Tales of Rock – Turns out Abbey Road and Let It Be weren’t meant to be the last albums the Beatles recorded

Anyone who’s watched Let It Be, the documentary made from video of the Beatles recording (and arguing about) their final songs together as a four-person group, would assume there was never any way John, Paul, Ringo, and George would be willing—or able—to release another album together. Fans of the band have long assumed that Abbey Road, which was mainly recorded and originally intended to be released after 1970’s Let It Be, was the last proper Beatles album the group had planned to make before their break-up.

As detailed by The Guardian’s Richard Williams, in a profile of Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, this isn’t the case. A taped meeting from September 8th, 1969 shows that The Beatles had planned to record another album, with its lead single timed for a Christmas release of that year.

The meeting described by Lewisohn and Williams occurred just before Abbey Road’s release. In it, the band (aside from Ringo, who’s in the hospital) talk about the unrecorded album’s format. John “proposes a new formula” that would’ve seen “four songs apiece from Paul, George, and himself, and two from Ringo.” He also “refers to ‘the Lennon-and-McCartney myth,’” hinting his and Paul’s previously shared song attributions “should at last be individually credited.”

This being late Beatles, there’s a good amount of sniping in the recording, too. When Paul (who Williams describes as “sounding, shall we say, relaxed”) hears that George would get “equal standing as a composer with John and himself,” he says: “I thought until this album [Abbey Road] that George’s songs weren’t that good.”

“That’s a matter of taste,” George replies. “All down the line, people have liked my songs.” The tape continues with John “telling Paul that nobody else in the group ‘dug’ his ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’” and that he should instead sell those kind of songs to other artists. “I recorded it because I liked it,” Paul says.

While the passive aggressive dynamic of this period is well-documented already, the really interesting part is the idea that the Beatles may have had at least one more properly recorded LP in them before their break-up. Lewisohn notes that, while recording Abbey Road, “they were in an almost entirely positive frame of mind,” despite what’s shown in films like Let It Be or the hindsight vindictiveness of John and George recording “How Do You Sleep At Night?”

“They had this uncanny ability to leave their problems at the studio door,” he continues. “Not entirely, but almost.” Read the entire piece for more on Lewisohn’s work, the Beatles’ final years, and more.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

Tales of Rock – John Lennon turns 80: What the musician thought about a possible Beatles reunion

John Lennon turns 80: What the musician thought about a possible Beatles reunion | The Independent
— Read on www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/news/john-lennon-death-80-birthday-beatles-reunion-paul-mccartney-mark-chapman-b910215.html?amp

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Listen to Phicklephilly LIVE on Spotify!

10 Songs That Changed Music Forever

EMI

A simple definition of art is a creative endeavour intended to move people, and out of all the possible artistic media out there, music remains the most immediate and the most enduring. The opening notes of a song can still induce the same emotional effect on a listener decades after first listening to it. That’s power: songs can change people.

But out of all the millions and millions of songs released in the last century or so, how many have been focal points that changed music itself? The list is still a long one, depending on your criteria. What do we mean by change? What scale and scope of change of change?

That being the case, this isn’t a top ten. Instead, this is a list of musical releases, in chronological order, that had such a seismic effect on music itself that the aftershocks are still being felt today.

By definition, this can’t possibly be a complete list – so if you have ideas of your own for entries eleven, twelve or more, make your case in the comments!

10. Tommy Dorsey And His Orchestra – I’ll Never Smile Again (1940)

Having just replaced singer Jack Leonard with a twenty-four-year-old Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey’s fortunes began to soar. The bandleader immediately saw Sinatra’s potential, recording forty songs with him in their first year together.

One of them was this beautifully melancholy Ruth Lowe number, written following the tragic death of her beloved husband. Lowe had the sense to aim for a more universal experience by recasting her grief as the heartbreak caused by the end of an affair, and her song became the record that catapulted Sinatra to stardom.

But it’s not just the leg-up it gave to a legend’s career that earns the tune its place on this list. ‘I’ll Never Smile Again’ was the first ever number one single on Billboard’s first ever National List of Best Selling Retail Records (which was the world’s first official national music chart), hitting the top spot on July 27th 1940 and staying there the next twelve weeks.

