My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 8 – ‘The Beatles’ (aka The White Album)

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn't get to see it (I don't think it came to my city), but it looked really cool...

Last year, there was an awesome art installation made up entirely of hundreds of White Albums. I didn’t get to see it (I don’t think it came to my city), but it looked really cool…

For Part 8 of this series of posts, it is only fitting that the Beatles album released in 1968 is the focus. That album being, of course, a very famous double album. It’s called The Beatles. But most call it the White Album! The White Album is one of The Beatles’ most well-known releases, and is famous for its unconventional, inconsistent musical style and its nearly-all-white cover. It made number 10 on Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time’,and number 4 on my ranking of The Beatles’ albums last year. (If I redid the ranking, though, it would probably make number 2 now!)

Apart from arguably being the weirdest album in the history of music (in the absolute best way possible!), The White Album is famous for a few other things. The sessions for the double album marked the first time that the relationship between The Beatles became particularly strained. John, Paul and George would often inhabit three separate studios in Abbey Road, each doing their own separate overdubs for their own separate songs… Ringo quit the band for a few of the early sessions, but was convinced to return by the other three. A few songs on The White Album also “inspired” Charles Manson and his “family” to commit the despicable things that they did… (But that was by no means The Beatles’ fault. It is truly horrible that the wonderful songs that Manson chose to associate himself with will forever be stained by his actions.) Oh, and it includes ‘Revolution 9’. However, the album was one of the earliest rock double albums. It also contains some of the (arguably) greatest songs ever, like the proto-metal of ‘Helter Skelter’, the tender and beautiful ‘Julia’, ‘Dear Prudence’ and ‘Blackbird’, the Eric Clapton solos of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, the satire of ‘Piggies’ and ‘Glass Onion’, the first Ringo-penned tune (‘Don’t Pass Me By’), and the all-round awesomeness of wonderful songs like ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Yer Blues’, ‘I’m So Tired’… Not a bad piece of work, boys!

The White Album is also famous for its packaging. The cover is almost completely white, with the band’s embossed name being the only graphic on the front cover. That is, unless, one has a first-edition White Album. Then one would also have a number on the front, telling them what number White Album they own. Numbered WAs are particularly coveted by collectors… Original pressings also included four head-shots of each band member, and a poster with a collage of Beatles pictures on one side and the lyrics for every song. These posters were originally censored, as pictures of John and Paul naked are included on the uncensored version…

My White Album is my only other first-edition Australian vinyl (along with Revolver). In my opinion, two wonderful pleasures in life are listening to those albums on first-ed vinyl… But anyway, here is my White Album!

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Okay. Perhaps my White Album should really be called the White-with-a-coffee-stain Album. Its previous owner/s clearly mistook it for a coaster… Much like my Revolver, the cover is particularly tattered. Not that I care, though. If you look closely, you can see the embossed ‘The BEATLES’ logo. And if you look even closer…

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YES! I have a numbered White Album! I have the the 26,357th Australian White Album made. In Australia, the very early White Albums were numbered with the prefix ‘A’. Numbering went up to about the 3,000,000th WA, too. So I have a relatively low number! Due to the bad condition of the cover, it only cost me $30 AUD. And all the other numbered White Albums I have seen around here have been over 1,000,000 numbers higher. So tangerinetrees99 is a very, very lucky girl!

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This is the top of the back cover. The back cover is completely white, except for that little ‘STEREO’ stamp in the top right-hand corner. Australian stereo White Albums were made in the US, so it is slightly less rare than the UK-made Aussie mono pressings (which apparently only sold around 5,000 units). But I really don’t care!

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This is the gatefold of my album. As you can see, the spine is falling apart, sadly. On the left-hand side of the gatefold, the track-listing is written down in grey text. And on the other side, the head-shots that would have originally come with the album are pictured in black-and-white. My White Album would have originally come with the poster and headshots, but these have been lost somewhere before it reached me… Oh well!

