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Regular Issue Albums (UK)

Remastered 9/9/09

Please Please Me 1963

Side A (LP)
1. I Saw Her Standing There Lennon/McCartney
2. Misery - Lennon/McCartney
3. Anna (Go To Him) Alexander
4. Chains Goffin/King
5. Boys Dixon/Farrell
6. Ask Me Why Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
1. Please Please Me Lennon/McCartney
2. P.S. I Love You Lennon/McCartney
3. Baby It's You David/Williams/Bacharach
4. Do You Want To Know A Secret Lennon/McCartney
5. A Taste Of Honey Scott/Marlow
7. There's A Place Lennon/McCartney
8. Twist And Shout Medley/Russell

Their first-ever album, raw and rough and still very rock & roll. Lennon and McCartney begin to flex their writing muscles and had already scored two UK hits when this appeared, but they still relied heavily on the cover material to see them through. Their insecurity about their own abilities seems curious in hindsight since they'd pulled the title song and "I Saw Her Standing There" (with thanks to Little Richard) out of their hats. But they were an unknown quantity, still to launch a million bands and take pop music to places it had never dreamed off. A small step for four men, a giant leap for music. --Chris Nickson

With The Beatles 1963

Side A (LP)
1. It Won't Be Long Lennon/McCartney
2. All I've Got To Do Lennon/McCartney
3. All My Loving Lennon/McCartney
4. Don't Bother Me Harrison
5. Little Child Lennon/McCartney
6. Till There Was You Wilson
7. Please Mr. Postman Holland

Side B (LP)
8. Roll Over Beethoven Berry
9. Hold Me Tight Lennon/McCartney
10. You Really Got A Hold On Me W. Robinson
11. I Wanna Be Your Man Lennon/McCartney
12. Devil In Her Heart Drapkin
13. Not A Second Time Lennon/McCartney
14. Money Berry/Gordy/Bradford

They still had plenty of covers to fill out the running time, but the Lennon-McCartney writing team was gathering steam and beginning to knock out pop classics as if they were pulling them out of thin air. "All My Loving" and "I Wanna Be your Man" come from this record, issued hurriedly to capitalize on English Beatlemania. But even when they were laying into some classic Chuck Berry, by this time the Beatles had acquired a unique sound in the blend of John's and Paul's voices, while George was coming on by leaps and bounds as a guitar player. While not absolutely essential, as a snapshot of a band in a place and time, With the Beatles is good for a smile. --Chris Nickson

A Hard Day's Night 1964

Side A (LP)
1. A Hard Day's Night Lennon/McCartney
2. I Should Have Known Better Lennon/McCartney
3. If I Fell Lennon/McCartney
4. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You Lennon/McCartney
5. And I Love Her Lennon/McCartney
6. Tell Me Why Lennon/McCartney
7. Can't Buy Me Love Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. Any Time At All Lennon/McCartney
9. I'll Cry Instead Lennon/McCartney
10. Things We Said Today Lennon/McCartney
11. When I Get Home Lennon/McCartney
12. You Can't Do That Lennon/McCartney
13. I'll Be Back Lennon/McCartney

Strummmmm! That dramatic guitar chord that kicks of A Hard Day's Night (album, song, movie) still jumps right out at you, slaps you in the face, and jump-starts your heart. And you know what? Both the music and the film are still as crisp and lively as they were in 1964. Of course, only the first seven songs are actually in the movie (and they are the strongest of the bunch, from the rousing rock & roll of the title track and the hit single "Can't Buy Me Love," to the beautiful ballads "If I Fell" and "And I Love Her"). But nobody's going to complain about having songs like "I'll Cry Instead" and "Things We Said Today" in the second half of the record; they sure don't feel like leftovers. Yet another high-point for John, Paul, George, and Ringo--four fab fellows who hit the highest heights imaginable. --Jim Emerson

Beatles For Sale 1964

Side A (LP)
1. No Reply Lennon/McCartney
2. I'm A Loser Lennon/McCartney
3. Baby's In Black Lennon/McCartney
4. Rock And Roll Music Berry
5. I'll Follow The Sun Lennon/McCartney
6. Mr. Moonlight Johnson
7. Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey Lieber/Stoller/Penniman

