Friday, July 31, 2009

Paul to retire?

The gossip train has been abuzz with rumors that Paul is planning to retire soon from touring because old age has finally caught up with him (?).

Excerpt from an NME article:
A source claims that Macca doesn't want to carry on touring into his old age - he's 67 at present - though "he might play the odd benefit gig if the likes of President Obama gives him a bell". McCartney himself hasn't commented on the reports (The Sun).

The venerable Beatles Examiner Steve Marinucci counters such chatter here.

From what we've been able to learn ourselves, these summer gigs are not Paul's last in the States.

Not only that, the Washington Post interview he just did didn't sound like an "end of the road" interview to us. He said this short U.S. tour was partly the result of his status as a single dad and wanting to spend time with his daughter. Could this type of gigging continue? It's possible.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"The Abbey Habit"

The Daily Mail takes a look at the many homages that the Abbey Road album cover has inspired over the years.

Their record label said it wouldn't sell because it did not feature the names of the band or the LP.

But 40 years on and 12million sales later, the most famous album cover of all time has been copied all over the world.

Dozens of bands - ranging from Booker T & The MGs to the puppet characters from TVs Sesame Street - have recreated their own versions of John, Paul, George and Ringo striding across the zebra crossing outside the Abbey Road studios on August 8, 1969.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Flaming Pie," Halifax 7/11

This is excellent HD footage of Paul performing the title track from his 1997 album (H/T: Steve Marinucci).

(It appears the video has been removed. Drag.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Electric Arguments," briefly

Watching Paul perform "Sing the Changes" on Letterman the other week inspired me to revisit Electric Arguments. Happily, a few casual listens confirmed that it's still an engaging collection of songs. What comes through most vividly is that, unlike some elder statesmen of pop music, Paul has not settled into his ways. Not even close, in fact. He remains a restlessly creative artist; that fire still burns within him. Just think about the robust genre-hopping that he carries out on Electric Arguments- from stoner blues ("Nothing Too Much Just out of Sight") and freak folk-y gospel ("Light from Your Lighthouse") to anthemic rock ("Sing the Changes") and prog ("Universal Here, Everlasting Now"). The album is nothing if not varied. And it's also quite weird at times, which is most welcome coming from a 67 year-old man. That said, I haven't altered my view that the end of the album stagnates a bit because of several drawn-out and loosely structured songs all in succession. But it's not for lack of effort on Paul's part. As a whole, Electric Arguments showcases a musician still hungry, still focused, and still pushing himself, despite having already conquered the world many times over.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Status update

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My favorite...

...Beatles song at the moment. It's another of Paul's creations that is very Paul indeed.

"Your Mother Should Know"

(If the embedding is disabled, go here).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"What makes Paul McCartney run?"

WaPo Staff Writer Paul Farhi explores this question in a lengthy online discussion with readers.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Friday potpourri

Heinz Edelmann, the art director for The Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine, died on Tuesday at the age of 75.

An unrecorded Lennon song entitled "Tell Her Now" might be published at the behest of John's first son Julian.

And lastly, here are more Rock Band images that have emerged.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Late Thursday youtube

"I Saw Her Standing There"- Paul featuring Billy Joel, 7/17 at Citi Field:

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Rock Band" links

Pop & Hiss, the LA Times music blog, previews the game here.

Based on the preliminary preview I received recently at MTV Networks’ offices in Santa Monica, the game connects a deep respect for the quartet’s musical legacy with a sense of the inspired fun that was also central to their collective personality.

And here's an article which analyzes the game's Vocal Training mode.

Practice makes perfect, as they say, and if you want to five-star The Beatles’ songs, you’ll need to check out the Vocal Trainer in The Beatles: Rock Band. Ideally, to learn specific parts, you’d be able to isolate them -- but since The Beatles’ masters have all the vocals in one track, splitting up the stems wasn’t possible. That is, you can’t play back the Beatles’ individual vocal parts. Harmonix’s solution -- and a rather elegant one, at that -- was to overlay a “guide pitch” (in the form of the dulcet tones of a flute) on the vocals. You choose which one of the parts (lead, harmony 1, harmony 2) you want to be “highlighted” with the tone.

