Tag: John Lennon

Quote of the Day: Imagine That!

 

I lost this post in the ether for awhile. I’m hoping it goes back to the Main Feed where it was when it disappeared.  But it’s probably going back to the Members’ Feed. If you’ve already seen it, just skip over it. Sorry.

Has there ever been a more perfect expression of hippy-dippy, utopian thinking than John Lennon’s Imagine?

I will be discussing only the lyrics, so if you want to hear the melody as well, the link following this paragraph will take you straight to YouTube. There you’ll find Lennon singing Imagine (and chewing gum while he sings), accompanied by his partner in countercultural amusements, Yoko Ono, who is beating on a drum.

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:

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).