Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Merry Month of May: My First Beatles Album

 

Bach Meets the BeatlesSomehow, even as a child of the sixties, I survived to adulthood without a single Beatles album to my name. My mother, whose musical tastes were quite eclectic, never cottoned to the Lads from Liverpool, and they didn’t “send” me much, either. We came to the United States in October of 1963 thinking that perhaps we’d escaped the phenomenon–but, No! They followed us here, making their first stateside appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 of the following year. But I never traveled hundreds of miles, or stood in line for hours or days, to buy tickets to a Beatles performance. I never formed part of a hysterical mob of screaming young women greeting them at the airport, or at the arena or concert hall. I never howled, or fainted, or threw my panties at the stage while watching them perform. I never even bought one of their records, not 45, or 33 1/3, single, or long-playing, ever.

Mr. She, although growing up in earlier times, likes The Beatles, and I discovered when we took up together, that he did have a few of their albums. “Oh, well,” I said to myself. “Can’t win ’em all. He’s really fond of jazz, too. Argh.” So our home was occasionally graced by what I considered some caterwauling, in between my playing what amused me–early twentieth-century music hall songs and ballads, eighteenth-century Scottish music, old fashioned country-and-western, some African composers, Flanders and Swann. And Bach. You know, the stuff every girl plays on the gramophone when she has a chance. Still no Beatles for me.

Somewhere, after a few years of marriage, that changed. Mr. She gave me a birthday present of… a Beatles album! And I loved it.

Its title is Bach Meets the Beatles, and it’s a series of improvisations on Beatles tunes in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach. Here’s John Bayless, playing Michelle:

Today is Mr. She’s birthday, so in the spirit of sharing, I’m re-gifting something I love, from someone I love. Enjoy. (Lord, it used to annoy me so much when a rather smug little waitperson would say that to me at a restaurant as I was about to start my meal. Now, I’d quite like to hear it again, in person, even from a social distance . . . )

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  1. KentForrester Moderator

    Mrs. She, I was never taken by the Beatles either. I was into folk music (and still am), but there have been two times when I have enjoyed Beatles songs: A few years back, I watched a Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas, and I really enjoyed Beatles songs for the first time. And I enjoyed the piece that you posted. I think I would enjoy that album.

    You and I have similar tastes in music and literature.

    • #1
    • May 10, 2020, at 7:11 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  2. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Argh?” Jazz gets an “argh?”

    • #2
    • May 10, 2020, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    On another Beatles-note: Watched “Yesterday” last night and was very pleasantly surprised; enjoyed it very much!

    • #3
    • May 10, 2020, at 7:21 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Gossamer Cat Coolidge

    When I got my first iPod in the early 2000’s I made a vow that I was going to shed any pretense of only populating it with music I “should” like, that is, that I would freely admit to my friends that I like, and populate it with whatever music I liked period. That includes songs from almost all genres: pop, opera, classical, funk, rock from 60’s up to present, 30,s 40’s and 50’s, folk, country western, blue grass, disco (a few). Still no jazz-not a fan. And when I play my mixes in the presence of other people and they say “Madonna, really? (I really like “Spanish Lullaby”).” I tell them no apologies will be forthcoming-I like what I like.

    Happy Birthday to Mr. She.

    • #4
    • May 10, 2020, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    When I got my first iPod in the early 2000’s I made a vow that I was going to shed any pretense of only populating it with music I “should” like, that is, that I would freely admit to my friends that I like, and populate it with whatever music I liked period. That includes songs from almost all genres: pop, opera, classical, funk, rock from 60’s up to present, 30,s 40’s and 50’s, folk, country western, blue grass, disco (a few). Still no jazz-not a fan. And when I play my mixes in the presence of other people and they say “Madonna, really? (I really like “Spanish Lullaby”).” I tell them no apologies will be forthcoming-I like what I like.

    Happy Birthday to Mr. She.

    Thanks, I’ll pass along your good wishes.

    Percival (View Comment):

    “Argh?” Jazz gets an “argh?”

    I’m not wholly averse to jazz. There’s a form of it that my mother, who did like most jazz, used to say “sounds like a traffic jam.” (Although there could be a nice little pun in there somewhere, she didn’t mean it in a good way). That’s the stuff I really dislike. Cool and mellow jazz? Sure.

    • #5
    • May 10, 2020, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):
    I’m not wholly averse to jazz. There’s a form of it that my mother, who did like most jazz, used to say “sounds like a traffic jam.” (Although there could be a nice little pun in there somewhere, she didn’t mean it in a good way). That’s the stuff I really dislike. Cool and mellow jazz? Sure.

    Somewhere, Mr. She has a simply awful record (vinyl) which ends with a cover of Hey Jude which is definitely worthy of the “traffic jam” descriptor. I cannot for the life of me remember who it’s by, but it sounds like the end of the world.

    • #6
    • May 10, 2020, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • Like
  7. JosePluma Thatcher

    I got this at a used CD store several years ago:

    My wife hates it.

    • #7
    • May 10, 2020, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  8. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):
    I’m not wholly averse to jazz. There’s a form of it that my mother, who did like most jazz, used to say “sounds like a traffic jam.” (Although there could be a nice little pun in there somewhere, she didn’t mean it in a good way). That’s the stuff I really dislike. Cool and mellow jazz? Sure.

    She (View Comment):
    Somewhere, Mr. She has a simply awful record (vinyl) which ends with a cover of Hey Jude which is definitely worthy of the “traffic jam” descriptor. I cannot for the life of me remember who it’s by, but it sounds like the end of the world.

    Eureka! Thanks Jenny, for coming up with this before I lost what’s left of my mind. I give you, Traffic Jam, aka Don Ellis Live At The Fillmore.

    Although, upon reflection, the first couple of minutes are also reminiscent of the noises that come out of my neighbor’s cow when the calf is stuck in her birth canal . . . then there’s the donkey bit at 2:40. You have to wait till 3:10 for anything remotely recognizable. And then it goes off the rails again. Through the oompa-pa bit and back to the donkey.

    And on and on.

    I rest my case.

    • #8
    • May 10, 2020, at 2:36 PM PDT
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  9. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I like Bach and I like the Beatles.
    I hated the Bachian version of Michelle. It was a bunch of scales and some predictable counterpoint with some random but ineffective timing changes around a melody. The Beatles were much better than that, and so was Bach.

    The Beatles were a very eclectic band. Amazingly they only put out albums together for 7 or 8 years, yet there are vast musical differences. Anyone who says they don’t like the Beatles are in effect saying they don’t like a very diverse pallet of music, unless they don’t like John’s voice ( understandable) or Paul’s or George’s. They had three main songwriters, John, Paul and George. Maybe you could say you don’t like the Beatles because of George Martin – something about his input, I guess. Or the person doesn’t like the sound of the electric guitar…I dunno.

    Or that person simply has not heard enough of their catalog. Certainly there are bad songs. No question. 

    I would be hard-pressed to come up with 10 songs that are adequate enough to encapsulate the Beatles genre or style. They are all over the place and extremely innovative musically.

    I grew up with the Beatles. Had all their albums in real time, I’ve heard them plenty throughout my life, even covered some of their songs as a musician. They have been canonized over the years, and I understand the worship may get under anyone’s skin, but they really were a musical phenomenon that’s unparalleled.

    So I don’t really understand…

    • #9
    • May 10, 2020, at 3:27 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    So I don’t really understand…

    And that’s perfectly OK. 

    Oh, there are songs here and there that I don’t mind, and a few that I quite like (and I’ve probably listened to far more of them over the past fifty-eight years than you think). What I’m writing about here is the “phenomenon that is the Beatles” that I just never engaged with. The screaming. The fainting. The cult. The obsession. I guess you had to be there.

    I think this is a lovely, and most interesting, song (sorry about the click):

    Likewise:

     I could go on, but probably don’t need to.

    • #10
    • May 10, 2020, at 3:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):
    What I’m writing about here is the “phenomenon that is the Beatles” that I just never engaged with. The screaming. The fainting. The cult. The obsession. I guess you had to be there.

    Ok, but that lasted about 4 years. I never engaged with it either. My best friends two older sisters were nutzo for them. I just listened to their songs. Wanted to play them on guitar and sure, maybe be a rock star myself in fantasy.

