Archive for ビートルズ

I Want To Hold Your Hand & Going Global

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2013 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (2)

It was 50 years go today that the Beatles taught America to play, with the biggest prime-time TV show audience ever (73 million viewers) on the Ed Sullivan show, February 9th 1964. In the UK I Want To Hold Your Hand had been the cherry on the cake of their annus mirabilis 1963 where it went to Number One in the charts by knocking off their own She Loves You, which had been in the Top 3 ever since it was released, and had just returned to the top after Beatlemania had gone national. In the USA I Want To Hold Your Hand popped a nations cherry and they laid down begging for the first British Invasion since 1812. This is how The Beatles woke them up and how America succumbed

Surprising huh? Quite a flat performance of a song tooled by McCartney to be a hit single written specifically to break the American market whilst he was living in the house of his girlfriend Jane Asher. Asher’s father was a Harley Street doctor, and her musical mum, Margaret Elliott, was a Professor at the Guildhall School of Music where she had taught producer George Martin the oboe. Frustrated by Capitol Records not promoting, or even releasing, early Beatles singles, manager Brian Epstein had asked Lennon and McCartney to write a song specifically to be a hit in the USA, and it was Paul who did. Jane’s brother Peter Asher was the first to hear the song, played on piano, as his room was opposite Paul’s  at 57 Wimpole Street London. This is what a made to order US hit record sounds like

Peter Asher’s bedroom proved to be amazingly strategically placed. He became good friends with McCartney, showing him round London and later became head of Apple Records, signing James Taylor with whom he Continue reading

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Please Please Me & MerseyBeat

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50 with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (1)

It was fifty years ago today that The Beatles released their first smash hit, the second official release on George Martin’s Parlophone label, Please Please Me. beatlesnumber1

In this series of blog posts, in honor of many Beatles 50th anniversaries throughout 2013, I will be writing a history of The Beatles in 12 songs. Through this I hope to capture and reflect all that they gave us musically and culturally.

Merry Crimble; In The Beatles first Christmas record for their fan club in 1963 John Lennon is asked what most pleased him about the year 1963 and he replies (50 secs in),  “it was a gear year for us, and it all happened really when Please Please Me became a number one hit”: .

In the UK the breakthrough single for the Beatles was Please Please Me, which, to my ears, was the first recording that captured a British Merseybeat sound. (More on Mersey Beat here) Originally an attempt by John to write a Roy Orbison song (the biggest selling artist in the UK in 1962)  it was considered by George Martin to be too slow. The Beatles speeded it up and finally offered George Martin a version in the exuberant tempo that we now expect to hear. Martin re-arranged it and so created both the version we love, along with the template for recording other Merseybeat artists, it certainly pleased George. “Gentlemen you have your first number one record” 

So how did The Beatles become so good at writing smash hit singles Continue reading

Beatles – Love Me Dr

Posted in history with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2012 by fred6368

No! Do; The Beatles 50th

It was 50 years ago today, October 5th 1962, when the two biggest British popular culture phenomena of the last century first made their public appearances; initially to quite different levels of acclaim. James Bond in Dr No came out as a full-colour cinematic experience, letting us know that in the post-Imperial Cold War Britain would need alpha-males engaging in dubious shenanigans, whilst the girl-group inspired The Beatles were still resolutely in black and white. Neither of them had quite worked out the formulae by which they would go mega. The Beatles and James Bond would both reach their mature forms in 1964 but, compared to what else was on offer, they represented massive potential. Here’s the confused and wonky Bond opening sequence then, welcoming us to Dr No with an interesting musical melange, starting with a nod to the Sputnik-inspired space-age classic Telstar (Number 1 on October 5th) and ending up with a Jamaican calypso, with some nascent Bond orchestration in between;

Love Me Do with Pete Best; was also a confused and wonky production when they first tried it out for a Decca recording audition. Mike Smith at Decca (not Dick Rowe) was ultimately to reject The Beatles in favour of Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, as Dick Rowe would only let him sign one of them because, in 1962, “guitar groups are on the way out”. Mike Smith picked the Tremeloes who, ironically would only score their first hit record for Decca with a cover of The Beatles version of Twist & Shout. Meanwhile The Beatles at least had a recording to tout around of Love Me Do;  

Songwriters for Ardmore and Beechwood; The failed audition tapes were taken by The Beatles manager Brian Epstein to HMV on Oxford Street (yep the same one) where you could cut masters back in the day. The chap cutting the master heard that The Beatles had promise and suggested that they sign as songwriters with Ardmore & Beechwood with whom he had a contact.  They did so registering Love Me Do, written in 1958 at Paul’s house in Forthlin Road, which gained them a referral to Parlophone Records, where George Martin hung out mostly with a bunch of comedians, releasing 10″ novelty records like The Best of Sellers and hitting the pop charts with tracks like Right Said Fred

This wasnt the great meeting of minds Continue reading

The Beatles Apple 1968

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning, White Album with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 27, 2010 by fred6368

The Beatles Creativity (5) ‘you say you want a Revolution?’

1968 is The Beatles’ most fascinating year, they had transformed music in terms of singles and albums but in 1968 they were aiming to transform the music industry by making their company Apple into a musical collective. Singles were no longer formulaic, melodic sing-a-longs designed to make to make money for the songwriters, producers, managers and record companies rather than the artists. Albums were no longer the accidental re-packaging of singles or merely fan souvenirs of live shows, as they had been when The Beatles started and remained throughout the sixties. In terms of this analysis of their creativity they had completed the three main stages of development; being guided, working collaboratively and breaking the rules by 1967. So what came next? 1968.  The magisterial Walter Everett said “the year of 1968 was a time of simultaneous rejuvenation and the dissolution of The Beatles.”

In We Are The Beatles I described the Beatles’ style as evolving from the musical creativity of their psychedelic period 1966-67 to a loose Atelier style, unconsciously aping the studio organisational form of Renaissance artists. By this I mean that they had learnt their craft and now, forced to run their own business, decided to try to create with Apple Corps the company they would liked to have signed for, and so began working with many other artists. Paul completed Step Inside Love with Cilla, George recorded the Inner Light with local musicians in India whilst recording his ‘Wonderwall‘ soundtrack John woke up one morning with the words of his ‘most perfect lyric’ flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup. It’s Across The Universe;   Continue reading

Happy Birthday Ringo

Posted in Ringo Starr with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 7, 2010 by fred6368

Peace & Love Tribute to Ringo @ 70

So a drummer who I didn’t really rate at first, because he was part of a song-based band and didn’t show off, went on to become arguably the best rock drummer at supporting the song. Given that he had Lennon and McCartney, then Harrison, to support you have to say that the quality he was given to work with was pretty amazing. But here’s the thing, he improved the songs, rounded them out, supported them, made them work as recorded songs in the studio. Here are 13 Reasons why Ringo is a great drummer, and a good Ringo biography. Lennon called him “the heart of The Beatles” George said that without him it was “like a car with three wheels” and Paul said “he’s just a loveable, interesting intelligent bloke. I say that after a Hard Days Night, Tomorrow Never Knows. Have a great one Ringo (and the burger after the Hard Rock show). Here he is with Paul and George playing something from the fifties; Raunchy;

Rain; What would I put down as I my favourite Ringo track? Several actually and they change from time to time. The first time I noticed Ringo was in the intro to She Loves You; I just love a good drum roll in the intro. And in the great Rain (only a B-side!) he wallops those skins from the off, even louder when remastered. (Warning contains Volume!). Rain; More Ringo Drumming; Continue reading

Beatles Psychedelia 1966-67

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity (4) All You Need is Heutagogy

Being settled in London The Beatles had fed their creativity in 1964 & 65 with a series of collaborations with their musical peers. They were now rooted in London’s social life with Ringo’s legendary flat at 34 Montagu Square their main hangout outside of Abbey Road studio 2. London in the early sixties was exploding with the energy of new post-war ideas that revolted out of art schools into style, fashion and design. This was exemplified by Mary Quant, miniskirts, Bazaar, photography, magazines, beatniks, Viper skiffle, rock n roll, clubs, Coke, uppers, music and working-class cool. For the very first time, in the country that had invented trade unions, the working class were being celebrated for their cool rather than their militancy. Terence Stamp, Michael Caine, Duffy, Donovan and Bailey along with Twiggy and others were democratising the cultural industries. The Beatles took the next step which was to re-invent their own cultural industry, music, through the love they made with their creative use of their studio craft, collaborations (Martin’s arrangements & Geoff’s engineering), Paul’s music hall melodies, John’s performance art decision-making, Ringo’s rhythmic support, George’s ego-less experiments and new songs; psychedelia. Starting with a “song” so iconic even Dan Draper (Mad Men) listens to it. Tomorrow Never Knows  of course! There is a continuous YouTube Playlist of this post here. Continue reading

Beatles Albums 1964-65

Posted in Beatles History, Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity Phase Three; Album Artists

By the summer of 1964 The Beatles had used up all that their ears had taught them as an audience-responsive live band and recycled it back creatively as a pop singles machine. They had answered demands for a UK number one, an American number one, a movie theme tune, a classic rock n roll EP and had accidentally invented the modern rock album when they delivered the Hard Days Night soundtrack album with extra tracks, all written by Lennon and McCartney. The studious Beatles however were bored and Lennon entered his ‘fat Elvis’ period doubting the value of fame and “writing every day.”  And then Bob Dylan turned up. Bob Dylan had been blown away by the endless stream of Beatles hit records on the radio when he was driving across Colorado in the Spring of 1964 and their driving rock was to influence him and the rise of folk-rock. But the influence was mutual. George had bought Dylan’s second album Freewheelin’, played it constantly and persuaded Paul and John of its value. They met him at New York’s Delmonico’s on August 28th 1964 and Paul discovered the seven levels. Dylan’s immediate impact can be heard in John’s lyrics, tone and harmonica I’m A Loser; Continue reading