July 23rd, 2004
I hadn't seen my friend Todd Dezago—known to comics fans everywhere as
being responsible for writing some mighty fine Spider-Man stories past,
present, and (undoubtedly) future—in several years. That is, until last
Tuesday night, when he rejoined our ongoing volley ball game after too
long an absence . While everyone present was flat out pleased to have our
erstwhile associate back in the fold, maybe I was pleased most of all!
Hey, how could I not be? For me, y'see, Todd came bearing gifts...
|Y'know, I don't think there's ever been anyone who could simultaneously sport an
air of mock disdain--for himself, for the music he played, and even
for his very audience--all the while ad libbing so smoothly and amusingly as to still win the unwavering devotion of his
listeners as the great Dan Ingram was able to, day in and day out, year
after year. Just hearing him once again mercilessly goof his way through
an otherwise deadly dull dry commercial is proof enough that, for now and
always, Dan was the absolute best...
On the other hand, with his voice fluttering up and down its upper and lower registers, cloyingly cozying up to his audience by referring to them as “cousins”, Bruce Morrow remains just as annoying as I always remember him being. Even at 11 years of age, I knew that was just no way for a grown man to talk...
And then there's Chuck Leonard. One of the first prominent black jocks working a major market, he was blessed with a distinctly relaxed, soothing delivery. While his spotlight track on the CD lasts a mere 4 minutes (whereas—oy-- Brucie gets to bray on and on for over—double oy--25 minutes!?!...), it nonetheless managed to crystallize an entire era in under a mere 20 seconds.
In case you're wondering, I'm talking about the Beatles here. Yeah, I suppose that shouldn't come as much of a shocker, now should it?
It's March 1967. Although last heard decades ago, the still instantly recognizable “Super Hit One, One, One!” jingle played excitedly over the opening notes of “Penny Lane”, to which DJ Leonard adds, somewhat wearily, “..the Beatles, on top again..”, coming out of the tune with his post-play comment echoing a key line, “mighty strange”, before launching into a commercial. Hearing this struck me for a couple of reasons...
For one thing, though I've been listening to the Beatles incessantly since '64, its been quite some time I've been able to enjoy some of their greatest triumphs in a contemporary context. That is, with all the ceremonial pomp a first class top-forty station could heap upon the Greatest Group of All Time whilst spinning one of their definitive discs! True, most of “Penny Lane” was edited out of this tape, but more than enough was left intact allowing me to vividly—and proudly--recall those glorious days when, one disc after another, the Lads issued 45s that would invariably scale the uppermost peaks of the charts, easily holding off all competition at eight arms length.
And from the somewhat quizzical tone in Leonard's introduction, I heard something else: an almost tangible disbelief seeping into the voice of this seasoned professional that, after three solid years, this expected flash in the pan STILL ruled the airwaves—especially surprising that they were doing it with material as resolutely different from the simplistic joys of their breakthrough sound (defined by the likes of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”), as their latest double-sided black wax wonderment was. Which leads me to a peripheral aside...
When released, they were clearly like nothing ever heard before on rock oriented radio. This was, remember, months before the arrival of n “Penny Lane”, and especially “Strawberry Fields Forever”, was initially “Sgt. Pepper”, before we ALL had our minds blown out in a car (assuming our radios were tuned to 77 WABC, that is...). There was an unprecedented dream-like quality to this unique pair of tracks—but maybe I've always felt that way because the first time I heard them—courtesy of WABC, natch—I was asleep!...
Let me explain. My dad used to put on the radio early each morning, hoping to enlist its aid in rousing me out of bed and off out to school. Naturally, to better achieve his goal, he tuned into my favorite station.
Well, you can bet this roused MY interest, so I quickly sat up and intently listened as they proceeded to play first “Penny Lane”, and not long after, “Strawberry Fields Forever”.
July 10th, 2004
| “A Hard Day's Night” had its Liverpool premiere 40 years ago today. After all these years, I'm not entirely sure exactly when I saw the film, but it WASN'T in the lads home town, that much I can assure you.
