Tag Archives: Paul McCartney

On Age

Paul McCartney just turned 81. Which means he was born in 1942. He was born into what undoubtedly seemed to his parents as a world at war. And war wasn’t something that was happening elsewhere: the Nazis had bombed London and other cities from September 1940 to May 1941. Liverpool was one of the most heavily bombed cities.

1942 was a non-trivial year in terms of births of musicians: Brian Jones*, John Cale, Arthur Brown, Ian Dury, Spencer Davis, Andy Summers. And recording engineer Glyn Johns was also born in 1942; he was to work with The Beatles on the Let It Be recording and was the person who suggested that the band perform on the roof of the Apple Studio building.

Assuming that when one is around 16 the music that one listens to probably has a bigger effect overall than music heard at any other time in one’s life (i.e., childhood is behind and the edge of adulthood is sharply there), it is interesting to note some of the biggest songs in the U.K. in 1958:

  • “Jailhouse Rock” by Elvis was the first record to debut at #1 on the UK Singles Chart
  • “Wake Up Little Susie” by The Everly Brothers spent two months in the top 10
  • “Chicago” by Frank Sinatra sold big for three months

And while expected musicians including Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and The Crickets, and Little Richard had hits in the UK in 1958, it is worth knowing that Paul Anka, Harry Belafonte, Pat Boone, and Perry Como did, as well.

Quite an array of musical influences.

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Cartoons, Circuses and Dead Celebrities

The average new car payment in the U.S. in 2022 was $700 per month, and, according to Experian, the firm that knows more about your credit than you do, the average amount borrowed was $41,665. The average length of a loan was 69.7 months. To put that into context, were you to have taken a loan of that length that you are just paying off, the year you took the loan was the year that “fake news” became a thing (or did it. . . ?) Kelley Blue Book, which tracks such things, reported that in November, the average price of a luxury vehicle was $67,050. To put that into context, the U.S. Census Bureau, which calculates such things, says that the U.S. 2021 median household income (the latest year it has the number for) was $70,784.

Mercedes-Benz, which most certainly makes luxury vehicles, announced last week that it is “joining forces with emerging entertainment brand, SUPERPLASTIC.”

SUPERPLASTIC is described as being “known for its universe of synthetic celebrities brough to life through original content on social media and ‘hyper-limited’ toy and apparel drops,” a company that “collaborates with a wide range of A-list musicians, artists and international brands.” That would include Gorillaz, J Balvin, Steve Aoki and Gucci.

To simplify things, the company has created cartoon characters that are arguably the spawn of Garbage Pail Kids and Bratz and it sells stuff.

For its partnership with Mercedes it created a character named “Superdackel,” described as “the SUPERPLASTIC reinvention and heroic alter ego of a beloved cultural icon, the ‘Wackeldackel’, the classic ‘nodding dog’ ornament that’s graced the hearts and dashboards of generations of drivers around the globe.” Erm, well, at least for those who speak German is the Wackeldackel known as the nodding dog.

The company has made a video including its cartoon characters that has them boosting a car from a New York City Mercedes dealership and bumping along and doing cartoony things to a hip-hop beat. At one point Wackeldackel transforms into his new persona, Superdackel, which includes putting on a necklace that has a massive Mercedes star hood ornament dangling from it, bringing Mike D to mind.

Not only does the whole thing smack of cultural misappropriation, but odds are that few people who are SUPERPLASTIC age-appropriate fans are going to be able to pick up something like a Mercedes-AMG EQS sedan: starting price, $147,500. (Hmm. . .maybe two households could get together and share one. . .but they wouldn’t have anything left over for the electricity needed to charge it.)

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Gibson Guitars for Good

One of the things that is nearly inexplicable in our time is that there is a land war in Europe right now and although we have more access to information with more immediacy than the last time that happened to this extent and global consequence—back when Elizabeth II was still a princess—it seems as though that it something that we all once sort of knew about but which has been replaced in our infosphere by things of another sort. Most people probably know more about what’s happening in Mar-a-Lago than in Kharkiv. One is a continuation of the clown act that could have some devastating repercussions. The other is a place where, as I write this, the BBC reports: “On Saturday, the Russian-appointed head of Kharkiv region, Vitaly Ganchev, said his troops have started to evacuate civilians in Kupiansk and Izyum.” The Kharkiv region is Ukraine sovereign territory; the Russian-appointed head has absolutely no right to evacuate “civilians” from Ukraine–except that those “civilians” are undoubtedly members of the Russian army.

But there it is.

What’s more: Do we think that those people left homes, schools, stores, restaurants, infrastructure and the rest in anything but shambles?

While I have been critical—to say nothing of puzzled—of and about auctions of rock-and-roll-related memorabilia, from October 11 to November 11, 12 and 13 there will be an online auction taking place that is being organized by Gibson that is titled “Guitars for Peace.”

100% of the monies raised by Gibson Gives, the instrument company’s philanthropic arm, through this program will be donated to humanitarian undertakings for the people of Ukraine.

This auction goes far beyond someone being able to have something on display in their rec room. This auction matters. Matters as in life or death. Literally. Russian troops aren’t evacuating civilians in the Kharkiv region because they’re being nice.

