Sunday, October 18, 2009

Son Of A Beatle

I'm so frozen in time, I wouldn't know an X-Box from a PlayStation if you smacked me upside the head with it, so I haven't the slightest idea how the Beatles Rockband game works. I was curious enough to watch some of the animated videos, however, and they are wonderful. (See them here) Besides, if I want to play a Beatles song, I'll mess it up on guitar like everybody else. But it's amazing to me that 40 years after they broke up, the Beatles are the hottest, cutting-edge group going. Consider that the remastered CDs, prepared for release to coincide with this new project, have already sold 2.2 million copies in a marketplace that barely sells CDs anymore. They topped the Billboard charts yet again and the Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil "Beatles Love" show is sold out forever. Finally, younger people are realizing that Paul McCartney was in a band before Wings.

On the anticipated Rockband release date, Melody and I were surfing channels on a Sunday afternoon when we came across the Beatles' Anthology on VH1. Six hours later, we wondered how the time flew by so quickly. Recalling such sheer joy, we concluded that the first couple of years of Beatlemania were the best and last innocent times we knew. In 1965, LBJ was sending half a million men to Vietnam, and by the time the Beatles reached Memphis in 1966, the emerging evangelical movement was ready to crucify John Lennon for saying the Fabs were more popular than Jesus. At least they were on the pop charts. All those pictures you see with people holding signs saying "Beatles Go Home" were taken in Memphis, where they held a counter-Beatle rally and concert at the Auditorium while the Lads played the Coliseum. I was there when the cherry bomb was tossed from the upper balcony and John Lennon jumped as if he had been shot. The Beatles played two shows in Memphis, and there were still tickets left unsold. Had I known that, I would have attended both. But, I saw the Beatles, and despite the pandemonium, I also heard the Beatles; and it was a religious experience.

When "Hard Days' Night" was released in 1964, local theatres didn't know how to market it, so it premiered at the Malco Twin Drive-In on Summer Avenue. My sister, Susan, and I saw it in Times Square on a family vacation to New York. So many memorable moments in my life are punctuated by Beatle songs. The first time I heard "I Want To Hold Your Hand," I was driving east on Walnut Grove Rd. and immediately took a left on Mendenhall, headed for Pop Tunes, to buy the single (which I still have in the original dust cover). I can tell you where I was sitting in Knoxville the first time I heard "Day Tripper," and wished I was still in a band. Melody favors "Norwegian Wood" and insists that if I outlive her, "In My Life" must be played at the memorial service. I was thinking of "Nowhere Man" for mine, but I figured it was too self-deprecating, so I'll settle for "The End." And during the multi-year run of my lost and lamented radio show, "The Psychedelicatessen," I always started the program with two Beatle songs, just to begin where it all began. My life would have been immeasurably less interesting without the Fabs in it, and I am grateful.

George Harrison was still alive during the taping of the Anthology, and there was a scene towards the end when the surviving three were discussing the impossibility of a Beatle reunion. Answering suggestions that Julian Lennon replace John, Paul said, "Why would we wish to put him in the middle of this?" It's better to "Let it Be" and savor the memories of a remarkable era. The Rockband game offers memories in the making for young fans not yet alive when the Beatles ruled the world, and the sales and popularity indicate a whole new wave of Beatlemania, Part II in the air. These fabulous songs and wonderful melodies have come to life again for fresh listenings, or discovering for the first time. I don't intend to start playing video games now, but I'm sure happy that it's there. If I had teenagers, their Christmas presents would be already chosen.

Rather than dusty dreams of re-forming the Beatles, my new show-biz idea is to start a new band called Sons of Beatles. Ringo has two sons, Zak and Jason Starkey, who are both drummers; Zak, most notably, with the Who. Consequently, The Sons of Beatles could have double drummers like the Allman Brothers. Both Sean and Julian Lennon are artists and singers, with Julian showing a prodigious talent for songwriting. Dani Harrison, George's son, is a singer and guitarist, and surely one of Paul's children, maybe James, can be taught to play bass if he doesn't already know how. Place them all under the control of George Martin's son, Giles, who was instrumental in assembling the Beatles Rockband, and you have a phenomenon waiting to happen. I would certainly like to see it, even if they were rotten. But there's too much nascent talent there for that to happen. Since Brian Epstein left no progeny, I will volunteer for the manager's position. That's OK, fellows; You don't have to thank me.


gregg said...

