Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The first 5 LPs I ever heard...Number 1...

NB: Those who know me will know that although I don't necessarily listen to these records all day, every day, hearing them for the first time did have a major effect on who I am, and what I do today. Also, these albums weren't the first 5 I ever heard, as I'd heard quite a few prior to the ones I'm about to recall (John Farnham, you have quite a few crimes against music to answer for). In a sense, they were a springboard to discovering as much music as I possibly could. Sure, other people have come along and played records too me that have also had a similar effect, and for that I'm grateful. However, it's when I got handed down the family turntable and a large stack of LPs that it really all began. If it's anyone's fault, it's my father's..... so, let's begin...

1. The Beatles - Revolver
It was the sleeve that grabbed me at first, although I wasn't particularly excited about it at first. No, Klaus Voorman's design for this 1966 LP puzzled me initially with his cut-and-paste school collage feel. Later on though, after learning more about the band and watching countless hours of documentary footage of them, it finally made sense. The bizarre drawings coupled together with the early photos of 'Beatles Go Wild In Paradise' were an odd match, but this was the sign of a band who were leaving their past behind, and speeding off into the future whether the rest of the world were ready or not.

Musically, the album still manages to grab me each time I hear it. The rough and ready beginning, with George Harrison's '1, 2, 3' intro, is the least polished part of the what is otherwise a brilliantly produced album. George Martin had already shown flashes of inspiration on previous Beatles work, most notably the double speed solo on Rubber Soul's 'In My Life'. Revolver though was where John, Paul, George and Ringo started to take control.

John - The psychedelic delight that is Tomorrow Never Knows, a song which The Chemical Brothers have built an entire career trying to emulate.

Paul - Eleanor Rigby, a song that paints a beautiful, mournful, picture that is arguably McCartney's songwriting peak.

George - The Indian fascination continues with Love You To, and Harrison's contempt throughout Taxman shows that Lennon wasn't the only Beatle with disdain for authority.

Ringo - Despite the fact that Yellow Submarine is my least favourite track on the album, it's the one I'll no doubt play to my future children first.

One day, when recounting how he lost a great deal of his vinyl collection at a party in the 70s, my father said that Revolver was the only Beatles album the theiving masses left behind. Fools.

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