tangerinetrees99 plays another gig!

Unless you’ve been reading this blog for a couple of years, you might be unaware that, on top of being a music fan, I’m actually an aspiring musician myself. So, about a month ago, I was lucky enough to be able to play a short set at a fairly well-known pub in my city! I performed a Bowie cover (‘Quicksand’) and a Courtney Barnett cover (‘Kim’s Caravan’), the latter being a duet with my guitar teacher. It was such an amazing experience – a few people even came up to me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed it! – and it was easily among the most thrilling and enjoyable things I’ve done. Anyway, here are a couple of clips from the gig…

SEE ALSO: tangerinetrees99 plays her first gig!

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO STARR!

Ringo during the 'Get Back' sessions (Image credit: thebeatles.com)

Ringo during the ‘Get Back’ sessions
(Image credit: thebeatles.com)

As you probably know, today (July 7) is the 75th birthday of Richard Starkey, a.k.a. Ringo Starr! Happy birthday, Ringo! Like Paul, I’ve never written that much about Ringo, so today is my chance…

When people are asked to name their favourite drummers, there’s the obvious ones. Keith Moon, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Ginger Baker. And for good reason, ‘cos they’re exceptional players. Moon and Bonham take two spots in my ‘top three drummers’.

And of course, Ringo is the other person in my list. And I think that he’s one of the most underrated drummers, ever. Way too many people underestimate his abilities. But although I’m not a drummer, his playing, in my opinion, is wonderful! What’s special about his style is that it is quite understated; no drum solos, no flashy beats. But that wouldn’t have gone with The Beatles’ style. He was absolutely perfect for them.

Ringo is a very inventive drummer, too — whether it be the bassy fills in ‘A Day In The Life’, or the syncopated rock of ‘Ticket To Ride’, or anything in between, he executes his parts so well! The fact that he uses a right handed kit, despite being a lefty, only adds to his style and makes him even cooler! He made The Beatles drive. To quote Dave Grohl:

Ringo’s swing and backbeat carry so many of The Beatles’ songs. Back then, the recording depended on the feel of the song. There was no digital manipulation of drum tracks, so it was up to the drummer to dictate that feel. And Ringo had his own sound. Pull all the instruments out and you’d still know it was a Beatles song. And that’s the sound of a signature drummer. It’s the kind of thing drummers strive for all career, but not all of them make it.

Here are a few of my favourite Ringo drumming moments:

Ringo’s drumming turned from ‘good’ to ‘mind-blowing’ in 1966, in my opinion. His skill is on full show in ‘Rain’. His beat is peppered with these magnificent fills! The booming embellishments mimic thunder, his triplets complimenting the psychedelic guitars. Quote Ringo: “I feel as though that was someone else playing – I was possessed!”

I was listening to ‘Paperback Writer’ the other day, and the drums caught my attention. In particular, the cymbal fills in the verses, which sound a bit like someone writing on paper, in my opinion. And of course, like everything else Ringo did in 1966, the other fills are amazing, too!

Ringo’s drums on ‘Come Together’ contributes to the laid-back feel of the song. Perhaps one of the most iconic drum lines in history, his bassy pounding is instantly recognisable. I love it!

(‘Helter Skelter’) Ringo had blisters on his fingers for good reason! Ringo bangs out his drumline, playing like a heavy metal musician. He pushes the boundaries, drumming wonderfully heavy-handedly. His drums make the song drive.

‘What You’re Doing’ is possibly my favourite early-Beatles drum performance. The loud beat that begins the song is perhaps what sticks in the listener’s head. In fact, that booming drum intro is what makes it one of my very favourite early Beatles songs, full stop!

And whilst Ringo wasn’t a super great singer, so many kids are introduced to The Beatles by songs he sang. The first Beatles song I heard as a small child was ‘Octopus’s Garden’. Ringo actually wrote ‘Octopus’s Garden’, with a little help from his friend George. (Pun intended.) To this day, I love the song; for the memories, that slide guitar and the drums!

And though I’ve said before that I’m not very familiar with Ringo’s solo career, there’s one of his songs that I love; ‘I’m The Greatest’.  A hilarious, satirical take on The Beatles written by John, I can’t help but smile when I listen to this song! And both John + George play on it, too, so…

And Ringo seems like a really down-to-Earth and nice guy. I mean, there’s certainly good reason behind why he’s The Beatle that everyone likes. I especially enjoyed his contributions to the Anthology documentaries, for his humour and his honesty. He’s probably the most unaffected Beatle, too – this especially shows through in the fact that he runs his own social media, something I find very cool. (His Twitter account is hilarious, by the way!) I loved reading Rolling Stone’s interview with him, earlier this year. I’m glad that he’s now been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, and getting the recognition he deserves!

So happy birthday Ringo! Peace and love! 🙂

HAPPY (slightly belated) BIRTHDAY PAUL McCARTNEY!

One of my favourite pictures of Paul, as taken by the Lovely Linda... (Image credit: iwasdreamingofthepast.blogspot.com

One of my favourite pictures of Paul, as taken by the Lovely Linda…
(Image credit: iwasdreamingofthepast.blogspot.com)

As you probably know, Sir James Paul McCartney turned 73 a couple of days ago, on June 18th! Happy birthday, Paul! I did mean to post on the day, but I’ve been quite busy with end-of-term assessments, so sorry ’bout that. I haven’t really written all that much about Paul, so today is my chance to muse on all things McCartney…

I’m not much of a Paul person. John has always been my favourite Beatle, and George a close second. And everyone likes Ringo. When it comes to songs, I’ve always found the songs that John and George wrote more appealing to my ears than Paul’s. I’ve always found a majority of his songs to be a little too much on the poppy side for me.

