A Magical Mystery Post

Well it’s late at night and I’ve decided to do a post where I just talk about a few Beatles and music-related things that come to mind. In the past with blogging, I’ve found that my favorite posts are borne out of an utter lack of initial ideas that then becomes an uninterrupted stream of consciousness. So let’s just see where this goes!

It’s been 23 days since the news broke that David Bowie had died, and though some of the initial shock and disbelief has passed for me, I still find myself listening to his songs a lot more than I ever have before. I stand by my favorites that I posted last month, but as I’ve continued to dig deeper into his catalogue, I’ve discovered more songs of his that I absolutely love, including Hang On To Yourself. I had never heard of this song until about a month ago, but one day it came up on shuffle and I could not stop listening. I think it’s one of his catchiest and most fun songs, and certainly an underrated cut from the Ziggy Stardust album. It also sounds kind of punk-ish, yet another example of Bowie being musically ahead of his time. Definitely take a listen if you don’t know it already! (or even if you do, because it is a fantastic song)

This week also marks 52 years since the Beatles first landed in America to perform on the Ed Sullivan show, thus spurring the Beatlemania we all know and that I’ve posted about many, many times before on this blog. Once again, I continue to admire how strong of a presence the Beatles have in society today. They’ve even made it into children’s books!

Awwww this is just so cute!

Awwww this is just so cute!

My mom sent me this picture of a cute book she saw recently, which made me realize that the Beatles are truly at “textbook-status” now. They’re basically historical figures, synonymous with an era in history defined by revolutions in music, politics, fashion, and countless other things. The fact that books like this are being published to make the Beatles accessible to young children is truly heartwarming. It gives me continued confidence that the greatness and brilliance of the Beatles will never fade from the world.

Random Beatles Song I’ve Been Listening To A Lot Recently: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

For some reason I couldn’t find the original version of this on YouTube, nor could I find the clip with it from the Help movie. 😦

Anyway, one thing I’ve realized about this song as I’ve listened to it more and more is that it is, in my opinion, one of the Beatles songs that has aged the best. It really sounds like it could be released today, that’s how timeless it is, and I absolutely adore the melody. As much as I love the Beatles’ more experimental songs like I Am The Walrus, I also admire their simpler, more folksy songs that can be performed with just a guitar and a voice. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs to walk around singing to myself. I never get sick of it! If I one day learn how to play guitar, I will learn this song for sure.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll be back soon!

 

It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time

I saw this and it made me chuckle for about five minutes. It's a gem.

I saw this and it made me chuckle for about five minutes. It’s a gem.

Well, hello everyone! As you may be able to tell from the title, I realize that I have not posted in approximately 11 months. That is a travesty. I can’t pretend like there’s a valid excuse for this either, other than the old “life getting in the way” excuse. All I can really say is that I’m in college now and obviously busy doing various things, but a couple of very nice comments left recently on this blog reminded me just how much I really enjoy blogging. So, I’m back in action!

First, a couple of things that have happened recently in the Beatle-verse. I was ecstatic to go onto YouTube a while back and see that the Beatles YouTube channel has actually started uploading some old Beatles music videos, like Revolution and Hello Goodbye, in HD! I honestly forgot they even had a legitimate YouTube channel, but it should really be updated more frequently because there is a lot of quality Beatles footage that deserves the HD treatment. Seeing the Sgt. Pepper suits in all their high definition glory is enough to make this worthwhile.

While re-watching some old Beatles music video-prototypes, I am reminded yet again of how innovative and forward-thinking the Beatles really were. Their early “promotional videos” with songs like Help and I Feel Fine may seem archaic now, but they really were some of the first music videos in popular music. When I watch music videos today, like “Hello” by Adele for example, that get upwards of 500 million views, it makes me wonder how many views the Beatles’ videos would get if they were released on YouTube or Vevo today. With their immense fandom in the 1960s, I’d imagine that they might get a comparable amount of views to modern musicians like Adele. Funny to find connections between the Beatles and musicians today yet again.
Also can I just say that I am so happy Adele is back and better than ever! I’m in love with her new album and she is a breath of fresh air on the radio.

