Archive for the ‘Beatles’ Category

23 Songs For Today

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

1) BRIGHT EYES (Art Garfunkel)
2) NO FAIR AT ALL (Association)
4) RAIN (Beatles)
9) BROTHERS IN ARMS (Dire Straits)
10) BUILD (Housemartins)
12) DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA (Julie Covington)
15) NEVER’S END (Lloyd Cole And The Commotions)
16) HEART OF GOLD (Neil Young)
17) TECHNIQUE (Prefab Sprout)
20) A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL (Roy Orbison)
22) I WON’T SHARE YOU (Smiths)
23) ONE (U2)

Happy 75, George

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Happy 75th birthday to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. He hasn’t been with us for some time, but he speaks to us clearly in 2018 in this, one of his greatest songs

“Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go”


My favorite musicians: #2

Sunday, February 18th, 2018

You’ve probably heard of the Beatles. You probably like them a lot, unless you are one of the very perverse people who say they are overrated. A group that split up almost fifty years ago, and effectively had seven years of record-making still manages to influence, make headlines (e.g. Quincy Jones) and get their music played over the world.

The strength of the Beatles was having three strong and often complementary songwriters, a great drummer and a lot of personality. The great music didn’t end in 1970 either -all four Beatles had their solo moments and All Things Must Pass,  in particular shows how creative George had become in the later Beatles years. So for fifty-plus years of history and great music, the Beatles are my #2.

Remembering The Magic Gardens Of 1967/2017

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

The 5th Dimension - The Magic Garden.jpg In remembering 2017, there is a natural inclination to also remember the original Summer of Love in 1967, 50 years ago. Being the year that I also turned 50, there an even greater inclination to reflect back to that pivotal year that I have no real memory of, but have many musical mementos to call upon.

1967 was the year of Sgt. Pepper and it’s less known but equally interesting Magical Mystery Tour.  The Beach Boys failed to release SMiLE but Brian and the boys were actually quite productive, both in releasing albums, performing live and recording songs. There were a lot of other great albums, not least of all Forever Changes. Another great record, released late in December 1967 and previously reviewed on this blog, was The Magic Garden, Jimmy Webb’s masterpiece, performed by the Fifth Dimension and reflecting the ups and downs of the era, and life in general.

50 years later the music overall isn’t as great, but there are pockets of brilliance, in hearing more unheard gems from the Beach Boys from the many Sunshine Tomorrow releases, but also in some great new music, not least from the likes of Lucky Soul and Saint Etienne. Brian Wilson also reminded us that he has been a lot more than just a Beach Boy, but also a very viable solo artist for more than half his musical career.

2017 was a year of a lot of pain for the world, as the bad decisions of 2016 became more real. However, with Mugabe out and Zuma down, for the first time in many years, my part of the world begins 2018 with some real hope. It was also the year that I got married. So we begin 2018 with cautious optimism – I wish all the readers a wonderful year, both musically and otherwise.

23 Songs For Today

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

1) Let It Be    -The Beatles
2) Caribbean Wind    -Bob Dylan
3) Solid Rock    -Bob Dylan
4) Theme From Harry’s Game    -Clannad
5) In A Lifetime    -Clannad
6) And Yes We Must Remain The Wildhearted Outsiders    -Dexy’s Midnight Runners
7) The Celtic Soul Brothers    -Dexy’s Midnight Runners
8) All In All This One Last Wild Waltz    -Dexy’s Midnight Runners
9 ) And Winter Came    -Enya
10) Oriel Window    -Enya
11) Morning Glory   – Enya
12) May It Be    -Enya
13) You’ll Never Walk Alone    -Gerry & The Pacemakers
14) Whatever Happened to Christmas?    -Jimmy Webb
15) Ribbons and Bows    -Kacey Musgraves
16 Listen to the Bells Ring   -Lisa Mychols
17) Codail a Linbh (Sleep O Child)    -Moya Brennan
18) Chicago –   Sufjan Stevens
19) Mystery of Love   -Sufjan Stevens
20) New Year’s Day    -U2
21) Deweller On The Threshold    -Van Morrison
22) Foreign Window   -Van Morrison
23) Queen Of The Slipstream    -Van Morrison

