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Comparing Please Please Me to other 60s debuts
30 April 2020
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alittlebitolder
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The Beatles were the only band in 1963, in UK, who wrote their own songs. The Stones only started writing, singles mostly in 1964 and mostly 1965. The Who didn't have an album until 1965!

What if The Beatles just had the one album in 1963 and added their hits onto it ... The Byrds put their singles on their albums! Would this be beaten as a debut album? 

SIDE 1

1. I Saw Her Standing There

2. It Won't Be Long

3. This Boy

4. Don't Bother Me

5. I'll Get You

6. All I've Got To Do

7. She Loves You

SIDE 2

1. Please Please Me

2. Not A Second Time

3. From Me To You  

4. I Wanna Be Your Man

5. All My Loving

6. There's A Place

7. I Want To Hold Your Hand

14 original songs including one from George and Ringo gets one to sing! The cover versions could maybe go on EPs? The follow up album would then be 'A Hard Day's Night '!

30 April 2020
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Ok, this isn't maybe a DEBUT album but... it kind could be called one, since it's the first "original" material from the artist, and it is from 1963, and I'd pick it over Please Please Me .

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I just wanted to step-in to have an excuse to review this amazing album. Just, a peak on Dylan's career for me, and a unique piece of art, fantastic lyrical compositions and heart-felt performances. Dylan's covers album doesn't even feel like an album anymore, but just like... an extended EP, whereas The Freehweelin' Bob Dylan feels like a double album (even tho it isn't) by just how full of material it is, and how elongated some of the songs are. I feel it's very long, but it's better because of it. It is filled with original and groundbreaking material. Some of my favourites like A Hard Rain 's a-Gonna Fall, Corrina, Corrina, I Shall Be Free, Masters of War, Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, Down the Highway and, one of my all-time beloved, Oxford Town are in here.

I don't know how much it counts but given it came out the same year as Please Please Me and it had as much a big impact (if not more) than the Beatles at first, I think it could be considered to be discussed in this thread. Just how original Dylan's lyrics were, and how much maturity and self-awareness he had. A lot of people are enamoured with his electric era because it was his poignant lyrics along with wonderful instrumentals but this album right here is still one of my favourites by how varied it is in storytelling, ways of approaching guitar playing and vocal inflections. It is very poignant at times, at moments beautiful and sometimes even hilarious if you get his humour. It is also a vast improvement in folk-rock standards, given whatever previously considered top tier folk artists before this album such as Woody Guthrie or Hank Williams started feeling dull when this dropped.

Freewheelin' changed people's perception on how to perceive storytelling in music concerning love, politics and philosophy.

When I first discovered that Rolling Stone's top 3 artists of all time were The Beatles, Bob Dylan & Elvis Presley I wondered why were so many complex and intrinsic artists like Pink Floyd or Zappa pushed aside to the bottom 50 or so. But after listening to some of this three giants' albums I get it. The Beatles revolutionized (and popularized) sound, Dylan revolutionized (and popularized) storytelling and Elvis revolutionized (and popularized) showmanship. The three at a very early time. Those three impressions in musical culture were the three key starting points that culminated in whatever music became throughout the 60s and 70s up to today. Without any of the three music would've looked very differently.

Well, if Please Please Me did that for the Beatles The Freehweelin' Bob Dylan did it for Zimmerman. It is one of those albums in which stories you can get lost in, and it is very soothing. While I love also albums like Highway 61 Revisited and of course Blonde on Blonde, and particularly Bringing It All Back Home, sometimes those albums are a little too relatively heavy and I'm not in the mood. Freewheelin' gets me in the mood no matter the situation I'm in. It is so pleasant and varied and larger than life that it is impossible for me not to get hooked.

Corrina Corrina, where you been so long?

Also, if the thread is for analyzing ANY album debut from the 60s you gotta knock a couple of classics as well

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Hendrix revolutionizing electric guitar playing, the birth of hard rock.

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Nick Drake starting with a wave of melancholic and sharp singer songwriter music, super original.

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I don't really like this album but you gotta give it to him, he was weirder than anyone else at the time. He created the meme music Captain Beefheart would took even more out there.

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Just listenable dirty music. Very predictive of punk-rock.

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Well, the inception of progressive rock.

