[VIDEO] REWIND: Tom Jones & Wilson Pickett Perform The Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’

Great find! Tip o’ the hat popcorn bucket to my new favorite film critic Shelia O’Malley, check out her blog here.


[VIDEO] The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’ at 45: ‘Get Back’ Live Rooftop Concert Footage, 1969

Billboard’s Track-by-Track Album Review

 writes: Over the course of 16 months beginning in early 1969, an ambitious project that was titled Get Back and intended to document the back-to-basics rebirth of the Beatles devolved into Let It Be, a heavily fussed-over hodgepodge of live and studio cuts finally issued a month after the band had broken up. It’s a messy end to the Fab Four story, though in some ways, it’s not an ending at all.

Released 45 years ago today, on May 8, 1970, Let It Be isn’t really the final Beatles studio album. It was recorded almost entirely in January 1969, shortly before the lads let-it-be-album-cover-the-beatles-1970-billboard-410regrouped, worked their magic one last time, and cut the vastly superior Abbey Road, which dropped in September ‘69.

[Also see – The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ Turns 45: Classic Track-by-Track Review]

Whereas Abbey Road came together somewhat naturally—in a proper studio, with longtime producer George Martin at the helm—Let It Be (and its accompanying film) was completely forced. Its uncharacteristic spottiness has much to do with the wrongheaded approach.

From the beginning, Let It Be was Paul McCartney’s baby. He’d been leading the band since manager Brian Epstein’s death in 1967, and as relationships grew strained, and the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time started to splinter, Paul seemed the least willing to, you know, let it be.

Somehow, he convinced John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr that the best way forward was to hire a film crew and make a movie about the band’s efforts to rehearse for a live performance (or series of live performances) that would help wipe away the acrimony and make everything fab once again. As any reality-TV alum can attest, the presence of cameras rarely makes life easier, and it didn’t help that a completely checked-out John insisted on bringing then-girlfriend Yoko Ono to the sessions.

Not that she was the problem. Harrison was the first to snap, and he quit the band about a week into the sessions. He agreed to return, but only if they moved from the Twickenham soundstage where they’d been working to the basement studio at their own Apple Corps headquarters in London. It was there that the group hunkered down for the remainder of the month, amassing hours and hours of music Lennon described in a 1970 interview with Rolling Stone as “the shittiest load of badly recorded shit—and with a lousy feeling to it.”

That line is part of a longer quote wherein Lennon defends Phil Spector, who came on to mix the album after the group twice rejected versions put together by engineer Glyn Johns. Known for his bombastic “Wall of Sound” aesthetic, Spector tarted up several of the tracks with orchestral overdubs, and while Lennon was pleased with the results, Paul was incensed. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTO] Paul McCartney: McSelfie

McSelfie


Can’t Buy Me Love: Beatles and The invisible Hand

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This is either a misguided exercise, with the well-intended aim of illustrating complex economic theory, or a refreshingly inventive way to combine pop culture and economics. I can’t tell, I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. It’s definitely worth a look. Personally, I think Adam Smith would have approved. 

Longwood University music teacher Chris Kjorness writes:

It has been 50 years since the Beatles arrived in the United States, forever altering the landscape of popular music. But contrary to the general notion that the mop-tops hopped off a plane in 1964 and were just so talented and lovable that they took the states by storm, the Beatles’ conquering of America was actually the result of a long and complex struggle. It was the end result of the actions of numerous people acting in their own interests, with little knowledge of or concern about what the other was up to.

[Books: Adam Smith and the Invisible Hand at Amazon]

[The Beatles Anthology] and [The Beatles Are Here!: 50 Years after the Band Arrived in America, Writers, Musicians & Other Fans Remember at Amazon]

While the Brits are credited with giving the world the idea of popular music through the comic operettas of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, after World War II British popular music was in a creative slump. Weak transnational relationships between record labels and the dominance of state-controlled media tended to keep out foreign records (particularly American ones), leaving British audiences to make do with British artists’ covers of American hits. As a result, recordings of American folk and rhythm and blues artists became almost contraband, complete with all of the cool rebelliousness the black market can provide.

[Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years: 1 at Amazon]

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Apple releases a Beatles channel for Apple TV

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It’s no surprise that Apple is getting in on the landmark anniversary of Beatlesmania in the US. It’s launched a Beatles channel for the Apple TV with the Beatles’ initial appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show available for free streaming. It also promotes Apple’s release of the Beatles’ U.S. albums, which differ greatly from the UK versions in the early years.

It’s been 50 years since The Beatles made their way to the US and changed music forever, and now Apple is commemorating that with a special channel on the Apple TV. For a limited time, Apple TV owners will be able to view The Beatles’ back-to-back performances on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago.

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