As a result, Sinatra himself also became the world’s first genuine pop star, his live shows swamped with screaming, adoring adolescents. He wasn’t the first teen idol – Franz Liszt and Rudy Vallée had their day years before Frank – but his success coincided with the birth of what we recognise today as the record industry.

This nascent business soon twigged that the spending power and uncontrolled passion of these ‘bobbysoxers’ made them the perfect target audience… leading to the birth of pop music.

9. Bill Haley And His Comets – Rock Around The Clock (1955)

‘Rock Around The Clock’ is one of the many songs that attempts to lay claim to being the first rock n’ roll record.

In truth, that’s an accolade that should belong to half a dozen records by African American artists in the 1940s and 1950s, through the advent of swing music from rhythm and blues. Artists like Roy Brown, Wild Bill Moore and Jimmy Preston were instrumental in laying down the basis for rock n’ roll.

But it’s a sad fact of history that in the fifties white audiences were happy to dance to black music, but would only make a mainstream hit out of a white band. Ike Turner’s groundbreaking ‘Rocket ‘88’ and its peers hit big on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart, but ‘Rock Around The Clock was the first rock n’ roll record to reach number one on the mainstream pop singles charts, staying there for eight weeks.

It was the song’s second release – it had been a b-side before being selected as the opening number on 1955’s hit movie The Blackboard Jungle. Originally recorded in a hurry, that seminal guitar solo had been lifted from a previous Haley recording, ‘Rock This Joint’, and a more sonically impressive version of the song had to be spliced together for the re-release.

The US success of ‘Rock Around The Clock’ was replicated worldwide. The song sold millions and catapulted Haley and his band to stardom… but it also helped push rock n’ roll to the forefront of popular music.

8. The Beatles – I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1963)

It’s difficult to overestimate the impact of The Beatles on popular culture.

Although they’d formed prior to 1960, it was 1963 that saw the group’s popularity in the United Kingdom swell to epic proportions, prompting the coining of the word ‘Beatlemania’ to describe the phenomenon.

‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ was the song that broke them in America, however. Catchy as hell with perfect harmonies, the single was number one for seven weeks in early 1964, selling over twelve million copies, and was only dislodged by another Beatles single, ‘She Loves You’, which was itself only dislodged by ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.

The Beatlemania of before was nothing compared to the adulation they were now receiving. For the next six years, the Beatles had the biggest American single one in every six weeks and the biggest American album one in every three weeks.

Worldwide stardom wasn’t their only legacy, however. The Beatles influence was vast: they created fashion trends; brought about the first British Invasion, sweeping a host of other homegrown bands to stardom in America in their wake; elevated the long-player album over the single as the dominant musical format; and single-handedly popularised the conceit that musicians should write their own material and consider themselves serious artists.

Thanks to this hit single, The Beatles remain one of the biggest cultural and musical touchstones of the 20th century.

7. Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)

‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ doesn’t lay claim to having the first ever pop video – bands had been filming promo clips, as they were called, for years, and Queen themselves were by then more than used to the format. It’s not even spectacularly original, bearing a suspicious resemblance in many ways to the clip for The Moody Blues’ version of ‘Go Now’ from a decade earlier.

Created to promote an unedited six minute song that everyone of note had assured the band was commercial suicide, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was rushed out to be played on that week’s Top Of The Pops TV show, as the band were booked to play in Scotland that night and couldn’t appear live.

The single, a majestic cod-operatic rock epic, was a huge hit thanks to radio support: it’s difficult to say whether the iconic video contributed to that. However, thanks to the song’s worldwide longevity, that video was played countless times, becoming synonymous with the song itself. From that moment on, it became standard procedure to release a promotional video alongside singles in the UK.

The increasing popularity of the video led to the creation of MTV in 1981. Because the UK music industry had pioneered the format for years thanks to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, the newborn cable channel, hungry for content, broadcast a disproportionate number of British bands in its early years, which led in turn to the second British Invasion of the US pop charts.

6. Sex Pistols – Anarchy In The UK (1976)

They many not have invented punk, but the short but incandescent career of punk rock legends the Sex Pistols’ led to the creation of an entire subculture of fashion, music, art and philosophy that exists globally in various mutated forms to this day.

By 1976, the Pistols had trawled around the London area for a few years, picking up an almost cultish level of support. Supplied with ‘anti-fashion’ clothes by manager Malcolm McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood from their Chelsea boutique SEX, the style had spread to their fans, both organically and as a marketing gimmick.

