Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?

A very suitable picture for today's post!

A very suitable picture for today’s post!

For pretty much my entire life, I’ve loved books. There is nothing quite like getting engrossed in a good read, in my opinion. And considering I write this blog, I (obviously!) love The Beatles! And one of my favourite Beatley things to do has always been to read Beatley books…

When I first got into The Beatles and knew nothing about their history, it never occurred to me to Google them for some reason. Instead, I collected (and borrowed) a mini-library of Beatley books. And that is how — along with a few documentaries and the internet (once it did finally cross my mind) — I learnt the story of The Beatles.

My Beatley library is relatively large, and grows almost every month! It includes everything from some of the best books I’ve ever read (the books below, plus a few more), and some of the worst (*cough*GeofferyGuiliano*cough*), and everything in between. So today, I thought I’d write a bit about four of my favourites — so here goes…

The John Lennon Letters (ed. Hunter Davies)

$_35

The John Lennon Letters is a must-have title. Released in 2012, the book collects nearly 300 of John’s letters/notes/drawings/cards/etc; the earliest a thank-you card from when he was ten, the latest an autograph from the 8th of December. These writings provide an invaluable insight into John’s life. Ranging from a few of the infamous Melody Maker letters from him and Paul’s 1971 feud, to a beautiful Christmas card he made Cyn in 1958, some song lyrics which he never finished on the back of a postcard, to witty replies to hate mail, the letters are anything from hilarious to heartbreaking to angry to informative and just about anything in between. They portray John as a very intelligent guy, and show what he was like behind the spotlight. Davies adds notes to put them into context and also transcribes them. This was one of the first Beatles books I read, and was how I first learnt about John!

LIFE With The Beatles: Inside Beatlemania (photos by Robert Whitaker, compiled by LIFE magazine)

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This book is somewhat large and awkwardly shaped, but it is beautiful. Robert Whitaker was The Beatles’ official photographer from 1964-1966, and among other things took the infamous Butcher Cover. LIFE compiled pretty much all of his Beatles photos and sorted them into years. And my, was Whitaker a talented photographer! Wherever they were from 1964-1966, Whitaker was there, too, and the results that ensued were amazing. As demonstrated with the Butcher cover, he clearly had a penchant for the experimental, and his photos add a fresh new photographic voice to Beatles lore. With images ranging from John staring into his own reflection at Kenwood, to John, Paul and George’s guitars sitting in Customs in 1966, from Paul + George playing with a birdcage, to The Beatles hanging out with Mick Jagger backstage at one of their Christmas pantomimes, there are some truly special shots in here. Many of the photos have anecdotes from Whitaker next to them. In short, this is a beautiful, beautiful book!

All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release (Phillipe Margotine + Jean-Michael Guesdon)

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This book is my Beatley bible. Think of it as all a more informal Mark Lewishon-style book, with prettier formatting, more information on the songwriting side of things + lots of cool photos! Right from the engaging introduction written by Patti Smith (who I’m also a fan of!), the book goes into the genesis, recording, production, technical details and (for some of the songs) related facts for each of the 213 titles in the Beatles’ discography! From this book, you’ll learn who wrote what, who played what, where each song was recorded, how many takes it took, who produced it… You’ll also read on its impressive 671 pages about what each song was written about, or who recorded it first if it was a cover, and often little anecdotes about the song, too! A photo also accompanies each song, and most of them are quite rare. The formatting is beautiful, too, and the book comes with three posters. I learnt so much from this book, and is probably one of the most informative titles in my collection!

The Beatles’ Anthology (The Beatles)

anthology

This is the mother of all Beatles books; their “autobiography”. Part of the Anthology project from the ’90s (which saw an eight-part documentary and three double albums of unreleased material released too), this book is chock full of practically everything a Beatles fan could want! Detailed interviews with Paul, George and Ringo were conducted for the project and it is through their words that the story of The Beatles is told here. John’s perspective is not neglected, either, as the researchers have found hundreds of quotes from the many interviews he gave over the years. George Martin and Neil Aspinall were also interviewed, and many other important figures in Beatles lore (such as Brian Epstein, Mal Evans and Stu Sutcliffe) also have quotes included. The book covers practically everything! Whether you want to know about Hamburg or Pepper, Shea Stadium or the rooftop concert, you’ll find it here. Not to mention that the story comes from the people who were actually involved, making it all the more valuable. Other highlights include pictures from the personal archives of each Beatle, unseen writings, and other things that add to this highly-illustrated book. A most invaluable addition to anyone’s Beatley library!

