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My wife went to see Paul McCartney last month. She reports that Sir Paul still sings remarkably well despite being then almost an octogenarian, and put on quite a show.

That got me thinking: Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

By “directly” I mean: while watching or listening to them, rather than by being influenced more indirectly via technological innovation or political/cultural influence. Hence, likely an entertainer, an author, or similar.

My guess is that by this measure, McCartney is out in front by quite a bit. Who’d be second among popular musicians among the still living? Elton John? Stevie Wonder? Of course, this depends upon how much you credit McCartney for your enjoyment of The Beatles. (I’m not much of a Wings fan, although evidently a lot of people were.) I’d say 50%, maybe a little more. But I came in late to The Beatles, when Paul was on top, buying Hey Jude as my first single and Let It Be as my first album.

Likewise, what percentage of your enjoyment of, say, Raiders of the Lost Ark do you credit to Steven Spielberg, who is obviously number one among living film directors in pleasing the most people the most times?

And how many times do you watch a great movie as opposed to hear Hey Jude on the radio? Personally, I don’t rewatch movies all that much, seldom more than three times. (The fourth time I watched The Big Lebowski I found I was tired of it, and I really like The Big Lebowski.) By my count, I’ve watched Spielberg movies 37 times going back to Duel on TV over 50 years ago (an awesome Saturday Night Movie of the Week), so that’s about 80 hours.

Authors deserve close to 100%, so J.K. Rowling or Stephen King might be contenders.

Every country has TV presenter stars who have an immensely long career like Barbara Walters in the U.S. But they aren’t international the way the Beatles were worldwide.

Among pre rock singers, we still have with us Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, and Johnny Mathis. But I would think you’d need to be a Sinatra or Crosby to rival McCartney.

This is not a test of influence on other artists, so Bob Dylan isn’t in the running.

Is there anybody else who is close? If there is, it’s probably an Asian, perhaps some Bollywood star I’ve barely heard of. If I had to guess, I’d say Jackie Chan.

 
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  1. SFG says:

    Well, she didn’t still love him when he was 64, but he made it another 16 years.

    Maybe I’m amazed, but he still continues to be the man on the flaming pie.

    As to your original question:it’s an interesting one! It favors long careers, which makes me think of the voice actors behind the Simpsons. You could make an argument for the original composer of the Dr. Who theme for the same reason. Tony Bennett’s problem is he was out of commission for a while. Madonna, whatever I think of her otherwise, had a very long pop music career and a lot of people liked her stuff.

    Population wise it’s probably some Bollywood star you’ve never heard of.

    Not an entertainer, but I’m going to go with Jesus of Nazareth. Biggest religion in history, and more people have probably found peace praying to him than anyone else.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
  2. For hours of authorial enjoyment provided, consider Tolkien. Lots of people love to read (and reread) his books, and have done for a long time now. His works are pretty lengthy, so they take plenty of engagement time to explore. Tolkien also has many fans who devote the bulk of their leisure to utterly immersing themselves his lengendarium. They really, really love it.

    And then of course there’s the enjoyment of the LOTR movies in addition.

  3. Not an entertainer, but I’m going to go with Jesus of Nazareth. Biggest religion in history, and more people have probably found peace praying to him than anyone else.

    Not an entertainer, but I’m going to go with Saul of Tarsus.

    FIFY

    • Replies: @ChrisZ
  4. Anon[132] • Disclaimer says:

    Pewdiepie, without a doubt.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Abe
  5. Disagree!

    McCartney is out in front by quite a bit. Who’d be second among popular musicians among the still living?

    Not second – the first, would be Robert Marley of course. But he’s dead.

    Neil Young, circa 1968-78 is second. So he is now the first. And then, perhaps, McCartney but he was unable to do it without Lennon, so – arguable.

    Elton John? Stevie Wonder?

    You can’t be serious.

    Steven Spielberg is obviously number one among living film directors in pleasing the most people the most times.

    Obviously, number one – Ridley Scott.

    And how many times do you watch a great movie? Personally, I don’t rewatch movies all that much, seldom more than three times.

    At least a hundred times, and still counting. Unforgiven, Apocalypse Now, Angel Heart, Blade Runner, Platoon.

    Authors deserve close to 100%, so J.K. Rowling or Stephen King might be contenders.

    Haruki Murakami, for A Wild Sheep Chase.

    Is there anybody else who is close? If there is, it’s probably an Asian, perhaps some Bollywood star I’ve barely heard of.

    Beth Gibbons of Portishead.

    Jackie Chan.

    Benicio del Toro.

  6. J.Ross says:

    There’s probably someone who was insanely popular in a past century but is now forgotten. The kicker is that McCartney wrote radio-played 3 minute pop songs, so his potential reach is far greater than say any novelist. Caruso?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @JimB
  7. bomag says:

    I lean towards movies/TV/video stars: more absorption and intensity of emotion.

    Voting for Arnold.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  8. J.Ross says:
    @Anon

    To this point “PewDiePie” (a Swedish YouTube e-celeb who originally reviewed video games, discovered that woke is garbage, and who now lives in Japan) defeated “M Series,” which is essentially all billion and a half people in India attempting to be a crowdsourced YouTube e-celeb.
    ——–
    Troll counter to upset people:
    Amouranth. After she bought a 7-11 franchise. Because of the coffee.

  9. AceDeuce says:

    From The Simpsons episode “Burns’ Heir” (1994):

    Deprogrammer : Mr. and Mrs. Simpson, your son has clearly been brainwashed by the evil and charismatic Mr. Burns.

    Marge Simpson : Are you sure you can get him back for us?

    Deprogrammer : Absolutely. I’m the one who successfully deprogrammed Jane Fonda, you know.

    Marge Simpson : What about Peter Fonda?

    Deprogrammer : Oh, that was a heartbreaker. But I did get Paul McCartney out of Wings.

    Homer : You idiot! He was the most talented one.

    • LOL: Abe
    • Replies: @slumber_j
  10. I don’t think people listen obsessively to Paul McCartney. He had a wide audience at one time, but not much depth. The Beatles is something else but a lot of the obsessive re-listening of albums is due to John Lennon songs not really Paul (although he was a plodding worker who pushed).

    Spielberg is much the same; not an original guy. No one obsesses over his movies. Like a good B movie director he had a wide audience, but it was a shallow experience for them.

    Paul didn’t bring that much to the lives of heterosexual men, I’m going to say. He was more in that bubblegum pop genre. Even the songs like ‘Yesterday’ are kinda sappy to most guys. Pete Townsend (yeah I know about him) once said that bands that are loved by women tend to be forgotten, while the ones guys are into are remembered. He smiled and said, maybe it’s because women are fickle.

    Billions of hours were spent playing air guitar to Led Zep, The Who and Motley Crue. Not so much Wings.

    • Troll: kahein
  11. As long as you spent watching The Big Lebowski the first 3 times – when you still enjoyed it – how many times through Hey Jude would that be? Ha, well that depends on whether you listen to the whole “nah, nah, nah, nah-nah-nah-nah” ending, making the song what people call “overplayed” PDQ.

    I calculated (from IMDB for the movie (01:57) and a live-version youtube video for the song (a little over 8 minutes) that 3 Big Lebowski‘s is about 43 Hey Judes. That may be too many of the latter for you to like it anymore, but then if you hear it once a month or so…

    As to your larger point, I get the directly part. None of this entertainment stuff compares to work done to better humanity or one’s country. You might be able to point to a politician, say Ronald Reagan, who ended the Cold War, freeing up the Russians and the entire East Bloc from Communism, as having created more happiness that a million Paul McCartney’s. I’ll leave the math on this one to another commenter, as it’s trivial, as the Math prof. would say.

  12. Mike Tre says:

    What’s he charge for a ticket these days? \$500 for the nose bleeds? Does he plan to take it all with him? He hasn’t written a memorable song in 40 years.

    If he did all of his concerts for free going forward, that would be something. Otherwise he’s just another revenue unit on a Livenation report.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  13. eee says:

    They say Baywatch at its height had a weekly audience of one billion people so David Hasselhoff could be up there.

    • Replies: @njguy73
  14. Why the warm feelings towards McCartney?

    McCartney the degenerate is a supporter of Barack Obama’s war against Slavic Russians in D0nbas…

    And this means McCartney is a supporter of the slaughter Slavic Russian Infants in Donbas…

    Is this who you admire?

    What were the consequences of the 1960’s Sex…Drugs…Rock and Roll Counterculture…?

    Answer:Childless White Boomer Women dying all alone in a Hospice watching A HARDSHIP DAY NIGHT on TV the night they expired….I have seen this with my own eyes….

    It may have been better if White Boomer Women converted to Islam to protect them from this fate….

    Amagansett and all of the East End is going Mexican…..The Fake Injuns in South Hampton are about to ruin was left of the East End…..And I blame the other Rock Star down the road from Sir Paul in Mecox Landing for this…for he is paying the fake Injuns legal fees over the two billboards and the casino….Fuck you Roger Waters….

  15. Markus Persson aka Notch, the minecraft creator. That is one of the rare successful games [1] in the past few decades with a single creator and a lot of its fans young and old have put 1000s of hours into it. And that’s not like people idly turning over the pages of some Stephen King shaggy dog story. There are minecraft players who are really, really invested in it.

    [1] Actually, it is the best-selling game of all time, which I didn’t know till just now.

  16. SafeNow says:

    Jesus does a better job of, as The Dude said about his rug, “tying the room together” for people, which brings more happiness than does McCartney. (An interesting question is whether Jesus sent us McCartney.) The opposite question of the essay’s question: What living person has directly brought more misery to more people than any other?

    • Thanks: Coemgen
  17. Well, we could have various categories in this hours of pleasure thing.

    Politicians, for example.

    Hitler would be pretty high judging by the number of people of all ages and both sexes waving flags and cheering when he went past.

    Or Trump.

    Clearly he brought a certain amount of pleasure to his own supporters, but I would suggest far more pleasure to those those who did not support him. I have come across various people whose only interest in politics seemed to be to express how much they hated Trump. He gave meaning to their lives.

    I even met a Democrat who, when I unwisely mentioned the Donald in conversation, brought out from his wallet a list he had prepared of Trump`s faults and insisted on reading them to me. All of six or seven weeks ago! He had clearly been waiting for someone to give him the opportunity. I did not want to spoil things by telling him Trump was not president any more.

    • Replies: @Abe
    , @Harry Baldwin
  18. A musician has the benefit of a potentially long career and perpetual replay of their art. Actors and directors have a similar benefit but theirs is more of a group effort. Authors of great books have the longest influence.

    If one uses PBS as a barometer I’d say the answer is Victor Hugo for writing Les Miserables and Claude-Michel Schönberg for creating the music for what became the standard theatrical production of the book.

    Then there is Stephen King. Of special note is the adaption of his story that became “The Shawshank Redemption”. I understand this movie is the most played cable broadcast in history. And watching it brings joy, everytime.

  19. SFG says:
    @SafeNow

    Putin? Bush Jr? Of course those are the ones Americans can think of-there could be some awful African war I don’t know about. Hugo Chávez recently died.

    You get into indirect, Hillary Clinton’s mismanagement of the Libya situation helped cause the wave of immigration to Europe, but lots of people to blame there.

    You get into dead people…Mao Zedong, no question.

  20. Anon[243] • Disclaimer says:

    Robert Plant via classic rock radio.

    • Thanks: Abe
  21. Abe says:

    My guess is that by this measure, McCartney is out in front by quite a bit. Who’d be second among popular musicians among the still living? Elton John? Stevie Wonder?

    What, no love for Jimmy Page? The Mighty Z has always had an unsavory reputation with the critics, going back to the original ROLLING STONE reviews of their first albums and continuing on even into the present millennium- the recent Tom Hanks-produced “decades” series of documentary films for CNN manages to rehabilitate even Reagan as America’s greatest post-WWII President, but still cannot find it in its heart to resist taking a Boomerish swipe at LZ- “THE 70’S” devotes like 10 minutes to going on (and on) about WINGS, yet gives only 10 seconds to ZEPPELIN, and purposely uses the little time to set them up for an editorial SLAP! as money-grubbing sleaze merchants.

    Yet I remember distinctly as late as the 90’s them not even making it to the medal podium of all-time greatest rock acts (THE WHO, most people agreed back then, held the bronze) but now are unquestionably there and currently creeping up to take the silver (if they haven’t already) from THE ROLLING STONES. No one will ever top THE BEATLES for most beloved pop/rock act so long as people care about such things, but is the question minutes of happiness or intensity of minutes of happiness? ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE versus WHOLE LOTTA LOVE?

  22. MLG says:

    I think of stand up comedians who may have of help with their act but I would give them 100 percent of the credit for the audience enjoyment because it is their act and they are up there solo. Three names came to mind Leno, Seinfield and Steve Martin. Give them 25% credit for their tv or movie stuff and 100% for their live shows and the numbers start to get pretty large. A figure like the late Rush Limbaugh(didn’t listen to him much) would get credit for the length of his show so his number would be surprisingly high. Interesting thought experiment Steve.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Russ
    , @Coemgen
  23. Abe says:

    If there is, it’s probably an Asian, perhaps some Bollywood star I’ve barely heard of.

