Friday, December 31, 2010

Friday haiku - "I've Just Seen a Face"

A brisk country tune
that almost sounds like bluegrass,
"Face" finds Paul smitten.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Unlike the Abbey Road crossing...

... the house where Ringo was born was denied a preservation order. As of now, it's still set to be demolished at some point in 2011.

A spokesperson for English Heritage said: "The decision not to recommend 9 Madryn Street, Ringo Starr's former home, was taken because the house has no associations with the success of The Beatles as a group, was only lived in by Ringo Starr for four years after his birth and is not architecturally or historically significant enough to match listing criteria."

To no surprise, this decision is not sitting well with many Beatles fans.

Beatles tourism guide Philip Coppell, Chairman for the Save Madryn Street campaign, said: "English Heritage have shown their intellectual ignorance with this decision.

"Years ago we had to fight before they would agree to put a blue plaque on John Lennon's home in Menlove Avenue. Here again they have shown that they do not understand the reality of what is important to the ordinary people of Liverpool and to Beatles fans all over the world.

"We are not at all daunted by this and we will continue our fight to preserve Madryn Street for posterity.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wednesday haiku - "Tell Me What You See"

The highlight of "Tell":
Paul's electric piano,
which adds bright color.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Yoko speaks on a wide range of topics

"'I didn't break up the Beatles. My small hand could not have broken these men up': The world according to Yoko Ono"

John and I separated for a year in 1973 (he began an affair with his PA, May Pang), but Paul brought us back together. He spoke to me, he spoke to John, he got John to come back and understand the door was open. It was a very big thing Paul did for us. Paul has a very sweet side and he and I have made our peace. We are both business partners in Apple, and we speak and things are good between us. We know each other very well, and while we’ve had differences in the past, there was never a rift as people think. It was never so black and white.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday haiku - "You Like Me Too Much"

George did his girl wrong,
but he knows she won't leave him:
she likes him "too much".

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great non-Beatles song...

... with a random Beatles reference. Many critics are hailing Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as the album of the year. And I would agree: it's beautiful, dark, and twisted (not to mention ambitious) pop music that perhaps only Kanye could fashion. The album's second track, "Gorgeous," is the one that contains the Beatles reference. It arrives in the form of these lyrics:

They rewrite history/ I don't believe in yesterday/
And what's a black beetle anyway/ A fucking roach.

Obvious enough, right?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Though it's loathed by many...

,,, I still feel compelled to post Paul's "Wonderful Christmastime." 'Tis the season, after all.

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Happy Christmas II

The first part of this video shows U2 playing a cover of John's Yuletide classic.

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Happy Christmas

"Happy Christmas (War Is Over)"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Merry Christmas

"Christmas Time (Is Here Again)"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Friday haiku - "It's Only Love"

One of John's habits
was to judge his songs harshly,
e.g., he loathed "Love."

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"the icing on the cake" (of a great year)

Such was Paul's reaction to the news that the iconic Abbey Road crosswalk has been named a "protected site" by the UK government.

More here.

The street crossing in the St. John’s Wood neighborhood is the first of its kind ever to be listed as protected, John Penrose, the U.K.’s minister for tourism and heritage, said in a statement today.

Thousands of tourists every year flock to the Abbey Road street crossing and adjacent Abbey Road studios, where the Beatles recorded most of their songs. The studio buildings were listed as protected by the English Heritage office in February, days after reports that owner EMI Group Plc was trying to sell the site to cut debt.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday haiku - "Act Naturally"

A twangy cover,
"Act" lets Ringo have some fun
at his own expense.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday haiku - "Ticket to Ride"

With its thick rhythm
and unique, sped-up outro,
"Ticket" broke new ground.

Paul in London and Liverpool

Closing out his busy touring schedule for 2010, Paul played at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo on Saturday and at Liverpool's O2 Academy last night. Click on the links for reviews.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Worth a read

"John Lennon vs. Bono: The death of the celebrity activist"

Is there a celebrity activist today who matches Lennon's impact and appeal? The closest counterpart to Lennon now is U2's Bono, another transcendent musical talent championing another cause: the battle against global poverty. But there is a fundamental difference between Lennon's activism and Bono's, and it underscores the sad evolution of celebrity activism in recent years.