What books on The Beatles have you read? Have you got a favourite? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line below…

Oh, and happy birthday to Pete Townshend for May 19th! As a huge fan of The Who, he is one of my favourite guitarists, and not to even mention a really awesome songwriter! Happy birthday, Pete.

Hope you have a great day, wherever you are, and good day sunshine until next post! 🙂

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Nine Of My Favourite Lyrical Beatles Songs

I love these pictures!

I love these pictures!

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

‘Across The Universe’

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

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

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

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

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

‘Hey Bulldog’

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

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

‘In My Life’

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

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

‘Within You, Without You’

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

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

‘Piggies’

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

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

‘For No One’

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

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

‘Blackbird’

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

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

‘The End’

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

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

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JOHN!!!

🙂

Today is John Entwistle’s (the bassist of The Who) birthday. Happy birthday John Entw– IT’S JOHN LENNON’S BIRTHDAY! Happy birthday to you / happy birthday to you / happy birthday dear John / happy birthday to you! I’m currently wearing my John-in-New-York tee, and am listening to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (digging ‘I Found Out’!).

If John were still here with us today, he would be 74. I wonder what he would be like? I often love to imagine what he would say about the sad, war-torn state of the world at the moment, what he would say about the poppy, auto-tuned “music” released. Would he have written with Paul again? Would he have developed his Double Fantasy style of music? What would he think of the internet? What advice would he have for budding musicians/writers such as myself? I guess we’ll never know… But today is not a day to be sad over the way John was taken from the world — I’ll save that for the 8th of December. Today is a day to celebrate John’s life, and remember his incredible achievements. So instead of writing a long essay on John, and becoming all sad and depressed, I’ll make a list. A list of some of the reasons of why I love the guy so. Of course, not everything will be covered — I think I could fill the entirety of the Harry Potter books with all my reasons! (Not that I’ve read Harry Potter…) If you’ve got any other reasons, or you just want to write about John, feel free to do so in the comments! So here we go:

  • First of all, John was nothing short of an amazing lyricist. In fact, ‘amazing’ is an understatement. Only John could write the beautiful lyrics of ‘Across The Universe’, or bare his soul to the world as he did in songs such as ‘Help!’, ‘I’m A Loser’, ‘Nowhere Man’ and ‘Yer Blues’. Only John could write the complete nonsense of ‘I Am The Walrus’. And that’s the thing. Only John could do it.
  • But John was not just a genius at lyrics — the actual MUSIC he wrote is utterly incredible, too. Though he stereotypically was the rocker of The Beatles (i.e. ‘Revolution’), many of his songs feature beautifully complex, tender melodies, of which an undereducated Beatles fan would assume were the creation of Paul. Take a listen to ‘Good Night’, ‘Julia’, ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘In My Life’ (in my opinion, that story about Paul writing the melody of ‘IML’ is rubbish) — a few examples of many. How beautiful are the melodies? And his solo career, too — ‘Love’, ‘Mother’, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, ‘Look At Me’. Ditto. To quote John on the melody of ‘Love’: “It’s a beautiful melody and I’m not even known for writing melody.” Too true.
  • His voice. John had one of the most amazing voices the music industry will ever see. He could do anything, from a tender, acoustic ballad like his parts in ‘A Day In The Life’ and ‘Dear Prudence’, to raw, emotional rock like ‘Mother’ and ‘Well, Well, Well’. He had an astounding range, too — reaching from a C2 (two Cs below middle C) to a C#6 (two Cs ABOVE middle C). Wow. I can just get to one C above middle C, and I’m a girl.
  • Despite what people love to say, John was an amazing guitarist. Rhythm guitarist, in particular. If you, too, play rhythm guitar, you’ll know how damn impossible the rhythm part to ‘All My Loving’ is to play, but then there’s ‘I’m Looking Through You’ and ‘Norwegian Wood’ (don’t ask me how he played that) and ‘Help!’ and ‘A Day In The Life’ and just about every song he fingerpicked.
  • And, yeah, he was a pretty minimalistic lead guitarist, but who can forget the opening crunch of ‘Revolution’? The catchy solo of ‘Get Back’? The slide work of ‘For You Blue’? And if he did play the ‘Hey Bulldog’ solo (nobody’s sure whether it’s him or George), that’s really accomplished. And he supposedly did my beloved Zeppelinesque guitar work on ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’!
  • Other instruments he could play and/or played on his/The Beatles’ records: mouth organ (harmonica), piano/organ, bass, drums, saxophone, percussion in general… Impressive, huh?
  • He was hysterically funny. Everyone knows he was the Witty Beatle, but how many people have seen this in action? Listen to the beginning of the Blackpool Night Out performance of ‘Help!’, or read one of his books. I’ve only flicket through my dual copy of In His Own Write/A Spaniard In The Works, and I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard! Imagine what actually reading the book will be like… 🙂
  • He was really intelligent. He supposedly had an IQ of ‘well into the 150s’. To give you an idea of how high this is, an IQ of 130+ means you are a part of the 2% of the population who are gifted. 140 or above is near-genius. I don’t know how true what I read was, but I can actually believe it. I love listening to him talk, and the words he uses. I just love the way he used the English language, full stop.
  • He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Whether it be in the form of a song (‘Woman Is The Nigger Of The World’, ‘Imagine’, ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’) or a statement in an interview (the ‘Bigger Than Jesus’ thing was just John commenting on religion), he said what he thought.
  • Although many disagree with his political views, being the leftist I am, I second them wholly. I agree with him over his views on peace and feminism and revolutions. His views in the ’70s, anyway. And before you go around calling ‘Imagine’ hypocritical, I think he was asking us to imagine a world with peace and no religion and no possessions, not asking us to give away absolutely everything we own. My take, anway.
  • Although numerous people (I’m looking at you, Albert Goldman and your large cult of followers) seem to think that John was a cruel, heartless bastard, people close to him have said differently. Quoth Paul: “The acerbic side was there but it was only part of him. He was also such a sweet, lovely man – a really sweet guy.”
  • John was really good at art. Obviously he was — he went to art school! You’ll remember that I went to see an exhibition of his artwork, and how blown away I was. His drawing really was amazing. Hey, a quick look at one of his books shows that!
  • It should probably be said that I do find John insanely handsome. But he was my favourite Beatle before I even had a clue as to what he looked like, so yeah. He was undeniably attractive, IMO, but I discovered that long after he became my favourite Beatle.
  • He was the first Beatle to experiment with session musicians, using two flutes on ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’! This makes me happy, ‘cos I play flute.
  • He discovered backmasking!
  • The bath scene in A Hard Day’s Night. Possibly my favourite scene in the entirety of film history.
  • His music inspired some of my other favourite artists, including Tame Impala and The Black Keys.
  • He is the Beatle I can relate to most. Probably why I love him so.

So that’s my list. Happy birthday, Johnny! You inspire the world, and are missed by many, but you will live on. Thank you for making the world a better place. I love you. Love tangerinetrees99 🙂

P.S. It’s also Sean Lennon’s birthday today. If you, too, are a psych rock fiend and a fan of artists such as Tame Impala, be sure to check out Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, the duo he has with his partner, Charlotte Muhl. His — and her — stuff is really good! Particularly their new album, Midnight Sun. I think John would be proud!

Some Beatles demos/alternate takes/sessions to feast your ears on…

Taken in the Austrian Alps - made me smile :-) !

Taken in the Austrian Alps – made me smile 🙂 !

 

 Recently – whilst completing a science assignment – I decided to stop listening to Rubber Soul for the third time in a row (I still love it dearly, but I didn’t want to get sick of it – I’d debate whether that’s possible, though 🙂 …) and do some YouTubing as a means of finding something new to listen to (I don’t buy much music on iTunes – prefer it on vinyl). And under my ‘recommended videos’ thing(y) was a video containing a compilation of Magical Mystery Tour/White Album era demos. I gave it a listen, and then I found even more of these videos under ‘suggested videos’! So yeah, it did take two nights to finish my science, but I found a really cool idea for a post! I absolutely love listening to Beatles demos – I feel a little special, hearing a completely different (and often rare) version of such familiar songs that I know and love dearly. Obviously, though, not all such recordings are rare – as we all know, the Anthology project made some of these relatively well-known. So this post pays homage to those bits and pieces John, Paul, George and Ringo may or may not have wanted us to hear – enjoy!

