The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

AllMusic Review: Conventional wisdom holds that the Beatles intended Abbey Road as a grand farewell, a suspicion seemingly confirmed by the elegiac note Paul McCartney strikes at the conclusion of its closing suite. It’s hard not to interpret “And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love you make” as a summation not only of Abbey Road but perhaps of the group’s entire career, a lovely final sentiment. The truth is perhaps a bit messier than this. The Beatles had tentative plans to move forward after the September 1969 release of Abbey Road, plans that quickly fell apart at the dawn of the new decade, and while the existence of that goal calls into question the intentionality of the album as a finale, it changes not a thing about what a remarkable goodbye the record is. In many ways, Abbey Road stands apart from the rest of the Beatles’ catalog, an album that gains considerable strength from its lush, enveloping production — a recording so luxuriant, it glosses over aesthetic differences between the group’s main three songwriters and ties together a series of disconnected unfinished songs into a complete suite. Where Sgt. Pepper pioneered such mind-bending aural techniques, Abbey Road truly seized the possibilities of the studio and, in doing so, pointed the way forward to the album rock era of the 1970s. Many of the studio tricks arrive during that brilliant suite of songs, a sequence that lasts nearly a full side of an album. Here, McCartney’s playful eccentricity juts against John Lennon’s curdled cynicism, while the band thrills in sudden changes of mood and plays plenty of guitar, culminating in McCartney, Lennon, and George Harrison trading solos on “The End.” The depth of sonic detail within “You Never Give Me Your Money” and “She Came in Through the Window” provided ideas for entire subgenres of pop in the ’70s, but Abbey Road also contains a handful of the most enduring Beatles songs, each adding a new emotional maturity to their catalog. The subdued boogie of Lennon’s “Come Together” contains a sensuality previously unheard in the Beatles — it’s matched by “Because,” which may be the best showcase for the group’s harmonies — Harrison’s “Something” is a love ballad of unusual sensitivity, and his “Here Comes the Sun” is incandescent, perhaps his purest expression of joy. As good as these individual moments are, what makes Abbey Road transcendent is how the album is so much greater than the sum of its parts. While a single song or segment can be dazzling, having a succession of marvelous, occasionally intertwined moments is not only a marvel but indeed a summation of everything that made the Beatles great. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing:

All tracks are written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Come Together” Lennon 4:19
2. “Something” George Harrison Harrison 3:02
3. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” McCartney 3:27
4. “Oh! Darling” McCartney 3:27
5. “Octopus’s Garden” Richard Starkey Starr 2:51
6. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” Lennon 7:47
Total length: 24:53
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. “Here Comes the Sun” Harrison Harrison 3:05
2. “Because” Lennon, McCartney and Harrison 2:45
3. “You Never Give Me Your Money” McCartney 4:03
4. “Sun King” Lennon, with McCartney and Harrison 2:26
5. “Mean Mr. Mustard” Lennon 1:06
6. “Polythene Pam” Lennon 1:13
7. “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window” McCartney 1:58
8. “Golden Slumbers” McCartney 1:31
9. “Carry That Weight” McCartney, with Lennon, Harrison and Starr 1:36
10. “The End” McCartney 2:05
11. “Her Majesty” McCartney 0:23
Total length: 22:10

 

Schill Score: 9/10

 

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The Beatles – White Album (1968)

