martes, 13 de noviembre de 2018

Tribute to Stan Lee


Paul Pays Tribute to Stan Lee

Paul Pays Tribute to Stan Lee
"A fond farewell to Stan Lee, of Marvel Comics.  He will be sadly missed.  
"I was  lucky enough to meet him. He came over to my office and we sat around for a while chatting about comic books and my admiration for his work. Actually he was suggesting making a superhero who would wield a Hofner bass guitar. The guitar would have super powers and we spent some time imaging what those could be. He had a great sense of humour and I must say the idea of becoming a guitar wielding superhero in one of his comic books was very appealing. 

"Sending love to his family and friends and always holding happy memories of this great man. Love ya, Stan!" - Paul 

lunes, 12 de noviembre de 2018


Paul McCartney de volta ao Brasil

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Paul McCartney fará quatro shows no Brasil em 2019, afirma colunista
11 de novembro de 2018

Paul McCartney - Up and Coming tour

Boa notícias aos fãs de Beatles! O músico Paul McCartney deve voltar ao Brasil no primeiro semestre de 2019 com a turnê “Freshen Up”, de divulgação do seu álbum mais recente, “Egypt Station”.

A informação é do colunista Lauro Jardim, e foi publicada na edição do jornal O Globo deste domingo (11).

Segundo o jornalista, Paul McCartney fará quatro shows no Brasil durante o mês de março, sendo dois deles em São Paulo, no Allianz Parque. A outra cidade a receber o músico será Curitiba, pela primeira vez em 26 anos, mas não ficou claro se o local também receberá mais de um show.

Na mesma perna da turnê, o eterno baixista dos Beatles também passará por outros países da América do Sul, como Argentina e Chile.

A última vinda de McCartney aconteceu em novembro de 2017, quando passou por quatro cidades brasileiras com a turnê ‘One On One’: Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte e Salvador.

A turnê ‘Freshen Up’ teve início em setembro deste ano e já passou pelo Canadá e pelo Japão. Neste ano, ainda passará por diversos países da Europa e, no ano que vem, até o momento, há shows marcados nos Estados Unidos a partir do mês de maio.

A possível vinda de Paul McCartney ao Brasil ainda não foi confirmada oficialmente pelo músico.

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Good news to Beatles fans! Musician Paul McCartney is expected to return to Brazil in the first half of 2019 with the "Freshen Up" tour of his latest album, "Egypt Station".

The information is from the columnist Lauro Jardim, and was published in the edition of the newspaper O Globo this Sunday (11).

According to the journalist, Paul McCartney will do four shows in Brazil during the month of March, two of them in São Paulo, at Allianz Parque. The other city to receive the musician will be Curitiba, for the first time in 26 years, but it was unclear if the venue will also host more than one show.

In the same leg of the tour, the Beatles' eternal bassist will also go to other countries in South America, such as Argentina and Chile.

The last coming of McCartney happened in November of 2017, when passed by four Brazilian cities with the tour One On One: Porto Alegre, São Paulo, Belo Horizonte and Salvador.

The Freshen Up tour began in September of this year and has already gone through Canada and Japan. This year it will still be in several European countries, and next year, so far, there are concerts marked in the United States from of the month of May.

The possible coming of Paul McCartney to Brazil has not yet been officially confirmed by the musician.

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sábado, 10 de noviembre de 2018

The Accidental Perfection of the Beatles’ White Album

The Accidental Perfection of the Beatles’ White Album
By Jordan Orlando
Saturday Nov 10 2018

Fifty years later, “The White Album,” the Beatles’ masterpiece, is still good, still indelible, still as clean and pure as its sleeve, requiring no explanation or description beyond the band’s name.Photograph by David Redfern / Getty

To mark this month’s fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles’ ninth album, “The Beatles”—universally known as the White Album—several new expanded and enhanced editions are being released this week. These new versions were created under the supervision of Giles Martin, the son of the album’s original producer, George Martin. As was done last year with “Sgt. Pepper,” the new editions contain, along with a wealth of archival recordings and other material, a brand-new, digitally remixed presentation—a laborious retrieval and reassembly of the contents of the original multitrack master tapes, with a comprehensive scope far beyond that of all previous remasters and releases. The result reveals what might be called the greatest record ever made, not only in terms of its innovation and its strange, impenetrable, endlessly suggestive beauty but also because of its place at the apex of the Beatles’ career and its role as an aesthetic keystone for nearly all the rock-and-roll recordings that have followed.

