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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All Things Must Pass…

Rest in peace, George.

Rest in peace, Georgie.

In Adelaide, it is currently the 29th of November, 2014. The 13th anniversary of George Harrison’s death. There is only one Beatle I haven’t done a ‘Happy Birthday’ post for, and I’m sad that that I have to write an ‘anniversary of death’ post about this particular Beatle beforehand. I’m currently listening to Living In The Material World/All Things Must Pass (I might listen to my Cloud Nine vinyl later) and wearing my Yellow Submarine t-shirt in his memory.

I realise I haven’t done a post on George within this blog yet. In fact, I don’t think I’ve really written about George since June. Rather stupid of me, ‘cos he is my second-favourite Beatle. But anyway, I shall make up for such crimes over the school holidays…

George was the last Beatle I found out about, in around March 2013. I remember a friend (who actually introduced me to The Beatles) coming to school one day and telling me that she’d discovered The Beatles wrote all their own songs, her example being ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ being credited to a ‘George Harrison’. Ah, I thought. The name of the elusive fourth Beatle. And ever since that rainy Autumn day nearly two years ago, I’ve never forgotten that name. For a few months, George was my least favourite Beatle. I don’t know why (nobody told you / how to unfold your love…) — my theory is that I placed him fourth purely because I knew next to nothing about him. But then — about a year ago (December 2013, if my memory serves correct) — George Harrison: Living In The Material World was played on Australian TV. I know for a fact that quite a few George fans have come out of watching that wonderful film, and I am among them. I became so interested with George and his music, and rightfully so. (Though I did love ‘What Is Life’ beforehand.) I can only say that I’ve listened to two of his solo albums in full (plus part of a third), but all of his songs that I’ve heard — Beatles (I’ve obviously heard all of those!) or otherwise — are absolutely impeccable. A truly underrated songwriter, I must say… (Yay! ‘Wah Wah’ — my favourite George song — is playing!).

Last year, I found out what day George died on the, well, day. I remember being quite sad, but George didn’t really mean that much to me at that point. I would have known under one-hundred Beatles songs (I now know over 250 Beatles songs…), and this was pre-Living In The Material World. I was slightly sad this morning, but now I am focusing on remembering George. As my mum said precisely a year ago, ‘Knowing what sort of person he was, George wouldn’t have wanted you to be sad.’ And whilst George’s death is very, very sad (he died far too young), it wouldn’t have been a surprise. By the time he passed on, the cancer had spread to his brain and he was ready to die. His death wasn’t as unexpected as John’s. From what I have read/watched, I think George was ready.

George (and John) inspired me to pick up guitar, earlier this year. And wow, how I thank them! Playing guitar is one of the few factors that completely changed my life in the past couple of years (The Beatles being another), and through it, not only have I come a long way in the music world, I’ve also found a heap of other good music. I can now play the large majority of my favourite songs, and I’m now dabbling in the world of songwriting. In fact, my two guitars are called John and George. And so I thank the two namesakes for inspiring me to try my hand at playing guitar!

Talking of guitar, George really was amazing at the instrument. When I listen to the licks on his solo stuff, they’re not just licks, or riffs. They swirl around the listener’s brain, like a butterfly that has been freed into an open field. They are, quite literally (in my mind), swirls. I count George as one of those iconic guitarists that you can pick from their playing within a few seconds. He really knew how to make his guitar ‘speak’. I also think he was a fabulous musician in general — he played everything from a Moog to violin, showing his versatility. Here are some of my favourite George moments (though I’m going to do a post on my favourite George songs at a later date):

‘Cloud Nine’ is a really groovy song. The guitar is awesome. George sings it wonderfully.

‘Long, Long, Long’ — George’s acoustic work in this song is stellar. The song is stellar. It sits right after a stellar song, as the last track of a stellar side of a stellar double album. (And I’m not being sarcastic. Serious.)