I probably didn't even see it on opening day—though I'm sure I wanted to—but it couldn't have been a very long time after it hit the cinemas on this side of the Atlantic. Being only 11 at the time, I was at the mercy of my parents, neither of whom relished the notion of trudging off to sit through some half-baked B-movie featuring those odd long-haired British pop singers. Well, surprise of surprises—after finally talking my dad into taking me to a matinee (mom wasn't interested, figuring there was no real need for BOTH of the adults in the family to suffer...), he wound up enjoying the film a whole lot more than he ever expected to! Already age 61 in '64, the music never did manage to move him, but, much to his own surprise, the fresh comedic antics of “AHDN” clearly appealed to him.
Those first few months of American-based Beatlemania saw the older generation scoff at the group's phenomenal success, certain the so-called Moptops were merely a passing fad. The release of “A Hard Day's Night” was an early turning point, because when even hopelessly square adults like my father could actually sit up and take notice of the group's very real talents, well sir, maybe that was evidence enough that these Beatle fellows might well have legs after all!
And forty years later, y'know, I think we all know they did. Eight, to be precise...
Oh, and as for that nifty—if decidely weather-beaten--souvenier that tops off this entry (nicely displayed on a piece of my daughter's red construction paper for your viewing pleasure), well, it's a family heirloom--one I never laid my eyes on before last week! Lynn's mom, y'see, came across it while cleaning out her basement recently, and brought it on over when she visited us last Sunday. Obviously something my Beatle lovin' wife scored four decades back upon HER own trip to the theatre, it brought back her own memories of the event.
Only 9 at the time, she and her 7 year-old brother, Bob, were dropped off at the theatre to enjoy a double feature of the Fab's film debut and "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World"--making for, I'm certain, a long long long long afternoon!! So long, in fact, that young Lynn—left alone at the movies without adult supervision for the very first time—nervously began to worry about the prospect of her mother's return after the day wore on and on! Well, when mom eventually DID show up, and her unfounded—and clearly childish--paranoia was extinguished, Lynn was relieved. Her reaction could only be summed up thusly...
"I should have known better..."
The serendipitous appearance of the coaster-like ephemera in these environs, mere days before the trend-setting flick's 40th anniversary was, well, did I mention serendipitous? Yup, and just plain nifty as well—even if I never got me one, and only saw a single feature, to boot! Ah well...
One thing it's NOT is in mint condition, but hey, that's okay. We're not planning on hoisting it up on Ebay anytime soon anyway.
After all, you know what they say about money, don'tcha? It can't buy you love—OR the kind of memories a yellowing, wrinkled piece of cardboard can...
|July 8, 2004|
|Yes, we still need you!
And Ringo, please don't worry--we'll still still feed you, too, even if you did just turn 64!
Sigh. For all my unbridled admiration of the Beatles, I have an unusually difficult time remembering their birthdays! This one would've slipped by me entirely were it not for our friends over at The Johnny Bacardi Show, who indeed managed to salute the World's Greatest Rock Drummer on the bittersweet occasion of his ceremonial cake getting perhaps a wee bit top-heavy from the increasingly massive assemblege of candles!
|But, as they say, better than the alternative, right?
Now, sure, he's always been my fourth favorite Beatle, but considereing the competition, that's nothing to be ashamed of, dig? Hey, if anything, he's grown more and more lovable with age, settling comfortably into his role as the iconic underdog to end all underdogs. Look, while he surely possesses an undeniable reserve of tremendous talent, you still can't help but think to yourself, "Wow, y'know, if Ringo can become one of the four most famous people on the face of the entire planet, why not ME!?!..."
Not likely, sure, but such is a key source of his undying appeal.
And the music was pretty good, too. Okay, not every Ringo cut was met with glee by this long-time fan--they can't ALL be the caliber of "Yellow Submarine" or "With A Little Help From My Friends", unfortunately--but there were some other, unjustly neglected gems in the drummer's Fab ouerve. I'm particularly fond of "What Goes On"--credited to Lennon/McCartney/Starkey!!--and his take on Carl Perkins red-hot "Honey Don't". His first solo composition, "Don't Pass Me By", was another I always looked forward to hearing, even swimming amidst a sea of top-notch John and Paul tracks.
"Octopus Garden" and "Act Naturally", on the other hand--well, I'll say no more. It may be a day late, but we ARE hear to salute the man, right?
So, Happy Belated Birthday, Ritchie! And have yourself another bite of that Apple--you most definitely deserve it!
|Happy 62nd birthday to Sir Paul!
