“Beatles For Sale” by The Beatles - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1964Album Chart of the Decade: 1960s

TJR says

“This happened once before when I came to your door, no reply. They said it wasn't you, but I saw you peep through your window. I saw the light, I saw the light. I know that you saw me ‘cause I looked up to see your face.” 30 seconds was all it took to realise that the Beatles had changed. There’s a great emphasis and delivery all ‘round here – this whole unit are feeling the protagonists angst at the betrayal. As album openers go, “No Reply” has to be one of the greatest of all-time. Sitting to attention, the change is further confirmed on “I’m A Loser”; a tale of romantic rejection set to mournful harmonica juxtaposed with an up-tempo country swing beat. Speaking of the song, John Lennon would later comment: “That's me in my Dylan period. Part of me suspects I'm a loser and part of me thinks I'm God Almighty [laughs].”

The exceptional high quality is maintained with “Baby’s In Black”, a rock n ballad which recalls Don and Phil Everly at their very best. It’s been a dark start by Beatles standards, but a thrilling version of Chuck Berry’s “Rock n Roll Music” releases the tension brilliantly; I’m feeling that back beat and John’s vocal is terrific. And what about George Martin on piano? Wow! Jerry Lee who? “I’ll Follow The Sun” is good, but can’t compete with the album’s standards thus far. And then… all hell breaks loose with the throwaway, carefree, joie de vivre simplistic genius of “Mister Moonlight”, an irresistible reading of the tune which had been done by Dr. Feelgood and The Interns in 1962. What a cover – without a shadow of a doubt the greatest interpretation they ever committed to vinyl. Lennons’ rasping vocal just nags away at you and sends a shiver down. The irreverence of that dumb-ass organ solo is absolutely priceless. I can't believe it's not Jimmy Smith : – O Irk the purists. Hell yeah!

Side 2 opens with “Eight Days A Week”, a great party track with a neat line in hand-clap-ability. Perhaps due to the pressure of producing 4 albums in 22 months, the group looks back to original 50s influences, with faithful readings of the excellent “Words of Love” (Buddy Holly, 1957) and the more than decent “Honey Don’t” (Carl Perkins, 1955). The greatness of the album is underlined with “Every Little Thing”; a fabulous pop track with plenty of sophisticated twists and turns from the beat combo. For me, The Beatles were getting stronger with every album – and they were sizzling hot by Christmas ’64.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:15] 10.0.png The Beatles - No Reply (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Folk Rock / Americana
A2 [02:31] 7.7.png The Beatles - I’m A Loser (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Pop
A3 [02:02] 9.5.png The Beatles - Baby’s In Black (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Rock n Roll Ballad
A4 [02:32] 7.5.png The Beatles - Rock And Roll Music (Charles Berry) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
A5 [01:46] 6.7.png The Beatles - I’ll Follow The Sun (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Folk Rock / Americana
A6 [02:33] 10.0.png The Beatles - Mr. Moonlight (Roy Lee Johnson) Folk Rock / Americana
A7 [02:33] 7.4.png The Beatles - Kansas City / Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! (Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller - Richard Penniman) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B1 [02:44] 7.5.png The Beatles - Eight Days A Week (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Pop
B2 [02:12] 8.5.png The Beatles - Words Of Love (Charles Hardin Holley) Pop
B3 [02:55] 7.2.png The Beatles - Honey Don’t (Carl Perkins) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B4 [02:01] 7.7.png The Beatles - Every Little Thing (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Cerebral Pop
B5 [02:33] 7.4.png The Beatles - I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Rock n Roll / Rockabilly
B6 [02:30] 7.0.png The Beatles - What You’re Doing (John Lennon, Paul McCartney) Cerebral Pop
B7 [02:23] 5.6.png The Beatles - Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby (Carl Perkins) Blues / Rhythm n Blues

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