But regardless of the fact that I’m more of a John-and-George gal, I think that Paul is an extremely talented guy! There is no doubt that he is one of the best songwriters ever. Not only is he one half of Lennon/McCartney,  a number of his post-Beatles songs are also certified-classics for very good reason.

Most of my favourite McCartney-penned compositions stem from The Beatles era. Especially from Rubber Soul onwards, Paul was an amazing songwriter. Penning everything from screaming proto-metal rockers to the softest of folky ballads, he was something of a songwriting genius! He definitely deserves the many accolades he receives for his work.

(‘Helter Skelter’) ‘Helter Skelter’ is recognised by most music fans to be one of the first heavy metal songs ever. And whilst I’m not really a fan of the genre in its modern state, I absolutely love this song! The song incorporates Ringo’s thrashing drums, completely awesome guitar performances from Paul and George, a rockin’ bass from John and a screaming vocal performance from Paul! There has been more than a few interpretations of the song over the years; John claimed it was about a, well, helter skelter (an essential part of English fairgrounds), Paul said the helter skelter symbolised “the fall”, and we all know what Charles Manson thought… The song has since become a pioneer of all things hard rock, and is also one of my very favourite Beatles songs!

(‘Blackbird’) And now to the complete opposite… In my opinion, ‘Blackbird’ is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Paul’s solo voice accompanying his fingerpicked guitar and his tapping foot (and later, some blackbird sounds) is perfection, in my opinion. Paul’s lyrics in this song are some of his best, I think; they are supposedly about the Civil Rights Movement in America. My favourite bit about this song, though, is the guitar. It’s gorgeous. And even after months of trying to play it, I still can’t play it properly… 😉

(‘I’m Looking Through You’) Paul’s songs on Rubber Soul are all super-cool, and this is one of my favourites. Ever since I first listened to the album, ‘I’m Looking Through You’ has always stood out. Whether it be Paul’s great vocal performance, John’s rhythm guitar part, George’s lead guitar part or Ringo’s organ (!) or the folk-rock feel, this song is just all-round great. I particularly like the mono version of this song, as the outro is a little longer, and I especially love the outro…

(‘Here, There and Everywhere’) For me, it’s easy to see why this song was one of both John’s and Paul’s favourite Beatles songs – for it’s one of my favourite Beatles songs, too! This song is simply beautiful. Paul’s vocals are sung gorgeously, and the backing vocals are simply hypnotic! I also love Ringo’s bass-y drums, and the rhythm guitar is great. An all-round perfect song…

(The Abbey Road Medley) This is what I like to refer to as Paul’s masterpiece. Taking up most of Side 2 of Abbey Road, the Abbey Road Medley is nothing short of a masterpiece. Beginning with the epic 4-part ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’, and ending with the philosophical musings of ‘The End’ or brief ‘Her Majesty’ (depending on who you ask), you’ll hear about everything from a few rpgue “Apple Scruffs” climbing through Paul’s bathroom window to a grouchy old guy who sleeps in a hole in the road. Each song is carefully merged into each other by Paul and George Martin, and stylistically, it ranges from raw rock’n’roll to delicate orchestral pop. A perfect final note that will be remembered as one of the most innovative things ever released.

And now for Paul post-Beatles… I’m not a huge fan of Paul’s solo career. However, I’ve since found that there are a whole heap of great songs that Paul wrote after the breakup of The Fab Four, too! Last post, I mentioned my penchant for both ‘Call Me Back Again’ and ‘Dear Friend’. And I think I’ve mentioned my like of ‘Another Day’ and ‘Mrs Vandebilt’ before, too. So here are a couple of songs from Paul’s solo career that I particularly enjoy…

(‘Too Many People’) Despite the fact that the whole song basically denounces John and Yoko, this is one of my favourite Paul songs. Musically. I particularly dig that killer lead guitar, and Paul’s vocals are also great! The acoustic guitar is also awesome. In fact, this is an all-round awesome song, apart from the lyrics.

(‘Band On The Run’) And I’ve always loved this song! I love how it has three parts, and each of them are contrast each other so much. My favourite is the middle part — the rockiest part. I also really love the guitar riff that runs through parts 1 + 2, and it’s one of my favourite things to play. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this pop up in the middle of 2014 film Boyhood, which is my favourite movie at the moment.

(‘Maybe I’m Amazed’) This song is amazing. Pun intended. Paul’s vocals are raw and emotional and just wonderful! And I’ve always been a fan of his piano work in this song. It’s one of Paul’s best known songs, and for very good reason.

And of course, Paul is an amazing musician. It’s a well-known fact that he is one of the best bassists ever. Many Beatles songs featured extremely inventive bass lines due to his genius. My favourites include ‘Dear Prudence‘, ‘The Word‘, ‘Hey Bulldog‘, and ‘Drive My Car‘. Paul is my favourite bassist, along with John Entwistle of The Who.

Other examples of Paul’s musical prowess can be found within some of his lead guitar lines. The solo in ‘Taxman‘ is one of the best examples, and as a guitarist, I find it truly amazing! Paul also played some great breaks on ‘Another Girl‘, ‘The Night Before‘ and (along with John and George) ‘The End’. Paul was also the first Beatle to play an Epiphone Casino guitar, and as the proud player of such a model, I’m very thankful for that. I also very much like Paul’s piano skills, which can be heard on songs such as ‘Let It Be‘, ‘Hey Jude’ and parts of ‘A Day In The Life‘.

And so, happy birthday Paul! As a musician, I find your musical skills absolutely amazing. Thanks for all the wonderful songs! tangerinetrees99 🙂

And now for one more tune…

10 Underrated Songs From The Beatles’ Solo Careers

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

You could say that The Beatles’ solo work, as a whole, is underrated. So much media attention is directed towards The Beatles as a whole, and very deservedly so. But the music that each former member created after they split is somewhat overlooked by the general public.

