In the decade after the Beatles broke up, John Lennon gave two extended interviews, one in 1972 and the other shortly before his death in 1980, in which he provided background info and offered commentary on nearly every Lennon/McCartney composition ever released. A recurring theme during these conversations was his desire to distance himself from his former songwriting partner’s contributions, with his hatred for “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (Paul “did everything to make it into a single, and it never was and it never could have been”) and writing off “When I’m Sixty-Four” with a curt “I would never even dream of writing a song like that” as two of the more egregious examples. Even when he liked a song of Paul’s, he seemed content in complimenting it and moving on.
Whereas when I like a Beatles song, I have to write 400 words about it and shoehorn unnecessary references to celebrity sex offenders. Your turn, Roman Polanski!
One telling remark slipped out, though, when he Continue reading “#84: All My Loving”
My mother and sister exposed me to a lot of Broadway musical soundtracks growing up, mostly against my will. Few of them stood out to me, and really, I resented the fact that they took up valuable stereo time that rightfully belonged to “Weird Al” Yankovic.
If these weren’t in the CD player, why was it even plugged in?
Over time, I grew to appreciate some musicals, such as West Side Story and Hamilton (though that too was made better by Weird Al), but none more so than Continue reading “#92: Till There Was You”
Now look, far be it from me to criticize anyone (stop laughing), and the Beatles probably don’t need my 55-year Monday morning quarterbacking, but I’m gonna call it like I see it. They screwed up here. Continue reading “#122: Roll Over Beethoven”
You know what’s funny? I’m sitting here listening to this song and enjoying it so much that I’m asking myself, “Did I really rank this all the way down at #129?” But then I look at the list of remaining songs and I don’t know what I would switch around. We’re basically in the stretch of the list where things could change on a day-to-day basis due to my mood or how long it’s been since I’ve heard a song or the current stage of the moon.
If Yom Kippur falls on a full moon, there’s only one song I listen to.
“It Won’t Be Long” starts the Beatles’ second album with a bang, and the rise in musicianship is immediately apparent. Granted, their debut was hastily recorded when John Lennon had a cold, but Continue reading “#129: It Won’t Be Long”
There are few things in this life more pointless than the cover song that merely replicates the original. I’m not universally discrediting them–I love 10,000 Maniacs’ carbon copy of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night,” and Stone Temple Pilots’ faithful rendition of “Revolution” (by some band) is also quite awesome. But there’s a risk/reward equation in reworking a beloved song and sure, sometimes it doesn’t pay off–would anyone take the Carpenters’ bizarre takes on “Ticket to Ride” and “Help!” over some band’s originals?–sometimes you end up with Continue reading “#135: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”
“Hold Me Tight” offers everything you could want in early Beatles album filler: it’s a catchy call-and-response Lennon/McCartney original with lyrics guaranteed to make the girls scream. It doesn’t have anything substantial to say, but that’s not its purpose. Its job is to fill a couple centimeters of vinyl with reproduced sound that’s good enough to get stuck in your head but not so great that Continue reading “#148: Hold Me Tight”
I used to really dislike this song for some reason, and in retrospect, I don’t understand why. Maybe it blended in with a lot of their earlier output, and if push comes to shove, I’d probably rank With the Beatles as my least favorite album, so that’s working against it too. But it’s not a bad song by any means. It’s got those glorious harmonies I can’t praise enough and perhaps most impressively, Continue reading “#154: All I’ve Got to Do”
Before the Beatles took over the world, they were paying their dues in German clubs, playing to drunken audiences for over four hours a night. Three members of the band wound up getting deported, and in a fun twist that nobody could have seen coming, Continue reading “#162: Devil in Her Heart”
Beatles fans who dive into the members’ solo years–a rocky but rewarding road to trek down–know all about John Lennon’s infamous “lost weekend” period in the mid-70s, in which he got drunk all the time, had an affair that Continue reading “#168: Little Child”
“No, we need money first.”
This was John Lennon’s response when asked at the Beatles’ first American press conference if the group would sing for the fans and reporters populating the newly-christened John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964. For the band’s cynical critics, it provided simultaneous ammunition and disarmament; an audacious yet charming change of pace from the safe, controlled pop star persona of the day. (Elvis may have been electric on stage, but he made for a pretty boring interviewee.) It’s debatable the extent to which John was joking, but Continue reading “#177: Money (That’s What I Want)”