Here are the last trio of Beatles albums from the 1968-70 era reviewed together, ‘The White Album’, ‘Yellow Submarine’ and their finale ‘Let It Be’.
Written by: Explorer
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The Beatles – 1968 S/T (AKA The White Album)
A huge sprawling epic and their first on their own Apple label and is an album that I think that the first real cracks within the band started to appear. There were rumours of Ringo walking out of the sessions, but eventually being cajoled back by the other three members, and it was also becoming clear that the partnership writing team of Lennon & McCartney was now starting to work individually.
I, along with a lot of others at the time of release think this would have made a brilliant one disc album, but a double? No, far too much filler for me, even producer George Martin felt very much the same.
The good bits, well there’s the raw sounding ‘Back In The USSR’ and the proto-metal of ‘Helter Skelter’, as well as the tender ‘Martha, My Dear’, and ‘Julia’, and of course the now iconic Harrison penned ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, but it’s on the likes of ‘Rocky Racoon’ and the frankly irritating ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill’ that I found my attention wandering. It’s here that the album becomes a bit of an unfocused mess, and do we really need the likes of ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, ‘Piggies’ and ‘Revolution 9’, I think not.
I may be being overly harsh, and history has been rather kind to the album, with it now viewed as one of the bands best, but for me overall a bit of a disappointment.
The Beatles – 1969 Yellow Submarine
When is a Beatles album not a Beatles album? Well, when it’s ‘Yellow Submarine’. What you get for your money is just one side of Beatles songs, and the other the orchestral score, composed by George Martin from the wonderfully trippy animated film of the same name.
As for the Beatles songs it’s a case of the title track which by this time was some 3 years old, and ‘All You Need Is Love’ from 1967, a couple of throwaways ‘All Together Now’ and ‘Hey Bulldog’, but it’s saved by the absolutely storming psychedelic George Harrison rocker ‘It’s All Too Much’, which alone is worth the price of the album.
The film score side is in itself a perfectly charming side of light orchestral pop. It’s a bit of a curio within the Beatles catalogue, but nevertheless it works for me. An album that was essentially a stop-gap, and a contractual obligation may I add, making way for the last two Beatles releases, one being a masterpiece, and the other.. hmmm well not so much.
The Beatles – 1970 Let It Be
Recorded before the release of ‘Abbey Road’, but not put out until 1970, by which time the band had imploded. There are songs here that rival anything that had gone before, but there was also some pretty turgid material that in the end dragged the albums quality down.
Highlights were the hymn-like title track, the chugging blues-rock of ‘Get Back’, and the two ballads, firstly Lennon’s plaintive ‘Across The Universe’ and McCartney’s ‘The Long And Winding Road’, the latter being ruined, in McCartney’s words by the overdubbing of a lush orchestral arrangement by legendary producer Phil Spector, McCartney would go on to rectify that with the ‘Let It Be… Naked’ album released in 2003, but I prefer the original featured here.
The downside to all this were the likes of ‘Dig A Pony’ and ‘For You Blue’ which did nothing whatsoever for me. The film of the same name, laid bare the tensions within the band, but that was saved by the now unforgettable rooftop performance by the band, which even though they were at loggerheads with each other, proved once again to the world that live they were one of, if not the best live band in the world back then.
It`s All Too Much.