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Posts Tagged ‘1969’

At number 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Come Together”. This John Lennon song is the opening track on The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road, and is one of the funkiest tracks that the band recorded. It was also released as a double A-sided single along with George Harrison’s “Something”, which we will come to in this list in a few weeks’ time.

“Come Together” got to number 1 in the USA, but in the Disunited Kingdom it only got to number 4. This is possibly because the song was banned by the BBC, apparently because they felt that the line “He shoot Coca-Cola” could be interpreted as product placement. The song started its life as a campaign song for Timothy Leary’s bid to become Governor of California, but after giving Leary a demo version, Lennon went on to develop the song into something quite different. It was recorded in July 1969.

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At number 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Come Together”

The driving rhythm guitar, played by Lennon himself, is one of the song’s stand-out features. Lennon also played electric piano on the song. The fantastic bass line is played by Paul McCartney, who also sings backing vocals. The lyrics are non-sensical, with the opening line lifted from a Chuck Berry song “You Can’t Catch Me”. This led to a lawsuit, but the dispute was settled out of court.

Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball, he one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please

He wear no shoeshine, he got toe-jam football
He got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola
He say, “I know you, you know me.”
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free

Come together right now over me

He bag production, he got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease

Come together right now over me

(Right!
Come, oh, come, come, come.)

He roller-coaster, he got early warning
He got muddy water, he one mojo filter
He say, “One and one, and one is three.”
Got to be good-looking ’cause he’s so hard to see

Come together right now over me

Oh
Come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, oh
Come together
Yeah, come together

“Come Together” has been covered by a huge number of artists, including The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Arctic Monkeys and Aerosmith. It remains one of The Beatles’ most popular rock songs (as opposed to ballads or other genres from their huge variety of work).

I cannot find the original Beatles’ version of “Come Together” on YouTube, but here is a live version which John Lennon performed in New York City in 1972. It is pretty close to the original version. Enjoy!

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Today I thought I would share this great anti-war song – “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was released in September 1969, and is specifically about the lucky men who were born into families which, somehow, meant that they were not called up for the draft to fight in the Vietnam war.

These were the senators’ sons, the millionaires’ sons, the fortunate sons. Sons like George W. Bush, who miraculously found himself in the National Guard, far away from any danger, rather than in Vietnam fighting. I wonder why? Oh, maybe because his father, George H. Bush, had the political clout and importance to make sure his precious son didn’t go and fight in the jungles of Vietnam, unlike the poor white and black men who were drafted there.

As the draft went on, it became more and more apparent how many fortunate sons were avoiding going to war, thanks to their family’s influence in bending the rules. And how many poor blacks and whites had no choice, they were forced to go and would be jailed should they refuse. The Vietnam war was wrong on so many levels, but the inequity of the draft was certainly one of its wrongs.

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“Fortunate Son” was released in September 1969, and talks of the privileged few who, somehow, avoided the Vietnam war draft.

“Fortunate Son” is rated at 99 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. It really is a great song, I am surprised that I haven’t blogged about it before.

Some folks are born, made to wave the flag
Ooo, they’re red, white and blue
And when the band plays “Hail to the Chief”
Ooo, they point the cannon at you, Lord

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no senator’s son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Some folks are born, silver spoon in hand
Lord, don’t they help themselves, y’all
But when the taxman comes to the door
Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yeah

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no millionaire’s son, no, no
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, no

Yeah, yeah
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes
Ooh, they send you down to war, Lord
And when you ask ’em, “How much should we give?”
Ooh, they only answer “More! More! More!”, y’all

It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no military son, son
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one
It ain’t me, it ain’t me, I ain’t no fortunate one, one

Here is a video of the song. Enjoy!

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Today I thought I would blog about this beautiful Bob Dylan song “Girl From The North Country”, which first appeared on his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (his second album). It is a very tender love song, about a woman whom Dylan has clearly lost in love, but still cares for. There has been a great deal of debate as to the identity of the woman Dylan is singing about in the song, but not surprisingly Dylan himself has never revealed who it is.