    A wise man speaks. Dimash Kudai-something is a Kazakhstani singer with broadly appealing Eurasian good looks who sings in Russian, Chinese, etc. Not my cup of tea honestly, but Dimash’s ability to go from crooner to castrato is unworldly and he does play to some of the biggest markets in the world so he could be one of those dark horse contenders:

    • Thanks: ic1000
  24. ChrisZ says:
    @James Speaks

    I think SFG is right, James. Steve’s original question was about *living* people.

    Saul died around A.D. 64. Jesus is the man who lives.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  25. Richard B says:

    Zappa was right. Music is the best! And McCartney has no equal. He’s to popular music what Beethoven is to classical music. Neither one ever wrorte a wrong note. Whether anyone likes what they wrote or not is irrelevant. They’re both perfect writers. Even their bad stuff is good.

    To put McCartney’s name next to Speilberg doesn’t do Speilberg any credit. It only directs attention to what a cornball shlock entertainer he was (he just about buried Duel and Jaws with all of the non-stop crap he put out after them).

    And Stevie Wonder? He’s about one notch above George Harrison overall. He put out about 5 or 6 amazing records in the 70’s and then what? He got Marlon Brando fat and proved to the world he wasn’t exactly all that blind after all.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Abe
  26. @MLG

    We’re supposed to believe that Larry David wrote much of “Seinfeld” the TV show but none of Jerry Seinfeld’s stand-up act jokes before then.

    How’d these guys know they’d work together so well?

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @MLG
    , @Clyde
  27. Abe says:
    @Anon

    Pewdiepie, without a doubt.

    Another wise man speaks. Steve’s inability to move beyond recycling his various USE YOUR ILLUSION-era 90’s pop cultural hot takes (“Hey, did you know there’s this class divide thing between the writers of THE SIMPSONS and ROSEANNE? Yeah. They’re both super talented and funny, but the former all like went to Harvard while the latter are all much more lower middle class, and…” [cue Seinfeld-esque scene transition music for equally Seinfeld-esque wan comedy of manners in our time observational yuck-yuck) is only equalled by his inability to appreciate the new media landscape.

    Sure the GRAMMYS, OSCARS, ESPN… the Ivy League, the military (you got the rest of the afternoon open?)… Detroit, Wall Street, Silicon Valley are woke as [email protected], but young white male talent always finds a way. My son started gabbing to me about this YOUTUBER MR BEAST over a year ago but until seeing this interview I had little idea of what he was about. Really inspiring story of a kid of limited means from the Carolinas who drops out of college, but out of sheer passion and determination (yeah, you start doing a back of the envelope calculation of all the months he describes honing his video-making craft to see if it adds up to 10,000 hours) and now is releasing videos on the world that are the biggest filmed content drops this side of the next MARVEL superhero movie.

  28. If McCarthy had been born a Jewish guy in Brooklyn, he could have had a similar career…. and as criticism for being a hack as Barry Manilow.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  29. Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    Every country has TV presenter stars who have an immensely long career like Barbara Walters

    Are we counting the negative side of the balance sheet too? Just for her irritating speech impediment, Barbara Walters is probably underwater (unless the mocking mirth of her audience counts as “happiness”). Add in all she has done to facilitate every destructive social and political trend of the last fifty years and she’s walking on the bottom of the ocean.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  30. BB753 says:

    Not being a boomer, I’m not into boomer nostalgia. McCartney had his moment. I did grow up listening to a lot of Beatles, Wings and Motown music , but I can no longer stand them, because they sound corny, from our vantage point.
    Seriously, I don’t believe anybody will still care for the Beatles, Led, Rolling Stones in a generation. Perhaps Pink Floyd or even Queen or ABBA will still be remembered beyond our era.
    As for Spielberg, the only good film he ever did was Empire of the Sun, the rest is commercial info-drivel.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Anon
  31. That got me thinking: Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    Oh, cute question. Here’s another one for you.

    Q: What could be more neglectful and useless than the proverbial fiddling while Rome burns?

    A: Idly mentally ranking fiddlers who fiddled while Rome burned, while Rome burned.

  32. @J.Ross

    Enrico Caruso was a very big deal but the population was smaller and the media tech was much more primitive.

    Charlie Chaplin was a giant figure in his time, but, once again, my rule is the living.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  33. J.Ross says:
    @Steve Sailer

    How could two NYC Jewish standup comedians with roughly the same poisonality if from two different generations POSSIBLY collaborate in the diverse hothouse entertainment industry? How? How?! How?!!

  34. @BB753

    “Empire of the Sun” is definitely _my_ favorite Spielberg movie, but that’s not my question.

    • Troll: Je Suis Omar Mateen
    • Replies: @BB753
    , @MEH 0910
  35. J.Ross says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Again this fetish for breathing.

    • LOL: Kylie
  36. slumber_j says:
    @AceDeuce

    Steve Sailer wrote:

    I’m not much of a Wings fan, although evidently a lot of people were.

    Unaware that it was Paul McCartney’s birthday, I jokingly suggested yesterday that we listen in the car to an all-Wings Spotify mix during the 2.5-hour car ride to Connecticut. My 15yo son rejected this idea, vehemently. “The Beatles kept his cheesiness in check,” he explained.

    I mused that, yeah, when you have someone as snide as John Lennon right there with you, you’re gonna tend to self-censor your worst artistic instincts. Then my wife pointed out: “But we still got ‘Ob-La-Di’.”

    • Thanks: AceDeuce
  37. BB753 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Ok, then my answer is Frank Sinatra. Nobody brought more joy to the world as an entertainer, both as a singer AND actor, and well, just generally being himself.

  38. MLG says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I actually don’t find Seinfeld that funny a TV show so that answers the question. Two smart guys figuring it out while they go along is also the answer to your last question. Cast didn’t hurt, the Cosmo character seemed to generate humor from every semi colon or comma in the script and he wasn’t given much more then that to work with sometimes. Anyway, Thanks Steve for the thought experiment. You have provided at least 5 miliMccartney’s of joy while the average commentator struggles in the 2 or 3 picoMccartney range. Have big dreams and collectively we should be able to reach the centiMccartney range!

  39. That got me thinking: Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    A similar question is who is the most depicted person in history. One might say Jesus. But the answer has to be Elizabeth II, on 70 years worth of stamps, coins, and banknotes.

  40. In the United States, Pat Sajak by a mile.

  41. @BB753

    About 30 years ago I saw a limo with Sammy Davis Jr. sitting in the front seat looking glum. I presume the Chairman of the Board was sitting in the back seat behind the tinted windows.

    • Thanks: BB753
  42. Travis says:

    Elvis brought more people happiness than the Beatles and Paul McCartney combined…..In addition to selling more records he also made 33 films, concert films and TV specials They are kid friendly entertainment which the whole family can enjoy… And his films had beautiful women for the guys to enjoy and the handsome charismatic Elvis for the ladies to enjoy. His films are not dark and depressing, but uplifting and life affirming and bring much happiness to those who enjoy them…

    The Beatles brought us drugs and helped destroy the happiness of millions of people by glamorizing drug use. Without the Beatles, McCartney has no memorable songs. Elvis was also a much more interesting personality and a much better entertainer…..his persona continues to be copied because women loved him and men wanted to be like him….There is a good reason we do not see many McCartney impersonators while hundreds of men have made a career by impersonating Elvis.
    Probably Elvis impersonators have brought more happiness to the world than the hundreds of Paul McCartney concerts….. My kids are teenagers and Elvis has brought them more happiness than the Beatles and Paul McCartney combined. His old concerts are still enjoyed by millions, while few people would actually watch a Paul McCartney concert on TV. The new Elvis film will likely create more Elvis fans and he will continue to bring happiness to millions for the decades to come…

    • Disagree: BB753
    • Thanks: Mike Tre
  43. Unit472 says:

    The music critic for the San Francisco Chronicle perhaps said it best. The Beatles were God’s Christmas Present to the world exploding onto the scene after John Kennedy’s assassination, the Cuban Missile crisis and rock n roll itself in danger of losing the beat. Suddenly there were mobs of teenage girls going crazy over an English pop band who were a perfect sound machine putting out new hit songs at a fantastic clip.

    • Agree: Mark G.
  44. Muggles says:

    If you want world wide “happiness” then as others note you might want to consider vast Indian and Chinese populations, as well as N. America, S. America, Africa and Europe. Middle east and Central Asia?

    Few singers/actors reach all of those audiences.

    I thought of soccer players (“football” everywhere else.) Not huge in the US but elsewhere very big.

    Diego Maradona (Arg.) came to mind but he died in 2020.

    Then there is the Brazilian star Pele, who is still alive and is a “worldwide ambassador for football” per Google.

    That is something of a sports basket and not everyone loves “football”. Pele hasn’t played in decades. Pele’s dominance of soccer for a long time led to international stardom, and his short name (not his actual given name) is easy to remember.

    Still he outshines Michael Jordan since soccer is probably a bigger international sport. Jordan might come close.

    McCartney is a good choice for his longevity though I don’t know about Asia or Africa. American pop music may not be very influential in the Middle East, most of Asia or Africa, other than among the more affluent Westernized population segments. Their local music is much different. You didn’t hear the Beatles in Cairo taxicabs.

    This distinction of “most popular” is also highly generational. Who Boomers here venerate may be largely unknown to millions or billions born in the 21st century in Africa, Asia and other places not heavily influenced by modern Western culture or media. Musical fame is fleeting.

    For film, Jackie Chan is dead and I wonder how someone like Sylvester Stallone resonates with younger audiences world wide. Madonna? Doubtful. Bridget Bardot? Aged out.

    There’s Clint Eastwood for film, still alive at 92. Don’t know how much he penetrated in the non Western cinema, though cowboy tough guys and Dirty Harry seem popular themes.

    Who still gets the love in Mongolia, India, Bolivia, Kenya, Iran, Latvia and Indonesia, as well as the Westernized American-Euro influenced parts of the globe? Who rings bells in Russia, Korea and Ethiopia?

    Kim Kardashian? Big booty may be popular with about half the world’s population, but you have to admit, all of that hanging out is kind of scary. Pete Davidson is just chum in her wading pool.

    Also in her case, she is mostly famous for being a famous sex vid performer. A long time back. And no, Mama and Wife don’t like.

    Meanwhile, let the nominations continue!

  45. Brutusale says:
    @Loyalty Over IQ Worship

    I have a friend who attended Sir Paul’s show in Boston. She admits that the advertising for the show should have been for menopause nostrums. Young girls who went all giddy over the “cute” Beatle still screaming 50 years later.

  46. I’d have to put Angus Young of AC/DC up there.

  47. JimB says:
    @J.Ross

    The three minute length of the pop song was established by J.S. Bach with the Well Tempered Clavier. Every prelude and fugue is about three minutes long with well polished early examples of something like bridge, chorus, and verse.

    The greatest pop composer of the 20th century, certainly greater than McCartney in my opinion, is Burt Bacharach. Bacharach began as a student of French composer Darius Milhaud, who encouraged him not to fear writing in a popular style and is definitely responsible for Bacharach’s samba and jazz inflected style. Millennials and Gen Zers may still like the Beatles, but the Lennon-McCartney star is fading while Bacharach’s popularity holds steady, and with a much more diverse cultural audience.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
    , @J.Ross
  48. @The Last Real Calvinist

    “consider Tolkien”

    I’ve read the Trilogy once; The Hobbit never. However, I’ve read The Silmarillion cover-to-cover twice and skim it when the need arises as the days proceed. It’s the Bible of world-building. The Bible comes in second at world-building.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  49. Abe says:
    @Auld Alliance

    Clearly [Trump] brought a certain amount of pleasure to his own supporters, but I would suggest far more pleasure to those those who did not support him. I have come across various people whose only interest in politics seemed to be to express how much they hated Trump. He gave meaning to their lives.

    Swinging back to music, METALLICA fulfills somewhat of that same role for me. They’ll always have my respect and love for their 80’s work both in the studio, on the road (watching their live performances from that era you’re amazed by their sheer rawness and swagger and- most importantly for a rock band- danger), or on the street (do their physical altercations with MOTLEY CRUE along the Sunset Strip in the mid-80’s technically qualify as a form of trans-bashing?) But ever since the success of “the black album” turned them briefly into the biggest band in the world, it’s been one long, non-stop slide into cringe. Cutting their hair and turning into a grunge band the minute after grunge was over, working with the San Francisco philharmonic, teaming up with Lou Reed to put out a terrible art rock album.

    Yet the crown jewel of Metallica cringe has to be their rockumentary SOME KIND OF MONSTER. Hard to maintain whatever afterglow of thrash metal outlaw cool you once had after everyone sees your drummer make fretty “prayer hands” over whether his painting collection comes in above expectation at auction, or the entire [email protected] group agree to weepy performance coach (“he’s worked with the Marlins!”) struggle sessions.

    I will periodically watch SOME KIND OF MONSTER to the end of my days with the same fierce glee that your particularly bitchy gay male watches MOMMIE DEAREST.

    I even met a Democrat who, when I unwisely mentioned the Donald in conversation, brought out from his wallet a list he had prepared of Trump`s faults and insisted on reading them to me.

    There are two types of people in this world. Those who stock a copy of THE MUELLER REPORT in their guest bathroom as reading material, those who don’t.

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
  50. Dmon says:

    Anthony Fauci – made 100% of the population happy. All of the fascists have spent the last 2 years reveling in how he saved the world by sticking it to Trump. Now that he’s got it, the rest of us can soak in the schadenfreude, and if he kicks off, it will generate a veritable Mt. Vesuvius of human happiness.

    Now, if you’re limiting the discussion to direct, hands-on generation of happiness, Kamala Harris has to be right up there.

