In 1965, Beatlemania was still raging on, and the Beatles rose to the occasion with their fifth album, Help! Their songs further delved into some of the genres that they had explored previously, including folk rock, R&B, country, and probably most notably for the first time chamber pop with their game-changing song “Yesterday”. They even had room for one more cover song for the road in Larry Williams’ “Dizzy Miss Lizzie”.
Saying that, the band were growing up as both songwriters and as people, bringing more of their personalities to the fore as writers. This is certainly reflected in the songs on this album which is a continuation of the more sophisticated approach to subject matter hinted at earlier, including some of their most personal songwriting to date. And that personal side of things would only become more developed as the year went on.
Additionally, the Help! record would serve as a showcase for the songs that would appear in the movie of the same name, in which the band also appeared. Playing out like a sort of surrealist Marx Brothers affair, The Beatles solidified their image as happy (and also edgy) lads from Liverpool, although even by this time some of the cracks in the union, however small, were beginning to show.
My old friend Graeme Burk, and my newer friend Shannon Dohar talk about all of this and more in this fifth episode of our A Year With The Beatles Podcast.
Nineteen sixty-four was a busy, busy year for The Beatles. They expanded their songwriting capacity and output, made a movie, cut a record, went on tour that took them all over the world, and cut yet another record; this one, Beatles For Sale. Historically speaking, this album never got the love it deserved, wedged between two movie-oriented titles that generally get more props. Also, the record features a lot of covers of old rock ‘n’ roll numbers after having established themselves as independent and very skilled songwriters in their own right.
Is this record a step backward in that respect? Is it a stop-gap album to capture the potential market for being on the Christmas lists of teenagers during that busy year with its title “Beatles For Sale” containing no irony? Or does this album contain more obvious traces of the band they would become even more so than ever before, which was one that was truly revolutionary? Is this a goodbye to their early career, or a hello to the next phase? Is it both somehow?
My friend Graeme and I address these very questions in this fourth episode of our podcast A Year With The Beatles. We are joined by Joanna Ashwanden who is a writer, blogger, and former high-school English teacher. More specifically, she was our high school English (and drama) teacher, now living in England. So, that’s why we are particularly well-behaved on this episode! For our extra credit homework, we discuss the Beatles fan club Christmas messages recordings the band did between 1963 and 1969 (so that you don’t have to!), and ponder how those recordings can be understood in parallel to their career as a whole.
The Beatles had a lot on their plate when the time came to write their third album, A Hard Day’s Night. It would bethe first and last album in their catalogue that would feature an all Lennon-McCartney line-up of original compositions. Plus, they had a movie to star in, featuring said songs on the record. And they went on tour to promote both the film and the new record. It would be the year of very tight schedules.
This album would be one of two released that year, with accompanying tours and other personal appearances that would make having days off a rarity. Here we find the Beatles at the height of the earliest phase in their career that would introduce them to the world as four smiling boys in suits playing jangly music, and expanding Beatlemania all over the world while they were at it. But, what lay under the surface of their waggling heads, cheeky smiles, and clever quips? As it turns out, quite a lot when one listens closely to the songs.
Discussing these very issues with my old friend Graeme Burk and me is Shannon Dohar, who’s favourite film as a child was, you guessed it, A Hard Day’s Night. Speaking of that film, we talk about what it meant for the band, and what it means as a film on its own. We also talk about ways that the movie, as great as it is, penned them in as narrowly defined versions of themselves for years after its release, with breaking out of that mould becoming a desparate neccessity by the end of the decade.
In the second episode of A Year With The Beatles podcast that I am co-chairing with my good friend Graeme Burk (author, podcaster, bon vivant), we talk about the business of following up a smash debut. Even The Beatles had to do that at one time, right? And how difficult was it for them? Is there a progression to be found here? How is this manifest? Have the Beatles grown as recording artists? What are the tracks that blow us away? What about the cover versions? Do they work just as well on this release as they did on Please Please Me?
Joining Graeme and me is master music mix maker Andrew Flint, a guy who’s followed the band almost from the very beginning. We also examine an historic event in the life of the band, the history of television, and the signs of a growing culture unified by a single event: The February 9, 1964 appearance the band made on The Ed Sullivan Show.
The Beatles changed my perception of the world and set me on a path that, among other things, inspired me to create The Delete Bin. As it turns out, that’s not the only thing they have inspired.
My friend of four decades (!) Graeme Burk, is an author, podcaster, and speaker who’s Mastermind subject would undoubtedly be Doctor Who. But, he’s also a big Beatles fan. He invited me to participate in a new podcast, one that would have us listen to twelve Beatles albums, one per month (possibly making allowances for two for the White Album!). This is the first episode, and my first ever co-chair gig on a podcast. Be gentle, commenters!
