American releases of The Beatles albums

Cultural Sonar had this article Stop Knocking the American Releases of The Beatles, Already. The premise that Dave Dexter Jr “understood the American record market.

“He knew that the UK Beatles albums, with their subtle, artsy cover photos and astute liner notes would not grab the attention of American teenagers. He replaced them with splashy photo collages and BIG, BOLD TYPE, USUALLY IN ALL CAPS… He also tweaked the music itself… to make The Beatles positively jump out of American transistor radios, car stereos, and phonographs.”

The biggest contention about the US albums is this: “Dex took even greater liberties with the track listings. In Britain, Beatles albums contained 14 songs each [except A Hard Day’s Night, which had 13], and never included singles… But in America, anything above 11 songs on an LP meant higher royalty payments to the artist, and singles were used to drive album sales. So while EMI in Britain released seven Beatles albums and thirteen singles between 1962 and 1966, it only took Dex half as long (from 1964 to ‘66) to carve all that material into ten Beatles LPs for Capitol!”

Meh. I will concede that Meet the Beatles, Capitol Records’ initial foray into Beatlemania – totally acting as though the VeeJay album Introducing the Beatles album did not exist – was/is a fine album.

I’ll allow for the value of the American version of Rubber Soul, which, to this day, my friend Fred Hembeck prefers. This quote got my attention, especially since both Brian Wilson (June 20) and Paul McCartney (June 18) are celebrating their 75th birthdays this month. “When… Wilson says that Rubber Soul inspired him to make Pet Sounds, he’s referring to the folkier, acoustic-heavy American version that Dex assembled.”

I’ll even make the case for the Help soundtrack, with the seven songs from Side 1 of the UK Help album plus five instrumentals.

But these three albums have something in common: they have 12 songs, rather than the 11 that the other albums before Sgt. Pepper contain. So Side 2 of the other albums seemed inadequate to me much of the time, just a bit too short.

Moreover, for reasons too complicated to go into here, the A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack on United Artist and the misleading title Something New, the third Capitol album, have several tracks in common, which bugged me. Yet certain songs were never on a Capitol album in the 1960s.

Notably, From Me To You was an early, pivotal UK single that could have been on The Beatles Second Album or The Early Beatles (Capitol’s variation on Introducing…); Misery and There’s A Place; and I’m Down, the B-side of the Help single that should have been on Yesterday and Today, between Act Naturally and Day Tripper, which are in the same key.

Other songs never on a Capitol/Apple album before the group broke up: the Love Me Do single version; A Hard Day’s Night; Sie Liebt Dich, a German-language version of She Loves You; The Inner Light, the B-side of Lady Madonna; and the single version of Get Back.

So I’ll still listen to those American releases, but mostly, I have been won over by the original UK versions.

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Book review: The Gospel According to the Beatles

gospel according to beatlesIn March 2015, the youth director of our church is putting on a musical review based on The Gospel According to the Beatles, which will feature The Daughter. This compelled me to buy and read the book. Author Steve Turner, as the book sleeve, informs me, has been writing about pop music for over three decades. This is, and I don’t want it to come off as a pejorative, a scholarly book, well-researched Continue reading

I am the eggman

Sometimes, librarians get distracted by non-work-related stuff.

One of our librarians wanted to help a colleague who operates a trivia night competition periodically. He was working on a variation on a question he heard in a Trivial Pursuit edition, something along the lines of “Which two 1960s classic songs, released within a year of each other, both use the phrase ‘koo kook a choo'”.

Librarian that he is, he wanted to know how to “spell” the “koo koo”. Continue reading

U2, Bob Crewe, Fab Four, plus more

u2If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know I can have some strong opinions. But with the U2/Apple thing, I feel ambivalent. On one level, I’m oddly entertained by people freaking out over Apple’s forced iTunes download of U2’s new album, and wonder if it’s just a first world problem. I particularly loved how it ruined someone’s “carefully curated collection.” I’m impressed how well the secret was kept, with the release date of the next U2 album still unclear to the media as of last month.

Then there’s the Why U2? contingent epitomized by this quote Continue reading

August Rambling: Deep dark secrets

WD40
The Hook-Up Culture Is Getting 20-Somethings Nowhere. On the other hand, Casual Love.