    • Replies: @Je Suis Omar Mateen
  51. @Muggles

    “There’s Clint Eastwood for film, still alive at 92.”

    I love my homeboy Clint. But he looks like a skeleton. Gran Torino should’ve been his swan song. Watched Dirty Harry recently. Directed by Don Siegel, Clint’s filmmaking mentor. Man that movie still crackles and pops. It reflects the atmosphere of the time it was made. The late 60s/early 70s was a period of dark juju. The gateway to the Kali Yuga. Hey Harry Callahan, arise from your slumber. The time is again.

    • Agree: Harry Baldwin
  52. Anonymous[907] • Disclaimer says:

    Surely, the kudos must go to Thomas Edison for enabling the recording of sound in the first place. Eminent physicists of the time, including Helmholtz, declared it an impossibility. But, Edison, purely an empiricist and a tinkerer – the tinkerer of all tinkerers – somehow managed it using surprisingly commonplace materials and scarce anything hi tech, even for his time.

    The downside is, of course, that recorded music at zero to low price, is a doubled edged sword, thus the intolerable assaults to our eardrums and sensibilities by godawful shyte such as ‘rap’ and ‘R n B’, which, sadly, is a concomitant to modern life, rather in the manner that lice were in olden times.

  53. gnbRC says:

    Seems someone has to define who ‘Paul McCartney’ is. Historical discontinuity in physical appearance and artistic direction seems to point to something happening psychologically to the Beatles vis-a-vis McCartney prior to the time of the White Album, and the abrupt ceasing of touring. Re. “Why Ringo’s Confession, “We replaced Paul!”, appears to be authentic”, at …

    https://jamesfetzer.org/2015/05/why-ringos-confession-we-replaced-paul-appears-to-be-authentic/

    This being said, even though The Beatles with original McCartney created more ‘innocent’ and ‘positive’ music, some of the post-original-McCartney songs are highly listenable, though, like I said, lacking in the innocence and more hard-edged than the original.

    But I’m sure there are plenty of experts out there who would disagree, but what would it really matter if the real Paul McCartney had died – nothing would change, we would all still think the British were making a mountain out of a mole-hill for money, typical Brits.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  54. @Travis

    “Without the Beatles, McCartney has no memorable songs.”

    Without McCartney, the Beatles have no memorable songs. Pretty sure the recent and rather long doc directed by the Hobbit guy who looks like a troll proved that point. Wings output was pretty sappy; but it did produce wonderful songs like Band on the Run which contains three suites in five minutes nine seconds. That’s stellar.

  55. prosa123 says:
    @Travis

    Of course the wholesome, family friendly Elvis died from the effects of drug use at 42.

    • Replies: @Abe
    , @Anonymous
  56. Abe says:
    @prosa123

    Of course the wholesome, family friendly Elvis died from the effects of drug use at 42

    There’s a whole movie about the absurd secret meeting between Elvis and Nixon where the former asked to be appointed a deputy agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Months later THE BEATLES dropped in on Elvis in his Vegas residency suite and Elvis started proudly flashing his toy DEA badge to which Lennon supposedly inquired, “So Elvis, when are you going to arrest yourself?”

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  57. 79 year old Joe Biden is a treasonous geezer boy politician whore, but I immediately got irritated with the boob who let Biden ride that bike with those damn pedal clips or stirrups type things on the pedal.

    Maybe that rancid boob Biden himself chose to use those damn clips or brackets or stirrups, but they are to be avoided by regular people just out for some fun on a bike.

    Wear low-cut hiking shoes with some rigidity in the sole to transfer force more effectively to the pedal.

    Those damn bike clips and bike stirrups and bike brackets are dangerous for anyone of any age!

    • Replies: @Muggles
  58. Anonymous[907] • Disclaimer says:
    @prosa123

    As the great John Lennon put it, in, most surely, a serious contender for the best wittiest, most memorable and truthful one liners of the 20th century,

    “Elvis died when he joined the army”.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  59. Russ says:
    @MLG

    I think of stand up comedians who may have of help with their act but I would give them 100 percent of the credit for the audience enjoyment because it is their act and they are up there solo. Three names came to mind Leno, Seinfield and Steve Martin.

    Raises the question of what to do with a Bill Cosby in this context. At least a decade of hugely successful comedy albums in the 60s; “Fat Albert” to the Saturday-morning cartoon-watching kids of the 70s; The Cosby Show dominating for NBC in prime-time in the 80s … that was quite the run. Then his only son gets murdered in the 90s, a daughter develops a bad drug problem over that time, he starts becoming noticeably nasty on the talk shows, and finally of course all the drug rape. How does the latter affect the former? He is currently radioactive, but that can’t change the fact that his “Q score” or whatever was tops in the 1980s. Do his antimilliMcCartneys from the 1990s on drag his milliMcCartneys from the 1980s and before into negative territory?

  60. AceDeuce says:
    @slumber_j

    Yeah, hard to defend “Ob-La-Di”…..although I suppose it worked in context. It was released after the world had started to follow the Beatles (and others) lead, and get stoned. It’s backstory is funny, too–the groid who originated the gibberish title (gibberish and the sideways wearing of hats-and holding of pistols-being the sum of negro contributions to our culture) tried to shake down McCartney for some cuckbucks for appropriating “his” gibberish.

    You and your family sound pretty perceptive. It’s true that Paul can be pretty corny, but he was also responsible for the Beatles greatest songs-Besides “Yesterday”, McCartney wrote “Here, There, and Everywhere”, which each of the Beatles, George Martin, and a slew of other insiders regard as the Beatles best song. He also wrote minor classics that many Beatles fans think of as among the band’s best, such as “I’ll Follow the Sun” and ” And I Love Her”. Hell, given George’s outsize songwriting contributions, Lennon might be the third best songwriter in the band.

  61. Among pre rock singers, we still have with us Tony Bennett, Harry Belafonte, and Johnny Mathis. But I would think you’d need to be a Sinatra or Crosby to rival McCartney.

    Not a singer, but as a composer and a bandleader, I’d place Duke Ellington at the top of the list, both for his own recordings and those by other artists. As for singers, Ella Fitzgerald comes to mind.

  62. @Auld Alliance

    I have come across various people whose only interest in politics seemed to be to express how much they hated Trump. He gave meaning to their lives.

    Great comment. Ex-liberal David Mamet say that he had been wondering who the leader of the Democratic Party is and he realized that it is Trump. The party is unified and given purpose solely by its hatred and repudiation of Donald Trump and all he stood for–border control, energy independence, low inflation, bringing back manufacturing, etc.

    I recently attended my high school reunion and was struck by how often people felt it necessary to affirm their disdain for Trump. I heard not one mention–literally, not one–of the current president.

  63. @Travis

    Good point about Elvis….He has sold more albums since 1970 than Paul McCartney has and his films are still shown and enjoyed by millions each week. It will be interesting to see how well the new Elvis movie does this year. While today 30,000 people earn a living as Elvis impersonators , not many could earn a living as a McCartney impersonator. 500,000 people a year visit Graceland each year and his albums are still outselling McCartney despite the lack of new material or tours..

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  64. MEH 0910 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    I liked the J.G. Ballard novel. For me the Spielberg movie suffered by comparison.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  65. one thing is for sure, these guys were full of baloney when the started talking about how they didn’t tour anymore because the music was too difficult to play live. LOL. give us a break. they just didn’t want to tour anymore. a perfectly legit thing. some bands lose interest in the grind of the road and the overwhelming flood of crazy fans.

    too hard to play some of the most simple, 2 minute pop rock material ever written. come on. complete nonsense. extra touring musicians, impossible for them (yet they already had a fifth guy in the band by the end). backing tracks, what’s that? filling in parts from tape, what’s that?

    other major british bands were going out on tour with an extra entire band of people. this got to excess at some point and was kinda nonsense when Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd were showing up with 10 people on stage.

    next up, Slipknot stops playing 14,000 person arena tours because their extremely complicated 9 person setup, which is hard as hell to mic and mix in a new venue every night, is just too much to deal with.

    • Replies: @(((They))) Live
  66. Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    My guess is that by this measure, McCartney is out in front by quite a bit.

    Do we also subtract for all of the moments of displeasure they generated? If so I think “Wonderful Christmastime” immediately knocks McCartney out of first.

  67. Anonymous[136] • Disclaimer says:

    Johnny Carson and Snoopy

  68. Anonymous[690] • Disclaimer says:

    Mickey Mouse and Bugs

  69. Anonymous[690] • Disclaimer says:

    Tom Cruise

  70. SFG says:
    @The Last Real Calvinist

    Not to mention most fantasy fans have read the books at least once, even if they didn’t like them, which means at least some fraction of a larger pool did. So on pure mathematical grounds Tolkien should be up there.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
  71. Anonymous[965] • Disclaimer says:
    @Muggles

    There’s Clint Eastwood

  72. Gabe Ruth says:

    This of the most tiresome of Sailer-post genres, the under-constrained 2AM stoner question, but I feel compelled to question your judgement if you can conceive of Stephen King being a net contributor to human happiness.

    • LOL: West reanimator
  73. Anonymous[965] • Disclaimer says:
    @Redneck farmer

    If McCarthy had been born a Jewish guy

    He’d be Paul Simon.

    • Agree: Hibernian
    • LOL: Mark G.
  74. Anonymous[645] • Disclaimer says:
    @Richard B

    And Stevie Wonder? He’s about one notch above George Harrison overall.

    Wonder was many times the talent of Harrison, and his range and longevity are pretty amazing. He could be funky like James Brown and soft like Lionel Richie.

    Louis Armstrong and the Surpremes had great crossover appeal, like Oprah and Michael Jordan.
    Michael Jackson was massive but then turned into a freak, a cult figure.

    In his day, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made so many happy, all around the world. At one time, Charlie Chaplin was the most famous person in the world.

    Capra might be winner in cinema because of Wonderful Life, the forever Christmas movie.

    • Replies: @Richard B
  75. Anonymous[645] • Disclaimer says:

    Highbrow happy list?

    Andy Warhol(unfortunately).

  76. Anonymous[125] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    “Elvis died when he joined the army”.

    It actually saved him. Rock n Roll was on the way out, and without army stint, he would have just faded.
    But the army thing gave him an excuse for the absence.

    And later it gave the King credit as a patriot who stood for counter-counter-culture, a man who served his country unlike those draft-burning hippies.

  77. Anonymous[125] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    Good point about Elvis….He has sold more albums since 1970 than Paul McCartney has and his films are still shown and enjoyed by millions each week.

    Difference is Elvis represents early Rock n Roll. When you think of Elvis, you think of the 50s and a particular style of music. It works as nostalgia, cultural artifact.

    Even though Beatles are linked with the 60s, the music still speaks to y0ung ones today.
    ‘Hound Dog’ is 50s, whereas ‘Hey Jude’ is like eternal pop formula. It sounds as fresh today as in 68.
    In that sense, McCartney has transcended his moment of fame.

  78. Quispy says:

    Norman Borlaug.

    • Replies: @68W58
  79. Abe says:
    @Richard B

    And Stevie Wonder? He’s about one notch above George Harrison overall. He put out about 5 or 6 amazing records in the 70’s and then what? He got Marlon Brando fat and proved to the world he wasn’t exactly all that blind after all.

    • LOL: Richard B
    • Replies: @Richard B
    , @Steve Sailer
  80. Anon[403] • Disclaimer says:
    @BB753

    By these standards, classical music and jazz should be dead, by they are still chugging along anyway.

    • Replies: @BB753
  81. Hibernian says:
    @SFG

    Happy 80th to a fellow Hibernian!

  82. Mike Tre says:
    @Abe

    “ or on the street (do their physical altercations with MOTLEY CRUE along the Sunset Strip ”

    As a fan of both in the 80’s, Motley Crue would mop the sidewalk with Metallica every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

    Lars and Kirk were twerps, and even if all Mick Mars* could do was bite Hetfield’s ankles, Lee Sixx and Neil would easily handle James Cliff and or Newstead. All three of the former were known to mix it up with gig attendees long before they were famous.

    *Lifelong chronic degenerative back issue.

  83. Among 20th century artists: Walt Disney

  84. IQrealist says:

    Steve: I am 35 years old. I like the Beatles, but I have gotten the most joy from listening to Led Zeppelin. It seems like you are assuming that everyone is a baby boomer like yourself?

  85. Happiness is ill-defined & music is overrated.

  86. Muggles says:
    @Charles Pewitt

    If you are a semi serious road biker you need some kind of foot gear. Don’t know about mountain biking, but I think most use something.

    Those toe clips are pretty easy to slip out from, compared to the shoe/pedal cleats which lock in with a foot twist.

    I never had problems with the toe clips but I fell down when stopping the first time I used the cleats. Rather embarrassing to just topple over like in a cartoon, when you foot is stuck on the pedal.

    Joe is way too old to be biking like that.

    When you are used to the foot gear, not using it seems off. But it is easier when you stop. The foot gear really lets you push and pull up.

  87. Clyde says:
    @Steve Sailer

    “Seinfeld” the TV show…..unfunny and not funny. Curb Your Enthusiasm, funny 60% of the time. At least it has some hilarious moments. Amazing that Mr Unfunny Steinfeld is worth a billion, or close to it. His standup act was the pits, with its belabored humor. Who ever laughed at that 1990s jive? Though, I can understand how most find the Seinfeld TV show ensemble funny. (just not me)

  88. @ChrisZ

    I think SFG is right, James. Steve’s original question was about *living* people.

