Yet another album that mattered/matters to me…

“One two three FAH”

It was that way that Paul McCartney leapt out of the speakers on the first Beatles record I loved, ironically enough the first Beatles record, at least for us poor Americans, “Introducing the Beatles”.

While I have very few regrets about the times in which I happened to be born and live, I am genuinely sorry on some level that I wasn’t alive in 1964, more accurately I guess that I wasn’t at least in mid-elementary school in 1964, so that the Beatles were a new phenomenon bursting onto the scene like so many supernovas, instead of being the Mount Rushmore of 20th century music. It is profoundly sad to me that neither I, nor most (maybe all?) of you reading or many other people, dead, living and yet unborn, will not have the experience of a NEW Beatles album.

But in a sense, around 1986 or so, I guess I did. And Introducing the Beatles was it. My Dad was never a collosal Beatles nut, like I would be. He had Introducing, as well as Meet the Beatles and Beatles ’65. And that was all. I saw a documentary about the Fabs and when I asked about them, it was “Introducing” the was put on the turntable.

Introducing was released on VeeJay records, which operated out of Chicago and was basically unfortunate enough to get saddled with American rights to the early Beatles records in the pre-Ed Sullivan Era, when the Beatles were as unfamiliar to the American public as bangers and mash for supper. VeeJay recouped its minor costs by selling 1.3 million copies of this album, mostly after the Ed Sullivan explosion.

The album is basically an Americanized (see bastardized) version of “Please Please Me”, the first British Beatles album. The version I heard had “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You”, which were later cut due to some kind of legal problem, and then were replaced by “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why”. Since “Please Please Me” is one of my favorite Beatles singles, this would likely have bothered me, had my Dad not also had a 45 of “Please Please Me” backed with “Ask Me Why”, which I nearly wore the grooves out of, but I digress…

Four songs that still stand out from this album are the afore-quoted “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Baby It’s You”, “Do You Want to Know a Secret” and “Twist and Shout”. Mostly “Twist and Shout”. I liked the whole album, but I would play side two over and over again, just to get to the end to hear the vinyl grooves yield John Lennon tearing into his larynx as a sacrifice to rock and roll one more time.

It’s an album about being young, and about possibility and forward motion. It has some fairly lazy cover songs, and was recorded start to stop in one day. It matters to me because it was sort of my gateway drug into the Beatles, one musical addiction that I’ve never really thrown off and am pretty sure I never will. They were here before me, they’re still here with me, and they’ll be here long after I’m in the ground. And years and years on, whatever the new technology is, I hope there are still people out there listening to these same songs, and maybe amazed that these songs don’t bear the fingerprint of what it sounded like to be alive in 1963 as much as they just bear the fingerprint of what it sounds like to be alive period.

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One Response to “Yet another album that mattered/matters to me…”

  1. Ricky Says:

    “It matters to me because it was sort of my gateway drug into the Beatles”

    At least you didn’t end up like me, strung out on McCartney II (an album that hangs in a frame on the wall at my work office – no lie).

    My introduction to the Beatles was an 8-track of 1962-1966, aka “The Red Album”.

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