Side B (LP)
8. Eight Days A Week Lennon/McCartney
9. Words Of Love Holly
10. Honey Don't Perkins
11. Every Little Thing Lennon/McCartney
12. I Don't Want To Spoil The Party Lennon/McCartney
13. What You're Doing Lennon/McCartney
14. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby Perkins

Banged out in a hurry for the 1964 Christmas market, Beatles for Sale sometimes sounds it, loaded with ill-conceived covers and some of John Lennon's most self-loathing lyrics. On the other hand, the people doing the banging-out were the Beatles, whose instincts for what worked musically were so strong that they could basically do no wrong--any record that has "Baby's in Black," "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" and the delectable "Eight Days a Week" on it is only "minor" in the most relative sense. And, though their voices had been frazzled a bit by constant touring, they revved them up for some joyous shouting, and indulged their fondness for American country in subtle, playful ways. --Douglas Wolk

Help! 1965

Side A (LP)
1. Help! Lennon/McCartney
2. The Night Before Lennon/McCartney
3. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away Lennon/McCartney
4. I Need You Harrison
5. Another Girl Lennon/McCartney
6. You're Going To Lose That Girl Lennon/McCartney
7. Ticket To Ride Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. Act Naturally Morrison/Russell
9. It's Only Love Lennon/McCartney
10. You Like Me Too Much Harrison
11. Tell Me What You See Lennon/McCartney
12. I've Just Seen A Face Lennon/McCartney
13. Yesterday Lennon/McCartney
14. Dizzy Miss Lizzy Williams

How John Lennon's confessional song became the title for a silly James Bond spoof I really don't know. The funny thing is, it works both ways--as a young man's personal statement about learning to open up to others, and as the frantic theme for an exotic espionage chase comedy starring those lovable mop-tops (this time in color). Like A Hard Day's Night, only the first "side" of this album actually contains songs from the movie--the biggest hits being the eponymous cry for assistance and "Ticket to Ride." But part 2 has a few nice tunes as well, like "It's Only Love," "I've Just Seen a Face," and a little ditty called "Yesterday." And I always love it when they do an all-out screamer like "Dizzy Miss Lizzy," which sounds like John's raucous answer to Paul's "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey" vocal on Beatles for Sale. Of course, it's essential--as are all the Beatles' soundtracks (all the Beatles' albums), with the possible exception of Yellow Submarine. --Jim Emerson

Rubber Soul 1965

Side A (LP)
1. Drive My Car Lennon/McCartney
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) Lennon/McCartney
3. You Won't See Me Lennon/McCartney
4. Nowhere Man Lennon/McCartney
5. Think For Yourself Harrison
6. The Word Lennon/McCartney
7. Michelle Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. What Goes On Lennon/McCartney/Starkey
9. Girl Lennon/McCartney
10. I'm Looking Through You Lennon/McCartney
11. In My Life Lennon/McCartney
12. Wait Lennon/McCartney
13. If I Needed Someone Harrison
14. Run For Your Life Lennon/McCartney

Rank 'em how you like, Rubber Soul is an undeniable pivot point in the Fab Four's varied discography no matter where, or how, you first heard it. The album was softened up in its original 12-song American edition to jibe with the Dylan/Byrds folk-rock sound, as well as squeeze money from the Parlophone catalog. The 14-song U.K. edition--the version now available on compact disc--is a different, more dynamic, and ultimately more accomplished achievement. So many classics: "Drive My Car" and "Nowhere Man" (both omitted from the U.S. edition) merge the early combustible Beatifics to a burgeoning studio consciousness; "The Word" can be read as a pre-psych warning shot; the sitar-laden "Norwegian Wood" and the evocative "Girl" (the latter written on the last night of the sessions) stand as turning points in John Lennon's oeuvre. George finally emerges too, with the McGuinn-ish "If I Needed Someone." --Don Harrison

Released in December 1965 -- and capping a year that had been defined by groundbreaking singles such as Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and the Rolling Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" -- Rubber Soul finds the Beatles rising to meet the challenge their peers had set. Characteristically, they achieved a new musical sophistication and a greater thematic depth without sacrificing a whit of pop appeal. Producer George Martin described Rubber Soul as "the first album to present a new, growing Beatles to the world," and so it was.