‘The Beatles’ Home Demos: A Hard Day’s Night and Rubber Soul

‘If I Fell’: Crappy sound quality, but that is the case with most home demos (due to primitive recording equipment). I like this version, and it proves that John was good with falsetto notes, even in the early Beatles days.

‘World Without Love’: Funnily enough, my local classic hits station (what else would I listen to? Actually, I might listen to Triple J – the local indie rock station – at some point, ‘cos I like that sort of thing too) plays the Peter and Gordon version of this song all the time, but it took me a good year-and-a-half of Beatles fandom to work out it was a Lennon/McCartney (namely, McCartney) composition! Yeah – of course I knew that most (if not all) of Peter and Gordon’s songs were written by Paul ‘cos Peter was Peter Asher (Jane Asher’s brother) – but I cannot believe I did not clue on earlier. I like this version more than the original, I have to say – probably because Paul’s singing it… 🙂

‘One And One Is Two’: Never heard this song before, but it’s groovy! I like the way Paul sings it…

‘We Can Work It Out’: Ahh – back to actual Beatles songs again! I really like the folksiness of the original, but this version is still folky and still really cool. In fact, the official version of this was just on the radio (spooky!)…

‘She Said, She Said’

Although I am forever saying that I do not have one favourite Beatles song (if an ever-changing list of about 100 tunes counts, well I do), I would cite this one as top dog if my life depended on it. As I said in my ‘Favourite Beatles Song’ post, I love this song, so I find the above very, very cool! Two completely different versions from the psychedelic masterpiece that ended Side One of my favourite Beatles album (Revolver)!

Demo One: This could not sound more different than the original, but I still love it! John was still clearly working on the lyrics (He said//I know what it’s like to be dead…), and Paul appears to be with John at the time (hence dialogue at end). Writing session at Kenwood, perhaps?

Demo Two: This is my favourite out of the two. John had mostly completed the lyrics by this point, and appears to practising it. I love how the acoustic guitar sounds so trippy, even though it likely hasn’t been edited – John had a semi-acoustic (meaning he can amp it up – I, too, have one), so I wonder if he put a pedal on it, or something? I’d love to know what he put on it, if he did anything… Oh, and there is a little bit of language in this bit – such things don’t bother me in the slightest, but just thought I should cover myself.

‘Revolution’

Wow – those people who think that John is no good as a guitarist need to listen to this! That riff at the beginning is incredibly hard to play – and I should know, ‘cos I play guitar myself! And I love John’s vocals in this, too – need I say more?

‘Something’

‘Something in the way she moves//attracts me like a pomegranate!’ Ha, ha 🙂 – need I say more? Also, George and John making up more of those random lyrics…in need for another smiley 🙂 !

Oh, and I didn’t know George could sing like that! Wow, George, wow! Normally, his anyway-gorgeous voice is quite smooth and sweet, but on this, he rocks really hard! And of course, I love this song anyway – in fact, it was this that taught me that George wrote songs, too…

A Random Bloopers Reel

This one – unlike the clips above – is a medley of all sorts of bloopers, in no kind of order whatsoever. It’s very funny, though – lots of laughing (pity a certain version of ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ ain’t on there) and jokes 🙂 ! Oh, and I s’pose I should cover myself over usage of ‘language’, too – it’s mostly from Paul (naughty Paul 🙂 !)!

