Yes. This is a long list, and was a lot of fun to create. Inspired by my friend Bill Spurge’s “top 100 list” emails, I compiled this, “my 250 favorite solo Beatles songs” list in 2014 and only shared it with a certain group of people. It took many weeks and what you see here is pretty much what it looked like back then, but, there have been a few additions, deletions and repositioning of songs. All this time, the list has been languishing in the Gary Owen Land archives, and, recently, I thought, “why not share it?”
You will notice famous tracks like “Imagine”, “Band On The Run”, “Jet”, “Let Me Roll It”, “My Sweet Lord”, “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)”, “Got My Mind Set On You”, “You’re Sixteen”, “Oh My My”, “No No Song” etc are nowhere to be found. Why? Because I am beyond sick of them. I know it’s not the song’s fault for being overplayed, and, I admit, I’m partially responsible. However, the real blame is on FM radio. Mind you, I am definitely not saying these songs are bad. On the contrary, they are all fantastic, though, I can do without some of the lyrics to “Imagine” (use your own judgement there) and the cheesy fake drums on “Got My Mind Set On You”. So, yeah, I am now completely sick of hearing them. ENOUGH! Then, there are tunes like Lennon’s heavy handed song with the stupid title, “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World”, the irritating and hokey “Power To The People”, the smelly and slimy “Cold Turkey”, McCartney’s lame attempt at being political “Big Boys Bickering”, Harrison’s terrible cover of “Bye, Bye Love”, and Starr’s downright dismal “Walk With Me”. These songs, simply put, do not qualify. Why? Well, simply put, I don’t like them. I didn’t include The Traveling Wilburys as it’s a super group and, technically, not a solo endeavor. I like “Sing The Changes” by The Fireman but was not amused when McCartney performed it and added subtle images of a certain politician on the projection screen behind him. Things like that are what kept certain songs off the list. Also, tracks like “Remember”, “Morse Moose And The Grey Goose”, “Blood From A Clone” and “After All These Years”, and others, wound up “just missing” as they landed beyond the #250 threshold.
Each song/text was sent out “five-at-a-time” via email to anyone who was interested. Originally, they had YouTube links or MP3’s attached to the messages. Many of those videos are no longer available on that site, and, well- the MP3’s- are lost in time. With that, I deleted all the links as there is nothing more annoying than clicking on something that isn’t there anymore. Also, I had to edit a lot of the text as there were many references to said You Tube links and MP3’s. Even so, there may be a leftover reference or two about an MP3 or video. It’s 250 songs…..what do you expect? For fun, you can create an iTunes playlist or dig around You Tube. I’m sure most are there again.
In the end, some may like my list, but, some- I’m sure- will get their shorts into a bind and have plenty of negative responses about my exclusions/inclusions/opinions. That’s all fine, because, well, nothing’s gonna change my world. It’s all a matter of opinion….thank you.
Anyway, if you are truly bored, take a meander through the list. When you reach the end, you will notice I had a bit of fun with my “overview”. 🙂
We start things off with one of those over-produced-by-Mark-Hudson tunes from Ringo Starr. “Fading In Fading Out” is the opening track from the 2005 album “Choose Love” (failed to chart). Yet another album the world ignored. I remember when the CD was released as I went to buy it a few days before the scheduled release date (I now do that often). So, getting past the cruddy production/mastering, I love the chorus which makes the entire song. A prime example of Mark Hudson’s crummy, over-production, and- his cronies’ rotten mastering- is prevalent throughout the track but becomes extremely apparent from the 2:57 mark onward. Horrible effort on their part but still a decent song.
Here’s a great tune from the soundtrack of that classic to end all classic films: “Give My Regards To Broad Street” (reached #21). It features Ringo Starr on drums, Dave Edmunds and Chris Spedding on guitars. When the movie was released in late 1984, Damian, Antony, Brian and I went to see it at the now long defunct Island Theater. Of course, there were about 8 people in the audience and I recall Antony being disappointed that the accompanying cartoon “Rupert And The Frog Song” was not shown after (it was only played in chosen theaters). More on that in a few…
Here’s a cool tune from Ringo Starr’s 2010 album “Y Not” (reached #58). I have to admit that I am not a fan of the albums Starr has been releasing since 1998 but most of them usually have at least one memorable tune. I blame producer, Mark Hudson and his cronies for destroying what could have been some pretty good albums. The production and mastering are downright horrendous, and- naturally- the music suffers. For me, “Mystery Of The Night” is the highlight from the decent “Y Not”, which was recorded after Starr and Hudson stopped working together. It was co-written by Ringo and with Mr. 80’s Cheese Ball himself, Richard Marx. Favorite part: the chorus and when Ringo sings the high note at the very end of the song.
My one concession to Lennon’s second wife. What we have here is a reversal of the vocal tracks on this Yoko Ono composition. “Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him” orginally hails from “Double Fantasy” (reached #1) with Ono singing lead. For this mix, Lennon’s harmony vocal is brought up front and Yoko is banished to the background. This move- regardless of what anyone believes- is what saves what would be a forgettable tune. Anyway, this version was released in 1984 as the title track of a various artist “Happy 50th birthday to Yoko” album (even though she was 51 when it was released). Supposedly, Lennon was working on the idea when he died.
Speaking of “Rupert And The Frog Song”, here is the tune which was featured in said cartoon and has McCartney with The Finchley Frogettes performing. This is actually the “B” side of the main rendition and is played over the closing credits. The cartoon/song started life around 1980 and the “A” side went on to receive a top 5 placing in the UK charts (unreleased in the USA). Outside of bootlegs, this flip-side has not seen a CD release anywhere. I was watching the “Rupert” cartoon, when- after it ended- I switched off the VHS player only to see two airplanes smashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11/01. At the time, I was in Copenhagen, Denmark.
One of the many failed singles by Ringo Starr. This cool tune was the preview 45 from the 1978 LP “Bad Boy” (reached #129). Ringo even went as far as to promote the album with a 45-minute TV special titled “Ringo” featuring such actors as Vincent Price, Art Carney, Angie Dickinson, Mike Douglas, John Ritter, Carrie Fisher and a cameo by George Harrison (who also narrates). Yes. We watched it and thought it was cool that the audio was simulcast on WNEW 102.7FM. Mind you, this was at a time when Ringo Starr still mattered to most fans but all the while, his career was floundering. “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)” was not included in the special but even if it had, I’m sure it still would have failed to chart. I remember buying the “Bad Boy” LP at Majors Records on Forest Avenue when it was still in the Arlington section of Staten Island. Anyway, this was 1982 while Damian, Antony and I were going insane buying up all the solo Beatles albums. I had been seeing the record in that shop for about two years as it bounced around from rack to rack with a price tag of $4.49. I have no idea why I waited so long to pick it up but eventually- during a very cold winter’s Friday night- I walked the two miles to the shop and bought it. Brought it home, played it and liked it very much. Good album with the groovy “Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)” being one of the many highlights.
This is a strange one. “A Love For You” was recorded during the sessions for “Ram” (reached #2), but was not released until 2003 as part of the soundtrack to the movie “The In-Laws” and later on the deluxe reissue of “Ram”. Through the years, McCartney had added various overdubs to the song. In fact, the song was worked on at the very last Wings session in January, 1981 and again by Paul himself in 1986. In 1987, we picked it up on the bootleg compilation known as “Cold Cuts”. This was an album of outtakes and “B” sides that McCartney had conceived around 1974. It was even assigned an Apple/Capitol “budget” catalog number (SK-3419) but was cancelled and the number given to John Lennon’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” LP. This remix (for the movie) is my favorite of the three or four mixes floating around. Reason being, I believe, it features most of the overdubs which gives it a nice full sound (the original mix is OK but rather dull). Love the feel of the recording. Fave part: the little instrumental interludes after each chorus.
A slow dirgey tune from the overlooked “Extra Texture” LP (reached #8). With it’s laid back, relaxed feel, I have always enjoyed “Grey Cloudy Lies” but the painful lyrics suggest something entirely different. Apparently, Harrison was upset at the amount of criticism he had received for both his “Dark Horse” LP and tour. Many people believe when he wrote the song, he was nearly suicidal and all due to doubting his religious path which was not well received at any of his concerts. One of the set of lyrics reads:
“Now, I only want to be
With no pistol at my brain
But at times it gets so lonely
Could go insane
Could lose my aim”
I’d say the main catalyst for such a dark song was the end of his marriage to Pattie Boyd and all the coke he was snorting. “Grey Cloudy Lies” = relaxing song……as long as some of the lyrics are ignored.
Get it? “Wonderwall to be here” (“wonderful to be here”)? Har Har! George Harrison was still a Beatle during this period, it’s still a solo recording from a solo album. He wrote the entire Indian influenced soundtrack for an off kilter, psychedelic flick titled “Wonderwall”. The album “Wonderwall Music” wound up being the very first LP released by Apple Records (reached #49). The soundtrack is actually a pretty cool listen and the title track here is one of the highlights. I am especially fond of the use of the Mellotron. This is the same electric keyboard instrument used by the Beatles for “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Flying” and the intro to “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill”. In the case of “Wonderwall To Be Here”, the Mellotron utilizes the “strings” sound. Cozy. I’ll never forget buying this album at the now defunct Record Baron on Forest Avenue. It was during a time (1981) when I was in the middle of a Beatles record war with Roddney Bray. We were in the store when I found the Australian pressing sitting in the Harrison section for $10.29. At the time, it may as well have been $100.00 or more. Naturally, I had zero funds and he sees how excited I became when I found the LP- one that he never even knew existed. He starts ribbing me that he is going to buy it. The next day at school, he does the same thing. He went on and on about it. I regressed, said “whatever” and told him I would take the walk with him to buy it. Of course, nasty, evil thoughts abounded. When I got home, I told Mom the story and begged for the cash and she actually gave it to me! With that sealed, I called Rodd and said I would meet him at his house in 20 minutes. Instead, I blasted out of my house like a flock of sparrows, ran full speed down Crystal, nearly got hit by a car on Watchogue, scooted up Muller, snuck through some guy’s back yard and over a fence, slipped on mud and onto College, down Marianne, tripped and fell onto Forest, stormed into Record Baron and bought the LP. I nearly collapsed from exhaustion but I had the album, didn’t I?! As I victoriously leave the shop, who comes running around the corner all pissed off? AHAHAHAHAHAHA! I raise the bag and say “Guess what I bought!?” He says “Nice friend! Nice friend!” and keeps walking. I laughed and laughed. It’s OK. He wound up buying some cool stuff that day so it balanced out. Listen. All is fair in love, war and Beatles records, right? We are now strong Beatle collecting allies. 🙂
The best track from Wings’ first album “Wild Life” (reached #10). Like McCartney’s first outing, there were no singles pulled from the collection. If he had decided on one, I am sure “Tomorrow” would have been chosen as it’s the most commercial. Essentially, it’s the follow up to “Yesterday”. Only difference is that there aren’t over 1,000,000 different recordings of “Tomorrow, are there? Happy, carefree tune.
A loud, noisy rocker from my all time favorite John Lennon LP “Walls & Bridges” (reached #1). In this tune, Lennon is screaming his heart out over his separation from Yoko Ono. Ya gotta love how she made the rules for said separation by kicking him out of his own apartment, arranging that he hook up with May Pang and told him to go to L.A. Sad part is that he complied to all of it. Love does strange things to people- especially us dopey men. My most vivid memory of this tune is of Damian, Antony and I driving in Damian’s van across the Turnpike extension bridge around 1987-88. As the song played on the cassette deck, Antony stood up in the back of the van (which was empty) and proceeded to dance like a goon to the entire track. All this as we traveled across that stupid little bridge. Ridiculously funny, indeed. Anyway, “What You Got” shows off John Lennon’s awesome ability to sing like a maniac. Whether anyone agrees or not, he had/has one of the greatest voices in the history of music. If someone argues, they are wrong.
An outtake from the 1981 LP “Stop And Smell The Roses” LP (reached #98). The original title for the album was “Can’t Fight Lightning” but when it was decided to revamp the collection, drop a few tunes- including the lousy title track- and, change the album title, “Wake Up” was one of the casualties. I love the intro riff and the chorus, but- once the verses start- the song dies a quick death. I can’t help but believe that this tune has serious potential and would love to join forces with Q to create our own arrangement. Those verses need help! In the late 1980’s, I discovered “Wake Up” on a bootleg of the original version of the album. It was eventually released in 1994 as a bonus track on the now sought-after-by-collectors “Stop And Smell The Roses” CD.
A groovy tune from my least favorite of George Harrison’s commercial solo albums: “Dark Horse” (reached #4). “Maya Love” originated as a slide guitar tune, to which Harrison later added lyrics relating to the illusory nature of love – “maya” being a Sanskrit term for “illusion”, or “that which is not”. Harrison’s biographers consider the lyrical theme to be reflective of his failed marriage to Pattie Boyd, who left him for his friend Eric Clapton shortly before the words were written. Yes. I took that last section from a website. I have always been a fan of this tune. Love Harrison’s slide guitar and the entire feel of the song. In 1975-76, “Maya Love” was given the honorable distinction of being the final “B” side released by Apple Records until the label’s return in 1994.
Here’s one of those overplayed hits but this one I never seem to get tired of hearing. From the LP “Wings At The Speed Of Sound” (reached #1), “Let ‘Em In” (reached #3) is a colorful song about friends and family visiting. I saw McCartney perform this at Giants Stadium around 1990. I was happy.
Ah yes. Country Ringo! “Loser’s Lounge” is a track on side two of the recorded-in-Nashville LP “Beaucoups Of Blues” (reached #65). This one is more of a Country Rock tune and a title I would use as reference towards the now defunct “Strike City” bowling alley / bar…..the same building Rodney Dangerfield and Joe Pesce crash into in the 1982 movie “Easy Money”.
The main reason this angry song appears on my list is because of the phenomenal slide guitar from George Harrison. This was John Lennon’s whining response to McCartney’s far superior “Too Many People” on 1971’s “Ram”. It seems that the two were annoyed at each other over the way the break up of the Beatles was handled. Lennon was annoyed because he’d quit earlier (October, 1969) but kept it under wraps. In April, 1970, McCartney announced to the world he was quitting and used it to promote his first solo album “McCartney”. This infuriated Lennon so the bickering escalated to the point where he climbed the wall of McCartney’s home in St. John’s Wood, London and proceeded to throw a rock through his window.
Anyway, on “Too Many People”, McCartney sings:
That was your first mistake.
You took your lucky break and broke it in two.
Now what can be done for you? You broke it in two.
There were a few more digs at Lennon, who swiftly responded with “How Do You Sleep?” which was included on his excellent 1971 LP, “Imagine” (reached #1).
The song, however, is not all about McCartney, as the lyric……
You live with straights who tell you, you was king.
Jump when your Mama tell you anything.
……..is about Elvis.
Ummmm….really? No comment as to whom he referred to as “mother” and how many times he jumped. Musically, “How Do You Sleep?” is a cool, moody track, but, again- the main reason this even made my list- is because of George Harrison’s guitar playing. The fact he even agreed to perform on the track proved- at the time- where his sympathies were. Ringo was asked to play on it, but- after hearing the lyrics- told Lennon “no way”. Good for you, Ringo.
From the album “Memory Almost Full” (reached #3). Horrible 21st century mastering on this and every other track on said CD. Aside from that, “Dance Tonight” is a bouncy tune that features McCartney playing mandolin and generally telling the world to just have a good time. I like that notion. Just keep the condescendingly arrogant go-tees away from the recording / mastering console!
Co-written with Harry Nilsson, it’s the title track from Ringo’s 1981 outing. The LP was originally slated to be called “Can’t Fight Lightning” but cancelled. This goofy, dance hall type tune has always found a place within my heart as it’s so stupid and fun. I even like the dumb video that accompanies it. I remember walking into Record Baron in late 1981 and noticing the overwhelming scent of roses permeating throughout the store. I immediately said “Ah! Ringo’s album is out!” (he had all the albums sprayed with the fragrance of roses). I thought “what a great promotion!” I bought it, played it and liked it. “Stop And Take The Time To Smell The Roses” was the song Ringo was working on when John Lennon was murdered (12/8/80).
A classy medley of two McCartney originals from one of my all time favorite solo Beatles albums: 1979’s “Back To The Egg” (reached #8). “Winter Rose / Love Awake” is one of the highlights from the LP that many dismiss and have helped it fall into relative obscurity (silly, clueless people). As it turned out, the LP was the to be the last released by Wings. In February, 1980- while the band was touring Japan- McCartney was busted for attempting to smuggle marijuana into the country. Jerk. This pretty much became the final nail in the coffin for Wings, and, after a few rehearsals, overdub sessions- and work on Ringo’s “Can’t Fight Lightning” album- Wings disbanded for good in April, 1981.
One of the last songs recorded by John Lennon, about one week before he died. Like every Lennon tune on 1984’s posthumous “Milk And Honey” (reached #3), “I Don’t Wanna Face It” has a very loose feel. The reason being that the songs were pretty much run thru “works in progress” to get a feel of what to do with them. Overdubs were added in 1983. Great track.
From the LP “Band On The Run” (reached #1), “Mrs. Vandebilt” was released as a single in various countries but not the US. With it’s “rusky” feel- when McCartney went to Red Square in Moscow- he had the band learn the song. It went over so well that he kept it in his set list for the USA and other countries too. Good. We geeks liked that he did. Yes. The song title is actually spelled “Vandebilt”.
An instrumental version of McCartney’s tune “Junk” as featured on his first solo LP “McCartney” (reached #1). There’s the Mellotron again, which- for me- makes the entire recording. The song “Junk” itself was written during the Beatles visit to India in 1968 and recorded as a demo for the White Album. That version is featured on “Anthology 3”. Gorgeous melody. John Denver recorded a nice cover of “Junk” for his 1971 album “Poems, Prayers & Promises” and McCartney also recorded a further version of “Singalong Junk” for his “Unplugged” session in 1991.
A miserable song from John Lennon’s sloppy “Plastic Ono Band” LP (reached #6). If the mood strikes me, sometimes misery works well and “Mother” sometimes fills that void perfectly. This somber tune features Lennon singing about the hurt that came with his father leaving him as a child, his mother’s insane antics, and, the fact that she- essentially- dumped him onto his Aunt Mimi’s lap. So, yeah, I can understand the pain involved in all that. Not that he didn’t do the same thing to Julian but that’s another story. At the time of the recording, both John & Yoko were experimenting with primal scream therapy which supposedly helps people rid their souls of pain by screaming at the top of their lungs. Hence the insane ending. I bought the LP in late 1978 thinking it included “Instant Karma!” (the jacket does not show the song credits so I had no clue). I was very disappointed when I saw the only tune I recognized was “Mother”. My father absolutely hated this song and the rest of the album. When he read the lyrics on the inner sleeve- with words like “cock” and “fuck”- he was very annoyed at me but conceded as I had no clue what I had bought. My brother Michael went nuts over the album and played the living hell out of it. I will say that I have always loved the album artwork. The silly 45 edit of “Mother” (in mono, no less) did not fare too well on the charts (#43). By the way, that’s Ringo Starr on drums and yes, whether they admit it or not, AC/DC stole the four bell intro from this song for their boring “Hell’s Bells”.
For me, “No Other Baby” is a reflective song. It was released during an extremely tumultuous time in my life. In the middle of all this insanity, Linda McCartney died in April, 1998. With that, McCartney rightfully took a year’s hiatus from the scene but returned in 1999 with an album of covers titled “Run Devil Run” (reached #27). The moody “No Other Baby” was the single pulled from it (failed to chart). The accompanying video was the perfect representation of McCartney’s life at the time…..and mine.
The follow up to which song? Gee. I don’t know? This cozy track from my second favorite solo Beatles album: 1979’s “George Harrison” (reached #14) has an ethereal breeziness to it. Two years after it was released, I bought the album and was completely mesmerized by it’s laid back, summer-esque feel and gorgeous production. Not one bad song on it and has been my second fave since I first heard it in 1981. Phenmomenal album. A silly edited version which cuts out the last verse also appears on “The Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989” (Reached #132).
One of the many solo Beatles CD’s I heard months before it was released. While the album “Off The Ground” itself (reached #17) is a decent listen but runs out of steam, I have always been particular to the title track here (single failed to chart). I remember the tour for the album. Went to see about four shows including one in the now long gone Veteran’s Stadium in Philadelphia. I would notice a lot of people walking to the bathrooms while this song was performed. Not me. I sat there and sang along. I never liked the front cover of the album with the stinky feet hanging from the top. Yuck.