But that’s not to say that The Beatles’ solo careers don’t get attention, too. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t heard the opening bars of piano of ‘Imagine’, or the slide guitar fills of ‘My Sweet Lord’, or the screaming vocals of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. But even with this, there are so many great songs from The Beatles’ solo careers that are very under-appreciated. So today, I thought I’d dedicate a list to a few gems in each Beatle’s solo career that I think don’t get enough attention. So in no particular order…

‘How?’ (John Lennon)

John’s pretty piano ballads make up a fair amount of his best-known songs: ‘Imagine’, ‘Love’, ‘Jealous Guy’, etc. But ‘How?’ never seems to quite get the same amount of accolades. Situated near the end of the Imagine album, the piano chords delicately land on the beats, and the violins add a beautifully shimmery extra layer. John’s vocals are also particularly delicate, suiting the overall dainty feel of the song. And like many of John’s songs from the time, the lyrics are quite personal and contemplative, as they were inspired by his Primal Scream Therapy. One of John’s prettiest songs!

‘Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)’ (George Harrison)

George wrote this song about his house, Friar Park, which he purchased early in 1970. The house was originally built in 1898 by a guy called Sir Frank Crisp, hence the title of the song. I think ‘Ballad’ has some of George’s best lyrics; within each verse, the listener is taken around Friar Park and surrounds. Spanning rooms, and gardens, and fountains of perpetual mirth, the words are witty and (like a lot of his songs) spiritual and just gorgeous! The song is wonderful from a musical aspect, too. Laden with reverb and slide guitar and jangly instruments, the song has a beautifully ethereal, dreamy sound to it. In fact, it’s dreamy, full stop!

‘Call Me Back Again’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

Buried on the second side of Venus and Mars, I came to ‘Call Me Back Again’ after hearing it on iTunes’ free solo-Beatles EP last year. It has since become one of my favourite Paul solo song, and for good reason! Paul’s vocals scream out of the speakers, for one. The saxophones featured prominently in the song are pretty awesome, too. I’m particularly loving the lead guitar, too, which is wonderfully intricate and cool. A great song!

‘Well, Well, Well’ (John Lennon)

There are so many reasons why I think this song deserves way more attention. First of all, John’s guitar is amazing; laden with crunchy distortion and an almost-punk sensibility, it’s wonderful! Same goes for Klaus Voorman’s bass performance and Ringo’s drums. They, too, put on an amazingly rocking show! John’s lyrics talk of spending time with Yoko — of going to dinner with her, of their involvement in political activism. And John’s vocal performance is stunning; in the latter half of the song, he howls confrontationally over the grungy instrumentation. It’s not for everyone, but in my opinion, ‘Well Well Well’ is one of John’s best songs.

‘I’d Have You Anytime’ (George Harrison)

The opening track of George’s masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, George wrote this song with Bob Dylan in late 1968. (Harrison and Dylan wrote a number of songs together during this period.) Their lyrics muse on the friendship that had blossomed between the two, and George sings them in his typically sweet voice. I think that George’s slide guitar performance on the track is one of his very best; beautifully emotive and perfect. His choice of chords is very interesting, too. In my opinion, ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ is a beautiful song!

‘New York City’ (John Lennon)

‘New York City’ is the fifth song on Sometime In New York City, an album I would argue is completely underrated, full stop. And it’s a gloriously rockin’ song! I love the piano and John’s guitar and it has a wonderfully rough sound. John’s lyrics are what makes the song for me, though. A witty recount of him and Yoko’s move to New York, and all the people and troubles that they crossed along the way, I especially like the lyrics! An unfairly underrated rocker that’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.

‘Isn’t It A Pity (Version 2)’ (George Harrison)

Whilst Version 1 is also underrated, Version 2 of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is extremely under appreciated, probably because it’s “version two”. The song plays host to one of my favourite guitar performances from George ever, and the organ is also just dreamy! And of course ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is a great song, anyway. George’s slightly sad lyrics are lifted up by the music, which — in typical Harrison style — is simply beautiful!

‘Dear Friend’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

This song is heartbreakingly beautiful. Possibly Paul’s most beautiful song (in my opinion), his voice accompanies piano in such a sad yet gorgeous way. Paul’s lyrics are also atypically emotional and personal. He wrote them in response to the war-of-words that had surrounded his friendship with John since the late ’60s, and he sings them in such a vulnerably-gorgeous way. A wondrous song.

‘I’m The Greatest’ (Ringo Starr)

Not being super familiar with Ringo’s solo catalogue, I’m perhaps not the best person to select one of his more underrated songs. But I feel that this song never gets enough attention. Written by John, the song is a satirical take on the history of The Beatles and Ringo’s life, and it never fails to make me smile! Ringo, John and George played on the track, too, which makes it a Threetles song, which is a plus! An awesomely funny song!

What Beatles solo songs do you think are underrated? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Hope you’re having a great day, and good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂

Nine Of My Favourite Lyrical Beatles Songs

I love these pictures!

I love these pictures!

In my opinion, The Beatles didn’t just write some of the world’s greatest tunes. They also wrote a lot of the greatest lyrics, too! Sometimes in music, lyrics are sadly underrated. But from being a Beatles fan, I’ve learnt that quality lyrics are just as important as the melody. From 1965 onward, their lyrics were particularly wonderful, proving that they were very talented when it came to writing. But even in the early days, there were still a lot of outstanding examples, too! So today, I thought I would pay homage to The Fab Four’s words of wisdom (pun intended), and list my favourite Beatles songs in the lyrical department. Let the list begin…

‘Across The Universe’

Widely recognised as one of The Beatles’ greatest lyrical songs, I can certainly see why. John’s beautiful metaphors and imagery could probably evoke exquisite scenes in the minds of even those who don’t think of themselves as imaginative. John uses words that just sound good together, too. An absolutely sublime piece of work that could definitely hold its own without the music!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes / They call me on and on across the universe.”

