Vale George Martin

 

Rest in peace.

 
So saddened to hear that the great Sir George Martin has passed away. He was such a huge part of what made The Beatles so great – his production on each of their tracks is incredible to listen to, and everything he added to their music enhanced so much of their work, often lifting it from ‘great’ to bonafide masterpiece status. I’ll never forget the first time I heard his mono mix of Revolver; ‘A Day In The Life’s apocalyptic orchestra; ‘In My Life’s beautiful (sped-up) piano; ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’; ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’; ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – all greatly affected by his work. He always seemed a true gentleman, too. 

May he rest in peace.

Vale David Bowie.

The stars look very different today.

“And the stars look very different today.”

I will forever remember what I was doing when I heard that David Bowie was dead, as what had been occupying my time that afternoon is now horribly ironic. I’d been listening to Hunky Dory and a stack of his outtakes; I’d been loading reviews of Blackstar, ready for after I’d listened to it (I’m still waiting on its delivery); I’d been learning how to play a few of his songs on guitar. Then mere minutes later, I discovered that he was gone. He is a true Starman, now, I guess.

What can I say? David is one of my greatest heroes. Over this past year, he has influenced me so much, and I in turn admire him more than words can convey. His work, lately, has been so unpredictable, and his death is no exception.

David fell into my life 3 years ago, but it was only last year (when I visited the ‘David Bowie Is’ exhibition, then in Melbourne) that I became the intense follower of his work that I am today. This can be put down to the exhibition: I entered it an excited yet casual fan, but I left it forever changed by the magic of his art. I’ve barely let a day go by without listening to his music since.

David’s influence and inspiration on me is a gift beyond words. He showed me so much: his sartorial prowess gave me the confidence to dress androgynously and to create my own style; he taught me to stop caring about what other people think, to not force myself to conform, to be truly comfortable in my own skin; he even inspired me to dye my hair bright Ziggy-orange! His music is filled with his incredible passion, emotion and intensity, making it feel so real and infinitely amazing, giving it the ability to make you both grin at its euphoria and cry at its beauty; his lyrics are articulate, intelligent and beautiful, just like the man himself; many of his films are spine-chilling in their brilliance (The Man Who Fell To Earth comes to mind); his ch-ch-ch-ch-changes gave his work such an unpredictable mystery, setting him apart from virtually every other artist in the world; he was a true icon, not only to the “outsiders” that identified with his art but to the entire world, whether they know it or not; his work remains almost as radical as when it was first released; and as recounted in my now-hauntingly-appropriate post from the other week, he knew how to merge sound and vision like no other. He was orignal; creative; intelligent; iconic; heroic; funny; thought-provoking; beautiful; incredible. There is little in this world that has affected me as much as his work.

It’s hard to believe, now, that it was only a few days beforehand that the music world was celebrating both his birthday and the release of his newest album, Blackstar. We’ve had the news for a day, now, but it still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. While, deep down, we all knew that Bowie was both human and mortal, I don’t think anyone expected this to happen so soon. Recently, a number of important musicians have also died, but I wasn’t prepared for the fact that one of my favourites would be next. I certainly wasn’t prepared for it to be Bowie. He was like a friend I never knew. Like much of the world, I was utterly heartbroken by the news. I rarely cry over celebrity deaths, but Bowie was this rule’s exception.

But David and his work have given me so many amazing memories, so today has not been exclusively saddening. It is hard to forget the times I spent jumping around to ‘Suffragette City’, ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’, ‘Queen Bitch’, laughing, screaming the lyrics at the top of my lungs; the first times I listened to his albums, falling in love with them immediately;  the times I sat and listened to ‘Rock’n’Roll Suicide’, ‘”Heroes”‘, ‘Quicksand’, my spine tingling, in tears at their beauty; the joy of discovering the mountains of his almost-unknown B-sides and outtakes (‘Holy Holy’, ‘Velvet Goldmine’, the Arnold Corns versions of ‘Moonage Daydream’ and ‘Hang Onto Yourself’). These memories, undoubtedly, will be continued, and I’m certain that many more will be created over the course of my life. While listening to his work won’t be the same again, it will continue to incite such a passion and joy in both me and millions of other fans around the world. Because Bowie means so much to so many people – and his death won’t change that.

Rest in the greatest of peaces, Mr Jones. You were so many things over the years, but your genius was a constant. Planet Earth is blue right now, but we will forever remember the impact you had on both the world and so many of our lives. You little wonder you. xx

david bowie

“I love you so.”

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY JOHN LENNON!

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(Image by David Bailey)

Author’s Note: I began this post a little over three weeks ago, on John’s actual birthday, but due to schoolwork, interstate trips and mild writers’ block, have taken the better part of a month to finish it. Oh well – at least I published it before November!

Quite a number of musicians I admire had their birthday, on October 9th – John Entwistle; PJ Harvey; Sean Ono Lennon. But most importantly, it would have been the 75th birthday of my favourite Beatle, John Lennon. Wishing John a very, very happy birthday, wherever he may be! I’ve written about John a lot on my blog, and I shall add to what I have already said, today.

For as long as I’ve been a Beatles fan, John has been my favourite Beatle. I cannot remember why I chose him, at first. During this time, I could barely tell each band member apart in the few images I had seen of them – let alone know much about John. Perhaps it was something to do with him being referenced in a novel I was reading at the time, and the fact that I liked ‘Imagine’.

However, it was him I chose, and it quickly became clear – as my knowledge of John and The Beatles quickly expanded – that he would have become my favourite Beatle, regardless of who I had picked first. As I sifted through interviews, read numerous biographies and watched just as many documentaries, John was the Beatle who interested me the most. Of course, I liked the other Beatles, too – George, in particular, has always interested me as well – but it was John who stood out.

At that point in time (the first half of 2013), my knowledge of rock music was limited to its successor in the popularity race: the current incarnation of pop. Rockstars were no longer figureheads of pop culture, instead replaced by boybands and other assorted popstars. So as I gradually became more knowledgeable about both John and The Beatles, perhaps one of the reasons he fascinated me so was that he was so different to the celebrities I had become accustomed to. Instead of singing formulaic songs written by a team of songwriters, John (like Paul and George) mainly wrote his own – accompanied by interesting, meaningful lyrics, and some of the most unconventionally inventive and memorable chord progressions and melodies to ever come out of rock. (At this point in time, I was yet to learn that writing your own songs was commonplace in rock music, so I was especially surprised. However, at the time of ‘Love Me Do’ and Please Please Me, a band penning their own hits would have been somewhat rare, as well – only a handful of rock and pop artists before The Beatles wrote their own songs.) Through reading interview transcripts, and watching both documentaries and Beatles films, I saw that he was both funny and intelligent, qualities that seemingly lacked the personalities of the pop stars that my world was saturated with. His political awareness, too, captivated me – I don’t think I’d ever heard of a politically-aware celebrity before John.