Lennon was a rebel. Bono is not.

Lennon's protests against the war in Vietnam so threatened the U.S. government that he was hounded by the FBI, police and immigration authorities. He was a moral crusader who challenged leaders whom he thought were doing wrong. Bono, by contrast, has become a sort of celebrity policy expert, supporting specific technical solutions to global poverty. He does not challenge power but rather embraces it; he is more likely to appear in photo ops with international political leaders - or to travel through Africa with a Treasury secretary - than he is to call them out in a meaningful way.

Monday haiku - "You're Going to Lose That Girl"

Though it feels jaunty,
"Lose" is packed with taunts from John:
he might steal "that girl".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday haiku - "Another Girl"

When Paul makes the claim,
"I don't take what I don't want",
he's channeling John.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another take on Paul's 100 Club gig

This review, from The Telegraph's Neil McCormick, is more detailed than the one I posted yesterday.

"Do you wanna save the 100 Club?" he asked the small, ecstatic crowd, but seemed vague on how that might be achieved. "Speak to Mr Hundred," he suggested.

Macca has retained an affection for small venues, periodically popping up in clubs and student halls, reminiscing about his days in Hamburg and the Cavern. His fame has made him a stadium superstar but tight spaces serve him just as well. Stripped of all the lights, video screens and pyrotechnics, he revels in his role as the leader of a hot, rocking band of virtuoso musicians with the greatest song catalogue in pop history to draw on.

More on "Run for Your Life"

Returning to the several weeks-old topic of “Run for Your Life:”

It’s interesting to consider “Run,” with its baldly misogynistic posture, in the broader context of Rubber Soul. The presence of songs like "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "Girl," both of which give depictions of presumably attractive, intelligent, or otherwise compelling women whom John has fallen for, muddies the impression of him as a thoroughgoing chauvinist. On both songs, John essentially admits he couldn't compete with the powerful charms of these females, and he comes away from the experiences frustrated, chastened, defeated. In these instances anyway, it’s clear he doesn’t see himself as inherently superior to members of the opposite sex; how could he? On "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)," he finds himself in such an exasperated state – read: outmatched – that, according to some interpretations of the song, he burns down his counterpart’s house. On "Girl," he’s smitten with a woman who routinely mistreats him and makes a fool of him. The problem is he just can’t help himself; she’s rendered him impotent.

With all of this in mind, perhaps we can loosely read "Run for Your Life" as an outgrowth of John’s frustration. He’s been bested several times and feels he must reassert control; he does so by unleashing hateful anger on a lover he disparagingly calls “little girl.” Thus, he closes the album with an ugly kind of equilibrium achieved.


Saturday haiku - "I Need You"

For his guitar part,
George used a volume pedal,
which gives "Need" texture.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weekend reading

Gibson: "The Great Album The Beatles Nearly Made"

For many Beatles fans, 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band represents the pinnacle of the Fab Four’s achievements. Densely textured, sublimely arranged and packed with some of Lennon and McCartney’s best songs, the disc remains a touchstone for every pop band that puts a premium on melody and craftsmanship. Incredibly, however, as writer Philip Norman and even Sir George Martin have pointed out, The Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece might have been even better, had some grievous missteps not occurred.

The Boss, "When I'm Sixty-Four," etc.

I'm a big fan of Bruce Springsteen, but it wasn't until recently that I became well-acquainted with his 1980 double album, The River. In my view, it's among his best. One of my favorite tracks is "Hungry Heart,” which I call attention to because, the first time I heard it, I immediately thought of "When I'm Sixty-Four." It's all in the vocal. When the Boss enters on "Hungry Heart," it doesn't sound quite right. That’s because his voice was sped up for the recording, which resulted in a higher pitch and an overall younger-sounding vocal. The parallels to "When I'm Sixty-Forty" are obvious: Paul had the same modification done to his voice, with the same result.

