Beatles with the Maharishi

Beatles with the Maharishi
Beatles with the Maharishi

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Beatles Continuing Influence on Other Musicians, Part 2

I have been checking the site for Fiomily and the Beatles stuff that they cover is just great. They are two British sisters living in Germany and both play guitars and sing and their brother plays drums and produces them. Fiomily's Beatles covers are fantastic.
I have also been seeing a lot of coffeehouse musicians playing Beatles songs as of late. On Friday night I heard a rendition of "Wait" off of the Rubber Soul LP that was decent hearing it with one acoustic and three part harmony.
I can't wait until the release of the movie "Nowhere Boy" which features the early life and teen years of John Lennon. The parts with John and Julia are terrific. Julia taught John how to play the guitar by using banjo chords which is nicely portrayed in this new movie coming out.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Beatles Continuing Influence on other Musicians, Part 1

This is also one of the most talked about aspects of the Beatles, which is how they have inspired countless numbers of people to learn to play an instrument, write popular music of their own, and start music bands. I cannot believe the sheer volume of musicians who have posted material on the Internet covering the Beatles songs. The Beatles music has continued and goes on with musicians from later generations covering their material.
On YouTube, all a viewer has to do is enter a search for "Beatles on guitar" or "Beatles cover tunes" and a cache of material is brought forth.
I was doing a search a few months back and found this boy named Sungha Jung. Check out this kid's version of Paul McCartney's "Blackbird."
I just found a related link to another musician covering Beatles material. This is Haley Legg covering John Lennon's "Dear Prudence."
Here is a girl named Kiersten that did a cover of John Lennon's "Girl."
Here is a duet act of two girls called Fiomily doing a cover version of John Lennon's "Help."
The material out there is an endless list. I could cull out about two dozen videos and line up a coffeehouse night of Beatles cover tunes.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comments on Liverpool Part 1 John Lennon

For me, when I see how John lived his early life I can see how his music was affected by it. His father abandoned him, only later to reclaim him when he became a rich and famous Beatle. His mother also abandoned him, but he was not as bitter about her abandonment. John was very close with his mother. With John's Aunt Mimi taking over the role of adult guardian of John, Julia became more of a buddy for John than a parent. It must have been one of those situations in which Julia thought John would interfere with her relationship with Twitchy Dykins. Julia and Twitchy had children of their own, John's half sisters. There was a bonding of Julia and John around music. Julia played the banjo and was a very vivacious character who loved music and entertainment. John's father Freddie Lennon also was a fairly good amateur singer as a younger man. Although, by the time he tried to cash in on his "father of Beatle John Lennon" noteriety and recorded a record for himself, his missing teeth and age and years of hard living worked against him into becoming anything more than a novelty entertainer. I believe that Freddie had his teeth capped, and I think John referred him to the Beatles dentist who later gave John and George their first LSD trip.
There is a critical incident from John's childhood in which Freddie had returned and was bonding with John and asked John to choose between living with him or his mother. John chose Freddie, and then seeing at how broken hearted his mother was, ran back to his mother. John was torn between his mother and his father. Both parents abandoned John, but he forgave Julia. This is explored more in John's solo song "Mother." John explained this incident in a Rolling Stone interview in 1970.
(Jann Wenner, Lennon Remembers, Rolling Stone 1970).
John and Paul became friends because Paul also lost his mother as a teen. John was raised primarily by Julia's sister, John's Aunt Mimi and his uncle. Paul was raised by his widowed father Jim who was an amateur musician and regular contributor to local productions around Liverpool. Paul later said that Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was partly based upon his father's jazz band that performed for theater productions in and around Liverpool.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Liverpool Part 1 John Lennon

John Lennon was born October 9, 1940. His father, Alfred “Freddie” Lennon, had been married to Julia Stanley only a short time when John was born. He lived with John and Julia off and on, but eventually left to serve in the merchant marine as a cook. On one voyage during World War II, Freddie Lennon never returned. John’s mother began living with another man John Dykins, that John nicknamed “Twitchy.” At that point, Julia sent John from her home on Penny Lane to live with her sister Mimi on Menlove Avenue.(1)

(Here, insert story of John choosing between Fred and Julia. Sources Coleman’s Lennon, Rolling Stone’s Lennon Remembers, Beatles In Their Own Words, and Anthology.)

(1) John spent his early years with his mother and father near Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. Source- Neil Aspinall, editor. The Beatles Anthology: By the Beatles, San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2000.

Beatle music bonding with musician buddies

It never fails to amaze me just how many of my musician friends are Beatles fans. Most of the musician friends that I have are Beatles fans. When we have played music together, there is an endless list of Beatles songs that we play.
The first Beatles song that I was taught to play was "Here Comes the Sun." It is not the easiest Beatles song for me. I was given the Easy Chords for Guitar version and I had the toughest time with the riffs as I am left handed and picking is not my strong point.
I have also done cover versions of A Day in the Life, Tomorrow Never Knows, Don't Bother Me, Things We Said Today, and many others.
It has always been frustrating for me because when I try to play along with Beatles records, the chords never sound right. That is because the Beatles and George Martin did many things to their records to give them a unique sound. One trick was to speed up or slow down the recording and playback speeds of the tape decks. So there I was with the correct chords, but the recording had been flattened or sharpened to a higher or lower key than how it was written. Then John used chords that he learned that are actually banjo chords and he applied them to his guitar playing. Paul used many inverted chords so that his chord progressions and transitions flowed better. And none of this is explained on any of the Beatles songbooks that I purchased over the years. You should see the chord blocks for my sheet music for "Blackbird." It looks like the "Sesame Street" synopsis or the Disney version of "Ulysses."
I learned how to play Beatles songs from my musician friends. Oh, so you play Blackbird this way. Oh, I see.
There is also a wealth of instruction on how to play Beatles songs and numerous musicians with posts on YouTube and other websites demonstrating how to play cover versions of Beatles songs. I am most recently impressed with a young boy from Japan that has not only mastered the original chord structure of how to play Beatles songs, he has added instrumental voicings of the melodies and blended in with the chords.
Check out this instructional video on YouTube how to play Blackbird

When did your Beatles interest begin?

For me it was in the fifth grade back in 1972. I was part of a gang in school named after the Monkeys. Some of us within the gang started fighting with other gang members and decided to form our own gang. We decided to call our gang the Beatles, as the Monkeys were created as a group based upon the Beatles. And then my interest in the Beatles was born. When it came time to do our book reports in school, I found the Hunter Davies Beatles biography and decided to do a book report on that book. I started buying all their records. I was reading the book and asking kids about the Beatles. Most of the kids my age were not into the Beatles, as they had split up a few years before. I seemed to get more information about the Beatles from older kids and my babysitters. My parents were divorced and my mom was out dating so I had babysitters most nights. I was ten and my sitters were 16 and 18 years old. Older women. So talking about the Beatles was a good conversation piece. "I am doing a book report on the Beatles," I'd say and the girls were very eager to help me. What do the songs mean? What is this about Paul being dead? What do I hear when I play this Beatles song backwards? And it just went from there.

Nowhere Man Beatles Blog 1

This is a test. Where are you Paul? This is a test. Ringo, are you there? Testing, one, two, ten. I believe three comes after ten. I don't even wake up until twelve.