The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

Let it Be

Posted by keithosaunders on May 27, 2016

let it be

A couple of weeks ago I was on a break at my gig.  As I was sitting at the bar I noticed that the club was playing the Beatles final record, Let It Be.  (It’s actually their 2nd to last record, having been recorded several months before the 1969 release, Abbey Road, but it was the final record to be released –  early in 1970.)

I was listening rather intently and gradually I began to realize something:  Let It Be is essentially a steaming pile.  It’s as if the Beatles through a bunch of paint against a wall and whatever stuck was what they would release.  Add in the fact that they basically hated each other by then and you have one unhappy product.  Lennon already had one foot out the door and Harrison actually quit in the middle of the sessions.  (The other members cajoled him into coming back after a few days)

Yet…the album has some really good moments.  Forget the title song, which has become a standard.  Actually, don’t forget it. — it’s a good song with a nice guitar solo to boot.  For me, though, what’s always attracted me to this record is the bare bones, stripped down aura of I Dig a Pony, One After 909, and I’ve got a Feeling.  They’re fun to listen to and suggest that the boys had come through their psychedelic period with their love for classic rock n roll intact.  Across the Universe, over produced as it was, is a lovely song, and Get Back is great too.

Even John Lennon, for all of his cynicism about the Beatles, didn’t hate it.  He had this to say in a 1970 Rolling Stone magazine interview in defense of the album’s producer, Phil Spector:  “He was given the shittiest load of badly-recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it.” 

Well…it’s sort of positive.

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Starman

Posted by keithosaunders on January 11, 2016

DD

I’ve been thinking about Diamond Dogs.  This was the first David Bowie record to be released after I had started listening to him. (Ziggy and Aladdin Sane already felt like ancient history even though they were only one and two years old) I remember counting down the days until DD came out and finally taking it home, playing it and loving it instantly.

There was this strange dichotomy with Bowie – here was this effeminate androgynous person who appeared more alien than human, yet his music was as muscular and substantial as anything heard before or since. Growing up in the staid, conforming, tract-home infested San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, listening to Bowie felt simultaneously thrilling and subversive.

Less than a year after Diamond Dogs Bowie would  help kick-start disco with Young Americans and I summarily rote him off.  This  was convenient for me since I had begun studying and playing jazz and wouldn’t listen to rock music for another three years.  When I did get around to checking out rock again my brother played me the Eno-produced records that Bowie had made in the interim – Low, Heroes, and Lodger – and they blew my mind.  Scary Monsters came out a few months after I had rediscovered him and it was like a satisfying coda to the frenetic and schizophrenic seventies.  Soon Bowie would don a suit and tie for the conservative 80s only to reemerge in the 90s as a cutting-edge post-punk industrial rocker.

Bowie is the most important pop artist we’ve lost since John Lennon.  He was like a rock version of Miles Davis.  He stayed relevant and innovative no matter how old he got and he influenced every generation that was lucky enough to have heard him.
 It’s a sad day.

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