The band's development expressed itself in a variety of overlapping ways. On the U.K. version (the only one available on CD), "Drive My Car" presents a comic character study of a sort that had not previously been in the Beatles' repertoire. More profoundly, however, Dylan's influence suffuses the album, accounting for the tart emotional tone of "Norwegian Wood," "I'm Looking Through You," "You Won't See Me" and "If I Needed Someone." (Dylan would return the compliment the following year, when he offered his own version of "Norwegian Wood" -- titled "4th Time Around" -- on Blonde on Blonde, and consequently made Lennon "Paranoid.") Lennon's "Nowhere Man," which he later acknowledged as a depressed self-portrait, and the beautifully reminiscent "In My Life" both reflect the more serious and personal style of songwriting that Dylan had suddenly made possible.

Musically speaking, George Harrison's sitar on "Norwegian Wood" -- the first time the instrument was used in a pop song -- and Paul McCartney's fuzz bass on "Think for Yourself" document the band's increasing awareness that the studio could be more than a pit stop between tours. From this point on, a fascination with the sonic possibilities of recording would inspire the Beatles' greatest work.

Harrison called Rubber Soul "the best one we made," because "we were suddenly hearing sounds that we weren't able to hear before." And as for why the band's hearing had grown so acute, well, that was another aspect of the times. "There was a lot of experimentation on Rubber Soul," said Ringo Starr, "influenced, I think, by the substances."

Total album sales: 6.5 million

Peak chart position: 1

Revolver 1966

Side A (LP)
1. Taxman Harrison
2. Eleanor Rigby Lennon/McCartney
3. I'm Only Sleeping Lennon/McCartney
4. Love You To Harrison
5. Here, There, And Everywhere Lennon/McCartney
6. Yellow Submarine Lennon/McCartney
7. She Said, She Said Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. Good Day Sunshine Lennon/McCartney
9. And Your Bird Can Sing Lennon/McCartney
10. For No One Lennon/McCartney
11. Doctor Robert Lennon/McCartney
12. I Want To Tell You Harrison
13. Got To Get You Into My Life Lennon/McCartney
14. Tomorrow Never Knows Lennon/McCartney

Revolver wouldn't remain the Beatles' most ambitious LP for long, but many fans--including this one--remember it as their best. An object lesson in fitting great songwriting into experimental production and genre play, this is also a record whose influence extends far beyond mere they-was-the-greatest cheerleading. Putting McCartney's more traditionally melodic "Here, There and Everywhere" and "For No One" alongside Lennon's direct-hit sneering ("Dr. Robert") and dreamscapes ("I'm Only Sleeping," "Tomorrow Never Knows") and Harrison's peaking wit ("Taxman") was as conceptually brilliant as anything Sgt. Pepper attempted, and more subtly fulfilling. A must. --Rickey Wright

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1967

Side A (LP)
1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Lennon/McCartney
2. With A Little Help From My Friends Lennon/McCartney
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds Lennon/McCartney
4. Getting Better Lennon/McCartney
5. Fixing A Hole Lennon/McCartney
6. She's Leaving Home Lennon/McCartney
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. Within You, Without You Harrison
9. When I'm Sixty-Four Lennon/McCartney
10. Lovely Rita Lennon/McCartney
11. Good Morning, Good Morning Lennon/McCartney
12. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) Lennon/McCartney
13. A Day In The Life Lennon/McCartney

Before Sgt. Pepper, no one seriously thought of rock music as actual art. That all changed in 1967, though, when John, Paul, George and Ringo (with "A Little Help" from their friend, producer George Martin) created an undeniable work of art which remains, after 30-plus years, one of the most influential albums of all time. From Lennon's evocative word/sound pictures (the trippy "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," the carnival-like "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") and McCartney's music hall-styled "When I'm 64," to Harrison's Eastern-leaning "Within You Without You," and the avant-garde mini-suite, "A Day in the Life," Sgt. Pepper was a milestone for both '60s music and popular culture. --Billy Altman

