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The Beatles Anthology: A Love Story

I’ve been digging into the Beatles Anthology as of late thanks to Robin Coyle’s piece here.  Somehow I made a few observations that escaped me during April 2012’s A to Z Blogging Challenge:  Beatles Edition.  I thought I’d share them here.  Here we go:

  1. The Beatles Anthology is much more complete than I ever imagined.  It nicely set the stage for Love years later, both the Cirque de Soleil show and the album.
  2. The Beatles gave it their all and truly loved one another.  I’d realized this before, but it is an inescapable conclusion of the Anthology.
  3. John, Paul, George, and Ringo were first and foremost fans.  In describing their various musical influences, it is clear they remained in awe of the likes of Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly, Elvis, the Ronettes, and more, long after they achieved fame themselves.  Their desire to take that music further is what ultimately led to their success and their continued popularity.
  4. Both “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” were better songs than I remembered, and even better videos.  They were modest hits at the time of release, but at the time I didn’t really register their significance or how truly good they really are.
  5. The Beatles Anthology is truly a gift to fans.  In the extra segments in the Anthology, Paul, George, and Ringo discuss the technical difficulties in making both “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” from unfinished and unreleased Lennon tracks.  They state that “Free As A Bird” is truly a Beatles song, while “Real Love” is much more similar to John Lennon’s solo work.  I couldn’t agree more.  It says a lot about the band that the three remaining Beatles (at the time) put aside petty grievances to complete the work they started so long ago, and include their slain band mate in a fundamental way.  All of them had long established solo careers at the time of the Anthology and could have easily walked away from anything relating to the Beatles; they didn’t

I have to say, after reviewing all of the extras in the Anthology, the ukulele scene at the end of “Free As A Bird” gets to me even more now.  I think most Beatles fans recognize it as a tribute to John Lennon.  Legend has it that John’s mom, Julia, taught him to play the ukulele first.  When John and Paul first became friends, Paul had to teach John guitar chords as he still played the ukulele chords his mom taught him.

But it gets even better.  According to the director, George wanted to play the ukulele in the ending scene of “Free As A Bird.”  The director said no.  At the time he wanted someone not recognizably a Beatle to play it.  Of course, after George passed away in 2001, the director felt horrible about his decision.  I can imagine George wanted to play it as a tribute to John.

I suppose that is what I absolutely love about the “Free As A Bird.”  There are so many references to Beatles songs in the video I notice something new every time I watch the video.  It literally covers every aspect of their career.  I have no idea how any band could ever top their career and everything they accomplished.  It may be cliché to say that or even admit to being a Beatles fan.  I simply don’t care.  Sometimes things are cliché simply because they are true.

2000s Music Nostalgia

Whoa, Nelly!

Whoa, Nelly! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For some reason I’ve been thinking about all of the songs I loved back in college, or more precisely, 2000-2004.  Here are just a few of my favorites.  I could listen to Morcheeba, Macy Gray, and Bob Schneider all day.  Don’t even get me started on Nelly Furtado.  “Whoa Nelly!” was practically the soundtrack to my entire semester in Ecuador.  Still love Macy Gray’s and Nelly Furtado’s voices.  Dido‘s “Thank You” was everywhere to the point where I hated the song.  After not hearing it for over ten years, it still holds up.

1979 ~ Smashing Pumpkins

 

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness is by far my favorite double album, excepting only The White Album.  The Smashing Pumpkins were one of my favorites all throughout high school.  It just seemed fitting to include this video as I’ve been rediscovering a lot of music I used to love.

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

StereoTerra and Memories

 

I just couldn’t help myself this week.  Sometimes there are things that just can’t help but remind you of better times; indeed, some of the best times of your life.  That is precisely what happened this week.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when a promoter for StereoTerra asked me if he could put up a poster promoting the new music festival in the store (for those not in the know, in my off-line life I manage a convenience store open 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week, 365, and yes, we happen to sell gas).  I directed him to the adhoc bulletin board back by the bathrooms only to later realize he plastered several posters in strategic places around the store, which I had to promptly take down (unfortunately).  Despite this simple act of deception, I was intrigued.  He obviously believed in what he was promoting.  He even gave me and members of my crew free passes for the entire four day music festival.

For the record, StereoTerra is at this very moment being held in the aptly named Edenville, Michigan, a very small town set among several manmade lakes along the Tittabawassee River in mid-Michigan.  It is close enough that I’ve watched in amusement all week as 20-something wannabe hippies, eclectic band members, all manner of kids gearing up for a very long weekend of debauchery came parading through the store, huge Chevy vans and canoes in tow.  I loved every minute of it, and so did my crew.  And so the rumors flew.

