- Album name: The Beatles’ Story
- Group name: the Beatles
- Narrator name: John Babcock, Al Wiman, Roger Christian
- Year: 1964
- Number of discs: two
- Label: Capitol Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics: hole drilled through top right corner of album
- Buy it on Amazon: $34.98
Level of familiarity before listening
I have definitely never heard of this compilation before, but here are the eleven Beatles records that I’ve previously reviewed:
- Revolver (1966): 5/5
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): 5/5
- The White Album (1968): 4/5
- Abbey Road (1969): 5/5
- MORE get back session (1969?): 3/5
- Studio Sessions Volume One (1973): 4/5
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (1976): 5/5
- The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977): 5/5
- Love Songs (1977): 5/5
- Rarities (1980): 5/5
- Reel Music (1982): 4/5
What I expected
A mix of Beatles music with some interviews and narration.
What it was actually like
I had mixed feelings about this compilation. On the one hand, it was incredibly corny, but on the other hand, it was extremely obnoxious.
Much of the record consisted of some very heavy-handed narration about the Beatles’ history and the members’ personalities.
John, for example, was described as “the chief Beatle,” while Paul was “the baby faced Beatle,” George was sarcastic and wry, and Ringo was “the quiet one.” Also, “he’s called Ringo because of his passion for wearing lots of rings.”
But it was not just their personalities: I also got to know about their physical attributes, like heights and hair colors, ages, educational backgrounds, &c. In short, this record, which conspicuously was released 32 days before Xmas, was intended for 12 year old girls.
As far as actual music, there was not much of it (after all, “The group’s most distinguishing characteristic [was] the haircut”). Though there were lots of short clips of real Beatles songs, lasting around 15-30 seconds apiece, much of the “music” was Muzak-style versions of Beatles songs, played in the background during the narration, to signal to the audience what emotions we were meant to feel about, for example, Paul’s mother dying when he was a teenager, or Ringo earning enough money to let his mother retire.
Ultimately, this was a record not so much of the Beatles, and certainly not by the Beatles, and less about them, than about Beatlemania, which in retrospect – both as a man in my 40s and also as a person born in the 1980s – was absolutely fucking hilarious; a girl fan being interviewed after a Beatles concert, who screamed and shrieked, was a high point.
A low point may have been when a reporter asked a woman, “You look like a housewife. Are you out here to see the Beatles?” And she said no.
2/5: weak, but I was able to listen to the whole thing
|↑1||And it was not lost on me that my own mother was a 12 year old girl in November 1964, but this did not come from her collection, and she expressed no recognition when I told her about it.|