Tag: Beatles

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.

What If The Beatles Didn’t Break Up? Imagining Their ‘Next’ Album

 

One of the most entertaining hypotheticals for Beatles’ fans to discuss is what the Beatles would have sounded like or recorded if they had stayed together after the release of Let It Be.* In a sense, this is an even more fruitless counterfactual than another popular one: What songs would have been on The White Album if it hadn’t been a double album (which I have already covered). Unlike the case of that what-if, the songs the Beatles would have done together were never released as Beatles songs. And to imagine the Beatles staying together after 1970 is to wish away the centrifugal forces that had by that point already largely torn the four musical titans at the band’s center apart.**

But Beatles’ fans such as myself speculate nonetheless, aided by morsels such as collaborations between members after the break-up (most notably in the almost-Beatles song “I’m the Greatest!”), and demos of songs that later became solo work but were conceived or sometimes even recorded while the Beatles were still together (e.g., much of George Harrison’s first post-Beatle solo album, All Things Must Pass).

Recently, news has emerged that whets this speculative appetite even more. In a September 8 story in The Guardian, Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn revealed the contents of a heretofore undiscovered tape from almost exactly 50 years ago, in which the Beatles (sans an unwell Ringo Starr, for whom the recording was made) discussed their future plans. This despite the fact that, as Lewisohn points out, the Beatles had, at that time, already wrapped production on Abbey Road, which would be their last recorded album (though not the last released). And yet, on the tape, the three discuss plans to get a single ready for a Christmas release…to promote their next album! Learning this, I again returned to my own idle speculations, a cold comfort I create for myself in a world in which the Beatles did, in fact, break up. And so, in the Yesterday-esque spirit of Beatles hypotheticals, here is my attempt to imagine what the “next” Beatles album, which I have called Inward and Outward, would have looked like:

Jeff Lynne’s ELO Recaptures (Most of) ELO’s Peak 70s ‘Strange Magic’

 

ELO bros.

On Tuesday, July 9, I was in a panic. A non-D.C. friend of mine texted me asking if I would be going to the ELO concert in two days (well, technically, the Jeff Lynne’s ELO concert; more on that in a bit).

Although I am a Millennial (with a podcast!), and ELO’s critical and commercial peak came when my parents were in high school (though their greatest hits, like “Mr. Blue Sky” and “Evil Woman” have had a long cultural shelf life), I nonetheless have long been a huge fan of this Beatlesque symphonic pop-rock group. I have written about ELO’s output at Ricochet and even got to discuss it for two hours on an episode of National Review’s excellent Political Beats podcast.

Revisiting (and Revising?) The White Album on Its 50th Anniversary

 

Last Thursday was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles, a.k.a., The White Album, The Beatles’ sprawling 1968 double-LP. I took the occasion to record a podcast on The Beatles’ musical legacy, which you can listen to here.

In the course of that podcast, I made the case for The Beatles’ greatness, even though they are most decidedly a product of the Baby Boomer culture that refuses to relinquish its death grip on us all. But I don’t think they’re entirely beyond criticism, though I wouldn’t dare make it on my own meager authority. Which is why I here invoke George Martin, who made so much of The Beatles’ music possible (as I explained here), and who believed that The White Album should have been just one album and not a double LP.

Goo goo g’joob! As The Beatles (a.k.a., The White Album) reaches its 50th anniversary,  the Young Americans take some time on a hard day’s night to have a long and winding discussion about whether The Beatles really are the greatest band of all time (the answer is yes), and whether they still matter and should be in your life (the answer is also yes).

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Here’s something you don’t see every day…  Cheap Trick plays Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The whole thing.  With the Golden Slumbers Medley as an encore.  With assistance from Joan Osborne, members of the NY Philharmonic, and others. https://youtu.be/CRLWvTfx4IQ Preview Open

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It all started with @terichristoph and our recent discussion concerning first concert experiences. Mine occurred on August 28, 1966 when I saw the Beatles in Dodger Stadium. I was only 13, but between the screams and tears, I was breathlessly waiting for “that song.” You know the song I mean; the one song each of […]

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Over the past couple of days two of my daughters graduated from the University of Canberra. The highlights of the two ceremonies were the fifteen seconds each spent crossing the stage to receive their awards, and the musical performances. One of these was a lovely rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by a string sextet. Nicely […]

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