If you’re traveling the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
For she once was a true love of mine.

If you go when the snowflakes storm
When the rivers freeze and summer ends
Please see if she has a coat so warm
To keep her from the howlin’ winds.

Please see if her hair hangs long
If it rolls and flows all down her breast
Please see for me if her hair’s hanging long
For that’s the way I remember her best.

I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.

So if you’re travelin’ the north country fair
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was the true love of mine.

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In 1969 Dylan re-recorded his 1963 song “Girl From The North Country” in a duet with Johnny Cash. The duet appeared on his country album Nashville Skyline.

Unfortunately there does not seem to be a YouTube video of Dylan’s original version of this song. But, there are several videos of the version that he later did with Johnny Cash. The version with Johnny Cash was recorded in February 1969 and appears on Dylan’s predominantly country music album Nashville Skyline. For many songs on this album, which he recorded in Nashville, Dylan adopted a crooner style of singing, including in this song. It is quite different from the way he sung “Girl From The North Country” in 1963.

Which version of “Girl From the North Country” do you prefer? The 1963 version or the 1969 duet with Johnny Cash?

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At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is George Harrison’s 1969 masterpiece “Here Comes the Sun”, one of my favourite Beatles songs. This song was composed by Harrison during a difficult time when the Beatles were frequently bickering. One day, Harrison decided to play truant from a planned business meeting at the band’s Apple Corps organisation. Instead, he went to see his friend Eric Clapton; the song was composed in Clapton’s garden. According to Clapton, it was April 1969.

“Here Comes the Sun” was recorded over the summer of 1969, and appears as the first track on the second side of their 1969 album Abbey Road, which was released in September 1969. The song was never released as a single, although it has gone on to be one of Harrison’s best known compositions.

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Here Comes the Sun".

At number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Here Comes the Sun”.

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
It’s all right, it’s all right

I cannot find a video of the Beatles’ version of Here Comes the Sun on YouTube, but I have found this version of George Harrison performing it live in concert. Enjoy!

 

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At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Get Back”, which was released as a single in 1969. I have blogged about this song before here, to celebrate the anniversary of The Beatles’ famous roof-top concert. But, you can’t get too much of a good thing, so I am more than happy to blog about this wonderful song again. Also, the videos of them performing the song during the live roof-top concert do not seem to be available on YouTube anymore (and I’ve tried linking to two separate ones), Apple (The Beatles’ publishing company, not the tech company) keep removing it on copyright grounds.



At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "Get Back".

At number 41 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Get Back”.



“Get Back” is another example of Paul McCartney at his funky best; it is a wonderful song with such a fantastic driving rhythm from John Lennon’s rhythm guitar. Lennon always felt that it was aimed at Yoko, “Get back to where you once belonged” aimed at the woman whom McCartney maybe felt was coming between the two songwriting friends. I suspect we will never know, as it is not the sort of thing McCartney would ever confess to, but it is clear from the footage in the Let It Be movie that things were pretty strained between McCartney and the other members of the band by this time.


Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner
But he knew it wouldn’t last.
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona
For some California grass.

Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jojo. Go home
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Back to where you once belonged.
Get back Jo.

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman
But she was another man
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming
But she gets it while she can

Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.
Get back Loretta. Go home
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back.
Get back to where you once belonged.


As the live version from the roof-top concert keeps getting removed, here is a link to the studio version of the single (which differs from the version on the album). Enjoy!





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Today I am going to start my countdown of the top 30 songwriters according to Rolling Stone Magazine – I blogged a summary of the top 100 in this blog here. At number 30 in their list is Pete Townshend, who was/is The Who’s songwriter and lead guitarist. I have already blogged about my favourite Who song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” here, and also their best known song “My Generation” here. So, today I thought I would blog about their song “Pinball Wizard”.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Pete Townshend of The Who.

At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Pete Townshend of The Who.



