SHOULD'AV BEEN A NO.1
13 songs from 12 albums - Please Please Me to Let It Be - that should've been a No.1
- Before the Beatles appeared on 'the scene' in October 1962 the trend set by artists before them was to name their album release after the 'hit' single and according to Paul McCartney the remainder of the album contained 'filler'.
To a certain extent the Beatles followed the trend with their debut album Please Please Me.
After the release of their debut single 'Love Me Do' in October 1962 they also released the title track as a single over two months before the album appeared. The only difference? The album wasn't full of filler!
The Beatles also bucked the trend by releasing non album singles including From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand all before the end of 1963.
They also released five albums 'With The Beatles (1963)', 'Beatles For Sale (1964)', 'Rubber Soul (1965)', 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)' and incredibly the 30 song double album 'The Beatles White Album (1968)' from which no singles were released upon their initial appearance.
Such was the standard of the Beatles 'album tracks' it led to bands recording cover versions of them resulting in chart success and in the case of the Overlanders (Michelle). Marmalade (Ob La Di, Ob La Da) and Joe Cocker (With a Little Help From My Friends) a number one single in the UK.
Of course the Beatles didn't hold back on making their songs available to fans, they also used the EP format to full effect. Many EP & LP releases also made an impression on the singles chart, such was the Beatles popularity.
An idea that's been going around in my head for a long, long, long time is which songs on Beatles albums would have reached the No.1 spot if they had been released in the 1960's, I stress the No.1 spot, not just a chart placing.
PLEASE PLEASE MEReleased: 22nd March 1963 (Mono) / Released: 26th April 1963 (Stereo)Two singles were released from the Beatles debut album, mainly Love Me Do & Please Please Me, the title track reaching No.1 in every chart except the one that mattered in the 'Record Retailer' where it peaked at No.2.
Contenders for our No.1 album include Twist and Shout with a throat ripping lead vocal by John Lennon it's an obvious choice but would the Beatles consider a cover version for a single? The answer has to be a resounding no!
Do You Want To Know A Secret written by Lennon & McCartney but sang by George Harrison was given to Billy J Kramer and released the same day as the Beatles Please Please Me LP.
It achieved a respectable No.2 in the official chart, I'm sure the Beatles version would have achieved a No.1 if they had released it but the fact it featured George Harrison on lead vocals could have been a stumbling block.
My No.1 pick off the Please Please Me album is I Saw Her Standing There another Lennon & McCartney original.
The song was released on the Beatles 3rd EP 'The Beatles No.1. It reached No.2 in the EP Charts and No.19 in the singles chart.
I read somewhere that when Paul McCartney counted in the song 1,2,3,4, he counted in the beginning of the 60's as we know it. Cliff Richard and other pre Beatles bands may disagree....
WITH THE BEATLESReleased: 22nd November 1963It was quite remarkable in 1963 for a band to release two albums in the same year, there was exactly 8 months between their debut album and With the Beatles. In addition eight of the songs on the album were self penned and no single was released from the album.
Lennon & McCartney were obviously quickly learning their craft as songwriters
Contenders include I Wanna Be Your Man, sung by Ringo Starr, it was given to the Rolling Stones to record. They released it as a single November 1963 where it stalled at No.12 in the Top 20.
Possible No.1's on the album included the infectious It Won't Be Long, John Lennon's Little Child and Paul McCartney's Hold Me Tight although it isn't a favourite of some fans who reckon Paul is out of tune!
My No.1 pick from the With the Beatles album is All My Loving another Lennon & McCartney classic that Paul still retains in his set list to this day.
The song also featured on the Beatles EP All My Loving, released just two days before the first Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and it's a timeless Beatles song sounding as fresh today as it did in 1963.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHTReleased: 10th July 1964Another ground breaking album from the Beatles, 'A Hard Day's Night' was their first film soundtrack with every song written by the prolific team of Lennon & McCartney.
Side One contained seven songs featured in the film with a further six Beatles originals on side two.
Can't Buy Me Love had been released as a single nearly 4 months before the Hard Day's Night album saw the light of day.
The single A Hard Day's Night was released simultaneously with the album on the 10th July 1964, the day of their triumphant return to Liverpool to attend the premier of A Hard Day's Night at the Odeon Cinema after an appearance on the balcony the the Lord Mayor.
Contenders? Where do you start? The following songs are all contenders for a No.1 place.
