Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

McCartney’s Kisses – Iommi Diagnosed with Lymphoma

9 Jan

I just blew the dust off of the Music News category. It had developed a lot of dust, like an unread book on a mahogany bookshelf in an abandoned house. Okay. It wasn’t tangible dust, but, I really haven’t written a post about music news in a while. That stands to change on this Monday, where I do have some pieces of news to share with you all. Let’s jump right into it.

New McCartney Album:

There is so much talent in this image it's almost unhealthy. From left, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, George Martin, Paul McCartney, and Phil Collins.

 
Only two men in the image above are needed for this post. But, goodness, that picture was too good not to post on the blog. Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton are the two men we are talking about though.
 
On Feb. 7, McCartney will release his first studio album since 2007. The album, Kisses on the Bottom, is his follow-up to Memory Almost Full (which was a great album in my opinion). The album features McCartney in a more intimate, jazzy setting. Unlike Memory Almost Full which was mostly a pop album. The track listing was released and there are some reinterpretations of well-known song. Here is the track list:
 
01. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
02. Home (When Shadows Fall)
03.  It’s Only A Paper Moon
04. More I Cannot Wish You
05. The Glory Of Love  
06. We Three (My Echo, My Shadow And Me)
07. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
08. My Valentine
09. Always
10. My Very Good Friend The Milkman
11. Bye Bye Blackbird
12. Get Yourself Another Fool
13. The Inch Worm
14. Only Our Hearts
 15.  Baby’s Request (Deluxe Edition)
16.  My One And Only Love (Deluxe Edition)
 
Why is “My Valentine” bolded? Why was Eric Clapton even mentioned? Well on this new album Eric Clapton plays acoustic guitar on “My Valentine.” So what? Click on this – some footage from one of the best concerts of the 2000s.
 
When Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney get together good music is inevitably created. This is no different with “My Valentine” off of McCartney’s new album. Take a listen.
 
 
Eric Clapton has a style of acoustic guitar playing. It can be described as blues perfection, I guess. It is pretty near perfect. You just know it is him when you hear his flawless stylings. This song is, well, beautiful. Wow, what a surprise! Combine Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney, writers of some of the best rock love songs of the rock era, and you get something beautiful, jazzy, melodic, emotional but seemingly effortless. Clapton’s solo at the 2-minute mark is just wonderful. And McCartney’s voice is tremendous. Great release.
 
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Tony Iommi Diagnosed with Lymphoma
 
 
I hate reading news items like this. Black Sabbath’s guitarist Tony Iommi, 63,  was diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, according to a statement on the band’s website. This comes on the heels of the announcement that the band’s original members will be writing and recording for the first time in 33 years. Just awful timing. The band is moving from Los Angeles to London in order to work with Iommi while he undergoes treatment.
 
We wish him all the best and hopefully he gets better soon. To sponsor a quick recovery, here is “Paranoid”
 

Old School Pop

31 Oct

The pop music played on the radio years ago wasn’t as bad as today.  Turn on your average, everyday pop station and you’ll hear Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and Bruno Mars multiple times per hour.  Like K$sha?  Me neither.  But she’s still played 42 times a day like she has some sort of deal with the devil and I’m not talking about the good kind, like a Robert Johnson or Led Zeppelin type deal, but one that someone talentless would make, say Vanilla Ice, to stay relevant.  Well, maybe I just have an over romanticized vision of the whole thing but at one point real musicians ruled the airwaves.  Sure, not all pop acts were great (cough Barry Manilow, cough), but enough to make me reminisce of days long before I was alive  where driving in a car didn’t require satellites or an iPod cable to get cool tunes.

