Happy (belated) birthday Ringo Starr!!!!

Priceless. :)

Priceless. 🙂

Sorry this post is a little late, but I wanted to wish Ringo a very happy birthday! Even among Beatle fans, Ringo often gets a lot of flack for not contributing as much to the Beatles as the other three members, but I genuinely feel that he was just as important to the band’s dynamic as John, Paul, and George. I’m also happy that Ringo was featured prominently in the Beatle movies after being designated “the acting Beatle” by the critics after A Hard Day’s Night. Generally, I feel that with a name like Ringo, how you go wrong???
In honor of Ringo’s birthday, here are some of what I’ve determined are his “best moments” that I’ve come across on Youtube. Enjoy!

This is a pretty well known part of AHDN, and also the scene for which Ringo was most critically lauded. Now, do I think this scene is Oscar-worthy? Not really. But it certainly is charming, and sometimes, that’s all that matters. 🙂

We all know that George was very involved with Monty Python, but when I was watching an episode recently, I had no idea that Ringo would be in it! Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise.

This video mostly features Elton John (I haven’t done an Elton post in forever… That must change!) and Marc Bolan, but in case you’re wondering, that is in fact Ringo dressed as a clown holding a camera in the beginning. He also drums fantastically in this song. What a great group of musicians all in one room.

I just discovered this. It is by far Ringo’s best moment ever. That is all.

Well, once again, happy birthday Ringo!!!!! I wish I was seeing him on his current All Starr Band tour, but hopefully I will see him one day. Then, I will have seen not one, but TWO Beatles in person! My life would essentially be complete. 🙂

Advertisements

My favorite covers of Beatles songs

I know it’s not just me saying this, but the Beatles are probably the most popular band of all time. So it’s no wonder that they are also by far the most covered band of all time, with Yesterday and Something as their most covered songs. I enjoy listening to a good Beatle cover because it’s interesting to see how different artists interpret Beatles songs, so today I’ll post some of my favorite Beatle covers. Some strip the song down to just vocals and an acoustic guitar and some add so much orchestration that it barely resembles the original song, but both methods of covering are equally valid and equally meaningful. I hope you enjoy!

Gavin Degraw- And I Love Her

I’ve just recently started listening to Gavin Degraw, and I think it’s safe to say that I’m in completely love with him and his beautiful, heartfelt, authentic music. I might do a post about him in the near future, so I’ll say more then, but here I’ll just say that his voice on this cover and in general makes me melt inside. 🙂

Elton John- Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

This is one of the more famous Beatle covers out there, and it’s also the only one to ever hit #1 on the charts. In typically fabulous Elton John fashion, he took an already brilliant Beatles song and added layers of vocals and orchestration to turn it into something completely different. I still prefer the original song, but I will admit that this cover is ALMOST as good as the original.

Green Day- Working Class Hero

So technically this is a John Lennon solo song and not a Beatles song, but I love this cover so much that I had to include it in this list. Green Day rocks, and this cover is just brilliant. It’s hard to top John Lennon on one of his own songs, but I think they almost do it here.

Gregg Allman- Rain

I first heard this version on Breakfast with the Beatles one Sunday, and I could not believe my ears. This sounds almost nothing like the original Beatles song, but it’s so soulful and beautiful that I can’t help but sway and nod my head whenever I hear it. Gregg Allman’s voice perfectly epitomizes rock, gospel, and soul combined.

Emmylou Harris- Here, There, and Everywhere

This cover is absolutely stunning. I love how minimal the instrumentation is because it really helps showcase the amazing song and her beautiful voice.

Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton- Something

It’s kind of hard to call this a cover because Something is technically a Beatles song, and Paul was technically a Beatle. But, since George wrote it and the original song has neither a ukulele intro nor an Eric Clapton, I’m including it here. My favorite part of this is the bridge starting at 3:12. The harmonies there are just outstanding! Two rock gods at their finest, while paying tribute to another.

I hope you check out one, a few, or all of these covers because they’re all worthwhile versions done by worthwhile musicians. Next week, I’ll get off the Beatle train for a bit to review Foster the People’s new album (their first in 3 years!!!), which comes out on Tuesday. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what else I’ll be posting over the next few weeks, so stick around and it may show. 🙂
Have a wonderful week!

Christmas Time Is Here Again! Part 2

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Stay warm this holiday season everyone!

Hello again! Today I will continue my post from a couple of days ago and post some more cheerful, festive, rocking Christmas songs for you all to enjoy! Even if you don’t actually celebrate Christmas, these songs are fantastic songs in their own right, and anyone can enjoy them. So, without further ado, here are some more awesome rock Christmas songs!

