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Thursday, January 17, 2013

ROCK 'N' ROLL MUSIC - sides three and four

While the first two sides of this collection are a slam-dunk, sides three and four are a bit more problematic.  One reason for this is that a concerted effort seems to have been made to keep the total number of lead vocals on the package as democratic as possible.  Thus the final tally has John and Paul with eleven each, while George and Ringo get three apiece.  Since John was so heavily represented on the first record, he practically disappears by side four, yet he continued to be the hardest-rocking member of the group late in their career.


Dizzy Miss Lizzy - The third and final Larry Williams cover was the last track on the LP Help!

Any Time At All - A fine number from A Hard Day's Night, but the somewhat mellow verses make it hard for me to qualify it as a rocker.

Drive My Car - The great opening track of Rubber Soul.

Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby - George sings lead on this Carl Perkins cover which closed out Beatles For Sale.

The Night Before - A tune from the Help! soundtrack.  Again, the term rocker does not immediately come to mind.

I'm Down - A tremendous screaming rocker that is one of the highlights of the package.  It had previously only been available as the B-side to the Help! single, so its appearance on this album was doubly appreciated by fans everywhere.

Revolution - The classic B-side to Hey Jude, one of the group's hardest-rocking songs ever.


Back in the U.S.S.R. - The brilliant retro-sounding rocker which opened The Beatles, aka the "White Album."

Helter Skelter - This cacophonous, out-of-control number from the "White Album" is not exactly the conventional style of rock and roll the boys listened to when they were growing up in Liverpool.

Taxman - George's hard rocker from Revolver is also his one and only opening track on an official Beatles' album during the group's career.

Got To Get You Into My Life - The inspiration for this Revolver track came from Tamla Motown.

Hey Bulldog - A great selection from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack.

Birthday - This rocker opened side three of the "White Album."

Get Back - The original title track of the January 1969 sessions.  Whoever assembled this collection decided not to use the single, but opted instead for the version from the Let It Be album with the rooftop concert chatter grafted onto the front and back ends of the performance.

In place of some of the mellower numbers noted above, you could find numerous harder-rocking tunes to make these sides a bit more consistent.  A few of my nominees include Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey from the "White Album" and One After 909 from Let It Be.  Even Good Morning Good Morning from the totally-unrepresented psychedelic year of 1967 would fit the bill.

This collection was re-released only a few years later in 1980 as two separate records - Rock 'n' Roll Music Volume I and Rock 'n' Roll Music Volume II.  Producer George Martin took this opportunity to mix some of the songs (like I'm Down) for stereo for the first time.  The gaudy cover was also replaced with a standard shot of the group from their early years.

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