For as long as I’ve been on the radio, and definitely for as long as I’ve been writing a blog, I will occasionally make a reference to a song being “One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded!” (GSER)
I would usually follow that by saying that I would eventually start a category for it, but then never get around to it.
Well, now I’m getting around to it!
It will pretty much follow the pattern of The Most Awesomest Song of the Day.
I’ll select a song to celebrate and then give my thoughts about it. Nothing really brand new here that hasn’t been done before. But since I have a website, I can collect them and lay out what my own greatest songs are.
My radio show, “Theme Attic,” is on Wednesdays 2PM-4PM ET.
Even though I always emphasize new music and artists, it’s always fun to take a short drive through the legendary artists, since they influenced those other artists!
But a song doesn’t have to be old or done by a legendary Theme Attic Hall of Fame member to be thus honored.
I can think of several songs that are only a few years old or less that I could identify as One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded.
This will be fun, and hopefully you will join me on my journey!
How can I possibly write anything about “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles that hasn’t been written before?
It’s probably one of the most written about pieces of music that’s ever been analyzed, right up there with Beehtoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, and several Bach and Mozart works.
I understand the historical significance of it.
It is the “big bang” of rock music from which almost any bit of classic rock derives, good or bad.
It was the opening salvo of the first wave of The British Invasion!
But some of the commentary about “I Want to Hold Your Hand” can make someone nauseated by its content.
I’m referring to the pablum where the viewpoint is that other artists wanted to violate or “have intercourse” with the U.S., while The Beatles just wanted to innocently hold the nation’s hand.
If that works for you as a fan, fine. I don’t want to ruin your memories.
Others often write about how vulnerable or damaged the collective American psyche was after the Kennedy assassination.
There may be some relevance in that thinking, but it sure seems like a strange reason to listen to, let alone like a different style of music. I’ll cite the popularity of songs like “Sentimental Journey” and “I’ll Be seeing You” as examples that hit the right nerve during World War II.
However, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was a calculatedly deliberate attempt to break the American market by a British band for the first time!
I am fascinated by studio dialogue where Paul is coaching Ringo on what he wants on the song!
He wanted him to really punch the opening accents so the listener would be instantly attracted to it!
The idea was to make the whole song “pop!”
So, why wasn’t I initially attracted to this initial offer of musical friendship?
For at least the first ten years after its release, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was not a Beatle favorite of mine.
Don’t get me wrong.
I liked the song, but I didn’t like the song.
It certainly wasn’t the song that cemented my love affair with the band.
I wish I could say that, like so many of my Beatle loving friends do, however, it wouldn’t be true.
I’ve recently been giving this some thought.
For the past thirty years or so–like most everyone else, I usually listen to the Parlophone versions of The Beatle’s catalog.
That means that the version I usually listen to is the mono version, just like the one I grew up with on “Meet The Beatles.”
The first three Beatle albums I owned were also in mono.
Lately, I’ve been listening to a U.S. stereo version of the album, and it made me think about the song and why it didn’t first attract me like my other Beatle fans and friends.
I appreciate it and love it now!
Why not at the beginning, and when did the transformation take place?
I came to the conclusion that I didn’t make the change until I bought a replacement–in stereo, on the Apple label in the mid 70’s.
And I don’t mean one of those stereo versions where the voices are on one side and the instruments are on the other.
I mean the one where there is some separation of sound so I can hear what’s going on.
Where I can hear the simple yet complicated nature of “I Want to Hold Your Hand!”
It doesn’t matter to me that other audiophiles often consider these stereo versions as bastardizations of the band’s sound.
That’s what allowed me to appreciate a song that, to my ears, sounded all smooshed together in mono!
In stereo, I can hear the sizzle and splash of Ringo’s cymbals, the percussive hand claps, John’s grinding rhythm guitar, and George’s signature guitar line!
And I feel that when Paul adds the harmony line the second time through the middle eight:
“And when I touch you I feel happy inside!
It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide!”,
it just may be one of the most beautiful harmony lines ever recorded!
One of the Greatest Songs Ever Recorded is “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by The Beatles!!!
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