Elton John- Step Into Christmas

I am kind of obsessed with this video, because Elton is just so silly and goofy throughout. He always makes me smile! And this might be the only place where you can see Elton “playing” a guitar. It’s pretty funny. And the song itself is wonderful! It’s so cheery and happy, which is what Christmas should always be like!

Elton John- Ho! Ho! Ho! (Who’d Be A Turkey At Christmas)

This song is kind of strange, but it’s also hilarious. What exactly is a “bearded weird” anyway? I have no clue. But enjoy!

The Fab Four- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Yes, I do know that obviously they didn’t write this song, but I am in love with their fun, Beatley cover of it! The whole Hark album is like this, all traditional Christmas carols done with a Beatley twist. And once again, in this video, Gavin Pring is an absolute dead wringer for George Harrison. My love. 🙂

George Harrison- Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

So I guess this isn’t actually a Christmas song, but it does remind me of what I think the holidays are all about: showing your family and friends how much you love and care about them. Plus, the phrase “peace on earth” is often used in a Christmas setting. So there you have it! A bonafide George Harrison Christmas song!

The Who- Christmas

Again, this wasn’t really written as a Christmas song because it’s from the Tommy album, which was written as a rock opera. But it’s called “Christmas,” so I had to include it here! What a great album!

Tom Petty- Christmas All Over Again

This is an absolutely wonderful song, written by the awesome Tom Petty! This song is basically what I imagine Christmas in California is like; everyone hanging out by the beach, jamming with guitars. Of course, that’s probably an inaccurate assumption, but whatever.

So I think that’s enough songs for now, but I will leave you with a final, Beatley Christmas message. Enjoy the holidays everybody!

Better late than never… The Elton John concert!!!!

Don't worry, I didn't forget about this awesome concert I went to!!!

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about this awesome concert I went to!!!

Well, after all of my excitement leading up the Elton John concert I attended last week, I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about it! I’m sorry for the delay, and I will now proceed to describe the event in great detail! But in short, it was AMAZING!!!!!!

Having never been to a concert at Madison Square Garden before, I was not quite sure what to expect, but as soon as my mom and I sat in our seats, observed the massive stage below us, and heard tracks from The Diving Board being played over the speaker system, I knew we were in for a great show. Unlike at the Paul McCartney concert, there actually was an opening act for this show, but it was a group comprised of two of Elton’s cello players called 2CELLOS. They were fantastic, but my heart truly started pounding with excitement once the opening chords to “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” began blaring throughout the arena. Hearing that in near darkness was truly a magical way to start the concert, and once Elton strode onstage in his fabulous “Madman Across The Water” jacket and started playing piano and singing, I was in mid-70s musical heaven.

There were so many memorable moments from the show, but the one thing that stands out most in my mind is the fact that Elton exceeded my expectations in all respects. Even after constant touring and performing this fall, he sounded absolutely fantastic, with no missed notes in any of the songs. His piano playing was even more masterful than I expected, and I can say with complete certainty that my mouth dropped more than once in awe at his melodic improvisations. Elton John is just awesome in every way!

So what song was I most excited to hear him play? Bennie and the Jets definitely rocked, and hearing my #1 favorite Elton song Someone Saved My Life Tonight was wonderful. However, I think I would have to give the “favorite song” title a tie between Rocket Man, All The Girls Love Alice, I’m Still Standing, Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, and The One. But I think my #1 favorite moment of the concert was when he was introducing his band members and commented on how cute the 2CELLOS cello players were. That had the audience in stiches!

Here’s a video I found of Elton performing The One from December 4th, but the video doesn’t really do him justice. This was an absolute showstopper live. It was so quiet in the audience that you could have heard a pin drop.

And here’s Elton performing everyone’s perennial favorite, Your Song! I just recently learned how to play this on the piano, and I thought I was doing okay, but this is clearly how the song is meant to be performed.

How would I compare my experience at the Elton John concert versus my experience at the Paul McCartney concert? The actual quality of the musical performances was about the same for both shows, which I expected because obviously Paul and Elton are complete masters at what they do. I would probably give the edge in the “fun” factor to the Paul McCartney concert, only because I was sitting a lot closer to the stage for that concert and was basically dancing the whole time. At the Elton concert, where we were higher up, practically nobody was dancing at all in my section. Not even during the encore, Crocodile Rock! By the time Elton started playing The Bitch Is Back, I honestly stopped caring what people around me thought and stood up for a bit.
Also, I think Paul has the edge because he did tell me he loved me during the concert. That was a lovely moment that can never be recreated by anyone else. 🙂

But in the grand scheme of things, seeing Elton John in concert is an amazing experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list and that just about equals anything else I’ve done. If you enjoy live performances, you will love seeing him live!!! Elton John, after all this time, is definitely STILL the Rocket Man!!!

