Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make

September 4, 2015

Wonderful animation.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

December 8, 2014

Santana and friends perform George Harrison classic While My Guitar Gently Weeps from the Beatles White Album.

The song is often incorrectly credited to Eric Clapton.

Eric Clapton was on lead guitar on While My Guitar Gently Weeps, though not credited in the album notes.

Inspiration for the While My Guitar Gently Weeps came to George Harrison when reading the I Ching.

I wrote While My Guitar Gently Weeps at my mother’s house in Warrington. I was thinking about the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Changes… The Eastern concept is that whatever happens is all meant to be, and that there’s no such thing as coincidence — every little item that’s going down has a purpose.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps was a simple study based on that theory. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book — as it would be relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up a book at random, opened it, saw ‘gently weeps’, then laid the book down again and started the song.

I saw Carlos Santana play at the Royal Albert Hall sometime in the 1970s. He had with him one of his best line-ups.

A couple of decades later, I was walking past a little café in Puerto de la Cruz, and heard drifting out the unmistakable sound of Carlos Santana. I popped in and asked.

Note: It was on this day 34 years ago John Lennon was shot dead.

Norwegian Wood

July 29, 2014

Barely recognisable but amazing jazz version of Beatles classic Norwegian Wood.

I had never heard of Patricia Barber, until I popped into Ben’s Record Fair and picked up a copy of The Cole Porter Mix.

Someone worth seeing live.

Love me Do

October 5, 2013

Love Me Do, the first single by The Beatles, was released exactly 51 years ago today, 5 October 1962.

Thanks to Bianca Jagger.

I’ve just seen a face

July 7, 2013

I’ve just seen a face, Lennon-McCartney, performed by The April Maze.

I met these two Saturday evening at The Barn where they were playing that night.

I would have stayed, had I known they were this good.

Interesting how they made this video, using a 8mm app on an iPhone.

Kids react to The Beatles

April 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Paulo Coelho!

August 7, 2012
Happy Birthday Paulo - Ken Crane

Happy Birthday Paulo - Ken Crane

I’m 64, I still send Valentine cards, @chris_oiticica still needs me, still feeds me (only Beatles fans will understand…) — Paulo Coelho

¡Feliz cumpleaños! Happy Birthday to Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho who yesterday celebrated his 64th birthday.

Musings on musicianship

June 11, 2012
John Moline playing at the Old Ford in North Camp

John Moline playing at the Old Ford in North Camp

Kids used to learn by rote. It went out of fashion. It now seems to be coming back as kids are trained to perform under continuous testing.

We have an education system where kids leave school uneducated, lacking any culture, the ability to read or write or count. They cannot even communicate. They are unemployable and destined for a life unemployed. The dirty jobs are done by Filipinos, skilled jobs by Poles. The height of their aspiration is a pair of Nike trainers on their feet, as we saw with the riots last summer. [see Wasted Youth]

In music this rote learning never went away. Lean how to play, then perform a set piece.

Want a career in music? What does that mean?

I used to see a group play in a hotel. There used to be three of them, then it was two. Every night the same. People used to joke they could set their watch by what they were playing. There was no enthusiasm. They were going through the motions. They looked bored stiff. They could have been automatons. Maybe they were.

One night, maybe approaching midnight, I thought, who is that playing, they are quite good. To my surprise it was the guys who had been playing during the evening. To my surprise they could play.

They then left the hotel. One afternoon I was walking along the beach. I heard some good music. I walked further on and found it was the guys who used to play in the hotel, playing outside a beach-side restaurant. Playing with enthusiasm.

It is thought it takes around 10,000 hours to become proficient.

Let us assume I write one hour every day. Let us assume 1,000 hours to become proficient.

In a year I am a third of the way. In three years I am there.

But 10,000 hours, that is 30 years!

I write three hours a day. That brings it down to 10 years.

Write ten hours a day. Now down to three years. But ten hours a day, that is a lot of hours.

OK, let us try five hours. Manageable. Now six years. Not too bad.

The Beatles changed the face of music. Paul McCartney, as we saw with the Diamond Jubilee Concert, is still a great rock n roller.

The Beatles were not an overnight success. They played the clubs. They did not play the same old number night after night. If they had they would have been bored, the club empty and they out of a job. It is estimated they played more than 10,000 hours before their first hit.

In Hamburg they were playing eight hours a night for seven days a week! When you play for this length of time, you do not just churn out the same old numbers like clockwork puppets, as I have seen performers in hotels who you could set your watch by depending upon what they are playing, you improvise, you have a vast repertoire.

The Beatles put in 106 nights, five hours or more per night on their first tour in Hamburg, on their second trip 92 nights, their third trip 48 nights, plus two more Hamburg gigs. In total 270 nights in two and a half years. By the time of their first chart success in 1964, they had performed an estimated 1200 times, something most performers do not achieve in their entire career.

Paul McCartney still likes to takes to the road and considers himself to be a rock n roll performer. His classic performance some years back in Moscow live in Red Square.

Thus the ability to play is important, practice improves that ability.

By all means pick up a guitar and learnt to play a favourite piece. But then play around with it.

Jimi Hendrix did not get to where he was by playing set musical pieces, by sounding like everyone else.

If you are in an orchestra, not everyone gets to play like Hendrix. But no two performances are the same, no two conductors interpret a piece in the same way.

Marks on sheet music are waiting to be turned into music.

Music is the shaping of sound.

That is what Imogen Heap does. Listen to her improvisation on a piano for Earth Hour.