One of my very few concessions to Lennon’s political rantings as I now have zero patience for political tunes from any side. However, I have always been a fan of this sprightly number from the superior “Mind Games” LP (reached #9). It was written in 1972 during the time he was recording the crappy “Some Time In New York City” LP, but, wound up on 1973’s far superior “Mind Games”. Love the melody but can do without the “jerking off” line. The problem with Lennon was he always came across arrogantly heavy handed. Once he left the political crap behind him, IMHO, his songwriting blossomed again. I’ll bet many are not aware that he once hung out with Ronald Reagan during an American football game. Reagan even had his arm around Lennon explaining the game to him. Near the end of his life, Lennon was quoted to say “I would vote for Ronald Reagan”. There ya go.
Another song I played to death, hence it’s low rating. However, that does not deter from it’s quality as a great track. In late 1987, we Beatle geeks were anxiously awaiting the release of George Harrison’s first album in five years titled “Cloud Nine” (reached #8) and “When We Was Fab” is definitely one of the highlights. From the moment Ringo counts in the song, we find Harrison taking us for a journey back to Beatleville. For slobs like myself who did not witness all the fun, this was a nifty little gift from George. The regular version was released as a single in 1988 and reached #23. Complete with sitars, superior Jeff Lynne production and groovy tongue in cheek lyrics, “When We Was Fab” is a wonderful time machine for Beatle fans, especially, those of us who missed out on the 1960’s. Guest stars: Ringo Starr (drums), Elton John (piano) and Jeff Lynne (bass). The “reverse ending” version was released as a bonus track on the 3-inch “When We Was Fab” CD single in Europe. My copy is from Austria. Fab, indeed.
From my third all time favorite solo Beatles album “Ram” (reached #2). I bought the LP in 1978 as I wanted to own “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” and was quite excited to see that I had bought such an amazing album. In Gary Owen Land, monaural is a way of life but by 1971, it had been phased out to the point where only a few US record companies were still pressing their vinyl (mostly 45’s) in the format. McCartney was quite proud of “Ram” that he promoted the living hell out of it. One of his excursions was to mix the entire album to true monophonic for AM radio stations in the USA. These extremely rare promotional records were packaged in standard stereo “Ram” covers, so, the only way to find this scarce version, was to take the record out of the sleeve and check the label. It was finally officially released as part of the “Ram” deluxe set in 2012. As is the case with many monaural releases, the entire album has a different feel than it’s stereo counterpart. “Monkberry Moon Delight” really soars in mono. The extra delay/echo on the vocal being the prime examples. One thing is for sure, if I ever attempted to sing the way McCartney does on this, my throat would wind up in the trash can. And the silly world continues to brand him as an exclusive balladeer. Silliness.
McCartney: “When my kids were young they used to call milk ‘monk’ for whatever reason that kids do – I think it’s magical the way that kids can develop better names for things than the real ones. In fact, as a joke, Linda and I still occasionally refer to an object by that child-language name. So, monk was always milk, and monkberry moon delight was a fantasy drink, rather like Love Potion No. 9, hence the line in the song, ‘sipping monkberry moon delight’. It was a fantasy milk shake.”
Like wow, man.
Closing track from Lennon’s 1975 LP “Rock ‘n’ Roll” (reached #6) which is a collection of cover tunes from the 1950’s. He was originally going to title the album “Oldies But Mouldies” but after seeing a neon sign with both his name and the term “rock ‘n’ roll” next to it, he was inspired. By 1975, John Lennon wanted out of the music business, and- by relying solely on outside material- was able to get one step closer to fulfilling his EMI contract (he finished it with the best of collection “Shaved Fish” the same year). Around 1982, I bought the stinky Capitol reissue pressing and thought it was good listen (bought the original Apple pressing a few years later). Through the years, it has grown on me a bit more. “Just Because” has a nice, cool “end of the party” feel to it. I like that. By the way, the front cover of the LP was taken in Hamburg during the early Beatle days by Jürgen Vollmer- a friend of Klaus Voormann and Astrid Kirchherr. The blurred figures are Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Stu Sutcliffe.
Big Band Ringo! “Sentimental Journey” (reached #22) was Ringo Starr’s first solo adventure and recorded while he was still a Beatle (late 1969 through early 1970). The album was what Ringo describes as a bit of a gift for his “Mum” who- along with many family members and friends- would gather in the house and the Empress Pub in Liverpool to sing “the old songs”. The entire album is covers of tunes from the 1920’s through the 1950’s. I first heard the LP in 1982. My parents sat with me and sang along to every song. When it was over, my father said “Nice, but that’s an album you play once and put away forever”. Can’t argue with that but give me this track, OK? I love the arrangement and yes, I have been inside the Empress Pub which is featured on the front cover of the “Sentimental Journey” LP.
Paul McCartney meets Gilbert O’Sullivan! I can see GOS performing this track as it has him written all over it. Remember, he is a huge Beatles/McCartney fan so it was only appropriate that McCartney should record a song in his style, though Paul has never said that was the reason behind it. I just like the anecdote. From the the excellent “Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard” (reached #6), “English Tea” is a bouncy, happy, piano driven ditty promoting tea, fairy cakes and all things “British”. I say!
After Harrison passed away in 2001, Jeff Lynne, along with George’s son Dhani and others, added overdubs to this original circa-1989 demo ala “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”. Written for Eric Clapton, who did record it, “Run So Far” was included on the excellent posthumous “Brainwashed” (reached #18). I was very happy when that album was released. 🙂
Oh yes. I remember, in 1978, when my brother Michael bought the excellent “London Town” LP (reached #2). An album that was played on a daily basis for months on end with “Famous Groupies” being one we would often return to. It’s a song about all the crazy female fans who follow bands while bringing more insanity to the already insane world of music. I love the sound of the flying birds (cranes?) at the end.
Great tune which opens side two of the superior “Living In The Material World” LP (reached #1). Though he is being a bit preachy here, the main reason I like this one is the chord structure and the slide guitar solo at the end. All perfect. By the way, I disagree with a lot of what he says but the line about “whatever you do is going to come back right back on you” is spot on. Scary notion, sometimes.
Once again from the final recording sessions held by John Lennon. This is the opening track from the “Milk & Honey” LP and was released as a single in it’s own right (reached #88). By 1980, Lennon’s heavy handed songwriting had relaxed and he was writing more about life at home and all the good things that can come with it. “I’m Stepping Out” is a prime example. I remember buying the album, and- during the #4 bus ride home from the mall- thinking it feels like he’s still around and this is his new album. I liked that notion.
Again, from the mono “Ram” promo LP. I am a sucker for monaural recordings that are mixed well and this one is far superior to the stereo version. Bass pulsates and everything just comes straight out at you. “Eat At Home” was released as a single in various countries but not in the USA. I remember buying the album and completely ignoring this great song. I liked it but was more impressed with side one’s “Too Many People” and “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey”. Then one day, I played side two again and said “Wow!”. In 1982, I bought the Australian single through a mail order company called LSR Records. Naturally, I shared the address with Damian and Antony but not Rodd who was furious that I wouldn’t. He hated that I had this single and he couldn’t find it anywhere. One day, while we were in Port Richmond High School, I brought in one of the catalogs for him to see. Little did he know that I crossed out every reference to the address. I hand it to him and the first thing he does is scan through the entire booklet in search of the address. When he saw what I had done, he was pissed off and threw it back at me. I was proud. AHAHAHAHA! The thing that always gets me is that he could have easily called information and got the address. Not to mention that it was located in New York, no less. He never did. Silly person. Ah, the good old days……. 🙂 By the way, John Lennon said “Eat At Home” was his favorite track on the “Ram” LP.
Once again from Lennon’s golden oldies collection “Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Slippin’ And Slidin'” is one of the best tracks on the album. He even filmed a video for it’s single release which never materialized (in the USA, that is). The promo 45’s of both this and it’s proposed “B” side “Ain’t That A Shame” are very rare today (no, I don’t have them). Great rendition of a fun song.
Here’s a song that most fans consider a throw away. Naturally, I don’t. I remember when the now long out of business E.J. Korvettes had all the Beatles / solo Beatles albums in their own huge area of the record section. I would stand there for what seemed like hours staring at all these records wishing I had every one of them. I remember looking at Harrison’s “Extra Texture” LP and thinking “what the hell is this?” The cover was textured (extra) and in a vivid orange. To make it that much more strange, the title letters of the LP were die-cut into the jacket revealing a portion of a bluish photo of George Harrison making a weird face beneath. I would look at the track listing and wonder what songs like “His Name Is Legs (Ladies & Gentlemen)” were like. I thought clocking in at 5:45 was really long. This was around 1977 but I did not get the album until 1981 and, once again, it involves the Beatle war between Roddney and Gary. After we had graduated 8th grade, Rodd and I went to Manhattan to dig around record shops. Naturally, he had more money than I (he always did) and he picked up a stack of albums which filled many voids in his collection. How dare he? :). We went to such renowned places as Record Explosion and J&R Music World. We then discovered a little shop which was nearby the latter called Bondy’s. We go in and find a bunch of stuff we did not have, including an original pressing of “Extra Texture” which had all but disappeared from the store racks since 1979 or so. There it was and for only $4.49. Like two bozos, neither of us had enough money to buy anything and didnt even have enough to get home. Later that day, we hooked up with my father on his way home from work and asked him to pay our way on the express bus. Thanks, Dad! Anyway, Roddney decides to revive his “Wonderwall” game with me. “I’m gonna buy that copy of “Extra Texture”. Bla bla bla. Mind you, this is while we are on the bus with Dad- who became annoyed that he wouldn’t stop throwing it in my face. So, the next day, Dad goes to Bondy’s and buys the LP for me! Sure enough, as Rodd, my cousin Mike, Brian and I are playing baseball up at All Saint’s Church, here comes Dad walking proudly down the church driveway holding the bag in the air letting me know he’d bought the record! Rodd was highly annoyed, Cousin Mike and Brian laughed…………….and I was proud. 🙂 Anyway, “His Name Is Legs (Ladies And Gentleman)” was recorded during the 1973-74 sessions for Harrison’s LP “Dark Horse”, but, wound up on the follow up “Extra Texture”. With goofy lyrics like “he never over sits, he understands”, it’s an inside joke between George and his friend “Legs” Larry Smith. The latter can be heard (in double track form) babbling throughout the song. The best way to hear what is being said is to knock your stereo out of phase. If you know how to do this, you will clearly hear him say off kilter statements like “There’s only the Sergeant’s daughter but she knew what Reggie-meant” and that Pattie (Boyd) is teaching him how to knit. Fascinating recording, indeed.
I am not a fan of most music from the 1980’s. I never liked synthetic drums and “googly googly” productions like Boy George, Wham! and other assorted cheesiness which dominated during that cheeseball decade. This includes metal as well. For years, I resented it. Now, I merely ignore it all. I have to say, at least- during the ’80’s- there were spots of genius, but, once 1990 came around- unless it was something based on the styles of yesteryear- it was mostly all down hill.
Yeah……yeah……I know……many of you disagree and can name a bunch of bands you think are great and that I’m crazy, I’m missing out….bla bla bla. Save yourselves the trouble and don’t waste both our time, thank you.
So, in 1986, directly in the heart of that crappy decade of music, Paul McCartney released the album “Press To Play” (reached #30), and, naturally, it suffers from severe 80’s synthetic cheesiness. I will say, a few tunes stand out, and- the second single pulled from the album- “Stranglehold” (reached #81), is one of them. Aside from the Velveeta drum sound, this is a great opening track for an album. Love the chorus. Good tune.
Ah, yes. One of those cool, lost non-LP McCartney “B” sides. “I’ll Give You A Ring” was released as the flip of “Take It Away” and not included on the excellent accompanying album “Tug Of War” (reached #1). This lost tune started life around 1974 as a piano demo and (I believe) was properly recorded around 1980-81. It’s a rolling tune that really doesn’t go anywhere but I have always enjoyed listening to it. It was finally released on CD as part of the 2015 “Tug Of War” deluxe box set. This, of course, made me happy.
Ah yes. From everybody’s favorite Ringo Starr LP to rag on, “Ringo The 4th” (reached #162). Yup. it is a cheesy, disco-ladened, lounge room, drunken mess of an album but just like most solo Beatles albums, it has it’s moments. Producer Arif Mardin suggested to Ringo that he record an album in the current disco style, and, like a jerk, he followed suit. From that moment on, he watched his career go straight down the toilet (terlit?). The two singles pulled from the record “Wings” and a remake of “Drowning In the Sea Of Love” both failed to chart and the US stock copy 45’s are now sought after collectables. “It’s No Secret” is an original written by Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia and loaded up with all the cheesy 1977-ness so prevalent on the album. This nonchalant tune is rather nice and inoffensive. For this one, I actually like the sleek/clean production. Great melody too.
Yup. It placed very low on my list and yes, for the exact reasons I explained earlier: it’s ridiculously played out. Excellent track featuring Elton John singing and playing piano and the very first US #1 single for John Lennon (only took him five years). After they had finished recording the song, Elton John made a bet with Lennon saying “If this song makes #1, you have to appear with me on stage”. Lennon didn’t think it would go that far, and said “OK”. Alas, he was wrong, and- living up to his word- Lennon joined Elton during a 1974 Thanksgiving eve concert at MSG. Taken from my fourth all time favorite solo Beatles album “Walls & Bridges”, “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” is a huge, in your face, chaotic rocker that never relents. I remember hearing this on the radio and going nuts every time it came on. Five stars for Mr. Lennon!
One of my favorite tracks from the excellent “Tug Of War” LP. “The Pound Is Sinking” is a rollicking affair that begins in a minor key (Em) and warns us about over indulgence in the world with all the currencies like the Franc, Drachma, Pound, Mark, Dollar all suffering. Very effective lyrics with a cool very McCartney melody. The bridge doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the song and I get the feeling it was probably an unfinished piece that- when he realized he needs a middle 8- he threw it in. I remember when the album was first released, Damian, Antony and I were predicting what the next single after the cheese ball “Ebony & Ivory” would be. Antony said “Ballroom Dancing”, I said “Take It Away” and Damian predicted “The Pound Is Sinking”. All three were single worthy, but- as it turned out, “Take It Away” was chosen.
Again from the dreary “Ringo The 4th” project but not included on the album. This rare, non-LP original by Starr/Poncia was banished to exclusive “B” side status beneath both-already-dead singles pulled from the album (“Wings” and “Drowning In The Sea Of Love”). Once again, cheesy 1977-ness blossoms, but- as a song- I like it very much. It’s fun to play on guitar and features a unique chord structure not usually found on Ringo recordings. Took me many years to locate US stock copies of the two singles, but- with the advent of the internet- that silliness was taken care of. I remember during the early 1980’s, Damian found a copy of the “Wings” single and played this flip side over the phone for me so I could record it. You can just imagine how crummy it sounded but for the moment, it worked well. It’s a bit ironic that, as of today- since I started collecting both singles from various regions of the globe- “Just A Dream” is now the song which appears the most within my 45 collection. Oh, and yes………”Just A Dream” has yet to see an official CD release.
An excellent track from the excellent “Flaming Pie” album (reached #2). “Young Boy” features two players: Paul McCartney and Steve Miller. It was released as a single in various regions of the world but not the USA. It was one of the songs we received a month or so prior to the release of the album. Antony and I learned it and played it around as a preview at my gigs in NJ and Pa. Love the acoustic guitars on this. Excellent melody too.
Here’s a cool quasi-instrumental from Lennon’s superior “Walls & Bridges” LP. This was also the “B” side of “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night”. Great single and a great, unique song.
Excellent track from the “Double Fantasy” LP (reached #1). There is an earlier, grittier recording of this song with Cheap Trick backing Lennon. I don’t know how true it is, but, supposedly, Yoko put an end to that as she noticed he was having too much fun with the band. Hence this later recording which made it to the album. Sounds like Lennon is bitter at any lingering, old hang ups he may have between he and Yoko. Great song that- like everything else on that album- is now tarnished by what followed. Still bothers me.
This unreleased tune was written and recorded by George Harrison for an in-house only album celebrating Warner Brothers executive Mo Ostin’s 50th birthday. The same Ostin who vetoed the four songs from Harrison’s “Somewhere In England” a few years later. I love, love, LOVE the main slide guitar riff and the solo. Harrison had wanted to release this tune on his 1979 LP “George Harrison” and the 1989 compilation “Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989”, but, true-to-form, old Mo vetoed both times. That guy really gets on my nerves.
Another played out song. I know it’s not the fault of the tune but it is what it is and I am very tired of it. “Crippled Inside” is the second track on “Imagine” and features a very cool slide dobro from George Harrison. It’s lyrics are about a lack of inner peace. Something from which 99.9% of the silly mortal human race suffers. This is the Lennon I enjoy most.
From one of my all time favorite solo Beatles albums: the superior “Thirty Three & 1/3” LP (reached #11), “See Yourself” is a lyrically introspective track which began life in 1967. Harrison wrote the lyrics in response to the outcry about Paul McCartney’s public admission that he had tried LSD. In 1981, I bought the album the same day I graduated junior high school (8th grade). My parents took me out to a restaurant where my father handed me $50. I was very shocked and extremely happy. Took me less than 10 minutes to spend the whole thing. Of course it all went on records with “Thirty Three & 1/3” being one of them. Played it and absolutely loved what I had heard. Not one bad song on the LP with “See Yourself” being ample proof.
Recorded during the sessions for the superior Wings LP “Venus & Mars” (reached #1) and loaded up with the same over the top compressed sound, “Lunch Box / Odd Sox” is a sneaky little instrumental which finally trickled out in 1980 as one of the songs on the EP side of the lame “Coming Up (Studio Version)” 45. Definitely one of McCartney’s lesser tracks but that means nothing to me as I’ve always loved the song and play it a billion times more often than it’s cheese ball “A” side. Love the feel, love the playing, love the melody. “Lunch Box / Odd Sox” is an interesting obscurity within the McCartney canon. Obscure = very welcome in Gary Owen Land.
One of the most played out John Lennon compositions of all time but I absolutely love this rocking rendition as performed live at the “Toronto Rock And Roll Revival Festival” in late 1969. Lennon was asked to perform a day before the event was to begin. He quickly assembled a band, recruiting long-time Beatles friend Klaus Voormann on bass, Alan White on drums and Eric Clapton on lead guitar. This incarnation of the Plastic Ono Band rehearsed on the flight over to Canada and prior to the show. Lennon was so nervous that he puked (he hadn’t performed live in more than three years and had only worked with the Beatles). The concert took place on September 13, 1969 and after flying home to the UK, Lennon gained the confidence to leave the Beatles. Yeah, great, whatever. At the time, Duncan Gillies, a Scottish musician I work with overseas, was in the British Merchant Marines. He happened to be in Toronto and attended the show. He says Lennon was pretty good but Yoko was “God awful”. No kidding? So, this cool version of the peace anthem and the rest of the show, including Yoko’s two shitty songs- which took up all of side two- were released on the ensuing album “Live Peace In Toronto” (reached #10). For some reason, the LP went out of print rather quickly in the USA and it took me many years to find a copy (bought the UK pressing at Record Baron in 1981 with no invasion by Rodd……hehehehe). In 1982, I found the long out of print 8-track tape at Majors Records as well. Still have both.
Excellent, rocking tune from one of my all time favorite solo Beatles albums “Flaming Pie”. I remember buying the CD single of “The World Tonight” (reached #64) at a now defunct store called Media Play in Middletown, NY. I sat in the car and played it. Love, love, LOVED what I heard and was extremely happy that he had Jeff Lynne producing (yes, I love the notion of everyone sounding like ELO). Favorite line: “I go back so far, I’m in front of me”. Perfect. 1995-97 were good days in Beatle Land as we were given the spectacular “Anthology” series which included two brand spanking new full-reunion Beatles songs recorded specially for the event and “Flaming Pie” which sort of topped things off. McCartney was hanging around with the right people, and, coming off the Beatles campaign, it really shows in the music on “Flaming Pie”. I remember first hearing the album. Antony and I both picked up the CD but he was able to locate the US vinyl LP (now worth $$$). Just to feel like throw backs to the days of wax, we made sure we initially listened to the entire album on vinyl. Felt like the 1970’s all over again.
This one can pull me in a few different directions. From the boring album “Driving Rain” (reached #26), the album mix of “From A Lover To A Friend” failed to chart as a single, and I have to say that McCartney sounds extremely tired on the tune. Therefore, it’s no real shock. However, it’s not the fault of the song as it features an wonderful melody. Fortunately, for me at least, this David Kahne guy remixed the tune and gave it a gorgeous “new age” feel. This version of the song- released as a bonus track on the “From A Lover To A Friend” CD single- is part of the soundtrack to an extremely insane period in my life: 2001. A time which includes the end of my marriage, an eight month solo tour of Europe / Scandinavia, 9/11/01 and the loss of my favorite Beatle George Harrison. Even in the face of all that craziness, whenever I would begin feeling irritated, down, stressed- or anything negative- I would listen to the serene “From A Lover To A Friend (David Kahne Remix #2)” and settle down. I remember, in early 2002, gigging in the small ski resort town of Lenzerheide, Switzerland. I had just come off a extra high-paced performance and was exhausted. I went back to my apartment, took a shower, jumped into bed and listened to my “Wee Hours” compilation which features this track. Nothing mattered and everything was “just right”. Today, this version of the song still has the power to place me exactly where I need to be. Favorite part: strings at 1:48. I get chills every time.
