It doesn’t matter much to me

Let me take you down

It doesn't matter much to meNearly four decades after his death, there’s an inordinate interest of What If? when it comes to John Lennon. Quite often it comes from people who were born after the Beatles broke up, or even after John died.

If he had lived, would he have left Yoko? One can find theorists suggesting that he would, that their marriage was a sham. The thought was that once he started writing music again, he was regaining his inner strength. Eventually, after Double Fantasy, or maybe the followup, he’d leave her.

Of course, the Beatles reunion is always at the heart of this sort of speculation. John was fond of some songs on McCartney II in 1980, Paul’s first album sans Wings in a decade.

George had a modicum of commercial success. His first album after the murder, Somewhere in England, contained a tribute to John. His album after that, 1982’s Gone Troppo, was not a big hit. Ringo had had all three on his various albums, although not simultaneously. So I suppose a reunion might have been possible.

Now you know I remain a massive Beatles fan. When my sisters and I lipsynched to the songs of Beatles VI in 1965 for the neighbor kids, I was always John. Lennon was always my favorite Beatle. I was devastated by his death.

Let me take you down

Yet I find all the speculation is not at all interesting. As he wrote, “It doesn’t matter much to me.” So I don’t have much of an opinion on which songs would be on a 1981 Beatles album if there had been such a thing.

For one thing, the interaction among them would have been far different than it was in 1969. Would they even get along in the studio again? Does George get more songs? Who knows? NOBODY and no one ever will.

Enough grumpiness. Some songs:

BEATLES
Ticket to Ride
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
Norwegian Wood
Rain
Tomorrow Never Knows
Strawberry Fields Forever; “It doesn’t matter much to me”
I Am the Walrus, from LOVE
Come Together

SOLO
I’m Losing You
Nobody Told Me

Robert Freeman, the longtime photographer for the Beatles, died. He had an exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art. “The complementary exhibition, THE BEATLES: Community Stories, from December 21, 2002 through March 2, 2003, is an… exhibition that celebrates the Fab Four with a selection of memorabilia on loan from Capital Region residents.

“From toys to tea towels, from posters to photographs, from autographs to collectibles…you’ll see it all at the Albany Institute.” I had but one magazine, but I also brought in some bootleg LPs and The Beatles in Italy.

Gallery of the Louvre: gallery of my office

“Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!”

gallery of the louvreAt work, I’ve got an office for the first time in 12 years. I’ve been in cubicles, and for more than two years in a part of a storage space; long story.

*The only thing on the wall in the latter location was a picture of John Lennon c 1972 which my friend Rocco of FantaCo gave me decades ago.

My wife and my daughter decided to rectify that situation. Most of the items were in the attic, not getting the love they needed.

*The largest item is a print my wife had of Gallery of the Louvre, 1831-33 by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. Yeah, the guy who invented the telegraph was also an artist.

It appeals to me, a picture of pictures in a picture. But I also appreciate that one can be an artist and an inventor too.

*My friend, the late Raoul Vezina, did a pencil drawing of me as the duck and had it framed. The large word balloon reads “SURPRISE, ROGER!” The thought balloon was of me thinking, “Is it time for Agronsky and Company already?” That referred to a news talk show I watched regularly.

The duck is reading a New York Times Magazine, which featured the actual content of the issue dated Sunday, March 7, 1982, SELF-SEARCHING IN ISRAEL by Michael Elkins. I think Raoul gave it to me the next day. The picture reminds me of Raoul, of course, who died in November 1983, but also FantaCo, and my birthday.

*A little picture of a pear in the foreground. The caption: “‘Whoever you are, you’ve got Charisma!’ exclaimed Red Ball.” My wife tells me it’s suggestive. Whatever.

In a WTEN (Channel 10, Albany) interview of me before I appeared on JEOPARDY! in 1998, I noted that passing the test doesn’t necessarily mean I’d be on the show. The interviewer said what makes the difference between appearing and not. I said, cheekily, “I don’t know, charisma?” And for about five years after that, one of my work colleagues noted that I had CHARISMA.

*There’s a tiny photo of the top of Binghamton (NY) City Hall, which my friend, and ex-girlfriend, gave me. My hometown.

*The last piece is abstract so difficult to describe. I expect from the color scheme it was from Central America. We got it as a wedding present, I believe.

Some Of Us Grew Up Listening To The Beatles

How was the relationship between John Lennon and George Harrison?

Beatles TshirtI was listening to some little ditty which involved the 76-year-old Paul McCartney dancing to one of his new songs from his #1 album Egypt Station, encouraging fans to send in videos doing the same.

Then YouTube, in its infinite wisdom, suggested How Do You Sleep? (Takes 5 & 6, Raw Studio Mix Out-take), John Lennon’s searing takedown of his former writing partner.

From the notes, “excerpted from the 120-page book in the Imagine Ultimate Collection Box Set,” John noted: “You know, there’s two things I regret. One is that there was so much talk about Paul on it, they missed the song. It was a good track….

“And I should’ve kept me mouth shut – not on the song, it could’ve been about anybody, you know?… Dylan said it about his stuff… most of it’s about him. The only thing that matters is how [Paul] and I feel about those things… Him and me are OK… I’ve always been a little, you know, loose. And I hope it’ll change because I’m fed up of waking up in the papers. But if it doesn’t, my friends are my friends whatever way.”

