Showing posts with label george harrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label george harrison. Show all posts

Saturday, October 14, 2017


By1981 I had settled into my new routine, working second shift at the hospital, which was the best job I'd ever had up to that point. As a dedicated scaredy-cat, I'd dipped my toe into the waters of a couple of unknowns -- a year in retail, another year as a government employee, until I stumbled upon my true calling.

My hard and fast rule was that I refused to accede the raising of my kids to a miscellaneous daycare worker. Thus, I was relegated to evening positions that involved the requisite changing of the guard -- a husband who came home from his day job at 3:00 and bluffingly assumed family responsibilities while I trundled off to my clinical night job.

I blithely assumed that a father would have his kids' best interests at heart -- until I came home one night at 10:00 and found the Christmas tree askew and its decorations oddly-placed. Disassembled and reassembled into a half-assed facsimile of the decor I'd lovingly put together but one day before. Apparently Dad had been engrossed in a telephone call with one of his friends while two toddlers laid waste to my painstaking bauble-hanging. Before I'd left for work that day, as the final scenes of the movie "Nine To Five" pranced across my TV screen, I'd admired my prodigious decorating skills, and had decided all was right with the world.

Everyone was asleep, so I didn't interrogate anyone, but two and four-year-olds tend to lie anyway. Trust me, little kids are natural-born liars.

I'd apparently semi-abandoned country music by that time, because the songs I remember from that year are almost entirely pop (or what we referred to as "rock").

For a rock pop fan in 1981, the offerings were awesome. I hate purists. I'm not even a purist and I, of anyone, have the bona fides to be one, if we're talking sixties country. I don't know what rock purists remember from that particular year -- The Who? I always hated The Who. The Stones? The Rolling Stones were already old by then, but they refused to pack it in. I never was a Stones fan, either. I've tried.

No, the best singles from 1981 are songs such as these:

(Still one of the best pop songs ever)

If anyone tries to tell you Hall and Oates are not sublime, they are wrong. Just wrong. 

I didn't even know who Bruce Springsteen was in 1981. I would watch the $20,000 Pyramid in the mornings (remember that?) It was hosted by Dick Clark. Some celebrity contestant -- I don't remember who -- was being interviewed by Dick. Clark asked the guy who his favorite rock artist was, and the dude replied that the best rock artist in the whole wide world was Bruce Springsteen. Dick said, "Well, that's your opinion. A lot of people would disagree with you." I was like, who? That was the first time I'd ever heard the name Bruce Springsteen. I still don't think Bruce is the best rock artist in the whole wide world. He's pretty good, though.

(I could give you the secret to why Springsteen's recordings are so good, but then I'd have to kill you.)

I think we'd gotten a special deal on HBO. At the time, HBO replayed the six same movies approximately ten thousand times. That was great if one really liked the movie. Ask me anything about "Nine To Five". Go ahead. Around that time, somebody (hopefully not Harvey Weinstein) convinced Neil Diamond that what he really needed to do was act. That somebody was sorely mistaken. I love Neil Diamond and I love, love George Strait, but neither of them should have ever taken one step in front of a movie camera. Nevertheless, "The Jazz Singer" became one of HBO's six featured movies, and I watched it and watched it again. Lucie Arnaz played the female lead. It was wallowingly schmaltzy, but it featured some good songs:

Two artists from 1981 would later go on to form a super-group. Here's Jeff Lynne:

In case you don't know, the other was George Harrison. George deserves his own damn post, and his hit from that year doesn't have a decent video. Don't take my omission as disrespecting George, because I respect him to pieces.

Country was fully represented in 1981. Those "purists" probably didn't appreciate these two hits, but they can go to hell. These two singles, especially the second one, will live on forever.

I awoke one cold December morning to my AM radio and a disc jockey saying words that seemed like an awful dream. I think he'd just played Ticket To Ride, and I thought, in my haze, well, that's a blast from the past. 

Then he said John was dead. 

I rolled over and flipped the volume dial on my radio. I still recall that green comforter tucked up to my chin and touching its white-etched flowers with my fingertip. 

And then he played this song. 

This song hurt so much because it was exactly, distinctly, the John who had transformed my life. From the tender age of nine, the very first time I'd heard him through my transistor speakers, John became my first love. 

I'd never lost anyone before I lost John. I was twenty-five years old. You don't lose somebody at twenty-five.

1981 was a good year in so many ways. I had two cute but incorrigible sons who romped around in blue-flannel pajamas. I loved my job. I was finally seeing a way out of crushing debt. Pop music was fun -- like music is supposed to be. 

