Patterico's Pontifications


All Things Must Pass, 50 Years Later

Filed under: General — JVW @ 11:19 pm

[guest post by JVW]

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the release of George Harrison’s masterpiece All Things Must Pass. The first studio three-record set released by a major artist and issued by a major record company (the three-disc, yet entirely live, soundtrack for the Woodstock film came out a few weeks earlier), the record helped solidify the bridge from the singles-driven 1960s record market to the album-driven 1970s, where albums became the default purchase by the music connoisseur.

By the time the Beatles six-year run was drawing to a close, Harrison had begun to chafe at the limits that being in the world’s most famous rock group was imposing upon him. Famously limited to two songs per album, George still managed to come up with some of the Beatles’ most memorable songs such as the libertarian favorite “Taxman,” the Indian raga-styled “Within You, Without You” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the anthem “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the vastly underrated “For You Blue” which features his excellent slide-guitar playing, and then, finally, his massive breakthrough on the band’s final studio-recorded album, Abbey Road, with “Something” backed with “Here Comes the Sun” reaching the top spot on the Billboard singles chart nearly one year to the day before All Things Must Pass was released.

George went into the studio in May 1970, one month after McCartney had confirmed the band’s dissolution, to begin work on his first post-Beatles record. He brought with him a number of songs he had written while still with the Beatles, including “Isn’t It a Pity” which was written in 1966, “Let It Down,” written two years later for the record that came to be known as “The White Album,” and the title track which was actually demoed by the Beatles over a year earlier. Harrison secured the services of producer Phil Spector, who had also been brought in by Beatles manager Allen Klein to try to salvage a coherent record from the Let It Be sessions. For musicians, George relied on his bandmate and friend Ringo Starr; the legendary guitarist Eric Clapton, a close friend who at the time was in a complicated love triangle with George’s wife Patti; bassist and ex-roommate Klaus Voormann of Manfred Mann, who knew George from back to the Beatles’ early days playing in Hamburg; and piano player Billy Preston, the so-called “Black Beatle,” who had played with the band in the Let It Be sessions. To these luminaries were added top-notch session musicians: Jim Gordon and Alan White on drums, Carl Radle on bass, Gary Wright and Bobby Whitlock on keyboards, Dave Mason on guitar, Bobby Keys on saxophone, and Jim Price on trumpet. Though they are not credited, Peter Frampton claims to have played guitar on some sessions and Phil Collins insists it is he playing the congas on “The Art of Dying.” The band Badfinger, recently singled to the Apple Records label (of which Harrison was part owner) provided rhythm guitars and percussion.

Beatles historians say that the majority of the recordings for the backing tracks took place between May 26 and June 13. Later that month, a core group consisting of Harrison, Clapton, Mason, Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon would record the instrumental songs which comprised the “Apple Jam” third record in the set. That group, minus Harrison and Mason, would go on to form the short-lived supergroup Derek and the Dominos who bequeathed to the world Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the album which cemented Clapton’s reputation as a Guitar God, as well as all but officially announce his love for Patti Boyd Harrison.

Meanwhile, work on All Things Must Pass continued, encountering numerous delays. Spector, an enigmatic personality who decades later would be imprisoned for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, was drinking heavily in the studio and at one point fell down and broke his arm which more or less ended his participation in the album, placing the production fully into the artist’s hands. Spector had imparted his famous Wall of Sound technique to the recording, adding layers of overdub and festooning the songs with horns, percussion, and echo, which had initially bothered Harrison until he was assured by Clapton and Preston that the sound was terrific. Work on the album continually came to a halt throughout summer and fall as George made repeated visits to Liverpool to visit his dying mother. Though a first mix was ready by mid-August, Spector, who was by now recovering back in Los Angeles, urged Harrison to add more overdubs and more orchestration to the songs, delaying the final mix until the end of October. Harrison had not envisioned a three-record set, believing that Apple executives would trim the listing down to at most two records, and was stunned when a full three-disc collection was approved. Already well-beyond the original planned October release date, the album was manufactured and boxed in time to be released in stores on Friday, November 27, 1970.

