Happy Birthday John Lennon!

John by Warhol, 1971

John by Warhol, 1971

Today would have been John Lennon’s 76th birthday, so I thought I’d finally end my algebra-revision-induced hiatus (fun times in high school, haha!) and talk a little bit about him. So happy birthday, John!

I’ve talked an awful lot about John on here before, so I’ll try to stay succinct here. John is easily one of my greatest heroes, for he has influenced so much of what my life consists of today. He was my introduction to what I would have precociously termed “contemporary music” before I discovered him – he taught me of what it was in the first place, of how it worked, of what it sounded like at its very best. His work encouraged me both to persevere with and work as hard as I did my schoolwork at my creative pursuits – music, art, writing – and to, as I grew into the age where you are supposed to begin to seriously consider what you will do when you”grow up”, think about continuing them not just as hobbies but as actual jobs; and in fact, it was him who inspired me to pick up a guitar, to take my voice beyond musical theatre and the like, to try and attempt to write songs, to actually use the criticism my English teachers gave me so that my pieces on here would begin to live up to the ones I read and admired in the music press in the first place; he made me consider the workings of the world, and encouraged me to also consider and create my own views on political issues; he taught me what it meant to be a fan. I admire him so much – for his writing, his guitar skills, his humour, his art, his activism… While he is now one among the myriad of creators that I admire – in the company of those like Bowie, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Poison Ivy Rorschach, Alex Chilton, Kim Gordon, David Lynch, Joan Didion, and many, many, many more from all manner of music genres, eras and artistic fields – he will always be one of the very few who has affected me enough to change the course of almost my entire life. Perhaps only Bowie and Patti have come close to influencing me in the way that he has. My life would be so unrecognisably different if I hadn’t come across his work – I am so grateful for his affect on who I am today.

So now, I’m going to stop talking and instead leave you with some of his music. Happy birthday, John! Thinking of you…

(Please excuse this in demo form, it is still impossible to find actual Beatles songs on YouTube after the mass exodus of them that occurred around the rerelease of 1 last year…)

(Let us not forget John’s input into Young Americans, one of my very very all-time favourite albums!!)

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It was two years ago today!

Happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles!

Happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles!

On the 5th of June, 2014, I published my very first post on this blog. And today – 13,800 views, 92 posts and 121 readers on – marks 2 years since I first made this blog live. So happy birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles! Thank you so much to you all for joining me on this ride – for reading what I publish, and for adding your own thoughts in the comments section and for sharing them with your social media followers, too. It is what turns AYNITB from a random site where I post ramblings on music to an interesting and lively community – it means a lot! I’ve certainly enjoyed the past two years with this place, and I hope you all have too… And so here’s to the next year, with all the writing, commenting and musicality that will undoubtedly arrive with it! I don’t know about you, but I for one am looking forward to it very much… 🙂

Happy birthday George Harrison!

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I’ve posted this picture a few times before, but anyway…

As I’m sure most people reading this blog are aware, yesterday* would’ve been George Harrison’s 73rd birthday!

I’m not going to write much, today (I’ve written plenty before) – but here are a few words, nonetheless.

George’s musicality was, hands down, among the greatest in rock: the subtle yet great suggestions he made to various Beatles songs (see the bridge of ‘We Can Work It Out’, for example), often transforming them; his guitar skills, perhaps the greatest example of the ‘keep it simple’ rule – so understated, yet often among the highlights of whatever song happened to be gifted with them, so expressive and practically ethereal; and, of course, his songwriting – musically, beautiful, strong & emotive, and lyrically, poetic and criminally underrated. He seemed like such a incredible person, too – selfless, kind, intelligent, funny. I feel like our world needs more people like him, today. It’s frustrating that he remains, by far, the most underrated Beatle, that the public are generally unaware of his amazing contributions to the band and music in general – but as I wrote in a previous post, those that know of his greatness are aware that this is such wonderful knowledge to have!

But now, I’m going to let his music speak. So happy birthday, George! Hope you had a great day, wherever you may be…

(Please excuse the lack of Beatles – annoyingly, they’ve been taken off YouTube, and seemingly off Vimeo and other sites, too…)

*You probably also know that there’s a bit of confusion surrounding George’s actual birthdate – a few sources have claimed that he was, in fact, born in the late hours of the 24th, but a bit of Googling seems to suggest that the true date is the 25th.