If it's ballads you like then there's And I Love Her & If I Fell, Uptempo? There's I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why and Any Time at All
While Anytime At All would make No.1,. on this occasion it loses out to the dynamic Tell Me Why.
BEATLES FOR SALEReleased: 4th December 1964Beatles For Sale is the the Beatles 4th album in less than 2 years, not including their stand alone single releases and the cracks are starting to show.
I once heard Beatles For Sale referred to as their 'cabaret album'. I wouldn't describe it as that but after the self penned A Hard Day's Night the band returned to the format of the first two albums by including a number of cover versions.
Check Berry, Carl Perkins & Buddy Holly songs all featured on the album to bolster the mid paced Lennon & McCartney songs.
Two Beatles For Sale EP's were released, the first four month after the LP containing No Reply, Rock And Roll Music, I'm A Loser and Eight Days A Week. It achieved a total of 6 weeks at No.1 in the EP charts.
I quite like Beatles For Sale but there was only one contender for a No.1 single Eight Days A Week but with I Feel Fine/ She's A Woman already dominating the singles charts it remained an album track.
HELP!Released: 6th August 1965The Beatles second film soundtrack, the colour one, was released on the 6th August 1965.
Ticket to Ride appeared as a single a month before the album while the title track appeared a couple of weeks before the album to tie in with the premiere of the film.
Help! the album included fourteen songs, ten from Lennon & McCartney, for the first time, two from George Harrison I Need You from the film and You Like Me Too Much. The album also included two cover versions. Act Naturally was given to Ringo Starr to make up for him not having a song in the film even though the story was set around him. Dizzy Miss Lizzy gave John Lennon an opportunity to exercise his lungs with a dynamic performance of the Larry Williams rocker.
Contenders? The Night Before & Another Girl from the soundtrack would have made excellent singles but would they have made No.1? While a song John Lennon hated It's Only Love and the classic Yesterday qualify from Side Two of Help!
On this occasion the No.1 should'av been Yesterday.
RUBBER SOULReleased: 3rd December 1965The album where the Beatles songwriting, influenced by Bob Dylan, took on a new maturity.
EMI released Rubber Soul on the 3rd December, the same day as the double A side, non album single, Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out. The label also released another EP, probably to the Beatles annoyance, as The Beatles Million Sellers contained four songs from 1963/64, a period from which the Beatles had moved on.
Michelle was released by British band the Overlanders who scored a number one hit with the song while George Martin produced the David & Jonathan version of Michelle reaching No.11 in the UK Singles chart.
The Hollies released their version of the George Harrison penned If I Needed Someone but it was only a minor hit and George Harrison hated it!
Contenders for a No.1 hit would be John Lennon's In My Life, Nowhere Man but the opening song Drive My Car gets my vote.
REVOLVERReleased: 1st June 1967With EMI continuing to release older material through the EP format, the Beatles continued to plough their own path by releasing non album single Paperback Writer/Rain on the 10th June 1966, the Revolver LP on the 5th August along with two songs from the album Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine as the Beatles latest single.
Before the end of '66 Eleanor Rigby, Here,There and Everywhere and Got To Get You Into My Life were being covered by recognised artists such as The Standells, Richie Havens, Episode Six, John Denver and Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers.
There's a few contenders Here,There and Everywhere, And Your Bird Can Sing but the No.1 from Revolver would be Got To Get You Into My Life. There was no Beatles Christmas product in 1966 leaving EMI to once more plunder the Beatles back catalogue for the last time until the 70's. The release of the compilation LP, A Collection Of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies !) had one plus side? It contained the previously unreleased song 'Bad Boy'.
SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BANDReleased: 1st June 1967It's probably fair to say 1967 was a big year for the Beatles.
EMI were getting nervous with no Beatles Christmas release in 1966 and the band still locked in the studio recording Sgt. Pepper the label demanded new product from them in early 1967.
The result, the release of the classic single, some say the greatest single release of all time Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, prevented from being a No.1 by Englebert Humperdink!
Other releases by the Beatles in 1967 included 7" singles All You Need Is Love/Baby, You're A Rich Man & Hello Goodbye/I Am The Walrus forming part of the 2xEP release for their new film Magical Mystery Tour.
Oh, yes, there was also a certain classic album called 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' released on the 1st June.
Sgt Pepper's was the latest Beatles album with no single release until Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends was released in the 70's.
Is there a number one amongst the amazing songs on Pepper?
