I thought was done as a parody of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vita"!) With the passage of time I'd agree that John's tunes on the first side and "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" were not really as good as most previous songs by John and Paul, but it didn't seem that way at the time and they weren't that bad either. On the other hand, the second side of the album may be the best side the group ever put out. It certainly was the most synergistic, taking songs not fully developed and turning them into a kind of "suite" that kept building to the end. The melodies and the vocals and lead guitar were there, and there were enough of them so Paul and George Martin could put the fragments together and come up with something quite special. Another 10/15 for me.

Fernando Henrique Canto <> (14.11.2003)

Now THIS is very good! Very, VERY good. At last, the band settles in for making REAL GOOD songs and assembling them into a pleasant order. There are many great songs on here. I love 'Come Together', 'Something', 'Oh Darling' and 'Here Comes The Sun'. I like the "airy" harmonies on 'Because', the lovely 'Octopus' Garden' and the tense, nervous 'I Want You'. Really cool stuff. And the "suite" on side B? Awesome! High points include 'You Never Give Me Your Money', 'The End' and, obviously, 'Golden Slumbers'. In my opinion, this is The Beatles' definitive best album. Yes, it's very mature, too, coming from a band that did THAT double album. A 15.

David Dickson <> (28.04.2004)

Ohhhhhhh, yes. THIS is the shit. The bomb. Tha shiznit. The snazz. THE MOST PERFECT ALBUM EVER RELEASED BY ANYONE.

I do not make these statements lightly. I have heard too many albums that I thought were the most perfect ever, only to have them replaced by something else. Much as a voluptuous actress runs through beau after beau, under the repeated initial impression that they are the loves of her life, then deciding to dump them to sleep with their agents.

But NOT here, dammit. NOT today. I have been happily hooked up--er, APPRECIATIVE--of this album above all others for over a year now. I think there's SOMETHING BETWEEN US!!!

(sound of CD triggering taser gun, loud crashes, cursing) . .

. . grr. . . damned inanimate objects with weapons. . . But you know what? George AGREES! Oh, happy day! We disagree on everything but the ONE THING THAT MATTERS IN LIFE. . .

. .Which album is the best of all time.

Of course, there really is no such thing as a "perfect" album, and Abbey Road proves it. Despite the perfection pervading the rest of the LP, "I Want You" DOES run a little long. But that's it. The only possible flaw. Other than that, every SECOND on this album is perfect. I won't go into the reasons why, 'cause George pretty much nailed every one of them. But if you like popular music, and you love life, than for Chrissakes, just BUY this thing right the heck now. Or download it. Or steal it. Whatever--get yourself a copy by any means necessary. It is guaranteed to rock your world. It will never cheat on you, lie to you, or talk back to you. It will remain yours forever and for always. It is perfection incarnate, the closest thing a rock album can get to. And it don't need no diamond ring.

Okay, SERIOUSLY for a moment (ignore all that relationship hogwash above), let's just see how good this album is by comparing it to all the other masterpieces of rock and roll I've listened to. I have recently updated my list, sixty-eight strong (yup, 68), of best albums ever (those I've heard that, by my reckoning, get a ten out of ten rating), and I think it's pretty much set in stone. For the next nine or ten months, at least. And see where Abbey Road fits in. . .

1. Abbey Road (THE BEATLES, 1969) 2. It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (PUBLIC ENEMY, 1988) 3. Hotel California (THE EAGLES, 1976) 4. Dark Side of the Moon (PINK FLOYD, 1973) 5. Odessa (THE BEEGEES, 1969) 6. Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, 1995) 7. Automatic for the People (R.E.M., 1992) 8. Bat Out of Hell (MEAT LOAF, 1977) 9. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (ELTON JOHN, 1973) 10. Hysteria (DEF LEPPARD, 1987) 11. Blood on the Tracks (BOB DYLAN, 1975) 12. Quadrophenia (THE WHO, 1973) 13. Blonde on Blonde (BOB DYLAN, 1966) 14. Days of Future Passed (THE MOODY BLUES, 1967) 15. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (DAVID BOWIE, 1972) 16. Metallica (METALLICA, 1991) 17. Come on Over (SHANIA TWAIN, 1997) 18. Sea Change (BECK, 2002) 19. Odelay (BECK, 1996) 20. Arthur (or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) (THE KINKS, 1969) 21. Boston (BOSTON, 1976) 22. Play (MOBY, 1999) 23. Pink Moon (NICK DRAKE, 1972) 24. Siamese Dream (THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, 1993) 25. The Beatles (THE BEATLES, 1968) 26. Little Earthquakes (TORI AMOS, 1991) 27. The Wall (PINK FLOYD, 1979) 28. Source Tags and Codes (. . . AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD, 2002) 29. Highway 61 Revisited (BOB DYLAN, 1965) 30. AEnima (TOOL, 1996) 31. In the Court of the Crimson King (KING CRIMSON, 1969) 32. OK Computer (RADIOHEAD, 1997) 33. Led Zeppelin IV (LED ZEPPELIN, 1971) 34. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (THE BEATLES, 1967) 35. Rubber Soul (THE BEATLES, 1965) 36. Ropin’ the Wind (GARTH BROOKS, 1991) 37. Revolver (THE BEATLES, 1966) 38. Before and After Science (BRIAN ENO, 1977) 39. Songs from the Big Chair (TEARS FOR FEARS, 1985) 40. Cracked Rear View (HOOTIE AND THE BLOWFISH, 1994) 41. The Wild, the Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle (BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1973) 42. Selling England by the Pound (GENESIS, 1973) 43. We’re Only in it for the Money (FRANK ZAPPA AND THE MOTHERS OF INVENTION, 1968) 44. Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd (LYNYRD SKYNYRD, 1973) 45. Plastic Ono Band (JOHN LENNON, 1970) 46. Blood, Sweat, and Tears (BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS, 1969) 47. Violator (DEPECHE MODE, 1990) 48. Led Zeppelin II (LED ZEPPELIN, 1969) 49. Magical Mystery Tour (THE BEATLES, 1967) 50. Cosmo’s Factory (CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL, 1970) 51. Ram (PAUL MCCARTNEY, 1971) 52. Grace (JEFF BUCKLEY, 1994) 53. 1999 (PRINCE, 1982) 54. Pretty Hate Machine (NINE INCH NAILS, 1989) 55. Closer (JOY DIVISION, 1980) 56. Let it Loose (GLORIA ESTEFAN, 1987) 57. Rumours (FLEETWOOD MAC, 1977) 58. Pet Sounds (THE BEACH BOYS, 1966) 59. Another Side of Bob Dylan (BOB DYLAN, 1964) 60. Antichrist Superstar (MARILYN MANSON, 1996) 61. Jagged Little Pill (ALANIS MORISSETTE, 1995) 62. Exile on Main Street (THE ROLLING STONES, 1972) 63. Blood Sugar Sex Magik (THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, 1991) 64. War (U2, 1983) 65. Superunknown (SOUNDGARDEN, 1994) 66. Who’s Next (THE WHO, 1971) 67. The Bends (RADIOHEAD, 1995) 68. Tracy Chapman (TRACY CHAPMAN, 1988)

You see? SEE all the albums it beat into the dust? Heck, any album that beats Hotel California has GOT to be down with a VENGEANCE. I rest my case. Oh, and incidentally, it's a Beatles album. But that's for granted.

Timothy Malcolm <> (05.05.2004)

The one word that comes to mind with each Abbey Road comment is "perfect." Yes, Abbey Road is perfect, deserving of being called the greatest album of all time. There's a method to my madness-- using it as my e-mail address. I never thought any musical medium could be perfect. Surely there are no perfect songs-- some may say "Good Vibrations" could be, others "Satisfaction," but none of those songs ever made me say "perfect." The first time I listened to Abbey Road I said "perfect," and I continue to say it today. The Beatles took everything they learned in the 7 years they had been together as that specific unit and applied it to one vinyl, one miniscule 45 minutes of music. And boy, it couldn't be better. It just couldn't.

Every album is going to have its weaker and stronger tracks. No one will ever create an album containing fourteen "Good Vibrations," because not every track will be applauded as much as the last. It's just true. Abbey Road doesn't have fourteen epics either, but what it has is a flawless variation-- a unique diversity. Every song is recognizable and everyone knows the songs. And each song represents the triumph of something the Beatles have learned. It's the climax of their studies. The climax of their talents. Surely the album wasn't going to be called Everest because of a pack of cigarettes.

First, "Come Together" exhibits the Beatles at their group best (the climax of tracks like "Everybody's Got Something to Hide..." and "She Said She Said"), Lennon at his lyrical best (climax of "Help!," "I'm A Loser") and the group at their roots-acknowledging best (climax of every cover they ever did). It's a stunning opener (though "Come and Get It" would have made an awesome opener too) and is one of the best pure rock and roll songs they ever performed.

"Something" exhibits George at his shy, innocent best (climax of "If I Needed Someone," "Don't Bother Me"), the group with its best musical build (climax of "Dear Prudence" and "Let It Be") and George Martin's best usage of orchestration (climax of "Yesterday," "Good Night"). A beautiful and almost-perfect ballad. I melt for that huge piano descend at the bridge. And George's slide is unreal.

"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is basically the best-- and fullest-- "granny song" Paul ever wrote (climax of "When I'm 64," "Honey Pie"). I don't know how people can hate this song. The lyrics are spot on, the group playing is fine, there's melody, harmony and a catchy chorus. And sound effects! And the boys sound like they're having fun with it. Maybe it's the "granny" concept many John fans hate. Well I like Paul's "granny" songs.

"Oh Darling" also does one thing better than anything before it-- it's Paul's best screamer (climax of "I'm Down," "Get Back"). Another bonafide singalong, and the song is so tough in places. Yes Paul copied the song with "Call Me Back Again," but I'd copy it too. It's a damn fine rocker.

"Octopus's Garden" is obviously Ringo's absolute best try as vocalist (climax of "With A Little Help..," "Honey Don't") and the best novelty song-- without getting too childish-- they ever did (climax of "Yellow Submarine," "Bungalow Bill").

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is John's best screamer (climax of "Revolution," "Yes It Is") and the best heavy track they ever did (climax of "Helter Skelter," "Tomorrow Never Knows"). Of course this song is more of a precursor for Plastic Ono Band, but the boys really hit the nail with this song.

"Here Comes the Sun" is the best sunny pop song in a string of many (climaxing "Good Day Sunshine," "Tell Me Why") and may be their best group effort ever. Maybe.

"Because" is the best head dabble (climax of "It's All Too Much," "Glass Onion") and is the best harmonies the Beatles ever gave (climax of "Baby's In Black," "I Feel Fine").

I won't get into the medley because I want to basically say why this album IS perfect. Basically every small nugget of this album makes it perfect.

The group's playing as a unit and as individuals is at its absolute peak here (again with a climax). John's melodies are strong, Paul's bass is absolutely dictating songs. In the light songs he's bouncing around the melody like a hopping child, but in the heavy stuff he's playing strong and dipping at key points. George's solo in "Something" rules while he changes up his roles in the other songs to make them work to their fullest. And Ringo, Ringo was never better on the drums than in this album. His solo in "The End" epitomizes his consistency and gratefulness. But the tempo of "Oh Darling" doesn't work without him. The cymbal in "Come Together" is GENIUS. And he plays hard throughout, emphasizing every needed beat.

"Come Together" and "Here Comes the Sun" are both top-notch group efforts. "Together" drives smooth and "Sun..." I don't even know how to describe it. The The acoustic melody...geez. The wonderful brush drumming...God. It opens with acoustic, the backbeat, the way George sings the melody. The quick orchestral double take. The blooming sound of the guitars from channel to channel in the bridge. The climax psuedo-melody of the bridge's end. The climactic final verse and chorus descending the song into the final few chords. It's all there. No wonder so many people love this song.

The singing is right on. Paul screams in "Darling," gets shy in "Maxwell," and changes like a chameleon in "You Never Give Me Your Money." John is nasty in "Together" and passionate in "Want You," but becomes sweet in "Because." George's voice never sounded better in "Here Comes the Sun" and Ringo's shy and loveable everyman personality is in full bloom in "Octopus." Then the three-part harmony in "Beacuse" just blows it all away.

The little things: how the the moog goes from left to right channel at the top of "Here Comes the Sun." That piano in "Something" almost for no reason! Topping off "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" with that rowdy "Silver hammer man!," Paul's giggle in "Maxwell," the apocalyptic white noise in "I Want You," John's "shoot me" in "Come Together." How the album just SOUNDS like its perfect. Martin must have cried after finishing this baby. It just sounds full and royal. There's so much more.

And I barely touched on the medley.

How beautiful is the medley? "You Never Give Me Your Money" is the best mini-suite Paul ever wrote. His basslines, his change in voice, both legitimize the suite. And the playing throughout is flawless, while the changes are smooth as silk.

Now, my theory.

In many ways the whole medley, not just "Money," retells the Beatles story. Sure "Money" sets it up, but the lead into "Sun King" bring the dawning of a new day-- almost a rising of a curtain. "Everyone is laughing, everyone is happy" signals Beatlemania. There's '63-'64. Then "Mustard" comes in to ruin things. Does Mr. Mustard = drugs? "Shaves in the dark," "Sleeps in a hole in the road," "Ten-mark note up its nose." Yes, Mustard = drugs. There's '65-'66. And sister Polythene Pam? Well sex...and more drugs of course. "She's so good looking but she looks like a man" signals the over-the-top love-fest of 1967. Everyone was doing it, who cares who is who? There's '67-'68. But suddenly "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." Sure it may be Paul's retelling of a burglary, but how crazy am I for suggesting it tells the quick story of the Apple collapse? The Beatles, like the girl, is naive and "rejected by a silver spoon," a.k.a the bankruptcy. There's '69.

Notice the transitions. "Sun King" stumbles into "Mean Mr. Mustard" the way the Beates coyly stumbled into drugs. "Mustard" runs hard into "Pam," echoing the way the Beatles used drugs and sex as one and the same. And "Pam" drives right into "Window," the way the Beatles took charge of themselves in a whilrwind. And "Window" ends without conclusion. They didn't know what was next.

And that PERFECT silence. It washes away every memory of the past and brings us to the present. "Golden Slumbers" is so pure and innocent you forget the mistakes the Beatles made. Just go to bed and and "smiles awake you when you rise." It's all a dream. The Beatles will be okay after all, Paul says. Then we go right into "Carry that Weight," bringing the past and present together with a message for the future: "boy you're gonna carry that weight for a long time." Every member of the group would have to carry the weight of being a Beatle forever. And they did. Notice how ALL FOUR harmonize in "Carry that Weight." They ALL had to carry the weight, even Ringo, who never harmonized. It's true. Each solo album was criticized and compared to another's. They could never escape the shadow.

Oh and the reprise, "I never give you my pillow" is another way of one Beatle saying "I'm sorry" to the other. They were all thinking it.

Though "Carry that Weight" tells the future, we drive into "The End" with such a feeling. The past is past, the future is there, but let's rock now in the present, before it's too late. Notice how the two opening bars strike with force, bringing you back to the present. What a way to end it. Ringo gets his time to shine. Then they scream "love you" because they did it so many times. Then the solos. It's fair and equal. Like it should be at the end. Then the famous line and the final few notes played by everyone, slowly bringing it all up to the perfect end.

Okay, just think about my theory of the medley. In side one they play the genres they've done the most. In side two they play a near-perfect pop song and harmonize one last time before telling the story. They KNEW what they were doing going into Abbey Road. They knew it was the last album. They knew they had to go out telling the truth and on top. And they did. If they ever made a concept album, this is it.

And then there's "Her Majesty." Why? Because they never talked about the Queen of England. That's why.

Man I love this album. It is the best and will always be the best.

Amanda Kenyon <> (15.05.2004)

I disagree about the lack of weak points - I loathe "Sun King" for many reasons, largely because it's stupid. The rest of the album, though, is awesome, and features some more wonderful Harrison work. "Something" is the only song off this album that Elvis Presley chose to desecrate in his '70s concerts (and oh my god his version sucks donkey balls, it's even worse that his covers of "Yesterday" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water"), which I'm not sure is a compliment but is definitely a distinction.

Matthew Byrd <> (07.07.2004)

This may be the greatest statement in rock 'n' roll. The second half especially is, in my opinion, the greatest 20 minutes in rock. This is a masterful album, few times equalled and never surpassed.

Jason Saenz <> (13.07.2004)

Ok, ok, ok, now this time the beatles were really doing something really worth listening, maybe the first tune isn't quite that good ( radio stations and hardcore fans will be a little upset) I mean it's allright but it's a little boring and "beatle-excessed" at times but it's not horrible, just overrated. Now to me the best song on this whole master peice is "You never give me your money", thats just a beautiful-nasty peice, all the changes, from mellancolic to folky to heavy (beatles style) to everywhere. The rest is great except for that first tune, it just bug's me, maybe because I've heard it way to many times, I agree with your rating though because I have not found one trashy track on this one.

Chris Baldwin <> (22.06.2005)

OK, loads of people think this is the best Beatles album. No me though. Of course, this is still very strong (it's The Beatles after all) but speaking as someone who owns all their albums except Let It Be, I enjoy pretty much all of its predecessors more than this one. Why this should be the case confuses me sometimes since it's hard to pick many weak tracks (although 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', 'Because' and 'Sun King' displease me to various degrees), but I'd say the album is lacking in really GREAT songs. OK there are a few, 'Something' and 'You Never Give Me Your Money' being my favourites, but too much of it is simply good, solid material, I mean, I like 'Come Together' but it doesn't thrill me like 'Revolution' or 'Cry Baby Cry' (to pick only examples from the white album), it's just solid rock music to my ear. I'm not wild about the synths on this album either, and while Lennon was clearly trying to do something special on 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' I don't regard the actual song as a particularly great listening experience. I also don't think this hangs together as well as the supposedly disunited white album.

On the plus side, the album does serve as a kind of farewell to the band's career with songs like 'You Never...' and (I think) 'Here Comes the Sun' whilst 'Mean Mr Mustard' and 'Polythene Pam' are very entertaining. The Long Medley as a whole stands up pretty well and of course, the album cover is great. Everyone should own this record, but for my money it's not nearly as exciting as Rubber Soul, A Hard Day's Night or Sergeant Pepper.

