Worshiping at the Altar of the Beatles (and Their Monaural Magic)

Two lists to celebrate the release of the long-awaited Fab Four reissues. First and most […]

David Zahl / 9.8.09

Two lists to celebrate the release of the long-awaited Fab Four reissues. First and most relevantly, five quasi-Gospel moments in the Beatles-related videography. Counting down:

5. The first modern worship song? Or simply the strangest number one single of all-time?


4. “I’m A Loser” performed in France in 1965. “I’m not what I appear to be” is absolutely classic Lennon – vulnerability bordering on repentance, identity and artifice, suffering, unrequited love, this one has it all.


3. The 1968 performance of “Hey Jude” on The David Frost Show has worship written all over it:


2. The unbelievable energy of “She Loves You” makes another strong case for the uncommonly “common grace” coming out of Liverpool in the early 60s:


1. The single greatest Holy Spirit moment in Beatles history has the least to do with the actual Beatles. But it counts because George not only produced the album version, but both he and Ringo played on this performance. From The Concert for Bangladesh:


Next, inspired partly by the wonderful and very beautiful post about The Beatles over at mardecortesbaja, a list of:

11 Mid-Period Beatles Tracks That Really Do Sound Better In Mono

1. Paperback Writer. It just rocks a whole lot harder.
2. I Am The Walrus. More energy, much tighter transitions, more effects, no vocal panning, and a truly great lost moment where the instruments drop out for John to sing, “I’m cryyyying”.
3. She’s Leaving Home. Finally, the right speed! It makes a huge difference.
4. Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Distracting panning is gone and the bottom end has real umph.
5. Don’t Pass Me By. Again, the correct speed makes all the difference.
6. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise). Worth it if only for Paul’s shout-scatting at the end.
7. Long Long Long. Majorly underrated and highly religious gem from George gains significant more dynamism (esp in Ringo’s drumming).
8. Hey Bulldog. Another underrated track loses the annoying panning and packs much more of a punch.
9. I’m Down. The stereo version sounds loose in comparison, not nearly as, um, down.
10. Good Morning, Good Morning. Not only is Paul’s bassline audible, the horns work much better, and the effects at the end sound much less tacked-on.
11. And Your Bird Can Sing. Another one that rocks much harder, especially in the rhythm section. Like the rest of Revolver, the left-right separation is much less glaring.



3 responses to “Worshiping at the Altar of the Beatles (and Their Monaural Magic)”

  1. dpotter says:

    Love this Dave…and Billy always makes me wish I had the constitution to be a rolling-in-the-aisles Pentecostal. Also, his rather high church performance as Sgt Pepper (where he 'ordains' Peter Frampton as well as the Bee Gees), is among the greatest moments in musical video (even if this particular clip is out of sync):

  2. paul says:

    I agree with Number Three TOTALLY and Number Two TOTALLY. These are inspired choices, evocatively and memorably presented. This is also a very timely item given the pop events of this week.
    O Mockingbird, we love you!

  3. Michael says:

    Wait one minute! Where is My favorite?

    "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
    And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me,
    speaking words of wisdom, let it be."

    Hauntingly, gothicly beautiful 🙂
    Sorry, I am being bad today, as usual.

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