The Beatles had such a large array of golden hits that they needed two career-defining retrospectives to show that there were two large sections of such music to the public. This is the second release to showcase their career onto a double album set, released on the same day as the first section of hits by The Beatles from 1962-1966. It’s just as essential to have in your collection, not to gather dust, but to listen to regularly.
Let’s take a listen to part two of The Beatles retrospectives, and see what we have here.
We kick off with Strawberry Fields Forever which is a slice of psychedelic pop genius which is obviously heavily drug-influenced. It’s a great masterpiece of melody, beauty, and interesting listening regardless. Great, as always, to hear here. There are so many intricacies here to listen to, with a multitude of awesome instruments and sounds which are ear candy. It demands repeat listening and has a surprise ending.
Next is the classic village piece Penny Lane which is a wonderful listen of village activities. It’s a more simple listen compared to the previous track but has a great piccolo trumpet solo in it. No doubt many bands, particularly around the time, were influenced by this brilliant listen. Great stuff.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the intro song to the album of the same name and has some really interesting recorded sounds and Paul McCartney leading the show. It’s such a classic pop piece to listen to, and is wonderful listening, even though it is very short. It segues into the next song.
With A Little Help From My Friends is a great pop song with some interesting instrumentation, although it is clearly supportive of drug use. Regardless, that does not matter, it is a great listening experience here. Paul’s bass playing is very good here, sounding varied and original.
Next is Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds which is obviously about LSD. However, lyrically and musically, this song is very hard to beat. It is a classic John Lennon piece for The Beatles. Psychedelic organ and heavily treated vocals take us along this psychedelic trip. No wonder Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was so loved as an album. Here, you can listen and find out why.
Following is the sad lament A Day In The Life. It comes at the end of the Sgt. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band album, and interestingly was banned on BBC radio for direct references to drug use. Still, it’s a great song with some awesome drumming from Ringo Starr. It just goes to show how wonderful and brilliant The Beatles music was, and how they changed the world of music. The crescendo orchestra string section is always interesting to hear. The mixture of John Lennon and Paul McCartney onto one song is a very brilliant effort. The phrase, “I’d love to turn you on,” is immortal. The ending is rather freaky.
All You Need Is Love is a wonderfully devoted song to the pure emotion of love, and one of the most memorable songs by The Beatles. However, as a song by The Beatles, it seems very dated. Still, it’s an interesting listen with a multitude of cleverly arranged instrumentation and playing by The Beatles. The outro is very well done, with a combination of different sounds and textures.
I Am The Walrus comes next, with some very interesting mixtures of psychedelic sounds and perfect playing. No doubt Sir George Martin was very helpful in terms of production with some of the more out-there sounds. It’s a much better than expected song than you’d think, and makes you want to sing along passionately. The sound effects and treatment of this song are inimitable. The outro particularly sounds very psychedelic.
Next is the more traditional piece Hello, Goodbye which is a very solid call-and-response piece. It is a good and anthemic listen from the year 1967 when music officially became an art form. If you think the music of today on the radio is art, for the most part, you’ve got to be joking. This is really artistic music and timeless, too. It has inspired musicians throughout the decades and is great listening to this day.
Following is the immortal song by John Lennon The Fool On The Hill. It was such a strong and solid composition that it was referenced multiple times afterward in songs by John Lennon. It’s a great piece of psychedelic pop, fighting for inner space along with Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd songs. There are no guitar solos here, instead there is a recorder solo. A simple and very good effort.
Magical Mystery Tour is the brilliant title track of the Magical Mystery Tour album. It’s a great Paul McCartney piece and is very near perfect listening. With a call-and-response section, memorable melodies, and advanced thinking in a musical setting, this is a great piece. A good listen and fits nicely on this compilation. The outro is hypnotic and awesome.
Lady Madonna has an irresistibly catchy piano part and is no doubt one of the greatest songs written by The Beatles. It’s so underrated and catchy that you will no doubt be bopping along to this number. It marks the beginning of the post-psychedelic period for the group and does this very well. Brilliant.
The extended piece Hey Jude is a great singalong song written by Paul McCartney which was written for Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s first son. Everything about it is glorious, from the vocals and piano to the other instrumentation here. It takes a while to progress, but like most progressive rock of the 1970s, requires an intellectual mindset to listen all the way through. It’s another iconic song by The Beatles.