‘You Can’t Do That’/’Love Me Do’/’Gimme Some Truth’/’She Said, She Said’ (Get Back sessions)

Not all of the Get Back sessions were shown in Let It Be. ‘Of course they weren’t,’ you’re probably thinking. ‘Otherwise we’d have proper of footage of George leaving the band, and we’d probably also have footage of Yoko screaming sufficient enough to make us deaf.’ Well, yeah – you’re right – but what many people don’t know is that The Beatles recorded a lot more material than first apparent within that period of time – whether that be alternate versions of past songs, or the beginnings of songs that will eventually end up on solo albums. The songs I chose to post were swamped-down versions of ‘You Can’t Do That’ and ‘Love Me Do’, that sound so damn cool (!), a version of ‘Gimme Some Truth’, a song that would appear on John’s 1971 masterpiece Imagine, and that song I keep on rambling about – ‘She Said, She Said’ (+ a version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window), the Get Back edition. Apparently they also did ‘Norwegian Wood’ – can’t find it, though… 😦

‘I’m So Tired’…sung by Paul! Oh, and ‘Get Back’/’Yesterday’…sung by John!

Yep, I’m serious; Paul is singing a song off the White Album, which – I might add – was written about Yoko. Paul singing a love song for Yoko – hmm. As I’ve said before, I really like Yoko (excepting the screaming) and have tremendous respect for her, but we all know that Paul did not feel the same way… But anyway (who he is singing about aside), his version is really quite good. In fact, it’s really good – gives John a run for his money. At the end of the day, though, John wins for me 🙂 ! As for ‘Get Back’ – oh my God! This might just be my favourite version of this song – especially love the tempo, John’s voice and Ringo’s fills. When I listened to this to test its eligibility for this post, all I could do was stomp my foot, clap along, dance and air-guitar along – that is all I need to say… And ‘Yesterday’ – John fooling about with a famously-Paul-only song. Sure, all the Macca Maniacs will not like it at all, but I think it’s funny! By the way, videos one & two are from Get Back, too.

‘Cry Baby Cry’

As I repeatedly state in various places on this blog, my favourite Beatles songs change from day to day. But ‘Cry Baby Cry’ is a bit like ‘She Said, She Said’ – it always remains somewhat near (if not at) the top of my list. In fact, it was the first song I played on my steel-stringed guitar, and I can still remember listening to it for the first time earlier this year, and being completely blown away. I especially love the almost proto-metal electric-guitar version near the end, with John screaming out the vocals in a, well, proto-metal-type way – a complete contrast to the folky official version (which I still love). Sounds really cool however it is played, let’s just say!

‘Yes It Is’

a) ‘One, two, three, bread.’ Deserves a smiley, Johnny 🙂 ! Next time I have to do a count-in, I know what I’m going to do…

b) I know I posted the Anthology version of this song (a mash-up of takes 2 & 14) in an earlier post, but here is the complete evolution of that Beatles song that everyone sadly forgets (except those who know it, of course). I love this song (okay – I love every Beatles song, with the exception of ‘Revolution 9’ and ‘Wild Honey Pie’ – which I appreciate at the very least), so I find this absolutely fab!

‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’

‘You cheat, tangerinetrees99,’ you’re probably thinking. ‘That’s not rare at all! It’s off blooming Anthology!’ Yes, and I am well aware of that, but I really wanted it in this post. And it is an alternate version of the official, after all, isn’t it? But anyway, I swear I heard this version of ‘WMGGW’ far before I heard the White Album edition. In fact, I prefer this to the Eric Clapton guitar-god version everyone knows. I love everything about this demo – the acoustic-ness of the whole thing, the fact it is in G minor (as opposed to A minor), just – well – everything! Thank you, George, for recording such a gorgeous version of this song.

Paul sings John a very sweet tribute

Aww! How sweet of Paul? I like his versions, too – I also like what he said before he started… I won’t say too much about this one, apart from the fact that it made me a little emotional – you’ll have to watch it yourself… 🙂

So there we have it – an incredibly long post (I’ll try and be shorter next week), but I hope it was all worth it. Enjoy listening to things you may or may not have heard before – but nonetheless (whether you’ve heard them or not), it’ll make for a fab listening marathon! Hope you have a good rest of your day (whichever hemisphere you’re in), and I’ll leave you with this really funny clip of 1965 Christmas record outtakes, which I guarantee will have you hysterically laughing by the minute-mark (excusing one or two grotty jokes, that might or might not bother you – I’m in the latter, so just covering myself again… Still, it is really funny!)! Good day sunshine 🙂

 

My Favourite Beatles Songs (Kind Of)

This made me smile :-)

This made me smile 🙂

 