Lindsey Eck <> (02.10.2005)

It's hard to pick an objectively best Beatles album, possibly Revolver in terms of song quality, but Abbey Road made a big impression on me when it came out because, with my background in classical music, I recognized the ambition of the second side. While other acts, such as Zappa, had glommed fragments together to make collages of continuous sound (and, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge admirer of Zappa, having seen the man in concert twice and once speaking at a debate on censorship at Harvard!), I don't know of any other period record that succeeded in a quasi-operatic suite like this one. Each of the songs is more than a fragment; it stands on its own no matter how short (consider that Joe Cocker took "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" on its own as an arena rocker) while the musical themes compliment and build on each other, while "Carry That Weight" reprises "You Never Give Me Your Money" in the same way that the Who were to do shortly after in both Tommy and Quadrophenia. Also, this album marks the high point of McCartney as a bass player. Two examples: Note how the change of bass beat at the line "She said she'd always been a dancer" changes the mood of "She Came in," converting it from a ballad to a rocker. Also, I listened to "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" a number of times before I reallized the point of the long repetition at the end. Listen to McCartney's bass work; the man is going nuts here while everyone else just repeats Lennon's nasty, proto-metal riff. Is Paul playing a fretless?

A couple trivia points on this album: "She's the kind of the girl who makes the News of the World": This was (is?) a sleazy London tabloid that always had a picture of a topless pinup girl on page 3. Also, I hope everyone caught the sexual double entendre of "Don't let it slip out now, heh-heh-heh."

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (29.05.2006)

Tommy wasn't the only one that had an uncle Ernie. I had one too but he wasn't wicked, well never to me, anyway. Didn't know him that well though I always liked him. The last time I saw him was a few days before I turned fourteen, back in '77 and I was at his house going through his record collection. I hadn't recognized hardly anything as I recall, but coz I'd been into the Beatles for about nine months I was looking intently at the back cover of ABBEY ROAD while my uncles chundered on { it's a family trait !! } and my uncle Ernie was intrigued that I was intrigued by the Beatles and he reminded me of my obsession with the Monkees. I'm glad he also remembered that it was ten years previously.....All through the visit, I kept on looking at the back cover, I'd never really studied it before and it was good, but the truth is that I was hoping he'd give it to me. My reasoning was ' what would a middle aged Nigerian want with a Beatle album when he can see I'm into this group ? '. Ah, the joys of youth.....he didn't give it to me ! But I made a mental note to listen to it when I could. About a month later, I borrowed a tape from a guy at school and did an illegal tape to tape recording, with electricity in the photography room at school ( we weren't allowed to run anything off electricity so it was all very clandestine ) and I loved that album. I listened to it everywhere, in the bathroom, in my bedroom, in the car, on planes ( I did an 8 hour flight to Nigeria and it was all I listened to ), journeys of every kind. I'm sure someone saw me with my cassette and earpiece and was inspired to invent the walkman. I claim inspiration coz no one I saw was doing that in '77. But I digress. For many years, this was far and away my favourite Beatle album and I still rate it very highly. It's one of the most sing song friendly albums in rock history as far as I'm concerned and it's also one of the great triumphs of technology, making a disintegrating group of people who were close to blows often, sound happy, bubbly, together and bright. But the sound quality is really down to using eight rather than four tracks. They'd recorded some of the white album on eight track and it automatically made for better quality coz everything could stay on it's own track instead of having to be mixed together to one track to allow for their trademark - overdubs.The quality of the songs are superb, and the way they gathered up their half formed, unfinished throwaways and fashioned them into a continuous suite ( serious competition to the Who's TOMMY ) shows that even at their most disintegrating, they were a bleedin' competitive unit. And they were tossing off songs at such a furious rate ( they had a 200 song contract to fulfill so they got prolific again. Their '68 and '69 output is almost unmatched in quantity ) that there just wasn't the space to accomodate them, hence some of them being over a year old.

Back in the 70s, albums on cassettes didn't necesarilly have the same running order as the record, I guess in an attempt to make sure you got two fairly even sides. So I've always known the album to start with a song that George Martin called one of the best ever written. I don't think it's one of the best songs ever written. I don't even consider HERE COMES THE SUN to be one of George's greats. That said, it's a damn fine song, truly sunny and one I'd have been proud to have written. John doesn't appear on it. I think it's got possibly the first intelligent use of the synthesizer in rock. True, the Monkees beat everyone to it with DAILY NIGHTLY but it's use there is purely to irritate ! It's so rubbish ! George's one isn't. Neither is SOMETHING. A track that could have been worked on for THE WHITE ALBUM, it was put aside in favour of PIGGIES ( Quite rightly ). When I first got into the Beatles at 13 - 14, I was staggered by the number of their songs that I already knew but hadn't known was them. Not for nothing are they considered as the soundtrack of our lives. SOMETHING was one that I was familiar with, it was just one of those tunes that was there in the ether.....great song too, but I don't consider it as his classic contribution to popular music. George wrote a great song back in '63 and was writing consistently brilliant masterpieces from HELP ! onwards. Not a popular view, not a view shared by Lennon and McCartney either. In fact, John had a really weird attitude towards George and his songs. On one hand he fought for them and helped with some of them ( he said SOMETHING was the best track on the album ), on the other hand he often gave the impression that they were second class allowances. Of the bust ups within the band, the one between John and George was really sour and it's the one that John was still crabby about, right to the end ( no pun intended ). According to Andy Summers of the Police, George hated his solo in SOMETHING. A surprize, coz it would be a lesser tune without it. Anyway, the artist isn't always the best judge of their work. While loads of people hate MAXWELL'S SILVER HAMMER, I think it's one of McCartney's neatest creations. It really sticks in my craw when people criticise it's many takes. NOT GUILTY took over 100 and didn't even end up on the white album. SEXY SADIE was 52 takes and two remakes. HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN took 95 takes. The truth is that Paul worked hard to get his songs to us in the form he felt would bear repeated listenings. Nuff said. OH DARLING is another one of Paul's masterpieces. The clunking rhythm guitar is fabulous and the sheer quality and drama of the lead vocal is breathtaking. He waited for five days, shredding his voice so that it would sound as rough as it does. That's attention to detail ! George Harrison recognized back in '69 something so many of us plainly ignore and that's the merits of OCTOPUS'S GARDEN which he felt was a cosmic song. I would go so far as to say that the prevailing ethos of the young of the western world { " We would be so happy, you and me / no one there to tell us what to do " } was rarely better captured by anyone in the words of a song than Ringo does here. It's not a kid's song at all. He wrote it when he was pissed off and frustrated during the white album sessions and had left the band . He learned on holiday that octopuses spend loads of time gathering stones at the bottom of the ocean to make gardens, underwater paradises. A brilliant LSD minded metaphor in this great song. Yes George helped him with it but that was the music. Everyone is on top form here and the atmosphere is ocean clear and rich. Ringo had quite a turn of phrase when he wanted { " waiting for the tides of time " from WHAT GOES ON, " darning his socks in the night when there's nobody there " - or at least, the idea - from RIGBY } and his two songs for the Beatles are not crap. They're irreplacable. And the man had a lovely, unique voice. Not as brilliantly suited as John, Paul and George or thousands of other music heavyweights ( or for that matter, lightweights ) but never out of tune and nonetheless distinctive in it's own right. I WANT YOU, ( along with HEY JUDE and BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY ) was the track that first introduced me to lengthy songs and it's one of my favourites, not only on the album, but of John's per se. Tired of Dylanesque word games, he just knocked out the most basic lyric ever and the music is fantabulous, the vocal harmonies on the " She's so heavy..." sections are among the most gripping in all Beatledom and it's interesting to note that on one take, McCartney takes the lead vocal. But John's voice is untoppable and the riff that grinds the song out is unstoppable and I love John and Georges' twin guitars ( not often noted, actually ), Ringo's talking drums ( a bit like on A DAY IN THE LIFE )and Paul's swooping bass, the white noise of the synth { that's the wind sound } and Billy Preston's eerie organ. I actually wish it went on longer ! Even to this day, I can tell exactly where the tune is suddenly going to stop, coz there's a way Ringo starts that section that's always been a dead giveaway. A superb song, it was part of the LET IT BE sessions. COME TOGETHER got Lennon in all kinds of trouble. It was supposed to be LSD guru's presidential or governership campaign song ( ' come together ' was his slogan ) that John was commissioned to write, but the Beatles made such a great job of it that Lennon thought he'd keep it for release. Then he admitted in an interview that it was based on an old Chuck Berry song ( Paul's bass and electric piano took the song to a totally different universe, however ) and the publisher sued ! So as part of the settlement he had to record three Berry songs ( hence the ROCK AND ROLL album ) which got him into all kinds of hassles with Phil Spector and the record company. And of course Leary and his team were upset as well ! From a selfish point of view, it was worth it coz it's an excellent song. BECAUSE was one that John said had no imagery, was clear and said it straight. I don't know what song he was listening to coz this is one of the great dreamy airy - fairy obscurities of the 60s. The harmonies are to die for. YOU NEVER GIVE ME YOUR MONEY is one of the great Beatle songs, to this day, I'm amazed it doesn't get that kind of " classic " status that is given to LET IT BE. It's sad start recalls the tearful feeling of THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD but it becomes a mini suite of it's own and packs so much into just a few minutes and ends with beautiful arpeggios ( ABBEY ROAD is the arpeggio LP, they're all over the place ) and harmonies. It's ironic that there are so many gorgeous harmonies on this album - they turn up on almost every song. The only good thing about John's meanness and vicious humour is that it gave rise to some great songs or great moments within songs and SUN KING, which he described as a load of garbage, is one such. On one hand, it was originally taking the piss out of George's HERE COMES THE SUN { KING }; they nearly came to blows when Yoko took one of George's biscuits but the tension produced some neat moments. The other thing is that this song takes the piss big time, out of Fleetwood Mac's ALBATROSS which was a big hit at the time ( George and Mick Fleetwood were in laws, being both married to the Boyd sisters ). It really sounds like ALBATROSS 2. It's a good song, recorded as one piece with MEAN MR MUSTARD which was written at the same time as much of the White album material. It's one of my favourites, short, snappy and packed with goodies, as is his POLYTHENE PAM, although it's subject matter is altogether seedy, a 1963 orgy in Jersey ! The energy of the song and the vocal and that ringing tough guitar has led to speculation that it's trying to outdo PINBALL WIZARD and so it may be, though it was written a year before. Of course WIZARD had been in the shops a couple of months when this classic was recorded. It was recorded as one song with Paul's sumptuous BATHROOM WINDOW. I just love the way the Beatles converted everyday happenings ( in this case, a burglary ) into great songs. The lyrics of this are superb, even where they don't make sense. Many have been critical of the album's half songs, but I look at it like this - there are five classics ( IMHO ) that we would not have had if they hadn't drafted them into the suite. Besides, the Beatles had done ultra short pieces before ( think of DR ROBERT, ALL TOGETHER NOW to name but two ). GOLDEN SLUMBERS, CARRY THAT WEIGHT, THE END and HER MAJESTY are all worthy pieces in their own right and the last five numbers contribute to the idea of this being a McCartney dominated album. But I'm not so sure, given just how short they are. By the way, Ringo's crappy overdubbed solo on THE END wasn't even recorded as a solo, they just took out the other instruments. I don't buy the myth that they knew this was the last album as they went to do it coz the GET BACK album wasn't yet sorted, their business affairs were still not sorted and the way they recorded was really no different to '67 and '68. They promoted the album as per usual and even though John had left the band, their reactions to Paul's departure in 1970 { not to mention the fact that Paul, George and Ringo recorded I ME MINE in 1970 } speaks volumes. But back to the album in question, what a way to go !! Reconvening in 1995 was the only real mistake these guys made. But that's a postscript !!

Tim Blake <> (17.06.2006)

I'm glad you listed this as The Beatles best album, because I fully agree. This is, in my opinion, the most varied, yet consistent, awesome album The Beatles ever made, with Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour coming in afterwards. It's true that there are no weak points. Highlights for me are George's awesome Something and Here Come The Sun, the great Octopus's Garden, the funny Maxwell's Silver Hammer...and probably my favourite track...I Want You (She's So Heavy), which is the Beatles at their most progressive. Paul's suite towards the end isn't as good as these standouts, but it is still a nice collection of tunes, particularly You Never Give Me Your Money and Carry That Weight.

An absolute classic. And also I've been blasting The White Album recently alot. It is nowhere near as good, imo.


Mats Fjäll <> (19.10.99)

I think this is a very underrestemated album, I mean how could anybody say an album with songs like 'Let It be','Get Back', 'I've Got A Feeling', 'Across the Universe' is bad!?!? Of course there is a few weak moments: 'For You Blue', 'Dig It' and 'Maggie May'. But on the other hand there's 'The Long And Winding Road', 'I Me Mine' and 'Dig A Pony'(Great Intro!!!) So it is worth alot better credit than given by the so called "experts" around the music world!

Ben Greenstein <> (13.01.2000)

A seven. Too much bluesy stuff for my tastes. I am enamoured with the ballads, though - "Across The Universe," "Let It Be," and especially the amazing "Long And Winding Road" are great examples of Beatles at their peak. But songs like "I've Got A Feeling" and "Dig It" are pretty lame. And the fact that some of the songs are just brief throwaways doesn't help. Oh well. I still like it a lot.

Michel Franzen <> (13.01.2000)

"I Me Mine': while the song, with its pleading, high-energy gospelish atmosphere (very suitable for All Things Must Pass, in fact) was undeniably great, it was also much too short, so Phil without further thinking dubbed the only existent verse twice and put it on record that way. What a simple way to deal with such a complex problem, eh?"

Phil Spector did the exact same thing to the Stones' song "I Don't Know Why" from Metamorphasis. He turned that fragment into a whole song by repeating the the guitar solo and second verse, that's why the second verse fades out at the end of the song. Pretty cool song, too.

Robert Tally <> (19.02.2000)

The end result of the somewhat disappointing 'Get Back' sessions. This is the only Beatles album where the end result is LESS than the sum of its parts. There are several strong songs here, but the overall atmosphere is totally bummed out. The recording quality sounds inferior to virtually all of their other albums, too, perhaps because it was recorded at Apple instead of Abbey Road. My favorite song on this is probably 'I Dig A Pony,' which is the only really ballsy Lennon tune here - great riff, cryptic lyrics, cool harmony, etc. Close on its heals is 'Two Of Us,' which is one of my very favorite McCartney songs. It's a very happy tune, and makes me want to go out and take a drive. Okay, I'm back. Other good moments include 'I Me Mine' (a strong Harrison number that sways one moment and rocks the next); 'One After 909' (a rollicking trip into the past for the still-fab four; love that keyboard by Billy Preston); and 'For You Blue' (a catchy blues jam). There's at least one song that's virtually ruined by Phil Spector's overly lush orchestration, 'Across The Universe,' which otherwise would be a really good moment on this album. 'Let It Be' is one of those songs that's perfectly crafted, and at the same time doesn't grab me (that is a great solo by George, though). 'I've Got A Feeling' also doesn't quite grab me - McCartney's a bit obnoxious here. 'Get Back' is kind of overrated - it doesn't really rock that well (and the edited job here doesn't help - but another great job by Billy!). 'Dig It' and 'Maggie Mae' are both pretty much irrelevant, but harmless. Then there's 'The Long And Winding Road.' Okay, let me start by saying that I recognize that this song, like all of the other Beatles' hits, is well-crafted and tuneful. And now I'll get to the bad news. The lyrics are hopelessly sentimental. The rhythm just plods along with no variation whatsoever. The other Beatles sound (and in the movie, look) totally bored out of their skulls. And as if this wasn't enough, Phil Spector slops on the biggest bunch of syrupy goo I've heard this side of Mantovani. To sum it up, 'The Long And Winding Road' is my LEAST favorite Beatles song. You may now proceed to flame me, Beatle people.

Technical point #1: This 'version' of 'Get Back' is actually an alternate mix of the version on the single (and Past Masters). The rooftop version appears only on Anthology 3.

Technical point #2: 'Let It Be' is also a different mix, but not a different version from the one on the single (and Past Masters).

Technical point #3: 'Across The Universe,' surprisingly enough, is not a separate version, but a drastically different mix than the one on Past Masters. Also, it was recorded during the 'Lady Madonna' sessions.

Technical point #4: While most of these tracks were recorded before Abbey Road, the Phil Spector orchestrations, the lead vocal on 'For You Blue,' and all of 'I Me Mine' were recorded in early 1970. The guitar solo on 'Let It Be' dates from the Abbey Road sessions.

Frank Stalone <> (13.06.2000)

Let It Be was ruined by Phil Spector and his damned Wall of Sound- take 'Two of Us', 'I've Got a Feeling', 'Dig a Pony', 'I Me Mine', 'Let It Be', and the 50s covers from Anthology 3, replace Spector's butchered versions and the throwaways ('Dig It', 'Maggie Mae'), and you have one kick ass rock 'n' roll album.

Rich Bunnell <> (25.06.2000)

There's no such thing as an underrated Beatles album, and this is no exception. Where are the bad reviews of this one that everyone's talking about? Wilson & Alroy, yeah, sure, but their rating is relative to other Beatles albums, and pretty much everybody else holds up this album in a positive light. The lesser-known rockish stuff like "For You Blue," "I Me Mine" and "Dig A Pony" is infectious, and the hits are pretty dandy too. I still don't find enough of a substantial difference between this version of "Get Back" and the Past Masters one for me to get too upset, and the title track and "The Long And Winding Road" are absolutely wonderful ballads. Screw all of you with your trendy I'm-so-indie "Phil Spector is Satan!!!" crap, his orchestrations really add to the power of the songs. Wall of sound? Where? I hear some strings in the background, yeah, but I can hear the melodies just fine.

And I really have to give mad props to my favorite Beatles ballad of all time (second favorite song behind "I Am The Walrus"), "Across The Universe." The song literally almost brings me to tears with how absolutely gorgeous it is-- never before or since have I heard such a perfect melody in my LIFE. This is largely due to the fact that it was stuck in my head for no reason during a particularly emotional part of my camp session last week (it's cheesy, but if you wanna know, just ask), and in a good way. I can't say any more about how much I love this song. I can't believe Bowie and Fiona Apple would stoop so low as to cover it, and with such wretched versions (though, for the record, Fiona's version fit fairly well with the scene in "Pleasantville" it was featured in, but it doesn't stand very well on its own). Final rating for the album is eight. Abbey Road was a better swan song and should've rightfully been released after, but since Abbey Road is the greatest album of all time it's sort of hard to compare.