Luthiers at Gibson have created four special Les Paul guitars that are painted with the azure blue and gold colors of the Ukrainian flag.

These guitars are being used by a wide array of touring musicians–Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones,  Slash, Fher Olvera of Maná, Nile Rogers of Chic, Mark Knopfler, Lzzy Hale, Margo Price, Alex Lifeson, Blossoms, The Fratellis, Kasabian, Madness, Maisie Peters, Paloma Faith, The Charlatans, The Vaccines, Toyah, My Chemical Romance—and the instruments are accompanied by autograph books that the musicians sign (thereby not having the guitars covered with Sharpie ink).

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1955 (and then some)

In 1955 Charlie Parker died in the suite of a Rothschild, Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter, at a hotel in New York City. He was watching TV. The Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show was reportedly on.

Although the brothers, Jimmy and Tommy, had their biggest period in the first half of the 1930s, TV needed content in its nascent period, so musical variety was big then. Parker was a fan of Jimmy’s saxophone skills.

Parker was 34 when he died.

Elvis appeared on the Stage Show.

In 1955 James Dean, driving a Porsche 955 Spyder, had a collision with another car east of Paso Robles, California. It was fatal for Dean. The driver of the other car, a Ford Tudor, had minor injuries.

Dean was 24.

Rebel Without a Cause was released after Dean’s death. Another film with cultural resonance like Rebel, Blackboard Jungle, was released in 1955. It was based on a novel of the same name released in 1954 written by Evan Hunter, who was born Salvatore Lombino, but changed his name to Evan Hunter in 1952. The first work that the author sold was in 1951, a short story titled “Welcome, Martians!”

Blackboard Jungle featured “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets. Chuck Berry released “Maybellene” in 1955 and “Johnny B. Goode” in 1958. The latter was recorded on 12-inch gold-plated copper disks that were launched into space by NASA on the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 space craft in 1977.

“Welcome, Martians!”

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“Propaganda of an Alien Ideology”

The Sword in the Rock

In medieval times, prior to someone becoming a knight, he had to take a bath the night before. Then they had to kneel at an altar upon which their weapons were arrayed all night long. The actual tapping with a sword—not on the shoulders back then as much as it was to the neck, presumably indicating that the person performing the ceremony could stick it to the person becoming the knight—is called an accolade.

On March 11, 1997, 25 years ago, Paul McCartney received an accolade, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

On May 24, 2003, McCartney played in Red Square. According to the BBC’s reporting of that day in Sir Paul’s history:

“Hours before the event, McCartney and his wife Heather took tea in the Kremlin with President Putin.

“Mr. Putin, who was a KGB agent when the Fab Four topped the charts around the world, admitted to his guest that The Beatles had been ‘a breath of fresh air’ during Soviet times.

“He said Beatles music ‘was considered propaganda of an alien ideology.’

“Mr. Putin said that while Beatles’ music was not banned by the Communist regime, ‘the fact that you were not allowed to play in Red Square in the 1980s says a lot.’

“McCartney said he gave President Putin a private performance of The Beatles’ song ‘Let It Be.’”

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New Paul McCartney video: Come On To Me

Video: Paul McCartney – “Come On To Me”

From Egypt Station, due September 7 on Capitol Records.

Ram is by far and away my favorite solo McCartney album. The notoriously perfectionist ex-Beatle’s second album is loose, goofy and–dare I say it?–fun! The screaming, utter nonsense of “Monkberry Moon Delight” and the adolescent knuckleheadedness of “Smile Away” gave Macca an outlet for one of the reasons we all loved him in the first place: he’s entertaining!

But just because it’s fun doesn’t mean it’s throw-away. The Beatles made an astonishing career out of bringing artistry to pop music. And so it’s cool to hear a bit of that fun in Paul’s new double A-side single, Come On To Me/I Don’t Know.

Who doesn’t love the jaunt of “Come On To Me” with some choppy guitars, a bouncy beat and lyrics about meeting girls!? Unlike Mick Jagger’s struggle to make lechery from a 70+ year old man (or any man, for that matter) acceptable in the 2010s, Paul has always been “The Cute One,” and this is a cute song with more than a few nods to his hi-hi-highs in Wings.

Paul McCartney: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Dandy Warhols video: Thick Girls Knock Me Out

Video: The Dandy Warhols – “Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)”

Gotta love the Dandies. It’s been twenty years since they released The Dandy Warhols Come Down on Capitol Records, and ten years since Capitol dumped them, and they’re still at it. Still pounding away at chuggy, psychedelic garage rock.

This one’s pretty fun, shouting out Paul McCartney’s Kisses On the Bottom and “It Don’t Come Easy” by “that other Beatle.” LOL.

Hook, hooky hook, mama. Look at you slammin’. Indeed. Look at you!

Hey we’ve got a new single called “Thick Girls Knock Me Out (Richard Starkey)” – if you ask my opinion you should plunk down the $1.29 to buy it on iTunes, maybe we can get a pot of coffee outta the deal.