Though All Things Must Pass would reach number one on the Billboard album chart and remain there for seven straight weeks as well as spending eight weeks atop the UK’s Melody Maker album charts, the reaction from music critics, almost uniformly positive, included some fault-finding. Rolling Stone declared it an “extravaganza of piety and sacrifice and joy, whose sheer magnitude and ambition may dub it the War and Peace of rock and roll” and described the sound as “Wagnerian,” yet Robert Christgau, the influential critic at The Village Voice, declared the album to be “featureless,” derided Spector’s production as “kitchen sink” (as in “everything but the. . .”) and reminded readers that Harrison had “never been good for more than two songs per album.” Further assessments through the years would continue to laud the album and its celebrated production, though as the years went on the album, like Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band or McCartney’s Band on the Run, started sounding perhaps a bit dated, a definite product of their time.

And so it may have been with that in mind that George, already diagnosed with the throat cancer which would kill him in a little more than a year, began to reimagine the album for a 30th anniversary release in 2000. Working with the help of his son Dhani, George sought to, as he explained it in the liner notes of the re-release, “liberate some of the songs from the big production that seemed appropriate at the time, but now seems a bit over the top with the reverb in the wall of sound.” Going back to the original master tapes, Harrison père et fils stripped out some of Spector’s Wagnerian noise, though he took pains to not completely remix any of the songs. Likely due to George’s battle with cancer, the Harrisons missed their deadline slightly and the re-imagined album appeared at last in January 2001, largely to the approval of fans of the original record.

All Things Must Pass has been one of my favorite records (George Harrison has long been my favorite Beatle) since I first heard it probably 35 or so years ago. The 30th Anniversary reissue was great, but the subsequent recent addition of previously unreleased demos has completely wowed me. It’s a cliché, yes, but I really did hear the songs in a way in which I had not contemplated them before. Let me just cover two of the new versions. The first one, “Let It Down,” was a song whose lyrics I had always admired, yet one which I felt had been cluttered on the original album by the heavy orchestration of the drums, keyboards, and horns. Here it is as fans heard it 50 years ago. But the new release adds as a bonus track an earlier demo (no, not the one he had cut in his Beatles days with McCartney warbling over the melody) in which George is backed by just a few guitars, and strips away all of the folderol from the original recording.

Beyond that version is the best version of a song which anchors the middle part of the final record. George had cemented a lasting friendship with Bob Dylan years earlier — Dylan and famously introduced the Beatles to marijuana — and the two had collaborated on a few songs, one of which, “I’d Have You Any Time,” made it to the album. Apart from all of that, Harrison had written an unreleased song of encouragement back in August of 1969 when Dylan was getting ready to play the Isle of Wright of festival, his first live performances since his motorcycle accident three years earlier. George brought in Pete Drake, a Nashville pedal steel guitar player who had played earlier that year on Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album, and with the band in place Harrison recorded one of the finest songs of friendship, coaxing Dylan away from his self-imposed isolation and encouraging him to resume his public duties:

It’s a beautiful song, helped along immensely by the pedal steel line from Drake as well as the odd clarity that Spector had imposed upon the album. The original recording on the 1970 album was majestic, establishing the song as one of the best Harrison compositions on the record. Yet thirty years later the album version was completely surpassed by an enhanced demo recording which reimagined the song as it could have been before being touched by Spector’s Wall of Sound. Minus Spector’s overdubs and with Drake’s pedal steel guitar holding back until after the second verse, the song assumes a new elegance befitting the genius of the author:

George Harrison would go on to record a number of fine songs and decent albums, and the would lead one of the most awesome supergroups of the rock era. But one half century ago he released an album that has lasted longer than anything his mop-haired contemporaries produced and stands today as the greatest solo contribution of the most famous band of all time. I hope we’re still listening to this record in another half century.


36 Responses to “All Things Must Pass, 50 Years Later”

  1. Blogging 101: Bury the long and winding post late on Friday night.

    Have a good weekend, everyone. Shop local, and all that.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. Thank you for this post, JVW.

    Simon Jester (58ffc9)

  3. Very interesting, JVW. Nice job.

    DRJ (aede82)

  4. piano player Billy Preston

    In the context of such an impressive post, this is the nittiest of picks. But while Billy Preston was a fine piano player, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he played piano on some of the Beatles’ and/or Harrisons’ sessions (I know he played electric piano and clavinet), he was first, foremost, and legendarily renowned as an organist. Calling him a piano player is like calling Michael Jordan a baseball player. It’s accurate yet wrong.

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  5. Very good. I almost bought All Things Must Pass as a teenager, but ended up never listening to the album. I’ll have to put something together on Spotify.
    I’ve had different favorite Beatles tunes over the years, but lately one of my favorites is It’s All Too Much from Yellow Submarine.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  6. Bought it when it came out. Thought it was OK, but it’s far from magic.

