inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #51 of 70: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Fri 2 Mar 12 16:07
    
Geoff Emerick's book was a great read.  I though he made a good case
for himself.  He deserves a more prominent position in the Beatles'
studio history.  But I got the feeling that he was taking the argument
a bit too far.  No, George Martin didn't do it all by himself, but
neither was he sitting around watching the telly.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #52 of 70: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 2 Mar 12 17:24
    
By the way, I wanted to say thanks, Tim and everybody in the topic
here. We're at the end of your announced conversation here, but of
course you are welcome to continue to post as long as you like. You may
also like reading the long time Beatles conference "inside" The WELL.
Use the shortcut and type in "g beat"

It's been a rewarding conversation.
 
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #53 of 70: Dan Flanery (sunspot) Fri 2 Mar 12 21:56
    
And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #54 of 70: Phil Catalfo (philcat) Sat 3 Mar 12 12:07
    
Thanks, Tim and Mark, for urging me/us to revisit both Devin
McKinney's "Dream Circles" and Geoff Emerick's "Here, There and
Everywhere." I have McKinney's book, will dig it out and give it the
old college try. Don't believe I have Emerick's book, but I recall
McCartney, for one, talking about some of the things they tried in the
studio--for some reason, sticking a mic *inside* the kick drum stands
out in my memory--to push the envelope of their sound, and it seems
that the engineers, Emerick perhaps foremost among them, were wiling
partners in the band's efforts to innovate at a time when studio
technology was almost unimaginably limited (compared to the technical
advances that came later). There have always been those in music who
transcended the limits of technology and even created new technologies
(can you say "Les Paul'?), but in this case it seems there were
technicians who really supported the musicians' efforts, to wonderful
effect, and we were all the better for it.

I would be happy to continue this conversation a bit longer, if Tim is
amenable and others have things to say/ask.

Also, IJWTS to Tim that I went back to some of the earlier chapters in
LENNON and was struck (again) at the detail (and the copious research
that it must have taken to produce it) on the Beatles' early life and
pre-mania career. For example, I had never heard of their December 27,
1960  gig at Liverpool's Litherland Town Hall, which (as you describe)
put them on the map in a big way in Liverpool and stands, in
retrospect, as a kind of landmark in rock'n'roll history. (I love this
observation, from Tim's narrative: "Among all the unrecorded milestones
in rock history, the Litherland Town Hall ig tops everybody's Beatles
list.") So thanks again for whetting my appetite for historical Beatle
data.

Also, now that I'm in an electric band (finally--45 years after I
should have been), I'm gonna have to dig out my copy of Andy Babiuk's
BEATLES GEAR and drool a bit. A few months ago I was possessed of a
sudden desire to acquire an Epiphone Casino, the guitar that John,
George, and Paul all played in the band's middle period (think of
Paul's solo on "Taxman," for instance), but <rik> talked me out of it,
saying that the modern, Asian-made Casinos are nothing like the
American-made versions J, G, & P played. (And of course, vintage models
would cost a small fortune.) But hey, a kid can dream, can't he?

Tim, here's a question for you: As a musician, which Beatle song(s) do
you most enjoy playing, and why? And which song(s) would you say you
have learned the most from musically (or find the most
interesting/challenging/innovative)?
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #55 of 70: Tim Riley (lennonbio12) Mon 5 Mar 12 08:45
    
Thanks for all the close reading you've done, Phil, makes an author
feel great. I want to touch on a couple previous matters: Lennon's
statement that "There isn't a one [of the Beatles tracks] that I
wouldn't do over," is typical overstatement from him, I think. He seems
to well up with insecurity and say indefensible things... I believe
him more when he talks about specific tracks, like "Strawberry Fields,"
even though if I were his producer I would caution him about trying to
redo something so untouchable. I'm way of people who talk about their
own work in such unguarded terms, it makes me suspicious whether
they're the best ones to pass judgment on their own strengths and
weaknesses. I know I'm certainly not. That's why the group format was
so good for him. 

