Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Beatles

The members of the band were Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The name of the band and the players in the band changed in the early days, but by 1962 the make up of the band members were the previous named players and remained so until they disbanded.

There is so much to be said and understood about the Beatles, the place to start is Wikipedia's page about the band.The output of material is overwhelming and people have spent their lives documenting the Beatles history and music.

I don't believe in, and it's hard to say one example of an art form is the best ever. On one level, it's a matter of personal taste. On multiple levels we can judge the facts and numbers. In the record business that usually means the number of records sold. The Beatles have smashed all of those records, except one. As I wrote under my Bing Crosby post, Bing holds the record for a single record sold at over 100 million copies for "White Christmas." And it's hard to rate, against others, those who create a new style within an art form.

The Beatles "rock and roll" may have started out as contemporary (for their time) music and they did cover songs in the early days, but the musical composition team of McCartney/Lennon created a whole new style of music. Great music! That makes them great and exempt from, and superior to comparisons of other bands of their time.    

The Beatles were excellent, progressive musicians individually and perfection as a band together. Although, you would never be able to tell that watching the video below, which is the earliest video recording of the Beatles in 1962 at the Cavern Club, and they had been playing together for a while by then.

The Beatles first came to America in 1964, but they were huge stars by then. A conscience decision by the band to wait until they were successful before they appeared in America. The fanaticism surrounding the band was started in England and Europe and American teenagers were just copying and extending what became known as Beatlemania.

The phenomenon of the Beatlemania effect was not new to American audiences, or world audiences. Women used to scream and faint at Frank Sinatra concerts and similar reactions happened with Bing Crosby, Rudy Valli, Caruso, and other musical acts throughout history. Having said that, there was never anything like Beatlemania. It literally made personal appearances all but impossible for the band. The audience could barely hear the music over the screaming and going to one of their movies in a theater was the same. I personally experienced both. I was not one of the screamers and I was amazed by the audience reaction. 

When listening to Beatles music, I prefer and advise, listening to studio cuts. There are plenty of live recorded cuts, but it's hard to hear all the quality music being played. The fads they started, the hair cuts, etc., etc.....are all things an adoring public has followed with other popular musical acts and personalities, but not to the same extreme.

                                                Ed Sullivan Show February 1964.

                                                  "I Want To Hold Your Hand"

                                  Three years later in 1967 this is, "Hello Goodby"

                 The last appearance as a band together. The rooftop of Apple studios.

                                                            January 30, 1969


In September 1969 John Lennon privately informed the other Beatles that he was leaving the group, there was no public acknowledgement of the break-up until Paul McCartney announced on 10 April 1970 he was leaving the Beatles.

There were sporadic collaborative recording efforts among the band members (Ringo Starr's 1973 album Ringo was the only time that the four – albeit on separate tracks – appeared on the same album post-break-up), although all four Beatles never simultaneously collaborated as a recording or performing group again; Starr's 1976 album Ringo's Rotogravure is the last post-break-up album on which all four Beatles contribute and are credited: besides Starr's drumming and songwriting contributions, Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison all composed one track apiece. After Lennon's death in 1980, McCartney and Starr appeared on Harrison's single "All Those Years Ago", and the trio reunited for the Anthology project in 1994, using two unfinished Lennon demos – "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" – for what would be new songs to be recorded and released as the Beatles.

There are all sorts of stories about why the Beatles broke up including (and most importantly) from the Beatles themselves. There is a fine line between love and hate, which we see in our own families. The Beatles were best buddies, they were a family, they loved each other. If negative things were said, that happens sometimes. The love is still there.

John Lennon was assassinated outside his home in New York on December 8, 1980 by a nut with a gun. Unfortunately, a rather common happening in America.

George Harrison died November 29, 2001, after a long battle with cancer.

I think it's sad that McCartney does not own his own music. I thought he might get a chance to buy it all when Michael Jackson died, but I haven't heard anything about the issue. 

The numbers tell us McCartney/Lennon were the greatest music composing collaboration ever. Their music tells us they were geniuses who sang about love in their own way. The music did not die for either of them when the Beatles broke up. They both were very popular and successful after the Beatles, creating great music. It all happened within ten years, which makes it even more amazing. If you wonder what it was all about, listen to the music. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Beach Boys

The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; their cousin Mike Love; and their friend Al Jardine. Distinguished by their vocal harmonies and early surf songs, they are one of the most influential acts of the rock era.

