L is for Lennon: John and Yoko

Lennon’s lead guitar work on Walking on Thin Ice, which he recorded 8 December 1980, was his final creative act.

JohnandYokoJohn Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art gallery in November 1966. Very soon, the thing that would really bug Paul, George, and Ringo was that SHE was in the studio with John and them; this had been the Beatles’ nexus, but now he’s bringing in his girlfriend?

Her vocals would eventually show up on Beatles songs, notably Revolution 9 from the white album, and the very strange song What’s The New Mary Jane [LISTEN, if you want] which actually never made it onto a legitimate record until the third Beatles Anthology album, released in the 1990s.

They did a number of albums together, including two avant-garde albums called Unfinished Music. Two Virgins had the infamous nude cover; the CD release added the Yoko song Remember Love [LISTEN], the B-side to the Plastic Ono Band single, Give Peace A Chance [LISTEN].

The Life with the Lions, which corresponded with Yoko’s miscarriage, also had extra material for the CD release. This was followed by The Wedding Album, with side 1 filled with John yelling “Yoko!” and Yoko screaming, “John!”; at least side two was an informative interview.

Live Peace In Toronto was interesting, with Eric Clapton and “Revolver” cover artist Klaus Voorman playing with John. Side two was all Yoko, mostly experimental stuff. LISTEN for yourself to the whole album.

Almost saw John & Yoko at an antiwar demonstration in 1972 or 1973. We had taken a charted bus down from New Paltz, NY to NYC, but we had to get back at the appointed hour. While we were on the bus, still in Manhattan, we heard John on the radio at the rally we had just left only minutes earlier. Speaking of war: Yoko and a bunch of kids appear on Merry Xmas (War is Over) [LISTEN]. Likewise, John regularly appears as guitarist and/or producer on songs she recorded in the 1970s.

They had their famous breakup, the “Lost Weekend”, but got back together in late 1974, then had a son together, Sean, on John’s 35th birthday, October 9, 1975.

When John decided to go back into recording in 1980, Yoko was inarguably an equal musical partner, with their songs alternating on Double Fantasy and the album after John’s death, Milk and Honey. No song better reflects, for me, John’s evolution as a person than Woman, from the former album.

Perhaps my favorite Yoko song is Walking on Thin Ice:

Released in 1981. She and John Lennon concluded the recording of the song on December 8, 1980. It was upon their return from the recording studio to The Dakota (their home in New York City) that Lennon was murdered… Lennon was clutching a tape of a final mix when he was shot.

Lennon’s lead guitar work on the track, which he recorded [that day], was his final creative act.

The B-side was It Happened [LISTEN], which starts with a dialogue between John and Yoko before she sings. Here’s a list, with links, to Yoko’s best songs, including the aforementioned Walking on Thin Ice.

Yoko has continued to record, as well as keep John’s music in the public eye. Sean is a recording artist as well, and I got to see him play a few years back.

 


ABC Wednesday – Round 14

March Rambling: mostly about me

I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.

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My old buddy Augustus (who you FantaCo customers might have known as Matt), put this together for my birthday. Pic on the left is from the cover of the FantaCon 1988 convention program, drawn by the late Chas Balun. The image is on the right was John Hebert’s rendition from Sold Out #1, c. 1986.
This is about me because: It was so cool. And he wrote: “Thank you for turning me on to a world of literature far beyond science fiction and fantasy. You are still an influence on this boychik. Long may you arrange. (books in order).” And you thought I couldn’t blush.

Now Jaquandor KNOWS how to celebrate my birthday. He added me to his sentential links here. He answered my question about football.
This is about me, obviously. (Sidebar: some highly educated person wrote: “As is my want” recently in a mass e-mail I received. You have NO idea how difficult it was for me NOT to correct him. Jaquandor would NOT make this misteak, er, mistake.)

Tom Skulan of FantaCo is being interviewed for Theater of Guts.
This is about me because: I worked at FantaCo for over eight years I took the photo of Tom, and also the pic of the late Chas Balun looking towards the ceiling. I find it interesting that my photos of the store and the FantaCon have been so heavily used since I am really a lousy photographer.

Dustbury answers my question about women’s fashion. Not only does he know more about the topic than I do, but he also knows more about popular music.
This is about me because: as a librarian, I am always ready to defer to people with greater expertise.

