Tag Archives: Leonardo da Vinci

Of Ukes and Fakes (?)

According to The Theory of Everything Else: A Voyage Into the World of the Weird by Dan Schreiber—yes, the lengths we go to find things that may be of some moderate interest—when the remaining Beatles were producing “Free As a Bird”:

“. . .it was suggested that what they should do is add some ukulele music at the end.”

While the ukulele is generally associated with Hawaiian music thanks to the support of King Kalakaua, the last king and second-to-last monarch of Hawaii (following his death in San Francisco in 1891 he was succeeded by Princess Lydia Kamakaeha, who became Queen Liliuokalani, who was deposed in 1893 in a coup that included support of the U.S. military), it was invented in Portugal, but like a staple of Hawaiian breakfasts—Portuguese sausage—the musical creation of what was once a major seafaring nation established itself there as deeply and as thoroughly as the meat concoction.

But I digress.

Schreiber goes on to write that the Beatles decided to do something at the end that they’d done on earlier recordings (e.g., “Revolution 9”) when they were fully the Beatles: adding backmasking to the track. Backmasking is the method in which something is recorded backward and then, when played forward, reveals a message.


“. . .the message they ended up using was a snippet of Lennon saying, ‘Turned out nice again.’ This turned out to be a perfect line to put over the ukelele as it was the catchphrase of musician and ukulele player George Formby.”

And now cue the “dun-dun-dun” sound of something that is about to be shockingly revealed.

After backmasking the phrase, when it was played back

“. . .it didn’t produce a garbled sentence as expected. Instead, what everyone heard was the voice of John Lennon, though a backward record, saying the words ‘Made by John Lennon.’”


Continue reading Of Ukes and Fakes (?)

“Lennon Sings Sinatra”

In the world of art there are generally four steps:

  • Creation
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Acquisition

The artist comes up with an idea. That idea is then manifest in some outwardly physical (and possibly) repeatable form. Then that is put out in the world in some way.

The Creation part is as easy to understand as it is difficult to do.

The Production part can take various forms. For example, for a piece of music this might be writing it down in musical notation or recording it on some form of media, whether tape (that can be used to create things like albums) or as a digital file.

Then there is the Distribution. Certainly an artist who is only interested in the Creation part might not even go to the Production step, simply having the music in her head or performing it in the world yet not capturing it so that the performance is ephemeral. But she might want to create artifacts for her own use or edification. In this case, the work of art doesn’t go out into the wider world but it still exists in a form that someone else could have it. (E.g., If Renée Fleming sings in her shower, no matter how wonderful it is, it only exists in that period of time. If she records herself singing in the shower, then that performance exists after the time of the performance.)

In the case of something that has been created and transformed into some sort of artifactual being, there is the possibility for the Acquisition by others: Someone buys the painting or downloads the music.

While this is a linear model that leads from the creator to the object and vice versa, there are situations where there is a disruption because it very well may be the creator is not the person who is thought to be the person who has created the work in question.

Continue reading “Lennon Sings Sinatra”