• The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Faith Current on Dec 8, 14:19 “Everyday Chemistry” is my favorite 13th album and one of my favorite albums ever. I play it at least as much as the “real” ones. Highly recommend. http://thebeatlesneverbrokeup.com/
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 8, 13:14 @Hieronymus, that’s a great point. It would’ve been interesting to see if Beatles Magic would’ve been able to elevate something like “Apple Scruffs.” I for one would’ve LOVED to live in a world where we’d gotten both — both the intensely personal stuff on solo records, but then also the lighter stuff on great Beatles records. Because I don’t think it was really Magic; I think it was four individuals who’d worked and played together for so long, plus engineers, plus an accumulated sheen that made everyone else bring their A game. Where the solo stuff misses me isn’t the Major Personal Statement records; those I think are wonderful artistic statements, even if I don’t care to listen to them much. It’s when John and George try to play the pop game, as they both decided to do after 1973, where it all feels so flat.
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Hieronymus on Dec 8, 12:21 Yes, absolutely, Michael. I think we can be reasonably certain that if the Beatles had continued as a band, their solo projects – or at least those of John, Paul and George – would have grown in importance in terms of defining them as recording artists. This means that it’s possible that many of the tracks that were trialled with the Beatles but later became solo songs, such as All Things Must Pass, Gimme Some Truth, Teddy Boy etc, might well have been solo songs down the line even if they hadn’t have split. If Cold Turkey wasn’t a Beatles song then neither was, say, Mother. I think John’s personal songs would have filtered off to his solo output and possibly the same with George’s more spiritual stuff; in fact, it was already becoming clear that George’s ‘lighter’ stuff had more chance of making it onto a Beatles release – hence For You Blue, Old Brown Shoe, Here Comes the Sun. So, if we’re speculating (or Spectorlating (sorry!)), it could be argued that something like, say, Apple Scruffs would be more likely to appear on the 13th Beatles album than All Things Must Pass.
  • From Victoria: Oracle’s spoken: John Green’s Dakota Days (1983) Comment by Baboomska McGeesk on Dec 8, 07:17 Here is something Yoko wrote on twitter a few hours ago: In some ways John was a highly complex person, but, in others, he was a person who retained his innocence. On one level he remained the kid he’d been in his home town. The fact that he still kept his childlike character probably saved him and helped him greatly when he was writing songs because he was always able to remember what it was like to be a child. The first time we met, I didn’t know who he was, but I found him totally, totally attractive – not that he was known as the most conventionally handsome man in the world but he had a charm which was very alluring and endearing . I think it was because he was so honest. Coming from New York, it took me a while to warm to English guys and John was the first one that I related to; there was something so human about him. It’s never easy just to be yourself, but John was very good at that. One of my strongest memories of John was the first time he made me laugh. He just grabbed an apple that was in my exhibition, took a bite out of it and just looked at me. I was very, very upset because it was my work. I thought, How dare he, what a rude person! And I just looked at him and he could see that I didn’t like it and he registered this and did a shy little smile and put it back on the pedestal. At the time I was very upset but when I thought about it after he left, it seemed rather sweet. He had a very warm view of his past. He thought of Liverpool as a place that was incredibly wonderful. Some people who leave the city they were born in or grew up in say, ‘Thank God I left’. But John always thought it was a great place and he loved it. In the last week of his life he was planning to go visit his England on the QE2. He wanted to go to Liverpool and show the city he was from to his son Sean. He was making very interesting statements all the time, especially towards the end. As if he sensed that something was about to happen to his life to change it all. But if you listen to his song Imagine, you will see that everything he was trying to tell his son Sean at the time is in there. All of it. He stuck to being himself to the end.