Upon returning to England from Rishikesh, India, in April, 1968, John Lennon and George Harrison stripped and sanded the psychedelic paintwork off of their Gibson J-160E Casino guitars; Donovan, one of the many musicians who had accompanied them to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram for an advanced transcendental-meditation course, had told them that this would improve the sound. “If you take the paint and varnish off and get the bare wood,” Harrison explained later, “it seems to sort of breathe.” This stripping away of psychedelic symbolism was part of a larger campaign that the band undertook to remove the layers of Beatles mythology, habit, and convention that had accumulated since their beginnings, as Liverpool teen-agers—before Germany and America, before Astrid Kirchherr’s arty portraits had fetishized their mop-top haircuts, before Ed Sullivan and “A Hard Day’s Night,” and Shea Stadium, and the rest of it. Psychedelia, and the Beatles’ influential participation in it, had peaked with the release of their landmark 1967 album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the surrealist tracks on which had beguiled the world and, many said, inspired the Summer of Love. The American political theorist Langdon Winner observed, “The closest Western Civilization has come to unity since the Congress of Vienna in 1815 was the week the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album was released. . . . At the time I happened to be driving across the country on Interstate 80; in each city where I stopped for gas or food—Laramie, Ogallala, Moline, South Bend—the melodies wafted in from some far-off transistor radio or portable hi-fi. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard.”

“Sgt. Pepper” had its detractors: the British critic Nik Cohn complained that “it wasn’t much like pop. . . . It wasn’t fast, flash, sexual, loud, vulgar, monstrous or violent. . . . Without pop, without its image and its flash and its myths, [the Beatles] don’t add up to much. They lose their magic boots, and then they’re human like anyone else; they become updated Cole Porters, smooth and sophisticated, boring as hell.” “ ‘Sgt. Pepper’ is called the first concept album, but it doesn’t go anywhere,” Lennon observed years later; the next record, he believed, would be a chance “to forget about ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and get back to making music.” Brian Epstein, the record-store manager who discovered and managed the Beatles, had died unexpectedly in August of 1967; without Epstein, without the pressures and demands of touring (which they had stopped after 1966), and having reached this apparently historic peak of artistic and worldly success and fame, the Beatles were finally free from all constraints and paternal influences. When they eventually soured on meditation and the ashram culture—as Lennon would relate in his savage renunciation, “Maharishi” (eventually renamed “Sexy Sadie”)—there were, finally, no father figures left at all.

The sojourn in India, led by Harrison, had been an attempt to start over, accelerating the stripping-away process that would culminate in their most ambitious musical project. “I remember talking about the next album, and George was quite strict,” McCartney said. “He’d say, ‘We’re not here to talk music—we’re here to meditate.’ ” But the songwriting—inspired by the locale, the Maharishi’s lectures, and, especially, the impromptu celebrity community there—had accelerated, and Lennon soon sent a postcard to Ringo Starr (who had tired of meditation sooner than the others and returned to London), saying, “We’ve got about two LPs worth of songs now, so get your drums out.”

The Beatles’ transition from performance to studio work, and the atomized process it allowed and encouraged, now reached its apotheosis. George Martin, who was the Beatles’ Maxwell Perkins, producing all but one of their albums, explained, “The ultimate aim of everybody [had been] to try and recreate on records a live performance as accurately as possible. . . . We realized that we could do something other than that.” “Sgt. Pepper” is a simulacrum of a performance, the concert crowds replaced by recorded cheering, but the new record would remove this narrative crutch. Also gone was the picturesque subject matter: the street landscapes and polite courtships, the elderly couples and fumbling suitors and office workers trapped in suburban patterns, intruded upon by surrealism, like figures in Magritte paintings. In their place would be a clear, raw vision of an unsafe, chaotic world.