In other news, with all of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut and even the shooting that occurred today in California, I find myself wondering naively why people can’t just channel their anger into avenues other than killing people. There are so many Beatles songs that advocate for peace and understanding, like All You Need Is Love and Good Day Sunshine, and it makes me sad that these songs exist in a world with so much hatred. I suppose all I can do is continue sharing my favorite Beatles songs with others in the hopes that their inspiring messages can convince maybe one person not to do something terrible. Everyone reading this, do the same! It might make a difference.

Also, there’s a new ELO album! Jeff Lynne, famous for not only ELO but also for producing The Beatles Anthology project and a few albums with George Harrison, is back in the public eye! I saw his performance on The Tonight Show recently and I was so happy that he performed both a new song and a classic, Mr Blue Sky. If there’s musician out there today not named Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr whose music truly captures the spirit of the Beatles, it’s him. Someone needs to get him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ASAP, and I usually don’t care much about stuff like that, but it’s seriously about time Jeff Lynne was immortalized for his massive contributions to music.

Before I wrap this up, I’d just like to say that it is extremely weird to be blogging from my dorm room and not the attic in my house. College is certainly a new experience, but I am trying to appreciate every moment, take advantage of opportunities that come my way, and remember the things I love that make me feel better whenever I’m down. Spoiler alert, one of those things is the Beatles.

Random Beatles song I’ve been enjoying recently: You”re Gonna Lose That Girl

I almost forgot about this song until it came up on my phone the other day, but it truly is a gem from the Help! album and movie. Definitely yet another underrated Beatles song in their massive canon of musical creations.

I really believe that I will not wait 11 months to blog again. It won’t happen. I will actually try to blog more regularly for the foreseeable future. Enjoy the holiday season everyone!

Top 10 Beatles songs to listen to in the car

I got the idea for this post while listening to Breakfast with the Beatles in the car this morning, and I thought it might be helpful if any readers are looking to make a Beatles driving playlist. The songs here don’t necessarily have to do with driving subject-wise, but I think that the vibes of all these songs are conducive to driving (or passenging). Feel free to disagree or come up with your own list. Here we go!

10. I Want To Hold Your Hand

I’m not going to say a ton about each song on this list, but the opening riff to this is just so good. It’s a great song to sing along to and it’s always a crowd pleaser. If it comes on the radio, crank it up and enjoy!

9. If I Needed Someone

Again, it’s really the riff here that makes this a “car song” for me. The relaxing, slightly lazy pace makes it perfect for any drive, any time. This is one I would listen to with the windows open, unless it’s snowing. Then, definitely close the windows. 🙂

8. A Hard Day’s Night

This is a great car song mostly because the opening chord is so instantly recognizable. It’s nice to know exactly what song is playing in the car without having to take your eyes off the road (or if you’re passenging, your phone, most likely), so this song is a great candidate for any Beatlemaniac’s car playlist.

7. I Am The Walrus

I’m going to assume that no one driving will be tripping on LSD (which would be very dangerous indeed), so I don’t think listening to this in the car will blow your mind TOO much… Anyway, I’m not exactly sure why I chose this song for this list. Once again, the opening is very famous, but aside from that, I just like it a lot. Not that I ever really do this, but if I were driving around with friends late at night and the car windows were open, this is the song I would want to bother the neighborhood with.

6. Day Tripper

For anyone who thinks this song is literally about taking day trips to the countryside, you’re wrong. It’s slightly more metaphorical (and naughtier) than that. But anyway, this riff combined with the awesome harmonies and the chorus makes it a fantastic song to listen to in the car. As I’ve said before, this is definitely one of my top 5 favorite Beatles songs. For a brief time, you can at least imagine that it’s about day trips. 🙂

5. Help!

Once again, the instantly recognizable opening makes it a good car song. I also think that the layered, call and-response harmonies throughout have a sort of Beach Boys-ish vibe that makes me think of driving cars in California. (again, I am clearly not a Californian…)

4. Get Back

This song is literally about going back to somewhere, and it mentions California and Arizona (two states 3,000 miles from me), so I thought it would be a good addition to this list. I think I’ve said this before, but I really like the drums on this song for some reason. Even after everything they had already accomplished musically in such a short time, the Beatles still found ways to innovate on this album.

