Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Perfect Collection: Ninety-Nine Essential Pop Singles # 6 The Beatles

Meanwhile, back in 1966. An interesting selection for Hibbert to opt for of all the Beatles singles. A pivotal release on their part as they moved from being a live band towards being a wholly studio-based concern. It also indicated a shift in their lyrical focus and worldview:

'Neither side of the new single gave any indication of pandering to the public. 'Paperback Writer' was an extension of 'Day Tripper', that song's monolithic riff-accelerated and broken into a tumble of words, Beach Boys-in-raga harmonies, and punchy, ringing guitars. This was not a song about love, but about the mass media, performed under fierce compression, as though the images and thoughts were coming in too fast to process....

This new aloofness was mirrored by the hard shiny surfaces of the new single, designed to throw off the casual listener. Construed as arrogance and laziness, this lack of willingness to please was immediately spotted by the ever-alert fans, who queued up to give their verdict on both sides of the single in the 4 June Record Mirror. Mostly in their late teens, workers rather than bohemians, they had grown up with the group and did not much like what they heard:

Ann Shaw (23), typing pool supervisor: 'not as good as their previous hits.'

Vera Shotton (19), copy typist: 'I couldn't understand a word of what they were singing on 'Paperback Writer'. They're just not as good as they used to be - there are better groups around these days. As for 'Rain', it just dragged on and on. I didn't like it at all.'

Alan Herrick (18), apprentice compositor: 'I didn't like 'Paperback Writer' much. It seemed to be too much the same. I preferred 'Rain', it has more of a tune to it.'

From Jon Savage's 1966.

Note to trainspotters: Lennon and Harrison are singing 'Frere Jacques' as the central backing melody of the third chorus.

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