For George, John and Jim

The ten-or-so days from November 29th to December 8th is an odd time to be a music fan – or for me, anyway. Between these two dates are anniversaries of the deaths of two icons of rock, and what would have been the birthday of another. Each of these people have played important roles in my musical adventures, so today I will pay tribute to them.

November 29th marked the 14th anniversary of George Harrison’s death.

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Recently, I acquired a copy of All Things Must Pass on vinyl. I had not listened to to the album in a while, as it had been pulled from YouTube and I had been previously unable to find a physical copy. I soon got around to playing it, and as the opening slide guitar hooks of ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ began, I remembered just how amazing it is. The album is perhaps the greatest showcase of George’s incredible musicality; his songwriting (catchy, yet not poppy ), his lyrics (perhaps the most underrated aspect of his already-undervalued work – often poetic, yet not too wordy), his guitar skills (expressive, ethereal in its adeptness). The album is a body of incredibly well-written and well-played work; passionate & beautiful, and ‘technically’ good, too. This greatness is translated to much of his other work, as well, both solo and with The Beatles: listen to ‘Something’ or ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (or any of his Beatles tracks from Rubber Soul onwards), or solo hits like ‘Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)’. (Many of these songs also display George’s extremely underrated lead guitar skills – his work was always simple, but sounded incredible. It is a pity he is not given more recognition for this.) Still, his work is still very underrated by the public, limited to knowledge of perhaps ‘Here Comes The Sun’ (and the assumption that his cuts were written by Lennon/McCartney) – but those that know of his songs know of their greatness, too. And what knowledge that is!

It should also be mentioned that Monty Python’s Life Of Brian wouldn’t exist without George. Ever since I first watched it as a kid, Brian has been an endless supply of laughs and bad puns, so thank you, George!

SEE ALSO: ‘All Things Must Pass’; ‘Happy Birthday George Harrison!’

December 8th marked the 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death.

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Regular readers of this blog will know that I consider John to be both my favourite Beatle and one of my heroes in general. I have said a lot about him before, but I will say it again: John is someone I admire for his incredible body of work, his humour and intelligence, his outspokenness and fearlessness and for the way he changed the world. His lyrics and music were the first thing that piqued my interest in rock, which has since become my greatest passion. He inspired me to begin playing guitar, and he was the first musician that made me want to be one, as well. His eagerness to speak up about inequality, war and other political problems – the fact that he and Yoko were not pleased to sit idly and watch world issues breed – is also something that I hugely respect to this day, and whilst I was politically aware long before I became a Beatles fan, it was his activism that made me think more deeply about my beliefs, too. He has greatly affected my life.

The tragic way that John died does not warrant mentioning. It is both especially saddening and ironic, considering that his mainstream reputation is that of a peace activist. However, John has left an amazing body of work and an incredible influence and legacy, and I feel that this is what is worth remembering. So thank you, John!

SEE ALSO: ‘Happy Birthday John!’ (2014)‘I Think I’m Gonna Be Sad – I Think It’s Today’‘Happy Birthday John Lennon’ (2015)

December 8th would have also been Jim Morrison’s birthday. He would have been 71.

(via wikipedia.org)

(via wikipedia.org)

I can barely remember a time when I didn’t know about The Doors. I listened to their music as a young kid – especially LA Woman – and when I acquired my first iPod, I can also remember being shocked that the title track of said album’s lyrics involved the word ‘damn’, and was adamant that a “song with swearing” wouldn’t enter my music library! As I grew a little older, though, The Doors’ dark psychedelia fascinated me, and they’ve been one of my favourite bands ever since.

Perhaps the greatest case for why I like The Doors is Morrison’s lyrics and poetry. He wrote beautifully eloquent words of thought-provoking subjects, which often still resonate today. It is his way with words that gives a song like ‘The End’ its broodingly dramatic mood, making it arguably among the greatest of all time. His lyrics are part of why The Doors’ music is so different to their contemporaries, and of what makes them so interesting. He was clearly an incredibly intelligent and creative guy, and though troubled around the time of his death, who knows what things he would have done had he lived? I also feel that he is underrated as a vocalist. His voice was incredible and was so different from those around him – it suited the musical atmospheres created by Manzarek, Krieger and Densmore perfectly. It is amazing that a band who released their classic discography within four years – and whose frontman didn’t make it to 30 – managed to change the world as much as they did…

Also, apologies for my sporadic posting of late – I’ll definitely post more over the coming weeks! 🙂

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY JOHN LENNON!

john david bailey

(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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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…

You Say It’s Your Birthday!

