Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Life in Four Colors (Part Twenty-One)

1964 was filled with so many wonderful things that it's hard to believe they all could have occurred in the same year. The release of what I thought of as the first two Beatles albums (their first Capitol album and the VeeJay album was quickly followed by their third album, The Beatles' Second Album. Hey, wait a minute...

The name made sense once I realized that Capitol wasn't counting the VeeJay album; somehow, their failure to acknowledge its existence made the album seem illegitimate. I still enjoyed it, but I thought of it as a guilty pleasure... it was a sort of orphaned album. But that second album--oh, what an album it was. I gladly parted with my $3.34 plus tax and played it over and over again until I had memorized every nuance, every note, and every click.

Alas, my turntable was not the best in the world--an inexpensive box record player with a fold-down lid and suitcase-style clasps to keep it closed when not being used. My parents had a better turntable in the living room, built into the home entertainment unit, but that was absolutely off limits in the evenings, since the entertainment unit included our monstrously large 25" black and white television set that was the focal point of our family evenings. My parents weren't interested in having me turn off the television to listen to Beatles music in the evenings, so the Beatles were relegated to early afternoon play on the good record player and evening play on my budget record player. Within a matter of weeks, my turntable had added extra pops and clicks to every song... but I even memorized those pops and clicks! To this day, I fully expect to hear an abrupt pop a split-second before the first "she" in the song "She Loves You," because that's where I accidentally mis-dropped the needle in my haste to play my favorite song.

The whole Beatles album situation got even more complicated a few months later, when two more Beatles albums were released: Something New and A Hard Day's Night. And once again, some of the same songs appeared on both albums. What frustration for a financially-challenged ten-year-old--do I spend $3.34 each for two albums when half of the songs appear on each of them?

And once again, I was confused by the labels. Something New was on the familiar Capitol rainbow swirl, but A Hard Day's Night was on United Artists. And the UA album wasn't even all Beatles; it included instrumentals and background music taken from the movie, and the Beatles didn't even play on those songs! The decision was made: buy Something New.

Too bad that Redford's had sold out of it. And back then, just like now, my desire for instant gratification was too strong to resist. I had the money for a Beatles album, they had a Beatles album that I didn't have... so I bought A Hard Day's Night. And ironically, I wouldn't buy Something New for several years; once my investment was made, I satisfied myself with listening to Phil Patterson's copy of that album and he was happy to listen to my copy of A Hard Day's Night. As a team, we were accumulating quite a Beatles collection!


Jason said...

Hey, cool. I had started to miss these posts.

Charles R. Rutledge said...

I'm glad you've resumed your Life in Four Colors. I've missed them.

Art said...

You may already have it, but there's a really good Beatles book in the bargain section at Barnes n' Noble called "John, Paul, George and Ringo." It's $24.95 and the quantity of photos and info is staggering. It's in the bargain section but is definitely not a cheapo production. There's another Beatles one and a John Lennon one that are both $9.95 and also nice productions.

Then at a antique store on the Marietta Square there's a Teen World magazine in the window with the Beatles on the cover with a headline about "Their Naughty Nights!" There's a second Beatles magazine also in the window titled "All About Us" that is supposed to contain interviews with their parents. If you're into collecting those sorts of things it could be worth looking at.