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The hardest rock album of its time. Truly grand considering how soft music was at the time. Converted blues into a completely different thing.

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Mind-bending and weird as hell, as well as entertaining and helping In the Court of the Crimson King to get there with progressive music.

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One of the first bands to mix the folk experience with the polished harmonies of the Beatles, very influential.

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Powerful folk-rock statement, created dozens of imitators.

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Not only I'm a big fan of the Who's latter output, but this album was a very confident debut, and My Generation alone is a really punk track for its time.

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Maybe not the wonder that was Trout Mask, but weird in its own sweet way, as well as very easy to recognize.

santana.png

Bringing his latin influences into rock and fleshing them out in his own unique (but yet unrealized) style. The birth of a star.

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Attaching real heartbreak and a powerful Sinatra voice to folk. Redefining masculinity as well as poetry.

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Maybe not THAT original, but just a great debut of an outstanding band.

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Sounded darker than anything before it. And the sheer sense of dread and ambition Morrison had was amusing in so many ways.

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Syd. Barrett.

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Raw as fuuuuuuuuuu-

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Just, Lou Reed at his finest, with his most influential bits of style and composition. The album that practically invented alternative music and took it to album form. Avant-garde, but also balanced with beautiful melodies and even the harshest tracks are beautiful like I'm Waiting for the Man or Venus in Furs.

You gonna tell me the Beatles invented everything?

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1 May 2020
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Safe to say, they'd be no British Invasion without Please Please Me .  Then they'd be no copy cat American groups either.

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Jules said

You gonna tell me the Beatles invented everything?

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Comparing ANYTHING Beatles to ANYTHING that came after it chronologically forms an unfair comparison since every last thing the Beatles did had an impact and an influence on everything that came after it. So, yeah, Are You Experienced  is probably a "better" album than Please Please Me  on some level but there is no Are You Experienced without all the Beatles' groundbreaking work that came before it, including Please Please Me Hell, even The Velvet Underground and Nico is inconceivable without the Beatles. 

An exception might be those early non-rock Dylan albums, where he bent, broke and advanced the art of songwriting forever, and he was sort of developing in a different genre so the feedback loop from Dylan to Beatles and back wasn't really established until 1964, roughly. Of course, I would submit that Dylan's actual debut is no match for Please Please Me , though I can't say the same about The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

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Jules said
Ok, this isn't maybe a DEBUT album but... it kind could be called one, since it's the first "original" material from the artist, and it is from 1963, and I'd pick it over Please Please Me .

R-1596438-1301991747.jpeg.jpgImage Enlarger

I'm afraid that's wrong, Jules; by the time of Freewheelin's release Bob had already released 7 original songs.

Bob Dylan, his debut, contained Talkin' New York and Song to Woody.

Broadside Ballads Volume 1, released in 1962, appearing as Blind Boy Grunt, he contributed John Brown and Let Me Die in My Footsteps with Happy Traum and Only a Hobo and Talking Devil solo.

While his first single in December 1962, which saw him backed by a band, had Mixed Up Confusion as its a-side.

All original compositions released prior to Freewheelin'.

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Pablo Ramon said
Comparing ANYTHING Beatles to ANYTHING that came after it chronologically forms an unfair comparison since every last thing the Beatles did had an impact and an influence on everything that came after it. So, yeah, Are You Experienced  is probably a "better" album than Please Please Me  on some level but there is no Are You Experienced without all the Beatles' groundbreaking work that came before it, including Please Please Me Hell, even The Velvet Underground and Nico is inconceivable without the Beatles.

Yes.

But but but but but

Everyone is influenced by something. A lot of bands that came after the Beatles were boring copycats and they need no merit when it comes to originality, new ideas (hell, even the Rolling Stones and the Kinks needed a few albums until they stopped copying them and find their own style). But the Beatles themselves weren't completely original, in the beginning they were copying a lot of the compositional and marketing techniques Buddy Holly used to have with the Crickets back in the late 50s and the Hamburg scene by 1962 was already filled with bands imitating USA's surf rock, the Beach Boys etc. The Beatles were up against other bands, they weren't unique. Rock n roll had started already, that's why the Beatles formed in the first place.