In my high school/college bands we played the regular stuff: "Get
Back," "Here Comes the Sun," "USSR," "Hey Jude," "Saw Her Standing
THere," "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Imagine," "She Loves You," "Hold Your
Hand"... and some others I'm probably forgetting. "Amazed" stood out
for me as a particularly adventurous song harmonically, and made me
appreciate what a good piano player McC. can be. It's just not the type
of song anybody would come up with on the guitar. Other numbers I
fumbled around with as "guitar" flavored on my keyboard: "She Loves
You" and "Sun" specifically don't fit the keys as well as the frets. I
taught myself a bunch of guitar licks using these and others, both out
of simple curiosity and to figure out how such harmonies occurred to
them. I think if I had to do it over again, I would pick up the bass
and learn all the McC. lines. Some hold that his bass playing may be
his highest accomplishment, and I would have a hard time disagreeing
with them. 

That said, as a critic I learned a TON from "Hey Jude," just the way
it's structured, how it plays out over such a long stretch and delivers
a whale of a melody on the back end that's barely suggested by the
front section. That's such a terrific way to play with anticipation and
release, and I find very few songwriters understand how to withhold
pleasure like that and then over deliver at the end for greater
surprise and release. I think of Springsteen's "Backstreets" and
"Tunnel of Love" which both use that trick, and CSN's "Suite: Judy Blue
Eyes," which is like a direct [structural] copy in some ways of "Hey
Jude." Sitting down and sorting out what made "Hey Jude" so powerful
had really strong impact on my thinking about rock and L-M
compositions. 

That said, I'm still struck by how much I still have to figure out, it
seems like not a season goes by when I'm not stuck by some new detail
and have to go to the piano or the score to consult for the new musical
riddle that's itching my ear. I've long been quite puzzled by the bass
line for "I'm So Tired," which starts quite simply walking up the
scale form dominant to tonic like so many others, but because Lennon's
vocal enters on the dominant and lands on the 9, it completely veils
what would otherwise be a cliche bass figure. And the turnaround in
"Revolution" ("count me out!") is a nifty little twist there in the
middle of the song, getting it back down to the dominant for return to
the refrain. That never made sense to me until I played it. 
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #56 of 70: David Gans (tnf) Mon 5 Mar 12 12:17
    
It is truly the gift that keeps on giving, this body of work.  And I agree
about "Hey Jude" - so brilliant in so many ways.  "The movement you need is
on your shoulder" and all that.

BTW, I would like you to hear a bit of a band I'm in out here in California,
Rubber Souldiers.  We have mashed up some Beatle songs and have gotten some
very good reviews.  <http://www.rubbersouldiers.com/studio>
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #57 of 70: Phil Catalfo (philcat) Mon 5 Mar 12 13:16
    
"The movement you need is on your shoulder" was also, famously, a line
McCartney considered a mere placeholder when he debuted the song for
Lennon. "I'll change it later," he said. "You won't, you know," Lennon
immediately replied, expressing instant approval of the line just the
way it was. Can't remember where I got that from--I think it was from
the Beatles Anthology videos--but I remember that story clearly.

Great stuff, Tim, thanks. You've given me a lot to chew on, and
several tracks to listen to more carefully. And apropos of David's
description of the Beatles canon as "the gift that keeps on giving":
hell, I'm still unpacking Rubber Soul! Just that one album has given me
a lifetime of musical adventure (not to mention pleasure), and it's
far from the most intricate one in their catalog. 

It's amazing--I was thinking about this again last night--how these
four seemingly average guys from a semi-obscure port town in northern
England came up with this mother lode that gives every indication that
it will never be mined out. I sometimes wonder what the Beatles' story
tells us, Big Picture-wise: Is it purely about talent (incredible
musicians; two of the best songwriters ever)? Is it about luck (the
happenstance of John and Paul meeting, of the four of them coming
together, of Brian Epstein's perseverance in pursuing a record
contract)? Is it hard work and ambition (the grotty stints in Hamburg,
the manic touring all over England before hitting it big)? All of the
above? What I keep coming back to is that these were four guys who were
decidedly not children of privilege (although they were not
impoverished, either), who didn't go to the finest schools or have any
formal training, but who followed their noses and their passions and
used their innate abilities to become the absolute best they could be
(and arguably, the best in the world) at what they loved to do--an
abject lesson for the rest of us. 

