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Beatles for Sale

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Beatles for Sale
Studio album by The Beatles
Released4 December 1964
Recorded11–14 August and 29 September – 26 October 1964, Abbey Road Studios, London
GenreFolk rock, Pop
Length34:13
LanguageEnglish
LabelParlophone
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles chronology
A Hard Day's Night
(1964)
Beatles for Sale
(1964)
Help!
(1965)
Singles from Beatles for Sale
  1. "Eight Days a Week"
    Released: 15 February 1965
The album's most significant new influence was Bob Dylan, who Paul and John both heard and met for the first time during 1964. In the early days, the Beatles had concentrated mainly on mastering the musical side of the songs — chord construction, arrangement and delivery. Dylan was the first recording artist to affect them primarily as lyricists. [...] They were drawn to Dylan because his words were just as important as his tunes. [...] The shift towards a narrative style that Dylan initiated particularly excited John. Dylan, and later the British journalist Kenneth Alsop, impressed upon him the fact that there need not be that great a gap between his 'literary' outpourings and lyric writing.

—Steve Turner, A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, 1994

[The cover is] very nice, but we weren't pleased with the colouring and shading. We told George Martin this, and he fixed it up the have it reprinted after about 200,000 had been run off. We hope that it will be even better then.

—George Harrison, 1965

The album cover was rather nice: Robert Freeman's photos. It was easy. We did a session lasting a couple of hours and had some reasonable pictures to use. We showed up in Hyde Park by the Albert Memorial. I was quite impressed by George's hair there. He managed to create his little turnip top. The photographer would always be able to say to us, 'Just show up,' because we all wore the same kind of gear all the time. Black stuff; white shirts and big black scarves.

—Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology, p.160, 2000

I started thinking about my own emotions— I don't know when exactly it started like "I'm a Loser" or "Hide Your Love Away" or those kind of things— instead of projecting myself into a situation I would just try to express what I felt about myself which I'd done in me books. I think it was Dylan helped me realize that — not by any discussion or anything but just by hearing his work— I had a sort of professional songwriter's attitude to writing pop songs; he would turn out a certain style of song for a single and we would do a certain style of thing for this and the other thing. I was already a stylized songwriter on the first album. But to express myself I would write Spaniard in the Works or In His Own Write, the personal stories which were expressive of my personal emotions. I'd have a separate songwriting John Lennon who wrote songs for the sort of meat market, and I didn't consider them — the lyrics or anything — to have any depth at all. They were just a joke. Then I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively.

—John Lennon, The Rolling Stone interview, 1972

They were rather war-weary during Beatles For Sale. One must remember that they'd been battered like mad throughout '64, and much of '63. Success is a wonderful thing, but it is very, very tiring. They were always on the go. Beatles For Sale doesn't appeal to me very much now, it's not one of their most memorable ones. They perked up again after that...

—George Martin, The Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn, 1988

We got more and more free to get into ourselves. Our student selves rather than 'we must please the girls and make money', which is all that 'From Me to You', 'Thank You Girl', 'PS I Love You' is about. 'Baby's in Black' we did because we liked waltz-time [...] And I think also John and I wanted to do something bluesy, a bit darker, more grown-up, rather than just straight pop.

—Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology, p.160, 2000

There's priceless history between these covers. When, in a generation or so, a radioactive, cigar-smoking child, picnicking on Saturn, asks you what the Beatle affair was all about, don't try to explain all about the long hair and the screams! Just play them a few tracks from this album and he'll probably understand. The kids of AD2000 will draw from the music much the same sense of well being and warmth as we do today.

—Derek Taylor, Beatles Publicist, from the liner notes, 1964

Recording Beatles for Sale didn't take long. Basically it was our stage show, with some new songs.

—Paul McCartney

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