Who's Who (not shown: The Who) Longtime readers of this blog know that I maintain it simply as an excuse to avoid grown-up work. And also, that I love Sgt. Pepper. It is my single desert island disc, as pedestrian as that choice is, because to me, Pepper contains so much more time than any other Beatles record. What do I mean? (When you have to type that sentence in an piece of prose, you know you're fucking the writing up.—Ed.) Well, one of the things that I love most about Pepper—almost as much as the music—is how it intentionally [...]
Reggie (left) and Ronnie Kray, photographed by David Bailey For those (mostly American?) readers who haven't run across Ronnie and Reggie Kray, they were a pair of murderous twin brother gangsters who ruled the London underworld in the 1960s. Probably the most notorious British criminals since Jack the Ripper (sorry, Crippen). Before settling down to serious lawbreaking, the Krays were amateur boxers run out of the Army for being too wild; Ronnie was gay (sorry: "I'm bisexual, not gay. Bisexual") and Reggie was straight. Ronnie was also paranoid schizophrenic, while Reggie was apparently neurotypical which is…kinda worse? So what do [...]
Frequent commenter LeighAnn pointed me to this great photo which Ringo put up on his Instagram (@ringostarrmusic) in remembrance of the late, great Gerry Marsden. "3..2..1..JUMP!"
After Senator Bernie Sanders showed up at yesterday's inauguration looking a bit, shall we say, casual, the photo spawned a thousand memes, with the Progressive octogenarian popping up in every famous shot imaginable. Of course the Beatles were part of this, so Michael Bleicher and I assembled some of the best examples. Add more in the comments.
I want to say right at the start that I've never really gotten the cult of Phil Spector. With all apologies to our beloved @Hologram Sam, rock and roll before The Beatles leaves me cold—and trust me, I've tried. All that Ronettes stuff sounds like a pompous, immature version of something Motown did so much better. I've also tried to like, or at least understand the appeal of, Phil Spector. I've read Tom Wolfe's 1964 essay "The First Tycoon of Teen" (not available online but worth a read). I've pondered Spector's close friendship with Lenny Bruce—as described by Albert Goldman, among others. [...]
Given the political impacts we're seeing here in the U.S. from internet-driven conspiracy theories, and the prevalence of a (I mean this in the nicest way) Beatles-related conspiracy theory on this blog for the past several years, I wanted to speak a bit about this topic. I paddled for many years in the shallows of conspiracy theories, most notably ones around the assassinations of the 60s. The big boys, the OG's. The ones that inspired everything from QAnon to Paul is Dead. You cannot read about QAnon and not think of The Gemstone File. (BTW, I would argue that PID is a [...]
This morning the following video was dropped on Twitter, and it's been lighting up our comments, so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UocEGvQ10OE So, basically, "A Hard Day's Night," circa 1969—which is what lots of Beatles fans wanted in 1970, and maybe even more want in 2020. It's really striking to see them doing the same kinds of cuts and capers they did in 1964, but with High Hippiedom swirling about them, and Yoko playing the role of Patti Boyd. Anybody who's ever cut together a film knows that the narrative is created by the editing; and Jackson's narrative is plainly meant to counterbalance [...]
Everybody's favorite Liverpudlians (except perhaps for Mrs. Marsden) perform "Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey", "I'm a Loser," and "Boys" for a remarkably restrained London studio audience, on October 7, 1964. According to the internet, the audience were members of the Beatles Fan Club. I think this footage might have been colorized after the fact? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFi1VcsuJ_g
Those of you on the rightly maligned hellsite Twitter can, and really must, follow us. We're at @HeyDullblog. (And I’m personally at @mgerber937.) I say this for two reasons: The first is, lots of Beatle and Beatle-adjacent news breaks on Twitter, and so we'll be able to comment on John's love letters to Paul the VERY MOMENT they are released. "Dear Paul: What I propose is to COMMUNICATE SECRETLY through all our songs for the rest of our lives. Just in case all the meaningful glances and times we (seemingly inadvertently) (hah! as if) touched each other's arm are not sufficient enough [...]
I'm making one. What should be on it? Nominate songs in the comments. By the way, anybody read this book by Miles? I may have to. I read Shawn Levy's book Ready Steady Go! and liked it a lot.