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

A song shrouded in controversy, the lyrics of ‘Lucy In The Sky’ create much psychedelic imagery. Inspired by Alice In Wonderland, a drawing by the young Julian Lennon (from which the song takes its name) and (probably) acid, the trippy lyrics create beautiful images of (among other things) newspaper taxis, tangerine trees and marmalade skies, tall cellophane flowers and a girl with kaleidoscope eyes…

FAVOURITE LINES: “Picture yourself in a boat on a river / With tangerine trees and marmalade skies / Somebody calls you, you  answer quite slowly / A girl with kaleidoscope eyes…”

‘Hey Bulldog’

This song’s lyrics are complete nonsense. And that is what makes them so good! Ever since I first heard the song, the different phrases have always captivated me. Whether it be words that probably don’t even exist, or the phrases that end each verse that kind of make sense or just a bunch of words piled in probably just ‘cos, the lyrics in this song are absolutely great!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Big man / Walking in the park / Wigwam / Frightened of the dark.”

‘In My Life’

The lyrics for ‘In My Life’ are beautiful! John  talks of his affection for those who have disappeared. But he has never loved anyone like the “muse” for this song. His love for people that went before pales in comparison. But he will never forget those who he has loved before…

FAVOURITE LINES: “And these memories lose their meaning / When I think of love as something new / Though I know I’ll never lose affection / For people and things that went before.”

‘Within You, Without You’

I reckon that this is George’s lyrical masterpiece. The words discuss how humans are only very small; that love could save the world; how the only person who can change themselves is them… Very deep.

FAVOURITE LINES: “When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love / With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew.”

‘Piggies’

I love this song! The piggies are of course the posh 1960s conservatives who loved looking down upon youth. George mocks them wonderfully  — he sings of how they always have “dirt to play around in”, and of how they didn’t care of what was going on around them…

FAVOURITE LINE: “Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon!”

‘For No One’

This is my favourite song ever written by Paul. The lyrics are especially powerful. Lamenting the end of a relationship, Paul sings of how it all went wrong, of how he and his partner fought; of when his other half left him, and of how he will never forget her… Quite sad.

FAVOURITE LINES: “She wakes up, she makes up / She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry / She no longer needs you.”

‘Blackbird’

The lyrics of ‘Blackbird’ are quite simplistic, but are nonetheless symbolic. Paul encourages the bird to learn to fly, and to learn to see with its various differences. The blackbird has been waiting all its life for the upcoming moment to arise. It then flies into the dark, black night, presumably to face the moment… Supposedly about the Civil Rights Movement.

FAVOURITE LINES: “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

‘The End’

Ironically, this is the last song that all four Beatles recorded together. Paul wrote the song, and decided that he wanted to end the cycle of solos with a meaningful couplet. And so he wrote two of the most beautiful lines of The Fab Four’s catalogue! The couplet has an air of finality to it, and is a poignant listen near the end of a poignant album. As with ‘Within You Without You’, very deep…

FAVOURITE (AND ONLY!) LINES: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

So hard to chose just nine! Which Beatles song do you think has the best words? What is your favourite Beatles lyric? Be sure to tell me in the comments!

Hope you’re all good, and I will post again soon! ‘Till then, good day sunshine 🙂

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY GEORGE HARRISON!!!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

[PLEASE NOTE: I did start writing this post on the 25th, and I meant to publish it then. But I had a Science assignment to finish. Sorry George. But I managed to finish and get the post up today!]

The 25th was a great day for all Beatles fans, for it would have been the 72nd birthday of the great George Harrison! I listened to All Things Must Pass to celebrate, and I might even get around to listening to some of my George vinyl, too! Happy birthday, Georgie!

As most Beatles fans know, there is considerable doubt over whether George’s birthday is on the 24th or 25th of February. George himself supposedly found out in later life – after being told that he was born on the 25th – that his “real” birthday was on the 24th. But his birth certificate says that it is the 25th. (And apparently George’s mother rang a friend almost immediately after George was born.) So I think the jury’s still out on which day he was actually born, but anyway…

I said a lot about George on the 29th of November, but I still have heaps to say about the “Dark Horse” – so here goes!

I cannot emphasise how much I think George is underrated when it comes to songwriting. Though virtually everyone who knows a little about The Beatles knows that George wrote ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a whole chunk of people forget that he wrote so many other great songs, too! It’s such a pity (not to mention totally unfair) that John and Paul and George Martin underestimated — and undermined — George so much, as well. Especially since people such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton (who had been working with George during the break between the White Album and Get Back/Let It Be) had nothing but the utmost respect for him. (Though it did make for one of the greatest albums of all time – All Things Must Pass…)

(‘Think For Yourself’) This gem off Rubber Soul was one of the very first Beatles songs I heard, and it made such an imprint on me. I thought it was a Lennon/McCartney song for ages. It was only a number of months later that — spurred to look it up on Wikipedia — that I discovered that George wrote it! George said that he probably wrote it about the government. Still so relevant today…

(‘What Is Life’) This was my favourite George song for ages and ages. It is still one of my favourites (though not my top favourite). It just brings such a giant grin to my face, whenever I hear it, and I can’t help but dance to that rockin’ guitar riff and sing along at the top of my lungs. Oh, and the single of this song was the first solo Beatles vinyl I bought.