3. One After 909

This isn’t a hugely popular Beatles song, but it REALLY makes me think of cruising along a highway on a nice day. I love the keyboards and guitar on this track. A relatively unknown Beatley tidbit is that this was actually one of the first songs the Beatles wrote, way back in the late 1950s. There’s a couple of versions of this on Anthology 1, but I definitely prefer this faster Let It Be version to any of the earlier ones.

2. Back in the USSR

This is a classic, and the plane sound effect at the beginning gets me every time. Again, I love listening to this in the car because it’s so upbeat and has a fantastic guitar solo. Many of you may know that Ringo quit the band for a bit while they were making the White Album, so who do you suppose plays drums on this song? That’s right, it’s the multi-instrumentally talented Paul!

Annnnd…

1. Drive My Car

So it might be a bit of a cop-out to have this as #1, but I honestly could not think of a better choice. The “driving cars” in this song may be metaphorical (I bet you can guess what it refers to…), but it’s still a great song to listen to in the car! And come on, who doesn’t love the “Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!” part? Just don’t honk the horn along with that part, as you may get some Looks of Doom from neighboring drivers. 🙂

So, that’s it for this list. On my list of “future posts,” in case you’re interested: Top 10 non-Beatles songs to listen to in the car, reviews of Phillip Phillips’ “Behind the Light” and U2’s “Songs of Innocence,” my thoughts on Conan’s George Harrison Week, and much more. Stay tuned folks!

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

I know this list won’t be strictly Beatle-related, but I felt like I had to do it at some point. I’m not really into movies the same way I’m into music, but I do enjoy a lot of movies, mostly comedies, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you! There are a couple of Beatle-related movies on here as well. 🙂

10. Elf
I thought about not including this since it’s a Christmas movie, but a good movie is a good movie, regardless of the season. Anyway, I absolutely love this movie! I saw it it in the theaters when I was young, and ever since I’ve been entranced by its charm. I really don’t know how anyone could dislike this movie, unless they can’t stand Will Ferrell. Whom I love dearly, so that’s not an issue for me. 🙂

9. Stranger than Fiction
I first watched this back in January when my friend recommended good Will Ferrell movies for me to watch. As soon as I saw this, I was hooked. The story is fascinating and the acting, from Ferrell to Emma Thompson to Dustin Hoffman to Maggie Gyllenhaal, is phenomenal. Also, for a movie not based on a book, the screenplay is fantastic. Not that many people know about it, but it’s a great movie that makes you laugh, cry a little, and contemplate life.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Though I’m a huge Python fan, I’ve actually only seen this entire movie once. That said, I think it’s one of the most brilliant comedies ever made. I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at a movie from start to finish ever than I did at this movie. This would probably be ranked higher if I’d watched it more than once, but I do love it. A lot.

7. A Hard Day’s Night/Help!
I know in a previous list I separated these two movies, but here, I just can’t. They’re both so great for different reasons, and really I don’t prefer one over the other. I really should just have all of the Beatles movies in this slot.

6. The Sound of Music
I’m definitely a sucker for old fashioned movie-musicals, and this I think is one of the best. Whenever this is on TV, which thankfully is pretty often, I have to watch it and sing along to all of the songs. Julie Andrews has one of the most beautiful singing voices I’ve ever heard, and all of the songs are classics.

5. Forrest Gump
Watching this in my history class recently reminded me just how much I loved this movie, which is why I’ve included it here. I don’t think I need to tell anyone why it’s amazing, but I’ll just echo the masses and say that Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor. This is also one of the only movies that really makes me emotional at the end. It’s visually stunning, emotionally penetrating, and well deserving of its status as a modern classic.

4. George Harrison: Living in the Material World
I hope I’m not cheating by including a documentary on this list, but this one is so amazing that I can’t resist. It’s three and a half hours long, but it never drags. And of course, it’s about my dear George. 🙂
He lived a very interesting life, which lends itself well to a fantastic documentary. I’ve probably watched this 4 or 5 times. By the end, I’m always crying, but always glad I watched it again. I’d recommend this to any music fan or fan of documentaries.

