Sunday, January 31, 2010


Brad Wheeler of The Globe and Mail writes about the various versions of "A Day in the Life" that have come down through the years, including several that earned Grammy nominations (one of which is for this year).

The song has been Grammy-nominated twice before. It lost out in 1968 to Ode to Billie Joe in the song-arrangement category; and it lost again in 2000 for Beck's studio version on George Martin's In My Life disc. But its nomination this year for best rock instrumental performance marks a rebirth of A Day in the Life as a live piece. No longer is the heaviest track on the staggering Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band album (Grammy winner, 1968) untouchable onstage.

. . .

So it became a piece of art rather than a rock standard. “It's definitely one of their crowning achievements,” says Ron Sexsmith, a Juno-winning Toronto singer-songwriter with his own gift for words and melodies. “If it didn't have McCartney's section of the song, it would still be a great song. But only one person on this planet could have written Lennon's part. There's so much character, the way Lennon sings, the humour in it, with a kind of sadness at the same time.”

Saturday, January 30, 2010

41 years ago today

The rooftop concert.

I hope that the laziness of this post is appreciated.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Inspired by the Beatles - "Sowing the Seeds of Love"

Writing for the New York Times in February of 1990, Stephen Holden offered this take on Tears for Fears' 1989 single, "Sowing the Seeds of Love:"

The song, which lovingly imitates the treadmill rhythms, trumpet-laced textures and exhortatory mood of ''Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,'' updates the Beatles' utopian sentiments to the present by proclaiming ''an end to need and the politics of greed with love.'' At the same time time it re-creates the childlike playfulness of late 1960's pop psychedelia by praising sunflowers and inventing catchy variations of vintage slogans. ''Kick out the style -bring back the jam!'' the lyric exclaims.

"Sowing the Seeds of Love" does all of the things that Holden attributes to it: it's pure Beatles pastiche. And he could have elaborated further by going into specific details. For instance, the stuttering drum line that opens the song brings to mind some of Ringo's handiwork, in particular certain sections of "A Day in the Life;" one of the brass parts recalls Alan Civil's expert playing of the French horn on "For No One;" and finally (this list is by no means exhaustive, to be sure), the backup vocal track on the chorus is exactly the kind of psych-pop maneuver that The Beatles often pulled.

Truth be told, there are few details in the song that don't seem like Beatles homage. The intent is unmistakable. This is not to suggest, though, that it's a great song. Unlike other well-known TFF releases - "Head over Heels" and "Mad World," foremostly - "Sowing the Seeds of Love" hasn't aged well, which maybe shouldn't be surprising considering that its inspiration, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, also doesn't sound as fresh and spirited as it likely once did. But the issue of that album's inflated status is contentious and will be left for another day. What shouldn't be contentious is how strongly Pepper influenced Tears for Fears on this outing.

(If the embedding is disabled, go here).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday Beatles potpourri

- A Beatles iPhone app has been released. The app "constitutes the first official Beatles content to be featured on iTunes."

- On Conan O'Brien's final Tonight Show, Tom Hanks appeared as a guest. As a warm gesture to the actor, Max Weinberg and the Tonight Show Band played a rendition of the Beatles' "Lovely Rita," seemingly in honor of Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson. The Roots' drummer ?uestlove had some interesting comments on the matter.

- In the UK and Europe, EMI will be releasing "(I Want To) Come Home" as Paul's newest single. It will arrive on March 1.

- CBS sportscaster Jim Nantz on the Jonas Brothers: "These guys are going to be the biggest thing since the Beatles."

- In this preview of Sunday's Grammy Awards, there's mention made of the 1966 competition for Best Rock Recording: The New Vaudeville Band's "Winchester Cathedral" beat out this classic and this classic. It seems a lapse in judgement took place at the time.

- Lastly, Ringo: "Well, the iTunes thing is, you know, a three-way situation. And the Beatles are interested in it, as well as Apple, but there is no conclusion yet."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wednesday Beatles cover

Jeff Beck's instrumental version of "A Day in the Life"

(If the embedding is disabled, click here).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Glenn Beck takes on "Revolution" . . .