The song's connection to The Beatles doesn't end there. Wikipedia: "On the day of his murder in December 1980, John Lennon said he thought 'Hungry Heart' was 'a great record' and even compared it to his single '(Just Like) Starting Over.'"

Give it a listen:

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Paul at the 100 Club

NME reports on the "lunchtime gig" that Paul played earlier today in London.

The show was the smallest the former Beatle had played since he performed at the Cavern Club in his native Liverpool in 1999. The London venue has a capacity of 300 – with The Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood among the audience members for the show.

Billed on tickets as A Packed Lunch At The 100 Club, McCartney played a 28-song set, kicking off just after 1pm (GMT). He greeted the crowd with a casual "Alright?", joking that his slightly late arrival was due to the traffic.

After he said that he thought the 100 Club, which is under threat of closure, needed to be saved, a shout of, "Why don't you buy it?" came from the crowd. "You buy it, I'll rent it!" the Liverpool legend quipped back.

With a plea for "No heckling, now!", he and his band launched into 'Matchbox', a Carl Perkins song that the Fab Four used to cover back in 1961.

News dump #2

More on John:
- "Behind Cosell’s Announcement of Lennon’s Death"

- "Sharing the Dakota With John Lennon"

- "CIA link to John Lennon death possible says new documentary"

- "Sean Lennon on John Lennon: 'My dad was one of a kind'"

- "Liverpool’s vigil following the death of John Lennon 30 years ago (GALLERY)"

- "Yoko Ono reveals feeling of guilt over John Lennons death"

- "Yoko Ono Recreates John Lennon's 'War Is Over' Poster in 100 Languages"

- "John Lennon suit to fetch $120,000 at auction"

- "'God' ft. Jeff Tweedy (John Lennon Cover)"

- "Revealed: How the wife of John Lennon’s killer still stands by him 30 years on...."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Paul to play "small club gig" this Friday

The "intimate" concert will be at London's famed 100 Club, where Paul has never played. Tickets went on sale this morning and sold out "in mere seconds."

Due to financial losses, the 100 Club is under threat of closure; Paul is aiming to help reverse its fortunes.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Paul at the Apollo

A recap.

"The holy grail, dreamed of playing here for years!" he told the crowd after opening with his five-piece band on Magical Mystery Tour and Jet. (One audience member held up a sign reading, "Welcome to the A-Paul-O.")

In the seats: Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones (who sat next to each other), Jerry Seinfeld, Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Martha Stewart, Brian Williams, Kevin Bacon, John McEnroe, David Byrne, Steven Van Zandt, Jann Wenner, Lorne Michaels, members of Duran Duran, and Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough.

Tuesday haiku - "The Night Before"

Paul keeps vague on "Night":
was he spurned by his girlfriend
or a one-night stand?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Howard Cosell, "MNF," and John's death

Read and watch here.

And yet the information that Dec. 8, 1980, night was almost not aired because broadcasters were divided about whether to tell viewers during a football game (as John Smith, the NFL's only Englishman and a Beatles fan, was attempting a field goal for the New England Patriots late in the game). ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has an audio clip of a brief in-game, off-camera conversation among Cosell, Gifford and ABC producers about just what they should do.

Cosell, who was not someone who suffered the opinions of former jocks gladly, differed with Gifford, who argued that Cosell had to broadcast the news. Gifford prevailed, saying: "If we know it, we've gotta do it. This is gonna shake up the whole world."

Paul on "SNL"

Macca was busy on Saturday Night Live, playing five songs - "Jet," "Band on the Run," "A Day in the Life/"Give Peace a Chance," and "Get Back" - in addition to joining the show's host, Paul Rudd, and a few cast members for a number of skits. Kudos on the Camilla Parker-Bowles impersonation, Paul.

Read more here, and watch various videos here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday haiku - "Help!"

Full of urgency,
"Help!" makes clear the strain John felt
from fame and success.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My favorite song by John, the Solo Artist

The vocal melody of this song is stunning, and John's vulnerability renders him so sympathetic.

"Jealous Guy"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Paul on Fallon last night; "SNL" tomorrow

- Go here to watch Paul and Jimmy Fallon do a "scrambled" version of "Yesterday" as well as Macca's tribute to John in the form of "Here Today."

- And just a reminder: Paul will be the musical guest on SNL this weekend; Paul Rudd, who played John Lennon in the biopic parody Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, will host.

John's death and the Left

Many on the Left can't turn down the opportunity to preach gun control in the context of John's murder. The arguments are typically made in good faith, but I find them tiresome. Two examples follow.

1) David Corn of Mother Jones: "John Lennon's Murder 30 Years Later: A Remembrance"

It is now 25 years later. John Lennon is still dead. (And so is George Harrison.) The NRA years ago moved to a bigger and better headquarters in suburban Virginia. The gun lobby has had its ups and downs, but it's been mostly ups of late (such as the expiration of the ban on assault weapons). Lennon's death, it turns out, was no catalyst for action. And we have still—after all this time—not learned how to stem the tide of gun violence. Which is one of several reasons why this anniversary of Lennon's death is a sad day.

2) Tony Norman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Lennon's legacy lost among gun passions"

It is hard to exaggerate the amount of visceral disgust at guns that John Lennon's murder generated in those days before the NRA had an unbreakable chokehold on the U.S. Congress. It was a sentiment that would resurface the following spring after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan.

Looking back on Lennon's murder 30 years later, it is interesting to note how the gun angle has nearly completely receded in mainstream remembrances and news coverage.

A CIA job?

Outlandish conspiracy theories often surface in the wake of prominent assassinations. The case of John's murder is no exception. A new book, John Lennon — Life, Times And Assassination, proposes the notion of a CIA hit on John with Mark David Chapman as the stooge.

In a new book, author Phil Strongman claims that Chapman was a stooge. Lennon’s real assassin was the CIA — at the behest of Right-wing fanatics in the American political establishment.

He gets to this controversial conclusion by contesting many of the so-called ‘facts’ about the case — including the basic assumption that Chapman was a Beatles and Lennon fan.

. . .

Chapman, he suggests, had been recruited by the CIA and trained by them during his travels round the world, when he mysteriously pitched up in unlikely places for a boy from Georgia.

How strange, for example, that Chapman should visit Beirut at a time when the Lebanese capital was a hive of CIA activity — and was said to be home to one of the agency’s top-secret assassination training camps. Another camp
was supposedly in Hawaii, where Chapman lived for a number of years.

And who funded the penniless young man’s round-the-world trip in 1975, which took in Japan, the UK, India, Nepal, Korea, Vietnam and China?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Paul to play two X-mas shows

It was recently announced that Paul has added two performances to his schedule for December. The first will be at the HMV Apollo in London on the 18th, and the second at the 02 Academy in Liverpool on the 20th. Both shows sold out in a hurry, breaking box office records.

These concerts will see Paul scale back his massive stadium shows for intimate evenings of rock n’ roll as he performs the best-loved songs in the world.

Fans celebrate John in NYC

From the UK's Guardian:

One such fan is Daniel Garza, 24. The chef had travelled from San Antonio, Texas, just to pay tribute to Lennon.

He said he felt both sad and happy and that Lennon's legacy of music and striving for peace lived on.

"The mourning period is over. Thirty years is plenty of time. Now it is just remembrance. The music will live forever and so will his ideas," said Garza, wearing a Lennon T-shirt.

The mood at Strawberry Fields was a mix of sombreness and happiness.

Many tourists, mingling with mourners and journalists, took photographs. Others stood silently, clasping their hands together or laying flowers and saying brief prayers. One woman knelt on the ground and sang along to Wilson's music. Another man stood quietly holding a sign stating: CIA killed Lennon.

"Rubber Soul" ...

... in haiku form.

1) "Drive My Car"
2) "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"
3) "You Won't See Me"
4) "Nowhere Man"
5) "Think for Yourself"
6) "The Word"
7) "Michelle"
8) "What Goes On"
9) "Girl"
10) "I'm Looking Through You"
11) "In My Life"
12) "Wait"
13) "If I Needed Someone"
14) "Run for Your Life"

John's final "Rolling Stone" interview ...

... will hit newsstands soon. Previously, only snippets of the interview had gone to print; tomorrow, it will be available in its entirety as part of Rolling Stone's tribute to John.

Here's the quote that has been getting the most play:
In the remarkably candid interview Lennon lashes out at fans and critics who went after him during his five-year break from music. "What they want is dead heroes, like Sid Vicious and James Dean," Lennon says. "I'm not interested in being a dead fucking forget 'em, forget 'em."

Go here for more.

Who was the "real" John Lennon?

It's a perplexing question, as John underwent multiple transformations and had a tendency to renounce past statements and actions. He even turned on most of his musical output with The Beatles. In death, he certainly remains a mystery.

Below are two articles that attempt to undo the work of overawed fans and hagiographers, and arrive at something close to the authentic John Lennon. I particularly recommend the second one.

1) "I remember the real John Lennon, not the one airbrushed by history"

Yet as he lay dying, and his killer hung around waiting for the police to arrest him and thereby anoint him with the celebrity he craved, something new was beginning.

It was the notion of John Lennon the myth, Lennon the martyr, Lennon the super genius, Lennon the real talent behind the Beatles, Lennon the man who saw through everything, Lennon the avant garde artist and Lennon the gentle, peace loving guy who prayed for the world.

Well, I knew John Lennon, and I liked him a lot. He was very kind and generous to me. I was about to fly out to New York and interview him when I got the call in the middle of the night, UK time, to tell me he’d been shot, so I wept many a tear that day.

But for the past three decades the man I’ve been reading about has grown less and less like the John Lennon I knew and, generally, more and more like some character out of Butler’s Lives Of The Saints.

2) "Stop Imagining"

This was not the ’60s revolutionary who hung out with Yippies and Black Panthers. Not only did Lennon dismiss his earlier efforts, he rejected the entire idea of social change through political action. “I have never voted for anybody, anytime, ever,” he said. “Even at my most so-called political. I have never registered and I never will. It’s going to make a lot of people upset, but that’s too bad.”

“I dabbled in so-called politics in the late Sixties and Seventies more out of guilt than anything,” he revealed. “Guilt for being rich, and guilt thinking that perhaps love and peace isn’t enough and you have to go and get shot or something, or get punched in the face, to prove I’m one of the people. I was doing it against my instincts.”

For Lennon, the political gave way to the personal and what he saw as a much more important, difficult battle. “The hardest thing is facing yourself,” he told Rolling Stone. “It’s easier to shout ‘Revolution’ and ‘Power to the people’ than it is to look at yourself and try to find out what’s real inside you and what isn’t, when you’re pulling the wool over your own eyes. That’s the hardest one.”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

My favorite song ever written by John Lennon

"I'm So Tired"

(If the video is removed, go here.)

In remembrance

All three of these pieces are from today's New York Times.

1) Yoko:
It was nice to be up in the middle of the night, when there was no sound in the house, and sip the tea John would make. One night, however, John said: “I was talking to Aunt Mimi this afternoon and she says you are supposed to put the hot water in first. Then the tea bag. I could swear she taught me to put the tea bag in first, but ...”

“So all this time, we were doing it wrong?”

“Yeah ...”

We both cracked up. That was in 1980. Neither of us knew that it was to be the last year of our life together.

2) Ray Davies of the Kinks:
A few days later, I had to leave for Paris for a tour with my band, the Kinks. When I arrived, I went straight into an early-morning session of interviews. One journalist wanted to play me records and have me review them. After a couple of tracks, he played me the first single from the new John Lennon-Yoko Ono album. I sat and listened, but my attention was drawn to the image of Yoko standing alone in the cold a few days before.

The track finished and the room fell silent. I said that I had heard some of the album on the radio and had not been particularly struck by anything so far, but eventually, as with all of John’s work, something would grab me and stay in my head forever. The journalist took a deep breath and announced that John had died the previous night. Shot while going into his apartment building.

