Oh the weather outside is frightful… But Paul is so delightful!!!

A lovely pic of Paul and Linda singing together!

A lovely pic of Paul and Linda singing together!

So it’s snowing here in NY! School was dismissed early today (hooray!) and I had a few extra hours on my hands, and what do you suppose I decided to do??? Well, after doing some homework, I decided to sit down and watch Rockshow, the 3 hour concert documentary made of Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1976 tour of North America. I honestly can’t imagine a better way to spend a snowy afternoon than sitting in my basement for hours on end watching Paul sing to me via the television, albeit in a movie from 35 years ago.

This was a movie that as a major Beatles and Paul fan, I’d been wanting to watch for a long time, and I was certainly not disappointed! For those expecting a movie with lots of behind-the-scenes footage of the band, this has none of that. It’s just the concert, from beginning to end, but really, shouldn’t that be enough? It’s Paul, for crying out loud. He’s (arguably) the single most entertaining person who has ever lived!

Watching this reminded me of the absolute joy I felt watching Paul onstage live last June, and I loved watching him perform many of the same songs in this movie, like “Lady Madonna” and “Blackbird”, as well as a bunch of Wings songs, that he did when I saw him. It’s definitely not hard to believe it’s the same person; he does the same little Paul things now, like making what I call his “bass-face”, that he did 40 years ago. Paul truly is a natural showman, definitely the best out of the four Beatles, and his love for music shines through in his performing.

I’d also like to add that Paul just looks amazing in this movie. From the mullet which only he can pull off, to the sparkly jacket and pink tie, to the odd but charming shiny pants, to his amazingly perfect, angelic, sexy, raspy voice, he is a bonafide rock star in every sense of the word. Paul is just so perfect at music and life. I felt the need to clap after every song while watching this movie, even though he obviously can’t hear me. I seriously need to meet this man, give him a big hug, and tell him just how much I love him.

So, if you’re wondering what all of this fuss is about, here are a couple of awesome clips from the movie! The first one is of a song not actually written by Paul, but by other Wings member Denny Laine! What I did not realize before watching this movie is that Denny actually has a great voice, though he is a little kooky. And I am obsessed with this version of the song. It’s by far the best version I’ve heard.

This song, “Bluebird,” is I think one of Paul’s most underrated solo songs. It’s really quite lovely, and this version is wonderful. Even after all of the screaming and high-octane rock numbers, Paul always knows how to scale it back vocally for a song like this. That’s why he’s so great!

The reason that I’m including this next song, “Let ‘Em In,” is purely because at 1:03 in the video, Paul clearly says, “Do me a FLAVOR” instead of the actual lyric, “Do me a FAVOR”! I laughed when I heard that. Silly Paulie. 🙂
This song seems pretty easy to learn on the piano, so I may attempt it in the future. I’ll let you all know how that turns out…

Okay, one more video. This one is of “Jet,” one of my absolute favorite Paul songs, and this is what I mean when I’m describing his voice during this concert. Especially during this song, he just sounds so irresistibly sexy! I was practically drooling while watching this at home. And when he does the little “Ooh, she said!” hand gestures… I lost it. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t grow up in the 70s, for everyone else’s sake…

That’s all for now! I do have an idea for another post, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Stay fab everyone!

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My Top 10 Favorite Guitar Solos

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

My sweet George, playing the instrument featured in this post!

Here it is, another countdown list! Today I’ve decided that since so many of the songs I love feature a guitar prominently in them, this list would probably be a good one to make. One thing that I think has sort of gone out of fashion in the music industry today is the art of beautiful and emotional guitar playing. Even in some mainstream pop songs today, a guitar is present, but it’s usually just there and is not intended to make a statement or improve the song, which is a shame. I think the guitar is a beautiful instrument that deserves to be featured in more of today’s popular songs!!!
Most of these guitar solos are pretty close together in my mind, so there really isn’t a big difference between the placements of the songs, but I have put them in order from 10 to 1, with 1 being my favorite guitar solo. (hint- it’s a Beatles song!!!) I hope you enjoy this list!

