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A mini-musical appreciation course re: the Beatles,
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: 1 (Audio CD)
I put off buying "The Beatles 1" for several years because I already had all of the Beatles albums (that is to say, I have all of the CDs of the original UK albums, which, as every American my age and older can tell you were not the same albums that were released in the US; for example, the first album I ever owned was "The Beatles Second Album," the songs of which are scattered over three of the CDs. But I digress). As a general rule my preference is to listen to an entire Beatles album rather than a hits collection, especially since my favorite Beatles songs never seem to be hits (e.g., "If I Fell," "I am the Walrus"). However, I have now added this CD to my music library for reasons that are more academic than anything else.
What "The Beatles 1" provides is the 27 songs that reached #1 on the Pop Charts; usually this happened on both sides of the pond but sometimes a song would make it to the top just in the UK (e.g., "From Me to You," "Day Tripper") or just in the US (e.g., "Eight Days a Week," "Come Together"). The 27 tracks are arranged chronologically, from 1962's "Love Me Do" to 1970's "Let It Be." Consequently, we have a sense of the evolution of the music of the Beatles, from the original Liverpool sound to the Psychedelic Progressive rock at the end. This appeals to me because I can have the students in my Introduction to Popular Culture class pick up this CD for a unit on music and set up a major paper where they talk about stages in the music of the Beatles based on these 27 tracks. Listening to their most popular songs in chronological order gives you a sense of exactly how much they changed. Hopefully in their papers they will be able to articulate a sense of how the Beatles got from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to "Eleanor Rigby" and on to "Hey Jude."
Yes, there are problems with "The Beatles 1" from this perspective as well. We are talking about a collection that has nothing from the group's greatest album, "Sgt. Pepper." Beyond that there is only one track written by George Harrison; the rest are by John Lennon & Paul McCartney. At least Ringo gets to sing a song ("Yellow Submarine"). But it is a lot easier to say, hey, these are the songs that made #1 on the charts and provide a quantitative rationale for the track selections rather than doing a qualitative approach and eventually offending everyone. Yes, the "red" and "blue" albums provide this same chronological approach, but that would be twice the number of songs at about four times the cost, and either consideration would be a deal breaker for students. Yes, I could put together 27 tracks that would provide a better sense of the evolution of the Beatles' music, but what we have here all nice and pre-packaged for us is pretty good for providing a mini-lesson in rock 'n' roll music appreciation.
Final Note: The accompanying booklet does not provide the lyrics for these songs. Instead, what you will find are pages devoted to each song with some of the jacket covers for each single from around. Also provided are information about when and where the song was recorded as well as the chart history in the UK and US.