The music, unsurprisingly, was what drew me in first. I had been having music lessons – on both violin and flute – for a number of years beforehand, but my technical knowledge was exclusively limited to the classical concepts I had been taught; and despite being raised on my parents’ wonderful music taste – ranging from Mick Taylor-era Stones and The Doors’ LA Woman, to Petula Clark and Dusty Springfield (both of whom I loved as a small child) – I never showed much interest in rock. The Beatles’ and John’s music was the first that caught my attention, and the first music that I was passionate about. To my classically-trained ears, it all sounded incredibly different to what I knew – even now, with considerably more knowledge of rock and jazz theory, it still sounds “different”. They used chord progressions and fingerings that deviate almost completely from the accepted standards. Sometimes, on John’s songs, there would barely be a melody at all – John’s tunes were traditionally more rhythmic than melodic – but they still managed to be incredibly catchy, and among the best-written songs of all time. Inside their catalogue, which I had only just begun to devour, I discovered everything from tender ballads to psychedelic freak-outs, perfect pop tunes to ear-splitting hard rock, beautiful folk songs to searing garage cuts – sometimes incorporating the values of a number of genres into one. Their musical accomplishments on their respective instruments, whilst not of the classical technicality I knew, were undeniably great – John’s guitar inspired me so much that I began to learn guitar a few months later, something which has now become one of my favourite things in the world. They incorporated elements from classical, jazz and, of course, traditional Indian music into their songs, a concept that I thought genius; and I found their love of experimentalism in the studio – i.e. backmasking, tape loops, etc. – endlessly fascinating. It is this that shows their incredible creativity and inventiveness as a band; it is this that makes them so great. And even then, when I barely knew what a chord was – let alone anything concerning the technicalities of rock music – it was this that I first liked about the music of John and The Beatles. It was this inventiveness that has ensured that they have stayed the kings of rock music for over 50 years, and likely will for many to come.

And through John and The Beatles, I began to receive my education in rock music. As I skimmed through Wikipedia pages for each Beatles song, I discovered the differences between ‘solos’ and ‘instrumentals’; why you don’t have to be technically good to play quality rock’n’roll – just passionate; that lyrics shouldn’t have to rhyme to be among the best ever written (see ‘Across The Universe’). I soon learnt what a chord actually was, and the rules for piecing them together – which, with enough knowledge, are prime for being broken. I learnt how melodies lock together with the rhythm guitar, and drums, and bass; in fact, I learnt about what functions basses and drums serve, full stop. I learnt that there is more than one kind of guitar, and what purpose each kind – rhythm & lead, acoustic & electric – carries out. I soon discovered that John played rhythm guitar incredibly well (see here), so I wanted to pick it up as well – I began learning guitar in the January of 2014, among the best things I ever did, again widening my understanding my understanding (and knowledge) of “contemporary” music. I haven’t prepared for a classical violin exam for over a year, and don’t plan on doing so again, instead replacing the traditional methods with blues fiddle. I began to widen my music tastes and listen to artists other than The Beatles and their solo careers: beginning with The Velvet Underground, The Violent Femmes and the early Stones, and ending up today with tastes in everything from punk to noise rock to psychedelia to blues to folk, and just about everything in between. I dropped my somewhat snobbish opinion that no good music was created after 1980, and discovered a number of favourite artists from each decade, from the ’50s to this year. I began writing songs; I became an aspiring musician; I became a rock music fanatic. And whilst John and The Beatles no longer remain my sole influence – rather a part of an influential melting pot, consisting of everyone from Kim Gordon to the Violent Femmes to David Bowie to Tame Impala – they will always be my first. Rock music has influenced and inspired most of my life for nearly three years, and I can’t even imagine how different it would be if I hadn’t (somewhat accidentally) been introduced to The Beatles, one morning in early 2013.

John’s lyrics, too, had a similar impact. I had never listened to a song’s lyrics seriously before – because, I thought, what was to be taken seriously about them? During a time when the famously eloquent tune ‘Blurred Lines’ (sarcasm intended) was topping the charts, and we had all been subjected to the equally-articulate ‘Gangnam Style’ and ‘Call Me Maybe’ for the previous year, quality lyrics weren’t exactly a requirement for pop hits. They never had been, I guess, but I liked lyrics – I wrote poetry as a hobby, and I wanted to hear words that actually made sense, and were written about something other than a bad dance that would go viral on YouTube. Again, as I ploughed my way through The Beatles’ back catalogue, I discovered another of John’s talents – his writing. He wrote about love, but it wasn’t his sole subject; he wrote about everything from his politics to friendship, loneliness to happiness. He wrote about his life and experiences, and this added an emotion and passion that couldn’t be there otherwise. He managed to use as few words as possible, and yet convey the point of his song more beautifully than more could have. The fact that same man wrote ‘Across The Universe’, its beautiful lyrics a strong factor of the song’s dreamy atmosphere; ‘Revolution’, somewhat cynical yet still wonderfully idealistic at its core; the melancholia of ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’; the joyousness of ‘All You Need Is Love’ – this amazed me.  His writing revealed an eloquence, an intelligence and the right balance between seriousness and humour that represented what I had been looking for, lyrically.

Of course, John’s writing skills also shine through on his books, In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works. (Despite having been a hardcore fan for nearly three years, I have not gotten around to reading Skywriting By Word Of Mouth – yet…) I read the two of them a little over a year afterwards, and adored them instantly. They are absolutely hilarious, consisting of clever wordplay and punnery, satirising everything from politics and religion to life in general – and, of course, accompanied by cute illustrations to match each short story or poem! They showcase John’s incredibly unique (and funny) sense of humour, and I don’t think I have read anything like them before – or since.

(By John himself!)

(By John himself!)

Another thing about John that I liked was his political activism. I grew up in a house where we frequently discussed political issues, so I had always been surrounded by a political awareness, and just as I was getting into The Beatles, I had simultaneously begun to develop beliefs of my own. As I listened to more of John’s music, and discovered more about him, I discovered more about his political efforts as well: ‘Imagine’; the catchy and effective ‘Give Peace A Chance’, recorded at his and Yoko’s famous Bed In; the ever-controversial ‘Woman Is The Nigger Of The World’, which – when paired with the definition of the ‘n-word’ that John used whilst defending the song on the Dick Cavett Show – deserves more respect than it gets; the word-ninja criticism of politicians in ‘Gimme Some Truth’; John’s appearance at the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, soon after which Sinclair was released; the fact that the Nixon government felt so threatened by John as to attempt to deport him. His outspokenness and passion for political issues appealed to me – not only the fact that, like a lot of young people during his time, he was not afraid to rebel against the mainstream beliefs of the system, but that he spoke up about what he believed in, too. Instead of seeing John’s politics as naive, as many have done in recent years, I see them as incredibly interesting and thought-provoking, regardless of whether I agree. If anything, they encouraged a number of people to think about their views, which is always a good thing. And it was John’s fearless outspokenness on issues he cared about that aided this – the fact that he and Yoko weren’t afraid to publicly disapprove of everything from war to the patriarchy on prime-time chat shows is inspiring. I sometimes wonder what he would think of the world today: where terrorism threats frighten our governments into fighting back with yet more war, where Australia hasn’t seen a prime minister hold a full term since before the invention of the iPhone, where numerous civil wars rage across the world, where 1 in 5 Australian women don’t have anywhere near enough superannuation due to the gender pay gap. It is sad that we don’t have more celebrities like him today, who are willing to put aside their carefully-cultivated images to be loud about issues that affect our world.