As McCartney recounts in his notes accompanying the new edition, “We had left Sgt. Pepper’s band to play in his sunny Elysian Fields and were now striding out in new directions without a map.” The Abbey Road studios became the Beatles’ safe space, where, as McCartney writes,“the tensions arising in the world around us—and in our own world—had their effect on our music but, the moment we sat down to play, all that vanished and the magic circle within a square that was The Beatles was created.” Fitting together like a novel or a painter’s canvas, “The Beatles” abandons psychedelia for a more sophisticated set of aesthetic principles, embracing the avant-garde: Lennon had begun spending time with a new girlfriend, the conceptual artist Yoko Ono, who had been associated with the Fluxus movement, a group that pledged in its manifesto to “purge the world of dead art, imitation, artificial art, illusionistic art, mathematical art . . . promote a revolutionary flood and tide in art, promote living art, anti-art, promote non art reality to be fully grasped by all peoples, not only critics, dilettantes and professionals [and] Fuse the cadres of cultural, social & political revolutionaries into united front and action.”

“The Beatles” is as much a concept album as “Sgt. Pepper,” and the concept is, again, right in the title: a top-to-bottom reinvention of the band as pure abstraction, the two discs, like stone tablets, delivering a new order. (“By packaging 30 new songs in a plain white jacket, so sparsely decorated as to suggest censorship,” Richard Goldstein wrote in his New York Times review, “the Beatles ask us to drop our preconceptions about their ‘evolution’ and to hark back.”) The songs progress through a spectral, mystical, and romantic dimension, the soundscape itself becoming fluid and associative. The Beatles’ ability to conjure orchestras and horns and sound effects and choirs out of thin air imbues the tracks with a dream logic. The juxtaposition of order and disorder, of the ragged and the smooth, of the sublime and the mundane, of the meticulously arranged and the carelessly misplayed, provides what the critic John Harris called “the sense of a world moving beyond rational explanation.” The music seemed to absorb the panic and violence of 1968, the “year of the barricades.” As the Sunday Times critic commented, “Musically, there is beauty, horror, surprise, chaos, order; and that is the world, and that is what the Beatles are on about: created by, creating for, their age.”

Like “Gravity’s Rainbow,” The White Album starts with “a screaming across the sky”—the roar of a Viscount aircraft’s jet engines, heralding the impetuous proto-globalism of “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” a parody Chuck Berry track (with fake Beach Boys harmonies, as suggested by the actual Beach Boy Mike Love, in Rishikesh). The song, which was condemned by the John Birch Society as an endorsement of Communism, may have started as a joke, but by 2003, when McCartney played it live before a hundred thousand people in Red Square, the continent-spanning intimations of the counterculture of 1968 (“the whole world is watching,” demonstrators chanted outside the Democratic National Convention) had reached fruition, the world having caught up with the music. As this ferocious opening track (with McCartney drumming) cross-fades to the delicate acoustic arpeggios of Maharishi-inspired pastoral bliss (Lennon famously luring Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence to “come out to play”), the album’s scale and ambitions start to become clear.

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The first two sides follow the William Blake template, providing literal “songs of innocence” that foreshadow the darkness to come. Like vaudeville acts, these vignettes shift in style and tonality, including a music-hall sing-along about young lovers in a fantasy marketplace; an ode to McCartney’s sheepdog, Martha (an experiment in contrapuntal piano); Lennon’s overt, itemized rejection of extant Beatle mythology (“Glass Onion”); and a sweet meditation on a blackbird with broken wings, which doubles as an exploration of Bach’s Bourrée in E Minor. But, already, blue notes intrude on the carnival: images of American landscapes, from Miami Beach to “the black mining hills of South Dakota,” juxtaposed with gun violence; the Saturday-matinée cowboy Rocky Raccoon receiving a fast-draw wound, followed, apparently, by divine grace; and, from Lennon, two discrete, tragically ironic anti-gun messages—the “all-American” Bungalow Bill, needlessly murdering tigers, and a coöpted N.R.A. slogan (“happiness is a warm gun”) that seems to inspire an erotic, drug-infused daydream (“I need a fix so I’m going down”).

