Back on March 7, my husband and I saw Cirque de Soleil's Beatles-themed show Love at the Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas. I've been meaning to write this post for a while now, but the way things snapped shut right after that trip due to covid-19 has made it hard to figure out what to say about the experience. Please bear with this somewhat rambling account. I'd wanted to see the show for quite a while, and my husband proposed that we finally just go to Las Vegas for a weekend. We could combine seeing Love with catching up with [...]
Willie Chirino's 2011 collection of Fab Four songs, My Beatles Heart, is one of the few cover albums I listen to regularly all the way through. Chirino is a Cuban-American musician, singer, and songwriter who lives in Florida and was involved in the salsa-based "Miami Sound" back in the 1970s and 80s. I'm not familiar with much of his other music, but I highly recommend My Beatles Heart. I love the way Chirino uses Latin rhythms and instrumentation on these covers and the creativity he shows in referencing other Beatles songs within a cover. On the "Yellow Submarine" version below, for instance, [...]
Chicago-based singer Jay Goeppner pours his fervent love for the music of the Beatles, and John Lennon, into every performance. His voice, and his energy onstage, are almost eerily similar to Lennon's. I've seen several of his Beatle Brothers shows, and can testify that the only time I've gotten a stronger Beatles vibe was at Paul McCartney's concerts. I caught up with Jay by phone recently, as he was returning from a last-minute road trip to fill in for the lead singer of the band Class of ‘68. Jay and fellow Chicagoan Phil Angotti are the original “Beatle Brothers,” who began performing together [...]
The Best of Dark Horse came up on my iTunes shuffle the other day, and I was struck by how many George Harrison songs can go with a sunny, breezy day. George has a (not wholly undeserved) reputation as the dour Beatle, but here's a playlist of his solo songs that I think make for good summer listening. 1. "Blow Away" (1979) -- A great hook ("Blow away, blow away, blow away!") and lyrics that sound like a sequel to "Here Comes the Sun": All I got to do is to love you All I got to be is, be happy All it's got to take is [...]
So much to say about Prince, probably the closest thing my generation had to The Beatles, but today is the last day of our Kickstarter for issue #2 of The American Bystander -- so it will have to wait a bit. While you're waiting, however, here is a 2004 version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" with an absolutely cataclysmic guitar solo by Prince. (And I don't like solos, as a rule.) We've posted it before, but today of all days, it must be heard. https://youtu.be/6SFNW5F8K9Y I'm typing this quickly, in between updates to the Kickstarter, but the more I think, the [...]
Could he touch his nose? Happy birthday to John. I love this cover of "Bring on the Lucie" by the Boston-based and totally excellent band Hallelujah the Hills.
English rocker Joe Cocker. They don't tell you when you're young, how your world falls away person by person. The ever-morbid social network informs me that spasmodic English rocker Joe Cocker has died, after a long battle with lung cancer. According to the BBC, "Sir Paul McCartney said he was a lovely guy who 'brought so much to the world.'" Not sure why the lovely guy part isn't quoted too; maybe Paul swore a lot, and they paraphrased it as "a lovely guy." That's what happened in my world, at least. Cocker achieved the near-impossible: he made Beatles covers that [...]
Some people get Mania, others get Pandemonium Brother/good influence Jack Gerber just sent me this great cover of John Lennon's "Isolation" by JL's close friend/bad influence Harry Nilsson. It was unreleased until 2008, when it appeared as a bonus track on Aerial Pandemonium Ballet.Lennon covers almost never come close to the original; Lennon's paramount gift was to make his material feel so personal, indubitably his. It bothered him, especially post-Beatles, that fewer people covered his songs than covered Paul's, but you can understand why -- who could possibly equal his originals. Still, this version of Isolation holds its own, and [...]
Pinky asks: "Are people so mad for the Beatles, so many years later, that even a simulacrum brings them joy?"Read her report on Cheap Trick at the Hollywood Bowl, playing Sgt. Pepper on the occasion of its 41st anniversary.