  • From Faith Current: “Fool on the Hill: The Myth of Perfectionist Paul” Comment by Dave on Dec 7, 21:50 Furthermore…George and his interest in guitars….the technical aspects of them etc also points to him perhaps having perfectionist qualities. John on the other hand just wanted to play the thing and could care less about much else it seems. George was the one who tuned the guitars before each concert. He left very detailed notes about all of his guitars before his passing. The more I think about it the more George comes across as the perfectionist, especially when he really takes interest in something
  • From Faith Current: “Fool on the Hill: The Myth of Perfectionist Paul” Comment by Dave on Dec 7, 21:46 Interestingly I think the one who maybe was more of a perfectionist than most Beatle die hards realize(and who ducked the reputation)…was George. I seem to remember some quotes about George wanting to do his guitar part to something over and over and over again. Repeatedly saying “I can do it better…I can do better. Let’s do it again” etc..and another John quote somewhere where he talks about George “If you don’t stop him he’d redo it a million times” Of course George wasn’t the studio general that Paul was but it seems to me that in regards to his parts of a song he could be very much the perfectionist. Enough to drive the others a bit crazy
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Matt on Dec 7, 00:21 “You know Larry, I may have been the happiest I’ve ever been… I loved this woman, I made some beautiful music and I got so fucked up with booze and shit and whatever.” To think he gave it all up so he could quit smoking. “It was a tough trade off, but after January 1975, John Lennon never touched another cigarette. Some say it was his newly increased lung capacity that energized the five years he spent baking bread. Close friend Elliot Mintz remembers how proud John was as the loaves multiplied. The density of bread became so great that the Lennons acquired additional apartments in the Dakota just to house it. ‘There is no room for you here,’ Mrs Ono told potential applicant Mick Jagger. ‘These apartments belong to our baked goods.’ By 1980, John’s lungs had taken on such a durability that he was able to inhale deeply and use them as flotation devices. Often he could be seen leaping from roof to roof throughout the city, gently carried by the breeze as his internal balloons took him in for a staid landing. When queried on his acquired superpower, Mr Lennon remarked it was the love of his wife Yoko Ono that enabled him to fly to such heights, and the telling lack of cigarettes.” -from ‘John Lennon: The Baked Life’ by David Sheff.
  • Various musings on Lennon and Addiction Comment by Patricia Habisohn on Dec 5, 12:56 I am happy for this conversation. It would seem all of The Beatles suffered negative effects of substance abuse. I can see how the disparity of the drugs used can exacerbate the problem. This subject should be addressed honestly. It seems most writers want to white wash it. Could it be a result of Yoko quashing the project? After all Prisoner of Love has diasappeared.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by notorious_g_i_b on Dec 4, 13:56 @Michael G. – To your point, it’s also telling to listen to what John had to say about the relationship after his reunion with Yoko when she wasn’t around. And, as Larry Kane reported in Lennon Revealed, his specific words — emphasis, of course, mine — were: “You know Larry, I may have been the happiest I’ve ever been… I loved this woman, I made some beautiful music and I got so fucked up with booze and shit and whatever.” Is what he associates her with in the same sentence healthy? No, but it’s the reality of the time he spent with her. I don’t find it too hard to believe him.
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 3, 22:23 Oh I enjoyed that immensely. What a GREAT GREAT GREAT voice he had!
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 3, 22:18 @Elizabeth, my personal opinion is that, when he is with Yoko, you have to take everything John Lennon said in interviews with a huge grain of salt. I think he said exactly what would keep Yoko happy–that he and Paul were just coworkers; that Yoko was a genius; that he’d spent the last five years happily baking bread while Yoko, clearly the brains of the operation, made money on a scale that would shame Warren Buffett. Stuff that is at best PR. I’m not here to defend May, or that relationship, but I do think that we’re being naive if we don’t notice that Lennon did everything he possibly could to keep his wife happy, and that included toeing certain lines with the press. The Ballad foremost among them, and that would most definitely include dismissing her rival May Pang — and a period in which he by all outward appearances seemed to be more content and less furious — as a “Lost Weekend,” a sordid affair. To assume that he was telling the truth in this case–when we know he so often did not, when Yoko was running his life–is dubious to me. Even more dubious to me is to believe May when she says something shitty, but not believe her when she says something good. What was their relationship like? Unequal, for sure. Abusive, yes. But I think the only living expert on John Lennon and May Pang is…May Pang. Inasmuch as we can tell anything from the outside, my instinct is to look at who Lennon was when he was with May — a reasonably healthy, reasonably productive, reasonably sane adult — and conclude that the relationship had to have something to do with that. To think it didn’t seems to be going out of our way to diss May, and I don’t feel any need to do that.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Elizabeth on Dec 3, 08:12 @Michael – In one of John’s interviews in the period just after he had gone back to Yoko, he made the comment that May Pang had known the score: that she had essentially been a temporary and disposable sex partner, just as you’ve described. He didn’t use those exact words, but that was the gist of it. I do agree with you that John became John again during this 18 month period, but I’m not sure May Pang had much to do with that. For the most part, she was just sort of there in the background while he had a great time with his mates – much like the young, Liverpool John, really, which was probably the point. He wanted to find himself. But she could have been one of a million pretty young women who were willing to have sex with John Lennon and let him rough them up from time to time. She just happened to be in the right place at the right time, so she got the gig. I mean, I’m sure he did care for her, in a way. But he didn’t treat her like a person – she was just his plaything, there to be used and abused. If you believe what she wrote, he wasn’t even sorry after he nearly killed her. He was more bothered that he had smashed up one of his own guitars. The revisionist attempt to sell John and May as a love story makes the whole thing seem more palatable for sure. But in truth, their relationship was pretty sordid. In my view anyway.