It’s said that the inspiration for the UK’s punk movement of the late seventies stemmed almost completely from attendees at these early shows: members The Damned, Buzzcocks, Banshees, Clash, X-Ray Spex, Stiff Little Fingers, Crass and god knows how many more saw the Pistols and vanished to form their own bands.

‘Anarchy In The UK’ was the first song anyone else heard by the Sex Pistols, however: their incendiary performance of the song on music show So It Goes in September 1976 led to their infamous interview on the Today programme the week after the single’s release, where their swearing and antagonistic attitude made them household names overnight.

Although the other three singles from their only real album Nevermind The B*llocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols charted higher, the band will forever be associated with ‘Anarchy In The UK’ and those sneered opening lines…

5. The Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight (1979)

Like the Sex Pistols, The Sugarhill Gang were a manufactured band put together by a svengali (in this case, Sylvia Robinson) to capitalise on an existing sound, the club-based rap and hip hop movement – they’re even named after her record company.

Unlike the Pistols, they never grew past this, and they don’t have the reputation of some of their peers for good reason.

‘Rapper’s Delight’, their only hit, is something of a curate’s egg. Based around a bassline half-inched from Chic’s ‘Good Times’, a big summer hit that year, the sprawling track was fifteen minutes long with many lyrics lifted wholesale from another rapper who wasn’t involved in the project.

Nonetheless, the impact that ‘Rapper’s Delight’ had as a single in 1979 dwarfs that of their more credible contemporaries. It was the first rap song to break the top forty in the US, and it’s rarely been off the radio ever since – and despite its bizarre, inauthentic genesis, the track helped popularise rap music and hip hop and bring it to significant mainstream attention.

4. Band Aid – Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984)

Written by Ultravox’s Midge Ure and Boomtown Rats singer Bob Geldof following a TV report on the famine in Ethiopia, the Band Aid charity single concept was cobbled together overnight: three weeks after the report’s broadcast, Geldof had the backing of his peers for a Christmas release.

The song itself is mediocre – ‘cheesy’ is the word that springs to mind. However, the circumstances surrounding it are extraordinary, and Geldof’s forthright approach to the project is legendary.

At short notice, Geldof recruited members of U2, Spandau Ballet, Heaven 17, Bananarama, Status Quo, Culture Club, Wham! and Duran Duran alongside Phil Collins, Paul Weller, Sting and Paul Young. In any given week in 1984, the Top 40 might feature almost all of those artists.

When he found out that the UK’s biggest music show Top Of The Pops couldn’t broadcast the song until it had charted, Geldof persuaded the BBC to rearrange the day’s entire viewing schedule by five minutes so that it could be played before the show came on.

The single was released on 3rd December, hitting number one instantly, outselling everything else in the chart put together and becoming both the fastest and the biggest selling single in UK history, records it held for well over a decade.

‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ made £8million for Ethiopia that year, but the charity records it inspired have made far more – 1985’s US version, ‘We Are The World’ raised over $63million for the same cause.

3. Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner (1987)

Folk singer Vega wrote ‘Tom’s Diner’ in 1982 as an a capella track a long time before it was ever released – it got air on an obscure compilation record two years later, and saw life on her second album in 1987.

It’s a nice song, if a little slight, a tune which received significant airplay in 1990 when it remixed as a dance track by the DNA Disciples and became a worldwide hit. It’s the original vocal-only version which makes this list, however.

Audiophiles had been using Vega’s tune as a speaker test track for years, citing it as a great example of a warm vocal recording that could, potentially, reveal problems with a HiFi set-up. German audio engineer Karl-Heinz Brandenburg, part of the team at the Fraunhofer Society engaged in developing the MP3 compression format, also used the song to tune his system and make sure that the result would actually be listenable.

Initially, it was not: it sounded distorted, apparently very much like the voice they mocked up for the possessed child in The Exorcist. Brandenburg refined his set-up over months, reasoning that if the MP3 could retain the warmth and purity of Vega’s voice on ‘Tom’s Diner’, it could provide a quality reproduction of any song at a compressed size.

Those tests led to the most widely used codec in the world. It’s the reason why some call Vega ‘the mother of the MP3’: the format whose popularity helped to bring about the digital music revolution.

