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But the original sleeve for Yesterday … and Today is more infamous than iconic. Over the past couple of years, Capitol Records had become accustomed to releasing multiple LPs by the band in a calendar year. The label was able to outstrip the rate of British releases by slapping U. As the Beatles became more serious about carefully crafting songs in the studio, there were less songs for Capitol to stretch.

But with the previous Beatles album dating back to December Rubber Soul and the next one not due until the fall of Revolver , Capitol was getting antsy for a stopgap. Just like that, the label had created the majority of an LP with leftovers. The label countered by requesting the first tracks that were deemed ready from the Revolver sessions.

The band and EMI begrudgingly agreed. But the album also needed a cover, prompting Capitol to ask Beatles manager Brian Epstein for a recent color shot of the boys. He passed along some relatively boring photos of the band posing lackadaisically with a steamer trunk.


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Reportedly , when the Beatles found out, they asked Epstein to send some other pictures they had done with the same photographer. Capitol dutifully printed up , copies of Yesterday… and Today with the semi-gruesome cover. Some advance versions were sent to disc jockeys and distributors, while the rest were shipped to be sold in the U. And then the uproar happened. Stores balked at selling such a product, DJs thought that the picture was a rare misstep by the band and distributors were furious with Capitol.

Caught in the psychological undertow of family trauma and all those commercial surf songs, year-old Brian Wilson had a panic attack and retreated to the studio to write this dreamlike series of songs whose structural tides washed them way beyond the preppy formulas of drugstore jukeboxes. Notes pinged from vibraphones and Coke cans gleam in the strange, sad waves of bittersweet melody. Weave a circle round her thrice… Joanna Newsom is dismissed by some as kookily faux-naif, but her second album, before she trained out the childlike quality from her voice, may be the most enchanted record ever made.

Producer Hank Shocklee creates a hard-edged sound from samples that pay homage to soul greats such as James Brown and Isaac Hayes, and Flavor Flav gives it an unmistakeable zest. Play loud, alone and after dark. Lauryn Hill raised the game for an entire genre with this immense and groundbreaking work. Its sonic appeal has a lot to do with the lo-fi production and warm instrumentation, often comprised of a low thrumming bass, tight snares and doo-wop harmonies. Why has it taken the world so long to appreciate her?

Let England Shake digs deep into the soil of the land, where buried ploughshares lie waiting to be beaten into swords. Boy in da Corner goes heavy on cold, uncomfortably disjointed beats, synths that emulate arcade games and police sirens, and Dizzee himself delivering bars in his trademark, high-pitched squawk.

The human vulnerability of her voice and traditional instruments are given an electrical charge by her pioneering use of synthesisers. Thrilling and immersive. Desert meets Delta Blues. It can be found in every song on this brilliant track compilation. All the irreplaceable soul voices, from Aretha Franklin to Bobby Womack, were steeped in gospel. This is a great place to hear where they came from.

Companion album The Great Gospel Women is a marvel, too. The horrors of drone warfare, paedophilia and global warming are held up to the bright lights in disconcertingly beautiful rage. Disheartened by the media obsession with his personal life and the fans clamouring for the same old shit, In Utero is pure, undiluted rage. Curtis Mayfield had been spinning golden soul music from doo-wop roots with The Impressions for more than a decade before releasing his first solo album, which contains some of his greatest songs.

While some point to the Blaxploitation soundtrack Superfly as the definitive Mayfield album, Curtis is deeper and more joyous, its complex arrangements masterly.


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To spend time with Curtis is to be in the presence of a beautiful soul. Before they went their own way, Fleetwood Mac decided to tell a story that would be the quintessential marker for American rock culture in the Seventies. At the time of its release, it was the fastest-selling LP of all time; its success turned Fleetwood Mac into a cultural phenomenon. A virtual unknown to rock fans just a year before, Hendrix used Are You Experienced? Few debuts have changed the course of rock music as Hendrix did with his.

Sister Sledge gave Rodgers a chance to work with warmer, gutsier vocals than the cool voices he used to give Chic records such laidback style and the result is a floor-filling dance party, punctuated by mellow ballads. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Try Independent Minds free for 1 month.

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All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

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