As this first act draws to a close, childish things are set aside. A pair of Harrison compositions that wed existential yearning with literal appetites—the aching, primal despair evinced while his guitar (actually, Eric Clapton’s) “gently weeps” is set against “Piggies,” a sardonic Orwellian portrait of predatory capitalism— precedes the explosive adolescent lust of McCartney’s “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road,” and, finally, “Julia,” Lennon’s wrenching, heartbroken apostrophe to his dead mother, who took him to the seashore as a boy. The song is a stunning solo-guitar-accompanied performance, the lyrics of which acknowledge his newfound love for Yoko (“ocean child,” when written in Japanese)—whom he addressed as “Mother” and whose companionship, he explained later, filled psychic absences that earlier relationships couldn’t, and exposed the inadequacy of earlier love songs—and it closes the book on a collective childhood abandoned and lost.

Listeners in 1968 would now physically switch to the second LP, upon which the gathering storm clouds become impossible to ignore. Growing up (“Birthday”) means that the plot thickens—the unexpected, propulsive sixteen-bar vamp in that song, with screams in the distant background, heralds the turbulence to come. McCartney can still evoke the psalmlike beatitude of the Maharishi’s lectures (“Mother Nature’s Son”), but soon that mask slips, revealing a terrifying blackness. “Helter Skelter,” an attempt to make “the dirtiest, loudest rock ’n’ roll track you’ve ever heard” (in direct competition with Pete Townshend’s boasts about the Who’s recent “I Can See for Miles”), is so wild and unrestrained that it actually fights back against its own fadeout, returning so that we can hear it crash and burn (“I’ve got blisters on my fingers!”). McCartney’s incongruous laugh, halfway through, is somehow the most evil touch on the track. The slow first draft of the single “Revolution,” which the New Left Review dismissed as “a petty bourgeois cry of fear” (although Lennon does hedge his pacifistic reluctance to “talk about destruction,” singing “You can count me out . . . in”), is the Beatles’ first overt acknowledgment of chaotic current events. “I thought it was about time we spoke about it,” Lennon explained, “the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnam War.” Having shed his self-censorship in this moment, he would spend the remaining twelve years of his life embracing political activism.

There is another set of songs by Harrison, book-matched with the first, that again concerns spiritual and material hunger, but the framework is inverted: he has, overtly, found God (“Long, Long, Long”), concluding the album’s third side with a cathedral of resonant guitar harmonics, and, returning his newly serene gaze to worldly matters, he is now merely amused by the once-appalling appetites of humanity, which are revealed as a harmless and forgivable craving for sweetness (“Savoy Truffle”). That same cordial, fond disdain—a newfound parental loftiness—informs Lennon’s fairy-tale “Cry Baby Cry,” which dead-ends at McCartney’s unnamed, stray fragment of forlorn, retrograde confusion and vertigo. “Can you take me back where I came from? / Can you take me home?” McCartney pleads, as if overcome with nostalgic grief for childhood innocence. But there is no going back: “The higher you fly / the deeper you go / so come on,” Lennon shouts, in his defiant, us-against-the-world declaration of his controversial new love.

What follows is an abandonment of all order, a descent into pure chaos. As with 1968’s other impenetrable conversation piece, Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the White Album skates off the edge of reality and into the abyss with “Revolution 9,” a Fluxus-inspired montage, beginning with a recording engineer testing the studio’s No. 9 input and ending with what Charles Manson admiringly described as “the sounds of the end of the world.” Only when that nightmare is consummated, closing in screams and roaring flame, can the album’s initial globalism return. Accompanied by George Martin’s orchestra, Ringo’s sweet delivery of Lennon’s final lullaby ends with a whispered “good night” to “everybody, everywhere,” the Beatles apparently floating over the Earth like Kubrick’s “2001” Star Child returned from his journey “beyond the infinite,” or like Apollo 8’s Frank Borman, who, six weeks later, read a Christmas prayer from orbit, prompting one grateful woman to send nasa a telegram to tell Borman that he “saved 1968.”

