Sunday, March 30, 2008

Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles

I remember my brother and me talking my mom into buying us a copy of Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles on a weird label called VeeJay. It was at Montgomery Wards in Portland, Oregon sometime late in 1964. I can still remember looking up at it and thinking, "Wow. This looks good!".

My family only had one other Beatles album at the time, the Second Album, so needless to say, Songs, Pictures was much loved and much played by me and my big brother.

Songs, Pictures was actually just one of many repackaging jobs of VeeJay's Introducing...The Beatles. I won't go into the long and dull details of the various versions, the VeeJay vs. Capitol battle over the Beatles, or the similar Capitol album, The Early Beatles. The only truly interesting fact in the saga is that the VeeJay versions were the only place one could find "Misery" and "There's a Place" until Rarities came out in 1980.

What I will go into is how much I love the packaging of Songs, Pictures. Unlike Introducing, which has a depressing brownish cover and the boys looking uncomfortable in bad suits and even worse haircuts, Songs, Pictures was a blast.

It had a unique 3/4 gatefold cover, cheesy painted portraits, reproduced autographs, and a back cover where girls could paste their picture under their favorite Beatle with the caption "Ringo Loves" (or Paul, John, George). And "for you fellows tough luck!" (does that mean tough luck that we can't participate in the fun or tough luck that all the girls love the Beatles?)

And I love the blurb on the cover that promises inside you will find their likes and dislikes including "Favorite Types of Girls" (e.g., "Ringo can't stand girls who wear jeans when their not built for it").

Other funny stuff includes "Paul loathes pajamas and prefers to sleep raw", and that "George was the only one of the Beatles who had been to the United States before the group came here and he had the privilege of meeting President Kennedy at the time." Funny, I don't recall a story about a "before he was fab" George meeting Kennedy.

Oh, and George's "Favorite Hate" is "Having his hair cut". I like that category: "Favorite Hate". Good name for a punk album. Maybe I'll use it someday. Ringo's Favorite Hate is "Riding a scooter". How weird is that?

Political correctness aside, and knowing the Beatles themselves had nothing to do with it, the packaging is a blast. It's pure Beatlemania at it's goofiest. And the tinted pictures and song listings are actually tastefully done.

Anyway, after losing my copy many moons ago, I'm finally reunited with a copy of Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles. I plunked down $100 for a nice copy and am obviously enjoying it. When I put it on, I could anticipate what the next song would be even though I haven't heard any version of the album for over 30 years. Funny how those things never leave your brain.


Blogger nootka said...

This is a cool story, great read!

5:18 PM  
Blogger Martha said...

I just found my old copy of Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles. It is pretty beat up - I must have played it a thousand times when I first bought it for $5.00 in Birthday money. I never knew the background of the album. It was my first ever Beatle album. (I was 10 years old). Thanks for the interesting information.

8:57 AM  

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