Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

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.

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.
***
Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – John Lennon

(Just Like) Starting Over – John Lennon

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

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.

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