Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

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.
***
Geoff Emerick, recorded the Beatles in their prime, dies at 72

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

The new documentary The Vietnam War by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, which I am watching, though not in real time, reminded me of the time I might have seen John Lennon but did not.

I have noted that I participated in a number of antiwar demonstrations between 1968 and 1974. (In 1967, it would not have occurred to me.) A few were in my hometown of Binghamton, NY, which got bigger and bigger as the war dragged on.

But most Vietnam prtook place while I was a student in New Paltz, NY, starting in 1971. A handful took place in town or around the area (Kingston, Poughkeepsie). But most were in New York City, with a fair number in Washington, DC.

It was at one of the New York City rallies – there were so many, I no longer remember when – that a bunch of us took a charter bus to New York City to stand up against what was the latest incursion. And after we rallied for a couple hours, we got the bus home.

Someone was listening to the rally on the radio – I’m guessing WBAI-FM, which makes sense, given its history. An organizer at the announced John Lennon and Yoko Ono, only ten minutes after we had reboarded the bus. We were still in Manhattan, but, of course, there was a schedule to keep.

I don’t what he said specifically that day – it was probably similar to the ideas expressed here – but we were all disappointed to miss it first-hand.

John Lennon’s struggle against war I thought was brave, not because he had been a Beatle, but because he was facing deportation from the United States because of what was likely was a bogus drug possession arrest and conviction in the UK a couple of years earlier.

Hmm – interesting how what would have been the the 77th birthday of John Lennon converges with the now-controversial celebration of Columbus Day, given the often xenophobic polices of the current regime.

Listen to:
Give Peace a Chance – Plastic Ono Band 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)

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