    Saul died around A.D. 64. Jesus is the man who lives.

    Paul lives on via the Church he founded. Jesus, of course, held no eschatological beliefs, and as a practicing Jew, did not believe in an after-life.

  89. Anon 2 says:

    Spielberg? Seriously? With minor exceptions, a typical middlebrow director
    with well-made (due to access to obscene amounts of money) but instantly
    forgettable movies.

    On the other hand, there are directors like Krzysztof Kieślowski whose
    movies will stay with you for the rest of your life. Consider, for example,
    the Trois Couleurs trilogy, and specifically the movie “Red” (1994),
    featuring the great French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant (who unfortunately
    left us at 91 a couple of days ago, RIP) and the incandescent Irene Jacob.
    It received perfect ratings on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldian
    , @njguy73
  90. slumber_j says:
    @AceDeuce

    He also wrote minor classics that many Beatles fans think of as among the band’s best, such as “I’ll Follow the Sun” and ” And I Love Her”. Hell, given George’s outsize songwriting contributions, Lennon might be the third best songwriter in the band.

    Right: no question that Beatles-era Paul McCartney was a truly great songwriter. But as you indicate, the marijuana can’t have helped. Anyway, quality declined precipitously post-Beatles I’d say.

    You’re absolutely right about George Harrison’s contributions, but Lennon was no slouch.

  91. For probably a short while longer, my choice for this distinction will be among us. For close to sixty years he has been pleasing people, first in front of the camera, then behind it. I’m in my fifties so I have never known a world without Clint Eastwood. But maybe he is mostly an American phenom.

  92. @AceDeuce

    For No One” is another classic that most people don’t know. Minimal but highly emotive.

    • Agree: Nicholas Stix
  93. BB753 says:
    @Anon

    Popular music has less traction and resilience and institutional support.

  94. Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?… This is not a test of influence on other artists, so Bob Dylan isn’t in the running.

    Without counting “influence on other artists,” Dylan is definitely “in the running.” That’s not to say I don’t have serious problems with (((Dylan))), I do.

    Factoring in such intangibles as, say, “Penny Lane” vs. “Desolation Row,” the “happiness” quotient would tip to Paul.

    Then again, Dylan could do happiness:
    “Down Along the Cove”:
    — (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQugmm3ZeiM)

    Geez, I dunno.

  95. @SafeNow

    Jesus is Mccartney and vice versa. They are both dying and rising gods, i.e. sun kings. See: Paul is dead.

  96. B36 says:

    “Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?”

    I’d like to say it’s a tie: Gregory Pincus and Min Chueh Chang. But they are dead.

  97. Right_On says:

    Julie Andrews is still a breather and her Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music have retained their popularity. I mention Mary Poppins as I suspect that those who made entertainment for children could claim to have made the most people happy. Kids’ enthusiasms are lively and their pleasures leave lasting impressions.

    If I can sneak in a dead white male as a contender: Walt Disney.

  98. @James Speaks

    Jesus, of course, held no eschatological beliefs, and as a practicing Jew, did not believe in an after-life.

    • Replies: @vinteuil
  99. @Anon 2

    Spielberg is a 2nd rate artist & the 1st rate entertainer.

    Spielberg’s emotional-mental world is to Kieslowski’s like Salinger’s (Franny and Zoey, Catchcer,.) to Grass’ (Tin Drum, My Century,..).

    • Replies: @Matt Buckalew
  100. @SunBakedSuburb

    The Hobbit is a wonderful little book. That’s the beauty of it. Peter Jackson screwed the pooch by stretching it into another epic trilogy. You should give it a chance.

  101. @gnbRC

    I have come to like the theory of Miles Mathis that the appearance discrepancy is due to the unacknowledged existence of a twin. Sounds farfetched but then doesn’t the death and replacement story seem even crazier?

  102. @Almost Missouri

    Barbara Walters is senile now.

    Dan Rather has brought me many hours of joy over the years, although not in a way that he might have intended:

  103. Simply amazing how few commenters don’t remember the requirement: is alive today. “Can’t/Doesn’t follow rules” used to be disparagement that could get you fired.

    • Thanks: Nicholas Stix
  104. @Muggles

    “There’s Clint Eastwood for film, still alive at 92.”

    Ding, ding, ding! That’s the answer. After all, our host said, “living.”

    Clint Eastwood is not only probably the second most popular living director, after Spielberg, he’s got to be the most popular living movie actor–Quigley ranked him the most popular actor of the entire 1970s–but he was also the founder of his own school of acting–the Catatonic School.

    • Thanks: Coemgen
  105. @Loyalty Over IQ Worship

    If one were given a choice of being one of the Beatles, most would probably choose McCartney. Of course, he did have questionable taste in women. Harrison and Starr both had more attractive wives.

  106. @SFG

    Well he did day personally entertained by. So have you spent a lot of time being entertained by Jesus?😮

  107. S Johnson says:

    If you broaden the field out beyond entertainers Elizabeth II has brightened the days of an historically unprecedented number of people since 1926. At almost any time since then citizens of the world have been able to read or listen to a news report, look at pictures in a magazine, watch TV extravaganzas like the Coronation or Royal weddings and take comfort in the fact that the British Empire had a solid-looking, dutiful heir or later monarch. Plus with all the international visits she must have been seen by at least as many people as McCartney, for many of whom she would have been a highlight of their entire year. Then think about the fact that a representation of her face will have been seen by most of the citizens of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom every day for most of the last 70 years, lots of whom were never touched by the Beatles.

    • Replies: @tr
    , @tr
  108. 68W58 says:
    @Quispy

    This is a good answer, but most of the people Borlaug made happy have no idea who he was.

    I’m going to put Mel Brooks out there just because I think he may have caused more laughs and smiles than any other living person at least among English speakers.

  109. Vasilios says:

    The real Paul died in 1966.

  110. S Johnson says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    And Harrison got to sample both of them.

  111. @Hapalong Cassidy

    Mccartney dated and was engaged to the lovely Jane Asher before ditching her for Linda Eastman. After she died he had a brief marriage to Heather ? and then wedded Nancy ? Sir Paul likes them kosher.

    Linda Eastman and Yoko Ono both came from wealthy families and both lived in Scarsdale, NY for a time, even attending the same high school. I don’t know for sure that means anything but it has the whiff of arranged marriage a la Scientology to me.

  112. @Nicholas Stix

    I would give Spielberg 30% of the credit for my enjoyment of Raiders of the lost Arc….30% of the credit goes to the actors…George Lucas deserves 30% of the credit for creating the idea and producing the film…

    While Clint Eastwood gets most of the credit for made his films enjoyable…..since he typically acts and directs so many of his films and without Clint Eastwood many of his films would not have been made..Without Spielberg directing ET or Raiders , or Jurassic Park some other director would have done a decent enough job to make the films still enjoyable.

    One could imagine Raiders would have been a good film without Harrison Ford, but the Dirty Harry films would have been quickly forgotten if Frank Sinatra or Paul Newman took the part. Unforgiven never becomes a film without Clint Eastwood acting in it.

  113. @Mike Tre

    He hasn’t written a memorable song in 40 years

    I concede I am missing the point by quibbling over the number, but Paul had some memorable songs in the mid 80s such as Say Say Say, No More Lonely Nights, and Spies Like Us, the last of which was released in November 1985.

    George did him a little better as a performer, but his 1987 hit Got My Mind Set On You was penned by Rudy Clark. Jagger & Richards had Mixed Emotions in 1989.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Mike Tre
  114. J.Ross says:
    @JimB

    The theme to Casino Royale represents its time without aging.

  115. @bomag

    I second your choice.

    Svengoolie is showing Forbidden Planet tonight. Leslie Nielsen is one of my favorite actors, so I’ll nominate him, as well.

  116. Right_On says:
    @Hapalong Cassidy

    McCartney and Jane Asher had a five-year relationship from 1963. She was sexy, smart and stylish.
    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSNhIIVtV4O0YbX5vPJ9iVtCH2j0cCFP9D4Hg&usqp=CAU

  117. @Bardon Kaldian

    Salinger is a far superior writer to Grass who is second rate in every way. A Perfect Day for a Bannanafish so far exceeds anything Grass ever wrote. Lmao Grass is dos passos/ Sinclair Lewis tier tripe.

  118. “By “directly” I mean: while watching or listening to them, rather than by being influenced more indirectly via technological innovation or political/cultural influence. Hence, likely an entertainer, an author, or similar.”

    athletes generate the most interest. hence their pay, ticket sales, and television ratings. it’s rather sobering when you compare the broad media reach that sports figures have versus the much more narrow reach other entertainers offer.

    sorry, but you do have to take into account low intelligence people and third worlders. and they’re much more entertained by simple to understand sports action than anything else.

    LOL at this boomer Beatles obsession. they weren’t even the most popular musical act of all time. and now they’re in some distant, 50th place or something in the internet era. where random modern musicians are getting BILLIONS of views from an 8 billion human population and the Beatles material is way, way in the past, getting millions of views.

  119. “My guess is that by this measure, McCartney is out in front by quite a bit.”

    Oh, for goodness sakes, Steve.

    Uh, there is one global iconic entertainer of the 20th century, whose music continues to sell, and compete quite well with McCartney….3…2….1.

    ELVIS

    Presley

    45 yrs after his death in 1977 (same day as HOF NY OF Babe Ruth, and later Aretha Franklin), Elvis is one of the worlds highest grossing dead celebrities. Elvis’s estate makes more than either John or George by the way.

    Single career wise: Paul vs Elvis? As in, total sales? Not even close. It’s Elvis.

    John and George in their single careers? Again not even close, it’s Elvis.

    As next Friday the new Elvis film by Baz Luhrmann is nationally released.

    Point being, it’s not likely that McCartney will inspire this kind of devotion, adulation (as well as incredibly massive album sales) 40+ yrs after his death. His albums don’t sell anywhere near what they once did (1970’s -’86).

    “And how many times do you watch a great movie as opposed to hear Hey Jude on the radio?”

    So far, I’ve watched DeMille’s the Ten Commandments (one of the world’s highest grossing films adjusted for inflation) about 60 times, about 50 all the way through. But the obvious point is taken.

    “My guess is that by this measure, McCartney is out in front by quite a bit.”

    Nope, that would belong to Elvis. By any objective measure, Elvis stands alone in total worldwide sales of music vs. all solo artists (the Beatles are first, but not by much. Elvis is second only to the Beatles, but not by much).

    “Who’d be second among popular musicians among the still living? Elton John? Stevie Wonder?”

    None of the living. Second to Elvis would perhaps be Michael Jackson.

    But c’mon, Steve. ELVIS. Even as you were entering teen yrs in high school, Elvis was still a respectable force in the music biz, and of course one of the leaders of sold out tours during the ’70s.

    Ironically, Elvis has sold almost as much in the UK, almost as much as the Beatles there.

    But a fair question is whether or not Sir Paul will be iconically remembered as a SOLO artist, (not as Beatle Paul) 20, 30, 40 yrs after his death in the same way as Elvis is right now? Probably nowhere near it.

    Elvis. Totally.

    But what are some of the things that Sir Paul has said about Elvis

    “Elvis is a truly great vocalist, and you can hear why on this song. His phrasing, his use of echo, it’s all so beautiful. It’s the way he sings it, too. As if he’s singing it from the depths of Hell. It’s a perfect example of a singer being in command of the song. Musically it’s perfect, too. The double-bass and the walk-in piano create this incredibly haunting atmosphere. It’s so full of mystery, and it’s never lost that for me. The echo is just stunning. When The Beatles were recording, we’d often ask George Martin for ‘the Elvis echo.’ I think we got it down perfectly on ‘A Day in the Life.’”

    Sir Paul considers Elvis the 2nd coolest person he ever met (even cooler than Bertram Russell).

    When visiting Graceland in early 2010’s Paul placed a guitar pick on Presley’s grave, to pay his respects.

    “When we first toured America, there was only one person we wanted to meet, and that was Elvis.”–Paul.

    Notice: The Beatles came to Elvis, not vice versa.

    Nope. Not seeing McCartney’s solo music 40, 50 yrs after his death as selling in massive quantities in the same way as Elvis’s music continues to sell today.

    Looking forward to a review on the new Elvis biopic.

    • Replies: @anon
  120. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:

    While Paul McCartney was singing “And I Love Her” in “A Hard Day’s Night” (1964), the camera panning around him picks up an arc light that flashes straight into the lens. United Artists executives, reviewing the dailies and certain the shot had to be a mistake, asked producer Walter Shenson if he was aware of it; Shenson replied it had taken them all morning to get it like that.

    The movie’s working title was “The Beatles,” and then “Beatlemania,” until Ringo Starr, who was exhausted after a long day, coined the phrase “a hard day’s night” that was accepted by the studio. Once Starr’s line was confirmed as the movie’s title, it was put to music by John Lennon and McCartney with participation of George Harrison and Starr. The Beatles collectively composed the song that same night, playing it the next morning to Shenson in their dressing room.

    Pattie Boyd appears in several scenes in the first act, all on the train. 1) She is one of the two “schoolgirls on the train” they first encounter 2) McCartney chats her up with her friend (below). 3) She sits next to Paul and smiles and sings on “I Should Have Known Better.” She and George Harrison, who met during filming, married within eighteen months.

