Deconstructing The Beatles: The End

By |2016-01-18T11:04:00-08:00September 18, 2014|1969, Abbey Road|

Yukking it up in Studio Two. Thanks to a timely Tweet from The Fest for Beatles Fans -- LA Fest is coming and I will be there! -- I stumbled on this wonderful video, which lays out Abbey Road's climactic track in all its glorious pieces. Too juicy not to pass along. I have to say, as a non-musician, this is both very encouraging (I can hear how they made the finished song) and also demonstrates a way of thinking that I've never done myself, which makes music even more mysterious than before. And here's the track in toto [...]

Let It Be: A Missed Opportunity

By |2015-10-07T12:48:48-07:00April 22, 2014|1969, Documentaries, Film merde, Let It Be|

Is Mike man enough to withstand the awesome depressive POWER of this film? Last Thursday I happened to rent a DVD of "Let It Be," and I did so mostly out of surprise that it was on the shelf at all. I'd seen it only once before, in the summer of 1981, paired with "A Hard Day's Night" at the pot-scented Tivoli Theatre in St. Louis. Maybe it was Lennon's recent death, or having watched the young Fabs in full flood directly before, but I still remember the funereal aspect of the evening's second half, something even the sweet smell [...]

The Fab Files, Pt. 2: Beatle Traces in the Mid-Atlantic Conference

By |2014-04-05T06:25:09-07:00April 5, 2014|1969, alternate history, Beatle-inspired, Beatles fiction, comedy, Fab Files, Paul Is Dead (PID), Paul McCartney|

“We’ve never seen the body.But we know he’s there.” DEVIN McKINNEY  •  Having written about the McCartney death rumor in Magic Circles, I knew that campus papers in the Middle West and Near East were the seedbed of the whole thing. For several weeks in the autumn of 1969, student editors, reviewers, lit majors, and budding gag-writers scrambled to co-opt, rip off, outdo, or otherwise find their place on the bandwagon begun by University of Michigan student Fred LaBour’s seminal satire-dissertation, “McCartney Dead? New Evidence Brought to Light,” printed in the Michigan Daily of October 14. Lately I’ve been researching [...]

Will the Real Mr. Sellers Please Stand Up?

By |2014-01-10T21:20:56-08:00January 10, 2014|1969, comedy|

Sellers, ready for his close-up MIKE GERBER • Devin's post earlier this regarding the "film merde" of Ringo Starr couldn't help but bring to mind Ringo's most accomplished co-star, Peter Sellers. Sellers is one of my favorites, as he seems to be for a lot of Beatlepeople; as with Monty Python, there's a lot of overlap between him and the Fabs, as much or more than any musical group: The Goon Show, his Beatles covers, the Peter Sellers Tape, The Magic Christian. All four Beatles were fans, but weren't close; nobody, it seems, was close with Peter Sellers. I recall [...]

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 [...]

Nik Cohn reviews Abbey Road, 1969

By |2013-10-26T11:11:41-07:00October 26, 2013|1969, Abbey Road|

An outtake from Abbey Road (the cover, I mean) Dullblogger Ed (come back Ed! we miss you!) shared a link this morning: Nik Cohn's original review of Abbey Road for The New York Times. I always find hot-off-the-press reviews like this really interesting; for one thing, they give us a sense of how differently now-iconic bits of culture were seen at that time, which not only demonstrates how changeable things are—that there are pieces of work truly more in tune with a past or future than their time of creation—but also give us a clue as to how the texture [...]

Which Beatles album is actually their last?

By |2013-08-03T04:37:33-07:00June 22, 2013|1969, 1970, Abbey Road, Let It Be, Uncategorized|

Bare feet, ouch! Paul suffers for his art. Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone: So let's argue: Which album truly counts as the grand finale? The case for Let It Be: It came out in 1970, which was after 1969. The case for Abbey Road: (1) virtually all of Let It Be was in the can before the Abbey Road sessions even began; (2) Abbey Road feels more like a classic Beatles record; (3) "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was the last time all four played in the studio together; (4) the last song on Abbey Road is called "The End"; (5) except for "Her Majesty"; (6) rebounding from the Let [...]

Analyzing the Abbey Road medley

By |2013-10-26T11:13:55-07:00April 25, 2013|1969, Abbey Road|

What's the album called, again? NANCY CARR • I recently discovered the Soundscapes website, which features -- among many other things -- musicologist Alan W. Pollack's notes on the entire Beatles catalog. Not since I found George Starostin's  original review website have I been so excited about a mine of musical information and analysis. The whole set of notes is well worth your time and attention if you're interested in understanding the Beatles' work, with an emphasis on the music rather than the lyrics. Pollack does make some comments about the lyrics and the songs as whole entities, but his focus [...]

John in "Nether-Nether Land"?

By |2014-08-23T15:25:02-07:00July 20, 2012|1969, john and yoko, John Lennon|

Commenter CMO#9 writes (slightly edited by me): I've been reading the latest issue of Vanity Fair and there is a profile of the late war correspondent Marie Colvin. The article mentions that growing up, Colvin idolized The New York Times war correspondent Gloria Emerson. That name should ring a bell for some of you and I have no doubt that you are familiar with her brief but polarizing entry into John's life, Michael. I believe it was either 1969 or 1970 when Ms. Emerson interviewed John (and Yoko) at Apple. She basically calls him a fool for him believing that his songs [...]

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