The obligatory ‘My Sweet Lord’! The solo in this is subject to the swirling effect I was discussing above. Beautiful.

(There are so many other George moments I love as well, others off the top of my head including ‘I Dig Love’, the two versions of ‘Isn’t It a Pity’ and ‘Art Of Dying’ — the latter rather appropriate for today, sadly.)

George also seemed like a genuinely nice person. Quite selfless, I think. There are so many stories about him being a really lovely person, ranging from the relatively well-known tale of him mortgaging Friar Park so he could create Handmade Films to fund Life of Brian (thank the not-Messiah (‘He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!) for that!), to him inviting fans to his house to meet him. And whilst he wasn’t perfect, who is?

And I really have only just started listening to the lyrics in his songs (stupid me), and they’re beautiful. I’m currently listening to ‘Beware Of Darkness’, and wow… His words — whether they be about God, or love, or the loss of friendship, or anything in particular — they really talk to those who care to listen. No wonder he is my second-favourite Beatle!

And one final thing: there’s a wonderful George quote that really resonates with me (well, a lot of his quotes resonate with me, but anyway), in particular. I posted it in ‘Words Are Flowing Out’, but here it is, anyway: “It’s nothing to do with how many years old you are, or how big your body is. It’s down to what your greater consciousness is, and if you can live in harmony with what’s going on in creation.” Something happened earlier this year (a story for later) that kind of threw me in at the deep end, and all of sudden made me feel very young. I had never been ‘the youngest’ before. And this quote helped me realise that age doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. Although I connect with John the most, I feel a special kind of connection with George as well. He reminds me of, well, me a bit. George continuously inspires me, and whilst I’m not a religious person, his principles were very, very sensible. Thank you, George.

But anyway, rest in peace, Georgie. Whether it be the Dylanesque ‘Apple Scruffs’, or the swirling paisley (yep, my term) feel of ‘My Sweet Lord’, the slides on ‘I Dig Love’, or the heavy riffing on ‘Wah Wah’ and ‘What Is Life’, your music really was something special. You were something special. There is so much I could say about you, but I shall cover that another day. We love you and miss you like mad. But as you once said, all things must pass. Wherever you are, I hope you have a beautiful day. Say hello to John for us. tangerinetrees99

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george with a border collie

george with a tambourine on his head

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO STARR!!!

 

The birthday boy performing at Shea Stadium in 1965

The birthday boy performing at Shea Stadium in 1965

 

As most Beatles fans know, today is the 74th birthday of Richard Starkey – or as the world knows him, Ringo Starr, the ring-sporting drummer of The Beatles! Happy birthday, Ringo – I hope you have a fabulous day! I am currently wearing my Yellow Submarine t-shirt (as I said I would) and listening to the iTunes-exclusive Beatles compilation album Tomorrow Never Knows to celebrate.

One thing that amazes me about Ringo is that he is left-handed, yet he played a right-handed drum kit – incredibly well, too! People may tease drummers, but – trust me – they are really hard to play, with lots of coordination needed and all that. But the fact that Ringo could play a kit not set up to suit the hand he preferred shows how good he is! Oh, and not that this is related to anything, but his rings are cool – ever since I watched a certain film about a certain ring that Ringo was sent by a ‘fan’ that landed The Beatles into a lot of strife (you know what I mean), I always laugh to myself when I see a ring with a giant red gem perched on top…

Unlike the other Beatles’ solo careers, I am ashamed to say I only know two of Ringo’s songs – ‘You’re Sixteen’ and ‘Photograph’ (actually, I heard ‘It Don’t Come Easy’ played at a George Harrison tribute I went to in March, but that doesn’t really count, considering I don’t know his version). Sorry, Ringo! So for his birthday, I will post the three above songs (‘cos I’ve just decided I’ll pause ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and YouTube ‘It Don’t Come Easy’…), plus my four favourite examples of his drum-work within The Fab Four. Enjoy!