I got a little arty for the occasion!

I drew a picture for the occasion!

Today is the 5th of June, 2015. Precisely one year ago, I was writing my very first blog post and publishing my brand-new blog. And 4,974 views, 79 readers (that’s you!), 67 blog posts and 1 year later, I’m writing a post, too! So happy first birthday, All You Need Is The Beatles. To quote John, ‘another year over, and a new one just begun’.

AYNITB has come a long way since that very first post. (It was titled ‘Welcome To All You Need Is The Beatles!’, and you can read it here.) In the profile I wrote on myself in my post, I said that John Lennon was my favourite Beatle and that Revolver was my favourite Beatles album. That hasn’t changed. And oh, I still like making really bad Beatles puns. You can see them scattered throughout the blog.

But so much has changed in the world of AYNITB, too. You may have noticed that I said something about publishing my poetry and prose on here. Which I don’t do anymore. And now, I write about loads of my other favourite artists, as well. This time last year, I would have barely even heard of a few of the artists that I now know and love. And I hated all modern music, which has changed, too. I started this blog as a place where I could write about The Beatles, and occasionally publish my poetry. It’s sort of turned into a place where I can rant about all my favourite artists, review gigs I’ve been to, write about my own adventures in the world of music and…write about The Beatles!

And these past 12 months have been pretty awesome, and I chronicled some great times on here! I wrote about that time I went to my first Beatles tribute, or that time I saw some members of Australian alternative rock royalty perform The White Album in its entirety, or when I finally got my fancy Blu-Ray of A Hard Day’s Night. More recently, I wrote about playing my first gig, and when I met one of my musical heroes, Courtney Barnett! Writing about music is a wonderful thing. Music is something that brings people together; it creates memories. I think it has magical properties. As one of those people who loves music, to be able to write about it is so much fun!

There’s also some posts which I’m pretty proud of, too. I really enjoy writing my approximately weekly posts, and some of my favourites include the pieces I wrote on John Lennon on his birthday and the anniversary of his death, the post I did recently on my favourite bands from the ’60s and ’70s, and my review of Courtney Barnett’s gig in my hometown. (What are your favourite AYNITB posts? I’d love to know!)

And by the way, thank you! Thank you so much for reading my blog. Thank you for adding your thoughts at the end of my posts; I really enjoy waking up the morning after I’ve updated, and seeing all your thoughts and comments. And thank you for ‘liking’ my posts, and sharing them with your Facebook friends and Twitter followers and whatever other social media you may have. Or for sharing them with your friends and family in real life, if any of you do that… You — as the readers — put the ‘community’ in the All You Need Is The Beatles community. So thank you. I really appreciate it! 🙂

Thank you also to my wonderful family and friends who read this blog. Thank you so much for reading my posts, and for telling me what you think, and for offering me advice and for being really supportive of my blog! You all know who you are. 🙂

I’m super excited about this next year of All You Need Is The Beatles! I’ve still got loads of Beatley posts, and most of my writing will be about them. But I’m going to do all sorts of posts about my other favourite artists, too. And I’ll be doing gig reviews, and music reviews, and (hopefully!) posts about my own gigs and songs, too! But The Beatles will still be the main focus. The blog is called All You Need Is The Beatles, after all! To paraphrase The Who, ‘I’ve got a feeling that 2015/16 is gonna be a good year.’

So here’s to the year that was, the year that is and the many years of blogging to come! And now for a song…

Good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂

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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Tribute Songs for John Lennon

Ringo's beautiful birthday message for John. And a picture of the pair in very short shorts and masks...

Ringo’s lovely birthday Facebook post for John. (And a pic of the pair.) The post reads: “Peace and love to everyone else around the world celebrating John’s birthday on John Lennon week. He was my friend. Peace and love R.”