In my life… I love John more.

An inspiring picture of an inspiring man

An inspiring picture of an inspiring man

So, although it’s a bit late in the day, I figured that it’s not too late to do a short tribute to John Lennon in honor of the 33rd anniversary of his death. Today, 33 years ago, John was shot in front of the Dakota in NYC by Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan. It was an unjustified act of pure insanity. The world mourned then, and today, the world still mourns the loss of John.

Here are a few fantastic tribute songs to John by three of my favorite artists: George Harrison, Elton John, and Paul McCartney. They are all different, but each one is a moving tribute in its own right. Enjoy!

George Harrison- All Those Years Ago

This is a rather upbeat tribute song for John, and I like that. Typical of George to make light of a sad situation with a wistful, nostalgic, yet happy song.

Elton John- Empty Garden (Hey, Hey, Johnny)

This is so incredibly sad, with such beautiful lyrics, that I can’t help but cry a little when I hear it. Well done Elton and Bernie.

Paul McCartney- Here Today

This is possibly the most poignant tribute of them all. It always brings a tear to my eye, especially when I saw Paul perform it live.

I said a lot about John on my birthday post for him a couple of months ago, so I won’t say too much more, but I hope you take a moment today if you have not yet done so to think about what effect John Lennon has had on your life. I’m sure he means something different to everyone, but he is definitely an inspiration to us all. RIP John. All you were saying was to give peace a chance, and though all the people aren’t yet living life in peace, we’re getting closer every day because of you. I love you. 🙂

Elton John’s “The Diving Board” is (captain) Fantastic!!!

The Diving Board

The Diving Board

So I promised to review this album a couple of weeks ago, and since then I’ve listened to it a couple of times. I have to say that I don’t normally listen to Elton John while I’m studying because most of his songs are so catchy that they honestly distract me from doing my work, but this album is different. “The Diving Board” is a relaxing collection of 15 relatively mellow, wonderful, piano-centric songs, and I’m absolutely in love with it!

I decided before this album and “New” came out that I would only pay for one of them on iTunes, and so after buying “New” the day it came out, I had to wait a few weeks for this album to come in to the library. It was definitely worth the wait! I usually listen to new albums like “New” at night as a reward after I’ve finished my homework, but the week I got this album, I was very busy. So, I decided to go against my usual principles and listen to it while doing some work, and as soon as I heard the first notes of the first track, “Oceans Away,” I knew that this was the perfect context in which to hear this album for the first time!

I won’t do a track-by-track analysis of this album like I did for “New” because the songs here aren’t quite as diverse, so my descriptions wouldn’t vary much from song to song. However, the fact that many of the songs sound kind of similar definitely works in this album’s favor. It’s not an upbeat, poppy album at all, but the songs are so beautifully written and recorded that it is art all the same. I can’t believe that after all these years, Elton and Bernie Taupin are still writing together, and the lyrics on this album are stellar.

The standout song is probably the single, “Home Again,” that Elton has performed on just about every single talk show in existence at some point this fall. I also love the instrumental “Dream” tracks, and the afore-mentioned “Oceans Away” is stunningly beautiful. The only song that kind of drags on a bit for me is the title track “The Diving Board,” but it’s still a very pretty song. Overall, the entire album just works in a way that while not many of the songs stick out from each other, it’s not at all boring. On the contrary, it’s a fascinating and wonderful listen. This will probably become my go-to Elton John album to listen to while doing work, and I don’t think I’ll get sick of it any time soon.

I don’t know that I would recommend this as the first Elton John album for a new fan to listen to, but if you like Elton John already, do not pass this up! Here’s a video of Elton performing “Oceans Away” in Providence a few days ago. He sounds fantastic, and I am extremely excited about seeing him live in 16 days!!!!

Have a lovely week!

My Top 10 Favorite Elton John Songs

What a pretty picture! I've decided this is my favorite photo of Elton.

What a pretty picture! I’ve decided this is my favorite photo of Elton.