AllMusic Review: Each song on the sprawling double album The Beatles is an entity to itself, as the band touches on anything and everything it can. This makes for a frustratingly scattershot record or a singularly gripping musical experience, depending on your view, but what makes the so-called White Album interesting is its mess. Never before had a rock record been so self-reflective, or so ironic; the Beach Boys send-up “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and the British blooze parody “Yer Blues” are delivered straight-faced, so it’s never clear if these are affectionate tributes or wicked satires. Lennon turns in two of his best ballads with “Dear Prudence” and “Julia”; scours the Abbey Road vaults for the musique concrète collage “Revolution 9”; pours on the schmaltz for Ringo’s closing number, “Good Night”; celebrates the Beatles cult with “Glass Onion”; and, with “Cry Baby Cry,” rivals Syd Barrett. McCartney doesn’t reach quite as far, yet his songs are stunning — the music hall romp “Honey Pie,” the mock country of “Rocky Raccoon,” the ska-inflected “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” and the proto-metal roar of “Helter Skelter.” Clearly, the Beatles’ two main songwriting forces were no longer on the same page, but neither were George and Ringo. Harrison still had just two songs per LP, but it’s clear from “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the canned soul of “Savoy Truffle,” the haunting “Long, Long, Long,” and even the silly “Piggies” that he had developed into a songwriter who deserved wider exposure. And Ringo turns in a delight with his first original, the lumbering country-carnival stomp “Don’t Pass Me By.” None of it sounds like it was meant to share album space together, but somehow The Beatles creates its own style and sound through its mess. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Back in the U.S.S.R.” McCartney 2:43
2. “Dear Prudence” Lennon 3:56
3. “Glass Onion” Lennon 2:18
4. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” McCartney 3:08
5. “Wild Honey Pie” McCartney 0:52
6. “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” Lennon, with Yoko Ono 3:14
7. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” (George Harrison) Harrison 4:45
8. “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” Lennon 2:47
Total length: 23:43
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Martha My Dear” McCartney 2:28
2. “I’m So Tired” Lennon 2:03
3. “Blackbird” McCartney 2:18
4. “Piggies” (Harrison) Harrison 2:04
5. “Rocky Raccoon” McCartney 3:33
6. “Don’t Pass Me By” (Richard Starkey) Starr 3:51
7. “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” McCartney 1:41
8. “I Will” McCartney 1:46
9. “Julia” Lennon 2:57
Total length: 22:41
Side three
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Birthday” McCartney with Lennon 2:42
2. “Yer Blues” Lennon 4:01
3. “Mother Nature’s Son” McCartney 2:48
4. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” Lennon 2:24
5. “Sexy Sadie” Lennon 3:15
6. “Helter Skelter” McCartney 4:30
7. “Long, Long, Long” (Harrison) Harrison 3:08
Total length: 22:48
Side four
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Revolution 1” Lennon 4:15
2. “Honey Pie” McCartney 2:41
3. “Savoy Truffle” (Harrison) Harrison 2:54
4. “Cry Baby Cry” Lennon, with McCartney 3:02
5. “Revolution 9” Speaking from Lennon, Harrison, Ono and George Martin 8:15
6. “Good Night” Starr 3:14
Total length: 24:21

 

Schill Score: 9.25/10

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The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the eighth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. Released on 26 May 1967, it spent 27 weeks at number one on the Record Retailer chart in the United Kingdom and 15 weeks at number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the United States. It was lauded by critics for its innovations in songwriting, production and graphic design, for bridging a cultural divide between popular music and high art, and for reflecting the interests of contemporary youth and the counterculture. Its release was a defining moment in 1960s pop culture, heralding the Summer of Love, while the album’s reception achieved full cultural legitimisation for pop music and recognition for the medium as a genuine art form.

At the end of August 1966, the Beatles permanently retired from touring and pursued individual interests for the next three months. During a return flight to London in November, Paul McCartney had an idea for a song involving an Edwardian military band that formed the impetus of the Sgt. Pepper concept. Sessions began on 24 November at EMI Studios with compositions inspired by the Beatles’ youth, but after pressure from EMI, the songs “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were released as a double A-side single in February 1967 and left off the LP.

The album was loosely conceptualised as a performance by the fictional Sgt. Pepper band, an idea that was conceived after recording the title track. A key work of British psychedelia, it incorporates a range of stylistic influences, including vaudeville, circus, music hall, avant-garde, and Western and Indian classical music. The band continued the technological experimentation marked by their previous album, Revolver, this time without an absolute deadline for completion. With producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick, the group coloured much of the recordings with sound effects and tape manipulation, as exemplified on “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” and “A Day in the Life”. Recording was completed on 21 April. The cover, which depicts the Beatles posing in front of a tableau of celebrities and historical figures, was designed by the pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth.

