Showing posts with label The Beatles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Beatles. Show all posts

Monday, June 13, 2022

Under The Influence • Songs of 1960-1962

Songs of 1949-19511952-19551956-19591960-1962

The Beatles at the Indra Club, Hamburg,  August 17, 1960. L-R: John Lennon, George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, and Stuart Sutcliffe.

Songs of 1960-1962  concludes my mini-series Under The Influence. This series is based on my primary source, Wikipedia and their organization of music through the years. What I found interesting about Wikipedia's (Year) In Music entries is their succinct 'Events' highlights. Then, new albums released are listed alphabetically for the entire year, until 1963.

In 1963, Wikipedia entries go from a yearly album overview, to a month to month breakdown of mostly all popular albums from that month in time. As it turns out, rock 'n' roll is a lot bigger deal than the short-lived fad that many in the short-minded establishment predicted would quickly fade away.

In 1964, popular music just explodes with The Beatles coming to America and the The British Invasion.

On January 28th, 2019, I started my Fifty Years in Music • (Month and Year) Series starting with January, 1969. I noticed in going back to find that first post of the series, that I actually had skipped several months along the way. I will correct that, and at some point will have a Monday Monday Music™ historical record of the music that has influenced my life, and probably yours, since 1949.

My long-term game plan will be to have two concurrent 'Way Back' series– my current Fifty Years in Music that will cover the 1970's, and starting in 2023– Sixty Years of Music to cover every month and year of the 1960's, starting in 1963. 

••••••••••

No regrets.

Now one of the things I have mentally done over the years in the reflection of my life, is that I play the game, What If...

I've gone back to the fall of 1973 when I started college and started planning my life as a future teacher. My plan at the time was to become a special education teacher. I did that, and then I went on to become a general education elementary teacher, I did that, and so forth...

But, I did have an alternate plan of becoming a History major and teaching History at high school as it was my favorite subject in all of school. In my recent shoulda coulda reflections, that would have included a minor in English, but at 18 years of age, writing something more than a school assignment was something that I was never going to do. Later at San Diego State, I had to pay other students to type my assignments that required a typed finished product. 

So as a pretext here, I'm writing (typing on my laptop from the home row) about music every week that often goes back in history to the second half of the 20th century. 

Never say never.

••••••••••

1960 through 1962  is still about Elvis, but the King is already transitioning to ballads as many rock 'n' roll bands are forming in England and America and preparing for their own ascent to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, if not the rock 'n' roll throne.

In putting the playlist together, I was amazed at how many electric guitar instrumentals were huge Billboard 100 hits creating the whole surf music craze of the early 1960's. I think the public had just fallen in love with the electric guitar and you could see how every kid interested in playing music, simply had to have one.

Note- All dates and timeline descriptions below in italic are from Wikipedia. What I have done in this cut and copy exercise is to only include the interesting and influential stuff (from my perspective) from 1960-62. I have also interjected some (mostly sarcastic) commentary of my own in regular text.

1960 in Music

  • January – Stuart Sutcliffe joins the Liverpool band Johnny and the Moondogs and suggests they change their name to the Beatals; after several variations this settles on The Beatles in August. Stu was quite the looker, no doubt the best looking and coolest BEATAL starting out.
  • January 14 – Elvis Presley is promoted to Sergeant in the United States Army. Really.
  • January 25 – The National Association of Broadcasters in the United States reacts to the payola scandal by threatening fines for any disc jockeys accepting money for playing particular records. The music business has always been such a slimy business.
  • March 5 – Elvis Presley returns home from serving in the U.S. Army in Germany, having stopped off on March 2 at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, his only time in the U.K. Really, with all those #1's in the U.K. I would have thought he played there.
  • April 4 – RCA Victor Records announces that it will release all pop singles in mono and stereo simultaneously, the first record company to do so. Elvis Presley's single "Stuck on You" is RCA's first mono/stereo release.
  • April 17 – Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Cochran's girlfriend Sharon Sheeley are injured in a car accident near Chippenham in England. Cochran dies in a hospital in Bath, Somerset, from severe brain injuries. Police officer David Harman, who attends the incident, starts learning to play the guitar using Cochran's impounded Gretsch, later becoming professional musician Dave Dee. I've never heard the last part of that story.
  • April 20 – Elvis Presley returns to Hollywood for the first time since coming home from Germany to film G.I. Blues. Bring on those "B" slock movies.
  • May 2 – The Drifters' Ben E. King leaves the group and signs a solo record contract with ATCO Records.
  • May 20–28 – The Beatles, as the Silver Beetles (uncredited), play their first ever tour, as a backing group for Johnny Gentle on a tour of Scotland. The lineup comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Tommy Moore.
  • July – The Shadows' instrumental 'Apache' is released in the U.K. I Love that song!
  • August 17 – The Beatles make their debut under this name in Hamburg, Germany, beginning a 48-night residency at the Indra club. The band at the time comprises John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stu Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums. (see photo above, credit to The Beatles Bible.)
  • The last 78 rpm records are released in the U.S. and the U.K.
  • English rock musician Ritchie Blackmore's musical career begins.
  • 14-year-old Neil Young founds The Jades with Ken Koblun. Neil loved The Shadows and playing Apache, not to mention his affinity for surf-style guitar.

