Tag Archives: Beatles

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 27 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”

John Julian

“A song like ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’, that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time … Day Tripper”, he says, “that’s one about acid. ‘Lucy in the Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”
– Paul McCartney (Weekly Standard, 2004)

The Beatles – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds:

John Lennon: , lead guitar and vocals
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, Lowrey organ and bass
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar and tambura
Ringo Starr: drums and maracas

The song has the distinction of being the first Beatles recording to be referenced by the group themselves: the second verse of Lennon’s “I Am the Walrus”, released on Magical Mystery Tour at the end of 1967, contains the lyric “see how they fly, like Lucy in the sky, see how they run…”

“Lucy…” was one of the fastest rehearsal/recordings for Sgt. Pepper.
Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 27 “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”

The Beatles 40 best songs: at 28 “Mother Nature’s Son”

paul mccartney

Paul [wrote this]. That was from a lecture of Maharishi where he was talking about nature, and I had a piece called “I’m just a child of nature,” which turned into “Jealous Guy” years later. Both inspired from the same lecture of Maharishi.
~John Lennon (September 1980, Playboy interviews)

Wikipedia:

Released 22 November 1968
Recorded 9 & 20 August 1968
Genre Folk
Length 2:48
Label Apple Records
Writer Lennon–McCartney
Producer George Martin

Continue reading The Beatles 40 best songs: at 28 “Mother Nature’s Son”

The Best Music Books read in 2013 by Hallgeir

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My list consists of some old and some new books. I read more than the average person, I guess, around 60 books a year. At least 20 of these books are non-fiction, and they are about art. Art in the form of literature, film, music, painting and so on. Most of them are about music.

When I read about music, I need to listen to the music I read about. A good red wine in the glass, or a good cup of coffee and the music playing in the background. The artists catalogue (and bootlegs) should be available to me, so that when I read about a concert or a record, I can listen to that music when I read. It is not always possible, but very often it is.  I need to set the mood.

I don’t look at the year of release when I buy music books, but I do buy interesting new releases.

Here is my list.

1. Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years by Mark Lewisohn:

I think I’ve read more books about The Beatles than any other band/artist (yes, including Dylan) and this new book may be the best I have read. Tune In is the first volume of All These Years—a biographical trilogy by Beatles historian, Mark Lewisohn.

Ten years in the making, Tune In takes the Beatles from before their childhoods through the last hour of 1962—when, with breakthrough success just days away, they stand on the cusp of a whole new kind of fame and celebrity. They’ve one hit record , Love Me Do, behind them and the next , Please Please Me,  primed for release, their first album session is booked, and America is clear on the horizon.  This is the pre-Fab years of Liverpool and Hamburg—and it is told in unprecedented detail. Here is the “complete” account of their family lives, childhoods, teenage years and their infatuation with American music, here is the story of their unforgettable days and nights in the Cavern Club, their life when they could move about freely, before fame closed in.

The first ten years in 944 pages. Many people were afraid that Lewisohn should write in a dry and academic style, he does not. He transports us into the lives of these young men, and we really feel like we are with them on this exiting journey. The words make the story sing.

This is clearly the best music book of 2013.

Tune In #1
2. One More Night: Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour by Andrew Muir

one more night

 ‘The Never Ending Tour’ celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2013. Its time span already represents almost half of Dylan’s entire career and totals over 2,500 shows!

Bob Dylan expert (and fan) Andrew Muir documents the ups and downs of this unprecedented trek. Muir analyses and assesses Dylan’s performances over the years, with special focus on many memorable shows. One More Night traces what it all means both in terms of Dylan’s artistic career and in the lives of the dedicated Dylan followers who collect recordings of every show and regularly cross the globe to catch up with the latest leg.

Many Dylan followers collect recordings of his live shows, this is the book to get if you want to know what shows to look for (as a start). An essential addition to the canon of Dylan literature.

3. Jerry Lee Lewis – Lost and Found by Joe Bonomo (2010):

From Booklist:
“Besides “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” the best-known fact anent Jerry Lee Lewis is that marrying his 13-year-old second cousin scuttled his rocketing young career. Bonomo launches his appreciation of Lewis from that event, homing in on Lewis’ first British tour, at the beginning of which the news was broken. A mass cancellation followed, and back home it became hard to get new Lewis records airplay. Lewis hit the road heavily to maintain his lifestyle (which came to include hitting booze and pills pretty hard, too) and eventually scored big time on the country charts in the late 1960s. Between rock and country stardom, however, he returned to Britain in 1962 and 1963 and, concluding the ’63 jaunt in Hamburg, Germany, recorded one of the acknowledged greatest live albums ever. Accounting for every aspect of that record is the loving heart of Bonomo’s tribute, and he continues to thoughtfully evaluate Lewis’ country albums. The intrinsically interesting Jerry Lee and Bonomo’s good judgment compensate for too much rock-crit boilerplate. “
-Ray Olson

This is a great book about one of my favorite albums. Yes, it is about more than that, but it really shines when Bonomo writes about the live album from the Star Club in Hamburg (1964). I think it is the best book written about a singular album.