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, Getting Better and Fixing a Hole are all contenders but John Lennon's Good Morning Good Morning would have been my choice for No.1
THE BEATLES 2LPReleased: 30th November 1968TRACK LISTING:
Back In The U.S.S.R/Dear Prudence/Glass Onion/Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/Wild Honey Pie/The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps/Happiness Is A Warm Gun/Martha My Dear/I’m So Tired/Blackbird/Piggies/Rocky Racoon/Don’t Pass Me By/Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?/I Will/JuliaBirthday/Yer Blues/Mother Nature’s Son/Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey/Sexy Sadie/Helter Skelter
Long, Long, Long/Revolution/Honey Pie/Savoy Truffle/Cry Baby Cry/Revolution 9/Good NightWhat can be said about the White Album? The Beatles only double album in the sixties and the diversity of the songs formed a blue print for the future of music. Especially when guitar bands returned in force during the early 90's.
The Beatles also found time to release two non album singles. Their first release of 1968 Lady Madonna/The Inner Light went to No.1 in March, while Hey Jude/Revolution the first and longest single released on their own label Apple Records achieved the same feat in August '68.
Artists plundered the White album to have hits of their own but the Beatles didn't release a single from the 30 tracks on the double album.
Back In The U.S.S.R released as a single in the 70's, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da a number one hit for Marmalade, While My Guitar Gently Weeps & Birthday would all be Top 10 hits but Helter Skelter would be the No.1.
YELLOW SUBMARINEReleased: 13th January 1969This is an easy one. when released in January '69, Yellow Submarine only contained four new Beatles songs.
They would have made a classic EP but were included on the 'fleshed out' soundtrack to the film along with previous hits and a George Martin orchestral soundtrack.
Of the four new songs Only a Northern Song, All Together Now, Hey Bulldog & It's All Too Much it's John Lennon's Hey Bulldog that's the choice No.1.
ABBEY ROADReleased: 26th September 1969TRACK LISTING:
Come Together/Something/Maxwell’s Silver Hammer/Oh! Darling/Octopus’s Garden/I Want You (She’s So Heavy)/Here Comes The Sun/Because/You Never Give Me Your Money/Sun King/Mean Mr Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came In Through The Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End/Her MajestyWhen the Yellow Submarine LP was released in January 1969 the Beatles had already began the recording sessions for what would turn out to be their final LP Let It Be.
Two singles were released from the sessions before Abbey Road was released Get Back/Don't Let Me Down & The Ballad Of John And Yoko/Old Brown Shoe.
Abbey Road, released 26th September 1969 spent a total of 17 weeks at No.1 during 1969 and early 1970.
Something/Come Together was released as a single just over a month later peaking at No.4 in the UK charts.
Abbey Road is a brilliant album but with the medley taking up most of Side 2 there isn't an obvious No.1 single on the album.
The rest of the band hated recording Maxwell's Silver Hammer so I don't think that would be considered as a single release.
My choice as a number one single from Abbey Road would be George Harrison's classic Here Comes The Sun. He had received more respect for his songwriting on the Abbey Road LP from John, Paul and Ringo.
Something had been released as a double A Side single with Come Together and reached No.4 in the charts but Here Comes The Sun would go three places better...
LET IT BEReleased: 8th May 1970The final Beatles LP was finally released over a year after the Get Back sessions had begun. Firstly as a box set (8th May 1970) and then as an LP (6th November 1970).
Get Back/Don't Let Me Down had been released as a single in April 1969, Let It Be/You Know My Name Look Up The Number in March 1970, while The Long & Winding Road/For You Blue received a USA release in May 1970 three days after the expensive box set release.
For a band that was supposed to be in disarray Let it Be spawned three million selling singles. The final No.1 single could be One After 909 or Across The Universe but the final choice is a double A side of One After 909/Across the Universe.
SHOULD'AV BEEN A NUMBER ONE'From Please Please Me to Let It Be'THE BEATLESSIDE ONE
I Saw Her Standing There - Please Please Me
All My Loving - With the Beatles
Tell Me Why - A Hard Day's Night
Eight Days A Week - Beatles For Sale
Yesterday - Help
Drive My Car - Rubber Soul
Got To Get You Into My Life - RevolverSIDE TWO
Good Morning, Good Morning - Sgt Pepper
Helter Skelter - The Beatles 2LP
Hey Bulldog - Yellow Submarine
Here Comes the Sun - Abbey Road
One After 909 - Let It Be*
Across the Universe - Let It Be** Double A Side