(popmatters.com)

(popmatters.com)

Today, a small but vocal number of people have taken it upon themselves to attempt to destroy John’s legacy by creating serious and inexcusable allegations about him, using various ill-informed online sources. This saddens me, and not only because many of these claims can easily be debunked with a little research. I disagree with referring to John (or anyone, for the record), as a saint – John certainly was not one. (He was an incredibly complex man, by many accounts, and to reduce him to a caricature of a perfect “angel” who served solely to protest for peace is erasing all the other interesting things about him.) Seeing one’s role-model as a divine figure and worshipping them blindly is not particularly healthy. But barely anyone is a saint. No-one is perfect, and this is something humanity knows well – so why should we expect the impossible from our heroes and leaders? Whilst some of John’s behaviour shouldn’t be condoned, people need to remember the myriad of good things he did, as well – these outweigh the (truthful) bad. He made beautiful music; he wrote great lyrics, and hilarious books; he was a wonderfully positive political influence, even if just for getting young people to think about the subject; he’s been described as intelligent, witty and a genuinely nice guy by many people who knew him; he was in the greatest band that ever was, and probably ever will be. Our world would be a lesser place if it wasn’t for his contributions.

And so, a very happy – and very, very belated! – birthday to my favourite Beatle, John Lennon. Thank you for inspiring me, and for your wonderful influence on our world. 🙂

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His Majesty Prince Jones…

Rest in peace.

Rest in peace.

Today is July 3nd. On this day in 1969, around midnight, Rolling Stones founder, namer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool. He was 27.

Brian’s story is one of rock’s saddest tragedies. He was the founding Stone; he named them; he was their original “bad boy”. It was his persistence that helped them in the early days. He introduced them to the blues. But soon enough, Brian became ostracised from his band. His mental and physical health began to decline, leading to his untimely death.

Brian as a child

Brian as a child

Brian Jones was born on the 28th of February, 1942, in Cheltenham, England. He had two sisters, Pamela and Barbara. Pamela died when Brian was 3, of leukaemia.

Brian was a very intelligent kid. He had an IQ of 135. He excelled in school. Brian’s parents were both interested in music, and sent him to music lessons from an early age, translating their interest to their son.

When he was 15, Brian discovered jazz, changing him forever. He picked up saxophone and would soon begin guitar, foreshadowing his multi-instrumental genius with The Stones. He began to hang out in coffee clubs in Cheltenham, and played shows in many of them, too. His parents, however, did not approve of this.

Brian’s attitude also changed around this period. Although he had enjoyed school as a child, he grew tired of its sense of authority and conformity. He rebelled, leading to suspension on a couple of occasions. Brian’s attitude and musical passion made him somewhat of a loner. An ex from that period commented that “a lot of people didn’t understand him”. However, he still managed to get good grades, earning 9 O-levels and 2 A-levels.

Brian moved out of home at 17. He had fathered a string of illegitimate children, and — after quitting school  — spent the Summer travelling through Europe. Living on money from busking with his guitar, his cash eventually ran out and he returned to Cheltenham.

The Stones in 1962.

The Stones in 1962.

In 1962, Brian moved to London. He became entranced with the blues, and befriended musician Alexis Korner, who would stay a friend for the rest of his life. But perhaps the most defining moment of this period was when he placed an ad in the Jazz News, looking for members for an R&B band, which he named after Muddy Waters’ ‘Rollin’ Stone’. This caught the attention of two teenagers named Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. They went to see Brian play at Korner’s club, and were blown away by his magnificent slide guitar work on Elmore James’s ‘Dust My Broom’. Brian brought Mick and Keith into his band, and begun sharing a flat with them at 102 Edith Grove. After a succession of bassists and drummers — including future Pretty Thing Dick Taylor and, allegedly, future Kink Mick Avory — Brian settled on Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts. The Stones were ready to become one of the biggest bands of the ’60s.

102 Edith Grove.

102 Edith Grove.

Around this time, Andrew Loog Oldham began managing The Stones with soon-to-be-ousted Eric Easton. Brian had been fulfilling this position until that point, and had been paying himself 5 pounds more for the job. The other Stones were not too pleased about this, to say the least, beginning the alienation between Brian and The Stones.

It didn’t take long for The Stones to become big. They released a few singles; adding his famous slide guitar to the Lennon/McCartney-written ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, adding some awesome harmonica to ‘Not Fade Away’. They released their self-titled debut (still a very Brian-lead affair) in 1964. However, Oldham decided that Mick would make a better “leader” of The Stones (a position also fulfilled by Brian ’till this point), and set out to make this so. And, in an attempt to equal the success of The Beatles, Oldham made Mick and Keith begin writing songs together, reducing Brian’s role in the band. (Though Brian wrote a film soundtrack, the melodies for ‘The Last Time’, ‘Paint It Black’ and ‘Under My Thumb’ and allegedly wrote ‘Ruby Tuesday’ with Keith, The Stones never recorded a song he wrote by himself.) The Oldham-Jagger-Richards troika took over from Brian as The Stones’ leader. They treated him horribly, and Brian soon became an outsider in the band he’d started. One scenario of such treatment is recounted in Paul Trynka’s excellent Brian biography: Brian was told to come into the studio to record ‘Little Red Rooster’, one day. However, he got to the studio only to discover that the other Stones had recorded their parts without him, and he was left to add overdubs. Though it was in part his fault, I feel that their treatment of him was particularly cruel and unnecessary.

Brian playing slide.

Brian playing slide.

Despite this, Brian added some simply stellar touches to The Stones’ catalogue, earning him the place as (arguably) the band’s greatest musician. He has been described by many as a bit of a musical genius. Some of his contributions include the marimba on ‘Under My Thumb’ and ‘Out Of Time’; the sitar on ‘Paint It Black’ and ‘Street Fighting Man’; the Appalachian dulcimer on ‘Lady Jane’ and ‘I Am Waiting’; the Mellotron on ‘2000 Light Years From Home’, ‘We Love You’ and ‘Stray Cat Blues’; recorder on ‘Ruby Tuesday’; saxophone on ‘Dandelion’… Not even mentioning his harmonica and slide guitar. Brian certainly had the ability to turn a good song into a classic!

Brian’s multi-instrumental-ism was not limited to The Stones, either. You know the saxophone on The Beatles’ ‘You Know My Name’? That’s Brian. It’s been argued that the oboe in ‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ is him, too. He also sang backing vocals on ‘All You Need Is Love’ and ‘Yellow Submarine’, on which he also clinked glasses. Brian was a good friend of The Beatles: he was particularly close to George, though was friendly with John and Paul, too.

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George and Brian.

However, as The Stones grew bigger, Brian’s demise began. The alienation he suffered from The Stones sent him into depression. To deal with his mental health issues, Brian started using drugs, and soon became addicted. Andrew continued to shine the spotlight on Mick + Keith and ignored Brian, which can’t have helped his already-underlying insecurity.