Oasis responds...

... to Ronaldo's generous remarks. Here's Noel serving up some true-to-form bluster.

“I’ll be taking up his offer of tickets for the Madrid versus Barcelona game. I’m not sure whether even he could afford us for a gig though!”

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More on "Rock Band"

After reviewing the newly announced additions to the Rock Band tracklist, I think I only question the wisdom of one entry: "Do You Want to Know a Secret." As I wrote back in January, it's a likable song that "delivers a warm and modest pop pleasure." But that's not the description of a choice tune for Rock Band. "Secret" is just too earthbound. Beyond that, I like the picks.

And while we're on the subject, here's the game's second trailer. The clips continue to impress mightily.

"Rock Band" tracks

Earlier today, Rolling Stone reported on 15 new songs that have been revealed as part of the tracklist for The Beatles: Rock Band.

They are:
“Twist And Shout” / Cavern Club
“Do You Want To Know A Secret” / Cavern Club
“Can’t Buy Me Love” / Ed Sullivan Theater
“I Wanna Be Your Man” / Ed Sullivan Theater
“Eight Days A Week” / Shea Stadium
“Paperback Writer” / Budokan
“And Your Bird Can Sing” / Budokan
“Yellow Submarine” / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“With a Little Help from My Friends” / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“Within You Without You” / Tomorrow Never Knows / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“Revolution” / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“Birthday” / Abbey Road Dreamscape
“Dig A Pony” / Rooftop Concert
“I’ve Got A Feeling” / Rooftop Concert

Sadly mistaken

That's a charitable way of describing this opinion. Though I'm sure Noel and Liam wouldn't dispute what Ronaldo had to say. Or not, anyway, in the clearest of terms (and that's in part why they remain two of the most entertaining blowhards in music today).

Former Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo has given his verdict on British music, and according to him, Oasis trounce The Beatles. "Liverpool have The Beatles and Manchester have Oasis," he said. "I think we [Manchester] have the better band."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Another review of Paul's 7/17 show

Over the weekend, Jon Pareles of the New York Times wrote a characteristically sharp take on Paul's Friday night show at Citi Field.

When Mr. McCartney and the Beatles played Shea Stadium in the 1960’s, they were brash young rockers. It was before the orchestral ambition of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or the introspection and style-hopping of “The Beatles” (known as the white album), with songs the Beatles themselves would only perform in the studio, though Mr. McCartney has taken them on tour. It was before Mr. McCartney’s songs became something parents introduced to children and grandchildren. And it was before Mr. McCartney had another four decades of experience, losses and memories to sing about, in a stadium that awaits history of its own.

Wall Street eyes MJ's share...

... in Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the NYT reports.

A handful of major financial firms have made inquiries into buying the Jackson estate’s 50 percent share of Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the company that controls most of the Beatles song catalog, according to people briefed on the matter. Among them are Colony Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Plainfield Asset Management and the media mogul Haim Saban, these people said.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday potpourri

An essay that details how the recently deceased Walter Cronkite helped spread Beatlemania in America.

In addition to releasing The Beatles' remastered catalog, Apple Corps will also be making available "a deluxe companion set called Box Of Vision ...." More details here.

Another Rolling Stone article discusses one of the mini-documentaries that will accompany each of the remastered albums.

An interview with Julian Lennon that centers on an exhibition he and Cynthia Lennon put together "about their tortured life with Beatle legend John."

Finally, the Guardian's obituary of Gordon Waller.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Random thought

I know I'm not alone in feeling this way: Isn't it strange to come across a reference to John, Paul, George, or Ringo which describes them as "ex"-members of The Beatles? Doesn't that label strike such a piercingly false note? Of course, strictly speaking, it's accurate: The Beatles are indeed no longer together. Thus it's hard to fault journalists and music writers for employing the terminology. Though when they do, I wonder if there isn't a measure of cognitive dissonance at work. Think about how deeply embedded The Beatles are in our culture. They're here, there, and everywhere, continually manifesting themselves in different ways (e.g., album reissues, Rock Band, numerous books, etc.). It's almost like we enter this world with an innate knowledge of them. The cumulative effect of these signposts is a reinforced image of The Beatles as a band not broken up, but of the present, in the moment, and still vigorously active. The term "ex-Beatle" clearly doesn't square with this idea.