Hey all,

Now that all the Beatles in Australia festivities are (sadly) over, I’m going to start posting less Australianised posts, and make this blog more generally Beatle-ish. I’m sitting in our study-type-room, listening to Anthology 3 on YouTube (‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ was just on – that version proves how beautiful John’s voice was!), and I thought I’d begin one of the most definitive posts a Beatlemaniac can put on their Beatles-related blog – their favourite Beatles songs! As I said on my ‘Welcome’ post, there is no such thing as my favourite Beatles song, or even a countdown of my ten favourites, so instead, I’m going to list one of my favourite songs off each album, so please enjoy! Also, this is only my opinion (and a very small quota of it, at that), so don’t be offended if your favourite Beatle number is not mentioned – it’s likely that it’d still make my favourites!

Real Love (Anthology 2)

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know this technically doesn’t count as a proper Beatles song, but it’s so darn beautiful! I heard this for the first time the other week (when I listened to my newest Beatles CD from Melbourne), and I have to admit I got a little emotional. I just watched the official music clip – same effect. John, you really were something special – we miss you!

Please Please Me (Please Please Me)

Favourite song off The Beatles’ first album – it’s boppy, the harmonica riff is fab, and I love basically everything about it!

It Won’t Be Long (With The Beatles)

I love this one, too – the tune is sophisticated, the lyrics are slightly dark, and the chords are gorgeously outrageous and obscure (trust me – I’m a guitarist). Listening to this song makes me want to dance/sing/let my hair down; I challenge you to sit through this song without dancing or singing. I’m fairly sure that any such feat is impossible!

If I Fell (A Hard Day’s Night)

Okay – no explanation needed for this one. ‘If I Fell’ is one of the most exquisite songs ever written – END OF STORY! This is the clip from A Hard Day’s Night, by the way.

Baby’s In Black (Beatles For Sale)

I find it hard to find a favourite song on Beatles For Sale, probably because it’s my equal-second favourite album. But ‘Baby’s In Black’ is an utterly fabulous stand-out; everything from the waltz time, to George’s lead guitar line, to the John/Paul two-part harmonies… God, I love this song!

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (Help!)

Ever since I knew who The Beatles were (or maybe even before – I must have been about seven when I first heard this song), I have pertained a passionate love for this song. It played a major part in my becoming-a-Beatlemaniac; it was one of the first Beatles songs I ever heard! But anyway (sentimental values or not), this song is so gorgeous, that even if you aren’t a fan, this song will win you over! This clip is from Help!, in case you’re wondering.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (Rubber Soul)

This was one of the first-ever songs I played on guitar. Listen to it, and you will understand why – the acoustic guitar line is just exquisite, and same goes for the vocals (I love that John/Paul harmony on the chorus)! And how can I write about ‘Norwegian Wood’ without talking about that little thing that made this song so revolutionary – it was the first-ever rock song to involve a sitar, something that only a certain George Harold Harrison could do. Thanks, George – your gorgeous sitar line adds to the extreme amount of beauty that John had already cast over this composition!

She Said She Said (Revolver)

Revolver is my favourite album, and I find it very, very difficult to find just one favourite song from it, but (to put it bluntly) I LOVE THIS SONG! If I was forced to choose a favourite Beatle song, it would probably be this one. Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know it is about John’s experience on an LSD trip, but forget that. Just listen to the lead guitar (I dig that overdrive), the fact that John and George are harmonising ( 🙂 )- oh, I give up. I love every single thing about this song!

She’s Leaving Home (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

Tough choice. Very tough choice between ‘Lucy In The Sky’, ‘Lovely Rita’, the title track and the above. The song is incredibly complex, the balance between lead and back-up vocals is gorgeous, and the lyrics are beautifully poignant – that is all.

I Am The Walrus (Magical Mystery Tour)

I lose it when I listen to this song – who doesn’t? It is really funny, and the tune is really cool – but I mainly love this song ’cause of John’s hysteric-inducing lyrics! This is the clip from that mad TV film that only Beatlemaniacs actually like (you know what I mean) – that is why the video is so trippy.

