The "Beatles For Sale" album (1964). Unfairly ignored or underrated ?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by johnny moondog 909, Mar 18, 2017.

  1. Gila

    Gila Well-Known Member

    It those days it was common to have other people's songs on your albums. To be fair to AHDN, during those sessions they did record 3 covers - Long Tall Sally, Slow Down and Matchbox.
     
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  2. BejittoSSJ5

    BejittoSSJ5 Well-Known Member

    Probably my favorite album from the Beatlemania period, the only song I don't really like is Mr. Moonlight but I can put up with it. This album, Help! and Rubber Soul imo can all be lumped into the Acoustic/Dylan period.

    Songs like "No Reply", "Baby's In Black", "I'm A Loser" and "I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" gives the listener a look into what the future of the lovable, now infinitely marketable mop-tops holds. It's almost spooky.

    The foreshadowing mainly applies to John but even extends to Paul's later songs like "Yesterday" and "For No One". It's the subtle nature of things turning more complicated, introspective and gloomy as time goes on... Lyrical maturity is the tell-tale sign of the transition for me.

    The subjects start getting more introspective and revealing of who The Beatles really are, as in, they're people. You can see this as far back as Please Please Me believe it or not, "There's A Place" foreshadows as far forward as "Strawberry Fields Forever" with the subject of retreating to your "safe place" that no one else is in.

    And at this point, The Beatles have become extremely profitable and marketable, bigger than they ever thought was possible. They now have the status of being a commodity. They were darkly, and overly aware of this and even now it's starting to take it's toll. Hence the title, Beatles For Sale.
    The cover art also signifies this as a contrast to Please Please Me's cover, which had them as youthful, innocent and happy. Now on the other spectrum we have Beatles For Sale, with it's darker brown tones but most importantly is the Fab Four staring blankly at the viewer, to the point of breaking some kind of fourth wall, they all look cold, exhausted and empty inside it seems.

    And as our host said, the UK tube cut has been hyped to death but it deserves every bit of hype it gets, one of the best if not the best cut of any Beatles album.
     
  3. dance_hall_keeper

    dance_hall_keeper Forum Resident

    That's how they honed their craft during the "Hamburg Days": with cover versions of songs...lots of them.
     
  4. Wayfaring Stranger

    Wayfaring Stranger Active Member

    Location:
    York uk
    I've still got my original mono copy of Beatles For Sale that my parents bought me in 1964. I've always loved it. Great sound production throughout, crystal clear acoustic guitars, great reverb on the voices. I've always thought of it as their first concept album, with careful juxtaposition of originals and covers. The title and sleeve were so cool and sophisticated at that time too. A couple of asides - according to some friends who were part of the Merseybeat scene, "Mr Moonlight" was a big local favourite and it was seen as a nod to their old fans when they included on the album. Also, in November '68, our local bonfire-night celebrations were opened by celebrity guest Freddy Garrity who was gigging locally. We were talking to him at one point, as Beatles For Sale was being played on the PA, and he said that John and Paul had offered him one of the songs to record, but he'd turned it down. I THINK it was "What You're Doing" but I can't be sure after all this time. So there you go. A surprise appearance of Freddy and The Dreamers on this forum!
     
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  5. Lucretius

    Lucretius Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Cypress, TX
    The problem is the cover versions. Not one, but two Carl Perkins covers on a single side, for example. "Honey Don't" and "Everybody's Trying to be My Baby" (which is actually a Rex Griffin song from the 1930s) must have sounded very weird to most Beatles fans in December 1964. And they're vastly inferior to Carl's Sun originals.
     
  6. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Boulful Sallad

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Yes it does, and it's called Eight Days A Week.
     
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  7. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Liverpool, England
    And No Reply
     
  8. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    I have had a soft spot for this album for many years. Nice mix of originals and covers. Underrated as heck, a last throwback to the old sound, with touches of the newer lyrics.
     
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  9. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Boulful Sallad

    Location:
    New Zealand
    Throw in I'm a Loser and Baby's In Black and you've got the best opening of a Beatles album ever!
     