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(The track-listing. What is your favourite song on the White Album? Tell me in the comments!)

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(The headshots!)

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These are the inner sleeves of the two discs. Again, I’m a very lucky girl, as they are the original inner sleeves! As you can see, the sleeves were originally black, probably as some kind of ironic joke! They are falling apart, but I don’t care! They still do a good job of keeping the vinyl protected…

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These are the discs, themselves. The White Album was the first proper Apple Corps release in Australia, as the ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ single was released on both Apple and Parlophone, here.

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And a close-up of Side 1. As you may be able to see, the discs are severely scratched. But they play surprisingly beautifully! Really. Beautifully. The scratches are light enough so that the needle doesn’t skip, and though it crackles a bit, our record player crackles a lot, full stop. There is nothing quite like listening to The White Album on first edition vinyl. It really is an album that needs to be played loud through a good sound system, on an originally-pressed vinyl. Just the way The Beatles intended…

And there is my copy of my second-favourite Beatles album! Next month, I will return with one of the very last studio albums in the series…

Hope you all have a great Easter break! Tomorrow, I’m going to a music festival, which should be heaps of fun… And I’m now on school holidays! Yay! You should be seeing me a little more ’round here than usual. But ’till next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

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Haddy Grimble* to y’all! (A Christmas post…)

very odd

Well, it’s that time of year again. Christmas time, in case you haven’t noticed. It’s Christmas Eve down here in our rather large, isolated corner of the globe known as Australia, so I decided I should do a post wishing all my followers a very haddy Crimble and a merry New Year**!

Most of you who are reading this might be freezing in the Northern Hemisphere, and experiencing a White Christmas! But it is Summer in Australia, and as usual, Christmas in Adelaide will be in the mid-twenties. (Which is surprisingly cool for Summer…) And I haven’t been in a very Christmassy mood this year. We only put up a few Christmas decorations on the weekend. I haven’t listened to any Christmas songs of my own will, excepting The Beatles’ Christmas Records and ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’. Bah humbug. But anyway, I thought I would prove I am not the Grinch in disguise and do a post on how to celebrate a ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’-style Christmas with an ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’-style Christmas playlist! So here goes…

Those of you who've watched 'George Harrison: Living In The Material World', you'll remember that story about the Apple Christmas Party and the Hells Angels. (Google it.) This is from the same event...

Those of you who’ve watched ‘George Harrison: Living In The Material World’, you’ll remember that story about the Apple Christmas Party and the Hells Angels. (Google it.) This is from the same event…

 

‘Christmastime (Is Here Again)’ — The Beatles!

A Beatles Christmas song! With Beatle harmonies! Yay! tangerinetrees’ perfect Christmas song…

For those of you who don’t know anything about this song, The Beatles released Christmas records every year. But these records were only available to their fan club. This song is from the 1967 Christmas Record, which was originally about seven minutes long. This edit was used in 1995 as the B-side to ‘Free As A Bird’. The Smithereens did a very enjoyable cover, which I will post below:

 

‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’ — John Lennon

Hands down my favourite officially released and easily obtainable Christmas song! (The above is my favourite of all time.) The song was based off a 1969 Johnandyoko campaign using billboards reading ‘WAR IS OVER!’ in 11 cities. The mantra chanted by the children’s choir/Yoko is all the more relevant today — war will be over, if we want it. Clearly the governments don’t want it to be over…

But on a less serious note, I need to deal with the subject of Yoko. So Yokes, I love your contemporary art, and I think you were a great influence on John, but you and singing… Erm, you and “singing”… Let’s just say that I wouldn’t encourage to give up your day job.

John sings wonderfully, though. In fact, ‘Happy Xmas’ is one of my favourite Lennon vocals. (Among everything else he ever sang! 🙂 )

‘Wonderful Christmastime’ — Paul McCartney

Okay, so this isn’t exactly Paul’s best. (And yes, I like Wings a lot more than I did six months ago. ‘Band On The Run’, ‘Mrs Vandebilt’ and ‘Call Me Back Again’ are three of my favourite songs. And pretty much all of their good songs are really dance-able.) Yes, it’s a bit cheesy. Yes, I think the lyrics are a bit limited. But anyway, it’s Christmas. And it’s Paul. I’d rather listen to Paul sing a bad Christmas song than, say, Wham! (*shudders*). And I guess I do like this song. 🙂

‘Oh, Little Town Of Bethlehem’ — Belle and Sebastian

Belle and Sebastian are a Scottish indie-pop band that wrote one of my favourite films, God Help The Girl. And they did a Christmas hymn! And it sounds good! Festive sounding guitar…

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs — ‘All I Want For Christmas’

I’ve just started to get into The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and I found this whilst trying to find a nonexistent Black Keys Christmas cover. (The Black Keys are one of my other favourite bands, by the way.) I dig it! Christmas songs sound strangely good when recorded indie-style…

The Kinks — ‘Father Christmas’

I love The Kinks. And whilst I’d rather listen to ‘All Day and All Of The Night’ or ‘Sunny Afternoon’ than I would the above, I have to admit that it’s pretty damn good for a Christmas song. The overdriven guitars are pretty awesome, too.

‘Jingle Bell Rock’ — Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire sound drunk, but I don’t really care. I really like Arcade Fire, and this is just how I’d imagine an Arcade Fire Christmas song to be.

(And finally…)

The Beatles’ Christmas Records!

Every year from 1963 to 1969, The Beatles recorded a short “Christmas record” which was distributed among their fan club. I’ve already posted part of their 1967 Christmas record above, but here are all seven in their entirety. My personal favourite is the 1966 record known as ‘Everywhere It’s Christmas’, which begins at 15:40. But I, of course, enjoy all of the records… John’s wit is in full bloom, and George is also very, very funny. They must have had a lot of fun making these records!

And there you go! tangerine’s Christmas playlist in a (you guessed it) nutshell! And now I’ll take the opportunity to wish you all a merry Chrimble, haddy Grimble and a festal Christmas! Hope you all have a really gear holiday season. Good day sunshine until another day 🙂

*No, I have not lost my ability to spell. I’m referencing a poem in one of John’s books — In His Own Write — called ‘Haddy Grimble, Randoob!’

**Referencing The Beatles’ 1963 Christmas record.

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

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john two

john looking so gorgeous

john three

Looking Through A Glass Onion

The promo picture for the John tribute I went to last night...

The promo picture for the John tribute I went to last night…

...and me before the show.

…and me before the show.

Well, it’s a lovely day today! It’s meant to get to nearly 30 degrees (Celsius) here in Adelaide, which isn’t so nice (there are northerly winds), but the sun is warm in a good way if you soak it up from the safety of your house. We’ve also been painting our house lately, and my room is next! Yay – no more disgusting salmon and baby-pink walls (yes, there is a mix. The house was renovated in the ’80s last)! Oh, and I listened to Sgt. Pepper earlier today – I forget how hypnotic that album is. It may not possess the same magic as I feel Revolver does, but I still am completely and utterly mind-blown by it. I am actually not listening to The Fab Four right now – I’m listening to Tame Impala’s debut EP. ‘ Half Full Glass of Wine’ is the song currently playing, to be exact. I’ve been really digging Tame Impala lately – for those of you who don’t know, Tame Impala are an Aussie modern-day psych rock band, and I think their lead singer sounds a bit like John. But anyway…

Last night – thanks to my godparents buying me a ticket for my birthday a couple of weeks ago – my mum, godparents and I went to see ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’! ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’ is a John tribute performed by actor/performer John Waters, with a guy called Stewart D’Arrietta on piano. And yes, for those of you who are too Offspring nuts (like me), it was the same John Waters who played Darcy, Nina’s dad-then-not-dad. (And for those of you who have no clue whatsoever as to what the hell I’m talking about, Offspring is a quirky, popular Australian drama that documents the life of Nina Proudman and her slightly-eccentric family. In fact, I think my mum is watching Offspring re-runs right now.) Yes, yes – now I’ll get on with it, and tell you all about the show! Apologies for the lack of pictures, as — quote — “use of cameras and recording devices is [was] strictly prohibited.” We were lucky enough to be sitting in the second row, though, which was fab!

(And now I’m listening to a playlist of the Black Keys’ new album Turn Blue! I have also been digging the Black Keys lately.)

So, we (obviously) arrived at the Dunstan Playhouse – where it was being held – and bought programs/CDs (thank you to my godparents for buying me the CD!) and stood ’round for a bit whilst the doors were not open. And soon enough, we were in our seats, and the lights were dimmed. D’Arrietta walked on stage and started tinkering out a tune called ‘Scouser’s Lament’. And then finally, John [Waters] appears on stage, and starts talking – in the most accurate John impersonation I’ve ever heard! It was almost as if the magical man was in the room (I wish!)… We soon find out that Waters is acting as John [Lennon] — without the dress-ups, though — and that the monologue is set on the night of December 8th, 1980, when comments such as, “That fan’s been waiting there for five hours,” and, “Ooh, he’s got a book – wonder what it is? Looks like the Catcher In The Rye,” are made.  I think we all know what happened later that night. If you don’t, Google it. I don’t really feel like writing about what happened. But the show soon became less sad, when ‘A Day In The Life’ began (just John’s bit, obviously).

The show was basically “John” recounting his life in a sort of monologue manner, with some of his most famous songs inserted when needed. There were two acts (despite the fact there was no interval – not that I care 🙂 ), presumably split up by the Beatle years and the solo years. The monologue (much of which was comprised of actual John quotes) touched on everything from his friendship with Paul to losing his mother, the groupies to being a star from Liverpool, and the songs played ranged from ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ (after talking about Dylan’s influence on him) to ‘Nowhere Man’ (before discussing the racial discrimination Yoko was subject to in the British press), ‘Norwegian Wood’ (groupies) to a medley of ‘Julia’ and ‘Mother’ (well, the loss of his mother), Come Together (the break-up) to ‘How Do You Sleep’ (his friendship with Paul), and ‘Beautiful Boy’ (Sean) to ‘Jealous Guy’ (the Lost Weekend). Seriously impressive lighting was used throughout the show, ranging from a green background during the ‘cellophane flowers of yellow and green’ of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ to a pinkish-red background during ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and shadowing in ‘Working Class Hero’.

Soon enough, ‘Isolation’ from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (the second-to-last number) was played – with the most impressive lighting of the show (i.e. blacking out the entire stage except for one horizontal strip show Waters’ head – it was amazingly effective). And after that, we returned to the subject of that night. John notes that the fan is still there, and makes a comment about him looking upset at John. John then talks about how he’s probably lived in the man’s living room half his life, but that doesn’t mean he knows him or anything. Then the final chilling speech is made – John hopes that the man won’t do anything bad, ‘cos “dogs can bite, y’know.” And then the room went black. Stewart D’Arrietta tapped out gunshots on his stompbox. And it was obvious what had happened. I must admit I got a little misty-eyed.

But despite the tragedy, there was still one number left. Waters sung the obligatory ‘Imagine’ with minimal lighting, perhaps indicating that John is safe now. I don’t know – that’s how I interpreted it, though. Waters and D’Arrietta then took a bow, and then made their way outside for an artist signing! I got my CD, ticket and program signed, which I’ll show below.

To conclude, I really enjoyed ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’. Really. Enjoyed. It. As with the others, it can’t be compared with the WAC or the Beatle Boys (‘cos they’re all so different), but I loved it equally. It was fab to be surrounded by a group of fellow Lennonites (or maybe even people who’ve just discovered the kind of magic that is John Lennon), and both Waters and D’Arrietta were very talented. Once again, thank you to my godparents for buying me tickets!

Here is my signed program, CD and ticket!

Here is my signed program, CD and ticket!

(And just a couple of other things…)

I have a new song on SoundCloud! Well, in reality, I recorded it last Monday and Tuesday and uploaded it on the net on the Wednesday, but I haven’t put it on here ’till now! Please like/comment on/repost it, follow me and/or share it with your friends. If you’re on SoundCloud, feel free to drop me a PM – I’d love to hear from you! The track is a cover of The Beatles ‘The Word’ (Rubber Soul), and I recorded all the instruments myself on GarageBand (and no, I did NOT use the Smart Instruments – I played actual guitars/actually sang myself). Here it is, and enjoy!

Oh, and I finally finished my own song! I’ve finally got a complete set of chords, melody AND lyrics! Yay! As soon as it’s finished (the recording, rather) and up on SoundCloud, I will upload it here.

That’s all for now, but I’ll post again on either Tuesday or Wednesday, ‘cos it’s now holidays! Woo-hoo! Good day sunshine 🙂

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 🙂

 

‘Let It Be’/Imagine The Art Of John Lennon

I believe I've posted this before, but I just had to post it again 'cause it's so cute! Taken in the Austrian whilst filming 'Help!'...

I believe I’ve posted this before, but I just had to post it again ’cause it’s so cute! Taken in the Austrian whilst filming ‘Help!’…

I wasn’t too sure what to post today, but I have a couple of Beatle-y/Lennon-y happenings to write about, so here goes! Excuse me if this post is a little mish-mashy (not a word, tangerinetrees99 – not a word), but hope you can follow along!

MY BRAND-NEW LET IT BE DVD

As I’m sure I said in my last post, I ordered a Let It Be DVD, and (of course) the day after I posted, it arrived in the mail! It only had to come from Pasadena (a suburb of Adelaide), after all… I should probably note that the disc is a bootleg – as are all DVDs of Let It Be – so tangerinetrees99 was a very naughty girl 🙂 !! As you can see – as it is far from the official Apple Corps-released (well, not in the case of A Hard Day’s Night) reissues of the other Beatles films – it does not come in a fancy glossy-cardboard gatefold, a slip-cover and a booklet. It is only packaged in a very simple plastic case, with a cover which I assume is an amateur’s Photoshop job. It does have its own charm, though! I’ll post some pictures of it below, and then I’ll write about the film itself, which I watched yesterday.

The front cover

The front cover

The side

The side

The back - with a completely-unrelated picture (not that I care!), a list of all the scenes and some incorrect (both grammatically and historically) information on the film

The back – with a completely-unrelated picture (not that I care!), a list of all the scenes and some slightly incorrect (both grammatically and historically) information on the film

The disc

The disc

And as for the film, I actually really enjoyed it! Despite popular belief, The Beatles are not fighting all the time (there is the famous George-and-Paul argument, after which George leaves the band for a few weeks – the latter is obviously not shown, though…), and they do smile at various points in the film. It was amazing to hear them coming up with songs such as ‘Two Of Us’ (I especially dig that electric version), ‘Octopus’s Garden’ (George was very sweet in that scene!) and ‘Across The Universe’ (again, it sounds groovy on John’s slightly-overdrive Epiphone Casino!). Heather McCartney seemed like a very cute little girl, too. And hearing Paul discuss wanting to begin touring again was interesting – John’s reaction to such mentions, too (sure, he was high on heroin at the time, so probably not a fair judgement – but still…). And of course, the Rooftop Concert! I have seen it in full once before (Mum and I YouTubed it back in January for its – *pauses to do maths sum* – forty-fifth anniversary), but last night was the first time I saw it properly, without trying to read lyrics, or wondering what song was which (that afternoon eight months ago was the first time I heard ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘The One After 909’ and ‘Dig A Pony’). I actually heard Paul’s joking end to ‘Get Back’, for example (good one, Paul!)… So to end off, I really liked the film, and whilst probably no-one but hardcore Beatlemaniacs would find it enjoyable (they might enjoy it more than, erm, Magical Mystery Tour), I would certainly recommend it! This household is in order for another Beatles Movie Marathon, I think… 🙂

 

‘IMAGINE THE ART OF JOHN LENNON’ EXHIBITION

Also yesterday, I – along with my parents and my godfather – went to see the John Lennon art exhibit I also talked about last post! It was held at Hanrahan Studios – the former home/studio of prominent Australian artist Barbra Hanrahan, and Summer-house of her widowed partner, Jo Steele (a racing-car driver and sculptor) – which was a very nice venue, I must say. John’s works (or authorised prints of them) were displayed out in the large two-story studio, and there was a rather steady stream of people (whom I would assume are fellow Lennon Lovers) going through the exhibit. And my gosh, was John a talented artist! Most of the exhibition was made up of his gorgeous drawings – some very funny puns (his ‘Owls Hooting’ one, for example), some simple ink drawings of him and Yoko, some completely random yet still beautiful – however some were prints of his handwritten lyrics to certain Beatles/solo songs (i.e. ‘Drive My Car’ – found this interesting, as ‘DMC’ is a Paul song -, ‘Day Tripper’, ‘In My Life’, ‘Gimme Some Truth’, ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’, ‘Real Love’ and – of course – ‘Imagine’). Oh, and how could I forget – there was a genuinely-signed Beatles picture, too (for $25, 000, mind you)! As you can probably guess, the prints were very expensive, and most of which were somewhat over $1000. However, there were a few unframed prints of his handwritten lyrics to some Milk and Honey songs sitting on the floor, so we brought home a gorgeous print of the lyrics to ‘I’m Stepping Out’! Here is a picture of it below, and here is their website (which I think I posted before) on which you can look at some of the pictures (it won’t let me save images off it, so I can’t put them directly on here).

Here is our print - it will be going in our living room, once the house has been painted. Too expensive to sit on the floor of my bedroom!

Here is our print – it will be going in our living room, once the house has been painted. Too expensive to sit on the floor of my bedroom!

 

So there we go – my post for the week (I will post more in school holidays, I promise)! I ‘spose I should pause ‘I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party’ (I’m listening to Beatles For Sale), and publish this. Have a fab day, and good day sunshine! 🙂

 

Six Ways The Beatles Changed The World

Do not ask me what they are doing with that plastic sheet, but they look cute, and that is all! :-)

Do not ask me what they are doing with that plastic sheet, but they look cute, and that is all! 🙂

Everyone knows that without John, Paul, George and Ringo, the world would be a very different place – but how many people really know how they changed the course of pop-culture? Today, I thought I’d do a post on how those four lads made the world into what it is today, following on from a speech I wrote for a Public Speaking unit in English earlier this year. So, take a plunge into the Beatles ‘revolution’ (cue crunchy overdriven guitars), and enjoy!

6. Guitar Feedback Usage

Take a listen to the above song (the music clip was filmed in late 1965, by the way) – in particular, that noise at the start, just before that infamous riff begins. That ‘noise’ at the start is called ‘feedback’, and is created by plucking a guitar too close to its amp. Feedback was used a lot in the late-1960s/1970s by artists such as The Who, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead. But guess who the first artist(s) to use such a thing was (were)? The Beatles, of course! Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about the innovation:

“I Feel Fine” starts with a single, percussive (yet pure-sounding) feedback note produced by plucking the A string on Lennon’s guitar. This was the very first use of feedback preceding a song on a rock record. According to McCartney, “John had a semi-acoustic Gibson guitar. It had a pickup on it so it could be amplified . . . We were just about to walk away to listen to a take when John leaned his guitar against the amp. I can still see him doing it . . . it went, ‘Nnnnnnwahhhhh!” And we went, ‘What’s that? Voodoo!’ ‘No, it’s feedback.’ Wow, it’s a great sound!’ George Martin was there so we said, ‘Can we have that on the record?’ ‘Well, I suppose we could, we could edit it on the front.’ It was a found object, an accident caused by leaning the guitar against the amp.”[3] Although it sounded very much like an electric guitar, Lennon actually played the riff on an acoustic-electric guitar (a Gibson model J-160E),[8] employing the guitar’s onboard pickup.

Later, Lennon was very proud of this sonic experimentation. In one of his last interviews, he said, “I defy anybody to find a record… unless it is some old blues record from 1922… that uses feedback that way. So I claim it for the Beatles. Before Hendrix, before The Who, before anybody. The first feedback on record.” [11]

The other Beatles song to extensively use feedback was the six-minute (or eight, depending on the version) psychedelic work-of-art ‘It’s All Too Much’, which was penned by George. As most people will recall, it was the last song (excepting the reprise of ‘All Together Now’) used in the 1968 animated masterpiece Yellow Submarine, and appears over an equally-psychedelic animation sequence almost bursts off your screen! Feedback was also used in the Toronto Rock & Roll Revival Festival performance of Yoko’s ‘John, John (Let’s Hope For Peace)’. Hmm… I was watching the footage of TR&RF the other day (thank you to my godparents for recording it!), and I absolutely loved it – especially John’s bit – until Yoko started screaming her head off. Now, I like/respect Yoko as an artist (as physical art that you can see) and as someone who made John very, very happy, but her “music” (if you can call it that) is too avant-garde for me – and that’s coming from someone who’s a bit quirky, herself! I’ll put ‘It’s All Too Much’ below, but I’ll spare you Yoko…

 

5. Stadium Concerts

The Beatles playing the first-ever stadium gig in the history of the world - AKA Shea Stadium!

The Beatles playing the first-ever stadium gig in the history of the world – AKA Shea Stadium!

I’m sure that most people reading this have seen a music gig at a large stadium – here in Adelaide, the Stones were coming to open our new Adelaide Oval (our stadium), but Mick Jagger’s girlfriend tragically committed suicide, so they’re playing in October. But the first stadium concert is not credited to the Stones, but to their ‘rivals’ (not really…), The Fab Four! The Beatles – having performed in numerous halls/theatres/clubs for about seven years – played to a full house of 55,600 fans at Shea Stadium (a sporting stadium in the city that would later become John’s home, New York) on the 15th of August, 1965! Brian Epstein almost stopped this milestone from happening, as he was worried that the tickets wouldn’t sell out – but they did! The Shea Stadium crowd – apart from beginning a trend that would go on for decades to come – was the largest crowd The Beatles ever played to. But we all know it’s not the largest crowd they ever received – that’s reserved for my town, Adelaide! Oh, and how could I forget those gorgeous suits – they all look so darn handsome! Here’s a clip from that historic concert – hope you don’t mind screaming girls!

 

4. Heavy Metal

Yes, The Beatles were the first major band to write songs that would now be classed as ‘proto metal’ – all those crashing drums and bass and guitars! No doubt about that. There is, however, an argument between Beatles fans as to which Beatles song was the first heavy metal tune. Most people know about ‘Helter Skelter’ – the heaviest song around at the time of its recording – and its influence on bands like Black Sabbath and Motley Crue, but two other Beatles songs have also been credited with the invention of a genre. The first is ‘Ticket To Ride’ – the first song ever to involve stormy drums and heavy guitar/bass lines, important components in heavy metal. People such as Richie Unterberger, Ian MacDonald and John himself (plus me!) say the record was influential in the evolution of heavy metal, and because it was recorded three years before ‘Helter Skelter’ and four years before ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ (the other song up there), it is sometimes named the first heavy metal record. Now for ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ – this is arguably the heaviest song recorded by The Fab Four, and appears on Abbey Road. The music magazine Guitar World says that it may “have inadvertently started doom metal” – listen to the song, and you’ll see why. It’s heavier than ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’ put together, and that ending is very metal-ish. So, as you can see, that although people who favour Paul say argue that ‘Helter Skelter’ began metal, and Lennon Lovers argue back with ‘Ticket To Ride’, The Beatles invented a genre. And the rest is history.

