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

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 • Team Tortoise Blogs

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

FAV FIVE Series 
Guitar Players • Bass Players • Drummers • Keyboard Players

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 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
  • (5) 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

    Monday, April 06, 2020

    Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and now Peter and Jeremy

    Photo of James Taylor & Peter Asher at the
    Sweet Baby James photo shoot by Henry Diltz
    Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog called,  Sweet Baby James and 50 Years Down the Road

    While writing that blog, I had also began to read a book by James Taylor's original manager and the producer of Sweet Baby James, Peter Asher.

    Thanks to Paul Hobbs 
    for the book loan



    The book is titled, The Beatles from A to Zed and is simply a wonderful journey through the alphabet with everything Beatles, plus more interesting sidebar stories including: Peter's direct experiences with the Beatles, his days in Peter and Gordon, and life in the music business. If you're a Beatle fan, this is a must and a very fun read indeed. The book got me interested in Peter Asher and I began to look into his life and professional career as a musician and record producer.

    Some early facts about Peter Asher and his one degree of separation-
    • Peter's father was a doctor and his mother was a professional musician and Oboe teacher, who once taught a young lad named, George Martin (the future producer of The Beatles).
    • Peter went to the prestigious Westminster School in London where he met his future band mate, Gordon Waller whose father was also a doctor.
    • Peter was a child actor along with sister Jane Asher, a life-long actress. 
    • At seventeen, Jane had an opportunity to interview the Beatles in April, 1963 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, and began a five-year relationship with Paul McCartney. In December 1963, McCartney took up residence at Asher's family Wimpole Street town house and stayed there until the couple moved into McCartney's own home located in St John's Wood in 1966. McCartney wrote several Beatles songs inspired by her, including "And I Love Her", "You Won't See Me", "I'm Looking Through You", "We Can Work It Out", and "Here, There and Everywhere." Wikipedia
    • At the Asher's Wimpole St. home, John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in the front basement room, while McCartney wrote the tune to "Yesterday" in a box room at the top of the house. Wikipedia
    • Paul McCartney and Jane Asher
    • For two years, Peter's and Paul's bedrooms were right next to each other at the top of the house, and Peter as a young musician himself had constant direct access to one of the greatest singer-songwriter's of all-time. I guess I could go on about Jane's and Paul's access... what were her parents thinking?
    Anyway, John and Paul were constantly writing new songs and always revisiting and even workshopping older songs they wrote before the Beatles formed in 1960. One such song, A World Without Love was written by Paul when he was sixteen but John could never get past the first line, Please lock me away without cracking up with laughter.

    Peter Asher and Gordon Waller
    As John rejected A World Without Love as a Beatles song, an astute Peter Asher asked Paul if he could have the "orphan" song for his newly signed band, Peter and Gordon. Peter even persisted Paul to write the bridge of the still uncompleted song. Paul finished the song and gave it to Peter and Gordon who took it to their first recording sessions for EMI Records. Least to say, the rest is history as the song went all the way to #1 on the UK and American Billboard Charts in 1964 and launched Peter and Gordon as a worldwide duo.

    This past week, I thought the A World Without Love lyrics quite appropriate for our #StayatHome times even though they were written by a young Paul McCartney about waiting for a true love to finally show herself.

    Please lock me away
    And don't allow the day
    Here inside where I hide
    With my loneliness

    I don't care what they say I won't stay
    In a world without love

    Now another thing that struck me when viewing the color video of A World Without Love is that Peter Asher is the spitting image model of Mike Myers' Austin Powers character. I am of course not the first to make this observation, but I want you to play the song here and pay attention as the camera zooms in on Peter at the 0:27 - 0:37 mark. You'll see exactly what I'm talking about- Peter's expression with mop top, Buddy Holly glasses and teeth... Yeah Baby!