Occasionally, I’ll do one of those BuzzFeed games. This month, I’ve been Superman, Abraham Lincoln, and a Georgia O’Keefe painting.
This is about me because: actually I found the first two descriptions relatively accurate; the third, maybe not so much.

Meet Jeopardy!’s new master–and his controversial strategy, [Podcast interview] by Glenn Fleishman, two-time JEOPARDY! winner. Plus Arthur Chu’s social media brand, from the New Yorker.
This is about me because: I like to watch JEOPARDY! And now that Chu’s 11-day run is over, these articles will stop, at least until the Tournament of Champions. See also, Ken Jennings’ interview with Julann Griffin, the mother of JEOPARDY!

Tosy continues to count down his U2 song rankings, from 144 to 135 and 134 to 125 and 125 to 115 and 114 to 101.
This is about me because: When I wrote that I was linking to his return post last month, he wrote, “Thanks, Roger! I need the pressure!” I THINK he meant that in a good way.

Eddie, the Renaissance Geek, links to Green Day songs.
This is about me because: I mean it’s GREEN Day. Yeesh. How is it that American Idiot is MORE relevant now than it was a decade ago?

In the years 1965-1966, Pete Seeger hosted a television series, Rainbow Quest, devoted to folk music. Here are 13 of the 39 episodes.
This is about me because: I loved Pete Seeger’s music, and I used to sing folk music, and this was posted by a sort of relative.

Incredibly dirty R&B: gloriously filthy music from the 30s-50s
This is about me because I really like music, as my posts this year should suggest. I’m particularly interested in the history of music in the United States. Yeah, that’s the story.

Why Sharp Little Pencil writes.
This is about me because: we lived in the same county (Broome, NY), at the same time, once upon a time. And because she speaks truth to power, which I find to be an admirable thing.

RodSerling.BinghamtonHS.
Here is, on a wall of Binghamton High School, a picture of Rod Serling.
This is about me because: Rod Serling went to what was then Binghamton Central High School, as did I. He was student government president, as was I. I got to introduce him to an assembly, sort of.

Mark Evanier linked to twelve songs, all but one sung by Mel Blanc, voicing a different cartoon character, each a “Happy Birthday” song for a different month. Here’s
January and February, and
March and April, and
May and June, and
July and August, and
September and October, and
November and December. PLUS Happy Birthday played on “the 5th largest organ in the world”
This is about me because: did I mention this is my birth month?

12 YEARS A SLAVE: portraits of Solomon Northup’s descendants
This is about me because: what it says about our preconceived notions. And because it’s about movies. And Northup lived around here.

My cousin Dr. Anne Beal is leaving one important job for another.
This is about me because: my family had Thanksgiving dinner with hers, and about a dozen other people, in 2013.

Stephen Bissette‘s open letter to DC on Facebook about NBC’s Constantine.
This is about me because my friend Steve’s dissection of DC is so deliciously understated, and addresses the issue of common courtesy.

Rory O’Neill, aka Panti Bliss, a leading drag performer in Ireland, speaks about homophobia.
This is about me because the narrative reminds me of certain people on a certain “news network” defining racism for black people.

Lisa retells the story of Esther, which led to the holiday of Purim.
This is about me because: about 20 years ago, I played Haman in a church play.

What’s the reality behind “senior moments”?
This is about me because: because…because…oh, yeah, because this TOTALLY explains mine.

Anthony sees an anxious face in this picture of a building.
This is about me because: so do I.

The Lost Art of the Unsent Angry Letter from Jaquandor, and the AmeriNZ response.
This is about me because: I seldom respond quickly to comments on the Internet so that I can avoid unnecessary noise.

SamuraiFrog is linking to Muppet stuff, such as Sequel Song and Lipton Tea commercials, and searching for sushi and St. Patrick’s Day.
This is about me because: The Daughter REALLY wants to see the new Muppet movie, so I GUESS I’ll just HAVE to take her.

Les Miserables is back on Broadway, and Sesame Street has put together an excellent cookie-themed parody of it.
This is about me because: I love theater and Muppets. And COOKIES!

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Frog is also still writing his 50 Shades of Smartass. Here’s Chapter 17 and Chapter 18 and Chapter 19 and Chapter 20.
This is about me because: now I have an excuse to REALLY NEVER EVER have to read the books.