One thing that really irritates me is when people call The Beatles a pop group, when – in actual fact – they rocked dead hard. Even their pop-iest song – ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ – has a rocky rhythm guitar/bass part, and early songs such as ‘It Won’t Be Long’ and pretty much the whole of Please Please Me rock real hard, too. And when people call them poppy, they seemingly forget about every song they recorded after 1964, and those songs I just mentioned. In my (and many others’) opinion, they were just as much a rock band as The Rolling Stones and other 1960s cited as ‘rock’. In fact, those songs above are three of the hardest-rocking songs recorded in that period, if not of all time…

 

3. The Three-Minute Pop-Song (Breach Of)

Ah, ‘Ticket To Ride’ strikes again! In 1965, it was the unspoken rules of music that a pop song must not go over three minutes long. But The Beatles being The Beatles, this didn’t matter (I salute you for not conforming, John, Paul, George and Ringo!). They recorded ‘Ticket To Ride’ in early 1965, which – apart from arguably being the first heavy metal song (see above) – went for a rebellious 3:10 minutes (gasp!)! This was the first pop song to go for an amount of time longer than three minutes, and thus was the basis for all sorts of late-1960s psychedelia!

 

2. “Long” Hair and “High-Heeled” shoes (for men, that is)

The Beatles sporting moptops - or long hair (if only the world could see them in 1969!)

The Beatles sporting moptops – or long hair (if only the world could see them in 1969!)

And an advertisement for Beatle boots from the '60s!

And an advertisement for Beatle boots from the ’60s!

Sure, in the early 1960s, the world’s definition of long hair (for men, anyway) was quite different, but The Beatles were really the first rock band to wear long hair! Their moptops were outrageously long for the 1960s, at first – but of course, they changed that! As everyone knows, their hair got longer and longer as time went by, and because of this, society’s perception of the appropriate length of men’s hair dissipated. This eventually amounted to John and George’s Jesus looks in 1969, and because those two’s earlier pioneering, nobody cared. And as for the Cuban heels… here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

Beatle boots are tight-fitting, Cuban-heeled, ankle-length boots with a pointed toe which originated in 1963 when Brian Epstein discovered Chelsea boots while browsing in the London footwear company Anello & Davide, and consequently commissioned four pairs (with the addition of Cuban heels) for The Beatles to complement their new suit image upon their return from Hamburg, who wore them under drainpipe trousers.[11]

 

1. The Music Clip

Those two video clips above were made in 1967, but The Beatles first started making music clips (or ‘promos’, as they were then called) in late 1965, to substitute for live performances. This eventually amounted from black-and-white footage of the band miming to colour clips of them parading around the grounds of an English mansion (and still miming), the latter of which used for accompanying clips for their new single, ‘Paperback Writer’/’Rain’ in early 1966. These clips hit their peak in 1967 when the mad masterpieces used for promotion of ‘Penny Lane’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Hello Goodbye’ were produced. Because of these (and the song-sequences in each Beatles film), the world now has the modern music clip. The rest, as we all know, is history.

 

So there we go – a list of just six of the hundreds of ways the four lads from Liverpool revolutionised the world. I’ll leave you with one final picture of The Fab Four, but good day sunshine for now! 🙂

:-) !

🙂 !