Sgt. Pepper is regarded by musicologists as an early concept album that advanced the roles of sound composition, extended form, psychedelic imagery, record sleeves, and the producer in popular music. The album had an immediate cross-generational impact and was associated with numerous touchstones of the era’s youth culture, such as fashion, drugs, mysticism, and a sense of optimism and empowerment. It is considered one of the first art rock LPs, a progenitor to progressive rock, and the start of the album era. In 1968, it won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive this honour; in 2003 it was inducted into the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” McCartney 2:00
2. “With a Little Help from My Friends” Starr 2:42
3. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” Lennon 3:28
4. “Getting Better” McCartney with Lennon 2:48
5. “Fixing a Hole” McCartney 2:36
6. “She’s Leaving Home” McCartney with Lennon 3:25
7. “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” Lennon 2:37
Total length: 19:34

Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Within You Without You” Harrison 5:05
2. “When I’m Sixty-Four” McCartney 2:37
3. “Lovely Rita” McCartney 2:42
4. “Good Morning Good Morning” Lennon 2:42
5. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)” Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr 1:18
6. “A Day in the Life” Lennon with McCartney 5:38
Total length: 20:02

AllMusic Review: With Revolver, the Beatles made the Great Leap Forward, reaching a previously unheard-of level of sophistication and fearless experimentation. Sgt. Pepper, in many ways, refines that breakthrough, as the Beatles consciously synthesized such disparate influences as psychedelia, art-song, classical music, rock & roll, and music hall, often in the course of one song. Not once does the diversity seem forced — the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian “When I’m 64” seems like a logical extension of “Within You Without You” and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of “Lovely Rita.” There’s no discounting the individual contributions of each member or their producer, George Martin, but the preponderance of whimsy and self-conscious art gives the impression that Paul McCartney is the leader of the Lonely Hearts Club Band. He dominates the album in terms of compositions, setting the tone for the album with his unabashed melodicism and deviously clever arrangements. In comparison, Lennon’s contributions seem fewer, and a couple of them are a little slight but his major statements are stunning. “With a Little Help From My Friends” is the ideal Ringo tune, a rolling, friendly pop song that hides genuine Lennon anguish, à la “Help!”; “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” remains one of the touchstones of British psychedelia; and he’s the mastermind behind the bulk of “A Day in the Life,” a haunting number that skillfully blends Lennon’s verse and chorus with McCartney’s bridge. It’s possible to argue that there are better Beatles albums, yet no album is as historically important as this. After Sgt. Pepper, there were no rules to follow — rock and pop bands could try anything, for better or worse. Ironically, few tried to achieve the sweeping, all-encompassing embrace of music as the Beatles did here. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Schill Score: 10/10

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The Beatles – Revolver (1966)

Revolver is the seventh studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 5 August 1966, accompanied by the double A-side single “Eleanor Rigby” / “Yellow Submarine”. The album was the Beatles’ final recording project before their retirement as live performers and marked the group’s most overt use of studio technology to date, building on the advances of their late 1965 release Rubber Soul. It has since become regarded as one of the greatest and most innovative albums in the history of popular music, with recognition centered on its range of musical styles, diverse sounds, and lyrical content.

The Beatles recorded Revolver after taking a three-month break at the start of 1966, and during a period when London was feted as the era’s cultural capital. Regarded by some commentators as the start of the group’s psychedelic period, the songs reflect their interest in the drug LSD, Eastern philosophy and the avant-garde while addressing themes such as death and transcendence from material concerns. With no plans to reproduce their new material in concert, the band made liberal use of automatic double tracking, varispeed, reversed tapes, close audio miking, and instruments outside of their standard live set-up. Among its tracks are “Tomorrow Never Knows”, incorporating heavy Indian drone and a collage of tape loops; “Eleanor Rigby”, a song about loneliness featuring a string octet as its only musical backing; and “Love You To”, a foray into Hindustani classical music. The sessions also produced a non-album single, “Paperback Writer” backed with “Rain”.

In the United Kingdom, the album’s 14 tracks were gradually distributed to radio stations in the weeks before its release. In North America, Revolver was reduced to 11 songs by Capitol Records, with the omitted three appearing on the June 1966 LP Yesterday and Today. The release there coincided with the Beatles’ final concert tour and the controversy surrounding John Lennon’s remark that the band had become “more popular than Jesus”. The album topped the Record Retailer chart in the UK for seven weeks and the US Billboard Top LPs list for six weeks. Critical reaction was highly favorable in the UK but less so in the US amid the press’s unease at the band’s outspokenness on contemporary issues.

