Some of you might remember an ad that appeared in guitar magazines in the late '80s or early '90s. It showed a photo of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band LP propped up against a shiny new four-track recorder (possibly a Tascam, but who knows at this point?). The slogan above the photo was something along the lines of "A Couple of Four-Track Masterpieces."
Although the last thing the red-hot Beatles needed in early 1964 was a "secret weapon," that's exactly what they got—in a beautiful Fireglo finish. George Harrison got his first Rickenbacker 12-string in February of that year, during the Beatles' first U.S. tour. The guitar was given to him by Francis C. Hall, owner and president of the California-based Rickenbacker company.
There was no mania quite as manic as Beatlemania, and it was at its undisputed height in 1964. In February, The Beatles had conquered the United States, the birthplace of their rock and roll idols, appearing twice on the Ed Sullivan Show and performing pandemonium-inducing shows at the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall.
Christmas time is here again! So sang the Beatles on their 1967 Christmas record, one of several now-collectable flexi-discs issued annually to members of the band's official fan clubs in the UK and the US. The records, which often were mini-masterpieces in their own right (1966 and 1967 in particular), featured spoken and musical messages from all four members of the band.
Having opened a Pandora's box with their critically acclaimed and commercially successful album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles faced serious competition from a variety of openminded artists who were expanding rock music's barriers.
Just as an overworked Lennon and McCartney came up with an overnight masterpiece in 1964 with "A Hard Day's Night" amid a stressful filming and recording schedule, the Beatles responded to time constraints in 1965 with another monumental step forward called Rubber Soul.
What, exactly, is a headphone album? Well, the definition changes depending on who you are. For audiophiles, a headphone album is a work that is so exquisitely recorded that it demands that you have to listen to each beautifully recorded note under a sonic microscope. Something like Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue fits that bill.