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Rock 'N' Roll Music (album)

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Beatles 1976 compilation "Rock 'N' Roll Music" album cover art
The Beatles' Rock 'N' Roll Music, a double-album compilation, was first issued in the summer of 1976, fuelling further unfounded rumours of a reunion, as had The Red and The Blue a couple of years before. Ah well, a little wishful thinking never hurt anyone...

The genre is defined in the broadest (or vaguest) of terms, with the songs arranged sort of chronologically, according to their original releases.

The band's versions of classic boppers are naturally featured, with "Twist And Shout" kicking things off, and Chuck Berry's title track opening Side Two. Their own straight-up twelve bars are also included, such as "Saw Her Standing There", "Wanna Be Your Man", and — for the first time on LP — "I'm Down".

The second record (they were later reissued as two 'budget price' single LPs) really does start to stretch that definition. While "USSR" and "Get Back", for example, could be considered as good old-fashioned rockers, the somewhat more Soul-inspired "Drive My Car" and "Got To Get You Into My Life" also get an airing. And — never mind the Roll — the undeniably Rockin' "Helter Skelter" and "Revolution" were duly 'counted in'. George Harrison's "Taxman" seems a slightly incongruous selection amidst all the stomping (though it did at least provide him with one writing credit on the album!)

Originally packaged in a rather tacky 50s Americana gatefold sleeve, the editing of the tracks also presented problems. George Martin was responsible for the stereo remixing, but his work was rejected by EMI UK, on the grounds that the band would object to the tampering. They were, however, used on the Capitol version and on the subsequent reissues both sides of The Pond.

As a young teen when it first came out, still scrimping and saving to build my 'real' collection, I have to say that Rock 'N' Roll took some serious stick from my stylus back then, going on to become a must for any self-respecting under-age drinking party.

Shake it up, baby!

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