10. Cheer Down- George Harrison

The entire last minute to this song is basically an extended guitar solo, but I love it so much!!! This is definitely one of George’s least-known yet absolutely-amazing songs! If you’ve ever seen the movie Lethal Weapon 2, this song, co-written by George with Tom Petty, plays during the credits! I’m in love with the guitar here, because George’s slide guitar is amazing and brilliant, as it is in all of his songs!

9. I Live For You- George Harrison

This song is achingly beautiful, and the guitar solo, which starts at about 1:58 in the song, is just gorgeous. I often tear up listening to this song because it’s so beautiful and perfect, just like George! I can’t for the life of me figure out how George managed to get such an incredible, distinctive sound out of his guitars, but I suppose it’s a testament to his musical genius.

8. Something- The Beatles

For this song, the guitar solo starts at about 1:43 in the video. This is yet another fine example of George’s guitar-playing prowess. I bet you’re noticing a theme so far… 🙂
As I’ve stated before, this is one of my very favorite Beatles songs, and the guitar solo is just one of the reasons why. It’s to the point and works with the song, and most of all, it’s beautifully played. I’ve probably listened to this song hundreds of times by now, but I never get sick of it!

7. Taxman- The Beatles

This is probably one of the most famous Beatles guitar solos, but it was Paul, not George, who played it! I think this proves that while he’s no George, Paul was and still is a fantastic guitarist, in addition to being a fantastic everything else. Even when I play this on Beatles Rock Band, I still can never get it 100% right, so I imagine that it’s pretty hard to play on an actual guitar!

6. Badge- Cream

Don’t worry, not EVERY solo on this list is from a Beatles song! Although most of them are… Anyway, this song was co-written by Eric Clapton and our old friend, George Harrison! The story behind the rather obscure title is that George was writing the bridge for the song when Eric walked in the room, probably drunk, and saw the paper upside down. He wondered why George wrote “Badge” at the top of the paper, and thus the song’s name was born! This is just an incredible song, and I LOVE the guitar part starting at about 1:08 in the video, played by George. The solo itself, played by Eric, is awesome as well. I think I’m a little obsessed with this song, actually.

5. Till There Was You- The Beatles

The solo here starts at 1:23 in the video. I can’t get enough of George’s jazzy guitar playing throughout this song, and the perfect solo is just the icing on the cake! This song was originally from The Music Man, although apparently the Beatles didn’t know that until after they recorded it, and I think it’s one of the best examples of George’s fantastic guitar playing from the earlier Beatle years. He was extraordinarily talented from a young age, and he only got better as he got older!

4. It Don’t Come Easy- Ringo Starr

In addition to this being song containing one of my favorite guitar solos (which starts at 1:40 in the video), this song also contains a fabulous riff, played by none other than George Harrison! I think I’ve said before that it was actually George who wrote this fantastic song, and I’m so glad he did. There’s a fabulous version of this song floating around that has George singing instead of Ringo, but I think both versions are equally great. Anyway, this solo is typical George awesomeness, and it rocks!

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps- The Beatles

You didn’t really think that I’d leave my favorite Beatles song out of this list, did you? 🙂
The solo here starts at about 1:56 in the video, and it is memorable for a couple of reasons. Besides being just all around amazing, this was the first and only time that Eric Clapton played guitar on a Beatles song, so that weeping guitar you hear is all him. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Eric Clapton is the Guitar God for a reason. He can play the guitar like no other!

2. Maybe I’m Amazed- Paul McCartney and Wings

While this song was originally featured on Paul’s first solo album, McCartney, it became even more famous when he played it with Wings on their 1976 “Wings Over America” tour, and I think this version here is the best one. The solo, played by Wings guitarist Jimmy McCullough, starts at about 1:23 in the video, and I just love it! No real reason, but it’s really moving and beautifully played here. Whenever I hear this song, I always find myself anticipating the guitar solo, and as soon as it begins, the song comes alive in a whole new way.