“Thick Girls” is also available on all the premium streaming services (Spotify, Google Play, Amazon, Apple Music, etc), just in case you need it even cheaper than $1.29. Nevertheless play it a lot, put it on repeat, those .004 cents checks really add up ?

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Paul McCartney at Pappy and Harriet’s Looks as Amazing As You’d Imagine

How many times have you watch a bar band cover The Beatles? How many times has that band actually included a Beatle?

On his way to Desert Trip, AKA Oldchella, Paul McCartney and band stopped off to play a quick set at Pappy and Harriet’s, a high desert bar with a capacity of 300 people. Yes, three HUNDRED people.

By the looks of this fan video of the band playing “A Hard Days Night,” I probably would have peed my pants and then exploded had I been there.

Photo via Paul McCartney’s Facebook.

Timeline of the early Beatles solo era

George Harrison was the first Beatle to put out a solo project when he released his Wonderwall Music soundtrack on November 1, 1968. At that point, the Beatles were still together and had just wrapped up the recording of the White Album. They would spend the month of January 1969 filming and recording what eventually became Let It Be. By the end of August 1969 Abbey Road was in the can, and the next month John Lennon told the other Beatles, “The group’s over, I’m leaving.” They all kept quiet about it while they renegotiated their record contracts. But Paul McCartney told Life magazine in November 1969, “The Beatles thing is over. It has been exploded, partly by what we have done, and partly by other people. We are individuals, all different.” Nobody seems to have picked up on this at the time though.

It wasn’t until April 1970, when Paul released McCartney, that the world figured out that the Beatles had in fact broken up. By that time, though, there had already been six prior solo albums released and three singles.

When you look at the timeline from the release of Wonderwall Music through the end of 1970, it’s crazy how much stuff they put out.

November 1, 1968: Wonderwall Music (George)
November 11, 1968: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (John)
November 22, 1968: The Beatles (White Album) (Beatles)
January 13, 1969: Yellow Submarine (Beatles)
April 11, 1969: “Get Back” (Beatles)
May 30, 1969: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (Beatles)
May 9, 1969: Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (John)
May 9, 1969: Electronic Sound (George)
July 4, 1969: “Give Peace a Chance” (John)
September 26, 1969: Abbey Road (Beatles)
October 6, 1969: “Something”/”Come Together” (Beatles)
October 20, 1969: Wedding Album (John)
October 20, 1969: “Cold Turkey” (John)
December 12, 1969: Live Peace in Toronto 1969 (John)
February 6, 1970: “Instant Karma!” (John)
February 26, 1970: Hey Jude album (Beatles)
March 6, 1970: “Let It Be” single (Beatles)
March 27, 1970: Sentimental Journey (Ringo)
April 17, 1970: McCartney (Paul)
May 8, 1970: Let It Be album (Beatles)
May 11, 1970: “The Long and Winding Road” (Beatles)
September 25, 1970: Beaucoups of Blues album (Ringo)
October 5, 1970: “Beaucoups of Blues” single (Ringo)
November 23, 1970: “My Sweet Lord” (George)
November 27, 1970: All Things Must Pass (George)
December 11, 1970: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (John)
December 28, 1970: “Mother” (John)

* When UK and US release dates differ, the earlier of the two is displayed.

Image is a detail of the cover of Electronic Sound, painted by George Harrison.

Lollapalooza 2015: I Don’t Care, I Love It

Remember when Lollapalooza was alternative?

You’re forgiven if you don’t. They gave up on that idea by 1996 when they first booked Metallica as a headliner.

Remember when fests had their own identities? Bonnaroo was a rootsy jam band festival, etc. These days bands just rotate through the major summer music festivals, year by year. Cocahella last year, Bonnaroo this year, Lollapalooza next year. Repeat ad infinitum.

Just in Chicago if you attended Lolla, Pitchfork, and Riot Fest, you’d have the opportunity to see pretty much every band who’s currently touring. Sad you missed missed Run the Jewels and Courtney Barnett at Lolla last year? They both played P4k this year. Chances are they’ll both have a nice big font on the Riot Fest 2016 poster.

It’s quite a time to be a music fan. Then again you might ask yourself whether an outdoor music fest is the best way to experience live music. There are certainly a lot of hassles at these kinds of fests (comfort, sound, food, toilets, and on and on). But if you’re the type of person who likes to make a notch in your belt for every band you see, festivals can help you out with that.

I’ve always enjoyed Lollapalooza. It’s fun to enter into the mayhem for one weekend per year. For me, the fun has always outweighed the hassles. Then again I also don’t mind going to IKEA once in a while. Your mileage may vary.

Highlights this year were Paul McCartney, First Aid Kit, Charli XCX, and Gogol Bordello.

Surprises were Alabama Shakes (way more fun than I expected), Metallica (ditto), and Twin Peaks (I had avoided them because of their dumb name but they’re exactly the kind of band I love).

Disappointments were Father John Misty (grumpy), Lame Impala (I think I stole that joke from Twitter), Albert Hammond, Jr (sang like the guy from Midnight Oil), and the disappearance of the falafel vendor who kept me alive for the past seven or eight Lollas.

Scheduling conflicts made me miss Tove Lo, War on Drugs, Bully, and Shakey Graves.

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