<> (09.10.2000)

Everytime I read the opinions on this album no matter what web site or whatever book one name always deservedly comes up and that is the great Phil Spector. I find it rather "LAUGHABLE" that Beatle fans could have the arrogance to put this great musical genious down! When he was given the "Get Back" tapes, the Beatles and or John, asked Phil to do something which he had never done before and that was to make a complete "Album" from start to finish. You folks out there should remember that when Phil Spector worked on the Let It Be album he was a producer who made some of the greatist Rock and Roll "singles" the world had ever known but really not any albums. This "weakness" or simply a lack of experience does I admit come out a bit on the Let It Be album as it does not sound like a perfectly cohesive work, but neither were the Beatles a cohesive band when they originaly recorded these songs, and by the time Phil got the tapes the band was... well, you know the story. Phil Spector saved 'Across The Universe' at least if you want to accept the opinion of John Lennon. Spector's production also preserved the Beatles in every groove of the album, and as every Beatles person knows he made the song 'Let It Be' better by pushing Paul and George Martin out of the way so that the Beatles and particulary George Harrison could breathe. Which brings me to the biggest problem of the "Get Back" sessions and the Let it Be album namely that Paul McCartney is running the show here and the other Beatles quite simply did not like it! I mean that is so obvious! Add to it that John and George had no real "hits" here and the whole thing just becomes a McCartney ego ran misery. Phil Spector took all of this "misery" along with some fairly average Beatles songs and made an album which for the most part stands up to the rest of the Beatles work which by the year 2000 the whole wide world knows is no small acheivement! As for "The Long And Winding Road" drama, Paul McCartney had no problem with the song after it hit # 1, nor did he seem to have a problem when he picked up his Grammy award for best motion picture soundtrack, did he? Why he did the song again and many other Beatle classics with George Martin on cough, cough, ahem Broadstreet is way beyond me. Phil Spector gave "The Long And Winding Road" an etheral almost "distant" feel, one in which the Beatles were there and yet also at the same time not so quite there and to me at least that was a very effective and fitting way to say goodbye.

Jeff Blehar <> (20.11.2000)

I for one enjoy this one quite a bit more than Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but that's probably due to the overrated/underrated factor and the fact that I'll take good ol' roots rock over mellotrony psychedelic cloud-floating whimsy from my Beatles any day.  I can't deny that it's far too short and far too fillery, though - no two ways about it, both "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" are stupid, useless jam/singalongs masquerading as Beatles tracks.  And then there's the nefarious Spector influence - a formerly genius producer somehow loses all sense of how to orchestrate an album and destroys everything he lays his hands on.  Wait!  It's not true!  I insist that "The Long And Winding Road" is horrendous, unbearably so with all the harps and strings and angelic choruses, and "Across The Universe" is little better (especially now that we have the Beatles Anthology 2 version to compare it with), but "I Me Mine" ROCKS with those horror-show strings and brass, and "Let It Be" is a vast improvement over the single version.   Now here's an example where you can actually A/B a Spector track with a George Martin track and see how it's improved.  The single version (working from an identical master tape) buries the brass and favors a weaker, more twangy solo.  Spector goes all out with the horns, though, and Harrison's guitar solo MURDERS the old one - no competition.  The one song where I think you can actually say that Phil Spector did a better job than George Martin.  

Controversial tracks aside, everything else is soooo good.  "Two Of Us" is another one I get all nostalgic about - it's John & Paul!  On their way home!  (yeah, Paul says it's about Linda, but who're you gonna believe?  Him or me?).  I like "Dig A Pony" because it's so clumsy; the riff galumphs up and down and back and forth, and for a live performance it's really very strong.  Why Spector edited out the opening and closing "all I want is--" parts is beyond me, though.  "The One After 909" is a riot, skiffle revisited through the lens of bluesrock, and "I've Got A Feeling" is the best song on the album.  Everything comes together here: the last 50/50 Lennon/McCartney collaboration, suitably univeralist lyrics ("everybody had a good year"...), an EXTREMELY powerful McCartney vocal, and that nice ending part where both sections are overlaid.  Oh yeah, and it's a live recording.  Hey, those Beatles COULD play their instruments!  They just needed to practice in misery for months!  I'll give Let It Be an 8/10 (that's on the relative "Beatles vs. their own albums" scale, mind you), which is perhaps a little more than it deserves.  But this is a much better way to say goodbye than everyone makes it out to be.

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

I don't really consider this album as good as the ones before it but since this was mainly a mix of unrelated leftovers it isn't fair to compare it. The title track is beautiful, Paul says it was written about the ghost of his mother visiting him in the night and giving him advice. He now says the same thing about Linda. 'All Across the Universe' is without a doubt John's best contribution. 'The Long And Winding Road' is amazing and I don't really mind the strings-section too much. You see, in 1969 the Beatles had tons and tons and tons of unreleased reject songs locked away in their catalouge and Phil had to take all of that and create a solid LP of it. Quite a task! 'I Me Mine' was written about Paul's selfishness in the studio and how it frustrated George. If you saw the film, Paul would get very upset and take the instruments away from the other Beatle's because he felt them incapable (especially George and Ringo) of playing. This album serves as a decent coda to the band's career but Abbey Road is definetly their swansong.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

I feel the same way about this one as I do about Magical Mystery Tour. Some great stuff, a few good songs and a fair bit of filler. This time, though, the great stuff isn't as good. So I'll give it an 8.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)

8/10 - I like all the songs here, although only a few of them are classics. Even if Phil added strings to "The long and winding road" this is largely compensated for by replacing Paul's spoken verse (Anthology 3) with an instrumental passage. I HATE SPOKEN LYRICS! As mentioned are both versions of "Let it be" based on the same multi-track tape. Undoubtedly, the two different mixes are very different, but I have a hard time deciding which is the best one. As for solos, the best thing to do is to play both of them simultaneously. I made a rough blend of them myself (by combining the right channel of one version and the left channel of the other) to good effect. Too bad they didn't keep the cover for the scrapped "Get Back" album, which parodied their first album. The picture was used on "62-66" and "67-70", though.

Steve Hall <> (31.01.2001)

This album makes me angry. It promises so much about what might have been had this not been so messed up by Phil Spector.Although he is not entirely to blame,after all Lennon and Allen Klein(their new manager)employed him to do it.Why wasn't Mccartney told about it?Because they knew he would stop it.Despite what many like to say about Mccartney during this period at least he cared about the Beatles legacy and only wanted material to be put out that was worthy of the name.

Right,the songs.Spector ruins "The long and winding road" "I me mine" and especially "Accross the Universe".The versions on Anthology 2+3 prove this.Why also does he discard "Don't let me down"????The rooftop version definetely belongs on the album,maybe the lyrics should have been changed to "Phil let us down".The only slight plus is the title track wich becomes even more impressive on the album than the single."One after 909" is a weaker moment and the "dig it"/"maggie mae" moments don't inspire me,still i'll just blame that on Spector aswell.This could have been 9.5 but i'm afraid gets 7.5/10

Palash Ghosh <> (15.02.2001)

This is The Beatles' 'official bootleg' album. It's enjoyable precisely BECAUSE it's so raw and unpolished. The only real innovation The Beatles could've done was to 'get back' to basics, and this is what they did. It was nice to realize that these Gods of Pop were actually normal human beings who made mistakes and were flawed and didn't always look good.

My favorite tune here is "Across the Universe" -- but something is missing in this arrangement, I'm not sure what it is. I think this was one of the songs John complained did not get enough attention in the studio.

Oddly enough, I actually prefer the single-version of 'Let it be' (which is more churchly with the organ). For some reason, I don't like George's gritty guitar solo in the middle of the album version. This is not a 'rocker,' it's more like a prayer on the order of The Who's "Overture" so it needs a more somber arrangement (which the '45 provides).

'Get back' is a favorite, too, so deceptively simple, and rocking. Billy Preston was a Godsend!

'I've got a feeling' is another highlight, as is 'One after 909.'

'Don't let me down' has never appealed to me, it's too slow or something. But I recently heard a bootleg of an earlier version of this song which is just centered around the line 'Nobody ever loved me like she does.' That bootleg is far superior to the final version and the melody is stronger!

I never liked 'Long and winding road' either and I doubt that Phil Spector's lush strings harmed it too much.

PS. All apologies, of course, 'Don't let me down' was NOT on the Let it be album, but it was featured prominently in the film of the same name.

Chris Papadopoulos <> (02.03.2001)

Get real, George. You make three of your more ridiculous statements in this review.

"They lost interest in it halfway through, but that's the only flaw." Self-evident nonsense (about the number of flaws, I mean.).

"John's outstanding slide part [in 'For You Blue' - outstanding? outstanding?] proves that the guys could have blown any other bluesman [sic] in existence off the planet". You know that isn't true, George. You know it. (I don't. Honest! That's one of the most atmospheric, enigmatic and inspired blues solos of the Sixties - G.S.)

Not even close to a 9, but I really like 'Dig A Pony', 'I've Got A Feeling', 'Get Back' and even 'The Long and Winding Road', which I think Macca sings superbly (more recent versions are uniformly awful).

For all its faults, though, I LOVE the film.

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

In may 1970,it was released in a luxury box set with a book called "the Beatles get back".Needless to say,it cost an arm and a leg and Apple quicky withdrew the book that became a rare -and very very expensive-item.

Now for the record;it has been said so many times that Phil Spector ruined the album that trying to explain he didn't is nothing but a waste of breath.First of all,Phil Spector is the greatest producer of all times.Under his belt,he's got dozen and dozen of ,to quote him,"little symphonies for kids":The Ronettes,the Crystals,the Righteous brothers,Tina Turner at her very best ("river deep ,mountain high"),you must hear their astounding singles on the "back to mono" Spector box set.An absolute must for all pop fans.Don't forget either that both Harrison and Lennon hired Spector after the split.This man salvaged tapes that Lennon himself deemed "the shittiest in the world".Without him,maybe they would have been shelved for 25 years to reappear on the Anthologies!Most of these tracks :dig a pony,across the universe,I me mine,let it be,get back,the long and winding road really passed the audition!

One last thing,because it's their last released work:I hope the future generations will have their own Beatles.When you see that on almost every poll of the planet they've got 2,3,sometimes  even 4 albums in the top 10 as in the top 1000 virgin all-time albums,you 're forced to realize that it's not only the forty-something and the fiftty-something that love them.

Eric Rogozin <> (07.03.2001)

The best song? "I Me Mine" - I adore this song! It's brilliant! Come to think of it, Harrison wrote great songs for the Fab Four. Also, "Let It Be" is awesome and one of the mostly played on radio Beatles songs. Anyway, it's truly "one of Macca's 'golden dozen' tunes". "The Long And Winding Road" is great ballad and Phil's orchestration doesn't add or decrease something: with any orchestration, it's a wonderful song. "I've Got A Feeling" - magnificent work, that shows greatness of The Beatles as a performers. "Across The Universe" - John's "psychologic&introspective&psychedelic" anthem, which he liked, but he disliked any version og this song. Yeah, lyrics are great here and the tune is gorgeous! "For You Blue" - impressive blues! "Maggie Mae" is a short composition about famous Liverpool female lurcher; "Two Of Us" - I love that tune. Unfortunately, this record showed imminent split of The Beatles.

Glenn Wiener <> (30.07.2001)

Another good album cover by the fab gang. The songs aren’t too shabby either although not quite on the same level as Abbey Road or Double White. None the less the raw feel of the album is a good quality. Maybe I’m a bit of a George Harrison mark (fan), but I especially like the bluesy groove 'For You Blue' and the emotive 'I Me Mine'. John Lennon actually plays some lead guitar on 'One After Nine O Nine'. Good strong solo there John. And Paul’s 'The Long And Winding Road' is an eternally beautiful piece. Some merely OK songs here and there but OK for the Beatles would be great for mere mortal bands.

Joe H <> (01.12.2001)

Great record! Nothing could ever top Abbey Road, of course (yet, with the Beatles, you could never tell, maybe they could of! They followed up The White Album and Magical Mystery Tour after SGT Peppers so who knows!), but this is great anyways! Has a lot of great forgotten classics on here still, like "Across The Universe", "Two of Us", "Ive Got A Feeling", and of course "Let It Be"! That song most people remember from this album, i think. Oh and "Get Back"! That song rocks! Ohh and i forgot about "Long And Winding Road" too (and why Paul was pissed about the background stuff stumps me! It perfectly compliments the song! Ohh yeah, i guess this album was suppose to get back to their old roots, so thats kinda understandable)! Theres a lot more classics on here then people think! Only complaint id have is that i wish that "Maggie Mae" was longer, and that "Dig A Pony" does kinda drag at the end, but still a good song! I agree with the 9/10-14/15 rating.

Ryan Maffei <> (11.02.2002)

Be a man, George, and stop holding back. Let it Be is a complete failure, underproduced and underwritten, with the only good tunes/recordings (I added "recordings" because "Across the Universe" is a great song despite the version it's featured in here) being the nostalgic "I've Got a Feeling" and the winsome power-ballad "Let it Be", which probably was a big inspiration for Badfinger's entire canon. The rest of this shit is not worthy of the Beatles. A 5 for the two tunes I mentioned and the good ones suppressed by the recording format.

Ben Kramer <> (20.04.2002)

When I first heard this album, I pretty much agreed with your assessment, but I am beginning to think that this is a much better album then people, even you, say it is. I would give it the honor of a 15, and here's why

1.) There are 4 of the greatest Beatle songs ever on this album - 'Across the Universe', 'Let It Be', 'The Long And Winding Road', and 'Get Back'. 'The Long And Winding Road' has some of Paul's best vocals ever. 'Across the Universe' is one of the most beautiful songs John (though Beatles Magazine says George) ever wrote.

2.) There is no filler, and the weakest tracks on here are 1 minute long. Even if they were bad, their presence is negligible to the grade of the album

3.) George writes two classics with 'I Me Mine' and 'For You Blue'

4.) It's got 'I've Got A Feeling' on it. Although it is one of the more strange Beatle tunes, It deserves recognition.

5.) With 'One After 909', they show that they haven't forgotten their roots as a bubblegum pop band.

6.) The rawness, as much as people hate it, adds to the first two songs and the live songs on the album.

7.) I like it more than albums that I would give a high 14 to (Sgt. Pepper, Strange Days, Remain In Light, ...) Although this is a "different" album for The Beatles, I don't see any reason why this isn't on the same level as MMT. This is one of the greatest musical experiences ever, and to think they topped it with their last album, Abbey Road.

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

Still very much an enjoyable album. Only "Maggie Mae" and "Dig It" prevent this from yet another 15. Perhaps, the roughness of this record is part of is charm to me. The orchestration seems to blend in well where it's located. "Two Of Us" is my favorite from this record. 9(14).

Michael H. <> (09.02.2003)

AS YOU KNOW BY THIS TIME, LET IT BE is being re-issued without Spectors production, and Phil is in jail for murder, but let me clairify up a few things here that I have read about. "The Long And Winding road" . I have read where Paul was mad as hell about Phil's production, but was happy to pick up the grammy award. But a few facts here that nobody else has read about but me. Only probably 3 songs were doctered by Phil Spectors production, and "The Long And Winding Road" has reasons for the production. It wasa run-through with Paul on Piano and Vocals, John Lennon on Bass Guitar, and others including Billy Preson. Well, during the recording, Lennon was making many comical mistakes on the bass, and if you listen closely you can hear them in the mix. There was a book "REVOLUTION IN THE HEAD" that points them out and the times on the cd they occure. It was said that it was a good enough take with a good McCartney vocal, but Phil needed to cover the bass playing mistakes. Get the book, hear the Let it Be cd version, or the ANthology version (same running time almost exactly) and you can hear what the book was talking about. I am serious. Also "I ME MINE" had to have an edit done towards the end to make the song "longer". I have seen the movie and have bootlegged outtakes-probably need to see it again- and dont remember any tentions, but still..."Across the universe" was an outtake originally released (remixed) for an benefit album, on this album, Phil slows down the tape and adds orchestrations. Also on "Long and winding road"  one line you can hear an 'audible grin' as Paul sings a line while trying to stifle a laugh at John. If you listen closely to "Long and winding road", you can hear bass playing mistakes such as fumbles, 2 'upper-lightly wooshings', and missed notes, ect... Serious.

<> (23.06.2003)

Let It Be carried a lot of negative baggage for me. It came out when the breakup had become public, and was part of a pissing contest between Paul and the others over the release of his solo album. Yet, there is a lot of good music on the disc. Despite the bad feelings of the band members, there was always the talent for good tunes and singing to fall back on when real inspiration was lacking.

Phil Spector's supporters and detractors were both right. I can believe John was right about how bad the tapes sounded straight from the sessions, especially those in Twickenham, after having heard the samples on Anthology 3. Spector deserves some credit anyway for plowing through all that stuff, salvaging the best of it and in some cases ("Two of Us") finding some of the feel the band used to have. However (like most Beatle fans, I think) I don't like the heavy orchestrations he dumped on to "Let It Be," "The Long and Winding Road," "Across The Universe," and "I Me Mine."

Getting to the songs, "Let It Be" sounds like a church hymm, and I don't really like hymms. "The Long and Winding Road" is mawkish enough of a song and the added orchestration just made it more obvious. But the rest of the material is fairly good. The real highlights are "Two of Us," "I've Got A Feeling," and "Get Back." All are Paul songs, which shows how much of a near solo album this is. George gets his (by now) quota of two songs per disc, while John basically contributes just one true new tune, "I Dig A Pony." "Across The Universe" and "One After 909" are leftovers, though good leftovers, and "Dig It" and "Maggie May" are toss-offs, so forget them.

There's talk of a reissue of Let It Be in the near future. It would be nice to gather bonus material in the form of "de-Spectorized" versions of some songs. From watching the movie I recall an interesting, more hard rocking take on "Two Of Us" where Paul does his Elvis imitation, and laffs from "Besame Mucho." But from what I can read off the websites, it looks like we won't get much new. Too bad. 8/13.

Henry Olsen <> (25.03.2004)

Just wanted to mention that a "Naked" version of this album came out in late 2003. It removed the "Spectorization" and changed up the track listing, among other things. I think both versions are great to listen to, as the songs are great, regardless of how they've been produced.

Amanda Kenyon <> (15.05.2004)

I don't much care for "The Long and Winding Road" when I hear it on the album, because there's such a startling contrast between the overproduction of this song and the bare-bones qualities of the rest. On its own, though, it's great. Definitely not their best album overall, but does have some of their greatest individual songs - the title track and "Across the Universe" spring immediately to mind. And the cover makes a great T-shirt!

