Beatle comments #2 (of 30)

 Anyone who listens to the “Hamburg” live album recorded at the end of 1962 hears a raucous rock and roll band. Once the studio career is in place for the group, the EMI period, there is an evolving away from the strictly 4-piece electric guitar presentation. Well before the sophistication of Revolver/Pepper experimentation, there is an obvious foray into using acoustic guitars on the tracks. No doubt, these guys had cut their teeth on acoustic guitar playing, and used that instrument for writing purposes before. But, the inclusion of it on recorded tracks starts to emerge after a few raw, basic albums. To be fair, it is a significant part of the band’s identity once it is unleashed. Early on, I”ll Follow The Sun, And I Love Her, If I Fell, I”ll Be Back, even back to Love Me Do, acoustic guitar is very prevalent on the recordings. Then, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),Yesterday, I’ve Just Seen A Face, Michelle, Girl, and others feature it up front in the musical pieces. By the “White Album” time, and beyond, there are specific efforts to put forth a song in a “singer-songwriter” kind of fashion. These efforts expose the acoustic guitar to the point that it is either all alone, or clearly out front of any other sparse secondary instrumentation. Revisit Lennon’s Julia, or McCartney’s Blackbird. When we all heard Harrison’s song While My Guitar Gently Weeps, from the early demo version that was released as part of the 90s Anthology, it was a very stripped-down acoustic guitar-based track. And, beautiful. Harrison, along with Pete Ham, would render Here Comes The Sun as a purely acoustic piece on the Concert For Bangladesh live album. That song featured the instrument considerably on the Abbey Road album, but Ringo’s drums and other instruments (Moog Synthesizer, bass guitar, etc.) propelled it to a full-on pop-rock radio-friendly production. In any case, the acoustic guitar is the basis of it all. For You Blue, Two Of Us, Across The Universe, Rocky Raccoon-I could go on and on with the Beatle tracks where the acoustic guitar is the foundation. It was dearly loved by the group, that instrument. And, it is loved by any true Beatles fan. Try listening to I’m Only Sleeping and attempt to avoid hearing the strummed guitar, played by Lennon. You will not be able to put it out of mind. It is there and meant to be a valued part of the performance. One of my all-time favorite musical moments is anytime I hear Harrison’s 12-string acoustic guitar intro of My Sweet Lord. Then, his electric slide part in two-part harmony comes in and………well, that will have to be another discussion!

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