Magical Mystery Tour 1967

Side A (LP)
1. Magical Mystery Tour Lennon/McCartney
2. The Fool On The Hill Lennon/McCartney
3. Flying Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
4. Blue Jay Way Harrison
5. Your Mother Should Know Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
6. I Am The Walrus Lennon/McCartney
7. Hello Goodbye Lennon/McCartney
8. Strawberry Fields Forever Lennon/McCartney
9. Penny Lane Lennon/McCartney
10. Baby You're A Rich Man Lennon/McCartney
11. All You Need Is Love Lennon/McCartney

The album feels even more like a collection of singles (instead of an actual movie soundtrack) than Help! or A Hard Day's Night, but maybe that's because every song sounds like it could have been a hit single--with the natural exception of the goofy/weird instrumental "Flying." Even George's "Blue Jay Way" paints a vivid sound-portrait in fascinating detail. (I consider Joni Mitchell's "Car on the Hill" from Court and Spark to be a companion piece about sitting in the Hollywood Hills, waiting for somebody to show up.) And although the goofy TV movie may have been mostly Paul's baby, this album features the two 45 rpm masterpieces that sum up the quintessential best of Lennon and McCartney at this stage of their development: Paul's "Penny Lane" and John's "I Am the Walrus." --Jim Emerson

The Beatles (The White Album) 1968 (2 disc)

Disc 1, Side A
1. Back In The U.S.S.R. Lennon/McCartney
2. Dear Prudence Lennon/McCartney
3. Glass Onion Lennon/McCartney
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da Lennon/McCartney
5. Wild Honey Pie Lennon/McCartney
6. The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill Lennon/McCartney
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps Harrison
8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun Lennon/McCartney

Disc 1, Side B
9. Martha My Dear Lennon/McCartney
10. I'm So Tired Lennon/McCartney
11. Blackbird Lennon/McCartney
12. Piggies Harrison
13. Rocky Racoon Lennon/McCartney
14. Don't Pass Me By Starkey
15. Why Don't We Do It In The Road? Lennon/McCartney
16. I Will Lennon/McCartney
17. Julia Lennon/McCartney

Disc 2, Side A
1. Birthday Lennon/McCartney
2. Yer Blues Lennon/McCartney
3. Mother Nature's Son Lennon/McCartney
4. Everybody's Got Something To Hide
Except Me and My Monkey Lennon/McCartney
5. Sexy Sadie Lennon/McCartney
6. Helter Skelter Lennon/McCartney
7. Long, Long, Long Harrison

Disc 2, Side B
8. Revolution 1 Lennon/McCartney
9. Honey Pie Lennon/McCartney
10. Savoy Truffle Harrison
11. Cry Baby Cry Lennon/McCartney
12. Revolution 9 Lennon/McCartney
13. Good Night Lennon/McCartney

Better known as the "White Album," this was meant to be the record that brought them back to earth after three years of studio experimentation. Instead, it took them all over the place, continuing to burst the envelope of pop music. Lennon and McCartney were still at the height of their powers, with Lennon in particular growing into one of rock's towering figures. But even McCartney could still rock, and the amazement on "Helter Skelter" was that he had vocal cords at the end. From Beach Boys knock-offs to reggae and to the unknown ("Revolution #9"), this has it all. Some records have legend written all over them; this is one. --Chris Nickson

Yellow Submarine 1969

Side A (LP)
1. Yellow Submarine Lennon/McCartney
2. Only A Northern Song Harrison
3. All Together Now Lennon/McCartney
4. Hey Bulldog Lennon/McCartney
5. It's All Too Much Harrison
6. All You Need Is Love Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
7. Pepperland Martin
8. Sea of Time & Sea of Holes Martin
9. March of the Meanies Martin
10. Pepperland Laid Waste Martin
11. Yellow Submarine in Pepperland Martin

The most dashed-off of the Beatles' records, Yellow Submarine doesn't have much to it: the goofy title track and "All You Need Is Love" are reprised from earlier discs, George Martin's trifle of a score to the animated Submarine feature takes up the second half, and that leaves just four relatively insubstantial new tracks. The Beatles' throwaways are anyone else's classics, though: "Hey Bulldog," the last song Lennon and McCartney wrote in full collaboration, has the instinctive urgency of their best work, Paul's singalong "All Together Now" is awfully cute, and more than one band has dedicated its career to trying to replicate what George's guitars are doing on his dazed, pulsing "It's All Too Much." --Douglas Wolk

