I think I’m gonna be sad — I think it’s today…

A beautiful photo of John, who we sadly lost on this day. Love you.

A beautiful photo of John, who we sadly lost on this day. Love you.

On this day almost exactly 34 years ago (a previous Monday), an utterly horrible thing happened. A horrible, horrible thing. John Lennon was shot dead. I choose not to name his assassin, as he has said that he shot John for the fame that it could bring, and naming him would also be rewarding him. I choose to call him also what Paul calls him; ‘the jerk of all jerks’. I’m currently listening to Imagine, and am wearing my John-wearing-NYC-t-shirt shirt to remember him. (Not that I need any help with that, but anyway.) I’ve been half dreading this post. But here goes.

One of my very first Beatle-y memories is about John. Looking back, I think I may have known about him before I knew about The Beatles. It must have been 2009, which is coincidentally the year that the time machine in Yellow Submarine stops on. I wouldn’t have yet been ten. I remember eating dinner in front of our little box-shaped analogue TV in our dining room, at our tablecloth-covered round table which we no longer own. It must have been this day. I remember an image of the Dakota Building, and someone talking about this person named ‘John Lennon’. I then asked about who he was, and my mum explained to me who he was and how he died. Little did I know about how that man on the TV screen would change my life.

I don’t even remember why John became my favourite Beatle at first.  In around June last year (after slowly becoming a vague Beatles convert four months earlier), I read a book called Secrets and Sisterhood, which mentions John on the first page. Secrets and Sisterhood was my favourite book at the time (and still remains one of my favourite books, but the top spot is taken is by Looking For Alibrandi). But I  now know that John probably would have become my favourite Beatle, anyway.

In June 2013, I knew under 20 Beatles songs by name. I had no idea of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. And my knowledge of rock music was fairly rudimentary, as I played classical music. But as I became a bigger Beatles fan (and later, a bigger rock fan), and already being a reader, I also became a better-read Beatles fan. The first Beatle book I bought was a very expensive limited-edition printing of The Beatles’ Illustrated Lyrics, which is actually signed by Alan Aldridge. But I soon started reading actual information on John. And it almost seemed as if I was reading about myself. I realised that there was someone out there, a bit like me. And they just turned out to be John Lennon. I suppose that’s when I kind of confirmed my favourite Beatle.

Of course, over the past year, I have read/listened/watched so much stuff about John (and yes, I still refuse to read The Lives Of John Lennon) that I can quite safely call myself a John Lennon freak. (Not that I would call my love of him and the other Beatles ‘freaky’!) I laugh at his wit and humour; I find myself identifying with all his quotes about teachers and schools not recognising his ‘genius’ (long story). I find myself nodding in agreement at his political-themed songs; tears of laughter stream down my cheeks when I read one of his books (definitely recommended, if you have not done so already). I find myself studying every little thing (pun intended) in his songs (and then I find myself trying to recreate such things with varying amounts of); I wonder what the world would be like today if he were still with us. I thank him for making me think about politics, world issues, just important things, full stop; and yeah, I do find myself looking at pictures in which I find him attractive, but that’s not the point. And the music — well…

There was a study done earlier this year that shows that music can get the listener high. And I can identify with this so much. In August this year, I had an experience that I’ll never forget. I was listening to my Revolver vinyl, and part way through ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, an emotion I’d never felt before washed over me. A feeling of intense love and euphoria for the music. Thank you, John (and Paul, George and Ringo), for that.

John inspires me in so many ways, as well. As mentioned last post, John and George inspired me to pick up guitar. I might have my first (sort-of) gig coming up in January, something which I’m looking forward to very much. John inspired me to start writing songs. And whilst I haven’t written very many (yet), one of my goals this school holidays is to put some more time into that side of writing. John and the other Beatles actually reinvigorated my love of music, full stop. And whilst sometimes there is nothing more I want to do than jam out to Tame Impala, or dance around to The Black Keys, or sway and strum to Arcade Fire, or get that music high mentioned above from The Velvet Underground and Nico (especially ‘Venus In Furs’!), The Beatles will forever remain my favourite band. And that’s just how I like it.

I see no problem in being sad at John’s death. Whilst I was born a considerable amount of time after his death, I love John very much. Unlike George’s death, for which he was ready and whilst very sad was not unexpected, John was shot. In a time where he was arguably the happiest he had ever been. And still far, far, far, far too young to die. It saddens me that someone who wrote a song about giving peace a chance died in such a violent way. John seemed to be looking forward to the rest of the ’80s. He had just launched back into the music world. He was at peace with himself. And yet someone had to take this all away. So close to Christmas, as well. I’ve chosen not to listen to Double Fantasy, as I feel it would be too painful, knowing what happens less than a month later. I was reading someone’s memories of John’s death the other day, and they likened the loss as that of ‘a friend that I never met’. And I suppose that’s what it would have been like. John, to me, is like a friend I’ve never met. (And yes, I know I’m far too old to be having imaginary friends, but forget that.) And — as I said above — though I was not alive at the time of his life (and death), I still have no problem in being sad. Forget the fact that it’s unlikely anybody reading (or writing) this would have known him. And I see no problem in being angry at the person who shot him. Whilst we should probably keep in mind that the person who owned that gun was not right in the head, doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be angry that he shot John. It’s rather sad that he wasn’t treated, actually. But I’m still angry. And sad. But despite that, here are a few John moments:

Some say Paul wrote the intro to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, but they are wrong! Watch this scene from The Beatles’ US Visit — John seems to playing around with the opening to the masterpiece as early as February 1964. The instrument he is playing is called a melodica. It’s a pity that there wasn’t more footage of John messing around with the melodica, but I s’pose the filmmakers didn’t know where that sequence would appear three years later.

Hee hee! I love this scene. I mean, John Lennon in a bath playing with a toy boat. Need I say more? Will cheer you up… (And yes, I will stop fangirling.)

I’m probably being slightly controversial putting this up here, but I want to. In this clip, John defends his song ‘Woman Is the Nigger Of The World’. Being the feminist/leftist that I am, I already agree with the song, but what John says is too interesting to ignore. Still relevant today.

And of course this had to be here. I love the music video, I love the song. Some love to hate Yoko, but she inspired John. Without her, this (and the above — thank you, Yoko, for inventing that statement) wouldn’t exist.

I could write more than a few books on John and how I love him and how he has changed my life. But I won’t. I will conclude this massive post here. So, John, thank you. Thank you for making me a better person. Thank you for the music. Thank you for you. I can’t convey in words how much you have changed and influenced my life, but I have certainly tried today. We will never forget you. Love tangerinetrees

john

john two

john looking so gorgeous

john three

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 🙂