2. Duran Duran – Electric Barbarella (1997)

Other songs had been available for download before – Aerosmith’s ‘Head First’, for example, an unreleased track provided to fans in the early days of the internet in 1994, back when everything was made of clockwork and powered by steam. But it was former New Romantics Duran Duran who were the first major label artists to release their new single for high quality download with 1997’s ‘Electric Barbarella’.

Interviewed at the time, keyboardist Nick Rhodes was 100% behind the move, predicting the importance of the digital revolution and the internet for artists in the future.

Initially, ‘Electric Barbarella’ was due to be available from Capitol Records’ website two weeks before the physical release hit record stores, but the outcry from the bricks-and-mortar vendors (many of whom threatened to boycott the album the song came from and even remove the band’s whole back catalogue from sale) changed their plans: the digital and CD releases were rejigged to be simultaneous.

Capitol got bad PR from their partners in the distribution chain, but excellent press from everyone else: they were lauded for being so forward thinking. The rest is history.

And the band? ‘Electric Barbarella’ didn’t do well: enough sticks had been jammed in the spokes that the single wasn’t a hit. Duran Duran, however, continued to attempt to pioneer new ways of listening to and purchasing their music.

1. Marillion – This Is The 21st Century (2001)

Back in 1997, Marillion were facing diminishing returns for their wilfully idiosyncratic take on art rock, and having to explain to their US fans that it would put them in terminal debt to embark on another loss-making tour in the States. Undeterred, said US fans got together and raised the money themselves. The tour took place. The crowd cheered.

Two years later, faced with underwhelming offers from two independent labels for their twelfth record, the band decided to go back to the fans and ask them whether they’d pay for said record up front. By 2001, nearly 13,000 people had pre-ordered the lavishly prepared Anoraknophobia release, raising £150,000 – nearly a quarter of a million quid in today’s money.

The only music released in advance was an edit of the album’s standout track, ‘This Is The 21st Century’, a magnificently brooding meditation on the unexplainable human heart, like the love child of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack.

Anoraknophobia was the first internet-driven crowdfunded album, inspiring the creation of ArtistShare, the prototype crowdfunding platform. Today there are dozens: Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, PledgeMusic and so many more. Crowdfunding has become the go-to model for artists at all stages in their careers, now able to bypass the moneymen and the middlemen to appeal to their audience direct for the funds necessary to produce the art they adore.

And Marillion? They don’t need a platform: they’ve been selling their music direct to the fans from marillion.com for nearly twenty years now. The crowd’s still cheering.

 

 

Tales of Rock: Why April 24th Matters in Rock History

It’s April 24th and here are some reasons why this day matters in classic rock history:

In 1969, Paul McCartney publicly denied rumors that he was dead.

In 1996, Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo made an announcement that singer Scott Weiland was in drug rehab and unable to perform at their upcoming shows.

In 1992, David Bowie married supermodel Iman at a ceremony in Switzerland.

In 2000, Limp Bizkit announced the details of their 24-date Back to Basics tour which would include a set from rappers Cypress Hill.

In 1976, Paul McCartney had his fifth number one album after The Beatles when Wings’s Wings at the Speed of Sound topped the chart.

In 1990, Roger Waters’s road crew found an unexploded World War II bomb while constructing the set for The Wall concert in Germany.

In 1976, Paul and Linda McCartney spent the evening with John Lennon at his New York apartment and watched Saturday Night Live. During the show, SNL producer Lorne Michaels made an offer asking The Beatles to come to the studio and play three songs live. The pair considered taking a cab to the studio but decided they were too tired. It was the final time they were together.

And in 2003, four fans sued Creed claiming singer Scott Stapp was so “intoxicated and/or medicated that he was unable to sing the lyrics of a single Creed song” at a recent show in Chicago.

And that’s what happened today in rock history.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Phicklephilly THE BOOK now available on Amazon!

Listen to the Phicklephilly podcast LIVE on Spotify!

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly    Twitter: @phicklephilly

Tales of Rock: ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Rocketman’ are pop-music fantasias that never touch the greatness of their subjects

Lily James and Himesh Patel in a scene from “Yesterday.” (Jonathan Prime/Universal Pictures via AP)

Of all the here’s-a-cool-way-to-make-a-pop-biopic! ideas floating around in “Rocketman” that work better in theory than they do onscreen, one of the most pivotal was the decision to have Taron Egerton do his own singing. That almost never happens in music biopics (Rami Malek lip-synched in “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Jamie Foxx lip-synched in “Ray,” Marion Cotillard lip-synched in “La Vie en Rose”). Media voices have cooed over Egerton’s vocalizing as if they were the proud parents of a kid vying for championship of a karaoke competition. “Look, he’s really doing it! And he sounds just like Elton John!”

