A Hard Rate's Night: The Beatles Rate - #54, but for real this time | The Popjustice Forum

A Hard Rate's Night: The Beatles Rate - #54, but for real this time

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Ironheade, May 10, 2021.

  1. Six hundred million units sold worldwide.
    Fifteen UK number one albums.
    Twenty-five US number one albums.
    Twenty Billboard Hot 100 number one singles.
    Eighteen UK number one singles.
    The only act ever to occupy the entire Top 5 on the Hot 100.
    The UK's all-time highest selling singles act.
    Writers of the most-covered song of all time.

































    When will your faves?

    [​IMG]

    (With thanks to @ohnostalgia for the rate graphics.)

    John Lennon. Paul McCartney. George Harrison. Ringo Starr. The Beatles.

    Four names and one slightly feeble pun, yet even the mention of any of them summons up multitudes – as Richie Unterberger puts it, “it's difficult to summarize their career without restating clichés”. The British Invasion and the psychedelic revolution, the ones who proved rock and roll could be for more than just singles, the ones who eventually invented the idea of the self-contained band that writes its own material, revolutionaries in recording technique who pushed the studio to its very limits, artists who constantly evolved and broke their own artistic boundaries, the voice of youth culture in the 60's and beyond. It is a story that has long since left the realms of history, and entered into the hallowed halls of myth. All of this is true, and no, they didn't do everything first like some people will say, but lionising all of this is closer to the truth than dismissing it is, at least.

    The legacy of all they did is essentially beyond words. With the strange slow death of mass culture, never again will there be an artist who is that all-consumingly popular, at one of the very few times in history when the biggest artist in the world and the best were one and the same. It might be hard, from a vantage point over half a century on, to appreciate just what level of impact they had or how much they grew and changed as artists over time, living as we do in a post-Beatles music world like a fish lives in water. (You might not personally be a fan, but I guarantee it, someone you are a fan of is.) And with a story so grand in its scope, it's hard to think about the Beatles at all without thinking of all the often sad, sometimes infuriating behind-the-scenes tales of what may or may not have happened. But at the end of the day, forget all the frighteningly intense personal drama and the controversies that raged behind the scenes, the reams of analysis and ink spilled over them, the gradual carving out of an “accepted” history and how that differs from the truth, the solo careers and what effect those have had on their legacy, the boomers too eager to attribute everything innovative to them and the zoomers far too keen to give them a knee-jerk trashing in response – what we have, at the end of the day, is the music. The wonderful, catchy, colourful, inventive, thought-provoking, heartstring-tugging, smile-making, life-affirming music. And that, of course, is what we are gathered here to rate.

    The world is inundated with Beatles scholarship and biography, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I'm under no illusion that I can add anything new to what is already there. I'm approaching this only from the perspective of a pop fan, one who has grown up in a world that the Beatles did much to create, and decided that on a forum dedicated to celebrating pop music and all that is good about it, the biggest pop act of all time really ought to get some rate attention. But there's still a lot of questions in the air, all with multifarious answers to be teased out of them. How did they grow and change, and where did that impetus come from, where do the influences lie? What made them click so well with the consumers of the 60's? Who was around them, and what, to make them what they were, and why was it them, of all bands, who got that measure of success? Just what did make them break up when they did? Why did their music matter so much then – and why does it matter now?

    Good questions. But hopefully, by the end of this rate, you'll have your answer.

    ***

    Anyway, some further preamble on what exactly it is we are rating. I considered a full discography rate at first, but concluded that that might not have had many takers, especially with how immense of an undertaking it would be. Over the course of eight years, the Beatles cranked out thirteen full-length albums (their twelve canonical UK ones, plus the US LP version of Magical Mystery Tour), one of which is a double album, plus a large body of non-LP material – 213 songs officially released within their lifetime, all in all, not to mention the outtakes and offcuts that have come out since then. Far too much for one person to take on, in other words, and I'm not saying it could never happen, but don't hold your breath. Clearly, some condensing would have to happen, and with the sixtieth anniversary of “Love Me Do” fast approaching, and how much the story of the Beatles is ultimately the story of the Sixties, I decided that sixty songs would be a good number. This is in large part derived from the tracklists of the Red and Blue Albums, with some little tweaks and additions here and there – a fairly catholic selection, in other words, but I make no apologies for that. At the end of the day, these are the songs that caught the zeitgeist, by far their most famous work, the songs that people will immediately turn to when they think of the Beatles, so why not pick them as representative, eh? There are plenty of more obscure tracks I wish I could have included, but alas; I intend to highlight some of these throughout the voting period, however.