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Baboomska McGeesk on Dec 3, 02:49 Speaking of Phil Spector’s influence, have you heard this track? It’s a de-Spectorized version of Instant Karma, with his ugly influence removed. An improvement, in my opinion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69qIJRh9zq4&list=PL4H5cduO6BiepVSj3weHjyWPuAEqEU-1p&index=14
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 2, 17:41 @Elizabeth, a groupie is by definition temporary and disposable sex partner, and there’s evidence that neither John nor May felt that way about their relationship. John apparently didn’t want to go back to Yoko when she began pestering him in 1975, then relented. Was there a power difference? Yes, of course. But there was going to be that with anyone who dated John Lennon, much less someone between the age of 23-25. I think what you’re sensing with John is his callousness–something I’d chalk up to his addiction. With an addict, the addiction is really the primary relationship. Everybody and everything else comes second. Yoko, when she’s in his life, presents more as an addiction than a regular partner or spouse. The need, the obsession, the mono-focus. I’m biased towards May, because who John was when he was with her is recognizably close to pre-Yoko Lennon–he’s funny again, and approachable, and engaged with the music business, and not utterly furious at everyone for reasons he won’t or can’t divulge. Whenever John Lennon is with Yoko Ono I find him a crashing bore, and his music mostly forgettable. That’s just my taste, but when I listen to “Walls and Bridges” or the WNEW tapes or any other May-era stuff, I realize that other person I like so much better was still in there.
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 2, 17:23 Good points, @Hieronymus, but what I was trying to express in my clumsy way is that the music we know as “All Things Must Pass”–the finished track, and the finished 3-LP set–are likely worlds away from what any of that music would’ve sounded like if The Beatles had recorded and released it as finished work. There was a whole multi-person, place-specific process that went to create what we know as Beatles music, and that was incredibly distinctive. To load up a buncha solo stuff and call it a “Lost Beatles LP”–as I see on YouTube–misunderstands something really fundamental about this topic. None of them, not even Paul with his love for the studio and belief in the Beatles Idea, could get close to the magic during their solo years. When John overtly tried, we get “Imagine,” a nice LP but not something that sounds like The Beatles to me. Paul could even work with George Martin, as he did with “Tug of War,” and he gets about as close as John did–a nice LP, but not even a minor Beatles one. Getting back to ATMP in particular, I was rewatching Scorsese’s Harrison documentary, and it was clear that George was conflicted about the Spectorization of the music from the beginning, and that’s a huge part of the experience of listening to ATMP. The nice word for it is bombastic. Something like “Wah-Wah,” a song I thoroughly dig where the Spector treatment works well, doesn’t sound even remotely like Beatles music, and there’s nothing to suggest that our ever-changing Beatle boys would’ve made anything on their next record sound like that. So — if I haven’t worn out your patience — taking lots of stuff from ATMP and saying, “George was really coming into his own! This is what the next Beatles LP would’ve sounded like” is, to me, extremely dubious. It is a statement that marks the writer as someone who doesn’t “think about The Beatles a little too much.” 🙂
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by Hieronymus on Dec 2, 16:18 If we’re imagining a world where the Beatles hadn’t split, I think it’s wrong to say songs like All Things Must Pass had been rejected. It’s clear that there were a bunch of songs from 68/69 that the band were working on, some got on Let it Be, some got on Abbey Road. If the band had split after the rooftop concert, we’d be saying Something, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Mean Mr Mustard, Oh Darling and Octopus’s Garden were rejected. So who knows? Similarly, One After 909 had been properly recorded back in, what, 1964, and was obviously written years previous to that. Also c/f When I’m 64. I guess the point is, all speculation is just, well, speculation, and we can argue about it, but let’s not necessarily narrow our hypotheses.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Elizabeth on Dec 2, 08:13 @Matt – I don’t think John viewed her as a slave either. But even so, it wasn’t an equal relationship – she still worked for him, she still had to do what he said. For whatever reason, she still allowed him to use her as a punching bag and to nearly kill her at least twice. Maybe she really did love him, but I’m sure she was just as fearful of the repercussions of walking away (as it turned out, justifiably so) or of losing her status as John Lennon’s girlfriend. I suppose I’m just cynical about any attempt to sell something so obviously messed-up as a love story, or as an event in John’s life that was ‘healthier’ than his marriage to Yoko, or even Cynthia. It wasn’t – not for John, and definitely not for May Pang. The fact that she can’t see that (or won’t admit it) is quite sad in my view. Though who knows what she really feels? The main reason anyone knows who she is is the 18 months she spent as John Lennon’s girlfriend. Maybe the pay off made it all worthwhile. I do think you’re right though, that he did care about her, in his own messed-up way. But I also think he put her in the same category as a groupie. A groupie he cared about, inasmuch as he was capable of caring about her, but a groupie all the same.