(‘Long Long Long’) I know I talk about this song all the time, but it is definitely one of my top four (if not less) songs on the ‘White Album’. And definitely, definitely one of my favourite songs written by George. It is so underrated, and it is so gorgeous — everything about it is perfect from George’s gently weeping strummed acoustic guitar, to his equally gentle and beautiful vocals, to the mad ending.

(‘Wah Wah’) Now — THIS is my all-time favourite George Harrison song! (Though I will admit I haven’t listened to all of his solo albums…) All Things Must Pass is such an amazing album, full stop! I just love the vocals, the brass, the guitars, just everything! George quitting The Beatles for that short period during the Get Back sessions sure made for a very good song…

(‘Don’t Bother Me’) This was the first song that George ever wrote (excluding ‘Cry For A Shadow’), and though he always hated it, I think it’s wonderful! Very danceable — like most of the early Beatles’ music — and very, very fun! It’s also one of the very first Beatles songs to go a bit experimental when it came to instruments…

(‘Isn’t It A Pity’) One of the most beautiful songs ever written. Ever. The lyrics are just so touching and exquisite, George sings it wonderfully and those slide licks are the sweet icing on top of a gorgeous cake. I love both versions, but Version 1 is the one above.

(‘Savoy Truffle’) Plenty of people love to hate this song. But I love it so much! Those groovy keyboards, the saxes, not to even mention that Clapton-esque guitar… This time last year, I used to YouTube The White Album just so I could listen to this song.

(‘Awaiting On You All’) This song makes me smile so much! It’s wonderful! I love how it is used so much in George Harrison: Living In The Material World, ‘cos it sure deserves it!

And George was also a really, really good musician. That crazy bassline in ‘Old Brown Shoe’ is probably my favourite bass line ever. And let me tell you now, it is not Paul is playing it.

 

And though many of my favourite George lead guitar lines stem from his slide work from his solo career, the solo — and licks — on the album version of ‘Let It Be’ (by far my favourite version, by the way) are amazing! People always say that The Beatles never had a rock god moment in their career. They should listen to this.

 

And that’s not even mentioning his sitar work! The first in rock music, I might add… I love all his sitar-y songs, but I’ll embed ‘Love You To’ ‘cos it was my favourite for ages…

 

George always seemed like such a lovely guy, too. There are so many stories of him being really, really nice to fans (he was the Beatle that wrote ‘Apple Scruffs’!), and of course there is that story about George mortgaging Friar Park to fund Monty Python’s Life of Brian! I really love listening to George speak about various things, too. I was lucky enough to get a box-set of the Anthology documentaries for Christmas, and George’s insights are definitely the most interesting. He also had some really interesting (and realistic) things to say, as well. A very interesting — and intriguing — man.

George also had a wonderful sense of humour! What would A Hard Day’s Night be like without the ‘grotty shirts’ scene? (George was the first to use the word ‘grotty’, by the way…) And that clip of George launching into ‘My Sweet Lord’ turn ‘The Lumberjack  Pirate Song’ (and doing other related skits) with Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television is just about the funniest thing ever!

 

But to finish, happy birthday Georgie! Though John may be my favourite Beatle, you are a close second and you are a great inspiration to me. You were a great musician, and a great person. We will never forget you. tangerinetrees99 🙂

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tangerinetrees99 plays her first gig!

Since midnight on Saturday, the 7th of February, a few things have happened to me:

  1. My Surface Pro 3 – which we had to buy for school purposes – has frozen at least ten times, been in my school’s IT department at least 5 and has suffered from the Blue Screen of Death. Insert the slightly ironic sad face from the Blue Screen here.
  2. Penny Wong – a South Australian senator – bought me waffles! Or more precisely, my parents and I sat next to her in café, and she kindly gave me the waffles she had bought her young daughter (who wouldn’t eat them).
  3. I got an electric guitar! A blonde Epiphone Casino, to be exact (just like what John used from ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ forwards).

But most excitingly, I played my first gig! I learn guitar at a place where the guy who owns it has an affiliation with a well-known live venue in Adelaide called The Wheatsheaf (or the Wheaty). Because of this, our annual student “showcase” is held there.

For about a term, I had been working on writing my own song with my guitar teacher. I called it ‘Wouldn’t That Be Good’, and I basically only finished it a week before the gig. But anyway…

So, the 7th of Feb (the day of the gig) arrived, and as you can imagine, I was all psyched up for my debut! (Okay, not really my debut, but anyway.) I went to my weekly Saturday guitar lesson for one final practice of my own song and the cover I had chosen, went home and arrived at the Wheaty.

The 7th was forecasted to be a 40 degree (Celsius) day. Very, very hot. (Not unusual in an Adelaide Summer, though…) And the Wheaty also turns out to be a tin shed, so it must have been about 45 degrees. Very hot.

So the gig starts, and there is no proper set list. We get through the entire first set, and I still hadn’t been called up. The break between sets comes and then my guitar teacher (who was playing with his duo next) tells me I’m on last! Headliner, eh?? 😉

So I wait a little more, and finally – at around 3:10 PM – it is my turn! The guy who owns the academy and my teacher introduce me. I hop up onto the stage, grab my trusty acoustic-electric (which had been the go-to guitar for all those who had seemingly forgot their own) and I introduce myself. After making a joke which no-one really got, I launch into ‘Little Black Submarines’ by the Black Keys, my chosen cover. After I finish, I get a big applause from the crowd, and I start to play my own song. Again, a big applause. And then I get asked to play an encore! Thinking of what songs I can play best, I play a cover of ‘A Day in the Life’.

After the show finished, heaps of people came up to me. I got a little note from a complete stranger saying that they loved my set. A few people came up to me and said that they, too, enjoyed it. I discussed The Black Keys with the man sitting behind me, and a woman compared my voice to that of Julia Stone!