Matthew Byrd <> (08.07.2004)

I have always liked this album a great deal, it's not as large and as grand as sgt. pepper's and abbey road, but really very good.... maybe a bit underrated by critics. This album seems to remind me of Bob's Nashville Skyline.... the quiet almost-masterpiece that slips by after the huge whirlwind of previous records.... an excellent album let it be is.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (18.12.2005)

Although I knew 4 of the songs having heard them on 67 - 70 [the first Beatle LP I ever heard.To my shame I "borrowed" it on a whim from my friend's dad without permission nearly 30 years ago and never returned it !],it was a pleasant surprize when I bought Let it be and heard the rest of it. I was 14 at the time and I was able to listen to it without any bias or knowledge of it's fraught history and as such I have always dug it. It, for me, is as inventive as anything they ever did. I think Phil Spector gets a terrible press about Let it be but I think he did a good job with what he was presented with. Let's face it,the band didn't want George Martin on this, really,even when Paul was directing things because they had Glyn Johns (Rolling Stones,Who,Kinks,Small Faces, Led Zeppelin,Steve Miller Band - he'd engineered/produced for them all and many others before the Beatles) on board with a view to him producing and when he presented them with a finished album, they all rejected it . I think most of the bootlegs stem from his work and it must be remembered that the Beatles rejected them and according to John none of them could bear to listen to them. So Spector did a good salvage job and hence,preserved was a great album that may have never seen the light of day."Across the universe" is beautiful.I do also like the original recording that John was so dissapointed with that it was given to a World Wildlife Fund charity LP. It's got a couple of girl fans singing backing vocals on it at Paul's instigation[their voices are pretty ropey !] and so I think he needs to be careful about moaning too hard about the choirs and strings on "Winding Road".I still rate it as a lovely song and in any case, the Beatles themselves weren't beyond using syruppy strings.That said, I understand why Paul got upset - I would too. Back to "Universe" for a moment,the original completely lacks the haunting,dreamy,cosmic feel of the album version[it's also the last time George's sitar or any Indian instrument was used on a Beatles track whereas "Strawberry", "Lucy","tomorrow never.." , "Getting Better" and others had all benefitted]. As an album,it carries the Beatles trademark diversity and odd quirkiness and even the old Liverpool ditty about a mythical prostitute["Maggie Mae"] has it's place. I love silly singalongs that you can roar to the top of your voice to as you speed down the motorway and the Beatles wrote an abundance of those in their time !

The stresses and strains of The white album sessions are taking their toll by now but like all great artists, great work was the result.John made a telling point late in 1970 when he said that in spite of all things,the Beatles could really play.He was right. "Two of us", "Dig a pony", "Dig it","I've got a feeling","One after 909","For you blue" and "Get back" show this in abundance. It's also an evenly split album in terms of the compositions and the reason they sound simple in structure is coz the original premise of the album was that all the songs be played live, without overdubs.So they cheated a's hard to go back to school when you've done university.


Robert Tally <> (21.02.2000)

The only legitimate way to make a Beatles compilation - this and volume two. The only factor that it suffers from (other than the usual handful of weaker tracks) is the lack of cohesion, though it holds together better than the second volume.

My favorite? 'Bad Boy.' If any of these Stones, Kinks or Yardbirds fans ever claim that these bands rocked better than the Beatles during the early British Invasion years, just play them 'Bad Boy.' It simply kicks ass. (And, by the way, I really do think those other bands could rock, too.) There are several other tracks that stand out really well: 'She Loves You' (perhaps the quintessential early Beatles track in terms of clever hooks); 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' (fewer hooks, but a little rockier); 'I'm Down' (one of their best early rockers - and the harmonies are really humorous); 'I Call Your Name' (a good, tough Lennon outing); 'I Feel Fine' (a quasi-jazz number that does everything right); 'Slow Down' (another great Lennon vocal); and 'Long Tall Sally' (great vocal from McCartney; great solo from Harrison). Then there's 'Yes It Is' and 'This Boy.' I say them in this order because I like the first one a little more. They both have excellent harmonies and killer Lennon vocal solos, and 'Yes It Is' should rightfully be seen as sort of a rehash of 'This Boy,' but there are two differences that are worth pointing out. First, the harmonies on 'Yes It Is' are a little trickier. It's not too hard to sing along with any of the parts on 'This Boy,' but try to follow George's part on 'Yes It Is.' It's not that easy. But this is a pretty trivial point. What's more important is that 'This Boy' draws a lot of attention to its use of the relative minor. For those who don't know much music theory, but know a little guitar or piano, the verses to 'This Boy' start off with a D major and follow it with a B minor, which is the relative minor in the key of D. Relative minors are a hallmark of fifties music. In fact, one of the most profound effects the Beatles had on popular music was the virtual abandonment of relative minors in their chord progressions. Nowadays, if you want to write a nostalgic song, you use relative minors. It plops the song right smack dab into the fifties. Anyway, this is getting long-winded, so let me just go on to what I consider the lesser material: 'From Me To You' (catchy stuff, but it doesn't compare with the other early hits); 'She's A Woman' (good vocal from McCartney, but way overrated); 'I'll Get You' (another catchy tune that just isn't that great); 'Thank You Girl' (this one hasn't dated too well, but it's infectious); and 'Matchbox' (perhaps the weakest vocal performance by any Beatle; the double (triple? quadruple?) tracking is really a mess. In addition to these, there are three tracks that are for hardcore fans only: a shakier rendition of 'Love Me Do,' and two of their biggest hits, but in German, 'Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand' and 'Sie Liebt Dich.' I guess it's different for people who understand German, but it just sounds really odd to me to hear Lennon and McCartney sing these.

Rich Bunnell <> (09.07.2000)

An eight. This IS the Beatles, and this album is completely filled with great songs, but they go a bit too heavy on the rockabilly covers, which are usually hit and miss, for my taste. Paul tears through "Long Tall Sally," but "Slow Down" is given a limp treatment (in my opinion, the Jam released the definitive version of that song on their debut) and the others aren't that great either. But the rest of the stuff? Man, all I have to do is throw out some song titles. "I Want To Hold Your Hand." "She Loves You." "I Feel Fine." "Thank You Girl." "She's A Woman." "From Me To You." Oh...pleasure overload!!!!!....wait, that sounded sort of sick. Ignore, move on. This isn't as strong as the second Past Masters volume (duuuuuuh) but there're enough keepers to make this as least a good a buy as any other Beatles album, which is to say a pretty freaking good buy. Sie liebt dich, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

Mostly essential stuff, though I could do with out the German versions of 'She Loves You' and 'I Want to Hold your Hand'. A couple of other weak spots on the album ('Matchbox', 'Slow Down', 'Yes It is') but still deserves a 9.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)

8/10 - All of the A-sides are classics and some of the other sides, too. It seems like they sing "Sie liebt dick". Is it just bad pronounciation or is it that "nasty" Lennon again?

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

The Beatles Past Masters (Vol. 1) is a marvelous and interesting hodgepodge of big-selling early singles, lesser known original tracks and the inevitable covers. 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' are probably as famous as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and, interestingly, both of these two mammoth hits were really and truly collaborative efforts between John and Paul, so they have the perfect mixture of sweet melody, unexpected chord changes and raucous arrangement. I have never lost the 'flavor; for either of these two beauties –- and they instantly transport me to another place and time. And I also get a kick out of the German-language versions of these tunes (but to be fair, they probably also should've done these in French, no?: "Elle vous aime" et "Je veux tenir votre main.") 'From me to you' is absolutely prehistoric and amazingly simple –- however it, too, has not lost an ounce of charm.

But the true classic here is the absolutely gorgeous 'This boy' (a tune that hard-core Beatle fans seem to adore, while the general public seems largely ignorant of). With its beautiful, sophisticated melody, harmonic shifts, 'shouting' middle, and lovely guitar solo, this is a remarkable achievement –- it shows that at this point John was clearly the superior composer and vocalist to Paul (though the latter would quickly catch up).

'I feel fine' and 'She's a woman' made a delightful double-A side single. Each of these infectious, energetic numbers are identifiable within the first few nanoseconds! John had a terrific ability to come up with catchy, exciting guitar riffs -- a talent he would lose within a few years. And I've always loved that 'hammering' intro to Paul's 'She's a woman.' But, try as I might George, I just can't seem to hear any barking canines at the end of 'I feel fine.'

Most of the remaining originals were written by John: 'I Call Your Name', 'Thank You Girl' and 'I'll Get You' are all solid, but not stellar, early efforts. John was still working the 'kinks' out of his songwriting regimen. Paul does a magnificent singing job on 'Long tall Sally' -– I might be wrong, but I can't recall John ever covering any Little Richard material (Paul could hit those higher notes a bit easier).

Joe H <> (03.12.2001)

This stuff is just amazing. This here is the early Beatles singles and they are just outstanding! I love dearly with all my heart "Love Me Do" (yes you heard me right!), "I'll Get You", "Thank You Girl" (underrated classic), "From Me To You", "She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "This Boy", "Yes It Is" (another underrated classic), and "I Feel Fine"! All amazing songs by far. The rest doesnt hold up in brilliance as those mentioned before but they are still amazing! Well i could care less if The Beatles never did some of these covers like "Matchbox", "Slow Down", and "Long Tall Sally" (okay, its great, but still not amazing like this other stuff!), and "Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand" and "Sie Liebt Dich" is funny, but pointless to those of us who dont know German! Overall, awesome collection of early singles and such. 9/10.

Ryan Maffei <> (02.03.2002)

The four-star volume. Some nice curios, but were the Beatles' early years ever worth a five-star rating? Just redundant singles, German versions of kitschy classics, a work of brilliance here and there. But in the face of, say, the Hollies, it's all good. A B+, or an 8.

Bob Josef <> (25.03.2002)

Very solid, with the exceptions of the two throwaway covers "Bad Boy" ( I just don't like Larry Williams, I guess) and "Matchbox." I do have a couple of minor lyrical quibbles -- the words to "Thank You, Girl" are really sappy even by early Beatles standards, and I find the first couplet of "She's A Woman" pretty awkward and lame as well ("My love don't give me presents/I know that's she's no peasant" -- I mean, Paul could have come up with a lot better rhyme for such a great tune). But everything else rules -- "Slow Down" (wonder if this one influenced "You Can't Do That"?) and "Long Tall Sally" are barnburner covers ("Slow Down" even made the Top 40 as an American single). Play "LTS" back-to-back with "I'm Down" and you can easily hear that Paul ripped off the former to get the latter, but it's a great rip-off anyway. The two most innovative tracks are, of course "I Feel Fine" and "I Call Your Name," with that unusual yet smooth time signature change from the chorus to the bridge.

Again, my main beef is that, since all of these tracks were recorded during or close to the sessions for the albums Please Please Me, With the Beatles, Beatles For Sale and Help, EMI could have added them as bonus tracks to these half-hour albums instead of forcing consumers to pick up an extra CD. But then again, with EMI now in financial trouble, I doubt if that'll happen..

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

All very good singles from the early era. To think "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" caused controversy back then! And, the Beatles can sing well in German too! These would easily bump up my opinions of some of the early records if they were there: 9(14).

<> (27.06.2003)

I tend to overlook this and the other Past Masters CD. So much emphasis is placed on the albums the Beatles made that one forgets that, at least up until Rubber Soul, the group wanted their best efforts to be released as singles. And it was always the singles I'd hear first over the radio when new Beatles product was coming out. It's a measure of how radically the Beatles changed the recording business - moving it from a 45-rpm singles-based market to an LP-based market.

I have a slight preference for the later Beatles material found in Past Masters Vol. 2. I'm not a big fan of "Love Me Do" or "I Want To Hold Your Hand" or the German-language stuff. ("I Want To Hold Your Hand" has a very strange rhythm guitar, sounds like its being played through a muffler. The version I've heard on the "Ed Sullivan Show" is much much tougher mainly because the rhythm guitar sounds like a guitar!)

But what remains is terrific stuff. "She Loves You" was my first favorite Beatles song, one of those numbers where everything works - Ringo's shift to toms on the chorus, George's riffs, that major sixth chord at the end. "Long Tall Sally" and "I'm Down" are arguably the two great McCartney "Little Richard" workouts, the latter sounding like they have to drag Paul away as he's gone raving mad. "I Call Your Name" has a tough John vocal and then kicks into that middle section -reggae, ska, whatever - and kicks right back while George's Rickenbacker holds everything together. "I Feel Fine" - I fell for that chorus the moment I first heard it. Larry Williams always brought out the animal in John - "Slow Down" and Bad Boy" are both tremendous ravers for Cheeky John. As is "Matchbox" for Ringo (Carl Perkins was apparently present at that session.) 9/14.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (18.12.2005)

This[and for that matter, vol 2] is a sort of rehash of an album I had about 21 years ago called Rarities - from what I recall, it had all the same tracks minus the A sides [at the time they could all be found on official LPs or compilations like 62-66, 67-70, Beatle Oldies but goldies] but I think this is a better collection.

While the Beatles came into a pop industry that was mono and singles dominated/oriented, they were a group of people who took pride in the music they played and wrote and according to Keith Richards,were tired of albums that their idols put out with 2 hits or 2 decent numbers and 10 slabs of rubbish so they made a conscious decision early on to work on each album track as hard as they would a single as it was the dominant medium at the time.This had 2 significant consequences;firstly,it put George back a couple of years(notwithstanding the fab "Don't bother me") but got him really trying hard to come up with quality [and by George !! He succeeded - his post 64 output is as good as the 2 main writers] as the Beatles quality control was high.It also had the unexpected dividend of raising the flag for songwriting and inspiring or strengthening countless others like Ray Davies, Jagger & Richards, Pete Townsend, Graham Gouldman,Syd Barrett, Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn, to name but a few. Even Dylan, before he influenced the Beatles in terms of lyrical content, was moved by them in terms of sound and songwriting.Of course it also sorted out the sheep from the goats and many like Brian Jones fell by the wayside because they couldn't write songs[many initial leaders of bands like Jones and Roger Daltrey saw their influence diminish within their bands as a result] The other, longer lasting effect was that the band continually offered up good songs, experimenting all the way and in doing so, the albums were stuffed with great songs and the main medium became the album, not the single.The Beatles showed that by working hard on even fillers & throwaways, you could make worthwhile music....

That all said, the Beatles started the journey on the terms that were presented to them and that is why their early [ie 62-66] singles and EPs are so groundbreaking.To think that as early as 1964 they were incorporating ska/reggae into "I call your name", a superb song that John wrote before there was any Beatles[ it shows how the Beatles absorbed and redefined - this was influenced by "My boy lollipop",a ska song that hit the charts in the UK early 64] - it was 4 years before the rest of the Western world caught up with ska[and just as it did, it was mutating into reggae....].It's remarkable to think that Paul did the vocal to the shreddingly hot "I'm down" the same evening that he did the vocal to "Yesterday" [and "I've just seen a face" for good measure].The twin lead guitar on "I feel fine" is a couple of years ahead of Beck and Page in the Yardbirds; and I must confess, for the last 30 years I've been a lover of "I'll get you" and the simplistic,plodding bass of "From me to you" is a highlight of the days when not a great deal of attention was paid to that instrument. I have always dug "Love me do",it's like a shot in the arm for 1962 and it's so infectious and simple and catchy and short[ditto to it's B side,not included here] yet interesting enough to bear repeated listenings;Because of the fact that "She loves you" [in particular] and "I want to hold your hand" are such blowaway tracks, so brimming with life, energy and excitement, I've never been able to like the German versions of the songs....I am amazed they managed to get the lyrics to scan, though. Which reminds me, if you ever look at what the words mean on songs, then "She loves you" is the standout song of the early 60s for me.The "Hard days night" LP and "I call your name" were full of deep meanings in the songs(mainly in fleeting references though) but "She loves you" was the first really intelligent lyric the group did. Unfortunately this is always overshadowed by the chorus which folk like to use as an example of how crappy pop lyrics were/are.But the song is about saving a marriage,ironically ! Deep stuff !The Beatles always had strong B sides and "This boy" is no exception.....but I've never liked it along with "Thank you girl" "I need you" and "Revolution 9".....These are the 4 I never listen to and I don't know why because "9" & "Boy" are definite groundbreakers. They do zilch for me, odd that.Aside from that,this is a neccesary and important collection so acquire it somehow and marvel at possibly the most far reaching development of any band in popular music history.Possibly.


Simon Hearn <> (11.09.99)

This album should be given to children when they start school. It is history on disc. No other comment needed. If you have not got it - sell anything you can and buy it. If you have got it - stop reading this and put it on, dummy!

Robert Tally <> (21.02.2000)

Very disjointed due to the gap between 1966 and 1968 (filled by the Magical Mystery Tour album), but song-for-song, hardly anything can touch this one. Picking a favorite is really hard, but being a big Lennon fan, I'll just say 'Rain.' Early psychedelia at its best, with some of Paul's best bass playing on record. Actually, I'd like to pick another song to tie with this one, though, and that would be 'Hey Jude,' which is probably the finest song Paul McCartney ever wrote. The melody is subtle and controlled, and the lyrics are truly inspired. There are several others that could almost topple these, though: 'Old Brown Shoe' (my favorite George Harrison song, at least from his Beatles years - and maybe of all time); 'Revolution' (could they be rocking any better than this? - it really knocks me out); 'Paperback Writer' (clever stuff from Paul; good rocker; nice harmonies); 'You Know My Name' (one of the best novelty records ever; at least three of the four main parts just crack me up: the opening parody of the Righteous Brothers; the part where Lennon imitates the middle-aged Cockney woman; and the part where Lennon imitates Bluto); and 'Don't Let Me Down' (minimalistic verses and a beautiful middle part) Most of the others are quite good, too, but not big favorites: 'Across The Universe' (without the Spectorizations; but a little too sped up); 'Day Tripper' (everything works really well here, but I've grown tired of the big riff over the years); 'Lady Madonna' (they're rockin' here; the song's solid; but I'm not bowled over); 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' (great bass sound, solid song, but a little one-dimensional); 'Let It Be' (nice piece of craftsmanship, but it doesn't really grab me); 'We Can Work It Out' (good, smart song by Paul with a cool bit in the middle by John, but it's not that great); 'Get Back' (definately overrated in terms of its rocking ratio); and 'The Inner Light' (one of the more awkward-sounding of George's excursions into raga music). But hey - even these lesser tunes are pretty strong stuff. This would be a great starting point for new Beatles fans.

Rich Bunnell <> (07.05.2000)

I nearly cut myself on all of the hooks in this collection. All bands these days should release their best songs as album-less singles so they could eventually collect them onto one of the best albums of their career. I agree that it gets a bit weaker near the end (am I the only person in the world who LIKES all of the strings and backing vocals on some of the Let It Be songs?), but the album just starts out perfect with "Day Tripper" and just doesn't let up. Has a better rocker than "Revolution" ever been made? Ever?