 

‘It Don’t Come Easy’ – wow, I can’t believe that I didn’t listen to this earlier! I reckon that is my favourite Ringo song (though I only know three, so you be the judge of whether I can really make that statement…)! Anyway, I officially love this song. It’s also quite obvious that George helped to write it – it almost sounds like it could come straight off All Things Must Pass (which I just YoutTubed, and am finally listening to it in full – sure Ringo won’t mind!)

 

‘Photograph’ – another Harrison/Starkey composition! I don’t like it as much as the above, but it’s still a nice song, so give it a listen.

 

I’ve only heard Ringo’s cover of ‘You’re Sixteen’ once (on the radio), but my recollections of it are very positive – must give it some ear-time after ATMP has finished!

 

‘Tell Me Why’ – I love this song! John’s voice in it is absolutely gorgeous (never is it not, though 🙂 ), but I’m not here today to gush over my favourite Beatle – another reason I love this song (other than John) is that Ringo’s drumming is really, really, really fabulous! Just check out those fills – they prove just how musically accomplished the Fabs were (even in their early years), and how good Ringo was/is a drummer. This song (like a lot of The Beatles’ catalogue) is criminally underrated – if only more people knew it… Oh, and that clip is from the concert scene at the end of A Hard Day’s Night.

 

‘What You’re Doing’ – boom, b-boom, boom, b-boom… wow – those drums at the beginning of this song make for a killer intro! This is one of my favourite Paul songs (that I forgot to put on his birthday post…), but (as with ‘Tell Me Why’) I love it just as much for its rolling drum line. This is one of the few Beatles songs with a drummed introduction – and does Ringo do it well!

 

‘A Day In The Life’ – yeah, yeah, yeah (pun intended) – I hear you saying, “Oh, tangerinetrees99 – ‘A Day In The Life’ is such in obvious choice!” But there’s a reason behind why so many people love Ringo’s drum-manship (just made up that word – calling on the Oxford Dictionary!) in this masterpiece only fit for the finale spot on the most influential rock album of all time (you know what sergeant and his lonely-hearts club band I’m talking about…). At the moment (over the top of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’, which I should also mention is  a gorgeous tune), I can hear John’s acoustic guitar, heightened by those booming bass drums that Ringo plays in John’s sections of the song. Ringo really is a great drummer – I don’t think The Beatles would be quite as accomplished if Pete Best had been kept as the drummer (no offence, Pete)…

 

‘The End’ – you didn’t really think I’d leave the sort-of-finale of Abbey Road (‘Her Majesty’ is a hidden track, that was almost never on the album – and Paul never wanted it on there, anyway) off this list, did you 🙂 ? Two words – DRUM SOLO! In fact, this is the only Beatles song to involve such a thing – apparently, Ringo absolutely hated them, but John, Paul and George convinced him into adding one to this tune.  I love the guitar solos in ‘The End’, too – I often play a little game with myself whenever I listen to it, in which one has to work out who’s playing what (clue: John plays the gutsy, overdrived bits, which are – you guessed it – my favourites), and I’m quite good at it (if I say so myself!). It’s quite fitting, really – this was the last song The Beatles ever recorded together as a foursome ( 😦 ), so it quite literally is ‘the end’. I’ve got the Anthology 3 version on my iPad (it came on Tomorrow Never Knows), which has an elongated E piano chord at the end, a lot like the infamous ending of ‘A Day In The Life’ – looks like I’m on an ‘A Day In The Life’ theme, here…

 

So, there you go – some Ringo-solo songs, and my favourite examples of his drumming! Ringo in a kind of nutshell, if you like…

Lastly, I’d like to wish Ringo a happy birthday, again, so happy birthday, Ringo! Us Beatlemaniacs have been thinking of you all day 🙂 !

I’ll leave you with another picture of Ringo, but after that, I’m going to finish listening to All Things Must Pass, so good day sunshine! 🙂

 

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