  • Various musings on Lennon and Addiction Comment by Gabriella on Dec 1, 22:32 Wow.. I didn’t know this about Jim. No wonder Paul felt so anxious after his mother died. I knew she was the breadwinner. And then his odd comment about couples in his neighborhood only fighting about money makes more sense.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 21:26 Just for ref, @Michael — Alma Cogan dies 10/26/66 John returns from Spain, about two weeks later 11/9/66 I think you’d have to work pretty damn hard NOT to “move in bisexual/gay circles” in English showbiz in 1963-64, if you were being managed by Brian Epstein, hanging out in after-hours casinos, and private clubs. It would be like Broadway at the same time, or parts of Hollywood–same thing.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 21:21 @Matt, I was going to write something like this myself. There seems to have been something real between John and May. And while I think the ending is definitely bizarre (and somewhat suspicious) the beginning–“Here’s a new woman, leave me alone”–isn’t so much so. Yoko wanted out, knew her husband’s preferences, and eased her way out the door with an introduction. I think the whole “Yoko set it all up and controlled it” smells of vanity.
  • From Victoria: Oracle’s spoken: John Green’s Dakota Days (1983) Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 21:18 Maybe, but on the other hand, it was 1972. Stuff like that happened a lot, and I’m not at all kidding. Talk to anyone in the counterculture in 1972 and–suffice to say that the mores were different. Yoko might well have been ranging widely herself, only…more privately. While we might hear about that incident and go, “She would’ve never forgiven him, and held a grudge and x, y, z,” we might be right. Or…it was 1972, she yelled at him after, and that was that. 🙂
  • From Victoria: Oracle’s spoken: John Green’s Dakota Days (1983) Comment by Gabriella on Dec 1, 20:53 Remember John humiliated her by having sex with another woman at a party? I really think she never forgave him for it.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Matt on Dec 1, 20:05 @Elizabeth I wouldn’t say that “John and May” was complete bullshit. Yes, the relationship was begun and concluded at Yoko’s instigation, but between that, I think John seems to have actually cared about her in his screwed up way. The problem was he was not mentally or emotionally equipped to deal with what that meant, or to control the extremities that led to his violently acting out. I don’t mean this as apologia for the lousy way May got treated, but I do think it was more complicated than John viewing May as some sort of slave. I don’t get the sense that was the case from his perspective, although I do agree it would have been Yoko’s viewpoint.