Life doesn't really care how happy or sad we are:

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Runnin' Down A Dream

I'm not a classic rock fan. I don't even know what the term, "classic rock" is supposed to mean. To me, classic rock is not the type of music they play on classic rock stations. Our local classic rock station has a playlist that consists of approximately nine songs. From what I can tell, classic rock consists of Aerosmith, ZZ Topp, The Who, and Tom Petty.

I am, however, a Tom Petty fan.

I honestly missed the Tom Petty era. The seventies were a lost decade of music for me. If it wasn't for my little sister, I wouldn't have any acquaintance with Tom at all. My sister turned me on to the album, "Full Moon Fever" in 1989. So I was only approximately ten years behind the times, in Tom Petty World.

What I knew about Tom Petty I could count on the fingers of one hand:  Full Moon Fever, his hat, The Traveling Wilburys. 

Lately I've been watching a Netflix documentary about Tom. I like him. He was a likeable guy. I was going along, liking him, and then he talked a bit about his childhood. And then I really liked him. I don't know why, but I'm continually surprised to learn that other people had crappy childhoods. I thought it was just me. I seriously did think that. Everybody I knew growing up seemed to live such serene lives. "Serene" is not a word I've used to describe myself -- ever. It makes me feel better to learn that somebody like Tom, who later touched the sky, started out as a messed-up kid. 

Musically, Tom will always be this to me:

Tom said, about this song, that each of the members of the group threw out lines, and they kept the best ones. I can pick out Dylan's words. Dylan's words, in general, are sublime. I would love to know which other words belonged to whom. 

George is gone, Roy (my heart) is long gone.

Now Tom is gone. It doesn't seem right somehow. It's too soon. I barely got to know him.

I'm ending this post this way, with joy. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


If you haven't seen this video, you really should. I've watched it a few times, and I keep wanting to play it again.

This performance is from George Harrison's 2004 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and features Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison, and a special guitar soloist at the end. Be sure to stick around 'til the end! You won't be sorry.

I wonder if that guitar ever came down.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blast From The Past - Let's Travel Back to 1988

Just for fun, and because I have nothing profound to ruminate on tonight, I thought we'd travel back to the year 1988 in music. Why 1988? Beats me. I just picked a year from the '80's, and decided to look up the top hits of that year.

Remember Richard Marx? He's still around, you know. At least, that's what I hear. I guess he has a co-write on a Keith Urban song. Not that I would know the song, because (as you know) I don't listen to the radio. I wonder what he looks like now. Does he still have a mullet? Probably not. I should Google him. Anyway, some people liked to make fun of this song, but I always (secretly) liked it. I remember some DJ saying that he thought Richard was singing, "hold onto the mammaries". That disc jockey wasn't as funny as he thought he was.

You know that clean-cut redheaded kid from the '80's? No, not Ralph Malph. I mean, of course, Rick Astley. Again, a song that was the subject of numerous put-downs, but I think it's great. So sue me.

Switching music styles completely, Steve Winwood showed those kids a thing or two. He wasn't just Spencer Davis Group. Oh no. He still had it, as evidenced by this:

One cannot hear this song without being swept back in time to the movie, Dirty Dancing (okay, females can't, anyway). But Eric Carmen had it first, and here it is:

Robert Palmer had such success with his music video for Addicted To Love that he decided, why not? Let's do it again!

Lest we forget the biggest artist of the '80's, here he is:

Remember UB40? Nobody does. But they had a top hit with this Bob Marley song:

Okay, how about Escape Club? No, we don't remember them, either. But we remember this song:

Remember David Coverdale's hair? I do! Finally! Something I remember! Oh, and he had a song, too:

Not to shortchange the women! By no means! Whitney didn't really have any good songs in 1988, so I'm going with Belinda Carlisle instead:

Apparently, this was the top song of 1988. George Michael, what the heck? Now you only make the news when you get arrested. Well, time marches on, I guess.

Here's Michael again:

Just so you didn't forget the Beatles, who broke up nineteen years prior, along came George Harrison with this:

So, overall, 1988 was a pretty good year for music. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, I can pick and choose the songs I want to include. I love the benefit of hindsight.

I apologize if I neglected to include your favorite song from that moment in time. All I can say is, don't worry...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Are You Old Enough To Remember This?

I remember it well. 1964. I was across the street from Valley Elementary, talking to Debbie Lealos about this new group that we were hearing on the radio. I probably was walking to Wednesday catechism, no doubt. My absolute FAVORITE thing to do in the WHOLE WORLD!

We were talking as only nine-year-old music critics could, about the merits of the latest single from this British group called the Beatles. Having a sophisticated conversation about "I Want To Hold Your Hand".

