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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top 5 Reasons You Should Buy Beatles Albums, Not Beatles Songs

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 12:30 PM

So now you can download Beatles tracks one-at-a-time on the iTunes store for $1.29. But just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, and that's doubly true for the Beatles' music. While some parts of the band's catalog are entirely cherry-pickable, much of the Beatles' work -- especially later stuff -- is built so that if you're not hearing the albums whole, you're not hearing the music right. Below, we channel our crotchety side for five examples from the Beatles catalog that serve as reasons why you -- if you're going to download the Beatles on iTunes at all -- should forget buying individual songs and cough up the cash for whole albums.

You need this one.
  • You need this one.
5. "Twist and Shout"/Please Please Me
Disregarding the obvious fact that you should own the Beatles' first album in its entirety simply because you are a human, live on Earth, breathe air, and presumably strive for some degree of cultural relevance, there's another good reason: the last track on the album, a cover of The Isley Brothers' "Twist and Shout." As legend has it, much of Please Please Me was recorded in one long day, while Lennon suffered from a cold. Producer George Martin knew that the song would destroy the singer's vocal chords, so he had the band play it last. On that fateful day in 1963, The Beatles finished the other songs, went out for a drink, came back, and blasted out this version -- with Lennon's larynx grating itself into the microphone right before your ears -- in just one take. It sounds rough, gorgeous, punky, and essential, but you wouldn't appreciate how much edgier it is than the rest of Please Please Me if you don't have the whole thing.

click to enlarge You need this one, too.
  • You need this one, too.
4. The Bewildering Mindfuck That Is The White Album
By the time the Beatles recorded the White Album in 1968, the group was starting to fall apart. You can actually hear this in the White Album, which is why it's worth owning the whole thing. While Paul laid down wacky shit like "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and doled out gorgeous little ditties like "Blackbird," George got Eric Clapton to pinch-hit the guitar solo on monster-rocker "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and John wrote some of the most haunting, moody rock songs ever committed to tape ("I'm So Tired," "Sexy Sadie," "Helter Skelter," "Yer Blues.") The White Album is the Beatles at their best and their worst. It's schizophrenic, inconsistent, weird, revelatory, depressing, and totally worth owning every minute of.

Probably shouldn't forget Sgt. Pepper's
  • Probably shouldn't forget Sgt. Pepper's
The art's not bad, either.
  • The art's not bad, either.
  • (Tear.)
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Ian S. Port


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