Around this period, Brian met Italian actress and model Anita Pallenberg. Together, they formed one of the most famous rock couples at the time, and were an icon of the blossoming counterculture. However, it was not to last. During Mick, Keith and Brian’s infamous trip to Morocco in 1967, Brian had been admitted to a hospital in France. Whilst he was gone, Keith and Anita had already begun a relationship. And when Brian rejoined the party in Morocco, Anita broke up with him and went to Keith after one too many fights. Brian was left stranded in the foreign country when Mick and Keith left unexpectedly. Already damaged, Brian’s mental health took a severe turn for the worse after the trip. And though Mick, Keith and Brian hadn’t been overly close since the 5 pound incident, they were never really friends, after Morocco.

Brian and Anita.

Brian and Anita.

By that time, Swinging London was a place of psychedelia. The Stones recorded AftermathBetween The Buttons and Their Satanic Majesties Request. Brian’s musicality is particularly evident on that trio (my favourite of the band’s work), and his skills added a certain psychedelic element to a number of tunes. Though many fans dislike Satanic Majesties, I’ve always enjoyed it for the magnificent instrumentation. Brian’s dress-sense also became quite psychedelic in this period. Always valuing style, he became a regular at the London boutiques and quickly turned into a style icon. Brian also went to Monterey Pop Festival, and introduced the Jimi Hendrix Experience, cementing his place in psychedelic history. (The title from this post is taken from The Animals’ song ‘Monterey’.)

Brian at Monterey.

Brian at Monterey.

Brian also wrote and recorded the soundtrack to A Degree of Murder, a film that Anita was in. Brian would also soon return to Morocco and record an album of the Master Musicians of Joujouka. The album would be released in 1971.

But Brian’s personal life was not getting any better. He was busted for drugs on the same night as Mick and Keith’s infamous ‘Redlands’ incident. However, though ‘Redlands’ made Mick and Keith into even stronger figures, Brian crumpled. Not long after, he was treated for a nervous breakdown. He spent a night in jail for possession and allowing weed to be smoked on his property, but was discharged with a fine and an order to seek professional help for his drug problem. Brian would be busted again, in 1968, which would be one of the final straws for his declining health.

Brian was becoming increasingly unreliable. He would turn up to the studio stoned, or in too bad a place to play — if he turned up at all. However, his mark can still be found on The Stones’ next album, Beggar’s Banquet. Arguably the best of these is his beautifully emotive slide guitar on ‘No Expectations’. In a way, the lyrics could be seen to be referring to Brian’s fall. But his guitar performance is simply amazing. It’s been referred to as his swan song.

Still, The Stones had almost completely marginalised Brian. And he’d become too depressed and addicted to add much. However, unlike the similar scenario that went on with Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett, The Stones didn’t really care. Which I find to be a horrible shame. Brian couldn’t tour legally, either, ‘cos of his possession record. On the 8th of June, 1969, Mick, Keith and Charlie went to Brian’s recently purchased Cotchford Farm (the former home of A. A. Milne), and informed him that he’d been replaced by guitarist Mick Taylor.

And just under a month later, just before midnight, Brian drowned in his swimming pool. Some say it was murder or manslaughter. Some say it was suicide. Some say it was “death by misadventure”, as his death certificate reads. Brian’s funeral was on the 10th of July. The only Stones to attend were Bill and Charlie. The band paid tribute to him at their famous Hyde Park Concert, where Mick read out ‘Adonais’ by Percy Shelley and thousands of butterflies were released in his memory.

The last pictures taken of Brian.

The last pictures taken of Brian.

In the aftermath of Brian’s death, many of his contemporaries paid tribute to him, too. Jimi Hendrix dedicated a song to him at one of his performances. Pete Townshend wrote a short poem to his old friend called ‘A Normal Day For Brian, A Man Who Died Every Day’. Jim Morrison also wrote a poem titled ‘Ode To LA While Thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased’, and wrote a song for him called ‘Tightrope Ride’. (Ray Manzarek changed the lyrics after Jim died, so they would refer to both Brian and Jim. Ironically, he died precisely two years after Brian, also at 27.)

Brian was one of the first members of the ’27 Club’, a group of people who died at 27. (Other “club members” include Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, and more recently, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse.) The penultimate track on The Stones’ 1972 double album Exile on Main Street, Shine A Light, was written by Mick about his demise. Brian’s referenced in the name of indie band The Brian Jonestown Massacre. And many underground musicians have referenced him in their songs, including Robyn Hitchcock, The Drovers, Psychic TV and Tigers Jaw. In a way, Brian has become an underground figure, despite his associations with one of the biggest bands on Earth.

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Brian was a very complex guy. By many accounts, he could be sweet + shy one minute, and arrogant + manipulative the next. But still, he was a wonderful musician. He also had wonderful fashion taste, and helped create a more feminine look acceptable for men. And though The Stones have rarely talked positively of him recently, many others have talked of his influence. There must be a reason why others have said nice things about him. His death is incredibly heartbreaking, and not just because a life was lost. He could have gone on to do so many great things. He could have begun a new chapter of his life. But sadly, he never got the chance. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know who Brian was (my dad’s a Stones fan), and he’s fascinated me since I was a child.

So rest in peace, Brian. We’ll never forget you.

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I think I’m gonna be sad — I think it’s today…

A beautiful photo of John, who we sadly lost on this day. Love you.

A beautiful photo of John, who we sadly lost on this day. Love you.

On this day almost exactly 34 years ago (a previous Monday), an utterly horrible thing happened. A horrible, horrible thing. John Lennon was shot dead. I choose not to name his assassin, as he has said that he shot John for the fame that it could bring, and naming him would also be rewarding him. I choose to call him also what Paul calls him; ‘the jerk of all jerks’. I’m currently listening to Imagine, and am wearing my John-wearing-NYC-t-shirt shirt to remember him. (Not that I need any help with that, but anyway.) I’ve been half dreading this post. But here goes.

One of my very first Beatle-y memories is about John. Looking back, I think I may have known about him before I knew about The Beatles. It must have been 2009, which is coincidentally the year that the time machine in Yellow Submarine stops on. I wouldn’t have yet been ten. I remember eating dinner in front of our little box-shaped analogue TV in our dining room, at our tablecloth-covered round table which we no longer own. It must have been this day. I remember an image of the Dakota Building, and someone talking about this person named ‘John Lennon’. I then asked about who he was, and my mum explained to me who he was and how he died. Little did I know about how that man on the TV screen would change my life.

I don’t even remember why John became my favourite Beatle at first.  In around June last year (after slowly becoming a vague Beatles convert four months earlier), I read a book called Secrets and Sisterhood, which mentions John on the first page. Secrets and Sisterhood was my favourite book at the time (and still remains one of my favourite books, but the top spot is taken is by Looking For Alibrandi). But I  now know that John probably would have become my favourite Beatle, anyway.

In June 2013, I knew under 20 Beatles songs by name. I had no idea of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. And my knowledge of rock music was fairly rudimentary, as I played classical music. But as I became a bigger Beatles fan (and later, a bigger rock fan), and already being a reader, I also became a better-read Beatles fan. The first Beatle book I bought was a very expensive limited-edition printing of The Beatles’ Illustrated Lyrics, which is actually signed by Alan Aldridge. But I soon started reading actual information on John. And it almost seemed as if I was reading about myself. I realised that there was someone out there, a bit like me. And they just turned out to be John Lennon. I suppose that’s when I kind of confirmed my favourite Beatle.

