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Better Beatles For Sale
26 February 2019
1.41pm
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Plymike
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Ok, I know it's a little presumptuous to say I've devised a "better" Beatles For Sale , but bear with me. This was the very last Beatles album I was introduced to, and I personally consider it their weakest... but not without its gems. A Hard Day's Night was, in my opinion, their first fully Beatles-sounding album– they were no longer trying to mimic other artists, and all 13 tracks are original compositions. But before they could really move into their role as songwriting prodigies on Help !, they made a tribute record to all their favorite rock and rollers, in the form of Beatles For Sale . At least, that's what it should be. They have a lot of fantastic covers on that album, and I think most of the original songs seem, at best, mediocre next to the likes of Chuck Berry and Little Richard. I also think that there are other covers they recorded around this time and prior, found mainly on Live At The BBC , that truly show their rock-and-roll roots, performed with more enthusiasm than many of the songs on Beatles For Sale . So I decided to compile a Beatles For Sale  that leans even more into the idea of a rock-and-roll tribute album, while quietly shelving some of the less memorable entries. Here's what I came up with:
 
 
One of John's biggest idols, Chuck Berry, wrote this song, and Lennon's screaming, rollicking version actually might improve on the original. I also think it's a much more confident way to start the album.
 
 
Now it's Paul's turn to salute his rock-and-roll idol: Little Richard.
 
 
One of the only catchy Lennon/McCartney compositions on the original record– this one stays.
 
 
I never thought it was fair how few songs George gets to sing per album, and this fun rockabilly cover of Eddie Fontaine evens the scales a bit.
 
 
Amidst a smattering of forgettable songs, the album's single stands out with a catchy, classic Beatles hook. And it's far too well-known to leave it off the list.
 
 
Back to the tribute album– Buddy Holly deserves a send-up, if nothing else for his inspiring band name, The Crickets, and the lads do his song a beautiful justice.
 
 
Another Chuck Berry tribute from John. You can never have too much Chuck. I didn't include John's similar cover of "Johnny B. Goode," partially because of poor audio quality and partially because it seems like the Beatles try to avoid covering an artist's most successful song(s) on any of their albums, instead opting for slightly deeper tracks. Feel free to stick "Goode" in here somewhere if you prefer– it's not as good as Chuck's version, but that's an awfully high bar.
 

8. “Lucille  (from On Air - Live at the BBC Vol. 2)

If John gets another Chuck Berry, then it’s only fair to give Paul another Little Richard. Make sure to get the BBC Vol. 2 version so it doesn’t have Rodney Burke’s introduction.

9. "Take Good Care of My Baby" (from their infamous Decca Audition, easily available online) 
 
This Bobby Vee cover might be new to some listeners, and anachronistic to more diehard fans. It's one of George's contributions to their infamously rejected audition tape they sent to Decca Records in 1962, and it's the only song from that audition not included on Anthology 1, for whatever reason. I think it deserves to be pulled from the archives to see the light of day.
 
 
Paul practices his gentle ballad-writing skills, and the result is a sweet, if simple, melody, with a chorus hinting of improved sunshiny songs in the band’s future.
 
 
Finally, Ringo gets a word in edgewise to honor rockabilly icon Carl Perkins. In my opinion it's actually one of Ringo's better vocal contributions in the whole Beatles catalogue.
 
12. "I Got a Woman" (from Live At The BBC Vol. 1)
 
This list would be incomplete without an entry from Ray Charles, and John takes an uncharacteristically laidback approach to the vocals. There is an unfortunate line in there about "a woman's place"– blame Ray and 1954.
 
 
Why the Beatles didn't include a cover of Elvis Presley on their rock-and-roll legends cover album, I'll never know. And although this was originally a song by Arthur Crudup, it gained much more popularity as Elvis' debut single. Paul takes lead vocals.
 
 
For all of the album's faults, I completely agree with their decision to end on George's version of this teenage-arrogance Perkins tune. Unfortunately, the album version has a weird but purposeful echo on George's vocals, and it takes away from the song. The BBC version corrects this.

 

That's it, as a regular-sized Beatles album. Honorable mentions to John's many other live Chuck Berry covers, including "Johnny B. Goode," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Memphis, Tennessee," and "Carol"; George's "Glad All Over " (very similar to "Nothin' Shakin'"), "Young Blood," and "I Forgot to Remember to Forget"; and Paul's "Clarabella," and "Ooh! My Soul." Feel free to mess around with adding these or any others, and please let me know what you think.
 

Cheers,

Mike

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Von Bontee

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4 March 2019
6.44pm
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50yearslate
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Hi @Plymike , welcome to the forum! You've made some very interesting additions, the album you've created looks great. (Maybe not better than Beatles For Sale , but still good.a-hard-days-night-george-9) (That said, I'm a little miffed that No Reply isn't on there... oh well a-hard-days-night-george-10)

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4 March 2019
8.00pm
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Dark Overlord
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I prefer Beatles '65

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5 March 2019
2.49pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Why so many covers? I’m A Loser, 8 Days A Week and I’ll Follow the Sun are the only originals selected. Pretty unheard of for a Beatles album. 

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5 March 2019
4.32pm
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QuarryMan
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Some great picks, but far too many covers for my taste. It's probably my least favourite Beatles album as it is, but not so much that I'd replace great originals like No Reply with covers, however good they are. Interesting to hear your thoughts though, and welcome to the forum!

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5 March 2019
5.48pm
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Von Bontee
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Many great selections (and a few questionable ones) on that assemblage, but I agree that removing some of the best originals makes for an even weaker album. 

On the other hand, it's interesting to imagine many of your selections appearing on an entirely NEW Beatles album, an all-covers album. Those BBC sessions and the Star-Club tapes demonstrate what an absolutely ACE cover band they were.

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5 March 2019
6.16pm
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Ron Nasty
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@Von Bontee said
On the other hand, it's interesting to imagine many of your selections appearing on an entirely NEW Beatles album, an all-covers album. Those BBC sessions and the Star-Club tapes demonstrate what an absolutely ACE cover band they were.  

I had a similar idea, VB, and you can even make a slot for it in the UK catalogue without any real damage. End of '66 and EMI are looking for a Christmas album. But all they have that's out that ain't available here is Bad Boy , and instead of going with EMI's idea of greatest hits + BB, they instead suggest adding Leave My Kitten Alone  to BB and mining the BBC sessions for a last look back at them as the greatest rock and roll jukebox ever to entertain drunken sailors from the docks and teenage girls from the typing pool.

And there's every chance you could bring that in as a 16 track album as they did with A Collection of Beatles Oldies...

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5 March 2019
6.42pm
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Dark Overlord
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That actually sounds like a great idea, although i'd also throw in a few unreleased originals.

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5 March 2019
6.47pm
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50yearslate
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I mean, that's sort of what Live At The BBC is...

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5 March 2019
7.12pm
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Ron Nasty
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True, @50yearslate, but those of an age remember the scratchy vinyl bootlegs and the years of waiting for something official. A mid-'60s release would have got around the wait I had, and the BBC might have looked after their tapes better realising those throwaway recordings had a commercial value.

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5 March 2019
7.15pm
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50yearslate
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Ron Nasty said
True, @50yearslate, but those of an age remember the scratchy vinyl bootlegs and the years of waiting for something official. A mid-'60s release would have got around the wait I had, and the BBC might have looked after their tapes better realising those throwaway recordings had a commercial value.

  

Fair enough. apple01

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