The Beatles were the ultimate pop band and while their later albums added to this sound, they never really lost their pop sensibilities upon breaking up.  Paul McCartney went on to form Paul McCartney and Wings famous for such songs as “Maybe I’m Amazed” and my personal favorite, “Band on the Run”.  George Harrison development as a songwriter continued with the sound he developed in the later Beatles albums (compare “Here Comes the Sun” and “My Sweet Lord”).  You can’t forget John Lennon who came out with almost a prayer for peace with his seminal work, “Imagine”.  I really feel bad about being like everyone else and leaving out Ringo but then again, I can’t really pick any of his music out by name.

I didn’t realize how long this article would become so stay tuned for some non-Bealtes pop music from back in the day in a future post.

The Greatest Post Ever for the Greatest Band Ever

25 Oct

For the most part, I’m out of bands so I’m going to give my ode to the greatest band of all time: The Beatles.  The thing about The Beatles is that they are in an almost exclusive club of bands that weren’t reactionaries to the times in which they lived in. They defined the times.  I used to think (incorrectly) that The Beatles were overrated.  I mean, songs like “Love Me Do” and “Help” and “Please Mr.  Postman” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are just simple pop songs, yet they formed the mold for future rock groups to follow.  In addition to setting the paradigm of 2 guitars, bass and drums, The Beatles also added elements of  music of black musicians like Little Richard and Chuck Berry with white musicians like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley that would influence rock n roll music for decades.

So let’s put The Beatles impact on music on the backburner for now and just look at the music itself.  The Beatles first phase was the “Love Me” phase characterized by simple song structures, simple I love you, love me lyrics (like the song above).  It’s what first captivated America on the Ed Sullivan show performance and really sparked Beatlemania.  Fast forward to the time they played Shea Stadium and decided to stop touring. So born the social commentary Beatles, who started growing beards and doing drugs.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is their seminal work from this period, almost a rock opera that is considered one of the greatest (according to Rolling Stone the greatest album of all time) that introduced innovative techniques for recording that included adding musicians in addition to just the fab four and experimenting with innovative recording techniques.  Just check out the sound below that builds upon the original Beatles sound.

Last but not least of the Beatles phases results in their last album while together and my absolute favorite: Abbey Road.  It shows a mature group who’s ability to combine their music together in the face of falling apart absolutely amazes me.  Listen to the White Album and you will hear a band at war with itself.  Each individual song sounds like it was done by an individual member and in fact that’s the case.  In fact, all members except for Ringo refused to record when another member was in the studio.  There were George songs, John songs and Paul songs.  Abbey Road sees the Beatles come together for one last hurrah and tolerate each other.  Their individual tastes and song writing abilities combine to create a concept album like Sgt Peppers of epic proportions.  Just listen to the whole album.  It’s a piece of absolute genius.

Lady Madonna – From Fats to McCartney to Fats

22 Sep

In 1968, The Beatles released “Lady Madonna,” a short, fast-paced groove about an overworked mother. It was written primarily by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon/McCartney. John Lennon did help with some of the lyric. In typical Beatles’ fashion, the song reached #1 in the UK and #4 in the U.S., and interestingly, was the Beatles’ last release on Parlophone. The Beatles would release “Hey Jude” on Apple Records a few months after “Lady Madonna.” Has anyone ever suggested that perhaps the Beatles were just too good. Perhaps they were all truly musical aliens, intergalactic hit machines. Well, some band had to be the greatest band to ever play, right?

Anyway, I mention Lady Madonna in this version of “Great Moments in Music Cover History,” not because it’s a cover (which it is not), and not even primarily because it spawned several covers, but because it was inspired by a musical legend, Fats Domino.  Yes, so I should perhaps title the category as “Great Moments in Music Inspiration History,” but you’ll all see how the covers fit into this in a few words.

  “‘Lady Madonna’ was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing,” said McCartney in a 1994 interview.  “It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression. It took my voice to a very odd place.”