The remixing and remastering of this new anniversary edition illustrate how constrained the Beatles were by the nineteen-sixties technology that limited the recordings to eight or even four tracks, which had to be “mixed down,” losing clarity each time, in order to add more music. Rebuilt digitally, the album’s enormous soundscape is finally complete: the progressive generational muddiness is gone, revealing the dry snap of Ringo’s snare and Harrison’s full-throated gentle weeping and the thunderous effervescence of McCartney’s bass runs and Lennon’s halting intakes of breath. We can fully hear, at last, what they were trying to do. The formal, holistic creation is complete—unavoidable razor-blade splices and editing errors (exposed by earlier CD editions) are now gone, replaced by the smooth, clean bite of the digital transfers, a final “stripping away” that elevates the material to the Platonic form for which it was conceived.

The ancillary draft materials included in the anniversary sets—particularly the infamous “Esher Demos,” which collect the Rishikesh songs into a silken acoustic set, recorded at Harrison’s home—shed a harsh but not unflattering light on the Beatles’ meticulous, unhurried studio process. As when Matisse hired a photographer to document a painting’s evolution (“The Dream,” from 1940), the meandering, impulsive leaps of intuition are shown to be directionless, almost random, until they strike gold. Hearing the long, ragged McCartney improv that yielded the twenty-eight seconds of the unnamed, spectral “Can You Take Me Back” fragment, on the fourth side, puts the listener almost in an Ezra Pound position, seizing on the precise instant when the music catches fire. In particular, the clumsy, ten-minute sixteenth take of “Revolution” seems to have been randomly included until one suddenly recognizes the seeds of “Revolution 9”—the hoarsely shouted “All right”s, Yoko Ono’s recitation, the feedback—and understands how the two tracks are connected. The exhaustive material included in the full seven-disc edition is essential only to obsessive completists. As with the encyclopedic “Anthology” collections, from 1994, these tracks mostly provide a fly-on-the-wall perspective on the tedium of recording, but serendipitous moments—McCartney joyously singing “Love Me Do,” the Beatles’ first single, written when he was sixteen, over an unrelated rhythm track, or the band spontaneously launching into “Blue Moon” or Elvis’s “You’re So Square,” as if by telepathy—are engaging even while revealing nothing new.

Like the screaming rockets of “Gravity’s Rainbow”, the Beatles had reached brennschluss, the point of altitude at which the thrust gives out, and, after the White Album, there was not much left but dying momentum. “They don’t belong to their own time or place any more; they’ve flown away into limbo,” Nik Cohn wrote, in 1969. “In some sense they have opted out, and they can hardly come back in again. . . . In thirty years, I doubt they’ll have meant as much as Elvis Presley.” But, as the British critic John Harris argues, “it was these 30 songs that decisively opened the way for musicians to extend their horizons beyond the standard LP format.” And, in the age of St. Vincent and Jay-Z; in the direct aftermath of the twentieth anniversary of Radiohead’s “OK Computer”; forty years after Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and the Who’s “Quadrophenia”; and as evidenced by YouTube videos of millennials “discovering” the Beatles, it’s clear that the doorway opened during those months at Abbey Road has never been, and can never be, closed.

The Beatles’ naïve and aggressively experimental musicianship propelled their most fractured and divisive project into a kind of accidental perfection. Fifty years later, the record is still good, still indelible, still as clean and pure as its sleeve, requiring no explanation or description beyond the band’s name. As the first century of electricity and world war recedes—the century of radio and movies and television and jazz, the final unconnected century, when teen-agers around the world flooded the seaport docks as new vinyl arrived—these ninety-four minutes endure, preserving the instant that rock joined the pantheon of the highest arts.

Jordan Orlando is a writer and an artist. He is the author of “The Object Lesson” and the co-author of the Edgar-nominated “7 Souls.”