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  10. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Boulful Sallad

    Location:
    New Zealand
    That's really crappy, even local Beat acts had better covers than that!:
    [​IMG]
     
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  11. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Boulful Sallad

    Location:
    New Zealand
    I personally prefer the Hollies version on their debut:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Location:
    Little Britain
    After the amazing roller coaster ride of the first three albums, Beatles For Sale feels like a stop-gap, while they caught their breath. A Hard Days Night was at last an album with all songs penned by themselves, then they go back to the formula of the first two. So a bit of a disappointment because of that and we get another bunch of rock 'n' roll covers - all good but a bit like The Beatles on automatic pilot.
    Their own songs are very nice and I love that opening trio of downbeat songs (No Reply, I"m A Loser, Baby's In Black), then John crashes in Rock 'n Roll Music to remind us what a terrific rock band they were, followed by Paul's sweet litttle ballad - so it's a great beginning to the album before the ugly Mr Moonlight drags it down.
    Side 2 gets off to a great start with an all-time Bealtle classic (Eight Days A Week) but then we get three covers (not as strong as the two on Side One) and three pretty run-of-the-mill Lennon/Macca songs.
    At the time, one could have thought that they were a spent force but they soon smashed back with the killer Help, beginning their best run, which lasted right up to MMT (before they began to lose focus and enthusiasm).
     
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  13. winston32

    winston32 Active Member

    Location:
    Norway
    I think Honey Don't and Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby would have been better if John had played electric guitar. The first BBC performances of these songs are great, both played faster and with two electric guitars. Not sure why Beatles changed these arrangements (even if John let Ringo take over the vocals on Honey Don't, they should still play it electric and fast). The reason may be, as Tom Daniels suggests, to make the songs fit in with the rest of Beatles For Sale. But I don't think that is a good reason.
     
  14. lemonade kid

    lemonade kid Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maine
    Still rated by most reviewer sites like AllMusic with 9/10 stars, or better, and still a fave for me...so underrated...no. A fine Beatles album. And something most bands will NEVER achieve.
     
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  15. AFOS

    AFOS Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brisbane,Australia
    Groovy! like the colors and the font. But where are the Aztecs?
     
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  16. goodiesguy

    goodiesguy Boulful Sallad

    Location:
    New Zealand
    On the back cover!

    [​IMG]

    Of course, Lead guitarist Vince Maloney was later a Bee Gee in the late 60's.
     
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  17. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Location:
    Parma, Ohio
    I love your comments above, especially the "safe space" analogy. Now here is some irony, the cover photo from BFS was used by Capitol for "The Early Beatles" (basically PPM minus 3). Your description of the Fab Four staring blankly at the viewer reminds me of the cover to a Rolling Stones comp "Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)". Now those were some cold blank stares (especially Brian).
     
  18. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I think a big part of why this album got the reputation it did is how worn out and unenthusiastic they look on the cover. Beatles 65 looks so much happier and has never been as critiqued.
     
  19. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    Total myth.
    One wag mentioned this once and immediately this became gospel.
    The outtake of this cover was used in the USA for "The Early Beatles"; a cover of happy lads.
    Other outakes show jovial, contented happy Beatles.
     
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  20. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    Nah. Mostly crap. Their most uninspired album by a mile. The covers (with the exception of "Words of Love," which is lovely and a hard song to screw up in the first place) sound they're barely even trying.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  21. Kim Olesen

    Kim Olesen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Odense Denmark.
    If only the bass drum had been better recorded on these sessions. It is either rrally distant or almost inaudible.
     
  22. rednoise

    rednoise Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston
    What's the myth? They DO look worn out on the cover. Outakes and alternate uses of the shot are irrelevant and don't change that a bit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  23. Kim Olesen

    Kim Olesen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Odense Denmark.
    WOOOT. No love for RnR Music and Kansas City? I love the latter so much. It is really bluesy.
     
  24. sixtiesstereo

    sixtiesstereo Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    OK, I've been silent while reading this thread up to now, but I'm weary of people dissing the covers
    on this album. For me, "Beatles 65" was the greatest r&r album I'd ever heard up to that point (I was
    14 when I first got it in 1964), and the covers were a big part of that. EVERY recording artist in the
    early to mid sixties did covers on their albums. And usually, they were throwaways. But the Beatles
    took it to a whole new level...their covers were BETTER than the originals. I absolutely loved
    "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby", "Honey Don't" "Words Of Love" and "Rock and Roll Music"
    when I played this album for the first time in 1964. I still do. The weird revisionist attitude toward
    these recordings still mystifies me to this day. They sound sensational (especially in stereo), and
    in addition to the other tracks, especially side one, I've always felt this was probably their best
    album. I guess it depends what age you were when you first heard it, but for me, in1964, it
    was the album that convinced me they were the greatest rock and roll band in history. And a
    big part of that was the covers..........
     
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  25. Dylancat

    Dylancat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    It's a click of a photo.
    Take it from there anywhere you want.
    I guess.
     
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