Dustbury notes that a strange story about the woman’s auto-payments hid her death for six years!
This is about me because my auto-posting on this blog, and directed to Facebook and Twitter, would probably hide my own demise for a month.

I love this church sign.
This is about me because: I TOTALLY mean it. Bring it on, Westboro! Here’s my Fred Phelps tribute post. Here’s Nathan Phelps’ statement on the death of his estranged father. And Dustbury points to the new Westboro poison meister.

Beatles dominance

The cast of Glee, the TV show, is considered an artist, and has had multiple songs on the charts simultaneously,


As most Beatles obsessives know, it was 50 years ago this week, on the Billboard charts of April 4, 1964, that the Fab Four held the top FIVE singles on the Billboard music charts and a dozen songs in the top 100. I wrote about this five years ago.

What I want to ponder now is, Could it ever happen again? It’s unlikely that an artist would be appearing on multiple labels, as the Beatles did.

For the purpose of the charts, the cast of Glee, the TV show, is considered an artist and has had multiple songs on the charts simultaneously, though NONE of them have gone to #1, and only a handful in the top 10. Still, it’s a model for potential chart dominance.

The closest anyone has come to the Beatles record is 50 Cent, who placed three titles simultaneously – “Candy Shop” (No. 1), the Game’s “How We Go,” on which he guested (No. 4), and “Disco Inferno” (No. 5) – in the top five on the charts dated March 12 and 19, 2005. So it’s possible that a VERY popular rapper could guest on a bunch of other artists’ tracks and break the record.

Now that YouTube views will now count towards Billboard Hot 100, it seems possible that someone will create a whole slew of brilliant videos and dump them on an unsuspecting world simultaneously, wowing the country with its awesomeness. But probably not.

Even if the Beatles’ record is matched or exceeded, it is unlikely that the group’s impact will ever be eclipsed.

Fridays in Lent: Adagio in G Minor, attributed to Albinoni

Arlene Mahigian was like my choir mom, taking my robe home to wash it every summer, though I never asked her to,

AlbinoniI remember quite well the first time I heard Adagio in G Minor, presumably by “the 18th century Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but in fact composed almost entirely by the 20th century musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto.”

I was a member of the choir of my former church, and we were preparing to sing the Mozart Requiem in March of 1985. A beloved member of our choir, our soprano soloist, Arlene Mahigian, had been struggling with cancer. She was like my choir mom, taking my robe home to wash it every summer, though I never asked her to, and the like. She was clearly not going to be able to sing the Mozart. But she did make the performance, in a wheelchair.

The opening number was the Adagio, performed by her husband Leo, who was, for a time, concertmaster of the Albany Symphony Orchestra, on violin, and their son, Peter, on organ. Arlene died about three weeks later, and I saw her in the hospital a day or two before she passed, when she squeezed my hand to let me know she knew I was there.

Here’s Adagio in G Minor, which made me cry then and it still does, especially at about the seven-minute mark.

The past, education, happy, sad

I don’t like studying anything in depth; I get bored.

paperrockNew York Erratic must be from New Jersey, she asks so many questions:

Are there any events in your life that you feel make good parables that you want to share one day with your daughter?

I was 51 when she was born, so there is a lot of my life to draw from. Huge parts of it she doesn’t know, significant events, and I’m not sure exactly when/if to tell her. Maybe if she asks. She DOES know about JEOPARDY!

I remember looking at photos of my mother with some guy she went out with before she dated my father, and initially, it was kind of weird, but hey, that was rather natural. When she would talk about it- I was at least in my 20s by then – and say, “Oh, I could have married” so-and-so, it was rather disconcerting. I mean, I wouldn’t have been me!

My daughter is ALWAYS asking me to tell her stories, and I always struggle to tell her some. I know I’ve not wanted to poison her with some of the racism that I’ve experienced, yet at the same, try to subtly let her know – and some of it she’s figured out on her own – that it’s not all in the past.

I suppose I could tell her about being a conscious objector during the Vietnam war or going to various demonstrations for peace and justice. Not sure I want to tell her how I quit a job without having one to go to, more than once.

Really struggling with this one.

If you could go back in time and talk to yourself at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50, what would you say?

At 10, I was feeling pretty good about things. Got 100 in the spelling final. I started becoming real friends with the girls in my class. Maybe I’d say that I needed to develop more male friends, because, even to this day, I have a dearth of them. I’ve usually preferred the company of women, and not just in romantic settings. I have some great male friends, but they are in the clear minority.

