The Paul McCartney Project

Beatles For Sale (Mono)

By The BeatlesOfficial album• Part of the collection “The Beatles • The original UK LPs

Timeline See what happened in December 1964
UK release date:
Dec 04, 1964
US release date:
Feb 15, 1965
Publisher:
Parlophone
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

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Track list

Disc 1


1.

No Reply

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:15 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Handclaps, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
George Harrison:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 30, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 16, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


2.

I'm A Loser

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:31 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 14, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


3.

Baby's In Black

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:02 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 11, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


4.

Rock and Roll Music

Written by Chuck Berry

2:32 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Piano
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Piano, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


5.

I'll Follow the Sun

Written by Lennon - McCartney

1:46 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Bass guitar, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Percussion
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Harmony vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


6.

Mr. Moonlight

Written by Roy Lee Johnson

2:33 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Hammond organ, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Percussion
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
African drum, Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Aug 14, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


7.

Medley


1.

Kansas City

Written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller

2:33 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Handclaps, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


2.

Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey

Written by Richard Penniman

Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Handclaps, Lead vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


8.

Eight Days A Week

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:44 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Handclaps, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Handclaps, Lead vocals
George Harrison:
Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 06, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


9.

Words of Love

Written by Buddy Holly

2:12 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Percussion
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


10.

Honey Don't

Written by Carl Perkins

2:55 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Vocals
John Lennon:
Acoustic 12-string guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


11.

Every Little Thing

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:01 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Timpani
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Lead guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Acoustic guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 29, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 30, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


12.

I Don't Want to Spoil the Party

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:33 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Double-tracked vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar

Session Recording:
Sep 29, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


13.

What You're Doing

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:30 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Harmony vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Sep 29, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Sep 30, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Oct 26, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


14.

Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby

Written by Carl Perkins

2:23 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Tambourine
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 18, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road

About

From Wikipedia:

Beatles for Sale is the fourth studio album by English rock band the Beatles, released on 4 December 1964 in the United Kingdom and produced by George Martin for Parlophone. The album marked a minor turning point in the evolution of the Lennon–McCartney partnership, John Lennon particularly now showing interest in composing songs of a more autobiographical nature. “I’m a Loser” shows Lennon for the first time coming under the influence of Bob Dylan, whom he met in New York while on tour, on 28 August 1964.

Beatles for Sale did not produce a single for the UK – the non-album tracks “I Feel Fine” and “She’s a Woman” performed that role. Nevertheless, that coupling was followed up in the United States by “Eight Days a Week“, which became their seventh number one in March 1965. In Australia, the only-ever non-original Beatles single (either side) went to Number One: Chuck Berry’s “Rock and Roll Music” backed with Carl Perkins’ “Honey Don’t“, which held the summit for four weeks.

The album hit the UK number one spot and retained that position for 11 of the 46 weeks that it spent in the Top 20. Beatles for Sale did not surface as a regular album in the US until 1987. In its place was Beatles ’65 which featured eight songs from Beatles for Sale, plus the A and B-side of “I Feel Fine” and “I’ll Be Back” from the UK’s A Hard Day’s Night album. Beatles ’65 enjoyed a nine-week run at the top of the US charts from January 1965.

Overview

Prior to the recording sessions for Beatles for Sale, the band toured Australia and New Zealand (after a two-show night in Hong Kong), played concerts in the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden and made several television, radio and live concert appearances in the UK. Music critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic said, “It was inevitable that the constant grind of touring, writing, promoting, and recording would grate on the Beatles,” leading to the inclusion of several cover versions after the all-original A Hard Day’s Night; the band’s visible weariness on the album’s cover is noted by narrator Malcolm McDowell during The Compleat Beatles. Yet during these sessions they were still capable of recording the single “I Feel Fine” and its B-side, “She’s a Woman” (both written by Lennon–McCartney, and not included on the album).

Gram Parsons has noted the strong country influence on “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party“. “I’m a Loser” is also notable for being perhaps the first Beatles song to directly reflect the influence of Bob Dylan, thus nudging folk and rock a little closer together toward the folk-rock explosion of the following year.

Beatles for Sale and its modified US counterparts, Beatles ’65 and Beatles VI, all reached number one on the charts in their respective countries, with Beatles for Sale taking over from A Hard Day’s Night in the United Kingdom.

On 26 February 1987, Beatles for Sale was officially released on compact disc (catalogue number CDP 7 46438 2), as were three other Beatles’ albums, Please Please Me, With the Beatles and A Hard Day’s Night. Almost 23 years after its original release, the album charted in the United Kingdom for a fortnight in 1987. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the album was also issued domestically in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987. Even though this album was recorded on four-track tape, the CD version issued in 1987 was available only in mono.

This album has been digitally remastered using the latest technology (along with the rest of the Beatles’ catalogue) and was reissued on CD in stereo for the first time on 9 September 2009.