Closing track from Harrison’s excellent “Living In The Material World” LP. A laid back love song that George had little to say about (so he says in his book “I, Me, Mine”). Favorite part: slide guitar solo. Chills, again. I bought the original LP pressing in 1981 during the Roddney vs Gary Beatle Record campaign. It was at a now defunct shop on Manor Road called Monte’s Music Warehouse. Whenever we would pick up something cool, we would call each other on the phone just to throw it in each other’s faces. This time, I called Rodd to brag but he was in an indifferent mood and didn’t care. Pissed me off as he ruined my moment. What nerve. 🙂
The big and extremely played out hit from the nice “London Town” LP (reached #2). We all know and have heard “With A Little Luck” (reached #1) thousands of times but like other worn out tracks, this one doesn’t bother me. When I say that, I am referring to the LP rendition with the non-chalant keyboard solo (my favorite section of the track). This was edited out of the silly US promo single, and, now, that’s the version which is all over FM radio (I turn it off every time). Hearing this tune on radio in 1978 was a breath of fresh air in a world which was still consumed by the silly disco craze (ugh). By the way, “With A Little Luck” became the anthem for the St. Teresa little league baseball team I played for (pitcher). We won the World Series and I still have the trophy. “There is no end to what we can do together………including winning the championship”. 🙂
Gorgeous, smooth tune from the gorgeous, smooth album “George Harrison”. “Dark Sweet Lady” is Harrison’s ode to his second beau Olivia and my favorite Beatle wife. The song features a very unorthodox chord structure which gives it an almost jazz feel. Excellent production, acoustic guitars, subtle synthesizers, harps, phenomenal lead vocal. No complaints from Gary Owen Land.
A gorgeous ballad from Sir Paul but one I played the living hell out of so it lands here. From the doinky 80’s production LP “Press To Play”, “Only Love Remains” (failed to chart) is one of the highlights on that cheesy LP. The single features a different mix with an uneccessary and annoying saxophone added. So, my preferred rendition is the album version. Fave part: brass flourish at 2:53.
Again from Ringo’s country album “Beaucoups Of Blues”. Featuring some very cool acoustic guitar picking from- I believe- Jerry Reed. “$15 Draw” is about a guy who found his dead uncle’s guitar “in the boot of his old car” and much to the chagrin of his parents, became a musician. He tells the story of life on the road and all the adventures involved. Obscure tune that deserved a better fate than being buried on a good album that most Beatle fans dismiss.
Cozy song from the excellent “Mind Games” LP. The first time I heard “You Are Here” was around 1978 when my brother Michael picked up the UK 8-track from a friend he was working with. The cover was black and white and every time I would see the US 8-track in the shop, I would wonder why it looked different. That was before we found out what imports were. We played that tape again and again and I am still not tired of it. Great album.
A stupid edit of this track appears on the nearly boring and preachy “Off The Ground” album. Then, came the “Off The Ground” 45 which states it’s the complete rendition (time says it is), but, alas, it lies through it’s teeth. Fortunately, the full rendition was placed on the CD single of that title track so we have it in it’s entirety. This throw back to late 60’s psychedelia was written in 1968 while the Beatles were in India. Whatever it’s history, “Cosmically Conscious” takes the listener on a trippy adventure back to the days of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. I like how McCartney tags on a portion of his non-LP “B” side “Down To The River” at the end. Groovy, man!
One of only two tracks chosen from the smelly and disgusting “Some Time In New York City” LP (reached #48). “John Sinclair” is one of those “songs for order” and features Lennon playing some very cool slide on his newly acquired National Steel guitar (I want one). It seems that some guy named John Sinclair- who was the head of some sleaze magazine at the time- was busted for selling two joints to an undercover cop and received a ten year sentence (“they gave him ten for two”). This is a rare moment where I agree with a soap boxing John Lennon. Ten years for two joints? Anyway, there was to be a rally for Sinclair’s benefit held in Detroit, Michigan. With that in place, the people running it asked Lennon to write a song and he came up with this. Along with rocket scientist and upstanding citizen David Peel, John & Yoko and a bunch of other dirt bombs performed at said rally. Three days later, John Sinclair was released from jail. Good job, Mr. Lennon. In one of his last interviews in 1980, JL was quoted as saying “that was a song I was asked to write. I would never write a song like that now”. Fascinating. I first heard the album in 1982 and hated it. With songs like “Woman Is The Nigger Of The World”, “Angela”, “We’re All Water”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”- most of which were sung by Yoko- I flat out dismissed it. In fact, I hated the album so much that I refused to buy the LP and only relented when I found a cheaply priced sealed copy of the 8-track set. To this day, I still dislike the album, but- as I said earlier- most solo Beatle LP’s have their moments and “John Sinclair” is one of that crappy LP’s moments. Rodd was the first to own the LP. I think he paid a dollar for it at garage sale (I didn’t care). We used to- and still do- make fun of the doinky “gotta” chorus on “John Sinclair” by doing a zwonky dance we made up about some kid at school. Just for fun, try counting the amount of times he sings the word “gotta”. In 2015, we Blue Meanies, with our other drummer, Drew Paradine, performed “John Sinclair” during our Lennon set at “Abbey Road On The River” in Louisville, Kentucky. That was fun and quite surreal (“are we really playing this?!?). 🙂
A slow, dreary number from the “Plastic Ono Band” LP. Even though Lennon’s “how dare you not listen to my superior suggestions on how to live your life” are apparent throughout, I still like the song as “a song”. Great chord structure and moody aura make for a cool listen. Least favorite line: “just a boy and a little girl trying to change the whole wide world”. Shut up, John. Anyway, “Isolation” is still a good song. Next…..
The light-hearted non-LP “B” side to “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” (reached #1) showcases Harrison’s silly humor as he laughs his way through this song about former Apple staff worker Chris O’Dell. There is a version without the laughter but George decided to use the “silly one” as the flip side. Cool note: at the end of the song, Harrison recites Paul McCartney’s childhood phone number which was “Garston 6-9 double 2”. While meandering around Liverpool with Brian and Joe “Sauceman” Pessolano, we passed a bus with a destination of “Garston” on it. We thought that was cool.
One of the best tracks on McCartney’s “Tug Of War” LP. This tune was also used in the 1984 movie “Give My Regards To Broad Street”. Back in the day, “Ballroom Dancing” received plenty of playing time in Gary Owen Land. Hence it’s low placing. Excellent track.
Rocking, single-only release which reached #10 in the USA, “Hi Hi Hi” was banned in the UK. This was due to what the BBC considered unsavory lyrical content (sexual innuendos and drug references in the title). Around 1978-79, Michael, Brian and I were walking across the nearby church yard and discovered a mound of stuff being thrown out. In the mountain of rubbish was a box of singles and the original “Hi Hi Hi” 45 was one of them. We became very excited as we’d never heard the “B” side before (“C Moon” is the flip side). We played it and loved both tracks (of course). As a result, “Hi Hi Hi” became another song I played into the ground, so, it lands here.
Ah yes. A single that my brother Mike bought and huge part of the soundtrack to the summer of ’79, “Blow Away” (reached #16) was on the jukebox at the clubhouse in Trails End, Pa. This is where we Cancemi people met the Fanelli people in 1974. One of our favorite past times was to go for a swim in the at-the-time largest pool in the Pocono Mountains. Afterward, we’d venture into the clubhouse for some AC, video games and grub. My favorite being the frozen pizza or pretzel rods with Cherokee Red soda. Sometimes a custard or glazed doughnut would suffice. We’d sit there and play songs on the jukebox and “Blow Away” was one of them. With it’s intricate slide guitar parts, the song is now permanently embedded in Gary Owen Land history as part of that groovy summer of ’79- my favorite of all time. My first kiss too. 🙂
One of my favorite tracks from “Tug Of War”. This song was also performed in the 1984 film “Give My Regards To Broad Street”. After the murder of John Lennon, all of a sudden McCartney decided he wanted to work with the other two (guilt, anyone?). He was able to recruit Ringo Starr for the song “Take It Away” and wanted to get George Harrison to work on “Wanderlust”. In early 1981- when the time came to add McCartney’s harmonies to the Lennon tribute song “All Those Years Ago” at Friar Park- McCartney brought the working tape of “Wanderlust” for Harrison to add guitar. Since they spent all day working on Harrison’s tune, George never made it onto the song. From what I’ve heard, McCartney was quite annoyed. Fantastic song with an amazing melody, “Wanderlust” still stands as part of the soundtrack to my summer of 1982- which was great but nowhere near as fun as 1979.
From the criminally overlooked LP “Gone Troppo” (reached #108), “Wake Up My Love” (reached #53) was the preview single from the album. I remember cutting school and wandering out to Manhattan with friends. We dug around as many record shops as we possibly could. In one shop, I came across a copy of the “Wake Up My Love” 45 and it had a price tag of 50 cents. I couldn’t figure out why (I didn’t question it). Even though I already had a copy, I bought the record, and- on my way home- considered giving it to a fellow Beatle fan friend of mine named Bernie Campbell. I kept looking at the record in the bag and finally noticed that I kept seeing the “A” side. I thought, “let me see the flip”. So, I turn it over, and it’s “Wake Up My Love” again. I turn it over and it’s “Wake Up My Love” again. This time, I notice the label says “Mono”. It was then, I released, I had purchased the stereo/mono US promo for 50 cents! Then…..I thought, “Hey! Wait a minute! The label says “Not For Sale”! How dare they charge me 50 cents!” 🙂 Yes, I was joking but I did say that out loud. I also said “Sorry, Bernie! It’s a promo! It must stay in Gary Owen Land!” Of course, I still have it. 🙂 Anyway, “Wake Up My Love” can either get your foot tapping or drive you insane with the repeated main riff, which- aside from the chorus- plays non-stop throughout the entire song. “Wake Up My Love” was the first song I’d ever followed on the Billboard charts. I remember seeing it at #53, then, #100, then, gone troppo! I was annoyed (of course). 🙂
Yup. A nursery rhyme. Actually, there’s a bit of sarcasm behind this song as McCartney’s previous effort- a political protest song- was banned by the BBC. He figured they shouldn’t ban a song as simple and cutesy as the single-only “Mary Had A Little Lamb” (reached #28). He even went as far as to feature his 3 year old daughter Mary singing on the chorus and filmed a few different promotional films for the tune. I first heard this song in 1981-82 at the Fanelli compound in Trails End. Damian had discovered a small but amazing record shop on Central Avenue in Jersey City. It was named Greenville Records and filled to the rim with tons of rare vinyl. Mostly left overs from the 50’s through the 70’s that somehow were never picked up. We had a field day in that place and the same place where Antony bought this single with the original picture sleeve. Great song. Funny that McCartney followed this with “Hi Hi Hi” which promptly saw him banned again by the BBC. That’s progress for ya.
Another great tune from the “Gone Troppo” LP. It was George Harrison’s own fault as he refused to promote this fine album. That’s why it only reached a paltry #108. He was fed up with the music business and promotly stepped out for five years. “Mystical One” features some excellent slide guitar playing from Harrison- and as the title suggests- some “mystical” lyrics. Definitely one of the highlights of the album. I remember the first time I saw the LP. I was with my cousin Mike in Manhattan (we had cut school) and during our adventures, ventured into Record Explosion to dig through vinyl. I went to the Harrison section and saw the album and it’s crazy artwork. I said “What the hell is this?!” (I had no clue Harrison had a new album). When I got home, I called Damian and Antony and the former said “Oh? It came out?” I couldn’t believe he knew and I didn’t! The next day, I went to Record Baron and bought it on sale for $6.69. Just because they could, they used to hide new albums at cheaper prices in the budget bin. Played it and hated it. I thought it was stupid, goony and wimpy. Played it again and noticed it was nowhere near as bad as I’d thought. Played it again and loved it. It is now one of my all time favorite solo Beatles albums. In my top 20, at least.
Written by Ringo Starr and highlighted by a killer slide guitar solo by George Harrison, “Down And Out” is the excellent non-LP flip side of “Photograph” (reached #1). Eventually, it was included as a bonus track on the 1991 CD reissue of “Ringo”. Besides the great solo, I like when Ringo blurts out “All right, Gary!”. Of course, I would.
Another strange one from Paul McCartney. Closing track on the “Press To Play” LP (the CD has bonus tracks), “However Absurd” is about a guy who hooks up with an older woman. No idea if it’s based on a true story or not. With it’s “colorful” 80’s production, the song drags along a bit but that’s part of the reason I like it. Favorite part: string section at the very end.
A top twenty single for Harrison, “Dark Horse” (reached #15) foreshadowed the creation of his own record label of the same name. To help promote the single and accompanying LP, Harrison set out on a series of North American concerts, and, as result, he wound up blowing out his voice. Not that all the late nights, booze, marijuana and cocaine he was messing with helped fuel the problem. Spurge went to see one of the shows at MSG and says it was good. He still has the ticket stub. Very cool. One listen to this song and one can immediately notice how “hoarse” Harrison’s vocal is. I first heard this tune in September, 1979 when I talked Brian into buying “The Best Of George Harrison” LP (reached #31). I was never too enamored with it but through the years, it has grown on me. Mom liked his gravely voice as it reminded her of Rod Stewart. Someday, I will own the rare US picture sleeve which sells for $100.00 or more. 2018 UPDATE: I now own TWO copies of the US picture sleeve. And that’s all she wrote.
Recorded live during the 1976 Wings world tour and included on the triple LP set “Wings Over America” (reached #1), “Soily” is an all out rocker that features some seriously amazing vocals from Paul McCartney. The song had been recorded in the studio around 1973-74 but they never seemed to get it together. I guess one of the best ways to test a tune is perform it live. “Soily” also wound up as the “B” side of the live “Maybe I’m Amazed” single (reached #10) that FM radio has slammed into our heads for the past 41 years.
For me, this was a huge breath of fresh air. After the boring “Driving Rain” album came and went in 2001, McCartney finally returned with the gem of an album “Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard”. The lead off single “Fine Line” (failed to chart) very quickly catches your attention and has the ability to stay stuck in your head. I first heard the tune while driving home from a gig in Seaside Heights. It was on a “preview” CD that a friend of mine, Hi Ho Bobarino, made for me before the album was released. I saw McCartney perform “Fine Line” at MSG in 2005. That was nice. Yes, indeed…..it was.
One of my favorite tracks from the underrated “Ringo’s Rotogravure” LP (reached #28). Written by Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia, “Lady Gaye” also wound up beneath the single “Hey Baby” (reached #74). Not much to say about it except that I have always liked the feel of the song. Nice.
From the “Press To Play” sessions. “It’s Not True” was a song written by McCartney defending his wife Linda from anyone who ragged on her as a person and her talents or lack thereof. It was included as a bonus track on the CD version of “Press To Play” but in a different mix with a stupid intro which I hate. It’s this version, the “B” side of of the clunky, borderline-rap slop tune “Press” (reached #21) that I prefer. It’s nice. It’s not in your face like the CD mix and I like seeing McCartney defending Linda in such a way. Chalk one up for Sir Paul. This mix still has not been released on CD. By the way, “Press” could have been an excellent song, but, McCartney- being the king of bandwagons- jumped on one I wished he would have stayed far away from. As a direct result, that song is now forever entombed within the cheesiness of the 1980’s…….and was not even considered for inclusion on this list.
Great track from “Living In The Material World”, “Sue Me, Sue You Blues” is about the headaches and heartaches that came with the dissolving of the Beatles partnership via the court rooms. Excellent slide guitar playing from Harrison. Of course, in an alternate universe: Dirk sued Stig, Nasty and Barry. Barry sued Dirk, Nasty and Stig. Nasty sued Barry, Dirk and Stig. And Stig sued himself, accidentally.
Another tune from “Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard” and a weird one at that. “How Kind Of You” is a bit of a trippy piece of psychedelia that takes the listener to places where “Cosmically Conscious” flew over. When he performed this at the concerts I attended in 2005, I was extremely happy and watched all the tunnel vision “I want to hear ‘Band On The Run’ for the billionth time” types go to the bathroom. One of the most striking aspects of this song and it’s album is the very clean production. I’ll never understand why McCartney stopped working with Nigel Godrich who obviously knows what he is doing with sound. Everything he has released since has been mastered as if they were recorded in a giant exploding trash can.
Gorgeous song from the “George Harrison” LP (also known as “the green one”). That entire album has a very relaxing vibe to it and works so well during the summer months. As the lyrics of “Your Love Is Forever” state: “Sublime is the summer time, warm and lazy. These are perfect days like Heaven’s about here”. Love it.
Originally slated for inclusion on the original 2-LP version of 1973’s “Red Rose Speedway” (reached #1), “I Lie Around” wound up as the “B” side to “Live And Let Die” (reached #2). The song is a bit of a hybrid as Wings member Denny Laine sings most of it. However, McCartney comes in throughout and he wrote the song. I love the opening piano and all it’s gloriously “compressed 1973” sound. Great non-LP “B” side. I remember Michael buying the black Capitol label pressing of the 45 in 1977. We played both sides over and over. Just had to. There is supposedly an unreleased fully-sung-by-McCartney version with the same backing track. Supposedly…..
Killer rock tune from the excellent “Back To the Egg” LP. The addition of Laurence Juber on lead guitar was an essential asset to the last line up of Wings as he is eons ahead of any of the previous players. One listen to the solos on “Spin It On” is ample proof. Juber is a very nice guy too. I have spoken to him many times and once- when we shared an elevator- he noticed the “Gretsch” logo on my guitar case and asked which model I owned. He thought it was very cool that it was a 1967 Gretsch Viking. Made me smile.
The first appearance of a song from my all-time favorite solo Beatles album “All Things Must Pass” (reached #1). “Awaiting On You All” is a preachy let-it-all-hang-out-Phil Spector-Wall-Of-Sound production that soars from start to finish. Personally, I have never been a religious person but I believe in a greater force- whatever and wherever it may be. To further comment, we silly mortal humans will never have the brain capabilities to understand any of it, ever. I was always impressed that Harrison was so gung ho about his faith and when he passed, I wasn’t as upset as I thought because I knew he was prepared. That’s another reason why I am fascinated by different religions and hearing everyone’s opinion who practices them (it is all opinion). On February 3, 1980, I bought the “All Things Must Pass” album at Record Baron and was completely awed by the entire thing. I’d heard “Awaiting On You All” many times on WPLJ (when it was a good radio station) so when it came on, I said “Oh cool! That one!”
Once again, a fun song is destroyed at the hands of producers and mastering engineers with their heads up their own butts. Horrible sound diminishes this happy tribute to Ringo’s original hometown. As an album “Liverpool 8” (reached #94) is OK, but, boring. As the title track, it’s a fun song with a very catchy chorus that tends to stick in your brain. It worked well as part of the soundtrack to one of my visits to Liverpool. I couldn’t stop singing it.
As the non-LP “B” side to the irritating “Say, Say, Say” (reached #1), “Ode To A Koala Bear” became the song I would play every time I reached for that 45. I remember buying the single at Majors Records and being very annoyed at the lame picture sleeve featuring a drawing of Paul McCartney holding hands high with Michael Jackson. Ugh. The Australian pressing of the 45 features a completely different mix of the song and is now the preferred rendition. Much cleaner and nowhere near as shrill as the regular “shiny” mix. An all around nice song, this alternate mix has yet to see a release on CD.
Gritty, bluesy tune from Lennon. From the LP “Imagine” and the “B” side of the title track (good single), “It’s So Hard” is a song about the struggles with the laws of life. There’s some sexual innuendos thrown in as well. Love the way he sings this and I can see him wearing the sunglasses he wore while performing the song during the “One To One” concert in 1972. Blue Meanies drummer, John Thomas, had an opportunity to attend that concert, but- since Lennon had been surrounding himself with such luminaries as Abby Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and David Peel- he chose not to.
From the LP “Gone Troppo”, “That’s The Way It Goes”- apparently- was a song which took Harrison a long time to finally get right. His sister Louise told me “he was never satisfied with it”. She said every time she would visit him: “he had that damned song playing over and over”. I then performed the song for her on guitar and she sang along with me. Knew every word. A two hour George Harrison sing along then commenced with Louise telling stories of each one. That was a fun night (Beatlefest 1999). I prefer this 1988 remix version of the song which appeared as a bonus track on the import only “When We Was Fab” CD single. see? He was obviously never satisfied with it as he was even remixing it in 1988.