So what? Is The "Chirping" Crickets a better album than Please Please Me then because it came first? Well no (even though I do love those Holly records), because a debut is good when you take what you've learned and transform it into something original. Please Please Me did that to an extent, it was a good debut. If we were to compare Revolver to another albums ahead of their time then there are few that could hold a candle to it. Or if the case was to compare discographies entirely. Again, the Beatles are first in the list.

But we are to compare debuts only. And not only are albums like Are You Experienced and The Velvet Underground & Nico, in a vacuum, better than Please Please Me , but I'd argue those records were particularly more different than their contemporaries and influences, and created new genres that Please Please Me didn't. To me the Beatles became the original act I praise them for around Rubber Soul up to Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band, then they were almost entirely original. But some bands, a lot in the 60s, just kicked off with a more original sound. And this wasn't just made possible by the Beatles because you could be sub-par imitators of the Fab Four and still get away with playing concerts and making a decent amount of money for a while. Many bands in fact did that. So it would take a lot of courage for someone like Jimi Hendrix or Lou Reed to really rework their influences and present to the world masterpieces that looked like nothing anyone had ever seen before. Taking risks. Was Please Please Me more of a risk than The Velvet Underground & Nico? Please Please Me to an extent just feels like a cleaner version of a rockabilly movement that had been existing for a couple of years already, reworked for UK audiences.

tenor.gifImage Enlarger

Every band should take a little time to discover their place in the music industry. Well The Beatles in fact did that and changed more than most bands, so a lot of the courageous qualities other bands like King Crimson or Pink Floyd had can and will be attributed to something like Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band going mainstream, I'm not denying it. But Please Please Me as a debut isn't as much a creative statement as something like The Stooges or Freak Out! The fact that the Beatles were first also meant that they made a lot of mistakes that other people didn't have to go through. Their first early records committed those mistakes until they really turned into their own during the latter part of the decade. And we shouldn't discredit a lot of bands that were influenced by the Beatles because the Beatles were made possible by other musicians as well. Is how you turn that music into your own, and Please Please Me ... well, it kinda sounds like a slightly better Crickets record in essence. Whereas The Velvet Underground & Nico sounds like... nothing before it.

lovelyritametermaid said

Jules said

You gonna tell me the Beatles invented everything?

Ron Nasty said
I'm afraid that's wrong, Jules; by the time of Freewheelin's release Bob had already released 7 original songs.

Bob Dylan, his debut, contained Talkin' New York and Song to Woody.

Broadside Ballads Volume 1, released in 1962, appearing as Blind Boy Grunt, he contributed John Brown and Let Me Die in My Footsteps with Happy Traum and Only a Hobo and Talking Devil solo.

While his first single in December 1962, which saw him backed by a band, had Mixed Up Confusion as its a-side.

All original compositions released prior to Freewheelin'.

Dangit.

Well I tried.

Still a spiritual debut in my heart, and probably for Bob too.

Also, nice to see people calling me Julesa-hard-days-night-john-1

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Freewheelin is such an amazing album. Perfection from start to finish. His catalog of originals was so overwhelmingly good by the time of its release, it is one of the most refreshings listens of all time. So much reality and truth packed into authentic folk melodies and lyrics. He had released Blowin In The Wind in a songbook which had become a cult sensation for the early sixties folk scene, and Dylan was already being dubbed the next great songwriter before his second LP had been released, which is unbelievable considering how much of a breakthrough that album was, however, it was highly anticipated at the time among his supporters, unlike another 60s folk debut which came out of NOWHERE, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. Paul Simon is unloading his early songbook into the album, and it features some of the greatest folk guitar playing as well as some of the most captivating melody and harmony crossplay ever heard. Sun is Burning, Bleeker Street, and obviously Sound of Silence were way ahead of their time and still sound fresh today. Freewheelin is probably a better album, but since it is not a debut and came out surrounding the Newport hype built around Dylan, I find Wednesday Morning a more compelling debut.

As for Please Please Me , if that album came out today I would still say "these guys are going places." Being able to create the danceability and rock pretty damn hard while simultaneously showcasing masterful songwriting sensibilities. The most impressive songwriting accomplishments are probably P.S I Love You and Do You Want To Know A Secret , however, their covers of Anna (Go To Him) and Twist And Shout represent well where they were musically at the time. Emotionally raw but fun and exciting. The refreshing songwriting is what I love about these debuts. Its clear that the creators aren't fucking around when they release no filler masterpieces right off the bat.

