Since the beginning of the band’s existence, in both songwriting and appearance, it was clear that the Jam owed an incredible amount of debt to the My Generation era of the Who. From their impeccable covers of “Disguises” and to their preference for to appear in stylish Mod dress at all times, the Jam could very much have been considered the most authentic representation of true British punk in the late 1970’s, especially when considering their relative lack of success in the States. Where the Sex Pistols and the Clash (among others) became well-known ambassadors of the UK’s version of the genre, it was the Jam’s well-honed mixture of stylistic complexity and Weller’s witty, satirical lyrics a la Ray Davies, that the Jam were perhaps too smart to be the kind of punk that people expected.
But where they didn’t quite fit in with the rest, they excelled as a class of their own. But in one song in particular, the band shows that they’re perfectly fine being aligned with the older guard of British rockers, by being able to build upon their concepts and techniques and create something for the young gobbers to ponder to while they pogo.
After the Jump: Addressing an tired old theme for a new generation of mods and rockers alike.
For the first time in decades, the thought of the Beatles’ respective children uniting and forming a group to honor the work their fathers have laid before them had become a very real possibility. James McCartney, son of Sir Paul, has emerged, only fairly recently on the music scene with his own efforts — predominantly EPs — since 2010 (he also contributed to three of Paul’s solo records in the 1990’s) that were well received. Still, much like his father and his ability to co-lead, he’s made the first statement that a Beatles Junior band is potentially in the works.
On one hand, this ensures the world that as long as the Beatles’ and their children (and, extrapolating here, solely on the basis of the current popularity of sex) are fruitful and multiplying, we will always have the world’s greatest rock band, both in their original essence and in their progeny’s ability to look like their dads and play instruments. But the question is, is this really something to be excited about? Is this something that can be held to the original band’s standards, or the expectations of their output — both then AND now?! It would seem to me that just because you grow up born with some rose-tinted glasses before your eyes doesn’t mean you can just come along and assume a mantle that was earned a very long ago, and one that has since been embellished in tribute by everyone who takes the Beatles as seriously as, oh, I don’t know, the rest of the planet.
After the Jump: The Beatles 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold.
Dead Man Walkin', Talkin', and Performin' Hits of His Long and Distinguished Career.
At this point, what needs to be said about seeing Paul McCartney live nowadays? That, at the age of 69, he still has energy and passion to perform songs and entertain an audience that consists mostly of older women who want to make sure he’s still got it? Or that the Beatles and Wings tunes still sound incredible, even with just a small backing band? There’s nothing anymore than needs to be said about Paul McCartney, other than that other critics should recognize just how special his music really is. Yes, it’s commercially viable stuff, and more light hearted than the angry John, spiritually enlightened George, or ‘gee-he’s-just-trying-his-best Ringo,’ who often gets better reviews than Paul. The fact is that the man still has a passion for all of his music, and appreciates putting it on for his fans, and even without going into a full recap, I will tell you that my mind was blown at how amazing he truly is.
But yes, a more thorough review is after the jump.
In what may be the most devastating news to left-leaning Americans since John F. Kennedy rose from the dead to vote Republican (remember that?), an upcoming documentary claims that John Lennon was not always steadfast in his radical views as fans perceived him to be. In fact, he was embarrassed of his former self by the time he entered the 1980’s, and secretly supported Ronald Reagan.
A True Working Class Hero is Non-Union.
According to Fred Seaman, an assistant to the former Beatle, Lennon was more likely to get a rise out of provoking liberals into debate and playing devil’s advocate. “John . . . made it very clear that if he were an American he would vote for Reagan because he was really sour on Jimmy Carter,” the assistant said. He goes on to say, “He was a very different person back in 1979 and 80 than he’d been when he wrote Imagine. By 1979 he looked back on that guy and was embarrassed by that guy’s naivete.”
All this and more can be seen in the new documentary, Beatles Stories, from director Seth Swirsky.
Not to take the wind out of anybody’s sails, or affirm John Lennon as being a closeted conservative, I will say that this seems more likely to be a part of John’s well-known habit of being so provocative, and, well, a jerk. Remember, this is the Beatle who said that Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles, and that none of his own work with the band was any good. So everything that John did should be taken with a grain of salt, and a reminder was that he was a stickler for being a stickler.
On the other hand, this is also just one man’s account of remembering a guy who died 30 years ago. So, y’know. . . Salt.
Where that “. . .” is, should be a (mis)quote about the current relationship between Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney. In the original article, it went something like this:
“‘We are as close as we want to be,’ he says, laughing. ‘We’re the only two remaining Beatles, although he likes to think he’s the only one.”
And it goes on to say that, of course, this is just Ringo being Ringo, the kind-hearted goof that he really is. But to make it the damn headline and try to concoct a feud where there isn’t one!? It angries up the blood!
Anyway, it still remains to be a fascinating interview, regardless of their own sleazy incompetence. Check it out here.
A hallmark of 60’s animated brilliance by embracing everything that psychedelia was about (i.e.: colors, innocence, cosmic submersibles), Yellow Submarine captured the imaginations of the children, adults, childish adults, and man-children all over the world. Even though they initially had no input on the film whatsoever, it even won over the Beatles, who (despite their recent disappointment with the reception of the Magical Mystery Tour movie) took a moment to bookend the film with this classic cinematic moment:
Well, Mr. Robert Zemeckis, director of classic flicks Back to the Future and Forest Gump, decided to take it upon himself to re-do the whole thing with motion-capture animation, as he has with his recent flicks, Beowolf, A Christmas Carol, and The Polar Express, all of which were criticized for being ‘creepy’ in terms of the ineffectiveness of animating the human face to perfection.
The studio who initially signed on for the project, Disney, has decided to stop these shenanigans, and pull out of support for the movie. While some are citing Zemeckis’ most recent flop, Mars Needs Moms as the cause of Disney losing interest, it is reported that the project was already in danger long before the Mars opening, when Disney first shut down Zemeckis’ studio, ImageMovers Digital, and when a meeting with the surviving Beatles (and representatives from the Harrison and Lennon estates) never came to fruition.
Richard Lester, the man who directed the Beatles in Help! and A Hard Day’s Night, as well as the two Superman sequels in the 80’s, celebrates his 79th birthday tomorrow, January 15th. Over at the 92Y Tribeca here in NYC, they’re celebrating by having a mini-festival of his films tonight, Friday January 14th, focusing on black comedies in the late 1960’s. The program kicks off with 1969’s The Bed-Sitting Room, about a war that lasts two minutes, twenty-eight seconds (don’t worry, the film is a bit longer than that), then follows up with John Lennon’s only non-Beatles film role in How I Won the War, credited as an “anti-anti-war film.” The program ends with the 1965 Palme d’Or winner, The Knack. . . And How to Get It, a sex comedy made between his two Beatles flicks.
Guaranteed to be a night of pop art film mastery and highly awkward British dry wit!
The program starts at 7:30pm tonight, over at the 92Y Tribeca, located at 200 Hudson Street, between Desbrosses and Vestry.
With as acerbic a title as ‘The Turd in the Caviar,’ The Onion’s A.V. Club list this week runs down 24(!) tracks on great albums that are so misplaced they threaten to ruin a given album’s overall worth.
So is there any surprise that the Beatles top this list as well? “Revolution 9” from the sprawling double album The Beatles (AKA: The White Album) is decided as the most drastically misplaced song, particularly grating for its placement between the ‘lullaby-esque’ “Cry Baby Cry” and “Good Night.”
Also on this list: Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35,” from Blonde on Blonde, “Meeting Across the River” from Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Elvis Presley’s “Old Shep.”
I won’t touch on “Rainy Day Women,” because it is a perfect opener to such an expansive album, and especially coming from an artist like Dylan. And I agree that “Meeting Across the River” is a little schmaltzy in light of the epics that surround it. But I am tired of critics and fans alike pointing to “Revolution 9” as a misstep for the Beatles. While it is very self-indulgent, dragging, and yes, very weird (as far as we know; the Beatles’ first avant-garde experiment “Carnival of Light” has yet to be released to the public), no other track on the White Album embodies the album of which it is part better. In one track, the same ambition, dissonance, and freedom that critics praise the album for is present in this sound collage, and just because it also embodies the rift among the band members (reportedly, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney were not involved in any way with the track) it is quickly forgotten that the Beatles were known for playing with conventions and shattering them completely. Suddenly, the Beatles, praised for being so radically different and experimental than other bands of the era, they are panned for trying to break one last frontier in pop/rock music.
The British government have officially declared the intersection at Abbey Road a site of national importance. The designation, signed on Wednesday, December 22, recognizes that Abbey Road is a symbol of British cultural tradition, worthy of preservation, upon which no major alterations may occur to the site, depending upon it’s condition, and significance, and can only be determined by local authorities. The Minister of Tourism and Heritage John Penrose issued a statement, saying “This London zebra crossing is no castle or cathedral but, thanks to the Beatles and a 10-minute photoshoot one August morning in 1969, it has just as strong a claim as any to be seen as part of our heritage.”
Abbey Road studios itself is approved for preservation status, as declared earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the biggest news from the Beatles in quite some time arrived in the Beatles, the very reason why bands do “something different” by the time they reach their third album, joining the digital revolution, a decade after massive proliferation of the .mp3 file. Aside from the amazing resistance to going to digital and how this is a positive for the Beatles from a business standpoint, there really is no story to tell. Christmas came early for Steve Jobs, and that’s that.
But even I have to admit some of the cool extras available exclusively through iTunes is enviable, chief among them, a video of their very first United States performance “Live at Washington Coliseum, 1964.”
Other than that, the only news to report would be Ringo’s increasingly curmudgeonly character regarding the whole affair: “I am particularly glad to no longer be asked when the Beatles are coming to iTunes.” Meanwhile, Olivia Harrison, George’s widow, kept in step with her husband’s reputation as the quiet one by simply saying, “The Beatles on iTunes. Bravo!”
All of this became possible through the mediation and revision of the 1991 agreement between Apple Corps and Apple Inc. regarding Apple Computer’s presence in the music industry, which caused a trademark infringement suit on the Beatles behalf after the launch of iTunes. This was resolved three years ago when the agreement was revised to state that Apple Inc. cannot compete in the music industry through the sale of physical format items (CDs, LPs).
Now, the most relevant hold-out to the tentacles of Jobs is Frank Zappa.