This is a list by Kelvin Bernardi. "I’m just giving back what music did with my life by writing about it."
It’s hard to talk about The Beatles when everybody knows everything about them. But I will try. The Beatles are one my favourites bands of all time. I bet you’ve heard them before, even though you didn’t know it was they singing. But it’s time to know a bit more of their music, so I decided to list what I think is their best work and along with that, a bit more each record’s story.
The sixth group album and probably, my favourite one. Rubber Soul was released in December of 1965 and produced by George Martin, or what I like to call him “The Fifth Beatle”, but we’re going to talk more about this guy soon. This project was created right after The Beatles decided to abandon the “teenage” style of their previous records and start focusing in lyricism and then becoming more of an eclectic band. It’s incredible listen to Rubber Soul and realize how it changed the pop scenario of its time until nowadays.
Besides the poetic “Michelle” and “In My Life”, the first song I’ve ever head from them, we can also listen to their successful attempt in making something original out of what the studio could offer, such as “Norwegian Woods” and “Think For Yourself”. “Nowhere Man” and “Drive My Car” are great examples on beyond the lyricism, how fun this project is. I really wanted to be there by the time they were in the studio.
The next one in our list is also their next release after Rubber Soul. Revolver arrived in stores in August of 1966 and well, it’s another mark for music. This time for the psychedelia. The A side starts with classics such as the lonely and melancholic “Eleanor Rigby”, but it also shows us how George Harrison would become one of the most important members and composers inside the British group, working on “Taxman” and “Love You To”.
Now let’s talk about the B side. Well, together with psychedelia there’s a bit of, uh, LSD, right? There are still rumours saying “She Said, She Said” was written while in effects of LSD. Supposedly, John Lennon was talking about his second experience with the drug. While “Dr. Robert” it’s about a doctor who prescribes amphetamines for his clients and celebrities. And “Got to Get You in My Life” is about Paul’s experience with marijuana. And you thought it was about girls, huh? It’s funny to think that “Yellow Submarine” would later become an infantile cartoon.
I don’t think I can possibly describe what this album is. Released in 1967, Sgt. Pepper is their most original, creative and ambitious record. I wish I could talk and talk more about this one, but I’ll keep it direct and short. Beyond the iconic cover, this one marks a long bridge between the pop music and the true art. By the time the idea was created The Beatles were going through a rough patch. They were getting tired of live concerts and the fanaticism. They wanted more. And they got more. In a trip back to London, Paul had a song idea that later would become the idea of creating an “alter-ego” of theirs. The rest is history. Oh, and one of the influences for this piece is “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys.
Sgt Pepper has texture, lyricism, production value and drugs, it’s everything they could ask for in that time. And you can find all of that in names like “A Day in Life”, “Lucy In the Sky of Diamonds”, that Lennon firms saying it was his son’s drawing that gave him inspiration, “With a Little Help of My Friends”, and on and on. Once you start playing it a strange but unique feeling will pop up on your ears and this my friends, is The Beatles at their best.
One year later we have The White Album. It’s also the first album after the death of their manager, Brian Epstein. Most of the songs here were composed in India, while the members were in transcendental meditation status, what makes the songs even better. But different from the others records, The White Album was a step closer to their ending. John Lennon would now bring together Yoko Ono to the studio, something that would make their internal tension increase since it was something the members weren’t used to do. And well, each member would now record their songs in different studios, with different producers and engineers.
George Martin once said it was becoming impossible to work with all of them. When all of that comes together, we have in their most personal record. While Paul McCartney was playing and singing by himself in “Wild Honey Pie”, George Harrison was composing “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton for the guitar solos. It’s definitely interesting to listen to all of this during 30 tracks, but it’s also sad to know the end’s near.
Their last album recorded, but not the last album released. Arriving in stores in 1969, most of the people considered their best. And honestly, the reason is quite clear. Right after they recorded The White Album, Paul McCartney suggested to George Martin that all of them recorded something together as the “old times”. And all the members agreed, but Martin only agreed if he was treated like the “old times” and they behaved like the “old times”. And there we go.
Beyond the iconic cover, the vinyl came separated in two parts so it could please either John Lennon, on A-side with “Come Together” and “I Want You”, and McCartney, on side B with “Golden Slumbers” and “Carry That Weight”. As George Harrison said, “Abbey Road is a good rock and roll album”.
That’s it. I wish I could talk about more about The Beatles and all their records, but who knows, maybe one day.