In the course of our discussion, we also reached a consensus that Paul was the "cutest" Beatle.

Painful admission: I thought that the best singer in the group was Paul, but I actually had the guys confused at the time - not having videos to watch - so the one who I thought was Paul singing was actually John. So, I guess John was my favorite singer, in hindsight.

A while later, it was announced that the Beatles would be performing on the Ed Sullivan Show! (Maybe now I would be able to discern who was singing what.)

Well, this was the absolute highlight of any nine-year-old girl's life, or of any girl's life who was old enough to know what music was. (My two-year-old sister probably didn't meet the criteria).

But, you know, why the heck was the Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday nights? What worse night of the week could one choose? You know how Sundays were. All you did was mope around, thinking about how you had to go to school the next day. (Sort of like now, when I mope around, thinking about how I have to go to work the next day).

But on this particular Sunday, I was filled with anticipation. I think I talked to a few friends on the phone....."Hi, what are you wearing for the big Beatles debut?" I probably never actually said that, but you know, we did have to make our preparations for the big TV event.

Around six-ish, I parked myself in front of the Zenith, tuned to CBS, of course. I think there was something on like "Lassie". (Man, how lame were the shows back then? That Timmy didn't even have any friends. His only friend was his dog. PLUS Timmy was always falling into a well or something. The clumsiest kid ever. I say, if I was his mother, I'd have just left him there. That'd teach him to be more careful.)

But the bottom line was, I was parked there, and I was in charge of the TV. No way was I going to let my mom turn the channel on me. Not that she would. I think everybody watched Ed Sullivan back then. I shudder to think what the competition was, if everyone was content watching Topo Gigio or the guy who talked out of his glove. Remember that dude? And he made money! He sewed some buttons on a glove for eyes, and he drew a mouth on it, and this is how he made his living!

Finally, Ed came on. He probably said something like, "Tonight, we'll have a re-enactment of a scene from the latest Broadway show, starring Ernest Borgnine, the guy who does the glove-puppet thing, The June Taylor Dancers, Topo Giogio, and...........THE BEATLES!" (scream)

And finally, after weeks of anticipation, there they were!

You just wanted to die; it was that good. They kicked it off with "All My Loving", with Paul playing that backwards guitar. (I saw Paul in concert a couple of years back, and surprisingly, he still does that famous head bob. Pretty spry for a guy in his sixties.)

Notice how the girls in the audience are all having conniptions, while the one lone guy is like, "Yea, whatever. I'm WAY cooler than that." (He wasn't).

I also like how John, Paul, George, and Ringo do their very proper bow at the end of the song. Very respectful.

Then they launch into a lame cover song, called, "Til There Was You", again with Paul singing lead.

I'm thinking that John lost the coin toss backstage, because he didn't get to sing lead on any of the songs that night. "What the hell, mate? You mean I don't get to do ANY songs? What am I supposed to do? Just stand there, strumming my guitar and smiling like an idiot?"

They actually showed more shots of RINGO than they did of John!

And notice how this video has their first names superimposed over their images? "GEORGE". Okay, thanks. I know who George is. I was just having a problem figuring out who was PAUL and who was JOHN.

And, of course, all the time, John's thinking, there you go, Paul. You and your self-indulgent Broadway tunes.

Finally, they break into "She Loves You", which is memorable because of the dual head-shake of both Paul and George.

And poor George. He has to keep moving from Paul's mic to John's. No wonder he was so skinny. But at least he got air time. Unlike John.

Then Ed breaks in to announce that he just got a telegram from Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis, wishing the Beatles all the best on their American debut.

Yea, for sure.

You know that Elvis was sitting at home (in the jungle room) watching this telecast and thinking, "Well, it was a good run while it lasted. I guess the "Teddy Bear" songs aren't going to cut it anymore."

Ed also announces that the Beatles will be on NEXT WEEK'S SHOW, along with Mitzi Gaynor. Oh man. I can't miss Mitzi! (Who's Mitzi Gaynor again?)

For their final number, the boys do "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (again with Paul singing lead).

So, there you go. This is when rock 'n roll began. Elvis Presley was all fine and dandy, but he was small potatoes compared to the Beatles.

And I was there. And I watched it.

So, I guess I was privy to the rebirth of rock 'n roll music. Oh, you can quibble, and say that Chuck Berry invented rock 'n roll. I don't disagree, in theory.

All I know is this: Nobody got excited about rock 'n roll until 1964, when the Beatles showed up.

And nothing's ever been the same since.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Okay, yes, American Idol featured the Beatles songbook this week (and next week, I hear), so I'm reminded of the Beatles once again.

