I’ve found myself unable to create any Best Of for the year.

I was reading Tegan’s blog a couple of weeks ago. She was telling this really interesting story about some friend of hers who had purchased an e-book for his Kindle or Nook or whatever and wanted to lend the book to his wife. But because of the DRM restriction, he was unable to. Then Tegan found for him a, let’s say, non-standard copy of the book. The act of obtaining the pirated copy may have been – OK, almost certainly was – a legal wrong, but Tegan categorized it as a moral right; I found myself agreeing with her assessment.

I know I’ve done similar things for the greater good. The only example that comes to mind involves the purchase of marijuana for a friend’s uncle who was on chemo. This was – the statute of limitations has run out, I’ll put it that way.

Which always brings me back to Dickens: Sometimes, at least, “The law is a ass.”

I always notice when people put the wrong word in an article, such as it’s for its, or effect for affect. I’m not talking typos, I’m talking errors. I’ll admit that, in the past, I might have thought less of that writer. But in a blog post by a very intelligent friend of mine, he used it’s when he meant it’s several times. I wrote to him about this privately, and he replied, “My dear old grammar died when I was very young so I never learned proper punctuation.” I was charmed enough to let it pass.

I’ve found myself unable to create any Best Of lists for the year, best of the music I bought, or movies I’ve seen, for a couple of reasons. 1) I just didn’t buy that much music or see that many movies, and of those I listen to or see, many predated 2010. But, moreover, 2) I’ve lost that ability to remember what music I even bought this year. I wouldn’t know about the movies if I didn’t blog about them. It appears I’ve lost the ability to think about life in 12-month segments.
When Governor Cuomo (that’d be Andrew, not his father Mario) was giving his State off the State address earlier this month, I was live Facebooking. It was fun. It could be addictive. I’m not likely to do it again any time soon, for that very reason!

Beatles Island Songs, 213-204

And after all that drama, “FUN is the one thing money can’t buy”? Really?

The rules of engagement

Links to songs included.
213 Dig It, a trifle from the Let It Be album attributed to all four Beatles.
212 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise). I like this well enough, actually – Paul puts it near the end of his live shows these days – but the intro will have to do.
211 Revolution 1 from the white album. I really LIKE the shooby doowap stuff on this Lennon variation. Sigh.
210 Wild Honey Pie, another trifle, from Paul, on the white album.
209 Octopus’s Garden, from Abbey Road. I already had this song. It was called Yellow Submarine. This is Ringo’s rewrite, complete with sea sound effects. I didn’t realize that this song bugged me so much until it showed up on the Blue 1967-1970 album. If Yellow Sub didn’t exist, this would rank much higher.
208 She’s Leaving Home from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. While I like the call and response, it’s Paul’s overly sentimental domestic dirge. And after all that drama, “FUN is the one thing money can’t buy”? Really?
207 Maggie Mae, from Let It Be. A traditional song arranged by the band, and yet another trifle.
206 Run for Your Life from Rubber Soul. John Lennon has pretty much dismissed this song for its message, which dovetails with my feelings about it, even at the time. Jaunty, though.
205 Mr. Moonlight from Beatles for Sale (UK), Beatles ’65 (US). Never enjoyed John’s vocal intro to this cover, and the rest I was indifferent to.
204 Her Majesty from Abbey Road, which I like well enough, but I’ll survive without it.

Beatles island song list

The interesting thing about this exercise is that I became aware, sometimes for the first time, some biases.

Ever have what you think is a really good concept, then you start actually DOING it, and you decide, “Well, maybe it WASN’T such a hot idea, after all”? So it is with this blogging project about the Beatles, clearly my favorite group.

The idea was to create my Beatles island song list. If I only had 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 Beatles songs available, which ones would I choose? First off, I had to find a list of all the songs that the Beatles recorded that are in the canon: the singles, albums, and EPs released between 1963 and 1970. No Star Club in Hamburg, no Tony Sheridan, no BBC or Anthology recordings. This list shows 215 songs, but lists Love Me Do twice (but not the other possibilities?) and also has Real Love, but not Free As a Bird. So I’m assuming 213 individual songs. It would be easy to just pick four songs from Revolver, four from Rubber Soul, and a couple others for my Top 10, but I tried, when I could, to be more diversified.

And let’s face it: making a list like this always depends on the mood so that a song at 93 on this list might be 103 or 83 if I did it again. Which almost certainly WILL NOT HAPPEN. I started working on this before February. Of 2009, for the 45th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, which I am old enough to have watched in real time. Someone coming to the group after the fact would surely hear the songs differently.

Know also that these are not entirely or strictly by most to least favorite, but more about both the (artificial) scarcity AND the diversity. One Lennon cover version rocker might push another one back; likewise, a McCartney saloon song, a Harrison tune with sitar, or a Ringo record.

The interesting thing about this exercise is that I became aware, sometimes for the first time, of some biases. Surely, I knew about my affection for Beatles VI, my first album. But I wasn’t as aware of my general antipathy for Let It Be, an album that always felt like the group’s musical funeral. Still, all things being equal, I wouldn’t give up ANY of the songs!

I also had to find videos for all of these; if you find a broken link, PLEASE let me know, as they all worked when I started this thing. Some of the sources are HERE at Beatles Box Set 2009 and HERE at, the purpose of the latter site being “to organize all videos about The Beatles that you can find on Youtube.” But I DID find items elsewhere and used Beatles videos from the movies, were readily available.

To give you an idea of how my thinking went. On the list:
217. Across the Universe, the Wildlife version.
216. Love Me Do, the LP version which included Andy White, NOT Ringo on drums.
215. Let It Be, the single version, solely because the album version is longer
214. Get Back, the Let It Be album version, because the single actually ends, rather than “I hope we pass the audition,”, which IS a great line on a Simpsons’ episode, to be sure.
Because other versions of these songs appear elsewhere on the list.

So I’ll be doing these 10 at a time, at no particular set schedule. It’ll be at least once a week, but it might be twice or thrice, depending on what else I have in mind for the blog, and, of course, time.

My designation of the source album requires an explanation, I reckon. For the British albums, I limited myself to the original albums that the Beatles intended. Several of the early singles, EPs and the song Bad Boy appeared on A Collection of Beatles Oldies but Goldies, but it was their intent to put those songs out AS singles or EPs, so I’ve ignored it; all of those songs now appear on the Past Master CDs. Whereas for the US albums, I picked the Capitol albums, plus the Vee-Jay Introducing the Beatles and the United Artists’ A Hard Day’s Night, which had some overlap, because those releases, especially prior to Sgt. Pepper, were so convoluted. In fact, Introducing the Beatles was released at least TWICE, with 10 common songs, plus two on each album that don’t overlap; I’m not making the distinction.

Since I’m starting this on the 5th of November, I suppose I ought to provide a link to REMEMBER by John Lennon.

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