. . . and arrives at a very flawed understanding of the song. Read more here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama the Taxman

Don't interpret my posting of this video as a political statement. My ideological leanings are neither here nor there. It's the ingenuity that I admire.

"Taxman Obama vs Rx"

(If the embedding is disabled, go here)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Beatles potpourri - 2 of 2

- John will be the subject of an installment of Behind the Music Remastered, a reboot of the documentary series that will air on VH1 Classic beginning in February.

- Yoko has put together a new (but not entirely new) Plastic Ono Band for a concert this February at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I wonder if the thought of including Paul and/or Ringo ever entered her head.

- In more Yoko news, she now says that she "regrets ever mentioning doing an autobiography."

- Nowhere Boy has earned four BAFTA nominations.

- A movie critic for the New York Post responds quite favorably to a screening of Nowhere Boy at the Sundance Film Festival.

- Unexpected Pete Best comparison of the day.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Beatles potpourri - 1 of 2

- "A day in the life" of Paul McCartney.

- Although this is mentioned in the article above, I wanted to be sure to highlight it: whether half-heartedly or not, Paul seems to have expressed interest in the idea of playing with Dave Grohl in his supergroup Them Crooked Vultures. Unfortunately for Paul, the position of bass player was already filled by ex-Led Zeppelin member John Paul Jones.

- The Beatles came in fourth on the Los Angeles Times' Ultimate Top 10 list, which ranked music acts by their combined album and concert sales over the past decade.

- Gordon Caldwell, a nephew of George's, recently died at the age of 52 following a six-year struggle with colon cancer.

- Another death: Erich Segal, the screenwriter for Yellow Submarine as well as a fiction author and professor of classics at Yale, passed away last Sunday after suffering a heart attack.

- "Charting the Beatles: Exploration of Beatles music through infographics." It's cool.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thursday haiku - "Get Back"

Once a protest song,
"Get Back" closes Let It Be
with light rock 'n' roll.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Inconsequential post of the day

To be sure, all of my posts are inconsequential. This one is just exceptionally unburdened by importance, seriousness, and urgency.

To bear out my point, here is the observation that inspired this post: Over the last few weeks, in two (1, 2) of his televised performances of "With a Little Help From My Friends," Ringo has sung the opening line of the song as, "What would you do if I sang out of tune." This has irritated me a bit because it sounds like Ringo is forgetting the lyrics (that is, one word) to perhaps his most beloved Beatles song. On the Sgt. Pepper's version, the line goes, "What would you think ...."

From "think" to "do," from passive to active. Maybe Ringo has reimagined the song's addressee as someone forceful and energetic. Maybe this new person is more demanding when it comes to the quality of a vocal, so much so that he or she would leap into action to protest an out-of-tune part, as opposed to letting his or her reproving thoughts just idle on the inside.

These are far-fetched possibilities. They're also undercut by what's said on the second line of the song, which Ringo hasn't altered in any way: "Would you stand up and walk out on me?" This means that Ringo has always pictured the person whom he was addressing as someone willing to act on their potential disdain for his voice. He hasn't re-conceptualized this individual, then. What he has done is tweak the original query ("What would you think?) so that it finds an appropriate follow-up question in the words, "Would you stand up and walk out on me." Put another way, it makes sense to ask someone what they would do in a particular instance and then wonder if their deed might entail walking out on you. It makes less sense to ask someone what they think of a particular situation and then immediately afterwards pose the question, "Would you stand up and walk out on me." The nature of the second question sort of demands that the first one pertain to an action, not a thought process. Hence the replacement of "think" with "do."

I hope you don't feel I misled you about the towering triviality of this post. I think it speaks for itself.

Macca cool with divorce dig at GGs

So says Ricky Gervais.

“So that was The Golden Globes,” Gervais wrote. “Hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did. I was worried about the Paul McCartney line but then he came backstage and hugged me and said he loved it, so that was OK. Never piss off a Beatle — rule 1.”

