Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Paul's 'Good Evening New York' and John Lennon

The name and cover of Paul's new album is weird on all kinds of levels. The title contains the name of the the city where John Lennon was murdered. I know New York has a lot of other connotations and Beatle connections ('The Ed Sullivan Show', 'Shea Stadium'), but I think if you ask most life-long Beatles' fans over the age of 45, 'What Beatle memories do you have in regards to New York City', I think Lennon's murder is high on the list.

The cover is also odd.

I know it's supposed to convey a sense of Paul greeting the audience, or taking in their applause. But it's a very Christlike pose, and John has a lot of associations with Christ; the 'we're more popular than Jesus' remark, the 'Christ, you know it ain't easy' line in 'The Ballad of John and Yoko', and the fact that, like Jesus, Lennon was a peacenik who was murdered.

The cover also reminds me of the poster for Platoon where Willem Defoe emerges from the jungle, his armed stretched out, after being shot by a fellow soldier. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive, but did any of this stuff I'm talking about even occur to Paul or anyone involved in the artwork and title?

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's so great about John Lennon!?

A neighbor dropped in the other day. I was showing her my record collection and as we perused my Lennon LPs, she asked me, 'What's so great about John Lennon?'. She didn't mean it as a 'dig' at Lennon. She's actually a big music fan and pretty knowledgeable. She was simply, and innocently, asking me to explain something that I take for granted.

For a few moments, I didn't know what to say. Finally, I said 'Well, the Beatles were his band. So it's kind of like asking what's so great about the Beatles? He was their leader, the best singer and best writer, and all around the most interesting.'

And while 'singer' and 'writer' are things we can analyze and discuss using a combination of facts and personal tastes, the 'interesting' part is more complicated. But let's just say he was the funniest, the smartest and the most rebellious. And whereas Paul McCartney has always craved the love and accolades, Lennon didn't really give a damn. He knew he was genius and said so.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The 'Lost' Cassette 3-Pack

Back in 1969 Capitol planned on releasing this little item. Cassettes had been around for a year or so, and this was probably an attempt to promote them. An 8-track version was planned as well.
Somebody objected and it never was released, but a dozen or so copies are known to exist.
The selection of albums is smart. It covers three distinct periods and provides a lot of good stuff:
Meet the Beatles (their hugely popular 'first' LP ), and two albums that are chock full of hits; 'Yesterday'...and Today and Magical Mystery Tour.
The cover is a weird choice, though. It looks like you're buying the White Album.