Long, Long, Long (The Beatles/White Album)

I just realised that I hadn’t put any George songs on this list, which is a crime – sorry, Georgie! I just love the drums, George’s vocals- I give up! Why am I spending so much time trying to explain why I love these songs, when most of the people who read this blog I would assume are Beatlemaniacs, and would just get it??

Hey Bulldog (Yellow Submarine)

That riff. And John and Paul at the end. That is all I have to say.

Because (Abbey Road)

I think the harmonies, the guitar and the synths speak for themselves, here – ‘Because’ is (cliché) too beautiful for words! There is another song on Abbey Road that deserves a special mention, though – ‘Octopus’s Garden’. It was the first song by The Fabs that I ever heard (at about age four), and it introduced me to a certain kind of magic that is The Beatles.

I Me Mine (Let It Be)

Just like every other song on the list (almost), I cannot explain why I love this song. I just do, and I’m sure that at least the Harrison Heads reading this will agree. I apologise for not putting more Harrison-penned songs on this list – a lot of his compositions make my favourites list, but John’s songs generally end up being my favourite songs off each album.

Yes It Is (single/Past Masters Vol. 1)

Here comes Johnny with his beautiful three-part harmonies, again – isn’t it interesting how he wrote all the three-part songs? But anyway, since I heard this song (the B-side to ‘Ticket To Ride’) about six months ago for the first time, I have had a large obsession with it, mainly for the volume pedal-ed guitar, the 6/8 time-signatures, it’s incredible musical complexities and (you guessed it!) the John/Paul/George harmonies! I know that John didn’t like this song, much – in 1980 (two days before that man with a gun (who does not deserve to be named) interfered with John’s life – or death… ) he described it as “an attempt to rewrite ‘This Boy’ that didn’t quite work” – but John was often quite critical of his Beatle work. Despite this, though, most Beatles fans I know/have read about (the latter being the majority of this crowd!) love this song, and I could not agree with them more! Oh, and the Anthology 2 version of this song is unbearably exquisite – listen to it below, and you’ll see why…

Day Tripper (single/Past Masters Vol. 2)

Da, da da da da da, da, da, da da da… (and those lovely vocals, and the percussion line, and that music clip above, despite the fact I think there should be more close-ups of John, and every other darned thing about this song)… END OF STORY! Isn’t that riff alone a valid enough reason to love this song?!

Well, there we go – a list of my very, very favourite Beatle tunes! I might do a Part 2 of this post at some point, but until then, enjoy having Beatles listening marathons!

(And as for some other Beatle-y things…)

The cover for the UK 50th anniversary A Hard Day’s Night has been changed, which is a very good thing! If you’ve seen the first edition (be glad if you haven’t), you’ll know that it was absolutely ATROCIOUS (repeat, ATROCIOUS). I also discovered that it is now being released here in Australia on BluRay/DVD, so my UK edition that I pre-ordered a couple of months ago will be extra special! Follow the links if you want to pre-order too (my old UK BluRay link I posted before now does not work).

For a UK edition (will also work in Australia, as we are the same BluRay region code):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hard-Days-Night-Anniversary-Restoration/dp/B00KATQF2S/ref=sr_1_12?m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1403598274&sr=1-12

For an Australian edition (don’t ask me why it’s rated M here, but PG elsewhere – I did think that its former G rating was pushing the boundaries a little, but M is overdoing things):

http://www.jbhifionline.com.au/music/pop-rock/a-hard-day-s-night-50th-anniversary-edition-blu-ray/703311

For an American edition (you lucky-ducks get to see it on the big screen, at your local cinema – guess who’s envious??):

http://thebeatles.shop.bravadousa.com/Product.aspx?cp=61569_65516&pc=BGAMB5679

 

And the most popular Beatle/s according to the readers/writer of this blog is (drum roll please, Ringo)… a draw between John and George, who are – coincidentally – my favourite and my second-favourite (yay for Johnny and Georgie)! Good day sunshine, for now (before I go too Beatle-mad, though I’m fairly sure I already fall under that category…) 🙂

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL McCARTNEY!!

The birthday boy in a cat costume!

The birthday boy in a cat costume!