    Peter's close relationship with Paul McCartney proved invaluable as Peter and Gordon recorded several songs written by McCartney but credited to Lennon–McCartney. Those hits included "A World Without Love" (US & UK #1), "Nobody I Know" (US #12; UK #10), "I Don't Want To See You Again" (US #16, but not a hit in the UK), and "Woman." With "Woman", McCartney used the pseudonym Bernard Webb to see whether he could have a hit song without his name attached. First pressings of the US Capitol single listed the composer as "A. Smith". The song reached #14 in the US and #28 on the UK Singles Chart in 1966. Wikipedia

    Phil and Don Everly
    As duo groups in the 1960's started popping up such as Simon and Garfunkel, Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, not to mention such bands as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Byrds, The Hollies, and Bee Gees- all getting their harmonic inspiration from the well of The Everly Brothers. For Peter and Gordon, it's very interesting to hear two very different singing voices come together to make their harmony work so well. Needless to say, without the Everly Brothers, the evolution of harmony in the early to mid-sixties for singing duo's and bands just wouldn't have been the same.

    Chad Stuart and Jeremy Clyde
    Chad and Jeremy is another interesting duo from England as they too rode the British Invasion to America with a number of hits from 1962 - 1968.

    The duo had a string of hits in the US, including "Willow Weep for Me", "Before and After", and their biggest hit, "A Summer Song". Wikipedia

    For Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy, the 60's wave ended as both groups disbanded in 1968. For Peter Asher, his life changed in 1968 as he briefly worked as the A&R (Artists & Repertoire) Director for Apple Records where he signed James Taylor to his first record contract and then moved to the United States to manage and produce James and later, Linda Ronstadt. Peter went on to produce many acts, and in 1995-2002 was Senior Vice-President for Sony Music Entertainment.

    Peter and Gordon, 2005
    But what attracted me to write this article and playlist this week was Peter Asher's reunion with Gordon Waller in 2005, first playing benefits, Beatlefest, and then doing clubs together. Sadly, this ended in 2009 when Gordon Waller died of a heart attack at 64 years old.
    Chad and Jeremy, 2005

    As for Chad and Jeremy, Chad Stuart continued to work in the music industry while Jeremy Clyde became a film and stage actor. In the early 1980s, the duo reunited to record a new album and perform concerts, including a multi-band British Invasion nostalgia tour. After another long period of separation, in the early 2000s Chad & Jeremy began performing again and developed a semi-regular schedule of touring for many years. Wikipedia

    Peter and Jeremy, 2020
    Incidentally, both Peter and Gordon and Chad and Jeremy often played venues together as all were life-long friends.

    In 2018, Chad Stuart retired from performing and low and behold, Peter Asher and Jeremy Clyde started performing together as, Peter and Jeremy. That kind of takes us full circle as I would like to present a mix playlist of Peter and Gordon, Chad and Jeremy, and Peter and Jeremy this week in both older and more recent videos. Make sure to watch the last two videos with a bit of fun commentary by Peter and Jeremy. Enjoy my friends!


    Note- I also want to give a big shoutout to jarichards99youtube (subscribe here) who does a fantastic job of taking old music videos and creating a Digitally ReProcessed ReCut Video and STEREO ReMix.HiQ Hybrid = Live Video Performance PLUS Studio Quality Sound.

    Monday, March 30, 2020

    50 Years of Music • January - March, 1970

    50 Years of Music Series • 1970
    January - March | April - May

    Simon and Garfunkel at the 1971 13th Annual Grammy Awards | Bettmann/Getty Images
    Something old, something new... part of the good luck tradition for a bride on her wedding day. In the past several months I haven't seen any brides floating about, but thought I'd borrow the expression.

    Three weeks ago, I put together a playlist of "something new" music releases from January-March, 2020 thinking that might be popular with so many people home and online. It wasn't a dud but maybe not the #ComfortSongs to go along with maybe some of the #ComfortFoods you've been wanting or having at your #StayatHome. By the way, has cooking made a comeback at your house too?

    Last week, I put together the 50th anniversary of CSN&Y's Déjà vu album, and Joni Mitchell's Ladies of the Canyon, and that got a pretty good bump of blog hits coming in. With that in mind, I'll continue the "something old" theme by highlighting albums released from January - March from 1970. It's an amazing collection of albums and the number of great songs within those albums are truly impressive.

    Here are a few thoughts I strung together while putting this 100+ Playlist together derived from my Wikipedia source, 1970 in music.

