Cries and Whispers, Crashes and Flutters: 10 Favorite Beatles Musical Micro-Moments

By |2016-12-03T07:44:13-08:00November 27, 2013|1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, John Lennon, Lennon, McCartney, Paul McCartney, Ringo, Ringo Starr|

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 [...]

Book Review: “Beatles vs. Stones”

By |2014-02-03T05:09:15-08:00November 11, 2013|1968, Beatles vs. Stones, biography, books|

Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian 288 pp. Simon & Schuster, 2013 Reviewed by Devin McKinney Note: This review was first posted, precipitately, on July 22nd, after review copies of John McMillian's book were sent out; it was difficult for the reviewer to resist reading and responding to it immediately. Now that the book is publicly available, we repost the review, without any changes. A character in Jonathan Lethem’s novel The Fortress of Solitude claims that every small-group dynamic found in fiction or in life is comprehensible via the Beatles model of organizational relationships: “The Beatles thing is an archetype, it’s like [...]

The Beatles and David Frost

By |2014-12-29T17:25:16-08:00September 1, 2013|1968, Obituaries|

This Was The Guy That Was David Frost has died, suddenly it seems while on a cruise ship, at age 74. The most prominent overlap between The Beatles and David Frost was, of course, his involvement in their 1968 promo film for "Hey Jude" and "Revolution," which I've embedded at the end of this post. But there's much more to say about it than that. Frost was a quintessential "mid-Atlantic man" in the Beatle and solo era, and his passing is another reminder to examine that time, and celebrate the blending of American and British pop culture which made it [...]

Experiment: Two Words

By |2013-07-31T03:21:51-07:00July 27, 2013|1968, George, George Harrison|

George Harrison, 1968 GEORGE HARRISON: I wrote "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" at my mother's house in Warrington. I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes...the Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there's no such thing as coincidence—every little item that's going down has a purpose. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" was a simple study based on that theory. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book—as it would be relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up [...]

Book Review: “Beatles vs. Stones”

By |2016-12-01T17:40:34-08:00July 22, 2013|1968, Beatles vs. Stones, biography, books|

Beatles vs. Stones by John McMillian 288 pp. Simon & Schuster, 2013 Reviewed by Devin McKinney A character in Jonathan Lethem’s novel The Fortress of Solitude claims that every small-group dynamic found in fiction or in life is comprehensible via the Beatles model of organizational relationships: “The Beatles thing is an archetype, it’s like the basic human formation. Everything naturally forms into a Beatles, people can’t help it.” He illustrates this theory by applying it, convincingly, to Star Wars and The Tonight Show. (For the record, the archetypal roles—or “four sides of the circle,” as the title of a Beatles bootleg once [...]

From Dangerous Minds: The Beatles’ In-House Astrologer

By |2014-07-23T11:57:05-07:00June 10, 2013|1967, 1968, Apple, John Lennon|

Did Harrod's Food Court have an in-house astrologer, I wonder? Since the period of late-1967 to late-1968 has come up in several comment threads of late, I wanted to pass along this post from Richard Metzger's site Dangerous Minds. I'd never heard of The Beatles' astrologer Caleb Ashburton-Dunning before...I'd just sort of assumed the existence of someone like him. Or a whole bunch of someones. You really could get anything at the Apple Boutique, couldn't you? I personally do not use fortune-telling, seances or any other such stuff as a path towards good life-decisions, but I suspect that they could be, for [...]

“Which Beatles Album Is Actually Their Best?”

By |2013-09-02T08:07:17-07:00May 29, 2013|1968, The White Album|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  For the enjoyment of anyone with the requisite interest and 45 minutes, here's myself and a friend, music writer Tom Kipp, debating the question at the Experience Music Project Pop Conference, EMP Museum, Seattle, this April 20 past. Can anyone here guess which album I picked? That's bon vivant Sean Nelson as our m.c., and H. B. Radke running the A/V.

Recording the White Album

By |2013-09-02T08:09:52-07:00April 8, 2013|1968, The White Album|

Rejected cover for the White Album. Find out more about it here. Over on another thread, Anonymous posted the following question, which I thought was meaty enough to merit its own post: Hey guys, this is way off topic but if you get to it I'd love to hear your thoughts. The White Album was the first major project to use 8 track recording. I've recently read somewhere that the engineers were confused about the distinctive sound they produced and went so far as to check the machine. They later discovered it was the solid state mixing board that caused [...]

Ravi works George out

By |2013-08-09T00:15:46-07:00December 16, 2012|1968, George, Obituaries|

Reader Rupa S. pointed me to this great clip of George Harrison and Ravi Shankar from 1968 (before George decided to stick to guitar). RIP, Ravi Shankar. Glad to be alive at the same time you were. http://youtu.be/t79aI-I6ucA

Did Yellow Submarine beget The Simpsons?

By |2016-02-28T13:35:31-08:00December 4, 2012|1966, 1967, 1968, Obituaries|

Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein argues so in this (hotly debated) article for The Guardian. Without Yellow Submarine there would never have beenThe Simpsons, no Futurama, no South Park, no Toy Story, no Shrek. No animated anything that enables us to laugh at ourselves while being highly entertained. Naturally, I want to believe him. In my opinion, The Beatles (and -related) are that clear, burbling spring from which all good things flow. Of course the comments are alive with internet types, people who obsessively leapfrog each other in truth-owning appeals to obscure authority, who defiantly declare that Yellow Sub was/is shite and the REAL breakthroughs were the [...]

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