August 15: The Beatles played at Shea Stadium in 1965
“Now, ladies and gentlemen, honoured by their country, decorated by their Queen, loved here in America, here are The Beatles!”
– Ed Sullivan
The Shea Stadium concert on 15 August was record-breaking and one of the most famous concert events of its era. Over 55,000 people saw the concert. “Beatlemania” was at one of its highest marks at the Shea show. Film footage taken at the concert shows many teenagers and women crying, screaming, and even fainting. The crowd noise was such that security guards can be seen covering their ears as The Beatles enter the field.
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.
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
“twice as good and four times as startling as Rubber Soul, with sound effects, Oriental drones, jazz bands, transcendentalist lyrics, all kinds of rhythmic and harmonic surprises, and a filter that made John Lennon sound like God singing through a foghorn.”
….. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
A lot of wonderful music was released in 1967, here are my 20 chosen songs.
All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan
Written and recorded by Bob Dylan. The song initially appeared on his 1967 album John Wesley Harding, and it has been included on most of Dylan’s subsequent greatest hits compilations. Since the late 1970s, he has performed it in concert more than any of his other songs. Different versions appear on four of Dylan’s live albums.
– There must be some kind of way outta here Said the joker to the thief There’s too much confusion I can’t get no relief
“Real Love” is a song written by John Lennon, and recorded with overdubs by the three surviving Beatles in 1995 for release as part of The Beatles Anthology project. To date, it is the last released record of new material credited to the Beatles.
Several off-key, a cappella versions of Yesterday are dispersed throughout the record, alongside Lennon’s Happy Christmas to Ya List’nas, Auld Lang Syne, a one-and-a-half-line version of the Four Tops’ It’s the Same Old Song, which they quickly stop before they violate the copyright, and an original poem titled Christmas Comes But Once a Year. A second version of Auld Lang Syne segues messily into a cover of Barry McGuire’s Eve of Destruction. I find this both funny and interesting and my favorite among the Christmas records.