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 [...]
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 [...]
"Not bad, that." One of the little benefits (and there are many, let me assure you) of living where I live is KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic." I realize that I come off on HD as a curmudgeon whose musical tastes are pitifully narrow—and they are, because every time I listen to a smidgeon of the new music being created all around the world I think, "Wow that's great!!!"...And five seconds later I think, because I'm me, "Jesus, this tech-driven media oversupply screws musicians just like it screws writers. The audience is so fragmented, how can making this stuff ever be [...]
MIKE GERBER • In thinking about Devin's great post on favorite Beatle micro-moments, last week's "Breakfast with the Beatles" reminded me of one…which may or may not exist? I only doubt it because I can't seem to find corroboration via Google—which is, I suppose, a comment on what we've become (yes, I'm including you whether you like it or not). Anyway, it's an extra "something" in "I Want to Hold Your Hand”—a ghostly buried response that occurs at about 1:23 in this video. http://youtu.be/3MHkgwA8t-g Do you hear it, too? Maybe come over to where I'm standing...or hunch down to my height...Is this [...]
Recording "Real Love," 1994:Gut genius at work. DEVIN McKINNEY • We all know you can take the Beatles to the outer limit and upper extremity of significance—Best thing in universal history—and then narrow that unit to its subordinate but still-impressive absolutes: Best miracle of the 20th century; best socio-cultural force of the 1960s; Best group of the “rock era.” Having accepted all of that, you can, and we all have, then go superlative in descending levels of specificity: Best album; best song; best vocal performance—John; best vocal performance—Paul; best bass playing; best guitar solo; best everything else. But have we [...]
The Beatles, with Pete Best on drums, rehearse for their first BBC appearance, Playhouse Theatre, Manchester, June 11, 1962. Photo by Mike McCartney. DEVIN McKINNEY • What a bounty this autumn brings us. In addition to the long (as in loooong) awaited first volume of the Lewisohn biography (the multiple iterations of which will blanket like sweet snow our Fall and Winter); Kevin Howlett's The Beatles: BBC Archives 1962 to 1970, which looks indispensable for the cover alone; and The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, a new graphic novel by Vivek J. Tiwary (which I can only hope comes [...]
Lennon peers down uncertainly at a 45. So we've all heard how John Lennon without his glasses moved around in the land of Monet—how his famous tough-looking stage persona was actually him peering nearsightedly into the crowd, hoping he'd see the incoming bottle or fist just in time to avoid it—but this photograph made me smile. Beatle John blinks down at that thing like he's 85. "Is this bloody 'Watch Your Step'?" A slight disability like that (perhaps the disability is being too vain to wear your specs!) often pushes people into their imagination. From there, it's a short step [...]
I stumbled upon this video and just had to share it, not only because the guy is strangely gripping to watch, but also because it reminded me exactly why I love, and will always come back to, The Beatles: their music is thrillingly, achingly beautiful. Thanks, guys.So enjoy. And I dare you not to sing along.
Sometimes it’s good to go through the time tunnel and remember that once the Beatles were “the strangest group to ever hit the pop scene.” I was reminded of this when I happened across The Best of Boyfriend (ed. Melissa Hyland: Prion, 2008) in a bookstore. Boyfriend was a UK magazine for young women published from 1959 to 1966, and in addition to advice columns, clothing ads, and serial fiction, it featured stories and pictures of the latest musical groups. In early 1963 Boyfriend ran a spread on the Beatles, who had recently released “Please Please Me.” The anonymous writer sounds almost [...]
1963: The Beatles (and Nell?) relax in the sun in Weston-Super-Mare during a week’s appearance at the local cinema. MIKE GERBER • This photo's Beatleness caught my eye, but my love of Python made me post it. An extra scoop of cosmic ice cream to the first person who makes the connection in the Comments... Friend Shirley Tulloch made the following comment when she posted it on Facebook. "Never seen this pic before. If that is Nell in the background, he was truly blessed no? ;)"