In what was undoubtedly momentous news to the hundreds of music fans out there who haven't already a) copied their CDs of Rubber Soul and Revolver onto their hard drives, or b) illegally downloaded their entire collection, Apple made the entire Beatles catalog available on iTunes yesterday.
Frankly, we're a little put off by the fact that Steve Jobs never bothered to consult us about this colossal event. After all, didn't we present a list of the band's worst songs a few months back? As obvious experts in all things Lennon-McCartney, Rocks Off should have been the first institution approached for input. Especially since there are plenty of ways to, how shall we put it, spruce up the Fab Four's playlist.
Here are a few changes we'd suggest to make the Beatles a little more palatable to today's discerning listeners.
1. Trim The Fat
In 1968, the coda of "Hey Jude" was praised for its effectiveness in communicating a message of harmony and love. But this is the 21st century, where you're lucky if we don't hit the Skip button halfway through a guitar solo. Stick with the meat of the tune - "Take a sad song and make it better" might help boost your spirits during extended periods of unemployment, after all - and drop the "na na na nas."
And that 40 second E-major at the end of "A Day in the Life?" Gone. We have reality programming to watch, damn it.
2. Remove the Bummer Parts Of "We Can Work It Out"
We understand John provided a more introspective counterpoint to Paul's pop sensibilities, but how enthusiastic are you going to be about reaching compromise when you realize "life is very short?" What's the point of going on? It was this dawning awareness of the hopelessness of it all that put Paul in the grave in 1966.
3. Lose Half of The White Album
That a big chunk of the Beatles' ninth album is filler is pretty much established fact. And while it's easy for us in these digital audio days to skip over the less appetizing tracks in favor of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "Blackbird," our hard drive space is precious. Best not to even clutter it up with an entire album's worth of material we'll never listen to. At the very least, give people the option: classic White Album, or improved White Album.
And in case Apple is unwilling to make the tough choices, here are Rocks Off's suggestions for White-wash:
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," "Wild Honey Pie," "Piggies," "Don't Pass Me By," "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?," "I Will," "Birthday," "Yer Blues," "Long, Long, Long," "Honey Pie," "Revolution 9"
4. Replace Yoko With Kesha If you insist on keeping the Ono-enabled songs ("The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill," "Birthday"), at least replace her vocals with someone who - while their voice is every bit as horrifying - might at least draw some younger buyers.
5. Auto-Tune "I Am The Walrus"
What is up with Lennon's vocals on this Magical Mystery Tour track? It's like the guy was on drugs or something. Seriously, with the technology we have now, it'd be a good idea to go back and fix the vox on all those old singers. Start with this guy, we're pretty sure he'd thank us.
6. Remake Yellow Submarine
How this hasn't happened yet is beyond us. With the right director and cast, what was a nonsensical bit of cartoon fluff could be a lean, action-packed thriller. We're thinking Tony Scott (he already did Crimson Tide) or Michael Bay to helm it, and replace those no-name English voice actors with Nic Cage, Ben Affleck, Will Smith, and Shia LaBeouf as Ringo
Meanies Turbans have turned Pepperland into a fundamentalist Islamic state, and instead of singing "All You Need is Love," the Fearsome Four would send over a few Trident II missiles with peace symbols painted on them.
7. Video Game Tie-In
We're not talking about Beatles Rock Band, entertaining as that is. No, with each album download, you should get a code that allows you to unlock a special character in Call of Duty: Black Ops. We suggest Sgt. Pepper, Polythene Pam, or Bungalow Bill.
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8. A Reunion Tour
Apple could recover from the embarrassing loss of its U2 sponsorship last year by backing the first Beatles tour in over 40 years. Obviously, certain bureaucratic obstacles (like the deaths of half the band) would need to be overcome, but if Sabbath can tour without Ozzy, or Kajagoogoo can go on without Limahl, surely the Beatles can find a way. May we suggest Rob Thomas and Vinny Vincent?
You're welcome, Steve. When you finally manage to land AC/DC and Bob Seger, give us a call.