Just in case you weren't aware, the British magazine, UNCUT (allegedly dedicated to a mixture of both film and music coverage, but even at it's most prolific, I doubt the cinematic portion warrants more than a mere quarter of each issue) features a "World Exclusive" interview with our pal Paul in it's latest issue (#86, July 2004). Now, while the odds are reasonably good that McCartney will eventually break his silence and once again speak with a card-carrying member of the press, this latest foray into his Fab reminiscences isn't at all without its modest charms...
For instance, did you know that "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was about LSD? Yup. Coulda knocked me over with a feather--or a newspaper taxi, for that matter.
Paul tosses this little revelation off quite casually before quickly moving on to another topic, so he neither confirms nor denies the long-held tale wherein principal writer Lennon's inspiration to compose said song was claimed to be sparked by a drawing young son Julian did in grade school, a picture, as Beatle-lore has always had it, that was indeed of the boy's friend Lucy, floating up in the sky with, well, you know--diamonds. I suppose it COULD'VE been gems, but well, John always, always insisted that the whole initials thing was just a coincidence, y'know, but despite Lennon's revered reputation for being brutally honest, who REALLY believed him? C'mon! Okay, I'm more than willing to swallow the school art-class picture part of the story, but I've always thought John just used that as a springboard to write his trippy little tune. After all, this WAS during a period when Lennon was actually nicking his lyrics off of turn-of-the-century circus posters--why not then steal a title from his poor kid? But yeah, we all KNEW it was about drugs, and Paul has finally confirmed that fact. Thanks, Macca. Now, if you'll just 'fess up to the part the four of you had in concocting the many odd and sublime clues that figured in the infamous "Paul is dead" hoax, I'll be happy...
It's a good solid interview, overall, and exhibits once again one of the singularly peculiar earmarks of McCartney's many recent talks with the British press--his rather uninhibited potty mouth!! I first noticed this trend several years back when he spoke with Q magazine. The ever genial Paul nonetheless doesn't hesitate one bit to drop any number of swear words into his conversation--particularly the immortal "F" bomb--when chatting with his countrymen. But when he sits down with reporters stateside, well, you'd be lucky to get a "gosh darn it" out of him, even in the famously uncensored pages of the boundary-breaking ROLLING STONE magazine. Why this is, I couldn't even venture a guess. If anything, you'd expect it to be the reverse--proper and genteel for the English, down and dirty for the Americans, right? Ah well, who the #$%& knows?.,.
All I know is that you Fab fans need to be on the lookout for this issue. Besides the spotlight piece, there's also a 17 track CD included in the bargain, the songs all personally chosen (and several featuring) this month's UNCUT cover boy! It's a nice selection, and, several days hence, I intend to afford it it's very own review, so check back soon for that. Meanwhile, go buy yourself a copy!
Meanwhile, our last blog entry elicited some interesting mail. First up, let's hear from regular correspondent, Craig Smith..
Those were some nice surprises in the Macca songlist for 2004. "She's a Woman" probably being the favorite here. Definitely a case of "less is more" with Lennon's (or Harrison's?) one-note chord blasting over and over.
I wonder if Paul's reached the stage where he could show a big screen shot of Lennon singing his part of "I've Got a Feeling" from the "Let It Be" movie without feeling over powered? That would be the best way to handle it now, I think. Also, I believe the best Lennon tribute is not with a somewhat contrived sad song but a true show of admiration for John's style with Paul's "Let Me Roll It". And if Paul really had the gonads and a sense of humor he'd sing a Harrison composition about himself: "I Me Mine".
I doubt Heather has got her undies in a bind over Jane Asher. Jane's got to be, what, early 60s now? Besides, "You Won't See Me" cancels out "I've Just Seen a Face".
Well, it's great to see Paul at peace with his Beatles' past. I still remember the 1976 tour where Paul was constantly badgered about a reunion and Capitol released "Got to Get You Into My Life" as a single that was chasing "Silly Love Songs" up the charts. Paul played the latter but not the former...not my choice but I can understand how he felt. The worst was the encore. Not a Beatles song or a McCartney hit: just an uninspired b-side: "Soily"!