But does one ever actually forget the Beatles? Of course not. I submit that, for 99.9% of the population, if one could see the results of their brain scan, there would be at least ONE Beatles song roaming around back there in the recesses of their brain.

So, did you ever ask yourself, what's your favorite Beatles song? Well, that's a trick question, isn't it? Because the answer is ever-evolving.

P.S. Those who say that "Yesterday" is their favorite Beatles song are lying or hopelessly lame. I'm not saying it's not a good song, but c'mon. You've got the entire Beatles catalog to choose from, and you pick, "Yesterday"? No way.

So, I thought I'd do a little test.

Pick a few (cuz you can't narrow it down to one) Beatles songs that are your favorites, and also give your reasons why.

I'm going to severely limit myself, since I'm stuck with whatever I can find on YouTube, but I'm hoping I can find a few favorites there.

So, here's one:


This was from the movie, "Help!" and the soundtrack of the same name. I'm really hesitant to commit, but I do have to say that this is one of my very favorite Beatles songs. Nobody ever mentions "Help!" as one of the Beatles' best albums, but I happen to like it........a lot.


Early Beatles. Very early. One thing I do admire is George's lead part on this song. Simple, yet memorable. I remember this song from way back in the olden days, when all we had were "record players". 1963, I'm guessing. Also, I don't want to only single out John. I liked Paul, too, although John was the better singer.


Yes, everybody lists this one. But I can't really let that deter me. This is a glorious song, from John. It's not "Yesterday", by any means. Sorry, Paul, but this one is sublime.


This one is from the album, "Revolver". One of the top two Beatles albums, in my opinion. And, of course, my opinion is CORRECT.

So, there's four. It's difficult to do this post, because all I want to do is listen to more Beatles songs, and I get sidetracked from the task at hand.

But I'd be interested in YOUR favorite Beatles songs, and why they're your favorites. Sentimental reasons? Reminders of a special time in your life? Just good songs? (duh - that kind of goes without saying.)

And, P.S., looking at these videos, I really miss John.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Pioneers Of Rock - The Early '60's

I don't think it's right to just stop with the late '50's, do you? Not when there was so much good music yet to come. I already did a whole series on the British Invasion bands, but there was actually a whole gaggle of good artists from the good old USA!

The early-to-mid '60's were good years for rock 'n roll music. There were a lot of different styles, from doo-wop to the precursors of rock & roll (singers such as Connie Francis), to the California surf sound of the Beach Boys, to the wall of sound stuff by that unsurpassed weirdo named Phil Spector, to the Jersey sound of The Four Seasons, and on to the pop stylings of producer Quincy Jones, then on to the Motown Sound, and everything in between.

One thing you can say about that era ~~ everything didn't sound the same.

So, I'm just going to throw some videos in here, with little thought to rhyme or reason, and see what you think.


This song was from 1960. Interestingly, the song also hit the Top Ten again in 1962. It makes one wonder if there was a dearth of songs back then, so they had to recycle the old ones. I don't know. Anyway, this appears to be from an appearance on American Bandstand (note the lip-syncing). Plus, there is NO WAY he could dance and not lose his breath if he was actually singing. I mean, really. This song marked a new phase in dance music. Prior to The Twist, everyone was just fox-trotting around and jitter-bugging. With the advent of The Twist, people could dance all by themselves! I think we can credit this song with creating the ME generation. Who needs a dance partner? Again, also, as in Fats Domino's case, why do they call him "Chubby"? He doesn't look very chubby. I'd call him "Average Checker".


Well, what hath Chubby Checker wrought? What started as simply "The Twist" in 1960 morphed into the Peppermint Twist in 1962. I'm no historian, but I'm thinking Joey Dee was a real hipster dude who was the toast of discotheques all the way from Brooklyn to the Bronx. This version, The Peppermint Twist, is the New York take on the now classic dance number. I am loathe to point this out, but Joey is actually doing a combination of The Twist/The Mashed Potato, so he is by no means pure in Twist parlance.


I don't want to be nitpicky here, but some of the dancers were doing The Jerk, NOT the Mashed Potato. I guess they thought no one would notice. Although, David St. Hubbins WAS doing the Mashed Potato, so good work, St. Hubbins! I wonder whatever happened to Dee Dee. I wonder if she's still wearing that giant brooch in her "hair" (wig). I don't know how exactly I ended up being focused on dance crazes, but I promise it will end soon.


Okay, I couldn't actually find a performance of "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons, so I substituted this one. It's the same song ~~ just ask the US Copyright Office. Only the words were changed. This is nothin' against George Harrison, but good god, man, didn't this melody ring a bell when you were writing it? Just add in some "do lang, do lang's" and you got it. Still a great melody, though. A classic, if you will. I think we should ALL write lyrics to this melody. Pay it forward, as they say.