How we get through life every day.
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#1 songs on my birthday, 1964-1973

Beatles-walkMy friend Dan Van Riper sent me this list of all the #1 songs since August 4, 1958.

I have links only to the middle tune, the song of my birthday. You can go to the website and hear the other contenders. If I’ve heard it before, I won’t play it again. If I’ve never heard of it, I’ll play it once. But I won’t listen to the adjacent tunes. My goal: am I happy with THAT choice to celebrate my birthday? Or (as will be the case in the latter stages of the game), I have no idea?

1/4/64 Bobby Vinton – There! I’ve Said It Again
2/1/64 The Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand
3/21/64 The Beatles – She Loves You Continue reading

July Rambling: Weird Al, and the moon walk

clock.numbers
Political language… is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. – George Orwell. To that end, Bible Stories for Newly Formed and Young Corporations and Congratulations: It’s a corporation.

An answer to the child immigrant problem at the US-Mexican border? I note that the Biblical Jesus was a refugee, his parents fleeing Herod’s wrath. Yet so many people who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ “are so uncaring and hateful about hungry children trying to get to a better, safer place to live.”

In the non-surprise category: Stand Your Ground Laws Lead To More Homicides, Don’t Deter Crime.

Misleading on Marriage: how gay marriage opponents twist history to suit their agenda.

Yiddish Professor Miriam Isaacs has dug in a previously unknown treasure of over a thousand unknowns Yiddish songs recorded of Holocaust survivors; text is in Swedish, but can be translated. Miriam was my old racquetball buddy decades ago.

The Creation Myth of 20th Century Fundamentalism by Jeff Sharlet, who I also knew long ago.

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe came out as gay. Arthur explains why it STILL matters. Also: I Can Be Christian, and Gay, and Live in Alabama.

Portraits of people in 7 days’ worth of their own garbage.
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PC, LGBT, 8-tracks, malls and dystopia

7.21.08 Blitt Obama.inddUthaclena, who I know in terrestrial life, asks:

Okay: at what point does Political Correctness become absurd? Do public facilities need to be sanitized of all things religious to insure separation of church and state? On Halloween can you only wear costumes of your own race/ethnicity/religion?

Okay. Here’s the thing; I don’t know what different people’s boiling points are, because I’m not them. For instance, it is the groups of Native Americans who have complained about the name of the Washington Redskins NFL team that makes me believe in the rightness of the complaint.
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Seeing Paul McCartney live in concert for the very first time

c. 2014 K Durkot

c. 2014 K Durkot


I don’t know how to review seeing Paul McCartney in concert on July 7, what turned out to be the first stop on the US leg of his current tour. Want a review? Here’s one by Greg Haymes, who I happened to see before the show, and I’d say it’s pretty darn accurate.

Also saw Karen, one of my oldest friends, a Beatlemaniac before I was by a few weeks, and that was fab. (Sorry.) The Daughter and I took the CDTA down and back, and THAT was actually worked out almost perfectly.

So let me do a song-by-song musing:

Eight Days a Week – Karen saw his performance at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts last October, a highlight of her life, and he opened with that here as well. The Daughter (L) was so excited; this is the moment it became real, that she has actually seen a Beatle in person.
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June Rambling: Hal Holbrook; Marimba Queens

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

pinned on Pinterest by Roger Green (not me)

My denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) voted for marriage equality at its General Assembly this month. “Ministers will be allowed to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.”

On the other hand, Freedom and Faith Coalition’s Road to Majority conference had an Obama figurine in the urinal.

CBS News Sunday Morning did a piece, Born this way: Stories of young transgender children. The ever-interesting Dustbury on Gender Confirmation Surgery.

Writer Jay Lake worked closely with Lynne Thomas, an Illinois-based librarian… to ensure that all his blog posts and essays would be saved for posterity. “Though this is a relatively uncomplicated task for his blog content, which he unambiguously owned, it gets problematic when you wade into the legal rights of preserving your social media presence. ‘You can’t just download Facebook content into an archive.’”

A cartoon from 2008, and still apt: A Concise History Of Black-White Relations In The United States.

Mark Evanier on O.J. Simpson trial nostalgia.
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