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When Bob Dylan Went Electric, the Beatles Went Acoustic with Rubber Soul in the Landmark Year of 1965
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With Rubber Soul, the Beatles proved their durability as a band capable of growth and change, thereby cementing their position as one of the most(if not the most) consequential acts of the remaining Sixties. It was a significant achievement because they’d burst upon the scene and rode the waves for a couple of years. However, such exuberance(or mania) could not be sustained. Sprinters don’t run the mile, and even the biggest explosions fade away.
Not that their first impression was limited to teenybopper pandemonium, though it seemed so at the time when many adults(and Rock n Roll purists) dismissed the whole thing as more fad than fab. Beatlemania was so over-the-top and unprecedented — not even the hysterics surrounding Elvis Presley came close — , so delirious and bordering on deranged, that many just assumed that sober minds would ultimately prevail and the Beatles would be seen for what they truly are, a passing fashion(or flu season).

On some level, Beatles must have sensed it as well. Ringo once said his long-term plan was to cash in on what he expected to be short-lived stardom and open up a string of hair salons. And even though John, Paul, and George were elated by their sudden rise to fame, they couldn’t help but notice the fans came to the concerts not so much to hear the music but themselves scream, leading Beatles to play in a ever more perfunctory manner on the assumption that no one, the band included, could hear the music amidst the cicada-like shrieking of young girls(and some boys) — later, when the Beatles played to a somewhat subdued audience in Japan and actually heard themselves play, they realized how much their performance quality had slipped. Still, despite the noise of the crowd, Beatlemania happened in the first place because Lennon and McCartney invented a new kind of sound that refined the Rock n Roll into something faster yet mellower. The result was louder but more pleasant, more about revelry than rebellion. It rolled like thunder and coddled like a lullaby. They’d arrived at the Coca-Cola of Pop. Sharp and soothing.

But the sudden success posed a problem. Wouldn’t such a rave act exhaust the fuel sooner than later, or to put it in a more vulgar way, didn’t it blow the wad too early? It was as if they began atop the climax, the highest peak of any rollercoaster, but what would happen at the bottom rail? Would they just be replaced by new idols as the detractors predicted or would they somehow defy the odds and keep the momentum going? As the title of one of their albums implied, the secret to survival was to offer ‘something new’ at every turn, in a way a pop cultural reflection of Western Progress’s precept of ‘evolve or go extinct’, which non-Western civilizations found out the hard way in confrontation with the ever advancing West in the fields of science, technology, and organization.

Irrelevance and extinction would indeed be the fate of most of the British Invasion acts, even some first-rate ones like, for example, the Dave Clark Five. DC5 were almost as fabulous as the Beatles in their initial outing. If anything, they could be even more rambunctious, and their best songs had a similar mix of melody and madness. The difference was DC5 had nothing to go on but the original formula and faded once the fashions and attitudes changed.
When the teenyboppers of 1963/1964 later turned onto Rock as personal expression or even art, Dave Clark Five was just a blur in the rearview mirror, a reminder of their younger days. (Besides, the new batch of teenyboppers had the Monkees and the like.) As remarkable as the Beatles were from 1962(when they hit upon the magic formula with “Please Please Me”) to 1964, their later fate might have been like the Herman’s Hermits’ but for the fact that they demonstrated, decisively and resolutely, with Rubber Soul that they were capable of change and growth, and determined to lead.

From late 1963 all throughout 1964, Beatles were such a dominant force that the future direction of pop music was up in the air. The attention was focused on the Now, as Beatlemania seemed the biggest phenom in pop culture history. Just about the only competition, in quality and inspiration, comprised the Beach Boys and Motown. The Rolling Stones hadn’t yet made their mark. Bob Dylan was still a folkie, and the notion of Folk Rock would have been ludicrous, as Dylan discovered the hard way soon enough when the Folkies clung to the Culture War formulation of Folk vs Rock. And many of the great acts of the late 60s had yet to emerge or take shape.

It was in 1965, possibly the greatest year in Rock/Pop, that music culture finally began to materialize into something of significance and meaning to the Boomers, as it was transformed from entertainment to the artform of the generation. The Beatles of 62-64, unique and fresh as they were, still embodied the iron rule of popular music, the primacy of pleasing the fans. Their first #1 hit “Please Please Me” said as much. It’s about pleasing the other to be pleased in turn. Beatle-Mania was a back-and-forth dynamic between the band so eager to please the crowd(to orgasmic raptures) and the crowd so happy to please the Beatles in turn. For all their talent and inspiration, Lennon and McCartney knew the Mania was the hungry dragon that had to constantly fed. And in concerts, the roar of mania drowned out the music. So, all said and done, the mop-top version of the Beatles constituted feeders of popular appetites, the biggest fast-food franchise in pop music, rather than artists in the truest sense. Initially, they strode atop the mania, but it soon engulfed them, sometimes in terrifying ways, like in Philippines when the hysteria turned from love to hate. Despite their frozen smiles on the tour, they came to resent the mania(and its manipulators) and, incredibly for a band that came to fame with frenzied fans, quit the concert circuit altogether in 1966. Beatles may have been bigger than Jesus, but the Mania became bigger than the Beatles, and it’s no wonder Lennon jumped at the opportunity to withdraw into his acid trips. And McCartney’s perfectionist vanity grew tired of the amateurism on concerts and favored the studio where his skills could be honed as instrumentalist and arranger alongside George Martin.

