The Beatles: A Fifty-Six Year Music Journey
Written by: Bob Levoy
The Beatles has been my favorite group of all time since February 9, 1964, when I watched them live on their debut performance on The Ed Sullivan show. Since then I have been hooked on their music for the rest of my life. After that show, I purchased Meet The Beatles as my very first record album. This amazing band consisting of John Lennon on guitar, Paul McCartney on bass, George Harrison on lead guitar and Ringo Starr on drums brought me so many great memories.
Over the years I had built an impressive Beatles library but lost most of my record library over the many moves I made throughout my life. Some time back, I rebuilt my library on vinyl including many rare albums, imports, picture discs and albums on colored vinyl. Among some of my favorite albums are Beatles 65, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road to name a few. My favorite singles include I Want To Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, If I Fell, Nowhere Man, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Get Back, Come Together and the list could go on.
April 10, 1970 was a sad day for me when I learned that this great band I learned to love, broke up. After the breakup, I started listening to their solo work even though John Lennon and George Harrison already had solo albums before the breakup prior to this. the breakup. The first solo album after the breakup is McCartney by Paul McCartney. The press for the album officially announced what the music world already suspected – The Beatles had broken up.
Over the next few years were albums that impressed me as solo artists as much as what The Beatles did as a group. All Things Must Pass, Living In The Material World and Cloud Nine by George Harrison; Mind Games, Imagine and Double Fantasy by John Lennon; Band On The Run, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, and Give My Regards To Broad Street by Paul McCartney; and Sentimental Journey, Beau coups Of Blues, and Goodnight Vienna by Ringo Starr exemplified the individual talents of these artists. The solo albums gave George Harrison and Ringo Starr the opportunity to work as songwriters and lead vocalists, a rarity when they were with The Beatles. In addition to my Beatles collection, over the years I managed to build quite an impressive solo vinyl library as well, with many more to be found.
In November 1995 the three remaining members of The Beatles – Paul, George and Ringo, did a television six-hour documentary called Anthology. John Lennon appeared in archival interviews, despite his tragic murder in December 1980. The Anthology series showed a roughly chronological history of The Beatles including unreleased performances and outtakes, along with two new songs – Free as a Bird and Real Love, both produced by Jeff Lynne were based on demo tapes recorded by Lennon after the group broke up. The three volumes of the music from the Anthology documentary appeared on Vinyl and CD in 1996. There were also other collections of archive music such as their Live At The BBC Volume One and Two released on November 11, 2013.
The two rarest pieces in my Beatles library are the January 1973, pirated Beatles box sets which appeared in the United States – Alpha Omega Volumes I & II: The Story Of The Beatles. These four-LP collections were advertised on TV and radio stations in the Midwest and sold by mail order. Instead of taking legal action, Capitol Records countered by putting out two official Beatles anthologies – The Beatles 1962-1966 (the red album) and The Beatles 1967-1970 (the blue album), which I later purchased on the red and blue colored vinyl. However later, a $15 million lawsuit was filed by manager Allen Klein on behalf of George Harrison, along with Capitol and Apple Records, against the manufacturers and distributors of the pirate package, and against American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., who had been advertising it. Thus making these collections a rare find.
Over the years I have simply enjoyed the albums and movies of The Beatles such as Hard Days Night, Help, Yellow Submarine, Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be. Through it all, I would not hear any bands that gave The Beatles justice.
With George Harrison dying of cancer on November 29, 2001, only Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still remain of this amazing group and both are still performing live shows and recording albums. If I had to name the greatest band of all time, I would definitely say it is The Beatles and their music will live on forever.