1961 in Music

  • January 15 – Motown Records signs The Supremes. Have you ever heard of anyone not liking the Supremes? It's like someone saying, "I don't like pizza."
  • February 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: The Beatles, at this juncture John, Paul, George and Pete, perform under this name at The Cavern Club for the first time following their December return to Liverpool from Hamburg. Beginning with this lunchtime session, the group would go on to make almost 300 appearances here in total. Practice, practice, practice.
  • February 12 – The Miracles' "Shop Around" becomes Motown's first million-selling single. Smokey Robinson's influence is off the charts.
  • February 13 – Frank Sinatra forms his own record label, Reprise Records, which will later release recordings by The Beach Boys, Ella Fitzgerald, The Kinks and Jimi Hendrix. Frank knew his way around a recording studio. Frank was very business savvy, like reading the script and not making "B" movies.
  • The 3rd Annual Grammy Awards are held in Los Angeles, hosted by actor Lloyd Bridges. Lloyd must have had a great agent! Ray Charles wins the most awards with four. Ray's on fire! Bob Newhart's The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart wins Album of the Year, Percy Faith's version of the "theme from A Summer Place" wins Record of the Year and Ernest Gold's "Theme from Exodus" wins Song of the Year. Newhart also wins Best New Artist. Really, Percy Faith? Love Bob Newhart who was the young part of that older generation tradition of being a lifetime comic and actor on TV.
  • June 14 – Patsy Cline is hospitalized as a result of a head-on car collision. While she is in hospital, the song "I Fall to Pieces" becomes a big Country/Pop crossover hit for her. Bigger news coming...
  • June–July – Stu Sutcliffe leaves The Beatles to resume his art studies in Hamburg. Man, who's gonna play bass now?
  • July 17 – Billboard magazine first publishes an "Easy Listening" chart, listing songs that the magazine determines are not rock & roll records. The first #1 song on this chart is "The Boll Weevil Song" by Brook Benton. This chart will be renamed a number of times, becoming the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. The kids are driving the bus now.
  • October 17 – Former schoolfriends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, later of The Rolling Stones, meet each other again by chance on Dartford railway station in Kent, England, on the way to their respective colleges and discover their mutual taste for rock and roll. Turns out, the whole universe is a series of random events.
  • November 9 – The Beatles at The Cavern Club: Future manager Brian Epstein first sees The Beatles. A huge part of The Beatles early success.
  • December 8 – The Beach Boys release their debut 45rpm single: "Surfin'"/"Luau" on the small California label Candix Records. If you love The Beach Boys, you have to read David Marks' book, 'The Lost Beach Boy.'
  • December 9 – The Beatles play their first gig in the south of England, at Aldershot. Due to an advertising failure, only 18 people turn up. In the early hours of the following morning they play an impromptu set at a London club. You mean Facebook screwed up back then too.
  • The Country Music Association (CMA) creates the Country Music Hall of Fame and inducts, Jimmie Rodgers, Fred Rose and Hank Williams as the first three members.
1962 in Music
  • January 1 – The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both audition at Decca Records in London which has the option of signing one group only. The Beatles are rejected, mainly as they come from Liverpool and the others are Dagenham-based, nearer London. Decca will come to regret that decision.
  • January 5 – The first album on which The Beatles play, My Bonnie, credited to "Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers" (recorded last June in Hamburg and produced by Bert Kaempfert), is released by Polydor.
  • January 24 – Brian Epstein signs on to manage The Beatles. Good move lads.
  • March 19 – Bob Dylan releases his debut album, Bob Dylan, in the United States, featuring mostly folk standards. The New Folk Movement gets their superstar.
  • April 7 – Mick Jagger and Keith Richards meet Brian Jones at The Ealing Club, a blues club in London. What if Brian Jones had lived past 1969? It sure would have made things even more interesting with their very interesting band.
  • April 10 – Former Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe dies from cerebral paralysis caused by a brain hemorrhage in Hamburg, Germany. The good die young.
  • April 12 – A recording is made of Bob Dylan's concert at the Town Hall, in New York City by Columbia Records. (Columbia eventually release the recording of "Tomorrow is a Long Time" from this concert.)
  • April 24 – Bob Dylan begins recording The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in New York. Look out world.
  • May 29 – The 4th Annual Grammy Awards are held in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Henry Mancini wins the most awards with five, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year for his song "Moon River". Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall wins Album of the Year, while Peter Nero wins Best New Artist. The old guard will run the Grammy's for years to come and mostly be out of touch with the changing culture.
  • June 6 – The Beatles play their first session at EMI's Abbey Road Studios in London.
  • June 19 – The film version of the musical The Music Man is released to theaters by Warner Bros. "Ya got trouble, my friend, right here, I say, trouble right here in River City."
  • August 2 – Robert Allen Zimmerman legally changes his name to Bob Dylan in the New York Supreme Court. Bob has repeatedly said that he did not take his name from Dylan Thomas. His quote, " I have done more for Dylan Thomas than he's ever has done for me."
  • August 16 – The Beatles fire drummer Pete Best and replace him with Ringo Starr. Single best decision the lads ever make as a band.
  • August 17 – 'Instrumental Telstar,' written and produced by Joe Meek for English band The Tornados, is released in the UK. The song will eventually be the first song by a British group ever to reach the top spot on the Billboard Top 100 in the United States, proving to be a precursor to the British Invasion.
  • August 18 – The Beatles play their first live engagement with the line-up of John, Paul, George and Ringo, at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula.
  • August 20 – Albert Grossman becomes Bob Dylan's manager. Colonel Tom Parker with a beard?
  • August 23 – John Lennon marries Cynthia Powell in an unpublicized register office ceremony at Mount Pleasant, Liverpool. She would not be treated well by John.
  • September 21 – New Musical Express, the British music magazine, publishes a story about two 13-year-old schoolgirls, Sue and Mary, releasing a disc on Decca and adds "A Liverpool group, The Beatles, have recorded 'Love Me Do' for Parlophone Records, set for October 5 release."
  • September 22 – Bob Dylan appears for the first time at Carnegie Hall in New York City as part of a hootenanny including the first public performance of "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall". I've heard live 1963 and 64 recordings of Hard Rain and they are extremely powerful, I got chills the first time I heard these live recordings just a few years ago.
  • September 23 – Opening concert at the New York Philharmonic's new home, Philharmonic Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, conducted by Leonard Bernstein and broadcast live on television across the United States by NBC. The opening work, Aaron Copland's specially commissioned Connotations, sends "shock waves through the world of music".
  • October 5 – The Beatles' first single in their own right, "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You", is released in the UK on EMI's Parlophone label. Look out world!
  • October 17 – The Beatles make their first televised appearance, on Granada television's local news programme People and Places.
  • October 20 – Peter, Paul and Mary's self-titled debut album reaches No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Like a Hard Day's Night, I found this album in my grandfather's 'Columbia House Record Club' collection in his stereo console after he died and snatched it to be part of my new record collection in 1967.
  • Joan Baez has all of her first three albums on the Billboard charts, on their way to Gold status. I was not a fan of Joan Baez as a young person, but have grown to admire her life-long activism and singing. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Baez is a great example to anyone in how to take care of yourself over the years.
  • Two Pete Seeger classic songs reach the Billboard pop charts:"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" recorded by The Kingston Trio reaches No. 21. "If I Had a Hammer", recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, reaches No. 10. Pete is such an influence to kick-starting the new folk movement and bringing folk music into U.S. classrooms across America. 
  • The first American Folk Blues Festival, initiated by German promoters, tours Europe; artists include Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee and T-Bone Walker. Its only UK date, 21 October at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, is influential on the British R&B scene, with the audience including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones with Jimmy Page, Paul Jones, John Mayall and other musicians, and with a second show filmed and shown on Independent Television. Sad to learn years later that American Blues and Jazz treasures had to go to Europe to get the recognition they deserved. In a large sense Europe is like a boomerang for American music, where we put it out there, it's appreciated and absorbed by European fans who in turn bring it back around to American audiences. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

