I read about “Visualizing The Beatles: A Complete Graphic History of the World’s Favorite Band” on another blog (sorry, can’t remember which one) and was blessed because the local district library had it. I’m about 50 pages in and have to say that I love the visual format of the book. For visually-oriented individuals like myself, my eyes soak this stuff up like a body on a sunny beach soaks up the coconut oil (PC is SPF 100 lotion.)
Written/designed by the duo of John Pring and Rob Thomas, its copyright is 2018. In no way am I going to attempt to describe what’s in the book; you’ll have to borrow or buy it to see it for yourself. What I am going to do is note some things that jumped out at me that had an impression more than the rest of the steady presentation of entertaining, educational eye candy. The plan is to cover these bits 50 pages at a time.
I didn’t realize The Beatles released an album (3/2/63) before The Rolling Stones did (4/16/64.)
Both of these albums were released before US President LB Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (7/2/64.)
On 2/7/64 The Beatles arrived in New York City, which has been dubbed the beginning of The British Invasion (of music) that changed American music with their arrival.
On 4/4/64, for the first – and probably only time in history for a musical group – The Beatles held the top 5 positions on the Billboard 100 chart. Not only that, but they peppered the rest of the list as well:
1 Can’t Buy Me Love
2 Twist & Shout
3 She Loves You
4 I Want to Hold Your Hand
5 Please Please Me
31 I Saw Her Standing There
41 From Me to You
46 Do You Want to Know a Secret
58 All My Loving
65 You Can’t Do That
68 Roll Over Beethoven
79 Thank You Girl
There is more. Two other songs on this chart have The Beatles name in them!
42 We Love You Beatles by The Carefrees
85 A Letter to The Beatles by The Four Preps
The Carefrees were a British group formed in 1964, most known for their song “We Love You Beatles”. Although often referred to as a girl group, the Carefrees consisted of three women and three men: female vocalists Lynn Cornell, Barbara Kay and Betty Prescott, and male vocalists/instrumentalists Don Ridell (piano, organ), Johnny Evans (sax, flutes), and John Stevens (drums).
Cornell had previously been in The Vernons Girls, and was married to Andy White, who played drums on one of the versions of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do”. As a solo artist, Cornell’s 1960 recording of “Never on Sunday” reached No. 30 in the UK Singles Chart.
Prescott had also been a vocalist in The Vernons Girls, as well as having been a vocalist in The Breakaways.
“We Love You Beatles” was The Carefrees’ first recording and only charted single, reaching #39 on the US Billboard Hot 100. After one further single and an album (consisting of the singles, plus numerous covers of current British Invasion hits), the group disbanded in 1964, the year they were formed.
Post-Carefrees, Prescott returned to The Breakaways, who featured as backing vocalists on scores of recordings by Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, Cilla Black, Lulu and many others. Cornell joined The Pearls, who charted in the UK with several singles between 1972 and 1974, including their Top 10 hit, “Guilty”.
“We Love You Beatles” was the only Beatles novelty record to reach the Top 40. It was released in the UK on the Oriole label #CB1916 and in the USA on the London International label #10614.
The song was based on “We Love You Conrad” from the musical Bye Bye Birdie and has simple lyrics (“We love you Beatles, oh yes we do!”). Individual verses also have “We love you _____ (replace with “Ringo”, “John”, “Paul”, and “George”, in that order) along with reasons why the group loves that particular Beatle. It also includes at least three different vocal and instrumental quotations from the Beatles’ 1963 hit song “She Loves You”, suggesting the fact that “We Love You Beatles” was a reply to it.
The Four Preps are an American popular music male quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group amassed eight gold singles and three gold albums. Its million-selling signature tunes included “26 Miles (Santa Catalina),” “Big Man,” “Lazy Summer Night,” and “Down by the Station.”
The Four Preps’ numerous television and motion picture appearances included four years backing teen heartthrob Ricky Nelson on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and appearing with Sandra Dee in the film Gidget. Their most recent television appearance was with the award-winning 2004 PBS special, Magic Moments: The Best of 50s Pop.
The current incarnation of the Four Preps features co-founder and original lead singer Bruce Belland, Bob Duncan (formerly with the Diamonds and the Crew Cuts), Michael Redman (of the Crew Cuts), and Jim Armstrong. Their shows are currently an amalgamation of singing everything from doo-wop to Tin Pan Alley standards and comedy.
“A Letter to the Beatles” is a novelty song by the Four Preps. It was released as a single on March 9, 1964, by Capitol Records who had both the Beatles and the Four Preps signed to their roster. The song parodies the Beatlemania of the era, telling the story of a woman who expresses her undying love for the Beatles in a series of letters, to which the Beatles respond by insisting she send “25 cents for an autographed picture” and “one dollar bill for a fan club card”. In the end, the woman sends in the money. The track was co-written by two of the Four Preps, Glen Larson and Bruce Belland and includes parts of the Beatles’ song “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.
“A Letter to the Beatles” rose to number 85 on the Billboard Hot 100; however, the single was soon deleted by Capitol after Duchess Music, the publisher of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, refused to give permission for a parody version. The recording was later included on a compilation CD by the Four Preps.
As I listened to this one I couldn’t help but feel there was a tinge of jealousy in the lyrics. I guess I can’t blame the Four Preps for resenting the new kids on the block.