    Well, I had to be a killjoy sometime, so here are...

    [​IMG]
    1. Rate each song in the post below on a scale from 0 to 10. Decimals to a single place, or half and quarter points, will both be accepted. No decimals over 10 please.
    2. PM the scores to myself, with the songs in the order listed in the post below, by 21 JUNE @ 11:59 PM GMT. An extension may be granted if enough people want it, but not indefinitely!
    3. You may award one song your precious 11. Choose well...
    4. For any song which has multiple versions in the list, please pick your favourite out of the versions and say which one you're rating in your PM.
    5. Commentary is not obligatory, but is highly encouraged if you want to do it. I would definitely like to see something for your 11's if you can though!
    6. We're all entitled to our own opinions, and if you want to be the person who gives “A Day in the Life” a 0, well, I can only admire your boldness. That said, anything that smacks of a troll vote WILL be discarded if you don't explain yourself. Don't spoil everyone else's fun, eh?


    Nothing else to wait for... words have been flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, indeed... the song list is before you, so get cracking!
     
  2. In my life, I've loved them all...

    THE SONG LIST
    (Arranged chronologically by order of original UK release.)

    SPOTIFY PLAYLIST
    APPLE MUSIC PLAYLIST (courtesy @boombazookajoe )

    A note on differing versions. At the suggestion of @ohnostalgia in the initial proposal posts of the Rate & Chart Discussion thread, I've opted, for the Let It Be tracks, to include both the original Phil Spector-produced renditions from the 1970 release of Let It Be, and the versions without overdubs from Let It Be... Naked. I've done the same with "Revolution" and "Revolution 1". In these cases, I think they're different enough songs, ultimately, that it's worth it to do so. You will only be giving a score to one version of each song, however - pick whichever one you prefer. (I consider the two "Sgt. Pepper" renditions to be two halves of a single song, so again, one score for the both of those.)

    The Spotify list has all the "primary" versions (album release, with the exception of "Revolution") on it. If you can think of any other substantially different alternate versions you'd like me to put in this list, please do let me know.

    Also, a note on stereo versus mono - because, yes, this is early enough in the history of recording technology that that's an issue. There's some purists out there who will strongly advocate mono for everything up to the White Album, because the original period stereo mixes can sound quite odd to modern ears, made before modern stereo mixing practices became widespread (gratuitous amounts of panning, lots of lush instrumentation sitting awkwardly in one track, and so on). I originally intended to offer the option of stereo or mono for rating, but tracking down mono versions of the songs proved to be a real pain, so that idea was scrapped. I have therefore used more modern stereo versions, which may differ between years.

    Love Me Do (Original UK single - with Ringo | Album release - with Andy White)
    Please Please Me
    I Saw Her Standing There
    Twist and Shout
    From Me to You
    She Loves You
    All My Loving
    I Want to Hold Your Hand
    Can't Buy Me Love
    A Hard Day's Night

    And I Love Her
    I Feel Fine
    Eight Days a Week
    Ticket to Ride
    Help!
    Yesterday
    You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
    Day Tripper
    We Can Work It Out
    Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

    Nowhere Man
    Michelle
    In My Life
    Paperback Writer
    Taxman
    Eleanor Rigby
    Yellow Submarine
    Tomorrow Never Knows
    Penny Lane
    Strawberry Fields Forever

    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Opener | Reprise)
    With a Little Help from My Friends
    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    When I'm Sixty-Four
    A Day in the Life
    All You Need is Love
    Hello Goodbye
    I Am the Walrus
    The Fool on the Hill
    Lady Madonna

    Hey Jude
    Revolution (B-side release - "Revolution" | White Album version - "Revolution 1")
    Back in the U.S.S.R.
    Dear Prudence
    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    Happiness is a Warm Gun
    Blackbird
    Helter Skelter
    Get Back (Let It Be | Naked)

