Beatles listening

Mar 4th, 2011 | By | Category: Personal Columns

Thirty-five years ago this weekend, The Beatles released twenty-three singles simultaneously.   To someone who was fifteen years old at the time and was away at school and had 50 pence a week pocket money, it seemed an odd thing to do.  Even if the entire pocket money were spent on buying records, it would have taken months to buy all of them.  It was important, though, to buy some of them; being born too late to remember much of The Beatles’ history, it was important not to miss this second opportunity.  Twenty-two of the singles had been released before, but for the twenty-third, ‘Yesterday’, it was the first time it had been released in the UK.

I remember buying four or five of them in their distinctive green paper sleeves.  There were some I would not have bought, never liking ‘Lady Madonna’ or ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, but the memory fails as to which ones I did buy, and they have long since disappeared from my pile of 7″ vinyl.  John Creedon on RTE radio played the entire list this evening between 8.30 and 9.50.  The A side of each of the following got an airing:

Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You

Please Please Me / Ask Me Why

From Me To You / Thank You Girl

She Loves You / I’ll Get You

I Want To Hold Your Hand/ This Boy

Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That

A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today

I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman

Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is

Help! / I’m Down

We Can Work It Out /Day Tripper

Paperback Writer/ Rain

Eleanor Rigby / Yellow Submarine

Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane

All You Need Is Love / Baby, You’re A Rich Man

Hello, Goodbye / I Am The Walrus

Lady Madonna / The Inner Light

Hey Jude / Revolution

Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down

The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe

Something / Come Together

Let It Be / You Know My Name

Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better

It is odd which ones hold the strongest places in the memory.  ‘Eleanor Rigby’ must have been played many, many times after its 1966 release for it seemed an overwhelmingly sad song to a primary school child.  Father McKenzie seemed the saddest figure of all; we knew no Catholics in our corner of England and had no idea of what life might have been for one of their priests.  The later songs always seemed overshadowed in retrospect by the knowledge that the band was in the process of disintegration; listening to them brought thoughts of the last day of holidays, that a special time was past.

Listening to them this evening seemed to evoke a feeling like being in a museum: here were exhibits one could clearly identify from one’s past, but they seemed sanitized, remote.  In thirty-five years time, will anyone still remember the sheer power those musicians once possessed?

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