Not Really a Repost

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I first posted this song back when Daddy was sick, and the original content wasn’t where I am right now.  Things are different.  And the same, since I’ve been dealing with Mom’s illnesses and recovery this year.  (I’m sending out an emphasis on the recovery part just in case the Universe happens to be listening.)  Life keeps moving, whether you stop and pay attention or not.

We got the phone thing from a few days ago straightened out today.  Turns out the jack had gone bad, so a nice tech from Verizon replaced it, and I’ll have to pay extra since I don’t have the “indoor line maintenance plan” (Way to soak your customers, Verizon!).  But the phone works, and I went ahead and got a new phone so we’ll only have one system (one fewer handsets, but that’s cool).  Other than that, things are quiet.  Not too quiet, since I’ve got a ton of reading to do for school and the holiday is coming up.  (Yes, it’s almost time for Arlo Guthrie again.)

But if you happen to spot newer and bluer meanies in your vicinity, remember to go out singing.

I’m Just Gonna Keep Posting These Songs Until This Shit Stops Happening

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There was a scene in Twin Peaks, when Dale had a vision of the giant come to him at the local bar.  All the giant kept saying was, “It is happening again.”  It’s terrifying and disruptive; the whole place feels it, even though they didn’t see what Dale saw.  That’s how I feel right now.

I’ve got two songs here: one I’ve posted a couple of times in response to horrific violence; the other is the one true thing I know, which everyone needs to remember now and always.  Here’s hoping I don’t have to post either one again any time soon.

My Top Five Bands: Number 1

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Let’s have another theme week, shall we?  Okay, so they’re not generally the most popular, and they almost always get interrupted by news of some kind, but why not give it another shot.  I’ve been thinking about doing some kind of top five or top ten list of my favorite bands, but that probably would’ve been too unwieldy.  So this week each post will be about one of the bands I consider my five favorites.  If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, most of these probably won’t surprise you—although I admit I did surprise myself just a bit.

Number one isn’t exactly shocking.  The Beatles are number one on a lot of people’s lists.  I could go on about how innovative and culturally influential they were.  I could probably spout off something about their songwriting and musical talent.  I could probably even muster up a decent postmodern analysis of their personal dynamics and deconstruction of the meanings behind their songs, if you give me enough time.  But all that stuff has been done to death.  And, really, the Beatles position as my favorite band of all time ultimately boils down to one thing: I like them better than I like anybody else.

Listening to a Beatles song, any Beatles song, makes me feel better than just about anything else.  If I’m feeling down, I get a little happier.  If I’m anxious, I relax.  If I’m angry at something, it just kind of dissipates in the face of their charming, lyrical, Liverpudlian onslaught.  “Ticket to Ride” happens to be one of my very favorites, but I could’ve chosen about a dozen others that I like just as much.  And dozens of others that fall not that far behind.  (I’m sort of proud that I managed to keep it to just my favorite 150 on the iPod.)  There’s really nothing and no one in music that I enjoy more than the Beatles.

In fact, I like them so much, here’s another song.  I dare you not to smile.

It Was 50 Years Ago Today . . .

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American music, and culture, was forever changed today in 1964 when the Beatles made their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.  I’m not going to say much more, since there’s already been a bit of overkill as far as this anniversary is concerned.  (And it takes a lot for me to say that anything involving the Beatles is overkill.)

Even though I think this has all been a little overhyped, that doesn’t mean I’m downplaying the effect the Fab Four had on America.  Beatlemania had already gripped England, and it spread to the States like an infection.  It was one of those watershed moments of the 1960s, like the moon landing and Kennedy’s assassination.  There was so much change in that decade, but it’s change that’s become the norm today.  Or even something to rebel against.  There’s always been change.  There’s always been generation gaps.  But maybe the changes of the 60s seem so massive because they were documented by and disseminated through electronic media so effectively.  (Face it millennials; you weren’t the first generation to use electronic media.)  For the first time in history, everything that was going on around the world was beamed into everyone’s living room.  It was witnessed and talked about and analyzed to death.

Maybe that’s why people are still talking about the 1960s.

Happy John Lennon’s Birthday!

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Sorry I was AWOL yesterday.  I was too busy placing a grocery order online and playing with the Kindle Paperwhite my mother got me.  (I love new toys!)  It really is easy to read on.  No weird screen glare or anything.  It makes me feel extra bad that I messed up a little on the order, and got regular caffeine free Coke instead of Diet caffeine free Coke for her.

It’s a little cold and rainy here today, too.  (Right on the heels of the 90-plus degree days we just had; thanks, catastrophic climate change!)  But I like the rain.  It makes me happy.

So does this “Rain,” of course.  It’s not one of my top Beatles tunes, but it was right for today.  Just the right bit of cheer and melancholy, the beginnings of their dabblings in psychedelia.  I don’t celebrate too many holidays outside of the properly sanctioned, government, approved Judeo-Christian holidays, but this is one of them.  It just always makes me feel a teensy bit sad.  I can send all my happy thoughts about John and his music out into the Universe, and while I know they will be heard, it would be a lot better if I had an actual person to send them to.  He would’ve been 73 today (my dad would’ve been 72 now).  I like to think he would’ve been one hip old dude, making disparaging jokes about the government shutdown and giving One Direction tips on how to avoid mobs of screaming teenage girls.  He’d probably play at his own tribute concert.