 

As we all know, it was John’s birthday two days ago. Happy birthday again, Johnny! I’m still listening to my ‘John’ playlist on my iPad, and my LP of choice recently has been Shaved Fish, a 1975 compilation of John’s best hits (until that point in time — he still had Double Fantasy to release. And if that Thing hadn’t fired its stupid gun, John would still be here today. And we might have had more.) So today I thought I would keep on with the Lennon theme and write about four tribute songs written for John. They’re all very different, but they also all are emotional affairs and portray the relationship the singer felt with John. So here goes…

 

Paul’s ‘Here Today’

john and paul one

 

As you would perhaps assume, Paul wrote/did the most beautiful John tribute ever recorded. My opinion, anyway. People who think John and Paul hated each other really need to listen to this song. You can’t deny that they were close after hearing it. I really can’t help but tear up when I listen to this song — you will hear why when you listen to it, too.

It was only after I heard this for the first time late last year that I realised that John and Paul were more than just the best songwriters in the history of the world (IMO). They were best friends who loved each other. I’m reading Alistair Taylor’s memoirs at the moment, and I like how he says that (paraphrasing), “John and Paul were closer than brothers.” People sometimes forget that you don’t have to be sexually attracted to another person to love them — that you can love your friends just as much. I think John and Paul are a perfect example of this, regardless of their early-’70s fights. And this song is the perfect testament to their closeness. Thank you, Paul!

George’s ‘All Those Years Ago’

 

This was the first tribute to John I heard (late last year). I listened to it first probably ‘cos George is my second-favourite Beatle! Very upbeat, but still moving. I especially love the electric piano! And the music video (wow!). And the lyrics…as with the above, people who seriously think that John and George weren’t close, listen to the lyrics, man! The Beatles were all very close, I think. Maybe that is one of the reasons as to why they were so darn fantabulous (there isn’t a word in the English language to describe how fab The Beatles were/are)!

I’ve been doing a bit of research on John and George’s friendship lately, and I found this gorgeous story from John’s birthday, 1970, at which time he was recording ‘Remember’ from Plastic Ono Band with Klaus Voorman and Ringo. To quote the Beatles Bible: “During the session George Harrison arrived at the studio, arriving in his dark blue Ferrari 330 GTC. He presented Lennon with a plastic flower and the pair hugged each other.” 🙂 ! As Yoko Ono said, “John loved George and George loved John. Their friendship was very special.”

Elton John’s ‘Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny)’

john lennon and elton john

 

I don’t know as much about John and Elton John’s friendship as I do the relationships within The Beatles, but I — like most hardcore Lennonites — know the story of the 1974 Madison Square concert. For those of you who don’t, here it is: Once upon a time John is recording ‘Whatever Gets You Through The Night’ with Elton (who features on harmony vocals and piano), and Elton tells John that the song will reach #1. John had not had a (solo) #1 yet, and didn’t believe it would, so the two make a bet — if the song is a Number One hit, John (who suffered from stage fright at the time) performs it with Elton at the latter’s upcoming concert in Madison. So the song reaches Number One in the US — his only #1 in his lifetime — and John, defeated, performs it onstage, along with ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and Elton’s cover of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’! It would be John’s last onstage appearance. He was going to tour the world in 1981. But that never happened. But I’m not going to brood today.

As for the song itself, all I really know about it is that Elton John does not perform it live as it “brings back too many painful memories” (I don’t blame him). I love it, and like just as much as Paul’s and George’s!

Queen’s ‘Life Is Real (Song For Lennon)’

 

Whilst — as far as I can see — John and the members of Queen never crossed paths (i.e. never met), this song is still a beautiful tribute to John. The piano is relatively Lennon-esque, and I particularly love Freddie Mercury’s vocals + Brian May’s guitar solo. After John died, Queen would also cover ‘Imagine’ in their concerts, and I believe they cited John/The Beatles as major influences on their work. I think it is just as beautiful as the ones John’s actual friends did, proving again that John was/is loved and sorely missed by nearly everyone in this world.

 

So there we go! What’s your favourite of the above? Do you know any other tributes for John? Please give me a buzz in the Comments below… I’m thinking of writing my own tribute for John at some point in the feature (I’ve got two songs of my own creation and some Beatles covers to do first), which I promise to upload here when it’s done.

