paul the beatles

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“I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically.

"It was like a magazine program, full of weird interviews, experimental music, tape loops, some tracks I knew the others hadn’t heard, it was just a compilation of odd things. I took the tape to Dick James’s studio and they cut me three acetate discs. Unfortunately, the quality of these discs was such that they wore out as you played them for a couple of weeks, but then they must have worn out. There’s probably a tape somewhere, though.”

[Paul, Many Years From Now, Barry Miles]

A real rarity. Paul’s Christmas record from Christmas 1965. Playing DJ, Paul put together a “mix tape” of new songs and old favourites, as well as a couple of experimental tape loops and things (an early sign of where the Beatles music would go in 1966 and beyond). Paul made only four copies of this - one for John, one for George, one for Ringo and one for himself. 

Track listing:

  • Unforgettable by Nat King Cole
  • Someone Ain’t Right by Peter and Gordon
  • I Get Around by the Beach Boys
  • Heat Wave by Martha and the Vandellas
  • Don’t Be Cruel by Elvis Presley 
  • Down Home Girl by the Rolling Stones.
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The Beatles: Help! (1965)

I’m not crazy enough about the early Beatles LPs, pre-Rubber Soul, to spend a small fortune importing outrageously expensive Parlophone originals; the 2014 reissues will do me just fine, and I started with 1965’s Help!

The Fabs’ fifth studio platter and second movie soundtrack (that’s H-E-L-P semaphored by George, John, Paul and Ringo on the cover) was allegedly their first recorded under the influence of cannabis, though I can’t say I smell the “skunk” on any of these tracks …

Well, maybe a whiff in the brilliant, Lennon-as-Dylan “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and the Byrds-ian twelve-string on “Ticket to Ride,” but McCartney numbers like “The Night Before,” the Simon & Garfunkel-inspired “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and the timeless “Yesterday” still sound clean as a whistle – heck, so do John’s “You’re Gonna Lose that Girl” and title song.

Interestingly, Lennon handily won his (for the moment) friendly co-writing rivalry with Paul on this LP; and with George still struggling to hit his stride (going nowhere with “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much”), Help! has its fair share of – by Beatles standards – unremarkable tunes (“Another Girl,” “Tell Me What You See”).

But then, that’s why Help! – the feature film – probably eclipsed Help! – the album – because the former managed to document the birth of Swinging London and accelerate its guiding lights’ great leap forward over the next few years.

More Beatles: Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let it Be, Abbey Road, 1962-19661967-1970.

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George Harrison: 1943-2001

“Why live in the darkness all your life? Why, if you are unhappy, if you are having a miserable time, why not just look at it. Why are you in the darkness? Look for the light. The light is within. That is the big message.”