In honor of Elton’s upcoming concerts at Madison Square Garden, one of which I will be attending (!!!!), I’ve decided to post my top 10 favorite of his songs. Since I haven’t been listening to him for that long, I only have a few of his albums on my iPod. However, the albums I do have are mostly his older ones, so I think I probably have most of “the good stuff” if you know what I mean. 🙂 This list was EXTREMELY difficult to narrow down to just 10, which is why I’ll include a bunch of honorable mentions at the end of this post. I may decide to revisit this countdown in the future, but for now, here it is, the not-so-definitive list!

10. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy

This is the title song of what I’ve already decided is one of my favorite Elton albums. I love this song because, like all of Elton’s songs, it’s so beautifully crafted. Starting out with just acoustic guitars, it builds and builds until it’s a full-on rock song, and then it goes back to just acoustic guitars again. I find it hard to believe how anyone could dislike this song, because it’s so fantastic!

9. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (with Kiki Dee)

This is definitely one of the catchiest songs I know, and I can totally see why it was a huge hit back in the 70s. It’s so likable and infectious, and I dare anyone to hear it and not want to start dancing and singing along! It’s so happy and fun!!!

8. Your Song

This is his practically his signature song, so of course I had to include it here! I absolutely love this song and consider it to be one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.
I realized a while ago that this song, like the Beatles’ “Something”, doesn’t have the word “love” in it! But it’s so beautiful anyway!!! How wonderful life is when Elton’s in the world! 🙂

7. (tie) The Bitch is Back/Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting

For whatever reason, in my mind I lump these two songs together, and I couldn’t decide which one I liked better! So I made it a tie! Anyway, both of these songs rock, a lot. I guarantee that when Elton plays these at the concert in December, I will be out of my seat dancing along!!!

6. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

The intro to this song is possibly my favorite piano riff ever! And the rest of the song is awesome! I absolutely love the harmonica solo, played by Stevie Wonder. This is one of those songs I fell in love with as soon as I listened to it. Whenever it comes up on my iPod, a smile instantly goes across my face. Elton John’s music just makes me so happy!

5. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

I included this clip of Elton on The Muppet Show for two reasons. One, even though it’s not the full song, it’s the best version of this song I have yet to discover, including the official album version. Two, watching this exact part of his appearance on the Muppet Show is where I first fell in love with him and his music. I know, I know, cue the “Awwww”‘s… 🙂
But seriously, this is a really beautiful song. I sing this to myself all the time! I am determined to learn this on the piano one day.

4. Madman Across The Water

This song just hypnotizes me in a way that no other Elton song does. I feel like a madman, or I guess a madwoman, when I listen to it, because it’s so dark, moving, and powerful, just like the entire album of the same name. I think it’s a true masterpiece in his large catalog of amazing songs.

3. Tiny Dancer

This song amazes me by how perfect it is, every time I hear it. It should honestly be the prototype for how to write a great song on the piano, and I could listen to it over and over again. As I’ve said, one of the things I love most about Elton John’s songs is how beautifully crafted they all are, and this song is a perfect example of that. This, like so many of his songs, has a timeless quality about it that makes it so well loved by so many people.

2. Bennie and the Jets

Okay, I’ll just cut to the chase. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!!! It’s so catchy and fun to sing along to, and it has a very unusual beat for a pop song that makes it really unique. I’ve been trying to learn this on the piano, and for a beginner like me, it’s pretty hard, but definitely doable. Anyway, I just love listening to this song and pretending to be a rock star. This song rocks!!!!!!

And…

1. Someone Saved My Life Tonight

As soon as I first listened to this song, I knew it would become my favorite. The story it tells is a true one about how one of Elton’s friends and former bandmate, Long John Baldry, saved him from committing suicide in 1970. Because of this, it’s more personal than a lot of Elton’s other songs, but that’s just one of the many things that make it a great song. This song is so powerful and builds up to such a degree that by the end, I always feel empowered, like I’ve just finished a long hike and am standing at the summit of a tall mountain. Still, I don’t think my words will do this song justice, because it’s brilliance speaks for itself. This is the only Elton song at the moment that I can play all the way through on the piano, and that makes me love and appreciate it even more! This song sure takes me for a ride, but at the end, I’m always glad I went on that ride!

Like I said, there are A LOT of awesome Elton songs out there! Here are some more that aren’t my most favorites, but that I still love!
Crocodile Rock
Burn Down The Mission
Harmony
I Think I’m Going To Kill Myself
I’m Still Standing
Razor Face
Philadelphia Freedom
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
Rocket Man
Island Girl
Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding

Wow, that was a LOOONNNGGGG post. Sorry about that. But I hope you enjoyed the post, and have a wonderful week!