Archives for posts with tag: The Beatles


And now I’m (not RIGHT now you understand otherwise I couldn’t be typing this or even see) lying in bed with my watermelon pattern eyemask on and earphones plugged in in a rather sensorily deprived and yet enhanced state listening to

The Beatles – Please Please Me
Fontella Bass – Bad Boy
Jazz Jamaica All Stars – Ball of Fire
Claire Martin – Black Coffee
Matty Eeles with Ska Toons – Love Alone
Love – Alone Again Or
Christian McBride Trio – Tones For Joan’s Bones
Hoagy Carmichael – Georgia

When you have time and space to listen to the music, especially on headphones, you can choose how to listen: you can hear the song, the overall sound – you get the feel, the warmth, the fullness and the memories too.

Or you can pick it apart – listen to the bass line, swap to the guitar on the right channel, the nasal edge of John Lennon’s lead voice, his harmony vocal – this is the more detached approach, but very rewarding, the Hammond organ swoops after Clare Martin’s voice, both thrilling. Christian McBride’s slithering bass skitters, his solo punctuated by little piano flurries. The detail in each recording!

And I think – this stuff – music,  in our headphones – transports us, takes us out, beyond… It, of course, separates and divides us from others (in the street, tube, bus) but connects us directly to the human essence: the breath rising from a human throat and the brush of lips on the microphone…

But then you know all this. And I’m high as a kite.

A favourite book: Revolution In The Head by Ian MacDonald. He writes about every Beatles track (and much more), commenting, pointing up features, drawing your attention to fluffs as well as well as the brilliances. Spend a few weeks with the book, the records, the headphones. Preferably not in hospital.

August 1967: I’ve got the latest Beatles LP under my arm! It’s called, strangely, ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, and inside the gatefold cover is a sheet of designs by Peter Blake – designs that you can cut out and keep – and even wear. I can’t wait to play it when I get to this party. Hard guitar on the title track, a bit of whimsical singalong stuff for Ringo (well, OK, but a good chorus), Lucy in the Sky (aaah, yes, psychedelic!), sitars and tabla, Lovely Rita, with orgasmic panting, and Good Morning, with a great biting guitar solo, then the churning Sergeant Pepper reprise, and A Day in the Life – amazing! Trippy!

But on side two, what’s this corny old-time thing? Sort of vaudeville style with a clarinet…’When I get older, losing my hair’..? Perhaps I’ll skip that track at the party. I sort of like it though.. ‘Vera, Chuck, and Dave.’ Funny.

In 1967 it was twenty years ago that Sergeant Pepper apparently taught the band to play, which would make it 1947: a time of rationing, austerity, a bitterly cold winter, and my birth. And I still get the valentine.