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 [...]

Beatles mystery: “She’s Leaving Home”

By |2016-09-22T07:33:20-07:00September 20, 2016|1968, Beatle-inspired, Beatles fiction, books, fans, Uncategorized|

William Shaw's She's Leaving Home is a Beatles-linked police procedural mystery. It's also a deep dive into the turmoil of late-60's London. And an examination of two detectives struggling with their identities and social roles. If that makes the book sound overstuffed, it's because it is. But overall it's an enjoyable read for Beatles or mystery fans who are prepared to skim a bit. Beatles novels are as various as the songs on the White Album, ranging from the simply parodic (Alan Goldsher's Paul is Undead) to the thriller (Phil Rickman's December) to the realistic slice-of-life (Philip Gillam's Here Comes the Sun). But alternative history leads the field, with [...]

Did Monoculture Make The Beatles?

By |2016-09-19T10:09:16-07:00September 18, 2016|1967|

December 21, 1967: John, Paul and Ringo at the party celebrating the BBC's transmission of "Magical Mystery Tour." This morning, as I was shaving -- a marvelously quick operation now that I have a beard -- "Breakfast With the Beatles" played a blast-from-the-past radio ad touting the then-new LPs Magical Mystery Tour and Wild Honey. (So we can date the spot to late December 1967/early 1968). I suddenly felt a very warm feeling, a pang of entirely comfortable longing. How nice it would be to hear something like this on contemporary radio, something that I understand fully, by artists I [...]

Starostin on the White Album

By |2016-06-20T07:18:13-07:00June 20, 2016|1968, Beatles Criticism, George Starostin, The White Album|

The tireless George Starostin, still working his way through Rate Your Music's list of "Top Albums of All Time," has just published a new review of the White Album (currently #25 on the list). As usual, there's plenty of substance in Starostin's review, and I highly recommend it. These lines particularly stood out to me (ellipses mine): "A typical 'complaint' against The Beatles is that this is the first album where the band, much too often, reads like the sum of its parts rather than a collective whole: The Lennon songs are Lennon, the McCartney songs are McCartney, the Harrison songs mark [...]

The Joshua Liquid Light Show

By |2016-05-04T09:50:38-07:00May 4, 2016|1969|

The Joshua Liquid Light Show, invented by artist Joshua White, was a psychedelic staple at New York's iconic Fillmore East in the late Sixties. White and his colleagues would project their work on 30-40 foot screens behind bands like Jimi Hendrix and The Who, improvising in time with the music. I've found one of their Shows on YouTube, which I'm pasting below. This work is now part of the permanent collection at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. https://youtu.be/TW733Ut5zE0 It is a real shame that the Beatles didn't return to touring; their post-Pepper music, plus proper mic-ing and amplification, plus [...]

Starostin re-reviews Sgt. Pepper

By |2016-05-02T15:09:50-07:00May 2, 2016|1967, Beatles on the Web, George Starostin, Psychedelia, Sgt. Pepper|

Online reviewer George Starostin has just posted another review of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, this time as part of his working down the list of the RateYourMusic site's "Top Albums of All Time" list. (Pepper is currently at #18). I love the whole review, but here are a couple of my favorite song-by-song comments: ʻLovely Ritaʼ - oh, that triumphant cry of "RITA!" leading into the piano solo break. It's one of McCartney's most Pythonesque numbers ever, a hilarious send-up of, let's say, "traditional British values", and the exuberant piano chords of the break are the climactic peak. Although the [...]

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