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Taxman” (*) Harrison 2:36
2. “Eleanor Rigby” McCartney 2:11
3. “I’m Only Sleeping” Lennon 2:58
4. “Love You To” (*) Harrison 3:00
5. “Here, There and Everywhere” McCartney 2:29
6. “Yellow Submarine” Starr 2:40
7. “She Said She Said” Lennon 2:39
Total length: 18:33

Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Good Day Sunshine” McCartney 2:08
2. “And Your Bird Can Sing” Lennon 2:02
3. “For No One” McCartney 2:03
4. “Doctor Robert” Lennon 2:14
5. “I Want to Tell You” (*) Harrison 2:30
6. “Got to Get You into My Life” McCartney 2:31
7. “Tomorrow Never Knows” Lennon 3:00
Total length: 16:28

Review: All the rules fell by the wayside with Revolver, as the Beatles began exploring new sonic territory, lyrical subjects, and styles of composition. It wasn’t just Lennon and McCartney, either — Harrison staked out his own dark territory with the tightly wound, cynical rocker “Taxman”; the jaunty yet dissonant “I Want to Tell You”; and “Love You To,” George’s first and best foray into Indian music. Such explorations were bold, yet they were eclipsed by Lennon’s trippy kaleidoscopes of sound. His most straightforward number was “Doctor Robert,” an ode to his dealer, and things just got stranger from there as he buried “And Your Bird Can Sing” in a maze of multi-tracked guitars, gave Ringo a charmingly hallucinogenic slice of childhood whimsy in “Yellow Submarine,” and then capped it off with a triptych of bad trips: the spiraling “She Said She Said”; the crawling, druggy “I’m Only Sleeping”; and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” a pure nightmare where John sang portions of the Tibetan Book of the Dead into a suspended microphone over Ringo’s thundering, menacing drumbeats and layers of overdubbed, phased guitars and tape loops. McCartney’s experiments were formal, as he tried on every pop style from chamber pop to soul, and when placed alongside Lennon’s and Harrison’s outright experimentations, McCartney’s songcraft becomes all the more impressive. The biggest miracle of Revolver may be that the Beatles covered so much new stylistic ground and executed it perfectly on one record, or it may be that all of it holds together perfectly. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Schill Score: 8/10

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The Beatles – Rubber Soul (1965)

Rubber Soul is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 3 December 1965 in the United Kingdom, on EMI’s Parlophone label, accompanied by the non-album double A-side single “Day Tripper” / “We Can Work It Out”. The original North American version of the album, issued by Capitol Records, contained ten of the fourteen songs and two tracks withheld from the band’s Help! album. Rubber Soul met with a highly favourable critical response and topped sales charts in Britain and the United States for several weeks.

The recording sessions took place in London over a four-week period beginning in October 1965. For the first time in their career, the band were able to record an album free of concert, radio or film commitments. Often referred to as a folk rock album, particularly in its Capitol configuration, Rubber Soul incorporates a mix of pop, soul and folk musical styles. The title derives from the colloquialism “plastic soul” and was the Beatles’ way of acknowledging their lack of authenticity compared to the African-American soul artists they admired. After A Hard Day’s Night in 1964, it was the second Beatles LP to contain only original material.

The songs demonstrate the Beatles’ increasing maturity as lyricists, and in their incorporation of brighter guitar tones and new instrumentation such as sitar, harmonium and fuzz bass, the group striving for more expressive sounds and arrangements for their music. The project marked a progression in the band’s treatment of the album format as an artistic platform, an approach they continued to develop with Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The four songs omitted by Capitol, including the February 1966 single “Nowhere Man”, later appeared on the North American release Yesterday and Today.

