Friday, July 12, 2013

Happy Friday from Macca!

Was Paul the proto-hipster/indie popster?
Brandish (the site where I found the image above) thinks so.
Fast forward over forty years and there is a growing number of both critics and fans that rate Ram as the very best post Beatles solo album. Macca had in Ram delivered the template for much of what we now know as indie pop. It is all there; twee pop (Uncle Albert), folky acoustic strumming (Ram On), re-inventing the Beach Boys (Dear Boy), power pop (Too Many People). Music that delights in big melodies and that wears it tweeness as a badge of honour.
But also take a look at this pic. Macca wasn’t only light years ahead in his music,. He also delivered the template for men’s hipster fashion in 2013. Unkempt beard – check, Fair-isle jumper – check, retro camera -check, ironic tea drinking – check.
. . .
I'd add that, even before Ram, Paul was setting the stage for the independent music scene. McCartney, his solo debut, is very much a homespun, DIY affair. Or, expanding the scope of the inquiry, how about "The White Album" as a whole, with its kaleidoscopic variety and fizzy currents of whimsy? There's likely a compelling case to be made that it helped give birth to much of what falls under the rubric of indie pop.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Weekend viewing and reading

- Watch Paul - along with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins, George Martin, and other legends - play a sizable chunk of the Abbey Road medley at a benefit show back in 1997.
- Here's Why Don't We Do It in the Road, a five-minute documentary about the most storied zebra crossing in world history.
- Lastly, another snippet from the behind-the-scenes feature that accompanies the Help! Blu-ray release. Spoiler: The Beatles were naughty potheads in the mid-Sixties.
- "1963: The Year the Beatles Found Their Voice"
Excerpt: In 1963, the Beatles were exploding in England. Their debut LP, Please Please Me, came out in March, followed by their megahit single “She Loves You” in August. Their second album, With the Beatles, and another hit single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” followed in the fall. Screaming girls, throngs of fans, bushels of albums being sold—this was when it all started. But the Beatles were also a veritable human jukebox that year. One of their many commitments was to turn up semi-regularly at the BBC, horse around on air, read requests, make fun of each other, make fun of the presenter, and play live versions of whatever people wanted to hear, whether that was their own material or a vast range of covers: Elvis Presley numbers; obscure rhythm-and-blues songs by lost-to-time bands like the Jodimars; Broadway show tunes; Americana; vamps on Buddy Holly, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry; rearrangements of girl-group cuts; torch songs. If you wanted to hear what made the Beatles the Beatles, here is where you would want to start.
- More on that same topic here.
Excerpt: Well, I think people like to focus on [Sgt.] Pepper from '67, maybe Rubber Soul from '65 or Revolver from '66. But if you wanted to know what The Beatles liked, what they listened to, what they were trying to become and, in large part, who they already were and who they would be, the '63 BBC recordings would be your one-stop shopping destination. When they tackled ... a crucial rock 'n' roll text like Elvis' "That's All Right, Mama," you can hear that they keep elements of the past — that burnished country tone that Elvis' band excelled at — but they've added a sort of stomping, northern soul element to it. So they're really overhauling the past.