The Beatles' last days as a band were as productive as any major pop phenomenon that was about to split. After recording the ragged-but-right Let It Be, the group held on for this ambitious effort, an album that was to become their best-selling.
The most dashed-off of the Beatles' records, Yellow Submarine doesn't have much to it: the goofy title track and "All You Need Is Love" are reprised from earlier discs, George Martin's trifle of a score to the animated Submarine feature takes up the second half, and that leaves just four relatively insubstantial new tracks.
Before Sgt. Pepper, no one seriously thought of rock music as actual art. That all changed in 1967, though, when John, Paul, George and Ringo (with "A Little Help" from their friend, producer George Martin) created an undeniable work of art which remains, after 30-plus years, one of the most influential albums of all time.
The album feels even more like a collection of singles (instead of an actual movie soundtrack) than Help! or A Hard Day's Night, but maybe that's because every song sounds like it could have been a hit single--with the natural exception of the goofy/weird instrumental "Flying."
How John Lennon's confessional song became the title for a silly James Bond spoof I really don't know. The funny thing is, it works both ways--as a young man's personal statement about learning to open up to others, and as the frantic theme for an exotic espionage chase comedy starring those lovable mop-tops (this time in color).
Their first-ever album, raw and rough and still very rock & roll. Lennon and McCartney begin to flex their writing muscles and had already scored two UK hits when this appeared, but they still relied heavily on the cover material to see them through.
They still had plenty of covers to fill out the running time, but the Lennon-McCartney writing team was gathering steam and beginning to knock out pop classics as if they were pulling them out of thin air.