At 20, I was married to the Okie. I’d tell myself to press her about what was going on with her that would lead to her leaving the next year. Maybe I would have gone to the Philadelphia folk festival (which we couldn’t afford) if it was THAT important to her. (Ah, something the Daughter does not know about yet.)

At 30, I had a good friend die and got my heart broken in a fairly short period of time. I’d tell myself to avoid a certain emotional entanglement the following year, though it felt so good at the moment.

At 40, I had just started my current job the year before. I would have suggested taking a temporary position when it became available because the whole path of my employment could have changed.

At 50, Carol was pregnant with Lydia. Actually, there’s very little I would have said at that point because it’s impossible to understand parenthood without experiencing it.

What do you think you didn’t study enough in high school and college?

In high school, it was French, though I DID put in the effort, I just didn’t GET it, past the first year or so. Wish I had had the chance to have taken it earlier. In college, I’m surprised, in retrospect, that I took exactly one course in music, which I aced, and didn’t participate at all in a choral group, at college, or a church or something.

Did you have to write a thesis for your graduate program?

It was not a thesis as such, but it was a long paper, close to 50 pages. I couldn’t tell you what it was about if you paid me. It was torture when I wrote it.

What’s your favorite subject to study in-depth? What is your least favorite subject?

I don’t like studying anything in-depth; I get bored. I like to know a little about a lot of things. Recently, I HAVE become more expert in START-UP NY (an attempt at an economic stimulus in the state) and NYS sales tax law than anyone ought to be, and still, I have to look up. I suppose I’ve picked up some knowledge of The Beatles and other musical entities of the 1960s and 1970s.

My eyes glaze over when listening to talk about cars; I couldn’t tell you a type of Chevy that doesn’t start with C (Corvette, Corvair).

If you could give one piece of advice to a college student today, what would it be?

Resist learning about job skills that you can go into today; the field could be gone tomorrow. DO learn about all sorts of stuff, and know-how to think, not just regurgitate back the facts. In other words, in spite of the great affection for STEM education in the country these days, and I’m not against it, I still believe in the value of a liberal arts education.
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Do you read the funnies? What’s your favorite internet comic?

I seldom read the comics on the Internet, more as a matter of time. I’ve seen stuff I like online, such as XKCD, but it’s not part of the routine. (Here is a special version of the strip.) I read Pearls Before Swine, Luann, Zits, Doonesbury (when there’s new daily stuff) and Blondie, because it has evolved somewhat. Having said this, I did support the Kickstarter for the movie STRIPPED, about the history of the genre, so I am interested in the topic.

What types of jokes or humor make you laugh the hardest?

It’s language: clever puns, things that evolve from double meanings of words. Can’t give you an example, because, as I have often said, I can’t REMEMBER a joke I’ve heard since the age of about 12, even with fiscal incentive. But the visuals on the page, while not the best examples (but they are the last two on my Facebook feed) at least suggest the genre of humor.

I HATE, BTW, America’s Funniest Home Videos; the bits usually involve physical pain and embarrassment. I was at an urgent care place with Lydia a couple of years ago, and it was on the TV; my loathing was confirmed.

One more question, this from SamuraiFrog:

What makes you cry?

Music: The Barber Adagio I have almost a dozen versions of. Lenten music in general. But a great final movement of a classical piece will do it too, especially with organ power chord endings. I’ve mentioned some sad songs, associated with romance, in the past. Music evokes some very specific memories. Sometimes, songs, songs I associate with my former church in Albany make me very sad. Know what song used to make me weepy? Captain Jack by Billy Joel.
Movies: the first one was West Side Story when Maria yells “Don’t you touch him!” over the dead Tony, but there have been several since. An occasional television show will do this as well, but it’s been a while, mostly because I’m not watching much TV.
Other people being sad: I remember when Bobby Kennedy died and people were all sad. I wasn’t, but their tears became mine because THEY were hurting. That Kickstarter/Veronica Mars thing that you experienced made me sad for you, almost to tears, and surprisingly angry.
My melancholia: More now than in quite a while. Sometimes, even in the midst of a crowd, I can feel quite alone. And I cry and/or I get angry.
My daughter in pain, my wife in pain: the worst pain I ever saw my wife endure was after some surgery involving her jaw. MUCH worse than childbirth.

You can still Ask Roger Anything.