3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
The third and final Will Ferrell movie on this list, but probably the most well-deserved entry. I first watched this movie in December because of the hype over Anchorman 2, but as soon as I watched it, I understood why so many people love it. It’s absurd, ridiculous, weird, and absolutely hilarious. I tend to like movies with kind of a weird charm anyway, which this definitely has. Here’s hoping there will be an Anchorman 3!

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I am a huge fan of movies from the 80s, but this one stands above the rest I’ve seen as a true masterpiece. This is my go-to “snow day/rainy day/boring day” movie, and no matter how many times I see it, I laugh just as hard in all of the same parts. There’s also the memorable scene with Twist and Shout, which of course I love! If you’ve somehow never seen this, you’re missing out. And life moves pretty fast to be missing out on this. 🙂

This pretty much gives it away...

This pretty much gives it away…

1. Field of Dreams
I haven’t seen this in a while, but it’s without a doubt my favorite movie. I first watched it as a 7th grader obsessed only with the Mets and not yet with the Beatles, but as my love for the Beatles and many other things has developed, this has remained my #1 favorite movie. Its story is magical and uplifting in a way that truly distinguishes it as a work of art, and even my friends who aren’t baseball fans love this movie. I definitely need to watch this again soon, and you should, too!

I hope you enjoyed this list! Have a great week!

My Official Ranking of the Beatle Movies

I’ve been thinking of doing this post for a while, but for the last few weeks, I’ve had other things to post about, like Paul’s new album and the George tribute concert. But this weekend, there’s nothing notably Beatley going on, so I’ve decided to rank all of the Beatle movies in order from least favorite to favorite. There have been a lot of movies and documentaries made about the Beatles besides the 5 movies that they were actually in, so my ranking consists only of the 5 “official” Beatle movies: A Hard Day’s Night, Yellow Submarine, Help!, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let It Be. You may or may not agree with my ranking, but here it is anyway!

5. Let It Be

The famous rooftop concert, immortalized in Let It Be

The famous rooftop concert, immortalized in Let It Be

This choice is a little biased because I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch this movie, so I had to put it last. I’ve heard that there’s some cool footage of the Beatles in this movie, like the rooftop concert at the end, but everything I’ve read about it describes it as basically a documentary of the Beatles’ breakup. I know it’s been over 40 years since they broke up, but I still think it would be really sad to watch their magical bond breaking before my eyes. I just think this is probably the least entertaining out of all the Beatle movies, so that is why it’s my least favorite.

4. Magical Mystery Tour

A gorgeous shot of the Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

A gorgeous shot of the Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

This movie is really, REALLY, weird! It has no plot and is basically just the Beatles doing weird, silly things with some other people in tow for a little over an hour. Despite this, I love it. It’s just so random that it seems almost intentional, and the songs in it are great. Paul was the Beatle who spearheaded the whole project, and while I concur that this wasn’t his best idea ever, I think this movie is an important part of the Beatles’ story.

3. Yellow Submarine

A cool picture of the Beatles doing press for Yellow Submarine

A cool picture of the Beatles doing press for Yellow Submarine

I’ve only seen this movie once, and not in a while, but I remember that it made me deliriously happy for some reason. I think I was tricked by the colorful animation and weird, trippy sequences. The animators must have taken a lot of LSD while making this movie. Nevertheless, it’s a wonderful animated movie and very fun and entertaining to watch. I’d recommend it to anybody who likes the Beatles or cartoons, which from my life experience is basically everybody.

