Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beware of Darkness by George Harrison – ****

First released: 1970

One of the better tunes on "All Things Must Pass". George must have thought so too as this was one of the selections he performed live in the following year’s "Concert for Bangla Desh". That version features a verse sung by Leon Russell for added effect. A demo version was included on the 2001 "All Things Must Pass" reissue, but as I am not a huge fan of demos (unless they were never properly recorded), it’s basically unnecessary.

Beware My Love by Paul McCartney – **

First released: 1976

Paul and Wings try for a meatier sound and it almost works. I’ve never been particularly fond of this song and it ended up on the b-side of "Let ‘em In" as well as on "Wings at the Speed of Sound". There is also a live version available on "Wings Over America", which is somewhat better.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by George Harrison – ****

First released: 2002

I believe this to be the oldest recording on George’s "Brainwashed" album, dating back over ten years. George was very fond of this Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler tune and I am, too.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Best Things in Life Are Free, The by John Lennon – **

First released: 1998

Previously unreleased 1979 home recording by John Lennon parodying Bob Dylan and released on "The John Lennon Anthology" box set.

"Best of George Harrison, The" by George Harrison – ***

First released: 1976

Oh, how I wish it was! To date, there really hasn’t been a good George Harrison greatest hits collection. Although this does have a pretty good selection, it really is unfair to include Beatles tracks on what is essentially a solo release. Even Ringo didn’t have Beatles tracks on his "Blast From the Past" collection. Now with George’s passing and the fact that George’s entire catalog is now on Capitol, a career-spanning greatest hits collection is definitely in order.

As such, I would have removed the Beatles tracks, and replaced them with "Deep Blue", "Miss O’Dell", "I Don’t Care Anymore" (mainly because these three originally didn’t appear on any albums) and album tracks of "Isn’t it a Pity", "Beware of Darkness", "Living in the Material World", and "This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying)" among others. Opinions would differ, but the point is there was enough good material that George released from 1970-1975 that The Beatles tunes shouldn’t be on it.

A sidenote as this was released on CD in 1987 during the time when the first Beatles CDs came out. This was sandwiched in between those releases and because of the timing, it was the first official CD release of "For You Blue" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989" by George Harrison – ***

First released: 1989

To date, there still has not been a good career-spanning George Harrison compilation. Even if you get this and "The Best of George Harrison", there’s still a lot to be desired. However, there are three otherwise unavailable on a George Harrison album tracks ("Poor Little Girl", "Cockamamie Business", "Cheer Down") that make this indispensable, except that it being out of print for a number of years makes this quite hard to find.

Best Friend by Paul McCartney – ***


McCartney and Wings played this song often during their earliest tours in 1972 and 1973, but somehow a studio version eluded inclusion on any of their albums or singles. Surely, this would have been a stronger choice than "Mumbo" or "Bip Bop" on "Wild Life", or if it hadn’t been written at the time of that album’s release, instead of "Hold Me Tight" on "Red Rose Speedway".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Besame Mucho by The Beatles – ***

First released: 1970

This was a favorite of The Beatles and performed many times during their career, namely during their Decca audition from 1962 and in an early EMI studio recording. My favorite version is the one that McCartney performs in a semi-campy accent during the filming of "Let it Be" in 1969, which is the first version officially released, though it is in the film only. It is a highlight of an otherwise dreary film. The EMI audition version appears on "Anthology 1".

The Beatles performed it live on "Live at the Star-Club, Hamburg 1962" in 1977.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bells of Rhymney, The by George Harrison – ***


George did a live version of this Davies/Seegar song on radio in 1988.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1967

Triiiiippppyyyy! I always love that calliope part and other assorted weird sounds associated with this track. Trippier still is when you become a Beatles scholar and you discover how they did it, by cutting up tapes and throwing them up in the air and then fastening them back together in little tape loops. This is a highlight from "Sgt. Pepper". "(Takes 1 and 2)" and "(Take 7)" appear on 1996's "Anthology 2". It is also used for 2006's "Love".

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bein’ Angry by Nils Lofgren – **

First released: 1991

Nils Lofgren tune that Ringo sings back up vocals on from Lofgren's album "Silver Lining".

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Behind That Locked Door by George Harrison – ***

First released: 1970

Sort of a companion piece to "If Not For You" in style, "Behind That Locked Door" is another pleasant country-sounding type tune from "All Things Must Pass".

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beginning, A by The Beatles – ***

First released: 1996

This title was given to an instrumental opening that The Beatles claimed to have been recorded for the song "Good Night", but I think it sounds more like some of that George Martin instrumental stuff from the movie "Yellow Submarine". Ah, the memory fades. No matter. In any case, this was added to "Anthology 3" to replace the third Beatles reunion tune ("Now and Then") that was not released for this collection.

Beef Jerky by John Lennon – ****

First released: 1974

The b-side of "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" and a "Walls and Bridges" album track, Beef Jerky is a rare Lennon instrumental. Lennon probably was inspired by Billy Preston’s knack for having a hit record with an instrumental song ("Outa-Space", "Space Race") that he figured he’d try one of his own. He succeeded quite well, but never issued it as an a-side, so it made #1 by default.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bed Peace by John Lennon - **

First released: 1998

A quick little piece by John and Yoko dating from 1969 and not officially released until "The John Lennon Anthology" and "The U.S. vs. John Lennon" from 2006. It’s kind of short and silly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Because I Know You Love Me So by The Beatles – **

First released: 2003

A demo snippet is featured on 2003's "Fly on the Wall", however the full version is about 2½ minutes long and originates from the 1969 "Get Back" sessions. It sounds very similar to "The One After 909", but was never completed in a finished form. It was an early Lennon/McCartney original.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Because by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1969

The harmonies on this Beatles quickie from "Abbey Road" are some of the most lush; you may actually think The Beach Boys dropped by to help them out. To hear it unadulterated with instruments, check out the version on "Anthology 3". It is also used for 2006's "Love".