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Jules Said

Is The "Chirping" Crickets a better album than Please Please Me then because it came first? Well no (even though I do love those Holly records), because a debut is good when you take what you've learned and transform it into something original. Please Please Me did that to an extent, it was a good debut. If we were to compare Revolver to another albums ahead of their time then there are few that could hold a candle to it. Jule

And not only are albums like Are You Experienced and The Velvet Underground & Nico, in a vacuum, better than Please Please Me , but I'd argue those records were particularly more different than their contemporaries and influences, and created new genres that Please Please Me didn't...Please Please Me to an extent just feels like a cleaner version of a rockabilly movement that had been existing for a couple of years already, reworked for UK audiences.

Every band should take a little time to discover their place in the music industry. Well The Beatles in fact did that and changed more than most bands, so a lot of the courageous qualities other bands like King Crimson or Pink Floyd had can and will be attributed to something like Sgt. Pepper 's Lonely Hearts Club Band going mainstream, I'm not denying it. But Please Please Me as a debut isn't as much a creative statement as something like The Stooges or Freak Out! The fact that the Beatles were first also meant that they made a lot of mistakes that other people didn't have to go through. Their first early records committed those mistakes until they really turned into their own during the latter part of the decade. And we shouldn't discredit a lot of bands that were influenced by the Beatles because the Beatles were made possible by other musicians as well. Is how you turn that music into your own, and Please Please Me ... well, it kinda sounds like a slightly better Crickets record in essence. Whereas The Velvet Underground & Nico sounds like... nothing before it.

  

Well if you would stop mentioning like all of my favorite albums of all time in a single post I might be less distracted!

Really good points. And it's also true that Please Please Me is lent a lot of power by reflecting what came after it. If they hadn't proceeded to change the world for the 8 years that followed it, The Beatles might be remembered as an obscure British act in that semi-outmoded Rock and Roll genre who recorded a very memorable cover of Twist And Shout . If Please Please Me had sunk into oblivion after its release I might not look at it as a landmark of any kind.

And yes, judging purely on the basis of the music, Please Please Me is no match for a metric ton of other debuts from the 60's. Are You Experienced? The Velvet Underground and Nico. The Stooges. Freak Out. Music From Big Pink. The Gilded Palace Of Sin. Maybe even Moby Grape, I could go on and on... My point was only that it's an unfair comparison, because none of those debuts is even conceivable without Please Please Me in the same way that Please Please Me  is inconceivable without Elvis Presley, or The Chirping Crickets or Here's Little Richard (well, actually...not really the albums by those artists so much as their singles. Credit The Beatles, beginning with Please Please Me , for reinventing the album as something other than a way to cash in on singles...)

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Pablo Ramon said
well, actually...not really the albums by those artists so much as their singles. Credit The Beatles, beginning with Please Please Me , for reinventing the album as something other than a way to cash in on singles...

Yes, you're right about singles being more prominent before the Beatles, I completely agree.

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So The Shadows released a debut album (simply called The Shadows) in 1961 two years before Please Please Me featuring no singles and seven tracks written by the band, and Hank Marvin has supposedly been an influence. Their 1962 follow up Out Of The Shadows features 5 of 13 self-penned tracks, again no singles as far as I'm aware. Won't have been influence by PPM but could there be an influence the other way around?

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It's pretty solid for a debut.  Compared to what was to come, it's not their strongest album, but there's still not a bad song on it.

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Ron Nasty said

Jules said

Ok, this isn't maybe a DEBUT album but... it kind could be called one, since it's the first "original" material from the artist, and it is from 1963, and I'd pick it over Please Please Me .

R-1596438-1301991747.jpeg.jpgImage Enlarger

I'm afraid that's wrong, Jules; by the time of Freewheelin's release Bob had already released 7 original songs.

Bob Dylan, his debut, contained Talkin' New York and Song to Woody.

Broadside Ballads Volume 1, released in 1962, appearing as Blind Boy Grunt, he contributed John Brown and Let Me Die in My Footsteps with Happy Traum and Only a Hobo and Talking Devil solo.

While his first single in December 1962, which saw him backed by a band, had Mixed Up Confusion as its a-side.

