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Monday, June 26, 2006

I think you'll understand

A while back, I asked readers to help me think about the contents of a CD devoted to the best of Motown. After cogitating on it for a couple of weeks, I determined that I couldn't really boil it down to 80 minutes -- 160 would be necessary.

Tonight I'm thinking along the same lines. I just rolled through a half-dozen Beatles tunes, and I'm starting to think it might be a good idea to raise the same issue with the Fab Four. If you had to cram all your Beatles music onto one 80-minute CD, what would be on it?

Part of one's choices, of course, would depend on that quintessential Beatles dilemma -- Lennon or McCartney? And how much George and Ringo? Without some guidelines about that, I suspect, people's mixes would be all over the lot. So let's start with that as our threshold inquiry. On an 80-minute CD, how many minutes of songs principally authored by McCartney, and how many by Lennon? How much George, keeping in mind that the Beatles always pushed him down? And how much Ringo?

I'm thinking 27 minutes each of Lennon and McCartney (truly jointly written songs to come half out of each), 16 of George, 10 of Ringo. Fair? Would one CD be feasible? Would two be required? Would even that not be enough?

And this reminds me -- I never did get the Stax CD together! Hmmm..... Some people do summer reading....

Comments (28)

I thought Ringo only penned "Octopus's Garden."

Ringo time would include anything Ringo sings.

Before and after the split?

Their catalog is all over the place... this task is like trying to split an atom.

My question is, are most Beatles fans very partial to early or late era songs, or do they swear by the whole thing?

Personally, the early stuff is disposable...

I'm thinkin' there is no way, can't be done. I'll try tonight when I have access to all the song lengths, but off the top of my head I;m thinking at leats 240 minutes are needed.

Also Jack not to call you a luddite or anything, but limiting things to CD length increments is soooo last century. I know I used to think in 6 disc sets for what would load into the changer. Now it is what is worthy to be added to the 60 GB iPod vs what is available at the touch of a finger at home on my Rio Reciever accessing my PC.


I'd say there is less of the early stuff that is indispensible, but still a lot of really good songs.

Also people tend to forget how little time there was between "I wanna hold your hand" and "Sgt Pepper". The sheer volume of great stuff they did between roughly '65 and '68 is incredible.

Actually, I have the "1" cd that came out a while back, and I like it alot. It has 27 tracks or so on it. If I had to pick a few favorites, I think I would say Day Tripper, Penny Lane, and Come Together. Not necessarily in that order.

Not a big Motown fan, though...Im not in my 40s yet, maybe thats why...;-)

I'd say from the beginning till the split as a parameter. And that early stuff sounds really good to me (maybe you just had to have been there....)

Why not use a CD player that plays back MP3's (which most do these days), convert your cuts to MP3, and you can put 150 on there? Audio purists might flinch, but are you really going to notice?

Why not use a CD player that plays back MP3s

Hey! That's MY idea!

I like Jack's challenge though. Can you distill the Beatles into 80 minutes?

A CD player that plays mp3's? Come on, I still drive a car that has only a cassette player in it!

In that case shouldn't you be asking for 120 minutes, or more acurately 2 sets of 60 minutes:-)

Fun project, but Jack, if its a "Beatles" collection, you really shouldn't allocate by author/singer/etc. - just pick the tunes that resonate the most wih you. I look forward to your list (and as a voodo chile of that age, good luck). "gather round, all you clowns, let me hear you say . . . "

From the early years I'd pick "A Hard Day's Night", and "Please Please Me." "No Reply" and "I Feel Fine" just popped into my head, as well. This is not going to be easy. I always thought "If I Fell" captured the two-part John/Paul thing at its best.
You should probably have one early one with three-part harmony. Not to suggest this next song, but have you ever seen that footage of them singing, "This Boy" live? It's ridiculously great.
God, I loved the Beatles. The lads really delivered for the world, no?

Ditto, Bill! And throw in "drive my car" as well!

Tell Me Why
From Me To You
Nowhere Man
I Need You
Across the Universe
Strawberry Fields Forever
Act Naturally

Who is Worse?
1) The one legged gold digger skank who appeared in porno shots ?
2) Yoko ?
3) Sadam Hussein ?
4) Al Franken ?

From the old days: And Your Bird can Sing. John Lennon: Beautiful Boy and Working Class Hero.

The most obvious lock for George Harrison is "Something." The other Beatles thought it was the best song on Abbey Road, and you know that can't be bad.
Lesser classics by George include "I Want to Tell You." If you ever get a chance to hear this song from the concert tour in Japan with George backed by Eric Clapton and his band, take it.
I also loved "If I Needed Someone."

I'm with Mr. McDonald on "Something". It would absolutely have to be on the CD, and then everything else is just the fixins. I love that song. Hmm it's the only Beatles song i can say that i "Love".

Yeah, "Something" is something. Beautiful, a favorite of many. Didn't realize it was Harrison.

Neither did Sinatra. For quite a while he introduced it in concert as one of the most beautiful songs ever written, and he identified the writers as Lennon and McCartney.

I think people had trouble letting Frank know when he was screwing something up. But somebody eventually did.

It is a marvelous song.

Just to get warmed up, I'm thinking that maybe I should start with one 80-minute CD of songs that came after the breakup. I always dreamed that the Beatles would reunite, and they'd play some of that material together. What a wonderful gesture of unity that would have been. But it was just a dream I had...

Not to be overbearing or anything, but post-breakup, in my opinion, would have to include "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul, "All Things Must Pass" by George, and "Starting Over" by John Lennon.
From Double Fantasy I'd also include "Woman", "Beautiful Boy"- one of Paul's favorites, and "Watching the Wheels." The last is a personal favorite, although probably not as sophisticated chord-wise as the incredible "Starting Over." I also am stunned by the chords in "Jealous Guy." The problem you're going to face is that minor Beatle songs like "For No One", are better than whole catalogues of other famous composers. And to think I was intimidated by the World Cup pool.

Lennon and McCartney:
"I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man.
Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I've said,
Baby, I'm determined
And I'd rather see you dead "
Run For Your Life from Rubber Soul.
Is this one a keeper?

Er, no. I believe Lennon was forced to renounce that one soon after its release.

You want a clunker? "Mr. Moonlight." My goodness.

You might ponder "Badge" by Cream, if you're so inclined. That's George doing the leslie solo on it. But Wait! It's Beatles time. I'm sorry.

Didn't George write "Badge"?

by Eric Clapton and George Harrison

Thinkin' 'bout the times you drove in my car.
Thinkin' that I might have drove you too far.
And I'm thinkin' 'bout the love that you laid on my table.

I told you not to wander 'round in the dark.
I told you 'bout the swans, that they live in the park.
Then I told you 'bout our kid, now he's married to Mabel.

Yes, I told you that the light goes up and down.
Don't you notice how the wheel goes 'round?
And you better pick yourself up from the ground
Before they bring the curtain down,
Yes, before they bring the curtain down.

Talkin' 'bout a girl that looks quite like you.
She didn't have the time to wait in the queue.
She cried away her life since she fell off the cradle.

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