And now… Number 1!!!

1. Let It Be- The Beatles

Out of the hundreds of Beatle guitar solos out there, this is the one that always sticks in my head. It’s powerful, edgy, and moving, and George just rocks the heck out of it! For some reason, the original album version of Let It Be (there are at least 3 official versions in existence) is the only one with this fantastic solo, and that is why it is my favorite version of all! Nothing can top this guitar solo for me!!!

I see after writing this post that I probably need to go discover some guitar solos from other groups. While I work on that, have a wonderful week! Hint hint, there will probably be some Paul McCartney and Elton John posts coming your way next weekend!

My Top 10 Favorite Music Videos

I realize that I haven’t done a list-type post in a while, and so I’ve decided to post my all-time favorite music videos today. Truthfully, I’m not really that into music videos, and I haven’t watched that many at all. In fact, I might be the only person in the last 30 years who has never bothered to watch the music video for “Thriller”. I know, I’m so out of it, but I really only watch videos from artists that I listen to A LOT, and that’s why every video in this list is of a song by the Beatles, George Harrison, Elton John, or Paul McCartney. But anyway, here’s my list of music videos that I love. Enjoy!

10. I Am The Walrus- The Beatles

This is quite possibly the trippiest music video ever made. I mean, the song is basically nonsense lyrics written by John solely to confuse people who were reading too much in to the Beatles’ lyrics, and the video is in the same psychedelic vein as the movie it accompanies, Magical Mystery Tour. Nevertheless, this is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and likewise the video is one of my favorite videos. I love it precisely because it’s so weird and strange. Becoming a Beatles fan has made me accept the weird and absurd things in life much more easily, and this video is definitely weird and absurd. But it’s just so artsy and cool at the same time!

9. Junior’s Farm- Paul McCartney and Wings

I know I’ve posted this before, and it’s really more of a promo than it is a traditional music video, but I love it so much that I had to post it here! Mostly I love it because Paul is such a cutie here, but the song is also awesome. Still, not too much going on here. Just sit back and enjoy the view of Paul McCartney’s adorable face for 4 and a half minutes… 🙂

8. I’m Still Standing- Elton John

This video is a classic! One of the judges from Dancing with the Stars, Bruno Tonioli, actually directed and choreographed it, and he appears in various costumes throughout the video. I love how Elton is basically just strutting around the entire time, being fabulous. The video is definitely a little odd, but since it was the 1980s, I’ll give it a pass. It’s fun and the song is great, and really, that’s all that matters!

7. This Song- George Harrison

George’s quirky sense of humor is definitely showcased in this hilarious, Monty Python-esque video! (which I think was directed by Eric Idle) The song itself is mocking the court case in which George was sued for plagiarism over “My Sweet Lord”, and the video makes a complete mockery of the court system itself. Georgie looks gorgeous in this video with his long, wavy hair, and I love his cute dance moves and expressions that he makes throughout the video. This video is pretty much a party, and it rocks!

6. Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word- Elton John

I’ll admit that along with Junior’s Farm, this is the most superficial choice on this list. Why? Because the only reason why I love this video, other than the beautiful song itself, is the fact that Elton John just looks so darn attractive here! I do love him with the glasses too, of course, but seeing his beautiful eyes is always nice. And that is all I have to say about that. 🙂

5. Say Say Say- Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson

See, even without Thriller, Michael Jackson did make it on this list, but not without a little help from his friend Paul McCartney! I think this video is just hilarious. It’s so goofy and fun, and it’s nice to see Paul and Michael together before Michael bought, excuse me, STOLE the rights to all of the Beatles songs!!! 🙂

4. Free as a Bird- The Beatles

I know this isn’t my #1 favorite music video, but it is hands down in my opinion the most brilliant music video ever made. It actually won the Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video in 1997, and rightfully so. It’s just amazing how so many aspects of the Beatles’ lives and career are so beautifully melded together in this one video. There are a lot of subtle references to various lyrics in various Beatles songs hidden throughout the video, and I think it’s fun to try to find all of them! If you can’t be bothered, just sit back and enjoy a wonderful video and a beautiful song from the best band ever.

3. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart- Elton John and Kiki Dee

After searching for this video on Youtube for weeks, I finally found it! (but not on Youtube)
I actually could not stop squealing with delight as I watched this video, for many reasons. First, I think it’s the cutest, yet most awkward music video I’ve ever seen. Without his piano, Elton looks like he has no idea what to do with his arms, and I love how he just keeps moving them randomly. Apparently this was a spur-of-the-moment video and was filmed in one take, which definitely shows in the occasional missed cues. Still, I just love this! It’s so cute! The “dance break” is hilarious, but my favorite part comes at about 2:30 in the video, where Elton kisses the little flap on the front of Kiki’s overalls and then makes a really funny, “Did I do that?” face! How I wish I could have been in her place… Elton is such a cutie pie. Ahhh, this song is so catchy and this video is wonderful!!!

2. Crackerbox Palace- George Harrison

Another goofy, Python-esque video from the lovely George Harrison! This one is also directed by Eric Idle, which definitely shows because there are many random things in this video, like elves, that wouldn’t really make sense outside of a Python/Harrison environment. This videos always cheers me up and makes me smile. Once again, George’s hairstyle here is one of my favorites of his, and I love how relaxed and happy he looks. Happy George = Happy me!!!

1. Ever Present Past- Paul McCartney

This, folks, is my #1 favorite music video. Why? Well, it’s Paul McCartney, in a suit and Converse, dancing adorably in his old age to a wonderful and catchy song. That really should be enough. But seriously, this video is just awesome. Paulie is still so cute! As proven years before in Magical Mystery Tour, out of the four Beatles, Paul is by far the best dancer. He has a great sense of rhythm and actually looks graceful doing the moves. The brilliance of this video is rather self-explanatory, and Paul is a musical genius. The end. 🙂

Honorable mentions for this include my entire “Hilarious Beatle Promos” post. Check it out if you haven’t already!
Have a great week!

Artists I listen to when I’m in various moods

Here it is, my second post of the day! I realize that I haven’t been posting much lately, even on the weekends. I apologize, but since it’s near the end of the school year, things are very hectic. I find that listening to my favorite musical artists like the Beatles really helps me get through stressful times, and this post is all about what artists I listen to in different life situations. This is more of a way for me to keep track of what musicians I like, but it’s also a list of artists that I’d recommend anyone to listen to when they’re stressed, happy, excited, or in any other mood. These aren’t the only artists I like, but they’re the ones whose music I can most easily categorize according to my various moods. Remember, music really does heal the soul!

Artists I listen to when I’m stressed and need to relax: George Harrison
Okay, so I don’t ONLY listen to George Harrison music when I’m stressed, but I’ve noticed that during the most stressful weeks of the year, George Harrison’s music is playing nonstop on my iPod or on the computer. His music is so soothing and calming, it really helps me take a deep breath and remember why I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing. Some of his songs like Isn’t It A Pity and Hear Me Lord help me fall asleep at night, and when I listen to his music, I can feel all of the stress and tension from the day just wash away. Sometimes, in the midst of a busy, hectic day, I need to take a breather and listen to George Harrison for 5 minutes, and it always helps.