Jan Halvax <> (22.07.2000)

Jimi Hendrix also played 'Sgt. Peppers Lonely' etc. on his album Hendrix in the West

Mike VonBehren <> (23.08.2000)

"dont let me down" shows that john can write love songs too

Dereck Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

A grand collection of the best Beatles' songs never to make it to LP, (some of them did appear on the quickly discontinued Hey Jude LP). My personal favourite on here is 'Rain', I feel it to be a perfect example of excellent pop songwriting and ambitious experimentation. I strongly prefer the version of 'Revolution' on here than the one featured on the White Album. Crank up the guitars, ditch the "shoo-be-doo" and the other doo-wop things. 'Hey Jude' is very pretty and I never considered it overlong. The long coda is great and you hardly notice the 7-minute running time. Definetly one of McCartney's best. All of the stuff from the 65-66 era is great, though I don't really like 'Lady Madonna'. 'The Inner Light' is one of my favourite George-songs. On the other hand I find the inclusion of the slightly different Let It Be tracks unneccassary but I don't mind it at all. The only difference between the LIB version of 'All Across the Universe' and the one on here is the 'wildlife' sound effects and that Yoko sings backup. Surprising there is no high-pitched screeching, huh? Anyway, this CD definetly belongs in the collection of every Beatles fan.

Raghu Mani <> (28.12.2000)

This is absolutely perfect. I can't think of anything to criticize here and highlights are too many to enumerate. I have to give it a 10.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)

10/10 - We are after all talking about late-period Beatles singles here. Maybe my memory serves me wrong, but I think the single version of "Revolution" was recorded after the album version, although it was released earlier. "Across the Universe" is based on the same multi-track as the album version, but it includes several features that was omitted from Let It Be. We get to hear those lovely Beatles harmonies once again (ah-ah-ah...) and two female fans who hang around the studio were "dragged" inside to sing those high-pitched voices. It was not Yoko. I think the only time she sang on a Beatles record was "Bungalow Bill" (Not when he looked so fierce...). "You know my name" is absolutely hilarious. Sadly, the Anthology version is longer but not complete. There is a little snippet that only exists on Past Masters and they FADE IT OUT!

Palash Ghosh <> (18.02.2001)

Despite my usual aversion to compilation tracks, this record is a Godsend and quite possibly the greatest collection of pop songs ever!

'Day Tripper' is proof-positive that John could write catchy, melodic riffs as much as Paul (he just couldn't do it as often!). I can't tell if George is improvising the guitar line in the middle, but it sounds as good as anything he's ever done.

'We can work it out' never grabbed me too much, but that harmonium is terrific.

'Paperback writer' is catchy, but it's a bit of a chore to listen to sometimes.

'Rain' always seemed to me like The Beatles were trying to imitate The Who -- it's a dynamite acid trip with such a dense, heavy sound that just makes it such a striking number. This was one of the few times Ringo was permitted to show what a great drummer he really was. I wish they let him loose like this more. Still, I would've LOVED to see what Entwistle and Moon would've done with this beauty.

'Lady Madonna' is wonderful piano-based 'blues-boogie.' I've heard people complain that Paul's trying to imitate Elvis, but I don't hear it that way. I wish Paul made more 'harder' stuff like this. Not even Elton John could play piano this well.

'The Inner Light' is more of George Harrison's misguided Indian forays. I just don't like it, the lyrics are far too pretentious. (The lyrics are nothing but an EXACT translation of an excerpt of the wonderful Chinese philosophic tract 'Dao De Jing', so George is hardly responsible - G.S.).

'Hey Jude' is just, what words are left. Even after 30 years of listening to this magnificent opus, I'm still astonished by its greatness. Paul never sang better and I think this was one of the five best songs he ever wrote. Every time I hear it, my heart soars and I always hear something new in it. It always annoyed me when Top 40 radio stations would cut out the fantastic coda.

As a child, the powerful electric distortion in 'Revolution' hurt my ears, now I REVEL in it. Leave it to John to create something so cool, unique and original. The weird thing about the lyrics is that they're ANTI-revolution. John's singing is unparalleled.

'Get back' is another all-time favorite. Who said John wasn't an excellent lead guitar soloist? That solo KICKS!

I have mixed feelings about 'Don't let me down.' It's not quite up to snuff, although I like the somewhat eccentric lyrics. I always regarded this as a 'warm-up' to the more impressive 'I want you.'

As a kid, I dismissed 'The Ballad of John and Yoko' as a Dylanesque throwaway and it seemed to crammed with too many lyrics. But over the years, this number has skyrocketed in my estimation, I just love it to pieces. The arrangement is marvelous (played entirely by John and Paul) and fits the narrative perfectly. John's guitar bits, Paul's bass and drumming and piano just ROCK like nobody's business. It races like a thoroughbred.

'Old brown show' is a thoroughly under-appreciated George Harrison rocker. A great number and that guitar solo is a sheer joy.

As I recall, the version of 'Across the universe' is a different version from the one on the Let it be album. A magnificent composition, the lyrics are like the romantic poetry from Byron!

'Let it be' (this single version) is far superior from the sloppier version on the same-named album. It's a religious hymnal and I've always loved it. The organ (played by Billy Preston, I think) is very moving.

'You know my name/Look up the number' is a lunatic, eccentric, comedic joy -- I've loved it ever since I was a boy and had this single. I regard it as experimental/avant garde, but vastly different (and more entertaining) from the crap John did with Yoko Ono. The sax solo near the end (played by Brian Jones of The Stones) is a thing of beauty. Ha hey!

Didier Dumonteil <> (03.03.2001)

THis is the best Beatles compilation ever.The blue and the red album don't do the fabs justice.You miss the whole atmosphere of each album.But here we 're speaking about singles!And what singles!Singles where the B sides equal and even outdo the A sides ("rain" which features tremendous drumming from Ringo,is IMHO simply better than"paperback writer";ditto for "Inner light" and "lady Madonna" .Except for "you know my name" that was intended as a joke,everything glitters and everything is gold!

Joe H <> (03.12.2001)

Well, what can i say? Just look at the tracklisting! This stuff is just overflowing with brilliance. I really wish they would of released these songs with their matching albums ("Rain" - Revolver, "Hey Jude" - White Album, etc.) then they would of made the albums even more brilliant then they already are! The version of "Revolution" on here is also far superior to the acoustic version on The White Album, man that song rocks. But, really, listen to George, buy this today if you dont already own it! 9/10.

Ryan Maffei <> (02.03.2002)

The five-star volume. Some excellent, irrepressible classics--were the Beatles' later singles ever not deserved of a five-star rating? "Hey Jude"! "Don't Bring Me Down"! "Paperback Writer"! "Day Tripper"! "We Can Work it Out"! "Rain"! "The Ballad of John and Yoko"! "Lady Madonna"! A collection from the hands of God. Or those of Mark Lehwison. But it's hard to tell the difference here! An A+, or a rin-tin-10.

Bob Josef <> (02.04.2002)

Can't really argue with the superb quality here. Everybody can find something to love. As strictly a matter of taste, I think "Don't Let Me Down" and "The Ballad of John and Yoko" are rather ordinary songs that John thought were extraordinary because they were about Yoko. And this version of "Across the Universe" is rather sloppily produced, which is very atypical for this period. "You Know My Name" could only have come from a couple of Brits, with its "Goon Show" sort of absurdist humor, but it's fun. I think "The Inner Light" is the best of George's Indian tunes, because the arrangement is more low-key, so you can really listen to the melody. This one could even be played on Western instruments.

But still, most of these should be tacked on as bonuses to Rubber Soul, Revolver, the Beatles and Let it Be, since they were, again, recorded during those album sessions. I admit there is more of a problem with chronology here since "Lady Madonna," "The Inner Light" and "Across the Universe" (along with "Hey Bulldog" and "All Together Now") were recorded during separate sessions not associated with an album. How about a special EP with those songs, great liner notes and those Anthology 2 versions? At least we'd have some better context.

Somehow, I don't think EMI will hire me as marketing consultant..

Brian Sittinger <> (30.08.2002)

Even better stuff! Why weren't those Rubber Soul/Revolver-era singles (esp. "Day Tripper", "Rain", and "Paperback Writer") included on those records? Well, it actually says something for the Beatles (or about those groups back then) that they have the integrity NOT to put these singles (undoubtedly hits) onto the respective records to make them sell better! That's why most modern pop albums blow soooo hard! Only "You Know My Name" really gets on my nerves (and "The Inner Light" being so Eastern, though otherwise good!). Compilations don't get much better than this: 9(14), maybe a 15 on a good day.

<> (13.10.2003)

Singles from an era increasingly given over to LPs, thanks to the Beatles themselves of course. By the end of 1966 I was a steady buyer of the Beatles' albums but tended to ignore the singles, since they would eventually come out on LP anyway! This meant that in the case of several of these songs I didn't actually own 'em until Hey Jude/The Beatles Again came out. And I never even heard "The Inner Light" or "You Know My Name" until the 70s.

The version of "Across The Universe" presented here gets the silver medal. The gold goes to the one unearthed on Anthology 2. Wonder what ever happened to the two girls Paul picked up from the crowd outside Abbey Road studios to come in and sing backup? Don't think Yoko was involved in that.

If I go by the level of enthusiasm I had when I heard each song for the first time, my favorite has to be "Day Tripper." I love that riff. First time I heard the DJ annouce this one I was in the car going north with my folks and the reception of WLS from Chicago was a little weird. I thought the song was called "Danger."

Now I'd have to add "Revolution" as a super fave over the span of the years. No real stinkers on this CD, I suppose I'm less enthusiastic about "Let It Be" than the others, but still a solid product. 10/15.


Robert Tally <> (21.02.2000)

Warning to those readers who are ready to buy their first Beatles CD and are wondering which one to start with: don't buy this CD or any of the three Anthologies. Go out and buy one of the regular releases. Then if you like that, buy the other regular releases. If you are still hungering for more Beatles product, then you've reached the moment when buying this CD makes sense. It means that you've become a hardcore Beatles fan. That having been said, this isn't a bad album. Several songs stand out, but my favorite is 'Some Other Guy,' which rocks ferociously and is done in front of an audience (unlike most of the other material, which was done in the BBC studio and is 'live' only because there aren't any overdubs - at least not very many). Some of these other songs could've actually improved the first album (maybe even the second), like 'Soldier Of Love,' 'A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues,' 'The Hippy Hippy Shake,' 'I Got To Find My Baby,' 'Lucille' (great - and unusual - solo from Harrison on this one), 'Too Much Monkey Business,' and 'Sweet Little Sixteen.' 'Keep Your Hands Off My Baby' is another great track, but suffers from some pretty bad sound quality. Most of the others are certainly listenable ('Memphis, Tennessee,' 'Ooh! My Soul,' 'I Got A Woman,' 'Nothin' Shakin',' 'Crying, Waiting, Hoping,' 'Young Blood,' 'Clarabella,' 'That's All Right,' 'Glad All Over,' 'Carol,' 'I Just Don't Understand,' 'So How Come,' 'The Honeymoon Song,' 'I Forgot To Remember To Forget,' 'Sure To Fall,' 'Lonesome Tears In My Eyes,' 'Don't Ever Change,' 'To Know Her Is To Love Her') but overall the sound quality doesn't match the official stuff. This is mainly because, since they were recording for the radio instead of for a record, the recording equipment at the BBC wasn't exactly top-notch. There also seems to be a tendency to not play very loudly. This is particularly evident on 'I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry' - just compare the drums to the version on the Hamburg album; the sound quality might not be there, but the performance on the Hamburg version is dynamite. 'I'll Be On My Way' is the only 'long lost' Lennon-McCartney song on here. (They gave it to Billy J. Kramer, who had put it on the b-side of his version of 'Do You Want To Know A Secret'). It's easy to see why the Beatles didn't consider this song to be a priority. Of all the 'new' songs, the only one that doesn't come across very well is 'Johnny B. Goode,' which just sounds lifeless (and this is a song I like, too).

Among the songs that had already been on their, only two really stand out as better than the originals: 'Rock And Roll Music' (the band comes in like gangbusters on this one) and 'Thank You Girl' (a stomping version done in front of an audience). Also of special note is an early version of 'Honey Don't' when John was still singing it. The others are all surpassed by the official versions: 'From Us To You' (a short version used to introduce a series of holiday specials), 'I Saw Her Standing There' (not a bad live version; but it sounds better on Anthology 1), 'Long Tall Sally,' 'I Wanna Be Your Man,' 'I'm A Loser,' 'Roll Over Beethoven,' 'Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby,' 'Matchbox,' 'You Really Got A Hold On Me,' 'I Feel Fine,' 'Slow Down,' 'All My Loving,' 'Baby, It's You,' 'Dizzy Miss Lizzie,' 'Love Me Do,' the 'Kansas City' medley, 'Can't Buy Me Love,' 'A Hard Day's Night' (which hilariously edits in the solo from the record), 'Ticket To Ride,' 'Till There Was You,' 'A Taste Of Honey,' and 'She's A Woman.' Perhaps the weakest sounding performance is on 'Things We Said Today,' which sounds a bit out of focus. There are also several other titles ('Beatle Greetings,' 'Riding On A Bus,' 'Sha La La La La!,' 'A Little Rhyme,' 'Dear Wack!,' 'From Fluff To You,' 'Crinsk Dee Night,' 'Have A Banana!,' 'Just A Rumour,' '1822!,' 'Set Fire To That Lot!,' 'Love These Goon Shows!,' 'Ooh! My Arms') which are not songs at all, but mostly humorous snatches of spoken words. (The funniest is 'Sha La La La La!,' where show host Lee Peters introduces 'Baby, It's You' in a James Mason imitation.) Okay, so if you bought this one, plus the Anthologies, and you want more, go out and buy the CD single of 'Baby, It's You,' which contains three bonus tracks that cannot be found on this album: 'I'll Follow The Sun,' 'Devil In Her Heart,' and 'Boys,' all of which are inferior to the official versions.

Palash Ghosh <> (20.02.2001)

As a dedicated Beatles fan, Live at the BBC was an album I felt compelled to own (due to its importance as a historical curiosity), but one I am not necessarily compelled too often. The best thing this album does is bring out the infectious, charming and spontaneous cheekiness of the early Beatles through radio broadcasts from a long-vanished world.

As for the songs themselves, I didn't really care for most of the obscure covers, except for John's sprightly version of 'I got a woman.' Most of the other versions are inferior to the fina; recorded versions. This record is purely for the 'completist' (of which there are many around the world).

Steven Knowlton <> (16.03.2001)

I must disagree with your picking "Too Much Monkey Business" as the best song. I think Lennon's vocal here is completely wrong for the attitude of the lyrics. Aside from forgetting them in several places, I also don't care for his exclaiming "Ow!" in the refrain. The Chuck Berry version is more of a resigned sigh, ("aw...") and that suits the mood much better.

My choice for best tune here is "Clarabella" just 'cause I've never heard the original and I like it a lot.

Bob Josef <> (04.09.2002)

About the only thing this proves is that the Beatles were big fans of obscure rock and R&B artists. Otherwise, it's fun, but not particularly important. It's almost like having For Sale extended to two CD length, which is not necessarily a great thing.

You're a little hard on "I'll Be On My Way," I think. Sure, the lyrics are rather trite ("When the moonlight/turns to June light" -- not exactly a great rhyme, even by Please Please Me standards), but I find it charmingly naive. It's no worse than "Do You Want to Know a Secret?", anyway. The nicest find on the album.

<> (13.03.2004)

Back in the early 1980s the BBC discovered that they had a treasure trove of recordings by the Beatles for various radio programs that had not seen the light of day since. So they put together a broadcast with many of these songs, which I was privileged to hear and tape.

This collection is more voluminous and some of the performances were cleaned up and improved for the CD ("I Got A Woman"). Astonishingly, one of the best of these performances was left out - an electric version of "And I Love Her" which puts the Anthology 1 version to shame.

The BBC broadcast also followed a more or less chronological presentation of the songs. I don't know why these CDs didn't do that...why should they care if we all ended up listening to disc one and ignoring disc two?

So we have the early stuff, largely covers, and the famous stuff from their LPs and singles. The latter group is largely note-for-note duplicates of their pick from all these is "Ticket To Ride" because the bass sounds like it's an octave lower, making an even fatter sound under those jangling guitars.

My favorite, of many, from the early stuff is "Soldier of Love" another of John's great raving vocals. A lot of runner-ups: "Clarabella" and "Hippy Hippy Shake" with Paul's Little Richard routine going; "So How Come" where they impersonate the Everly Brothers; "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" a Buddy Holly tribute; "Sure to Fall" with more harmonies; and "Young Blood" with little George Harrison being nasty.

With the early stuff, it's as if the group were going through exercises in getting down the basics of their idols like Berry, Holly, Carl Perkins before going on to their own material. Still good stuff though.


