Posts Tagged ‘George Harrison’

More random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

By today’s standards, or even by the criteria of rock benefit concerts later that decade, George Harrison had no idea what he was doing as a benefit organizer. The Concert for Bangladesh, initiated after the former East Pakistan suffered from massacres and famine, happened because the former Beatle saw the effect the tragedy had on his friend and teacher Ravi Shankar, a Bengali.

Harrison was able to line up Ringo Starr. Would there be a Beatles reunion, the press wondered? Er, no. The mysterious Klaus Voorman, who designed the Revolver cover, and played bass on John’s Live Peace in Toronto, was on board. But John wanted Yoko there too and that was the end of that. The only place the Beatles would all be together would be on the charts.

Longtime session musician Leon Russell was hot off Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. A drug-addled Eric Clapton was such an uncertainty that George had Peter Frampton show up at the rehearsals, just in case. Keyboardist Billy Preston, drummer Jim Keltner, the band Badfinger, and some of Russell’s cohorts completed the band. Both Harrison, who never had to be the front man before, and Bob Dylan, who had been out of the spotlight for some time, were nervous.

August 1 was the only available date at Madison Square Garden for the Bangladesh concert before Disney on Parade took over. Two shows at 2:30 and 8 pm. “There were no plans to broadcast the show live on radio or to record for TV.” Of the three cameras used to capture the show, “what survives is largely thanks to the camera that was in the pits.”

Meanwhile, Warner Brothers Records in Los Angeles was signing up artists with seemingly little concern for their immediate commercial viability. Randy Newman, Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder. Asylum Records, under David Geffen, was signing Jackson Browne and an unnamed group that would become The Eagles.

There were lots of accidental meetings of troubadours. Graham Parsons finds Emmylou Harris. Kris Kristofferson and Paul Anka meet on a plane, see each other’s gigs, and this led to the signing of Steve Goodman and John Prine. Jerry Jeff Walker hears an Anna McGarrigle song and pitches it to Linda Ronstadt; it was Heart Like a Wheel.

It was a magic, synchronistic time.

Listen to:

What is Life – George Harrison here or here

Willin’ – Little Feat here or here

City of New Orleans – Steve Goodman here or here

Hello In There – John Prine here or here

Ain’t No Sunshine – Bill Withers here or here

Heart Like A Wheel – Kate and Anna McGarrigle here or here

Random music recollections based on the book Never A Dull Moment.

The Beatles had broken up but there was a Fab on the top of the charts. All Things Must Pass spent the first seven weeks of 1971 at #1 in the US, though, as a double album, or triple, if you insist on counting the jam, it was twice the price of a standard LP. The title song was the theme of my high school senior prom. I loved the All Things Must Pass album, but was sad that the box the albums came in was too flimsy, and fairly quickly.

Whereas John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album was more difficult for me to grasp at first, with the primal screaming, though I did make it a part of my limited playlist at college that fall.

I was disheartened by the Read the rest of this entry »

johnyoko-merryxmasAs Christmas approached in 1980, the year John Lennon died, the song of his that made me most melancholy, other than the suddenly ironic (Just Like) Starting Over, was Merry Xmas (War Is Over). When someone has been advocating for peace, and is shot down by a fan, it just boggled the mind.

And so this is Xmas (war is over)
For weak and for strong (if you want it)
For rich and the poor ones (war is over)
The world is so wrong (if you want it)
And so happy Xmas (war is over)
For black and for white (if you want it)
For yellow and red ones (war is over)
Let’s stop all the fight (now)

A very Merry Xmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

I was going to post some of those Beatles Christmas 45s, which I have collected on an LP, but, thankfully, someone had already uploaded The Beatles – Complete Christmas Records, which came out every year from 1963 to 1969. Collectively, the cuts reflect the increasingly greater sophistication of the band’s music, as well as the eventually fractured nature of the group.

Even better, I discovered that someone else has made available The History of the Beatles’ Christmas, including everything from Merry Xmas to Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney to Ding Dong by George Harrison to some obscure Ringo song, plus those Beatles Christmas cuts, even the edited version of Christmastime is Here Again that came out at the time of the Beatles Anthology albums.

I’ve also come across a cover band called The Fab Four, which performs Christmas carols in the style of Beatles songs. The whole double CD you can find HERE. My favorite song on the album is the final one, Jingle Bells, performed in the style of the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. It shows the versatility of that last song on Revolver.

And for reasons that will become obvious, Come Together, a Christmas video for Swedish multinational clothing retailer, H&M. It was directed by Wes Anderson, and stars Adrien Brody.

Oh, yeah – All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle – Dora Bryan (1963)

Dylan, Lynne, Petty, Orbison, Harrison

Dylan, Lynne, Petty, Orbison, Harrison

Everything about the creation of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, I love. From the website comes a story I already knew.

George Harrison was asked by the folks at Warner Brothers Records to put together a non-album B-side for a single from the ex-Beatles’ album Cloud Nine.

Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison had shared dinner, then went to Bob Dylan’s home studio in Malibu, California. George had left a guitar at Tom Petty’s house, and when he went to retrieve it, he invited Petty to join in the fun.

Harrison played the resulting track, Handle with Care, to the WB brass, who thought the song was too good to bury on the flip side of George’s single. Maybe it could become part of an album?

The five frontmen took on the persona of the Traveling Wilburys from this: Read the rest of this entry »

PleasePleaseMeMy love for the Beatles is quite substantial, as most people who know me can tell. Here’s an article about how they influenced many other artists, and there are plenty more examples.

But they too were influenced by other musicians. I was reading Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. So I thought I’d put some of their songs, from the Please Please Me album, and related singles, up against the source material, with links to all.

I Saw Her Standing There”:

Paul explained…the bass riff was stolen Read the rest of this entry »

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