Once again, I am feeling dirgey and the droning, hypnotic “Dear One” fits the bill quite nicely. From 1976’s “Thirty Three And 1/3”, this tune is an ode to George Harrison’s friend named Premavatar Paramahansa Yoganandya (huh?) who had a big influence on his life. Cozy song.
One of McCartney’s many played out #1 singles, “My Love” is Paul’s ultimate love song dedicated to his wife Linda. Gorgeous melody and the perfectly played-on-the-spot guitar solo from then-Wings guitarist Henry McCullough, it reminds me of the first time I visited Miami Beach, Florida in July, 1973. Along with “Get Down” by Gilbert O’Sullivan (reached #7), “My Love” was playing everywhere my family and I meandered in that city. My mother was particularly fond of the song and it became one of her all time favorite songs. Excellent track and one I’ve always loved seeing McCartney perform in concert. Favorite part: the soaring “Meeeeeeeeeeee! Woah woah woah woah woah woah, woah woah, wooooooooooooah!” and the fade. More chills for me. Nowadays, “My Love” is associated with my beautiful girlfriend from Norway, min elskede Mette. X! 🙂
The one song I chose from the mastered from hell album “Vertical Man” (reached #61). Paul McCartney joins Ringo on the choruses of the non-chalant “La De Da” (failed to chart….duh). “Vertical Man” was the first in a series of terribly produced by Mark Hudson Starr albums and the one which opened my eyes and ears to the irritating direction producers were headed by the late 20th century. That aside, “La De Da” is still a fun listen. I prefer the unedited album version.
One of three singles pulled from the “London Town” LP, “I’ve Had Enough” (reached #25) is a straight forward rocker about getting fed up with a relationship. I can relate to that and am quite sick of falling into that realm. Easily one of the stand out tracks from the album and a tune that McCartney performed live during Wings concerts in 1979. Thank goodness for bootlegs.
Sensing the same spirit as “You’re Sixteen” (reached #1), “You Belong To Me” was recommended by George Harrison for Ringo to record in upbeat mode. The classic 50’s track suits Starr very well and features Harrison playing a quick, nifty guitar solo. Mom- who loved the original version of the song- would make fun of the way Ringo pronounced “souvenirs” as if it were “silver-neers”. From the LP “Stop And Smell The Roses”.
An unreleased outtake from the “London Town” sessions, “Waterspout” was given further overdubs in 1987 and planned for inclusion on the rarities compilation “Cold Cuts”. When that project was shelved, it was slated for the 1987 greatest hits collection “All The Best” but “C Moon” was chosen instead. I have always been a fan of “Waterspout” and feel it should have been released somewhere- even as a non-LP flip side. It still has not seen an official release. Once again, thank goodness for bootlegs. Cool song.
Another originally unreleased song but this time from John Lennon. Co-written and produced with Phil Spector, “Here We Go Again” was recorded during the extensive sessions for Lennon’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” LP. As an original composition it was unlikely that “Here We Go Again” was considered for the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” album, so the reason for its recording remains unclear. It is possible that Lennon was considering hiring Spector to produce the follow-up to “Mind Games”, but their working relationship ended during these chaotic sessions. I remember buying the album it was first featured: “Menlove Avenue”. It was early 1987 while I was working at a bank in New York City and had the cold from hell. It was a Friday pay day so- after work- I ventured to Record Explosion and picked up the following LP’s:
1. The Monkees Present: Micky, David & Michael” (1969) (reached #100)
2. Cosmo’s Factory – Creedence Clearwater Revival (1970) (reached #1)
3. Menlove Avenue – John Lennon (1986) (reached #127)
I got home, took some meds, went upstairs to my room and listened to all three LP’s in their entirety. Helped me forget how ill I was feeling and one of the tracks which stood out was “Here We Go Again”. I love the dream like quality of the song, one which deserved a better fate.
There’s that word “mono” again. I love monaural and the fact that McCartney also mixed the entire “Ram” LP to that format exclusively for US AM radio stations. Like the rest of the album, “Heart Of The Country” benefits in mono and gets a heavier feel. It’s a song about searching for a content life living on a rural farm and a place to hide from all the insanity surrounding the break up of The Beatles. Great tune that I love to play on guitar.
Wonderful opening track from the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” LP. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” was released as a single in other countries but never in the USA. Excellent cover of Gene Vincent classic, Lennon is right at home singing this and always one that I make sure to listen to whenever I skim through the album.
“Poor Little Girl” was written and recorded specifically for the 1989 compilation album “The Best Of Dark Horse 1976-1989” (reached #132). Great opening track and added bonus for us Harrison fanatics who were still on a high with “Cloud Nine” (no pun intended) and the Wilbury extravaganza. Excellent slide guitar playing from Harrison on this one. I remember playing the CD and putting “Poor Little Girl” on repeat. Great song.
Love this track from the “Venus & Mars” LP. “Magneto And Titanium Man” is a song based on actual comic book characters including the Crimson Dynamo. Wings performed this song during their world tour of 1975-76 and it also found it’s way beneath the severely edited “Venus & Mars / Rock Show” single (reached #12). I remember when my Mom bought Michael the “Venus & Mars” LP. This was around 1978-79. I took a walk to where he worked to let him know the album was at home waiting for him. He was very excited as we thought it was a double record set (the cover is a gatefold). We were wrong but that’s OK as the album more than lived up to our expectations.
Here’s a song that Harrison performed off the cuff during his very last live performance on TV in 1997. “Any Road” opens the posthumous “Brainwashed” album and was released as a UK single many months after the CD/LP was out. With it’s rolling (and out of tune) ukelele (banjolin?), the song was written in 1988 during the filming of one of his videos promoting the “Cloud Nine” LP. The lyrics suggest that if you don’t care what happens, just follow whichever path you choose. Supposedly, it has something to do with “Alice In Wonderland” as well. Who knows?
Fun song from Ringo Starr’s 1974 outing “Goodnight Vienna” (reached #8). It was also the “B” side of “(It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna”. The single version features a very nasty edit on the last verse so that one does not count. Another original pressing LP I purchased to keep Rodd from buying it (I didn’t have it either so it was every man for himself again). I bought it at Monte’s Music Warehouse on Manor Road (long gone) and was very happy to have found the first pressing. Damian was the first to pick up the original. You see, the big deal about that was most of the solo Beatles Apple albums had been reissued by Capitol as budget records. With that, all the frills which came with the original LP’s were deleted: custom record labels, inner sleeves with lyrics and photos, gatefold covers etc. Each LP was given basic packaging and the cheap green Capitol budget label. We hated that so the quest for the original pressings began. Sad thing is- since most people avoided the reissues- many are worth more than the originals. I know. We suck.
A rare non-album track from an imported CD single by Ringo Starr. It seems- nowadays- Mr. Starkey has run out of ideas and is beginning to re-record songs he’d released in the 70’s-90’s. “Everybody Wins” was redone for his 2010 album “Y Not” but under the title “Everyone Wins”. I prefer this original rendition from 1992.
Gorgeous love song by John Lennon from the “Plastic Ono Band” LP. I never liked the way “Love” faded in as it does on the album but was very happy when I picked up the 1982 Brazilian single (which plays at 33 1/3) and it had been remixed without the fade in. That is how it should have been released in the first place. Great song and yes, lands this low because of my playing the living hell out of it since I bought the “Plastic Ono Band” LP in 1978.
Disco?! UGH! OK. This one gets a free pass as it features some excellent musicianship and, well, it’s Paul McCartney. The 45 of “Goodnight Tonight” (reached #5) is actually a heavily edited version worked from the full length rendition which appears on the cheese ball packaged 12″ single. My father liked the video as Wings is all decked out in 1920’s regalia and mimes the song within a night club atmosphere. I remember sitting in my 6th grade homeroom class and my friend John Bosco telling me that McCartney just released a disco record and that it sucked. Brian bought the single and I thought JB was right as I hated “Goodnight Tonight” and preferred it’s “B side “Daytime Nighttime Suffering”. Still do but I must say my opinion changed. This- the 12″ rendition of “GT”- is the rendition I prefer. Good tune.
Love this, Lennon’s ode to his then girlfriend May Pang- and a very nice person too. From “Walls & Bridges”- his best album. I picked up the record at Music Factory in the mall on my 13th birthday (2/2/80). Original pressing, naturally. Rodd was with me. I played it and it’s been my favorite Lennon album ever since. Highly recommended.
Opening track on side two of 1976’s “Thirty Three & 1/3”- and in edited form- pulled as a single in the UK. “It’s What You Value” trots along at a medium pace and then kicks in for the chorus. Took me many years to locate the UK 45- and by accident at Beatlefest. Cool tune.
Title track from Sir Paul’s 2013 outing and a great one at that. As much of a cool, Beatley-type song “New” may be, there is no arguing that the song suffers from absolutely atrocious mastering. I really wish someone would logically explain why everything released these days has to sound like a buzz saw screeching through the speakers. Once again, a great song is tarnished by stupidity in the studio. McCartney has nothing to do with the mastering process so yeah, it’s his fault for allowing the idiot go-tees to repeatedly ruin his music. If it did not sound so terrible, it would have landed higher on my list. Still wondering if I’m hearing pitch correction in there…….ugh.
Love, love, LOVE this tune from 1979’s “Back To The Egg”. “Baby’s Request” is a throw back to the days of “Till There Was You”. Excellent lead guitar from Laurence Juber and perfectly executed vocals from McCartney make it one of the best tracks on the album.
I first heard “Fastest Growing Heartache In The West” as part of a marathon Beatles radio special that covered everything from the early days until the early 1980’s. The song tells us of a naive Arkansas red neck who- with his wife- moves to LA only to watch her get sucked into the fast lifestyle of said city. From the album “Beaucoups Of Blues”, it was the one of the very few times I relented and purchased one of those dreaded Capitol reissue LP’s. I bought it in Bethesda, Maryland in mid-1982 while my family and I were attending my cousin Sheila’s wedding. Brian and I became bored so we went to a local record shop and I found the album. In those days, the original pressing was nowhere to be found so I settled for the stinky reissue. That’s OK. A few years later, I bought the first pressing with the gatefold cover. I was happy.
Phenomenal track from Harrison’s 1973 album “Living In The Material World”. It was planned to be a single and assigned a catalog number but scrapped. Reminds me of sitting in my living room with the AC blasting during the summer of 1981. Great song.
Yeah. I know. “How can Gary place this beautiful song so low?!” Same reason as everything else popular: it’s ridiculously overplayed. “Jealous Guy” started life in 1968 as a demo for The Beatles “White Album”. Only, then, it was titled “Child Of Nature” and featured completely different lyrics. For Christmas 1979, my brother Michael gave me three albums: the #1 LP “The Beatles Second Album” (I kept playing his copy), Ringo’s 1975 ‘best of’ compilation “Blast From Your Past” (reached #30) and Lennon’s 1971 “Imagine”. These three records kept me very busy during that entire holiday week with the two solo LP’s being my faves. Loved every song on both.
A throw back to the days of Busby Berkeley musicals of the 1930’s, McCartney appropriately dedicated “You Gave Me The Answer” to Fred Astaire. Wings performed this tune during their 1975-76 tours. My father liked this song. Of course he did as it was right up his alley.
Another excellent track from Lennon’s “Imagine” LP. one of the stand out features of that album is the smooth production and “How?” showcases said production. Gotta love the Flux Fiddlers string arrangement here. Cozy song which was inspired by his primal scream therapy and questioning how he can deal with the future. One thing that should have been suggested is to steer clear of politics.
Extremely cozy song about looking forward to waking to a glorious summer’s morning. It features extensive use of a Mellotron in flute and string mode. From the 1980 LP “McCartney II” (reached #3), where- like it’s 1970 counterpart “McCartney”- he played all the instruments himself. A perfect song to zone out with, “Summer’s Day Song” glides along at a very leisurely pace, and- by the time it ends- the listener is nearly comatose. Sometimes we need that.
No one’s fault but my own but here’s another played out hit that lands low. Oh well. “Crackerbox Palace” is George Harrison’s ode to the Friar Park castle/mansion he lived in from 1970 until he passed. I remember- in 1976- when he appeared with Paul Simon on “Saturday Night Live” and was promoting the album “Thirty Three & 1/3”. Two of the promotional videos he’d made were aired with “Crackerbox Palace” being the one which was appropriately filmed at Friar Park. Michael, Brian and I all loved the song and video and it still stands as one of my all time favorite promotional films ever.
Always loved this album track from “Pipes Of Peace” (reached #15). “Keep Under Cover” and most of the album were recorded during the same period as “Tug Of War” (1980-82) which makes both LP’s “sister ships” to each other. Both albums begin with extraneous sounds and feature hit singles as a duet (“Ebony & Ivory” and “Say, Say, Say”). When I first heard the LP, I hated “Pipes Of Peace”. I thought it was way too 80’s and that he was selling out. Somehow, I found my way around that notion by ignoring “Say, Say, Say”, “The Man” (both duets with Michael Jackson) and a few of the crummy album fillers like “Tug Of Peace” (see the combination of titles there?). “Keep Under Cover” is one that stands out as a pure McCartney track.
Ah yes. Ethereal to the max. This is what I like to see from a 72 year old Beatle. The majestic “Hope For The Future” was written and recorded specifically for a video game (no idea which one, nor do I care). I love the use of the French horn here as it adds that extra bit of class to an already classy recording. I can see this tune fitting well on one of those zwonky McCartney alter-ego albums as “The Fireman”. What a melody (great chord changes) and such a shame it will be wasted as part of some dumb video game which was most likely obsolete the day it was released. I won’t comment on the use of auto tune here. Oops. I guess I just did. NOTE TO SIR PAUL: YOU DO NOT NEED TO FOLLOW THAT CRAPPY PITCH CORRECTED ROUTE! PLEASE STOP!
The vocal of “As Far As We Can Go” was recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1978. At the time, Ringo was working on a follow up to the album “Bad Boy” but when the producer’s father passed on, the sessions were aborted. Less than a year later, Ringo nearly died of complications from his childhood bout with peritonitis. The song’s original backing was aborted and replaced by a very tasteful piano and synthesizer arrangement by ex-Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. I have always been fond of the coziness of the track and it reminds me of one of those ridiculously cold but extremely clear, starry winter nights when I lived in Pennsylvania. The song is featured on side two of the album “Old Wave”, an LP that Ringo had a seriously hard time finding a label to release. His last four albums had all sold so poorly that no one wanted to take the chance. Somehow, some way, he was able to finagle RCA to release the album in certain countries: Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Mexico and Japan. The latter, of which, I once came across in a green cover. Never saw it again. “As Far As We Can Go” is a nice song, but, the album bombed everywhere. Poor Ringo.
One of the best tracks from the 1979 LP “George Harrison”. As a huge fan and participant of Formula One Racing, Harrison wrote “Faster” as a tribute to all the racers who put their heart and soul into their craft. The liner notes of the album state: “Faster” is inspired by Jackie Stewart & Niki Lauda. Dedicated to the entire Formula One Circus. Special thanks to Jodi Scheckter. In memory of Ronnie Peterson”. It was released as a UK single- picture disc too- but did not fair well. For me, I used to associate the race car sound effects with my cousin Mike who could run like lightning. It would drive me crazy because I could never catch the little pain in the neck.
“Same Time Next Year” was written specifically by McCartney as the theme to the movie of the same name. The jerks producing the flick turned it down so it went unreleased. By 1987, it was slated for inclusion on that “Cold Cuts” album but once the collection was canceled, the song was banished back to the vaults. In 1990, it was released as a bonus track on a UK McCartney CD single. Naturally, we had the song for three years already. Yes. We thought we were cool. Great melody.
“Woman Don’t You Cry For Me” is the opening track from the “Thirty Three & 1/3” LP. Harrison wrote the song around a slide part in open “E” tuning on the guitar. This was 1968 and he never bothered to record it until 1976. Poor Spurge. The first pressing of the album was defective and he wound up having to buy the record six or seven times. It seems whenever he would place the turntable stylus on the record, it would skip straight across. I had the same problem when I bought the Lennon best of LP “Shaved Fish”. Thing is, it was my crummy record player that could not handle the heavy bass and drums on the intro of “Mind Games”. Highly irritating. Anyway, “WDYCFM” is one of the highlights of the album. Then again, most of the tracks are as it’s one of the greatest solo Beatles LP’s of all time.
Oh yes. Loved this one when it was released. The video is fun too. It features FBI agents scoping out some slob in Japan who stole a bunch of McCartney’s personal items. From the boring album “Flowers In The Dirt” (reached #21). Unlike the lame “Rough Ride” from the same album, whenever McCartney performed “My Brave Face” (reached #25), the crowd would stay in the arena and enjoy the tune.
“Going Down On Love” is an excellent opening track from my favorite Lennon LP “Walls & Bridges”. It’s lyrics reflect the feeling of loss he had during his so-called “lost weekend” separation from wife #2. One thing that’s always fascinated me about that period in Lennon’s life: we always hear how he went crazy during that time but never hear a peep as to what Yoko was up to nor who she was with. Just as I have mentioned earlier, I find it strange that after Lennon gets his first US #1 single, a #1 LP and follow up #9 single, she decides to take him back. How convenient. Hey, whatever floats your boat. Their business is their business.
Once again, played out but still awesome. 3/4 of a Beatles reunion in honor of their fallen friend John Lennon. Though everyone likes to believe that George Harrison wrote “All Those Years Ago” (reached #2) specifically for Lennon, the truth is that he did not. The tune had been written and recorded specifically for Ringo Starr with different lyrics and prior to Lennon’s murder. When it came time for Starr to add vocals, they realized the key was too high for him so the song was abandoned. When Lennon was killed, Harrison decided to use the recording himself. He changed the lyrics to relate to the tragedy- and since Ringo’s drums were already in place all Paul McCartney had to do was add harmony vocals, and, voila! 3/4 of a Beatles reunion. I remember the first time I heard the song in 1981. 102.7FM (WNEW) announced they would be premiering it. So, with my small AM/FM/cassette recorder in front of me, I sat alone in my kitchen and recorded the song. I was so happy to hear something so genuinely “nice” which could help ease what was an extremely painful period in Gary Owen Land. “All Those Years Ago” became one of the replacements for the four “offensive” tracks deleted from “Somewhere In England” (reached #11). No one will convince me that- once they heard there would be a Beatles reunion track featured- the people at Warner Brothers cared at all what was placed on that LP. As long as “All Those Years Ago” was there, he could have included a recording of himself creating fart sounds with his hand under his armpit and they would not have cared. Gotta get that cash flow at all costs!
“Somebody Who Cares” is a cool, breezy album track from the excellent “Tug Of War” LP. This is one played a large role in the soundtrack for my summer of ’82. I played the living hell out of my original copy of the album. Today, it’s virtually unplayable. It’s OK. I’ve replaced it with another 37,119 copies on vinyl, cassette, 8-track and CD.
Totally forgotten gem from the LP “Mind Games”. “Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)” is a bluesy sort of affair which shows Lennon apologizing to Yoko in Japanese (“aisumasen’……….as if you could say it without hearing how it’s actually pronounced). I remember a time in 1979- while in Trails End- Michael had that UK 8-track of the album playing all night (at a perfect, low volume). “Aisumasen” came on and the coziness factor went straight through the roof. Favorite part: the UFO sound effect on the synthesizer at the very end.
Here’s an interesting one from George Harrison which he co-produced with Phil “Wall Of Sound” Spector. Written during the sessions for “All Things Must Pass” (1970) but from the LP “Living In The Material World” (1973). The backing track of “Try Some, Buy Some” was originally recorded for Phil’s then wife Ronnie Spector and released as her “comeback” single on Apple. When that release failed, Harrison used the same backing for his album. This is why his voice sounds strained as the key is too high for his register. The tune is about his perception of God and all the temptations in life. John Lennon said that “Try Some, Buy Some” helped inspire his arrangement of “#9 Dream”.
Love this tune from 1981’s “Stop And Smell The Roses”. The moody “Dead Giveaway” was written by Ringo Starr and Ron Wood (Faces, Rolling Stones). A good, chunky little tune that nobody cares about but me.
Another played out song. This one hails from those last recording sessions held by John Lennon in late 1980. Just as Harrison had written “All Those Years Ago”, “Nobody Told Me” (reached #5) was written for Ringo to record for his “Can’t Fight Lightning” LP- and after visiting Lennon in NYC in late November- a recording date of January 14, 1981 was set. Obviously, that session never took place. So, what was eventually released was this recording with added overdubs added in 1983. Depressing, indeed.
Another song about living in the “now” and living life to the fullest. Harrison reminds the listener:
“While death holds on to us much more with every passing hour.
And all the time you thought it would last.
Your life, your friends would always be.
‘Til they’re drunk away or shot away or die away from you.”
