Aftergeography

(The Stones had an LP called “Aftermath” so Ringo suggested The Beatles should have one called “Aftergeography.” Thanks Ring!:-) )

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After the overhectic past three years, The Beatles wisely took off the first few months of 1966, with no group projects whatsoever. This paid off in a grand way: the results the “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” single and the “Revolver” LP are widely regarded as perhaps their finest work. Interestingly, while all the released 16 tracks approach perfection, there seems not to have been any extra songs. Certainly no unreleased songs from the sessions exist, neither are there any home demos of unheard songs. And no tracks were donated to friends and rivals. The Beatles just wrote and recorded 16 classic tracks and went home. Which was nice. Paul, active as usual, was giving old friends the option to be the first one to do a cover version of one or another of his songs.

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Cilla Black had come a long way since the days of “Love Of The Loved”, making a major hit after another and being perhaps the most popular female artist in the country. She recorded “For No One”, one of Paul’s most beautiful ballads, on Aug 7 1966 – mere two days after the release of Revolver. Considering that the song’s orchestral arrangement had to be worked out beforehand – and that the session was produced by George Martin – it’s safe to assume she was given this song “in advance.” Cilla does her usual precise job, the arrangement follows the original pretty closely and the song has a”hit” written all over it, with the strings adding a radio friendly touch to it. Inexplicably Cilla buried the song on the B side of “A Fool Am I”, which “only” made a #13 in the UK charts. Talk about a wasted opportunity!

If Cilla didn’t really need a hit song from Paul, The Fourmost were some other old friends who certainly did! After “Hello Little Girl” and “I’m In Love”, the group had had their biggest hit with “A Little Loving” and a couple of lesser ones (“Baby I Need Your Loving”, “Girls Girls Girls”) before drifting away from the public’s eye. The trouble was their records sounded very much the same as in years before, at a time when the music was changing faster than ever. Paul offered them the first chance to record “Here There And Everywhere”, possibly the very finest of all Paul McCartney ballads – and that’ saying something! The Fourmost thanked by jogging their way through this number emotionlessly, as if they were advertising Rice Krispies or something, and the public didn’t want to know. How could George Martin ever produce anything as bad as this? Rightfully the record sank without a trace and so did the Fourmost. Apparently Paul had no hard feelings, since a couple of years later he would produce another flop record for them: “Rosetta”/”Just Like Before” – he even played on the A side. These will appear on future blogs: “The Beatles Were On My Record, Honestly!” and “Brushes Of Greatness.”

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Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers were in need of a hit as well. One of Britains more convincing soul/R&B combos, they’d been friends with The Beatles since the two groups had shared a bill in Hamburg’s Star Club in December 1962. Their only hit had been a cover of the Drifters’ “One Way Love” back in 1963 – and ever since they’d been asking Paul to write them a hit. The two group’s paths crossed once again on their mini tour of Germany, in June 1966, and this time Paul had the right song for them. “Got To Get You Into My Life” was his ode to the sweet sounds of soul music – and to the sweet smelling cigarettes of his – and Paul co-produced (uncredited, of course) a quite wonderful version of the song for Bennett & Co. Paul also supposedly plays piano on the record although it doesn’t sound like him. The record was a UK top 10 hit – Bennett’s last, though his records continued being most enjoyable.

All these songs can be found on the compilations discussed before – though a Cliff Bennett compilation would not be such a bad idea for anyone interested in quality music from the 1960’s
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Published in: on August 14, 2007 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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