Archive for 1966

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

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Where Do They All Come From?

Posted in revolver with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by fred6368

REVOLVER

Revolver came out 6 days after England had won the Football World Cup at Wembley in 1966. A week later the Beatles rushed off for their last, fractious tour of the USA. As a famous post in the NME asked “Where is famous Beatles Band?” Caught between embracing the counter-culture and fulfilling old musical industries contracts the Beatles were curiously absent from their own high-water mark; and so were we. Ray Davies of the Kinks, who were amongst the new English bands challenging the Beatles that summer, the Stones, Who, Troggs and Yardbirds, slated the album. With his own bitter-sweet hit of the summer Sunny Afternoon, lazily capturing our triumphant summer mood he was in a position to talk. It was Number One when Revolver was released. The other big cultural aspect of the summer of 1966 was the sudden proliferation of  pirate radio across Europe which, as we all owned little transistor radios, was the musical distribution network of choice, and suddenly radio playlists were sprinkled with the little bits of vinyl magic from the album. This time we didn’t need a big cultural event from The Beatles to cheer us up as a nation, the Charlton brothers and the West Ham Academy had seen to that. Instead the Beatles seeped out through the ether, and their new collaborative democracy was signified by Ringo singing the single and George kicking off the album with the misunderstood Taxman, “the Taxman’s taken all I’ve got” indeed; it’s a shame about Ray… Continue reading

The Word is Love

Posted in rubber soul with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by fred6368

RUBBER SOUL

Rubber Soul holds a special place in my Beatles iconography as it is the first album I bought at the time it came out. Actually I got lucky, we were in Germany and a lots of goods were tax free. That immediately cut the price by 25% but we were also allowed on to Allied bases and just 20 miles from Hamm was Soest and the legendary Canadian Army PX. Just like today, and all times in between, albums were cheaper in North America, so you could get an album then for around a £1, about 60% of what we would normally pay. However this also meant that you were at the vagaries of whatever was fashionable in Canada, which fortunately at that time, like the rest of the world, did include the Beatles.

I’ve commented previously on how every Beatles album had a track that sounded like an unreleased single. This time they were legion, indicating the quality of their writing, playing and collaborations in the studio.

Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys commented to his wife at the time that every track was a classic and then went off and wrote Pet Sounds as a riposte, despite Mike Love’s effort to stop him. Our own teenage response to Rubber Soul was an endless debate about what the best track was. Michelle, Girl and Norwegian Wood gained early support back in 1965.

I was 15 when I first heard Rubber Soul, trapped in Boarding School, abandoned in my little German enclave, and without access to Top of The Pops just before Pirate Radio rescued us when it seemed to colonise all of Europe in 1966. For me personally it was 1962 all over again.

With Rubber Soul The Beatles moved from cultural heroes to counter-cultural heroes, almost, like Orson Welles, living their lives backwards. Only their lives were even more remarkable than the Citizen with the mark of Kane, and they didn’t lose any of their booming popularity, beep, beep yeah.

So, as was customary, they gave us a bright and cheerful opening track to hook us in; old pros and consummate entertainers. Drive My Car, driving song; metaphor or opening gambit? Or Both?

Awake now? Ready to take a journey? Continue reading