2. A Hard Day’s Night

An iconic shot from A Hard Day's Night

An iconic shot from A Hard Day’s Night

Choosing between A Hard Day’s Night and Help! for my favorite Beatle movie was extremely difficult. It felt like choosing between two of my children. But in the end, I put A Hard Day’s Night at #2, but just barely. In reality, I like it just as much as Help!, but for non Beatles fans, I’d recommend Help! over A Hard Day’s Night.
Anyway, I have watched this movie many times, but every time I watch it is just as entertaining as the first time. I love so many things about it: the snarky comebacks from John, the adorable chase scenes between the Beatles and the police, the “live” performances, the absolutely priceless scene with John playing in the bathtub and George in a t-shirt staring intensely into the bathroom mirror, the clever British humor throughout… I could go on and on. It’s perfect. I am in love with this movie!

1. Help!

Aw, what cuties!!!!

Aw, what cuties!!!!

Here’s why I put Help! above A Hard Day’s Night as my favorite Beatle movie: It’s not a “mockumentary” like A Hard Day’s Night. It’s not an actual documentary like Let It Be. It’s not an animated movie like Yellow Submarine. And it’s certainly not a Beatle-directed semi-debacle like Magical Mystery Tour. It’s just a “normal” movie that happens to star the Beatles, and I think that’s what draws me to it so much. They do play themselves in the movie, but unlike A Hard Day’s Night, they’re in color! Which makes them even more handsome!!! 🙂
I think this movie is also the most Monty Python-esque Beatles movie, which might be another reason why I like it so much. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s so absurd, hilarious, and fun! And as a bonus, the Beatles somehow became even better looking here since the last movie they made, which makes this all the more pleasurable for me to watch. This movie is just a ball of laughter, and I think everyone should watch it at least once!

If you haven’t seen any of these movies, it’s time to get your act together and watch one! Or two! Or all five! You won’t regret it, I promise!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Do you want to know a secret?

It's no secret that the Beatles were absolutely adorable!

It’s no secret that the Beatles were absolutely adorable!

So for today’s post, I’ve decided to compile a list of little-known Beatle factoids that I’ve stored in my mind over the last several months. Some of these I read about in the Beatle Anthology book, which I would HIGHLY recommend to any Beatle fan! And I’m really not sure where I read some of the other facts, but I do hope they’re accurate. Otherwise I would be letting you down. And I wouldn’t want that! So here we go!

– The original working title of the movie “Help!” was “Eight Arms To Hold You”. I don’t know about you, but I much prefer “Help!”.
– George’s “first time” was when the Beatles were playing in Hamburg in 1960. All four Beatles have said that Hamburg, and not Liverpool, was where they really grew up, and they were definitely exposed to the seedier side of life there…
– According to Paul, John threw up before almost every concert they ever did.
– George was first introduced to the Indian culture when there were sitars and things of that nature around a lot on the set of “Help!”. And so his lifelong obsession began!
– It’s well documented that the Beatles performed the first-ever outdoor rock concert at Shea Stadium in 1965 to a packed house, but they also played there again in 1966. Amazingly, I don’t think the 1966 concert sold out.
– The word “Beatles” is never mentioned in the movie “A Hard Day’s Night”. I know, hard to believe, but I watched the whole movie recently and “Beatles” is definitely never said at all in the film.
– Most of the songs on George’s 1st solo album, All Things Must Pass, were actually written during the Beatle years. Unfortunately, they didn’t make the cut for any of the Beatle albums. I guess when John and Paul are also in your band, there is a LOT of competition for getting songs on the albums!
– Fellow 60s British recording artist Donovan contributed the lyrics “Sky of blue and sea of green” to the song “Yellow Submarine”.
– “Flying”, the only officially released instrumental in the Beatles’ catalog, is also the only song on which all four Beatles share songwriting credits.
– Technically, the first solo Beatles album was Paul’s soundtrack for the 1966 movie “The Family Way”.
– An possible, but ultimately rejected title for Abbey Road was “Everest”. I think that lasted about five minutes.
– The Beatles had almost nothing to do with making the movie “Yellow Submarine” other than approving the basic idea and appearing in it at the end to fulfill a contractual obligation. I kind of wish that they did their own voices for their animated selves…
– John wrote “All You Need Is Love” about two weeks before the Beatles performed it on the internationally broadcast “Our World” program in 1967. He had apparently forgot that he had promised to write a new song for the occasion and dashed it off at the last second.
– The last song that the Beatles performed at their last official concert at Candlestick Park in 1966 was “Long Tall Sally”.
– George earned the nickname “the Quiet Beatle” on their first trip to America in 1964 when got very sick, lost his voice, and was ordered by the doctor not to talk too much. And the name stuck!
– George visited America before any of the other Beatles when he visited his sister in Benton, IL, in 1963.
– The Beatles were the biggest selling band of the 1st decade of the 2000s, and their greatest hits compilation album “1” was the biggest selling album. This makes me very happy!!!!

