Saturday Single No. 764

I invested a few words two weeks ago answering some questions I found at Facebook:

Do you remember the first five albums you bought (or at least chose for yourself)?

Do you remember the next five?

Do you listen to any of those albums today?

In that post, titled “Saturday Single No. 762,” I dealt with the first five albums I chose for my collection in 1969 and 1970. Today, for what it’s worth, we’ll look at the next five, all acquired during the summer and autumn of 1970:

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles
Best Of Bee Gees
Hey Jude by the Beatles
Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles
Déjà Vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

I was clearly catching up on things as well as beginning my quest to acquire all eighteen American Beatles albums in the next two years. (My pal Rick had challenged me to do so, timing the deadline with his entering his senior year of high school in September 1972.)

And even after fifty-some years, those are five very good albums. While Sgt. Pepper might have lost some of its luster – it was, course, widely considered at the time to be the best album ever released, a judgment that’s since moderated in many corners – it’s still a very good album, an evaluation that’s been supported by the remastered versions released in recent years.

Hey Jude (titled in some places as The Beatles Again) was a collection of singles from over the years that had never made it onto albums in the American market: From “Can’t Buy Me Love” through “The Ballad of John & Yoko,” it provided a (necessarily limited) primer on the Beatles’ career arc for the inexperienced listener that I was. I’d heard most of the tracks at least a couple of times before; I think, though, that Hey Jude brought me my first hearings of “Rain” and “Don’t Let Me Down.”

Of the three Beatles releases on that list of my second five, the lesser release is Magical Mystery Tour. The six tracks on Side One in the American configuration, the soundtrack to the group’s disastrous television special, aren’t entirely dismissible, but only two of them – “Fool On The Hill” and “I Am The Walrus” – have to me any historical weight (although for a time I loved “Your Mother Should Know” for its period campiness). Still, it’s hard to dismiss the album, as its real weight comes on Side Two, with the astounding and eternally pertinent 1967 double-sided singles: “Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever,” “All You Need Is Love/Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and “Hello Goodbye” (which had been backed with Side One’s “I Am The Walrus”). After the general froth of Side One, Side Two is a mother lode of musical genius.

Best Of Bee Gees is a good summation of the first two years of the long and eternally changing career of the Brothers Gibb, with hits ranging in time from 1967’s “New York Mining Disaster 1941” to 1969’s “First Of May.” It never got as much play in the basement rec room on Kilian Boulevard as Sgt. Pepper, Hey Jude or the second side of Magical Mystery Tour, but it wasn’t ignored, either.

The odd album out in that list of my second five is Déjà Vu. Not because it’s not good or because I didn’t listen to it regularly but because I acquired it when it was relatively current. (Well, I’d acquired Hey Jude not long after it was released, but the music it offered wasn’t current.) I’m not sure how I managed to make the leap to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Maybe hearing “Woodstock,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House” on the radio in the past few months had led me to purchase the album in October of 1970. And I liked all of the album, especially Stephen Stills’ spare and haunting “4+20.”

So, how pertinent are those five albums to my listening life now?

I’d say they’re all pertinent, even though the only portion of Sgt. Pepper in my iPod (and therefore part of my day-to-day listening) is the final suite: “Good Morning, Good Morning/Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)/Day In The Life.” But the album is one of nearly three hundred I’ve ripped as part of my full album project, meaning that when I’m in full album mode, it’s one I’d like to hear. (And it crosses my mind as I write that I should pull George Harrison’s “Within You Without You” into the iPod.)

Ten of the tracks on Hey Jude are in the iPod, so all except “I Should Have Known Better” and “Old Brown Shoe” still matter. Also in the device are “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane” and Hello Goodbye.” I should likely add “Fool On The Hill” and “I Am The Walrus.” I’m weary of “All You Need Is Love.” So, Hey Jude and MMT matter.

As to the twelve tracks on Best Of Bee Gees, the iPod is missing only “World,” “I Can’t See Nobody” and “Spicks & Specks,” so that album still matters, too.

And then, Déjà Vu. Seven of its ten tracks are in the iPod. I’ve skipped only the two Graham Nash songs, “Teach Your Children” and “Our House,” and the closer, “Everybody I Love You.” I’m likely to add the last of those three, but for some reason, I am not at all inclined to add the Nash songs.

Anyway, here’s likely my favorite track from Déjà Vu, the title track. It took me years, but I recall my “oh, of course” reaction and my widening eyes when I realized that David Crosby was singing about reincarnation. So, here’s “Déjà Vu,” today’s Saturday Single.

Tags:

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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: