You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) Beatles

I bought the Let It Be single by the Beatles in the mid-1970s from a relative’s yard sale. I loved Let It Be and then I flipped it over. The song started off with a catchy piano riff and then took a left turn never coming back.

I won’t even attempt to describe it because it would lose everything in words. It is a funny record (I don’t mean “My Love” bad funny… wo wo wo wo, wo wo wo wo…sorry Paul) it’s a comedy record. You could tell they were having a great time doing it.

Brian Jones played saxophone on the recording. Yes, that Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. He dropped by the studio and John and Paul thought he would play some guitar but he had a sax so they thought of this tune and he played on it.

My friend and I would listen to this over and over. We would quote from it…”Welcome to Slaggers” at school. Sometimes…and this is probably sad but we still do.

The song was recorded in May of 1967 and June of 1969 and was released as the B side of Let It Be in 1970.

It’s just so off the wall. The thing that surprises me isn’t the 1967 sessions…it’s John and Paul working on this in 1969 when they were not exactly best mates anymore. How could you not get along and make this? I guess they went through bad and good periods like any friendship or partnership…

The original version was 6:08 long but John edited it down to 4:19 for the single release.

Here is a quote from John Lennon

“That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ That was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a Four Tops kind of song – the chord changes are like that – but it never developed and we made a joke of it. Brian Jones is playing saxophone on it.”

 

Paul McCartney on Brian Jones

“I naturally thought he’d bring a guitar along to a Beatles session and maybe chung along and do some nice rhythm guitar or a little bit of electric twelve-string or something, but to our surprise, he brought his saxophone,”

“He opened up his sax case and started putting a reed in and warming up, playing a little bit. He was a really ropey sax player, so I thought, ‘Ah-hah. We’ve got just the tune.”

“It’s not amazingly well played but it happened to be exactly what we wanted. Brian was very good like that.”

Free As A Bird

In the 1990s I kept reading about the Beatles Anthology coming out and the three surviving Beatles getting back together to release old never heard before music as well as new. They were going to take a John Lennon demo and add something to it. This was beyond exciting for me. I was too young to remember a new Beatles song coming out.

It had an older feel but sounded modern at the same time. George Harrison’s distorted slide guitar playing brought an edge to it. It even had the strange ending like some of their other songs.

I got an early release of the Anthology CD from a friend of mine that worked in a record store and he said…don’t tell anyone. I sat glued to Free As a Bird because for once I was listening to a new Beatles song… I was one-year-old in1968 so I missed them when they were originally out. I liked the song and still do. I have talked to Beatles fans who don’t really like it that much but the song has stuck with me. Real Love…the second release didn’t do as much for me because it was basically a solo John Lennon song.

Was Free As a Bird the best song in the Beatles catalog? No not even close but just to hear something new was fantastic. The Anthology videos and CDs jump-started their popularity all over again…and it hasn’t stopped since then. I had cousins who were teenagers at the time who never had an interest in them until Anthology came out. All I could say to them was…I’ve told you for years.

The video of Free As a Bird is fantastic and still one of my favorite music videos. It told their history through the different eras of their career. Every time I watch it I always notice something I didn’t notice before.

Little did he know that day in1977 when John made a demo of a song idea on a cheap cassette recorder… it would be a future Beatle song. Not to even mention that the tape itself would be part of the song.

It did win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal…

After reading the mixed reactions one thing dawned on me. The Beatles did the right thing by not reuniting when John was alive. There is no way they could have made anything that would have lived up to the expectations of everyone…You cannot compete against a memory because you lose every time… But yea… I still would have loved to hear it.

 

 

December 8, 1980

Seeing that date depresses me…this was not the way to start the decade that led to my teens.

Since second grade, I’d been listening to the Beatles. While a lot of kids I knew listened and talked about modern music …I just couldn’t relate as much. By the time I was ten I had read every book about The Beatles I could get my hands on. I was after their generation but I knew the importance of what they did…plus just great music. The more I got into them the more I learned about the Who, Stones, and the Kinks. I wanted to get my hands on every book about the music of the 1960s. Just listening to the music wasn’t enough…I wanted to know the history.

I spent that Monday night playing albums in my room. That night I didn’t turn the radio on…I’m glad I didn’t…The next morning I got up to go to school and the CBS morning news was on. The sound was turned down but the news was playing Beatle video clips. I was wondering why they were showing them but didn’t think much of it.

Curious, I walked over to the television and turned it up and found out that John Lennon had been shot and killed. I was very angry and shocked. The bus ride to school was quiet, at school, it was quiet as well. Some teachers were affected because John was their generation. Some of my friends were shocked but some really didn’t get the significance at the time and some didn’t care. A few but not many kids acted almost gleeful which pissed me off…It was obvious their dads were talking through them.

I went out and bought the White Album and Double Fantasy in late December of 1980…I can’t believe I didn’t have the White Album already…now whenever I hear any song from those albums they remind me of the winter of 80-81. I remember the call-in shows on the radio then…pre-internet… people calling to share their feelings for John or hatred for the killer.

The next few weeks I saw footage of the Beatles on specials that I had never seen before. Famous and non famous people pouring their heart out over the grief. Planned tributes from bands and everyone asking the same question…why?

My young mind could not process why a person would want to do this to a musician. A politician yea…I could see that…not that it’s right but this? A musician? Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and JFK were before my time.  By the mid-1970s John had pretty much dropped out of sight…John and Yoko released Double Fantasy on November 17, 1980, and suddenly they were everywhere…Less than a month later John was murdered. The catch words were Catcher in the Rye, Hawaii, handgun and insane. The next day we were duly informed on who killed John in the First, Middle, and Last name format they assign to murderers.

I didn’t want to know his name, his career, his wife’s name, his childhood…I just wanted to know why… he says now…”attention”

I noticed a change happened after that Monday night. John Lennon was instantly turned into a saint, something he would have said was preposterous. Paul suddenly became the square and the uncool one and George and Ringo turned into just mere sidemen. After the Anthology came out in the 90s that started to change back a little. Death has a way to elevate you in life.

I called my dad a few days after it happened and he said that people were more concerned that The Beatles would never play again than the fact a man, father, and husband was shot and killed. He was right and I was among those people until he said that. He was never a fan but he made his point.

Beatles Movies

Beatle Movies: A Hard Days Night, Help, Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be.

A Hard Day’s Night – The plot was the Beatles on their way to a television appearance and the chaos that happens on the way there. Fans are chasing them everywhere and this part was in real life identical. Throw in Paul’s movie grandfather and you have the movie. The film is rated in the top 100 of some movie lists. The sound track is great and the Beatles were natural comedians and they had a witty script. A Hard Day’s Night was very close to real life because it was partly written by someone who went on tour with the Beatles and wrote some first hand information.

The Beatles were compared to the Marx Brothers when the movie came out. This movie is where their image was set in the public’s eye…John the intellectual, Paul the cute one, George the quiet one and Ringo the funny one (all of them were funny) of course it wasn’t that simple in real life.

This is the best movie they made and it fit them perfectly. I was fortunate enough to see this at a movie theater when it was re-released in 2000. Seeing the movie they way it was shown in 1964 was a great experience.

Help – A religious cult lost a ring that they had to have for a sacrifice ritual… Guess who had the ring? Ringo of course… the ring would not come off of his hand so they made trips to various places to help Ringo including Scotland Yard and mad scientists. The film looks great restored with vivid color. The filming locations included England, Austria and the Bahamas. The cinematography of the movie was great.

This was my introduction to Beatles movies and although not critically acclaimed it still is a good movie. John didn’t think much of the movie…his quote was “it was like being a frog in a movie about clams.”…it is enjoyable all the same. I’ve probably watched it more than any of their movies.

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles making a colorful home movie is the best way to describe it. The music makes the movie. It was a psychedelic trip that most Beatles fans enjoy. Where else can you see a video of I Am the Walrus, Blue Jay Way and The Fool on the Hill? They play 4 wizards that…well…. they play 4 wizards. I have seen this movie multiple times and every time I think maybe I missed something previously and its better than I remember…no… except you get to see them in their psychedelic phase and above all else the music. I can’t say I don’t enjoy it but only a little at a time.

It has been restored with a “making of” included with it. I enjoyed the documentary more than the movie, It’s not for non Beatles fans but for Beatles fans its a fascinating look an interesting time for them. I have to admit I like scenes from this movie more than the whole movie like Lennon’s spaghetti scene I Am the Walrus scene… The ending with the tuxedos is pretty cool also.

Yellow Submarine – A beautiful animated movie with the Beatles looking for Pepperland. I saw this as a kid and was mesmerized by the colors and these strange talking characters. Most of the soundtrack are older songs and orchestrated music by George Martin. The Beatles didn’t even do the voices because they were not really interested but ended up loving the movie. They did appear at the end of the movie in person.

This movie is very enjoyable for kids and adults. I pull it out every year and watch it.  My favorite character is Jeremy who helps and hinders and is a unique character in the movie to say the least. The animation is terrific and ahead of it’s time. To some people this is their favorite Beatles movie. Watch this movie if you can… it is enjoyable.

Let It Be – A record of the Beatles breaking up. They stayed together for another year but this is a glimpse of the tensions that were happening. I’m a huge Beatles fan but it is hard watching this movie at times but I do like it. The first half is somewhat depressing but the second half lightens up when Billy Preston starts playing keyboards and they move the recording to the Apple headquarters. The rooftop scene is great and it is the last live performance of them and I would like to see the complete performance. Every time I watch I hope they will work it out… of course it won’t happen. You see George and Paul have a small fight and you see Yoko sticking to John like glue.

The music is great of course… from Let It Be to I Dig a Pony. You get the rawest Beatles performance since they played in Hamburg warts and all. I have a bootleg copy of this and it was actually released on laser disc but a blue ray release will not happen anytime soon because from what I’ve read the Harrison and Lennon (Yoko) estate does not want it released. I’ve also read where Paul and Ringo don’t like it and I’ve read where they don’t care. They have released so much…why not finish the story and release this…

It’s been so many years ago and it’s not like it hasn’t been documented that they were not getting along. This is for Beatles fans only.

 

 

If you could have dinner with 5 people dead or still living…who would they be?

Mine are pretty shallow sounding vs what some people would say like Lincoln, Washington… Nope…no politicians, generals, or leaders…

1: John Lennon – He could be a walking contradiction but so are a lot of British rock stars but he was very intelligent and a superb songwriter. He loved to shock at times but could be very warm, generous and very honest. After he was shot his legend made him out to be some saint…he would have been the first to say he was not one….he didn’t suffer fools well. I remember when I was 13 and I heard about the shooting. The guy that shot him…I won’t mention his name is kept from the other prisoners for safety reasons. John had already signed a document saying he would get together with the other Beatles for what turned out to be the Anthology. At the time it was called The Long and Winding Road.

2: Keith Moon – I would prepare myself and sleep for as long as possible the day before and then take off and hang out with Keith for a little while.

3: Babe Ruth – What a guy… To me the best baseball player period…there is no one close. He was the best all around player…Not only was he one of the best power hitters he was also a great left handed pitcher….I would love to talk to him…get some dogs and beer and enjoy my time with the Babe.

4: Harpo Marx – The Marx brother that is my favorite. I would plead and recommend that you would read Harpo Speaks  ….It is the best autobiography  I have ever read. I’ve read it at least 8 times. I have worn out two copies. Yes Groucho is better known but Harpo was one of the most decent guys you could ever be around…he also hung out with the Algonquin round table crowd in the 1920s with writers Alexander Woolcott, brilliant playwright George Kaufman and many more. Harpo came from a very poor family at the turn of the century and he came to know some of the most brilliant minds of the 20th century.

5: Buster Keaton – Probably one of the best film makers of the 20th century. He gets over shadowed by Charlie Chaplin. That is not a knock on Chaplin but Keaton not only was a great screen comedian but the better film maker out of the two.

 

Honorable Mention

The two that I hated to leave out but one of the these two could substitute if two of the ones mentioned above could not show up.

Clara Bow – My favorite actress hands down. The original and the only IT girl and could say more with her actions than anyone else with words…she lit up the screen.

Keith Richards – The only living member of my wish list (though some would argue that fact) Keith is just cool period. If I had to describe rock and roll to an alien… I would hand them a copy of Brown Sugar and a picture of a 1972 Keith Richards…. I love that he has survived….God Bless you Keith.

Why The Beatles are still Relevant

This is the post excerpt.

“They have been gone for such a long time” sure but their music is timeless.  I first found the Beatles in the 1970’s growing up and as a young kid, I bought that terrible repackaged album that Capital released called Rock and Roll music…some great music but a truly terrible silver cover that made the Beatles look like they came from the fifties. I also bought the Hey Jude Again album in 2nd-grade n 1975. I was transformed. When I heard those songs I started to buy more of their albums and I could not believe the quantity and the quality of the songs….the great songs kept coming like a well that never runs dry. I missed them of course when they were active but I could not believe one group could have so many great songs. I felt…and still feel that I was born too late and missed out on something great. I could not imagine listening to Sgt Peppers on the radio in 1967 when it was all new. I did find other groups…On my 3rd grade notebook, I would write the names of bands like others did… that I was just finding out about…The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and The Yardbirds. A little late but better late than never.

Now getting back to the title of this post…In the 1980s being a Beatle fan was not a real popular thing…not that I cared…but…since the 1990s the Beatles are current again and remain current in 2017. My son is 17 and him and his friends all like them. They also like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Stones. Beatles albums still sell consistently. Here is a youtube video of different people from Rap Artists to Ozzy Osborne talking about the Beatles…

Here is an interesting one with Lemmy from Motorhead talking about the Beatles.

Most have read about their appearance on the Ed Sullivan show on February 9, 1964.. I recently was with a friend who bought two Kustom bass cabinets from an older country drummer. The Beatles got brought up in conversation and he told me about that night when he sat on the couch and watched them. He said the next day the world was a different place. Not just hairstyles but attitudes. I asked him to compare the mania to something since then….his answer was Michael Jackson in the 1980s times 1000 or maybe more…Now that is a statement. Is it coming from someone famous? No, but he was there. I have talked to others who say the same that was there.

An answer from Mick Jagger about being compared with the Beatles…

The Beatles were so big that it’s hard for people not alive at the time to realize just how big they were. There isn’t a real comparison with anyone now. I suppose Michael Jackson at one point, but it still doesn’t seem quite the same. They were so big that to be competitive with them was impossible. I’m talking about in record sales and tours and all this. They were huge.

Of course, I’m a fan and have read a lot about them so I am biased (I recommend Tune In) and a great website…their story is almost as great as their music. I’ve had fun arguments with friends about Beatles vs Elvis… Beatles vs Stones etc. It’s all in good fun though…although I have always been right…