Artists I listen to on the weekends or when it’s summer and I’m happy at not being at school: Eric Clapton, the Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney & Wings, The Rolling Stones, ELO, Queen, The Who
The music from these artists always puts me in a good mood, and generally, I listen to them when I just want to hear some good old fashioned classic rock. Eric Clapton’s music in particular is fantastic to listen to when you’re doing basically nothing on a Saturday afternoon and you just want to hear a good song with an awesome guitar part. In fact, I may do an entire Clapton-related post at some point, so be on the lookout for it! And the other artists I listed are also great for when you’re kicking back and enjoying life, like I try to do in between my endless weekend homework assignments. 🙂

Artists I listen to when I’m doing homework: Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
Yes, I’m differentiating Paul McCartney’s solo albums from his albums with Wings, and that’s because he has a few fairly mellow solo albums that are great to listen to while I’m doing something and want to listen to music. I also enjoy listening to Phillip Phillip’s debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, while I’m studying or working. It has a lot of great songs with some fantastic acoustic guitar work, and all in all, it’s a very impressive album. As I’ve said before on the blog, thenewno2 has some really amazing rock/alternative/electronica music that is inventive and cool to listen to, and a lot of it is very relaxing. And then there’s George Harrison… What more can I say about his music that I haven’t already said?

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling in an oddly great mood for a weeknight: Paul McCartney (with and without Wings), ELO, Foster The People, Talking Heads, Pearl Jam
This is a rather diverse group of artists, but before I go to sleep on a weeknight, I really enjoy all of their music, and somehow they all fit together into what I call my “weird weeknight” mood.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Pearl Jam before on the blog, but let me just say that I LOVE Eddie Vedder’s voice! It is truly a gift from God, and I was blown away by his performance of Comfortably Numb with Roger Waters at the Concert for Sandy last December. Wow!
Also, Foster the People, while they only have 1 album out at the moment, has some truly outstanding songs that are extremely catchy and fun to dance to, while actually having an interesting meaning at the same time. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an unusual combination for a 21st century musical artist!

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling down and need a boost of confidence: John Lennon
There are others, but I find that John Lennon’s music is so wonderfully empowering, especially songs like Imagine and Power to the People, that he’s all I need to feel better about life. His music really makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to if I try hard enough. Thanks John!

Artists I listen to when I realize I need to participate in the music from this generation: Maroon 5, Foster the People, Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Adele
Not too much to say here that I didn’t already say in my post about the 50th anniversary of Please Please Me, but these are some of my favorite artists from this generation that I enjoy when I’m not in the mood for classic rock. Okay, so that never actually happens, but I still enjoy these artists nonetheless!

If you’ve read my blog before, then you may be wondering where the Beatles fit in on this list. Well, never fear, because I have a special category just for them…

Artists I listen to in any mood, at any time, anywhere: The Beatles
The Beatles are the one band that I can ALWAYS rely on to make me feel good. They’re there when I’m happy, sad, and everything in between. Beatles music soothes the soul in any situation, and that’s all there is to it. I gave them their own category because, well they’re the Beatles, and also because I realized that they fit into every single category I’ve mentioned above, except for maybe the one about music from this generation. Basically, in any situation, the Beatles rule!

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

The Macca Report- April 2013

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted in about a week, but I’m back with some very important news on the subject of Sir Paul McCartney! A lot has been going on in Paul-land recently, including the fact that he’s releasing a new album in the near future. But most importantly, as I reported a while ago, he’s going on tour this summer!!! So far, he’s announced dates in Poland, Austria, Italy, Brazil, and the U.S. No stops in New York as of yet, but I’m sure he’ll come to the Empire State at some point. Here’s a link to the most recently updated list of tour dates on paulmccartney.com:
http://www.paulmccartney.com/live/27468-out-there

Since he’s coming to Boston and Washington D.C., both of which are on the east coast of the US, I have very high hopes for a concert in NY!!! If I’m able to actually see Paul live this summer, even if I’m hundreds of rows from the stage, I’ll surely be in shock and will probably scream my voice out of my throat with excitement. When more dates are announced, I’ll do another post, so stay tuned for more Paul updates in the near future!

