Saturday, November 28, 2009

Beatles For Sale

Next up, we look at the fourth LP release by the Beatles entitled: "Beatles For Sale". This released was issued in the UK on December 04 1964. It was released in both sonic formats; essentially mono (PMC 1240) and stereo (PCS 3062). I personally don't mind both the mono and stereo formats equally (although to be honest the mono version does have a bit of an "edge" over the stereo). The stereo balance is not too, too bad but once again as on the previous LP the stereo mixes were essentially done all in one day with little thought as compared to the concentrated mono mixes. The thinking of the day still assumed that most record buyers in those days would be listening to the mono version anyway and only high-brow "audiophiles" would be paying any attention to the stereo version. In 1964, they were probably right.

This is also the first Beatles' gatefold LP. In fact, you opened up the gatefold cover and the LP was within the inner sleeve and was pulled out from the inside of the jacket out on the left rather than the traditional right. Very cool. The photography for the LP cover was taken by Robert Freeman. The front cover features a very, very, very tired looking Beatles staring blankly at the camera. No one smiles. It must be rememberd that this LP was the fourth LP to be released by the Beatles in 21 months. The Beatles had started the year 1964 playing in Paris, going to the US and playing New York City, Washington and Miami. Back to New York City and then back to England to begin filming the first movie and then recording the soundtrack at Abbey Road. Then all the while also recording an Extended Play, finishing the movie and going back on tour in Europe and attacking a North American tour while trying to complete the next single and recording another LP for the end of the year. No wonder the Beatles look like zombies !!! The inner cover features liner notes by Derek Taylor with the famous and accurate line: "The kids of AD 2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well being and warmth as we do today". On either sides of the liner notes are the song titles and a photo of the Beatles performing in Washington DC completes the left side of the inner cover. The right side shows a pre-Sgt. Pepper photo abstract featuring the Beatles posing in front of various movie scene photos.

This fourth LP contained 14 solid tracks which was the norm for Beatles LPs up to "Revolver" (with the sole exception of "A Hard Day's Night" which only featured 13 tracks). Of all the songs on the LP, six of the tunes were cover versions written by someone else, while eight of the songs were original. All eight original songs contained on the LP were written by Lennon/McCartney.

Unfortunately, "Beatles For Sale" is one of the least popular Beatles' LPs and is not discussed much as compared to the others. Maybe the Beatles were uninspired and tired although I must say that I really enjoy the musicianship on the LP (especially George Harrison's guitar playing).

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