    I'll start with the Grammy album of the year for 1970,
    Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel. What's not to like on this entire album. If I have to pick one to start off the playlist, I'm going with Cecilia an all-time favorite which also reminds me of a quick story growing up in a Baptist Church. I remember when Love The One You're With was a hit by Stephen Stills in late 1970 and a girl in my youth group commented to me, "I just can't stand these dirty songs like Cecilia and Love The One You're With." About a year later, I came up to her at church and said, "Guess you'll have to add Change Partners to your dirty songs list."

    The Magic Christian was a February 1970 movie starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. The soundtrack, Magic Christian Music is by the band Badfinger and features their first big hit written and produced by Paul McCartney, Come and Get It. I thought this was going to be a quick skip-through album, but I kept saying to myself, "wait a minute, this one's good...this one's good" and so on. Like so many albums I discover fifty years after their release, Magic Christian Music's a gem from a truly great band as most people only know their hits.

    Last week I watched a 2011 documentary about George Martin (the 5th Beatle) on Amazon Prime called, Produced by George Martin (link here) that I highly recommend. George Martin produced Ringo's first solo album, Sentimental Journey and the two make a great team doing a complete album of "standards" that had not had been attempted by any rock star until Ringo did it. Ringo has always been maligned by the press over the years, but now most critics say he's not only a great drummer but a very good singer to boot. Listen to Ringo sing Night and Day by Cole Porter.

    When I was fifteen, I would have never have listened to Frank Sinatra's Watertown, much less Ringo's Sentimental Journey. In Watertown, Sinatra takes a 1970 ride on the singer-songwriter wave with a themed-based album.  All the songs were written by the same team of  Bob Gaudio and Jake Holmes which is something Frank had never done before. This indeed was a risky move as Watertown was Frank's worst selling album, but the critics loved it and I think it's a wonderful album too. It's a heartbreaking tale of a wife who leaves her husband and two children searching for stardom. Make sure you listen to, The Train.

    If I didn't mention the band Mountain here, I'd probably get a concerning phone call from my old friend and childhood next door neighbor Ron Zieman wondering if I lost my mind. Ron introduced me to the best "heavy" rock bands over the years starting with Cream. Felix Pappalardi who produced some of Cream's albums started Mountain with Leslie West and their first album Climbing climbed the charts with their big hit, Mississippi QueenWhen the group proceeded to record "Mississippi Queen", Pappalardi insisted on numerous takes. Growing weary, Corky Laing the drummer started using the cowbell to count off the song. Pappalardi liked it so much he left it in the mix, creating the song's recognizable intro (Wikipedia). And as Christopher Walken would say, "More Cowbell."

    Moondance is simply one of the greatest albums of all time. As a teenager I really didn't appreciate Van Morrison until I got to San Diego State and started rooming with my buddy Mark Hunter. Mark was from Millbrae CA, just south of San Francisco and if you're from the Bay Area you know "Van the man." Every song on this album is fantastic. In the last several years, I've really taken a deeper dive into his music and loved seeing him in Las Vegas in February. Check out Into the Mystic, this song is right up there...

    The personnel on Leon Russell's debut album is largely a who's who of rock 'n' roll royalty, not to mention half of England. Again, so many great songs on this album including the all-time, "A Song for You", written by Russell, is a slow, pained plea for forgiveness and understanding from an estranged lover, the tune is one of Russell's best-known compositions. It has been performed and recorded by over 200 artists, spanning many musical genres. Elton John has called the song an American classic (Wikipedia).

    I purchased Nilsson Sings Newman in a used record shop after Harry Nilsson become really famous with his 1971 album, Nilsson Schmilsson. Again, this album is filled with great songs. Both albums followed me to college and I listened to them often in my dorm room and then in a series of forgettable apartments. In fact in my first forgettable apartment, my complete stereo system was stolen (a high school graduation present) with Harry Nilsson's 1974 Pussy Cats album on the turntable. I'll never forget coming home, opening the door and seeing a large empty space where the stereo system used to be with now the Pussy Cats empty album jacket laying in its place. My first thought was F***!!!!!, then I thought, well Pussy Cats was not Harry's finest hour on vinyl. But as long as I'm talking today about great "standards" albums like Sentimental Journey and Watertown today, check out Nilsson's 1973 A Touch of Schmilsson in the Night, a classic and one of Harry's finest hours.

    Mary Kit says to me, "108 videos this week, man you must have some spare time..."