Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Beatles: Hey Jude

Review # 33
Artist: The Beatles
Title: Hey Jude
Format: LP
Label: Apple Records
Year: 1970
Songs: 10

In what must have been February or early March of 1996, I was shopping for a birthday present for my dad. He had recently bought a truck that had tape deck in it, which his previous vehicle hadn't had, so I decided to get him a tape to play on his drives to and from work. At the time, all I listened to really was novelty bands and didn't really know anything about music. So I went to the music section at our local big box store and started looking for something I thought he'd like. I ended up picking up a copy of the Beatles' Hey Jude album. But before I gave it to him, I opened it up and played it myself. Life would never be the same.

I made a copy of the cassette and played it incessantly for about a week, and then set out to grow my collection at first mostly by getting stuff from the library and copying it, but eventually by buying all the Beatles' cds. By the summer of that year, I had gone from listening to nothing but novelty bands to nothing but the Beatles, who in turn opened the door to the Byrds, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, the Doors and other contemporaries. That same summer, I found my dad's old guitar in the garage and began the process of learning to play. I quit buying comic books and stared buying cds and musical equipment. By the fall of that year, I was making my first (failed) attempt at putting together a band. And it all started with Hey Jude.

Hey Jude is mostly a compilation of Beatles singles spanning from 1966 to the band's dissolution, plus two songs from the Hard Day's Night soundtrack.  This was not really a proper Beatles' album in the sense that the band never intended it to exist as a full length collection of songs, and I don't believe it was ever available in the UK. Today it's not available at all, although most of the songs from it can be found on Past Masters Volume 2, a more comprehensive collection of singles.  Interestingly, the sleeve for this record features photographs from the Beatles' last ever photo shoot together, which took place at John's house in August of 1969.

In spite of this record's lack of cannonicity, it is in any case an excellent collection, featuring some of my all time favorite songs, including the title track and "Revolution," two songs that appeared on the same single and which John and Paul are said to have butted heads over which was to be the A-Side.  John, apparently, considered "Revolution" to be one of the best songs he'd ever written (I can't disagree), and was none too keen on it taking the back seat to a song Paul had written for his ex-wife Cynthia and son Julian, who he was at that time leaving for Yoko Ono. Paul felt very passionate about "Hey Jude" (originally "Hey Jules") as well, and understandably so.  These two songs, in many ways to me, represent the absolute peak of the Beatles. To this day I vacillate as to which I prefer. They're both A-sides, as far as I'm concerned.

Other highlights include the fast (and in some ways downright punkish) "Paperback Writer," "Lady Madonna," and the passionate "Don't Let Me Down," although it's hard to even narrow it down because to me, every song on this record is fantastic.

Two amazing tracks:

Hey Jude & Revolution

Total songs listened: 432

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