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More Ringo press

- As part of his promotional campaign for Y Not, Ringo sat down with USA Today and NPR for interviews.

Side note: I don't think I like this physical description of Ringo, which comes from the USA Today piece: "Starr is a wisp of a man yet far from a relic." Now, if you're going to make that kind of observation, why not try to be a little more complimentary? Or even just neutral? "... wisp of a man" is a diss, even if it's an unintentional one. To me, it paints a picture of frailness and ill-health. And no, "far from a relic" doesn't do much to counter that sense. Furthermore, what's the point of a physical description of Ringo? It seems pretty unnecessary.

- Here are clips of Ringo's appearance on The Daily Show where he played some old and new material.

- Lastly, here are two more reviews of Y Not: One positive and one negative. With my post about the critical reception of Ringo's solo work in mind, I found this line from the positive review both telling and predictable: "In addition, Starr's voice has limited range, but his charm and enthusiasm tend to compensate for any lack of technical ability."

Monday, January 18, 2010

Macca at the Golden Globes

Last night at the Golden Globes, Paul came up short in the category of Best Original Song. "(I Want To) Come Home" lost out to "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)," written by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett. So it goes.

In other news from the evening, the show's irreverent host Ricky Gervais (The Office, Extras, etc.) took aim at many of the Beautiful People in attendance and landed a solid blow on Sir Paul:

As Gervais introduced the Best Original Song category, for which Macca was nominated, he said: 'We actually came over on the same flight. I didn't get to speak to him because I was up the front in first class.

'He was behind me in coach. Saving money. He spent an awful lot last year.

The camera showed a stony-faced McCartney - who was at the show with his American socialite girlfriend, Nancy Shevell - as the crowd began to boo.

'I don't think we have to feel too sorry for him,' Gervais assured. 'He's doing alright.'

This must have been one of the jokes he said he'd omit from the live show but went ahead with anyway. Cheers to that. Gervais is too funny to be muzzled. And I'm confident that Paul has recovered.

Ringo and critical taste

(Full disclosure: I haven't listened to Y Not from front-to-back. Make of that what you will as you read this post).

A question came to mind as I read through some reviews of Ringo's new album, Y Not: what criteria do pop critics use when assessing the music of someone like Ringo Starr? I bring this up because I noticed a couple of heavily qualified though positive takes on the album that, written as they were, seemed to suggest that much more than the quality of the music was being considered. One such review, composed by Martin Bandyke, comes with the header, "Ringo's CD delights; but why wouldn't it?" and includes this line: "Yeah, yeah, yeah...his solo career hasn't been much to shout about since, oh, 1974 or so." This has the feel of faint praise, but faint praise that still conveys a generally approving message. The same is true of this mini-review, written by Sal Nunziato, which states: "It's bloody Ringo. Nothing special, but nothing terrible either." Both Bandyke and Nunziato basically concede that Ringo isn't much to speak of as a solo artist, but neither follows this line of thinking to one of its possible conclusions - that his album just isn't very good and doesn't merit a recommendation, however equivocal. Is it the case, then, that other factors are strongly influencing their opinions? And if so, what are they?

Before I continue, it should be noted that all of this is mere speculation. I can't pretend to know with certainty what informs or colors the judgments reached by these critics. At the same time, I don't think my points are unreasonable (though they might be a bit obvious).

Now, if other considerations are at work, they're likely some combination of Ringo's status as a legend, his noted likability on a human level, and circumscribed expectations.

From personal experience, I can attest to the difficulty of mentally setting aside Ringo's storied past when trying to evaluate his solo work. It's a tall task. The greatness of what he contributed to in his previous life is inescapably present even in his most uninspired post-Beatles material. That's not to say it somehow improves the quality of the music. But when you hear Ringo's familiar voice or come across drum parts that recall Beatles songs, thoughts of his former band - pleasant and admiring thoughts - are often not far behind and can easily shade your views. On principle, I wouldn't find it right if Ringo was given leniency on account of decades-old accomplishments. Ideally, his music would just speak for itself, untouched by predispositions. But it's an obvious overreach to expect that kind of pure criticism from everyone. It would only be human for Bandyke and Nunziato to go easy on Ringo in part because of who he is.