Anyway, 1965 was when, in the cooling climate of the post-Beatles-Big-Bang, a new star cluster of music began to coalesce, generating a new kind of heat, one that the Beatles couldn’t help but notice, if only to remain in the game. In that year, Stones staked their claim to the throne with “Satisfaction” and “Get Off Of My Cloud”, setting off the great Rock rivalry with the Beatles. Bob Dylan ‘went electric’ and dropped “Like a Rolling Stone” like a bomb, Byrds perfected Folk Rock with their rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man”, The Who radicalized Rock with “My Generation”, Paul Simon came into his own with “Sounds of Silence”, Brian Wilson unveiled a new sophistication with “California Girls”, and Motown got even better. Henceforth, one had a pretty good sense of where the music was headed for the rest of the decade. It was going to be a fierce(but also friendly)contest of wills, egos, and personalities. By 1965, the promising acts, formed or on the verge of forming, had a strong sense of what they were and were capable of. But not in 1964 when Pop Music was still reverberating around Beatlemania, the only question being, when will it end and then what?

Even in 1964, however, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, sensing their immense potential, were eager to move in new directions. (As different as the duo were from Bob Dylan, what they all had in common was the conviction of having ‘it’, something that set them apart from the others, a sense of destiny.) But how would ‘it’ be manifest? Among the early signs was McCartney’s pensive “Things We Said Today”. Now, let it be said that the Beatles weren’t about meaning, and nothing they did, even at their most artful, had much in the way of depth, true of 99% of Rock music. The difference was in the thunderous power on the one hand(owing to blues roots & electricity) and the poetry of emotions on the other(especially by way of folk idioms and pop techniques). Even Dylan’s sophisticated use of lyrics was more to paint moods and impressions than to convey meaning, something that went over the heads of folkie-centric fans who demanded sermons and instructions.

As the decade progressed, musicians found ways to rock harder, culminating in Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, before Heavy Metal turned it into a cartoon. But, there was also a motion toward interiority, songs adrift in private dreams than pandering to familiar boy-meets-girl sentiments. Generic pop emotions of love and heartache gave way to something akin to monologues of unresolved feelings and unrequited dreams. Most songs either addressed the object of one’s love interest or the third person, the collective mind of the listeners, but the new sensibility had the singer musing to himself, often forlorn and oblivious to the world. Consider “Sad Memory” by Buffalo Springfield or “Everybody’s Been Burned” by the Byrds. Or “Fotheringay” by Fairport Convention and “Ruby Tuesday” by Rolling Stone. Or “Fool on the Hill” by the Beatles.

The art of ballad is about the fine-tuning of moods, like the craft of turning a diamond in the rough into a brilliant gem. With songs like “Things We Said Today”(and partly “All My Loving” prior), McCartney strove for something subtler though within the perimeters of a pop song. (When McCartney later actually tried to SAY something in “She’s Leaving Home”, he fell flat on his face. All he needed was the ingenuity of peeling away another layer of emotions to reveal something fine and as yet unseen.) Even the loud Beatles songs began to develop in structure, like “When I Get Home” and “Anytime At All”.
Fairly or not, Lennon got the credit for initiating the change in direction, in part under the influence of Bob Dylan. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and especially “I’m a Loser”(on UK release Beatles for Sale and US release Beatles 65) have been lauded as Lennon’s early attempts to evolve as a song-writer. Dylan’s introduction of marijuana surely contributed to the altered approach to music: Less twist-and-shout and more think-and-doubt.

With the release of Beatles for Sale(and its US variation Beatles 65), the high-strung energy was still there but under a cloud. It sounded more desperate than confident. The early spontaneity was missing, and the forays in new directions were hesitant and halfcocked(more trepidation than experimentation), though “I Feel Fine” was a real breakthrough. The Beatles were offering more of what had made them popular in the first place but stuffed with half-hearted imperative for change. So, “No Reply” and “I’ll Be Back” are denser in their emotions, bitter or yearning. As such, the Beatles at this moment sounded like a Janus-like hybrid band facing backward and forward.