List Your FAV FIVE: Beatles Songs


Over the last couple of years, I've got my readership to participate in LIST Your FAV FIVE: (whatever)This year, I'm going to continue the series starting off 2022 with you simply listing your favorite five Beatle songs in the Comments section at the end of the blog post below. 

Why only five? Because my wife gave me a great tip to start this series when she said, "If you want reader participation on anything, limit the lists to five." Sounded like a plan to me.

So to begin, let's start at the end. The big idea is for all of us to create a Monday Monday Music™ Readers: Beatles Songs Playlist.

I'll start the playlist with my favorite five Beatles songs (at the moment) and then, as readers leave me their five in the Comments section below, we will grow the playlist, as a Come Together of Beatles fans. 

I was going to explain why I picked each song, then thought well I don't want somebody writing a lengthy comment about how they had their first kiss listening to, Helter Skelter. So here's my FAV FIVE Beatles songs without a back story. 
  1. Penny Lane
  2. I Should Have Know Better
  3. Revolution (the single version)
  4. Back in The U.S.S.R.
  5. All You Need Is Love
Now if you want a little help in making your list, here are several list resources.
 Here's a little instructional aid for doing the Comments section below.
  1. Number and name you Beatles songs 1-5.
  2. Comment as: If you're logged into your computer, tablet or smartphone with a Gmail (Google) account, pick the first selection. I would recommend using the Chrome browser.
    Or, pick Name/URL, write your name and leave URL blank,
    Or, if you pick Anonymous, just write your first and last name in the Comments box itself.
  3. Hit the Publish button, and I'll list your five songs in the post here (if you provided your first and last name), and then I will mix your list in the Youtube playlist.
  4. One last thing, if someone else has picked one of your favorite 5 already, still include it in your list. It may reveal a clear winner that in the end needs to sit at the top of the playlist.
Thanks in advance for playing along and come back later in the week to listen to OUR growing playlist!

Monday, November 22, 2021

The Beatles: Get Back


'The Beatles: Get Back' is an upcoming three-part documentary series directed and produced by Peter Jackson. It covers the making of The Beatles' 1970 album 'Let It Be', which had the working title of 'Get Back', and draws from material originally captured for Michael Lindsay-Hogg's 1970 documentary of the album. Conceived originally as a feature film, each episode of 'The Beatles: Get Back' is about two hours in length, making up a total of six hours.

Jackson characterized 'The Beatles: Get Back' as "a documentary about a documentary". Commentators have described it as challenging longtime beliefs that the making of 'Let It Be' was marked entirely by tensions between the Beatles, showing a more upbeat side of the production. It will premiere on Disney+ consecutively on 25, 26 and 27 November 2021.
(Wikipedia)

Photo Source - 60 Minutes
Peter Jackson down in the Apple Corp film vault
Sometime in 2018, Peter Jackson met with The Beatles company, Apple Corp in London. They just said, "we've got it all. We've got-- 57 hours of footage. We've got 130 hours of audio." And then they said that they were thinking about making a documentary using the footage. I just put up my hand and said, "Well, if-- if you are looking for somebody to make it-- don't-- please just-- think-- think of me." (60 Minutes)

In the last four years, Peter Jackson and his team went to work using his cutting edge film and audio restoration techniques, not to mention his general magic as a gifted film maker to craft this new documentary. 