Supposedly the good residents of Edenville did not want this four day music festival to happen.  It might have something to do with the hours.  StereoTerra’s eclectic line-up, which includes indie rock, folk, country, alternative, and just about everything in between, is set to run Thursday August 16th – Sunday August 19th 10 AM – 2 AM.  Well, as Edenville supposedly fought the festival, Midland County stepped in to help ensure the festival would happen.  Supposedly promoters spent tens of thousands of dollars clearing land for camping and venues for the music festival.  It became a simple matter of economics.  Midland County wanted the money, despite the threat of noise.  Heaven forbid anything takes place after 9 PM!

More than anything, I hope the festival is successful.  If all goes well, it is to become an annual event.  Michigan needs events like these, especially rural Michigan.  I have to say, even though I didn’t make use of my free pass, just the fact that StereoTerra is taking place so close to home, at this very moment, brings back so many wonderful memories.

Copyright Steve Snodgrass 2012

Ten long years ago I was in the exact right place at the exact right time with the exact right people.  I was living in Austin, Texas at the time and had the inside scoop for the first annual Austin City Limits Festival, held in Zilker Park, August 2002.  Ten years later, the festival is still going strong, despite rumors of it becoming much more commercial.  The funny thing is that I didn’t recognize many acts at the first ACL Fest, with the exception of Shawn Colvin (which is another story all together).  Today, what I wouldn’t give to see the lineup they have for ACL Fest 2012Jack White, of the White Stripes, Weezer, and most impressive of all, The Red Hot Chili Peppers are all in the lineup.  I honestly don’t know how I would’ve handled that lineup back then.  At the time, they happened to be three of my favorite bands.

So why do I have such fond memories of ACL Fest?  Several reasons.  First off, I hit the festival with two of my best friends in Austin, Andy and Cheryl.  Andy had a radio show on KOOP at the time, and Cheryl happened to be his manager.  We weren’t just your run of the mill kids who happened to be fans.  All three of us took music pretty seriously, but certainly not seriously enough not to have an amazing time.  On the first day Cheryl happened to lose her cell phone in the crowd.  As Andy, Cheryl, and I scoured the ground for her phone, Cheryl lost track of me.  After she found me, she told me a story that still lives on in legend.  Supposedly she saw a women, a women who happened to look JUST like me, jump on stage during Bob Schneider’s set.  This woman supposedly flashed him.  Somehow, under the influence of the strong Texas summer sun, Cheryl and I decided it would be fun to let Andy believe I flashed Bob Schneider.  At the time, Bob Schneider fronted several successful bands in Austin, including The Scabs and the Ugly Americans.  As you can see here, he is extremely good looking and still going strong.  Oh, and he’s talented too.  So yes, when we finally found Andy, Cheryl told him I’d flashed Bob Schneider.  I wish.

After one long day in the sun, goofing off, and listening to great music with friends, Andy and I went back for round two.  In the middle of the day we happened to be waiting for Shawn Colvin’s set when Andy did what he always did best.  Talk.  After he and I set out my quilt on the grass near the stage, he struck up a conversation with a group of very young soldiers from Fort Hood.  They were just a couple of years younger than me, probably ages 18-20 at the time.  More than anything they were incredibly angry they could be sent to Iraq at any time, and yet they couldn’t buy a beer on an insanely hot August day in Texas.  I think of those young men often and wonder how many of them served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Were some them still stationed at Fort Hood when terrorism hit Kileen?  I will never know.

As the sun went down, Andy and I decided to move on.  We followed the throngs of people leaving Zilker Park and ended up hanging out at Shady Grove on Barton Springs.  The funny thing is that Shady Grove was packed.  Somehow they were letting people order takeout and set up on the lawn.  That is exactly what Andy and I did, throwing back Bohemia, the best Mexican beer I’ve ever had, and eating takeout.  That unique dining experience topped off an amazing weekend.  You just can’t beat an August music festival.

 

Happy Sunday ~

 

Happy Sunday everyone!

I’m just glad that the rain quit here for a while.  Lots of great posts coming up today.  I know I’ve featured this particular Beatles video here several times, but still gives me goosebumps.  It just seems to foreshadow the music and videos I grew up with in the mid-1990s, mainstream “alternative” rock ~ i.e. Oasis, Green Day, the White Stripes, and many more.

 

The Spin Doctors 20 Years On

Cover of "Pocket Full of Kryptonite"

Cover of Pocket Full of Kryptonite

There are certain things, certain music, that remind me of very specific events in my life.  The band The Spin Doctors will always remind me of being 13.  They were pretty big back in the early ‘90s and some punk boys I went to school with thought “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong,” one of the better Spin Doctors songs, described me perfectly.  So, yeah – I have to admit that every time I hear that song I have to laugh.

So why am I bringing this up now?  Well, The Spin Doctors will be performing in Bay City later this week at the 20th Annual Labadie Pig Gig.  There is a part of me that would love to see them in concert.  It is hard to believe that Pocket Full Of Kryptonite is over 20 years old.

What songs take you back to being 13?