I Finally Saw The Beatles On The Big Screen!

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One of the biggest news events in Beatle-land this year has been the recent release of the Ron Howard documentary about the Beatles’ touring years, entitled The Beatles: Eight Days A Week. As I have mentioned before, it’s been a dream of mine for years to go see a Beatles movie in the theaters and pretend I’m a fan from the 1960s seeing A Hard Days Night upon its release.

I tried to do that back in 2012, when a documentary called The Beatles: The Lost Concert was scheduled for wide release in theaters. This documentary (supposedly) captured the frenzy of the Beatles’ first concert in North America, which occurred in Washington D.C. on February 11, 1964. Unfortunately, it was never released in theaters due to copyright issues. When I learned of its canceled release, I was heartbroken, but I never stopped believing that perhaps one day another Beatles documentary would find its way to a theater near me.

I first heard about The Beatles: Eight Days A Week over the summer, and even after watching the official trailer on the Beatles’ YouTube channel and visiting the movie’s website, I still sort of thought it was too good to be true. I reserved mild hope that I’d be able to see this movie, but I figured that my efforts to see the Beatles on the big screen and learn new Beatles trivia would be thwarted once again.

However, as events fell into place, the stars aligned, and my prayers were answered, I actually was able to see this movie at a theater near my school just a few weeks ago! I was so excited at the prospect of seeing 90 minutes of remastered Beatles footage and audio, and the movie definitely exceeded my giddily high expectations.

At this point in my Beatles fandom, I’ve read and watched so much about them that it’s difficult for me to be shocked by any aspect of their narrative. And yet I continue indulging in Beatles-related releases like this movie because I am always amazed at their magical story. The Beatles’ rise to success in the 1960s is a remarkable tale, filled with astounding chart domination, incredibly concentrated musical output, and incalculable influence on the culture of their era. I keep coming back to Beatles movies, articles, and programs because I revel in hearing about how they took the world by storm and altered the whole concept of rock music and success for a band. It’s infectious and endlessly fascinating.

Back to the movie at hand, it certainly did not blow my mind with a wholly new perspective on the Beatles’ touring years. However, it was a thoroughly enjoyable movie-watching experience for a Beatles fan. I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of backstage footage that I had somehow never come across on YouTube or television. These clips emphasized that the Beatles really were a hilarious four-headed monster, at least in their early days. The movie also detailed a few points about the Beatles’ stops in specific areas of which I was not previously aware.

These included a 1964 Beatles concert in Florida that they flatly refused to perform unless they sang to an unsegregated crowd. Though the Beatles were from England, they were very conscious of the racial tensions present in the US at the time and took this opportunity to maintain their belief that any form of segregation was morally wrong and unacceptable to them. This isn’t really a huge spoiler, but I previously had no idea that the venue actually agreed to unsegregate the seating for that particular concert so the Beatles would still perform,  which helped set a precedent for unsegregated concert venues in that and surrounding areas.

This movie also focuses a lot on the difficulties that the Beatles faced during their rise to worldwide acclaim through their tours. I was not wholly aware of the actual danger that they were in just entering a building or driving around. There were many clips of near-riots on streets all over the world that stemmed from the Beatles’ arrival in that particular city. This is a helpful reminder for aspiring musicians that the only sustainable reason to become a musician is because you deeply love music, not because you want to be famous. I am always in awe of the immense scope of Beatlemania in the mid 1960s, but it certainly was not all good days and sunshine.

Despite all of this, I would trade just about anything to spend one day experiencing the height of Beatlemania. However, seeing this movie in the theaters is probably the next best thing. The Beatles: Eight Days A Week may not be groundbreaking, but honestly, barring some huge, covered-up scandal I don’t know about, it is difficult for any new Beatles project to be groundbreaking. What I absolutely love about the release of this movie is how it contributes to keeping the Beatles’ music and story alive in today’s generation. As long as there is the occasional Beatles-related project or musical re-release, I’ll have confidence that they will remain eminent figures in cultural lore.

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A Beatles Buzzfeed Bonanza

The Beatles circa 1964, likely taking one of the Buzzfeed quizzes posted below... :)

The Beatles circa 1964, likely taking one of the Buzzfeed quizzes posted below… 🙂

 

Today I’ve decided to combine two of my favorite things, the Beatles and Buzzfeed quizzes, into one post. I confess that I, like many of you I’m sure, occasionally find myself taking random quizzes on Buzzfeed just to entertain myself and pass the time. They are definitely addicting, especially when there are a whole bunch of Buzzfeed quizzes related to a topic I enjoy, like Harry Potter, Parks and Rec, theater, vegetables, and of course, the Beatles. I’ve come across many fun Beatles buzzfeed quizzes and articles over the years, and I will compile some of them for you in this post! Enjoy!