  • The Beatles’ 13th Album? Comment by notorious_g_i_b on Dec 1, 19:27 As these types of exercises go, I’m fondest of Uncle Dan’s what-if, which takes it as read that the boys were going to go solo and experiments with that in mind, the biggest difference — aside, of course, from post-breakup-in-our-timeline albums — being that he turns the White Album into four solo efforts, not unlike KISS’ coordinated effort in the same vein circa 1978, to allow the boys breathing room. (Yes, I said four… he basically moves up Sentimental Journey to ’68, to which he adds the “Stormy Weather” outtake and “Good Night” as the closing track.) I think Dan makes intelligent choices regarding what might best fit on a Beatles album, and I like them as compilations overall.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Bleicher on Dec 1, 17:24 Goldman noted that John’s private life in 1963, after moving to London, was something of a black box, and that very little is known about it compared to other periods of time. (He speculated that John was traveling in bisexual/gay circles with Brian and engaged in a love affair with Brian throughout that time.) I think he met Cogan around that time, right? That would have been when the Beatles were mixing with Old Showbiz quite often, ’63-’64. Cogan was, I think, six or seven years older than John–just like Yoko!–incidentally. It’s not hard to imagine John Lennon coming back from Spain to find out that Cogan was dying/had died (I think this is basically the timeline), and going from “taking LSD when he was bored and because it was helping” to “full LSD binge”, the way he binged on alcohol after his mom died, or on heroin/coke/pills after India. And as Michael Gerber notes, that’d be Christmas for someone: a grieving John Lennon, trying to destroy his ego, tripping on acid, and without the familiar reassurance of being Chief Beatle for another year of conquering the world.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 16:42 Well, to say a few words in defense of John Lennon — not that he needs them — but every time he walked into a room after 1962, everyone’s heads swiveled and they thought, “That guy could change my life in just the way I want.” So he walked around with a lot of paranoia, and rightly so. Without casting aspersions on David Peel, who undoubtedly felt the loss of a friendship (how could he not?), it’s ridiculous to think that John Lennon, world famous musical and political figure, is going to have a whole lot in common with a hippie street musician; that’s countercultural fantasy. The differences in their backgrounds, the paranoia of fame, the ravenous desire of the unfamous, the weirding of every interaction by drugs…it’s unfair to criticize someone like Lennon for being extremely guarded. When you add his tendency to run hot-and-cold, well, I’m amazed there aren’t more people who were hurt. Don’t get me wrong: I like John Lennon Everyman as much as the next Beatles fan. But his ability to connect like that was a rare gift, not something everyone who met him was owed. Lennon wasn’t just a regular guy, nobody treated him like one, and Peel tells on himself a little by comparing the experience to Cinderella. David Peel was walking around Union Square Park playing tunes; he met Lennon and they hit it off; Lennon got him a record deal and produced his LP…Even if Lennon was an absolute cast-iron asshole in every other interaction (which I don’t think he was), David Peel still won the lottery. They didn’t hang out together? How could they? How on Earth could David Peel relate to John, help him with his problems, or have many friends or interests in common? The problem is that people like his fellow Beatles, Harry Nilsson, Elton John, Keith Moon, Mick and Bowie were the only people who could be friends with John Lennon in the 70s. Once addiction set in and peeled away many of them, and Yoko put the kibosh on the rest, he was guaranteed to be lonely, and seek companionship with employees.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 16:24 I like that metaphor, @Peter. And when you don’t have forward momentum, you have to generate it yourself. Lennon’s life after 1967 can be seen as various attempts to get back that forward momentum.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Dec 1, 16:22 Well it was surely Christmas for someone, @Matt. 🙂
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Elizabeth on Dec 1, 11:14 @Matt – Great quote. I think David Peel was a bit of a dubious character, but I understand what he meant. John Lennon evidently went through life making people like David Peel think they were his best friend, and then discarding them when someone more interesting came along. To be fair, he did exactly that to Paul, first of all discarding him for Stuart and then for Yoko. Thinking about it more though, his relationship with May Pang probably says more about how he viewed women than how he viewed his staff. He obviously saw her as a plaything to be used and abused, but he probably saw all woman who weren’t Yoko like that. On the other hand, Yoko’s treatment of May Pang tells you everything you need to know about how she views her staff. To her, May Pang was, well, a sort of slave. A sex slave, I suppose, not much different to any of the Jeffrey Epstein ‘slaves’, except a few years older. I know the John/May Pang relationship is sold as a ‘love story’ by the Lennon apologists (not to mention poor old May herself), but it’s bullshit, really, isn’t it?She was ordered by her boss to have sex with John Lennon. I’m not sure how Yoko’s fans reconcile this little fact with their image of her as a feminist icon. I suppose they simply pretend it didn’t happen. Unfortunately, it did, and it says everything about why Yoko has ‘servants’ and not ‘staff’. It’s not just men who are there to serve her, it’s people in general.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Matt on Dec 1, 02:21 @Michael B Alma Cogan is a significant missing piece in John Lennon’s narrative. For a man so heavily scrutinized and biographed, it’s remarkable what a paucity of information there is about this affair and how it has been so uniformly left out, or at least escaped the awareness of, writers all these years. Not even Goldman had anything on it that I can recall. Even Cynthia, whose remarks were revealed posthumously, chose to leave it out of her book. That John was sleeping with a woman he believed was his reincarnated mother; that, like his mother she died, adding to his mounting tally of personal loss; that said loss coincided with meeting Yoko Ono is like a psychoanalyst’s Christmas.