Cover of the aborted Get Back album,
mirroring the cover of the band's first album,
As a huge Beatle fan, Peter Jackson has tapped into every Beatles' fan dream to see their favorite band writing, rehearsing, performing, and most importantly, having fun. The documentary essentially explores the creative process within a collaborative group. It's a bit of the good times and raw emotions all mixed together. Did The Beatles fulfill their vision to create a "live performance" that took them back to their days playing in clubs? As a fan, I'm more grateful for the treasure of songs that came from the Get Back project. Humans are complicated and when combined with art... creativity is messy.

I believe the upcoming movie will capture the true spirit of the band creating a new adventure. Here's the film trailer that came out last month to represent the six hours that awaits us on Disney+.

 

 Okay, You might be saying, "I don't have Disney+." Is Disney+ going to have a free 3 or 5 day trail offer? The answer is no, but here's what you can do. Like most subscription services Disney+ is month to month for $7.99. Think of it as a good ticket price if you were going to a movie theater. You can unsubscribe after 30 days. In any event, Disney+ might be a good solution for some holiday shows with family and friends in the weeks ahead.

Imagine, many of us old Beatle fans actually have some new Beatle material to experience for the first time! And that my friends is truly something to be thankful for.

Now the playlist for this week is my own hodgepodge YouTube Playlist from the new Let It Be: 50th Anniversary (Super-Deluxe Edition (2021) and Let It Be... Naked (2003).  

The Super Deluxe Edition is 57 tracks representing three versions of the Let It Be album from: hired gun-toting Producer Phil Spector, the 1969 Get Back Mix by Glyn Johns, and the 2021 remix by Giles Martin. It includes tracks featuring Beatle banter which I can't get enough of, and rehearsals of several songs that will later appear on Abbey Road

The 2003 version of 'Let It Be... Naked' is presented in a form which Paul McCartney considered closer to its original artistic vision: to "get back" to the rock and roll sound of their early years rather than the orchestral overdubs and embellishments which were added by Phil Spector to three of the songs in the production of the final 'Let It Be' album. McCartney in particular was always dissatisfied with the "Wall of Sound" production style of the Phil Spector mixes of these three tracks, especially for his song "The Long and Winding Road", which he believed was ruined by the process. (Wikipedia)

I do want to explain that my playlist is squarely in the Paul McCartney camp of rejecting Phil Spector's extensive remix that completely got away from the live album concept that Paul originally brought to John, George and Ringo for the January, 1969 recordings. For example, The Long and Winding Road has both the Spector and Glyn Johns production versions in the Super Deluxe Edition, and Naked has the final take recorded on January 31, 1969, instead of the original album take from January, 26, 1969. I personally like the Naked final take, and maybe you can get a feel for how I put together the playlist here. 

Although as I write this, I've been listening to all these versions for a couple weeks now and I'm pulled towards the Glyn Johns 1969 mixes that The Beatles ultimately rejected. Glyn Johns' use of vocal echo I thought was brilliant in that he captures a live feel as if the listener were sitting in an auditorium or concert hall, and lends itself to the live performance part of Paul's original vision for the project. In any event, here is what I eventually came to with the goal of not having multiple versions of any of the songs mixed with a selection of banter tracks and jams to capture a bit of that Beatle spirit and joy in their creative process.

The Beatles: Get Back Playlist
  1. The Beatles: Get Back - A Sneak Peek from Peter Jackson (12/20/20- Montage featuring the song, Get Back)
  2. Two of Us (2021 Super Deluxe Mix from 1970 album)
  3. I Don't Know Why I'm Moaning Discussion (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  4. I've Got A Feeling (Naked Version / Remastered 2013)
  5. Dig A Pony (1969 Glyn Johns Mix)
  6. Something (Rehearsal) (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  7. For You Blue (1969 Glyn Johns Mix)
  8. Can You Dig It (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  9. Let It Be (1969 Glyn Johns Mix)
  10. Medley: I’m Ready (aka Rocker) / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  11. Don't Let Me Down (This is not the version of Don’t Let Me Down heard on the single but the version from the Let It Be… Naked album – a composite of both versions that were performed on the roof of Apple in Savile Row)
  12. Maggie Mae / Fancy My Chances With You (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  13. I Me Mine (Naked Version / Remastered 2013)
  14. Polythene Pam (Rehearsal) (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  15. Across The Universe (Naked Version / Remastered 2013)
  16. Octopus’s Garden (Rehearsal 2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  17. Without A Song feat. Billy Preston on vocal (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  18. One After 909 (Take 3) (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  19. The Walk Jam (2021 Super Deluxe Mix)
  20. The Long And Winding Road (Naked Version / Remastered 2013)
  21. Get Back (Reprise / 1969 Glyn Johns Mix)
  22. Inside the story of the Beatles documentary “Get Back”
    (60 Minutes Overtime 11/14/21)
Happy Thanksgiving... and Happy Beatles weekend my friends! 


References / Resources

Monday, December 14, 2020

My Favorite Songs of 1970





1970 was an incredible year in rock 'n' roll history. Some of my favorite songs of all-time are contained in the albums above. The playlist this week is a treasure of jewels for me, some discovered in 1970, and some discovered much later.

The year was full of great music and news.

The biggest news of 1970 was the biggest band break-up that ever was as The Beatles go their separate ways and start making their own albums. Their fans never stop hoping that they will get back together.

The Beatles also released their last album, Let It Be recorded before Abbey Road and released after. 

Simon and Garfunkel also made their last album together, Bridge Over Trouble Water. The album wins 6 Grammy's and wins The Song, Record, and Album of the Year. Their fans never stop hoping that they get back together.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young make a masterpiece, Déjà Vu  and then promptly break-up for the first time, as their fans never stop hoping that they will get back together again, and again, and again...