Ya know, sometimes, George Harrison could really be a depressing party pooper, but- just like Lennon- he knew how to put all that misery into his songs quite well. He also wrote such great melodies so he more than makes up for it. First time I heard “Writing’s On The Wall” was when I bought the “All Those Years Ago” single. It’s one of the survivors of the ax-in-hand executives at Warner Brothers’ rejection of the original version of “Somewhere In England”. Wait a minute. “Writings On The Wall” is not “too laid back”? Give me whatever it is those bozos were drinking. I want to get loaded too. Jerks.
The perfect closing track, “What Goes Around” hails from the excellent “Time Takes Time” (failed to chart). I remember when the album was released in spring, 1992. I was so happy as we hadn’t had a new one from Ringo since 1983. I bought the CD at Media Play in Middletown, NY and listened to the entire album during the drive back to Pennsylvania. I liked every track and still cannot believe it failed to chart. Especially since Ringo extensively toured around it. Then again, it was the 1990’s. What else should I have expected?
Once again, another failed single from Ringo Starr. Taken from the 1978 LP “Bad Boy”, “Heart On My Sleeve” was featured in the “Ringo” TV special which aired on April 26, 1978.. That was a fun night as we anxiously awaited Ringo’s big television extravaganza. We didn’t particularly care for the over all TV special but a lot of it was good cheesy fun. Complete with a WNEW 1027.FM simulcast, how could we lose? It’s a shame that a nice tune like this went completely ignored. Hey, I’ve always liked it. Still do….obviously.
Another one I played into the ground so here it lands. “This Is Love” is one of the more commercial tracks featured on 1987’s “Cloud Nine”. It was released as a single but, surprisingly, it failed to chart. This tune actually helped me learn to play double-time rhythm guitar which I add to so many uptempo tunes at my gigs.
One of the three singles pulled from “Venus & Mars”, “Letting Go” (reached #39), is a soulful tune about McCartney wishing to give his wife Linda more space and pursue her interests in life like photography etc. The single version is an edit and was completely remixed by Alan Parsons.
Great track from “Thirty Three & 1/3”. For a few years, Harrison had been scrutinized by Bright Tunes publishing company stating that “My Sweet Lord” (reached #1) was a rip off of the 1963 recording “He’s So Fine” (reached#1) by The Chiffons. He wound up being sued by said publishing company and had to deal with the aggravation of proving that he did not mean to steal anyone’s melody. After losing the case for “unconscious plagiarism” and with lyrics like “This song has nothing “Bright” about it” and “don’t infringe on anyone’s copyright”, Harrison wrote “This Song” (reached #25) as a sarcastic response to the entire mess. It’s OK. He eventually bought the publishing rights to “He’s So Fine” and everyone was happy in Beatleville. The video, which features the annoying edited single rendition, expresses that same sarcasm and was one of the two promotional films Harrison premiered on “Saturday Night Live” in 1976. Michael, Brian and I all watched that broadcast and loved it. Some familiar faces are Harry Nilsson (bearded cop with sunglasses), Ron Wood (second drag queen), Tom Scott (Jury member on sax), Jim Keltner (judge).
A non-LP “B” side written by Ringo Starr. “Early 1970”- whose various working titles were “When I Come to Town (Four Knights in Moscow)” and “When Four Knights Come to Town”- is Starr’s “peace offering” to the other three Beatles after the break up. Each verse represents one Beatle- including himself. Ringo supposedly plays acoustic guitar on this as well as drums. The piano riff on the fourth verse was played by both George Harrison and Starr. Speaking of Harrison, he also plays a mean slide guitar solo on this track. Oh yes. Indeed, he does. Cool little song. Good job, Ringo.
Beautiful instrumental track from George Harrison’s posthumous “Brainwashed” album. In 2004, Brainwashed’s “Marwa Blues” won the Best Pop Instrumental Performance Grammy and McCartney named it as one of his all time favorite tunes. Now, do I believe the clowns who run the Grammys handed Harrison this late award out of guilt? Um, yeah. Why? Because for his entire solo career, they never gave him a second look but suddenly- after he passes on- he became worthy. Ya gotta love Hollywood’s hypocrisy. Jerks. Great song from my favorite Beatle.
The “B” side of “Mary Had A Little Lamb”, the groovy “Little Woman Love” became a staple of early Wings concerts and eventually was teamed up in a medley with “C Moon” (the flip side of “Hi, Hi, Hi”). I was not able to find the US pressing of the 45 so I purchased the Australian pressing via LSR Records (Hey Rodd! Ha! Ha!). Excellent obscure tune from Paul McCartney and another one I first heard within the land of Fanelli.
Another non-LP “B” side from Paul McCartney. Recorded live at the Hague in Holland during Wings’ 1972 tour, “The Mess” (flip side of “My Love”) was also recorded in the studio but that version sounds as if it was never finished (thank you bootleggers). This version was originally slated to be included on the 2 record version of “Red Rose Speedway”.
A song written by Robert Zimmerman (AKA: Bob Dylan) and included in the 1985 bomb “Porky’s Revenge” (movie sucked). One of my favorite Dylan compositions as covered by one George Harrison. This tune was the only true recording released by Harrison during his 5 year hiatus from the music scene. The album and single versions differ with the 45 winning the race. It features some neat bending guitar riffs as played by Stevie Ray Vaughan’s brother Jimmy Vaughan. Or is it Harrison? I don’t know as I never remember the correct answer to that question. Damian knows the answer to this.
“Attention” is a Paul McCartney composition included on Ringo’s “Stop And Smell The Roses” and a tune that received plenty of air time during the summer of ’82. Since it features Starr, McCartney plus Linda McCartney and Laurence Juber, can we say it’s “Ringo Starr & Wings”? Favorite part: middle 8 at 1:06.
Gorgeous track from “Double Fantasy”. John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” is an ode to his son Sean and quite an effective one at that. For many reasons, it’s one of those tunes that “gets you right there”. When he appeared on “Desert Island Discs”, Paul McCartney chose this tune as one his choices. Lennon could write in all different styles and “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” is the proof. Great song.
This was my favorite track from “Tug Of War” and the one I predicted would be the second single pulled from the LP. I was right and “Take It Away” reached #10 (deserved a higher placing). For this recording, McCartney recruited Ringo Starr to help on drums. In fact, if I recall correctly, he originally wrote the song with Ringo in mind to sing it. After hearing how strong a tune it was, he decided to keep it for himself. There is no available copy of the song in it’s entirety as the album version is involved with a cross fade with the previous track “Tug Of War” and the single fades early. I took care of that by combining the 45 intro (no cross fade) and the longer LP fade. I love doing things like that. 🙂
One of the highlights from the overlooked “Bad Boy” LP. With “Heart On My Sleeve” as the flip side, “Tonight” was released as a UK and failed miserably. It is now one of the most sought after Ringo singles for collector geeks like myself. I bought it during a mid-90’s Beatlefest for $5.00 when all the vendors were closing up shop. This is the best time to pick up great bargains on stuff that would usually cost a hell of a lot more. Anyway, “Tonight” is a smooth, soft rock tune that deserved a better fate. Ringo even filmed a video, which- before the advent of You Tube- was ridiculously rare. It features his then girlfriend Nancy Andrews.
“Learning How To Love You” is the moody and cozy closing track from “Thirty Three & 1/3”. The tune features some really strange chord changes (I never bothered to learn how to play it). Harrison initially wrote the song as “Herb’s Tune” as it was originally intended for Herb Alpert to record. Great guitar solo on this lost gem which served as the “B” side for two singles: “This Song” and “Crackerbox Palace” respectively.
Ah yes. The great comeback record for John Lennon. In 1980, I was 13 years old and my brain was fried from falling in love with so many girls (who could care less that a dirt bomb geek like myself existed). Not to mention the fact that- while in junior high school- I went from scholar to failure in less than one year. In September 1979, I was placed in one of those super fast learning classes. HUGE mistake which, today, I realize was a farce on the part of the school as they only wished to fill seats. Jerks. I still don’t understand why it all went downhill so quickly but Obstructive Sleep Apnea was definitely part of the problem. Anyway, in the middle of all that hell, John Lennon announced that he was recording a new album. I remember reading about it while in Trails End during the summer of ’80 and not really thinking much of it (mind was elsewhere again). Later that year, I venture into Record Baron on Forest Avenue. I bought an assortment of albums and when I meandered to the cashier, I saw the in-store 45 counter display for “(Just Like) Starting Over” (reached #1). I had completely forgotten that he was releasing a new record. I became very excited and added the single to the batch of new LP’s I was buying. Got home, played it and absolutely loved the song. Then, like a jerk, I flipped it over and listened to “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss” by Yoko Ono. I could not believe Lennon would allow something so stupid to grace the flip side of such an excellent track. Mind you, this was before I had picked up his early solo singles on Apple……boy, was *I* in for a treat! Anyway, I played the Lennon side many, many times and was in Beatle glory once again. Of course, that all changed on the night of Monday, December 8, 1980 and has never been the same since. My preferred version of “(Just Like) Starting Over” hails from the rare 12″ single which I recently picked up. It features a longer fade. Cool beanz.
One of my favorite tunes from the “Bad Boy” LP, “Who Needs A Heart” was written by Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia. The tune opens the album and sets the tone for the rest of the set. It was also the US “B” side of “Heart On My Sleeve”. Great tune that grooves along from start to finish.
Excellent rocker from the slimy “Some Time In New York City” LP. Lennon takes us on an adventure through the streets of “New York City”. This includes running into our old friend, the late-great David Peel (some of us Meanies backed him during a Beatlefest sing along) and a trip on the Staten Island Ferry. Even with it’s usual-for-the period-political-babble, “New York City” is a fun song and a fun listen. Que pasa?
A forgotten folky-acoustic tune from the awkward “McCartney II” LP. “One Of These Days” closes the album on a mellow but positive note. I like that.
“Teardrops” is one of the replacements for the four “offensive” tracks deleted from the “Somewhere In England” LP. It was released- in edited form (US)- as a single and only reached #102. With an appropriate title, it was supposedly written as a response to the Lennon tragedy. Favorite part: synthesizer solo in the middle- the section which was edited from the US 45. Annoying.
A somber dirge from “Living In The Material World. George Harrison had this “thing” about people wanting to revisit the past. He disliked the notion and felt everything should push forward and “blossom”. In many ways he was right but if that were the case then I would not be sharing my top 250 solo Beatles tunes, would I? “Be Here Now” is a dreamlike folk tune that hypnotizes the listener into a trance. Like so many other Harrison tunes, it works well- as sometimes- we need to just vegetate. “And it’s not like it was before”…..la de da………
A song that no one but myself really enjoys which is fine by me. From the limited release LP “Old Wave”, “Picture Show Life” is a middling tune about life in LA. My father always said it sounded too much like the “Little Orphan Annie” theme song. The song reminds me of my travels through Canada and upper New York state. No idea why, it just does. Nice song.
Another one I played into the ground. The excellent “Beautiful Girl” started life during the “All Things Must Pass” sessions but was not formally recorded until 1976 and included on “Thirty Three & 1/3”. Great tune with some neat guitar riffs throughout.
Absolutely love this non-LP Paul McCartney “B” side of “Junior’s Farm” (reached #3). Recorded in Nashville, the countrified “Sally G” was originally written as “Diane G”, after country singer Diane Gaffney but changed after McCartney found out she had a litigious personality. The owner of the bar mentioned in the lyric- “Printer’s Alley”- says the song was written in his bar. Fun tune with cool chord changes. In the USA, “Sally G” was issued as a separate mono/stereo promo 45.
George Harrison’s groovy ode to his 1974 tour with the band LA Express. I first heard the rocking instrumental “Hari’s On Tour (Express)” in Trails End during the summer of 1980. Antony had decided he wanted to make some cash so he set up shop at a flea market outside the clubhouse. Damian and I joined him and sat there for what felt like eons not selling a thing. It was a strange sort of day as it was mid-July and the temperature dropped from summer like 90’s to 40 degrees, overnight. Damian had recently picked up the original pressing of the “Dark Horse” LP and made a cassette copy of it. He brought it to the table where were sitting and we listened to the entire album. All of a sudden, the sales started coming in. Antony was selling old books and whatever other stuff he could muster up for his quest. He wound up making a few bucks and I had my first glimpse at George Harrison’s “Dark Horse” album.
The longing love song “Someplace Else” was originally recorded for the crummy 1986 film “Shanghai Surprise” starring knucklehead #1 and knucklehead #2: Sean Penn and Madonna. Sensing that a great song could be lost forever to that lame flick, Harrison re-recorded it for inclusion on his superior “Cloud Nine” LP. Excellent track which features some nifty slide guitar riffs from my favorite Beatle.
We all know and love when Paul McCartney performs “Live And Let Die” (reached #3) in concert as it’s all out exploding light show extravaganza. Written as the theme to the James Bond film of the same name, the middle section was written by Linda McCartney (she was a big fan of reggae). The tune is one of McCartney’s biggest hits and one of his most played out in Gary Owen Land. It also marked the first time he worked with Beatles producer George Martin since 1969-70. I remember Michael, Brian and I went to see the movie at the now defunct Century Theater. We got there late so we missed the beginning. After it finished, we stayed so we could see the intro and hear the song. I distinctly remember Michael saying to us: “That’s Paul McCartney! That’s Paul McCartney!”. Some memories refuse to ever disappear. Good.
Another painful and severely played out hit but an awesome song nonetheless. I think “Woman” (reached #2) bothers me the most about Lennon’s demise. That’s all I have to say about it. Excellent track from “Double Fantasy”.
Originally an outtake from the “Red Rose Speedway” sessions, the acoustic “Mama’s Little Girl” was slated for inclusion on the various incarnations of the doomed “Cold Cuts” project (again, thank goodness for bootlegs). It eventually saw release as a non-LP “B” side in 1990, and in the USA- as a useless “cassette single” (I hated that stupid format as singles). Anyway, nice tune.
Love, love, LOVE this medley of two tunes from “Venus & Mars”. The lyrics speak for themeslves and are something we can all relate to.
One of my favorite tunes from the down beat “Extra Texture” LP. Although the title of “This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying)” (failed to chart) suggests that it is the follow up to 1968’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, it was really a slap in the face to the critics who were all over Harrison for his blown out voice on the “Dark Horse” LP and tour. This tune has the distinction of being the very last record/single released by Apple during it’s first run. Edited, of course. No doubt a contractual obligation, the record disappeared without a trace. That’s OK. I bought my copy at that cool shop in Jersey City and a few import pressings off Ebay.
One of the finest tracks on “All Things Must Pass” is this, the Bob Dylan composition “If Not For You”. I remember hearing it for the first time. It was in my bedroom on February 3, 1980. I was quite taken with the song and thought the slide guitar parts were amazing. Fine tune which was also covered by Olivia Newton John (I like that version as well). One thing is for sure, this is the definitive rendition. Bob Dylan is easily one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
“Little Lamb Dragonfly” was originally intended for 1971’s “Ram” LP but left off. In late 1972, it was resurrected and included on 1973’s “Red Rose Speedway”. The song is about a sickly lamb that Paul and Linda tried to nurse back to health but to no avail. This took place at the McCartney Farm in Scotland. Great acoustic guitar riffs throughout this 6 minute ode to that little lamb.
A simple, acoustic song which wound up as the non-LP “B” side to “Helen Wheels (reached #10). The song was originally going to be a part of the aborted 2 record version of “Red Rose Speedway” but was relegated to flip side status. That’s OK. As long as it was released, I am happy. ‘Tis a cozy tune about relaxing in a meadow and enjoying the scenery with your beau. I live for that. Apple Records prepared a promo single for “Country Dreamer” which is now a highly sought after collector’s item. I don’t own a copy of that. Annoying, yes. It’s also become a bit of an anthem for Mette and I. I like that, indeed.
An old classic tune from the 1940’s-50’s, “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” is another of those tunes which Mom and Dad knew very well. In 2017, we Blue Meanies with Mette visited a guitar shop in Louisville, Kentucky which had an old recording booth that made actual wax records. Damian, Antony and I grabbed instruments, and- with Brian and Mette joining in- we all recorded the old hymn “Farther Along” and an off the cuff rendition of this tune. We had a blast “making a record”. Around 1991, George Harrison filmed a performance of “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” for some UK television special and we “happened” upon a copy of said video. We watched it and proceeded to witness Mom and Dad sing along all the way through. It was at this moment that I realized how deep the depth of music my parents had. It really was amazing. So, every time I listen to this track, I think of them. How could I not? They are missed.
Here’s another obscure one that many people dismiss. “Tough On A Tight Rope” has seen various releases. First as a bonus track on the CD version of “Press To Play” and then as the “B” side of “Only Love Remains”. A cool remix is featured on the UK 12″ of the latter. Love the melody on this one.
What happens when you combine the talents of George Harrison and Bob Dylan? Answer: “I’d Have You Anytime”. As the opening track from my all time favorite solo Beatles album “All Things Must Pass”, this smooth number helps to gradually ease the listener into an album that bounces around in a billon different moods and sounds. Eric Clapton plays lead guitar on this nice love song and George and Bob wrote it while at Dylan’s house in Woodstock, New York in 1969. Cozy little town where the famous concert was not held. Remember that!
“I Know (I Know)” is a revealing track from the “Mind Games” LP which shows Lennon’s more vulnerable side. I have always been fond of this song as it has a nice feel to it. Great melody too. Lennon was an ace at writing gems like this.
One of my favorite tracks on 1987’s “Cloud Nine”. The first thing which caught my attention with “Fish On The Sand” was the use of the Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar. Turns out, it was the same guitar Harrison used during his Beatle days. In fact, it was the second 12-string Rickenbacker ever produced. The song drives along with a very unorthodox chord structure during the bridge. Good stuff.
One of those loose tunes from Lennon’s last recording sessions in late 1980 which was given further overdubs a few year later. With an ironic title, “Borrowed Time” (reached #108) would have been an excellent track had John Lennon gotten around to record it properly.
“A Dose Of Rock ‘n’ Roll” (reached #26) was Ringo Starr’s first single after leaving EMI (he signed with Atlantic Records). It is the opening track on the now completely forgotten “Ringo’s Rotogravure” album. Peter Frampton plays lead guitar here. Very “1976”, indeed. Gotta love the tip of the hat to the tune “Hey Baby” at the end as Ringo follows “Dose” with that very song on the LP. That single reached #74 and does not make it to my list. Oh well.
George Harrison’s attempt at writing a New Year’s anthem, “Ding Dong, Ding Dong” (reached #36) fell short of that quest but to this day does receive some air time during that holiday season. With Ringo Starr on drums, it’s one of the best tracks on the “Dark Horse” LP and Alvin Lee joins in on guitar. I like when he messes with the chorus and sings it as “Ding Dong, Ding Dong, Dark Ding, Horse Dong”. Cool.
“Here Today” is Paul McCartney’s “All Those Years Ago”. From the LP “Tug Of War”, it’s a tribute to John Lennon and suggests what it might be like if they had a conversation today. Very effective song with a gorgeous string arrangement by George Martin. Tear jerker, indeed.
George Harrison’s cover of the Cole Porter classic- and once again- another that Mom and Dad knew quite well. “True Love” was released as a UK 45 but not in the USA. Took me many a year to locate a copy which I finally found at the now defunct “Revolution Records” in the village. Excellent slide guitar playing on this one. Along with “Crackerbox Palace” and “This Song”, Harrison also shot a fun video for “True Love”. Like “CP”, it was filmed at his home in Friar Park but was not shown on “Saturday Night Live”. Side note: “True Love” is the last song from “Thirty Three & 1/3” which appears on my top 250 list. 9 of the 10 tracks from that LP made it. Highly recommended.
Released as a single only, “Junior’s Farm” (reached #3) is a rocking song about nothing and no one in particular. It was inspired by Bob Dylan’s song “Maggie’s Farm”. The idea was to have another farm with some guy named Junior. There ya go. First time I heard it was when my brother Michael bought “Wings Greatest” in 1978. It became- and still is- one of my favorite tracks on the album and easily one of my favorite McCartney 45’s. Phenomenal single that, when it hit, it was shown as “Junior’s Farm / Sally G”. A double “A” side”. When it began it’s descent down the charts, Billboard posted it as “Sally G” only. Apple prepared a promo single for “Sally G” and it helped bring the chart performance back a bit but not by much. That “Sally G” promo is worth some good $$$ these days. Yes, I do own a copy. 🙂
For me, “Rainclouds” is very much like “Ode To A Koala Bear” as it’s an excellent track banished to non-LP “B” side status. This time, beneath the ridiculously overplayed “Ebony & Ivory” (reached #1). Another similarity is- after I realized I would never embrace the “A” side- I played “Rainclouds” incessantly instead. Love the acoustic guitars and the use of a celtic instrument, the uilleann pipes. A great, lost track, “Rainclouds” was finally released on CD as part of the “Tug Of War” box set, and- was the song- Paul McCartney was working on the day John Lennon was murdered.
Another one from “Ringo’s Rotogravure”. George Harrison wrote “I’ll Still Love You” as “Whenever” and then “When Every Song Is Sung”. It was originally intended for Shirley Bassey but then Harrison attempted a loose recording of the tune during “All Things Must Pass” which was probably the demo given to Ronnie Spector, then Cilla Black and then Leon Russell (all versions unreleased). In 1976, Ringo asked George if he had anything he could record for his next album and Harrison gave him this song which was now retitled “I’ll Still Love You”. George was unable to participate as he needed to deliver his first LP for the Dark Horse label (“Thirty Three & 1/3”) which had been delayed due his bout with hepatitis. The final result did not please Harrison who actually took legal action against Ringo releasing the track. Jerk. They later made light of the situation on television. Great, moody track.
“Out The Blue” is my third favorite track from Lennon’s “Mind Games” LP. It’s a love song written for Yoko,and- when he recorded it- he was separated from her. Love the acoustic guitar on the intro and Lennon’s lead vocal. At times, the backing voices remind me of that famous tune on Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side Of The Moon” LP. What the hell is the title? I can’t recall.
Ah yes. The breezy “Run Of The Mill” from “All Things Must Pass”. Harrison wrote the song after a falling out during the “Get Back” sessions in January, 1969. It reflects the lowly state of affairs between the Beatles and all the legal squabbles over Apple. In Pennsylvania, I used to know a girl named Joyce and every time I would see her, I would sing the opening line from “Run Of The Mill” as “Everyone loves Joyce”.
I first heard this zwonky track from the LP “George Harrison” as the flip side of “Blow Away”. Michael bought the single which- as I mentioned earlier- played a huge role in the soundtrack to the summer of 1979. The song is about a psychedelic mushroom experience Harrison had while in Maui. The atmosphere was recorded at a local Henley On Thames pub. Notice the tape speed gets all doinky at the end. I wish it would be re-released without that effect.
John Lennon’s sole non-LP “B” side, the chaotic rocker “Move Over Ms. L” was originally recorded in 1974 during the sessions for his best album “Walls & Bridges” but deleted from the line-up three weeks prior to release of the LP. The tune then wound up beneath the single for the 1975 single “Stand By Me” (reached #20) from “Rock ‘N’ Roll”. The “Ms. L” in the title is Yoko (Mrs. Lennon) and the song takes a few pokes at her forcing a separation. In a fun way, of course. Great song.
Elton John and Bernie Taupin provided the groovy “Snookeroo” for Ringo to record for his 1974 LP “Goodnight Vienna”. It’s an autobiography of life in northern England and was released as an “A” side in that country but bombed (of course). In the US, it was paired up as a double “A” side with Hoyt Axton’s “No No Song” (reached #3). That’s Reggie Dwight himself counting the song in. He also plays piano. Another awesome songwriter. Cool stuff.
My favorite track from the dismal “Ringo The 4th” LP. Written by Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia (where is he now?), IMO, “Simple Love Song” should have been the lead off single from the lame disco driven album. I absolutely love the chorus and it always gets stuck in my brain for hours after hearing it. Great lost track from the little drummer boy.
For me, “Put It There” (failed to chart) was the stand out track from the uneven “Flowers In The Dirt”. Great acoustic guitar riffs from Sir Paul as he sings about bonding with his father who would shake his hand and say “Put it there if it weighs a ton”. Very nice.
Still unreleased in the USA, “Back On My Feet” is a non-LP “B” side of the non-US-release “Once Upon A Long Ago” and written by Paul McCartney with Elvis Costello. One of my favorite McCartney flip sides, I remember buying the UK 45 at Revolution Records in the village and loving both sides. Brian had picked up the CD single which was a format I had had yet to embrace.
My favorite track from “Red Rose Speedway. “Big Barn Bed” started life as part of “Ram On” from 1971’s “Ram. It’s opening lines and melody are taken directly from that tune. Michael bought the “Red Rose Speedway” LP in 1977 and for a while, my cousin Steven, Michael and I made believe we were a band and would mime to the album. We had two garbage guitars and fake drum sticks to slam on pillows. We thought we were cool and named ourselves “The Black Panthers” (AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) after a black light poster Michael had on his wall. What the hell did we know? Because of that, I refused to play the album for a while (it reminded me of how stupid we were). That changed and now it’s one of my top twenty favorite solo Beatles albums.
“Dream Away” first appeared over the end credits of the fun and fascinating movie “Time Bandits” which George Harrison helped produce for Handmade Films. Apparently, the weirdo lingo he is singing during the chorus actually means something. I can’t recall but it might be in some old Hawaiian babble. No idea. Whatever it means, I have always loved “Dream Away” and the entire feel of the track. Great slide guitar parts as well as chord changes. It was released on 1982’s “Gone Troppo”, and- received enough airplay in Japan- to be released as a single there as well. Good stuff, man!
One of the greatest and most respected of Paul McCartney’s non-LP “B” sides. Released as the flip to “Goodnight Tonight”, “Daytime Nighttime Suffering” is the perfect pop song and one which millions of us musician slobs would love to write as an “A” side. Then again, when you are a Beatle, songs like this just seem to pop into your head. Excellent track.
Closing track from Ringo’s best album “Ringo” (reached #2), “You And Me (Babe)” was written by George Harrison with Beatles roadie Mal Evans. The song suggests the end of a gig where the musician is saying goodnight to everyone. In fact, Ringo thanks “everyone involved with this piece of plastic we’re making” including John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. He then closes out by saying “a big goodnight from your friend and mine, Ringo Starr”. Perfect.
Gotta love all these non-LP “B” sides that keep on comin’. The laid back and rather simple “Deep Blue” is the flip side of “Bangla Desh” (reached #23) and is Harrison singing about the loss of his mother to cancer. Ironic.
“The Back Seat Of My Car” started out at the Hyundai factory in Korea. No, wait. I mean, the song started life during the Beatles “Get Back” sessions in January, 1969 with a few run throughs attempted but nothing ever came of it. McCartney then transformed it into an opus that closes the 1971 LP “Ram”. It was released as a single in the UK but did not do too well. Naturally, like everything else from that album, I prefer “The Back Seat Of My Car” in mono. Powerful is not the word. Favorite part: the big “we believe that we can’t be wrong” ending and the tag.
One of the highlights of the grossly overlooked album “Time Takes Time”. Loaded up with pure Jeff Lynne production, “Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go” is a driving rocker about Ringo’s bout with addiction. It was released as a single in Germany but just like everything else Ringo touches, it went nowhere. It’s OK. I bought the imported CD single. Good for me and good for Ringo. Great song.
“That’s What It Takes” has been and shall always be my favorite track from 1987’s “Cloud Nine”. The day I bought the album- LP and cassette (Brian bought both plus the CD)- this tune has always been the stand out of the entire set. Eric Clapton takes over on lead guitar at the end. Great song with some euphoric memories attached.
Another gem from the excellent “Ringo” LP. “Six O’Clock” was written by Paul McCartney and was the song he offered to Ringo for the album. Always loved the melody and feel of this song. Klaus Voormann plays bass but also provided the artwork for the album cover and the accompanying booklet. The lithograph he created for “Six O’Clock” is my favorite. Cozy, again. Paul, Linda and Ringo on the same track? Is it Ringo Starr & Wings again? 🙂
Perfection. “Oh My Love” is a track from John Lennon’s 1971 LP “Imagine” and features George Harrison on lead guitar. Smooth production, excellent finger picking guitar from Harrison and a gorgeous melody from Lennon, this love song doesn’t need anymore praise. It speaks for itself. Love it.
At first I hated “Pipes Of Peace”- both as a song and an album. That didn’t last very long as I weeded out any crappy songs featured on the album and only listened to the ones I liked. I then realized I was wrong about the title track. It was released as an “A” side in the UK where it reached #1. Over here in Yankee land, the sides were reversed and the sappy “So Bad” was given “A” side honors and landed at #23. The video for “Pipes Of Peace” still stands as one of my all time favorite.
“The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)” is George Harrison’s tribute to the man who built his “crackerbox palace” in Friar Park: Sir Frank Crisp. It seems that Mr. Crisp was a rather creative type who had all kinds of fascinating things laid out on the grounds of Harrison’s property. Epitaphs, tunnels, canals, caves, mazes and all the things to make you go cross eyed. George dug that so he wrote this song- originally two different compositions- which appears on “All Things Must Pass”.
Another Lennon track featuring an amazing slide guitar solo from George Harrison. As much as I cannot stand Lennon’s political tirades of the period, this one stands tall within Gary Owen Land. Sure. He rags on Richard Nixon as he was running the country at the time. However, the theme of “Gimme Some Truth” is timeless and perfectly suits every government on the planet. For many years, I tried to come to terms with all the BS that goes with politics- but like so many things in life- I have reached the summit and have given up. Gimme some truth, indeed.
What happens when you combine the songwriting of Ringo Starr and George Harrison? Answer: “Photograph” (reached #1). To date- and I am sure it shall remain as such- this tune is Ringo Starr’s biggest selling single. As the lead off 45 from the LP “Ringo”, it features a bit of the “Wall of Sound” production that Phil Spector was so famous for creating (it was produced by Harrison). Oh, and yes, it’s just as played out as most every other big hit by the solo Beatles. Still, a gorgeous song.
John Lennon liked to refer to “Steel And Glass” as “Son Of ‘How Do You Sleep?'”. It’s yet another angry minor key song but this time directed at Allen Klein- the man John, George & Ringo hired to fix the mess at Apple Records. McCartney was the only one who knew Klein was a shyster and refused to allow him to represent him. Then again, he wanted to hire his brother in law to manage the group. Yeah, OK, Paul. Great choice. This, of course, started all the BS in the band. A song on my second CD titled “Bad Vibes”- which I began writing in 1989- was initially inspired by Lennon’s “Steel And Glass”.
“You Don’t Know Me At All” is one of the stand out tracks from 1976’s “Ringo’s Rotogravure”. While in Morocco, Ringo filmed a goofy video for the song which features him meandering around with both his head and eye brows shaved off. He looks like a walking Q-Tip. Still, “You Don’t Know Me At All” is a good song and was originally slated as the lead off single in the US but Atlantic went with “A Dose Of Rock ‘n” Roll” instead. It did come out in various countries but bombed everywhere. Of course, it did. It’s post-Apple era Ringo.
One of my favorite tracks from “Walls & Bridges”. Co-written with Harry Nilsson, “Old Dirt Road” is a tune about a stable life in an unstable life. Love the dream-like quality of the track. It reminds me of the time I went to Trails End in September, 1980. Rodd came along for the ride. I had created a solo Beatles cassette specifically for that weekend and “Old Dirt Road” was one of the tunes on it. Damian and Antony came up that Saturday and we all went on an adventure showing Rodd around Trails End. At one point we went jumping off a cliff onto sand. When it was Damian’s turn, he was hesitant but finally got up the nerve and jumped. When he did, he shouted out “Life With The Lions!” This was a reference to a rotten experimental album by John & Yoko. Strange connection, I know. Great song.
George And The Dominos! The rocking “Art Of Dying” was started in 1966 and considered way too ahead of it’s time. Whatever that means. It’s about reincarnation- if you believe in that sort of thing. The backing band is Derek & The Dominos who actually got together for the first time during these “All Things Must Pass” sessions of 1970. Favorite part: opening guitar riff from Clapton. Kapow!
Say hello to one of the four “far too laid back” songs deleted from the album “Somewhere In England”. The “experts” at Warner Brothers felt the LP was too slow and so they returned the master tapes to Harrison and asked if he would rework it a bit. As you can hear, “Lay His Head” is virtually unlistenable and no one on this planet would ever give it another thought, right? In 1987, Harrison remixed the track and released it as the flip side of the #1 single “Got My Mind Set On You”. So, from complete obscurity to a million seller, both Harrison and “Lay His Head” had the last laugh. This is another “B” side that I play a billion times more often than it’s extremely played out “A” side….which, as you know, did not make my list.
Title track from a phenomenal 1982 LP. Opening the album, “Tug Of War” is a song about the struggles to survive in life and- many believe- his rocky relationship with John Lennon. Love the big arrangement from George Martin here. I remember when Michael came home with the “Tug Of War” LP. He said he bought it at J&R Music and grabbed the very first copy coming out of the box as the store clerk was opening it. I bought the LP a week or so after and then months later found the single at Record Baron. Just as I did with “Take It Away”, I have combined the single and LP versions of “Tug Of War”, thereby, creating the full length rendition. Like wow.
Originally an unfinished outtake from the “All Things Must Pass” LP, “I Live For You” deserved a far better fate. When the album was being reissued, Harrison and his son Dhani finished the song by adding background vocals, guitars and assorted percussion. It was then placed as a bonus track on the 30th anniversary issue. The pedal steel is played by Pete Drake- the same guy who would work with Ringo on his “Beaucoups Of Blues” later that same year (1970). For many years, “I Live For You” was available to us via bootlegs but it was the unfinished rendition and even in that form, we always questioned as to why he never did anything with it. Glad he finally did. In 2015, with our drummer Drew Paradine on hand again, we Blue Meanies performed a set of “Country Beatles” tunes. Damian brought his pedal steel and the band played “I Live For You”. Once again, it was at “Abbey Road On The River”. In 2017, we performed it again as part of our “All Things Must Pass” sets. I’m happy to say that- we Blue Meanies- opened a few eyes to what is most certainly a great, lost track. Mission accomplished. 🙂
A non-US release, “Once Upon A Long Ago” is one of McCartney’s greatest power ballads. To this day, the only US release it has seen was in video form on “The McCartney Years” DVD box set. Favorite part: guitar solo in the middle. Cool video for the song too. McCartney says he was extremely scared when they placed him at the top of the mountain as the wind nearly blew him off the side. Ugh.
The best track from the lost “Old Wave” album of 1983. “In My Car” was co-written with Joe Walsh and some other people and released as a single in Germany. Naturally, it crashed into a brick wall and naturally, I could care less as I have always loved the song. The song had it’s first American release on 1989’s “Starr Struck: The Best Of Ringo Starr Volume 2” (failed to chart). “Old Wave” was one of the very first items I purchased at a Beatlefest (1983). After Damian found some vendor who had a few copies of this then-new but rather hard to find LP, he showed me where the guy was and I bought the Canadian pressing for $6.00. Favorite part: the second verse plus joe Walsh’s lead guitar and vocal on the fade. Great lost tune from Ringo.
“If You Believe” was originally slated to be the lead off single from the “George Harrison” LP but “Blow Away” was chosen instead. Both songs were coupled as a single in Japan. I LOVE Harrison’s slide guitar playing on this. Some tunes never get worn out.
Ringo Starr’s first top ten single and the one which began his run of seven in a row. “It Don’t Come Easy” (reached #4) is most likely more of a creation of George Harrison than Ringo wants the world to believe. In fact, Harrison even utilized the backing track and laid down a vocal of his own. Was it merely a guide for Ringo or was he truly attempting a full rendition? I remember hearing this when it was new (1971). Michael would always have a radio playing somewhere in the house and whenever something Beatley came on, he would tell me which one it was. Problem was, when I was four years old, I thought The Beatles were cartoon characters. We only had the “Yellow Submarine” LP and it was the only movie I had seen featuring them so what the hell was a four year old supposed to think?
Absolutely love this tune. I could care less if the key is too high and remnants of Ronnie Spector vocals leak in and out. “You” (reached #20) was recorded in 1971 for a comeback album for Ms. Spector on Apple Records. Since the only Apple release from those sessions was the “Try Some, Buy Some / Tandoori Chicken” 45, everything else was banished to the vaults. In 1975, Harrison wanted to quickly end his tenure at EMI which would be fulfilled with one more LP. He decided- since the backing was pretty much complete- he would wipe Spector’s vocals and add his own. Simple way to have a nearly completed song for his next album (“Extra Texture”). As was the case with “Try Some, Buy Some”, the key is way too high and it really shows on “You”. Until recent times, I never really noticed that he left some of Spector’s vocal in there. She is really present on the fade as the song goes back and forth between she and Harrison. Weird. Perhaps, someday, we will get the chance to hear the Ronnie Spector rendition. Fingers crossed that her vocals are still intact on the original multi-tracks or a safety copy. First time I heard “You” was in September, 1979 when Brian bought “The Best Of George Harrison”. It became the “closing song” for the summer of ’79- my all time favorite.
One of my favorites from “Stop And Smell The Roses”. Written by Paul McCartney, “Private Property” (failed to chart) opens the album on a bright note but the lyrics show a jealous, possessive sort of slob who is warning another guy of getting too close to his woman. Excellent guitar solos from Wings’ guitarist Laurence Juber, who- when I asked him about these Ringo sessions- said “Wow! I had forgotten about that”. Nice. How do you forget working with two of the Beatles?! Once again, we have Ringo Starr & Wings. Groovy man.
From the “All Things Must Pass” LP, the very BIG and LOUD “Wah Wah” is a tune that George Harrison wrote the same day he stormed out of Twickenham Studios pissed off at Paul McCartney (1/10/69). He quit the Beatles and had no intention of returning unless there were some changes. He was being stifled and criticized by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and was fed up with Yoko Ono’s involvement in the band’s activities (I don’t blame him at all). The term “Wah Wah” is derived from the guitar foot pedal effect that creates a “wah” sound. In this case, Harrison uses it as a metaphor meaning “headache”. Favorite part: the lead guitar solo in the middle and the chord change at 3:26-3:27.
The best track from the “Band On The Run” LP and the flip side of the ridiculously played out “Band On The Run” single (reached #1). Closing out the album, “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five” is a piano driven rocker that features some unique chord changes on the breaks. Saw McCartney do this at Citifield and Yankee Stadium. Loved it. Unlike most Beatles fans, I am not much of a fan of the “Band On The Run” LP. I don’t think it’s bad either. Overrated? Definitely. On New Years Eve (1984-85), Damian, Antony and I ran up to my room and made sure to play this tune just after midnight. Geeks? Yup, but, we can say we did that and be proud geeks, thank you. Favorite part: Hammond organ breaks and the huge orchestrated ending which morphs into “Band On The Run”. Perfect.
How Bob Dylan can you get?! George Harrison’s scrapey acoustic / harmonica driven ode to the Beatles fans who would battle all kinds of funky weather outside Apple Studios just so they could catch a glimpse of their heroes. After he finished recording “Apple Scruffs” for his “All Things Must Pass” LP, he ventured outside and invited the latest batch of “scruffs” inside to hear his song of thanks. It is definitely the most Dylan-esque track on the album- even more so than Dylan’s own “If Not For You” and the co-written “I’d Have You Anytime”. Excellent track.
Opening track from the excellent “George Harrison” LP. Eric Clapton plays the wimpy lead guitar parts on the intro which is all he contributes to the album. What was the point? “Love Comes To Everyone” was released as an edited single and promptly failed to chart. Whatever. Great song and yes, I prefer the full-length LP version. In 1991, Harrison found himself in Japan touring around with Clapton. For the first few shows, they performed this tune but it did not make it to the album “Live In Japan” (once again, thank goodness for bootlegs). Years later, Clapton recorded a version as well. Perhaps he wanted to make up for the doinky performance he gave on the original?
Until “All Those Years Ago”- which was recorded at separate sessions, “I’m The Greatest” was the closest thing to a recorded Beatles reunion. Featuring Ringo Starr, John Lennon (who wrote it) and George Harrison in the studio at the same time, the song opens the excellent “Ringo” LP. Suppoedly, Paul McCartney was invited to the session but since he was busted for marijuana a year earlier in Scotland, he couldn’t get a Visa (ugh!). The other players are Klaus Voormann (bass) and Billy Preston (keyboards). They even gave themselves a name “The Ladders”. Supposedly, George Harrison suggested they actually start a band and- apparently- John Lennon was not amused as it would have meant snubbing Paul McCartney. Suddenly, McCartney’s feelings mattered again. Fascinating. Great, great- if not the GREATEST song! “And all I wanna do is boogaloo!”
By 1980, Lennon’s songwriting was mostly concentrated on life at home and all things non-chalant. This made me a happy camper. Gone were the heavy handed political tirades he slammed down everyone’s throats in the early 1970’s and out of those ashes came songs like “(Just Like) Starting Over”, “Woman”, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” and this, my favorite track on “Double Fantasy” titled “Watching The Wheels” (reached #10). Here we have Lennon explaining his current state of mind and telling people who question his decisions/motives that he is going to do what he wants to do and not worry about what others think. I love that. To be that content in life is a dream of mine and if I ever reach that nirvana, “Watching The Wheels” will be my “go-t0-song” again and again.