    IMO the tragic thing about Harrison as an artist was that his songwriting arc was still headed up when the Beatles broke up. Something and Here Comes The Sun we’re two of the best songs on Abbey Road.

    But like the other Beatles, the magic they had together was much greater than the sum of individual parts. As Preston said: “When they were playing together the room glowed”.

    It’s too bad they couldn’t keep it together longer but thankfully they put together seven years of music which for whatever reason connected to people at a stupefyingly high rate and still continues to to this day. That’s also one of the more amazing things about them, as solo artists or as parts of other groups they weren’t very remarkable compared to when they were in the Fab Four.

    I consider myself lucky that when I was a kid (I watched them on Ed Sullivan at age six) we were treated to a couple of albums a year of pop music that also was transforming songwriting, instrumentation, performance and production….we just didn’t know it at the time. We just thought it was great stuff.

    harkin (8fadc8)

  7. I’ll probably get pummeled with virtual rotten fruit for saying this, but…I don’t get the Beatles. Just don’t. To me, their music is okay at best and extremely overrated, but I do understand how important they were to the music industry.

    Hoi Polloi (3bc019)

  8. Great post, JVW! I am guilty of overlooking GH. You have done me a great service.

    felipe (023cc9)

  9. 2nd greatest use of a song in “Goodfellas”-What is life

    Bugg (024e40)

  10. Hoi Polloi (3bc019) — 11/28/2020 @ 8:04 am

    Don’t be silly.

    felipe (023cc9)

  11. Harrison also got sued for “My Sweet Lord” for copyright infringement. At least he got anothe song out of it for his trouble-

    Bugg (024e40)

  12. I’ve been listening to Beatles mostly on YouTube over the past decade or so and it’s always interesting to read comments from people who are younger and did not grow up with them.

    Besides the ‘love them, wish there were bands as good now’ comments there are also many who say they dismissed them as teeny bop music till they started listening to them more deeply or that some non-hit got them re-thinking and discovering their greatness.

    There are also plenty of comments from musicians who thought Beatles music was simple, all the same or easy to play till they started looking at chord progressions or tried to play some of their lead or rhythm riffs.

    harkin (8fadc8)

  13. The “gift” of the gifted musician is unquantifiable, like the painter’s, the sculptor’s, the writer’s, and the poet’s, and whether they evoked things you liked having evoked or not, the Beatles were gifted. Not merely talented, not merely proficient … gifted! But in the end, like Elvis, they’re mainly for girls.

    nk (1d9030)

  14. I once found myself waiting at a daycare because I had my times mixed up. Rather than leave only to return in twenty minutes, I decided to get some minor work done on my laptop. One of the children spied me and decided that I just had to listen to an urgent story.

    Child: They won’t play legos with me.

    I: Tell the teacher, sweetie.

    Child: No, I want you to play legos.

    I: I can’t play with you honey, I’m not your dad.

    Child [now trying to get into my lap]: I wanna hold your hand!

    I [panicking, and standing up]: Hey, did you know there’s a song that called “I wanna hold your hand?”

    I quickly found and played “I wanna hold your hand” on Youtube. A few seconds into the song, I was surrounded by every child in within ear-shot of the music. They started dancing to the music – I doubt the icecream truck would have had more effect. The Beatles’ music still had that mysterious power over the listener that alarmed some observers way back then. It was a wonder to behold.

    felipe (023cc9)

  15. The book to read about the Beatles is You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett. It will change how you think about the band.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  16. I don’t get the Beatles. Just don’t. To me, their music is okay at best and extremely overrated,

    Ditto. I can hear a Beatles song and think “that’s a nice tune,” but nothing more. It just doesn’t reach very deep inside me. But if a lot of other people love the Beatles, I can’t really say they’re “overrated,” except by invoking the “lowest common denominator” principle.

    There are also plenty of comments from musicians who thought Beatles music was simple, all the same or easy to play till they started looking at chord progressions ….

    Fine, but no analysis of structural elements will make the music speak to me any more than it does on its own power.
    I think “Let It Down” is a good song, but I probably wouldn’t keep going back to it.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  17. I don’t know if this bit of Beatles lore is well known or not:

    Paul said that he and John worked up a little tune at Paul’s dad’s place and then played it for him:

    She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, …

    Dad says, “Not bad. But why not ‘She loves you, yes, yes, yes’? We’ve got too many of those Americanisms.”

