Beatles For Sale

1964 was one long, hard slog for the Beatles, and by August 11, when they started taping their second album of the year, they were worn out from constant touring, filming, and recording. And it showed.

Under pressure to have new product in the shops in time for the Christmas gift bonanza, they turned in an inconsistent effort, falling back again on a clutch of cover versions to disguise a dearth of new material. Nevertheless, in the United Kingdom. Beatles For Sale sold over a million copies in its first week. Five days after its December 4 release, it dislodged their own A Hard Day's Night from the U.K. No. 1 slot, where it remained for nine weeks.

Paul McCartney: John would often have the melody and the lyrics to one verse, and the trickiest thing is making more of it...that was often where he or I needed help.

The downbeat mood of the songs on Beatles for Sale was reflected in the album cover, which shows the unsmiling, weary-looking Beatles in an autumn scene photographed at Hyde Park, London.

Paul McCartney: "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.... 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."

This was the first Beatles album to feature a gatefold cover (the next would be Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 1967). The gatefold also featured Freeman's photographs. On the left is a shot of the Beatles' February 11 performance at the Coliseum in Washington D.C. On the right, the Beatles stand in front of a mural in the lobby of London's Twickenham Film Studios during the filming of A Hard Day's Night.

Original Vinyl Track Listing
Side 1
  1. No Reply
  2. I'm a Loser
  3. Baby's In Black
  4. Rock and Roll Music
  5. I'll Follow the Sun
  6. Mr. Moonlight
  7. [Medley: Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey]
Side 2
  1. Eight Days a Week
  2. Words of Love
  3. Honey Don't
  4. Every Little Thing
  5. I Don't Want To Spoil the Party
  6. What You're Doing
  7. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby

Buy the remastered album Beatles For Sale from Amazon.