Except that he doesn’t. In the ’70s, the fluky flavor (and power) of Elton John’s voice was connected to the contrast between the way he spoke — incredibly posh and rounded English tones — and the bluesy down-home American idiom that he infused into nearly every sung syllable. (Even in a song as mellow as “Your Song,” he would sing, “And you can tell everybod-eh.”) What you hear, in almost every line of his phrasing, is the ebullient theatrical muscle it took to make that reach. Taron Egerton can sing, but it’s exactly that aspect that his voice doesn’t have. The songs in “Rocketman” sound “good” as far as it goes, but they’re stripped of Elton’s distinct vocal personality. According to the film’s topsy-turvy logic, though, this somehow renders them old but new again. To put it bluntly: They can now be resold.

Everybody knows, because it’s a cornerstone of modern movie mythology, that two fabled films of the 1970s created the blockbuster mentality: “Jaws” (1975) and “Star Wars” (1977). Actually, I’ve always thought that two additional movies were part of that story: “The Exorcist” (1973), which tapped and shaped the up-and-coming appetite for overexplicit sensationalism, and “Rocky” (1976), which brought back the feel-good ideology of happy endings and, in doing so, helped to usher in the age of Reagan.

Yet even if you include those two, what isn’t nearly as remembered now — thought it marked a fundamental change in the aesthetics, and business, of movies — was the revolution wrought by “Saturday Night Fever” (1977). The movie’s soundtrack, one of the greatest ever, was beyond huge — it was a disco volcano that kept erupting. “American Graffiti,” or the films of Elvis Presley, might have paved the way, but what kicked off with “Saturday Night Fever,” in the corporate Hollywood that was coming into being, was the perception that the movie and music industries could effectively merge. Movies could be vehicles for creating and marketing pop soundtracks, and pop soundtracks could be vehicles for creating and marketing movies. This led directly to the age of “Flashdance,” “Footloose,” “Top Gun,” and a thousand lesser titles, from “Thank God It’s Friday” to “D.C. Cab,” that were conceived and packaged to piggyback on their MTV-and-radio-friendly soundtracks. Films and music would now be tails wagging each other, which created a new form: the movie as synergistic tie-in musical.

The Beatles and Elton John are hardly typical subjects for a pop-music film. They are gods among giants. As such, they deserve — I would say demand — a kind of big-screen treatment that exudes transcendence. Yet “Yesterday” and “Rocketman” aren’t jukebox musicals that send you out on a cloud of rapture. They’re synergistic tie-in musicals that are out to rebrand the Beatles and Elton John for a new generation. Maybe that’s why neither movie comes close to touching the greatness of its subject.

In recent weeks, I’ve had more than a few conversations about “Rocketman,” the biography-in-a-blender Elton John musical that, I confess, absolutely drove me up a wall. On the surface, at least, the film couldn’t be more different from “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which was a conventionally middlebrow push-your-buttons biopic. That one really was a Bryan Singer film, though it was finished by Dexter Fletcher, who directs “Rocketman” as if it were a Baz Luhrmann movie staged as a badly lit, thinly scripted Netflix throwaway. Yet when people talk about “Rocketman,” they sound a lot like they do when they talk about “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There’s a fan-service reductionism to the whole megillah, and to the way that the chief sentiment you hear always comes down to the same thing: “I loved hearing those songs!” Well, yes. Who doesn’t?

Early on in “Rocketman,” when Egerton’s Elton, having stalked offstage in his outsize orange devil costume, is sitting there in a support group, looking back on the life that brought him to this moment, the line “I was justified when I was five” is used to spin the action back to his childhood and the film’s first musical number, “The Bitch Is Back.” I watched the sequence that follows never having the faintest idea of why this song would apply to thissituation. Like everyone else, though, I enjoyed hearing the killer hooks of “The Bitch Is Back.”