How Well Do You Know The Beatles?

I thought this one was laughably easy, in that I actually laughed out loud because I knew each one right away. Nevertheless, it’s a good quiz to make you feel like you haven’t tried that hard but still know everything about the Beatles.

Which Beatle Are You?

This quiz is not quite as straightforward as you may initially think… Instead of just the four Beatles as the four possible answers, you also have the option of being a Beatle in a certain period of their existence. For example, I got “Late 60s Paul McCartney,” although I’m pretty sure I once got “Psychedelic George Harrison” as my answer. Perhaps I put a different favorite pattern in the beginning this time, I don’t know. Honestly there’s no wrong answer for this one! (unless you get Pete Best or something, I’m so sorry if you did)

Can You Guess The Beatles Song From Its Opening Lyric?

Thankfully I got 21/21 on this one, but some of it was a bit tricky! I found myself singing most of the lyrics in my head as I read them, which made it much easier to guess the associated song title. This is a slightly more intermediate level Beatles quiz than the first quiz I posted, so if you’re feeling confident in your Beatles fandom after taking that one, go for this one next!

How Big Of A Beatles Fan Are You?

Okay, this quiz is hard. I got 18/20, and some of the ones I got right were complete guesses. This is definitely one of the hardest Beatles trivia quizzes I’ve taken. I am now a humbled Beatles fan who fully admits that she does not know everything about them. But it’s okay because now I realize that I have more random Beatles facts to learn! Yay learning!

19 Things Only Beatles Fans Will Find Funny

Finally, this is not a quiz, but it is a compilation of amusing Beatles-related GIFs, pictures, memes, etc. It is glorious. Enjoy!

I have a couple of ideas for what I could post next, but if any of you have suggestions about a post I should do, please comment below! Thank you!

 

Meet the Smithereens!

Meet the Smithereens

Meet the Smithereens

As you have probably gathered, I love watching musicians performing Beatles songs. Whether it’s Paul McCartney himself, a group of relatively young guys dressed as the Beatles, or a group of relatively old guys not dressed as the Beatles, I get a huge thrill out of seeing anyone playing Beatles songs with a live band. And who wouldn’t? The music speaks for itself!

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a Smithereens concert with my parents entitled “Meet the Smithereens!” after the Beatles’ first American album, “Meet the Beatles!”. The Smithereens, if you haven’t heard of them, are a rock band that was most commercially successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but they’ve been releasing music and performing consistently ever since. It’s no secret that they are huge fans of the Beatles; they’ve released three full Beatles tribute albums, and even their original music is what I’d call “Beatlesque with an edge”. So when I heard about this show that was taking place right in my town, I was really excited!!!

By now, I’m used to being just about the youngest person in attendance at most concerts, and though last night was no exception, it was still a really fun and Beatley evening. The Smithereens interspersed their own songs with a lot of well-known and not-so well-known Beatles songs (I was pleasantly surprised to hear them play “I’m a Loser” and “It’s Only Love”!) and also anecdotes about their childhood introduction to the Beatles way back in 1964. They played for about 2 hours and 20 minutes straight, Paul McCartney-style with no breaks or intermission. They really gave the audience their money’s worth! I was not that familiar with the Smithereens’ music before the concert, but now I can say that I am a true fan. They rock!

Ironically, I think my favorite part of the concert was when they played two non Beatles/Smithereens songs, just because it was so unexpected. In the middle of one of their biggest hits, “A Girl Like You,” they segued into “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Bob Dylan. Now, I’m not a huge Dylan fan, but I absolutely love this song, and I was thrilled to hear it live! THEN, right after that song, they played “Behind Blue Eyes,” which is my #1 favorite song by the Who! Two unexpected performances in a row! Still, the Beatles/Smithereens songs they played were all awesome. From the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” to the Smithereens’ “Behind the Wall of Sleep” and everything in between, this concert was absolutely fab.

While writing this, I just realized that I’ve seen a Beatles tribute concert in each of the last three months. Hopefully something will come up in April as well! 🙂
If the Smithereens come to a town near you, and especially if they are playing this Beatles tribute show, do not miss this chance to be thoroughly entertained. They rock, the Beatles rock, and live music in general is always better. But you knew that already. 🙂

Have a fantastic week!

Beatles Song of the Week: “Martha My Dear”

A cute pic of Paul. He's so adorable.

A cute pic of Paul. He’s so adorable.

So I’m going to try this little segment called “Beatles Song of the Week” when I honestly don’t know what to post, like today. But I also really like this song, and I wanted to share it with all of you!

Paul supposedly wrote this song about his sheepdog Martha, which is one of the cutest things I’ve ever heard. 🙂
If I decide to do another “Top 10 Underrated Beatles Songs” list, which I might do because there are so many, this song will definitely make the list. Amidst all of the fantastic songs on the White Album like “Blackbird” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” this little ditty by Paul tends to get overlooked, which is a shame because it’s really a fantastic song. Like many of Paul’s best songs, it has a jaunty piano part that I’m sure is harder to play than it sounds, and I also like that it combines a lot of different moods and sounds into one short 2:30 minute song. I can definitely hear Paul’s childhood music hall influences come out in this song, as well as in others like “Honey Pie” and “Lady Madonna,” both of which have upbeat, lively piano parts like this one.

This song is extremely catchy and is likely to get stuck in your head for days once you hear it. It’s definitely a hidden gem in the Beatles’ massive catalog, but it deserves its fair share of attention because it’s such a good song! Enjoy!

Maybe I’m amazed by Paul McCartney’s “New”!

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Paul McCartney has been seemingly everywhere recently. He showed up at a Queens high school not 20 miles from where I live and gave a surprise concert to the students there! He gave a surprise show in Times Square last week! He gave a surprise show in Covent Garden, London, this week! He’s performed on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and basically everywhere else. And all of this is to promote his new album, “New”! I’ve been looking forward to this album for weeks, and it does not disappoint in the slightest!!!

I downloaded and listened to this album the day it came out, and I was absolutely blown away. It is modern, slick, and different than anything from Paul I’ve ever heard. And yet, it still sounds like signature Paul to me! The songs are catchy and amazingly produced, with an almost spacey vibe. I won’t dissect each song for hours, because that would get a bit tedious, but I will give a one-sentence sum up of all the songs.

1. Save Us- An awesome uptempo rocker kind of like “Only Mama Knows” from his last solo album, Memory Almost Full, although I think this is better.

2. Alligator- I think this is the most musically interesting song on the album, and I was transfixed the first time I listened to it by all the cool sounds throughout.

3. On My Way To Work- The lyrics remind me of “A Day In The Life” a bit, and while the song itself doesn’t, it is a fantastic song nonetheless.

4. Queenie Eye- One of my favorites on the album, because it’s so catchy, interesting, and just all around AMAZING!!!

5. Early Days- An acoustic, nostalgic, beautiful song that is basically classic Paul.

6. New- I’ve already shared my thoughts on this song, but it’s very Beatley and I LOVE IT!!!!!!

7. Appreciate- A little too electronic to be a favorite of mine, but it is a very cool song that sounds a lot like something Dhani Harrison and thenewno2 would do.

8. Everybody Out There- Extremely catchy with a great opening riff that will surely become a live favorite in the near future!

9. Hosanna- A very different sound than Paul usually does, but it’s fascinating to listen to, and almost sounds like “Tomorrow Never Knows” at the end.

10. I Can Bet- This song is really fun and upbeat, which is what Paul does best!

11. Looking At Her- Another amazing song that has interesting lyrics and is just fascinatingly cool.

12. Road- WOW!!!!!! That is all.

13. Turned Out- A fantastic little ditty that had me singing along before I even knew the words.

14. Get Me Out Of Here- The first half is very Wings-esque, and the second half is an intimate, beautiful piano ballad in which Paul amazes me with his talent, yet again.

So, if I had to rate this album, I would give it a 10 out of 10, 5 stars, and the absolute highest praise I could possibly bestow upon it!!! I think this is better overall than his last solo album, Memory Almost Full, and I think it might actually be better than what I’ve decided is my favorite Paul solo album, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. I won’t go so far as to say that it’s the best solo Paul album ever, but it’s definitely up there with the best of his Wings and solo career, in my opinion.
What I think makes it so great is that it doesn’t sound like something from the 60s. It’s very modern, but in a good way because it’s so amazingly produced and sounds so great. The songs are all very diverse, yet they all fit together well, and that makes the album interesting and fun to listen to. And best of all, I don’t think you have to be a Paul fan, or even a Beatle fan, to like this album. I believe that anyone who says they like modern pop, which is a very large amount of people, would enjoy listening to this album! It’s very current, very Paul, and absolutely brilliant!!!! I’m listening to it again right now, and I know this will become a regular part of my musical rotation.

I haven’t listened to Elton John’s new album in its entirety yet, and I may do a review for that in the near future. But for now, although I haven’t bought or listened to that many albums released this year, I say that this should definitely be in the running for “Album Of The Year” at the Grammys. If you haven’t bought it, no matter who you are, I highly recommend it and suggest that you buy it! You will be amazed!!!

In honor of Halloween in 10 days, here's Paul McCatney.

In honor of Halloween in 10 days, here’s Paul McCatney.