Also, the 1976 movie Rock Show, a documentary about the Paul McCartney & Wings tour from that summer, is being released on DVD and in theaters in a limited release May 15th and 16th. I hope it comes to a theater near you! (and me… I’ve never seen it, but I really want to!)

Finally, this isn’t really Paul news, but a couple of interviews of Paul with Howard Stern that I found on Youtube recently. He’s so relaxed in these interviews, much more so than usual. Enjoy!

For some reason, watching Paul basically get asked whether he and John were ever a couple made me feel kind of awkward, and Paul does look slightly uncomfortable during that part of the video. But, he handles it well, and if he says that John wasn’t gay, I believe him. Paul would probably know better than just about anyone else.

Paul McCartney: “You’ve got to love Ringo.” 🙂
I agree, even if Ringo won’t sign any fan mail. I still love Ringo! Also, Paul’s impression of Ringo saying peace and love is really funny. I thought I had a good Ringo impression, but Paul’s clearly got me beat. And I’m okay with that!

I don’t think I really need to explain why I love this video. You’ve got to watch it! But I must say that Paul dancing to his own songs is hilarious. This further proves my point that Paul was and still is the best dancer in the Beatles. Paul rocks!!!

Well, that’s all for today. Have a fab week! Keep your fingers crossed for upcoming Paul McCartney concerts!!!

Paul is Live!

Paulie in the 70s, doing his thing.

Paulie in the 70s, doing his thing.

This title has a double meaning. First, it expresses my opinion on the “Paul is Dead” theory, because I firmly believe that Paul is very much alive! Second, it describes the content of this post, my favorite videos of Paul playing live in the 70s. If I had to choose my favorite period of Paul’s career, it would probably be his 70s stint with Wings. This is not based on the quality of his music at the time, because to me, the Beatles were miles better than Wings, but I really like Paul’s rock star persona from this time. He had a sort-of mullet and wore bedazzled jackets on stage, and looked like he was on top of the world when he performed. Here’s what I mean:

Coming Up (Live 1979)

This live version of Coming Up far outdoes the album version on McCartney II. It’s more of a rock song here, as opposed to the almost electro-pop album version, and I much prefer the one in this video. I puzzle over why Paul asked the audience “how their bums were doing” at the start of the video, but with love, of course, because I love basically everything he does! What immediately jumped out at me while watching this video was the prominence of Paul’s bass. He always plays well, but he’s on fire here! Paul is such a showman, it’s like he was born to perform to an audience. And with the way his career has gone, he probably was!

Listen to What the Man Said (Live 1976)

Why does Paul always mention shaking bums before he sings??? Well, not always, but I just noticed that the two videos I’ve posted so far start out with him saying almost exactly the same thing. Anyway, this version is a lot faster than the album version, and Paul is rocking both the mullet and the piano, and sounding fantastic. And I can’t say that I don’t appreciate him shaking his own bum at the end of the video. I do, very much. Thanks Paulie. 🙂

Maybe I’m Amazed (Live 1976)

Hint hint, when I do a Paul solo countdown, this song will be VERY high on the list!!! And frankly, Paul’s voice amazes me here. He has the voice of an angel. This song also contains one of my favorite guitar solos of all time, played here by Wings guitarist Jimmy McCullough. That’s right, folks, it is possible for me to love a guitar solo NOT played by George Harrison!

Junior’s Farm (Official Video- 1975?)

This isn’t really LIVE, but since it shows Paul and Wings playing the song, or at least miming it, I’m including it here. This song rocks and the video epitomizes the whole “mid-70s Paul” look that I love so much. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this song when I just needed to hear Paul’s voice. It’s magical! And I have to say that Paul looks absolutely adorable in this video! He was the Cute Beatle for a reason!

Well, that concludes today’s post on Paul, Wings, and bum shaking. But mostly Paul. Have a great week!