And not only is Ringo a former Beatle, he's also a very endearing individual who doesn't readily invite dislike upon himself. This is another factor that could cause critics to hesitate in coming down hard on his music. Who wants to be the one that trashes the work of such a warm and generous guy, someone who has made "peace and love" his life's mantra? Doing so might feel callous and false. A critic with this in mind might then chose to overlook certain shortcomings in the music and focus on, say, how it makes them feel. Positive vibes can be infectious, after all, and Ringo has cultivated plenty of them over the years.

Perhaps more importantly, there's also the issue of expectations. Because many of us don't expect very challenging, inventive, or even interesting music from Ringo the Solo Artist, we don't take him to task for not delivering those qualities in his albums. As long as he pumps out cleanly produced, feel-good pop-rock with lyrics about peace, love, and understanding, a lot of people will be satisfied. This explains sentiments like, "It's bloody Ringo. Nothing special, but nothing terrible either." At the risk of stating the obvious, "nothing terrible" is a low bar to use when appraising an album. It calls into question the propriety of the limited expectations game. And, again, it makes you wonder what all is animating the critic's opinion. The same goes for the title of the first review I cited: "Ringo's CD delights; but why wouldn't it?" This seems to go beyond even the realm of expectations, indicating strong preconceptions. "... but why wouldn't it?" That line comes too close to ruling out the possibility of not liking the album and should maybe raise some red flags (Maybe not though. There might be something to it, but I probably shouldn't put much emphasis on the title of a review as opposed to the actual content).

I should reiterate that I don't mean to denigrate anyone's journalistic integrity. I also don't want to suggest that there are no critics who have reviewed Ringo's solo albums unfavorably. Many have, of course. He is in no way immune to forceful criticism. I just wonder if too much weight is given to factors outside the music itself when an album like Y Not is reviewed and if this is regrettable or merely to be expected.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday haiku- "For You Blue"

A perky blues cut,
"For" is from George to Pattie:
"You're sweet and lovely".

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More on "Rock Band" sales

"Beatles to Video Gamers: You Never Give Us Your Money."

For games that involve the use of plastic guitars instead of guns, however, the picture wasn’t as rosy. The Beatles: Rock Band, which allows players to tap buttons along to the music of the Fab Four, has sold 1.18 million copies in the United States and 1.7 million copies worldwide since its release in September. By comparison, the music game Rock Band 2 sold 1.7 million copies in its first four months of release in 2008, and Guitar Hero: World Tour sold 3.4 million copies in that time. Guitar Hero 5, a franchise sequel released in September, has sold 996,000 copies so far.

Saturday haiku - "The Long and Winding Road"

In Phil Spector's hands,
"Road" became a song Paul loathed,
as it was too lush.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Friday Beatles YouTube

Below is the Beach Boys' cover of "With a Little Help from My Friends." It's one classic band taking on the work of another, and the outcome is a pretty faithful interpretation, though there are some notable differences. Bruce Johnston, a late-comer to the Beach Boys and perhaps the most purely likable of the bunch, steps in for Ringo on lead vocals and gives a soft and sweet performance. He stays true to the humble spirit of the song and probably sounds even more meek than Ringo does on the original. This is the cuddly version of "With a Little Help from My Friends." The Beach Boys also shorten certain parts and slow the tempo down a touch. They don't implement any major changes, however, in a way honoring what is certainly one of Ringo's defining moments.
(If the video is removed, go here.)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lennon vs. McCartney

The debate still rages.

Thursday Beatles potpourri

- Actors have been cast to provide the voices for the animated Beatles in Robert Zemeckis' remake of Yellow Submarine.

- It is rumored that Paul will be tying the knot with his current squeeze Nancy Shevell at some point in 2011.

