It seems as though musicians are being busted for copyright infringement a lot more frequently. ‘Blurred lines’ sounds like ‘Got to give it up’, ‘Stay with me’ is a knock-off of ‘I won’t back down’, and ‘Down Under’ rips off ‘Kookaburra’. When did artists become so litigious? Actually, it’s been going on forever.
In many cases of musical misappropriation, artists themselves are remarkably cool about ‘their’ music being used by someone else. Tom Petty was extremely gracious to Sam Smith about the similarities between ‘Stay with me’ and ‘I won’t back down’, saying in a blog post “I have never had any hard feelings toward Sam”
The Astrid Kirchherr Early Beatles Collection of photographs – available exclusively at Rock Paper Photo - is one of the most important photographic records of a time in 20th century popular culture that was quite simply magical. Rock Paper Photo is the birth of a cataclysmic youth movement as personified by a group of young men from the north of Engalnd was witnessed via the camera of a style-innovating young German woman who befriended and influenced them. All of them were in the right place, at the right time, to make history together. Astrid Kirchherr’s lens caught the members of the Beatles as they transitioned from unknown teenagers to famous rock stars, from innocent to wise, from youths to men. These photographs remain as witnesses to this era, and viewers of the collection are privileged to experience them.
Sir Paul McCartney's daughter talks about her family and the inspiration behind her new vegetarian cookbook At My Table.
In her light-filled studio tucked away down a cobbled mews in an unglamorous corner of northwest London, Mary McCartney is juggling the day’s engagements and talking about her books.
On the table in front of us are the hefty volumes of Monochrome/Colour. Published last year, they gather together images taken by the photographer over the past 20-odd years. There are street scenes, still-lifes, celebrity portraits (actress Gwyneth Paltrow, musician Beth Ditto) and intimate pictures of family members. Here’s musician father Sir Paul and his wife Nancy Shevell, fuzzily caught embracing in his London garden at the reception after their 2011 wedding. There’s fashion designer sister Stella, shot in warm close-up. There’s her late mother Linda, snapped on Polaroid.
An icon he may be, but sometimes Paul McCartney doesn’t get the respect he deserves, maybe because next to sarky, saintly Lennon, he can’t help but look like a bit of a sentimental old softie. But it’s worth remembering that as a fan of experimental composer Stockhausen in his youth and a dabbler in electronica as one half of The Fireman in his autumn years, Macca has always been an experimenter and a technological first-adopter, keen to embrace new techniques and unafraid to appear a little silly in the process. That, in a nutshell, is the story of ‘McCartney II’, his quirky, synth heavy second solo album, released 35 years ago this weekend.
Dualities are fascinating: Yin and Yang, Blur and Oasis, God and Satan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, and so on. You can analyze these contrasting pairs to apparent death, and yet they’ll spring up again, resurrected, presenting fresh puzzles. Whether you approach each duo as a harmonious conjunction of opposites or as a violent discord between irreconcilables, the process always manages to generate a spark.
In the present case, consider the difficult question of the greatest album by a former Beatle. Sure, you might find a few dissenters who would want to bust up the duality I’m about to present: they’d claim that Imagine is the best post-Beatles effort, and maybe a few daring reactionaries would cite Band on the Run. You could throw Lennon against McCartney and see what insights ensue, since that’s the principal Beatles duality in everyone’s mind, with Lennon as the emotionally raw rocker and McCartney as the consummate craftsman of orchestral pop.
The John Lennon and Paul McCartney songwriting duo has been so lionized throughout history it's difficult to consider them anything besides creative divinity. However, after the Beatles broke up, neither achieved a comparable level of artistic mastery. But a third Beatle did: George Harrison.
Harrison, the so-called "quiet Beatle," shocked the world with his solo debut, which he began recording 45 years ago this month. Entitled All Things Must Pass, the album's spiritually infused folk and blues blew critics' minds. The moment was "the rock equivalent of the shock felt by pre-war moviegoers when [Greta] Garbo first opened her mouth in a talkie: Garbo talks! — Harrison is free!" wrote Richard Williams for Melody Maker.
Performing on The Ed Sullivan Show might have helped launch the careers of Elvis Presley and the Beatles, but Bob Dylan took a different approach to fame: courting celebrity by not performing.