    Radegunda (20775b)

  18. Overrated? They’re only the most influential and successful bands in history, beloved around the globe. Maybe you don’t like their music, and that’s fine, but you can’t deny them their place in the annals of rock and roll. They’ve sold over a billion records, and the only band to have as many gold albums, 25, is . . . KISS, believe it or not.

    It seems that what you object to is the hype surrounding them. That’s mainly due to the release of the film A Hard Day’s Night, which introduced the Beatles to the world. Critically acclaimed, it was nominated for two Academy Awards, including best screenplay, written by Alun Owen. He was actually a comic writer, and he followed the band on tour for several weeks, then created the characters the world came to know and love: John, the philosopher; Paul, the romantic; George, the mystic; and Ringo the clown.

    However, as the book I mentioned above reveals, those characters were largely fictitious, for entertainment purposes. In real life, Lennon was a real jerk. McCartney was horribly insecure. Harrison was terribly depressed. And Starr was an all-consuming alcoholic.

    It is true that the soundtrack for A Hard Day’s Night was the first album written by Lennon and McCartney, except for one interlude written by Harrison. But after their first and only US tour, the Beatles decided they didn’t want to tour anymore and committed themselves to studio work only.

    Yeah, I too saw them on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, but I was only three. My mother listened to Elvis Presley. My father listened to Johnny Cash. They both listened to the Everly Brothers. That was what records were played in our house when I was a child. But then I saw the Beatles on TV, and I thought, that’s my music. I remember jumping up and down on my bed, singing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” after the show.

    But it was too much for the Beatles, the touring. When they played at Shea Stadium in New York, with their little amplifiers, they couldn’t even hear themselves, because the crowd was screaming so loud. I suppose it was the same at other venues. So they decided to quit and go into the studio.

    Rubber Soul is the first true Beatles album. They had fame and fortune, and they could devote themselves to making music. Revolver came next, then Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.

    That album changed everything. Did you know they recorded 2,000 hours of studio tape? That’s ten hours a day for 200 days, for a 35 minute LP. Paul was obsessed with perfection on that album, and what an album it was. It was the first theme album, and the first with printed lyrics. They also experimented with compression, over dubbing, all sorts of things–they took a set of headphones, inserted microphones in the head pieces, placed them around the body of a violin, and recorded just to get that sound.

    The Magical Mystery Tour is another story. There wasn’t going to be a tour. Several of the songs, like “Raspberry Fields” were recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, but didn’t make the final cut for the album. So this album was for promotional purposes. It was a throw away.

    They went back into the studio to record The Beatles (White Album, so named because it was distributed on white vinyl.) But the signs of creative tension were showing. They then went into the studio to record and film Let It Be, because they knew the band was dissolving. It wasn’t released until after Abbey Road.

    The Beatles went into the studio for one last time. They wanted to prove to the world that they were true musicians. While Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles album, I still insist Rubber Soul was their best work.

    The last time the Beatles played live was on the rooftop of Apple Studios. That event clogged up traffic for miles, but that was the last time they played together. They had one last meeting together, to discuss royalties and some such, but they were never all together in the same room again.

    I will agree with JVW that Harrison was the most underappreciated Beatle. But his solo career could not possibly exceed McCartney’s.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  19. “But after their first and only US tour, the Beatles decided they didn’t want to tour anymore and committed themselves to studio work only.”

    The Beatles toured the US in 64, 65 and 66. They also toured much of the world in that time.

    If I had a chance to go back in time to catch one appearance it would probably be Manchester in 63, Carnegie Hall in 64 or the 65 Hollywood Bowl show that IMO captures the insanity of Beatlemania:

    harkin (8fadc8)

  20. My older sisters saw the Beatles at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, and I think their main reaction was “too short”. I think I was maybe six at the time, too young to know anything, but a couple years got turned on to the Help album and I was hooked.

    Paul Montagu (77c694)

  21. The Beatles’ music was a source of hope for the people behind the iron curtin. One way the music was smuggled into the USSR was by cutting copies onto previously exposed x-ray film and brought through customs and other local authorities. I’m too lazy to look for and link the documentary about it.

    felipe (023cc9)

  22. It is Strawberry Fields Forever, GG, not Raspberry Fields. And it is on the Sgt Pepper album.

    DRJ (aede82)

  23. 22 – Strawberry Fields Forever was recorded during the Sgt Pepper sessions but it wasn’t released on that album. NOT because it ‘didn’t make the final cut’ but because it had already been released as a double A side single with Penny Lane.

