I have often wondered about this...possibly more than any other band, the Beatles' music and image changed beyond recognition in just a few short years. The band in 1968-69 were nothing
like they had been in 1963-64. In fact, the difference is SO great that it is almost like two completely seperate and unrelated bands, who just happened to share the same name and just happened to contain the same people!
So how was
the Beatles' early "Fab Four" incarnation regarded by the fans and the general public by the time the band themselves had moved on to Sgt Pepper
, Abbey Road
et al? And how well (or poorly) did the early albums sell between 1967-70? For instance, I find it hard to imagine that Please Please Me
or With The Beatles
sold squillions of copies during the era of psychedelia and flower-power. And yet these albums were continuously available during this era. It would be most interesting to see the worldwide sales figures for the early albums during the late 60's.
And how did the Beatles themselves view their early work during their later years? Did they consciously try to distance themselves from their earlier incarnation, or did they almost feel like it had all happened to someone else?
Gail Renard stated that during her week-long stay with John and Yoko at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal in 1969, they all sat and watched a screening of A Hard Day's Night
on television. The movie was only five years old at the time, but I can imagine it must have seemed like a million years ago to John, so much had happened and so much had changed in his life since then. I wonder what his reaction was in 1969 to seeing black and white images of himself in a neat suit and tie, running frantically to escape the clutches of hysterical, screaming fans?
Being just a child at the time, I have to admit that my own late 60's impressions of the Beatles came solely from the King Features cartoon series which was still screening at the time...which, of course, clung steadfastly to the band's early image despite the real-life changes in their music and appearance. So as a child, I was completely puzzled when my primary school teacher mentioned that she "used to like the Beatles in the beginning, but not the way they are now". I had literally no idea what she was talking about!
So what does everybody think? Do Forum members who were around at the time remember how they felt about the early Beatles work during the later Beatles period? Did you feel they had improved as they went along, or did you think (like my teacher) that they had gone too far, and yearned for the early days?