Abbey Road 1969

Side A (LP)
1. Come Together Lennon/McCartney
2. Something Harrison
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer Lennon/McCartney
4. Oh! Darling Lennon/McCartney
5. Octopus's Garden Starkey
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy) Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
7. Here Comes The Sun Harrison
8. Because Lennon/McCartney
9. You Never Give Me Your Money Lennon/McCartney
10. Sun King Lennon/McCartney
11. Mean Mr. Mustard Lennon/McCartney
12. Polythene Pam Lennon/McCartney
13. She Came In Through The Bathroom Window Lennon/McCartney
14. Golden Slumbers Lennon/McCartney
15. Carry That Weight Lennon/McCartney
16. The End Lennon/McCartney
17. Her Majesty Lennon/McCartney

The Beatles' last days as a band were as productive as any major pop phenomenon that was about to split. After recording the ragged-but-right Let It Be, the group held on for this ambitious effort, an album that was to become their best-selling. Though all four contribute to the first side's writing, John Lennon's hard-rocking, "Come Together" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" make the strongest impression. A series of song fragments edited together in suite form dominates side two; its portentous, touching, official close ("Golden Slumbers"/"Carry That Weight"/"The End") is nicely undercut, in typical Beatles fashion, by Paul McCartney's cheeky "Her Majesty," which follows. --Rickey Wright

The Abbey Rd Photo
The Beatles had been wondering what to do for their next LP-cover for some time. All their previous cover shots had been groundbreaking, from the simple (but nevertheless classic) posing on the stairs of EMI house in Manchester square for Please Please Me, through the darkly lit four faces of With The Beatles, the filmstrip style adopted for A Hard Day's Night, the solemn look of Beatles For Sale, the semaphore signs of Help!, the distorted Rubber Soul cover, the award-winning collage of Revolver, the meticulously arranged splendor of Sgt Pepper and the stark contrast of The Beatles (White Album). You can just close your eyes and picture them all, can't you? At one point, what we refer to as Abbey Road was going to be called Everest (after a brand of cigarettes, smoked by the Beatles' engineer, Geoff Emerick), and the Beatles were going to be photographed at the foot of this famous mountain in the Himalayas. In the end, they couldn't be bothered. One of them (probably Paul) said: Hey, why don't we just have our picture taken as we walk across the crossing just outside here and call the LP Abbey Road? All having agreed on this, John contacted a photographer friend of his and Yoko's, Iain MacMillan, and a photo shoot was set up. At 11.35, MacMillan stood on a stepladder and took six photos of the group walking across, while a policeman held up traffic. Some time later, Paul McCartney studied the negatives under a magnifying glass and chose the image (no.5) that is now so familiar. The LP came out, became the world's no. 1 selling LP, Abbey Road became a household word, the cover inspired countless of other hopeful bands to imitate the sleeve, and even EMI's recording studios were instantly renamed.

Let It Be 1970

Side A (LP)
1. Two Of Us Lennon/McCartney
2. Dig A Pony Lennon/McCartney
3. Across The Universe Lennon/McCartney
4. I Me Mine Harrison
5. Dig It Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey
6. Let It Be Lennon/McCartney
7. Maggie Mae Lennon/McCartney

Side B (LP)
8. I've Got A Feeling Lennon/McCartney
9. One After 909 Lennon/McCartney
10. The Long And Winding Road Lennon/McCartney
11. For You Blue Harrison
12. Get Back Lennon/McCartney

Sloppy in conception, and even sometimes in the playing, Let It Be often gets a bad rap. Unfairly, as it's often as charming, well written, and (oh yeah) rocking as the Beatles' "better" albums; it's also more outright fun than Abbey Road, the masterpiece it followed into the stores. With Lennon and McCartney working together on the perfect "I've Got a Feeling," "Two of Us," and "Dig a Pony," it's hard to believe these guys were about to implode. --Rickey Wright


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