The title track medley from the 1975 album “Venus & Mars”. McCartney: “It’s about an imaginary friend who’s got a girlfriend who’s the kind of person who asks what your sign is before they say hello. That’s it: ‘A good friend of mine studies the stars.’ In fact, in the first verse it’s ‘a good friend of mine follows the stars,’ so it could be ambiguous: a groupie or an astrologer.” The chorus of “Rock Show” mentions concerts at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, New York’s Madison Square Garden, and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl. The verses include musical references such as “Silly Willy with the Philly band” and Jimmy Page’s guitar. “Venus And Mars / Rock Show” was released as a severely edited single and reached a very respectable #12. Of course, I prefer the full length rendition, thank you. Favorite part: the stinging synthesizer sound at the end of “Rock Show”. Very “1975” and reminds me of life on Staten Island at the time.
Extremely played out, yes, but one of my all time favorite solo Beatles “A” sides so here it lands. It’s about the notion of the casualties of one’s actions being immediate rather than over a lifetime. “Instant Karma!” (reached #3) was rush released just days after it was recorded and has the distinction of being one of the few songs released in a such a quick manner, ever. George Harrison plays guitar and helped arrange the background vocals. For some stupid reason, the US 45 went out of print and for the life of me, I could not locate a copy. I would scour through all the Beatles/ solo Beatles 45’s at Music Land in the mall and other shops but to no avail. Then in 1978, I bought Lennon’s ‘best of’ compilation “Shaved Fish, and- even though it was edited (“shaved”) by a shorter fade- the LP solved that problem. Excellent track.
Gorgeous posthumous tune by George Harrison from “Brainwashed”. “Stuck Inside A Cloud” was the highlight of the album and the one used to promote it. This one is really a downer but an effective one. George is fully aware that he is dying and is coming to terms with it. I know…..ugh. Beautiful melody carries the melancholy lyrics throughout but it’s not enough to save my favorite Beatle from his imminent demise. I remember the first time I heard this track as a preview of the album. I loved it. Great track.
I absolutely love the way Paul McCartney sings the heavy “Beware My Love” which is a track from the 1976 LP “Wings At The Speed Of Sound”. Great use of the “wah wah” pedal by Wings guitarist Jimmy McCullough. In 2014, I took Mette to a Yankees game and this tune was played over the sound system. Nice surprise. The song was performed during the Wings tour in 1976 and was also the “B” side of “Let ‘Em In”. Good single.
Wow. I remember first hearing the driving rock instrumental “Rockestra Theme” on the “Back To The Egg” LP. I was blown away by the huge production and heavy feel of the entire track. “Rockestra” is actually a makeshift band of many famous faces like Pete Townshend (The Who), John Bonham (Led Zeppelin), Hank Marvin (The Shadows), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), all the members of Wings, David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Kenny Jones (The Faces, The Who), Gary Brooker (Procol Harum) and an assortment of others. I love it!
Ah yes. The cool “London Town” is the title of the album and released as a single (reached #49). I remember Michael buying the LP and this being one of the stand out tracks. One of the cool aspects of the LP is that it has a distinctive “British” theme. I like the video for “London Town” which features Beatles movie constant Victor Spinetti- whom I had the pleasure of meeting at Beatlefest ’94. Very nice man who insisted I call him “Victor”. I remember when I first saw a fragment of the video. During the summer of 1978, I was sleeping in the trailer in Trails End while Michael was still up watching Friday Night Videos. I wake up and hear the song playing and wondered why am I hearing “London Town”? I got up and peeked in the room only to catch the very end of the video. I was annoyed that he didn’t wake me so I could watch it as well. I never saw it on TV again.
The ethereal “Beware Of Darkness” opens side three of “All Things Must Pass” and is a track which warns the listener about the evils of the world. In August, 1971, the song was performed at both Bangladesh concerts (yes, there were two) with Leon Russell taking over the vocal duties on the third verse. Favorite part: guitar solo in the middle and the refrain at the end. Great, great track from Jorge.
Easily one of my all time favorite tunes from John Lennon. The lyrics to the “Walls & Bridges” track “Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)” speak for themselves. However, the real zinger is the line: “everybody loves you when you’re six foot in the ground”. How true. Love the moodiness of this recording. Great tune.
One of the earliest solo Beatle hits that I remember hearing when it was popular. I distinctly recall being stuck at the red light on the Wooley Avenue overpass in my Mom’s 1968 Buick Skylark while “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” (reached #1) was playing on either WNBC or WABC. It was a new song and once again, Michael said, “That’s Paul McCartney!” All the kids on my block loved the song as well. I remember sitting on the porch of Michael’s friend Bruce and watching the Apple label of the “Ram” LP turning round on his portable record player. The record belonged to an older kid who lived a few blocks away named Victor LoSquadro. Once again, I prefer the mix from the US-promo-only mono LP pressing and US-promo-only mono 45. Since AM radio broadcasts in monaural, I wonder if that was the mix we heard that day in the car?
One of my all time favorite solo Beatles non-LP “B” sides. “Oh Woman Oh Why” started life as a jam during the late 1970 sessions for the “Ram” LP. It wound up as the flip side of “Another Day” (reached #5) which was also recorded during the same sessions. McCartney sings the living hell out of this song and even chucks in a few gun shots to boot. It is definitely very “1971”- and even though I didn’t know the song back then- it still reminds me of that time. This is another song I first heard via Fanelli Land. That little shop in Jersey City filled many-a-void.
Title track from the greatest solo Beatles album of all time. The grand “All Things Must Pass” started as a Beatles tune and was rehearsed a number of times during the “Get Back” sessions before Harrison could sense John and Paul were not into it. By 1970, Harrison had so many songs which were rejected during his Beatle days that he was able to fill up four sides of solid music plus an extra record of jams from the sessions. The sentiment of the song is just that, all things will pass. And this too, shall pass.
And yet another non-LP “B” side makes the list. This time it’s an original tune written by Ringo Starr. The country rock tune “Coochy Coochy” was written in Nashville and wound up beneath the single of “Beaucoups Of Blues” (reached #87). Starr actually plays acoustic guitar on this tune which features but one chord (“E”). I have always loved the groove of “Coochy Coochy” and it was included on that solo Beatles tape I made for my trip to Trails End in September, 1980. First time I heard it was that same year when my brother Michael borrowed a bunch of records from his friend Rob Urbanski and this single was one of them. For me, an awesome forgotten gem of a song. Good. I’ll keep it for my own.
Here’s a strange one. Paul McCartney’s “torch song” for his ex-girlfriend Jane Asher. It seems they crossed paths sometime during the mid-1970’s and Paul began having feelings for her again. Hence this, the gentle “I’m Carrying” from the “London Town” LP. It also served as the flip side of the “London Town” 45- which is one of my all time favorite solo Beatles singles. Like myself, George Harrison stated “I’m Carrying” was his favorite song on the LP. I have always wondered what Linda McCartney thought of it? Ummmmmmm………..
Here is a powerful one. Supposedly the very last song recorded by John Lennon was this demo of “Grow Old With Me”. Other sources say it was recorded while he was in Bermuda earlier in 1980. Who knows? Inspired by an old poem, this never-formally-recorded track would obviously have been an amazing track. The melody itself is beyond incredible. Enhanced for the “Lennon Anthology” box set in 1998, George Martin added string orchestration to the demo which promptly made this the version I love most. Also, the tune was one of the demos that Yoko Ono sent to the other three Beatles to upgrade for the Beatles Anthology series of the 1990’s. They never worked on it. Some personal sadness is associated with this track. Aside from the obvious depressing connection with John Lennon, this version of the song was released around the same time both my parents passed on. To compound the situation, this was my wedding song (1996). By 1999, my marriage began to disintegrate, and, I was crushed. Later that year, just to keep my mind occupied, I took a silly part-time job at Yankee Candle in Middletown, NY. One day, I drove down to Staten Island for the night but had to leave early the next morning to get to Yankee Candle on time. Anything to be away from the hell at home in Pa. Naturally, I couldn’t sleep so I was up for the night (which had become the norm). At dawn, I drove up to Middletown and pulled into the parking lot of the mall. The CD changer was on shuffle, when- all of a sudden- this version of “Grow Old With Me” comes on. Still reeling over the recent deaths of my parents, the Fanelli’s parents, drinking, the ridiculous lack of sleep and all the BS with my marriage, I don’t think I ever cried so hard in my life. To this day, I still cannot believe how hard the tears flowed. That is my most vivid memory of “Grow Old With Me”. As is the case with any poisonous situation, it was definitely for the best (we both learned hard lessons and have since apologized to each other). Still, that was one hell of a moment. “Grow old with me the best is yet to be”. Yeah, sure.
“Somedays” is one of the many highlights of the excellent “Flaming Pie” and was written by McCartney after escorting Linda to a photo shoot. I believe it’s also about his sadness due to her illness from cancer (I could be wrong with that). Aside from the gorgeous production, I love George Martin’s tasteful orchestration plus McCartney’s very effective back and forth acoustic guitar solos. “Somedays” was one of the three songs which were previewed at Beatlefest 1997. I remember being very drunk, hanging out in the back of the grand ballroom with my long-time fest friend, Jersey Jim, and, being extra excited to hear this brand new yet-to-be released song from McCartney. It did not disappoint, and- when the song ended- Jersey Jim and I both gave a high-five and yelled out “YES!!!!!” “Somedays” stands out as my second favorite track on the album.
Love it! I was so happy when I first heard that chiming 12-string electric on the intro of “Weight Of The World” (failed to chart). From the 1992 album “Time Takes Time”, this very Beatle-esque tune was like a breath of fresh air amongst the sea of crap music which was being spewed out since the 1980’s. I must have played my CD single and the album a billion times and I never got tired of it. Favorite part: the 12-string electric riff at 3:32 out. Perfect.
The first single pulled from the “Back To The Egg” LP, “Getting Closer” (reached #20) is one of McCartney’s best tracks of the late 70’s. Some critics were annoyed at the line “my salamander”. I guess it is kind of stupid. Still, it doesn’t take away from what is an excellent song. Love the way he screams the lyric “closer! closer!” at the end. Another McCartney tune that Mom liked a lot, and- thanks to Michael- a song which was in heavy rotation at home and Trails End during the Summer of ’79.
“Wrack My Brain” (reached #38) is George Harrison’s contribution to Ringo Starr’s “Stop And Smell The Roses”. One author believes Harrison wrote it in response to Warner Brothers’ rejection of his album “Somewhere In England”. The lyrics are rather cynical but since Ringo is singing it, the tune doesn’t come across in that tone. Great guitar solo from Harrison too. I remember buying the single at Record Baron a week or so after I had picked up the LP. I am proud that I helped it chart at a decent #38. Ringo’s last top 40 to date. My favorite version is an unreleased mix which has a much more full sound and a few extra bits of guitar from Harrison. Great song.
Great McCartney tune. “The Songs We Were Singing” opens the “Flaming Pie” album. Complete with a nifty Jeff Lynne production, the song is a discussion about hanging out with friends during the 1960’s and what an exciting time it was. My Mom liked this song too. Favorite part: the chorus.
From the film “Lethal Weapon 2”, “Cheer Down” (failed to chart) plays over the end credits of said film. The most outstanding feature of the track is George Harrison’s tone-changing slide guitar solos. Obviously done via overdubs, he keeps changing the position of the tone switch on his guitar to get different a sound for each refrain. Favorite part: the solos which begin at 2:25. Notice the tone changes. I love that.
A 1972 non-LP single from Ringo Starr, the thundering “Back Off Boogaloo” (reached #9) was written by Starr with some help from George Harrison who plays what could possibly be his greatest slide guitar solo. The song was inspired by Marc Bolan (T-Rex) who would always use the term “boogaloo” for whatever reason. When the song was released, many people thought the lyrics pertained to Paul McCartney’s current musical state which had failed to impress:
“Wake up meathead, don’t pretend that you are dead.
Get yourself up off the cart.
Get yourself together now and give me something tasty.
Everything you try to do you know it sure sounds wasted”.
Ringo denies it.
I clearly remember hearing this song in 1972 and Michael telling me it was Ringo Starr. There is a rare US pressing of the single which has a blue Apple label. Collector’s item. Yes…I have a few. Good.
Oh yes. The spectacular “Mind Games” which is the title of the album and 45 (reached #18). With use of the Mellotron again (Chamberlain, actually), this wistful tune should have charted much higher as a single but alas, it did not. It’s actually two separate Lennon compositions combined. One titled “Make Love Not War” and the other “I Promise”. Gorgeous song that officially launches us into my top ten. 🙂
This 45- the version which I prefer- is a combination of the opening and closing tracks from the album of the same name. “(It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna” (reached #31) was Ringo Starr’s final single for Apple Records and the one which broke his streak of seven consecutive top ten singles. Oh well. I guess it had to happen. Written by John Lennon- who counts in and plays piano, the title is British slang for “I’m getting outta here”. It’s my favorite Ringo Starr track and it lands at #9…his last entry to the list. Good work, Ringo. You did very well. 🙂
Crazy, chaotic tune which is loaded up with strange time signatures, lyrics and various sound effects, “Meat City” hails from the “Mind Games” LP and was also the flip side of the title track single (and an excellent one at that). The 45 and LP differ as the goofy voice after the first chorus is different on both. When played in reverse, the 45 states: “check the album” and when you follow that suggestion, the reverse of the LP says something very unsavory. Find out for yourself. The song is filled to the rim with gibberish which makes no sense at all. That’s good as it’s cool to have such a great song with nonsensical meanings throughout. Excellent rocker from John Lennon. Amazing, in fact.
“Why are they doing…..those………strange………..things?” Play it LOUD!!!!
And one last non-LP “B” side joins in our sojourn. “Girls School” (reached #33) is the flip side of “Mull Of Kintyre” (failed to chart). McCartney says the song was inspired by a newspaper advert for a porno flick with the same title. Since the isolated, disco-obsessed American listener of 1977 had no clue (nor cared) what a “mull” or a “kintyre” was, radio stations decided to promote this rocking flip side instead. By doing so, it charted in the top 40, but- as of today- is nothing more than an obscure memory. Except, of course, within Gary Owen Land where it shines brightly.
Ah yes. My all time favorite solo John Lennon “A” side. From the LP “Walls & Bridges”, and originally titled as such. “#9 Dream” appropriately reached (you guessed it) #9 on the chart. First time I heard the song, I was not too enamored with it and I didn’t care for that “ah bawakawa pousse pousse” chorus. Naturally, that feeling didn’t last long and now it’s my all time favorite solo John Lennon song. By the way, that silly gibberish chorus came to Lennon in a dream. Amazing what the sub-conscious mind can create. The female voice you hear is Lennon’s then girlfriend May Pang calling his name. The slower parts of the song were inspired by George Harrison’s “Try Some, Buy Some”. Awesome song. This is John’s last entry on my list. He did very well, indeed. 🙂
The excellent opening track to the “Ram” LP (in mono, of course). “Too Many People” contains jabs at John & Yoko and was the song which inspired Lennon to write his whiny “How Do You Sleep?” (see entry #235). During the late ’60’s-early ’70’s, the Lennon people were arrogantly meandering about attempting to slam their extremist political views down everyone’s throats. If you didn’t agree, you were considered an idiot and an outcast. This did not sit well with many people, including McCartney, who- became fed up- reading about all their stupid antics. They were also at odds with each other over the Beatles split. This was the catalyst for one of the greatest lyrics ever written:
“Too many people preaching practices. Don’t let ’em tell you what you want to be”.
In 2005, I saw McCartney perform “Too Many People” at MSG. Even though he curiously combined it into a medley with “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, I was very happy. It also landed beneath “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” single, making it one of McCartney’s strongest 45’s. The song has no problem landing at #5 on my list….in mono, of course. 🙂
Another rejected Beatle tune from George Harrison. “Isn’t It A Pity” is a droning epic about the stupid things we silly, selfish, egomaniacal, possessive, mortal humans do to hurt each other. The colossal wall of sound production pulls the listener in and never lets go. First time I heard it was Christmas Eve, 1979. I bought the “My Sweet Lord / Isn’t It A Pity” 45 at Music Land in the mall (orange Capitol label). I remember playing the “A” side and being happy to actually own the song on vinyl for myself. Then, I played the flip…..I was mesmerized. I stared at the orange Capitol label as it spun around in all it’s 45rpm glory and was completely hypnotized by what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe how amazing a song it was and I wound up playing it over and over. A truly revealing moment within Gary Owen Land. One interesting facet about “Isn’t It A Pity” is the chant during the gigantic, drawn out coda: “da da da da da da da da da da da isn’t it a pity”. It’s a tip-of-the-hat to “Hey Jude” and nearly clocks in at the same time length. At Beatlefest 2002, I went off on my usual “Gary needs to be alone with his acoustic” moment. I was sitting by myself in one of the corners of the hotel strumming along when Klaus Voormann comes walking down the hall. He sees me, comes over and sits down beside me. It’s just he and I. We start talking and I ask him what was his favorite song on which he played bass from the “All Things Must Pass” album. He quickly said, “Oh, that would have to be ‘Isn’t it A Pity’!” It was then I launched into the song, and, suddenly- with no one else around- it was “The Klaus & Gary Duo” singing one 0f my all time favorite solo Beatles songs! Cool? Damn right, it is! That’s one of my favorite moments from any music convention. So, in the end, version one of “Isn’t It A Pity” (there are two) is an incredible song and quite deserving of it’s placement at #4 on my list.
My earliest recollection of hearing a solo Beatles song on the radio. The rocking “What Is Life” (reached #10) was pulled from Harrison’s 1970 LP “All Things Must Pass” and stands as my all time favorite solo Beatles “A” side. He wrote the song in 1969 and intended it for Billy Preston to record (never happened). The sessions for the song included the full-line ups of both Badfinger and Derek & The Dominos. Can you say “supergroup”, hmmmm? In many regions of the world, with “Apple Scruffs” as the “B” side, “What Is Life” was released as the follow up 45 to “My Sweet Lord”. In the UK, it wound up as the flip-side of the latter which became the biggest selling UK single of 1971. For nearly a decade, I thought Harrison was singing: “Then I’ll try my best to make everything obscene”. As you can probably surmise, finding out he actually says “succeed”, was a bit of an eye opener. 🙂 Phenomenal guitar riffs, awesome drumming, incredible orchestration, excellent vocals, great melody and chorus, the song is simply perfect. I vividly remember, in 1971, Michael telling me it was George Harrison and how much I liked the song.
One of the most powerful songs ever recorded and with “Girls School” on the flip, my all time favorite McCartney single. Written about one of the most amazing regions of the planet I have ever visited, the non-LP single “Mull Of Kintyre” (failed to chart) bombed in the USA but was an absolute monster overseas. It went on to become the biggest selling single in the UK- replacing “She Loves You” by The Beatles. In 1969, Paul McCartney was in search of a remote place away from all the hustle and bustle of Beatle Land. He found it on a farm in an area in Scotland known as “Kintyre”. The word “mull” is a celtic word meaning “end” so the song is about the area I visited which was right on the sea. You have to stand there to believe it. I stood on top of the summit and duly stated out loud: “Now I know why he wrote the song”. It was all there. The mist rolling in from the sea, heather spread all over the place- and as an extra bonus- sheep running freely. At one point, the sun broke through the clouds and sprayed it’s rays on Ireland- which can be seen on the horizon across the sea. I had never seen anything so “green”- just as the stereotypical image of Ireland should be. Absolutely surreal. In 1977, I remember watching what is my all time favorite promotional film on Friday Night Videos. Sean Cassidy was the MC and my brother Michael set up his cassette recorder in front of the TV speaker to record the audio. We both loved the video and song. While I was gigging in Oslo, Norway (March, 2001), the venue, “Rorbua”, was mobbed when an old Scottish woman approached me and requested “Mull Of Kintyre”. I started playing it and the entire place went ballistic singing along at the top of their lungs. By the middle, I was in tears as I was sooooooooooooooo happy. Mind you, this was a song that had meant a lot to my family and most people back home didn’t know nor care that it existed. To experience it the way I did in Oslo- which was directly in the middle of that hell period of 2001- is something I will never forget. With it’s ridiculously cozy aura, ethereal lyrics and celtic touch (bagpipes), “Mull Of Kintyre” is one of the greatest songs ever recorded.
Favorite part: “Sweep through the heather like deer in the glen. Carry me back to the days I knew then. Nights when we sang like a heavenly choir of the life and the times of the mull of kintyre.”
Aside from the melody on that section, the reason I like it so much is because it was my Mom’s favorite part. She absolutely loved “Mull Of Kintyre” and whenever it came on, everything stopped. By the way, I took some heather and a few small stones from the “Mull Of Kintyre” back home with me. Still have them.
Funny…… “What Is Life” is my all time favorite solo Beatles “A” side, yet, “Mull Of Kintyre” rated one notch higher on my list. Only in Gary Owen Land.