Macca at Citi Field

Rolling Stone reports on Paul's historic performance in Queens last night.

For the rest of the show McCartney stuck to his tried and true concert formula: a smattering of new songs in the beginning, a handful of Wings hits and a fuckload of Beatles classics. Each time he’s toured recently he’s revived a couple Fab Four songs that haven’t been played since their original recording. This time around he dug out “Day Tripper,” and “A Day In The Life.” “Day Tripper” was scorching and clearly should have been unearthed years ago, while “A Day In The Life” was surprisingly effective and emotional considering that the original was a product of so much studio magic. At the end of the Wings cut “Let Me Roll It” the band played a snippet of “Foxy Lady,” followed by a story about McCartney seeing Jimi Hendrix cover a track from Sgt. Pepper in London days after it came out.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday YouTube

This is a superb cover. John was a Motown singer at heart.

"You Really Got a Hold on Me"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thoughts on last night

As expected, Paul's appearance on "Letterman" was terrific. From the start, the night was clearly all about him. Dave reiterated several times how thrilled he was that Paul would be joining him and how special it was that the former Beatle would once again be gracing the Ed Sullivan Theater. When he finally came out for the sit-down, Paul was charming, clever, and likable as always. Early in their chat, he lightly ribbed Dave by saying that he hadn't been on before because he didn't like the show. Later, when Dave asked him to sort of describe himself, Paul responded with: "Well I'm a boy. I like girls." It was very amusing.

Thankfully, though, he didn't try to have a laugh at every turn. Paul is indeed a zany character, but he's also someone with a natural facility for reflecting openly and thoughtfully on life. It's a critical part of what makes him (strongly appear to be) so genuine. This quality marked his discussion of The Beatles, Michael Jackson, etc. And throughout, Dave was unmistakably delighted. Across from him sat Paul McCartney, a legend whom he could praise without shame, a wit who could keep pace with his sly banter, and a first-rate human being. That's a superlative guest to have on your show.

From there, Paul stepped out onto the Theater's Marquee and played a televised two-song set that featured "Get Back" and the anthemic "Sing the Changes" off 2008's Electric Arguments. The performance was solid. Paul is 67 years old but still maintains the buoyant and energized stage presence of his younger self. He continued the mini-concert after the show was finished, belting out five more songs that included "Helter Skelter," "Band on the Run," and "Back in the U.S.S.R" (Rolling Stone has more here). The large crowd assembled in midtown Manhattan was surely grateful for all they were witnessing.

As was I. Though, to be honest, I found myself more interested in the interview portion of the show than the actual performance. Maybe it's because I've encountered Paul so often through the medium of music that he seems a touch less familiar and thus more interesting when he's simply talking to another individual. Perhaps this, combined with how enormously engaging he is on a personal level, was the reason. Happily, both the superstar and the more flesh-and-blood sides of Paul were available for consumption last night, and both made his first appearance on "Letterman" quite a treat to watch.

Final "There's a Place" post

For the sake of completeness, here's the YouTube of "Somewhere," the West Side Story number that was part of the inspiration behind "There's a Place." It's not my cup of tea particularly, but I do think I've gotten my fill of melodrama for the day.

And with purely constructive intentions in mind, I want to point out that, in his superb book A Hard Day's Write, Steve Turner misidentifies the above song, calling it "There's a Place for Us" instead of "Somewhere."

Two more reviews...

...of Elijah Wald's How the Beatles Destroyed Rock 'N' Roll.

Here's an excerpt from the NYT review:
If you’re looking to be convinced that the Beatles destroyed rock ’n’ roll, then strangely enough, “How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ’n’ Roll” is not for you. The title is a come-on: the Beatles are among the many subjects Elijah Wald addresses in this cheerfully iconoclastic book, but they are not what it is about.

