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Beatles Week

“You Can’t Do That” – The Beatles

The baton has been passed to me this week to pick a song from the Beatles “later early years”.  1963 and the early part of ’64 to be exact.

I was initially a bit concerned with how to describe this era; in part because it’s a transition period that I think even the Beatles themselves would have trouble explaining and describing, and in part because I wasn’t alive during the time unlike a large portion of the current population (a somewhat humble point I like to make whenever discussing music from what has to be the most magical, creative, and groundbreaking period in history–music and otherwise).

But, after some thought, some reading, a good amount of listening, and only a little bit of BS-ing I think I have a pretty good, albeit brief, idea of how to describe this period.  And my choice for the day, “You Can’t Do That”, off of the quadruple platinum A Hard Days Night exemplifies it beautifully.

Coming off of an explosion in popularity, international recognition, and with only a few years on a label under their belt, the Beatles were evolving.  Their sound, to this point, was pretty poppy.  Though they had some catchy and poppy songs throughout their career, there was definitely a transition point where things changed.  Guitars got riffier, music became less polished, and the vocals showed a certain edge.  Perhaps it’s because this is their first album to be recorded on four-track tape, allowing for proper stereo mixing. Either way, you can tell the difference.

A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles third album made in a studio, is actually the soundtrack to the band’s film of the same name. “You Can’t Do That,”, recorded in the famous Abbey Road Studios, was written by John Lennon (as were 9 of the other 12 songs on the album), and has been called semi-autobiographical.

Listen close and you might gain some insight into the inner workings of John Lennon’s mind.

Lyrics here.

Much more about The Beatles here.

More about “You Can’t Do That,” here.

You Can't Do That - A Hard Day's Night

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