    It was later included on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

    George Martin thought it was one of the biggest mistakes of his career not to include those two songs on Pepper.

    It should also be noted that up until Sgt Pepper (I think) some of the Parlophone British albums had different song lineups than the American Capitol albums.

    harkin (8fadc8)

  24. Thank you, harkin. I apologize for doubting you, GG.

    DRJ (aede82)

  25. you can’t deny them their place in the annals of rock and roll. They’ve sold over a billion records, and the only band to have as many gold albums, 25, is . . . KISS, believe it or not.

    I certainly wouldn’t deny the Beatles’ importance in rock and roll, nor suggest that people are wrong for loving them — though that last data point does tend to argue against using number of records sold as a measure of musical quality.

    Longevity is a good measure, and so far the Beatles have that going for them. “Zefiro Torna” was written four centuries ago, and it gets me swaying a toe-tapping more than anything the Beatles ever wrote. It would be interesting to be able to look a couple of centuries into the future and see if anyone is still listening to the Beatles or covering their songs.

    Radegunda (20775b)

  26. JVW, whenever I think of George Harrison, I think of this:

    So many fine musicians (many no longer with us), showing his memory such respect. I cannot begin to appreciate Prince.

    But check out Dhani. He looks SO much like his father, and the smiles he shares with Prince and Tom Petty are beyond awesome.

    Simon Jester (58ffc9)

  27. Yes, the song was Strawberry Fields. I don’t know why I typed Raspberry Fields. A momentary lapse of memory, I guess.

    It was recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, but didn’t make it on to the album. Paul was obsessed with perfection on that record, and it practically drove the other Beatles mad. 2,000 hours of studio tape, for a 35 minute LP, are you kidding me? That would drive any musician bonkers. So they saved the song and a few others for The Magical Mystery Tour album.

    But when they went back into studio to record The Beatles (white album), the creative tensions were already showing. They knew they were breaking up.

    By the way, here’s an interesting historical note. Did you know the song “Julia” is almost a word-for-word rendition, with a few minor changes, of a poem written by Kahlil Gibran? “Half of what I say is meaningless / But I say it just to reach you . . .”

    Yeah, Gibran had a major influence on most of the bands in the 50s and 60s. Elvis Presley would read The Prophet to his mother. Johnny Cash recorded an audio tape of him reading it. Practically every band was influenced by Gibran: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin (who were more influenced by Tolkien), and all the rest.

    It was a time of change. Christian and Hindu mysticism finally merged. The Beatles led that charge. Because they were influenced by Gibran, who started it all.

    What the Beatles did was study southern rock and roll, particularly Muddy Waters, and a few others. The British Invasion was really about bringing American music back to America.

    You might call their music simplistic, but that’s the point. It’s simple, because that’s what makes it popular.

    Let It Be was recorded and filmed before Abbey Road. It just wasn’t released until after the last performance. That was on the rooftop of the studio, the last time they played together.

    Let It Be was released after Abbey Road. Even though the former was recorded before the latter.

    Be that as it may, Abbey Road will always be my favorite Beatles album. The reason why is because my girlfriend in high school had this close-and-play recorder, remember those? She would just put side two on and let it play over and over again, while we made love.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  28. Here is the Beatles last and final live performance.

    After that they met at Apple Studios to discus royalties. It was the last time the Fabulous Four were in the same room together.

    I agree with JVW that Harrison was the most unappreciated Beatle. He was a gifted guitar player and songwriter.

    But in their solo careers, McCartney eclipsed them all. The Plastic Ono band was a joke. Wings was a huge success. Starr went into ridiculous movies. Harrison continued in music. He and McCartney were only concerned about music. Lennon was more into politics. Starr didn’t care either way.

    Gawain's Ghost (b25cd1)

  29. felipe @21

    . One way the music was smuggled into the USSR was by cutting copies onto previously exposed x-ray film

    I don’t understand this at all. How does X-ray film help trqansport vinyl records? Or the X-ray film was put on a record player?

    You couldn’t avoid hearing some of their songs playing every once in a while on a transistor radio somebody else was carrying or something.

    The only song I really knew was “Let it Be.”