“Pinball Wizard” was the hit song from The Who’s rock-opera Tommy, and the reason I have chosen to blog about this song is that it shows Pete Towshend’s ambition; writing a rock-opera is not something many other songwriters who had sung in the 1960s had done. But, Towsend often saw things on a bigger canvas than many of his contemporaries, and writing a rock-opera illustrates this nicely.

The first version of “Pinball Wizard” which I remember hearing was the 1975 version sung by Elton John, who sung it in the movie version of the rock opera. I only later became familiar with The Who’s version, which was released in 1969 on their album Tommy. It was also released as a single and got to number 4 in the Disunited Kingdom and to number 19 in the US Singles charts. Elton John’s 1975 version reached number 7 in the DUK.


Ever since I was a young boy,
I’ve played the silver ball.
From Soho down to Brighton
I must have played them all.
But I ain’t seen nothing like him
In any amusement hall…

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He stands like a statue,
Becomes part of the machine.
Feeling all the bumpers
Always playing clean.
He plays by intuition,
The digit counters fall.

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball!

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist.
A pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist.

‘How do you think he does it?
I don’t know!
What makes him so good?’

Ain’t got no distractions
Can’t hear no buzzers and bells,
Don’t see no lights a-flashin’
Plays by sense of smell.
Always gets a replay,
Never seen him fall.

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball.

I thought I was The Bally table king
But I just handed my pinball crown to him.

Even on my favorite table
He can beat my best.
His disciples lead him in
And he just does the rest.
He’s got crazy flipper fingers
Never seen him fall…

That deaf, dumb and blind kid
Sure plays a mean pinball.


Here is a video of Elton John’s version of “Pinball Wizard” as he sung it in the movie Tommy.





And here is Tho Who’s original version, with Roger Daltrey singing it.






Which version do you prefer?

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At number 48 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 100 best Beatles songs is “The Ballad of John and Yoko”. This song, recorded in May 1969 but written by John Lennon during his honeymoon in Paris in the March, tells of the events of the previous few weeks, including his marriage to Yoko Ono in Gibraltar. The song is basically a diary of their marriage and immediate aftermath, including their first ‘bed-in’ for peace at the Amsterdam Hilton. It was written before the more famous bed-in for peace in Toronto, which is where Lennon recorded “Give Peace a Chance”.

Lennon was in a hurry to release it as a single, probably because of the diary-nature of the song so, rather than waiting for Ringo Starr and George Harrison to be available, Lennon and Paul McCartney recorded it themselves without the other two present. It got to number 1 in the Disunited Kingdom, their last single to do so during the time the band were together. The B-side was Harrison’s “Old Brown Shoe”.



At number 48 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is "The Ballad of John and Yoko".

At number 48 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “The Ballad of John and Yoko”.



The lyrics caused some controversy, with the chorus beginning “Christ, you know it ain’t easy…”. I remember my father objecting to these lyrics when I used to play the song as a teenager.


Standing in the dock at Southampton,
Trying to get to Holland or France.
The man in the mac said, “You’ve got to turn back”.
You know they didn’t even give us a chance.

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

Finally made the plane into Paris,
Honey mooning down by the Seine.
Peter Brown called to say,
“You can make it O.K.,
You can get married in Gibraltar, near Spain”.

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton,
Talking in our beds for a week.
The newspapers said, “Say what you doing in bed?”
I said, “We’re only trying to get us some peace”.

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

Saving up your money for a rainy day,
Giving all your clothes to charity.
Last night the wife said,
“Oh boy, when you’re dead
You don’t take nothing with you
But your soul – think!”

Made a lightning trip to Vienna,
eating chocolate cake in a bag.
The newspapers said, “She’s gone to his head,
They look just like two gurus in drag”.

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.

Caught an early plane back to London.
Fifty acorns tied in a sack.
The men from the press said, “We wish you success,
It’s good to have the both of you back”.

Christ you know it ain’t easy,
You know how hard it can be.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.
The way things are going
They’re going to crucify me.


Here is a video of this song. Enjoy!




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