Of course, over the past year, I have read/listened/watched so much stuff about John (and yes, I still refuse to read The Lives Of John Lennon) that I can quite safely call myself a John Lennon freak. (Not that I would call my love of him and the other Beatles ‘freaky’!) I laugh at his wit and humour; I find myself identifying with all his quotes about teachers and schools not recognising his ‘genius’ (long story). I find myself nodding in agreement at his political-themed songs; tears of laughter stream down my cheeks when I read one of his books (definitely recommended, if you have not done so already). I find myself studying every little thing (pun intended) in his songs (and then I find myself trying to recreate such things with varying amounts of); I wonder what the world would be like today if he were still with us. I thank him for making me think about politics, world issues, just important things, full stop; and yeah, I do find myself looking at pictures in which I find him attractive, but that’s not the point. And the music — well…

There was a study done earlier this year that shows that music can get the listener high. And I can identify with this so much. In August this year, I had an experience that I’ll never forget. I was listening to my Revolver vinyl, and part way through ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, an emotion I’d never felt before washed over me. A feeling of intense love and euphoria for the music. Thank you, John (and Paul, George and Ringo), for that.

John inspires me in so many ways, as well. As mentioned last post, John and George inspired me to pick up guitar. I might have my first (sort-of) gig coming up in January, something which I’m looking forward to very much. John inspired me to start writing songs. And whilst I haven’t written very many (yet), one of my goals this school holidays is to put some more time into that side of writing. John and the other Beatles actually reinvigorated my love of music, full stop. And whilst sometimes there is nothing more I want to do than jam out to Tame Impala, or dance around to The Black Keys, or sway and strum to Arcade Fire, or get that music high mentioned above from The Velvet Underground and Nico (especially ‘Venus In Furs’!), The Beatles will forever remain my favourite band. And that’s just how I like it.

I see no problem in being sad at John’s death. Whilst I was born a considerable amount of time after his death, I love John very much. Unlike George’s death, for which he was ready and whilst very sad was not unexpected, John was shot. In a time where he was arguably the happiest he had ever been. And still far, far, far, far too young to die. It saddens me that someone who wrote a song about giving peace a chance died in such a violent way. John seemed to be looking forward to the rest of the ’80s. He had just launched back into the music world. He was at peace with himself. And yet someone had to take this all away. So close to Christmas, as well. I’ve chosen not to listen to Double Fantasy, as I feel it would be too painful, knowing what happens less than a month later. I was reading someone’s memories of John’s death the other day, and they likened the loss as that of ‘a friend that I never met’. And I suppose that’s what it would have been like. John, to me, is like a friend I’ve never met. (And yes, I know I’m far too old to be having imaginary friends, but forget that.) And — as I said above — though I was not alive at the time of his life (and death), I still have no problem in being sad. Forget the fact that it’s unlikely anybody reading (or writing) this would have known him. And I see no problem in being angry at the person who shot him. Whilst we should probably keep in mind that the person who owned that gun was not right in the head, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be angry that he shot John. It’s rather sad that he wasn’t treated, actually. But I’m still angry. And sad. But despite that, here are a few John moments:

Some say Paul wrote the intro to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, but they are wrong! Watch this scene from The Beatles’ US Visit — John seems to playing around with the opening to the masterpiece as early as February 1964. The instrument he is playing is called a melodica. It’s a pity that there wasn’t more footage of John messing around with the melodica, but I s’pose the filmmakers didn’t know where that sequence would appear three years later.

Hee hee! I love this scene. I mean, John Lennon in a bath playing with a toy boat. Need I say more? Will cheer you up… (And yes, I will stop fangirling.)

I’m probably being slightly controversial putting this up here, but I want to. In this clip, John defends his song ‘Woman Is the Nigger Of The World’. Being the feminist/leftist that I am, I already agree with the song, but what John says is too interesting to ignore. Still relevant today.

And of course this had to be here. I love the music video, I love the song. Some love to hate Yoko, but she inspired John. Without her, this (and the above — thank you, Yoko, for inventing that statement) wouldn’t exist.

I could write more than a few books on John and how I love him and how he has changed my life. But I won’t. I will conclude this massive post here. So, John, thank you. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for the music. Thank you for you. I can’t convey in words how much you have changed and influenced my life, but I have certainly tried today. We will never forget you. Love tangerinetrees

john

john two

john looking so gorgeous

john three

Looking Through A Glass Onion

The promo picture for the John tribute I went to last night...

The promo picture for the John tribute I went to last night…

...and me before the show.

…and me before the show.

Well, it’s a lovely day today! It’s meant to get to nearly 30 degrees (Celsius) here in Adelaide, which isn’t so nice (there are northerly winds), but the sun is warm in a good way if you soak it up from the safety of your house. We’ve also been painting our house lately, and my room is next! Yay – no more disgusting salmon and baby-pink walls (yes, there is a mix. The house was renovated in the ’80s last)! Oh, and I listened to Sgt. Pepper earlier today – I forget how hypnotic that album is. It may not possess the same magic as I feel Revolver does, but I still am completely and utterly mind-blown by it. I am actually not listening to The Fab Four right now – I’m listening to Tame Impala’s debut EP. ‘ Half Full Glass of Wine’ is the song currently playing, to be exact. I’ve been really digging Tame Impala lately – for those of you who don’t know, Tame Impala are an Aussie modern-day psych rock band, and I think their lead singer sounds a bit like John. But anyway…

Last night – thanks to my godparents buying me a ticket for my birthday a couple of weeks ago – my mum, godparents and I went to see ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’! ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’ is a John tribute performed by actor/performer John Waters, with a guy called Stewart D’Arrietta on piano. And yes, for those of you who are too Offspring nuts (like me), it was the same John Waters who played Darcy, Nina’s dad-then-not-dad. (And for those of you who have no clue whatsoever as to what the hell I’m talking about, Offspring is a quirky, popular Australian drama that documents the life of Nina Proudman and her slightly-eccentric family. In fact, I think my mum is watching Offspring re-runs right now.) Yes, yes – now I’ll get on with it, and tell you all about the show! Apologies for the lack of pictures, as — quote — “use of cameras and recording devices is [was] strictly prohibited.” We were lucky enough to be sitting in the second row, though, which was fab!

(And now I’m listening to a playlist of the Black Keys’ new album Turn Blue! I have also been digging the Black Keys lately.)

So, we (obviously) arrived at the Dunstan Playhouse – where it was being held – and bought programs/CDs (thank you to my godparents for buying me the CD!) and stood ’round for a bit whilst the doors were not open. And soon enough, we were in our seats, and the lights were dimmed. D’Arrietta walked on stage and started tinkering out a tune called ‘Scouser’s Lament’. And then finally, John [Waters] appears on stage, and starts talking – in the most accurate John impersonation I’ve ever heard! It was almost as if the magical man was in the room (I wish!)… We soon find out that Waters is acting as John [Lennon] — without the dress-ups, though — and that the monologue is set on the night of December 8th, 1980, when comments such as, “That fan’s been waiting there for five hours,” and, “Ooh, he’s got a book – wonder what it is? Looks like the Catcher In The Rye,” are made.  I think we all know what happened later that night. If you don’t, Google it. I don’t really feel like writing about what happened. But the show soon became less sad, when ‘A Day In The Life’ began (just John’s bit, obviously).