  • Solo Beatles: Good stuff from this millenium? Comment by Peter Macmillan on Nov 30, 16:06 Good point. But he also stole the joke from Brute Force, whose 1969 single on Apple Records (“Fuh King”) got there first. It’s not plagiarism, but it’s not original, either. I thought the song was okay, but not particularly catchy or memorable in my opinion. But maybe it’s my problem-it’s a good song that I lack the capacity to appreciate.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Peter Macmillan on Nov 30, 15:55 I forgot about Alma Cogan-her death must have affected him greatly, but he didn’t have many people to talk to about her, and after being burned by an interview with Maureen Cleave (a friend with benefits) he was probably reluctant to confide in anyone. He was sad and uncharacteristically nostalgic during the German leg of the tour, and admitted that The Beatles performances were mediocre, and the rest of their performances were no better. I don’t know how close The Beatles were to breaking up in the fall of 1966, but they were unsure about what they would do next. I’m also curious about his time making “How I Won the War,” which saw him writing “Strawberry Fields,” being bored by the slow pace of film making, (and apparently deciding that acting was not for him) and perhaps more ambivalent about The Beatles than ever before. He was the leader when there was a problem, but in the studio, Paul (and even George) were increasingly independent. If being a Beatle was like being shot out of a cannon, 1966 might be the year that the cannon ball stopped going up. 1967 was the brief moment of weightlessness, and after that, it began falling. Maybe the years are wrong, or maybe that’s not a good metaphor. And you’re right-daily LSD consumption took a toll on him physically and mentally.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Bleicher on Nov 30, 11:45 @Peter, I think that’s the LSD use, and I really start to notice it around the time of their touring that summer: his speaking voice sounds different – higher, more pinched, and often more irritated – than before, he’s lost quite a bit of weight, probably because LSD curbed his appetite, and he often looks more detached/withdrawn. Then he has several weeks in Spain, going through a crisis of purpose post-touring (recall that Paul always was a coequal/dominant force in the studio, but John was definitely Chief Beatle in public and on the road) while guzzling acid. Then in October, Alma Cogan, with whom he apparently had a long affair and felt strongly about, dies unexpectedly. Just a couple weeks later, he meets Yoko while high on acid. Meanwhile, Paul’s coming into his own.
  • Solo Beatles: Good stuff from this millenium? Comment by James on Nov 30, 06:57 I’m a casual solo-Paul fan, and I regard “Fuh You” as an experiment: can a 75-year-old man really write a contemporary pop song when the landscape has changed so much, even if he’s a music legend? This also seems to be his approach to it, seeing as it was produced by a 2010s popsmith. I think he managed to do it well enough that I could hear it on the radio and nod along, and sometimes it makes for a fun listen. But as with any of Paul’s pastiches going back to the Beatles days, how much you enjoy it is going to be based in the first place on how much you like the original genre.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Matt on Nov 29, 13:36 @Elizabeth “But to John and Yoko, she was a disposable plaything.” This reminds me of what David Peel said about John, although it would apply equally to both Lennons: “As soon as the carriage turned back into a pumpkin, Cinderella was a housemaid. When you’re with John Lennon, you’re a prince. When his trendy thing is over, you go home a pumpkin. Twelve midnight, you’re back in your rags doing what you did before. Like me.”
  • Solo Beatles: Good stuff from this millenium? Comment by Nancy Carr on Nov 29, 09:53 Peter, I agree with you about McCartney’s post-2000 albums: none are terrible, but almost all are very uneven and contain imminently skippable songs. “Fuh You” is especially dreadful, since it’s not only a dumb joke but a warmed-over dumb joke (see the Beatles’ unreleased song “King of Fuh,” which I encountered on a bootleg years ago). McCartney really needs a collaborator or editor who can tell him “no.”