In December of 1963, I was driving Sally's light blue Pontiac on Crosstown and was passing right in front of what was then the large concrete Sears and Roebuck's. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" came on. I pulled over to the side of the road and listened. It's making the hair stand up on the back of my neck right now just reliving it. And being sentimental, as I happen to be, the reliving is causing some mist in both my eyes. What an amazing time they ushered in.

Then, M.A. got Nancy and I front row seats for the first concert. "They" were real! and I don't think I could believe my eyes.

And then Carnaby Street, and velvet jackets, and the "young Beatles". And then came Sgt. Peppers and we were all off to the races.

In a large house in midtown and after a tab of some fine hallucinogenic substance, Bob, Malcolm, and I put on headphones and listened to the White Album for the first time and air guitared with our eyes closed for hours. Magic. And forever stamped into my raw but real hippocampus.

Will be 46 years in December. Thanks, RJ. Softened my day.

davethedog said...

There once was a thing called "VAUDEVILLE". As for me, I'm going to see The Mars Volta live this week in Nashville. RJ, I am also playing "The End" at my funeral, but The Doors version. hehe

The Mars Volta RULES!

jazzdad said...

Dave the Dog is up his ass about the Mars Volta. There hasn't been a decent new band since Steely Dan, which is why I am seeing them 6 times this year. Dave the Dog don't you remember seeing their Ed Sullivan debut at Grandma's apartment and begging the old man to let us stay until the end! Come on they are still relevant 40years later. By the way my funeral strickly New Orleans dirge at the beginning uptempo at the end.
Fab Fourishly yours
Jazz Dad

Anonymous said...

I was driving east on Parkway between University and Trezevant/Parkway on my way to Gary Hoffman's house for band practice when I heard "I Want To Hold Your Hnad" Floored by the sound......laughed at the name....Beatles?????. Within 24 was all over. Figuratively....and literally.

Anonymous said...

Great idea about the sons of Beatles. Just keep Yoko out of the deal.

Father Farken said...

When are all those old S.O.B.s getting together? Blessings!FFF

Anonymous said...

Randy, this column rings true for me too. My whole life as a musician came to pass because of those 4 guys. Last January Don Nix asked me to play on Klaus Voorman's album which was cut at Ardent. The magnitude of playing with the guy who played bass on the Plastic Ono band album and lived with 2 of the Beatles was not lost on me. And what a nice man Klaus proved to be. The album is out and my picture is on the cover along with 2 of the Beatles who also played on it. I can die happy now. My musician's life has come full circle.


Anonymous said...

If you will recall there was a 'the Beatles Are Coming' marketing program before anybody knew anything about them. I remember having a button that had that line on it, but didn't know if they were talking about bugs or what. They were just a name to me when one night while doing homework at home in Nov. 1963 a radio deejay introduced them by playing 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'. I thought that that song was a little bit bubble-gummish, but when I heard the rest of their stuff on the album 'Meet The Beatles' I was sold. But I really got into them from 'Rubber Soul' onward. They really had a hand in fashioning the spirit of the age. Oh, I hate to be a downer but there is proof of a collaboration between Ted Kennedy and the Soviets. He formed a cahoot with them in an effort to damage the Reagan administration. In an earlier day this would probably be grounds for execution. Here is the link:

Anonymous said...

Stern Cardiovascular Clinic in Memphis sent out a letter to all of their patients. The letter said that they had been contacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid who had 'proposed changes to services for cardiac disease that will significantly and negatively impact the way heart disease is managed' for seniors. You know that there will be plenty of other letters sent to senior citizens from other medical providers apologizing for the drastic decrease in the quality and availability of health care that will be available to them thanks to the Obamacare that you people are so happy about. The irony is that I am sure that many of you are approaching your senior years and will be suffering the consequences of this abomination yourselves. The letter closes by requesting the recipients of the letter to contact their congressmen in an attempt to 'help us save a small part of the quality health care that is available to us now'. Thanks Stern Cardio, but it is too little too late. And thanks for the heads up that basically says lots of us are going to die prematurely because of Obamacare and the necessary rationing that will ensue. Parenthetically, my urologist informed me that over 50% of the country's urologists over 50 years of age would be quitting their practices once Obamacare is passed. Medical care for seniors (and everyone else)is going to be sooo fucked up. To use an old expression it will be FUBAB. I can just hear a nurse saying, 'Let's see, you are having chest pains? The soonest you can see a physician will be six months. Go home and take an aspirin. If you should survive, we will see you in six months. And it likely that you will need a by-pass. But, I am sorry to have to inform you that no one over the age of 60 will receive money for a heart by-pass. We are so sorry. I'll be glad to give you hospice information, though'.