I like your idea regarding "I've Got A Feeling", Craig. After all, since both Elvis AND Sinatra have managed to headline posthumous concerts videotronically, I think John's at least up for sharing the stage for one number, y'know? Gotta disagree with you about "Here Today", though. I always felt that number evinced a powerful dollop of sincere emotion. It was "All Those Years Ago" that seemed contrived to me, probably because I read somewhere it was a song Harrison was working on to contribute to a then-upcoming Ringo release, only to be hastily rewritten in light of the tragic events of December, 1980. And as for "Let Me Roll It", well, nice sentiment friend, but hasn't Paul been singing that one on stage for decades now? Dedicating it to Lennon after all this time might appear a bit anti-climactic. Better he should try singing a few of his late partner's notable ditties, not unlike the "Help"/"Strawberry Fields Forever"/ "Give Peace A Chance" medley he tried, on a sadly limited basis, several tours back. Could you just imagine Paul having a go at "In My Life", "Norwegian Wood", or even "Imagine"? Or better yet, pull something completely out of left-field like "You Can't Do That", "No Reply", "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey" or "Revolution 9"? Anything short of "How Do You Sleep" would be a treat!...
And speaking of which, I must admit I've never heard "I Me Mine" pegged as an anti-Paul diatribe before, but it makes a certain amount of sense. That notion reminds of the grand finale of The Concert For George, when, after Macca came out to ostensibly close the memorial show with his renditions of "For You Blue", "All Things Must Pass", and "Something", the assembled artists then came back on stage for a big group sing of "Wah Wah", Harrison's well-documented paean to his ex-associate's estimable headache-inducing abilities. Watching Paul plunk away painfully at the piano as the chorus was lustily sung by all, well, I didn't know whether to laugh or grimace at the unsightly spectacle. So, I pretty much wound up doing both...
NO disagreement with your assessment of "Soily", though. As your email's subject line so succinctly put it, "Sods to Soily!" Is there any LESS impressive rocker in the entire McCartney canon, then or now, with which to send an unsated audience out into the night with? Although, maybe it was all just a nefarious scheme to get the band off the stage quickly--after all, once suffering through this slender song, would the crowd REALLY be all that anxious to call the group back for a further encore? They'd probably be justified in their very real fear that Paul could conceivably close the night out with "Wild Honey Pie", and, people, who'd wanna take THAT chance?...
Finally, the topic of Paul's latest stage selections last time brought forth the seconding of praise for a particular newly added number from Richard Onley, as well as the novel notion of a very special cover version of said tune. Not so much to HEAR how it might sound--though that would no doubt be interesting in its own way--but mainly to gaze upon the outer record label. Admit it, folks, who WOULDN'T want to see this printed on one of their handy dandy little CDs?...
For No One
|June 10th, 2004
|Just read the intriguing set list our pal
Paul used to launch his 14 date 2004 European
tour on May 25th in Gijon, Spain (via the
latest issue of the absolutely indispensable
Beatlefan magazine, #148). 33 selections, 24 of them Beatles
tunes, and--most enticingly--8 never previously
performed on stage by McCartney as a solo
artist! Wow! The word is he'll be back in
the States come '05, and people, the mere
prospect of hearing these 8 fresh numbers
(actually 9, but we'll get to that...) will
be more than enough to compel me to eagerly
dig deep into the ol' pockets and come up
with the undoubtedly steep--but nonetheless
worth every single cent--ticket price
So, I thought I'd take a few minutes to review the latest additions to the mighty Macca set list, tossing out a few comments towards each one as we go along! Oh, what fun!....
"Flaming Pie"--not a Beatles song but, in it's own way, a song ABOUT the Beatles. Paul didn't tour at the time of this justly heralded semi-recent CD release, bearing this as it's title tune, so seeing him bang away lustily at the ivories on this peppy pop tune should be a treat, if only a minor one, comparatively...
"You Won't See Me"--ANYTHING from the beloved "Rubber Soul" is always welcome--I'm delighted to see that the vastly underrated "I've Just Seen A Face" is back on the program as well--and hearing the Cute One melodically grouse about his long-ago fiancee, Jane Asher, well, I'm just CERTAIN Heather is nearly as thrilled as I am, don'tcha think?...
