Tag Archives: John Lennon

Who Is Harry Nilsson?

I just watched the Who Is Harry Nilsson? documentary on Netflix instant view (it’s also available on Amazon.com) and I really quite enjoyed it. I wasn’t too familiar with Nilsson other than knowing that he was a good friend of John Lennon’s and and that they got in a lot of trouble together in the mid ’70s during Lennon’s “Lost Weekend.”

I also knew of the song “Everybody’s Talkin” but wasn’t aware that he wasn’t the songwriter on that one.

Through watching this documentary I came to find out he was associated with quite a few other songs that I am familiar with. Most obviously he wrote “One” (the band Three Dog Night had a big hit with it), and “Coconut.” He also sang the version of “Without You” I’m was most familiar with (he had a #1 hit with a cover of it in 1971.)

But it was all of the material that I wasn’t familiar with that I found most interesting. I plan on getting a few of his albums (the Greatest Hits CD at least) to check out his songs more closely as I found them to be quite intriguing from what I heard in the documentary.

Even if you aren’t totally into his music (and it’s definitely quirky enough that it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea) I think you may enjoy the documentary as it’s very well done and Nilsson had a very interesting life. It’s definitely worth an instant view if you have Netflix!

I also noticed that there was a photograph in the movie (towards the end) of Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon all hanging out together post Beatles. As a bit of Beatles freak I’m amazed I’d never seen this photo before as I don’t know of any other photo of John and Paul together after The Beatles break-up so it’s kind of a neat shot. The picture must have been from around ’73 or ’74. After a little bit of time on Google I was able to it online and am including here:

harry nilsson and paul mccartney and john lennon

Most of The Beatles Songs in 3/4 Were by John Lennon

I was just reading the “Notes on” page for “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”* and I was surprised to see that of the 15 Beatles songs that use 3/4 timing (or 6/8 or 12/8) for at least one full section 11 of them were by John Lennon.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison had two each. Considering that Lennon and McCartney contributed about the same amount of songs to The Beatles overall, it’s quite interesting that Lennon had more than five times as many songs in three than McCartney.

Without thinking about it my hunch actually would have been that McCartney had done more songs in 3. But clearly that is not the case. Lennon really had quite a thing for ‘em. And as you see in the list below, some of The Beatles best songs had this unusual (in comparison with 4/4) time signature.

Lennon’s Songs in 3

“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
“This Boy”
“Baby’s in Black”
“Yes It Is”
“Norwegian Wood”
“Yer Blues”
“Dig a Pony”
“Happiness is a Warm Gun” (parts 2 and 3)
“I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” (alternating with 4/4)
“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” (verse)
“Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” (instrumental)

McCartney’s Songs in 3

“She’s Leaving Home”
“Oh! Darling” (and 4/4)

Harrison’s Songs in 3

“Long Long Long”
“I Me Mine” (and 4/4)

The Beatles Complete Scores

If you have The Beatles Complete Scores you will see that have “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” in 4/4. As you may already know there are different ways that you can write down music and they chose to write down this one as a very slow 4/4 with triplets on every beat.

But it could just as easily be written as a fast 3/4 and considering Lennon counted the song that way himself (listen to to the version on Anthology 2 to hear what I’m talking about) that seems more fitting. It could also be written as a slower 6/8 (or even a very slow 12/8.)

The important thing is that the song is in three; whether you are counting it as 4/4 with triplets on each beat, 3/4, or 6/8 that basic fact is the same.

*This “Notes on” series by Alan W. Pollack is a nice free addition to The Beatles as Musicians books if you’re interested in music theory analyses of The Beatles songs.

John Lennon Was Killed 30 Years Ago Today

Beatles legend John Lennon was shot and killed in New York City 30 years ago today by a deranged lunatic who doesn’t deserve to be named.

To celebrate John Lennon’s life today I will share RateYourMusic.com‘s (yes I’m still addicted to this site) perspective on each on each of his solo albums (the Lennon Signature Box has them all)

Highest Rated Lennon Solo Albums

#1 John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band (1970)

I agree with the RYM consensus. I think this is Lennon’s best solo album. There is some great stuff throughout his career, but it seems like this debut solo album was the last time he was really pushing the creative envelope 100%.

