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.