July 7: Happy 79th Birthday Ringo Starr

Ringo was a star in his own right in Liverpool before we even met. Ringo was a professional drummer who sang and performed and was in one of the top groups in Britain, but especially in Liverpool. So Ringo’s talent would have come out one way or the other … whatever that spark is in Ringo, we all know it but can’t put our finger on it. Whether it’s acting, drumming, or singing, I don’t know. There’s something in him that is projectable and he would have surfaced as an individual … Ringo is a damn good drummer.
~John Lennon (Sept 1980)

Beatles accept award Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions 1988:

Nice tribute video from youtube:

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December 4: The Beatles released Beatles For Sale in 1964

Beatles for Sale is the fourth studio album by the Beatles, it was released on 4 December 1964 and produced by George Martin. The album marked a minor turning point in the evolution of the Lennon -McCartney  partnership, John Lennon particularly now showing interest in composing songs of a more autobiographical nature. I’m a Loser shows Lennon for the first time coming under the influence of Bob Dylan, whom he met in New York while on tour, on 28 August 1964.

John, when you were in New York, what did you like best about it?

 I just like cities, you see, and preferably big ones. That’s why I liked it. And we met some good people like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, you know, and I enjoy meeting people I admire.

(Sept 13, 1964 via In The Life Of…The Beatles)

Beatles for Sale didn’t  produce a single for the UK – the non-album tracks I Feel Fine and She’s a Woman performed that role. Nevertheless, that coupling was followed up in the United States by Eight Days a Week, which became their seventh number one.

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December 3: The Beatles Rubber Soul was released in 1965

There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all

All four faces of The Beatles appear stretched on the cover of 1965’s Rubber Soul, but it is not only the picture that is mind bending, the music within stretches the boundaries of popular music, too. In my mind it is he first truly unified album by The Beatles (and their first recorded within a specified session period), it is a quantum leap compared to the band’s past work. The Songwriting is out of this world, and the instrumentation was cutting edge. A milestone in rock history.
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December 19: The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record: Happy Christmas 1969

Chr-Rec-69-01

The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate, where they play “what will Santa bring me?” games. Harrison only appears briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian. Paul sings his original ad-lib, This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas. Starting at 1:30, at the tail-end of Ringo’s song, the guitar solos from The End are heard, followed by Yoko interviewing John.

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1968: 20 Songs Released in 1968 You Must Hear

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed
  • Restricted to only 20 songs

A shitload of great music was released in 1968, here are my 20 chosen songs.

  • Madame George – Van Morrison

    Madame George is the album’s whirlpool. Possibly one of the most compassionate pieces of music ever made, it asks us, no, arranges that we see the plight of what I’ll be brutal and call a lovelorn drag queen with such intense empathy that when the singer hurts him, we do too.
    -Lester Bangs

    A song from the album Astral Weeks, released in 1968. It was recorded during the first Astral Weeks session that took place on September 25, 1968 at Century Sound Studios in New York City with Lewis Merenstein as producer.

    In 1974, after he had recorded eight albums, Morrison told Ritchie Yorke when he asked him what he considered his finest single track and the one that he enjoyed the most that it was: “Definitely ‘Madame George’, definitely. I’m just starting to realize it more and more. It just seems to get at you… it just lays right in there, that whole track. The vocals and the instruments and the whole thing. I like that one.”

    Down on Cyprus Avenue
    With a childlike vision leaping into view
    Clicking, clacking of the high heeled shoe
    Ford and Fitzroy, Madame George
    Marching with the soldier boy behind
    He’s much older now with hat on drinking wine
    And that smell of sweet perfume comes drifting through
    The cool night air like Shalimar




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Nov 29: Concert for George 2002

On November 29, 2002, a year after his death, a tribute concert for George Harrison was held at Royal Albert Hall. Friends and family gathered to play his songs, and it was an impressive, if predictable, roster:

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Tom Petty, and Eric Clapton, who also served as musical director, took center stage, but George’s son Dhani Harrison was also there, as was Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka, early British rock & roller Joe Brown, and Gary Brooker. Unlike many all-star lineups, everybody had a close personal connection to George.

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