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Elizabeth on Nov 28, 17:22 @Matt – See, this is the problem I have with anyone who believes the nonsense, presumably invented by John’s best friend, Elliot Mintz, that Yoko was the victim of ‘disgruntled former employees’. I mean, surely it’s obvious from the way they treated May Pang, what John and Yoko thought of their staff. I feel a bit sorry for May Pang, because her ‘relationship’ (if you can call it that) with John obviously meant something to her. But to John and Yoko, she was a disposable plaything – obviously less than a person, just there to be used and thrown away. Maybe picked up again from time to time when bored. Anyone who thinks they didn’t treat all their staff like that is really naive.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Peter Macmillan on Nov 28, 17:05 Thanks for posting that comment. I’ve been mulling it over and comparing what’s on tape (including “Eat the Document,” press conferences, and the odd bootleg) and I think that John changed a lot in 1966. By the end of 1966, when he first met Yoko, John had changed a lot. Acid, the “bigger than Jesus” nonsense, and the end of touring are the public crises. It’s hard to know what else was going on in his mind that year.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Matt on Nov 27, 19:27 @Michael “If she talked, would she be able to get another job in the music business?” Even without talking, she was unable to get a job in the music business. May was persona non grata everywhere once John dumped her. And on top of being unemployable, the Lennons took her apartment and most of the contents that were inside it. She was treated disgracefully.
  • Solo Beatles: Good stuff from this millenium? Comment by Peter Macmillan on Nov 27, 17:18 The 21st century has been a great time for Beatles remixes and reissues, and the stripped down/cleaned up versions of John’s solo work (and the many bonus tracks that have received official release) add a great deal to the band’s catalogue, individually and collectively. None of Paul’s post 2000 albums are terrible. He’s been releasing strong albums since Flaming Pie, but there are songs on “New,” “Memory Almost Full,” and”Egypt Station” that don’t measure up: “House of Wax,” “Nod Your Head,” “King of Fuh,” to name a few that I skip every time. Brainwashed has some of George’s finest work on it: “Pisces Fish,” “Rising Sun,” “Any Road,” “Lost in a Cloud,” and “Looking for My Life,” are as good as any of his best songs. I also am fond of “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.” But the title track is preachy, and some of the others (“Rocking Chair in Hawaii, and even the award-winning “Marwa Blues” sound like filler to me. Ringo may be writing and recording the best songs of his career, but I think he peaked with the song “Early 1970,” and there aren’t any songs of his from about 1975 on that I have ever wanted to hear twice. Those are my personal, subjective opinions. Other than committed Beatles fans like the readers of Hey Dullblog, I don’t think many people care much about the Beatles’ solo careers. As for the DON’T EVER BUY list, many are CDs that sold well but do not appeal to younger customers. In the 1990s, I worked in stores that bought and resold used CDs. We had a similar list, and I think Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” and Anthrax’s “Killer Bs” were on it. We also wouldn’t buy New Kids on the Block. A guy at another store bought them for 10 cents, and made a fortune 10 years later when nostalgic 90s kids wanted the disc and couldn’t find it. He sold boxes of them. So you never know. *** I think that Paul’s solo catalogue has a lot of awful music and overproduction in it. But it would be a remarkable tribute if current artists recorded some of the overlooked gems buried among the hits and misses. For instance, “Footprints” from “Press to Play,” or “Figure of Eight” from “Flowers in the Dirt.” There are enough for a solid CD or two, and he’s appreciate the effort (and the royalties). He’s tried out some of them in his live shows, and I think there are some songs that need to be dusted off and reintroduced.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Bleicher on Nov 27, 16:35 I haven’t had time to watch the video, but that tracks to me for a couple of reasons. Most prominently, as recently as Rubber Soul, three months earlier, John by all indications was as in control of his songs as he wanted to be; i.e., he wasn’t hanging back in a kind of acid-tinged learned helplessness/victimhood state while Paul and George Martin “experimented” with his music. While I’m aware he spent the first few months of 1966 taking quite a bit of LSD, his productivity and general demeanor through August ’66 make me suspicious that he had simply brought in a song like TMK with no further thought than “one chord, and I sound like the Dali Lama,” even if Paul was the one who had actually made the tape loops one night. The John Lennon in December 1966 who knows that Strawberry Fields is the most important song he’s ever written but doesn’t have a clue how to ask for what he wants seems a different person.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Bleicher on Nov 27, 16:29 And I think John and George, in particular, were uncomfortable about that, @Michael, but not enough to do much about it (George, as far as we know, wasn’t physically abusive, but he nevertheless benefitted from the parallel supports of celebrity and enabling-in-the-addiction-sense). Added to all the other things John’s wrestling with in the late seventies, like drugs and depression and an unsupportive spouse and compound interest on unmanaged mental illness/trauma, I get the impression from things he says in non-Yoko accounts of the Dakota Years (including in his own interviews) that he was struggling with some amount of guilt about his violence. It’s one reason why I’m always intrigued when I hear about another instance of him talking about how assassination is crucifixion or about you ought to die to have your best chance when you’re reincarnated.