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! 🙂

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

My Twelve Favourite Beatles Lead Guitar Parts (and some other stuff)

The band in question with the instrument in question...

The band in question with the instrument in question…

 

Oh, and you know you're a guitar-playing Beatlemaniac when you own one of these! I actually do...

Oh, and you know you’re a guitar-playing Beatlemaniac when you own one of these! I actually do…

 

I play guitar. (Well, you probably already knew that, but anyway.) And despite what a few 70’s insert-rock-god-of-your-choice fans like to believe, The Beatles were incredibly good guitarists. And so I decided to make a list of their best lead guitar moments! This won’t include rhythm/finger-picked parts, ‘cos they will get their own post at some point, along with bass and drums. And by the way, Eric Clapton on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ doesn’t count.

As I said above, The Beatles were much better at their craft than they are given credit for. Some of the most famous riffs have come from the Casinos/Rickenbackers/Gretschs at Studio Two (or Studio One…or Studio Three), Abbey Road Studios (or Trident Studios…or Twickenham), and there are actually a few soaring rock-god moments in the catalogue. Whether it be their incredible use of overdrive, or the clever use of slides and pulloffs and hammerons, there is something special about The Beatles’ playing that no-one else can re-create. (Yeah, I know that sounds cliché, but it’s true.) So here’s my list – too small to fit in all my favourite moments, but just big enough for this lovely blog! Oh, and if you’re not a guitarist (or not familiar with some of the terminology), you might like to skim over the guitar dictionary below, which’ll give you an idea of what things such as ‘pulloffs’ and ‘hammerons’ are (if you don’t already know): http://www.guitarscholar.co.uk/dictionary/. And the number in brackets (if required) refers to when the part in question begins, so you can skip to that point to hear what I’m talking about if you want. And now let the list begin!

12. ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey’ (particularly the double-stops at the beginning, but also the fills in between the “c’mon, c’mon” bit)

This song has a few records set around it. It’s the longest Beatles song title. It contains John’s highest note (a C6, or two Cs above middle C – in other words, incredibly high!). It also probably has The Beatles’ largest use of cowbell. But finally, in my opinion, it’s one of their rockiest songs. I have a small obsession with the double-stops at the beginning – a lick that I must learn! But today, I also noticed the actual lead guitar bit once the song (and the cowbell!) has kicked in – and they are damn impressive! George’s fingers must have been very nimble…

11. ‘Let It Be’ – album version (1:57)

What a pity this isn’t the single version/the version that everyone knows – I’d choose the above over it any day! The solo in this is something else – unlike the slightly sappy solo on the single, this one is gutsy and overdriven and crunchy and very, very groovy! I particularly love the slide/bends in it. And for those of you who think The Beatles can’t do a soaring rock-god thing, listen to this – you’re wrong! Oh, and I dig the organ…

10. ‘Old Brown Shoe’ (1:37)

Wikipedia describes George’s solo in this unfairly-underrated blues-rocker as “highly [Eric] Claptonesque”, and rightly so! The lead guitar in this is just stunning – rocky and cool in every way! Slightly reminiscent of ‘Savoy Truffle’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, in my opinion… People say The Beatles didn’t do the blues well, but I beg to differ – George (if you think about it) was actually a very bluesy guitarist in the late-’60s, his skills in such genres on full show in songs such as the above and ‘For You Blue’ (which he wrote – John played the slide lead). And I don’t want to imagine life without ‘Yer Blues’!

9. ‘Taxman’ (1:12)

Paul plays the wonderfully acidic solo here, despite the fact George wrote the song in protest of the amount of money he and his bandmates lost to taxes (you tell them, George!)! Even those of you who aren’t guitarists probably can hear how intricate it is. The entire solo (plus the fills in other bits of the song) are comprised of a number of excruciatingly-difficult pulloffs and position-changes, so Paul was clearly damn good at the guitar to be able to pull this off (pun may or may not be intended)! I love this song in general – the accented rhythm guitar, the whimsical harmonies, and (of course) the political message it carries! And a fun-fact for you – a different take of this solo was reversed and used in the psychedelic tape-looped masterpiece ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’.

8. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ (1:32)

One word: backmasking. This is, in fact, the second or third (depends whether you go on the track-listing of Revolver or on the recording dates) song ever to use it. EVER. No satanic messages involved.

