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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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! 🙂

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

 

The promotional poster for the gig.

The promotional poster for the gig.

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

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

 

Hey Bulldog/Jude/all,

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

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

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

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

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

white album one

white album two

white album three

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

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

white album five

The whole band!

The whole band!

 

The promo.

‘Birthday’

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

 

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