Guest blogger Ruddy Adam about the Beatles.
Four Simple Love Ballads by the Beatles—Plus One Bonus Song
In these four early songs by the Beatles, you will see a different group of young men from the ones they were by the time they broke up. In these songs you will see a happy foursome, the songs were upbeat and happy, and they all had personalities—shown by the fact that they did not take themselves seriously at all.
After loads of money coming in and lots of success, years later you saw a cynical group that never smiled, they had developed some serious egos, and their music had turned political. Then came Oh No Yo No!
These songs are very different from the complex “Blessed Are the Poor” by Brubeck & Co., and the Beatles most sophisticated song we sent out earlier: “A Day in the Life.”
This, may we say, is a cool down from the complexities of those masterpieces, to the simple love ballads that are no less exceptional for their simplicity.
Every student Miss Buck had ever had was sitting there on February 9, 1964 eagerly awaiting the Beatles to come on the Ed Sullivan Show, because she told us all we were going to hear something special. She was right. We all expected some exceptionally complex Rock & Roll music, while what we got was beautiful simplicity.
Enjoy, Ruddy Adam
The Beatles always give us something special in each song. Besides the choice lyrics and lovely beat in this first one, notice the instrumental solo: lead and bass electric guitars and a harmonica. A wonderful combination, whose theme runs throughout the song. Especially listen for John’s harmonica complimenting at the end of lines.
“I Should Have Known Better,” The Beatles, 1964 (2:45) Live
It’s a subjective view, but I think this is the best guitar riff (guitar theme) of their early songs. Very simple song with this alluring guitar right there in your ear all the way through. Again, excellent and simple!
“She Loves You,” The Beatles, 1964 (2:35)
This song gives you a sampling in the guitar solo of what is to come from the brilliant George Harrison, the composer of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
“I Saw Her Standing There,” The Beatles (2:40) Live
Watch after the guitar solo, when Paul and George take over the vocals. Excellent!
“All My Loving,” The Beatles, 1964 (2:10) Live
Simple, third-grade rhymes: “flat” and “that.” A simple beat. A presage of the wonderful harmonies to come.
Notice in this song that it’s John doing the instrumental solo, yet the camera focuses on George and Paul singing, because John was the weakest of the lead guitarists who sometimes went flat and so he didn’t want the camera on him. The solo begins at 1:48 and actually sounds pretty good. John’s singing, however, is at its best in this lil’ Love Ballad.
“You Can’t Do That,” The Beatles, 1964 (2:55) Live
At the end of this bonus song, you will get a better idea of their egoless personalities when they first began. Really simple song, done very well, with John showing he’s made to play rhythm guitar, which he does an excellent job of here.
“I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” the Beatles, 1964 (2:30)
Note: Elvis was the group’s main early influence, and Lennon sought to put a bluesy sound in his melodies, having taken to the Blues early upon coming to America. The “Mamas and the Papas,” one of the great harmonizing groups, influenced the Beatles’ love of harmonizing, which they did very well.
As far as the simple Rock & Roll love ballads like the ones above, they probably wrote and performed a hundred of these.