I felt cheated, bitter, foolish — and ambushed by the reporter. It must have happened while I was traveling. I thought back to when I was a 17-year-old student in the recreation room at art college and heard John sing “Twist and Shout” on the record player, and how I was blown away by his directness. How his voice cut through all the nonsense and sent a message to me that said, “If I can do it then so can you, so get up off your backside and play some rock ’n’ roll,” as if to throw down a musical gauntlet.

3) The Editorial Board:
It was a new kind of death — not a political assassination like the ones that claimed the Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King Jr.; not the self-immolation that took down Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. Lennon survived the ’60s and ’70s, and by 1980 he was living in New York City as normally, as modestly, as he and his wife, Yoko Ono, could. Then a deranged young man, Mark David Chapman, found a secular scripture in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and shot Lennon in hopes of becoming Holden Caulfield.


Nobody reading this blog should need a reminder of what today is. We all know it was on this day in 1980 that John Lennon, then just a 40 year-old New Yorker happily weighed down by the demands of both fatherhood and a newly revived music career, perished at the hands of Mark David Chapman. Right when John was finding his greatest measure of contentment and satisfaction in life, he was robbed of everything. And just like that, The Beatles were irrevocably shattered.

There are many versions of John Lennon for fans to admire and worship; he's something of a Rorschach test. I prefer the one that's de-romanticized, un-deified, and stripped of politics. When I think of John Lennon, I think of a brilliant songwriter - he was the force behind so much incredible music - and a middle-aged husband and father who was determined not to repeat the grave mistakes of his past. The crusader for peace and justice? That Lennon doesn't appeal to me in the same way, as it seems constructed not purely of flesh and blood but rather a lot of fashionable posing and myth-making. (And I'm typically leery of utopianism.) I most respect the Lennon who said to his fans, "I’m not here for you. I’m here for me and her (Yoko) and the baby." To each his own, obviously.

Of course, through his music, John will always be here for us. Through his music, we can always celebrate the complex, contradictory, obscenely gifted, witty, emotionally messy, unfailingly human, and loving individual that John Winston Ono Lennon was.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tuesday haiku - "Run for Your Life"

John came to hate "Run":
it's a vengeful, sexist threat
against a girl's life.

Reflections on Lennon

1) In a penetrating piece, Newsweek analyzes the innovations John brought to the way that celebrities deal with their celebrity.

The hullabaloo is a reminder that Lennon, one of the most innovative musicians of the last century, was also a pioneer of fame—a man who courted, commented on, used, retreated from, and was finally consumed by his own gargantuan renown. In the process, he expanded our notion of what stardom could mean, and of what effect it could have. “Our life is our art,” Lennon and Yoko Ono told Rolling Stone three days before he died—a novel sentiment in the days before reality TV. As the Kardashian industrial complex tightens its grip on our culture, it’s worth reconsidering the lessons of Lennon’s celebrity, both the ones we’ve learned and the ones we’re at risk of forgetting.

. . .

In the midst of the maelstrom, irony became Lennon’s first line of defense. It was also the engine of his allure. From the start, he regarded his own fame with an air of amused detachment, analyzing and mocking the hysterical new mode of stardom he’d come to embody as though he were watching it from one step away.

2) John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute explores a similar theme.

By 1980, Lennon had dispensed with being Beatle John. He had thrown off the trappings of his celebrity image. As he said in a radio interview that year, "I'm not putting out an image of this person who knows all." And in his last Rolling Stone interview in 1980: "I cannot live up to other people's expectations of me because they are illusionary."

3) The Irish Independent examines how John's death affected the Lennon-McCartney rivalry.

Chapman's bullets had turned an icon into a near-mythical figure, and history began to rewrite itself accordingly. Every story needs a baddie, though. And while Chapman served as the short-term whipping boy, the real villain would turn out to be Lennon's own best friend; the man with whom he shared the most famous songwriting credit-line of the 20th Century.

Paul McCartney did himself no favours when asked for a reaction to Lennon's death the following day. Exiting a recording studio in London, he simply mumbled: "It's a drag."