"She's A Woman"--Paul actually DID a version of this, albeit, a slightly slowed-down, rearranged acoustic take that can be found included on the wonderful "MTV Unplugged" concert recording. I'll assume he gives it the full-fledged rock and roll treatment this time around, causing the "Beatlefan" folks to consider it a newie. Whatever. It'll be 1964 all over again when Paul and the boys crank THIS one up, that much I know!
"In Spite Of All The Danger"--huh? A McCartney/Harrison composition that pre-dated the Beatles proper, and for many years lay unheard on a crumbling reel of tape, only to surface on the first disc of the three "Anthology" sets. An odd choice, to be sure, and hardly one that would've EVER occurred to me. Still, it's a catchy, if slight, number, and hey--it beats hearing "C Moon" yet again!!...
"I'll Follow The Sun"--one of Paul's earliest tunes, and, while never a particular fave of mine, those nostalgic "Beatles '65" vibes are sure to put this one up and over the top when finally heard in the company of the composer...
"For No One"--NOW we're talking! This "Revolver" gem has long been unjustly ignored, but I've adored it's evocative arrangement--with lyrics to match--since the very first time I dropped the needle on that brilliant LP. And thanks to the miracle of modern electronics, Wix's synth is certain to duplicate the French horn solo tres' magnifique!
"I've Got A Feeling"--and I'VE got a question: how're they gonna handle the not insubstantial Lennon portion of this little ditty? After all, what we have here is basically a Paul song and a John song, melded together nicely if somewhat artificially. Paul's had to fill in for his late partner in the past, most notably on "We Can Work It Out"s middle eight (and had his bandmates handle the "Couldn't get much worse" refrain from "Getting Better"), but just WHO'S gonna earn the privilege of informing the crowd that, yes, "Everyone had a wet dream"? A good solid rocker, in any event, one I've always liked.
"Helter Skelter"--that's right, "Helter Skelter"!! Macca clearly KNOWS what he has here, as it's slated to be the opening selection of the second encore (followed by the inevitable "Sgt. Pepper/The End" farewell medley), and I can well imagine the absolute frenzy this one will surely send the crowd into! Hopefully, though, no one in the audience'll feel the nagging need to violently stab any of their neighbors!...
Those are the great eight, but it should be noted that, while he's kept his Lennon tribute number, "Here Today", the same, McCartney has chosen to replace George's "Something" with the all too poignant "All Things Must Pass", a number Paul tackled with great emotion at the Harrison Tribute concert. So, I suppose, technically, he HAS played this song in front of an audience before. Once. At least, once prior to May 25th. I'm gonna go out on a fairly sturdy limb and declare this a NEW number, I'm gonna look forward to hearing it, and--most importantly--I'm gonna definitely have a hankie ready!!...
(...after which, it was reported, Paul suggested a song for the still vertical Ringo, and led the Spanish audience in a short a capella singalong of "Yellow Submarine". This isn't counted as an official performance, but, if repeated, it's sure to be one heckuva joyous crowd pleaser...)
So yeah, I'm going--when do the tickets go on sale?
And I'm gonna KEEP going, until he does 'em all! There's still quite a few the old boy's never taken a decent shot at, at least in front of paying patrons. C'mon back in a few days and I'll share with you MY suggested fresh additions to the ever expanding Sir Paul set-list!
But I guarantee you this--"Wild Honey Pie" is NOT on the short list. Or the long one. Or the really, REALLY long, either...
May 18th, 2004
|John Lennon's year-plus tenure as a radical-left
revolutionary is examined in a cover article
by John Harris in the May, 2004 issue of
Britain's MOJO magazine (#126).
1971--that was the year the ex-Beatle was seen in the company of various members of the Chicago Seven eight days a week. And while Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman are no longer, um, available to share personal reminiscences, the piece's author does get some fascinating first hand accounts regarding Lennon's immersion into the era's political counter cultural morass from the likes of David Peel ( notorious hippy-dippy Yippie balladeer, infamous for his Apple recording of the self-penned paean to pot, "The Pope Smokes Dope"), and John Sinclair, the erstwhile manager of the musically aggressive MC5, whose sentence of ten years for possession of a mere two insignificant reefers sparked indignation throughout the entire underground scene. and thus motivated Lennon's most effective--
--and highest profile--protest of the period, a benefit concert that ultimately resulted in getting Sinclair's decidedly out of proportion sentence soon overturned. But it ALSO scared Nixon and his men just enough into considering the former Fab a definite security risk from that point on, demonstrating rather chillingly that--uh oh--sometimes the good you do does indeed come barreling back to bite you squarely in the butt...