Roll Up, Roll Up

Monday, November 27th, 2017

TheBeatlesMagicalMysteryTouralbumcover.jpg Last week, my income tax website reminded me that it was the 50th anniversary of the release of the Magical Mystery Tour. They seemed to have jumped the gun a bit, as the American LP was released 50 years ago today, on 27 November 1967, and the UK Double EP 11 days later. But as the only American “reconfiguration” that is now part of official Beatles canon, it is an anniversary worth celebrating.

The American album includes the remainder of the Beatles official 1967 output not on Sgt. Pepper including the six songs from the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack and five A and B sides from the three singles that year (I Am The Walrus from the soundtrack served as the B side of Hello Goodbye). And while it is definitely a lesser of Sgt. Pepper in terms of broader cultural impact, there are definitely some arguments that it is at least a musical equal. Few will argue the merits of Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane and I Am The Walrus, but even the “filler” such as Baby You’re A Rich Man and Blue Jay Way can be re-assessed as the some of most underrated Beatles songs.

Forever Young, Much More Than 64

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

McCartney on stage playing guitar and singing. It’s hard to think of the chirpiest, seemingly forever young Beatle as a man who turned 75 today. We are certainly thankful he is still with us, touring the world and coming up with new music. Loving Paul may not come with the “hipness” of John or even George, but this is someone who has come up with some of the greatest songs ever, and who was part of a 50 year old album that has re-topped the charts. Very best birthday wishes, Paul.

Happy 50th!

Friday, May 26th, 2017

The Beatles, holding marching band instruments and wearing colourful uniforms, stand near a grave covered with flowers that spell "Beatles". Standing behind the band are several dozen famous people. Today (at  least as far as the UK is concerned) is the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band – probably the best known album release of all time, and one that remains very close to the top of critical polls, aside from some staggering commercial success. There are a lot of what-ifs had SMiLE been released a few months earlier as originally planned, but today is about celebrating the record that expanded what rock music could do, and reflected the joys, hopes and fears of the summer of love. 50 years later, we could certainly do with another summer of love, joy and compassion.

10 Teenage Influences

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

A lot of people are revealing the 10 records that influenced them most as a teenager, so I thought I would join the bandwagon and list mine. You may notice this is a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys free list, as my love for the group only emerged in my 20s. The list probably reflects more the acts that impacted me the most, with the albums being the ones that the have had the longest lifetime impact.

1) Beatles -Abbey Road

2) Simon & Garfunkel-Bookends

3) Bob Dylan- Blood On The Tracks

4) The Jam- Sound Affects

5) The Smiths- The World Won’t Listen (I know technically a compilation…)

6) Kane Gang- The Bad And Lowdown World Of The Kane Gang

7) Bruce Springsteen- Born To Run

8) George Harrison- All Things Must Pass

9) David Bowie- Hunky Dory

10) Paul McCartney & Wings- Band On The Run

50 Years Of The Beatles Weapon

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Revolver.jpgToday marks the 50th anniversary of the UK release of Revolver, the 7th Beatles album. Back in 1966 , it may have seemed something of a natural progression that could be seen in all the Beatles albums since Please Please Me, with a little help from Messers Wilson and Dylan. Looking back, it actually feels like a more innovative record than Sgt. Pepper and a landmark in rock innovation, as the basic guitar and drums pop rock evolved into psychedelia (I’m Only Sleeping), harder rock (She Said, She Said and others) , balladry (Here, There And Everywhere), soul (Got To Get You Into My Life) and even into songs eschewing anything conventional in rock with the classical (Eleanor Rigby) , Indian (Love You To) and experimental (Tomorrow Never Knows). George even gets three songs for the first and only time on a single Beatle record, and yet, even in all experimentation, there remains a commitment to melody and meaning. No-one may be able to definitely say which is the best Beatles record, but in retrospect, this was the biggest step forward musically for them , and for rock music.