So send out some happy thoughts, and do a nice thing for someone else today.  Have a cuppa, or a pint of something.  Sing a song.  It’ll be heard.

 

“Baby’s in Black”

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There’s something weird about this song, but I’ve never quite been able to put my finger on what it is.

Maybe it’s the way the guitar’s tuned, or the notes that open the song.  Maybe it’s the way the harmonies don’t fully harmonize, as if someone had a bit of a cold that day.  Maybe it’s the funny rhythm, or the way the lyrical tempo shifts from chorus to bridge.  It’s like this song was recorded by some kind of alternate universe Beatles with evil goatees or something.

Whatever it is, it works.  This is one of my all-time favorites by the Beatles; it’s probably in my personal top twenty.  I think I like it because it seems a little darker than a lot of their other early stuff.  Beatles for Sale came out at the end of 1964, and marked the beginning of the transition from Cute Pop Band to Serious Rock Musicians.  They’d already changed the face of the music industry and culture; now it was time to begin changing themselves.

I know a lot of people use 1965’s Rubber Soul as the traditional transitional album, but the changes really started occurring a year earlier. They felt trapped by their fame, and were beginning to chafe against Brian Epstein’s control.  All the original songs sounded weary, and a bit depressed.  Even the generally chipper “Eight Days a Week” reflected the chaos of their lives.  (Who thinks about having eight days in the week?  People who have enough stuff going on that they could use a couple of extra days just to get something done.)  The darkness of the originals was offset by the covers, although even these were a little on the overwhelmed side (“Everybody’s Trying to be my Baby”).  The walls were clearly beginning to close in around the lads.

This is the Beatles beginning a new stage of their musical evolution, which is another part of the reason I like it so much.  They were more than guys in matching suits playing innocent love songs for teenagers.  This is one of the moments when their talent began growing, and they began to break the mold they had created.

Repost: “I’m So Tired”

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Note: So last night was not a good one.  Dad had to go to the ER again, although this trip was one and done.  He’s got an infection and feels pretty crappy, but the antibiotics should take care of it.  Problem is, between that and a couple other incidents after we got home, I didn’t get to sleep until around 3 AM.  I got up relatively early, and haven’t really napped today.  Which means I’m worthless at the moment.  This rerun is the best I can do.  The details might not be exactly the same, but the feeling sure is.

I took a nap when I got home from running a couple of errands this afternoon.  I meant to lay down, doze for a little while, then get up and be productive.  Yeah, right.  I slept from around 3:30 until around 6:45.  This means that I will be up most of the night.  It also means that I’m feeling a little sleep-muddled right now.

Which puts me in the perfect frame of mind for John Lennon’s paean to insomnia.  “I’m So Tired” is typical of White Album-era Beatles.  It’s also, understandably, a little angry.  Everyone gets a little cranky when they’re tired.  Chronic insomnia is different, “it’s no joke, it’s doin’ me harm.  You know I can’t sleep, I can’t stop my brain.  You know it’s three weeks, I’m goin’ insane.”  I can’t quite identify with getting little to no sleep for three weeks, but I understand what it’s like when your brain just will not stop.  There’s so much going on and you can’t pin any one thing down.  Or you’ve got something big worrying you, and you keep turning it over in your head, coming up with new scenarios or new disasters or new solutions or new problems.  Or everything is imaginary.  But it doesn’t matter because it keeps invading your thoughts, interfering with your ability to function in any and every way.  Your brain just keeps going and going and going and going until you’re screaming “I’d give you anything I’ve got for a little peace of mind.”

Buddhists call this monkey mind, when your consciousness is chattering on like a monkey and won’t sit still long enough for your subconscious to take over.  Meditation is supposed to be the cure, but it’s hard to get around it.  I’m hopefully going to avoid monkey brain tonight by watching a movie tonight.  It’s long, so I should be able to sleep by the time it’s over.

If I don’t sleep after my movie, I might be singing this song tomorrow.  And now, for your listening pleasure, “I’m So Tired” accompanied by some lovely Beatles photos.

Internet Freedom Day

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Today is the first Internet Freedom Day, designed to commemorate the Internet blackout on this day in 2012 that helped defeat a pair of overreaching laws that would have criminalized even innocent sharing of copyrighted works online.  Since I traffic in innocent sharing of copyrighted works, I think this is a good day to celebrate.  (Slate has a good article on this you should check out, too.)