    So it sounds to me like you are/were so annoyed at the ‘craze’ aspect you were prone to be turned off.

    To me, their 50 year musical legacy far outpaces the short-lived mania period, ( that subsequently became common to every rock band anyway), and they themselves quickly tired of the blind adulation and it became perhaps their biggest problem. It did however allow them to experiment musically beyond anything that came before.

    Those two examples are two of their, shall I say, more accessible songs that almost anyone would like. Both great songs, no question.

    But as someone who’s into classical, I wonder what you think of these songs:

    This one is a huge departure from what comprises pop music lyrically, subject matter- wise and style.

    As I’ve grown as a musician since I was 14 when this song came out, and hadn’t heard this one in years, I had to learn the cello part for a band I’m in gained new appreciation for the orchestration of this song by George Martin. Yes, the lyrics are nonsensical, psychedelic ( and interesting in themselves, but understandably annoying if someone is so inclined) but the backing is so interesting.

    • #11
    • May 10, 2020, at 5:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
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  12. Franco Member
    FrancoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Actually, the remastered version compressed out the cello part. This is the version I used to learn the part:

    • #12
    • May 10, 2020, at 5:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
    • This comment has been edited.
  13. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Franco (View Comment):
    So it sounds to me like you are/were so annoyed at the ‘craze’ aspect you were prone to be turned off.

    Not annoyed, no. I didn’t really “do” crazes, or bother with them much, whether for the Beatles, or anyone else. I think the phrase “didn’t engage” is more like it.

    Yes, I’ve always liked “She’s Leaving Home.” I think it’s quite unusual and atypical for the group.

    Sorry, the Walrus and I just don’t get along. Can’t get past the lyrics. Although, “oompa, oompa, stick it up your jumper” is a good old British phrase, of the “go fly a kite” or “stick it in your ear” variety. So I can relate to that bit.

    I do think George Martin was a genius.

    I ran across this little oddity several years ago, and I’m fond of it for several reasons:

     

    • #13
    • May 10, 2020, at 5:49 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Michael S. Malone Contributor

    There’s lots of approachable Beatle’s songs, besides “She’s Leaving Home” that might fit your traditional tastes:

    Till There was You (from the Music Man)

    Eleanor Rigby

    Norwegian Wood

    Things We Said Today

    With a Little Help From My Friends

    The Long and Winding Road

    Let it Be

    for country, “Honey Don’t

    And if those are too radical fr you, try using “Misty Roses” by Colin Blunstone (complete with a string quartet) as your Gateway Drug to rock ‘n roll.

    • #14
    • May 10, 2020, at 9:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  15. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White MaleJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Can anybody not like the song Here Comes The Sun?

    • #15
    • May 11, 2020, at 5:07 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Steve C. Member

    It’s not like crazes were invented in 1964.

    I have it on very good authority Frank Sinatra inspired the “Bobby soxers” of the 1940s to extremes of fainting. (You can learn a lot about our history by watching Warner Brothers cartoons).

    Elvis “the pelvis” Presley caused massive swooning amongst the poodle skirt set. Elvis being drafted into the Army, inspired a Broadway musical and a successful film.

    My first Beatles album, and my favorite, Abbey Road. Purchased weeks within its release.

    I once had lunch at the Elvis Presley Dining Facility of the 1-32 Armor Battalion, in Friedberg, FRG.

     

    • #16
    • May 11, 2020, at 9:46 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  17. Bruce Caward Thatcher
    Bruce CawardJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    A few days ago in a liquor store a Beatles song was playing, and I struck up a conversation with the young lady behind the counter. I asked if she was a fan, and an exchange of superior Beatles songs ensued. The first or second one was Blackbird, and we both nodded. A simply awesome (in the literal sense) song, guitar part.

    She told me she heard PM say in a concert that it was a tribute to the civil rights movement. I didn’t know that, but if it’s true it makes the song even better.

    • #17
    • May 11, 2020, at 9:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Blue State Blues Member
    Blue State BluesJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    I’m not wholly averse to jazz. There’s a form of it that my mother, who did like most jazz, used to say “sounds like a traffic jam.” (Although there could be a nice little pun in there somewhere, she didn’t mean it in a good way). That’s the stuff I really dislike. Cool and mellow jazz? Sure.