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viernes, 9 de noviembre de 2018

Back with the real Beatles: the White Album reviewed - archive, 1968

Back with the real Beatles: the White Album reviewed - archive, 1968
Fifty years ago, the Guardian printed two reviews of The Beatles and recommended listening to ‘what is likely to be the biggest event of the pop music year’ in stereo
Geoffrey Cannon
Fri 9 Nov 2018

 The Beatles, February 1968. Photograph: AP

Back with the real Beatles
19 November 1968
The Beatles have accustomed us to look for clues to the meaning of their work. Everyone can look at the cover design of Sergeant Pepper and play “spot the reference.” There’s Stan Laurel and Max Miller; Marlon Brando and Dylan Thomas; but who’s that peering over the top of Paul McCartney’s head?

So, we are encouraged to think, the Beatles are influenced by all these figures. Then: perhaps the reverse. Do we see a gallery of heroes or villains? Or, worse still, a mixture? Or perhaps Peter Blake the designer made his own choice? Since there is no way of deciding between these questions this, interpretative, approach to the Beatles’ work is clear victim of a put-on. Nevertheless the questions go on and on.

Now, look at the cover of The Beatles. Outside, it’s blank white gloss card, with The Beatles blind embossed, plus a serial number (mine’s 0010192, what’s yours?). Inside, a list of the tracks, and black and white photographs of each member of the band, looking quite unlike each other. Tucked in with the discs, the same photographs, loose, in colour. For your bedroom wall. Also a big foldout: one side the lyrics; the other side, a soft-core Richard Hamilton collage of the Fab Four’s history.

The panorama of Sergeant Pepper’s cover design is on the acetate of The Beatles. Most of the tracks on the new album are packed with sounds in the style of other musicians. Back Home in the USSR [sic], to take the first track, contains Chuck Berry (Back Home in the USA), the Beach Boys (409 and California Girls – the last a direct quote), and early Beatles. A full list for all 30 tracks on the album would be of around 60 names.

What is the meaning of this? There are several interpretations. Perhaps the Beatles are quoting musicians they admire. Or, on the other hand, perhaps those they fear – “we can do their thing, better.” Perhaps they have turned their backs on the world (this will be a popular view) and can now only play games. Or perhaps the album is a self-conscious tour de force, parallel to the Holles Street Hospital chapter in Ulysses.

And then, apart from use of other musicians’ sounds: the “mystery” tracks. Is Julia “really” about John’s mother? Is Sexy Sadie the Maharishi? Is Martha My Dear Paul’s dog?

Nope, Or, yeah. As John sings in Glass Onion: “Well, here’s another clue for you all/The walrus was Paul” (yeah). Since their public beginnings, the Beatles have, instinctively and obsessively, and with style, attempted to outdistance interpretation. Their obsession has entered their work since Rubber Soul, their first self-conscious album, has dictated the form of The Beatles.

 Inside shot of the Beatles’ White album. Photograph: Alicia Canter for the Guardian

If the Beatles’ opacity in the face of interpretation – of attempts to view their work in terms of reference to the external world – were merely a matter of a quarrel with the press, then neither it nor The Beatles album would be worth considered attention. In fact both are a demand to be seen as artists, and to refuse the rule of journalists or commentators. And the Beatles’ instinct has served them well; their stand is crucial to them, to our grasp of their music, and afterwards to our own self-perception. Does this sound like a gigantic claim? So it is. It’s difficult living among heroes, to avoid a flip tone of voice. But the Beatles are not camp stars; they are, whether you, I or they like it or not, the real thing. Their stature is meaningful and can be delineated.

The Beatles rates high not just as new music, nor just as art, but as a demonstration of a fact so blatant as to be invisible, so close and new that we’ve few bearings on it yet: that art is now in process of replacing science as the determinant of the way we see ourselves and the world. The point has to be made in this context; without it the potency of the Beatles, now fully equalled only by Dylan and Godard, remains hermetic; an enigma.