Anonymous said...

A new Guinness record for a politician and that might even include lawyers. But then most politicians are lawyers. Come to think of it , it would be interesting to have a lie-off between a typical politician and a typical lawyer. Obama told 7 lies in under two minutes. Here is the link: The guy is a veritable world class liar. He is amazingly bogus. The Las Vegas odds makers are figuring the odds for America's survival over the next four years. They are not giving the country much of a chance. They say that if he is re-elected all bets are off. They feel that there is no way the country can survive 8 years of Obama and his gang of Marxists and communists who are going full bore for world communism. Just wait until you here the revelations that are coming down the pike.

Anonymous said...

In December Obama will travel to Copengagen to sign a UN Climate Treaty. If 2/3 of the U.S. Senate ratifies the treaty all national sovereignty will be given up. We will be a vassel of the UN and will be governed by the dictates of Agenda 21. You folks need to buy a copy of the book entitled 'Agenda 21' by Element Books Ltd. Read the first 40 pages or so and ask yourselves what type of global governance and what type of global economic sysytem will ensue. If you have any perceptive capacities at all, you will see that it is a plan for global communism which uses environmentalism as its central principle. It is a construct of George Soros, Mikhail Gorbachov, Maurice Strong, and the hidden global elites. It grew out of the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Soon you will find that you have been unwittingly serving the interests of super-capitalists who have used concern for the poor as a ploy to suck in well-meaning people such as you uber-liberals. Amongst other things, they say that the Earth is vastly over-populated relative to what they say is the Earth's carrying capacity. There are plans to reduce the Earth's population to around one billion and maybe less. Food will be used as a weapon to accomplish much of this. It will make the Nazi Holocaust look mild in comparison. Both political parties have been complicit. George H.W. Bush was a major player. Will you people never get wise to the plans of totalitarians. Will you forever deceive yourselves by assuming that their aims are honorable? And Obama is one of the major players in the cabal. The only thing preventing cataclysm is the sovereignty of America and Obama is going to try his best to undermine it for his masters. If Obama succeeds the free world can kiss its ass goodbye. For a little bit of an intro to all of this check out this link: Also, check out this link:

Sputnik57 said...

Hey Pal,
This post was about the Beatles. Can't you give it a rest for a couple of days? By the way, if you say the Stern Clinic notified patients that Medicare would alter access to heart patients, you'd best be prepared to back it up. If the Stern Clinic is giving their patients misinformation to sell procedures reimbursed by Medicare, that's a pretty serious breach.
Carry On,

Anonymous said...

No, it was just a heads up that the new health care plan, whatever its final form, is going to seriously affect cardiac care for seniors on Medicare and Medicaid. Stern Cardio said that this info came from those who administer Medicare/Medicaid. It wasn't a hustle. They closed by saying that everyone who received the email should forward it to everyone that they know and to contact legislators in an attempt to alter the situation. I don't think that that is very likely, though. Bottom line is that scarce resources will have to be rationed. America is broke and will continue to go even deeper into debt. The plan is to bankrupt the country so that we will be forced to join the rest of the world in socialism. Actually, communism. This is a plan that has been in the making for a long time. It can be traced back at least to the French Revolution, but in modern times it can be traced back to a meeting of the Club of Rome in 1968. The threat of nuclear war was not getting any traction, so the plan to make the threat of global environmental catacylsm was conceived as an organizing principle and as we can see, it is working like a charm. The first Earth Day was in 1970 and the crusade has gathered momentum ever since. This is where Agenda 21 comes in. It is a global blueprint for world governance and a global communistic economy. The plan is to eventually reduce population and gradually turn the world economy back to pre-industrial revolution days in order to 'save the planet'. This is no secret. That is why I suggested that you buy the book 'Agenda 21' that grew out of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. You can check out videos of the event on Youtube. Read the first 40 pages or so and ask yourself what type of governance could possibly make such drastic global governmental and economic changes. The answer is nothing but iron-fisted communism. Check it out for yourself. Back to health care rationing. I have to admit that if it comes out of anyone's hide, it shouldn't be the young and productive. We seniors have had our chance at life and if someone must die so that the young can live, then the rationing plan makes sense. I just think that seniors need to prepare themselves mentally for what is coming down the pike. It is not kind to give them false hope and hold forth the possibilty that there will be no rationing. And it is no exaggeration to say that there will be an age limit on health services like heart by-pass operations. There is an actual formula for figuring out an individual's remaining quality years of life and a formula for relating that to the cost of a given medical procedure. If it doesn't work out according to the formula, then you will be denied the service. None of this is a secret. All you have to do is a little research. Like Robert Reich said a couple of years ago. He said that a lot of money would not be spent to prolong the lives of the elderly. He said that they are just going to have to face the fact that they are going to die. That is close to verbatim. You can probably find the actual quote on the internet. And finally, I am a monter Beatles fan. I am an old hippie who has been forced by reality back toward the right of the political spectrum...sorry about that.

