Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When you only look at a part of a band's career

I've previously discussed whether records are obsolete. What about singles?

This thought struck me as I read an Inquisitr post that catalogued the Beatles' top 40 selling singles in Britain.

The top five positions were all occupied by songs that were released in the first part of the Beatles' recording career, when Beatlemania was at its peak.

For, those songs are:

1 She Loves You
2 I Want To Hold Your Hand
3 Can’t Buy Me Love
4 I Feel Fine
5 Day Tripper/We Can Work it Out

From there you notice little anomalies. For example, number 6, "Hey Jude," was released as a single in 1968 and, to my recollection, was never put on a regular album in Britain, which meant that the single was the only way to get it.

Which brings up a point - namely, by the time that the fourth Beatle (Paul) had left the band (the other three had left at times, but only John left permanently), singles mattered a bit less than they did when "She Loves You" topped the charts. If you just judge the Beatles on their single career, for example, you miss "Sgt. Pepper" entirely.

Not that singles ceased to matter to the Beatles - at least three of the singles on the list were issued after the Beatles broke up.

23 Free as a Bird
25.Beatles Movie Medley
30 Strawberry Fields Forever (re-issue)

Missing - "Got To Get You Into My Life," a US single in the mid-1970s that may not have been released on the other side of the pond.

"Free as a Bird," of course, was the song that was released with the most hype, since it was a Beatles song in which one of the Beatles was dead.

Of course, if you're just looking at individual singles, you're missing the albums, which were significant even in the Beatles' early recording period. For me, the best part of the album entitled "The Beatles" isn't the song "Back in the U.S.S.R." - it's the fact that "Back in the U.S.S.R." becomes "Dear Prudence," which becomes "Glass Onion," which eventually becomes "Cry Baby Cry," followed by "Revolution #9," followed by "Good Night."

Then again, I don't listen to music radio as much as people did in the 1960s. Times have certainly changed...
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