Friday, November 30, 2012

The most Beatles-esque Beach Boys song?

The title surely belongs to "Girl Don't Tell Me," a Brian-penned, Carl-sung track from Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!). It's been said that Brian actually wrote the song for The Beatles, but I'm not sure this has been verified. Either way, in the guitar breaks and the escalating vocal parts, it quickly calls to mind "Ticket to Ride." The lyric too is very Lennon-esque, with the male lead bemoaning the lies of his ex-crush and vowing to forget her. Underrated song.
For more posts on The Beatles and the Beach Boys, go here.
(If the video is removed, go here.)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"None of life's strings can last"

Here's one for George, from George. He died 11 years ago today. RIP
(If the video is removed, go here.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paul on John's image

Paul's been chatty of late. Below is an excerpt from another interview that he recently did, this one with David Lister of The Independent:
McCartney says touchingly: “There is this period of John which is all pre-Beatles, pre-huge fame, pre-drugs – and it is another John completely – that was always there right until the end. He got much sweeter, too, once he settled in New York. Once he was reunited with Yoko, and they had Sean, he became this sweet personalty again then when he was more comfortable with himself. But the acerbic John is the one we know and love, you know, because he was clever with it, so it was very attractive. But, for me, I have more than a slight affection for the John that I knew then, when we were first writing songs, when we would try and do things the old songwriters had done. I slightly regret the way John's image has formed, and because he died so tragically it has become set in concrete. The acerbic side was there but it was only part of him. He was also such a sweet, lovely man – a really sweet guy.”
. . .
I think Paul is both off-target and asking too much here. If any image of John predominates in the popular mind, it's Imagine John, the bespectacled secular saint who promoted peace, universal brotherhood and, of course, bagism. John the Salty Wiseguy will always take a backseat to this more high-minded figure. Secondly, Paul may lament that John the Sweetheart doesn't get more coverage, but such is life/posthumous PR for someone who had so many different sides to him. Branching off a bit, I wonder what it means to talk about the "real" John Lennon. It strikes me as an elusive concept because John's personality consisted of many moving parts. Some combination of nature and nurture shaped him into a complex individual. And he was a dabbler too, which pushed him in a variety of directions and sometimes made his complexity seem more like incoherence. (I think of "Count me" from "Revolution.") The end result is that the assorted images we have of John are all true to a certain degree but somewhat overstated as well. I suppose this was part of Paul's point. Fascinating topic.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend reading

Hunter Davies: "Why I didn't tell the whole truth about the Beatles"
I have to admit, though, that I didn’t mention groupies in the book or make any references to what happened in dressing rooms and hotel bedrooms in the UK and around the world. Should I have done? No one asked me at the time to omit such things. It was my decision. Three of the Beatles were married, happily as far as I could see, while Paul was engaged to Jane Asher. It seemed unfair to embarrass them by going into what had happened while they were touring, which they had now given up. Most people over the age of 25 in the 1960s were aware of what happened between rock stars and groupies. I felt no need to go into it.
A few years later, John was owning up about the orgies, to Wenner and others, and about what beasts they’d all been – the Beatles and most pop stars of the time and DJs, too – despite their lovely, if cheeky, image.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The biggest Beatles non-story in a while

I'm late to this (non)news bit, but I want to comment anyway.
In an interview with David Frost that will air later today on Al Jazeera English, Paul made it clear that he doesn't hold Yoko responsible for The Beatles' split. Reiterating a fact that should be pretty obvious, Paul stated, "She certainly didn't break the group up. The group was breaking up." Translation: The Beatles broke up The Beatles. History agrees. Yes, John was the driving force; and yes, he was married to Yoko - an arrangement that by no means helped the band stay together - but ultimately the seed of The Beatles' demise came from within the group. Outside factors, like Brian Epstein's death, the Apple debacle, Yoko, Allen Klein, etc., simply fueled the inevitable.
Even if some of the finer details are lost on casual fans, the silliness of the Yoko myth should still be easy to grasp, which is partly why I called Paul's remark a "non-story." The other reason I did so is this: what else would you expect him to say? Consider the matter from Paul's perspective. He has an image to maintain and a legacy to protect. Paul is the cute and smiley Beatle. He's Mr. Silly Love Songs. He's the ne plus ultra of youthful and buoyant 70 year-old rock 'n' roll legends. His brand is all about love and good will and the joy of music. The point is, he knows he could harm his reputation by engaging in a public skirmish with Yoko. He would come off as a bitter and resentful old man, that cheery disposition just a facade concealing pent-up ill-will. There's also the small matter of business dealings related to The Beatles. It's an industry unto itself, and it requires the cooperation of the four estates. As the legal caretaker of John's legacy, Yoko is in a position to undermine any efforts on that front. If Paul believed that Yoko was the guilty party (which I don't think he does) or if he harbored some bad blood toward her (which, to one degree or another, seems likely), wouldn't it still be best for him to let sleeping dogs lie? Paul said what he said because it's the truth and because he doesn't have much of a choice.