Album review: The Beatles, On Air: Live at the BBC Volume 2 (Universal)


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The Independent Culture

Featuring broadcast recordings from a half-century ago, On Air features The Beatles' early hits and covers from their Hamburg setlist, interspersed with cheeky backchat with Auntie's staid presenters. It's an enchanting snapshot of British rock'n'roll at its moment of greatest revelation, the point at which the Tin Pan Alley production line of ersatz Elvises was rendered utterly obsolete. There's a laddish jubilation, bulging with testosterone, in the way they swagger through the catalogues of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and brio to the innovative harmonies of their own material. As a fascinating bonus, interviews reveal their musical interests and attitudes in a manner shockingly unguarded by today's standards.

Download: Please Please Me; Twist and Shout; I Saw Her Standing There; You Can't Do That; If I Fell