Rubber Soul was highly influential on the Beatles’ peers, leading to a widespread focus away from singles and onto creating albums of consistently high-quality songs. It has been recognised by music critics as an album that opened up the possibilities of pop music in terms of lyrical and musical scope, and as a key work in the creation of styles such as psychedelia and progressive rock. Among its many appearances on critics’ best-album lists, Rolling Stone ranked it fifth on the magazine’s 2012 list “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Track Listing:

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Drive My Car” McCartney with Lennon 2:25
2. “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” Lennon 2:01
3. “You Won’t See Me” McCartney 3:18
4. “Nowhere Man” Lennon 2:40
5. “Think for Yourself” (George Harrison) Harrison 2:16
6. “The Word” Lennon 2:41
7. “Michelle” McCartney 2:40
Total length: 18:01

Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “What Goes On” (Lennon–McCartney–Starkey) Starr 2:47
2. “Girl” Lennon 2:30
3. “I’m Looking Through You” McCartney 2:23
4. “In My Life” Lennon 2:24
5. “Wait” Lennon and McCartney 2:12
6. “If I Needed Someone” (Harrison) Harrison 2:20
7. “Run for Your Life” Lennon 2:18
Total length: 16:54

Review: While the Beatles still largely stuck to love songs on Rubber Soul, the lyrics represented a quantum leap in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and complex ambiguities. Musically, too, it was a substantial leap forward, with intricate folk-rock arrangements that reflected the increasing influence of Dylan and the Byrds. The group and George Martin were also beginning to expand the conventional instrumental parameters of the rock group, using a sitar on “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” Greek-like guitar lines on “Michelle” and “Girl,” fuzz bass on “Think for Yourself,” and a piano made to sound like a harpsichord on the instrumental break of “In My Life.” While John and Paul were beginning to carve separate songwriting identities at this point, the album is full of great tunes, from “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and “Michelle” to “Girl,” “I’m Looking Through You,” “You Won’t See Me,” “Drive My Car,” and “Nowhere Man” (the last of which was the first Beatle song to move beyond romantic themes entirely). George Harrison was also developing into a fine songwriter with his two contributions, “Think for Yourself” and the Byrds-ish “If I Needed Someone.” — Richie Unterberger

Schill Score: 8.5/10

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The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

A Hard Day’s Night is a 1964 musical comedy film directed by Richard Lester and starring the English rock band the Beatles—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr—during the height of Beatlemania. It was written by Alun Owen and originally released by United Artists. The film portrays 36 hours in the lives of the group.

The film was a financial and critical success. Forty years after its release, Time magazine rated it as one of the 100 all-time great films. In 1997, British critic Leslie Halliwell described it as a “comic fantasia with music; an enormous commercial success with the director trying every cinematic gag in the book” and awarded it a full four stars. The film is credited as being one of the most influential of all musical films, inspiring numerous spy films, the Monkees’ television show and pop music videos. In 1999, the British Film Institute ranked it the 88th greatest British film of the 20th century.

Track Listing

“A Hard Day’s Night” (opening credits)
“I Should Have Known Better”
“I Wanna Be Your Man” (sample)
“Don’t Bother Me” (Harrison) (sample)
“All My Loving” (sample)
“If I Fell”
“Can’t Buy Me Love”
“And I Love Her”
“I’m Happy Just to Dance with You”
“Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)” (instrumental)
“Can’t Buy Me Love” (reprise)
“Tell Me Why”
“She Loves You”
“A Hard Day’s Night” (reprise; closing credits)

Review: Considering the quality of the original material on With the Beatles, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Lennon & McCartney decided to devote their third album to all-original material. Nevertheless, that decision still impresses, not only because the album is so strong, but because it was written and recorded at a time when the Beatles were constantly touring, giving regular BBC concerts, appearing on television and releasing non-LP singles and EPs, as well as filming their first motion picture. In that context, the achievement of A Hard Day’s Night is all the more astounding. Not only was the record the de facto soundtrack for their movie, not only was it filled with nothing but Lennon-McCartney originals, but it found the Beatles truly coming into their own as a band by performing a uniformly excellent set of songs. All of the disparate influences on their first two albums had coalesced into a bright, joyous, original sound filled with ringing guitars and irresistible melodies. They had certainly found their musical voice before, but A Hard Day’s Night is where it became mythical. In just a few years, they made more adventurous and accomplished albums, but this is the sound of Beatlemania in all of its giddy glory — for better and for worse, this is the definitive Beatles album, the one every group throughout the ages has used as a blueprint. Listening to the album, it’s easy to see why. Decades after its original release, A Hard Day’s Night’s punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkably fresh. There’s something intrinsically exciting in the sound of the album itself, something to keep the record vital years after it was recorded. Even more impressive are the songs themselves. Not only are the melodies forceful and memorable, but Lennon and McCartney have found a number of variations to their basic Merseybeat style, from the brash “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “Any Time at All,” through the gentle “If I Fell,” to the tough folk-rock of “I’ll Cry Instead.” It’s possible to hear both songwriters develop their own distinctive voices on the album, but overall, A Hard Day’s Night stands as a testament to their collaborative powers — never again did they write together so well or so easily, choosing to pursue their own routes. John and Paul must have known how strong the material is — they threw the pleasant trifle “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” to George and didn’t give anything to Ringo to sing. That may have been a little selfish, but it hardly hurts the album, since everything on the record is performed with genuine glee and excitement. It’s the pinnacle of their early years. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Schill Score: 7.5/10