- A review of The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles .

- "The Beat Goes On At BlueBeat."

- Beatles "MusicSkins."

- Finally, a Florida artist named Gary Arseneau alleges that there is much scheming and deception behind "The Artwork of John Lennon."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ringo on "Late Night"

As you'd expect, Ringo was his affable, laid-back self on Late Night Tuesday evening. Armed with a ready smile, he seemed game for all that Jimmy Fallon had in store. Most of the talk revolved around the Beatles - their music, clothes, popularity, etc. - but the two also discussed Y Not, the challenges of The Beatles: Rock Band, and Ringo's upcoming tour. Throughout all of this, Ringo emanated a warmth and charm that were hard to resist.

Fallon certainly couldn't: the dude was giddy. Part of his appeal as a host is that he doesn't suppress his own fanboy enthusiasm during interviews, and last night he very excitedly welcomed, chatted with, and extolled his legendary guest. He even got the honor of singing backup to Ringo on "With a Little Help from My Friends" to conclude the show.

That performance, along with earlier ones of "I Wanna Be Your Man" (rollicking), "Walk With You" (its target: your heartstrings), and "The Other Side of Liverpool" (darker than most of Ringo's material,) and the actual interview, can be watched here (you can until 2/05/10, that is; the show is broken up into various video segments here). Overall, it was a fine time, and the sight alone of a healthy 70 year-old man actively and creatively living out his life made it for me.

Wednesday haiku - "One After 909"

A jangly rocker,
"One" is John and Paul's "train song",
which they wrote when young.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ringo in the news

Y Not was released today, and Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal recently sat down with Ringo to discuss it; both Rolling Stone and the LA Times found the album charmingly agreeable. Also, on Tuesday January 19th, Ringo will be performing at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, and this summer he'll be hitting the road with his All-Starrs (more details here).

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday haiku- "I've Got a Feeling"

It's two songs in one,
highlighting the stark contrast
between Paul and John.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Beatles potpourri

- Have a look at this favorable but almost defensive review of Y Not from the Detroit Free Press (right after it is a review of Vampire Weekend's sophomore release, Contra. Love the band; can't wait for the album).

- "It's The Beatles' World (We Just Live In It)"

- Read about (and, if you live in Canada, watch) the documentary, How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin.

- Some have doubts about the news that Yoko is all set to pen a memoir of her years with John.

- Bob Ruggiero of the Houston Press writes an even-handed review of a new Macca bio, Paul McCartney: A Life.

- Lastly, this article previews a three-day art exhibit - We All Shine On: The Artwork of John Lennon - that will be at the Miami Beach Community Church late next week. It also discusses John's legacy as a visual artist.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday Beatles potpourri

- Ringo is slated to appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon this Tuesday, the same day on which his new album Y Not will be released.

- More about the Fran Healy-Paul McCartney collaboration.

- On the origins of the album and movie name, A Hard Day's Night.

- Here's a glowing review of the soundtrack for Nowhere Boy.

- Lastly, the Beatles top this list of the " Top 10 Dead Rock Stars Alive in Miami."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, David Bowie

To mark his 63th birthday, here's a healthy serving of Beatles-related Bowie videos:

- "Fame" (co-written by John, though his contribution wasn't major)

- cover of "Imagine"

- cover of "Mother"

- cover of "Across the Universe"

Remastered "Rubber Soul"

As I did a while back with the remastered version of Help, I recently sat down with Rubber Soul, gave it a few attentive listens, and took some notes. No surprise: I didn't come away disappointed. I feel only more convicted in the view that Rubber Soul represents one of the two best front-to-back listening experiences of any Beatles album (the other top contender being Abbey Road; to be sure, Revolver isn't far behind). Concerning the digital upgrade, the improvements are once again very noticeable and welcome. The vocals hit your ears more crisply, and each component part of a song is much more distinguishable. I'm starting to think, though, that no Beatle has benefitted as much from the enhanced sound quality as Ringo. I trust there aren't many people who consider him a bad drummer, but for too long his talents have been glibly derided as unworthy of the rest of the band's. That line of thinking is nonsense. The digital remasters underscore what should be obvious: his contributions on the drum kit were both integral to the richness of the Beatles' music and innovative in their own right. Can you imagine "In My Life" without him?

Here are the rest of my thoughts:

- Along with a handful of other songs, "Drive My Car" showcases what a truly great rock 'n' roll voice Paul had. Brisk, direct, and somewhat unpolished around the edges, it could pack a level of vigor that was perhaps unexpected coming from the same guy who so plaintively sang "Yesterday." Any doubters need only listen to "Helter Skelter" for the ultimate confirmation.

- George's use of the sitar on "Norwegian Wood" is so expertly calibrated for the song's needs and aims. It could've been distracting, but instead it brings life to the song. It lends "Norwegian Wood" a texture that's shimmering while also sort of serrated. The atmosphere that results from this - one that's inviting like a pop song should be, but still a little different, a little weird - is fitting for the curious narrative that unfolds. As John himself admitted, it's an account of adultery. Or more precisely, it's a veiled confession of unfaithfulness directed at Cynthia. With the lyric, John doesn't elaborate much on what exactly happened, and some of the details he does supply only deepen the story's elusiveness. Like what exactly is meant by "norwegian wood?" Why does John sleep in the bathtub? Was it because his new acquaintance wouldn't have sex with him? And what does he light at the end? Was it just wood in a fireplace? Or did he feel so hotly spurned by this, um, dick tease that he set her house aflame (as some have intriguingly speculated)? George's sitar suitably guides the action of these events and adds to their sense of mystery. It also sounds really cool, and the digital upgrade only accentuates the crispness of each pluck on the instrument.

- There are few songs in the Beatles' catalogue that go down with the ease and charm of "Michelle." It's just surpassingly smooth, like an afternoon cocktail. It's cocktail-pop.

- I love this line from "What Goes On:" "It's so easy for a girl like you to lie." Coming from Ringo, it seems to take on added meaning. Maybe it feels truer.

- I've spoken the praises of "Girl" in the past, and each subsequent encounter I have with the song only seems to make me more and more smitten. At the risk of lapsing into hyperbole, I'd offer that it features flawless execution and deserves to be considered one of the Beatles' ten or fifteen greatest songs. Final comment: that guitar solo has an unmistakably Eastern European feel, and is mesmerizing.

- "In My Life" is another perfect entry on the album. It's uncommonly beautiful for a pop song, and makes for a moving experience. And as I mentioned above, Ringo is a major factor in its appeal. Especially when contrasted with the florid elegance of George Martin's piano solo (and especially on the remastered version), the stuttering snap and hiss of Ringo's drum part is a wonder to hear. Intuitively, the style he employs wouldn't seem to fit "In My Life." But, as it turns out, his drum-work provides a stunning counterpoint to the song's light and lush sounds. It serves as the anchor, keeping the rest of "In My Life" from more or less floating away.

- Lastly, although it's a nasty and sinister song, and John openly regretted writing it, "Run For Your Life" always gets me going. In fact, it's one of few Beatles songs that arouses something like a physical response from me. It builds up energy within and then makes me want to unleash it. Part of this is attributable to how punchily the song moves along. But I think more of it owes to John's vocal, which is utterly convincing. It's all too obvious that his abusive and vengeful words of warning come from an authentic place within him. For whatever reason, this translates into addictive energy.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Paul and Fran collaborate

Fran Healy, whose band Travis made one of the finest albums of the late '90s, The Man Who, recently borrowed the generous services of Macca for his upcoming solo debut, Wreckorder. Let me add that Travis' original name was Glass Onion.

Fran is recording his first solo album, Wreckorder, and persuaded THE BEATLES legend to feature.

He said: "One of the biggest coups was getting Paul McCartney to play bass on a song.

"I'm not sure what non-McCartney tunes he has played bass on but I couldn't think of many. Anyway, his bassline is brilliant."