You can hear the blues piano inspiration in this song and Fats Domino was such a champion of the burgeoning rock/piano genre. McCartney was also inspired by Humphrey Lyttelton‘s “Bad Penny Blues.” The beginning piano riff is somewhat similar to the piece. Take a listen:

The reason this fits into the cover category is because Fats Domino actually covered “Lady Madonna.” It’s sort-of like an ironic twist. McCartney thinks about how it would sound if Fats Domino was playing the piano, and then Fats gives McCartney the ultimate compliment and re-records the song. Here is the Fats version:

Not bad. The Fats flavor is cool. Plus, listening to Fats’ accent during the piece feels right. McCartney and Fats should perform this song together. That would be awesome.

Now, just for giggles, here is another cover of the song by…Elvis Presley! It is from a 1970 rare recording session (where he also performs “Got My Mojo Working”). He is obviously having a lot of fun with it. He doesn’t even know all the words.

Blackbird with Blue Eyes

13 Sep

Can you guess the two songs that are going to be featured in this version of “Six Degrees of Your iPod?” For those new to the Music Court, “Six Degrees of Your iPod” is a little iPod-related game we play at the blog. It’s not iPod specific, actually. Any randomized music generator will do. Here are the rules. Take out your music device and put it on shuffle. Then skip through six songs and write them all down. Can you connect the first song to the sixth song? That’s the purpose of the game. Random music connections! I’d love to read any of your own attempts at the game, so if you happen to be shuffling through your portable music device and you play, please comment with your results. Here is what I came up with today. The first song to appear was:

1.) “Blackbird” by The Beatles

Can you get any better than this simple McCartney classic? Seriously, McCartney and Lennon were masters of short and sweet pieces. Well, they were masters of all types of songs. I’m sure if you asked them to lay down some salsa beats they would have obliged. But that is completely irrelevant.

McCartney wrote “Blackbird” as a symbolic piece dedicated to the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States. The peaceful guitar riff was inspired by Bach’s “Bourree in E Minor, which was a lute piece that, as children, George Harrison and him tried to learn to show off. And, humorously, “Blackbird” is now a beginner guitar necessity. Just like “Smoke on the Water” anyone who picks up a guitar must try his/her hand at playing “Blackbird,” in some parts to show off to the room.

The song appeared on the White Album.

2.) “In The Pockets” by The Tallest Man on Earth

3.) “Genesis 3:23” by The Mountain Goats

4.) “Why Can’t We Be Friends” by War

5.) Generator ^ First Floor” by Freelance Whales

6.) “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” by CSN(Y)

Crosby Stills Nash and Sometimes Young. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” arguably this super groups most famous song, sparked the formation of CSN in the first place. The song, written by Stephen Stills, works with a crafty, somewhat deceptive title. Suite, in the classic sense, means an ordered set of musical pieces, usually four in number like the song. And then the possible  Sweet refers to the song’s subject, Stills’ ex-girlfriend, singer-songwriter Judy Collins, who apparently has some pretty sweet blue eyes. It really is one hell of a break-up song.

Connection: There are some interesting connections between both the Beatles and CSNY and there is an independent connection between the songs. After forming, prior to Neil Young joining the group, the group failed an audition at the Beatles’ Apple Records. That wasn’t a very wise move for the label. The band became pretty succesful. But there were no hard feelings. The band’s first live gig was at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago in August of 1969 and the band opened with “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” before launching into a cover of…”Blackbird” by the Beatles. Cool, right? The show was on August 17. Hmm…that date sounds familiar. They mentioned that they would be performing the next day at something called Woodstock, wherever that was. Well, after the show they went to Woodstock, where they went on stage at 3 a.m., August 18, and performed “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” followed by “Blackbird” again.

The Beatles did not perform at Woodstock for a variety of potential reasons. Lennon may have requested there be a spot of Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band which was denied. I doubt that, though. I could’ve performed there. I mean, Sha Na Na did. Another potential reason was that Lennon wanted to play but his entrance into the U.S. from Canada was blocked by Nixon. Also, seems a bit farfetched. Most likely it was a combination of the Beatles’ being on the verge of collapse and the fact that they had not performed an official concert since 1966.

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