Various Artists

Beatlesongs: Novelty Records

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When Beatlemania hit America in 1964, dozens of performers tried to cash in by rushing a crazy assortment of Beatles-related novelty songs to the market. The songs ranged from good-natured jokes to heartsick plaints to anti-Beatles rants. Beatlesongs, subtitled The Best of the Beatles Novelty Records, attempts to chronicle this phenomenon by offering a dozen recordings by various artists. Unfortunately, the selections are not as representative as they might have been and occasionally venture into irrelevant territory. With so many bona fide Beatles novelties from which to choose, it is a mystery why the compilers elected to include tangential material like Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's psychedelic parody "L.S. Bumble Bee" and a terrible new recording, "Beatle Rap," recorded by a group billed as the Qworymen. There are some good Beatlemania-era cuts here, including most of the ones that charted: the Four Preps' "Letter to the Beatles," Donna Lynn's "My Boyfriend Got a Beatle Haircut," the Carefrees' "We Love You Beatles" (the only one in the bunch to make the Top 40), and Casey Kasem's spoken word single "Letter from Elaina."

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