The saga is mostly told from the perspective of those individuals who encountered John and Yoko during this period. Time and again, they marvel at just how stunned and surprised they were--this admittedly motley crew of merry revolutionaries--to find the world famous Lennons suddenly amongst them, breathing the same air, eating the same food, and yes, smoking the same dope (no word, however, on the Pope's whereabouts during these smoke-filled sessions, I'm afraid...). Little effort is made attempting to delve into the thinking processes of the pair smack dab in the center of this societal storm, the Onos, and that's probably for the best. After all, John certainly isn't here to explain himself, and Yoko, well, she apparently declined to comment. Better then we should hear the musings of David Peel. Really.
|During the course of the article, the folks
at MOJO trot out the now world famous photo
of radical John casually caught within camera
range alongside current Presidential hopeful,
John Kerry. It makes you wonder--will Yoko
be invited to the inauguration, hmmm? (...And
as of yet, the existence of pictures snapped
during the same epochal days of a young Dennis
Kucinich with Jimmy Nicol has yet to be confirmed
by any reliable source, but we remain hopeful...)
Given the straight-forward, even-handed approach employed by Harris, I was almost afraid that the music the couple produced during this era, "Sometime In New York City", was going to be afforded a quarter-century late critical reappraisal, but I needn't have worried--it still comes out smelling like something A.J. Weberman found in Dylan's dumpster!
I'd have to agree with the author when he says the opening track (and yes, believe it or not, single!), "Woman Is The Nigger Of The World", is probably one of the only marginally noteworthy tracks included (I never much cared for his other pick, the self-aggrandizing "New York City"). And it's one semi-significant tune you NEVER, ever see on the various Lennon compilations or whatnot, probably since he was likely the last white guy who somehow got away with using the loaded "n" word in one of his ditties, and then only barely. Friends, I bought that album when it initially came out, and boy, was it a major disappointment. Slapdash song-writing, instrumental backing provided by a glorified bar band, and perhaps worst of all, far, far too much Yoko! (Though I was nonetheless always strangely fond of her absurdest lyrics on the extended number, "We're All Water", which--I'll admit it--really rocked out. I would always find myself laughing whenever she began screaming, "What's the difference?" towards the songs end--but clearly, I wasn't laughing WITH her, if you know what I mean...) And that second LP containing those pointless jams with Zappa and crew? No thanks. To this day, I've been unable to muster up enough enthusiasm to purchase this sorry smorgasbord in the CD format, mainly due to the nerve the record company shows by continuing to insist that we fork over the price of a double disc for this timeworn travesty. I could see myself digging out a twelve spot to buy it, maybe, but twenty-five bucks and up? Uh uh. Despite what Yoko may want you to believe, there IS a difference. Quality--and lack thereof...
The article itself ends rather abruptly, but then, so did Lennon's dalliance with the New Left. It all comes crashing down on that night in November of 1972 when Nixon soundly thrashed his unabashedly liberal opponent, George McGovern. THAT evening in turn jump-started what's known in Lennon lore at "The Lost Weekend", and y'know, sometimes it's difficult to decide which is more disheartening in retrospect: his sincere if artless dabbling in extreme political causes, or the drunkenly boorish behavior that followed hot on its heels? Hey, I love the guy, but c'mon, what do expect from a fellow who thought it was a dandy idea to pose full frontal nekkid on the cover of an avant garde album he hastily threw together with the lady he was then currently committing adultery with? All you need is love, sure, but hey, would it kill you to put on a pair of PANTS??...
In any event, I can always pretty much recommend anything and everything you might find printed within the pages of MOJO, and this piece is no exception.
Now if they'd only come up with a believable explanation as to WHY Paul found himself releasing "Mary Had A Little Lamb" as a single at virtually the very same time, I'd be totally happy!.
|May 13th, 2004
There's no denying it: The Beatles are a part of history.
|I know this to be a fact because they turned
up in my daughter Julie's eighth-grade textbook,
"The American Nation" ( James West
Davidson and Michael B. Stoff, Prentice-Hall
On page 850...
