Helpless Dancer

The Endless Note

The Beatles Postscript

Beatles For Sale, 2009

40 YEARS AFTER THEY bade farewell to a world left stunned by their split, The Beatles are once again conquering the UK charts. Their Remasters series has taken the Top 75 by storm with 13 original albums, the one-disc Past Masters edition and the new Stereo and Mono boxsets all selling by the bucketload. The new releases only hit the shops on Wednesday, so it looks like this 21st Century hit of Beatle-buying can only increase. But how has each album fared and what does that say about how The Beatles are perceived in 2009?

First, the statistics. Four stereo CD remasters made it into the Top Ten with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reaching Number 5, followed closely by Abbey Road (6), Revolver (9) and Rubber Soul (10). The Beatles hit 21, Help! 29 and Magical Mystery Tour came in at 31. All seven of those albums are post-1964 releases, leaving their mop-top run of A Hard Day’s Night (37), Please Please Me (38), With The Beatles (51) and Beatles For Sale (56) flailing behind. Let It Be scraped into the Top 50 at 49 with Yellow Submarine bringing up the rear at 89.

The initial sales of the first Beatles CD transfers painted a rather different picture. Back in 1987, Sgt. Pepper… occupied its now-familiar throne at the head of the table, but below that the band’s first three records were more highly prized, all claiming spots in the Top 40 and placing higher in the all-Beatle rankings than their counterparts in 2009. But why the discrepancy?

22 years ago, at the dawn of digital technology, Beatle CD purchasers had grown up on the Beatles through the radio, and it was the band’s über-Everly harmonies and trebly guitar carillons that defined the Beatles sound. The head-shaking ‘ooooo’s of Twist & Shout and All My Loving were much more John, Paul, George and Ringo than the backwards tape-loops of Tomorrow Never Knows. Now, after the release of the Anthologies and the re-upping of their late-’60s output in the mid-’90s, it’s all about She Said She Said and Paperback Writer – tracks that repay 2009’s CD-purchaser with all the reclarified nuances of Lennon’s voice, the chimes of Harrison’s guitar, each squeak of Ringo’s bass-drum pedal and the sheer funky delight of Paul McCartney’s bass.

And while the sonic revelations of the Remasters are by no means confined to the later recordings (I’m A Loser and I Saw Her Standing There are just as stunning, in their way, as A Day In The Life and the Abbey Road-medley), this week’s chart positions suggest that it’s the art-rock Beatles who now pull in the punters.

With CD sales supposedly still in decline, it’s astonishing to see the two box sets steaming into the charts at 24 (the Stereo set) and 57 (The Beatles In Mono). Both packages cost well over £150, but with 8000 copies sold on the first day of release alone, those high price tags obviously haven’t dissuaded Beatleheads from parting with their cash.

You just have to feel sorry for anyone else – Dame Vera Lynn excluded – with a record out this month.

Ross Bennett


Here are those current UK chart positions in full:

5 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
6 – Abbey Road
9 – Revolver
10 – Rubber Soul
21 – The Beatles
24 – The Beatles In Stereo
29 – Help!
31 – Past Masters
33 – Magical Mystery Tour
37 – A Hard Day’s Night
38 – Please Please Me
49 – Let It Be
51 – With The Beatles
56 – Beatles For Sale
57 – The Beatles In Mono
89 – Yellow Submarine

Source: Official UK Charts Company

US sales figures were unavailable at the time of writing.

And in 1987…

3 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 18 – The Beatles
30 – A Hard Day’s Night
30 – Abbey Road
32 – Please Please Me
40 – With The Beatles
45 – Beatles For Sale
50 – Let It Be
52 – Magical Mystery Tour
55 – Revolver
60 – Rubber Soul
60 – Yellow Submarine
61 – Help!

Posted by Ross_Bennett at 8:00 AM GMT



September 18, 2009 - Posted by | New News

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: