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★  Nov 29, 2020  ★

The Beatles' Jukeboxes: What They Were Listening to in 1966

The Beatles were making some of their most influential music in 1966 and Steve Turner, in his book Beatles '66: The Revolutionary Year, has compiled a list of what they were listening to on their home jukeboxes. It's a fascinating glimpse into the Beatles' musical influences at this stage in their career. We've faithfully transcribed Turner's work into playlists that you can stream.

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I just finished reading Beatles '66: The Revolutionary Year by Steve Turner, and it's a fascinating look into the lives of each Beatle during a year in which they broke legendary creative ground.

As 1965 ended the Beatles were touring England in support of Rubber Soul. By the end of 1966 they had finished on what would be their final tour, written, recorded and released Revolver, and had started laying the groundwork for what would become Sgt. Pepper's.

Turner puts it well, writing in the prologue:

"Before...they were the four loveable guys from Liverpool who wore identical suites on stage, played to packed houses of screaming (largely female) teenagers, played themselves in movie capers, and wrote jaunty songs cheifly about love. After 1966, they were serious studio-based musicians who no longer toured, wore individually selected clothes from Chelsea boutiques, wrote songs that explored their psyches and the nature of society, and were frequently considered a threat to the established order by governments around the world."

Tuner's book is like an oral history mixed with an investigative report. Each month in '66 gets a chapter, and it takes you deep into the details of what each Beatle was doing when. It's thoroughly-researched, well-cited, and full of myth-busting, behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

But, my favorite section of the book is the appendix because it lists the singles loaded onto each Beatles' jukebox. Apparently they all had home jukeboxes that they would load up with the latest 45s. Turner did the research to reconstruct their jukeboxes from 1966, and it's a fascinating look into their influences at the time.

I thought it would be cool to take Turner's list and faithfully convert it into playlists. This is what the Beatles were listening to in 1966 when they wrote and recorded some of their most influential music.

If you dig this, you'll definitely want to check out the book.

- Lee McAlilly


John Lennon's Jukebox

Listen on Spotify

  1. Wilson Pickett, "In the Midnight Hour"
  2. Fontella Bass, "Rescue Me"
  3. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, "The Tracks of my Tears"
  4. Otis Redding, "My Girl"
  5. Len Barry, "123"
  6. Tommy Tucker, "Hi Heel Sneakers"
  7. Jimmy McCracklin, "The Walk"
  8. Timmy Shaw, "Gonna Send You Back to Georgia"
  9. The Contours, "First Look at the Purse"
  10. Gary U.S. Bonds, "New Orleans"
  11. Bobby Parker, "Watch Your Stop"
  12. Derek Martin, "Daddy Rollin' Stone"
  13. Larry Williams, "Short Fat Fannie"
  14. Little Richard, "Long Tall Sally"
  15. Barrett Strong, "Money (That's What I Want)"
  16. Bruce Channel, "Hey! Baby"
  17. Bob Dylan, "Positively 4th Street"
  18. The Lovin' Spoonful, "Daydream"
  19. Donovan, "Turquoise"
  20. Buddy Holly, "Slippin' and Sliding"
  21. Gene Vincent, "Be-Bop-A-Lula"
  22. Chuck Berry, "No Particular Place to Go"
  23. Paul Revere and the Raiders, "Steppin' Out"
  24. The Lovin' Spoonful, "Do You Believe in Magic"
  25. The Big Three, "Some Other Guy"
  26. The Isley Brothers, "Twist and Shout"
  27. Larry Williams, "She Said 'Yeah'"
  28. Buddy Holly, "Brown Eyed Handsome Man"
  29. Little Richard, "Slippin' and Slidin"
  30. Gene Vincent, "Woman Love"
  31. The Miracles, "Shop Around"
  32. The Animals, "Bring It on Home to Me"
  33. James Ray with the Hutch Davie Orchestra, "If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody"
  34. The Miracles, "What's So Good about Goodbye"
  35. Larry Williams, "Bad Boy"
  36. Edwin Starr, "Agent Double-O Soul"
  37. The Miracles, "I've Been Good to You"
  38. Barrett Strong, "Oh I Apologize"
  39. The Miracles, "Who's Lovin' You"

George Harrison's Jukebox

Listen on Spotify

  1. Bob and Earl, "Harlem Shuffle"
  2. Chuck Jackson, "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait"
  3. Booker T. and the M.G.'s, "Be My Lady"
  4. Bob Dylan, "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window"
  5. Little Jerry Williams, "Baby, You're My Everything"
  6. Edwin Starr, "Back Street"
  7. Lee Dorsey, "Work, Work, Work"
  8. The Beach Boys, "The Little Girl I Once Knew"
  9. The Miracles, "My Girl Has Gone"
  10. Little Richard, "I Don't Know What You've Got (But It's Got Me)"
  11. Otis Redding, "I Can't Turn You Loose"
  12. Otis Redding, "My Girl"
  13. Jackie Wilson, "I Believe I'll Love On"
  14. Booker T. and The M.G.'s, "Plum Nellie"
  15. Willie Mitchell, "Everything Is Gonna Be Alright"
  16. Joe Tex, "A Sweet Woman Like You"
  17. The Four Tops, "Something About You"
  18. James Brown, "I Got You"
  19. Marvin Gaye, "Ain't That Peculiar"
  20. The Byrds, "Turn, Turn, Turn"
  21. Don Covay, "See Saw"
  22. Sounds Incorporated, "I'm Comin' Through"
  23. Wilson Pickett, "Don't Fight It"
  24. Booker T. and the M.G.'s, "Bootleg"
  25. The Young Rascals, "I Ain't Gonna Eat My Heart Out Any More"
  26. Otis Redding, "Respect"
  27. James Brown, "Try Me"
  28. Otis Redding, "I've Been Loving You Too Long"
  29. Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, "All or Nothing"
  30. Marvin Gaye, "Pretty Little Baby"
  31. Fred Hughes, "Oo Wee Baby, I Love You"
  32. The Miracles, "The Tracks of My Tears"
  33. Joe Tex, "Yum Yum"
  34. Edwin Starr, "Agent Double-O-Soul"
  35. Barrett Strong, "Money"
  36. Ritchie Barrett, "Some Other Guy"
  37. Chuck Berry, "It Wasn't Me"
  38. Charlie Rich, "Mohair Sam"
  39. The Beach Boys, "Let Him Run Wild"
  40. The Lovin' Spoonful, "Do You Believe in Magic"

