Monday, March 22, 2010


Album of the Day: The Beatles (3/22/63) 47 Years!

The Beatles (playlist here) recorded the bulk of their debut album, Please Please Me at EMI Studios in London in one, 9-hour marathon in February 1963. The album was rush-released in the U.K. on March 22, 1963 to leverage the success of two singles, “Love Me Do” and the title track, both of which came out in late 1962. Beatlemania was bubbling in Britain, but it would be nearly a year before the Fab Four appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, bringing the brouhaha to the U.S.

Please Please Me contains 14 excellent samples of the Beatles’ early work. You’ve heard them all many times over, but they’re just a fresh today as they were 47 years ago when four brash young guys banged them out for a few pounds pay (but millions more to come in royalties). And it wasn’t that much trouble for them to get it down in 9 hours, as most of the songs were staples of their live shows honed in the clubs of Hamburg and Liverpool. Eight Lennon/McCartney originals mix with six covers, including Motown (“Boys,” featuring Ringo on vocals, and “Baby It’s You,” another Shirelles hit), a Gerry Goffin/Carole King mid-tempo rocker (“Chains,” sung by George Harrison) and “Twist And Shout,” a hit for the Isley Brothers in 1962. Of the originals, there’s a balance of rock ‘n’ roll (“I Saw Her Standing There” and the title track) with sweet ballads (“There’s A Place” and “P.S. I Love You”) and the eternal “Do You Want To Know A Secret.”

Unless they purchased import copies, American listeners would have to endure a 10 month wait for the Beatles’ first U.S. releases, Introducing…The Beatles on Vee-Jay Records and Meet The Beatles on Capitol (both released in mid-January 1964). Even the Canadians got in ahead of their southern neighbors, as Capitol released a Canada-only version of With The Beatles (the second U.K. release) in November 1963. Please Please Me is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon, but as with all Beatles music, not on iTunes.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Album of The Day: Carole King (2/10/71) 39 Years!

Carole King (click here for Dr. Rock’s playlist) had already established her credentials as a top-notch pop music songwriter by the time her second solo album, Tapestry was released on this date in 1971. As a member of the acclaimed Brill Building team of song crafters, King’s work (most often in collaboration with future husband Gerry Goffin) had been covered by numerous top acts throughout the 60s and early 70s, including the Beatles (“Chains”), the Monkees (“Pleasant Valley Sunday”), Little Eva (“The Locomotion”), the Shirelles (“Will You Love Me Tomorrow”), the Chiffons (“One Fine Day”) and Aretha Franklin (“[You Make Me Feel] Like A Natural Woman”).

Tapestry came at the beginning of the singer/songwriter boom in the early 70s and ultimately proved to be one of the seminal releases of the genre. Well-crafted, minimally-produced, warm, resonant and introspective, it ruled the US Pop charts for 15 weeks and included the #1 singles “It’s Too Late” and “I Feel The Earth Move.” In its day it was the longest charting album by a female performer and (rightly so) is one of the highest selling pop albums of all time.

Tapestry is available for purchase as a CD or download as mp3 files on Amazon (click here) or as iPod downloads at iTunes (click here).

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