Paul's role as The Baddie Beatle was set, his reaction interpreted as callous, indifferent and -- most ludicrously of all -- triumphant. It didn't matter that his minimalistic words were borne out of pressure or shock; the split that began during the band's heyday, when teenage girls would argue over which member they'd rather go out with, had come to its widest point at the saddest juncture.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday haiku - "If I Needed Someone"

In its guitarwork,
"Someone" calls to mind the Byrds,
whom George admired.

Paul feted in DC

Macca was among this year's Kennedy Center Honorees, all of whom have (ostensibly) distinguished themselves by "their lifetime of contributions to American culture." Included in this revered subset was Oprah (?), who idolized The Beatles as a youngster.

Two days before the ceremony, Oprah had confessed that, as a welfare kid living in a two-room flat in Milwaukee, the only decorations in her room were Beatles posters – and she loved Paul. Asked about the story during cocktail hour at the State Department, McCartney joked that she used that poster to control his mind.

"She told me that she would send me telepathic messages," he said. He paused, cocking his head. "I think she's sending one right now."

More details on the event are here:
The former Beatle was making his second visit to Washington this year for a culture award. In June, he won the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.

"You know, great things just come in bundles," he said.

Gwen Stefani, dressed in a gray "Fab Four-style" pant suit, and her band, No Doubt, opened the musical set with "Hello, Goodbye." Dave Grohl and Norah Jones sang "Maybe I'm Amazed."

In what's perhaps a first, Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler performed an "Abbey Road" medley live. Show producer George Stevens Jr. said The Beatles never performed it live after the recording was made.

"I've done a lot of things and been a lot of places," Tyler said. "But I've never been prouder than I am standing right here at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Abbey Road."

James Taylor and Mavis Staples closed out the show with "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude." They had McCartney — and the president — on their feet the entire time.

Afterward, Paul was interviewed and had this to say:
I must admit, someone had to tell me what an honor the Kennedy Center Honors were. Obviously, I would know it’s connected with President Kennedy. That’s an era and a president that we were fans of. You knew something was attached to it. But I had to be educated that this is the one, the big American honor.

It's a huge honor, it’s nice to get. I don’t think just 'cause I've had a few now -- I don’t think you get too blase. You still end up showing off to people. 'Oh yeah, I’m getting a Kennedy award. I just got a Gershwin.' I do show off about it. Obviously it means something.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday haiku - "Wait"

Recorded for Help!,
"Wait" wound up on Rubber Soul
and feels out of place.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Saturday haiku - "In My Life"

It's John's reflection -
a warm, heartfelt reflection -
on youth, loss, and love.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday haiku - "I'm Looking Through You"

"Through" shows Paul bitter:
he's smarting from girlfriend woes
and doling out blame.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Out, out, brief candle"

As we approach the 30th anniversary of John's death, we're going to come across many news bits about that fateful day. Here are two:

- "John Lennon's last day.. as told by the people who were with him"

- "I held John Lennon's heart in my hand': Doctor reveals murdered Beatle's final moments"

Thursday haiku - "Girl"

Though playful at times,
"Girl" tells of a cruel lass
whom John can't get past.

GRAMMY nominees announced

Among those directly relevant to the blog are these:
- The Beatles Stereo Box Set in the category of Best Historical Album.

- Paul's rendition of "Helter Skelter" off his live album Good Evening New York City in the category of Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.

- A cover of "Imagine" by Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, Jeff Beck, and Oumou Sangare in the category of Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.

All of the nominees for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards can be found here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"a real living part of me"

The excerpt below comes from a letter that John wrote to Cynthia in 1965. Julian published the correspondence in his recently released book, Beatles Memorabilia: The Julian Lennon Collection.

“I can’t wait to see him (Julian), I miss him more than ever – I think it is been a slow process feeling like a real father! I spend hours in dressing rooms thinking about the times I’ve wasted not being with him – and playing with him. I keep thinking of those stupid b*****d times when I keep reading bloody newspapers and other s**t whilst he’s in the room with me and I’ve decided it’s ALL wrong.”

Go here for more.