Randy said...

Mr Anon.
Your comment caused me to look into this. I am in possesion of the Stern Clinic literature about proposed changes to Medicare and free-standing cardio clinics. They also urged their patients to contact congress and gave me a sheet instructing how.
I think this is troubling, maybe not for the same reasons that you do, but I am going to speak with some professionals and find out what this is about.
So even though the Beatles got involved in reality-politics, I appreciate the "heads up" and I am going to do some research on this and report to you what I find.

Anonymous said...

I feel sure that they are just giving seniors a heads up about the coming rationing situation. What else could it be? If 30 million or so new patients are put into the system with a relatively fixed number of health facilities and health professionals, rationing is an inevitability... unless you can pull off some heavy magic and cause lots of medical facilities and professionals to materialize out of the thin air. Besides, the eco-terrorists and the elites behind them want excuses to get rid of 'useless eaters'. That is also why the UN doesn't do anything to stop genocide. While I am at it, it is also the reason why they shut off the water to the California Central Valley, and why they won't extract our fossil fuels, why Obama isn't really concerned about unemployment, and why Obama is trying his best to bankrupt America. They are 'sheparding' America's demise so that it will enter the one world governance under the UN. I could go on and on. Like I said before, get acquanted with Agenda 21 and it will really help you to connect the dots. Many of the current events that don't make sense will become intelligible. And you liberals are going to be so pissed when you find out that you have been hoodwinked by the super-capitalists who will be laughing all the way to the killing fields. Truth is crazier than fiction.

Father Farken said...

Though I liked the Beatles I felt they were a threat to E & Carl, Chuck, Lil' Richard, Jerry Lee, Big Joe Turner, Clyde Mcphatter, Lavern Baker and all the great singers that lit the torch. Elvis was held hostage in Hollywood doing bad movies while singing PJ Proby demos to feed Col. Parker's gambling habit. So when DJ George Kline had a WHO IS MORE POPULAR ELVIS OR THE BEATLES? contest I became an Acornesque community organizer in Memphis, Tn. & started recruiting Frayser hoodlums to bring in groups of Elvis voters, scare off Beatle voters and stuff the ballot box...keeping E more popular in Memphis!

Late in her career Ella Fitzgerald put out an album of 60s songs ...her Beatle songs melted my heart. If you ever get a chance to hear E playing around with Lady Madonna...or Dylan singing Help (a bootleg at the Gaslight?) it'll make you want to "Call Sam"! And there was this white album! Wow! Though Harry Nilson you were wrong! No. 9 is the loneliest number! What can you say but O Blah Dee...O Blah Dah! The Peace of the Lord! Fr Farken

agenda #9 said...

Father Farken are you telling us that you wern't really into the Beatles until you heard Ella Fitzgerald sing GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE? Who in the world in the 60s was listening to Ella Fitzgerald?

Father Farken said...

When Jazz & Pop Singers like Joe Williams, Tony Bennett & Saint Sinatra were lounging the Beatles (Sinatra announces, "Ladies & gentlemen from THE LENNON-McCARTNEY SONGBOOK...then he goes on to sing George Harrison's "Something")! E was doing HEY JUDE...even goofus Ray Stevens does a surreal "Fool On The Hill". Even Brother Ray & Sister Aretha were souling the Beatles but the one who blew the doors off this thing called the Beatles ...for me... was the great Ella Fitzgerald! It was on an album simply called Ella! Let's face it the Beatles were no Million Dollar Quartet...hell! The $1,000,000 Quartet were no $1,000,000 Quartet!But datz another story!It was because of Ella I bought REVOLVER & RUBBER SOUL! Ella converted me! However my favorite group is Van Morrison! He is a genius with atleast 4 personalities in one body! That counts as a group right!

Anonymous said...

My Dad being from England brought home Meet the Beatles from the record shop in Goldsmith's next to the 123 shop he ran. I played it on the phonograph in my room at 8 years old and that was my introduction to music and the Beatles. The only other records I had listened to were old comedy 78s by Jerry Lewis and Dr. Seuss records. We saw the Beatles at the Coliseum and I still have the program which my parents chastised me for spending a dollar on!