#2 Imagine (1971)

Agreed again. And yes, this album is more than just the first/title track. This is really a strong album throughout. It’s not quite as powerful as Plastic Ono Band to me, but it is probably easier for the average person to get into.

#3 Walls and Bridges (1974)

I rate Walls and Bridges and Mind Games about the same. I’m not sure which one I like more. They are both a bit underrated I think as they have some excellent songs. That said; they also sort of sag in a way.

#4 Double Fantasy (1980)

John’s tracks on this album are very good (if a bit too polished) but as an album it’s not so great because Yoko’s tracks are definitely an acquired taste. To be clear; I’m not a Yoko hater. I find it quite distasteful the way people treat her. I actually really like her and I think some of her music is quite interesting in a way. But I must admit that I rarely really enjoy listening to her recordings.

#5 Mind Games (1973)

#6 Rock N Roll (1975)

This covers album doesn’t interest me much, although I do quite like his version of “Stand By Me.”

#7 Milk and Honey (1984)

I actually just listened to this for the first time when the Lennon Signature Box came out this fall. I haven’t really formed a full opinion on it yet. It’s got some good Lennon songs but like Double Fantasy it’s hurt by it’s inclusion of so many Yoko songs (although there is one Yoko song called “Let Me Count The Ways” that I think is pretty nice.)

#8 Sometime in New York City (1972)

I also listened to this in it’s entirety for the first time as a part of the Lennon Signature Box. I think I agree with the assessment of the average RYM user. Definitely not John at his best.

Christmas Gift Ideas For Music Fans

The Beatles in Stereo and The Beatles in Mono box sets are the two most obvious choices for anyone who doesn’t have them yet. They are a “must own” for any serious music fan.

There are a number of new John Lennon releases this year that may be a good choice for a Lennon/Beatles fan. The Signature Box Set is an 11 disc set including all of Lennon’s solo albums (well, not The Wedding Album.)

Bob Dylan: The Original Mono Recordings (box set that includes the mono mixes of his first 8 albums) is another great choice.

A less expensive choice for Dylan fans is 47 track double disc set: The Witmark Demos (’62-’64.) This set was released on October of this year so there’s a good chance the Dylan fan in your family doesn’t have it yet.

For Bruce Springsteen fans there’s the “lost album” (includes 21 previously unreleased recordings from the 1970s) that’s just come out called The Promise.

Michael Jackson fans may want to hear the first (there will be more) posthumous Michael Jackson album; MICHEAL. This is not another greatest hits repackaging, these are previously unreleased songs.

None of these ideas sound right to you? Go to Amazon’s Bestselling Music List and see what you find. You will find all of these critically acclaimed 2010 albums there.

Or how about the latest generation iPod?

Today Is John Lennon’s 70th Birthday

John Lennon was born 70 years ago today on October 9th of 1940.

Celebrate his birthday by buying the new Lennon Signature Box which includes remastered versions of all of his solo work along with a disc of previously unreleased recordings and/or The Beatles in Stereo Box Set featuring remastered versions of all of The Beatles albums (and singles.)

Lennon’s Most Popular Songs On Last.FM (Beatles or Solo)
(based on most listeners during last 6 months) Continue reading “Today Is John Lennon’s 70th Birthday” »

Lennon Signature Box | Remastered John Lennon Box Set

A new John Lennon box set (SIGNATURE BOX) is being released on October 4th (you can pre-order it on Amazon.com now.) This is what the 11 disc set includes:

+ All eight John Lennon solo albums remastered (hopefully done as well as the remastered Beatles albums in The Beatles Stereo Box Set.)

+ A disc of remastered non-album singles (not included on any of those eight albums.)

+ A disc of never before released studio outakes and home demos.

+ Three new essays by Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, & Julian Lennon.

This Signature Box Set is not the only new Lennon material out on October 4th; there is also a new 4 disc set called Gimme Some Truth which is a compilation set where each disc includes a different type of solo Lennon song.

The first disc is “Roots” and it represents Lennon’s rock n roll roots and influences. The second disc is “Working Class Hero” and it contains Lennon’s “socio-political” songs. The third disc is “Woman” and it includes Lennon’s love songs. The fourth disc is “Borrowed time” and it features Lennon’s songs about life.