    She (View Comment):
    Somewhere, Mr. She has a simply awful record (vinyl) which ends with a cover of Hey Jude which is definitely worthy of the “traffic jam” descriptor. I cannot for the life of me remember who it’s by, but it sounds like the end of the world.

    Eureka! Thanks Jenny, for coming up with this before I lost what’s left of my mind. I give you, Traffic Jam, aka Don Ellis Live At The Fillmore.

    Although, upon reflection, the first couple of minutes are also reminiscent of the noises that come out of my neighbor’s cow when the calf is stuck in her birth canal . . . then there’s the donkey bit at 2:40. You have to wait till 3:10 for anything remotely recognizable. And then it goes off the rails again. Through the oompa-pa bit and back to the donkey.

    And on and on.

    I rest my case.

    1970, that explains a lot. Jimi Hendrix did it first.

    • #18
    • May 11, 2020, at 9:55 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  19. Ontheleftcoast Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Can anybody not like the song Here Comes The Sun?

    Especially with Richie Havens covering it

     

    • #19
    • May 11, 2020, at 10:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    She: We came to the United States in October of 1963 thinking that perhaps we’d escaped the phenomenon–but, No! They followed us here, making their first stateside appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9 of the following year.

    You were part of the British invasion, I see. ;-)

    I never understood the initial Beatles phenomenon after the Ed Sullivan Show. All those crazy girls screaming. But then I’ve never been a teenaged girl. Much like the Obama phenomenon. At least the Beatles weren’t really dangerous. 

    Like @franco, I liked later material much better because of the eclecticism (bordering at times on plagiarism). The White Album shows that. Or at least 3 sides of it though I’m not sure what the 4th side demonstrates other than they ran out of material and the geometry of albums and turntables don’t allow 3-sided albums. Much later, they released skiffle songs they had done very, very early and they are fun. 

    The one thing I never understood was the claim that the Beatles saved American rock-and-roll. What utter nonsense. I love R&B still. And fortunately, the Beatles never saved us from that.

    • #20
    • May 11, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
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  21. cirby Member

    As much as the Beatles influenced music over the last half-century or so, their music isn’t that common in ordinary life. I can’t remember the last time I heard any Beatles song in public.

    You’re more likely to hear Creedence Clearwater or the Rolling Stones in a restaurant or bar nowadays.

     

    • #21
    • May 11, 2020, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hang On (View Comment):

    You were part of the British Invasion, I see….Much later, they released skiffle songs they had done very, very early and they are fun.

    Yes, I was and perhaps that’s a bit of context that is missing here. I spent almost the first ten years of my life in West Africa, then moved to the US as a foreigner for two years, then back to the UK to boarding school for three, and then back to the States for good. So, although I belong to a family with a love of music, and we listened to a lot of it, I didn’t really settle into a particular culture until somewhere in high school.

    But I enjoyed skiffle music myself. Lonnie Donegan! Johnny Duncan! Bill Bailey!

     

    • #22
    • May 11, 2020, at 10:26 AM PDT
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  23. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil FawltyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    I got this at a used CD store several years ago:

    My wife hates it.

    Breiner also made two Christmas Goes Baroque albums. Your wife would probably hate them as well, but they’re two of my favorite Christmas records. The CSSR State Philharmonic Orchestra, no less.

    • #23
    • May 11, 2020, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    It’s not like crazes were invented in 1964.

    I have it on very good authority Frank Sinatra inspired the “Bobby soxers” of the 1940s to extremes of fainting. (You can learn a lot about our history by watching Warner Brothers cartoons).

    Elvis “the pelvis” Presley caused massive swooning amongst the poodle skirt set. Elvis being drafted into the Army, inspired a Broadway musical and a successful film.

    Check out Rudolph Valentino’s funeral in 1926 sometime. A crowd of 100,000 people, smashed windows along the route in Manhattan, suicides – yeah, people didn’t start being crazy in 1964.

    • #24
    • May 11, 2020, at 12:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. She Reagan
    SheJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member