Fifty years ago The Beatles released their debut album and the world of rock and roll was forever changed. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d share our favorite songs from the record.
Please Please Me
The harmonies. The edge to John’s “come on”s. The perfect balance of rock and pop.
Check out this live video to see some of the charisma our favorite foursome exuded at the height of their fame.
Love Me Do
A little bit bluesier and subdued with a not-so-subtle nod to the Everly Brothers.
Twist and Shout
Yes, it’s a cover, but goddamn if it’s not one of the best. We all wait for that “woo!” and we’ve all pretended to be Ferris Bueller
at some point. The raw quality of John’s vocals abutting the sweetness of Paul and George’s backup efforts is incredible.
Baby It’s You
I almost didn’t include this as it’s another cover, but it’d be a lie to leave it out. There’s something so sad about it that I can’t help but love it. Damn you, Burt Bacharach!
I Saw Her Standing There
What a way to open a record. This is one of my favorites not just on Please Please Me,
but of The Beatles’ entire catalog. If you can sit still through this song, I’m concerned that you’re not actually hearing it.
If you’ve got half an hour, go ahead and listen to the whole album:
Welcome to Alan Goldsher’s alternate universe where zombies walk among us, the Beatles were but a footnote in the annals of rock history by the year 2000, and Goldsher is still a rock journalist in Chicago, though he globe-trots to speak with everyone from Roy Orbison to the Devil. In Paul is Undead, readers get a revised history of the greatest mostly-undead band of all time.
Using the Beatles’ real-world history as a framework for his narrative, Goldsher spins a tale of the band’s rise to fame, their murderous rampages (a band’s gotta eat!), and Lennon’s obsession with getting to the “Toppermost of the Poppermost” and taking over the world.
On their way to the top, the Beatles must fight foes like the zombie-hating Mick Jagger, who uses his hips to hypnotize and revives the undead with a big-lipped kiss to the chest, only to kill them for good directly thereafter. Also on the radar is leader of the Zombies, Rod Argent, who despises the Fab Four following a journalist’s claim that the Zombies were trying to capitalize on the boys’ zombie status.
Though thoroughly entertaining as a genre story, the real genius in Paul is Undead comes from Goldsher’s taking what actually happened and turning it on its ear while simultaneously not straying that far from the truth. In the book, the Beatles were able to achieve mind-controlling hypnosis via their vocal harmonies on “All My Loving” while taping the Ed Sullivan show. The glazed looks of adoration and unabashed screeching that were the actual result of virtually every performance in those years is really no different than if Lennon and McCartney had conspired to create such an effect through clandestine means.
A good read for music/Beatles nerds who will recognize the likes of Neil Aspinall and Magic Alex, and/or those who just can’t get enough brain-chomping, detached-limb-swinging, wound-seeping fun.
Paul is Undead will be released June 22, 2010.
Find out more about Alan Goldsher here.