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The Beatles – With The Beatles (1963)

With the Beatles is the second studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 22 November 1963 on Parlophone, exactly eight months after the band’s debut Please Please Me. Produced by George Martin, the album features eight original compositions (seven by Lennon–McCartney and “Don’t Bother Me”, George Harrison’s first recorded solo composition and his first released on a Beatles album) and six covers (mostly of Motown, rock and roll, and R&B hits). The cover photograph was taken by the fashion photographer Robert Freeman and has since been mimicked by several music groups over the years. A different cover was used for the Australian release of the album, which the Beatles were displeased with.

In the United States, the album’s tracks were unevenly split over the group’s first two albums released on Capitol Records: Meet the Beatles! and The Beatles’ Second Album. It was also released in Canada under the name Beatlemania! With the Beatles. The album was ranked number 420 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “It Won’t Be Long” Lennon 2:13
2. “All I’ve Got to Do” Lennon 2:02
3. “All My Loving” McCartney 2:07
4. “Don’t Bother Me” (George Harrison) Harrison 2:28
5. “Little Child” Lennon with McCartney 1:46
6. “Till There Was You” (Meredith Willson) McCartney 2:14
7. “Please Mr. Postman” (Georgia Dobbins, William Garrett, Freddie Gorman, Brian Holland, Robert Bateman) Lennon 2:34
Total length: 15:24

Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chuck Berry) Harrison 2:45
2. “Hold Me Tight” McCartney 2:32
3. “You Really Got a Hold on Me” (Smokey Robinson) Lennon and Harrison 3:01
4. “I Wanna Be Your Man” Starr 1:59
5. “Devil in Her Heart” (Richard Drapkin) Harrison 2:26
6. “Not a Second Time” Lennon 2:07
7. “Money (That’s What I Want)” (Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy) Lennon 2:49
Total length: 17:38

Review: With the Beatles is a sequel of the highest order — one that betters the original by developing its own tone and adding depth. While it may share several similarities with its predecessor — there is an equal ratio of covers-to-originals, a familiar blend of girl group, Motown, R&B, pop, and rock, and a show tune that interrupts the flow of the album — With the Beatles is a better record that not only rocks harder, it’s considerably more sophisticated. They could deliver rock & roll straight (“I Wanna Be Your Man”) or twist it around with a little Latin lilt (“Little Child,” one of their most underrated early rockers); Lennon and McCartney wrote sweet ballads (the achingly gorgeous “All I’ve Got to Do”) and sprightly pop/rockers (“All My Loving”) with equal aplomb; and the propulsive rockers (“It Won’t Be Long”) were as richly melodic as slower songs (“Not a Second Time”). Even George Harrison’s first recorded song, “Don’t Bother Me,” is a standout, with its wonderfully foreboding minor-key melody. Since the Beatles covered so much ground with their originals, their covers pale slightly in comparison, particularly since they rely on familiar hits (only “Devil in Her Heart” qualifies as a forgotten gem). But for every “Roll Over Beethoven,” a surprisingly stiff reading of the Chuck Berry standard, there is a sublime moment, such as Lennon’s soaring interpretation of “You Really Got a Hold on Me,” and the group always turns in thoroughly enjoyable performances. Still, the heart of With the Beatles lies not in the covers, but the originals, where it was clear that, even at this early stage, the Beatles were rapidly maturing and changing, turning into expert craftsmen and musical innovators. — Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Schill Score: 5.5/10

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