And if I say so myself, what a groovy debut/not-debut?! Here are some clips:

‘Little Black Submarines’:

 

‘Wouldn’t That Be Good’:

 

‘A Day in the Life’:

And there we go – tangerinetrees99’s first gig!
I had a great day today! Went to see plenty of good music-related exhibitions, and met Scott Hicks at one, to mention two. I shall post again soon, but good day sunshine ‘till then! 🙂

9 Of My Favourite John Lennon Rhythm Guitar Performances

The aforementioned Beatle with the aforementioned instrument.

The aforementioned Beatle with the aforementioned instrument.

Hello (goodbye) all! Happy February, happy British Invasion anniversary (for the 9th) and happy Rooftop Concert anniversary (for the 30th of last month)! And so it’s back to school for tangerinetrees99. To paraphrase John, “Another school year, a new one just begun.” But anyway…

Today I thought I’d do a post around my favourite Beatle. (I think everyone who reads this blog knows which Beatle I’m talking about.) And something which not everyone immediately associates with that particular Beatle; his rhythm guitar skills!

Despite what a few people think, John was an incredibly good rhythm guitarist. (Rhythm guitar, by the way, is the rhythmic strumming of guitar chords, as opposed to lead guitar, which is fingering melodies.) In fact, he was an utter rhythm guitar genius. (And those who play rhythm guitar know that it is a lot harder than it looks.) Changing between dirty, bluesy sloppiness (a la ‘Revolution’) and incredibly precise, near-impossible perfection (a la ‘All My Loving’), with some stabbing proto-punk and tender fingerpicking in between, John helped Ringo make The Beatles drive.  John had a quirky yet strong sense of rhythm and timing, and often relied on the offbeats (beats 2 and 4 in a bar of 4 beats) to create his rhythm part. He also had a penchant for barre chords, also contributing to that distinctive Lennon sound. A deceptively simple concept to follow, John truly was one of the few who innovated rhythm guitar for generations to come. Here are nine of my Lennon rhythm favourites, in no particular order:

9. ‘She’s A Woman’

Despite one missed chord change, John’s barred, offbeat stabs of his Rickenbacker 325 practically sums up his style in one song. As much as I love Paul’s “Little Richard” vocals, my very favourite thing about this song is the rhythm part. Thanks Johnny!

8. ‘All My Loving’

A well-known example of John’s guitar skills, this song is practically impossible to play. Those nay-sayers need to be directed to this song. Just check out those super-fast triplets! Proves that The Beatles were always an incredibly good band, even before Rubber Soul!

7. ‘I’m Looking Through You’

This song is too overlooked. Not only is it one of Paul’s best songs (in my opinion), John’s acoustic guitar is damn groovy! Who can’t dig all those complicated finger movements and rhythms? Definitely one of my favourite songs to play. (George’s groovy distorted lead is cool, too!)

6. ‘Revolution’

As soon as that iconic distorted groove kicks off, John’s guitar work in ‘Revolution’ only goes up. John himself said that he found himself a better guitarist after working on this song! As you probably know by now, I have a penchant for distorted, dirty guitar work, of which John is the master. I seriously dig the sort of bluesy patterns John is beating out on his Casino. (Side note: Nicky Hopkins played keyboard on this track. He is probably the only guy ever to have played on the records of the Beatles, solo-Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Easybeats, Who…)

5. ‘Yer Blues’

Okay. This song was definitely going to be on the list. Again, deceptively simple. Actually near impossible. John’s quirky sense of timing certainly contributes to the absolutely groovy feel of this song! His rhythm part alternates between incredibly precise “frills” at the end of each line and sloppy swinging. I find the distinction between lead and rhythm very fine on this song, which is cool! The Rolling Stones Rock’n’Roll Circus performance of this song (with Eric Clapton on lead, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Keith Richards on bass) shows the distinction a little more, for those interested (also includes John and Mick Jagger doing incredibly bad US accents and being jokey…):

 

4. ‘Across The Universe’

John’s acoustic work here is just gorgeous! Especially the intro. It definitely isn’t as complicated as some of the stuff above. But it’s really beautiful to listen to. And isn’t that what true music is all about?

3. ‘Julia’

John used the fingerpicking technique that Donovan taught him in India on this absolutely heartbreaking track. John uses a few really obscure chords on this song. He really did have an impeccable knowledge of creative harmonies… Totally beautiful. Whilst he was a master of the dirty, sloppy rhythm, his tender fingerpicking is too underrated.

2. ‘Revolution 1’ (‘Kinfauns’ Demo Tapes version)

I know I included the single version of this song above, but I just had to include the ‘Kinfauns’ (George’s house at the time) Demo Tapes version! That guitar work at the beginning is something I love very much. I think John is also playing barre chords (or maybe with a capo), playing true to the “Lennon sound”. The Beatles all sound like they are enjoying themselves very much, which contributes to the fun sound of the demo!

1. ‘I Found Out’ 

Yes, I know this is in fact a song off John’s first solo album. Not a Beatles song (though Ringo does play drums on it). But I had to include it somewhere! That rumbling, dirty distortion is not something you hear every day… Some people even count it as proto punk! A really rockin’ song.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: ‘I’m So Tired’, ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey’, ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, pretty much anything on A Hard Day’s Night, ‘Help!’, ‘She Said, She Said’, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, many other songs…

And there we go! Exposing another exceptionally talented side of John, for which he isn’t always known for… Have you got a favourite Lennon rhythm part? Please tell me in the comments!

Oh, and yesterday, I played my first gig! It was really wonderful! Once I put the videos somewhere, I will post about the experience here, so keep an eye out… But until then, good day sunshine! 🙂

My Favourite Beatles Covers

The Beatles filming the promotional videos for 'Rain' and 'Paperback Writer' -- also hiding behind cellophane... The back cover of 'Revolver' is from the same group of shots.

