I became a Beatles fan thanks to one of my older sisters. Picture the scene: mid 1990s. I'm a young teenager into Irish pop group, Boyzone, with their posters covering my bedroom walls, albums bought and I even received their video for Christmas. However, around that time I was becoming ready to embrace different music.
Luckily, my sister Lorraine had a broader musical taste by then, and had many CDs and cassettes I could listen to.
I think my first exposure to The Beatles (other than hearing the occasional song on the radio) was either Live At The BBC (released 1994) or the Anthology albums (released 1995-96). I'm thinking back nearly thirty years, so my memory of which one, isn't crystal clear - though I've a feeling it was the BBC album.
And... I loved it! Loved the sound, loved the humour of the Beatles, and I wanted more! Incidentally, I listened to some of the other albums she had, by the Manic Street Preachers, The Who, and others.
So when Paul McCartney released his Flaming Pie album in 1997, I was very much a Beatles fan, and very excited that a new solo Beatles album was here. I bought the album on cassette, and the singles, Young Boy, and The World Tonight, on CD. I seemed to gravitate towards McCartney's solo work, maybe because I really loved Flaming Pie.
I even used to go to charity shops and music shops with the money I got from my weekend job at a
newsagents, to buy Paul McCartney/Wings albums on vinyl or cassette. I had Ram, McCartney II, Tug of War, Give My Regards To Broad Street, London Town, and Back To The Egg.
I should say that I didn't just limit myself to McCartney music. I had a John Lennon Greatest Hits album, and the Imagine album on vinyl. I didn't seem to have any Ringo music, or George for that matter. However, I did have the Reggae Tribute To The Beatles! It was the first time I'd heard such songs as Isn't It A Pity and Don't Let Me Down.
While I listened to the cassette albums often, unfortunately my access to a record player was cut short not long after, and when I eventually left home, I couldn't take everything with me so the vinyl albums remained at my parent's house (I'm planning to have a look through all the records at my mum's to see if my records are still there - fingers crossed!).
So, it's only recently I've realised - hang on, I can listen to all these songs, and more using modern technology (hello streaming sites). The past few weeks I've been putting together a McCartney/Wings playlist and there's over 90 songs on it. Some of these songs are on a par with some of the Beatles' best! At the moment, I'm obsessed with Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five from the Band on the Run album, but - honestly - there's a ridiculous amount of brilliant songs in the man's back catalogue, stretching back 50 years!!
If I talk about the songs from the playlist, then this post will become insanely long, so I've included the playlist below if you want to have a listen and see if you discover any new favourites.
I'm currently creating a playlist for George Harrison's solo output. I'll also do the same for John Lennon and Ringo Starr in the coming months.
And on last thing, if you're reading this, Ms Brown from S4 Music in 1995, I haven't forgotten you said you'd lend me your Beatles Anthology videos... I'm still waiting!