With Elvis, Star Trek, and MAD magazine...
Represented by just about the dopiest picture imaginable...
But hey, why am I complaining? After all, the Lads were nowhere to be found in MY eighth-grade history book! Of course, that WAS the year they released "Magical Mystery Tour", so maybe expecting them to turn up in Miss Diblasi's lesson plan may've been a bit too much to ask.
(Though I DID have this hip young teacher for ninth-grade Social Studies who actually brought in "The White Album" shortly after its release, played several tracks, and tried to elicit the class's interpretations of some of the more politically charged lyrics--which, unfortunately, brought forth more befuddlement from the my fellow students than any real enlightenment. Ah, but I'll never forget Mr. Medina's aborted attempt to explain "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" to a group of basically clueless middle-class kids! "What's having "my finger on your trigger" supposed to mean, Mr. M, huh? I just don't get it? " Those WERE more innocent times, y'know...)
Getting back to our book here...
|Look, I realize WW2, FDR, the Great Depression,
Nixon, and even the war in Grenada are gonna
warrant more ink in a sober-minded, watered-down,
of the last half century written for today's
ever more disengaged high schoolers, but
don't the Fabs--and the King, for that matter--deserve
better than THIS? Of all the thousands of
photos the book's editors could have chosen
to accompany the tepid caption: "In
the 1960s, fans went wild for a British rock
group, The Beatles", they chose THIS
Elvis ain't looking so swell, either, his trademark sneer barely showing up in that silly locket. And someone's idea that the best possible way to represent "Star Trek" was via the cover of a board game? Huh. Why not the just show the kids one of Leonard Nimoy's LP covers?
And MAD--a magazine that made a name for itself in the fifties--some genius decides to immortalize with an issue from 1979--mocking a film set in the fifties!?! Oy. Is it any wonder our children's academics are as addled as they are?...
I wonder what good ol' Mr. Medina would make of THIS? ("And teacher, could you please explain to me just exactly WHAT they're doing in the road, hmm?...")
|May 11th, 2004
One comic book.
You probably recognize the fellow in the black and white photo. For one thing, I ran that vintage picture earlier during my month-long Beatles blogging back in February. And for another, it's world renowned drummer, Ringo Starr! As for that OTHER guy, well, his name also came up during that Fab Feb.
Yup, that's none other than Dave Puckett, the gent who--via mutual web-friend, David Allen Jones (a/k/a Johnny Bacardi)-- not only identified the comic book in question, but subsequently sent along this photo just to prove he knew whereof he spoke! But that's not the only reason I chose to plaster his mug here, folks.
Nope, it's merely my subdued way of introducing you all to Dave's brand new web-site, "Beatles and Bizarros". Fans of John, Paul, George, and that Ditko-loving Ringo will be especially interested to learn that D. Puck devotes a large chunk of his page to an exhaustive recitation of every known Beatles appearance/parody/reference in comic books and related media from 1964 right on up to, well, YESTERDAY! Yup, it's an ever evolving list, one you're all invited to add to, should you, after considerable searching, find a hole in it. (Good luck!)
(Comics fans should also note that Dave has devoted the OTHER half of his site to chronicling the Silver Age appearances of that ever imperfect duplicate of good ol' Superman, Bizarro him own self! It makes for an intriguing combination, one that unexpectedly collides with one another as a Bizarro parody band suddenly appears!?! Where? Ah, that's for YOU to go and hunt down--after all, that's half the fun, now isn't it?...)
So that's your initial heads up, but worry not--I'm gonna plant the link to Dave's monumental undertaking not off on my Beatles Links page, but instead on my Beatles Main Page for easier access and heavier traffic.
Great work, Dave, and I'm glad you devoted all this time and effort to the Liverpool Lads, and not your "cousin", Gary!...
April 24th, 2004
...which of course, invites the inevitable rejoinder, "No one will be reading this, why do we blog at Hembeck.com?"...
Why indeed? Well, because, more that just occasionally, comments regarding Ringo, George, Paul, and/or John--past, present, future tenses--might be called for, but without full-scale reviews necessarily being warranted. Thus, this Beatles blog will serve as a sort of catch-all stop-gap for various Fab meanderings, both from myself, and from you, the readers. Readers like Jim Salicrup...
