“Saturday Night Live” celebrated its 40th anniversary with a star-studded and surprisingly inclusive televised gala on Sunday evening. The show’s legacy in comedy, late-night television, edgy and often surrealist content, and influence on the development of “comedy news” shows like those presided over by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, has been well-documented and is impossible to question.
But what about “SNL’s” effect on popular music? Well, beyond a doubt, that influence has been equally vast. And it all comes down to the “Live” in “SNL.” Yes, for 40 years, the show has offered us warts-and-all performances captured in real time and beamed directly into our living rooms in all their unvarnished glory.
It was where the biggest band of all time cut its teeth. The Star Club in Hamburg, one of the key venues where a little-known four-piece from Liverpool transformed themselves into the Fab Four, is afforded a special status among Beatles fans. Before an audience often more interested in the fleshy delights of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn red light district, the Beatles performed not only their own songs but those of other groups and singers whom they admired.
"That was great — and I don't even like that song!" So proclaimed a thirtyish dude last night as Paul McCartney — Sir Paul, Macca, the Cute One, the One Who Once Was the Dead One But Now Blessedly Is One of the Two Still Alive — treated a crowd of 1,000 or so to a stellar, stirring "And I Love Her."
McCartney invested this minor standard with wistful vigor and urgency. "Bright are the stars that shine/ dark is the sky" has accumulated significance over fifty years. Young Paul's stately wisp of a song about romantic timelessness has snuck into the firmament, now as fixed in our lives as stars and sky, but Old Paul's treatment of it sounds far from settled: Savor those new "oooh"s he eases into on a coda.
A little over 30 years ago, the Japanese photographer Kishin Shinoyama walked through Central Park with one of the most famous couples in the world. It was sunset, autumn; they sat on a bench just in front of the pond, bordered by trees, a sliver of New York skyline visible in the distance, including the building where they lived. He asked them to kiss, and he clicked the shutter. Three months later, on Dec. 8, 1980, John Lennon was fatally shot at the entrance to the Dakota, home to him and his wife, Yoko Ono. Just three weeks prior to Lennon’s death, Shinoyama’s photograph of John and Yoko’s kiss at Central Park Pond had appeared on the cover of what would be their final studio album, “Double Fantasy.”
TOM PETTY PAYS TRIBUTE TO HIS FELLOW TRAVELING WILBURYS BANDMATE AND TOUCHES ON HARRISON'S LASTING INFLUENCE ON POPULAR MUSIC
He never wanted to be the star of anything. But, that's the place fate left him. He thought he was best as a team player. But we all know there was just too much great music in him to be contained by modesty.
When the Beatles ended all he had held inside came flowing out, manifesting itself in the 1970 album All Things Must Pass — a landmark LP that is still stunning by the quality of the songs and its complete originality. Like it or not, he was now the frontman of the band and more and more great music would flow from him the rest of his life.
After a series of jaw-dropping multi-generational match-ups during Grammy night 2015, it took an acoustic performance from Paul McCartney, Rihanna and Kanye West to bring the audience to their feet.
The trio debuted for the first time, a live and surprisingly pared-down performance of their surprise smash hit "FourFiveSeconds." The three, clad in various black outfits, took the stage with little accompaniment and sang a passionate performance of the popular tune, which recently debuted on the Billboard charts at No. 54.
Richard Kreitner and The Almanac
If we are told to remember the Beatles’ arrival in the United States fifty years ago last month as an “invasion,” it is as one that was unopposed. But at least one person wasn’t smiling: In an essay published in the March 3, 1964 issue of The Nation, “No Soul in Beatlesville,” a young Simon & Schuster editor named Alan Rinzler objected to the furor over the Liverpool lads’ music and—correctly, if somewhat myopically—attributed Beatlemania to a massive, premeditated PR campaign. The quivering throngs of teen-aged girls, he believed, said much more about the susceptibility of Americans to fashionable trends than it did about the talent or novelty of the group itself. In 2014, Rinzler wrote in an e-mail about his 1964 review, “There’s nothing in it about the Beatles that I agree with now, except my appreciation of their humor.”
The traveling exhibit on the Fab Four will be on display from Wednesday through June.
Beatlemania is taking over the Woody Guthrie Center.
Tulsa is hosting the next stop on the Grammy Museum’s traveling exhibit on the Beatles, with artifacts and exhibits on the Fab Four’s early days in Liverpool to their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and through the massive shift in pop culture that John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr ushered in.
By JERRY WOFFORD
Fans view George Harrison’s lead guitar as a key element in the Fab Four’s success, but according to a new book, Harrison took a backseat on many of the band’s greatest guitar songs — from “Day Tripper” to “Birthday.”
He didn’t play even a lick on large swaths of the groundbreaking album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” opting for harmonica, congas, comb-and-paper in studio sessions while dutifully practicing the sitar at home three times daily.
Liverpool's Beatles Story hunts for 25 Fab Four ambassadors to mark 25th anniversary
Calling all Beatles fans.
Liverpool’s Beatles Story is celebrating its 25th birthday by launching a search to find the Fab Four’s biggest fans from around the world.
The waterfront tourist hotspot is looking for 25 fans from across the globe to mark the occasion by becoming Beatles Ambassadors.
And one extra special Beatlemaniac will receive an unforgettable experience including a VIP trip to Liverpool including return travel, a stay at the Hard Days Night Hotel, a trip on the Magical Mystery tour and a visit to the Cavern, in addition to a trip down memory lane at the Beatles Story.