On the other hand, if you’re looking, as Wald’s subtitle has it, for “an alternative history of American popular music” — specifically from the turn of the 20th century to roughly the mid-1970s — you’ve found it. And if you’re up for some good arguments, you’ve found those too.

And here's one from the Christian Science Monitor review:
Despite its incendiary title, Elijah Wald’s book is a serious treatise on the history of recorded music, sifted through his filter as musician, scholar, and fan. In the introduction, Wald lays out his premise: Though he was a Beatles fan from the instant he heard their first American LP “Meet the Beatles,” with its danceable, infectious songs blasting from the family’s hi-fi, the Beatles’s rapid development as “recording artists” (as opposed to a live rock ’n’ roll band), left him feeling somewhat abandoned.

“My much older half-brother gave my parents Sgt. Pepper. I could tell it was a masterpiece – but it was not really my music. It was adult music…. I played it occasionally, but nowhere near as often as the band’s early records. It simply wasn’t as much fun.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Julia Lennon (1914-1958)

In honor of John's mother who died tragically on this day in 1958:

(If the video is removed, go here.)

"Now and Then" cont'd

This article from the Jerusalem Post provides much of the history behind the unreleased track.

The original recording was undeveloped and needed work, which is part of the reason the release has taken so long. "I heard that George Harrison sings backup as well as playing at least one guitar," the source said. "It is thought McCartney sings at least some backup, if not more, and plays several instruments. It is also possible he wrote additional sections to the song."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Audrey McCombs

That's the name of the girl whose arm Paul signed. Beatles Examiner Steve Marinucci offers more details.

Everything happened after "Calico Skies," as Paul surveyed the signs in the crowd. ""I held it up during that song and the first time he looked at it after the first verse, he got this really puzzled look on his face like he was really confused. Then he kept looking down at me during the rest of the song and then he … " Her voice trails off and all she can say it, "Yeah, aw man…" ...

What happened after that is like a blur to McCombs.

Thoughts on Paul's kind act

Like many others, I was charmed by the video of Paul signing that girl's arm in Halifax on Saturday. It was clearly a euphoric moment for the young fan. To have an icon (a Beatle) oblige such a request when you're just one among thousands of people before his eyes is a staggering turn of events. Kudos to the girl for making a sign that caught Paul's eye. But even more kudos to Paul for doing what he did. As an incomparable figure in pop music history, he surely recognizes the power he holds in his ability to make dreams come true with even the smallest of gestures. All he did was set aside a couple minutes of his time to invite a fan onstage and autograph her arm; no major effort on his part. But think about what this simple display of warmth and generosity meant to the individual on the receiving end; I know it meant the world. And the man of the hour knew this as well. To state the obvious, Paul McCartney is a superstar, a legend, a treasure, and so forth. He's also a stellar human being with an uncommonly kind heart. I hope nothing ever persuades me otherwise.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Drive My Car" (Halifax, 7/11)

Here's quality footage of the song that Paul kicked things off with on Saturday:

(If the video is removed, go here.)

What might have been

A new book makes the claim that, in the mid-70s, John and Paul discussed the possibility of a Beatles reunion, only to have it thwarted by...Yoko(?).

In Paul McCartney: A Life, author Peter Ames Carlin suggests that he (Paul) missed working with Lennon and tried to orchestrate a comeback.

Carlin claims that thirty five years ago Sir Paul, paid a surprise late night visit to a studio in California where Lennon was recording.

According to the book the pair played music into the early hours of the morning with Stevie Wonder, who was also working there.

The session went so well Lennon invited Sir Paul, now 67, and his first wife Linda over for dinner at his rented house in Malibu with girlfriend and assistant May Pang.

Another take on Paul's show

I highlight this review in part because of its fantastic title: "McCartney review: making ladies cry and dudes dance."