Yet if hearing those songs were all it took to make a good musical, then the legendary 1978 Robert Stigwood debacle “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” starring (yes, starring!) the Bee Gees in their post-“Fever” prime, might be a spectacle of high-kitsch joy, instead of one of the most atrocious movie musicals ever created. “Rocketman,” with its slipshod staging and “stylized” chronology (i.e., the events of Elton John’s life seem not just out of sequence but seriously out of whack), is a bubbleheaded travesty of the musical biopic that Elton John should have had. (And had that movie been made, it would have been twice the hit.)

That said, I’m seriously shocked that more people aren’t more disappointed by what a botched opportunity “Rocketman” represents. The movie has been hyped in such a way to make it sound stodgy if you complain about its iPod-random chronology. But when Elton shows up for his fabled American debut at the Troubadour in L.A. in 1970 and plays “Crocodile Rock,” I’m sorry, that’s the equivalent of making a biopic about the Beatles in which they launch their Shea Stadium concert in 1965 with a cut off the White Album.

Elton John’s music and image developed radically over the first half of the ’70s, but the way “Rocketman” tells it, he simply touched down in the world as this nerd glam prince with a hundred pairs of glasses churning out sublime synthesizer earworms. In the movie, we almost never see Elton discovering who he is — as a musician, or as an image of pansexual flamboyance. Maybe that’s why the movie, in its greatest-hits-ripped-out-of-context way, wobbles around the kicky splendor of the songs. It uses them as musical bullet points, but there’s scarcely a moment when it figures out how to sit back and catch the lightning majesty of what Elton John created.

If “Rocketman” is at least guilty of a certain operatic overreach, “Yesterday” revives the Fab Four by reducing them. The movie, which opened Friday, is a what-if? trifle, an attempt to turn a world without the Beatles into a happy-face “Twilight Zone” episode that becomes a fantasy of rebooting the Beatles. As I said in my review, the most telling aspect of “Yesterday” is that it presents the Kate McKinnon character as a music-business manager of snarky corruption, yet her master plan to market the Beatles is treated less as satire than as the film’s own fantasy of selling the “ultimate” supergroup. You could say, “No, the movie isn’t really on the side of that.” But I would suggest that the pop commodity fetishism of “Yesterday” is wound right into the movie’s blandly iconic, number-one-with-a-bullet song choices (“Hey Jude,” “Let It Be,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Help!,” “All You Need Is Love”). It’s as if the PR department had nixed the notion of doing anything more adventurous or offbeat.

One could argue that we live in the real world, and that it’s impossible to make an expensive movie about the Beatles or Elton John without treating those songs as marketing hooks. Fair enough. Yet the problem with “Yesterday” and “Rocketman” isn’t that they sell the Beatles or Elton John out. It’s that, in devoting so much of themselves to imagining how these incandescent artists might appeal to audiences today, the movies never fully remember — or capture — how they appealed to audiences back then, when all that selling seemed so far away.

 

 

Tales of Rock – John Lennon Was an Abusive Asshole Who Hit Women

The Beatles were all about love: They used the word 613 times in their songs, and like 300 of those are probably from John Lennon’s “All You Need Is Love” alone. In his solo career, Lennon continued singing about love, but also about peace — he even spent money putting up billboards with pro-peace messages in cities like London and New York.

Many of his fans treat Lennon like a modern-day Jesus: He preached peace and love, dressed like a disheveled hippie, died tragically young, and came back four years later with a posthumous album. Just like Jesus.

What He Was Really Like:

Lennon was a real asshole, especially to the people he was supposed to love the most. While he did write classic peace songs like “Imagine” and “Give Peace a Chance,” keep in mind that he also wrote “I Am the Walrus,” so he did not possess the soundest of minds. Lennon admitted in a Playboy interview that when he was younger, he basically went around punching women: “I was a hitter. I couldn’t express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.”

His attitude didn’t change much when he hooked up with Yoko Ono and started shouting about peace. People gave Ono a lot of shit for following Lennon to band practices (a taboo in the music world known as “being a Yoko Ono”), but Ono only did that because Lennon demanded that she come out of fear she would leave him. He even made her go into the bathroom with him, afraid someone would snatch her away while she waited in the lobby. At the same time, he was openly unfaithful to her, just as he was to his first wife.

In the end, though, the biggest target of Lennon’s cruelty was his son Julian. Lennon was absent for most of Julian’s life, and the time he spent with him often led to yelling, insults, and very uncomfortable situations.