The Beach Boys began as a garage band managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, with Brian's increasingly sophisticated songwriting and recording abilities dominating their creative direction. Emerging at the vanguard of the "California Sound", they performed original material that reflected a southern California youth culture of surfing, cars, and romance. After 1964, they abandoned the surfing aesthetic for more personal lyrics and multi-layered sounds. In 1966, the Pet Sounds (link on side bar under full albums) album and "Good Vibrations" single vaulted the group to the top level of rock innovators and established the band as symbols of the nascent counterculture era.

                                                             Fun, Fun, Fun

                                                             I Get Around

                                                           Good Vibrations

Monday, August 14, 2017

Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke (born September 11, 1945) is an acoustic guitarist. He is known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He recorded his first album in 1969, called "12 String Blues" (full album on side bar).

Focusing primarily on instrumental composition and playing, Kottke also sings sporadically, in an unconventional yet expressive baritone described by himself as sounding like "geese farts on a muggy day".

This song is from his album "Mudlark" released in 1971. It's called "Eight Miles High" and is one of the songs he sings on. I don't agree with his description of his voice, but his voice is unique. Leo got started in Minneapolis playing the Scholar coffeehouse. I grew up in Minneapolis and have been a fan since his early days when I got a chance to get to know him. He is an excellent guitarist and composer.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young

Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN) was a folk rock supergroup made up of American singer-songwriters David Crosby and Stephen Stills and English singer-songwriter Graham Nash. They were known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSNY) when joined by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, who was an occasional fourth member. Great music! The full album (Deja vu) these songs are from is on my side posts.


                                                                   Carry On

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Led Zeppelin

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band formed in London in 1968. The group consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band's heavy, guitar-driven sound has led them to be cited as one of the progenitors of heavy metal, though their unique style drew from a wide variety of influences, including blues, psychedelia, and folk music.

                                                      The Battle for Evermore


                                                          Immigrant Song

Friday, August 11, 2017

Moody Blues

The Moody Blues are one of my favorite bands. They have been around for over 50 years making great music. There is a lot to say about this band, but you should research that yourself. Here are a few of their songs. Check out their music.

                                                       The Story In Your Eyes

                                                                 You and Me


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bobby Darin

Bobby Darin (born Walden Robert Cassotto; May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973). A multi-talented singer, actor, and musician. These are just two of his many big hits.

"Beyond the Sea" is a 1946 contemporary pop romantic love song by Jack Lawrence, with music taken from the song "La Mer" by Charles Trenet. It has been recorded by many artists, but Bobby Darin's version released in 1959 is the best known.

                                                             Beyond The Sea

"Mack the Knife" was introduced to the United States hit parade by Louis Armstrong in 1956, but the song is most closely associated with Bobby Darin, who recorded his version at Fulton Studios on West 40th Street, New York City, on December 19, 1958. Frank Sinatra, who recorded the song with Quincy Jones on his L.A. Is My Lady album, called Darin's the "definitive" version. Hundreds of artists have recorded the song.

                                                             Mack The Knife

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Joan Armatrading

Joan Armatrading was born in 1950 in Basseterre on the Caribbean island of Saint Kitts, the third of six children. She left school at the age of 15 to support her family. Her mom bought her an inexpensive guitar and Joan taught herself how to play. In a career spanning 50 years she has many awards and is an MBE. In addition to her music career, in 2001, after five years of studying, Armatrading gained a BA (Hons) degree in History from the Open University, of which she is now a trustee. Here is one of her hits from 1976.

                                                            Down To Zero

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Unchained Melody

"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret.   It has since become a standard and one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, most notably by the Righteous Brothers. According to the song's publishing administrator, over 1,500 recordings of "Unchained Melody" have been made by more than 670 artists, in multiple languages. By far, this 1965 recording by the Righteous Brothers is the most popular. The Righteous Brothers ( Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley) had many great hits.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Lovers Concerto

                                                               The Toys
                                  Barbara Harris - Barbara Paritt - June Montiero

 "A Lover's Concerto" is a pop song, written by American songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell and recorded in 1965 by The Toys. Critic Dave Thompson wrote of the Toys' version, "Few records are this perfect."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

John Williams - Yoda's Theme

                                                            John Williams
He learned from the masters of music and he is better than them. The amount and quality of music Mr. Williams has produced is astonishing. Just listening to his portfolio of music will give you a full course in music appreciation. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Johnny Mathis

Johnny Mathis. A unique voice. The best of the romantic singers.
The song above is "Wonderful Wonderful." The song below is "It's Not For Me To Say." Mathis was the most popular singer of his time. A time when good singers were abundant.
His voice just fit romantic songs. I have to admit he is one of my favorites. You have to check out his music to have any appreciation for what music was in the 1950's and 1960's. Romance was the culture at the time.