But the Beatles’ artistic consciousness is autonomous. It cannot be felt or discussed except in its own terms. The joyful idea contained in the Beatles’ music is that individual consciousness can be as real as the external world. They are the first full citizens of the post-scientific age, with a few other artists. The Beatles are their music; who John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo are at home is another matter.

Still from The Beatles’ performance of Hey Jude on David Frost in 1968. Photograph: The Beatles

Back to spring
26 November 1968

“Earth, water, fire, and air met together in a garden fair,” chants Robin Williamson, of the Incredible String Band, in Koeeoaddi There. And if the four elements were to band together, what then would remain impossible?

Hot from Hamburg six years ago, laying their raw rock on us, the Beatles were all fire and air, with the temperament that folk medicine puts with these elements: ardent and articulate. Do you remember the unequivocal exhilaration of She Loves You? Its rhythms had a depth and sex new to white rock. Eldridge Cleaver, a Black Panther writing from the especial ghetto of prison in Soul On Ice, saw what was happening, “The effect of these potent, erotic rhythms is electric … The Beatles are offering up as their gift the Negro’s Body, and in so doing establish a rhythmic communication between the listener’s own Mind and Body.”

To everything there is a season. The Beatles have run full cycle, in their new double album, back to spring again. “Can you take me back where I came from, can you take me back?” Paul McCartney asks at the beginning of Revolution 9. Yes, to the beginning of a new season. Authentic progression in music does not consist in plucking up roots.

Earth and water have met with fire and air in The Beatles. (PCS 7067/8 is the stereo number: and the album is worth changing to stereo for; it transforms Helter Skelter, for example, from a nifty fast number to one of my best 30 tracks of all time.) Associating the Beatles with the four elements, and the four humours, is more than a whimsy conceit.

George Harrison has seen the truth, and is anxious that we should see our truth. He’s a preacher, man of fire. When his songs speak of “you,” the address is direct. He achieves his character in While my guitar gently weeps, which, with Phil Ochs’s Tape from California, is the first track I know that succeeds in making magnanimous love serious and touching.

Pete Best, the original Beatles’ drummer, was bound to be sacked. The base needed a man of earth and phlegm. And having Ringo sing Good Night over George Martin’s schmaltz festival makes it right: the straight man’s dream.

Paul McCartney is the storyteller of the band; and he shows, on this album, that there’s no such thing as a paradigm McCartney number. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da, Blackbird, Helter Skelter, and Honey Pie are all perfect, professional songs, packed with exact quotes and characterisation. His songs are the most copied, because he’s not concerned to project his own, no doubt ravelled, self into what he writes. His “you” is objective; he’s building fun-palaces, not monuments. Doubts don’t affect him, he’s the sanguine man, and his car is marvellous.

“But when you talk about destruction don’t you know that you can count me out …in” is a paradigm John Lennon line (Revolution 1). Or, again, “I am he as you are he as you are me” (I am the Walrus). And Lennon’s music is now like that, too, as hard for him to make as for us to hear. Water is the element of instability; and Lennon’s melancholy in Julia and Revolution 9 is too steeped and self-pitiless for him to attempt fluent musical solutions. He’s the closest to our times, and the most impressive man of the four.

To contrast the Beatles, polarising them in terms of their four tempers, only serves to demonstrate their rich range together. Although The Beatles has several hints of separation, it’s what they share that makes the album great. And The Beatles is our new spring. There’s no way verbally to capture such music. It’s the sound that counts.

The Guardian, 19 November 1968.

jueves, 8 de noviembre de 2018

Gay Byrne reveals how he once turned down Paul McCartney after he asked him to manage The Beatles

GAY'S FAB FOUR GIG Gay Byrne reveals how he once turned down Paul McCartney after he asked him to manage The Beatles
Irish TV legend Byrne made the revelation he unveiled a plaque in Dublin’s Abbey Street yesterday where the Fab Four played their only Irish
By Ken Sweeney, Showbiz Editor
8th November 2018,

GAY Byrne has revealed how Paul McCartney once asked him to manage The Beatles — but the broadaster turned the band down.