Next is the rawer version of Revolution than the version on The Beatles (White album). It’s the classic political song that The Beatles wrote and sounds almost like punk rock here. There is a lot of truth in the lyrics here and has John Lennon ranting against mindless anarchy. Another solid listen, and one worth paying attention to. Perhaps The Beatles foresaw musical trends? If they did, that is a great thing to see. Great version of the original, however.
Back In The U.S.S.R. is the first track from The Beatles self-titled album. It has some great lyricism about sexual escapades. It is a catchy and well-done tune, complete with chugging piano parts. The guitar solo is really awesome, too. A great pop pastiche, and good listening experience.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the famous piece featuring Eric Clapton playing on it. The song itself, aside from the guest’s appearance, is rather dull. Still, a much better effort than people like Justin Bieber could manage today. Clapton breathes life into this song and plays an iconic Gibson Les Paul that he gave to George Harrison (nicknamed Lucy) in a very expressive way.
The oddly humourous Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is a good singalong effort by Paul McCartney. It is a better number than you’d expect and tells the tale of a simple life in a village with a family. It is a good piece to listen to. Sounds rather dated though.
Next is the bluesy jam Get Back which tells the tale of travel based pursuits and exploration. It’s a much better piece than expected, and sounds fresh and inspired today. A good and catchy listen, complete with some great keyboard playing. The lyrics are a little strange, but hey, this is a great song. Good stuff.
Don’t Let Me Down is a John Lennon expressionistic song. It features more cleverly played guitar and keyboard sounds here for your ears. A great listen, although a little repetitive in the chorus. Lyrically, it is about being in love with someone who is worth spending one’s life with.
The Ballad Of John And Yoko clearly indicates an autobiographic story by John Lennon about his time with long term partner Yoko Ono as well as being a member of The Beatles. It’s rather humourous in an odd way. It’s very catchy though, but songs such as these would have added tension to The Beatles then fractured relationship towards the end of the 1960s. A fun listen, although not really a combined effort by The Beatles.
Next is Old Brown Shoe which sounds like a weird jam by the group. It’s less a written piece, more an instrument based piece by The Beatles. Still, it’s a good listen with some well thought out playing by the group. A decent effort, however. There are some weird harmonies towards the end.
One of the most popular and memorable songs by The Beatles is Here Comes The Sun. It’s actually a George Harrison piece and is beautiful, well played, and melodic. An emotionally powerful and compelling listen from one of the greatest albums by The Beatles, Abbey Road. It gives you a taste of that record, sounding awesome.
Come Together is next. It is a great classic by The Beatles towards the end of their career. It covers some hippie ideals in it but reveals the world that The Beatles had helped change during their existence as a band. It’s a good listen regardless and just goes to show that right at the end of their career, The Beatles had an amazing ability to excite people. Good song. The outro is fantastic.
Something is another great composition by the group, a very sweet sounding song indeed. The backing instrumentation and sense of melodic achievement in this song are very near perfect. It’ll bring a smile to your face, and goes to show how The Beatles still had it in 1969, as they do today. Their music is really timeless.
Next is Octopus’s Garden which is sung by Ringo Starr, but has some great guitar playing throughout. It’s a more interesting and consistent song than Yellow Submarine and features some awesome harmonies. A very good and fresh sounding listen, with a psychedelic midsection to illustrate the song. Doesn’t get much better than that, folks. Great music.
The classic piano ballad Let It Be is next, a great Paul McCartney song. It’s a beautiful and magical song to hear and flows well. The backing vocals and extra production help bring this song alive. A great pop number in the history of music. Some great drum rolls by Ringo Starr are here in the verses, too.
Across The Universe is the beautifully delivered piece by John Lennon which is so beautiful and wonderfully done for the last album released by The Beatles, Let It Be. By this point, The Beatles had transformed and achieved much in the way of popular music. This song adds to their legacy, a great listen. Sounds like a million dollars, too.
The Long And Winding Road is the last song to this excellent compilation. It’s a piano and beautiful string ballad, with Paul McCartney singing with reassurance. Perfect for listening to in the car, a great piece of melodic and beautiful pop. Good effort.
This, like the 1962-1966 album by The Beatles, is a must-have in your collection. The Beatles created so much wonderful, interesting and essential music to listen to from these two time periods. Sadly, nobody will come close to their wonderful music on a consistent basis, although some have come close. For that reason, you should seek out this album today.