So, at band practice tonight, I think we'll be doing (among other
things, mostly not Beatles tunes) "I'm Down" and "Please Please Me."
Maybe also "Wait." I'll be happy.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #58 of 70: David Gans (tnf) Mon 5 Mar 12 15:38
    
I have a pet theory, and I wonder if Tim can either confirm or deny:

It has been said that if you learn the Beatles catalog you will know
everything there is to know about chords (on the guitar?).  It occurred to me
that George Martin might have shown them a thing or two and challenged them
to build something aroud, say, that raised fifth.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #59 of 70: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Mon 5 Mar 12 16:09
    
Makes sense to me.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #60 of 70: Phil Catalfo (philcat) Tue 6 Mar 12 00:36
    
For the record, we did do "I'm Down" at band practice tonight, but not
"Please Please Me" or "Wait." But we did do "Oh! Darling," kind of
spontaneously. Which opens with that raised-fifth chord,
incidentally--as does "All I Gotta Do." But my favorite raised-fifth
chord in a Beatle song is the G-augmented in "It's Only Love." 
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #61 of 70: David Gans (tnf) Tue 6 Mar 12 08:45
    
There's one in "She Loves You" that also kicks major ass.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #62 of 70: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 6 Mar 12 09:59
    
I would think that the boys would have been wide open to ideas from 
Martin.   Besides being a successful producer and a fine musician, he 
produced the Goon Shows which appealed hugely to their sense of humor.  So 
he was not only good and knowledgeable, but his cool credentials were 
impeccable.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #63 of 70: Tim Riley (lennonbio12) Tue 6 Mar 12 14:05
    
 While I don't know if you'll learn EVERYTHING about modern rock gtr
from Beatle catalog, you certainly could learn a TON. I think you'd
have to rope Hendrix in there to learn it all, but I seriously doubt
anybody's done that... where are the Hendrix transcriptions? I'm
SERIOUS!
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #64 of 70: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Tue 6 Mar 12 14:46
    
The question intrigued me, and I did some searching.  Unlike the Beatle 
book, there's no one-stop shop, but there's a lot of note-for-note TAB out 
there.   For example: 

<http://www.amazon.com/Jimi-Hendrix-Experience/dp/0793591449>

Here's a stack of them:

<http://www.musicdispatch.com/search/search.do?subsiteid=111&keywords=jimi+hend
rix&searchcategory=01>       

Teaching Hendrix's guitar music is an industry in itself, and a couple of 
guys I work with specialize in it.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #65 of 70: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 6 Mar 12 16:28
    
>a line McCartney considered a mere placeholder

But overall we're pretty glad he didn't call Yesterday "Scrambled
Eggs."
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #66 of 70: Phil Catalfo (philcat) Tue 6 Mar 12 17:58
    
Yes, for that we remain grateful.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #67 of 70: Ron Levin (eclectic2) Tue 6 Mar 12 23:44
    
Paul performed "Scrambled Eggs" on Jimmy Fallon's show last year:

<http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/blogs/2010/12/paul-mccartney-jimmy-sin
g-the-original-yesterday-scrambled-eggs/>
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #68 of 70: Ron Levin (eclectic2) Tue 6 Mar 12 23:47
    
Whoops. That link seems to have expired. This one worked for me:

<http://eater.com/archives/2010/12/10/paul-mccartney-and-jimmy-fallon-sing-scra
mbled-eggs-aka-yesterday.php>
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #69 of 70: Phil Catalfo (philcat) Sat 10 Mar 12 17:19
    
Haven't had any new responses in this topic for a few days, and I
gather that Tim is pretty tied up. So I guess it's time to wrap it up.
Thanks to everyone for a very enjoyable conversation! Tim, thanks for
your time and insights, and for giving us this exhaustive new biography
of one of the most influential people--in any field--in our lifetime.
  
inkwell.vue.434 : Tim Riley, Lennon
permalink #70 of 70: thoughts from prescription hill (cjb) Wed 15 Aug 12 20:49
    
And, having just completed reading this inkwell, thanks (philcat) for
your excellent work in leading this interview!
  



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