Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Paul's Favorite Beatles Songs

According to a recent interview, Paul's favorite Beatles' songs are 'Blackbird' and 'Here, There and Everywhere'.

He doesn't elaborate much (at least in the article I read), but I think they are interesting choices. I'm glad he didn't say 'Hey Jude', 'Let it Be' or 'Yesterday'.

'Blackbird' is one of his best 'White Album' songs. And since the 'White Album' is probably Paul's weakest Apple-era album (it's much more a 'John' album), 'Blackbird' is a decent choice. More interesting than similar tunes like 'I Will' and 'Mother Nature's Son'. But I think 'Helter Skelter' is his 'White Album' high-point.

'Here, There and Everywhere' is a super tune, but I think 'For No One', also on Revolver, is better and maybe his best lyric ever.

But again, I'm glad he went with songs that weren't singles and in the case of 'Blackbird', somewhat obscure (although, I can only think of about five or six Beatles songs that could truly be called 'obscure'...e.g., 'You Know My Name', 'Flying', 'Inner Light').

I think Paul is looking at the songs not as 'recordings'. His musician/composer mind is probably analyzing them as notes, lyrics, chords, harmonies...and when you think of them that way, the two he picked are quite good and perfect in their own way. Complex but seemingly simple. Sweet but not too sweet in the way 'I Will' is.

Personally, I think 'Fool on the Hill' may be his best. At least that's how I feel today. Tomorrow it might be 'Wild Honey Pie'.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Get Over Yourself, Pixar!

Pixar this, Pixar that. Living in the Bay Area where the company is based, you'd think they'd cured cancer. It's just cartoons. Yeah, I like them. I like them a lot. But I also like 'The Flintstones' and 'Yogi Bear'.

They keep running an ad on CNBC for a Pixar documentary and it shows Steve Jobs, or some nerd that looks like Steve Jobs (I think it's him...he did own Pixar for five minutes a while back, right?) and he says: 'Even we didn't have a clue about how successful it would be.'

What an arrogant ass! 'Even we'. Just think about that for a moment. 'We' who are so great and can predict everything.

And besides, that's just a lie. They spent years making these movies, hired the #1 movie and TV people to do voices...c'mon. Don't act so surprised.

And nobody knows what will sell anyway! If they did there would never be failures. All movies, TV shows, songs, games, hats, shoes, politicians...everything would be successful.

But it doesn't matter. Pixar is just a branch of Disney now. They're just part of the Wall Street bunch trying to act like they're still edgy.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

I dropped that old saying on someone the other day and got a big laugh. And then I got to thinking about some other old 60's and 70's phrases like 'Keep on Truckin', 'Make Love Not War', 'You Bet Your Bippy', 'Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out' and 'Beam Me Up Scotty'...there's a million of 'em.

Is it me, or have we kind of stopped using these kinds of sayings? More specifically, phrases that everybody knows and are either benign, promote a positive spirit (peace/youth/mind expansion) or finally, simply funny.

Is it the fact that the age of connecting with like-minded people via bumper stickers, posters and t-shirts has gone away with the advent of technology (Blogs, Twitters, Facebook, etc.)?

I guess there are some new ones like 'More Cowbell' (not exactly 'new', I know). But unlike 'Beam Me Up Scotty!', which you can actually use in a conversation, 'More Cowbell' doesn't mean anything (even if you've seen the SNL sketch which most people haven't).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Nerd vs. Cool

People seem to be confusing 'Nerd' with 'Cool' these days. Not sure how it started. Maybe it was when when dot.comers started to look like John Lennon (the glasses John Lennon, not the Fab one).

But when I hear someone say 'Rachel Maddow is cool!', I think NO! I like Ms. Maddow. But she is not cool, and besides, she's a self-proclaimed 'nerd'. They say 'Steve Jobs is cool!' or the new 'Iron Man movie is cool!'. NO NO NO. Nothing to do with computers or comic books is 'cool'. Doesn't mean it isn't good or great, but let's stop calling everything we like that's slightly off-beat 'cool'.

Maybe it's because there's not a lot of 'cool' stuff and people these days. Elvis and Brando were cool. So was Marilyn Monroe. I suppose Bruce Springsteen is (even though I don't care for his stuff), as well as George Clooney and Kate Winslet.

But this blog is supposed to be about the Beatles. So were they cool? Yes, their 'group personality' was cool. But as individuals, not so much. John, Paul and George were cool for the first year or so after the break-up. But when John became a 'house husband', Paul became 'Wings' and George showed up at the Bangla Desh Concert with that billy-goat beard, they lost it. John got it back the last year of his life. At least he was 'looking' cool. Paul had it briefly when he teamed with Elvis Costello (although Costello himself is NOT cool. Too nerdy). And George got it back when he teamed up with the Wilburys and did the Cloud Nine LP.

Ringo? For some weird reason, Ringo became cooler after the break-up. I think it was because he went from being the 'dumb one' to an 'ex-Beatle'.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

USA Honors Paul McCartney

For some reason, this whole deal rubs me the wrong way. Yeah, I like Obama, and I don't think it's a 'bad' thing. But I actually find myself avoiding reading and watching clips of it.

The United States government has not been friendly to the Beatles. Especially ex-Beatles (except Ringo, who seemed to be able to avoid drug busts). I don't have to give you the history, but John Lennon especially was targeted by the government as a trouble maker and they made his life miserable for it. Paul and George also had problems getting permission to tour in the USA because of pot busts.

As a kid in the 60's and 70's, I remember how The Beatles were hated by the establishment. Now it's all lovey-dovey. I suppose I should just consider it 'water under the bridge'. But remember this: Paul McCartney refused to attend the Beatles induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because of legal issues over EMI royalties with the other two (and Yoko). He thought it would be hypocritical to get up on stage and smile when they were suing him.

So isn't it also hypocritical to accept honors from a country that illegally went after his ex-partner? Nixon and the all-powerful FBI were out to get Lennon. A rock star. An entertainer. Outrageous.

Yeah, I know. It's all about 'change' and I dig that. But Paul's a British citizen. Is the ham in him so big that he doesn't see the irony of getting up and performing for the leader of the USA? It would be one thing to accept some award, shake his hand, maybe even sing 'Michelle' to the missus in private as a cute tribute. But it's so staged and weird. I wonder what Lennon would've done? I KNOW what Johnny Rotten would do...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

John Lennon is Definitely John Lennon

I was reading an old artsy-fartsy magazine, circa 1969 the other day. It has an interview with John and Yoko. The interviewer, who met with George Harrison the same day, had one of the best, concise descriptions of John Lennon I've ever read. Upon meeting him, she says: 'Unlike George Harrison who looks like someone who looks like George Harrison, John Lennon is immediately and definitely John Lennon.'

There's so much in that brief statement. About John, about George, about celebrity and the power of personalities. Super.