Archive for George Harrison

Magical Mystery Tour

Posted in Magical Mystery Tour with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2012 by fred6368

It’s Easy! All You Need is Love ūüôā

Magical Mystery Tour, like Let It Be, exists as a cultural artefact that was under-prepared, it was rushed. In the Beatles canon their best work was nearly always properly prepped; Revolver, Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road. Mystery was a TV film made by four musicians, with a little help from their friends, who were inspired by the chaos and creativity that was going on around them in 1967, not least in the emerging psychedelic underground. What it does do really well, much better than Let It Be, is to capture the spirit of its time and, yet again, provide another cultural breakthrough. So roll up, roll up to this surreal slice of English holiday nostalgia inspired by The Goons, come with me on a fantastic cheery summer of love trip; Magical Mystery Tour;

The Beatles had stopped touring after their world tour in summer 1966 when governments (Philippines), the media (Chicago) and individuals (the Bible Belt) made it dangerous to be a Beatle; “thank God I’m not a Beatle any more” commented George after their last concert in San Franciso. They spent most of the following year in the studio perfecting the sound of Sgt. Peppers, alter-egos¬†they assumed in order to cope with their ridiculous fame so that they could continue to be creative as musicians; the essence of being John, Paul, George and Ringo. The absence of live shows to publicise their music was the first consequence of their unprecedented decision to continue recording whilst not playing live. They needed to make promotional films instead. The first song they recorded as studio musicians was Strawberry Fields, and the ‘experimental’ promo film made for it in Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent could have slotted right into Magical Mystery Tour. Here is The Beatles first slice of psychedelic nostalgia Strawberry Fields Forever;

It wasnt just Lennon experimenting with Mellotrons and complex musical recording technniques. McCartney lived in central London with the musical Asher family and had a little music room, where he played the first version of I Wanna Hold Your Hand to Peter Asher, and Continue reading

Real Best of the Beatles 2

Posted in remasters with tags , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2012 by fred6368

Q Magazine Real Best Series May 2012 

Last post we listed 10 Beatles tracks, 5 selected by Q magazine with a reply to each from me, which represent the “real best” of The Beatles – excluding the obvious tracks; so more Past Masters than All Time Greats. Rob Fitzpatrick, the Q journalist involved, also commented that “no one has ever made better tracks” even 42 years later and that “the Beatles have been instilling the idea of progressive cultural creativity since 1962.” As this blog also believes that we felt we should reply with our own ten tracks. This is part two; 5xQ 5xFred.

Our next remastered track is from 1964, in which “youngblood” Paul ¬†transmit’s his happiness at being RSA actress Jane Asher’s partner by imagining what he might be saying to her in ten years. Q think that this is “a minor chord lament that explodes into major-chord life”¬†1 minute in. McCartney, who wrote the song on the yacht Happy Days in the Caribbean, said it was “future nostalgic” about¬†Things We Said Today ;¬†¬† Continue reading

The Real Best of the Beatles

Posted in remasters with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by fred6368

Q Magazine May 2012

Q Magazine’s current issue¬†looks at many artists and picks their “real” best tracks, which vary slightly with each artist. ¬†In the case of the Beatles, whom they describe as “the only group in the history of pop music who are actually better than everyone says they are” they’ve decided to pick under-rated works; so nothing from hits CD¬†1.¬† Selected by journalist Rob Fitzpatrick, who says that there is “no such thing as a Beatles obscurity” (Richie Unterberger might disagree¬†& Dehra Dun anyone?) there are 10 Beatles tracks in all. So I’m going to alternate his 10 with my 10 (although he has nicked a couple I would have ¬†chosen) half this week, half next.

The World looks fine when the Rain drops on the Fab Four, Q’s choice of best track and the B-side of Paperback Writer. I remember first seeing the record in a shop in Arnhem whilst, yep, standing in the rain. Rob says “Rain marks the moment when popular music threw itself over the drug pop precipice” but he is an English music journalist; Rain is the first thing the Beatles did after Tomorrow Never Knows¬†and is their finest B-side.¬†

Some kind of happiness is measured out in Hey Bulldog, the last track that all four Beatles jammed on together live in the studio (Feb 68). I remember seeing it in Yellow Submarine back then and being baffled when it wasn’t in the US release. Made up between them in just four hours whilst they were bored with the slow process of filming the Lady Madonna video¬†(they are actually playing Hey Bulldog)¬†this just rocks; joyfully ¬† Continue reading

Beatles YouTube Album 2012

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 14, 2012 by fred6368

Think for Yourself

2012; I am planning a number of blog posts this year, with two key ones. The Ballad of John about Lennon’s contribution to the Beatles will complete the quartet on Ringo’s Skins, Paul’s Bass and George’s Weeps. The second key post will be about The Beatles in Hamburg. I visited Hamburg recently and gathered a lot of information about their experiences there from visiting the Reeperbahn, the Grosse Freiheit and The Beatles Museum; fascinating stuff. As the¬†Beatles Live 1957-63¬†is the single most popular post on this blog (now with over 10,000 reads) I am hoping I can add to and deepen the discussion of the Beatles formative time in Germany between 1960-62. I will also continue the review of Beatles album with a discussion of Love, having seen the show in Vegas.

2011¬†Surprised by how marvellous the Martin Scorsese film Living In the Material World was on The Beatles I completed 3 posts about George Harrison’s role in The Beatles in 2011. In line with my view that The Beatles display a “Group Genius“, that is they exist best as Continue reading

George Harrison on the BBC

Posted in George Harrison with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by fred6368

Living in the Material World

Martin Scorsese’s marvellous 2-part documentary on George Harrison, Living In The Material World, aired on the BBC in the Arena Arts documentary series. Part One, up until 1969, was on¬†Saturday November 12th at 9.45 on BBC2. If you like The Beatles this is as good a documentary on their career as any film made so far, even Anthology, lasts for 95 minutes, and George is still a Beatle at the end of it.¬†¬†

Living in the Material World Pt2; Showed on Sunday November 13th at 9.00pm because it is 2 hours and 5 minutes long and covers all of George’s solo career. I saw the show¬†at FACT in Liverpool and was really impressed by Scorsese’s work in presenting old material afresh, getting original interviews and finding out-takes that had been missed or ignored. I reviewed it positively here, Continue reading

Living in the Material World

Posted in George Harrison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2011 by fred6368

Martin does George a Treat

Martin Scorsese’s film about George Harrison, Living in the Material World, is a beautifully crafted confection of refreshingly unused archive footage alongside material that you know so well you’ve forgotten how to look at it. Scorsese grabs the material by the scruff of its visual neck and makes you marvel at it again; retelling afresh that wondrous tale about scouse upstarts from the provinces changing the world. It showed on HBO in the USA on October 5th & 6th, on BBC 2 Arena in the Autumn and has just been released on DVD and you should see it.

Just like No Direction Home(!) featuring Bob Dylan, Scorsese presents an old story using old material with intelligence and movie smarts, fired by his own passion for the music and personal affection for the protagonists. Allied with his long-established ability to create memorable musical documentaries, well he was a cameraman at Woodstock, he choreographs George’s own Last Waltz with skilful edits, unexpected links and new interviews. Scorsese has found unseen outtakes and previously rejected photographic stills, and links them to well-known clips of the Beatles where he often zooms in so tightly on them playing live that he creates a kind of grainy simulation of 3D, adding an unexpected immediacy to old stock. With both Harrison’s and the Beatles music digitally re-mastered he makes sure that the sound is fresh and loud, allowing him to present George Harrison to us anew, both visually and aurally, opening out fresh interpretations of the ‘quiet Beatle; quiet¬†blunt apparently.¬†

Revealing interviews from Astrid Kirchherr, Klaus Voorman,¬†Patti Boyd and especially Eric Clapton (“of course I wanted Continue reading

Beatle George

Posted in George Harrison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2011 by fred6368

Here Comes George Harrison

The Group Genius known as TheBeatles means John, Paul, George & Ringo acting together in harmony to create and record great music. They became recording artists of distinction when, with the support of George Martin, they got their group songwriting, arranging and recording right with Please, Please Me; with the help of their friends. George Martin was moved to say, “gentlemen you have just recorded your first number 1.’ Curiously they had most of these elements in place, including three part harmonies, five years earlier when George Harrison passed the audition with Lennon on a bus back in 1957 by playing Raunchy. I first heard him in 1963 when a friend played me the Beatles first album Please Please Me and George sang Do You Want to Know a Secret?¬†¬†

Back then we knew George as the lead guitarist in the breakthrough MerseyBeat group the Beatles; so we looked to what he was interested in as a guitarist. But George was unusual as a lead guitarist, he didnt play lead guitar lines, like Hank Marvin in the Shadows or, his later best friend, Eric Clapton in Cream. He played lead guitar in songs and helped amplify the quality of Lennon and McCartney compositions. And, just like John and Paul, he spent the fifties in love with Rock and Roll and, like them, helped overturn the classics. There is a¬†playlist of this post on YouTube¬†and this video has great pix of George; based on a live recording at the BBC with an interview by Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman. George can¬†Roll Over Beethoven;¬†¬† Continue reading

The Beatles Let It Be 1969

Posted in Abbey Road, Beatles History, Let It Be with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2011 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity (6) And In The End

In 1968 The Beatles peaked again recording their longest, most diverse and biggest selling White Album, and their longest and most successful single Hey Jude. The Beatles created great work when they had time to prepare, had a break and worked closely with collaborative¬†Fifth Beatles. Starting the¬†Get Back Sessions 6 busy weeks later as ‘lets make an album without prep because we are such geniuses’, was as pre-destined to fail as the Magical Mystery Tour. Both were saved as albums because The Beatles knew how to write and record songs and meet a deadline. Thanks to Rishikesh and Kinfauns the White Album had been their best prepared album, so missing recording to deal with Apple Business didn’t affect that plan. However as Ringo said in 1969 ‘now it is all¬†he, where it used to be all we.” McCartney had¬†visited the¬†Harlem¬†Apollo whilst living in Greenwich Village with Linda & Heather, George had recorded Indian music & jammed with The Band, Ringo was an actor and¬†Lennon wanted to be with Yoko. Arriving at a film studio cold and early on January 2nd 1969 to create spontaneously doesn’t work for musical historians and cultural editors.

Of all the writing on Let It Be only Kenneth Womack picks up on the inordinate amount of fifties songs The Beatles played whilst ‘creating’ on the Twickenham Studios Sound Stage, and identifies it with some of the regression they displayed on the White Album, such as McCartney turning into his Dad on Honey Pie. The Beatles had completed their cycle of learning about musical creativity, applied what they knew to Apple but failed to re-imagine themselves as a musical collective. To move on they wanted to get back to where they once belonged. Some of the tension, creativity and jamming is captured in this 14 5 minute outtake from the film Let It Be;¬†¬† 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

Genius meets Genius!

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by fred6368

A Collection of Beatles Jokes and Spoofs

Anthropologists in the year 3126 discover various artefacts which allow them to piece together who The Beatles were, who their members were and what they achieved historically. Gives you a whole new respect for Anthropologists and Ed Sullivan. Enjoy; Continue reading