Writing and recording

When Beatles for Sale was being recorded, Beatlemania was just past its peak; in early 1964, they had made waves with their television appearances in the United States, sparking unprecedented demand for their records. Beatles for Sale was their fourth album in 21 months. Recording for the album began on 11 August, just one month after the release of A Hard Day’s Night, following on the heels of several tours. Much of the production on the album was done on “days off” from performances in the UK, and most of the songwriting was done in the studio itself.

Most of the album’s recording sessions were completed in a three-week period beginning on 29 September. Beatles’ producer George Martin recalled: “They were rather war-weary during Beatles for Sale. One must remember that they’d been battered like mad throughout ’64, and much of ’63. Success is a wonderful thing, but it is very, very tiring.

Song selection

Even the prolific Lennon–McCartney songwriting team could not keep up with the demand for their songs, and with a targeted deadline of Christmas to meet, the band resorted to recording several cover versions for the album. This had been their mode of operation for their first albums but had been abandoned for the all-original A Hard Day’s Night. The album included six covers, the same number as their first two albums. McCartney recalled: “Recording Beatles for Sale didn’t take long. Basically it was our stage show, with some new songs.” Indeed, three of the cover tunes were recorded in a total of five takes in one session on 18 October.

Beatles for Sale featured eight original Lennon and McCartney works. At this stage in their partnership, Lennon’s and McCartney’s songwriting was highly collaborative; even when songs had a primary author the other would often contribute key parts, as with “No Reply” where McCartney provided a middle-eight for what was otherwise almost entirely a Lennon song.

In 1994, McCartney described the songwriting process he and Lennon went through: “We would normally be rung a couple of weeks before the recording session and they’d say, ‘We’re recording in a month’s time and you’ve got a week off before the recordings to write some stuff.’ … so I’d go out to John’s every day for the week, and the rest of the time was just time off. We always wrote a song a day, whatever happened we always wrote a song a day … Mostly it was me getting out of London, to John’s rather nice, comfortable Weybridge house near the golf course … So John and I would sit down, and by then it might be one or two o’clock, and by four or five o’clock we’d be done.

Recording

Recording took place at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London. The Beatles had to share the studio with classical musicians, as McCartney would relate in 1988: “These days you go to a recording studio and you tend to see other groups, other musicians … you’d see classical sessions going on in ‘number one.’ We were always asked to turn down because a classical piano was being recorded in ‘number one’ and they could hear us.” George Harrison recalled that the band was becoming more sophisticated about recording techniques: “Our records were progressing. We’d started out like anyone spending their first time in a studio—nervous and naive and looking for success. By this time we’d had loads of hits and were becoming more relaxed with ourselves, and more comfortable in the studio … we were beginning to do a little overdubbing, too, probably to a four-track.

Recording was completed on 18 October. The band participated in several mixing and editing sessions before completing the project on 4 November; the album was rushed into production and released exactly a month later. The Beatles’ road manager, Neil Aspinall, later reflected: “No band today would come off a long US tour at the end of September, go into the studio and start a new album, still writing songs, and then go on a UK tour, finish the album in five weeks, still touring, and have the album out in time for Christmas. But that’s what the Beatles did at the end of 1964. A lot of it was down to naiveté, thinking that this was the way things were done. If the record company needs another album, you go and make one.” […]

Release

Beatles for Sale was released in the United Kingdom on 4 December 1964. On 12 December, it began a 46-week-long run in the charts, and a week later knocked A Hard Day’s Night off the top of the charts. After seven weeks, the album’s time at the top seemed over, but Beatles for Sale made a comeback on 27 February 1965, by dethroning The Rolling Stones No. 2 by The Rolling Stones and returning to the top spot for a week. After being again displaced by The Rolling Stones No. 2, Beatles for Sale would overtake it for a second time on 1 May, remaining there for another three weeks before being displaced by The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan by Bob Dylan. The album’s run in the charts was not complete either; on 7 March 1987, almost 23 years after its original release, Beatles for Sale re-entered the charts briefly for a period of two weeks shortly after the first CD release on 26 February 1987.

The downbeat mood of the songs on Beatles for Sale was reflected in the album cover, which shows the unsmiling, weary-looking Beatles in an autumn scene photographed at Hyde Park, London. McCartney recalled: “The album cover was rather nice: Robert Freeman’s photos. It was easy. We did a session lasting a couple of hours and had some reasonable pictures to use … The photographer would always be able to say to us, ‘Just show up,’ because we all wore the same kind of gear all the time. Black stuff; white shirts and big black scarves. We showed up in Hyde Park near the Albert Memorial and he was quite impressed by George’s hair then – a marvelous little turnip top he’d managed to create.

This was the first Beatles album to feature a gatefold cover (the next would be Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 1967). The photo inside the gatefold cover showed the Beatles standing in front of a montage of photos, which some have assumed was the source of inspiration for the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, though there is no evidence for this.

The sleeve notes featured an observation by Derek Taylor on what the album would mean to people of the future:

There’s priceless history between these covers. When, in a generation or so, a radioactive, cigar-smoking child, picnicking on Saturn, asks you what the Beatle affair was all about, don’t try to explain all about the long hair and the screams! Just play them a few tracks from this album and he’ll probably understand. The kids of AD2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well being and warmth as we do today.

