Showing posts with label beatles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label beatles. Show all posts

Friday 11 August 2017

Summer of Love (1967) Protest Song

Outburst of sunshine songs, hippies, flowers in our hair, long flowing tresses and dresses, sandals, psychedelic artwork, freedoms, revolutionary dreamers,….
Perhaps it wasn’t all just a fantastic dream?

Music art, fashion and politics collided against the ‘straight’ world – seeking cultural change and new forms of expression. Maybe it was deluded – but it was also full of life affirming, youthful hopes.

"Strawberry Fields, Whiter Shade of Pale, San Francisco, Itcho Park, flowers in the Rain, I Can See for Miles, Light my Fire, Sweet Home Alabama, and of course Sergeants Peppers Lonely hearts club band….."

Incredible String Band, the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Small Faces, the Animals, The Beatles, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, the Move, Traffic, Procal Harem, the Beach Boys, Bee Gees.

The summer of 1967 Love went along with the protest song, dreamers and activists and marchers. Political discussion though was not as effective as personal testimony or televised action. Mohammad Ali refused to fight Vietnam; Martin Luther King spoke passionately of peaceful protest and his dream. Hippies searched for more spiritual answers then there can ever be in capitalism, materialism and the suburban sprawls.

Today requires visionaries and artists: those who see the future and not only the day to day. King proclaimed ‘I may not get there with you to that promised land, where all men might be free”. When we march for Scottish independence, its not about flag-waving. I hope we are making it clear that we march of fairness, equality, and mostly democracy and about who owns Scotland - and we need to make this clear to no voters. Scotland has suffered 300 years of suppression, so its no easy task! 

The summer of Hippy Love was a time when dreamers dreamed of peace and love, and when marchers marched for civil rights and against war. Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’ and Dylan wrote ‘Blowin in the Wind’, when give peace a chance was the song. It was too soon though and the forces that be of the established rich too strong to overcome. Perhaps now 50 years later we may have some clearer ideas. We no longer wear long skirts, long hair or wear flowers in our hair, but we can still dream of new horizons and a better way, where all men might be free…

Sunday 1 April 2012

*George Harrison, his Songs Brought the Sun and the Stars

‘Sense never gratified/ Only swelling like a tide/ That could drown me in the material world.’ 
' George didn’t see black and white, up and down as different things. He didn’t compartmentalize his moods or his life. People think he was this or that or really extreme, But these extremes are all within one circle.’ Olivia Harrison

Harrison, the often overlooked Beatle, wrote some of the most loved Beatles songs - 'Something', 'All Things Must Pass' and 'Here Comes the Sun'. His guitar playing was highly expressive and admired by other guitarists. He added more to the Beatles sound than many realized. And my guitar gently weeps.....
I’ve been curious about Harrison since my twenties when this rhythm guitarist to my surprise said he was the most talented of the Beatles. After all it was always Paul and John in the spotlight. I watched Scorsese’s documentary ‘Living in the Material World’ recently and I enjoyed the way he is able to get under the skin of artists that he portrays, as he did in his  documentary on Bob Dylan entitled 'No Direction Home'. 
From the start George was the little brother, brought in by John and Paul to play the guitar riffs. He didn’t enjoy the teen worship and out of control screaming hoards of girls swooning for the band, and after a bit it became over whelming to him.
However anyone who studies the Beatles back catalogue will discover that some of their best songs were written by Harrison. He gave the Beatles a ‘lyrical’ style of playing. He is listed at number 11 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of "100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time". He drew from the records of Carl Perkins, Duanne Eddy, Chat Atkins, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran. There was his prominent rhythm guitar on 1966 Taxman, Love You Too on Revolver; This Is Love, When We Was Fab on Cloud Nine. Eventually Harrison developed his own skills and he submitted his songs for Let It Be and Abbey Road albums – songs such as All Things Must Pass. Then he wrote one of the best love songs ever written ‘Something’ which was Harrison's first Beatles single (a double A side with Come Together). 
George the Innovator.  He was an innovator, an observer who was endlessly curious.  He was a free agent and he didn’t like the rules yet he was also very much a team player.
Concert for Bangladesh(1971) – Held at Madison Square this was the first large scale concert by pop musicians to support a charity and led to Geldof's Live Aid. Even today sales of the CD raise money for UNICEF.
George the Mystic. His spiritual journey meant everything. He had money at an early age yet there was still something missing for him.  He married blond model Patti Boyd after filming Hard Days Night and she led him to an interest in Eastern philosophies.  Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar  became his mentor and he believed you needed to have direct experience of god in whatever form to believe. ‘ Look we’re not these bodies lets not get hung up on that.’  Patti inspired two of the greatest love songs ever written - Something by Harrison and Layla by Eric Clapton.  She later married Clapton and Harrison married Mexican Olivia Arias. 
 Post Beatles. All Things must Pass is considered to be the best post Beatles solo record with songs such as – Isn’t It a Pity, Beware of Darkness, My Sweet Lord, I’d Have You Anytime (co-written with Dylan) and the Dylan cover If Not for You.
George The Filmmaker. Handmade Films. He paid the largest price ever for a movie ticket when he had his house mortgaged to fund Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.
The Traveling Wilburys (1988). When recording for his album Cloud Nine Harrison so enjoyed  working with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lyne and Tom Petty(no less!) that he later got them together to tour and record as a super group. 
 Songs. I Gave My Heart To You, If I Needed Someone, All Things Must Pass, Something, Here Comes the Sun, My Guitar Gently Weeps, Isn’t It A Pity, Within You Without You, What Is Life, 

