“Yesterday,” the film: slight but fun

By |2019-08-07T00:51:32-07:00July 24, 2019|Uncategorized|

"Yesterday" is wildly implausible, to a degree that makes "Back To The Future" look like a serious exploration of the theory of relativity. It's a sheer waste of time to ask yourself any of the innumerable questions raised by the macguffin that is the film's premise. But if you're willing to suspend your disbelief, it's a pretty fun romp. That's my take, anyway: opinions are certainly divided. Great credit must be given to the cast. Himish Patel's intense likability makes scenes work that really shouldn't. Kate McKinnon steals every frame she's in, as an evil music executive. And Ed Sheeran is believably [...]

The Meaning of Fun: The Paul is Dead Rumor

By |2016-02-03T09:24:03-08:00February 3, 2016|Uncategorized|

In Magic Circles: The Beatles in Dream in History, I wrote at length about the Paul is Dead (PID) rumor, attempting to weave it into a larger comprehension of the Beatles’ unprecedented, and exceedingly bizarre, effect on the private and public fantasies of the Sixties (and beyond). The rumor occurred at precisely the same time as the Manson Family murders, and my hunch for many years had been that their proximity beggared coincidence. That both were cults, both expressions—one benign, the other psychotic; one symbolic, the other brutally physical—of desires and fears accumulating at that instant in history; that those desires and [...]

“These Paper Bullets!”: The Fabs Meet the Bard

By |2016-01-18T21:58:42-08:00January 18, 2016|Uncategorized|

For everyone who's wondered what might have happened if Shakespeare had met the Beatles, These Paper Bullets! delivers  "a modish rip-off of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing with a serious backbeat." I saw one of the last scheduled performances of the play, by New York's Atlantic Theater Company, and it was a delight. Despite a few wobbly bits, it stands on its own as a story—but it's also salted with plenty of in-jokes and references for Beatles fans. And the original songs, by Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, are outstanding. The play originated with the Yale Repertory Theatre, and its book was written by Rolin [...]

One Last, Lost Beatles Album

By |2015-08-31T12:12:31-07:00August 31, 2015|Uncategorized|

You get this sort of effect when you google "Cleopatra Porn" We've discussed the notion of a "Beatles in the Seventies" album many times before on the site -- here, here, and so forth -- but I stumbled across another person's worthy effort this morning and thought I'd share it. I've been slowly reading and enjoying Trav S.D.'s fascinating and florid history of vaudeville, No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous and so I wasn't entirely surprised that his picks for a lost Beatles album were somewhat idiosyncratic. To my great pleasure, Trav has identified McCartney's "Suicide" as the [...]

BEATLES-STREEP-SHEA SHOCKER: IT’S NOT HER!!!!

By |2015-08-14T05:33:15-07:00August 13, 2015|Uncategorized|

DEVIN McKINNEY  ·  Few things have been more spew-worthy on TV this last couple of weeks than the ads for Ricki and the Flash, with Meryl Streep as—ehh, who gives a shit. Read the Internet for the plot blurb. But the spectacle of this preeningest, phoniest of actors trying to look rocky and raunchy, let alone trying to sing that way, so offends my primordial brain that I’m driven against my higher controls to cringe, wince, twitch, and spit every time it comes on. I don’t want Meryl Streep herself to die, understand; but I would kill her fame in an instant, had [...]

Fab Foto Fakes: Photoshopping Beatles History

By |2015-04-15T16:01:30-07:00January 20, 2015|Uncategorized|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  There used to be a fun little shadow business going in fake Beatles records—songs with a Beatlesque sound, or just a Beatle-sounding name on the label, that got taken, however briefly and inexplicably, for the real thing. The Knickerbockers’ highly convincing knockoff “Lies” lay at one end of the scale, with something like “The Girl I Love” by “the Beatles”—in reality, a New Jersey doo wop group known elsewise as The Five Shits—at the other. (Castleman and Podrazik’s All Together Now [1975] gave the first comprehensive listing of these purposeful or inadvertent fakeries, under the succinct and irrefutable chapter [...]

A Dylan Beatles Stones Album In A Parallel Universe

By |2014-11-11T19:58:00-08:00November 11, 2014|Uncategorized|

These proportions would've been pretty accurate I think Eagle-eyed Dullblog commenter Hologram Sam writes us: "In 1969, Bob Dylan had the idea to form the ultimate temporary supergroup. He wanted to record an album with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. He told his idea to Glyn Johns, who immediately started making phone calls. Long story short: George Harrison and Keith Richards were in favor of the project. Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger were not interested. John Lennon didn't care either way. Ladies and Gentlemen: The Dylan Beatles Stones! Today's thought experiment: Try to imagine a parallel universe where this [...]

Alan Bryson’s “Anagrams” imagines alternate Beatles history

By |2014-04-07T11:28:52-07:00April 7, 2014|Uncategorized|

Time-traveling Nathan's car, the Hawk, parked outside Grams' house Anagrams, an alternate-history novel in which a Baby Boomer returning to 1962 not only meets the Beatles but changes their trajectory, has just been published by first-time book author Alan Bryson. The novel’s hero, Nathan Bellew, must decide when and how to intervene in events he knows are set to unfold, while coping with the issues that come with being, outwardly, an 11-year-old kid again. Bryson is an American-born music journalist based in Europe: you can read his work at AllAboutJazz and listen to his interviews at Talking2Musicians. He graciously sent [...]

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

By |2014-04-05T06:25:09-07:00April 5, 2014|Uncategorized|

“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 [...]

Admiral “Recovers” The Beatles; or, A Genre Waiting to Be Named

By |2014-12-30T21:31:46-08:00April 3, 2014|Uncategorized|

DEVIN McKINNEY  •  You have your cover versions of Beatles songs, and then you have your “recovers”—songs rendered as The Beatles would have done them, had they done them completely differently, or, in some cases, at all. One of the earliest and best entries in this imaginative and as-yet unnamed subgenre was It’s Four You (1994), by Australian soundalikes The Beatnix, which recovered, in authentic Beatlesque, Lennon-McCartney songs written for others. Apple Jam’s 2012 EP On the Wings of a Nightingale likewise restyled three songs by solo Beatles in various Beatles and post-Beatles styles. (AJ’s previous album, 2009’s Off the Beatle Track, [...]

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