Drugs and death also intersect in 1970, as both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin both die of overdoses just three weeks apart at the tender age of 27. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones had died the year prior in 1969 at 27, and in the following year of 1971, Jim Morrison would also die of an overdose at 27 and fuel the rock culture phenomenon of Club 27.  

Speaking of phenomenon, the singer-songwriters to emerge as stars in 1970 is literally on the charts. James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Carole King, Kris Kristofferson, Stephen Stills, Leon Russell, Cat Stevens, Van Morrison, and Elton John all breakout with solo albums that will put them on the map and on the road for years to come. In 1970, Stevens, Morrison, John, and Badfinger each release two albums during the same year as fans cannot get enough. 

I was hooked by all these talented people and I start buying their albums whenever I could scrap up the money. My friends are doing the same, and we are all listening to each other's albums. Getting into rock concerts was going to be the next big step.

At fifteen, I'm becoming aware that two of my new heroes- James Taylor and Neil Young, are a bit like me, painfully shy to the point that it wasn't helping me move forward in life. By listening to their songs by myself in my bedroom, I began to get a sensibility for their music and what they were communicating to the world. I began to internalize their music, like millions of other kids. I start to examine who I am- my self-worth, what will I do? James and Neil didn't magically answer these questions, but they did give me a feeling, a new sense that I wasn't alone. James has this beautiful voice and yet he's always hunched over (like me), walking and talking without a lot of confidence. Neil's as quirky as hell and has this unique shaky voice and distant stare. But yet, both are opening up on a big stage in the spotlight, and becoming massively successful, folk-rock stars no less. Could I actually make something of myself? 

1970 was a new decade but still part of the 1960's, and I wanted in, to be a long-hair. Music was becoming a part of my identity and it was a cornerstone of the counter-culture. I wanted to be part of something bigger, something completely different from my parents and my conservative upbringing.

This year in the blog, I started the reoccurring monthly post of 50 Years of Music. As I reflect back over the entirety of 1970, the blog often serves as a retro-journal to myself. This year, I also caught myself playing an old game, the 'shoulda-woulda-coulda' mind game. I wished I had joined the cross-country team, I wished I had started playing tennis with my dear friend Bill DeVoe as he would eventually go on to become the number one player on the high school varsity team. I wished I hadn't quit piano lessons, and I wished that I had starting writing a journal when I was young. In retrospect, all these wishes where not a lack of opportunities presented to me, but a basic lack of self-confidence on my part. 

I would go through most of the 1970's with that general lack of confidence that slowly melted away as I began my professional career as a K-12 teacher with a variety of job assignments and experiences. Over the years, I discovered that confidence is often revealed in a couple basic ways. One, you see the overt confidence, often coupled with words over action. Second, and the confidence I tried to model from the good people around me was the purposeful actions that followed their words.

On this day, I'm thankful for my core group of friends who helped me believe in myself, and I'm thankful for the music we shared together as kids and continue to share today with old and new songs.

The playlist(s) this week are 220 songs as it is contains some of the best music I ever heard when first released 50 years ago that has endured the test of time. To quote John Lennon on the roof of Abbey Road Studios in the Let It Be film, "I would like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we've passed the audition." Yes John, your band certainly passed the audition- giving all the people you inspired to pick up musical instruments and make rock 'n' roll. Those musicians and the listening fans from all over the world are forever indebted and eternally grateful for the music of 

(Note- I just discovered this morning in publishing the blog that an embedded YouTube playlist will only display 200 videos, damnit-all. So, I have taken the last 20 videos and created a Part II Playlist and embedded below the first playlist. There's some great songs in the last group of 20, including the last song which has a lot of meaning to me.)

Merry Everything! Stay well my friends and mask-up. 

So let's now get back to where we once belonged.


 

 Reference:

Monday, November 23, 2020

#BestSongIHeardToday • Volume I

   Volume I • II • III • IV  • V • VI • VII • VIII • IX • Team Tortoise Blogs •
Volume 10 • 


The #BestSongIHeardToday series is often centered around hearing great songs while exercising. These posts will tend to drift into health related topics but will always come back to the music that brought you here. This particular series is probably more about a self journal to help me stay on the path of healthy living that includes, listening to old and new tunes. If you're looking for a great mix playlist of 25-30 songs, just click on one of my Volumes above.

"No regrets, coyote"
On my weekly trail run,
I always listen to my Amazon 'My Music' on shuffle with the sound on speaker mode on my armband. Originally, I did this to alert the coyotes that I'm on the trail and maybe they should just move into the brush. I also now do this to alert walkers or joggers to mask up as I can tell they usually hear me coming before seeing me. Unfortunately, as now is often the case, they have NO mask to mask-up.

In the photo on the left, I've seen this juvenile coyote before usually on this stretch of the trail. The coyote is all ears as it hears my music (a Poco song I believe) and has quickly spun around and we are having a little staring contest while I snap this shot. I actually enjoy running into this ol' soul whereas the humans, not so much these days. My once good old Transcendental "Good Morning,"  greeting has been displaced 'in the time of coronavirus' with me now muttering inside my brain, "Mask-up motherf......"

But then, it's back to the wonderful canyon rustic trail cutting through my suburb, my rhythmic pace and often the surprise of the next song. On my typical hour run, I hear about 14 - 18 songs and play a game as I say to myself, "Oh this one is the best so far." Then usually several songs later, another song has knocked that one off the mantle of what potentially could be, the #BestSongiHeardToday running on this trail. 

My plan is to collect twenty-five songs as a stand-alone playlist. Here's Volume I of my random best while on the run. 

Note- This week I introduce my 'new and improved' blog look that I hope you will enjoy. I think it's easier to navigate to all my blog posts and works well with smartphones. 

