- Especially rich and spacious, this is the album that moves away from the midrangy sound of A Hard Day’s Night and With The Beatles
- A criminally underrated album by the Fab Four – Allmusic gives it Five Big Stars and we like it every bit as much as they do
- “I’m A Loser,” “Baby’s In Black,” “Rock And Roll Music,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” “Eight Days A Week,” “Words Of Love,” “Every Little Thing,” “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party,” “What You’re Doing,” and 4 more – 14 tracks in all (!)
Beatles For Sale is a criminally underappreciated album, and a killer copy like this will show you exactly why. The startling presence and immediacy of the sound here allow the emotional qualities of these lovely songs to work some real Beatles vocal magic.
There is one important trait that all the best copies have in common: wonderful midrange warmth and sweetness. It’s the single most important factor in bringing out The Beatles’ individual voices and harmonies. Of the first five albums, from Please Please Me to Help, For Sale is clearly the most natural and Tubey Magical. (For those of you keeping score at home, With the Beatles is clearly the worst, with A Hard Day’s Night not far behind.)
When comparing pressings of this record, the copies that get their voices to sound present, while at the same time warm, smooth, and sweet, especially during the harmonies and in the loudest choruses, are always the best. All the other instruments seem to fall in line when the vocals are correct. This is an old truism — it’s all about the midrange — but in the case of an early Beatles album such as For Sale, it really is true.
What the Best Sides of This Early Beatles Classic Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1964
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
Hey, Sir George: We Respectfully Disagree!
We had a lot of fun reading The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, which details the band’s studio history from 1962 – 1970. In the book, George Martin mentions that he felt this album was a rush job and that he has trouble listening to it to this day. As much respect as we have for Sir George, we couldn’t disagree more. For Sale is WONDERFUL!
The more we got to know the album the more we enjoyed it. Repeated listenings only enhanced our enjoyment, and a good copy like this let us hear things in the music that we hadn’t heard before. This isn’t the kind of record that beats you over the head with mega pop hits sure to enthrall screaming teens.
With wonderful songs like I’ll Follow The Sun, Eight Days A Week, I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party and What You’re Doing, For Sale gives you a more complete picture of the heartfelt side of the Beatles. More often than not the vibe is innocent, sweet, and delicate.
What We’re Listening For on Beatles For Sale
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt — Norman Smith in this case — would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
The Beatles’ Undiscovered Album
Of all the Beatles records that we play around here, this, along with Abbey Road, Rubber Soul, and Please Please Me, is one of our most enjoyable regular shootouts. The music is so good, yet this group of songs hasn’t been overplayed to death. In our book, it’s a minor classic.
You might even call it the Beatles’ undiscovered album.
Everyone knows The White Album and Sgt. Pepper’s like the back of their hands, but what about Beatles For Sale? If more people had Hot Stamper pressings of this LP we guarantee you’d be hearing a lot more about the album. When the sound is this good, For Sale is (Tubey) MAGICAL.
Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this recording. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body, and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful pressings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.
The Tracklist below has a select song breakdown for each side, with plenty of What to Listen For advice. Other records with track breakdowns can be found here.
I’m a Loser
Baby’s in Black
This song tends to be a bit dull on most pressings of the album, but on a superb copy you’ll get wonderful Tubey Magic, warmth and life.
Rock & Roll Music
I’ll Follow the Sun
It seems to us that I’ll Follow the Sun would have to be on any list of The Beatles’ very best. On a good copy the vocals are sweet and delicate beyond belief.
Paul pops the mic on one word in this song — if your system has reasonable resolution and bottom end speed, you should be able to pick it out. Drop us a line if you can tell us what word it is — we’re curious to know if you heard what we heard.
Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! [Medley]
Eight Days a Week
Words of Love
A tough track to get right. There are some lively, jangly guitars behind the smooth voices. Many copies seem to sacrifice one for the other, leaving you with either irritating guitars or dull voices. The best copies are the ones that get them both right.
Every Little Thing
I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party
What You’re Doing
The transient information on this song is often just a bit smeared. On the more transparent copies you’ll be able to hear each time the piano’s hammer hits the strings. Listen for the space between the notes when the piano is playing briskly.
This track is also a good test for how punchy the bottom is. With that big drum in the intro it won’t take long for you to figure out if your copy has much deep low end.
Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby
There are some important changes on Beatles for Sale, most notably Lennon’s discovery of Bob Dylan and folk-rock. The opening three songs, along with “I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party,” are implicitly confessional and all quite bleak, which is a new development… Its best moments find them moving from Merseybeat to the sophisticated pop/rock they developed in mid-career