Tag Archive | Paul McCartney

X is for Merry XMas (War Is Over)

X is for “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, released in 1971 as a single on Apple Records by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir.  While the song is in theory a protest song about the Vietnam War, it has become a Christmas standard.  After John Lennon’s murder on 8 December 1980, the song was rereleased in the UK.  In recent years the song seems to land very high on any list of favorite Christmas songs.

While the song certainly isn’t directly Beatle-related, I felt I should include a song from John’s post-Beatle work, as I did with Paul McCartney.  The song is beautiful, and I think it is a shame that the Beatles didn’t write any Christmas music together.

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W is for The White Album

W is for The White Album, or more formally, The Beatles.  Released in November 1968 after a contentious year for the Beatles, and the world, in many ways the double album defies description.  Personally, I love it, warts and all.  With the help of modern technology I can selectively skip a few of the subpar songs.  That said there are so many hidden gems on the album even fans tend to forget some of their favorites.

On a personal note, I’ll always associate The White Album with the semester I spent in Spain January to May 2002.  Despite being a huge Beatles fan and hearing about The White Album for years, I never really listened to the entire thing until that point in my life.  My schedule included class Monday through Thursday, leaving three-day weekends to explore Spain.  I’ll leave it at this:  The White Album accompanied me, along with books and a journal, through several hundred miles of Spanish countryside, whether by train or bus.  It will always put a huge smile on my face.

Unfortunately, as a Beatles fan, it is easy to tell it’s the beginning of the end for the band.  It is very possible to indentify “Paul songs” and “John songs” on the album.  The Beatles were growing a part and the fissures in their relationships are apparent on the album.  The album is a mess and all over the place.  That is part of what makes it so much fun.  Enjoy!

V is for Vintage Everyday

V is for vintage everydayvintage everyday is one of my favorite blogs.  It highlights interesting vintage/historic pictures from various periods throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.  The Beatles feature prominently, as you can see.  Enjoy!

vintage everyday: Beatlemania

vintage everyday: LIFE’s Best Beatles Photos

vintage everyday: The Beatles’ Abbey Road Photo Shoot Outtakes

vintage everyday: The Beatles – First Visit to America, 1964

vintage everyday: The Beatles at Holland – June 1964

vintage everyday: We love you Beatles!

vintage everyday: The Beatles Illuminated: The Discovered Works of Mike Mitchell

vintage everyday: The Beatles (1964) by Robert Whitaker

vintage everyday: Remembering The Beatles

vintage everyday: Beatles fashion

vintage everyday: The Beatles‘ First American Tour, 1964

vintage everyday: John Lennon in Pictures

For even more fun, check this out:

vintage everyday:  Beatles search results

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U is for Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

U is for Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.  I understand that I must justify the Beatles connection.  First, I have to admit that I’ve loved this song for a very long time for a couple of different reasons,  both of which directly relate to the Beatles catalog and are a part of the reason why I love their music so much.

  1. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is really two songs or more, in one, connected by a bridge.  The Beatles used this to great effect in both on both “A Day In The Life” and “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.”  Paul McCartney discusses this technique in his recent interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.  I discussed the interview here.  I’m fascinated by this technique.  I’m not sure whether it was Paul McCartney or John Lennon who first decided to try and combine songs, I’m just happy it worked.  The Beatles used a slightly different version of this technique on Abbey Road.  The entire second half of the album is a medley of snippets of songs.  It all blends together well.
  2. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” also makes extensive use of sound effects, such as a thunderstorm and an answering machine.  The Beatles did this well – and to great effect – on Sgt. Pepper, the song “Piggies,” among others.  This seemingly small point really does help the lyrics tell a true story.  It is the fact that most of the Beatles’ music tells a story that fascinates me as a writer.

Released on 1971’s Ram, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1971.  Although not technically a Wings’ release, it is featured on several later Wings compilation albums.  It was the first #1 hit for Paul McCartney as a solo artist in the 1970s/1980s.  It is very easy to imagine Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey as a Beatles song.

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

T is for Taxman

T is for Taxman.  It is one of my favorite Beatles songs for the guitar work alone.  It is one protest song I can get behind whole heartedly.  Originally released on Revolver (1966), “Taxman” is one of three songs written by George Harrison on the album.  While I knew George sang lead on “Taxman,” I did not know Paul McCartney played guitar on the song.  That guitar riff is one of the reasons why I love “Taxman” so much.  Madness.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison Deutsch: Pa...

Paul McCartney and George Harrison Deutsch: Paul McCartney und George Harrison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

S is for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/Strawberry Fields Forever

S is for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/Strawberry Fields Forever.  Well, where do I even begin?  Sgt. Pepper is the Beatles album, the album period.  Today it is recognized as one of the most influential popular music albums ever made.  While I am not normally a fan of psychedelic rock, Sgt. Pepper is something else altogether.  It is widely considered one of the first examples of the concept album.  I do not know how a true music fan can listen to just parts of the album.  You have to listen to the entire thing.  Included below is the album in its entirety.

Released 1 June 1967 on Parlophone, it quickly influenced everything – and I mean everything – that came after it on both sides of the Atlantic.  To date it has sold 32 million copies worldwide.  Within days of the album’s release, Jimi Hendrix learned the title track and performed it live in front of an audience that included Paul McCartney, who was both flattered and impressed.

There is so more I could say about Sgt. Pepper.  It is already a huge part of my memories, both childhood and otherwise.  I don’t know where the inspiration comes from to write a song like “A Day In The Life.”  I’m just glad that it exists in this world.

As much as I could say about Sgt. Pepper, I felt I had to include “Strawberry Fields Forever” too.  Released with “Penny Lane” as a single February 1967, it one of John Lennon’s most autobiographical songs with the Beatles.  Strawberry Fields refers to a Salvation Army home for children around the corner from John Lennon’s childhood home in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool.  Both “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were originally to be included on Sgt. Pepper.

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Clu...

Front cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “probably the most famous album cover in popular musical history”Ashplant Smyth 2001, p. 185. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)