That’s all I’ve got for now. Have a lovely weekend!

Hilarious Beatle Promos

My inspiration for this post came yesterday when I was watching the promo to Help!, which I had never seen before. After watching many Beatle promo videos, I’ve noticed a few patterns running throughout all of them:
1. John is always making funny faces, forgetting the words even when he’s lip-syncing, and looking at Paul to make sure that they’re singing the same thing.
2. Paul is smiley and happy, performing the song like a true showman even though there’s no live audience, and just generally enjoying himself.
3. George rarely looks happy to be making the promos, sometimes glares at the camera, and is usually the one who somehow messes up the integrity of the video. However, when he does crack a smile, the whole screen lights up!
4. Ringo hardly ever has an actual drum kit to play on and is often stuck with a random prop to keep him busy.

Notice how these videos are all from the late 1964-1965 era. This was the Beatles’ “we were smoking marijuana for breakfast” (a direct quote from John) period. Enjoy!

I Feel Fine

I just love this video, for so many reasons. First, at 0:25, George is mouthing complete gibberish and wondering whether anyone will notice. Second, he’s singing into what looks like a bomb disguised as a microphone. Third, John seems VERY unsure of the lyrics, which for some reason he always messes up to this song. Thankfully, Paul’s there to remind him that it’s “I’m in love with her” instead of “She’s in love with me” or vise versa. And lastly, what the heck is Ringo doing on the exercise bike??? Couldn’t he have at least gotten a drum kit?
And whoever dressed the Beatles in turtlenecks for this video made a good call. They all look great in turtlenecks. 🙂

Help!

This video is hilarious! I’m really not sure why they’re all sitting single file on a plank. Paul and George keep trying to get in the shot throughout the video, which I find really funny because whenever George finally gets in the camera, Paul moves in front of him. I think Ringo gave up trying to be in the shot after about 10 seconds. Poor Ringo, all alone in the back with an umbrella. And the bouncing during the chorus… Paul looks so happy to be bouncing! George does not. But George does look cute while going along with the bouncing! Lastly, when the fake snow starts falling, I completely lose it. Especially at 1:38, when George does his absolutely priceless “What the heck?!?!? Snow?!?!?” face! For a fraction of a second, he looks a bit scared and really confused, and almost forgets to start singing. Evidently, no one told him that it would start snowing. Oh well. Ringo apparently got the memo.

Day Tripper

Seriously, whose idea was the set for this video??? I really want to know. And why are John and Paul front and center, but George and Ringo are literally stuck behind bars? Ringo at least tries taking matters into his own hands by sawing his way out, but once again, George looks like he has no idea what on earth is going on. Also, watch George’s fingers starting at 2:18. For a few seconds there, he’s not playing the riff; in fact, he’s not playing much of anything. While keeping a completely straight face, he just randomly moves his fingers for a bit. My guess is that he either really needed to stretch his fingers or just wanted to purposely mess up the video. I’m betting on the latter. Oh George… I love you no matter what you do.

Ticket to Ride

John and his terrible lip syncing is on full display here, especially at 1:38, when he does an enthusiastic “Yeah!” after realizing that he forgot to sing along to that part. And George singing along at 1:47 when he isn’t supposed to sing for the entire duration of the song always makes me smile.
But when he inexplicably stares directly at the camera at 1:52 for a solid 3 seconds with those dark, soulful eyes… Oh my. What a handsome man. It looks like he’s trying to punish whoever’s looking at him. Whatever I did, Georgie, I’m sorry and I won’t do it again! But please continue looking straight at the camera for all of us watching at home. Thanks. 🙂

Have a fab week!