I have also reintroduced the 'Comments' section below. Feel free to leave a comment, but please DO NOT piggyback a free advertisement with a LINK to a business site. Thank you.

Have a great Thanksgiving week, be safe and mask-up my friend!

Monday, August 24, 2020

List Your FAV FIVE: Rock 'n' Roll Bands

 

Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s from musical styles such as gospel, jump blues, jazz, boogie woogie, rhythm and blues, and country music. While elements of what was to become rock and roll can be heard in blues records from the 1920s and in country records of the 1930s, the genre did not acquire its name until 1954. 

In the earliest rock and roll styles, either the piano or saxophone was typically the lead instrument, but these instruments were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar in the middle to late 1950s. The beat is essentially a dance rhythm with an accentuated backbeat, which is almost always provided by a snare drum. Classic rock and roll is usually played with one or two electric guitars (one lead, one rhythm), a double bass (string bass) or after the mid-1950s an electric bass guitar, and a drum kit. Wikipedia

A rock band or pop band is a small musical ensemble that performs rock musicpop music, or a related genre. Wikipedia

I start this installment with the question, "Would you consider Simon and Garfunkel a rock band?"

To answer that question for the purposes of this blog, I'm going to say, "Yes and no."

Yes, because the duo embodies the above definitions with their blending of folk and rock 'n' roll genres.

And no, in the sense of rock 'n' roll moving in the mid-1960's to a more electric 'rock' sound.

In the blog today, I want to emphasize bands using electric guitars, electric bass, drums, keyboards and technology connected to large amplified speakers as the primary instruments used across a group's repertoire. Sure Simon and Garfunkel recorded songs like A Hazy Shade of Winter, but the rock-oriented beat of that song is more the exception than the rule to their catalog of music. Or, in my clumsy way of saying they had 'less rock and more roll' and boy did their music roll. (Note- Simon and Garfunkel were voted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.)

John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
Okay, what about individuals like Eric Clapton who was in so many terrific bands across his career, but also did a significant number of 'solo' rock albums. Here I'm going to say, "No" just pick one or more or these bands he was in.
I want this to be a focus on a two or more member rock-oriented ensemble. Okay, what about bands that have a front person identified by name but also have that critical collaborative ensemble that makes them a rock band? Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band quickly come to mind, because all the bandmates in those two bands became famous in their own right over time, so that's a big, "Yes."

My wife Mary Kit is going to bring up Elton John again, so is Elton John a band? I'm going to say, "Yes" because I'll have hell to pay if I said "No," but I'm going to say "yes" because Elton John wasn't ever in another famous band other than his own, and Elton had a life-long collaboration with his bandmates Nigel Olson, Davey Johnston and Dee Murray (RIP) who helped create the rocking Elton John sound. How 'bout Elton John and the Jets? Anyway, I'm not going to veto solo acts from anyone's list like Dylan, Bowie, or Prince, but first think of 'electric-ensemble bands' and their fascinating band names for your favorites list this week.

So hopefully this is all clear as mud and let the proceedings begins.

In this FAV FIVE it started like the previous episodes with a pen and paper brainstorm. This one flowed like a breeze compared to the others as I nailed the first four bands out of my head and into their final ranking order on paper. Now for number five? I said this is going to be easy as I thought of band name after band name feeling a little more doubtful as the list got longer and longer. Who to choose after The Who?

Doug's brainstorm list-

1. The Beatles
2. The Rolling Stones
3. The Who
4. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Now for that last pick.
  • The Kinks  - If I had to pick a #5 this week (1/5/22) it would be these guys.
  • The Beach Boys
  • Eagles
  • Fleetwood Mac
  • Cream
  • Traffic
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Creedance Clearwater Revival
  • The Hollies
  • The Band
  • Elton John
  • David Bowie
  • Queen
  • Yes
  • Electric Light Orchestra
  • The Moody Blues
  • The Byrds
  • Buffalo Springfield
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
  • The Allman Brothers
  • The Flying Burrito Brothers
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Emerson, Lake, and Palmer
  • Chicago
  • Loggins and Messina
  • Dire Straits
  • The Bangles
  • REM
  • The Black Keys
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band
  • Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
  • The Jayhawks
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Gary Clark Jr.
I could have easily picked the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds, CSNY or Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, but went with Loggins and Messina. Loggins and Messina was my first rock concert (Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo) in 1972 after their Sittin' In album had been released in November, 1971. They opened for The Youngbloods and blew The Youngbloods and gym audience away. (In fairness to The Youngbloods, they were actually breaking up at the time and no telling the behind the scenes circumstances.)

A couple of years later, I saw Loggins and Messina at the UCSB gym in Santa Barbara, and it is still one of the best concerts I have ever attended. I purchased all six of their studio albums from 1971-1976. Are their better bands in my list above, yes but Loggins and Messina has that special time in place element to take my #5 spot, not to mention a hell of an ensemble of supporting bandmates to see live.

Now it's your turn.
Use this direct link to the form if for some reason, it does not appear in you browser -

Looking forward to posting your list below here in the order that I receive them. Stay well my friends!