Dylan was slated to appear on the massively popular variety show on this day, May 12, in 1963 — a year before the Beatles. At the time, he was little known by mainstream audiences, although TIME had referred to him a year earlier as “a promising young hobo.”
“He dresses in sheepskin and a black corduroy Huck Finn cap, which covers only a small part of his long, tumbling hair,” TIME’s 1962 story attests. “[H]e delivers his songs in a studied nasal that has just the right clothespin-on-the-nose honesty to appeal to those who most deeply care.”
It was, in almost every respect, a carbon-copy weekend gig for Josh Walther and his wedding band, Phase5. Booked a year in advance at a familiar Winter Park country club. Intimate, 200 people, tops. Decent vegan spread.
"The decor wasn't extravagant," he said. "It was just a typical family gathering."
Totally typical, yes — except for the part where Paul McCartney showed up. And hopped onstage. And grabbed the microphone. And sang I Saw Her Standing There. And left Walther and his band reeling from the musical memory of a lifetime.
Songs by rock artists about their mothers are relatively few and far between. Those that there are tend to go to one of two extremes. You’ll get the occasional gushing tribute, a la Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wish.” On the flip side of that coin are the rockers who take umbrage with the way they were raised, such as Roger Waters in Pink Floyd’s scathing “Mother.”
“Julia”, by The Beatles, falls somewhere in between, a kind of impressionistic meditation by an earthbound man on the ethereal presence of a woman calling to him yet hovering out of his reach. Or at least that’s how it sounds removed from any context. In actuality, the man, John Lennon, was writing the song as an indirect tribute to his deceased mother Julia, which makes this one of the more oddly fascinating entries into this subgenre of music.
Most people float down the rivers of time without leaving a ripple. Some stir the waters and leave somewhat of an impact. And then there are those who carve out their own islands in time and form a permanent place in eternity. Such were the Beatles.
Who could have imagined that four boys -- one of them a teenager at the time -- from a seaport village would take the world by storm and eventually become one of the biggest forces in music history, comparable to the likes of Mozart or Beethoven?
It was just over 50 years ago, in February 1964, that the Beatles landed in America to the delight of throngs of screaming fans. Two nights later, their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show drew a television viewing audience of 73 million. For that brief moment in time, the streets emptied and crime stopped.
The legendary musician was being pursued at The Beatles rented mansion in Los Angeles by blonde actress who was intent on seducing Lennon.
John Lennon urinated in a cocktail before giving it to one of America's best-known sex symbol's and watching her drink it, a new book has claimed.
The legendary musician was being pursued at The Beatles rented mansion in Los Angeles by blonde actress Jayne Mansfield, who was intent on seducing Lennon.
However, the Beatle took a dislike to the actress after she began tugging at his distinctive hair.
In revenge, Lennon urinated into the actress' cocktail before watching in delight as she drank it.
John. Paul. George. Ringo.
It's difficult to imagine a time when those four names were not burned into popular culture's lexicon.
But in 1964, The Beatles were just starting their ascent to word super-stardom. They had yet to break America with their astonishing debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, which lifted them to super-stardom. Twenty-three million households saw that performance, a record at the time.
In March of that year, the band began shooting their hugely-influential debut movie, A Hard Day’s Night. Shot in a faux-documentary style by Richard Lester, it featured the band playing “themselves”. A relatively low-budget, six week shoot that was seen as a quick cash-grab by United Artists, looking to tap into the growing reservoir of fans. The film’s overall quality ensured it was anything but.
The Beatles may now be thought of as squeaky clean, wholesome rockers that are a safe bet to play for all ages and sensibilities, but a closer look into their lyrics and legacy will probably make you think twice about that perception. Somehow "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" wasn't actually their most explicit moment ...
The Huffington Post has done quite a few dives into The Beatles over the last year and here are a few of the more scandalous details that somehow still aren't common knowledge.
Ignore the evidence of your own ears, dismiss the comments of eyewitnesses, scorn the testament of other musicians, reject the opinions of critics and historians, science has spoken: The Beatles were not really all that significant.
There is something very pompous and disdainful about the presentation of new research from the Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College suggesting the Fab Four did not spark the musical revolution they have long been credited with. “They were good looking boys with great haircuts but as far as their music was concerned they weren’t anything new,” according to Professor Armand Leroi, senior author of the paper. Now he sounds like a lot of fun at a party.