Lennon stated in an interview that Julian was unplanned and “came from a bottle of whiskey.” Lennon did admit his failings near the end of his life, but he added, “I will have to be a lot older before I can face in public how I treated women as a youngster.” Sadly, that didn’t happen, so he died an asshole.

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am & 12pm EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Tales of Rock – The Beatles Almost Reunited On SNL

For decades after they had hung up their guitars and lopped off those moptops, fans would continue to beg The Beatles to reunite. The Brits would come close on multiple occasions, but the reunion would always fall through for one reason or another (I’m looking at you, Paul). But on a fateful Saturday night in 1976, John Lennon and Paul McCartney let an opportunity pass them by that would have shredded the minds of music fans everywhere, for no other reason than they decided to call it an early night.

Lennon and McCartney were hanging out in New York City when, serendipitously, they turned on the TV to see Lorne Michaels addressing them directly during an episode of Saturday Night Live. Michaels offered the Beatles $3,000 if they would come down to the studio and perform together one last time. Lennon was immediately taken with the idea and began to pressure McCartney into the reunion, trying to persuade him with the possibility of earning $1,500 — which was about as much money as McCartney was earning in royalties per minute just by sitting there on Lennon’s couch. According to both band members, they were less than two miles away from the studio and could have easily walked down to the biggest reunion in music history.

But it was pretty late, and they were both kind of tired, so they eventually decided against it for no other reason than they ultimately just felt like staying in (and hey, we’ve all been there). They wound up just hanging out at John’s house, and the world missed out on the most iconic musical moment/mediocre comedy improv scene ever.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly

Brooke – 2013 to Present – Legs for Days

Brooke was on point with the drinks. She even stuck around and hung out with us.

When I worked for the online start-up, back in 2013, there was a kid that worked in the office who was always playing crazy music. It was mostly all shit. I can’t believe I’m about to say this but it was also played too loud every day. (Yea, I’m getting old)

There were only two artists he ever played that I could stomach. One of them was a band called Tame Impala. I liked them because their singer sounded a bit like John Lennon. They were in town to open for the flaming lips at Festival Pier. So me and the kid decide we want to go. Somehow I got the hookup, probably through Keila when she worked at Live Nation. We were in the VIP section, which is nice because you can see the stage, it’s fenced in, you’re away from the animals, and you have your own clean bathrooms, and your own bar.

We grabbed a bite of over priced food before the show. Actually, the opening act was playing. It was Sean Ono Lennon. How sad is that? Your father is 1/2 of the two greatest composers of modern music in the 20th century. Let that sink in for a moment.

John Lennon is your father. Your half-brother Julian looks and sounds like dad, but your mom is Yoko Ono. No. Sorry. You’re just a filthy rich kid. Your dad was in the Beatles, and your shitty band is opening for the band that is opening for the Flaming Lips at Festival Pier in Philly. Sorry kid. Give up.

So we’re back at VIP and I need some wine. There is a very tall lean brunette that is serving me. She cracks a bottle for me. She fills my cup with ice and then pours the wine in on top of it. This is how I like my chardonnay. So I won’t have to keep coming back to the bar, she says she’ll just keep coming out to me in the section and keep my cup filled. I liked her already  because she was tall, beautiful and charming. Now I’m falling in love.

Tame Impala were good. I dig some of their music. It was a good show. Brooke was on point with the drinks. She even stuck around and hung out with us. I remember telling her about my girlfriend and just raving about how much I loved her. I was telling her about all of the romantic moments I created to celebrate how much I loved her. Brooke loved this and I feel like I made a memorable impression upon her.

I’ve run into her since then at different gatherings. I remember a bunch of us were all sitting around at Rouge. (Not a fan. Rittenhouse douche/snob watering hole) It was me, Keila, Alice, Brooke, a couple other girls and I think one or two guys  I didn’t know. At one point Brooke gets everyone’s attention and says: “(My name) speaks about women the way wish any of the men we know spoke about us when we weren’t around.”

That’s one of the nicest compliments I have ever had the honor of receiving. I’ll be taking her to Keila’s farewell party from the IT recruitment firm this week, So I’ll write more then.

Note: Brooke’s story continues in tomorrow’s post: (Church – Birthday Boy)

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday at 8am EST.

Instagram: @phicklephilly    Facebook: phicklephilly