There aren’t too many 67-year-old men in the world who can elicit that kind of screaming, while wearing a collarless suit, white shirt and suspenders—-occasionally breaking into a bizarre Jamaican accent: “irie, irie.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"There's a Place" vs "In My Room"

Several weeks ago, as I listened to "There's a Place" many times through, another song from that period kept coming to mind: the Beach Boys' disarming, achingly beautiful "In My Room." Upon comparison, the parallels between the two songs are obvious. Both represent early triumphs of emotion and introspection for the bands in question. Both concern themselves with places, whether physical or cerebral, that provide comfort to those afflicted. On a related note, both were at least partly written by complex and often distraught individuals (though I should stress that John Lennon and Brian Wilson possessed wildly divergent personalities). Perhaps less insightfully, both songs draw a sizable amount of their aesthetic power from skillful vocal harmonies. And even less insightfully but most on target, both are incredible pieces of music. Treat yourself by giving them back-to-back listens.

"In My Room"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

A review of Paul's show

Halifax's Chronicle Herald enthuses about the performance.

NEVER underestimate the power of a Beatle.

Despite weeks of omnipresent gloom and speculation about ticket buyers waiting until the last possible moment, on Saturday the clouds parted and people turned out in the tens of thousands to fill Halifax’s North Common and beyond, to see if the man we’ve known for all these years, Sir Paul McCartney, still has the power to amaze.

There was no "maybe" about it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Scenes from a soundcheck

Paul in Halifax, 7/10:

(If the video is removed, go here.)

More on "Now and Then"

Below is the YouTube of an unfinished version of "Now and Then," a song which is complete at this point and the remaining Beatles might release in the not-so-distant future. Even in unpolished form, it's a very compelling track: haunting, heartfelt, and unique (notice the absence of a conventional chorus; basically just three distinct verses). And, on certain levels, it's of a piece sonically with "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love," both of which also came out long after The Beatles disbanded. I know many hope that "Now and Then" will soon officially join the company of those two songs.

"Now and Then"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

P.S. It's interesting that parts of "Sun King" make an appearance near the end of the song.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Paul to play Letterman 7/15

The news broke very recently (H/T: Steve Marinucci).

The legendary musician, who, as part of The Beatles, made his U.S. television debut at the Ed Sullivan Theater on "The Ed Sullivan Show" 45 years ago, returns to that very stage to sit down for an interview with Letterman. McCartney will also perform later in the broadcast.

One omission...

...from yesterday's "potpourri" post. It's an article about the potential release of "Now and Then," a song which John wrote in 1978 and the remaining Beatles added to as they were putting together the first Anthology collection in the mid-90s.

A source said: “The Beatles song ‘Now And Then’ is finished. All four Beatles are on the track. The original Beatles reunion version from 1995 was embellished with numerous sessions over the last two years by Paul McCartney.

“He wants the song to come out very badly.”

Happy Beatles Day 2009!

The festivities are underway in Liverpool as we speak.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thursday potpourri

Stu Bykofsky of Philadelphia Daily News weighs the death of Michael Jackson versus that of John Lennon.

Paul is now scheduled to play shows in Tulsa and Dallas in mid-August.

How the relationship between Paul and MJ soured.

In yet more Macca news, he's downplaying the rumors of a possible collaboration with Bob Dylan.

And lastly, the WaPo's obituary of Allen Klein.

Paul's recent statement...

... on MJ and The Beatles' songs he owned. From his website:

Some time ago, the media came up with the idea that Michael Jackson was going to leave his share in the Beatles songs to me in his will which was completely made up and something I didn’t believe for a second.

Now the report is that I am devastated to find that he didn’t leave the songs to me. This is completely untrue. I had not thought for one minute that the original report was true and therefore, the report that I’m devastated is also totally false, so don’t believe everything you read folks!

In fact, though Michael and I drifted apart over the years, we never really fell out, and I have fond memories of our time together.

At times like this, the press do tend to make things up, so occasionally, I feel the need to put the record straight.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Found on Twitter

On Twitter, I'm a follower of The Mayor Movie. It's short for The Mayor of Strawberry Fields, a documentary film about a homeless New Yorker named Gary who, as the official description says, "has lived at John Lennon's Imagine Memorial and decorated it with flowers for the past 14 years." The doc's trailer indicates that it broaches the issue of whether or not Gary, with his idiosyncratic profession, is deserving of that lofty status: an artist. In a more general sense, The Mayor of Strawberry Fields looks like an offbeat and sympathetic exploration of a slice of humanity that clearly has much to offer the world.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A tribute to Ringo

In a guest column for USA Today, drummer Dennis Diken of the Smithereens honors Ringo as a legend whose massive talent was hidden in plain sight (h/t: Ear Candy with Travis Hay).