    Sammy Finkelman (1e81da)

  30. “What the Beatles did was study southern rock and roll, particularly Muddy Waters, and a few .”

    This is really wrong.

    First off, Muddy Waters was not rock n roll, he was blues. If you want to find a band he heavily influenced it would be The Rolling Stones.

    The Beatles have listed many different artists as influences, including:

    Elvis Presley
    Little Richard
    Chuck Berry
    Buddy Holly
    Fats Domino
    The Shirrelles
    Eddie Cochran
    Gene Vincent
    Scotty Moore
    The Ronettes
    The Everly Brothers
    Cliff Richard
    The Isley Brothers
    Roy Orbison
    Carl Perkins
    Chet Atkins
    Jerry Lee Lewis

    harkin (8fadc8)

  31. I don’t get the Beatles. Just don’t. To me, their music is okay at best and extremely overrated,
    Maybe you had to be there. To us, then, the Beatles were just the lead act in an era of astounding music and truly terrible events:

    From 1968 In America

    To us, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, the Supremes, the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, the Four Tops, the Doors, the Jefferson Airplane, the Who, the Grateful Dead, the Everly Brothers, James Brown, Sam Cooke, Eric Clapton, Country Joe and the Fish, Chubby Checker, Laura Nyro, Simon and Garfunkel, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Otis Redding, Buddy Holly, the Band, Blood, Sweat and Tears, B. B. King, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Martha and the Vandellas, the Mamas and the Papas, the Kinks, the Kingsmen, Judy Collins, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Santana, Traffic, Bob Johnson, the Bee Gees, the Temptations, Jethro Tull, Brian Epstein, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, the Moody Blues, the Blues Project, Muddy Waters, Them, Joni Mitchell, Bill Graham, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Ashford and Simpson, Herman’s Hermits, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Percy Sledge, George Martin,? and the Mysterians, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Sonny and Cher, Buffalo Springfield, Del Shannon, Berry Gordy, the Animals, the Searchers, the Safaris, the Zombies, Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa, Dionne Warwick, Mary Wells, the Hollies, the Youngbloods, the Yardbirds, the Young Rascals, Ten Years After, the Righteous Brothers, the Walker Brothers, Roy Orbison, Paul Butterfield, the Persuasions, Neil Young, Crosby, Stills & Nash, the Dave Clark Five, Richie Havens, Phil Spector, Van Morrison, the Velvet Underground, Carole King, Petula Clark, Jan and Dean, Jimi Hendrix, and the Jackson 5 were the ones who mattered most. These black and white men and women from Liverpool, London, Hibbing, Detroit, New York, San Francisco, and the rest of the artistic kingdom of America and Great Britain were the composers, performers, managers, and producers who filled the airwaves with the most eclecticelectric-wrathful-revolutionary-romantic-soulful-psychedelic music ever played, simultaneously, on every rock-and-roll radio station in the world. The songs they produced kept us alive, even a little hopeful, through the most terrifying year of the decade.

    Kevin M (ab1c11)

  32. @30. Not sure the provenance of this quote but there is this I found: “When the Beatles first came to America they told everyone they wanted to see Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley; one reporter asked: ‘Muddy Waters — Where’s that?’ Paul McCartney laughed and said, ‘Don’t you know who your own famous people are here?’”

    Also this: “In a past interview, Paul McCartney was asked how it feels to be a member of the greatest band in history. His reply, “You mean other than Muddy Water’s Band?”

    I don’t think the Beatles adored muddy Waters like they did Elvis or Little Richard, but they could have studied him, and it’s not off-base to call him proto-rock and roll.

    Speaking of coming to America, George was the first Beatle to visit the US, on a trip to visit his sister in Sept ’63.

    JRH (52aed3)

  33. now I’m seeing that at least the second quote is fake.

    JRH (52aed3)

  34. There are tons of fake quotes about the Beatles, just as there are hatchet job books about them.

    My favorite is John saying Paul was a better drummer than Ringo.

    harkin (8fadc8)

  35. Thank you for the madrigal at 25, Radegunda. Made me go and look up the cornetto (the curved pipe on the right) if anybody else is interested.

    nk (1d9030)

  36. And we will sit upon the Rocks,
    Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks,
    By shallow Rivers to whose falls
    Melodious birds sing Madrigals.

    Poetry is so much better when you know what the words mean, too.

    nk (1d9030)

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