Tag Archives: The Beatles

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.

Buenos Aires Beatles – Juuurassic Paarkk – Holy Sh*t Reznor

17 Jan

Buenos Aires Beatles Museum Opens

Rodolfo Vazquez loves the Beatles. Well, I love the Beatles. Let me reword that sentence. Rodolfo Vazquez has an obsession with the Beatles. The 53-year-old accountant from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has been in love with the Beatles since acquiring Rubber Soul when he was 10 years old. He has worked since then to amass the biggest Beatles memorabilia collection in the world. The Guinness World Records marked it as the biggest collection in 2001, when he had already amassed 5,612 items in the attic of his home. The collection has reached over 8,500 items and Vazquez wisely decided to move most of it into a bigger space.

The Beatles museum in Buenos Aires opened on January 3 and has already allowed Vazquez to share his wealth of Beatles’ gadgets and gizmos with 2,000 people. So, what does he have?

Here is a short list of stuff. Vazquez has acquired a brick from the Cavern Club, Beatles’ wig, toys, pictures, concert programs, and even a box of condoms with the name of John Lennon and Yoko Ono (yeah that is really disturbing).

What does the man with everything want more of in the Beatles’ world?

“What I am missing is to shake hands with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, hug them and chat with them a little bit,” he said in an interview with AP.

“It is what would complete me and I would be the happiest collector on earth.”

Paul, Ringo. I believe you know what to do next.

AP Article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110116/ap_en_mu/lt_argentina_beatles_museum

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Jurassic Park Theme Slowed Down

Ever wonder what the classic “Jurassic Park” theme song would sound like if you slowed it down 90 percent. No? Well neither did I until I stumbled on a Gawker post that answered the question of what happens when you slow the “Jurassic Park” theme song down by 90 percent. Here is what it sounds like.

<span><a href=”http://soundcloud.com/birdfeeder/jurassic-park-theme-1000-slower”>Jurassic Park Theme (1000% Slower)</a> by <a href=”http://soundcloud.com/birdfeeder”>birdfeeder</a></span&gt;

It’s heavenly. If this version of “Jurassic Park” narrated my life, or any movie, it would be narrating one of the most epic and long scenes of amazing success, like the entrance through the Pearly Gates.

One commenter, JEMathews on Gawker wrote, “The human mind likes hearing resolved cadences, and slowing a piece of music down removes the context you’re used to hearing it in (like the fact that it’s really a terrible Bieber tune or a trite movie theme) and makes even the simplest chord resolutions seem like genius.”

He is absolutely right. Music is powerful, especially when you slow it down.

Here is the original.

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Reznor Golden Globe Recipient

Perhaps no exclamation explains Reznor’s Golden Globe win more so than “Holy Sh*t.” That is exactly what he tweeted after winning the award for his joint score for “The Social Network.” He wrote the score with Atticus Ross.

On the red carpet, Reznor explained to the New York Times that he was there to support the film. He also spoke of the Grammy Awards, which he never has attended even though he has won Grammy awards for his work with Nine Inch Nails.

He said, “Not to be disrespectful, but the weight of a Grammy feels much less important than the film side of this. The music business has very much done everything it can to lessen the weight and importance of music as art.”

Reznor is a smart dude. The Grammy awards have done an excellent job promoting poor, washed down, terrible mainstream music. Rarely do talented performers like Reznor pick up substantial awards. Reznor and Nine Inch Nails have won the award for “Best Metal Performance” twice which is seriously like honorable mention in summer camp Olympics.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the nominees for the Grammy awards.

Beatles’ Selling, Axl Suing, Fleet Foxes Personalizing

24 Nov

Who said that the agreement that finally put Beatles‘ songs up for sale on iTunes was no big deal? After a week on iTunes, The Beatles’ have sold 450,000 albums and two million individual songs worldwide.

Link: http://newsfeed.time.com/2010/11/24/beatles-week-1-2-million-singles-sold-but-which-classics-endure/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Am I surprised? No. The Beatles once again prove why they are the biggest band in the world. Ever. It does not matter that they broke up 40 years ago. Hey, Usher, remember when you said Justin Beiber was a pop craze like the Beatles. Lets see if 40 years from now he is still selling like the Beatles.

The massive quantity of songs and albums sold reflect a symbolic jailbreak of music. It is nice to see that people did not acquire the mp3 versions of the songs for their portable music devices illegally. Well, some, some waited to acquire the music legally.

So, I guess we can look at the ratings and see what is officially the most popular Beatles’ song and album – according to iTunes sales.

Best Selling Album: Abbey Road

Best Selling Song: Here Comes the Sun“…

Which is off of Abbey Road, my favorite Beatles’ album. iTunes fans have spoken. Now, while the best Beatles’ song is arguably “A Day in the Life” and best album probably is the one with peppers in its name, this is certainly telling. Heck, Abbey Road was the last album released before the Beatles dissolved. Imagine if they kept releasing music. Do you see what I did there?

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In other news, Axl Rose is suing Activision, makers of the Guitar Hero games, for $20 million. Yawn. Store this in the I don’t really care news bin. Rose, who is already rich, is looking for more money because…well read the article if you are interested.

Link: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/axl-rose-sues-activision-over-guns-n-roses-guitar-hero-feature/story-e6frfku0-1225960010189

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Performing on Letterman (Credit: Blush Photo)

Fleet Foxes, the awesome indie/folk band from Seattle that took the country by storm with their eponymous first album in 2008, is planning on releasing their new album in the Spring of next year.

According to lead singer Robin Pecknold, the album is going to travel inwards.

“It’s a lot more personal to me and direct in terms of the lyrics, less shrouded in metaphor or visuals. Musically I’d say it’s still in the same family but hopefully just more refined,” said Pecknold in an interview with clashmusic.com

I am excited. Fleet Foxes is an excellent modern band that have the attention of true music lovers. Their brand of folk/rock calls back to the 60’s musical tradition and I am eager to hear what is coming next.

Link: http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/fleet-foxes-finish-more-personal-album_1185915

Great Covers: “Hey Jude” by Wilson Pickett

28 Oct

It was well into Wilson Pickett‘s illustrious singing career when he recorded a successful version of The Beatles’Hey Jude” that turned into a #16 pop hit. No surprise about the great ranking. Pair a talented vocalist with an excellent song and generally you will produce good music.

Wilson Pickett’s version of “Hey Jude” was recorded after Pickett moved on from Stax Records after Stax banned all outside production in 1965. Pickett left to go to Fame Studios in Alabama where he recorded the highest charting version of Chris Kenner/Cannibal & The Headhunters’ “Land of 1000 Dances.” The reason I put Cannibal & The Headhunters is because their addition of the famous “na, na, na, na” lyric (which was originally a mistake, the singer forgot the lyrics mid-song) was used by Wilson Pickett and was instrumental in making his version famous.

*Six Degrees of Your Ipod Moment* Cannibal & The Headhunters helped put Wilson Pickett on the charts in a big way. They were also the opening act on The Beatles’ Second American Tour. Cannibal to Beatles to Pickett?

Back to the article. Pickett left Fame and went to American Studios in Memphis in 1967. He worked recording numerous Bobby Womack songs. After returning to Fame in 1968/69 he recorded “Hey Jude” with a band that featured Duane Allman. How about that? Listen to his impact and the amazing passionate voice of Wilson Pickett on this awesome recording of a Great Cover.

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