The concurrent Beatles release in the United States, Beatles ’65, included eight songs from Beatles for Sale, omitting the tracks “Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey!”, “Eight Days a Week” (a number one hit single in the US in early 1965), “What You’re Doing”, “Words of Love”, “Every Little Thing”, and “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party” (flipside to “Eight Days a Week”, it reached number 35 in the US and it would hit number one on the US Country chart for Rosanne Cash when she remade it in 1989). In turn, it added the track “I’ll Be Back” from the British release of A Hard Day’s Night and the single “I Feel Fine”/”She’s a Woman”. The six omitted tracks finally got an LP release in America on Beatles VI in 1965. Beatles ’65 was released eleven days after Beatles for Sale (and just ten days before the Christmas holiday) and became the fastest-selling album of the year in the United States.

The cover of the Australian release of the LP featured individual photographs of the Beatles taken at one of the group’s Sydney concerts in June 1964.

Although the LP had an identical track listing to the UK version, EMI Australia changed the cover art because of a union rule stating that either new artwork had to be made for overseas albums, or the original cover was to be photographed.[clarification needed] John Lennon complained to EMI Australia at a meeting about the changes, but the cover remained the same until the album’s release on compact disc in 1988.[clarification needed]

Reception

The band, which in the previous year had grown weary of performing for screaming audiences, followed the contemporary standard industry practice of including covers to maintain an expected level of productivity. Q found the album title to hold a “hint of cynicism” in depicting the Beatles as a “product” to be sold. Erlewine said, “The weariness of Beatles for Sale comes as something of a shock.”

Despite citing it as “the group’s most uneven album”, Allmusic felt that its best moments find them “moving from Merseybeat to the sophisticated pop/rock they developed in mid-career.” Tom Ewing of Pitchfork Media said, “Lennon’s anger and the band’s rediscovery of rock ‘n’ roll mean For Sale’s reputation as the group’s meanest album is deserved”. Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph commented that “if this is a low point, they still sound fantastic”, adding that “the Beatlemania pop songs are of a high standard, even if they are becoming slightly generic.” John Lennon said of the album, “You could call our new one a Beatles country and western LP.”

Sleeve notes:

This is the fourth by the four. ‘Please Please Me’, ‘With The Beatles’, ‘Hard Day’s Night’. That’s three. Now…’Beatles For Sale’.

The young men themselves aren’t for sale. Money, noisy though it is, doesn’t talk that loud. But you can buy this album—you probably have, unless you’re just browsing, in which case don’t leave any dirty thumbprints on the sleeve!

It isn’t all currency or current though. There’s priceless history between these covers. None of us is getting any younger. When, in a generation or so, a radio-active, cigar-smoking child, picnicking on Saturn, asks you what the Beatle affair was all about—‘Did you actually know them?’—don’t try to explain all about the long hair and the screams! Just play the child a few tracks from this album and he’ll probably understand what it was all about. The kids of AD 2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well being and warmth as we do today.

For the magic of the Beatles is, I suspect, timeless and ageless. It has broken all frontiers and barriers. It has cut through differences of race, age and class. It is adored by the world.

This album has some lovely samples of Beatle music. It has, for instance, eight new titles wrought by the incomparable John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and, mingling with the new, there are six numbers culled from the rhythmic wealth of the past extraordinary decade; pieces like Kansas City, and Rock and Roll Music. Marvellous.

Many hours and hard day’s nights of devoted industry went into the production of this album. It isn’t a potboiling quick-sale any-old-thing-will-do-for-Christmas mixture.

At least three of the Lennon-McCartney songs were seriously considered as single releases until John popped up with I Feel Fine. These three were Eight Days A Week, No Reply and I’m A Loser. Each would have topped the charts, but as it is they are an adornment to this LP, and a lesson to other artists. As on other albums, the Beatles have tossed in far more value than the market usually demands.

There are few gimmicks or recording tricks, though for effect, the Beatles and their recording manager George Martin, have slipped in some novelties. Like Paul on Hammond organ to introduce drama into Mr. Moonlight, which also, and for the first time, has George Harrison applying a thump to an elderly African drum because Ringo was busy elsewhere in the studio, playing bongos. George’s thump remains on the track. The bongos were later dropped. Ringo plays timpani in Every Little Thing, and on the Rock and Roll Music track George Martin joins John and Paul on one piano. On Words of Love, Ringo plays a packing case.

Beyond this, it is straightforward 1964 disc-making. Quite the best of its kind in the world. There is little or nothing on the album which cannot be reproduced on stage, which is, as students and critics of pop-music know, not always the case.

Here it is then. The best album yet—quite definitely, says John, Paul, George, and Ringo—full of everything which made the four the biggest attraction the world has ever known. Full of raw John and melodic Paul; a number from George, and a bonus from Ringo. For those who like to know who does precisely what, there are details alongside each title.

DEREK TAYLOR

Last updated on July 2, 2017


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