    Don't Let Me Down
    The Ballad of John and Yoko
    Here Comes the Sun
    Oh! Darling
    Octopus' Garden
    Come Together
    Something
    Across the Universe (No One's Gonna Change Our World | Let It Be | Naked)
    Let It Be (Let It Be | Naked)
    The Long and Winding Road (Let It Be | Naked)

    PM-friendly plaintext version:

    Love Me Do
    Please Please Me
    I Saw Her Standing There
    Twist and Shout
    From Me to You
    She Loves You
    All My Loving
    I Want to Hold Your Hand
    Can't Buy Me Love
    A Hard Day's Night

    And I Love Her
    I Feel Fine
    Eight Days a Week
    Ticket to Ride
    Help!
    Yesterday
    You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
    Day Tripper
    We Can Work It Out
    Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

    Nowhere Man
    Michelle
    In My Life
    Paperback Writer
    Taxman
    Eleanor Rigby
    Yellow Submarine
    Tomorrow Never Knows
    Penny Lane
    Strawberry Fields Forever

    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    With a Little Help from My Friends
    Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    When I'm Sixty-Four
    A Day in the Life
    All You Need is Love
    Hello Goodbye
    I Am the Walrus
    The Fool on the Hill
    Lady Madonna

    Hey Jude
    Revolution
    Back in the U.S.S.R.
    Dear Prudence
    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    Happiness is a Warm Gun
    Blackbird
    Helter Skelter
    Get Back

    Don't Let Me Down
    The Ballad of John and Yoko
    Here Comes the Sun
    Oh! Darling
    Octopus' Garden
    Come Together
    Something
    Across the Universe
    Let It Be
    The Long and Winding Road
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
  3. Last edited: Jul 29, 2021 at 11:26 PM
  4. How is it always @Ironheade who can coax me out of semi-retirement from rates? I've been meaning to properly check out the Beatles but could use something a bit more guided than a full-on deep dive, so if I have the time I just might partake.

    I'll add that one of the reasons it's taken me this long is that I got put off by all the back and forth I'd see from audiophiles, purists, and rock snobs about the mono and stereo recordings. I'm not opposed to mono recordings but if I could be reassured that the more modern stereo remasters make for a perfectly fine listen, that would be great.
     
  5. They did a pretty decent job when they covered the Sugababes' Come Together so I might check out the rest of their singles!
     
  6. I've personally never had a problem with the modern stereo masters, but then again, I've not got much personal experience with the mono recordings, especially not the period masters. I'm not much of an audiophile though, so your mileage may vary... I may have to consult the all-knowing ones at the Steve Hoffman forums on this.
     
  7. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    I could probably do my scores in one day, but I’ll give it some more time.

    I would also like to state that when The Beatles started, they were a group for teenage girls. They were mobbed just like your favourite k-pop star at the airport. They were a pop act that many posters would probably stan if this forum existed back in the early 1960s. Don’t let the Boomers spoil a great discography for you!

    I’ve heard both mono and stereo mixes, but honestly I didn’t find a preference either way. If you’re used to stereo recordings already, just go with them!
     
  8. I am so in. I could probably knock this out in 10 minutes, I had such a hardcore Beatles phase, even if it was a while ago.
     
  9. Did a first draft. With some of the more ropey material already being cut from the list, my lowest score is currently a 6.
     
    berserkboi and Ironheade like this.
  10. I’ll definitely miss some of their most obscure cuts in this rate, but totally appreciate the need to trim the song list.

    Anyway, I’m in!
     
    berserkboi, ohnostalgia and Ironheade like this.
  11. The Beatles were the first band I ever obsessively loved. I'm definitely in! Glad to see my absolute favorite of their songs on the list too, a very easy 11.
     
  12. Yay!

    One feature that I'm planning to do through the voting period is a reveal of some of the rest of their catalogue: their best songs that aren't in the rate, ten to twenty of them. I have some ideas about what to pick there, but I'm open to suggestions.

    (And maybe also the top ten worst, just for a laugh... and no, "Revolution 9" would not be in that company.)
     
  13. True in Popjustice rates, true in life.
     
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