So once again, happy birthday, Johnny! I love you. Good day sunshine! 🙂

The latest additions to my record collection

Good morning (or whatever), good morning, good morning-g! (Nothing to do save your life, call the wife in…)

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day in Adelaide (today is just plain hot), so my mum and I went into the city. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I collect Beatles LPs, so it’ll be no surprise to you that I had been saving my cash for weeks for a trip to my favourite record shop — which is in Rundle Mall (which is in the city, if you’re not Australian). I haven’t been in there for at least three months, so it was nice to buy some more records. I’m known in there as The Beatles girl! But anyway, here are my purchases.

1. Though I bought a couple of non-Beatles records, my priority was (obviously) to buy a Beatles LP. And I got Rubber Soul! I already own this album…on iTunes…so it is really nice to have it on vinyl!

rubber soul lp one

If you look extra carefully at the image below, you might see that the record is not from here (Australia), or England, or America — but from Uruguay! It’s in mono, and though there are no backflaps, some scouting around on the web indicates that it is a first pressing, and the label shows it was released there on Odeon Records (The Beatles’ record label in Japan, too). I won’t go into much detail now, but here’s the back of the album and the LP itself. It is absolutely bee-yoo-ti-ful, in my opinion – it might just be my favourite of all the ones we bought!

rubber soul lp two

2. You might remember from a couple of posts ago that I mentioned that I liked an alternative group called The Black Keys. Well, I bought their latest album Turn Blue (from May 2014, so it’s new vinyl — the album debuted at number one in Australia!) yesterday, as well! The Black Keys are actually playing Adelaide next year, but the stupid venue says ‘for over-eighteens only’. Grr. I really wanted to see them. But the website did say ‘unless otherwise advertised’, so I can only hope it will be advertised otherwise. But anyway, the album is completely and utterly groovy — I would highly recommend it to anyone who really enjoys psych/alt rock. I have had the riff from the ridiculously-catchy ‘Fever’ stuck in my head ever since I listened to the LP last night. And I think it is really cool that some modern artists still release on vinyl — if/when (hopefully the latter!) I am a recording musician, I will be sure to release actual LPs, too.

turn blue black keys one

Turn Blue came with a large poster of the cover (above) AND the album in CD format (plus the beautiful cardboard sleeve), so good value for $40AUD!

turn blue black keys two

3. We have a loyalty card for the shop at which we buy our records, and we had reached ten stamps on our card! I got an Australian-edition first pressing of the Requests EP with the extra money, which was released in 1964 (between the Long Tall Sally EP and Beatles For Sale, I’d say) and plays ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘I Call Your Name’, ‘Please Mister Postman’ and ‘Boys’. As with Rubber Soul, I won’t go into too much detail now (I need material for their respective ‘MBRC’ posts!), but here it is.

requests one

requests two

4. And finally, my mum bought a 2014-pressing (in other words, a new vinyl) of The Velvet Underground and Nico! Hope she’ll let me borrow it, ‘cos I really like The Velvet Underground… 🙂 On the original versions of this album, one could peel off the iconic yellow banana, and below would be a pink, peeled banana. Sadly, this doesn’t go for the new versions.

the velvet underground and nico one

Our version came with a fancy (well, not quite as fancy as Turn Blue) paper sleeve. It seems that most new LPs come with paper sleeves (as opposed to plastic ones) — my 2013 Help! did, too. But that Help! doesn’t exactly work…but you’ll have to wait for the Help! edition of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ for that story (I have it on first-ed. British mono, too)… Our (or my mum’s, rather) Velvet Underground and Nico also has a gatefold sleeve, but I won’t post an image of that (probably will come up on Google if you type ‘the velvet underground and nico gatefold’).

the velvet underground and nico two

So there we go — the trip my mum and I made to my favourite record shop in an LP sleeve! (And tangerinetrees99 desperately trying to invent her own cliches…)

And that’s my post for the weekend. I’ll probably do my planned ‘The Rubber Soul Jacket Appreciation Society’ post next (but who knows? 😉 ), but this Thursday is John’s birthday! Happy birthday, Johnny! But of course he will get an extra special post — ‘extra special’ for my favourite Beatle! But until Tuesday/Wednesday, good day sunshine 🙂