Yet inexplicably, Starr's legacy is clouded by misconception and ignorance. Some say he was the luckiest guy on earth, a competent player who stepped into a million-dollar quartet. Why the bum rap? Was it because he didn't overplay and shunned solos? Or was it his unassuming, Everyman countenance?

When I'm 69

Many congratulations to Ringo Starr on reaching his 69th birthday. You'll recall that, according to his doctors, Ringo wasn't supposed to survive his childhood because of a number of ailments. Now this lovable icon has almost arrived at his seventh decade. Joyeux anniversaire!

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

"There's a Place"

On an album of tuneful but emotionally lightweight songs, "There's a Place" stands out as a moment of candor and introspection. It's about the way that John preferred to cope with hardship, namely by withdrawing into his own thoughts and reflections ("There's a place/Where I can go/When I feel low/When I feel blue/And it's my mind...."). It was a theme he would often revisit as a Beatle.

Part of what makes the song so compelling is that, whether by design or not, it functions on one level as an admission of weakness. Throughout his life, John was mostly and sometimes fiercely disinclined to confront emotional troubles head-on. He usually didn't care to talk them through with others or pursue meaningful resolutions. (God knows he did endure much upheaval in his youth and young adulthood.) Rather he often chose to withdraw into himself where he could brood or let loose his robust imagination as a means to finding solace. Either way, his approach couldn't lastingly address the underlying issues. The lyric to "There's a Place" implies as much.

But this doesn't account in full for the song's emotive draw. The simple fact that John used "There's a Place" to convey such deeply personal sentiments distinguishes it from the rest of Please Please Me. The Beatles' first album contains a fair amount of smirking self-pity ("Chains," the title track, etc.) and overstated despair ("Misery," "Baby It's You"). What it lacks, and not surprisingly so for a young band, is much convincingly serious treatment of these matters of the heart. "There's a Place" is the bold exception. By revealing an intimate part of himself, John traded in humor and playfulness for honest maturity. He made himself vulnerable on a public stage. What's more, the lyric also finds John sweetly paying tribute to his lover and the way in which the mere thought of her could revitalize him ("I think of you/And things you do/Go 'round my head/The things you said/Like 'I love only you.'"). It's an early instance of The Beatles crafting a song both weighty and touching.

It's all the more effective because of The Beatles' masterful execution. There's the vibrant harmonica intro (a feature they memorably honed on their debut), the challenging vocal harmony that Paul and John carry through most of the song (the light quaver in John's voice as he does sections of the lower part is quite endearing) and the punchy rhythm that anchors the tempo. As you might expect from a Motown-inspired song, "There's a Place" flows beautifully and efficiently. Not a wasted moment in its 1:49 running time.

Finally, to avoid shortchanging Paul, I should note that he helped write this overlooked classic. He apparently drew inspiration for the title from a West Side Story number called "Somewhere." As a whole, though, "There's a Place" belongs unmistakably to John and his complicated personality.

(If the video is removed, go here.)

When Paul met John

Today is the 52nd anniversary of arguably the most consequential and even providential (too strong?) event in Beatles history: the introduction of Paul and John to one another at the Woolton Village Fete. Here are two articles on the subject.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

This day in Beatles history

On July 5 1973, the eighth Bond film Live and Let Die premiered in the U.K. Paul and Linda wrote and performed (as Wings) the famous theme song while George Martin served as producer, marking the first time that the ex-Beatle and ex-Beatles producer had teamed up in such capacities since the making of Abbey Road. Here's the song's Wikipedia page. And the film's opening sequence, complete with the theme, is below.

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

RIP Allen Klein

Dead at 77 following his bout with Alzheimer's.

