“Here I am with the mighty and the high, feeling like I don’t belong…”

13 02 2018

You may enjoy these videos from Noel Gallagher’s Detroit appearance on February 9. What can I say, I had a great seat!



The Beatles’ 100 Best Songs, according to me (31-40)

26 09 2010

Continued from prior posts…





31.  I Am The Walrus — Elementary penguin singin’ Hare Krishna, man you shoulda seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe.  Brilliant avant garde psychedelia.  McCartney’s bass lines almost go unnoticed in a song so rich, but they quite good.

32.  I Want to Hold Your Hand — “Bubble gum pop” is used dismissively to describe some of the mega-hits of Beatlemania:  She Loves You, Please Please Me, All My Loving.  There’s no doubt the Beatles still say rock and roll as (perhaps) limited its most common theme – love.  What is sometimes forgotten is that their songs were, even then, rock n’ roll!  The opening rif of I Want to Hold Your Hand is still, I think, a very powerful guitar statement.  It’s a great little rock song.

33.  This Boy — It’s straight out of the 50’s, which makes it one of the few Beatles songs one could argue is “dated.”  It really pre-dates their own sound.  What makes it great is the vocal work.  John sounds incredible on lead and George and Paul do a great job backing him.  The use of the third person, “this boy” vs. “me” or “I,” is a nice change of pace.

34.  You’re Gonna Lose that Girl — Where She Loves You was meant to reassure the other poor sap that his relationship was secure, in You’re Gonna Lose That Girl, the male lover is told she’s about ready to dump him for the singer.  It seems a bit ballsy to tell another guy, presumably to his face, that you’re about ready to steal his girlfriend.  The bongos and the vocals do it for me.  When I was a kid I thought the Beatles “sounded American” when they sang, but when you listen closely you can really hear George’s and Paul’s Scouse accents.

35.  You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away — Dylan’s influence oozes out of this tune.  It hints at the more folk-like sound to come on Rubber Soul.  This one’s a personal favorite of mine.  The flute at the end is a great touch.

36.  I Want You (She’s So Heavy) — I’d be remiss to fail to mention an Abbey Road song on this the 41st anniversary of its release.   IWYSSH is dirty, grungy, groovy, loud, lounge-y.  It couldn’t be any simpler lyrically but it’s varied layered musically.  It has a “wall of sound” quality to it.   All the guitars must have (each) been multi-tracked, or so I would guess.  It proves (once again) the sometimes the best rock n’ roll is the simplest.

37.  You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) — Good evening and welcome to Slagger’s, featuring Dennis O’Bell.  No matter how many times I hear this, I crack up.  It’s a smart little piece of lounge music besides being funny.

38.  Here Comes the Sun — Although it’s now a staple of oldies radio, it’s hard not to smile everytime it comes on the radio.  The guitar work is stellar.  George, who could appear so dour, spews optimism, an incredible feat considering he’d only “quit” the band a few months previously and wrote this in the midst of the breakup.  Maybe he was foreseeing freedom in his future.

39.  Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight — It might be technically improper to break up the famous side 2 medley into individual songs or to treat these as one, but I’ve always listened to Golden Slumbers/Carry that weight as one song.  When I feel like crap, this song is soothing.

40.  Eleanor Rigby — It’s a great piece of rock art.  Apparently there’s debate over who really wrote what in this song.  If this was truly collaborative — with George even pitching in — it’s evidence why the Beatles were so great as a unit.

December 1, 1962

1 01 2009

fab621Having returned from Hamburg Germany, taken over the Liverpool music scene, and secured a manager, the next (and obvious) step for the Beatles was to get a recording contract.  Brian Epstein began shopping the Beatles for a record deal and got them an audition with Decca Records in London.  The audition took place this day 47 years ago.

The Beatles, in an hour, ran through a 15 song set (12 covers, 3 Lennon-McCartney originals), recorded in this order:

  1. Like Dreamers Do” (Lennon/McCartney)
  2. Money (That’s What I Want)
  3. Till There Was You
  4. “The Sheik of Araby
  5. To Know Her Is to Love Her
  6. Take Good Care of My Baby
  7. Memphis, Tennessee
  8. “Sure to Fall (In Love with You)”
  9. Hello Little Girl” (Lennon-McCartney)
  10. Three Cool Cats
  11. Crying, Waiting, Hoping
  12. Love of the Loved” (Lennon-McCartney)
  13. September in the Rain
  14. Bésame Mucho
  15. Searchin’


At that time, Pete Best was the drummer.  Ringo wasn’t to join the band for at least another 6 months or so.

The audition was quite good.  The full version of it exists and can be found on CD.  My copy is about 20 years old and is called Raw Energy.  Some of the audition turned up on the Beatles Anthology 1.  It really captured the Beatles as they might have sounded in the clubs and dance halls.

Famously, Decca Records executive, Dick Rowe, turned down the Beatles telling Brian Epstein that “guitar groups are on the way out.”  Decca signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes in the Beatles’ place.  As laughable as that all seems now, Decca did make up for it by signing (at George Harrison’s urging) the Rolling Stones.

Had the Beatles signed with Decca everything about their careers would’ve been different.  As fate were to have it, the Beatles signed with EMI, a class-act record company, and had the benefit of recording with a fantastic musical mind, George Martin.  Decca’s loss was really everyone else’s gain.