Harrison had a compassionate, spiritual and caring voice that seemed to come from a deep sense of belief and certainly of love. His friend Eric Clapton told of them sitting in the garden at Friar Park one morning when the sun started to come out and suddenly inspired the song .. like a miracle..The Beatles were different they were the first big band of the early 60s and those years 1963 to 1966 transformed the musical landscape forever. 
‘Create and preserve the image of your choice.’
‘’You don’t build a garden for yourself right now – you build a garden for future generations.’
 He had both grace and humour. He searched for inner light and inner peace …and yes Harrison did make the sunset with his songs. 
 All Things Must Pass, Concert for Bangladesh, Living in the Material World, Handmade Films, Cloud Nine, Travelling Willburys. 
It has been a joy reading about Harrison for this blog and listening to his music.


Concert for Bangladesh

George's last concert 

Monday 28 June 2010

*Paul McCartney Hampden Glasgow 20th June 2010 The Up and Coming Tour

The magic of the Beatles and of music - how do you TOP that? - legend. Paul enjoyed playing to the Hampden crowd, and paused over the entrance moment while a lead was fixed.
He often makes eye contact, not only do you feel the love and that he adores doing the live shows. As with the Beatles songs, it all feels personal even in this massive crowd. Many songs (and not only Hey Jude) were about the audience singing along with that communal live gig experience.

He did most of the classic Beatles I hoped to hear 'Eleanor Rigby',  'Blackbird', 'A day in the Life'  that became 'Give Peace A Chance'...'I've Got a Feeling', 'Paperback Writer', more, more... some with the full band, some with only Paul and guitar, and some at the grand piano. 
Paul likes to rock it up and I was thrilled to hear 'Day Tripper', 'Back in the USSR' and 'Get Back' as encore songs.   They also performed  'Yesterday' with only Paul and guitar, and 'Mull of Kintyre' with a school Pipe band backing the band.  We felt the hot flames of fireworks for 'Live and Let Die.' 
Songs included  'Rock n Roll it To You' a tribute to Hendrix.  He paid tribute to his band mates Lennon and George. He talked of George's ukulele and his version of Harrison’s perfect  'Something' was very moving I thought. . At one point he said that he never would have thought growing up he would ever talk with the Russian Defence minister, and he said to Paul, 'We learned English through the Beatles songs.' Paul's music isn't about sending out any idealist message - more about the love and peace we might all hope to share, and having fun with life!  

As McCartney pulled from his vast back catalogue of songs I wondered could there possibly be more classics to hear and oh yes there are!  He took to piano for his moving slower songs - 'The Long and Winding Road', 'Let It Be', 'And I Love Her' - his tribute to Linda.  He made many guitar changes, from an original Beatles guitar to a Gibson fender.  His comment was - 'well I have them all so I might as well show them off!'

His band seemed to enjoy playing with Paul and they performed for two and a half hours, and the set covered the whole range of Paul's music, through early Beatles to Wings.  The music brought back the 60s and those origins of pop music.  Paul seemed as full of love and life and music as ever, and I can feel that sense of 'magic' that was part of the Beatles there on stage.
I met my old primary school friend for the gig, and we sat on the grass near Hampden for a picnic.  We used to listen to all the Beatles albums many moons ago - her older brother had the entire collection, and I can remember how in awe I was of both their music and album covers! Her brother sadly died of motor neuron disease several years ago so I am sure the gig was very poignant for her. 

We had tears at 'Let It Be' - for those remembered. Simply the best sure enough.
 It has been a dream hoping to hear Paul live one day, and to hear those songs I have loved for so long, to take photos just an incredible experience and my ultimate dream. I thought I never would.

Thank you Paul for the dreams. Unforgettable.