Mary Kit McIntosh's 
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. Eagles
  2. Fleetwood Mac
  3. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. The Beatles
  5. Elton John

Paul Hobbs' 
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. The Beatles
  2. The Rolling Stones
  3. The Band
  4. The Beach Boys
  5. The Who

Ron Zieman's
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. The Beatles
  2. Cream
  3. The Rolling Stones
  4. The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  5. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Ron Ouellette's
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. The Beatles
  2. Eagles
  3. Decemberists
  4. Steely Dan
  5. The Alternate Routes


Ken Forman's
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. The Beatles
  2. The Rolling Stones
  3. The Who
  4. The Band
  5. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

Bill DeVoe's
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. The Doors
  2. The Band
  3. Dire Straits
  4. The Moody Blues
  5. Electric Light Orchestra 

Shawna McIntosh's
FAV FIVE  Rock 'n' Roll Bands
  1. Radiohead
  2. Arcade Fire
  3. Animal Collective
  4. The Beastie Boys
  5. Beach House

Monday, June 08, 2020

My THIRD 100 Songs

If you've been following this series of now the THIRD grouping of 100 of my all-time favorite songs then you will be acutely aware of my favorite band, The Beatles.  For this third round, I actually went through every Beatle album and basically spread my favorite Beatle songs over the three current playlists. I say current, because it's not so much changing my mind, but more a shuffling of the deck of fantastic songs as I add more songs. I also said in the first list of 100 that I would not rank the songs, and I have continued that here.

The only thing that will remain a tradition as I have just started my FOURTH 100 Songs offline is that this series of playlists will start and end with Beatle songs as that is the dominate gene in my rock 'n' roll DNA.

Speaking of The Beatles, my pal Paul Hobbs turned me on to this great book, Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now (Amazon link) that I'm currently reading (and I wonder what made me go through every Beatle album this past week?).  I bought a used hardcover that was in great shape, but recommend if you like reading on your back, you opt for the paperback version, because She's so heavy, heavy, heavy, heavy...

Long Live The Beatles!

My THIRD 100 Songs
  1. I'll Feel Fine, The Beatles
  2. Three Roses, America
  3. Everyday People, Sly & The Family Stone
  4. Return Of The Grievous Angel, Gram Parsons
  5. Kodachrome, Paul Simon
  6. If I Can't Have You, Sara Bareilles 
  7. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  8. 49 Bye-Byes, Crosby, Stills & Nash
  9. Live, The Bangles
  10. The Sad Cafe, J.D. Souther
  11. Because, The Beatles
  12. Fish and Whistle, John Prine
  13. Black Queen, Stephen Stills
  14. Amie, Pure Prairie League
  15. Something So Right, Paul Simon
  16. Go Where You Want To Go, The Mamas & The Papas
  17. All You Can Do, Tedeschi Trucks Band
  18. For A Dancer, Jackson Browne
  19. You Can't Always Get What You Want, The Rolling Stones
  20. That Lonesome Road, James Taylor
  21. Daydream Believer, The Monkees
  22. You Like Me Too Much, The Beatles
  23. Into The Mystic, Van Moorison
  24. Celebrate Me Home, Kenny Loggins
  25. Sunny Side of Heaven, Fleetwood Mac
  26. They Dance Alone, Sting
  27. Been To Canaan, Carole King
  28. It Won't Be Long, The Beatles
  29. Seven Steps To Heaven, Miles Davis
  30. Blossom, James Taylor
  31. I Go To Pieces, Peter and Gordon
  32. Doctor My Eyes, Jackson Browne
  33. Hey Nineteen, Steely Dan
  34. Little Victories, J.D. Souther
  35. Every Little Thing, The Beatles
  36. Walk Away, James Gang
  37. Bluebird, Buffalo Springfield
  38. Late In The Evening, Paul Simon
  39. Helplessly Hoping, Crosby, Stills & Nash
  40. The Beehive State, Harry Nilsson
  41. She Said She Said, The Beatles
  42. Boys In The Trees, Carly Simon
  43. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
  44. We're Going To Be Friends, The White Stripes
  45. Going Up The Country, Canned Heat
  46. While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles
  47. Allison, Elvis Costello
  48. I Will Dare, The Replacements
  49. Golden Years, David Bowie
  50. Gimme Some Lovin', The Spencer Davis Group
  51. Laughing, David Crosby
  52. Lady Madonna, The Beatles
  53. Good Old Desk, Harry Nilsson
  54. Wasn't Born To Follow, The Byrds
  55. I'll Take You There, The Staple Singers
  56. Somebody To Love, Kacey Musgraves
  57. What It Is, Mark Knopfler
  58. I Don't Want to Spoil The Party, The Beatles
  59. All I Want, Joni Mitchell
  60. Day After Day, Badfinger
  61. Stone Soul Picnic, Lyra Nyro
  62. It Ain't Over Yet, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash & John Paul White
  63. Tupelo Honey, Van Morrison
  64. Mother Nature's Son, The Beatles
  65. I Wish, Stevie Wonder
  66. Paint It Black, The Rolling Stones,
  67. Kathy's Clown, The Everly Brothers
  68. Lonely The Night, Yola
  69. Can't Buy Me Love, The Beatles
  70. With God On Our Side, Bob Dylan
  71. Help Me Rhonda, The Beach Boys
  72. She's Right On Time, Billy Joel
  73. Get Together, The Youngbloods
  74. Money, Pink Floyd
  75. A Case of You, Joni Mitchell
  76. Everybody's Talkin', Harry Nilsson
  77. Country Girl, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
  78. Please Please Me, The Beatles
  79. Hungry Heart, Bruce Springsteen
  80. The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel
  81. So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star, The Byrds
  82. Funk #49, The James Gang
  83. Brown Sugar, The Rolling Stones
  84. Do You Believe In Magic, The Lovin' Spoonful
  85. Coyote, Joni Mitchell
  86. Roundabout, Yes
  87. What You're Doing, The Beatles
  88. Crossroads, Don McLean
  89. Same Road, Same Reason, Acoustic Alchemy
  90. What's Going On, Marvin Gaye
  91. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better, The Byrds
  92. Good Morning Good Morning, The Beatles
  93. Stoney End, Laura Nyro
  94. And So It Goes, Billy Joel
  95. Blood, Allison Moorer
  96. Please Come Home, Gary Clark Jr.
  97. Longer Boats, Cat Stevens
  98. Make Me Smile, Chicago
  99. Prince Of Peace, Leon Russell
  100. Hey Jude, The Beatles
My THIRD 100 Songs Playlist