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Nov 27, 12:04 @Neal, the other thing is the power difference here. Say May left the next day. What could she say happened? Could she tell anyone? If she did, would they believe her? If she talked, would she be able to get another job in the music business? Even if May was totally silent and took every pain not to embarrass this beloved world icon–whom fans would believe implicitly, and the press would have a powerful financial motive to believe (yes, a scandal could sell papers for a week; but good relations could sell papers for a lifetime; it’s why the tabs didn’t excoriate Trump)–even if May was totally silent, John would know that she had something on him. That might be intolerable to him, and he might attempt to blacken her name so severely that, if she ever did say anything, nobody would believe her. To the usual toxic stew of addict and codependent, you add money, fame and power on the addict’s side. Who are the cops going to believe? The famous man or the nonfamous woman? Who are the courts going to favor? The team with the best expensive lawyers, or the others? I’m currently discussing an article with Victoria about the Lennon Diaries, and trying to explain that the power difference between star and civilian is incredibly distorting. We shouldn’t necessarily believe every bad thing we hear about a celebrity, any more than we should assume they are good; but if we’re going to give money, fame, and power to certain individuals, we should be wary of falling in love with them, too.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Neal on Nov 25, 16:09 @Michael I appreciate your repeatedly holding up this lens and reminding us that addiction issues cast a light well beyond just the addict. For those of us who have been spared close contact with an addict we, collectively, often jump much too quickly to focusing solely on that person and overlook the sheer complexities and entanglements in these situations. I am starting to understand why even some of the most empathetic of mental health professionals defer to certain colleagues when dealing with those with dependencies. It seems a devilishly difficult knot to try to untie. Lacking that prism, is probably why, when I read May’s account of John strangling her, I am silently shouting “Do not walk RUN away.” Fortunately, many like me, are realizing by explanations such as yours that there is much more to it than such pithy offhand remarks yesteryear of “just leave.”
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by notorious_g_i_b on Nov 24, 13:02 I’ll admit, I’m pleasantly surprised by how faithful the arrangement was within the confines of “Seventies variety show orchestration.” Lennon himself might have grudgingly nodded appraisal.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Hieronymus on Nov 23, 16:06 Collaboration is the key. Despite what John or Paul might have said post breakup, or even pre in some cases, collaboration is usually the answer. Tomorrow Never knows is a case in point. Long thought of as sole John project, the revisionist view – due in large part to McCartney’s efforts to affirm his avant garde and experimental credentials in Many Years From Now and other sources – is that Paul unilaterally went about making tape loops to use to present to a largely oblivious but compliant studio of fellow Beatles and engineers at Abbey Road. The truth, though, as highlighted in the video from this excellent channel for Beatles recording nerds… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KzTMf4ssH0 …is that both John and Paul were fascinated by the use of tape loops prior to the recording and it was their joint intention to utilise the method in the forthcoming Revolver. Contemporary viewings of the John and Paul relationship was that they worked closely and in tandem most of the time, and an evidenced and impartial subsequent analysis reveals that view to be closer to the truth than many believed in retrospect. Too often we assume and project their distance in latter years onto the period in which they were true and constant collaborators.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Michael Gerber on Nov 23, 11:09 @Neal, when you’re enmeshed with an addict, making excuses for this kind of thing is what you do. It’s a huge sign of illness on both sides.
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Neal on Nov 23, 03:52 @Matt Adding to the Wooler assault and the strangulation incident with May Pang, wasn’t there also a very serious come-apart on a westbound flight with May? I can’t remember if it was Goldman or another source who reported it, but I recall it being described as a serious tantrum– something that in the modern era might have earned a felony charge. Perhaps I am confusing things as he was certainly not the only star to have caused problems on a flight (Morrison for example), but if true, it only reinforces my reason for posing the question as to whether his childhood was really that bad or his life as a musician was that taxing to merit that kind of behavior. Then there is the aspect of “Yeah, he almost strangled me but he was drunk and I really loved him…”
  • Revolver Deluxe Edition Open Thread Comment by Baboomska McGeesk on Nov 22, 03:56 Open thread? In 1970 Juliet Prowse sang “Tomorrow Never Knows” on the Englebert Humperdinck show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkpED59PkbY I wonder if some of those backup dancers also participated in the Bert Parks “Let ‘Em In” performance?
  • Was John Lennon bipolar? Comment by Michael Gerber on Nov 21, 17:42 @Georgina, I’ve assuming that was referring to the audio diary.