In fact, this song is just amazing. I was listening to my Revolver vinyl the other day, and felt some kind of intense euphoric wash of love about halfway through this song. It completely and utterly blew my mind. But more on that strange experience and The Beatles’ effect on me another day…

7. ‘Nowhere Man’ (0:48)

Rubber Soul is a beautiful album. My second favourite, to be exact – only behind Revolver. And this is possibly one of the top three most beautiful songs on the album! John and George played the solo on matching “sonic blue” Fender Strats, and god, it sounds good! I don’t know what I like so much about it, but I just do, and that is all. And by the way, you have to watch the clip above – it is just the cutest thing ever! And a bit sad too – but then, so is the song…

6. ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (the beginning + 1:33)

This was the first Beatles song I ever heard. Must have been about four – I certainly remember asking my godfather (hello!) to put it on a compilation CD when I was about six. But now I’m over double that age, I still love this song. And I love it – apart from sentimental reasons – especially for the lead guitar (and the harmonies, but that’s a different story). I believe George played it through a Leslie speaker, and then had it multi-tracked (like ‘Old Brown Shoe’, and so many other Beatles songs of the time). People dismiss this song ‘cos it’s Ringo’s, but it’s beautiful, incredibly complex, and it turned so many people (myself included) onto that magic world that is The Beatles.

5. ‘Hey Bulldog’ (1:42)

Back to the 1968 overdrive that I appear to be so obsessed with! I reckon 1968 was The Beatles best year for their lead guitar… There has been some debate as to whether John or George plays the solo, but it has generally been said that George played it on his black-and-red Gibson SG (as can be seen in the music clip above). But then there’s that riff. Possibly my favourite riff ever. So I guess it’s here for both of it’s lead guitar parts.

4. ‘Get Back’ (0:43 + 2:00)

If you seriously thought this list wouldn’t contain any John solos, you clearly haven’t been reading this blog! Despite popular opinion, John was a stellar guitarist – and I’m not just saying that. Listen to the rhythm part in ‘All My Loving’, or the Esher demo of ‘Revolution’ – only a stellar guitarist could play that! But this isn’t about rhythm, it’s about lead. And John had a number of groovy lead moments, but this is my favourite. The crunchy bending and intricate picking of this song were played on John’s famed Epiphone Casino, and it’s far more complicated than it sounds! Trust me – I tried it, and probably shouldn’t have… And sorry about the subtitles – it was the only clip I could find that uses the original Let It Be footage.

3. ‘Not Guilty’ – Beatles version (entire song, but the solo is at 1:33)

Yeah, yeah, yeah – I do know this is on Anthology 3, but it deserves to be on here. In fact, in that case ‘Watching Rainbows’ (an obscure Get Back bootleg THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN RELEASED) should be on here, too, but that’s a different story. I have never heard George’s solo rendition of this, but I have heard it is acoustic – I personally love it as a prime example of acid rock, as displayed above. Like a few of the songs on here, I don’t know why I love the lead so much on this – maybe the overdrive (as you will have gathered, it is my favourite effect), the volume pedal (I think), just the fact it is so hard-rocking? But who cares – it’s groovy, so it deserves a spot on here! Oh, and I dig the harpsichord…

2. ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’ (0:44)

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve really badly sung this riff whilst miming air guitar in front of my mirror. Lost count. Someone on a Beatles forum described it as ‘[Led] Zeppelin-esque, yet heavier’, and I agree. I’d go so far to say that it is proto-metal. I don’t think there is much I can say about this one, so I’ll let it (and my love for it) speak for itself. And finally…

1. ‘Dear Prudence’ (1:50)

This, my friends, is possibly the best Beatles lead guitar part, and definitely the most underrated. BUT IT’S LOST IN THE MIX!! WHY?! (Sorry…) And that’s why I put the isolated guitar above. But anyway, I. Love. This. Part. The bending, the crunch, the bluesy bits– oh, just everything! Listen to it yourself, and you’ll see what I mean. I’m trying to play it on my own guitar at the moment, and it’s almost impossible! I officially proclaim George a guitar genius.

So there you go! My favourite Beatles lead guitar parts, with bass/rhythm guitar/percussion/insert other random instrument a Beatle played more than once on more than one Beatle record editions coming soon!

 

And it was birthday on Thursday! Thank you to all those who helped me celebrate. I was serenaded with ‘Here Comes The Sun’ by my class (who supposedly ‘hate’ The Beatles!), and had a lovely tea with my parents (and later with my grandfather and godparents respectively!)! I got lots of beautiful Beatles stuff, including my own copy of LIFE’s collection of Robert Whitaker’s photographs of The Beatles (I’ve wanted that book since December!), a rare World Record Club pressing of Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits (Australian pressing), some first-edition Beatles 7″ singles/EPs, a beautiful hardback copy of John’s books In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works and a ticket to John Waters’ infamous John Lennon tribute ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’ (which you’ll – undoubtedly – be getting a post on)! Here’s a picture:

Once again, thank you! I've been well and truly spoilt... :-)

Once again, thank you! I’ve been well and truly spoilt… 🙂

Oh, and Big W in Australia (I don’t know if they exist elsewhere) are selling official Beatles shirts for $13AUD, in two styles (Abbey Road and a 1963 photo-shoot)! I’ve already got my two (thanks to a lovely friend who told me about them), so make sure you go and check your local store out!

Good day sunshine 🙂