Archive for john paul george and ringo

All You Need is Heutagogy

Posted in Open Context Model of Learning with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 27, 2014 by fred6368

Beatles Creativity

I’ve just summarised the 6 blog posts on Beatles Creativity as a graphical slideshare called All You Need is Heutagogy

I think the Beatles Career went through 6 phases;

1. Live 1957-1963 From That’ll Be The Day;

Until Love Me Do

2. Singles 1963-1964 From Please Please Me;

to Hard Days Night Continue reading

Act Naturally & Celluloid Beatles

Posted in Beatles in 12 Songs, Beatles50, Hard Day's Night with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by fred6368

The Beatles in Twelve Songs (3)

Act Naturally? In the main they didn’t. The black leather boys from Hamburg were stuck in suits by Epstein, discovered in Transylvania for their cartoon identity, and peppered up in military Edwardiana for their day-glo re-invention as submarine alter-ego’s. And don’t even mention the milk-float Bondage of HELP! even though it did give us Act Naturally, the legendary B-side of the all our Yesterday single. They’re going to put The Beatles in the Movies

In the beginning, however, there was Hard Days Night. The kind of quick exploitation movie that sneaks out under the creative radar then transcends the sordid commercial origins in which it was brewed up, in this case by United Artists. As Stephen Denny put it “a low-budget exploitation movie to milk the latest brief musical craze for all it was worth.” UA wanted a quick exploitation picture starring The Beatles in order to get their hands on a Beatles soundtrack which they estimated would make them £1m. They offered a budget of £100k, later upgraded to £200k,and duly gave UA their soundtrack album and, fatally, the rights to 2 more Beatles movies. Although UA originally thought “our record division wants to get the soundtrack album to distribute in the States, and what we lose on the film we’ll get back on this disc” the film ending up taking $11m worldwide becoming tagged “the Citizen Kane of Jukebox movies” In 2013 Mojo rated it 8th out the top 100 music films of all time, with a song written specifically as an overture for the film – Hard Day’s Night

Ringo joined The Beatles  on August 14th 1962 on August 22nd they were filmed for the first time performing Some Other Guy in the Cavern in Liverpool by Leslie Whitehead, later to write the incredible How The Beatles Rocked The Kremlin. It’s an oft-bootlegged bit of film as it iconic, filmed the moment before the first Parlophone single but in the heart of their fanland; one of whom shouts “bring back Pete” at the end. Significantly Continue reading

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

Magical Mystery Tour

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

It’s Easy! All You Need is Love 🙂

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

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

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

Paul’s Bass

Posted in Paul McCartney with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2011 by fred6368

Best Remasters (2)

The one single thing that most impressed me about the Remasters was Paul’s bass playing; it really was phenomenal stuff. Every song sounds richer than I remember even though I’d heard every Beatles song when they came out since Please Please Me. Fifty years ago this week The Beatles began their informal residency at the Cavern Club on Mathew Street in Liverpool. Whilst their breakthrough gig was at the Litherland Hall in December 1960 what characterised their early live sound was Pete Best’s bass drum booming out across the Cavern with Paul’s Bass. Here is their booming bass sound at the Star Club Hamburg with I Saw Her Standing There;

However I hadn’t really noticed the bass at all because of the poor sound equipment available in the sixties; tinny transistor radios and mono Dansettes. In fact the first time I became aware of Paul’s bass playing (videos on YouTube Playlist) was when Barry Gibb picked Paperback Writer as his favourite Beatles song because of the bass; Paperback Writer;

In researching this article I found a great discussion of the evolution of Paul’s Bass playing by Denis Alstrand. He picks up on Paul’s bass playing on their first recording 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

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