    Before the movie was released in America, a United Artists executive asked director Richard Lester to dub the voices of the group with mid-Atlantic accents. McCartney angrily replied, “Look, if we can understand a f**king cowboy talking Texan, they can understand us talking Liverpool.”(IMDb)

    Below is a fun vid because, although the lads were highly successful at this point, it was the first time McCartney had to sing onstage without the others to back him up, which he realized he’d never done before, and consequently suffered through the song with a surprising case of serious stage fright. Watching McCartney sweat his way through this gem of a song it is pretty funny…

    Happy Birthday, Paul McCartney!

  121. @James Speaks

    “Jesus, of course, held no eschatological beliefs, and as a practicing Jew, did not believe in an after-life.”

    Hold up.

    ““Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” –Jn. 11:25

    Q.E.D.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  122. Richard B says:
    @Anonymous

    Good list, except for Oprah of course.

    And yes, I was a little hard on Stevie Wonder whose work in the 70’s really is extraordinary and still holds up. And I didn’t really mean to knock Beatle George whose solo work in the 70’s wasn’t at all bad and occasionlly very good.

    And good mention regarding Capra. With just that one film he added countless hours of pleasure to millions of people for decades after the release of that classic.

  123. Richard B says:
    @Abe

    Yeah, that was the I could be wrong. But I don’t think he’s going to recover from this song for Stevie. And he didn’t.

    Then again, it looked like Ebony and Ivory might have buried Stevie, and not just Stevie. But both deserved to be forgiven and were. The other guy bounced back. Stevie, not so much.

  124. @Dmon

    “Anthony Fauci – made 100% of the population happy.”

    You jest so much funny, but in fact Saint Doctor Anthony Fauci MD is the answer to this question:

    What diminutive manlet exacted the greatest vicarious revenge upon his middle school tormentors?

    It’s not even close, St Fauci by a country parsec. I can’t think of a fictional character that so utterly humiliated his enemies.

    • Agree: Clyde
    • Thanks: Mike Tre
    • Replies: @Dmon
  125. Richard B says:

    That got me thinking: Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    Actually, this got me to thinking that Steve deserves an honorary mention.

    Ok, maybe we should change human happiness to human interest and billions to, well, many. In that case it’s the quality not quantity that counts.

    But still, I for one owe countless hours of pleasure, interest, learning, and even laughs (Steve’s actually very funny when he wants to be) to reading Steve over the years.

    Time well spent.

  126. njguy73 says:
    @eee

    Whatever human happiness was the result of Baywatch, I don’t think it was attributable to Hasselhoff.

  127. njguy73 says:
    @SafeNow

    Jack Dorsey founded Twitter.

    Debate’s over.

  128. @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    One could imagine Raiders would have been a good film without Harrison Ford, but the Dirty Harry films would have been quickly forgotten if Frank Sinatra or Paul Newman took the part. Unforgiven never becomes a film without Clint Eastwood acting in it.

    Too bad, then, that Sinatra or Newman hadn’t made it. That picture was some kind of stupid. “Well, are you feeling lucky, punk?”

    Maybe Lord Larry Olivier could have made Julien Fink’s lines work, but Catatonic couldn’t do it. That so many White Americans thought Catatonic was great, was a signpost in America’s decline. (See also their embrace of Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Steven Seagal.)

    Then again, I’m not saying that Eastwood was equally bad in each phase of his acting career. (Sergio Leone reportedly said he had “two styles of acting: Hat on, and hat off.”) I vaguely recall him being non-catatonic in Rawhide, and he definitely improved once he passed the Rubicon of 60, especially in his masterpieces (Unforgiven, A Perfect World, Madison County and Million-Dollar Baby). Plus, he was such a brilliant director that Eastwood the director (and in Madison County, Meryl Streep) was able to wok around the shortcomings of Eastwood the actor. Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte had done the same thing in The Prince of Tides (1991).

    By the time he made The Mule, at 88, I didn’t know anymore if he was acting, or just “being Clint.” In any event, it’s a great picture.

  129. njguy73 says:
    @Anon 2

    And if you asked 100 random people who Krzysztof Kieslowski is, you’ll get 99 blank stares and 1 who goes “I don’t know, the goalie for the San Jose Sharks?”

    • Replies: @Anon 2
  130. @ScarletNumber

    The Rolling Stones last huge hit, Start Me Up in 1981, was a leftover from their 1972 Exile on Main Street sessions.

    The rock era has been hard for performer/songwriters to stay on top with new compositions for more than a decade or so.

  131. @Nicholas Stix

    Yes, Eastwood is a contender.

  132. @Abe

    Stevie Wonder was a great singles act in the 1960s and then a great album act into the mid 1970s.

    Elton John really was only at his peak as a songwriter for about a half decade, but then has had a long run as a performer and celebrity presence.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  133. @MEH 0910

    Much of Tom Stoppard’s screenplay for Empire of the Sun is drawn from about four pages in which JG Ballard summarized what happened in-between the episodes he really wanted to write about at length. So the book and movie are pretty different.

    Another odd thing is that several of the most Stoppardian scenes in the movie, such as the kamikaze scene aren’t by Stoppard but were made up by Spielberg as a tribute to Stoppard’s knack for creating surrealist-looking tableaus on stage that have reasonable explanations (see “After Magritte”).

    Something I didn’t know was that Spielberg kept Stoppard on his payroll for much of the 1980s and 1990s as a script doctor on almost all of Spielberg’s movies from that era.

  134. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Jesus most likely did not say that. Compare to the Gospel of Thomas or the sayings Gospel Q. Educate yourself:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Seminar

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  135. Mark Zuckerberg.

    Sailer can close comments now. I won.

  136. @slumber_j

    Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello wrote a good song together in the late 1980s. I think they could have been a very good songwriting team in the late 1970s, because Costello could have played the Lennon role in riding herd on McCartney’s cheesier urges.

  137. @James Speaks

    Uh, actually, yes, Jesus DID say that. Gospel of Thomas is a fake, written about a century after the 4 gospels.

    Perhaps YOU ought to educate yourself. The 4 NT Gospels, written ca. 20-25 yrs after the ministry of Jesus, used sources written based on traditions that date back to about 4 yrs after the Resurrection, are written in the genre of historical accounts are quite comparable to the histories of Josephus, Tacitus, Plutarch (e.g. the Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans) and Philo.

    reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/establishing-the-gospels-reliability

    reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/presuppositions-and-pretensions-of-the-jesus-seminar

    • Thanks: Hibernian, epebble
    • Replies: @James Speaks
    , @epebble
  138. @Steve Sailer

    During his high point throughout most of the ’70’s, Elton John largely benefitted by having a good songwriting partner in Bernie Taupin.

    He nor Wonder nor anyone else (possible exception being Michael Jackson) come anywhere close to the global commercial success as Elvis. Certainly is notable that the Beatles wanted to meet Elvis, of all the ’50’s rock and rollers that influenced their sound. And Elvis covered 4 of Paul’s songs later on.

  139. @Pontius

    Out of all living humans…

    Beethoven.

    We’ve all heard of Elvis sightings, but this is a new one.

    • Replies: @Pontius
  140. Dmon says:
    @Je Suis Omar Mateen

    I will agree with that. Zuckerberg is the only person I can think of that’s even in the same league.

  141. @Steve Sailer

    And McCartney could’ve dragged Costello from the depths of despair so their music would’ve been happy, just not too happy. Instead, Costello dead ended his career collaborating with Burt Bacharach.

  142. Anonymous[847] • Disclaimer says:

    John Lasseter for Western kids.

    Miyazaki for Japanese kids.

    Hitchcock for devilish fun. Among ‘classic’ Hollywood directors, he remains the most popular.

    Al Pacino in Scarface made gangstas very happy.

  143. Anonymous[847] • Disclaimer says:

    Ray Kroc and Colonel Sanders.

  144. Anonymous[350] • Disclaimer says:
    @slumber_j

    “Paul’s granny shit music”

  145. @Steve Sailer

    The Rolling Stones never licensed their songs commercially, but when Windows 95 came out the Start button was the distinguishing feature between it and Windows 3.1. Microsoft really wanted to use Start Me Up as the song to launch Windows 95 to the world, so Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer went to see Mick Jagger and Keith Richards about it. The former pair asked the latter pair how much it would cost to license the song. Jagger and Richards didn’t want to be rude, so they threw out an outrageous number*. Gates and Ballmer didn’t blink and wrote a check for that amount.

    Anyway, just for fun, here is the Rolling Stones performing Let’s Spend Some Time Together on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 15, 1967.

    *

    [MORE]
    \$3,000,000

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  146. Anonymous[350] • Disclaimer says:
    @BB753

    Right, Sinatra was first. The mothers of the girls screaming at Beatles concerts had been bobby-soxers doing the same at Frankie’s concerts.

    (I think Sinatra was first. Did Caruso have a big teen girl following?)

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  147. Anonymous[107] • Disclaimer says:

    Perennial favorites

    Wizard of Oz
    Sound of Music
    Ten Commandments
    Airplane

    The man who made the most people happy by way of unhappiness.

  148. @Steve Sailer

    For those wondering, its name was

    [MORE]
    Veronica, although they also co-wrote My Brave Face

    • Replies: @SFG
  149. Anon 2 says:
    @njguy73

    That’s exactly my point. Kieślowski is not for the hoi polloi. Highly educated
    people need more than mere entertainment. However, Kieślowski’s early movies
    are more accessible. For example, The Decalogue has been widely shown to
    Christian congregations around the country. True, his later films exist somewhere
    in the Empyrean, and are not for ordinary mortals.

    • Replies: @Kylie
  150. What a bunch of old boomers here. It’s obviously the aryan goddess Taylor Swift.

  151. @Anonymous

    Rudy Vallee in the late 1920s is often said to be the first teenybopper idol, but who knows how far back it goes?

    My late mother-in-law was a bobbysoxer screaming for Frank Sinatra in 1945. Strikes me as showing good taste in a singer.

    • Replies: @Manfred Arcane
  152. @ScarletNumber

    Ironically, Apple’s system in the old days, when folks had to log on to the system, the gong-tone sounded an awful lot like the final note to the Beatles “A Day in The Life”.

  153. Question for all here: IF Paul McCartney had not been a part of the most iconic band of the 20th century, would he have found global fame as a solo recording artist?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  154. anon[660] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I think you are simply pointing out that people live for a long time after their youthful musical crush period ends …….. and those people mostly listen to that same stuff throughout their remainder of life (rather than find newer acts to follow).

    And there seems to be a serious plummeting of Elvis’s appeal as his 50’s fans start dying off.

    “a hefty 29% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they had never listened to an Elvis song, with none of this age group listening to him daily and only 8% listening monthly. Asked what they thought of other veteran stars, about twice as many said they liked the Beatles (23%) and David Bowie (25%) “a lot” compared with the King (12%).”

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  155. anon[660] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Shows what a massive accomplishment ‘Graceland’ was for Paul Simon. Became a huge hit 20 years after Simon and Garfunkel’s initial success.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  156. Kylie says:
    @Anon 2

    “Kieślowski is not for the hoi polloi. Highly educated
    people need more than mere entertainment.”

    Highly educated people don’t use the phrase “the hoi polloi”. Except possibly for mere entertainment.

    • Replies: @Coemgen
  157. @anon

    I saw Paul Simon play a year or two before “Graceland.” He was very witty in putting himself down as over the hill.

  158. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Question for all here: IF Paul McCartney had not been a part of the most iconic band of the 20th century, would he have found global fame as a solo recording artist?

    He grew up in a musical family. Of all the Beatles, he had the most self-discipline, the most stage poise, could competently play the most instruments, had the most songwriting output, had the most vocal dexterity, and overall improved the most throughout the Beatles reign and beyond.

    I’d have bet on him LONG before I would have bet on any other Beatle. His vocal dexterity which allows him to effectively conform to a myriad of different song styles alone is unrivaled amongst his peers in the industry. He could do it all. He didn’t have to specialize.

    A major part of measuring genius is fruitfulness. How much remarkable stuff can you crank out in your time? Paul is a genius. None of his peers, in our outside the Beatles, could match his quality of output, or the breadth of his abilities. In his prime, he could run with anyone he wanted to.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  159. Coemgen says:
    @MLG

    Leno’s got a new entertainment providing career:

  160. @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    Unforgiven never becomes a film without Clint Eastwood acting in it.

    Would Unforgiven have been as memorable a film without Gene Hackman?

    • Replies: @Mike Tre
    , @Nicholas Stix
  161. Coemgen says:
    @Kylie

    Highly educated people don’t use the phrase “the hoi polloi”.

    Neither do uneducated people.

    Hoi polloi is popular with fans of the Three Stooges though:

    • Replies: @Kylie
  162. theMann says:

    Engelburt Humperdinck comes to mind (the Brutish singer, age 86 and still kicking).

    Both deceased for 20 years now, but I wonder how many people listened to Nusrat Feteh Ali Khan or I. K. Dairo.

    And I guess Mr. Roger’s just kicked it?

  163. @Steve Sailer

    The “Waltz King,” Johann Strauss, in 19th-century Vienna attracted hordes of female attendees to his concerts, many of whom would beg for locks of his hair; his manservant resorted to giving them clippings from Strauss’ dog, and the poor canine nearly went bald. Female adulation of musical celebrities goes back a very long time.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  164. Mike Tre says:
    @ScarletNumber

    “I concede I am missing the point by quibbling over the number, ”

    The point is – before reading Sailer’s sure to be snarky reply to you/me – is that his appeal has really not continued much past the Gen X ers because he hasn’t put out any new and widely popular material. The sad fact is 90% of pop rock bands have about a decade of relevance before their act gets stale and fans move on. The are exceptions – the Foo Fighters, shockingly – but even McCartney wasn’t immune to that law.