Album sales for 2009

Predictably, it was a horrible year. But from a certain perspective, the news wasn't all doom-and-gloom. And the Beatles seemed to weather the storm like perhaps only they could.

Excerpt (from the third link):
In a year that featured new releases by U2, Green Day and Pearl Jam, it’s surprising that the year’s best-selling band is, well, no longer a band. As Rolling Stone previously reported, the Beatles’ best-of collection 1 was the decade’s top-selling album, and 40 years after the breakup, the Fab Four were amazingly also the top-selling act of 2009. Thanks to their remastered catalog, the Beatles sold 3,282,000 units in 2009 without the aid of digital music services, placing the group third behind Jackson and Swift and in front of Boyle on the 2009 top-selling artist chart. Additionally, Abbey Road was the year’s best-selling vinyl with 34,000 copies, beating out Jackson’s Thriller and Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Radiohead, however, was the year’s best-selling artists on vinyl with 45,700 records combined.

More on the Newark Airport episode

The security issue that stranded many travelers at Newark Airport over the weekend and gave rise to this delightful "Hey Jude" sing-a-long was apparently caused by a make-out sesh. The hazards of overeager affection . . . .

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Hey Jude" at Newark Airport

It's gone viral by this point, and it certainly deserves to be widely disseminated. I speak of the impromptu performance of "Hey Jude" that a musician named Josh Wilson led at Newark Airport this past Sunday. The travelers were stranded because of a security breach. To overcome their shared tedium, they conspired in a bit of a Beatles-fueled escapism.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What will come to light?

"Yoko Ono To Pen Memoirs"

The 76-year-old widow of the late former Beatle has revealed she will put pen to paper over the next few years and write an autobiography about her eventful life with John.

She said: "I would love to do it. I just have to find the time.

"It will be my next book, which will be written in the next five years."

Yoko - who was blamed by many Beatles' fans for causing the legendary band to split - previously claimed she wouldn't release a book for fear of hurting the families of people close to the group, including John's ex-wife Cynthia Lennon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Monday haiku - "Maggie Mae"

An old folk standard,
"Maggie Mae" is short, lively,
and about a tramp.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sir George

As the day draws to a close, I'd be remiss to not wish the true "Fifth Beatle" a Happy 84th Birthday. Dignified, loyal, and brilliant, Sir George Martin seems worthy of all the success and good fortune that has come his way, and what a blessing it is to be able to reach your 84th year in fine health. Here's a brief bio of the great producer.

2009 wrap-up

Over at the Beatles Examiner page, there's a year-in-review of all things Beatles (part 1, part 2, and part 3) and a wish-list for 2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Great non-Beatles song...

... with a random Beatles reference. The latest entry in this ongoing series comes from a band not for the faint-of-heart. Though they broke up in 2007 after a ten-year run, the Blood Brothers achieved some recognition on the indie scene by playing arty post-metal that was often wild-eyed and punishingly fierce. It was the kind of music that invited the exaggerated description, "It'll make your ears bleed." However, what made the Blood Brothers' music so compelling was the richly melodic turns it would take at times. Mixed in with the screeching and scorching sounds was a firm pop sensibility that could manifest itself quite unpredictably and lead to some haunting and graceful moments. Have a listen below.

The line: "John Lennon and the Rolling Stones crooning in plastic bags."
The song: "Spit Shine Your Black Clouds"

Friday, January 1, 2010

Name change

As you may have noticed, earlier in the day I changed the name of this site to The Daily Beatle. The former name, Beatlemania Revisited, was too labored and polysyllabic, and it reflected a vision I had for the blog that is now dated. I originally intended to just write about The Beatles' music, starting with Please Please Me and then moving ahead in chronological order. My writing was to focus on analyzing, critiquing, and celebrating the band's unmatched catalogue of songs. But that quickly went by the wayside as so much else of interest - Beatles news items, historical factoids, etc. - came to my attention and seemed worthy of note. So the content of the blog changed, and now the name has as well. If nothing else, it's a fresh start for 2010.