Robert Tally <> (21.02.2000)

I'll start off by saying that I think they should have released a two-CD set instead of the total of eight that we refer to as Live At The BBC and Anthologies 1, 2 and 3. This way, casual listeners who are looking to buy their first Beatles CD won't be disappointed. For the rest of us hardcore fans, they could always release limited edition CDs of all the more, shall we say, 'questionable' material. These CDs wouldn't need to be promoted much and could be labeled with stickers that tell us that it's for collector's only. Anthology 1 is mostly made up of works in progress, live performances, and pre-fame material. Most of this is pretty fascinating for the hardcores, but doesn't hold up next to the 'official' catalogue. There are a few exceptions, however: 'Leave My Kitten Alone' (a sloppy, but powerful rocker with a ballsy Lennon vocal); 'One After 909' (a pretty nifty early version that's much different from the later one); 'Three Cool Cats' and 'The Sheik Of Araby' (two amusing novelty tunes from the Decca audition that are marred only by weak production and Pete Best); and 'Shout' (an exciting version of the Isley Brothers hit, with all four Beatles switching off on lead vocals). 'Searchin'' from the Decca tape is also a pretty solid rendition. And the five performances from the Swedish radio show ('Money'; 'You Really Got A Hold On Me'; 'I Saw Her Standing There'; 'Roll Over Beethoven'; and 'From Me To You') constitute just about the best live recording ever made of the Beatles. There are also at least a few of the unfinished takes that are really pretty cool: the demos of 'No Reply' and 'I'll Be Back'; the false starts of 'One After 909'; and, perhaps to a lesser degree, the false starts of 'Eight Days A Week.' Some of the other live material is fairly strong, even if not as good as the studio versions: the songs from 'Around The Beatles' ('I Wanna Be Your Man'; 'Long Tall Sally'; 'Boys'); the Royal Command Performance material ('She Loves You'; 'Till There Was You'; 'Twist And Shout'), the Morecambe and Wise stuff ('This Boy'; 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'; and the amusing 'Moonlight Bay') and, of course, Ed Sullivan ('All My Loving'). I'll put 'I'll Get You' in a lesser category, since the drums are virtually inaudible. Much of the early material tends to be subpar compared to the EMI releases, but I find 'That'll Be The Day' and 'In Spite Of All The Danger' to be a pretty good moment. It's sort of endearing. Songs like 'Ain't She Sweet,' 'Lend Me Your Comb,' 'Like Dreamers Do,' 'Cry For A Shadow,' 'How Do You Do It,' 'Hello Little Girl,' 'My Bonnie,' and 'Besame Mucho' are generally average-sounding. The three rehearsal tracks from 1960 ('Hallelujah I Love Her So'; 'You'll Be Mine'; 'Cayenne') are pretty much below-average. Then there's the alternate takes of well-known songs ('Please Please Me'; 'No Reply'; 'Can't Buy Me Love'; 'Love Me Do'; 'A Hard Day's Night'; 'Mr. Moonlight'; 'And I Love Her'; the 'Kansas City' medley; 'You Can't Do That'; 'I'll Be Back'; 'Eight Days A Week'), which never match up to the released versions. But the only bona-fide dud of all these songs is the early Harrison composition 'You Know What To Do.' There's also several spoken-word tracks (three by John and two apiece by Paul and Brian Epstein), which serve mainly to sort of explain why the music sounds so 'early'. The best, of course, is the one where the Beatles are with Eric Morecombe and Ernie Wise in a bit of comedy tit for tat. And then there's 'Free As A Bird,' one of the better tracks in this collection, but one that cannot hope to fit into the program. I'll just say that there's things I like about the song (most notably Harrison's slide guitar) and things I don't like (most notably Jeff Lynne's production style), and that generally I think it's a good song. Incidentally, for those out there who want every Beatles track, and haven't noticed yet, the CD single of 'Free As A Bird' has three non-Anthology tracks: an alternate take of 'I Saw Her Standing There,' two incomplete takes of 'This Boy,' and a new mix of 'Christmas Time Is Here Again,' in which its mostly just the song (without the skits), but then at the end, they tag on the last funny bit from the fan club mix.

Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)

I will not rate these collections because their purpose is not to present "their greatest hits as you've never heard them before" - but to show how the group developed and how they worked in the studio. This means that they are not for the average listener but for rather dedicated fans of the type that has read Mark Lewisohn's "Complete Recording Sessions" (buy this book!) and wept because the outtakes described herein were unavailable. They are no longer. My critisism of the Anthologies concerns the way the songs are presented and that they are not comprehensive enough. Yeah, you heard me! In fact, I wouldn't mind getting CDs sent to me weekly with every frigging second that the group committed to tape in the 60s. Then again, I may not be completely sane. However, if 3 double CDs is the limit, I feel this could have been done in a better way:

#1: Live and studio recordings should have been separated. (Not to mention TV and radio recordings, which should be covered by the BBC collection)

#2: "Free as a bird" and "Real love" should have been singles only.

#3: It is very interesting to hear the many variations the group does with several songs until they reach the ultimate (official) product. Versions that are practically identical to the "originals" are not interesting, though.

#4: There are several glaring omissions of songs that were "forgotten". There are too many to mention, but what about "Child of Nature", for instance? Or the 1957 concert where John met Paul?

#5: What the fuck (sorry!) do we need the spoken word segments (Anthology 1) for? We have the videos, you know!

In short: Do you think the Beatles is an OK group? AVOID. Are you a die-hard obsessive? BUY (unless you already have the bootlegs).

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

I don't understand your dismissal of these Anthology records. Granted, these CDs are only for hard-core, die-hard Beatles fans -- but when you consider that there are hundreds of millions of such folk spread across the globe, these are significant releases.

I LOVE hearing unfinished and unvarnished versions of familiar songs. In fact, in some cases, I actually prefer some of these bare-bones arrangements to the final products.

However, having said that, Anthology 1 is not something that really grabbed me. A lot of the stuff here is just a rehash of much of the material for the tiresome Live at the BBC.

My faves here are 'One after 909' and 'Leave my kitten alone' (each of which would've provided a much-needed boost to the tepid Beatles for Sale LP); The Beatles version of 'How Do You Do It' is another gem (I can't understand why they rejected this, it's a fine song); as is the alternate take of 'Eight Days A Week' which has an energy the final version somewhat lacks. And I will admit that I got a chill in my spine when I first heard the pre-historic 'That'll be the day' and 'In spite of all the danger' and those other songs recorded in someone's living room in Liverpool in 1958. Actual recordings of John, Paul and George as ordinary teenagers! That's like uncovering the Holy Grail! It's quite astonishing and inconceivable to think that these rough, unschooled Liverpool lads would soon become famous beyond their wildest dreams.

Dan Hogg <> (13.01.2002)

I'm one of those who went through a big Beatles phase early (even though I'm only 17). Mostly it was in 6th grade when I ate, drank and breathed Beatles. These anthologies played a strange part, I heard several of these tracks before the original. I guess that way is better than hearing them after every single Beatle album, so the Anthologies are all right with me.

This one is the weakest of the bunch though. Mostly because I prefer their later stuff, also there are too many interviews and live performances. I personally never liked the Beatles live performances, they were better suited for the studio.

As for the first CD, let me find highlights from there..."You'll Be Mine" just cracks me up every time ("National Health Eyeball!"), some of the Decca songs are OK. "How Do You Do It" is poor but historically interesting, as they would pound out "Please Please Me" afterwards, like they wanted. Other than that, the most interesting is the "One After 909" rehearals. CD 2 is a little more interesting, with Lennon's famous "rattle your jewelry" line from the Royal Hall performance, and "Moonlight Bay" from "Morecambe and Wise Show" (good old British humor!). "I'll Be Back" and "No Reply" are here in some deliciously butchered early demos. "You Know What To Do" is an all right Harrisong, and "Leave My Kitten Alone" is a tune everybody seems to like, including me.

Oh yeah, then there's "Free As a Bird." Ehhh, too bombastic for me. The new song on the next album is better.

Bob Josef <> (29.01.2002)

Pretty much in agreement - -this stuff is interesting from an analytical and historical point of view, but as entertainment it's very limited. The live tracks are pretty much a waste of time if you own the studio albums. The early "Can't Buy Me Love" and "And I Love Her" takes are kind of neat, and "You Know What to Do" should have been done up by the band and used on Beatles for Sale instead of all those cover tunes. And "Leave My Kitten Alone" is way overrated, but a lot better than "Mr. Moonlight." Speaking of which, I always thought it was the organ that wrecked that track, but this take just proves it was a bad choice in the first place.

I also think "In Spite of All the Danger" is kind of cute -- what a melodramatic title for a fifties-type teenybopper song. And as for "Free As A Bird" -- well, my brother said it sounds like John Lennon with the Traveling Wilburys, and that's not far from the mark. The four guys are there, but the song just doesn't feel like the Beatles -- which perhaps proves they could never have reunited and made it work. Plus the original Lennon demo (which I've heard) was of such lousy quality, they didn't have much to start with -- you can hardly hear John.

But I do think there is one track here that is better than the "official" version -- "One After 909." On Let if Be, the song sounds like an anachronism, but here it sounds a lot more simple, energetic and fun. Again, it's too bad it couldn't have worked up properly for With the Beatles, where it really belonged.

On the whole, though, this stuff is only for those who can't get enough of the Beatles.

Gerard Nowak <> (31.05.2003)

The following songs The Beatles gave away to their fellow groups:

TO BILLY J. KRAMER & THE DAKOTAS: "Bad To Me", "I'll Be On My Way", "I'll Call Your Name" (later recorded by The Beatles themselves), "I'll Keep You Satisfied", "From a Window"(!)

TO PETER & GORDON: "World Without Love", "Nobody I Know", "I Don't Want To See You Again", "Woman" (!) (written by McCartney under the name of Bernard Webb)

TO CILLA BLACK: "Love of The Loved", "It's For You", "Step Inside Love"

TO THE FOURMOST: "Hello Little Girl" (allegedly the first song Lennon ever wrote), "I'm In Love"

TO THE APPLEJACKS: "Like Dreamers Do"

TO THE STRANGERS: "One And One Is Two"

TO P.J.PROBY: "That Means a Lot"

TO TOMMY QUICKLY: "Tip Of My Tongue"


TO BADFINGER: "Come And Get It"

(And of course something for The Stones...)

The songs mentioned above were grouped on a compilation The Songs Lennon&McCartney Gave Away. If something like that is released on CD, I recommend it to everyone. Now, some of this songs of course are included within The Anthologies. The problem is: why so few? "Love of the Loved" was included in the Decca session, and I would heartily prefer to hear this one than "Three Cool Whatever"... On the radio I heard the demos of "Bad To Me" and "Goodbye" - if I heard them don't tell me they (and more!) aren't there in EMI! The Anthologies had simply a very bad artistic supervisor.

Bill Slocum <> (08.07.2004)

Like you say, George, this is a Beatles album only for those who want more than kicks; rather some insight to the band and how they developed. It's kind of limited in that respect; the early songs sound properly crickly and primitive, and the spoken-word stuff, however entertaining (especially with the British TV personalities, Morecambe and Wise, whose show I actually caught and enjoyed in the U.S. thanks to the late '70s Thames-On-Nine in New York) is not going to grab someone the way Beatles #1 or Abbey Road does.

But there's a lot to like about this, especially since it doesn't play to the lowest common denominator. Like the fact the early songs here sound like they were played into a primitive Grundig because they were. Who knew George Harrison was so integral to the early band, co-writing two key compositions ("In Spite Of All The Danger" with Paul, "Cry For A Shadow" with John) before John and Paul got the idea to write all the songs together and force George to sing for his supper with "Something?" It's funny to hear George singing lead on "Sheik Of Araby," I thought they only let him start singing when the band began getting hot.

A good album, not for Beatle music lovers so much as Beatle history lovers, but good. "How Do You Do It?" is clearly not going to top the charts today, but it's a fun song with an engaging lead vocal from John and some scrumpious guitar fills from George. It's not the same listenable material Live From The BBC is, but it's not a trip to the dentist's either. You will enjoy this if you give it half a chance.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (19.09.2006)

Like alot of people, I have mixed feelings about the anthologies. Back in '92 I read Mark Lewisohn's classic THE COMPLETE BEATLES RECORDING SESSIONS and a couple of years later, Mark Hertsgaard's A DAY IN THE LIFE. Both books are great and both men had been fortunate enough to listen to lots of outtakes and alternate versions that were in the vaults that had never been leaked onto bootlegs and the way they described them seemed to make a mockery of Paul McCartney's statement that there were no secret Beatle recordings in the vaults. He says the best versions are the released ones......In 99% of the cases he's right. But Lewisohn and Hertsgaard did stoke up some curiosity in me.

Well, I'm glad I've heard all three and I agree with George on this one, there's enough good material across goodnesss knows how many hours of music to whittle it down to one CD in the end. But Paul was for the most part right. There ain't much I like on here and I have to admit, I couldn't give a ship in the night about their schoolboy recordings or their Decca audition. It's actually more rewarding to read about how it all came together in Hunter Davies' biography of the band and Miles' book on Paul {Many years from now}. Everyone lambasts Decca's Dick Rowe for turning down the Beatles but hang on a the time, Brian Epstein tried to play safe by getting the Beats to play a rather dull set and were ultimately caught between two stalls~little of their own material was played and the stuff they did play would hardly have sold. The sort of MOR pap that they played did not really differentiate them from all that made British pop so lame at the start of the 60s. Rowe was actually and factually correct when he said groups of guitars were on the way out. The Shadows were regarded as the guitar group that couldn't be topped but by '62 pap reigned supreme and there were no guitar bands doing anything and when they did they tended to be one hit wonders or viewed as novelties and guitars were then regarded as a fad.Though in actuality up and down the UK there were loads of bands that had guitars, hardly any made records. So Rowe was right. It ironically took the Beatles and the other Mersybeat groups as well as the Hollies, the Tremeloes and all those stiff promo films {the forerunner of the video} that showed an Animal or a Stone or a Zombie or a Beatle or a Dave Clark five holding guitars {without leads !!} as well as the grittier blues groups like the Yardbirds to usher in the dominance of the guitar in not just rock, but in popular music per se. As for Dick Rowe, on George Harrison's recommendation, he signed the Rolling Stones to Decca so history should stop painting him as the big bad wolf that turned down the Beatles. He wasn't to be the only one !

I think ANTHOLOGY 1 is trying to chronologically piece together the important landmarks of the band, hence the live cuts, some of which are quite good {I really like FROM ME TO YOU though not as much as the single, and TILL THERE WAS YOU, which is as good as the LP version}. I really like their version of HOW DO YOU DO IT. It's funny coz I remember this from when I was really little. The Gerry and the pacemakers version was one of the first songs I remember. But I'm glad the Beatles came up with PLEASE PLEASE ME and didn't release this. The art of songwriting may have taken a very different course had they succumbed and had George Martin not been so smart. Though they recorded it they hated it and Martin said that if they could come up with something better they could do that instead. Hence PLEASE PLEASE ME and history.

There's some semi interesting stuff on here like THE ONE AFTER 909, though the LET IT BE version is vastly superior. But it does show us how the latterday Beatles viewed their early material. It seems John was telling the truth when he said that he hated wasting fragments of songs and was more likely to combine 2 or 3 bits into one song. The Beatles did this loads of times {A DAY IN THE LIFE, BABY YOU'RE A RICH MAN, SHE SAID SHE SAID, WHAT GOES ON, I CALL YOUR NAME, I'VE GOT A FEELING, I AM THE WALRUS etc, etc} so maybe the idea of working REAL LOVE and FREE AS A BIRD to a conclusion wouldn't have him turning in his grave.The real curiosity here for me is George's YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. Even in it's skeleton form here, it's a woeful track, a thousand light years from DON'T BOTHER ME. But it is interesting from the point of view that when the band started making records, George hadn't really considered writing songs. He didn't really co write IN SPITE.....Paul says he just came up with the solo but in those days he thought coming up with a solo meant you helped write the song. An old art school mate of John's liked CRY FOR A SHADOW and kept on at him to try writing like John and Paul and 'don't bother me' was George's coded reply. But having had the taste, he tried more and as he pointed out, whereas John and Paul had each other to bounce off and had been writing songs together and apart for six years, he was moreorless starting from scratch. So not surprizingly, there were going to be a few turkeys in there, YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO being one of them. To his credit he stuck with it.

The other interesting thing about the live songs is not so much the songs, but where they are taken from. There was no rock scene to speak of in '63, the Beatles were definitely trying to bring rock'n'roll into a showbiz arena populated with variety acts, almost unthinkable not so long after, although there has always existed this relationship between the two.


Simon Hearn <> (11.09.99)

Are you mad?!!!!! This deserves a 9 at least. The best of the anthology series and some rare gems. The demos of strawberry fields are so enlightening. 'Real love' is highly under rated. 'You've got to hide your love away' is a superior version. 'Eleanor Rigby' strings are so cool. 'I am the walrus' without george martin' orchestration is amazing and raw. 'Across the universe' is how the track should have been issued.

All in all these are rare nuggets in the goldmine that is the beatles music. I know a lot of the tracks aren't up to the album versions, but I believe this to be a great, great album.

Robert Tally <> (25.02.2000)

The nice thing about this second installment in the Anthology series is that there's a larger number of tracks that stand up to the Beatles 'official' catalogue. My favorite track? I know it doesn't do anything for you, George, but it's 'Tomorrow Never Knows.' This version is just as tripped out as the common version, and yet totally different. The only thing missing is something to fill in the instrumental break. Other really strong tracks include: 'Across The Universe' (better than either of the official releases); 'Norwegian Wood' (I like this just as much as the other one); take 4 of 'The Fool On The Hill' (virtually as good as the other one, but a little rough around the edges); take 1 of 'I'm Only Sleeping' (no frills, but a good alternative to the other version); take 7 & edit piece of 'Strawberry Fields Forever' (totally mellow); 'Within You Without You' (just the instrumental track); 'Eleanor Rigby' (again, just the instrumental track); and 'Only A Northern Song' (actually, since it doesn't have the overabundance of sound effects, I prefer this to the official one). There's also several tracks that, even though they show definate signs of being works in progress, are still virtually as enjoyable as the official versions: 'And Your Bird Can Sing'; 'I'm Looking Through You'; both the demo sequence and take 1 of 'Strawberry Fields Forever'; and the rehearsal of 'I'm Only Sleeping'. Hell, that's already a lot of good tracks - and there's still others that really aren't bad: the demo of 'The Fool On The Hill'; 'A Day In The Life' (the middle's pretty weak here); takes 1 and 2, plus take 7 of 'Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite'; 'It's Only Love'; 'Yesterday'; 'Good Morning, Good Morning'; 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' and 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.' All of these pale in comparison to the official versions, but not that much. There are some songs that I'm more disappointed with for various reasons: 'Got To Get You Into My Life'; 'Hello Goodbye'; 'Yes It Is'; 'Penny Lane'; 'You Know My Name'; 'Your Mother Should Know'; 'I'm Down'; 'Lady Madonna'; 'Taxman'; the 'Sgt. Pepper' reprise; and 'I Am The Walrus' (this one should've included a bass guitar, like the bootlegs do, then I'd be just fine with it). But most of these are at least passable. Hell, there's a lot of good tracks on this one. I'm not too impressed with the previously unreleased songs: 'That Means A Lot' (a wall of sound Beatles track? No thanks); 'If You've Got Trouble' (cute, but way below the Beatles' standards); '12-Bar Original' (thoroughly unimpressive blues). Then, of course, there's the live tracks. Actually, I think the Beatles hold up pretty well on the Blackpool Night Out gig ('I Feel Fine,' 'Help!,' 'Yesterday,' and great vocals on 'Ticket To Ride'). The other live stuff ('Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby' from Shea; 'Rock And Roll Music' and 'She's A Woman' from Budokan) are hardly worth mentioning. Which brings us to 'Real Love,' which I think doesn't hold up as well as 'Free As A Bird,' which isn't that great, either. There's some nice touches, but it wasn't exactly the a-side material the Threatles thought it was. And I guess I should mention the CD single of 'Real Love,' because it includes three tracks not found elsewhere: the Hollywood Bowl version of 'Baby's In Black' (which is actually pretty damned strong); an alternate mix of 'Yellow Submarine' (with way too many sound effects); and one of those 'outfakes' where they combine two versions of a song - in this case, 'Here There And Everywhere,' with a single vocal version overlapping the lush harmony version.