Because by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1969

The harmonies on this Beatles quickie from "Abbey Road" are some of the most lush; you may actually think The Beach Boys dropped by to help them out. To hear it unadulterated with instruments, check out the version on "Anthology 3". It is also used for 2006's "Love".

Beautiful Night by Paul McCartney – ****

First released: 1997

There are two versions of this song. The original was recorded around 1986 with Phil Ramone at the control board. While this version was ok, and ultimately released on one of the "Oobu Joobu" shows on the "Beautiful Night" single, the vastly superior version and a-side was on Paul’s "Flaming Pie" album. Ringo’s there, too. This should have been an enormous hit single as it is truly one of Paul's finest.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Beautiful Girl by George Harrison – ***

First released: 1976

Same comments about "Dear One" apply to this song from "33 1/3" by George Harrison. This one has more of a country twang than most of the others on the album. It dates back in an unreleased demo version to at least 1970.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Beautiful Dreamer by The Beatles – ***


A very muddy version exists from 1963 and should have appeared on "Live at the BBC". It's the best one can do, considering that The Beatles never recorded it properly again.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beautiful Boys by Yoko Ono – **

First released: 1980

Yoko’s sweet tune about John and Sean turning 40 and …well…still being 4 (he turned 5 the same day as John turned 40). Ok, so grant Yoko some artistic license. Anyway, it’s on John and Yoko’s "Double Fantasy" and was the b-side to "Woman".

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) by John Lennon – ****

First released: 1980

Even though I didn’t identify with much of what Lennon was singing about on John and Yoko’s "Double Fantasy", I actually liked this tune when it first came out. The ocean waves at the beginning were a nice touch in this ode to his son, Sean. It’s also on "The John Lennon Collection" from 1982 and was actually released as a single on one of those back-to-back hits as a track was needed to couple with "Watching the Wheels". It was also the b-side of the "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" single reissue from 1982. It’s also on the "Imagine: John Lennon" soundtrack from 1988, 1990’s "Lennon", "Lennon Legend" from 1997, and "Working Class Hero" from 2005. It’s alternately known as just "Beautiful Boy". Two demo versions appear on 1998’s "The John Lennon Anthology", one with the title "Mr. Hyde’s Gone (Don’t Be Afraid)".

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Beaucoups of Blues" by Ringo Starr – **

First released: 1970

An ok country album from Ringo recorded and released during the days after The Beatles when Ringo wasn’t sure yet exactly what he was going to do after the split. An interview made after this release has a reflective Ringo stating that he “should have recorded country songs he knows and loves”. Well, where is it, Ringo? He probably forgot.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Beaucoups of Blues by Ringo Starr – ***

First released: 1970

One of the better moments from Ringo’s country album of the same name. It was released as a low-charting single and also made an appearance on Ringo’s "Blast From Your Past" greatest hits compilation from 1975 and 2007’s "Photograph" compilation. Ringo to date has never performed this song live, but it might be fun to hear.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beatles Third Christmas Record, The by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1965

This is my favorite of the first three essentially similar Beatles Christmas recordings, in which the four seemingly adlib in front of a mike. The fact that The Beatles were willing to parody themselves with an off-key rendition of "Yesterday" was and is priceless. Most other music groups wouldn’t have done that, but that self-deprecating attitude is one of the reasons I became a Beatles fan in the first place. It is also from the still unreleased to CD "The Beatles Christmas Album" from 1970.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

"Beatles, The" (aka "The White Album") by The Beatles – ****"

First released: 1968

This is my favorite Beatles album. While most people like "Rubber Soul", "Revolver", "Sgt. Pepper" and "Abbey Road" better, I give the nod to this one for its totally diversity and range. What I like about it, most people don’t like. I like the fact that it is a double album, I like the range, I like the tenuous Beatles link on an album ironically called "The Beatles". By the way, my second favorite Beatles album is "Revolver" which is arguably their most unified album.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Beatles, The" (series) by The Beatles – **

First released: 1965

Ok, so they're corny and poorly animated, but the cartoon series that ran from 1965-1969 on ABC TV in the US isn’t all that bad. Of course, the successor "Yellow Submarine" movie is far greater. I have a bootleg that contains all of the cartoons and The Beatles would be wise in releasing this stuff again legitimately, but I know they don’t like them. The cartoons are about as good as the other Saturday morning crap being made at the time, and they remind me strongly of "The New Three Stooges" cartoons made around the same time, which weren’t the greatest either. The song portions are the best part and I think they still would entertain the kiddies (and their parents) today.

"Beatles Story, The" by The Beatles – **

First released: 1964

I got this many, many years later after becoming a Beatles fan as I heard how cheesy this documentary is…and it is. It has never been officially released on CD, but I would put it out, just for the novelty of it all.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Beatles ‘65" by The Beatles – ****

First released: 1964

This was a vast improvement over the UK "Beatles For Sale", namely because of the inclusion of the "I Feel Fine"/"She’s a Woman" single. "Beatles For Sale" always seemed like The Beatles were tired to me, and they were, where as adding this single punched up the proceedings and gave a little life to an otherwise lackluster effort. It was part of "The Capitol Versions, Vol. 1" on CD.

"Beatles VI" by The Beatles – ***

First released: 1965

One of my least favorite US albums, yet it is better than the UK version "Beatles For Sale", mainly because they tacked on a single or two. Later, it was part of "The Capitol Versions, Vol. 2" on CD.