The Beatles filming the promotional videos for ‘Rain’ and ‘Paperback Writer’ — also hiding behind cellophane… The back cover of ‘Revolver’ is from the same group of shots.

When I first became a Beatles fan, I hated Beatles covers more than I hated One Direction. I vehemently detested them. But as I slowly realised that I was being rather hypocritical as I was making really bad (Really. Bad.) covers myself using the Smart Instruments on GarageBand (this was before I started playing guitar), I began to appreciate good Beatles covers more and more^. And over the past few months, I’ve discovered that plenty of my other favourite artists have done Beatles covers. And now I really love listening to reinterpretations of some of my favourite songs! I decided today that I would compile a list of my favourites, an idea I’ve had for a while, and so here it is. I’ll start off with my favourite Beatles cover of all time…

‘She Said, She Said’ — The Black Keys

This gem came off The Black Keys’ — made up of Dan Auerbach (guitar and vocals) and Patrick Carney (drums) — very first album, The Big Come Up, which was released in 2002. (The album was recorded in the basement of the house that Carney rented, by the way.) ‘She Said, She Said’ is my favourite Beatles song, and I love how the Keys turn the psychedelic masterpiece into a wonderful bluesy rocker. The guitar is amazing, and Auerbach’s distorted vocals match the style very well. This was also the song that introduced me to The Black Keys in the first place, so I have two things to thank it for! This is not the first time the Black Keys have been mentioned on this blog, and it certainly won’t be the last…

‘Run For Your Life’ — Arcade Fire

This is a live cover, but it’s still damn good, in my opinion. It highlights the heaviness of the original (something which isn’t really shown all that much) and they really rock it. Well done, Arcade Fire. (Arcade Fire are an indie pop/rock band from Canada, by the way. They rose to notoriety with their first album, Funeral, though I think the 2010 The Suburbs is their best.)

‘I Saw Her Standing There’ — Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeroes

Sort of a bluegrass reinterpretation of the first song off The Beatles’ first album, I really like this cover. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes (an indie folk band from Los Angeles) covered this song as a part of an album titled Beatles Reimagined. As with The Black Keys’ cover of ‘She Said She Said’, Edward Sharpe’s (a.k.a. Alex Ebert) voice really lends itself to the style of the cover. A job well done, I must say.

‘Oh! Darling’ — Florence and the Machine

I found this cover whilst bumbling around YouTube one day, and it’s really good! Florence and the Machine stay quite faithful to the original, but Florence Welch’s amazing voice gives the song an entire different feel. The lead guitar runs with that awesome reverb are also really enjoyable… 🙂

‘Hey Bulldog’ — Dave Grohl

This cover came out of a certain Grammys tribute from about a year ago (was it really that long ago?!), and this is definitely my favourite cover to originate from the night. Dave and the backing band really rock one of my favourite Beatles songs out really hard. Those drums, the guitar, the keyboard… It almost could be a Foo Fighters song!

‘Happiness is a Warm Gun’ — The Breeders

The only Breeders song I’ve heard is this particular cover, but it certainly makes me want to go and check out more of their stuff! This cover gives the song a more grungy feel, though — as with Florence and the Machine — still stays quite close to the original. And a female singer! Yay!

‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ — The Stones

Is this really a cover, or is it not? Of course, John and Paul wrote it, but The Stones released the song first. For the purpose of this list, I’ll call it a cover. But anyway, The Stones’ version of this song has the distinction of being the only Beatles cover I prefer to the original, though The Black Keys’ cover is my favourite cover. (Sorry, Ringo.) That really awesome slide guitar shows how good a lead guitarist Brian Jones was. (I wish I could play like that!) And Mick Jagger’s vocals are completely wild. Really groovy version. (This was also the song that gave The Stones their first hit. George recommended them to Decca after good ol’ Dick Rowe of the same record company told Brian Epstein a couple of years earlier, ‘Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein…’ Hmm… No comment.)

And finally, the last cover…

‘Dear Prudence’ — Siouxsie and the Banshees

I have many music-related things to thank my mum for. (Introducing me to The Velvet Underground and The Violent Femmes would be two examples.) This cover is another example. Almost a year ago, I was listening/playing ‘Dear Prudence’, and Mum remembered that Siouxsie and the Banshees had covered it. We played the cover on YouTube. I believe it was the first Beatles cover I ever liked. So thank you, Mum!

And so here we go! Got any other Beatles covers you like? Feel free to use the comments section below! And ’till my next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

^ Of course, there are still some really bad ones — not mentioning any names, *cough*OneDirectionJustinBieberMileyCyrusblahblah*cough*…

Nine Underrated Beatles Songs

The sun is up, the sky is blue... (It looks a little cold, though!)

The sun is up, the sky is blue… (It looks a little cold, though!)

Today I thought I’d do a bit of an essential post for a Beatles blog; my list of what I think are the most underrated Beatles songs! Many people who know me (either in real life or online) will know that my favourite Beatles songs are the slightly less known ones. (And yes, I do realise that’s a very hipster-ish thing to say. I don’t mean it that way.) And I chose the number nine ‘cos, well… And as with the post I did on my favourite Beatles songs nearly seven months ago, this is only a small selection of my opinion. And it’s only my opinion. But alas, here is the list, in no particular order!

