Friday, August 25, 2006

Beatles records

I took a look at The Beatles record sales on wikipedia the other day. The records that they hold really is quite phenomenal. This is just a selection of some of the chart records that are currently held by the Beatles (there are many, many more):

- Most no. 1 albums in the British albums charts (15 no. 1s).
- Group with most no. 1 hits in the British singles chart (17 no. 1 hits).
- Group with most weeks in the British singles chart (456 weeks).
- Group with most weeks at no. 1 in the British singles chart (69 weeks).
- Group with most top 10 hits in the British singles chart (28 top 10 hits).
- Most weeks at no. 1 in the British albums chart (174 weeks at no. 1).
- Most consecutive weeks spent at no. 1 in the UK albums chart (51 weeks from May 11, 1963 to May 2, 1964 – this excludes soundtrack albums).
- Most consecutive no. 1 hits in the British singles chart (11 consecutive no. 1 hits, excludes re-issues of old singles).
- Most consecutive top 5 hits in the British singles chart (22 consecutive top 5 hits from 1963 to 1970).
- Most complete ever domination of the British charts by occupying the first two positions in the singles chart and the albums chart as well as the top 3 positions in the EP chart (Extended Play) from December 12 to December 26, 1963.
- Most weeks at no. 1 in the British albums chart within a calendar year (40 weeks at no. 1, 1964).
- Most no. 1 albums in the British albums chart within a calendar year (3 no. 1 albums, 1965).
- Most simultaneous weeks at no. 1 in the British singles and albums chart (45 weeks).
The Beatles’ Please Please Me album spent more weeks at no. 1 in the British album charts than any other album by a group (30 weeks at no. 1, this excludes albums by duos and soundtracks).


I’m beginning to think that I must have been born in the wrong decade for my music tastes. As well as currently listening to the Beatles on my ipod, I’m also currently listening to Albums by, Blondie, ELO, John Lennon, The Supremes, Simon and Garfunkle and Derek and the Dominos!


steve said...

Ugh, I can't stand Blondie. ELO had a few tracks I like, Lennon produced some good stuff although I still think much of it is overhyped and wouldn't have been anywhere near as popular if it weren't for his death. Simon and Garfunkle made me cringe ;)

My musical tastes from that era are completely different, mostly soul & funk or occasionally classic rock like The Who, plus many one-hit wonders like Steelers Wheel & Buffalo Springfield. I like many Beatles tracks, but just as many annoy the pants off me (particularly 'Hey Jude' which is nail-grindingly repetitive IMO). They may have been the most popular band of their era, but I'm not sure that makes them the best.

Bazlurgan said...

First of all I think that it’s unavoidable that an individual would become “overhyped” on the event of their death, and more so when it’s an unusual or tragic death. Hell, most artists (painters) don’t get any recognition until they’re six feet under. However, even if Lennon was alive today, I think that he would still be recognised as a great singer/songwriter. After all, not dying hasn’t affected the popularity of the likes of Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton! The fact alone that the majority of his songs tackle political (anti-religion, feminism, anti-war) and deeply personal issues elates him above the vast majority of today’s popular artists.

Hey Jude may be repetitive (in the end segment at least), but for me the fact that it was written by McCartney to Julian Lennon to comfort him during the time of his parents divorce, holds a lot of emotional weight. It also, for it’s time, challenged the conventional length of a single, which was around 2 ½ minutes in the sixties.

I’m only guessing that your “pants” are annoyed mainly by the earlier popular Beatles tracks, or perhaps those associated to Yellow Submarine? Such as: Can’t Buy me Love, She Loves You, Yellow Submarine, A Hard Day’s Night? Even I have to admit that I’m not as fussed by their earlier albums, but the later albums show a greater degree of maturity and some of their best tracks (A Day in the Life, While my Guitar Gently Weeps) were album tracks as oppose to singles.

I’ll agree that they were popular and that everyone is entitled to a valid opinion, but unlike popular fads (Take That spring to mind) which are popular in their day then fade to oblivion, the Beatles popularity has endured. Not only that, but their popularity is not restricted just to public opinion. Respected musical critics also normally place the Beatles Albums at the top of their “best of lists”. Just take a look at the likes The Rolling Stone Top 500 albums of all time (which can be found online). You’ll find 4 Beatles albums in the top ten (#1 Sg Peppers, #3 Revolver, #5 Rubber Soul and #10 White Album).

steve said...

I'm all for enduring artists, and like lots of other bands that have endured through the years. Whilst I acknowledge the Beatles incredible popularity and critical acclaim, I just don't share the awe, and never really have. IMO artists like The Who, who also pushed back a lot of boundaries, and made a lot of political statements, but were never as popular, were just as influential - and I prefer their musical style a lot more. I guess I just don't buy into the accepted wisdom that the Beatles were the Best Thing Ever, no matter what other people think. They were good, but there's plenty of stuff from the period I like far more.

Finally there are just as many back-stories and compelling motivations to the music of all the other (genuine) singer/songwriters out there. I'm certainly not comparing the Beatles to popular fads like Take That - that's absurd - but the Beatles have far from a monopoly on the ability to write meaningful songs about real issues.

Music is about personal taste, and whilst I'm not saying the Beatles weren't good, I am saying they don't hold that high a ranking in my must-listen list. I'm mainly basing this on Sgt Peppers & the White Album which I've heard the most from (discounting early stuff). I like While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, I hate When I'm Sixty-Four, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, most of the others are in between. It's been a while so perhaps I should revisit, but I seem to remember liking some, hating some and being 'meh' about a lot - which is pretty much the same for a lot of groups, hence why I've never been starstruck by the Beatles.

Bazlurgan said...

I hereby give up arguing for the sake of arguing.

After all, it’s all down to personal taste, so excuse me for voicing my appreciation of the Beatles on my blog. If you don’t share my feelings, so be it.

P.S At least we agree on other musical tastes (REM springs to mind).

steve said...

Sure - sorry for debating, but I thought that's wnat blog comments were about ;)

My initial comment was just that I have alternative tastes, you're the one who tried to convince me I must be wrong ;)

Bazlurgan said...

Now you're just desperate to get the last word! Ha! I defeat you ;)