I think what I do here at the jukebox falls under the Fair Use section of United States Copyright law (here’s a link to the whole law; Fair Use falls under Section 107).  I do this for fun, although I confess I might make it professional one day.  All the music I write about was created by somebody else.  All the video and audio clips of the songs were created by somebody else.  Unless I state otherwise, all pictures I include were created by somebody else (you never know, I might want to show off my cats one of these days).  I write about music to share my opinions and introduce folks to something they might not have heard of before, or to shed a different light on something familiar.  Essentially, this is for review purposes.  I will NEVER provide a link to an illegal sharing or download site.  The artists worked hard to put that stuff out there; the artists should get the profits from it.  Now, the fifty cents or whatever that artists get for each CD sold might not matter that much to someone big like Bruce Springsteen, but it makes a hell of a lot of difference to someone like Mike TV of Get Set Go.  So if I link to a spot to download music, it’ll be itunes or Amazon, or anyone else that sells music legally.

I will support any reasonable anti-piracy law–emphasis on reasonable.  Any good anti-piracy law will include provisions for little fish in the pond like me, who aren’t hurting anyone.  It shouldn’t be illegal to share your opinion.  Let’s make sure it stays that way.

For the record, “Revolution” is a Lennon/McCartney composition, performed by the Beatles.  This video was posted to YouTube by velazquez11, and it consists of footage taken from the documentary feature Anthology.  Everything legally belongs to whoever is currently holding all the copyrights (please don’t ask me to sort through that miasma).  I’m just using it to make my point.  You want a copy?  Go buy one.

Also for the record, Paul McCartney is really hot in this clip.  Or is that just me?

As Seen On TV: “Real Love”

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Today’s song was chosen simply because it came up on the computer while I was playing solitaire, and it made me smile.

“Real Love” is taken from demos that John Lennon recorded before his death.  The song remained unfinished until 1995, when the three surviving Beatles reunited to record and complete two of John’s unfinished demos for a documentary.  (The other song was “Free as a Bird,” and while it’s pretty good, I don’t think it was as successful as “Real Love.”)  It’s a beautiful tribute to their friend, and it’s obvious from the studio footage how much they enjoyed working together again.

To me, the documentary is the real story.  Anthology was the story of the Beatles as told by the Beatles themselves.  It featured no narrator or outsider commentary.  The archival footage was supplemented by old and new interviews.  Everything was done with complete cooperation and participation from the Beatles and Yoko Ono.  I don’t know that it revealed anything new about the Beatle phenomenon, but it was the most complete and personal telling of their story.  This wasn’t some critical overview of how the four boys from Liverpool changed the world; it was just their story.  I loved it.  It aired over three nights, two hours each night (the video release is expanded by a couple of hours, I think).  I’m not so sure that could happen in today’s television climate; I think networks are nervous of having “special event” programming.

The best thing about it for me was the release of three double-disc sets of (mostly) previously unreleased recordings and demos, including the two new songs.  (I was especially excited about having a version of “The Long and Winding Road” that was not marred by Phil Spector’s hideous overproduction.)  Suddenly, there was new Beatles music to listen to; it was great fun for all us Beatlemaniacs out there.

Sadly, I think Anthology has kind of been forgotten.  Granted, there’s a lot of Beatle stuff out there, and it can be hard to sort through.  But seeing and hearing the boys again was so wonderful.  Much of the footage used was new to the public, or unseen for many years, so everything seemed fresh and new.  It was a little bit like a time machine transported us all back to the 1960s.

“All Together Now”

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Thanks for all the good wishes and good vibes I received after yesterday’s post.  It really wasn’t anything serious, but my dad’s 71, so any trip to the ER with an overnight stay in the hospital comes with a great deal of stress.  To top it off, I don’t sleep well when he’s not home, so I’m just a bit tired.  But I did some laundry, and he’s coming home sometime this afternoon, which is good, because I think Sasha misses him.

Anyway, I was thinking about something Carrie posted yesterday over at Hello Sailor  about coincidences and signs, and my comment to that.  See, I really do believe in signs.  I believe that sometimes, the universe really is trying to tell you something.  I’ve gotten two signs since yesterday morning that things are okay. One I’m not sharing, because it’s too personal.  But the other is this song.

I was sitting down at the computer, skipping around on shuffle, when I got the notion to listen to “All Together Now.”  It’s always been one of my favorite Beatles songs.  I love the sing-along quality to it, and how it gets so manic near the end.  It was used to great effect twice in Yellow Submarine.  Watching that movie every year on TV is my first conscious memory of the Beatles.  (For you younger folks, back before they even had VCRs, annual showings of certain movies on TV was quite the event.  You looked forward to it.  The Wizard of Oz was around Easter, I think, and I’m pretty sure Yellow Submarine aired during the summer sometime.  Then there were the holiday specials.  Anything by Rankin & Bass, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas were required viewing.)

Anyway, listening to “All Together Now” made me happy, and it led to two more songs (which will not be discussed today), which reminded of some home truths I probably needed reminding of.  One simple, happy song led me to a nice catharsis.  Burden lifted, at least for now.  Just a little nudge from the universe.  Go this direction.  You won’t be sorry.

Go ahead and sing along.  And don’t forget to vote if you haven’t already (or vote again, if you’re like me and you think voting is fun).  I’ve decided that the top two vote getters will be new features.  How regular they are will probably be up for debate (mostly because I’ve met me).