Paul McCartney's Jukebox

Listen on Spotify

  1. The Who, "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere"
  2. The Animals, "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
  3. Stevie Wonder, "Uptight (Everything's Alright)"
  4. The Lovin' Spoonful, "Summer in the City"
  5. Little Richard, "Tutti Frutti"
  6. The Coasters, "Searchin"
  7. The Jodimars, "Clara-Bella"
  8. Elvis Presley, "All Shook Up"
  9. Chuck Berry, "Sweet Little Sixteen"
  10. John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, "Parchman Farm"
  11. Ben E. King, "So Much Love"
  12. Gene Vincent, "Be-Bo-A-Lula"
  13. Buddy Holly, "Peggy Sue"
  14. The Mamas and the Papas, "Monday Monday"
  15. The Four Tops, "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)"
  16. The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
  17. The Supremes, "You Can't Hurry Love"
  18. Bo Diddley, "Crackin' Up"
  19. Eddie Cochran, "Twenty Flight Rock"
  20. Bob Dylan, "Mr. Tambourine Man"
  21. Booker T. and the M.G.'s, "Green Onions"
  22. The Fugs, "Kill for Peace"
  23. The Mothers of Invention, "Trouble Every Day"
  24. Donovan, "Sunshine Superman"
  25. Esther Phillips, "And I Love Him"
  26. B.B. King, "Eyesight to the Blind"
  27. Fontella Bass, "Rescue Me"
  28. Nat King Cole, "Unforgettable"
  29. The Merseys, "Sorrow"
  30. Bob Dylan, "Positively 4th Street"
  31. Elvis Presley, "Don't Be Cruel"
  32. The Beach Boys, "I Get Around"
  33. Martha and the Vandellas, "Heat Wave"
  34. Sam and Dave, "You Don't Know Like I Know"
  35. Robert Parker, "Barefootin'"
  36. Kim Fowley, "The Trip"
  37. John Mayer, "Acka Raga"
  38. Jim Hendrix Experience, "Hey Joe"
  39. The Young Rascals, "Good Lovin'"
  40. Buddy Holly, "Rave On"

Ringo Starr's Jukebox

Listen on Spotify

  1. Ray Charles, "Tell the Truth"
  2. Elvis Presley, "Heartbreak Hotel"
  3. The Johnny Otis Show, "Good Golly"
  4. Eddie Cochran, "Somethin' Else"
  5. The Four Aces, "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing"
  6. The Shirelles, "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
  7. Carl Perkins, "Matchbox"
  8. Gene Autry, "South of the Border"
  9. Buck Owens, "Buckaroo"
  10. Brook Benton, "Baby (You've Got What It Takes)"
  11. Chico Hamilton, "The Dealer"
  12. Yusef Lateef, "Sea Breeze"
  13. The Supremes, "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
  14. Stevie Wonder, "Fingertips (Parts I and II)"
  15. Hank Williams, "Honky Tonk Blues"
  16. Cozy Cole, "Topsy II"
  17. Lee Dorsey, "Holy Cow"
  18. Hank Snow, "Nobody's Child"
  19. Lightin' Hopkins, "Mojo Hand"
  20. Marvin Gaye, "Can I Get a Witness"
  21. Little Richard, "Long Tall Sally"
  22. Patsy Cline, "I Fall to Pieces"
  23. Kitty Wells, "Heartbreak USA"
  24. Willie Nelson, "Touch Me"
  25. Della Reese, "Don't You Know"
  26. The Shirelles, "Mama Said"
  27. Patsy Cline, "Crazy"
  28. Ernest Tubb, "Waltz Across Texas"
  29. Jerry Lee Lewis, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"
  30. Johnny Burnett, "You're Sixteen"

Notes from the author:

"These are some of the records The Beatles were listening to in 1966. John's selection is taken from the double-CD John Lennon's Jukebox, released in 2004. This compilation album was based on the contents of an actual 1965 jukebox belonging to John that ended up being auctioned at Christie's in 1989. The purchase, John Midwinter, spent many years researching the fort A and B sides of the singles that John had chosen and inscribed in pen on the machine's title strips. All of them were released in 1965 or earlier.

George revealed the contents of his home jukebox (a KB Discomat like John's) to Record Mirror columnist Tony Hall, and it was published in December 1965. 'It's so much easier to have all my favorite records on the juke box at once,' he explained to Hall. 'It saves me going through piles of records to find the ones I want. Then when I get sick of them, I just throw them out and put some new ones in.

For Paul's and Ringo's selections I've had to adopt a more creative approach because, as far as I know, they never specifically talked about the singles they loaded into their jukeboxes in 1966. To compensate I've constructed lists of singles based on what records or artists they talked about in interviews at this time or what songs they urged others to listen to. I've deliberately avoided the jazz and experimental artists that they were fans of if these musicians made LPs but not singles."

Paperback cover of Beatles '66: The Revolutionary Year by Steve Turner

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