“Mulligan’s Tires…….oh mist rolling in from the sea………la de da da da da” 🙂
Click here for a very cool look into the song, “Mull Of Kintyre”:
And so, our incredibly magnificent, colorful, dynamic, awesome, fantastic, colossal, phantasmagoric sojourn through the top 250 solo Beatles tunes of Gary Owen Land draws to a close. We have arrived at my all time favorite solo Beatles song. In fact, it’s my all time favorite song, period. Co-written with Mick Ralphs (Mott The Hoople and Bad Company), George Harrison’s majestic “Flying Hour” was nixed from two albums: “George Harrison” (1979) and “Somewhere In England” (1980/81). I have always assumed it was dropped from the former because Harrison felt he could improve upon it. However, the same does not apply to the latter. I’ve brought up this story a few times during our adventure through my list. It seems the powers that be at Warner Brothers felt Harrison’s 1980 offering “Somewhere In England” was “too laid back” and needed to be reworked a bit. They outright rejected the tapes and album artwork. With that, they sent it all back to Harrison and “kindly” asked if he would change the cover and drop four songs.
Deleted tracks (with list position included):
1. Lay His Head (#46)
2. Sat Singing
3. Tears Of The World
4. Flying Hour (#1)
The four replacement songs (with list position included):
1. Blood From A Clone (#252)
2. Teardrops (#100)
3. That Which I Have Lost
4. All Those Years Ago (#126)
As I mentioned earlier, by the time the revamped LP was scheduled for release in mid 1981- new cover art and all- Warner Brothers could care less which songs were chosen. John Lennon had been murdered and all they were worried about was getting the 3/4 Beatles reunion track “All Those Years Ago” out there. “Cash cow” anyone?
Why they chose to dump “Flying Hour” still baffles me and just shows how dumb record companies can be. It seems Warner head honcho, Mo Ostin, and his cronies, decided that- to sell records- songs needed to be about teenagers “falling in and out of love” and not lyrics about living in the present with plenty of spirituality.
In 1988, Harrison released an elaborate, autographed, limited-edition box set titled “Songs By George Harrison” (volume two followed in 1992). The lavish set included a very classy book featuring lyrics to many of his songs plus a CD or 45 (your choice) with four unreleased recordings included. “Flying Hour” was one of the tunes on the discs but it was in it’s original, extended-normal-speed form which makes the song drag. This is not the version which was intended for “Somewhere In England”.
There is nothing “laid back” about “Flying Hour”, especially, since Harrison had edited and sped up the recording to a sprightly pace specifically for the LP. Whatever dopey reason for nixing the song may have been, George was robbed of a hit single. No one will convince me otherwise.
As for the lyrics, he adapted part of the words from an inscription on a clock tower at Friar Park, a legacy of the property’s original owner, Frank Crisp. According to Harrison’s wife, Olivia, each time they walked past the clock tower, he made a point of reading the inscription aloud…..
In old English, they read:
“Past is gone
Cant’s not that recall
Future may not be at all
Present is, improve the flying hour
Present is within thy power”
Words of wisdom which have the same sentiment as Harrison’s 1973 tune “Be Here Now”: stay in the present, work on it the best you can and everything will work out the way it should.
So, according to Warner Brothers, the record buying public of 1980 could only fathom “incredible” songs like “Ring My Bell”, “Funkytown”, “Whip It”, “Double Dutch Bus” and the rest of those synthetic “classics” that no one gives a damn about anymore. After all, it’s all about making money, correct? 🙄
As for me, I still remember the first time I heard “Flying Hour”. In early 1983, Antony had bought a pirate copy of the original “Somewhere In England” LP. Saturday, February 5th was the day- which was three days after my 16th birthday. We were all hanging out in my room playing records. He put on “Flying Hour” and said: “Listen to this one. It’s a great song”. How right he was. I was immediately taken by the melody and from that day on, it became my all time favorite song. In the more than thirty years since I first heard it, no one, and I mean NO ONE has listened to “Flying Hour” more than I have. I could contently bet everything on this fact and know I would win. The Fanelli people can vouch for that. In fact, there was a time when I would listen to it at least 15-20 times a day (no joke). To this day, it’s never left heavy listening rotation within Gary Owen Land. I hope- someday- this intended-for-release-in-1980 rendition will get the recognition it deserves.
Click here to listen to the song:
Written by George Harrison & Mick Ralphs (1978)
All through my life I’ve been hearing
All about those good old days.
It makes no difference,
What was or what may be.
The past it is gone,
The future may not be at all,
The present improve the flying hour.
Some people look into the future,
They’re hoping that they’ll see better days.
It’s such a sweet thought,
It’s something that could be but
The past it is gone,
The future may not be at all,
The present improve the flying hour.
What was and what may be,
Is not here, it is not clear to me.
Right now is the one thing
That I can feel, the one thing real to me,
So as you sit back to remember
That which you cannot recall.
It makes no difference,
What was or what may be.
The past it is gone,
The future may not be at all,
The present improve the flying hour.
It makes no difference,
What was or what may be.
The past it is gone,
The future may not be at all,
The present improve the flying hour, ooooooo….
The past it is gone,
The future may not be at all,
The present improve the flying hour.
So, there you have it. My top 250 solo Beatles tunes. Obviously, there is a hell of a lot more to these four guys than just the played out greatest hits! I hope you all enjoyed the ride. I most certainly did. 🙂
“Bubbling Under” Songs:
255. Remember – John Lennon
254. Helen Wheels – Paul McCartney
253. After All These Years – Ringo Starr
252. Blood From A Clone – George Harrison
251. Morse Moose And The Grey Goose – Paul McCartney
Top 250 Solo Beatles Songs:
250. Fading In, Fading Out – Ringo Starr
249. Not Such A Bad Boy – Paul McCartney
248. Mystery Of The Night – Ringo Starr
247. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him – John Lennon
246. We All Stand Together (Humming Version) – Paul McCartney
245. Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette ) – Ringo Starr
244. A Love For You (Jon Kelly Remix) – Paul McCartney
243. Grey Cloudy Lies – George Harrison
242. Singalong Junk – Paul McCartney
241. Tomorrow – Paul McCartney
240. What You Got – John Lennon
239. Wake Up – Ringo Starr
238. Mãya Love – George Harrison
237. Let ‘Em In – Paul McCartney
236. Loser’s Lounge – Ringo Starr
235. How Do You Sleep? – John Lennon
234. Dance Tonight – Paul McCartney
233. Stop And Take The Time To Smell The Roses – Ringo Starr
232. Winter Rose / Love Awake – Paul McCartney
231. I Don’t Wanna Face It – John Lennon
230. Mrs. Vandebilt – Paul McCartney
229. Wonderwall To Be Here – George Harrison
228. Mother – John Lennon
227. No Other Baby – Paul McCartney
226. Here Comes The Moon – George Harrison
225. Off The Ground – Paul McCartney
224. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple) – John Lennon
223. When We Was Fab (Reverse Ending) – George Harrison
222. Monkberry Moon Delight (Mono) – Paul McCartney
221. Just Because – John Lennon
220. Sentimental Journey – Ringo Starr
219. English Tea – Paul McCartney
218. Run So Far – George Harrison
217. Famous Groupies – Paul McCartney
216. The Lord Loves The One (That Loves The Lord) – George Harrison
215. I’m Stepping Out – John Lennon
214. Eat At Home (Mono) – Paul McCartney
213. Slippin’ And Slidin’ – John Lennon
212. His Name Is Legs (Ladies & Gentlemen) – George Harrison
211. Stranglehold – Paul McCartney
210. I’ll Give You A Ring – Paul McCartney
209. It’s No Secret – Ringo Starr
208. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night – John Lennon
207. The Pound Is Sinking – Paul McCartney
206. Just A Dream – Ringo Starr
205. Young Boy – Paul McCartney
204. Beef Jerky – John Lennon
203. I’m Losing You – John Lennon
202. Mo’s Song (Unreleased) – George Harrison
201. Crippled Inside – John Lennon
200. See Yourself – George Harrison
199. Lunch Box / Odd Sox – Paul McCartney
198. Give Peace A Chance (“Live Peace In Toronto” Version) – John Lennon
197. The World Tonight – Paul McCartney
196. From A Lover To A Friend (David Kahne Remix #2) – Paul McCartney
195. That Is All – George Harrison
194. With A Little Luck (LP Version) – Paul McCartney
193. Dark Sweet Lady – George Harrison
192. Only Love Remains – Paul McCartney
191. $15 Draw – Ringo Starr
190. You Are Here – John Lennon
189. Cosmically Conscious – Paul McCartney
188. John Sinclair – John Lennon
187. Isolation – John Lennon
186. Miss O’Dell – George Harrison
185. Ballroom Dancing – Paul McCartney
184. Hi Hi Hi – Paul McCartney
183. Blow Away – George Harrison
182. Wanderlust – Paul McCartney
181. Wake Up My Love – George Harrison
180. Mary Had A Little Lamb – Paul McCartney
179. Mystical One – George Harrison
178. Down And Out – Ringo Starr
177. However Absurd – Paul McCartney
176. Dark Horse – George Harrison
175. Soily – Paul McCartney
174. Fine Line – Paul McCartney
173. Lady Gaye – Ringo Starr
172. It’s Not True (45 Mix) – Paul McCartney
171. Sue Me, Sue You Blues – George Harrison
170. How Kind Of You – Paul McCartney
169. Your Love Is Forever – George Harrison
168. I Lie Around – Paul McCartney
167. Spin It On – Paul McCartney
166. Awaiting On You All – George Harrison
165. Liverpool 8 – Ringo Starr
164. Ode To A Koala Bear (Australian 45 Mix) – Paul McCartney
163. It’s So Hard – John Lennon
162. That’s The Way It Goes (Remix) – George Harrison
161. Dear One – George Harrison
160. My Love – Paul McCartney
159. La De Da – Ringo Starr
158. I’ve Had Enough – Paul McCartney
157. You Belong To Me – Ringo Starr
156. Waterspout (Unreleased) – Paul McCartney
155. Here We Go Again – John Lennon
154. Heart Of The Country (Mono) – Paul McCartney
153. Be-Bop-A-Lula – John Lennon
152. Poor Little Girl – George Harrison
151. Magneto And Titanium Man – Paul McCartney
150. Any Road – George Harrison
149. Oo-Wee – Ringo Starr
148. Everybody Wins (1992 Version) – Ringo Starr
147. Love (Single Remix) – John Lennon
146. Goodnight Tonight (12″ Single Version) – Paul McCartney
145. Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox) – John Lennon
144. It’s What You Value – George Harrison
143. New – Paul McCartney
142. Baby’s Request – Paul McCartney
141. Fastest Growing Heartache In The West – Ringo Starr
140. Don’t Let Me Wait Too Long – George Harrison
139. Jealous Guy – John Lennon
138. You Gave Me The Answer – Paul McCartney
137. How? – John Lennon
136. Summer’s Day Song – Paul McCartney
135. Crackerbox Palace – George Harrison
134. Keep Under Cover – Paul McCartney
133. Hope For The Future – Paul McCartney
132. As Far As We Can Go – Ringo Starr
131. Faster – George Harrison
130. Same Time Next Year – Paul McCartney
129. Woman Don’t You Cry For Me – George Harrison
128. My Brave Face – Paul McCartney
127. Going Down On Love – John Lennon
126. All Those Years Ago – George Harrison
125. Somebody Who Cares – Paul McCartney
124. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry) – John Lennon
123. This Is Love – George Harrison
122. Dead Giveaway – Ringo Starr
121. Nobody Told Me – John Lennon
120. Writings On The Wall – George Harrison
119. What Goes Around – Ringo Starr
118. Heart On My Sleeve – Ringo Starr
117. Try Some, Buy Some – George Harrison
116. Letting Go – Paul McCartney
115. This Song – George Harrison
114. Early 1970 – Ringo Starr
113. Marwa Blues – George Harrison
112. Little Woman Love – Paul McCartney
111. The Mess – Paul McCartney
110. I Don’t Want To Do It (45 Mix) – George Harrison
109. Attention – Ringo Starr
108. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) – John Lennon
107. Take It Away (Full Length Version) – Paul McCartney
106. Tonight – Ringo Starr
105. Learning How To Love You – George Harrison
104. (Just Like) Starting Over (12″ Single Version) – John Lennon
103. Who Needs A Heart – Ringo Starr
102. New York City – John Lennon
101. One Of These Days – Paul McCartney
100. Teardrops – George Harrison
99. Be Here Now – George Harrison
98. Picture Show Life – Ringo Starr
97. Beautiful Girl – George Harrison
96. Sally G – Paul McCartney
95. Hari’s On Tour (Express) – George Harrison
94. Someplace Else – George Harrison
93. Live And Let Die – Paul McCartney
92. Woman – John Lennon
91. Mama’s Little Girl – Paul McCartney
90. Treat Her Gently / Lonely Old People – Paul McCartney
89. This Guitar (Can’t Keep From Crying) – George Harrison
88. If Not For You – George Harrison
87. Little Lamb Dragonfly – Paul McCartney
86. Country Dreamer – Paul McCartney
85. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea – George Harrison
84. Tough On A Tightrope – Paul McCartney
83. I’d Have You Anytime – George Harrison
82. I Know (I Know) – John Lennon
81. Fish On The Sand – George Harrison
80. Borrowed Time – John Lennon
79. A Dose Of Rock ‘n’ Roll – Ringo Starr
78. Ding Dong, Ding Dong – George Harrison
77. Here Today – Paul McCartney
76. True Love – George Harrison
75. Junior’s Farm – Paul McCartney
74. Rainclouds – Paul McCartney
73. I’ll Still Love You – Ringo Starr
72. Out The Blue – John Lennon
71. Run Of The Mill – George Harrison
70. Soft-Hearted Hana – George Harrison
69. Move Over Ms. L – John Lennon
68. Snookeroo – Ringo Starr
67. Simple Love Song – Ringo Starr
66. Put It There – Paul McCartney
65. Back On My Feet – Paul McCartney
64. Big Barn Bed – Paul McCartney
63. Dream Away – George Harrison
62. Daytime Nightime Suffering – Paul McCartney
61. You And Me (Babe) – Ringo Starr
60. Deep Blue (‘B’ Side Of ‘Bangla Desh’) – George Harrison
59. The Back Seat Of My Car (Mono) – Paul McCartney
58. Don’t Go Where The Road Don’t Go – Ringo Starr
57. That’s What It Takes – George Harrison
56. Six O’Clock – Ringo Starr
55. Oh My Love – John Lennon
54. Pipes Of Peace – Paul McCartney
53. The Ballad Of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll) – George Harrison
52. Give Me Some Truth – John Lennon
51. Photograph – Ringo Starr
50. Steel And Glass – John Lennon
49. You Don’t Know Me At All – Ringo Starr
48. Old Dirt Road – John Lennon
47. Art Of Dying – George Harrison
46. Lay His Head (1987 Remix) – George Harrison
45. Tug Of War (Full Length Version) – Paul McCartney
44. I Live For You – George Harrison
43. Once Upon A Long Ago – Paul McCartney
42. In My Car – Ringo Starr
41. If You Believe – George Harrison
40. It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr
39. You – George Harrison
38. Private Property – Ringo Starr
37. Wah-Wah – George Harrison
36. Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five – Paul McCartney
35. Apple Scruffs – George Harrison
34. Love Comes To Everyone – George Harrison
33. I’m The Greatest – Ringo Starr
32. Watching The Wheels – John Lennon
31. Venus & Mars / Rock Show – Paul McCartney
30. Instant Karma! – John Lennon
29. Stuck Inside A Cloud – George Harrison
28. Beware My Love – Paul McCartney
27. Rockestra Theme – Paul McCartney
26. London Town – Paul McCartney
25. Beware Of Darkness – George Harrison
24. Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out) – John Lennon
23. Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey (Mono) – Paul McCartney
22. Oh Woman, Oh Why – Paul McCartney
21. All Things Must Pass – George Harrison
20. Coochy Coochy – Ringo Starr
19. I’m Carrying – Paul McCartney
18. Grow Old With Me (Strings Version) – John Lennon
17. Somedays – Paul McCartney
16. Weight Of The World – Ringo Starr
15. Getting Closer – Paul McCartney
14. Wrack My Brain – Ringo Starr
13. The Songs We Were Singing – Paul McCartney
12. Cheer Down – George Harrison
11. Back Off Boogaloo – Ringo Starr
10. Mind Games – John Lennon
9. (It’s All Down To) Goodnight Vienna (Extended 45 Mix) – Ringo Starr
8. Meat City – John Lennon
7. Girls’ School – Paul McCartney
6. #9 Dream – John Lennon
5. Too Many People (Mono) – Paul McCartney
4. Isn’t It A Pity – George Harrison
3. What Is Life – George Harrison
2. Mull Of Kintyre – Paul McCartney
1. Flying Hour (Unreleased 1980 Version) – George Harrison
Top 25 Solo Beatles LP’s:
1. All Things Must Pass – George Harrison (1970)
2. George Harrison – George Harrison (1979)
3. Ram – Paul McCartney (1971)
4. Walls & Bridges – John Lennon (1974)
5. Ringo – Ringo Starr (1973)
6. Thirty Three & 1/3 – George Harrison (1976)
7. Flaming Pie – Paul McCartney (1997)
8. Back To The Egg – Paul McCartney (1979)
9. Cloud Nine – George Harrison (1987)
10. London Town – Paul McCartney (1978)
11. Venus And Mars – Paul McCartney (1975)
12. Mind Games – John Lennon (1973)
13. Red Rose Speedway – Paul McCartney (1973)
14. Living In The Material World – George Harrison (1973)
15. Tug Of War – Paul McCartney (1982)
16. Imagine – John Lennon (1971)
17. Gone Troppo – George Harrison (1982)
18. Time Takes Time – Ringo Starr (1992)
19. Somewhere In England – George Harrison (1980/81) (both versions)
20. Extra Texture – George Harrison (1975)
21. Chaos And Creation In The Back Yard – Paul McCartney (2005)
22. Brainwashed – George Harrison (2002)
23. Goodnight Vienna – Ringo Starr (1974)
24. Stop And Smell The Roses – Ringo Starr (1981)
25. Rock ‘n’ Roll – John Lennon (1975)
Top Worst Commercial Solo Beatles LP’s:
1. Egypt Station – Paul McCartney (2018) / 1. What’s My Name? – Ringo Starr (2019)
2. Give More Love – Ringo Starr (2017)
3. I Wanna Be Santa Claus – Ringo Starr (1999)
4. Ringo 2012 – Ringo Starr (2012)
5. Some Time In New York City – John Lennon (1972)
6. Ringo Rama – Ringo Starr (2003)
1. John Lennon (46 songs) – Had he not been murdered by that walking pile of garbage all those years ago, you can be rest assured, he would have had many more tunes on my list. I still love the musical direction he was going in 1980, and, yes, the world was robbed of genuine classics which surely would have followed. John has an excuse for not having as much material as the other three. First, he took a five year hiatus to raise his son, and, secondly- of course- his life was taken away. He made an excellent attempt at a comeback and the future looked bright. However, it was not to be as the school bully shortened his stint. Therefore, John does not require an absence note.
2. Paul McCartney (89 songs) – “Mr. Workaholic” pulls in with the most songs and yes, it’s because of the amount of quality material he has recorded- released or not. On that, there are no complaints from me. Even though he has handed in some really crappy creations like “Ou Est Le Soliel”, “Party Party”, “PS Love Me Do” and the entire “Egypt Station” album. That aside, Paul is the “star student” who gets extra credit and does not have to stay late after class to clean erasers.
3. George Harrison (70 songs) – Like Lennon, “Mr. We Must Breathe Clean Air But Never Mind The Cigarette In My Face” would have had more songs but he took way too many breaks. Hence the reason McCartney flew by him. My favorite Beatle should never have stopped releasing music- but with his ridiculously moody attitude- he did. I am hoping for more unreleased, finished material- but at the rate his estate is releasing his music- we may never get to hear any lost gems he might have hidden in the archives. Even though he has nearly the same excuse as John, George played hooky way too often and did not hand in his assignments on time. Of course, we all know he passed on in 2001. Regardless, it is he who shall remain late, after class, and clean erasers.
4. Ringo Starr (45 songs) – Unlike 99.9% of Beatledom, I do “sort of” take Ringo seriously but not as much as the other three. However, way too many fans downright dismiss him and haven’t even heard most of his albums or songs. Yes. This annoys me. True, he doesn’t have the greatest voice but he does not suck. Although- on some songs he does- but so does the pitch corrected, vocal-chord-damaged Paul. I am very glad to have given him a chance as he wound up with one less song than John (yes…….that is actually possible). Ringo seemed to try harder when he was drunk and showed a lot of enthusiasm with his first post-alcohol album in 1992. However, since then, he seems to write songs merely for the sake of writing songs and his continuous references to Beatles songs, “peace and love” etc. have become extremely stale. Again, like McCartney, his reliance on pitch correction has destroyed all of his more recent releases. Still, at 79 years of age, he is out there putting in an effort so- like Paul- he receives extra credit.