    Movie directors are less susceptible to that law and Eastwood in particular has been making films since before the Beatles existed, during their existence, and 50 years after they existed. He continued to make very popular movies long after McCartney’s last memorable hit (the ones you mentioned almost never get air time on the CR stations).

    Eastwood’s body of work the last 30 years has contained more misses than hits IMO, but I was pleasantly shocked at how good Richard Jewell was, especially after how absolutely dreadful Trouble with the Curve was.

    And since you’ve got me started – I’ve tried revisiting the Beatles’ library from time to time over the last few years, and I can’t get into them like I nominally did in HS. There are a half dozen or so tunes that I can still enjoy listening to, but that’s it. McCartney had a few good songs after the Beatles, but it’s without question that his continued relevance is primarily based upon he being a central member of the first pop rock boy band. Ringo and his All Star band have been doing the same, but with less front page recognition.

    To me it’s not surprising that Sailer likes McCartney so much. At 80 he still comes across as a big kid. Even a bit childish. And one pattern that I have recognized is that Steve’s favorite pop music over the years is childish: The Police, The Cars, The Clash (the pop rock equivalent of a temper tantrum), Talking Heads, etc. Their stuff regardless of musical ability, is dorky and immature. Nobody is blasting De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da and singing it at the top of their lungs. It’s silly and I’m not sure how Sting could not be embarrassed to have to perform it live.

    And none of this is necessarily a bad thing. But the metric of “providing happiness” is as subjective as “who’s the greatest rock drummer of all time.”

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  165. @Manfred Arcane

    The funny thing is that teenage girls in the past had pretty good taste: Johann Strauss Jr., Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Stones.

    Not bad …

    • Replies: @J.Ross
    , @Bardon Kaldian
  166. hhsiii says:

    He still comes up with great melodies and is a fantastic musician. The guitar solo in Taxman is McCartney, even though it’s a Harrison song. His bass in Rain (or even in Silly Love Songs).

    Post Beatles yes he had some clunkers but still tons of great songs, many hardly known. He just has the knack for a catchy melody

    That Would be Something (first solo record,Dead covered it)
    Eat at Home (Ram,Buddy Holly style)
    Daytime Nightime Suffering (b-side tossed off in one night)
    A Love for You (unreleased for over 30 years until it was on the soundtrack for the remake of the InLaws, you can hear him play the same fuzz bass as in the Beatles Think for Yourself)
    Put it There (good for Father’s Day)
    Magneto and a titanium Man
    Movie Magg, Coquette and No Other Baby (covers on Run Devil Run)
    Dominoes on Egypt Station
    Girls School

    Even check out Secret Friend, aMcCartney II outtake that isn’t his catchy side, but a proto chill wave bit of electronica.

    Paul was the one who listened to the avant garde stuff, adding the John Cage-y piano bit to the “woke up, fell out of bed” part of A Day in the Life,etc.

    And yes, he can write granny music. Particularly adept at music hall tunes like When I’m 64, Honey Pie,or You Gave Me the Answer on Venus and Mars.

    Anyway, happy 80th to him. I should have gone to see him this tour.

  167. Paul Rise says:
    @Hernan Pizzaro del Blanco

    George Lucas or Stan Lee is the answer.

    And by the way, I know Lee really just stole a lot of the characters but he was able to get them out to more readers.

    Also, let me know when I can play Beatles video games and buy Beatles toys and lego sets. Of course Beatles merchandise is a big deal but we are talking a few products in the store vs entire aisles of the store in different departments – toys, video games, household products.

    Pro tip- the Beatles are a great band but they won’t make it long past the passing of the boomers. For a sort of “proof” of this, what is the biggest 80s hit among the zoomers? A Kate Bush song.

    Very hard to say what aspects of boomer culture the younger generations will embrace.

  168. tyrone says:
    @SafeNow

    What living person has directly brought more misery to more people than any other?

    ……..Good question, the creators and financier of the covid 19 bioweapon would have to be at the top……we all have a pretty good idea of who they are.

    • Agree: Mark G.
  169. Hibernian says:
    @Pontius

    Roll over Beethoven, and tell Tchaikovsky the news!

  170. Nat X says:

    I’m happy listening to Moms Mabely and Pigmeat Markem.

  171. SFG says:
    @ScarletNumber

    The happiest sounding song about Alzheimer’s I have ever heard.

  172. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    You probably think Jesus had blonde hair and blue eyes, and spoke English. The thing about the Jesus Seminar is this: adherence to the sayings of the historic Jesus, the wise-cracking hypocrite poking ethicist who roamed Galilee and offered his people an alternative to the Temple Cult is far more difficult and rewarding than belief* in the demigod of the Apostle’s Creed. So bury yourself in your fairy tales and self-righteousness, I have a life to lead.

    *And just what does “Believe on me” mean? Huh?

  173. Ganderson says:
    @slumber_j

    Good observation by your son. In addition I’d argue that McCartney smoothed out a lot of Lennon’s nastiness. Lennon’s post Beatles stuff tends toward angry rants, while McCartney’s songs are often saccharine. That said, perhaps my favorite McCartney song is the post-Fab Four “Just Another Day”.

  174. Mike Tre says:
    @PiltdownMan

    Or Richard Harris? One of the keys to Eastwood’s later success was getting a bunch of old actors together for one last ride. I’m not sure he realizes it or he might have done more of it. Eastwood and Sean Connery would have been a fun movie about anything.

  175. MEH 0910 says:
    @Steve Sailer

    https://superdeluxeedition.com/reviews/paul-mccartney-flowers-in-the-dirt-deluxe-edition-sde-review/

    What the bonus discs on the new deluxe edition makes abundantly clear is that between them Paul and Elvis had a fabulous set of songs that should become a great nine or 10-track album. Criminally, Twenty Fine Fingers and Tommy’s Coming Home were just left to rot on the shelf and Paul neglected the brilliant So Like Candy leaving Costello to record an inferior version for his Mighty Like A Rose album. Paul left The Lovers That Never Were and Mistress and Maid for his next album (Off The Ground) suggesting that ‘diluting’ the Costello impact was no accident. And there’s the contradiction. The new deluxe edition makes a very big deal of the collaboration, but back in the day, Paul resisted Elvis as a co-producer (Costello’s “instincts were right” Mitchell Froom told SDE) and quite clearly didn’t want an album full of songs co-written with him.

    [MORE]

    I’m sure to Paul at the time, the 1988 demo version of My Brave Face (which features Elvis singing on it) didn’t sound as commercial as it should have, but to be fair, unlike Costello, Paul was expected to – needed to – have hits! So, much of the charm and quirkiness of that 1988 recording of the song is lost after Mitchell Froom was brought in to effectively make it (and the three other Costello co-writes on the album) sound more ‘modern’.

    In the end, the album was a compromise – including just four of the 13 McCartney/MacManus songs available at that point and mixing them with some of Paul’s solo songs. Even then, the power and quality of the Elvis songs were arguably reduced by removing Elvis singing harmonies and getting in Mitchell Froom and Neil Dorfsman in to sprinkle some eighties production magic over them. The 1988 demos disc is all the evidence you need.

    And there’s the irony. Flowers in the Dirt is certainly a ‘good’ Paul McCartney album, but this deluxe edition reveals how much better it could have been if Paul had perhaps put ego and commercial concerns to one side and embraced the collaboration with Elvis much more. A full-blown creative partnership over the space of a whole album could have been a classic. The book within the new deluxe edition explores the partnership to a degree, but never properly explains why this didn’t happen. Paul does say “The demos were great but we couldn’t release them as I had a band. And it would have been a little bit radical for me to say to the band, ‘Hey man, it’s just going to be me and Elvis,’ and we’ll write a few more and it’s the McCartney Costello show…”. And when asked why this apparently enjoyable and fruitful song-writing collaboration wasn’t repeated, Macca offers a rather limp “It just really didn’t occur to me”.

    McCartney / Costello : Shadowboxing playlist:
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_DLwEg761nrHhwsh4G6mH2zT_nf2ZfDg

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  176. Ganderson says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Exile on Main Street and Sticky Fingers are two of the greatest rock n roll records ever. I feel the same about Rubber Soul and Revolver.

    While the rest of the Stones’ and Beatles’ oeuvre have much to recommend them, those albums stand out.

    Sergeant Pepper, for example, sounds very dated to me, as does, say, Sympathy for the Devil.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  177. @The Last Real Calvinist

    Tolkien certainly deserves to be an A-lister, but in terms of sheer volume, he comes in well behind McCartney.

    The LOTR movies are very well made from a craft perspective, but there is some ineffable quality about the books that can’t be reproduced in any other medium, no matter how good of a job you do. Although many people have enjoyed those movies, part of me always feels like they’ve been cheated if they haven’t read the books: they’ve been led to believe that they’ve experienced Tolkien, but really they haven’t. And how on earth did they fail to cast Steve Martin as Tom Bombadil?!

    Although I freely admit to being an artistic snob, this is one case where I’m speaking truthfully, not snobbishly. Well, maybe a little bit snobbishly.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  178. Pontius says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    Well well well, I haven’t flubbed this bad since I mistook Anatoly Karlin for The Saker and asked why he lived in the US.

    Oh well then, I nominate Nicki Minaj.

  179. i propose a new unit: accumulated enjoyment-hours.

    impossible to measure directly, but we have good options for approximating this. i’m sure some economists could spend a few years doing a project on the topic and publishing some papers.

  180. FPD72 says:
    @SFG

    Not an entertainer, but I’m going to go with Jesus of Nazareth. Biggest religion in history, and more people have probably found peace praying to him than anyone else.

    And it meets Steve’s criteria because he is still alive!

  181. tr says:
    @S Johnson

    If only she had chosen not to have children! Though, I guess it is the only way to have grandchildren.

  182. aon says:

    Sir Paul is actually Black. The UK and Ireland are actually Black. The hand they wanted to hold was actually Black.

    /sarc off/

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  183. BB753 says:
    @James Speaks

    Jesus never said he was a demi-god, but God himself.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  184. Kylie says:
    @Coemgen

    “Hoi polloi is popular with fans of the Three Stooges…”

    As is “Frühlingsstimmen”.

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  185. Anonymous[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous

    A major part of measuring genius is fruitfulness. How much remarkable stuff can you crank out in your time? Paul is a genius. None of his peers, in our outside the Beatles, could match his quality of output, or the breadth of his abilities. In his prime, he could run with anyone he wanted to.

    There’s no question that with his work ethic and musical skills and talent, Paul would’ve been most likely to find success in pop music professionally among all the Beatles.

    But based on his post-Beatles and Wings output, most likely this would’ve meant being a moderately successful but largely forgettable recording artist and or songwriter/composer for other artists.

    Yes, he’s been remarkably prolific and can churn out pop melodies and jingles like a machine, but his lyrics are terrible and his overall compositions have a tendency to be forgettable, sappy dreck. He probably should have read a lot more as a teenager/young man to improve lyrically. He also needs a good, asshole-ish producer to keep his corniness and lameness in check, and obviously he didn’t have that after the Beatles reached their status and he was only surrounded by yes-men and Linda afterwards.

  186. @prime noticer

    They might not have been making big money from touring, until Led Zepplin and Peter Grant came along, promoters were making most of the money from concerts. it was common for bands from the UK to do sell out tours of the US, and return home with no money. Grant was a far better manager than Epstein. before Elvis died he was planning to do a UK tour which Grant would manage, its a pity it never happened, Grant might have saved Elvis

  187. @anon

    Ironically, Elvis was among the first of his generation’s “rebellious” music that made him so appealing to the younger audiences and stood in marked contrast to their parents, and now the younger audiences are abandoning him to some extent, albeit it only took about half a century to do so. RCA is finding newer ways to market him (e.g. remixing some of his music for an updated sound). A remixed version of “A little less conversation” ca. 2005 became a worldwide hit.

    Ultimately the drop off of listening to mid. 20th century bands will drop off as well. The Beatles sales’ will ultimately drop off. Paul’s sales for his current music, for the most part, isn’t like what it was 40 yrs ago. On one level just the fact that he made it to 80 helps to keep him “alive” before the current music fans. At the same time, however, the fact that he’s 80 also means he can no longer compete vs. his younger self ca. 1974 w/Band on the Run (when he was in amazing sounding voice). His voice is no longer anywhere near the same as it was a half century ago. So the fact he’s still touring only reinforces that his audience is getting older. Once Paul passes from the scene, it’s unlikely that his music will be purchased in the same quantities it once was half a century ago.

    So in that sense, it’s more impressive that Elvis has managed to sell massive quantities of his music decades after his death. In this sense he is an exception to other recording artists of his generation. Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and others don’t inspire the massive amount of music sales when compared to Elvis, so that also is a direct reflection on the man himself–he had very loyal fans.

    Elvis, unlike the other solo recording artists, is an institution. Graceland is 2nd only to the White House in most annual visits to an historical residence. There are no other fans that have that kind of intense devotion to the person himself that goes beyond just streaming a song. It’s almost on the level of a religious experience.

