Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Beatles: 73

1973 was a busy year for The Beatles. On top of releasing the career-spanning "Red" and "Blue" albums (the first authorized "best-of" compilations to feature tracks hand-picked by the band), each Beatle was experiencing varying levels of chart success of their own as a solo artist.

Starr had a banner year in '73 with his RINGO LP, which included  instrumental, vocal, and songwriting contributions from each of his former bandmates. George scored his second #1 hit with "Give Me Love (give me peace on earth)" from the Living In the Material World album. Paul also rose to the top of the charts with the enormous summer hit "My Love", and achieved great visibility for his new band Wings with their title track from the James Bond film, "Live and Let Die", which was masterfully scored by Beatles producer George Martin.  Surprisingly, John had the least amount of chart success in '73 with only one mediocre single, "Mind Games", from an arguably lackluster album of the same name.
(above: My fancy artwork for the fake Beatles 73 CD)
So it occurred to me that with so much good 1973 solo material it would be wise to compile a nice fake Beatles album.  Obviously I'm not the first genius to assemble such a "mix tape"; In fact I always find it interesting to see what different people come up with when assembling such collections of their own.  Anyway, here's a track-by-track breakdown of what I came up with for 73:
Imaginary Side 1:
  1.  "Here We Go Again" (Lennon/Spector). Recorded in 1973 but unreleased until the 1986 Menlove Ave compilation. A lush Spector production that seems like a perfect album opener.
  2.  "Give Me Love (give me peace on earth)" (Harrison).  The #1 single that continued the spiritual tone George's began with his first global smash, "My Sweet Lord".  Tracks from the Material World LP featured either Ringo or Jim Keltner (or both) on drums.
  3. "Tight A$" (Lennon). An upbeat rocker and one of the more interesting tracks from the Mind Games LP.
  4. "Helen Wheels" (McCartney). A top 10 single for Wings, appended to the Band on the Run album in the U.S. but not in the UK (Band on the Run became a monster success in 1974, and is still considered by many to be Paul's most cohesive work).
  5. "Photograph" (Starkey/Harrison). A George/Ringo collaboration that hit #1 on Billboard in November 1973.  From the RINGO LP.
  6. "Living in the Material World" (Harrison). Features Ringo's distinctive drumming and lyrics from George referencing the fab four: "Met them all here in the material world, John & Paul here in the material world; Though we started out quite poor we got Richie on a tour..."  
Imaginary Side 2: 
  1. "I'm The Greatest" (Lennon). With three ex's on the track, this is in essence a Beatles record. Features John on piano & vocals, George on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Starr on drums and lead vocals. 
  2. "Little Lamb Dragonfly"(McCartney). A lovely McCartney ballad that showcases Paul's knack for constructing songs that weave together multiple musical themes. From the "Red Rose Speedway" album.
  3. "Intuition" (Lennon). A mid-tempo rocker from Mind Games.  Nothing groundbreaking, but certainly a pleasant little toe-tapper.
  4. "My Love" (McCartney). The biggest hit on 73, this song dominated the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for the month of June, 1973.
  5. "Meat City" (Lennon). A scorching rock track from Mind Games, also the b-side of the "Mind Games" single. (Note: Let's address the elephant in the blogroom. If you're wondering about the absence of the song "Mind Games" on this collection, it has been my personal opinion that it's just not a very good song. So there.)
  6. "Live and Let Die"(McCartney/McCartney). Had this been a Beatles single, it would have been #1 out of the gate, but for Wings it still reached #2.  This is one of my favorite records of all time. (Trivia: It was Mrs. McCartney that penned the reggae-flavored middle section, "What does it matter to ya...".  Linda was a huge fan of reggae music, something she exhibited beautifully on her first solo single, "Seaside Woman",  credited as Suzy & the Red Stripes).
  7. "Be Here Now" (Harrison). A soft acoustic track from Material World, this song seemed a fitting way to wind down a fake album by a band that so many of us wished would never die.  But, as George says in the song, "The past was. Be here now, as it's not what it was before." In other words, let it be.
    If you are interested a zip file of this collection leave a comment to this post & I'll follow up with you. Offer expires within one week!

1 comment:

Mark said...

Little Lamb Dragonfly is one of very favorite Paul songs...so few people know it!