There is also a new 15 track “greatest hits” type collection called Power To The People: The Hits. Of course if you’re going to get the Signature Box there’s no good reason to get Gimme Some Truth or Power To The People: The Hits because they are just a repackaging of some of the songs you get with the Box Set.

But there is another release that may interest Lennon fans; a new version of Lennon’s final solo album called Double Fantasy Stripped Down. This is a newly remixed (by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglass) version of this classic album. It will be interesting to hear how “stripped down” they really mean.

Jay Reatard: An American Poet (1943 ~ 1971)

Life is about change, my friends. Jeff Retard was a strong boy. It is tough to understand what Gerard Cosloy can do to a man. If Jim Morrison and Nick Drake had a child, it would have looked a hell of a lot like the late Mr. Reatard. But life is about change, my friends. I can understand that this is a time for some serious grieving, and did we not already go through this last November when River Phoenix sadly passed on?

I guess I will remember Jay best as the man who stole my virginity, but life is about change, my friends. The good book teaches us that all things must pass. I just hope that Jay’s passing teaches us that baby carrots and exercise are the only legit way to go. It is troubling that I only got to play a few shows with Jay. So many people concentrate on all the controversy that surrounded Jay’s life, but a lot of people loved him as a man and remember the good deeds he did in his native of Atlanta, Georgia. Continue reading “Jay Reatard: An American Poet (1943 ~ 1971)” »

The Beatles USB Flash Drive Released Today

The Beatles USB was released today (and it’s back in stock at Amazon.com after being sold out for weeks.) The price has been reduced as it was selling for $250 and it’s now at $227.

With this “Apple” (that’s The Beatles Apple Corps, not the computer company that sells Macs, iPods, and iPhones) themed USB flash drive you can carry around The Beatles entire remastered stereo catalog (everything that’s in The Beatles in Stereo Box Set) in your pocket.

It features both high quality mp3 (that can be easily transferred to your iPod or other mp3 player) and audiophile (better than CD) quality 24bit FLAC versions of The Beatles stereo remasters. Along with the music it also includes all of the visual elements from the stereo box set (the documentaries on each album, the original LP artwork, and many previously unpublished photographs.)

29th Anniversary of John Lennon’s Murder

John Lennon was killed by a deranged lunatic on December 8, 1980 in New York City. It seems strange to me that they would purposefully release this thing on this day, but it seems even stranger that it would be a coincidence. Regardless, 29 years after his death, Lennon’s music lives on.

The Beatles Past Masters 2 – Lennon Vs. McCartney

My final entry in my “Most Valuable Beatle” series (which except for Yellow Submarine could really be called my Lennon vs. McCartney series.) Before I get to the Past Masters 2 disc let me share my previous entries here:

Please Please Me (John), With The Beatles (John), A Hard Day’s Night (John), Beatles For Sale (John), Help! (John), Rubber Soul (John), Revolver (Paul), Sgt. Pepper (Paul), Magical Mystery Tour (Paul), The White Album (John), Yellow Submarine (George), Abbey Road (Paul), Let It Be (Paul), and Past Masters 1 (John.)

That’s 8 wins for John and 5 for Paul and 1 for George. Now on with a track by track look at the Past Masters 2 disc (the new remastered version of Past Masters is sold as a 2 disc set, but I decided to look at them 1 disc at a time anyway.) Continue reading “The Beatles Past Masters 2 – Lennon Vs. McCartney” »

The Beatles Past Masters 1 – Lennon Vs. McCartney

I’m finishing up my “Most Valuable Beatle” series with the Past Masters non album tracks compilation which I’m splitting up into disc 1 and disc 2 to make it easier to chew.

First a recap:

Please Please Me (John), With The Beatles (John), A Hard Day’s Night (John), Beatles For Sale (John), Help! (John), Rubber Soul (John), Revolver (Paul), Sgt. Pepper (Paul), Magical Mystery Tour (Paul), The White Album (John), Yellow Submarine (George), Abbey Road (Paul), and Let It Be (Paul.)

That adds up to a 7 to 5 lead for Lennon over McCartney (with 1 for Harrison) through the 13 studio albums (and yes, I know Magical Mystery Tour wasn’t originally released as an LP in the UK. I have to mention this every time otherwise I’ll get a comment about it.) Continue reading “The Beatles Past Masters 1 – Lennon Vs. McCartney” »