Lost and found
Continue reading The Best Music Books read in 2013 by Hallgeir

Today: A Hard Days Night by The Beatles was released in 1964

A_Hard_Day's_Nigth

“We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers. The early stuff – the Hard Day’s Night period, I call it – was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”
– John Lennon (1980)

A Hard Day’s Night is the third album by The Beatles; it was released on July 10, 1964. The album is a soundtrack to the A Hard Day’s Night film, starring the Beatles. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

HDN

In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number 5 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

The soundtrack songs were recorded in late February, and the non-soundtrack songs were recorded in June. The title song itself was recorded on April 16.

“…but A Hard Day’s Night is perhaps the band’s most straightforward album: You notice the catchiness first, and you can wonder how they got it later.

The best example of this is the title track– the clang of that opening chord to put everyone on notice, two burning minutes thick with percussion (including a hammering cowbell!) thanks to the new four-track machines George Martin was using, and then the song spiraling out with a guitar figure as abstractedly lovely as anything the group had recorded.”

– Tom Ewing, Pitchfork

A Hard Day’s Night (Paris, 1965):

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I saw the movie before I bought the album, and the pictures roll before my eyes as I listen to the album. The film is a masterpiece and so is the album.
a-hard-days-night movie

“Considering the quality of the original material on With the Beatles, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Lennon & McCartney decided to devote their third album to all-original material. Nevertheless, that decision still impresses, not only because the album is so strong, but because it was written and recorded at a time when the Beatles were constantly touring, giving regular BBC concerts, appearing on television and releasing non-LP singles and EPs, as well as filming their first motion picture. In that context, the achievement of A Hard Day’s Night is all the more astounding.”
– Allmusic (Stephen Thomas Erlewine)

It was my first Beatles album, and even if it has lost it’s top spot on my Beatles list, I love it dearly. It always makes me happy when i put it on.

John Lennon was the main contributor to the album. He wrote A Hard Day’s Night,  I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All, I’ll Cry Instead, When I Get Home and You Can’t Do That.

He also wrote the majority of If I Fell and I’ll Be Back, and wrote I’m Happy Just To Dance With You with McCartney.

I Should Have Known Better (my favorite song on the album):

That doesn’t mean that Paul McCartney was  left off the record. He wrote the  ballads Things We Said Today plus And I Love Her , and lets not forget the lovely single Can’t Buy Me Love.

Can’t Buy Me Love:

As always the lines blur on some of the songs, but there are a lot of indications that this was the way the songs were composed, or rather, who wrote the songs.

“When we knew we were writing for something like an album John would write a few in his spare moments, like this batch here. He’d bring them in, we’d check ’em. I’d write a couple and we’d throw ’em at each other, and then there would be a couple that were more co-written. But you just had a certain amount of time.”
– Paul McCartney

A Hard Day’s Night is classic album that is a true testament to their collaborative writing powers, and, man, they had become a tight band!

– Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, Allmusic, Pitchfork, John Lennon Interview with David Sheff in 1980, Many Years From Now by Barry Miles (book)

Today: The Beatles played the Rooftop concert, Apple building 30 Jan 1969

rooftop1

“I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition” – John Lennon 

Trying to come up with a conclusion for the film, Let it be, it was suggested that the band play an unannounced lunchtime concert on the roof of the Apple building. On 30 January, The Beatles with Preston played on the rooftop in the cold wind for 42 minutes, about half of which ended up in the film.

The songs performed in the Rooftop concert, Apple building:

  • Get Back (5 versions)
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Don’t Let Me Down (2 versions)
  • I’ve Got A Feeling
  • One After 909
  • Danny Boy (in between the main songs)
  • Dig A Pony (2 versions)
  • God Save The Queen (incompl.)
  • A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody (between main songs)

The Concert:

The Beatles started with a rehearsal of “Get Back,” then played the five songs which are shown in the film. After repeating “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” takes which were left out of the film, the Beatles are shown in the film closing with another pass at “Get Back” as the police arrive to shut down the show.  (Wikipedia)

The songs were used as a whole or in parts on the album, in the film and later on Anthology 3 and on the re-release/reworking of Let it be, Let it be…naked.

The Apple building concert was the first live gig since The Beatles stopped touring 29. August 1966 (tired of  screaming girls and not beeing able to hear themselves through the screams) and it was to be their last. It’s a fantastic show, sweet and short, really makes us long for more. It gives us a glimpse of what could have been, and it shows us what a magnificent live band they were.

rooftop2

 “We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.

We set up a camera in the Apple reception area, behind a window so nobody could see it, and we filmed people coming in. The police and everybody came in saying, ‘You can’t do that! You’ve got to stop.'” – George Harrison (Anthology)

Whatever animosity there was between the four guys it doesn’t show, it looks like they have the time of their life, it is a magnificent live farewell.

It is also one of the most bootlegged shows in rock’n roll history, both on audio and film.

rooftop_cover1

rooftop_dvd

Let’s hope for an official Let it Be Blu-Ray release, maybe with the rooftop concert as a separate extra feature (with all available footage).

Other January 30:

Continue reading Today: The Beatles played the Rooftop concert, Apple building 30 Jan 1969