In it, we are joined by Bill Evenson who help Graeme and me zero in on the Fabs’ first ever full length studio album. We discuss our favourite songs, our ideas on where the band was at in terms of their development, and ask the question of whether or not there are any revolutionary traits in the music that would hint at what the band would come to mean to so many. We also discuss the band’s involvement with Tony Sheridan and their recording of “My Bonnie”.
I can’t believe it. But, you are reading the 1000th post of this blog.
The Delete Bin started in its first incarnation in 2003, and petered out. Then I revived it and relaunched it on December 18 2007. It’s been going strong since with at least two posts a week. For those of you who have been around for that long, thanks for still following along. This blog wasn’t always in the format that it’s in now. It actually wasn’t always a music blog, exclusively. But, as things sometimes unfold as they need to, this blog became what it is pretty naturally anyway. And there have been some highlights.
Not all of them have equalled to worldwide recognition. Actually, no one post has done that just yet. But, there have been little events that stand out in my mind that have helped inspire me to continue to pilot it, beyond my need to write about the music I love for just the sheer joy of it, of course. As is my custom here, I’ve chosen 10 such highlights that stand out for me as being milestones in the life of this blog, The Delete Bin. Here they are!
There have been many vital legendary musical venues that have helped to shape the destiny of pop music. But, few have the pedigree of the immortal Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York City.
Since it was founded in 1934, several of the musical acts that now stand as pioneers in jazz, blues, soul, funk, rock, and hip hop got their start in this otherwise humble theatre located at 253 West 125th Street. And while these artists developed from beginners, to practicioners, to exemplars, and onto immortality, the world changed as a result.
Their work helped in breaking down barriers between musical styles, and also between groups of people who had been separated by the oppressive social norms of their times. As these norms were torn down (and good riddance), the music they made has endured, and the lives of music fans everywhere have been enriched.
Listing every artist that came out of the Apollo Theatre, or had career-defining shows there, would make for a very long read, indeed. So, as is my custom here at the Delete Bin, here is a list of 10 that I hope will suggest the wide spectrum of talent they represent. Take a look!
It’s loud, often cramped, low-lit, with sweat beading on the walls. It’s perfumed with a whiff of spilled beer, filled with cigarette smoke (and other smoke besides) and the frisson of sexual excitement. The shrieks and yells of the crowd co-mingle, and bodies press together, sometimes meaningfully as the music blares.
Through the decades, not much has changed on this score. And yet in some of these little clubs, and in larger theaters and auditoriums too, legends have emerged. This isn’t just about some of the acts that have risen to greatness while treading the boards of these locations, although that certainly isn’t to be dismissed.
But in this case, it’s about the venues themselves. As rock history has developed, many of these places have been transformed from simple places of business, mere bricks and mortar, and into cultural nexuses that resemble something more transcendent, closer to Valhalla, to Mount Olympus.
So, when it comes to rock music, where are these places of power from which the musical genetic material of all we love about rock music today sprang forth? Well, here are 10 such places, 10 temples of transformative song, that have so altered our world as music fans, and as citizens of planet earth, that they have become as legendary as the gods and goddesses that emerged from out of them. Take a look.
It’s the most rock ‘n’ roll of seasons, what with suffering the summertime blues, driving around in your automobile with no particular place to go, reaching down between your legs to ease the seat back, the back of your neck gettin’ dirty and gritty. It is in the summertime when you’ve got women, you’ve got women on your mind (well, some of you do), as you find yourself lazing on a sunny afternoon. It’s when you fully appreciate the warmth of the sun whilst on a surfin’ safari at Rockaway Beach, Echo Beach, or a day spent wastin’ away again in Margaritaville.
And summer is time for summer anthems, good people.
As something of a return to our roots here at the ‘Bin, I thought that the tried-and-true top 10 list would be the perfect celebratory excursion to ring in the arrival of Summer 2012.
Also, it’s rained an awful, awful lot lately here in Greater Vancouver, a region from which this blog beams to you. So consider this list of warm, and sunshiny songs from across styles and musical eras to serve as something of an anti-rain dance, and a soundtrack to the rest of summer.
Once again, the list is in no order! Let’s go! Read more
The Stones were once symbols of anti-establishment pop cultural terrorism in a world that asked, fearfully: ‘Would you let your daughter marry a Rolling Stone?‘. But, today they are now the grand old men of rock, the last of their kind. They are like old knights (well, at least one of them actually IS a knight!) who’s days as errant travelers, albeit ones who’ve traveled on jumbo jets, to hotel rooms, to stages, and back again, are drawing to an inevitable close, or at least a major wind-down.
For, this year, 2012, marks the 50th anniversary of that venerable institution, the Greatest Rock ‘N’ Roll Band In The World, since their days playing the Crawdaddy and Ealing Blues Club in 1962. Many a book, article, blog post, pub conversation has dealt with the Stones’ tenacity as Road Warriors since those heady days. But, today, Stones fan and author Geoff Moore paints it black, in a year that will be the Stones’ golden anniversary, and perhaps the beginning of a new world to come never before imagined by generations of people – a world without Stones …