Paul's full tribute to Michael Jackson

From his website:

Tribute to Michael

"It's so sad and shocking. I feel privileged to have hung out and worked with Michael. He was a massively talented boy man with a gentle soul. His music will be remembered forever and my memories of our time together will be happy ones.

I send my deepest sympathy to his mother and the whole family and to his countless fans all around the world."

Memories of Michael

I first heard from Michael when he phoned me over the Christmas holiday season in 1980 and my initial reaction was “who is this and how did he get my private telephone number?”. Michael laughed and explained who it was and, as we talked and I asked him why he was ringing, he said “Do you wanna make some hits?” and that was the start of our adventure together.

He came over to England with his close friend and minder, Billy and they visited our house in the country many times as Michael and I put together the ideas for our songs together. First of all, we came up with and finished an idea for a song I had started which became Say Say Say. We recorded in Air Studios, London with George Martin producing and eventually went to California to make the video for the song. Funnily enough, I was staying at the ranch that Michael later bought and made into Neverland.

My memories are of his great sense of humour and we seemed to spend most of the time playing around and having a laugh. He became very friendly with my family and we had lots of great times together. Although we drifted apart in later years I will always remember fondly the fun we had working and playing together. My family and I send our deepest condolences to his family and, like them, we know that his great talent will never be forgotten.

FOXNews on celebrity death hoaxes

Any list worth its salt would have to include Paul's "death" from so many years ago.

FOX duly complies:
The most famous celebrity death hoax of all time is that the Beatles' Paul McCartney died in a car accident in 1966 and was replaced by a look-alike. Although the story originated in the Drake University paper in September 1969, it spread across the globe following a Michigan radio show broadcast just a few weeks later. Conspiracy theorists have pointed to the many clues proving the Beatle's death, including lyrical hints ("He didn't notice that the lights had changed" from "A Day in the Life"), record cover evidence (Paul walks shoeless and out of step with his bandmates on the "Abbey Road" cover), and audible smoking guns (some say they hear the words, "Turn me on, dead man" when playing "Revolution Nine" backward).

Friday, July 3, 2009

Interview with Paul

Circa 1983. Its relevance comes from MJ being the topic of discussion.

"Vera, Chuck, and Dave"

I feel a little timid about admitting this, but my favorite Beatles song at the moment is Paul's quaint and affected "When I'm Sixty-Four." Resist as I might, its insistent charm is too strong for me. It's instructive and amusing to think that Paul wrote the song's melody when he was just 15 years old; his affinity for pastiche was clearly deep-seated. And on a personal note, I absolutely love the pleasantly crunchy sentiments expressed in the line, "Doing the garden/Digging the weeds/Who could ask for more?"

"When I'm Sixty-Four"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More on Sony/ATV

Via The Washington Post: The music publishing company will maintain ownership of The Beatles' songs already under its control.

Sony/ATV will continue to hold the Lennon and McCartney catalogue, said the person, who asked not to be named because the matter isn't public. Britain's Daily Mirror reported in January that Jackson planned to leave the Beatles rights to McCartney in his will to heal a rift between the musicians. Jackson paid $47.5 million in 1985 for the catalogue, outbidding McCartney and Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Harrison-Tweedy connection

While reading through a couple reviews of Wilco's new album (entitled Wilco (The Album)), I noticed several mentions of George as an influence on the band's current sound. Over their career, particularly on Summerteeth, Wilco has drawn from The Beatles' body of work, sometimes with stirring results. That they would return to the well is not at all surprising. In this case, the well is specifically George's output as a solo artist. Just listen to "You Never Know" for instant confirmation. It's a song of warmth, sunlight, and daydream ease that basically plays like a tribute to "My Sweet Lord." The vibe, the pace, the crisp acoustic guitar at the center, the "ooo"-ing and "aaah"-ing backup vocals, and the occasional guitar effects (slide?) all reveal an unmissable influence. It's so unmissable, in fact, that Wilco must have intended the song as a celebratory love-note to some of those late greats who still mean so much to the present. George would seem to fit the bill.

"You Never Know"

(If the video is removed, go here.)