All original compositions released prior to Freewheelin'.

  

In any case (thanks for the info, Ron) I recommend a mono version of Freewheelin and any of Dylan's first four album.

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The annoying thing with Freewheelin' is that it should have been at least two separate albums, if not three. 8 sessions held across a year; the first session being on the 24 April 1962, for an album called Bob Dylan's Blues, while the last session, for what had by then become Freewheelin', was on the 24 April 1963. The album (which saw only 13 of the 34 songs - 28 originals, 6 covers - recorded released) barely scratched the surface of the sessions, and the sessions couldn't keep pace with the speed of Dylan's writing - with around another 35 original songs that didn't make the sessions being performed during that year, existing as live recordings, radio recordings and/or publishing demos.

Bobby was ridiculously prolific between the spring of '62 and the spring of '63, which means Freewheelin' disappoints as a true reflection of his growth as an artist during those months.

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T I G H T

I S

R I G H T

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^I have no idea what the context of that is but, out of context and with that formatting, I find it very amusing. a-hard-days-night-john-6

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PRESENTATION

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No but in all seriousness, what I meant by "TIGHT IS RIGHT" is that even though I don't deny a lot of fantastic music must've been recorded by Bob Dylan during those 1962-1963 sessions over which Freewheelin' was made upon, the magic of that album comes down to being reduced to its best material. I would love to hear unreleased recordings of that era, but turning Freewheelin' into another f*cking bootleg would only diminish its cultural value, and how good the progression of that album is. Sometimes things are better when they aren't bloated.

...same with the White Album OKAYIMMAHEADOUTahdn_john_08_gif

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Hi,

For a debut, the Beatles debut was brilliant, and acclaimed by both the public and... "the critics". And superior, in my opinion and the opinion of many others, to debuts by other British bands around the same time. But of course, we know that this first album was just a shy anticipation of what was to come, a dwarf compared to what was to come.

I have never met someone so "beatlemaniac" to claim that the Beatles’ first studio album is the best of them all. Such person may exist though, who knows. However, she/he would be certainly a rarity.

There is a natural evolution in the Beatles. Not necessarily from simplicity to complexity (some of the late hits are harmonically pretty simple compared to early songs with imaginative and/or bizarre chord changes), but: from potential to full blossom of their powers.

However, such "natural evolution" has not been a law in the history of pop-rock. Sometimes, the world has been shocked by some debuts that were at the same time a climax. Which is quite remarkable of course. In the Beatles, it is relatively easy (or at least, there is logic in it) to track the progress of their maturity as musicians, writers and "producers". There are other cases when you have to sit and think: "Where did this meteorite come from?" "Where on earth did these unknown guys get it from?".

Some of these prodigious debuts are, (ordered by ascending "strikingness"):

*Led Zeppelin debut: this one is often quoted as one of the greatest starters. I love it: never (before or after) blues-rock has sounded so good. However I don't think it's their best album, just a start. They “evolved” far and high from the blues roots afterwards. Furthermore, you have to attenuate the merit when you learn that ... the album is plagued with plagia!!  And also, by the time of that debut, Jimmy Page had already trod a long way in the blues-rock scene, and you can easily track his evolution and influences that lead to Led Zeppelin I.

*The first album of The Doors (not necessarily the best, depends on who you ask, but certainly very remarkable for a debut).

*Debut album of The Velvet Underground. A total shock that has never receded. No one sounded like that.

*Debut album of King Crimson. Wow!! The most striking debut ever. I’m not saying the next albums were bad (some of course may like them better). And you also know that Fripp and some of the folks were already playing a proto-crimson thing one year before, but it was light-years far from The Court of the Crimson King, a unique gem that sounds more like a conclusion, a mature top, than a starter. And I am thinking in particular of GREG LAKE. Some artists don't seem to have undergone an "evolution". It looks rather as if they were born with their powers on, and after an early peak they can but slowly fade. Greg was VERY young: he was the superb bassist, guitarrist (shared with Fripp), vocalist, co-writer and even... producer!! of the first, and -absolutely brilliant- lineup. If you follow Greg’s "evolution" afterwards, you can see there was no evolution but a slow descent from the peak where he started. The gods just put him there at an early age, it seems.

Regards!

Jules Nemo 

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