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

With Beatles Anthology 2, this series really gets cooking! Where do I begin? Paul's beautiful solo demos of 'Yesterday' and 'Fool on the hill' (he sounds like these are just another song, no big deal!); 'That Means A Lot' (a fine McCartney tune that The Beatles gave away for some reason).

I agree that '12-Bar Original' is a throwaway, I'm glad that dreck like this never found its way into the original LPs.

I LIKE this alternate rousing mix of 'Got To Get You Into My Life,' as well as the laugh-infested 'And Your Bird Can Sing' (Revolver must've been such fun to make!)

'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)' has always been one of my favorite numbers and hearing additional parts to it was nothing short of thrilling.

col <> (07.11.2001)

I certainly disagree with the fact that some of the versions on the Anthology 2 aren't up to the master standard. I personally prefer 'Good Morning' without the horns and sound effects, while 'Across The Universe' is far better than either version issued (especially the 'Let It Be' version with Phil Spector's stinking production). I also enjoy the live versions the songs. For someone like me who wasn't alive to see The Beatles live, it is incredibly refreshing to hear what these songs sounded like live. I also disagree with your claim only a 'complete geek' would want to listen to the three versions of 'Strawberry fields forever', it is a song that I (and many others) consider to be one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and hearing how it developed was one of my favourite parts of the full anthology series. However, I have to agree that there are some things on here that are merely interesting for historical value, like the pointless inclusions of the early, broken down takes of 'Mr Kite' that sound like the musical equivalent of a car wreck, and the instumentals are a bit of a waste of time. Still, the album is definitely worth an 8.

Joe H <> (04.12.2001)

Man, "Real Love" is beautiful. "Free As A Bird" as well. They did a real good job of digging up these 2 wonderful gems and making them something special, although the original demos of these songs are even more chilling then these. Just John with his piano, its some of the most beautiful music ever recorded, and its just a home demo! I like the production on those too. They sound like a pretty modern Abbey Road-esque quality, especially with those nice Harrison leads and such. Overall im proud to give them the Beatles tag to them (not sure if Lennon would, though), especially concidering Harrison has now passed away and there will never be anything like that again.

Dan Hogg <> (20.01.2002)

Second time, better than the first. "Real Love" is a much better song than "Free as a Bird," the production isn't as bombastic, and you can hear John's vocals more. In some ways, I prefer "I'm Down" here than the original, despite the musical spareness. Paul's breakdown at the end is funny here, while obnoxious on the original. "If You Got Trouble" and "That Means a Lot" are worthwhile outtakes; the former should have been Ringo's spotlight on Help! and the latter borders on Spectorish (musta been the drums). That's it for Side 1, all 4 live songs are useless.

Side 2 has an over-sitary "Norwiegan Wood" and "I'm Looking Through You," which has a nice groove that doesn't fit the song. The jam is uninteresting, but not "Tomorrow Never Knows." It's inferior to the original, but sounds just as spacey. "And Your Bird Can Sing" is hilarious; nice to hear them break down every once in a while. I really like the sound on the instrumental "I'm Only Sleeping," it takes a whole Pet Sounds feel. The second version, however, is unnecessary.

On Side 3, I actually like hearing all those takes of "Strawberry Fields." The second has a strange Hawaiian feel in the chorus, while the final one is basically the original without the sudden breakdown into psychedelia. Similarly, I like "Good Morning Good Morning" for those same reasons. On Sgt Pepper, it's a bit too cluttered with horns and whatnot. Here, it's just good ol' rock.

Side 4 is highlighted by "You Know My Name." I heard this before I heard the Past Masters version, and was quite let down when the latter cut out the amusing reggae part presented here. Two versions of "Fool on the Hill" weren't necessary, but "Across the Universe" sounds much better here than the crappy version on Let it Be. Everything else on here isn't worth mentioning, but it's still the 2nd best of the Anthologies.

Bob Josef <> (30.09.2002)

I also must disagree strongly. Since I think the best and most exciting Beatles period runs from Rubber Soul to Magical Mystery Tour, I consider this to be the best of the three Anthologies. The alternate Revolver tracks are the peak. I wouldn't say they blow away the final versions ("Taxman" isn't all that different), but they are very cool. "And Your Bird Can Sing" sounds like the Bealtes doing the Byrds doing the Beatles, if that makes any sense. I also would have preferred "If You've Got Trouble" rather than "Act Naturally" make it to Help!, and I definitely think this is the best "Across the Universe" ever released. An intimate feel, oddly enough, was exactly what this song needed. The various remixed and alternate takes are at least interesting, especially when they are compared to the final versions. ("Got to Get Into My Life" --how did this spooky version turn into the final jazz-pop?!) The only downers for me are the idiotic "12 Bar Original" (the Beatles as bluesmen? No, thanks. At least they edited this down) and the live stuff, which is once again almost worthless, except for John's sarcastic comments on "Help!". Still, by far the most entertaining of the Anthologies.

Gerard Nowak <> (20.05.2003)

I agree that the Anthologies are just an appendix, only for fans, so it's rather hard to estimate them according to the rating criteria for normal albums. But the selection for the running order is not satisfying. Of course, everybody has the preferences of their own, but they most often overlap, don't they? We may pan "That Means a Lot" and "If You've Got Troubles" as bad songs but I guess everyone wanted them to be here: RARE BEATLES SONGS that (some of us) didn't know! And only THEN, rare versions of the songs we all know. So my question is: why don't we get such songs as "India" or "Anything"? Are they really worse or less important than this "Hello Goodbye" with the differences that are by no means crucial? Or the "Yes It Is" with the hideous editing?

And one more thing. I like the "mellow" version of "Strawberry Fields", the guitar-mellotron climax around the thrice sung "Strawberry Fields Forever" line is (here you put your favourite synonyme of "great"). But why is the fade-out edited out, only on this very song/version? Who needed those fifteen extra seconds? Man, we was angry.

Chris Papadopoulos <> (30.09.2003)

George, I thought you were "a complete geek" and would move mountains to hear the embryonic versions of 'SFF'. I think they are the most interesting things on any of the Anthology CDs, with the possible exception of the uncovering of those very early cuts ("That'll Be The Day" etc) on I. I can remember commenting to someone years ago that I would kill to have been there when Lennon presented the song to the band on his acoustic guitar. Well, here it is! Sure, it turned out to be far less interesting than I imagined, but to hear the song developing more than makes up for that disappointment.The 'rock band' version on here is fantastic - I could listen to that languid guitar picking forever. Still, it has to be said that the song structure on the released version really nailed it.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (19.09.2006)

This one has even less value than the first one as far as I'm concerned and given Mark Lewisohn's superb descriptions in COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS, a real anti climax. With a couple of exceptions, it adds nothing to what we already know and if you're familiar with all their works, it may be hard to take in it's entirety for many years.

I really do like the demo of STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER even though it's so short. The story of the evolution of the track is infinitely more interesting than actually hearing it unfold. I also do prefer this version of IT'S ONLY LOVE although the released version is a major improvement. I adore the I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU version here. I do love both versions actually coz it's such a strong song and on my Rubber Soul I have them back to back. The remake is fractionally the better one coz there is a whole middle 8 not existing in the one here but I still dig it. I AM THE WALRUS is a brilliant example of just how crucial George Martin was in his role. His orchestrations are immaculate and to some extent are as much part of the songs as the vocals. But it also shows what a competitive guy John was. Once Paul had orchestrated YESTERDAY and RIGBY, he had to do likewise and his '67 output is full of strings and brass, as much if not more than Paul's. He later regretted it all, professing a desire to re~do all his Beatleworks ! Then he turned on Paul and accused him of allowing an air of looseness and experimentation on his songs ! But in the zillions of books and interviews I've read concerning the band, not once have I ever come across any credit given to Paul for the orchestrations, even though he obviously had influence on the intro of STRAWBERRY FIELDS and the direction of TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS. But so too did Harrison and Starr.The only complaint I have about this WALRUS is the lack of a bass guitar and that it's faded out too soon. You can hear the origins of the Rubber Soul title in the blurb about plastic soul at the end of I'M DOWN. I don't particularly like the two unreleased HELP era songs and the Rubber Soul era is hardly touched. NORWEGIEN WOOD is awful here, no wonder John was getting angry about it. What's eye opening about this and the Revolver material is that in some cases, before having a rethink, they were happy with the crappy takes presented. The Revolver stuff in particular is woeful, I absolutely hate this AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING and the GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE. Even the shittier bands of the 60s were more inspiring than this ! But it shows how the Beatles were really a band in the way they worked each others material into something worthwhile. If these two versions had come out, not to mention the pitiful TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS {described by Lewisohn as a sensational, apocalyptic take}, I think their reputation would have been rather different ! What twaddle. But if nothing else, Anthology 2 gives us an insight as to why they gave up touring. Unlike just about all their contemporaries, they were evolving away from the ethos that you had to play your songs live for your fans. Little point if they couldn't hear any of it. I was talking to this receptionist last week who was telling me about how she saw the Beatles at Finsbury Park in '63 {she'd gone to see Billy J. Kramer} and even then, she said you couldn't hear a thing coz of the screams. Music was the groups's reason to be at that point {though George was discovering another side to life and John was looking for a way out} and the only time their existence was validated was when they were creating in the studio. Touring served little point once they became successful. Sometimes, life is so ironic ! The version of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE could be found on an obscure LP called RARITIES. I like this one though Phil Spector's slowed down LET IT BE version is preferable. All in all, with a couple of exceptions, this album is like finding the masses of torn up scraps of paper that you'd find in the bin of a writer whose bestseller has been part of one's consciousness for years.


Robert Tally <> (04.03.2000)

Once again, this is not for casual music listeners, but for hardcore fans. There are several choice tunes on this one, and I have trouble picking a favorite: 'Because' (an otherworldly a capella mix); 'Not Guilty' (should have been on the White Album!); 'Old Brown Shoe' (a really cool acoustic demo); 'Sexy Sadie' (a slower version); 'Cry Baby Cry' (a strong alternate version); 'Come Together' (a raw and flawed version with a great vocal); 'For You Blue' (an interesting alternate to the common version). I have to admit that I'm a sucker for acoustic demo versions of otherwise electric songs. They tend to strip the song down to its basic elements, so that it has to stand on its own, independent of whatever crutch the arrangement serves as. With this in mind, I'll give a thumbs-up to 'Glass Onion' (the demo version, of course), 'Piggies,' 'All Things Must Pass,' 'Junk,' 'Honey Pie,' and 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' (warts and all). 'Mother Nature's Son' is also nice, but doesn't shed any light on the song's development. In fact, a lot of the others don't, either. I enjoy the early versions of 'Mean Mr. Mustard' and 'Polythene Pam,' but I'm not bowled over by 'I Will,' 'Good Night,' 'Blackbird,' and 'Rocky Raccoon.' Two of George's songs, 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' and 'Something' seem a little dull without their distinctive arrangements. Then there's the alternate versions and mixes that either don't hold up to the 'official' versions, or at least fail to surpass them: 'I've Got A Feeling,' 'Octopus's Garden,' 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road,' 'Glass Onion' (the other version), 'Hey Jude,' 'Oh! Darling,' 'Two Of Us,' 'I Me Mine,' 'I'm So Tired,' 'Helter Skelter,' 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,' 'Dig A Pony,' 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer,' 'Let It Be,' 'Don't Pass Me By,' 'She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,' and 'The End.' Wow, that's a lot of 'em. Maybe this isn't that great of a release. There's some interesting moments, though: 'Step Inside Love'/'Los Paranoias'; 'Come And Get It' (which sounds almost exactly like the Badfinger version); 'Get Back' (the rooftop version); 'Mailman Bring Me No More Blues' (a very slow treatment); 'What's The New Mary Jane' (an amazingly dumb song combined with some rather interesting avant garde). The 'Rip It Up'/'Shake, Rattle and Roll'/'Blue Suede Shoes' medley is a little too off-the-cuff. 'Teddy Boy' sounds like a joke here - it was better on Paul's first album. 'Ain't She Sweet' is just an excuse to hear the Beatles do a really old tune. 'Julia' seems like a waste of time here - nothing more than a scrap. And, of course, there's 'The Long And Winding Road,' which proves that it's pretty damned dreary even without the lush orchestrations. And then there's 'A Beginning,' which is just a dated-sounding George Martin piece. If you're buying your first Beatles CD, and you don't want to spend money on the double set, go out and get a copy of Revolver.

Palash Ghosh <> (07.03.2001)

Beatles Anthology 3 is by far the best of this series and for those of us who were practically 'weaned' on the Fab Four's final three brilliant years of studio recording, this album is nothing but an absolute joy. As I remarked before, I enjoy hearing stripped-down early versions of familiar songs (quite often, these embryonic versions have an 'energy' and a 'vitality' to them that is eventually dissipated after 114 versions in the studio!). There's no need to compare these demos to the final definitive versions since the demos are totally raw and very often un-arranged -- and these are The Beatles were talking about, why wouldn't we want to follow the evolution of their greatest songs?? (I admit, however, I would not be interested in buying an album of demos of most other groups).

The highlight of this album (for me) are all those demos of songs that they recorded on-the-cuff at George's house (Esher?) in May 1968 -- most of this stuff ended up on The White Album or later on Abbey Road).

I never realized before that John had been sitting on 'Mean Mr. Mustard' and 'Polythene Pam' for well over a year before they found a place on Abbey Road. When they needed some tracks from John he just pulled these out from the cupboards. This raises the disturbing thought that John had pretty much 'finished' with The Beatles as early as 1968. He really didn't contribute THAT many original songs to the group in their final year of recording, 1969. He was already either 'spent' or 'bored' with The Beatles and focusing totally on his new life with Yoko (while Paul and George were writing their hearts out!)

The acoustic 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is beautiful, just George singing plaintively with his axe. The melody was already firmly set in place. This early version of 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' is wonderful -- you can almost see the other three Beatles shaking their heads in astonishment as they watch John sing this bizarre, eccentric number.

I'm glad that George's 'Not Guilty' never made to a Beatles record, it was justifiably rejected as its awfully weak.

I had heard about 'What's The New Mary-Jane' for many many years, but when I finally heard it, I was a bit disappointed by it. I had heard that it was a psychedelic/comedy number (something on the order of the much superior 'You know my name, look up the number'), but it failed to grab me.

Paul's 'Step Inside Love' is a lovely tune, and shows that even Paul isn't trying very hard he STILL manages to come up with something decent. This probably was too lightweight for The White Album, but might've made a nice addition to one of Paul's early solo records.

'Come And Get It' is a great catchy little ditty with those pounding, marching piano chords -– this would've made a decent B-side to any Beatles single of the period. The version by Badfinger is chillingly identical to this -- note by note replication.

I never realized before that 'Junk' and 'Teddy Boy' were Beatle rejects (so even Paul had some of his songs rejected!). 'Junk' would've been perfect on the White Album, though its too primitive not for Abbey Road.

This early version of George's 'All Things Must Pass' is quietly charming. I can see no valid reason why this would be rejected for a Beatles album. It's as good as almost anything John and Paul were delivering at this point. I should add something about Bootlegs (which I think this Anthology series tried to stamp out). The Beatles (or whoever controls their official releases now) would have to issue about 100 more Anthology-type albums before they even make a DENT into the bootleg market! There are so many bootlegs out there that it'll make your head spin. I own about five of them and I love them to death. As a Beatle fanatic, I wish I could buy more, but they're prohibitively expensive.

The songs they recorded during the marathon Let it be/Get back sessions in January 1969 ALONE will keep the Beatles' bootleg industry running at full throttle for YEARS to come.

Joe H <> (03.12.2001)

I like these Anthologys. Its definatly a cash-in, thats not to be pondered, but these songs are really interesting to hear. I especially love stuff like "That Means A Lot", or that early "Strawberry Fields Forever" demo or that "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" ACOUSTIC or "Yesterday" without the orchestra, John with his acoustic beautifully laying down "Julia" etc. Really interesting stuff to listen to. Sure, yeah, its not something to hear a million times a year, since id rather just hear these a few times, marvel at it, and then move on to the original albums, but they are something special, especially for a high Beatles admirer like me. Anthology III in my opinion is the best, so id give it a 9/10, II a 8/10 and I a 7/10 cuz all those primative covers and crap.

Dan Hogg <> (17.02.2002)

A-ha! Here's the best of the 3 Anthologies. First off is stuff from The White Album. Maybe I'm a little more partial to the outtakes this time around, but I like a bunch of them on Side 1. These include the demos at someone's house, a 'serious' "Obladi Oblada", and a nice alternate "While My Guitar..." Too bad the rest are just clones of the original ("Don't Pass Me By", "Blackbird", and others). Side 2 is more iffy. Harrison's "Not Guilty" and Lennon's "Mary Jane" are top-notch leftovers, but the only outtake of note is McCartney's butchering of "Rocky Raccoon." The "sminking" bit gets me every time... Side 3 has Let It Be stuff, and, for the first time, I prefer some of these cuts to the original versions(!) "For You Blue" sounds so much better here, it's not as sloppy and you hear the piano more. "Oh Darling" is sorta funny, and "Long and Winding Road" doesn't have the infamous Spector touch. The rest is either comparable to the original ("I've Got A Feeling", "Two Of Us") or some '50s cover throwaways. Side 4....ehhh. "Octopus's Garden" is the worst outtake in the whole collection, it's the first verse repeated TWICE! Besides "Because" done acappella and McCartney's "Come and Get It", not much here. Well, I guess what makes this the best Anthology is there are next to no live tunes, and there are more non-useless outtakes here than in the others. But still, it all depends on what you heard first. For instance, I got Let it Be after listening to this, but my opinions of Side 3 might be different had it been vice versa. Or maybe not. Who knows.

Bob Josef <> (11.10.2002)

Not quite as interesting as the last one. Mainly because the evolution to the final product isn't as mind-blowing for the later albums as it is for the "middle" albums. I do enjoy the guitar-based version of "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" as much as the final version. The demo version of "Come and Get It" is basically identical to Badfinger's, but with Paul's voice, so it's very cool. The stuff from the Get Back/Let it Be sessions sounds slightly thin, which sort of proves that a major remix must have been done on all of the tracks that ended up on the album. Speaking of which, I always thought that it was the orchestration that really rags me on the final "The Long and Winding Road," but hearing it without the overdubs just proves it wasn't a corny song in the first place.

In a promo special for Beatles 1 that aired last year, they showed footage from the White Album session of Paul performing an acoustic version of "Helter Skelter." That would have been more fun to have than the slow blues jam here.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (19.09.2006)

In the book COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS, Mark Lewisohn says that during the recording of the White album, what the band did was to rehearse continually but to tape each rehearsal and treat them as numbered takes before finding the best one and doing the overdubs. His quote is so funny; "On Sergeant Pepper, few songs went beyond 10 takes. On the White album, few stopped there !". And now we are paying for the privelege !