(For those of you who don't know, Jim was the editorial mastermind behind not only the late-eighties adjective less SPIDER-MAN title, the one that broke all existing sales records for Marvel comics,but also the visionary who gave the green light to a little thing called---
|"Petey, The Adventures of Peter Parker
LOOONNG Before He Became Spider-Man"! So when Jim checks in with some comments
spurred on by my recent review of (Should-Be)
Sir Starkey's latest All-Starr Band compact
disc extravaganza, well, I for one sit up
straight and listen closely...
Enjoyed the Ringo review. Without actually having the new Ringo disc, I imagine it's exactly what you say it is. And as much as I love Ringo, and I do, I'll have to pass on this one.
I did see this particular incarnation of Ringo's All-Starr Band at Radio City Music Hall, which featured appearances (and a sort of good-natured sing-along on the "A Little Help From My Friends" encore) by Steve Van Zandt, Mark Hudson, and someone else I'm forgetting. I like Ringo's refusal to step off-stage before the encores, by the way. His, "You know we're coming back, we know we're coming back..." routine is a good touch.
I've seen every version of Ringo's All-Starr Shows, and the nicest change has been to see Ringo loosen up quite a bit. The early shows were great, but you could sense that he was nervous and sticking closely to a script. The most recent Ringo was very loose and relaxed and able to come up with real ad-libs during various glitches during the show. His banter, surprisingly with Shelia E. was very funny.
Overall, I can't complain too much. During those dark days before these All-Starr tours I truly longed to see Ringo on stage. I thought the way to go was to play small venues and try to capture the feel of his classic "Ringo" album -- y'know, of Ringo and the boys just playing a small club and having fun. When plans for the first All-Starr tour were announced, I thought, "Oh, no! What's he thinking!?! Ringo's going to compete at arenas with the Rolling Stones and the Who!?!" A People magazine cover story called it "Dinosaur Rock." But, alas, Ringo surprised me -- in a very positive way. Just as Jack Benny always knew to surround himself by lots of funny people on his radio and tv programs, Ringo wisely recreated the context in which he achieved his greatest success -- being the drummer in a band and offering up a few songs. Gee, by that reasoning, I'm sure Ringo thought he was being bold by doing as many numbers as he does, compared to his Beatles days. Can you honestly think of any other performer who would do as few numbers as Ringo at his own concerts?!?
I finally did catch Ringo in a small club setting, at LA's Hard Rock Cafe. It was truly amazing! Especially after missing similar small venue performances at The Bottom Line in NYC -- literally blocks from where I live.
But I still yearn to see an All-Ringo show. Getting him to do all the material he hasn't performed live. Well, it could happen...
"Boyoboy, those old Beatle wigs I stocked up on back in '64 sure have come in handy on these All-Starr tours!?!..."
Thanks, Jim, for sharing your reminiscences. Isn't this always the way with us--I've only seen the All Starr Band in person one time, but I DO have all the CDs, while you, my friend, apparently don't have a collection of aural souvenirs, just TICKETS to each and every configuration!?! Nice. And in the past, you've generously recounted for me your encounters with the likes of Bob Hope, Tug McGraw, and the eternally lovely Hayley Mills, qualifying you for some sort of Zelig-like status here at Hembeck.com, and an inexhaustible font of fabulous show-biz anecdotes! (Say, did I ever mention that I myself went to college with a guy whose mom knew John Byner's mother? Hey, look, that's the best I got, awwright?...)
Well, that's about wraps things up for this inaugural installment of "Why Don't We Blog It On the Net", and if by chance you're having a tough time warming up to the title of this newly initiated section, ponder then the runner-ups in the title department...
"I've Just Seen A Blog"...
"Let It Blog"...
"Things We Blogged Today"...
"Ticket To Blog"...
"I'll Blog Instead"...
"Only A Northern Blog"...
"You've Got To Hide Your Blog Away"...
"Tomorrow Never Blogs"...
"You Know My Blog (Look Up My Site)"...
"Blog Me Do"...
...and of course, "Happiness Is A Warm Blog"!!...
Or we could've gone with something like "Fab Fred Sez", but that just sounded sorta tacky. Better we should play off one of the boys more, um, tasteful ditties, eh?..
("Blog Blog Me"--yup, it sure COULD'VE been worse. Not much, but...)
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