Monday, April 27, 2020

A 'What if' Album: Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970

By Doug McIntosh & Paul Hobbs
(two fans and a fanciful rewrite of 1970)

A 'What if' Album Series:
Apple Scruffs • The Beatles 1970 | All In • CSNY 1970

The Apple Scruffs were a loosely-knit group of hardcore Beatles fans who were known for congregating outside the Apple Corps building and at the gates of Abbey Road Studios in London during the waning days of Beatlemania, in the hope of seeing or interacting with one of the band members. The name was first coined by George Harrison, who also recorded the song "Apple Scruffs" as a tribute to them for his 1970 triple album All Things Must PassWikipedia 

I actually co-opted the idea for this What If blog series from my good friend Paul Hobbs. In high school, Paul started a fun tradition of putting together imaginary new Beatle albums after their breakup in April of 1970. Paul's process would be to create a cassette tape mix from the solo albums of the post-fab-four from that year or thereabouts. I would often go over to Paul's house and we would sit in his bedroom and listen to albums on his portable record player. Sometime in 1970, Paul invited me over and shared his new Beatle album mix tape with me and together we escaped into a Beatles-forever alternate universe.

Recently in our 2020 #stayathome phone conversations, we decided to go back fifty years and put our heads together to create what that followup album might have been from our perspective today. Without too much rancor (just kidding), we both came together with a side one of seven songs, and a side two of six songs for our 42 minute mythical vinyl album. 

First we needed some basic rules to follow.

A 'What If' Album - 1970 Fantasy-Band-Land Rules
  • Our album had to be a 12" vinyl LP (Long Playing) analog record with 23 minutes maximum play time per side. So back in the day, a typical album had 12 songs or 6 songs per side.
  • Songs picked for this 'What If' album would be from John, Paul, George, and Ringo's solo recordings, no later than 1970. 
  • Think of these solo album songs as 'demo tracks' recorded without all four Beatles participating to make a final definitive Beatle track.
    1969-1970 Beatle Discography
    Abbey Road was released September, 1969 and even though Let It Be was recorded earlier in January of 1969, it was released in May of 1970.

    1970 Solo Albums -
    Paul McCartney                         George Harrison                      John Lennon                              Ringo Starr - Single
    McCartney                                 All Things Must Pass               Lennon/Plastic Ono Band         It Don't Come Easy 
    April 17, 1970                           November 27, 1970                 December 11, 1970                   March & Oct. 1970
    ••••••••••
    and now for a little fantasy... Starting with our made up press release


    Hey ‘Scruffs’ Cheer Up Good News For Beatles Fans
    Actual 1970 Circus Magazine Cover
    Dan Lingman • August 14, 1970 • Circus Magazine

    In the aftermath of courtroom battles and breakup rumors, the Beatles have resurfaced at Abbey Road Studios where they’re putting the finishing touches on Apple Scruffs a new collection of Beatle songs tentatively slated for a fall release.

    “Apple Scruffs” comes from George’s affectionate term for the fans who gather outside the Apple offices day after day, hoping for some sort of connection with their heroes,” explains Neil Aspinall, head of Apple Corps. “With all the turmoil caused by the rumors of the Beatles imminent demise the fans have been very much on the Beatles’ minds. They seem genuinely reinvigorated and refocused. I was able to pop in on a session earlier in the week and the energy in the room was extraordinary! Everyone seems very excited.”

    With the prospect of a new Beatles album when it seemed like all was lost? That’s cause for excitement, not to mention a Beatles Christmas for all of us.

    ••••••••••
    and.... A 'What If' Album Fictional Narrative


    Apple Scruffs • Release Date: October 9, 1970
    It is spring 1970, Let It Be is topping the charts and the lads after a few rough patches on a winding road have gotten back to full-form with the critically acclaimed, Abbey Road. George continues to press John and Paul in getting more of his songs on Beatle albums as he now has a war chest of songs ready to go. In a recent interview George was asked about being a songwriter and he said, "the only reason I started to write songs was because I thought, well, if they can write them, I can write them."

    Ringo is now a movie star with the release of The Magic Christian and thinks his song, It Don't Come Easy will be a single at some point.

    A 'What If' Album Cover










    The band has all agreed that the Phil Spector experiment of producing Let It Be is behind them as he has returned to America, and his gun collection. George Martin is back to steer the magical ship as Producer and 5th Beatle, full speed ahead Mr. Parker, full speed ahead.

    Also, in a stunning reversal, The Beatles have fired manager, Allen Klein and he has been replaced by The Bee Gees, Cream, and Eric Clapton's manager, Robert Stigwood.

    John and Paul are becoming more open to the new dynamics in the band as they begin a new decade together. The Lennon/McCartney team continues to balance their collaborative and solo songwriting craft as both seek greater autonomy in their professional and personal lives. John likes to call himself, "a happily married fellow" these days, and Paul has traded in his London highlife for a sheep farm in Scotland. Can these two find peace and happiness at home? Enough so, that keeps them both coming back to work together, and with George and Ringo? Time will tell, but for now they have a miraculous follow up and journey past Abbey Road's The End.

    A "What If" Back Album Cover





    Ladies and Gentlemen
    The Beatles • Apple Scruffs (1970)


    --------------
    References