‘I Call Your Name’ (Long Tall Sally/Past Masters — 1964)

This song was only released on a now relatively obscure EP, which saddens me. (Apparently it was kept from A Hard Day’s Night because it sounded too similar to ‘You Can’t Do That’. Which I also love.) It’s such a rockin’ little groover that’s too often not recognised. I especially love the rhythm guitar (it’s almost a kind of ska beat! John really was a genius…), that riff that kicks off the song and John’s vocals. I feel it kind of shows the direction in which The Beatles were headed (i.e. slightly harder rock than, say, the poppy Merseybeat of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’), and I find it a really good song to rock out to. Ahh, the joys of being a Beatles fanatic…you get to know really awesome songs like this! (The Mamas and Papas also did a fine cover of this song, which I really like.)

‘Yes It Is’ (B-side to ‘Ticket To Ride’/Past Masters — 1965)

Gosh, those harmonies! As much as I love the ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ B-side ‘This Boy’ which is somewhat similar (John claimed in 1980 that the former was meant to be a rewrite of the latter), I prefer ‘Yes It Is’. (And ‘This Boy’ isn’t actually all that underrated compared to other Beatles songs, which defeats the point of this list.) There are some quite interesting chord progressions (especially near the end), and I also especially love that volume pedal that George is using on his guitar — ‘Yes It Is’ (and ‘I Need You’, from Help!) were two of the first examples of pedal usage, in fact! But those gorgeous John/Paul/George harmonies always take the cake, for me — those three could sing like angels!

‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ (The Beatles — a.k.a. The White Album — 1968)

 

Okay, so I admit this song is far from underrated within the Beatlemaniac community, but the general public are somewhat deprived of this masterpiece. As someone online once pointed out, it’s a cult classic. So we shall refer to it as that. But anyway, this song is an utter masterpiece. To quote some YouTube comment contributor, the structure covers the history of rock’n’roll, to an extent. John’s vocal range is on full show, here, with him reaching from a G2 to a C5. And we all know about my great love of the guitar solo at 0:44! The time signatures are absolutely incredible, also — especially for someone with no formal musical training. I got Hunter Davies’ new book for Christmas, and the manuscript of this song has the times written next to the appropriate lyrics; I found this particularly interesting. Something that makes this song even more interesting, though, is the rumour that Jim Morrison supposedly met John at Abbey Road during the recording of this song, and sang on the ‘Mother Superior jumped the gun…’ bit. I’m not sure as to whether there is any truth to this rumour, but it would be very cool if there was…

‘Long, Long, Long’ (see above)

Buried deep in The White Album — just after the cacophonic, proto-metal ‘Helter Skelter’ and ending Side 3, if you’re listening on vinyl — ‘Long, Long, Long’ isn’t all that well-known. I think it’s beautiful. From the gentle strum of the guitar to the slightly weird (in a very, very good way!) ending, I declare it one of my fave White Album tunes. I reckon George is one of the most underrated songwriters of all time.

‘Old Brown Shoe’ (B-side to ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’/Past Masters — 1969)

As with ‘I Call Your Name’, it almost seems that nearly nobody knows this song. Many fanatic Beatlemaniacs know it, but you really can’t have been a casual fan to have heard it. Or is that so? Whilst I was still being introduced to The Beatles via a friend way before I even owned an album, she discovered this song on The Blue Album, so I suspect it might have been one of the first Fab songs I heard. But then, I only listened to it properly in July and had basically no recollection of it, so… But anyway, this is another George composition. A flat out rocker. That bassline must be one of the best in rock history (George played it, believe it or not), and that solo is stellar. The lyrics are quite interesting as well.

‘For You Blue’ (Let It Be — 1969/1970)

A groovy twelve-bar originating from the ill-fated Get Back Sessions, and yes, it’s written by George. The lyrics aren’t mind blowing but George sings them really well (the switching between normal singing and falsetto!). And I really, really love that slide solo done by John. A fun one to strum out to on guitar (and to jam over, as well).

‘The Night Before’ (Help! — 1965)

I still remember the first time I heard this. November 2013, the night after receiving the Help! DVD my mum had ordered. I remember dancing rather madly to it whilst trying to watch the screen. (Help! is my favourite Beatles film, by the way.) A week or so later, we had a fair at my school with a karaoke station. Guess what song I did? And that night, we bought my first collection of vinyls — The Beatles Box. I listened to Disc 3, Side 2 as soon as we got home, just so I could hear this song. One of Paul’s fine compositions, I think. I especially love John’s rockin’ electric piano (which I can play!) and the vocals — from all parties. Not to mention that I love the Salisbury Plains scene in the film mentioned above…

‘She’s A Woman’ (B-side to ‘I Feel Fine’/Past Masters — 1964)

Another B-side. Another amazing song. Okay, the lyrics are rubbish, but check out that rhythm guitar! It’s almost overdriven…and that rhythm (x2x4) is seriously cool. Not to mention Paul’s “Little Richard” vocals…!

‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ (Abbey Road)

As with ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ is a cult classic in that it is not completely unknown but it’s popularity pales in comparison to that of, say, ‘Hey Jude’ or ‘Let It Be’. (I will safely assume that this song would have been much like those mega-hit Beatles tunes if it had been released as a single.) ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ is could also be called Paul’s ‘Happiness Is…’ whilst referring to the fact that it, too, is made up of different sections (the almost-classical piano “concerto”, the boogie-woogie doo-wop, the heavier guitar solo/’one sweet dream’ and the ending guitar motif/’One, two, three, four, five, six, seven’). My favourite of these is definitely the guitar solo at 2:10, plus the ‘One sweet dream’ part it leads into. This song marks the beginning of the ‘Abbey Road Medley’ quite fittingly, as the song itself is almost a medley within itself.

And that’s my post for tonight! What do you think are The Beatles’ most underrated tunes? Feel free to drop me a line in the comments. Oh, and today is the last day of 2014 for me, so I’ll take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year and all the best for 2015. Good day sunshine for now! 🙂