The show was basically “John” recounting his life in a sort of monologue manner, with some of his most famous songs inserted when needed. There were two acts (despite the fact there was no interval – not that I care 🙂 ), presumably split up by the Beatle years and the solo years. The monologue (much of which was comprised of actual John quotes) touched on everything from his friendship with Paul to losing his mother, the groupies to being a star from Liverpool, and the songs played ranged from ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ (after talking about Dylan’s influence on him) to ‘Nowhere Man’ (before discussing the racial discrimination Yoko was subject to in the British press), ‘Norwegian Wood’ (groupies) to a medley of ‘Julia’ and ‘Mother’ (well, the loss of his mother), Come Together (the break-up) to ‘How Do You Sleep’ (his friendship with Paul), and ‘Beautiful Boy’ (Sean) to ‘Jealous Guy’ (the Lost Weekend). Seriously impressive lighting was used throughout the show, ranging from a green background during the ‘cellophane flowers of yellow and green’ of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ to a pinkish-red background during ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and shadowing in ‘Working Class Hero’.

Soon enough, ‘Isolation’ from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (the second-to-last number) was played – with the most impressive lighting of the show (i.e. blacking out the entire stage except for one horizontal strip show Waters’ head – it was amazingly effective). And after that, we returned to the subject of that night. John notes that the fan is still there, and makes a comment about him looking upset at John. John then talks about how he’s probably lived in the man’s living room half his life, but that doesn’t mean he knows him or anything. Then the final chilling speech is made – John hopes that the man won’t do anything bad, ‘cos “dogs can bite, y’know.” And then the room went black. Stewart D’Arrietta tapped out gunshots on his stompbox. And it was obvious what had happened. I must admit I got a little misty-eyed.

But despite the tragedy, there was still one number left. Waters sung the obligatory ‘Imagine’ with minimal lighting, perhaps indicating that John is safe now. I don’t know – that’s how I interpreted it, though. Waters and D’Arrietta then took a bow, and then made their way outside for an artist signing! I got my CD, ticket and program signed, which I’ll show below.

To conclude, I really enjoyed ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’. Really. Enjoyed. It. As with the others, it can’t be compared with the WAC or the Beatle Boys (‘cos they’re all so different), but I loved it equally. It was fab to be surrounded by a group of fellow Lennonites (or maybe even people who’ve just discovered the kind of magic that is John Lennon), and both Waters and D’Arrietta were very talented. Once again, thank you to my godparents for buying me tickets!

Here is my signed program, CD and ticket!

Here is my signed program, CD and ticket!

(And just a couple of other things…)

I have a new song on SoundCloud! Well, in reality, I recorded it last Monday and Tuesday and uploaded it on the net on the Wednesday, but I haven’t put it on here ’till now! Please like/comment on/repost it, follow me and/or share it with your friends. If you’re on SoundCloud, feel free to drop me a PM – I’d love to hear from you! The track is a cover of The Beatles ‘The Word’ (Rubber Soul), and I recorded all the instruments myself on GarageBand (and no, I did NOT use the Smart Instruments – I played actual guitars/actually sang myself). Here it is, and enjoy!

Oh, and I finally finished my own song! I’ve finally got a complete set of chords, melody AND lyrics! Yay! As soon as it’s finished (the recording, rather) and up on SoundCloud, I will upload it here.

That’s all for now, but I’ll post again on either Tuesday or Wednesday, ‘cos it’s now holidays! Woo-hoo! Good day sunshine 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 2 – ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

My 'A Hard Day's Night' LP. Also my LP of the album which has the cover that serves as the background for this blog.

My ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ LP. Also my LP of the album which has the cover that serves as the background for this blog.

Hey Bulldog (well, it has to go first sometimes)/Jude/all who care to read,

Only one more week of Term 3 left (then just one more term ’till the end of the year)! And yet more beautiful weather in good ol’ Adelaide! After being out and about, and then making considerable progress on my song (more on that later), I haven’t gotten around to posting on here until 5:00 on a Sunday night. Sorry.

But anyway, it’s ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ time again! And yes, I have noticed that a lot of my posts lately have been slightly self-centred, and I will try and un-self-centre them in the holidays. But anyway, it’s a month since I did With The Beatles (the earliest record in my collection), so now it’s time for the next record (as far as The Beatles’ chronology goes) – A Hard Day’s Night.

Unlike my With The Beatles, my A Hard Day’s Night is not some first-edition foreign-pressed mono LP. My A Hard Day’s Night is only an Australian stereo re-pressing (like two other of my records – my first-pressings and re-pressings roughly split about half-and-half). But here’s some background info:

In Australia, The Beatles were (obviously) released on Parlophone until Apple Corps. entered the picture. But (I’m not sure if this is the case elsewhere) re-pressings of Parlophone-released Beatles albums were still released on Parlophone after 1968. But they weren’t released on the black-and-yellow label (or even the special Australian black-and-silver label) – they were released on something known as the ‘orange label’.

Dun dun DUNNNN....

Dun dun DUNNNN….

The ‘orange label’ was used for re-pressings from 1969 to the early 1980s, and is featured on several records in my collection (including my Beatles Box – yes, mine is released on Parlophone, not Readers’ Digest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go Google it). As far as I know, it was used in Australia only. After studying this website (The Beatles’ Australian Records Labelography), the above appears to have been pressed in either 1969 or 1979.

‘Orange label’ records are okay, but I am on the definite look-out for first-edition versions (excepting the Box – that is first edition) of all the ‘orange labels’ I have. Why? The ‘orange labels’ are very flimsy, as Australian records from the ’70s became of a lesser quality than their ’60s counterparts. Apparently this is because many of the record factories went across the ditch to New Zealand, so all the LPs produced locally are thin and sensitive and don’t work too well. Fortunately, there are barely any scratches on this one, so it actually plays better than I thought (though it still crackles more than my thicker ones). But I’ll shut up now and upload some pictures so you can all see for yourselves (please excuse the quality – lighting isn’t too fab):

The back - complete with the original sleeve notes! But alas, no backflaps...

The back – complete with the original sleeve notes! But alas, no backflaps…

Yes, it's in stereo. You may notice that the number that tells you what number in the pressing it is is not there. This is true for all Australian Beatles records - they are seemingly set out differently to their British counterparts.

Yes, it’s in stereo. You may notice that the number that tells you what number in the pressing it is is not there. This is true for all Australian Beatles records – they are seemingly set out differently to their British counterparts.

Told ya' it was Aussie! Well, to be exact, it's New South Welsh... Considerably up north from here.

Told ya’ it was Aussie! Well, to be exact, it’s New South Welsh… Considerably up north from here.

The cover without the plastic slip over the top. You probably can't see it in this picture, but the cover is actually made from a different kind of cardboard to the original pressings.

