Global Beatles Day 2020

By |2020-06-24T07:30:04-07:00June 24, 2020|1967, Beatle History, Beatles on the Web, Psychedelia, Television|

Tomorrow–June 25–is Global Beatles Day. Begun in 2009, this is a day "honoring and celebrating the phenomenon and ideals of the Beatles,  collectively and individually, for their gifts to the world including their promotion of peace and love, of truth and youth, and of the expansion of human consciousness." This specific day was chosen because it's the anniversary of the Beatles' performing "All You Need Is Love" live on the BBC program Our World, in 1967, using the first live satellite TV link. If we ever needed a time to promote peace, love, truth, youth, and the expansion of human consciousness, I'd [...]

RIP Little Richard, Unique Trailblazer

By |2020-09-10T11:02:03-07:00May 11, 2020|1960s, Beatle History, Obituaries, Other bands, Paul McCartney|

  Richard Penniman, whose music and performance stylings reshaped rock 'n' roll, died on Saturday at the age of 87. His full-throated, emotion-packed singing, piano playing, and songwriting had a profound influence on the Beatles, as well as on a wide range of other musicians and performers through the decades. I wrote about seeing Paul McCartney perform "Long Tall Sally" at Candlestick Park back in 2014, and that performance was such a strong reminder of the many, many influences that go into creating a musical moment. There are a multitude of reasons to celebrate Little Richard's legacy; his impact on the Beatles [...]

Swinging Through The Sixties Podcast

By |2020-09-10T11:06:06-07:00January 13, 2020|1960, Podcasts|

The many faces (and bodies) of The Profumo Affair. Since everybody seemed to enjoy last week's post on Another Kind of Mind, a podcast offering some interesting new angles on Beatles analysis, I wanted to offer up another Beatle-related podcast I'd run across recently: Swinging Through The Sixties. Though the podcast is Beatle-tilted, it also has quite a bit of general Sixties topics and talk, so that's even more up my alley. I'm currently listening to Episode #25, "The Beatles' Unrealized Album." (Once again, a topic we've discussed endlessly.) This podcast is worth listening to from the first bit with George, which [...]

Up Against It: BBC Radio Play from 1997

By |2019-05-16T12:18:28-07:00May 16, 2019|1967|

Being a fan of both The Beat Brothers and doomed playwright Joe Orton, Up Against It has always been interesting to me. Brian Epstein rejected it, of course he did; Orton's outlaw sexuality was a total wrong fit for the Beatle-buying public circa 1967—but the mixing of two such strong, really important flavors from Swinging London is fascinating. In 1997, BBC Radio 3 presented a 90-minute adaptation of Up Against It. The cast included such luminaries as Leo McKern and Fawlty Towers' Prunella Scales. Having stayed up until 2am listening, I can attest that the finished product is grippingly strange. The segments [...]

Charles Manson Is Dead

By |2020-09-10T11:21:32-07:00November 20, 2017|1968, Obituaries, Paul Is Dead (PID), The White Album|

Manson, wannabe musician. Charles Manson, who used a paranoid reading of the Beatles' "White Album" to spur his followers to murder, is dead at 83. Alas, the kind of fear-mongering false narrative that he helped pioneer is very much alive. Like the mixers of the toxic social media soup we're all swimming in today, Manson specialized in us-vs-them stories, especially racist ones. He didn't really care if they were true; he cared that they were effective. He was one of the origin points of the "alternative facts" conspiracy theory. Manson was also relentlessly narcissistic, convinced that the Beatles were sending [...]

A Deccagone mystery

By |2017-07-24T11:57:07-07:00July 24, 2017|1962|

The Fabs, looking nothing like they did during the Decca audition Reader Craig Fenton wrote in today with the following interesting question: "When the Beatles' Deccagone Sessions are talked about [in historical sources], there are those that state the exact order they performed are as follows 1-15: "Like Dreamers Do" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) "Money (That's What I Want)" (Gordy/Bradford) (unreleased version) "Till There Was You" (Meredith Willson) (unreleased version) "The Sheik of Araby" (Smith/Wheeler/Snyder) "To Know Her Is to Love Her" (Phil Spector) (unreleased version) "Take Good Care of My Baby" (King/Goffin) (unreleased) "Memphis, Tennessee" (Chuck Berry) (unreleased version) "Sure [...]

Critic Amanda Marcotte: Sgt. Pepper’s made rock “music for men”

By |2020-09-10T11:22:31-07:00June 1, 2017|1967, Beatles Criticism, Beatles on the Web, critics, Sgt. Pepper, Uncategorized|

Amanda Marcotte, critic and politics writer for Salon. Yeah, no surprise that the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's has everybody out there opining. But I find Amanda Marcotte's take in Salon worth calling out, if only to say that as someone who considers herself a feminist I'm thoroughly tired of this kind of facile, oversimplified finger-pointing. Her claim that Sgt. Pepper's "was the point when rock stopped being the music of girls and started being the music of men" is potentially defensible. Certainly the critical reception the album received made it clear that popular music could be considered serious art. If Marcotte stuck to analyzing what critics at the time said about the [...]

Critic Richard Goldstein’s 1967 pan of Sgt. Pepper

By |2017-05-22T13:23:45-07:00May 22, 2017|1967, Beatles Criticism, Robert Christgau, Sgt. Pepper|

Richard Goldstein, back in the day. The Washington Post has published this intriguing piece about how a 22-year-old critic came to write a negative review of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band for the New York Times when the album was originally released. Richard Goldstein, the critic in question, has the complete review on his website: you can read it here. Although he was a young freelancer at the time, Goldstein was an important figure in 1960's music criticism. Robert Christgau says that Goldstein "invented rock criticism. He was the first rock critic. I mean, it turns out Paul Williams was publishing his [...]

The Beatles in musical context, 1963-1965

By |2019-07-18T00:29:10-07:00December 1, 2016|1963, 1964, 1965, Beach Boys, Beatles vs. Stones, Bob Dylan, Guest blogger, Other bands, The Rolling Stones|

Guest Dullblogger Justin McCann, a freelance writer, musician, and self-described “inveterate lurker” on Hey Dullblog, offers these observations on the Beatles’ musical context in 1963-65. Please give him a warm welcome. As innovative as the Beatles were, their rivals — the Stones, The Who, the Kinks, Bob Dylan et. al. — were often just as inventive and you can read about them on this website if you want to know about the greatest legends of the music industry. If other musicians hadn’t been so good, the Beatles wouldn’t have felt the need to compete with them. And if the Beatles — particularly Paul [...]

Eight Days A Week: 5 Great Things About Ron Howard’s Documentary

By |2016-09-26T16:05:36-07:00September 26, 2016|1963, 1964, 1965, Beatle History, Beatlemania, concert, Live, Movies, Uncategorized|

Getting ready to perform, during the suit-and-tie era. Ron Howard's Eight Days A Week documentary of the Beatles' touring years is excellent. Not perfect, not a definitive look at the totality of the Beatles' career, but very good at doing what it sets out to do. Howard does shy away from the unseemly elements of the Beatles' life on the road, most obviously the rampant sex. And he doesn't delve into the disenchantment that Lennon and Harrison later expressed about the experience of being Beatles. But Howard is aiming to show us what being on public display felt like for the band, and [...]

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