Tag: rock music early seventies

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.

The Boomers Won Again with Electric Light Orchestra

 

One of the running themes of Young Americans, my Ricochet podcast, is the stubborn half-life of Baby Boomer pop culture. The movies, TV, music, etc., that were popular when the Baby Boom generation was growing up, and the pop culture they created, still seem dominant even as that generation ages into retirement. Star Wars movies still clean up in theaters. Bruce Springsteen tours sell out. Hawaii Five-O gets a TV remake. Et cetera.

Ordinarily, it is my job as a 25-year-old host of a podcast of young people to resent this fact. I bristle beneath the bridle of the Baby Boomers, who refuse to relinquish their stranglehold on pop culture. And I call on younger generations to start creating their own pop culture to liberate us from the Boomer reign.

Yeah, this is what I’m supposed to do. But I’ve got to hand it to you Boomers: You made some good stuff. And so, when I recently appeared on Political Beats, a National Review podcast that performs deep dives on the favorite bands of political personalities (which is what I guess I am now…), I chose Electric Light Orchestra.

Member Post

 

Keith Emerson died today at the age of seventy one. For the younger members of the audience for whom the name is not familiar, Emerson was a member of the progressive seventies group Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. ELP was one of the first bands to incorporate high tech instruments into rock music, including the synthesizer […]

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