It is what Kimbra does when she loops her vocals, similarly with Steve Lawson doing amazing things looping a bass, or Zoe Keating with a cello.

Writers need a vocabulary. What they do not need is being told how to write. I can always tell when they are the product of a writing school, their writing is wooden, encased in a straitjacket.

Without a vocabulary, you cannot express what you wish to say, but you have to have something to say, a story that needs to get out.

Bland hype will sell to people who do not like music. On the other hand there are people who are technically proficient but their music lacks soul.

Watch someone pick up a guitar. They do not repeat a guitar lesson, they coax a sound out of it. They do it without thinking

My grandfather was a musician. He could not sit still. He would be tapping out a rhythm.

I have never been a fan of Gary Barlow. Someone with zilch talent in a pathetic boy band. That was until I saw him search the world for musical talent. He was a model of humility before some of the musicians he met. Girls singing in a school, drummers who made music out of what they found on a gigantic rubbish dump.

Few people make money out of music. It is a myth peddled by crap TV programmes like X Factor, that dangle record contracts and mega-stardom before gullible idiots. It is a myth peddled by music colleges and courses who want bums on seats. A cheap con trick that too many fall for.

Lady Gaga, Jessie J, Amy Winehouse, the originals are bad enough, why would anyone wish to debase themselves to imitate them? Walk past the bars in Protaras full of drunk English and when it is not karaoke it will be an awful clone act. One bar had posted up, X Factor finalist! Assuming they have some talent as performers, then by all means do covers, but make them your own.

There is a lovely album by Lobelia called Beautifully Undone, covers she makes her own.

A day job as a musician may pay, but you may not enjoy it. You may be better off working in a bookshop as the day job and playing the music you love at night.

Charles Ives had a day job as an insurance broker. His night job was writing music.

Learn to play music because it is a fun thing to do, not because it will give you a career. If you do it for the latter, you will end up bitter and disappointed.

In the High Street in Guildford, I often find a guy called Neil playing. He is actually quite good. I doubt he earns much money doing this, but he does it because he enjoys it. Sit in the street and talk to him, as I often have, and you will learn he has his own band and he will tell you where and when they are next playing.

Next to North Camp Station, on the Reading-Guildford line, is the Old Ford. Turn up Tuesday night and you will find a group of musicians under the name Jon’s Jam playing into the early hours of the morning. They just turn up and play. And they are good.

An absolute must listen to is the ramblings of Steve Lawson and Andrew Dubber on the future of musicianship. I would embed their talk, but have yet to figure out how.

I’ve Just Seen a Face

March 11, 2012
Caitlin Linney

Caitlin Linney

Brilliant cover of John Lennon & Paul McCartney I’ve Just Seen a Face by Caitlin Linney from her EP Caitlin Linney.


I’ve just seen a face,
I can’t forget the time or place
That we just met, he’s just the boy for me
And I want all the world to see we’ve met
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm mmm mmm

Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
But I’d have never been aware
And as it is I dream of him tonight
La, di, di, da di di

Falling, yes I am falling
And he keeps calling me back again

I have never known
The likes of this, I’ve been alone
And I have missed things and kept out of sight
But other boys were never quite like this
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm mmm mmm

Falling, yes I am falling
And he keeps calling me back again

I’ve just seen a face
I can’t forget the time or place
And we just met, he’s just the boy for me
And I want all the world to see we’ve met
Mmm, mmm, mmm, la di di

Falling, yes I am falling
And he keeps calling me back again

Falling, yes I am falling
And he keeps calling me back again

La estancia de Winston Churchill en Canarias

February 23, 2012
The English Library

The English Library

The Beatles en la Playa de Martianez en Puerto de la Cruz

The Beatles en la Playa de Martianez en Puerto de la Cruz

At least three sets of famous English have visited Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife in the Canary Islands: Agatha Christie (1927), Winston Churchil (1959) and The Beatles (minus John) (1963).

Nicolás González Lemus has written on all three visits in his book Viajeros: por sol, playa … y descanso.

The first contact Winston Churchill had with the Canary Islands was Operation Pilgrim, a planned invasion and occupation during WWII.

Hitler had helped General Franco to power during the Spanish Civil War and was now calling in his favour. Franco though was determined to remain neutral during WWII.

Spain was of no military value to Germany, but of huge strategic importance. Gibraltar controlled the Mediterranean, Canary Islands the Atlantic.

If Gibraltar fell, the plan was to seize the airport at Gran Canaria. An invasion fleet was in place, but never used as Franco remained neutral.

The first visit by Winston Churchill to the Canaries was in 1959. He was now the ex-British Prime Minister.

Winston Churchill was on holiday in Marakesh. Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis offered to fly him to his yacht Christina.

The yacht was moored at Santa Cruz. In the morning his wife drove to Puerto de la Cruz. She pursuaded her husband to undertake the journey in the afternoon. The drive back was in a more comfortable car provided by the island governor.

They then visted Las Palmas for two days and the island of La Palma.

Winston Churchill used to paint in Madeira. He so liked La Palma that he wished to return to paint, but never did.

During this trip Winston Churchill was now in his 80s.

Winston Churchill was to return to the Canaries in 1960 and 1961 with Aristotle Onassis on board Christina, but never set foot on land.

Churchill is also discussed in Cuba: Entre y Canarias.

A talk given at the English Library in Puerto de la Cruz.

Founded in 1903, the English Library claims to be the largest collection of English books outside of England (I assume excluding USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India). In the grounds palm trees and banana trees.

Top Story in #Winston #Churchill (Thursday 23 February 2012).

The Beatles en Tenerife. Estancia y beatlemanía

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