volume 1
january 1999

John LennonNotes on ... Series


  Index of the series in numerical order
  by Alan W. Pollack
  In 1989 the American musicologist Alan W. Pollack started to analyze the songs of the Beatles. He published his first results on internet. In 1991 — after he had finished the work on 28 songs — he bravely decided to do the whole lot of them. About ten years later, in 2000 he completed the analysis of the official Beatles' canon, consisting of 187 songs and 25 covers. Here we have ordered this massive work in five categories. And, for your convenience, we've added an alphabetical, a canonical and a chronological index as well as a short introduction.

A Beatles' Odyssey. A short introduction to Pollack's ten year musicological journey along the long and winding roads of the Beatles' songs.
Alphabetical index. All of Pollack's analyses indexed in the alphabetical order of the songs' titles.
The official Beatles' canon. Pollack's song analyses of the official Beatles' canon arranged according to the dates of the songs' first releases.
The twelve recording projects of the Beatles. Pollack's song analyses arranged according to the chronology of the Beatles' twelve recording projects.
The first 28 song analyses (1-28). Pollack started his series with a selection of songs from the Beatles' songbook. Looking at these songs, Pollack concentrates on the central elements and characteristics of the musical idiom of the 'Fab Four'. Next to insightful analyses, this series offers a short course in the necessary musicological concepts.
Beatlemania (1962-1964) (29-64). In their first years as song writers and performers, the Beatles developed their own style of popular music out of the roots of American rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues. Here Pollack analyses the peculiarities of these early Beatles' songs. This series of 36 pieces includes the first singles and songs on the albums Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Days Night, and Beatles For Sale.
Becoming artists (1965-1966) (65-103). In the middle of the sixties rock musicians began to see themselves as artists. The Beatles stood at the front of this movement, treating their music as an artistic expression of their emotions and a serious reflection of their feelings. As a result, growing further away from their musical roots, the songs on the albums Help!, Rubber Soul and Revolver show a growing independency of style.
The studio years (1967-1968) (104-160). From 1967 on the Beatles operated as a studio group. A number of themes and techniques, Pollack writes, which appear with gathering momentum on their earlier albums and singles now can be seen to converge and blossom fully forth during this psychedelic musical season on albums like Sgt. Pepper's, Magical Mystery Tour, the White Album and Yellow Submarine 
Get back (1969-1970) (161-195). In their last years as a recording group the final split of the group slowly becomes visible in the growing number of solo projects. As an antidote in January 1969 the Beatles initiated their Get Back project at the Twickenham Film Studios in London. Some of the results of this tribute to their roots are collected on the last albums Abbey Road and Let It Be. To his analyses of these songs Pollack adds his views on the two original songs on the recent Anthology CD's.
Extra: "I was nervously waiting ..." (196). On February 9th, 2000, Pollack completed his series of analyses of the Beatles' catalog. Here, interviewed by Ian Hammond, the author looks back on ten years and eight months of Beatles' studies.
Extra: The Quarrymen Sessions (197). The two unofficially released collections attributed to the Quarrymen, "Liverpool 1960" and "The Quarrymen At Home", are among the earliest extant recordings of the Pre-Beatles. As such they offer a rare glimpse into the repertoire and the musical capabilities of the group in its formative years. Here Pollack discusses all tracks of these recordings.
Extra: Can You Take Me Back (198). Allan Pollack's discussion of McCartney's short and untitled song fragment to be found on the White Album midbetween "Cry Baby Cry" and "Revolution #9".
Extra: The Percy Phillips Shellac (199). Many Beatles' recordings are extra-canonical, meaning they're falling outside the official Beatles' canon. Here Pollack analyses one of those recordings: the legendary 78rpm acetate demo of "That'll Be The Day" and "In Spite Of All The Danger", made by the Quarry Men at the Liverpool home studio of Percy Phillips in 1958, and the earliest extant recording made by John, Paul, George and some friends.
Extra: Notes on Three Simple Songs That Didn't Make It (200). Not all songs the Beatles recorded were released on their albums. Here Pollack analyzes three different but equally unlucky tracks from the Late-Early or Early Middle period that failed to make the grade: "Twelve-Bar Original", "If You've Got Trouble", and the cover song "Leave My Kitten Alone".
Extra: "Alternate" versions — which are the best? Answering a question from Steven Michael Maser, Pollack lists his favorite alternate versions of the Beatles' songs.
  Copyright © 1989-2001 by Alan W. Pollack. All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.
  These song analyses were published on The 'Official' rec.music.beatles Home Page. In case you want to quote these pages, please refer to the original sources. So for Pollack's remarks on "Free As A Bird" refer to: Pollack, Alan W. (1995), Notes on "Free As A Bird". Notes on ... Series no. 194, 1995. The 'Official' rec.music.beatles Home Page (http://www.recmusicbeatles.com).
  Conversion to HTML by Ed Chen, Mike Markowski, Bruce Dumes, and Maurizio Codogno. Indexed and adapted for Soundscapes by Ger Tillekens.
  Many thanks to Micha van Dam for close-reading the Notes and pointing out misspellings and editorial errors.