    Other example: Steve’s area may have grown up listening to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and the Hollies, but half a century later, their music sales are so-so. It’s nothing on the level of Elvis. Do people still fondly recall Jim Croce for that matter?

    In another sense, unlike most artists of his generation, Elvis represents both a more innocent time, (a new form of music genre at its beginnings) and yet also a tragic figure. Though his image was of a rebel, Elvis himself was a conformist (served in the Army, met Nixon and received a narcotics badge). People can respect his music and also the man himself for not having been part of the counter-culture, which was very polarizing in its day.

  188. vinteuil says:
    @Bardon Kaldian

    BK – do you think that Jesus of Nazareth was a real historical figure?

    How about Mahomet?

    Just wondering where you’re coming from.

  189. That got me thinking: Out of all living humans, which one has directly generated more minutes of human happiness in the billions of individual humans?

    Funny you say that, because I came here precisely to remember and relay a comment I once saw someone write in The Guardian’s comment section maybe 5 five years ago: that Paul, through his own work in the Beatles, plus his role in keeping them going as long as they did and in usually helping John and George shape their work to be better than it was initially, probably contributed to more happiness for more humans than any other musical composer/artist/performer of the 20th century.

    I believe that’s true, and I admire Paul for his talent and character. I’m re-reading an interesting book now called You Never Give Me Your Money, about the Beatles’ painful breakup years in the 1970s, and it’s amazing to think that McCartney is still here, getting/having to see this crazy world and all the stuff that came after his highpoint in the 1960s.

  190. @BB753

    Demigod: (n) The offspring of (a) god and a mortal.

    • Replies: @BB753
  191. @Mike Tre

    (the ones you mentioned almost never get air time on the CR stations)

    A fair point, but I would still say they qualify as memorable.

    Eastwood’s body of work the last 30 years has contained more misses than hits IMO

    So has Woody Allen’s, now that you mention it. Ironically his most successful movie over the last 30 years has been Antz, but that isn’t a Woody Allen movie, per se. I would say his hits since 1992 have been Husbands and Wives, Bullets over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite, Deconstructing Harry, Match Point, Midnight in Paris, and Blue Jasmine. That’s 7 out of 27. If you want to add Vicky Cristina Barcelona, that’s 8.

    As for Eastwood, I would give him 5 bona fide hits during the same stretch: Unforgiven, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, and American Sniper. That’s out of 33 movies. If you want to add Bridges of Madison County, Gran Torino, and Jersey Boys, that’s 8. If you also like Trouble With the Curve and Sully, you have 10.

    • Replies: @(((They))) live
  192. @Ganderson

    Rubber Soul is probably the greatest album ever recorded, and marked the transition of the Beatles from being a boy band to their more mature phase. Of course, the American LP wasn’t the same as the British one, but adding It’s Only Love from Help! may have made the American version superior.

    For your younger readers, the CD’s used the British songlists, making my comment moot.

  193. I’ll go for Niall Rodgers. He’s a songwriter. He has written and produced massive hits to launch or redirect the careers of:

    Sister Sledge
    Diana Ross
    David Bowie
    Madonna
    Michael Jackson
    Duran Duran
    Mick Jagger
    Brian Ferry
    Avicii

    And these are just the first division names. Not all either. He’s received royalties on the sale of 500 million albums.

  194. epebble says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    I found this series of lectures by Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, Expert on the origins of NT, very educative.

  195. For many years I’ve thought that if I ever were to meet Sir Paul, I would say to him that nobody has ever walked the earth who brought more joy to more people also walking the earth at the same time.

    For nearly 60 years, his songs have been playing not only on the radio, but in the minds of easily a billion people, while they were walking down the street, or taking a shower, or driving to work. And those songs brought–continue to bring–joy.

    I visited East Berlin in the summer of 1988. Possibly the saddest place that I have ever seen.

    Yet there was a little street band playing songs from Sgt. Pepper.

  196. @Kylie

    OT:

    Today is Father’s Day.

    Since you’re the only person around here who consistently responds to my autobiographical posts, I might as well address this post to you. In these photos I am pictured with my father, my mother, and my maternal grandfather (the only true father figure I ever knew):

    [MORE]

    • Replies: @Stan Adams
  197. @James Speaks

    “You probably think Jesus had blonde hair and blue eyes, and spoke English.”

    Nope. A very asinine comment, though.

    “The thing about the Jesus Seminar is this:”

    That it is an unaccredited, unscholarly socio-politically motivated cabal that wants oh so desperately to “prove” that the 4 gospels aren’t historically credible.

    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/popular-writings/jesus-of-nazareth/presuppositions-and-pretensions-of-the-jesus-seminar

    The founder of this website is Dr. William Lane Craig, one of the top 25 philosophers and biblical scholars of the last 30 yrs. Dr. Craig holds 2 Ph.d’s and his work has been published in peer-reviewed academic papers.

    Sport, let me help you out here. It’s not directly what you’ve been saying, but it’s certainly the direction of where Jesus Seminar goes.

    “I have a life to lead”

    Which will alas, come to an end one day, as it will for everyone. If it’s a-okay to piss on people’s faith, then it’s perfectly acceptable to piss back on someone’s asinine comments.

    You have a nice day, sport.

  198. @James Speaks

    And as for your beloved Jesus Seminar…

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  199. That it is an unaccredited, unscholarly socio-politically motivated cabal that wants oh so desperately to “prove” that the 4 gospels aren’t historically credible.

    Not true. The Jesus Seminar wanted to know which part of the Gospels were probably things Jesus said, and which parts were added later to satisfy socio-political forces.

    Jesus was trying to train his disciples to think rather than believe.

    You seem to be a true believer. Jesus said it, you believe it and that settles it.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
  200. @ScarletNumber

    Great but not as great as the following album, Revolver. I’m not even sure why they felt the need to get into the over produced type of album that Sgt Pepper was, although I enjoy it every time I listen to it.

    As far as greatest album, they all might just run into the Wall. Or even Who’s Next.

  201. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    The speaker takes issue with the Jesus Seminar’s supposition that miracles are impossible. He assumes that miracles did occur. This places his so-called advanced theology within the realm of shamanism and witchcraft. This is what you believe.

    He also states, incorrectly, that Jesus (AKA Joshua) did not anticipate the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus did in fact believe in the kingdom of heaven, but as a state of mind present in the here and now.

    Once you learn to accept this reality, and once you mature enough to give up on the idea of a magical Jesus, then, and only then, will the power of his ministry take hold within your heart.

    You’re not there yet; you still cling to your belief in the magical demigod. But at least you are saved.

  202. I’m not even sure why they felt the need to get into the over produced type of album that Sgt Pepper was, although I enjoy it every time I listen to it.

    According to Paul McCartney, God Only Knows is the greatest song ever written and Sgt. Pepper’s was a direct response to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Now, I don’t get the adulation that Pet Sounds gets, even though I enjoy the album.

    • Replies: @(((They))) live
  203. @ScarletNumber

    Rubber Soul is probably the greatest album ever recorded,

    Bridge Over Troubled Waters is probably the greatest album ever recorded,

    FIFY

  204. Hibernian says:
    @James Speaks

    You probably think Jesus had blonde hair and blue eyes, and spoke English.

    A junior high school level alternative to engaging his argument.

  205. Hibernian says:
    @James Speaks

    Jesus did in fact believe in the kingdom of heaven, but as a state of mind present in the here and now.

    Oxymoron alert.

    You are part of a depressingly long line of people who make God in the image and likeness of man, the Creation story in reverse.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  206. @Stan Adams

    A few more thoughts:

    [MORE]

    On Father’s Day, I think of three people:

    * my father, who I never really knew;
    * my maternal grandfather, who I adored and idolized and whose death marked the end of the my childhood
    * and, to some extent, my uncle.

    (This would be my mother’s sister’s brother. My mother has a brother, but he never had anything to do with me. My older cousin – my mother’s sister’s daughter – is the closest thing I have to a sibling.)

    My uncle died eleven years ago. In the last few years of his life he battled multiple bouts of cancer. They cut off so much of his jaw that he barely looked like a human being. The last time I saw him (at Christmas), he was unrecognizable and, from what I’ve heard, he looked much worse when he finally succumbed (just before Easter).

    After he died I realized that he had been a fairly significant presence in my life, a bigger presence than I had understood or appreciated. I wasn’t *that* close to him, but he was always there at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and he was usually there at my birthday parties, as well. As a kid, I divided most of my time between my mother’s house and my grandparents’ place, but I spent a fair amount of time at my cousin’s house, as well.

    At one point, my aunt and my uncle tried to convince my mother to let them adopt me. One of their arguments was that I needed a stable father figure in my life, something my mother was unable to provide. Even my grandparents were somewhat supportive of the idea. I was too young to know what was going on, but I do remember spending an extended period at their house, and I remember that there was a weird tension in the air all throughout that period. But I do remember making my preference clear: I wanted to be with my mother.

    Sometimes I wonder how I would have turned out if my aunt and uncle had prevailed. They both had histories of alcoholism and drug use, and my cousin followed in their footsteps.

    My mother and my maternal grandmother were the only teetotalers in a family of drunks. My mother inherited the addictive personality, but her drug of choice was food. She ended up obese, as did I.

    My mother is rabidly anti-alcohol – to this day, I have never seen her consume so much as one drop of the stuff. I have never touched it, either. I’m not joking – I have never tasted even one sip of beer or wine in my entire life.

    (You know how they say you should never trust someone who doesn’t drink? If that’s true, then I’m one of the most untrustworthy people alive.)

    If I had gone with my aunt and my uncle, it’s highly possible that I would have ended up using alcohol as my crutch to get through life. Sometimes I wonder whether I would be better off as a drunk than as a fatty. (Of course, it’s possible that I would have ended up as a *fat* alcoholic.)

    Presumably, if I had been a thin(ner) alcoholic, I would have got together with a woman at some point, and I would probably have a kid or two by now.

    My incel status is largely linked to my obesity, and not just because of the embarassment. My body distributes weight in an odd fashion. I have a relatively flat stomach for someone who weighs as much as I do – if I suck in my gut, you can even see the beginnings of a “pack” of some kind or another. But I have huge bouncy man-boobs. (Yes, I know – diet and exercise and hard work and dedication and positive thinking. I do make an effort.)

    I have a specific concentration of lower-abdominal fat just below my waist that largely obscures certain male anatomical features. It’s not a classic beer gut, more like a “pouch” that covers the crotch area. That concentration was present even before I began puberty, and it is the main reason why I’ve never had the nerve to pursue romantic relationships. Over the years, I have lost weight and I have gained weight, but that concentration of fat has remained. Perhaps liposuction would help.

    When I first started writing comments about my life, I tried to make myself seem like less of a loser than I was in real life. Over time I came to realize that the biggest loser of all is someone who pretends to be something that he’s not. I realized that I had relatively little to lose by documenting my deficiencies under a pseudonym. (Stan Adams is not my real name, in case you were wondering.) I learned that, in a strange way, I drew strength from gaining the courage to expose my weaknesses and failures to the iSteve commentariat. It didn’t matter that no one needed or wanted to hear about it; I needed to be able to talk about it, and Steve was kind enough to indulge me.

    You know all of my flaws, pretty much. Yes, I’ve tried to post semi-flattering pictures, but I think I’ve made it fairly clear that I’m a fat (or husky, if you must) guy with a little wee-wee and crummy teeth and a book-length list of mommy issues. By virtue of having won the birth lottery, I had the dumb luck to inherit just enough money to enable me to be a lazy slacker most of my life, working a few odd jobs here and there, but never really pursuing any kind of serious career. Unlike most loser man-children, I don’t play video games into the late hours of the night; I pursue odd spergy hobbies like watching old TV newscasts and reading old newspapers and listening to ABBA songs. I’m not stupid, but I lack ambition and drive and I’ve squandered my potential. Once you know that, the rest is just trivia.

    Sometimes I think that the ultimate act of self-flagellation (what I call “courage”) would be to post a nude picture of myself. Steve would never allow it (thank God), but it would be the perfect capstone to God-knows-how-many 10,000-word walls of text about my screwed-up life. And it would say everything that needs to be said.

    It’s even possible – not likely, but possible – that posting such a picture would help my cause. There are women who are into fat guys, even fat guys with little wee-wees. I mean, the fattest guy in the world – a Mexican guy who weighed well over one thousand pounds – had a wife.

    If I adopted “realistic” standards, then I could probably find someone who would happily scrub under my fat rolls and stuff pizza rolls into my mouth. But I don’t think I’d enjoy it.

    For the record, I’ll add this: Someone asked me once if I’ve ever been sexually abused. I have not. When I was a kid, the creepy guy who lived next door to my mother enticed me into his house and got me to take my pants off, but that’s as far as it went. I got out of there without being touched. I’m omitting a few details but I don’t think anyone needs or wants to hear them.

    Another person asked me if I’ve ever done anything with my mother, or another family member. (Wouldn’t that qualify as abuse?) The answer is no. Even if I were perverted enough to consider doing something with my mother, I find her so repulsive that I wouldn’t be able to function.

    I’ve kind of danced around the question of whether I’m gay, and the answer is … I’m really not sure. I’ve never done anything with another man. I’ve had offers. I haven’t taken them.

    The thought of having another guy’s wee-wee in my butt is … not appealing.

    Am I attracted to men? Do I respond physically and physiologically when I look at men? Well … sometimes.