The impact of hip-hop's arrival on the pop music scene eclipsed that of the Beatles-led British invasion of 1964, a computer analysis of 17,000 songs has found.
The unusual study found three revolutions on the charts: the 1991 emergence of rap and hip-hop on mainstream charts; the synth-led new wave movement of 1983, and the advent of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Who and other British rockers in the early 1960s.
Although the Beatles -- paced by the songwriting of John Lennon and Paul McCartney -- enjoy perhaps the highest place in critics' esteem, the researchers found the hip-hop movement -- from pioneers like Afrika Bambaataa to megastars like Jay-Z -- more profound.
It may seem foolhardy to compare Ben E. King, who died last week at age 76, with The Beatles. Their music and their backgrounds seem so totally different.
But King, himself, did that when this writer interviewed him for a 2005 Paste story about the late 1950s/early 1960s pop music associated with New York’s Brill Building. And he expressed hurt and complaint when he discussed what the Beatles did to the world he knew.
As the urbane baritone singer with both eloquently clear diction and an underlying streak of poignantly soulful gruffness, first with The Drifters and then solo, King worked with a record company (Atlantic), producers (Leiber and Stoller) and songwriters (Pomus and Shuman, Goffin and King, Phil Spector and Bert Berns) associated with the Brill Building’s heyday. He also was an excellent composer himself, co-writing “There Goes My Baby” and the gospel-influenced “Stand By Me.”
What makes a song timeless? It could be the harmony, the subject matter or something intangible that defies explanation. Creating a song may seem easy enough -- add some drums, bass, guitars and vocal -- but some musicians go above and beyond to deliver a unique listening experience. Berklee College of Music experts applied their expertise to figure out what instruments were used in Rolling Stone's Top 100 Songs of All Time. The instruments employed most often shouldn't surprise you, but what about the timpani, mouth harp or sleigh bells?
In 1962, the Beatles did not pass the audition.
January 1 of that year was supposed to be the Beatles’ huge break, as manager Brian Epstein had secured an audition with Decca Records. Decca A&R rep Mike Smith had attended the group’s December 13, 1961 Cavern Club show. Liking what he heard, he approached the Beatles and Epstein to record an audition tape for the label. The recording session was set for December 31, 1961. What followed was a virtual comedy of errors.
First, road manager and assistant Neil Aspinall agreed to drive the boys from Liverpool to Decca’s West Hampstead Studios. However, the group encountered a snowstorm during the trip, resulting in Aspinall getting lost. When they finally arrived at 10 p.m. December 31, they had been on the road over ten hours. Epstein (who had arrived earlier via train) and Smith rescheduled the session for the following day, hoping the boys would be well rested.
Celebrated at the time as a partial Beatles reunion, Paul McCartney’s “Take it Away” certainly starts that way, with an off-kilter rhythm courtesy of Ringo Starr and all of the tasteful hallmarks of a George Martin production — right down to the stoic piano accompaniment. But there was more to this standout track from Tug of War, released in April 1982.
The song’s most interesting new element, really, comes from 10cc alum Eric Stewart, whose presence clearly sparked Paul McCartney to dabble in some of that group’s now-famous layering of background vocals. “Take It Away” ends with a soaring loop of wordless sighs from a thousand Pauls, Erics and Lindas. A darker undertone surrounds the album, too, no matter how high that coda rises. That had more to do with the Beatle who wasn’t there, rather than the ones who were.
Pink Floyd recorded its 1967 debut just one studio over from the Beatles at Abbey Road studios. But that’s where the similarities between Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band end, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters says.
“I remember when Sgt. Pepper came out, pulling the car over into a lay by, and we sat there and listened to it,” Waters tells KLCS. “Somebody played the whole thing on the radio. And I can remember sitting in this old, beat up Zephyr Four, like that [sits for a long period, completely agape].”
You can hear the immediately influence of the Beatles’ “Lovely Rita” on “Pow R. Toc H.,” from Piper at the Gates of Dawn. But Roger Waters, then still in ascendency as the principal creative force in Pink Floyd, says his entire approach to songwriting was forever altered.