Unfortunately, in addition to this great performance, we are subjected to pop references from 1961. Frankly, the ones that resonate with me are Rocky & Bullwinkle and Mister Ed. Sorry, JFK. Sorry, President Reagan. I guess Bullwinkle and Mister Ed hold a higher place of honor in the history of the USA. I don't make the news; I just report it.


1962; I'm thinkin' the Ed Sullivan Show. You think? You know, falsetto is kind of a lost art. One rarely sees that anymore. A pity. Cuz, if you think about it, it could get you ON BROADWAY! And you'd have a hit show, and you could just kick back and collect residuals. Not bad for a little falsetto. Not bad at all.


Bad video; great song. I still love this one, from 1962. Dion and his Belmonts did a great job incorporating doo-wop with rock & roll. This is but one example. Dion, of course, went on to a solo career, singing about Abraham, Martin, & John. This was in the late '60's, when people actually cared about that stuff. Oh, the times, they have a'changed.


DISCLAIMER: THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS. It's from 1961. The net tells me that Gene himself wrote this song. If so, KUDOS, Gene! I don't know if I trust that info, though. It sure sounds like a Burt Bacharach song to me, but I could be mistaken. A little known fact: Gene was the first pop singer to perform at the Oscars. I really kinda miss Gene Pitney. I really liked him. Not to ruin the moment, but in this video, he really reminds me of Anthony Perkins, of "Psycho" fame.


For those who don't know, Connie Francis was HUGE in the late '50's/early '60's. And she's a good singer who deserved her fame. I'll always remember Connie especially from that classic tearjerker, "Where The Boys Are". Have you ever seen this movie? It's a camp classic. First of all, you can't beat a cast that includes George Hamilton, Dolores Hart, Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, Frank Gorshin (what?), Yvette Mimieux, and, of course, Connie herself. It's about these "kids" (who look approximately 35 to 40 years old) who go to Fort Lauderdale for spring break. Well, all kinds of bad things happen: love is found, love is lost, love is found again, George Hamilton gets a tan. I understand that in real life, Dolores Hart went on to become a nun, to atone for actually getting paid for starring in movies such as "Where The Boys Are".


The gals were really popular in the very early '60's. Brenda Lee is another great singer. I really like her. She has a big voice for someone so very, very, very tiny. I'm guessing she's about 8 years old here. Okay, maybe not. But she's about 3 feet tall. Not that there's anything wrong with that. One nitpick I have about this video: she is lip-syncing the song. That's the only quibble I have, however. I think she's great, and the song is great.


He started out as "Ricky", and later became just "Rick". But that's really beside the point. This is widely credited as being the very first music video. It tells the tale of Rick(y) traveling all over the place - apparently to Mexico, then to Alaska, then to Hawaii, and on to parts unknown. The incredible part is that he (apparently) did all this traveling by BOAT. Wow, Rick(y) must have had a lot of free time on his hands. But I guess air travel was kind of pricey in 1961.


I picked this one from the Drifters, because I like this song, and I haven't heard it in ages. Sorry about the Karaoke titles - but hey, feel free to sing along! The Drifters had many hits in their day. Also sorry for the lip-syncing. There are not a lot of good Drifters videos out there. Again, I hate to even point out things like this, but man, their choreography BLOWS! I've seen my dog do better footwork than this. But they still had great songs.


Okay, here's the deal ~ I know this is not the "classic" black & white video, but I have to admit it ~ I never knew these guys were WHITE. Seriously. I never knew this. As I reel from the shock, I do want to say that I don't appreciate Disney & Company appropriating this song. The song was NOT done by animated lions; it was done by real people. And stop stealing our nostalgia.

We'll close out this segment with a GREAT rock song from 1961, one of my all-time favorites:


This is a classic song. And is that a wicked organ solo or what? Somewhere, some dude is sitting around telling his grandkids that he played the organ solo on that record. And they're saying, "Yea, whatever, Grandpa". Kids are rude. As a side note, on this video, did you note that all the "running/dancing" girls had the same hairstyle? I'll let you in on a little secret ~ that was NOT their real hair. We had something back then we called "falls". They were clumps of fake hair that you pinned to your head to make you look like you had long hair. And they were made of the cheapest synthetic crap ever. You wouldn't want to try to brush it out. It would be a nightmare. Thus, you just pinned that crappy plastic hair to your head that had been sitting around on your nightstand for a fortnight. And off you'd go, off to run/dance to the latest songs on the hit parade.

More to come. MUCH more to come.