 

As all Beatlemaniacs will know, it is Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE’s 72nd birthday, today! The electrifying riff on ‘Birthday’ is playing (I’m still making my way through the White Album…), George’s ‘What Is Life’ was just on the radio (yes, I know – wrong Beatle – but I’m still in a Beatle-y mood from it), and I was going to say I was really, really happy, but ‘Yer Blues’ has just come on, and the lyrics are slightly extremely depressing (not that I care – I love the song!), but not even those words are going to dampen my mood. Happy birthday, Paul!

Now, Paul may be my third-favourite Beatle, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love him (not as much as I love his song-writing partner, John), all the same! Though I prefer John’s (and in many cases, George’s – he’s my second-favourite) songs, there is no doubt that Paul was a truly one-of-a-kind songwriter with a very large amount of talent! I will say now that I dislike much of Paul’s solo/Wings career (DO NOT GET ME STARTED ON ‘SILLY LOVE SONGS’ – I hate that song…), but even I will admit that there were some very good songs, which I will post later. He was, however, a fantabulous songwriter within The Beatles, especially around the Help!/Rubber Soul/Revolver period (i.e. ‘For No One’, ‘The Night Before’, ‘I’m Looking Through You’, ‘Here, There and Everywhere’), though. My theory (and a lot of other people’s) is that he needed John (as a friend/competition/song-writing partner) to write such poignant, beautiful, experimental songs as he did in the ’60s; John has said that Paul is capable of writing beautiful lyrics (note ‘The Fool On The Hill’ and ‘Hey Jude’), but the latter was never really aware of it. I think such talents were more evident whilst he was a Beatle, ’cause John’s competition was more also more evident. The above is just my opinion – probably because I’m a very strong Lennon Lover – but I wonder if anyone else agrees? Regardless of what I just wrote, I think Paul was/is very, very cool (the song that has just started playing – ‘Helter Skelter’, which I love – is more proof) and that he was/is equally as talented.

I’m going to post some YouTube clips of my favourite – because I’m not generally a fan of Wings/solo Paul (as you may have already gathered, I’m a Plastic Ono Band type of gal), I’m going to include some of his Beatle compositions:

 

 

This is ‘For No One’, we’re talking about – it is too beautiful for words (excuse cliché), END OF STORY! (Yay; ‘Long Long Long’ – which is one of my favourite George Beatle songs – just came on! Sorry – completely random.)

 

 

I love ‘The Night Before’, almost (if not as much) as ‘For No One’ – I couldn’t find the proper clip from Help!, ’cause the song is all split up in the film (there should be a revolution on YouTube – guess the song (clue: it doesn’t involve a ‘9’)), but here are some parts of the film sequence, plus some bits from ‘I Need You’!

 

 

Now onto some Paul solo stuff – this is one of two of his solo songs that I really like (the other one will be below, though it’s fairly obvious if you know who my favourite Beatle is). It’s quite Beatle-y, which I probably why I like it so much. According to Mum (who shares my views on Wings), ‘Uncle Albert’ is quite a good song – must listen to it at some point. I don’t mind ‘Band On The Run’, either, but I don’t like it as much as above or below.

 

 

 

Okay – of course I love this song! In fact, I’m going to listen to it now (‘Savoy Truffle’, though it is fab, can wait). I mean, what Lennon Lover doesn’t?! It is just so sweet and heartfelt  – thank you, Paul! You can just feel how close he and John were, by listening to even just the first notes

 

Just a couple of other things (if I can see the screen – ‘Here Today’ always makes me tear up) – most people know that a few weeks ago, Paul was ill and had to cancel his Japanese dates. As far as I know, he is sort-of better now, but he has had to postpone all his concerts up until October, or something, so he can make a full recovery. Get well soon, Paul! When he’s better, maybe he can come and do some gigs in Australia – he hasn’t toured here since 1993 (before I was born), so maybe he will see that it’s time he came, again. I know for a fact that millions of people would go, including myself – and I’d make sure he’d come to Adelaide, all right! If he wasn’t going to come down South, I could do something similar to what Bob Francis did for him, John, George and Ringo-turn-Jimmie back in ’64 – wouldn’t that be cool?

But anyway, I wish you a beautiful birthday, Paul – thank you for the wonderful music you and John, George and Ringo made five decades ago! Good day sunshine, for now.

 

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A picture of a page in the paper, with a cute picture on it!