Thankfully, here we still have lending libraries so I could listen to the entirety of this package for peanuts. The thought of knocking out big bucks for seven tracks is enough to induce superior depression. NOT GUILTY, WHAT'S THE NEW MARY JANE and ALL THINGS MUST PASS are the only ones of real interest to me; the former is one of the trickiest and most complex of all the Beatles songs and actually quite typical of George songs. If you listen to many of his songs from DON'T BOTHER ME on, there's an underrated complexity about them, not just the Indianesque stuff, but the rocking stuff too. The book A DAY IN THE LIFE describes the problems they had getting the harmonies and changes to THINK FOR YOURSELF and even a song universally renowned like HERE COMES THE SUN is a cornucopia of time and tempo changes. NOT GUILTY if nothing else, highlights how little George was helped with his songs {although PIGGIES from the same sessions balances this out coz John helped with the lyrics} and had to work in a sense doubly hard to get his stuff accepted.

WHAT'S THE NEW MARY JANE on the other hand {with help from George and Yoko} demonstrates that some Beatles were more equal than others.....There are a number of 'solo' or near solo tracks on the White album and along with REVOLUTION 9, John seriously offered this up as a piece for the album. I think he was miffed at the two double A sides {DAY TRIPPER/WE CAN WORK IT OUT and STRAWBERRY FIELDS/PENNY LANE} selling mainly as Paul songs and WALRUS only being the B side to HELLO GOODBYE which he viewed with utter contempt {he reckoned the only good bit was the end !}. Also, he felt that through the Revolver/Pepper/MMT period, Paul was just a little too dominant {although in terms of songs written, Paul has 16, John 12, and there are 7 collaborations. George has 7 too} and now he was going to get the songs he wanted in the way he wanted them.....coz that's the way Paul always did...... MARY JANE actually starts off pretty good but coz it lacks Paul and Ringo's input, it never really gets beyond being a psycho novelty. At least with YOU KNOW MY NAME, there's something akin to a band there. The way MARY JANE just trails off into LSD minded noise is ridiculous and REVOLUTION 9 actually sounds better.

Someone called ALL THINGS MUST PASS the wisest song never recorded by the Beatles and I'd agree with that; this is one example of an unadorned version being absolutely beautiful whereas WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS and OLD BROWN SHOE are the difference to the released versions as a bicycle is to an aeroplane. The demo of HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN is an interesting sketch while CRY BABY CRY shows the Beatles in '68 could play, but it also shows that they did not conceive of songs as live entities that stand alone, which is why the GET BACK/LET IT BE project was like cold turkey for them.....and why they eventually abandoned the original premise of the album, the rooftop concert notwithstanding.The recording of HELTER SKELTER was in the can for weeks before they came back to it and as John describes as happened with YELLOW SUBMARINE, they made it come alive in the studio. The album version shows that the group were pretty competitive and took seriously the idea of out Who~ing the Who. This one does not.

The LET IT BE/ ABBEY ROAD stuff is for me the most disposable. I wish I'd never heard it and I doubt I ever will again. That said, I would have liked to have heard CHILD OF NATURE. As a side note, the reason Badfinger's COME AND GET IT is exactly the same as Paul's demo {he's playing everything here} is coz Paul was sure it would be a big hit and told them not to deviate in any way from the demo. They took his advice and they bagged an enormous hit. And STEP INSIDE LOVE was given to Cilla Black and she had a hit with it. When I was a kid, my family used to watch this variety show that Cilla used to host and STEP INSIDE LOVE was the theme tune and I think her interpretation kicks Paul's demo into touch~as well it should. In the end, the three anthologies end up posing more problems than resolutions ! In a sense, it was better knowing alternate takes existed but never knowing what they sounded like...knowing what they're like is a bit like Adam and Eve once they'd eaten the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. In saying that though, there is one arena in which these tracks really work and that is in the actual anthology documentaries themselves. Over here, we too had them in six parts and while I think they were a bit too sanitized {especially when compared with the book and various things the Beats said about each other down the years} and happy and nice, it's still the most comprehensive visual archive of the band and maybe I should consider that the documentary is the really important part, with the albums literally a soundtrack. Looked at that way, it's quite an original idea.


Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

A classic, very funny, very well made, very charming, even somewhat avant-garde (like that scene where John 'disappears' down the bathtub drain) film. I always regarded this film as a 'long-haired' version of The Marx Brothers type of movies, what with the hectic wordplay, the fresh feel of it all and the sense of 'controlled comedic lunacy.' I agree that John and Ringo seem to be 'better actors' while Paul and George seem stiffer (could it be because the latter two were the youngest and more overwhelmed by it all?).

Ringo, in fact, steals the movie in several scenes, my favorite are those vignettes showing his adventures in town after he 'left' the group, especially when he finds that street urchin by the river.

Richard Lester made it as 'realistic' as he could, given the unearthly quality to the whole burgeoning Beatlemania phenomena.

I always wondered, though, how much of the film was ad-libbed, because I just can't believe the lads were able to memorize all their lines like 'real' actors.

And, oh yeah, the songs are great too!

For all you American fans, the actor who played Paul's grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) was a famous British TV sitcom star -- he was the lead in a series called 'Steptoe and Son' which later was remade in the States as 'Sanford and Son.'


Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

A fun movie, a funny mix of some of the biggest things of the decade (The Beatles, James Bond Movies, etc.) Ringo and John are both fine actors, but Mr. McCartney certainly can't add it to his long list of talents. George keeps his reputation as the quiet one because he hardly ever says anything in this. It's a cute, funny movie and it really isn't supposed to make any sense whatsoever so don't overwhelm your brain with such questions.

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

After the brilliance of the Hard Days Night film, Help! was a big disappointment. It's clear that Dick Lester wanted to make a radically different film, and with its bright bold colors, exotic locales, Help! IS vastly different from the first movie, but only 1/100th as entertaining. The Beatles seem strangely 'detached' throughout the film (of course, this can be readily explained by the fact that they were reportedly stoned on marijuana the whole time!)

My favorite moments in the film are those precious few scenes between John and Ringo -– these two truly had the most personality in the group. I've heard that George Harrison's interest in the sitar began just by happenstance; that is, since the 'Help!' script had some pseudo-Indian characters in it (calling for the requisite Indian musical instruments and themes), they had some sitars laying around for a bored Beatle to pick up between shooting takes. If this is true, then that proves that fate truly rules by whim! Could it be that the whole hippie sub-culture's enthusiasm with Hindu philosophy was inadvertently created by some hack film scriptwriter? What if the script had, say, Turkish characters in it? Would George have picked up a Turkish lute and thereby send the whole hippie culture into a wholly different direction?


mjcarney <> (30.06.2000)

Well I was trying to think of a good synonym to capture the spirit of the movie, and the only one I could think of was horrible.  Simply put, this is the Beatles' biggest failure.  It is boring, long, stupid, and really a waste of one's time.  Yet, for some reason I have watched it several times (4 or 5) over the years--trying I guess to get the most out of the 20+ dollars I paid for it.  I am, of course, one of those who always has to hear (or in this case see) music and movies etc, that are by my favorite artists that get critically panned (like lennon's experimental albums, lou reed's metal machine music etc).  This one is definately one of them, and it is just horrible.  Where is the plot? Where are the jokes? Where is the enjoyment in this movie? I understand they were doing almost all the work themselves, which might explain why it is so bad, but even the Beatles should know that they really are just musicians, not directors.  This movie, flat out deserves its horrendous reputation.  Normally it would be hard to completely pan a Beatles release, but with this it is easy.  I don't understand the whole stupid "seemingly almost mean" love story between the crazy bus traveller and Ringo's fake Aunt at all, the wizard scene with the Beatles in the sky is terrible.  And to top it off, when it was released originally, Paul said well part of it was because it was shown in black and white and not color.  Well I have the color version, and it is just plain awful. Well now there are three cool moments in this movie--which take up all of 10 minutes tops (1/6th of the entire thing).  They are the following:  #1 The "I Am The Walrus" video is awesome, by far the highlight, and definately the reason why I have kept this movie. #2 The only funny part of the movie is the crazy spaghetti dream scene, which was Lennon's shining moment.  It might be a little mean, it is definately weird, it has a cool musical background, but it ends up being quite funny.  Finally #3 "The Blue Jay Way" video is really cool, despite being on an average song.  However, none of these really make the purchase too necessary, and if did buy it, you will most likely spend a longer time fast-forwarding than watching.  I would give it a 3/10 for the 3 bits mentioned above and that seems a little high.

Derrick Stuart <> (27.11.2000)

Most certainly the product of LSD. This one is meant to make even less sense. My copy of this was recorded off HBO by my mom in the 80s, it's not as bad as everyone says but I doubt I'd pay the $20 the stores are asking for it. Btw, you should really check out a movie called, the Ruttles, made by people from SNL and Monty Python, you'd really enjoy it.

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

I don't hate the Magical Mystery Tour film (after all, anything connected to The Beatles is acceptable to me), but I never understood why it was made. They should've given it to a professional director to handle and he could've molded it into something tangible and good.

This film was seemingly made 'on the cuff' -– I doubt it had any cogent script at all! It WAS self-indulgent, and the only moments I truly enjoy in it are when the non-actors appear (like when John and George are on the bus playing with that little girl).

Michael Topper <> (06.05.2001)

I love Magical Mystery Tour.  It is the Beatles being indulgent and making a little psychedelic home movie and that's why I love it.  There isn't a "plot", it's just a bunch of cool things that happen to the bus as it winds its way across the English countryside. I love the scene with little Nicole.  I love the tiny tent that turns into a big theatre when you go inside.  Clips for "Fool On The Hill", "I Am The Walrus" and "Blue Jay Way" are awesome, and kick the pants off of most MTV clips. And there *is* a message, or meaning to the film--it's all about the dark recesses of the British subconscious, as played by Ringo's aunt (the spaghetti), the would-be courier (his unrequieted love for aunt Jessie) and the rest of the bus tourists (re: "I Am The Walrus" segment"). They all have unfulfilled fantasies...I could go on but I'll leave it up to you to figure out the rest. Also, dig the social critique of the military, acid style (OK, maybe it's a little too obvious, but to little kids--like my nieces--it's a gas!). The songs alone make it worthwhile.  Just use a brain cell or two when analyzing the film and wonders will's got its shortcomings but I enjoy it every time I see it.


Ryan Mulligan <> (10.04.2000)

I love this cartooon. Ringo seems to carry the humor, but that's not a bad thing. I love the scene where they get gray beards and start singing "When I'm 64", and the Beatles' songs humor like when John says the holes remind him of Blackburn, Lancashire, and Paul replies with "oh boy". Oh yeah, i noticed at one point, the words "The rolling stones" come out of the back of the submarine, nice touch.

Btw, i heard it's not really the beatles doing the that true? it sure sounds like them, but that guy below says the beatles had nothing to do with the film. I think I noticed Dylan with a painted wig like in the jacket for his first greatest hits, but that could just be wishful thinking. that last song is very childish, but it's great for a cartoon. good flick. later

mjcarney <> (30.06.2000)

This is perhaps the most bizarre cartoon ever, yet it is also pretty good.  It all circles around the Sgt Pepper's band who get attacked by the Blue Meanies (who are bizzarely drawn, speak very strangely, and yet are the highlight of the movie).  Anyway the Meanies freeze them in a bubble and the rest of the people in Pepperland, so a messenger goes and finds the real Beatles to dress like the SPLHCB, some zaniness later, and of course the Beatles save the day.  It is mostly a children's movie, but I enjoy it, and I would assume many adults would too.  There is actually some really stupid (yet funny) beatleish humour throughout, much like that in A Hard Day's Night and Help!, and the illustrations are terrific, even if a bit strange.  Thoroughly enjoyable, only rough points (not really bad, but rough) are that it seems to drag a little bit--maybe because of the added 'Hey Bulldog' bit--but I am not really complaining, and it also seems a bit too "out there" for kids--at least to me, but hey that Teletubbies show is probably more "out there" and millions of parents are letting there two year olds watch that crap--which flat out sickens me.  Anyway, the movie is fun, and that being especially shocking since the Beatles had next to no influence in the movie (it ain't even there voices).  I would rate this an 8/10.

Palash Ghosh <> (27.02.2001)

As a child, the grotesque otherwordly images of the Yellow Submarine film frightened me and I couldn't stand to watch it. As a teen and as an adult, I cherish it as a classic animated film, and yet another way that The Beatles started a revolution in an art form (film animation) that they had little directed involvement in.

I WAS, however, disappointed that the actual Beatles didn't provide the voices for their cartoon selves (were they deemed too expensive?). At least, they appear at the end for real!


Chris Papadopoulos <> (02.03.2001)

I saw this at the cinema as a teenager a few years after it was released (I feel so old). As you'd expect from a young Beatles freak, it was mesmerising and I was hooked for life (despite my less-than-fawning comments on this site). It may have lots of faults, but it's indispensible anyway.

Once upon a time, it was screened on Australian television every few months it seemed, but hasn't been on for years as far as I know. Thanks very much, pay TV? Nor is it available on video to my knowledge. Something to do with United Artists owning the rights, probably. Happily, clips of the rooftop 'concert', 'Let It Be' and 'L&W Road' do crop up on music shows fairly regularly.

A clarification: the rooftop concert is not complete; there are bootlegs of the entire concert with many takes of the same songs. The film does seem to include the best of them.

Palash Ghosh <> (09.03.2001)

The Let it be film should not be viewed as a 'movie' or even a 'documentary' -– it's really just a simple, personal 'home movie' (albeit a home movie of the four most famous people on the planet). I find it endlessly fascinating and profoundly sad. It shows the greatest pop group in the world with their 'pants down' and in a state of irretrievable deterioration.

What really struck me when I first watched this as a teenager was how BAD the lads looked! When I say bad, I mean BAD; that is, they're unshaven, unkempt, and dressed in scruffy clothes most of the time. How weird that seemed to me then. Could it be that The Beatles were just ordinary men who just somehow had the luck to be blessed with great musical talent? I guess so!

Not only that, but everything (the studios, the offices, the London skyline) all seemed so grey and dreary.

It's clear that Paul (as usual) is the only one interested in making this film, while the others are either indifferent or outright hostile to it. But Paul seems nervous and uptight throughout the film, George looks ill at ease, John looks bored, and Ringo just looks like he wants to go home. My favorite moment from the film is when the rooftop concert starts bothering all the office workers in the area and they demand it stop! I kinda wish they had released films of the making of all their great studio albums (although I think the Anthology video -- which I've never seen -- may include some of that).

Chelsea Frank <> (17.08.2004)

Now that more and more youth seem to be jumping on the 'classic rock' gravy train a lot of these older music films are being re-released, but previously Let it Be was one of the major things that made my life as a young completist very infuriating. Not that I don't enjoy hours of flea markets, garage sales, and buy/sell music shops.

Anyway, I finally saw this film. Unfortunately it was made during a period of time in which the Beatles were really beginning to disintegrate. The music is still good, but not their best, and there is a bit of hostility, or at least a sense of detatchment, between the members. But it's very interesting to watch them in the studio and get a glimpse of the creative process. The bulk of the material is obviously on the Let it Be album, but they also do a run of Paul's hillarious 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer', and Ringo's "Octopus's Garden'.

One of the highlights for me was Harrison playing 'I me mine' for the band, but that's just because I love that song. A slight warning, if you're not that interested in the Beatles the film may get a bit tedious, not a lot happens, and the film quality is very poor. At least on my copy, which I'm almost certain was ripped...

All in all it was pretty much what I expected it to be, and it was very entertaining. The advantages outweigh the flaws, the main advantage being of course that it is a documentary on the Beatles.

(I use the word documetary loosely, like Ghosh said, its got more of a 'home movie' feel about it)

And the movie is worth watching for the rooftop concert alone. Great in a historical context, and a chance to see the Beatles performing live.

If you like the Beatles, you'll definitely want to see this. I've heard rumours that it is supposed to be re-released on DVD next year.


Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)

This one was the only descent documentary made before the Anthologies arrived. Plans of making this movie were made already in the early seventies, but due to a lot of reasons it was always delayed. The hilarious Beatles parody "The Rutles" is based on a rough working version of this documentary (provided by George, who also appears in the movie).


No reader comments yet.


Josh Fitzgerald <> (14.08.99)

Ummmmmmmm, did you even watch these videos??? There are eight videos, not six, and plus, In there, they even explain that The Beatles had no participation in the making of Yellow Submarine. Anyway, you ARE right about the shea stadium part though. I still love to watch these though. Really cool!

[Special author note: okay, I got it. I was wondering... but now I got it. See, I was talking about the TV broadcast that I have taped, not the actual videos which seem to really have some additional footage. That's the cause of the misunderstanding. My critique still stands, though; and anyway, do they take TV watchers for jerks and video watchers for the real public?]

Morten Felgenhauer <> (09.01.2001)


Besides that, pure delight.

Darren Ally <> (17.07.2001)

In terms of pure execution I believe the Anthology series to bve a brilliant tribute to the Beatles and their brilliant career. It never fails to amaze me how many times I can watch this series and be completely surprised by a little detail or bit of vision I missed the several hundred times I watched it beofre.

As Derek Taylor says in his ever eloquent and poetic prose gracing the back covers of the series, there are some magical mysterious moments to discover and treasure.

Esepcially effective is the montages of the concert scenes over 'In My Life' annoucning the lads quitting playing live, the touching tribue to Brian Epstein themed by 'You've Got to Hide you Love Away.'

I also adore watching the promo clips to 'PAPERBACK WRITER' and 'RAIN' - so modern, crisp and cool.

Lowlights include the tension when the three existing members are in a backyard being interviewed about India and Paul asks George what he wrote as he diddles on his guitar, seeming to not have heard him - Paul takes this the wrong way, it seems, and says 'not much' or something to that end.

Thank god for such a documentary - I will treasure it forever.

Long Live The Beatles!

Bob Josef <> (27.11.2002)

I also taped the six hour TV version, and I don't think it's incoherent. My fiancee, not a hardcore fan by any means, was able to follow it well enough. Very informative and entertaining. It's interesting that McCartney seems to understate the group's problems in a fairly glib manner. (And it's ludicrous that he thinks that film students study Magical Mystery Tour -- unless as an example of how NOT to make a movie). George and Ringo come off, on the other hand, as very witty, ntelligent and more candid.

But I may have to rent the complete video version, anyway. A performance clip of "Rain"?!! That alone might be worth seeking out!

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