The cover without the plastic slip over the top. You probably can’t see it in this picture, but the cover is actually made from a different kind of cardboard to the original pressings.

This was taken in an attempt to show you how flimsy the record is, but it doesn't really work unless I compare it with one of my first pressings (and I can't be bothered). But you get the picture. And you can go behind the scenes of 'AYNITB' if you look extra carefully at the laptop screen.

This was taken in an attempt to show you how flimsy the record is, but it doesn’t really work unless I compare it with one of my first pressings (and I can’t be bothered). But you get the picture. And you can go behind the scenes of ‘AYNITB’ if you look extra carefully at the laptop screen.

Side 2 of the record, top view.

Side 2 of the record, top view.

So there you go – my A Hard Day’s Night in a…cardboard box! 😉

I updated my iPad to iOS8 on Friday! And yes – those of you who know me IRL will know I completely avoided updating to iOS7, so I’m being slightly hypocritical by liking it so much, but stuff that! My favourite bit of iOS7/8 (it was a 7 feature, but I only got it with 8) is iTunes Radio. I’ve been listening to The Beatles channel all weekend! Did you know that The Beatles are the only artist to have their own proper channel, as compared to an ‘artist’ channel?

And I’ve made some more progress with a song I’ve been trying to write! As you may or may not know, I’m an aspiring alt. rock singer/songwriter/muso, under the alter-ego name of Sadie of Kirkcaldy (‘Sexy Sadie’ and ‘Cry Baby Cry’ mashup). Up until now, I’ve only done Beatles covers, and now I’ve made some progress with my own song! I can’t upload it on here now – a) it’s not finished; and b) it’s not on Soundcloud, which is the only way I can upload it here – but I’m fairly sure the song’ll be called ‘Whimsy’, and it uses a children’s xylophone (yes, you read right – but it actually sounds really good) and an acoustic capo-ed guitar (played in E with D-major chords), and I will eventually add melody/harmony vocals, a lead guitar and some kind of percussion. I wish I could upload the template for it that I made earlier today, but sadly I can’t; I promise ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’ will be the first place I’ll share it, though!

As I said above, only one more week until holidays! Then you’ll get posts every three – or even two, if I can be bothered – days! Yay – maybe then I’ll get some of my ideas down before I forget them! And this time next week I’ll have seen ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’, which I am really looking forward to (thank you to my godparents for buying me a ticket for my birthday!) But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

 

A ‘Good Night’ (pun intended) at The White Album Concert!

 

The promotional poster for the gig.

The promotional poster for the gig.

And me before the show, in my White Album shirt (which was my only Beatles shirt until last month!). Yes, and I do wear things other than Beatles shirts...

And me before the show, in my White Album shirt (which was my only Beatles shirt until last month!). Yes, and I do wear things other than Beatles shirts…

 

Hey Bulldog/Jude/all,

Well, as you have probably gathered, I went to a gig last night. And that gig was none other than the critically-acclaimed White Album Concert! As I explained in my previous post, The White Album Concert is made up of four well-known Australian musicians (Tim Rodgers of You Am I, Chris Cheney of The Living End, Phil Jamieson of Grinspoon and Josh Pyke, an ARIA-Award-winning singer/songwriter – a soloist, too, unlike the other three) singing/playing the entirety of The Beatles (better known as The White Album), along with a 17-piece band. The show was toured once before – in 2009 – and has been travelling around Australia since the 13th of this month. As you can probably guess, Adelaide had one of their last shows – the second-to-last, to be exact. The show was held in the Festival Centre – our fancy theatre where a lot of shows are held (also the second-biggest venue in SA).

After being forced to park on the other side of town (the CBD isn’t particularly big, though – one could probably drive from one side to the other in ten minutes) due to the premiere of a play in the Dunstan Playhouse and some soccer match, we finally came to the Festival Centre. We (or more specifically, my Dad – thanks!) bought a program, which can be seen in the picture above, and, soon enough, we had entered the theatre and the lights were dimmed.

The show was begun with the band playing ‘Can You Take Me Back’ (the unrelated coda at the end of ‘Cry Baby Cry’, if you are not familiar with the title), before Chris Cheney ran onto the stage, and began playing ‘Back In The USSR’! This was followed by the entire contents of the first disc, each song being covered by either Cheney, Jamieson, Rodgers or Pyke. And then, twenty minutes after the last strum of ‘Julia’, the second half again started with Cheney – this time, though, playing ‘Birthday’. After the end of ‘Good Night’, however, the show did not finish – all four musicians came together (pun intended) to cover ‘A Day In The Life’ and a reprise of ‘Revolution’ (and most of the audience stood up and danced/sang at this point – including me)! And I should probably add that by the entirety of the White Album, I mean the entirety – this means their repertoire included ‘Wild Honey Pie’ and ‘Revolution No. 9’ (which didn’t sound much like the real thing – thankfully… But then, I listened to the entire track for the first time yesterday, and it was nowhere near as bad as I thought. I found John and George’s (non-edited) voices quite comforting, though – not sure I would have listened to the whole thing otherwise…)!

I don’t have a stand-out favourite performance, as all the covers were so darn good! I was, however, incredibly impressed by the fact that the White Album version of ‘Revolution’ was performed specifically as ‘Revolution No. 1’, and that the single version of ‘Revolution’ was kept for the encore. If I did have to choose a favourite bit, though, it would probably be ‘Cry Baby Cry’ (sang by Josh Pyke), ‘Rocky Racoon’ (Pyke, again – I don’t normally like this song too much, but it sounded like a ‘Oh! Yoko’ and ‘Racoon’ mash up!), ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey’ (Tim Rodgers), ‘Long, Long, Long’ (Pyke, again), ‘Yer Blues’ (Phil Jamieson) and Chris Cheney’s guitar-god moment, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’! Other favourites included their versions of ‘Martha My Dear’, ‘I’m So Tired’ and ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, but to be honest, I really didn’t do too much favouring!

And did I prefer The Beatle Boys to the WAC? As with above, I really cannot choose, as they were both so different. (On a random note, I’m listening to Anthology 3 at the moment, and the acoustic version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ has just come on – I forgot how beautiful the demo is! I prefer it to the real thing…) As we all know, The Beatle Boys dressed up in the suits and boots and had their hair cut in moptops and put on Scouse accents – and what a great job of their tribute they did! The WAC was completely different, though – no dressing up, no accents (though Tim Rodgers did make a ‘rattle your jewellery’ joke in a Liverpudlian accent), no haircuts – just a night of electrifyingly-good music, sung by four relatively-famous musos. So again, I have no preference – let’s just say that they were both two of the best nights of my life! But this time, however, I took a lot of pictures, and only one video (0f ‘Cry Baby Cry’), so I will have something to show you of my own, for once – we were sitting in Row E of the dress circle, so I was in the perfect position to get some full stage shots! See below for my pictures and some YouTube clips of the concert in other states:

white album one

white album two

white album three

Note all the psychedelic lighting - I couldn't quite capture the beauty of them in single shots, but I tried! The acoustics were also amazing - it was so loud, but God, did it sound good!

Note all the psychedelic lighting – I couldn’t quite capture the beauty of them in single shots, but I tried! The acoustics were also amazing – it was so loud, but God, did it sound good!

white album five

The whole band!

