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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Beatles for Sale

On April 6th, 1965, only three days before the release of the new single Ticket to Ride b/w Yes It Is, an EP arrived in stores in the UK with the title Beatles for Sale, featuring four tracks taken from the previous year's album of the same name.

SIDE ONE

No Reply
I'm a Loser

SIDE TWO

Rock and Roll Music
Eight Days a Week

For the back cover, press officer Tony Barrow wrote some extensive liner notes, giving more detailed information than usual about the four tracks appearing on the disc.  These songs are true standouts from the album - so much so that three of them had been considered as potential singles before Lennon came up with the hit I Feel Fine.  In fact, Eight Days a Week had recently been issued as a single in the US and had gone to the number one spot on the Billboard chart.

The songs on side one are the same two numbers which had kicked off the Beatles for Sale album.  Both are compositions by Lennon, starting with the stark but brilliant No Reply, which is surely the moodiest song chosen to open any Beatles album.  Next up is the rockabilly tune I'm a Loser which Barrow notes is most definitely influenced by Bob Dylan, citing John's great admiration for the American folk icon.

Side two opens with the only cover song on the record - a rollicking version of Chuck Berry's Rock and Roll Music, sung by John.  The boys decided to revive this crowd-pleasing number in their live act around this time, probably as a result of making this recording.  The program concludes with the swinging Eight Days a Week.  Though this composition is primarily by McCartney, John is more prominent in the vocal mix, making his voice the dominant one on all four songs on the EP.

Despite stiff competition from the new single, both releases sold briskly and this disc managed to go to the number one spot on the Record Retailer EP chart.

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