Three Cheers for the Girls School Bus

By |2020-01-21T10:49:51-08:00January 21, 2020|Photos, solo, Uncategorized|

These dark days, I'll take opportunities to laugh wherever I can get them. On a recent trip to Indianapolis I saw this bus, and immediately imagined it as on its way to the imaginary, wink-wink-pornographic girls school Wings celebrated in song back in 1977. It was released as the B side of "Mull of Kintyre" and reached #33 on the U.S. charts. I so want to think that everyone on this bus is cheering "Hip, hip, hooray!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAkoYyo1yyU

Above Us Only Sky: New “Imagine” Documentary

By |2020-09-10T11:20:33-07:00May 13, 2019|john and yoko, John Lennon, Julian Lennon, Movies, solo, Yoko Ono|

"Imagine" is already the most well-examined John Lennon album, but the new A&E documentary Above Us Only Sky is well worth watching. Here's the network's description: "This special traces the untold story of the making of John Lennon's 1971 album "Imagine." Utilizing never-before-seen footage of Lennon and Ono from their private archive, the special delves into the depth of the creative collaboration between the couple and explores how the art, politics and music of the pair are intrinsically entwined. Features interviews with the people who witnessed the period first hand including Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, David Bailey (photographer), John Dunbar (Gallerist who [...]

McCartney shakes it in St Louis

By |2016-08-16T12:02:38-07:00August 16, 2016|concert, Live, Paul McCartney, solo, Wings|

Waiting to sit in the stands of the sports arena. Paul McCartney proved he could still play, sing, and shake it at his show in St Louis last Saturday night. Looking loose and sounding in fine voice, McCartney was clearly having a capital time with the capacity crowd at Busch Stadium. And–almost unbelievably, given the high winds, lightning, and sheets of rain of the preceding night–it didn't even sprinkle. In most respects the 38-song setlist reflected the kind of Beatles-heavy mix McCartney has favored in recent years. It included 23 Beatles songs, 5 Wings songs, and 6 solo songs. But [...]

Lester Bangs’ anti-Beatles sermon, 1975

By |2016-02-25T11:14:49-08:00February 25, 2016|1975, Beatle myth, Beatles Criticism, critics, Lester Bangs, solo|

Lester Bangs takes a call, mid-70s. Lester Bangs declared the Beatles “nothing” and hated A Hard Day’s Night. To be sure, he despised plenty of other bands. If you rate Bangs as a great critic (I don’t), you pretty much have to relish his talent for insult. Bangs’ animosity toward the Beatles, however, was particularly barbed. In 1975 he printed, in both The Real Paper and CREEM, an eight-page screed damning not only the former Beatles’ solo work, but the entire legacy of the band. Reading “Dandelions in Still Air: The Withering Away of the Beatles” in 2016, I thought: [...]

Plastic Ono Band — Threat or Menace?

By |2015-02-10T12:04:19-08:00February 10, 2015|1970, John Lennon, solo|

More POB than you can shake a stick at, if that's your thing (The title's a shout-out to the dear departed National Lampoon -- where John and Yoko hung around a bit in their Bank Street days, and which ran an entire Beatles-themed issue in October 1977.) In a discussion with commenter @Rob this morning, I realized that I had stronger feelings about John Lennon's first solo album than I realized. I admire it as a piece of work, but can't remember the last time I listened to it; and always find it a bit unpleasant when I do. Rob, [...]

McCartney as collaborator

By |2015-02-05T07:41:38-08:00February 5, 2015|Paul McCartney, Photos, solo|

Guess who Paul McCartney is collaborating with now? Yup, that's Lady Gaga. And yes, they are actually in the same room, not Photoshopped together. Apparently the past few weeks, which have seen the release of Kanye West's and McCartney's "Only One" and Rhianna's, West's, and McCartney's "Four Five Seconds" have only whetted Paul's desire to branch further out. No official word on what's coming out of the sessions with Gaga, but on Instagram February 1 she said "Had a beautiful session with Sir Paul McCartney and friends . . . Working on one of his many secret projects! Killer musicians, vibe, and [...]

The Many Faces of Coming Up

By |2015-01-06T21:55:11-08:00January 6, 2015|1980, solo|

In addition to famously sparking John Lennon's dormant creative flame, "Coming Up" has proven itself to be one of the most versatile songs in Paul McCartney's catalog. Here's the original, from 1980's McCartney II. Crisp and clean and plenty of caffeine. http://youtu.be/NnHu-WLvY5U Now the single, which was performed by Wings in Glasgow, 1979. http://youtu.be/EXNFynXEow0 And here's the great, funkified version Macca did at Knebworth, in 1990. http://youtu.be/xkoFdUrNTpw Finally, here's the Twin Freaks' remix, which I was obsessed with for a solid month back in 2012. Must've been something about the Mayan Calendar. http://youtu.be/EdsRYyTDEN8

McCartney in Dallas: A World-Class Balancing Act

By |2014-10-16T14:02:28-07:00October 16, 2014|"New" album, Live, Paul McCartney, solo, Wings|

NANCY CARR • My favorite moment of Paul McCartney's October 13 show in Dallas was a visual grace note. At the end of a song, as a stagehand came forward to take McCartney's Hofner bass and give him a guitar, McCartney held the vintage instrument up and balanced it one-handed, headstock down, body up. He looked at it, and the audience, teasingly, as if he might really let it fall. Seeing him let that elegantly long-necked bass—the same one he was playing 50 years ago in A Hard Day's Night—sway in the air was an astonishment. After a breathless second, the Hofner [...]

McCartney at Candlestick Park

By |2014-08-22T15:21:12-07:00August 19, 2014|concert, Paul McCartney, solo, Wings|

NANCY CARR • Who can open a sold-out arena show with two songs he worked on that were released nearly 50 years apart? That would be Paul McCartney, who started his August 14 Candlestick Park concert with “Eight Days A Week” (1964) and “Save Us” (2013). McCartney closed down Candlestick in a rain of firework sparks and confetti, after playing 40 songs that often had the crowd singing, clapping, and dancing along. At this point it can be easy to take his shows for granted: you know certain songs will be played, that Roman candles will be set off during “Live and Let [...]

The Black Album: Solo Beatles According to Ethan Hawke

By |2014-07-21T21:18:24-07:00July 21, 2014|Beatles lists, solo|

Filmed over the course of 12 years, Richard Linklater's movie "Boyhood" is getting raves. Beatlefans will take particular note of the scene where a father (Ethan Hawke) gives his son (Ellar Coltrane) a mix of solo Beatles tracks, which he dubs "The Black Album." (Please note: this is not the stupendously lo-fi Let It Be-era bootleg, which managed to bring me down within seconds of loading the video.) The fictional collection's fictional liner notes begin, "I wanted to give you something for your birthday that money couldn’t buy, something that only a father could give a son, like a family heirloom. This [...]

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