The whole band!

 

The promo.

‘Birthday’

‘Revolution No. 1’ (gives you a good idea of the atmosphere – everyone singing!)

 

So there you – a review of my lovely night! I think I posted this last time, but here is the link to their website, so please check it out! Hope you’re all having a great day, wherever you are, and good day sunshine! 🙂

Beatle Boys Videos

Hey (Jude/Bulldog) all,

It has been really cold in Adelaide of late (as in three shirts plus thick coat and woolly cardigan, two pairs of socks and a pair of fleecy stockings under your pants, yet somehow you’re still frozen kind of cold) – if you’re reading this in the Northern (Song??) Hemisphere, I’m envious; I like Winter more than Summer, though, ’cause in Adelaide, most of Summer is spent sweltering inside your boiling-hot house whilst outside, the amount of degrees amount to some ridiculous number above 40. Anyway, our long-cold-lonely Winter temperatures reminded me of the Salisbury Plains scene in Help!, in which The Beatles all seem practically frozen (I know how you feel, John, Paul, George and Ringo)! I posted a clip from such parts of the film below (the song is ‘I Need You’, in case you didn’t know, and it’s a George Harrison composition, for all you Harrison-Heads out there).

 

Anyway, back on topic…Sorry I didn’t post the videos from The Beatle Boys gig yesterday, like I promised I would. My parents were using the laptop/phone (not that I needed the phone) for most of the day, and I was too busy listening to Beatles LPs on our record player (they were Let It Be and Beatles For Sale, in case you’re interested) to be bothered. There’s also another problem – WordPress (the site on which this blog is produced) refuses to let me upload the videos onto this post because ‘the file is too large’. You would probably think this is a good thing and be thanking God there is a limit on the size of files, if you saw how bad my filming skills were that night (I was being a Beatlemaniac, if you know what I mean…), but it is a right pain-in-the-neck for me. Anyway, I managed to find some YouTube clips of the band, which are probably of a better standard, so enjoy! All these songs were performed on the night in the second half with the same outfits/graphics/etc., except ‘Get Back’ (which was also done) obviously wasn’t performed on top of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and ‘She Loves You’ was in the first half with the imitation Beatles-in-Australia look.

 

‘Come Together’

 

‘Get Back’ (their version of the infamous rooftop concert The Beatles performed for unsuspecting – and lucky – bystanders on top of Apple Corps. HQ in January 1969)

 

‘She Loves You’

 

‘Hello, Goodbye’

 

‘Revolution’

 

‘I Feel Fine’

 

‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ (yes – I successfully touch-typed that with zilch stuff-ups, for once!)

 

So, enjoy the videos, and hope it gives you a sense of how amazing it was to see The Beatle Boys live. Also, I believe my lovely mother Facebook-ed the band with a link to this very blog, so if a Beatle Boy is reading this, I’d just like to say how much I loved your performance, and how I’d love to go see you again if you come back to SA!

Anyway – if you’re reading this in Adelaide, keep warm, and if you’re reading this in the Northern Hemisphere, enjoy the lovely warm weather that any Australian would assume you have at this time of year. Good day sunshine, for now!

I Saw The Beatle Boys Standing There

With 'Paul' and 'Ringo'...

With ‘Paul’ and ‘Ringo’…

 

And 'John' and 'George'...

And ‘John’ and ‘George’…

 

Last night would quite easily qualify for one of the best nights in my entire life. Excluding the George Harrison tribute show I saw earlier this year, an Etype Jazz show I saw five years ago (both of which are a part of the Adelaide Fringe, so I don’t count them), and my annual trip to WOMADelaide, I saw my first rock concert; a Beatles tribute called The Beatle Boys, at Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre!

The Beatle Boys are an Australian Beatles tribute from Newcastle, NSW, and they are currently going around Australia and New Zealand, recreating The Beatles’ ’64 tour of Australia and New Zealand, as a part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. Unlike some of the other tribute bands I’ve heard of, they weren’t tacky (i.e. they didn’t wear fake-looking wigs; they actually had their hair cut in a moptop, or Arthur – as George called the infamous ‘do in A Hard Day’s Night!) and they weren’t deadly serious about the entire ‘We-have-to-be-exactly-like-The-Beatles’ thing. In fact, the show was a bit tongue-in-cheek; the guy who played Paul put on exaggerated facial expressions, and there was no shortage of jokey Beatles references! According to their website, they’ve been playing for 26 years, and have played everywhere from Swaziland to Canada. Two years ago, they did a ‘rooftop concert’ on top of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, which I just watched on YouTube, and is really cool (I then proceeded to watch Let It Be music clips, and then daydream about the future day it is released on DVD/BluRay; it was supposedly going to be released last year, but that clearly didn’t happen!)!

Last night, their gig consisted of two parts, separated by an interval; the first part was a recreation of The Beatles’ Melbourne concert, with the addition of ‘This Boy’ (which was only played here, in Adelaide). Before the band appeared on the stage, a collection of footage showing The Beatles arriving in different cities around the country, and songs recorded by John, Paul, George and Ringo/Jimmie’s support acts were shown/played on a screen. Finally (as excitement built up), the lights dimmed, the final support act’s song faded, and The Beatle Boys ran onstage. They did a great job with their version of The Beatles’ concerts from 50 years ago; in some aspects, it was an almost-exact replica of the footage I have seen (Scouse accents and all), and in others (as I said before) it was very tongue-in-cheek, and not-at-all serious. They encouraged us to scream (when they weren’t playing!), dance, clap, sing and generally be a Beatlemaniac – naturally, I did all of the above things!

The second part consisted of “more than eleven songs,” as the man who played John joked, including material right from 1962 to 1969. They played everything from ‘Love Me Do’ to ‘Get Back’, ‘I Should Have Known Better’ to ‘Revolution’, and ‘Day Tripper’ to ‘Back In The USSR’. There were some very funny jokes in this part, including ‘Paul’ remarking, “The White Album is my favourite album, ’cause we could do whatever we wanted!” I did a lot of filming of both halves, so once I’ve downloaded them off Mum’s phone, I’ll pop them on here, so you can see the band yourself. It’s not quite the same as seeing them live (which – trust me – is quite an experience), but you’ll get an idea of how good they were!

After the show, The Beatle Boys came out to the foyer, and the majority of audience lined up for photos and/or signatures. As you can see above, I got pictures with them all, and as you can see below, I got them to sign my ticket. They were all really nice men, and they were quite impressed with my gorgeous John-and-Paul tee from last weekend! Just think – what a gorgeous job ‘Beatles impersonator’ would be. I can think of almost nothing better than playing John for a group of like-minded fans; sadly, though, this is impossible because I am a girl, so I’ll happily be content with my dream of being a musician when I leave school.

I’ll just upload the rest of my pictures – after that, good day sunshine, until I upload the videos of the concert (tomorrow, maybe)!

My signed ticket!

My signed ticket!

Outside the Thebarton Theatre (or the Thebby, as locals call it)...

Outside the Thebarton Theatre (or the Thebby, as locals call it)…

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Waiting, waiting, waiting…