Monday, November 22, 2010

Beatles on iTunes...Finally

I think the best quote was from Ringo. When asked what he thought about The Beatles catalog finally being available on iTunes, he said, 'Now people will stop asking me about it.'

I've always preferred the Beatles on vinyl because that's the original format. It's like old comic books. I'd rather read the actual comic than a reproduction in a nice coffee table book. But at the same time, the coffee table is more convenient. Same with iTunes.

But you do lose the organic connection. The cover of Rubber Soul, for example, looks a lot better when it's BIG!

The Sgt. Pepper's cover, gatefold, back cover, psychedelic insert and cut-out 'goodies' were as much a part of the original experience as the music. I know that may be hard to believe in the 21st century when every image known to man is available at the click of a few buttons.

Back in the Summer of Love, 1967, when I was a kid growing up in Portland, Oregon, we only had five TV channels (and one of them was PBS which was LAME!), only a couple of rock and roll radio stations and most rock magazines and books were strictly marketing tools aimed at teenagers. The stories would be silly features and goofy photo ops. You had to dig deep to find an actual important piece of info. And the Beatles were rarely on television. So getting that Pepper album, with all the great graphics, was a really big deal.

And the listening experience was also different. Side One was a different experience than Side Two, and depending on your mood, you would choose which one to play. Or choose both. Or both in reverse order. Whatever.

Yes, I know you can't go home again. But I'm just saying...The Beatles took a lot of time and care into the packaging and sequence and we've lost that now and with CDs on the way out, even the miniture versions will fade away, too. And don't give me that, 'But you can download the images' bullshit. It's not the same as sitting on your couch and listening to the record while you go over every detail of the album cover.

But I'm glad they finally got the music on iTunes. Now people will stop asking me about it!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

AMC Does it Again!! 'Walking Dead' Is Great!

Gotta hand it to AMC. The cable network itself was like the walking dead some years ago. I remember when they first started up in the salad days of cable, and they were kinda cool, showing some good old commercial free movies. Then they started showing commercials. I remember that I was turned off and tuned out. So did a bunch of my friends.

Then they started making original shows and my initial thought was 'This is gonna be lame'...but who woulda thunk it!? The shows are damn good. 'Mad Men' and 'Breaking Bad' are super.

Finally caught up with their newest, 'Walking Dead' and loved it. I was a 'mad man' when the first episode was over! (So much better than the recent Zombieland movie, which had a few good moments but was mostly dumb and more interested in style than story).

The only thing that kinda bugged me was the fact that the hero was in a coma when the whole zombie thing happened. It's a direct rip-off of 28 Days Later. But I'm gonna give them a pass since it doesn't really matter now that the story is in motion.

The rip-off reminds me of when 'The Sopranos' started on HBO and it had the same premise as the Billy Crystal picture Analyze This: 'The Gangster Meets the Psychiatrist'

But in retrospect, 'The Sopranos' and Analyze This have about as much in common as "Gilligan's Island' and 'Lost'.

The Vocal Stylings of Paul McCartney

Although John Lennon is a better 'rock and roll' singer, Paul has a much bigger range of styles. Way bigger.

First off, there's the sweet Paul ('Mother Nature's Son') and the black/R&B Paul ('Long Tall Sally'). As a matter of fact, Paul's the only Beatle who could do the 'black thing'. Can you imagine Lennon or Harrison doing something like the break in 'I've Got a Feeling' ("All these years I've been wandering around, wondering how come nobody told me", etc.)?

Lennon said he thought Paul should've let him do the vocals for 'Oh Darling', which while interesting, is completely wrong. It's totally a Paul vocal.

And while we're at it, Paul did a lot of other styles, often on obscure tunes. The 'frog in throat' vocal on 'Tomorrow' (from Wild Life), the screaming on 'Monkberry Moon Delight', the falsetto on 'Girlfriend' as well as funny voices like on 'Uncle Albert' and 'Famous Groupies'. He could also throw in a country twang like on 'Sally G' or 'Rocky Raccoon'.

And there's a lot more odd-stylings from Paul, like 'She's a Woman', for example.

I'd like to see him do more of that kind of thing on his newer songs. But I guess we can't have everything.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

June Cleaver

When Barbara Billingsley died a few weeks ago, the morning news carried the story. The reporter mentioned 'Leave it to Beaver' of course, but added, "In 1980 Billingsley took a comic turn in the movie Airplane!".

Thanks. I didn't know 'Leave it to Beaver' was a drama.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Janine Turner

I really liked Janine Turner as 'Maggie' on 'Northern Exposure' back in the day. She's a well-known right-winger, but I don't hold that against her. Hell, I love John Wayne even though he was a Vietnam hawk and hated hippies.

I can enjoy an entertainer regardless of their personal life or politics.

But I was stuck by the irony of her recent appearance at a Sarah Palin rally in Alaska.

I assume the reason Ms. Turner was there was because she was in a show that was set in Alaska. However, 'Northern' was actually filmed in the state of Washington, not Alaska. And I doubt if Janine has ever spent any significant amount of time in Alaska.

So here you have a celebrity who played a character in a show that pretended to take place in Alaska on stage with another celebrity who is pretending to be an average soccer mom.