Articles Tagged: The Beatles

Certain Songs #33: The Beatles – “Rain”

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B-side, 1966.

The other half of my favorite Beatles 45 may or may not be the first psychedelic song, but with the shimmering guitar, unpredictable bass, backwards vocals and good god, Ringo Starr on the drums, it’s always been one of the greatest. 

Did I mention Ringo? I can’t believe that it’s still a trope – shit, I can’t believe it was ever a trope – that Ringo was a shit drummer, but if you ever run across someone who believes that, just play them his fills as they come out of the second verse and he’s somehow falling apart and coming together all at the same time. Like a sunshower.

And the bit at the end, where he and Paul are starting and stopping in unison just before the backwards vocals – I envision them locking eyes in the studio, each one daring the other one to fuck this up, but breaking down in laughter when one of the them did – is quite possibly my favorite musical bit in all of Beatledom.

Official promo video for “Rain”

And as a bonus, here’s a version Blackbird Stories (with help from Scott Oliver & Nate Butler!) recorded at a drunken party in 1988 with me playing the drums. It’s the exact opposite of good.

My Certain Songs Playlist on Spotify

Every “Certain Song” Ever

Certain Songs #30: The Beatles – “A Hard Days Night”

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Album: A Hard Day’s Night
Year: 1964.

With George Harrison’s iconic Rickenbacker chord signalling a new phase of both lyrical and musical sophistication, “A Hard Day’s Night” is quite possibly my favorite Beatles song. 

I mean, what’s not to love: John & Paul trading off vocals, the overtly sexual words, two Georges on the solo, and all of the extra percussion throughout, epitomized by the cowbell underpinning Paul’s bit.

It all adds up to one of the greatest pure pop songs in history, and I would argue, maybe the first power pop song ever recorded, though I guess you could really apply that label to any of the early great Beatles uptempo singles.  

We covered this in Sedan Delivery, and all I did throughout the entire song was bash my drums in double-time, desperately attempting to recapture the joy and energy that comes through every time I hear this song.

Opening sequence from the film A Hard Day’s Night

Every “Certain Song” Ever

Certain Songs #29: The Beatles – “I Want To Hold Your Hand”

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Single, 1963.

Now we come to the part I’ve actually been dreading: The Beatles.

Not because I don’t love The Beatles, because that’s beyond contrary – there is literally zero point to disliking the Beatles – but because I’ve never been able to get any perspective on The Beatles.They’ve been there my entire life, and despite – actually because – I’ve consumed countless books and films and articles and videos about them, what can I possibly say that’s even remotely new?

After 50 years, it’s like coming up with a hot take on the sunrise. The sun rises every single day, and it is always fucking awesome.

I mean, take this song: what could I possibly say about it that others haven’t already said? I mean, even fucking Bob Dylan weighed in on it. So I guess I could point out that it invokes The Handclap Rule (that handclaps make a good song great and a great song immortal), the bridge (twice!) provides a modicum of normality amidst what’s a pretty insane arrangement, and Ringo’s drums just before each chorus are fucking masterful, but I’m sure I wouldn’t be the first.

So I guess all that’s left is to wonder what would have been like to first hear this on the radio as a teenager? In the U.K., they were at least prepped by “She Loves You,” but here in the U.S., “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was so far beyond just about everything else that it must have been like a bomb detonating.

Official video for “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

My Certain Songs Playlist on Spotify

Every “Certain Song” Ever

24 Musical Moments To Die For, Part 2

NOTE: Because of a godsdammed bug between Flash and Firefox for Windows, I’ve had to break this up into two parts in order for the players to work for those with that particular configuration. Stupid internets.

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Hello EMI! Goooood-bye!

Just when you think that major record companies couldn’t get any meaner and any stupider, one of them proves you wrong. In this case, the record company is EMI, an acronym that apparently stands for Evil Motherfracking Idiots.

Apparently, a guy named Clayton Counts put together a mash-up that combined The Beatles Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band & The Beach Boys Pet Sounds. Why did he do it? On his website, he says that it was a work of satire, which is generally protected speech.

Whether or not you believe that, it is true that Mr. Counts didn’t make a single penny from his creation. And soon after word got out about it, he got a cease-and-desist from EMI. But with a twist!

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