The 84-year-old made the startling revelation as he unveiled a plaque in Dublin’s Abbey Street yesterday where the Fab Four played their only Irish concerts 55 years ago.

Byrne unveiled a plaque in Dublin’s Abbey Street
Byrne unveiled a plaque in Dublin’s Abbey Street

Gay had been asked by organiser Paddy Murray to do the unveiling as the first man to interview The Beatles on TV which he did as host of a teatime show on the UK’s Granada TV in the 1960s.

He told the crowd he could have gotten even closer to John, Paul, George and Ringo as Macca wanted him to be their manager before they found Brian Epstein.

But the legendary broadcaster joked he might not have been rock’n’roll enough.

Gay said: ”This grey-haired loon’s claim to fame is that he almost became the Beatles’ agent. If I had become their manager.

Byrne interviewed the iconic band decades ago
Byrne interviewed the iconic band decades ago

“I would have been extremely wealthy, or else I would have died a couple of months later of cocaine poisoning. That would have been an unfortunate and wrong direction.”

The Beatles made the job offer to Gay when on Granada TV show Scene at 630 back in 1963.

Gay recounted: “Word came about this phenomenon that was happening in Liverpool called The Beatles, so my boss told me to check out these moptops called who were appearing in The Cavern causing riots and disturbances.

We reported it as a news story, and then someone had the idea of getting them in to play live on the programme.”

It turned out The Beatles were as impressed with Gay as he was with them.

He recalled: “I hadn’t really heard of them up until then but I was known to them as I was on the TV every day.

“I was doing this show and reading the late night news so as far as they were concerned I was a star.

Gay says he was offered a gig to manage The Beatles
Gay says he was offered a gig to manage The Beatles

In the middle of the soundcheck Paul McCartney came to me and said, ‘Would you like to be our agent? We don’t have one and we think you would make a terrific agent’.”

But Gay had to disappoint The Beatles. He recalled: “I told Paul I was up to my ears between doing four days a week in Manchester and going back to Dublin each weekend for the Late Late.

“I knew nothing about being an agent so I could not be the Beatles’ agent. I thanked them and off they went and got young Brian Epstein to be their agent solely because he sold records in his father’s shop.

“That’s how innocent they were. They reckoned that made him an expert in showbusiness.”

Gay turned up at the launch sporting a fittingly Beatles cap which he said had come in handy as he has lost hair due to his ongoing treatment for prostate cancer, first diagnosed in November 2016.

He said: “You’re lucky you are seeing some hair because with the chemotherapy I lost all my hair. I am as bald as a coot. I was doing a Ray D’Arcy on it but now the hair has come back.”

Beatles’ bassist Paul McCartney
Beatles’ bassist Paul McCartney

Asked how he was doing, Gay said: “I am happy to be here but in my present condition I’m happy to be anywhere.”

However he managed to bring Abbey Street to a standstill with a funny speech about the Fab Four as he joined Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Nial Ring, to unveil a plaque to The Beatles’ only Irish concerts which took place on November 7, 1963, at the old Adelphi Cinema near Arnotts on Abbey Street.

Gay was accompanied by pal Harry Crosbie who had been in contact with Paul McCartney, who sent word he would visit the plaque the next time he played in Ireland, and Ringo Starr, who also sent his approval for the plaque.

Yesterday’s unveiling was followed by a performance of Stephen Kennedy’s acclaimed play When the Beatles Came to Dublin, as well as Fab Four tunes in the Adelphi bar on Abbey Street.

The idea for the plaque came from Beatles fan and journalist Paddy Murray who attended with veteran journalist Eanna Brophy covered the Adelphi shows.

She said: “I knew instinctively that there was something special about these newcomers. Little did I realise how special.”

FRESHEN UP IN NAGOYA : November 8 2018 - Nagoya Dome, Nagoya 1 Chome-1-1 Daikominami, Higashi Ward, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture 461-0047, Japan


Nagoya Dome, Nagoya

1 Chome-1-1 Daikominami,
Higashi Ward,
Aichi Prefecture 461-0047,

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