But how was the relationship between John Lennon and George Harrison, who, not incidentally, is seen playing on How Do You Sleep, just before John was shot?

Several fans noted that John showed little interest in George’s songs during the Beatles, he was negative about George’s three-album box set All Things Must Pass and that John had been upset that George had not mentioned him enough in his autobiography (I, Me, Mine).

At some level, December 8, the day in 1980 that John Lennon died, always reminds me of a couple things. How people can be frozen in time, with John forever 40. How you don’t always get a chance to reconcile difficulties with others in life.

When I moved into my new office in October, one of my colleagues kindly bought me a poster of all the Beatles’ albums. This was the week that my intern, who was born in India, noted that she had never heard of The Beatles! Also around that time, Drake broke the Beatles’ Record for Most Top 10 Songs in a Year, though with all of his guest appearances on others’ records, and in a download age, I naturally think the designation deserves an asterisk.

So I bought that T-shirt that reads, “Some Of Us Grew Up Listening To The Beatles, The Cool Ones Still Do,” mostly because it’s true.
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Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

Coverville 1240: The 15th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Show

Walrus gumbo: white album re-release

The reissued white album includes the much-sought-after demos, recorded at “George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, London, fresh from the band’s fabled Rishikesh trip.”

white albumI distinctly remember the first time I heard the “white album” by The Beatles. In November 1968, a bunch of our merry band, dubbed Holiday Unlimited – “a splendid time is guaranteed for all” – were in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Binghamton, NY.

Our friend Steve, the only UU among us, “sponsored” our gathering as an LRY (Liberal Religious Youth) event. we listened to each of the four sides, with only a brief bathroom breaks.

We were gobsmacked. The sounds were all over the place. But I must have liked it, because I got it for Christmas (or maybe my next birthday), but I had to replace one of the discs because the intro to Birthday skipped.

The album The Beatles, generally referred to as the “white album,” is being reissued in several formats, including a limited 6 CD + 1 Blu-ray audio Super Deluxe box set.

It includes the much-sought-after Esher Demos, recorded at “George Harrison’s bungalow in Esher, London, fresh from the band’s fabled Rishikesh trip,” plus three sessions discs and a slip-sleeved 164-page hardbound book. “The book also includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin and in-depth track-by-track details and session notes.”

The Deluxe 3 CD set which includes the Esher demos, has a 24-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. There are also a couple different LP versions. I may purchase the 3 CDs at about $30, because the super deluxe set, at $150 may be too rich for my blood.

Paul McCartney goes through The White album track by track.

I’m now convinced that people will still be talking about Beatles’ music fifty years from now. Part of the reason is the sheer volume of their music being released decades after their breakup. I have approximately three dozen albums that are strictly Beatles covers. The band remains a regular topic on the Quora website.

YouTube automatically rolled to Ticket to Ride by the Beatles. the music is as seminal as ever and the video is a hoot. Minimal attempts to feign playing their instruments, the wry look at 1:40 from John.

Here’s The Story Behind John Lennon’s Walrus. It reminded me of a little joke my junior high school friend Ray made, musing on whether Lennon meant “standing in the English rain” or perhaps the “English reign,” meaning the Queen.

Today is Sean Lennon’s 43rd birthday, which is really hard to fathom; I saw him in concert about a decade ago. It would also have been John Lennon’s 78th birthday.
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Geoff Emerick, recorded the Beatles in their prime, dies at 72

Here today – “I am holding back the tears no more”

You’d probably laugh and say
That we were worlds apart
If you were here today

December 1963
The relationship among the Beatles is a very popular topic on the Quora website. Someone asked: If John Lennon were still alive, would he and Paul McCartney have patched up their differences?

It’s a reasonable question, given the number of post-breakup fight songs that were released by all four of the ex-Fabs, none quite as nasty as Lennon’s How Do You Sleep?, “an answer to Paul McCartney’s ‘Too Many People’ and a direct attack on his old friend.” It even features a slide guitar part played by George Harrison.

As all the respondents noted in one way or another, before he died, John had already resolved his relationship with Paul.

To a similar question, a writer notes: “It’s easy to see how Paul feels about John. Every time he sings “Here Today”, he wells up with tears. There was a lot of love between those two. Brothers always.”

Well, not every time; I’ve seen McCartney get through the song dry-eyed. But in this 2015 interview, around the time of what would have been John’s 75th birthday, Paul notes how he is surprised how affected he can sometimes become, singing the song he wrote back in 1981 about his late friend.

I remember that shortly after Lennon was murdered in 1980, someone put a microphone in front of McCartney’s face and asked him how he was feeling. Paul uttered something like, “It’s a real drag, man.” And he was criticized in some circles.

Stick a mic in front of any grieving person and one is like to find a lack of eloquence. That’s something I’ve been sharply aware of when reporters stalk out people after tragedy.

Listen to Here Today

Only tangentially related:

Coverville 1194: The 14th Annual All-Beatles Thanksgiving Cover Show

Ringo Starr does NOT support Roy Moore’s campaign – reference to “You’re Sixteen”

Labor woes: How it all began in America