    The vast majority of men hold no more appeal for me than the back side of a bus. But some weeks ago I was walking around downtown Miami and I saw an absolute Nordic god – a tall, broad-shouldered blonde guy – accompanied by a short, thin, brunette girl, and I thought to myself, “Jesus, what the f**k is a guy that attractive doing with someone like her?” (She wasn’t ugly, just non-descript. In terms of physical attractiveness, he was a 10 and she was like a 6 or a 7.) I actually followed them around for a bit. The sidewalks were all torn up, so eventually I had to take a detour and then I lost sight of them.

    (I know – I sound like a crazy stalker. I don’t do it that often, believe me.)

    But even now I wonder whether what I was feeling at that moment was true attraction. (I’m just splitting hairs so I can keep telling myself I’m not really a fag, I know.) I found myself thinking what my life would be like if I looked like him – if I was such a stud that people would literally start stalking me. Imagine going through life with so many opportunities. As for the relative unattractiveness of his companion, I surmised that a guy like that has probably had so many encounters with so many top women that he’s probably content to be with a somewhat lower-maintenance female, at least for the moment. (Who knows – maybe she was just a casual Tinder lay. Or maybe she was his adopted sister. Who can say?)

    One of the main reasons why I don’t want to be gay is that I know my grandparents would have disapproved. My grandfather, in particular, would have been appalled to learn that his grandson was gay.

    My grandfather died before the subject of the birds and the bees ever came up, but he made it very clear that he hoped and expected me to marry a woman and have kids one day.

    (I still see that as the ultimate emblem of success in life – finding a quality woman and raising quality children. Even if I decided to pursue gay relationships, I would still feel like a failure unless I had a wife and kids.)

    My grandmother never knew or suspected that I had gay tendencies. She would have been devastated if she had ever found out.

    My cousin thinks she knows, and sometimes she tries to get me to admit it, but I never do, and I probably never will. I’m very coy about it.

    My mother knows everything, and she’s okay with it. To be brutally honest, I don’t respect her enough to care what she thinks about it.

    My mother claims to be psychic. (All crazy bitches think they’re psychic, don’t they?) She has “visions” of me ending up with a woman named Kathryn or Katrina. She “sees” me having two kids with this woman. But she also “sees” me having relations on the side with men.

    I asked my mother if she thought Katrina would find out about my secret liaisons, and she says, “No, you’ll be very discreet.” (That’s good to know, isn’t it?)

    Of course, ten years ago, my mother “saw” me being happy and successful by the time I was thirty. And I can report that, two months before my thirty-seventh birthday, happiness and success continue to elude me.

    So maybe she’s just totally full of s**t. And maybe the reason why I hate her so much is that she knows that I’m getting eaten alive by feelings of guilt and shame over having screwed up my life, and all she can say is, “Don’t worry – you’ll be okay. You’ll have everything you want in the end.”

    Maybe I would respect her more if she said, “F**k you. You’re just a d**kless loser, and the sooner you can come to terms with it, the sooner you can accept that you’re going to die alone as a genetic dead-end.” Because that’s pretty much what I tell myself.

    Or maybe not.

    Please don’t offer me advice. I appreciate the advice. I know you mean well. But you’ve said it over and over again – “Grow the f**k up, quit feeling sorry for yourself, start lifting weights, and stop cluttering up iSteve with this tedious pity parade.” And even if you’d never said it, a lot of other people have said it, so I already know.

    I just find that writing about it helps. It’s cathartic. This comment is the intellectual equivalent of a steaming pile of s**t – I’m clearing a bunch of toxic crap out of my system.

  207. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @MEH 0910

    I missed the Costello collaboration. In ’88, I was an extremely busy dude. I think I listened to “my brave face,” called bullshit, and wrote off getting the album.

    I got the new deluxe 3 disc edition last night, and the two demo discs are GREAT! If you like McCartney, and haven’t heard it, I heartily recommend it.

    I agree with Steve that Costello’s edge, mixed with McCartney worked really well for both of them.

    I seem to remember someone close to the Beatles said Lennon songs were usually written horizontally. He got a beat in his head, and beat it all the way home, whereas McCartney mostly wrote vertically.

    His songs could go all over the place. Lennon, for example, would likely never write the melody like “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” on his own. By working together, even just as influences on each other, the both of them wrote better songs by keeping each other’s song writing proclivities in check.

    I think a case could be made for Costello favoring writing horizontally, which might explain how the fruits of their collaboration went so well, as far as the final product.

    Too bad hey didn’t give it another go. Really good stuff!

    • Replies: @MEH 0910
  208. @James Speaks

    “Not true.”

    Uh, yes it is true. If an organization isn’t known for first rate quality peer-reviewed scholarship in the field that it’s critiquing, then its absolutely second rate at best, and worthless at worst. In other words, they should leave the quality scholarship to the accredited experts in the field.

    “Jesus was trying to train his disciples to think rather than believe.”

    Thinking and believing are not mutually exclusive. One can do both.

    “You seem to be a true believer.”

    Oh, I’m so insulted.

    Here again re: the Seminar.

  209. @James Speaks

    “The speaker takes issue with the Jesus Seminar’s supposition that miracles are impossible. He assumes that miracles did occur. ”

    No, it is based on 40 yrs plus of examining historical documents and as an accredited member of the society of biblical literature, an accredited and respected part of academia, unlike the hippy dippy trippy Seminar which is low on scholarship, particularly peer-reviewed. Turn it around. The Seminar’s supposition is that miracles cannot occur. In a court of law, one must examine the written documents, the evidence to make one’s case. His point, namely that the Seminar is low on scholarship and academic accredited scholars in the field of biblical literature reinforce his charge that the Seminar doesn’t count for much from a peer-reviewed, academic standpoint.

    Dr. Craig is one of the world’s most respected academic scholars in the realm of biblical literature. His website, reasonablefaith.org, shows that faith and reason can coexist and takes a rational approach to demonstrating that the biblical historical literature more than demonstrates that there is room for supernatural occurrences in the ministry of Christ. He has also debated atheists and agnostics in public forums for several decades on the question of whether the concept of God can exist in today’s material world.

    • Thanks: Hibernian
  210. @Hibernian

    You know, for a Spaniard, you put forth a pretty good argument.

  211. @ScarletNumber

    A perfect world is an excellent film IMO

    • Agree: Nicholas Stix
  212. @ScarletNumber

    Revolver is a far better album than Rubber Soul

  213. @ScarletNumber

    Pet Sounds is the most overrated album ever IMO

  214. @(((They))) live

    “Pet Sounds is the most overrated album ever IMO”

    Heh heh, you sweet summer child.

    Just “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” alone is already the best album ever, all by itself, without all the other genius stuff there (I will admit there are a few duds, which makes it less than 100% perfect).

    Maybe you have to be a musician yourself, to really hear what’s going on in this.

    We’ll agree not to discuss “Good Vibrations,” because that is when the nukes come out.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  215. BB753 says:
    @James Speaks

    Man, you know nothing about Christianity! Jesus had both a human and Divine essence, as well as a human and Divine will. Though he was the second person of the Trinity, and had only a generic human personhood.
    He was not half-human and half-God. But fully God and fully human.

    • Replies: @James Speaks
  216. @BB753

    He was not half-human and half-God. But fully God and fully human.

    Unlike Hercules?

    It’s always a special thrill when Europeans lecture me on Christianity and invoke their accumulated dogma as though it were fact.

    • Replies: @BB753
  217. @PiltdownMan

    Exactly! Hackman’s the secret star. Or, as my chief of research says, “Hackman, it’s always Hackman.”

  218. It has to be said: Ok, boomer.

  219. BB753 says:
    @James Speaks

    Since it’s obvious you’ve had little exposure to Christianity, it was my pleasure to teach you the essentials. Where are you from?

  220. Fool. I’m SAR twice over, direct descendant of a Williamsburg colonist, and I went through catechism just like everybody in my (mainstream) Christian denomination. The other side of my family is from the Levant where they were members of The Church. I’ve been studying Christianity along with all the false denominations (including the Frankish resurrection of the Papacy in the eighth century) and the common theme therein is the adherence to dogma and rejection of mystery.

    All you are capable of educating me regarding is the many nuances to your rigid, inculcated dogma.

    Now begone; you’ve become wearisome.

  221. @The Germ Theory of Disease

    “part of me always feels like they’ve been cheated if they haven’t read the books”

    There’s a lot more to the books than you could possibly cram into even a trilogy of films. I find it sad that none of my kids have ever read LOTR, only seen the movie version – in which case imagination, even if you subsequently read the books, is tainted by the films.

    Doesn’t just apply to LOTR. Natassia Kinski was very lovely when Roman Polanski cast her (and doubtless availed himself of droit de directeur), but she was never Tess Durbeyfield.

    OTOH they got it right (apart from her 1960s eye makeup) when John Schlesinger cast these two as Troy and Bathsheba.

    • Replies: @PiltdownMan
  222. Anonymous[954] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Germ Theory of Disease

    Just “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” alone is already the best album ever, all by itself, without all the other genius stuff there…

    Indeed. Even with all its clothes off…

  223. @aon

    I first heard this song in the Philippines, in a bar. It was, apparently, a huge Euro-pop song back in 1966 for a Spanish pop group, but it’s easy to hear why it never crossed the Atlantic. The accent ruins it.

    • Replies: @Ganderson
    , @Art Deco
    , @BB753
  224. @YetAnotherAnon

    OTOH they got it right (apart from her 1960s eye makeup)

    Seems like “they” couldn’t leave Julie Christie alone in any of her historical movies, and did her hair 1960s-style for her role in Dr. Zhivago.

  225. I’ve got to assume that Mick Jagger ranks second, now that Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley are no more. Second all the while among boomers, after Elvis passed on.

  226. My first musical awakening was when John Lennon died and I first heard the Beatles as news stations rolled out the biographies and interviews 24/7 with non-stop song tributes on the radio. Till then I’d grown up on Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Thin Lizzy all handed down to me by my ever hating older brother.

    John Lennon will always be a formative influence but all the while McCartney was there from Penny Lane, Let Me Roll it To Ya right through to Temporary Secretary and The Fireman.

    If you look at the Personnel list on Goodnight Vienna it’s a smorgasbaord of rock and roll legends yet, no mention of McCartney.

    There’s a song Ringo sung in his solo years where he lists out each Beatle and his chances of getting wasted and writing a song with them, I can’t find it now, and he’s 100% on Lennon and George but equivocates on McCartney.

    It’s pretty tragic we place so much importance and emphasis on musicians, especially entertainers, but, even in their world you can see McCartney wasn’t one of them.

    Alot of criticism of McCartney songs is about his lack of lyrical complexity. McCartney is all about the music, and never the lyric. He’s mood over cerebral. vibe over intellect.

    There’s a famous song he wrote where the lyrics were all selected for the way he like how they sounded.

    His first two solo albums are overshadowed by the Beatles breakup with both panned at the time, later John was incensed by the lyrics of the first two tracks of Ram.

    Both albums are. easy for me in hindsight, classics up there with Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band album, both sired Indie Pop long before it was even a thing and only hailed in retrospect.

    McCartney superceded Lennon in experimentation and if everyone reviled him for bringing it all back into maudlin melancholy I, and many more, love his music for it.

    What’s more, if you relisten to Revolver and Sgt Peppers (Iabsolutely hate She’s Leaving Home and the Harrison contributions) McCartney’s bass is brilliant!

    McCartney was a brilliant bass player, with only Sting and Tina Weymouth as distant second.

    I love the simplicity of his lyrics and the good feelings he always brings me.

    The only person who could bring me greater joy with such consistency is David Suchet as Hercule Poirot.

    • Replies: @Nicholas Stix
  227. @Steve Sailer

    Teenage girls hysteria comes with Valentino. True, great musicians & poets of the Romantic era (Liszt, Hugo, Pushkin, Byron, Chopin, Paganini, ..) were idolized by mostly aristocratic & high status young females, but those girls were not teens.

    It was not socially acceptable.

  228. Anonymous[350] • Disclaimer says:

    Yes the Beatles were great musicians but bad poets. Their lyrics sucked. They were much praised in their day for writing their own songs, something that set them above many of their rivals and contemporaries, but the downside was they put out a lot of songs with dumb/corny/nonsensical lyrics. Ideally they would outsourced the writing of lyrics to professionals – but they would never have accepted such a limitation on their artistic freedom. It’s too bad.

  229. Ganderson says:
    @ScarletNumber

    There was an American release called “Yesterday and Today”, which contained the tracks from “Revolver” and “Rubber Soul” not included in the American versions of those records.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
  230. Ganderson says:
    @PiltdownMan

    It was a pretty big hit in the US, no?

  231. Art Deco says:
    @PiltdownMan

    It was on the radio here.

    • Thanks: PiltdownMan
  232. @Ganderson

    “Yesterday and Today”

    This was the famous butcher cover, so-called because the Beatles were tired of Capitol butchering the albums for their American release

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  233. @ScarletNumber

    Not to mention those decapitated dolls and cuts of raw meat.

  234. @Pat Hannagan

    The Beatles are the greatest case of synergy in the arts since the day the music died (August 23, 1960).

  235. BB753 says:
    @PiltdownMan

    The singer was actually German. A certain Michael Kogel, who couldn’t speak English.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Is_Black

  236. BB753 says:

    As good as Tolkien was as a story-teller and fantasy writer, many readers still prefer other genres. I’d rather read anything by Dickens, Balzac, Flaubert or Galdos than the Silmarillion.

    • Agree: PiltdownMan
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