Same was true of their next album Help!, though the Beatles clearly jumped the hurdle with an undeniable knack for reconstruing the basic elements of their sound into amazing new melodies. In one respect, Help! is their best album, that is if judged by the number of great songs. Many great albums hardly contain a great song, and their high estimation rests on a string of very good songs. Or they have one or two great songs and some very good ones. Incredibly, Help! has three great instant classics: The title song, Yesterday(which will last forever), and Ticket to Ride, maybe their greatest rocker. Arguably, the Beatles that recorded Help! embodied the perfect balance between the earlier spontaneity and the new mastery, and the three aforementioned songs are amazing in every way. Also, the other songs on Help! range from good to very good, especially “Another Girl”, “You’re Going to Lose that Girl”, and “Night Before”. I also like George Harrison’s “I Need You”. (Of course, we mean the British version as the U.S. version lacks “Yesterday” and few other songs, replaced with a bunch of instrumentals from the movie.)

On the other hand, Help! sounds like a random collection of songs rather than an album in the organic sense, as the format came to be valued in Rock Culture. Rock Album is akin to a photo album. The songs are best threaded together by a theme, attitude, or vision(or ‘concept’ in more ambitious projects). Photo albums tend to be categorized similarly: The wedding album, school trip album, family album, friend album, nature hike album, and etc. Help!, outstanding as it is, comes across as a jumble of songs packaged for a movie soundtrack. As such, it lacked the resonance that their next album Rubber Soul delivered in spades. (One thing for sure, Sixties popular music would have been profoundly different had the Beatles never existed, but it would progressed more or less the same had the Beatles perished in a plane crash after Rubber Soul.)

With Rubber Soul, it was as if the Beatles wanted to prove they had something more than youthful inspiration, a genuine musical talent independent of stardom, i.e. they were more than a cultural phenomenon whose success relied solely on fan mania. Thus, it is sort of like the Beatles Unplugged, as if to say, “We’re in a silent room and the electricity is off. Just listen to what we can do with the basic elements of music.” Not something to dance to or scream about but to sit down and listen to. While electric guitar is used at times, most of the songs are acoustic(and even the electric ones could do nearly as well without). As a chamber piece, it was an album to ponder than pound in the ears.

There was bound to be some confusion because of the album’s title and the two versions of some significant difference. The title implies the Beatles as the players of white soul, a plastic version of the real thing. But, while the Beatles drew inspiration from rhythm-and-blues and Rock-n-Roll(and black Girl Groups and Motown), most of the songs on Rubber Soul belong in another category. Only “Drive My Car”(missing on the U.S. version) and “The Word” have anything soulful about them, and the rest are ballads or standard pop melodies.

The bigger issue is the question as to which version is more authoritative(and better), the British version or the U.S. version? Quantitatively, the British version has more songs, especially “Drive My Car”(never my favorite but a very good song) and “Nowhere Man” that rings with Lennon’s customary brilliance. It also has George Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone”, a pretty good song. Those songs(and the lackluster “What Goes On”) are missing on the U.S. version that instead has “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love”, originally on the British version of Help! Most people would agree “Drive My Car” and “Nowhere Man” are superior to “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love”, and it would have hurt the U.S. version none to include “If I Needed Someone”.

Yet, from the consideration of the Rock Album as an organic unity, the U.S. version works better. “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love” are perfect fits with the other songs on the U.S. version of Rubber Soul, indeed far more so than on the album Help! It’s as if they found their real home on the subsequent American album. In contrast, “Drive My Car” sticks out like a sore thumb and would have done better on an earlier album. “Nowhere Man” would have been better suited for the next album Revolver with songs like “Tax Man” and “Yellow Submarine”.

Now, the U.S. version of Rubber Soul has only one great song(possibly two, with “In My Life”). It is “Norwegian Wood” where John Lennon, calm and reflective, recalls a chance affair that lingered in memory for reasons he can’t quite fathom. Perhaps, it was his answer to McCartney’s “Yesterday”. Or maybe he quit being consciously Dylanesque and just let go, waiting for an inner voice that, under the right mood and turn of mind, would emerge of its own accord.
Its narrative seems to intimate the creative process of the song itself, i.e. he stumbled upon unfamiliar feelings, which became the basis of the song that emerged from a mysterious place. A song he couldn’t have found by looking but one that had to find its way to him. In the tale, he entered a woman’s adobe, they did whatever they were supposed to do, but in the morning, she had to ‘work’, and he to vacate the room and sleep in the bathtub(while the bedroom was taken up with another man perhaps, which makes us wonder what her line of ‘work’ is). He woke up later to find her gone, and he found himself alone and placed a log in the fireplace. Who is this woman, and why does she affect him so? And, is the protagonist meant to be John Lennon himself or a fictional character in a mini-story? If meant to be Lennon himself, perhaps what he noticed most was her independence, a life according to her own rules(in proto-Swinging-London style). John Lennon was a Beatle at whose feet so many girls would have prostrated themselves. And his wife Cynthia was ever so tame and loyal. But, the song describes a woman who was indifferent to his fame and fortune. He was just another acquaintance, lover, or client. And she’s such a carefree busybody that she exited the place with him still sleeping in the bath. It’s not the woman per se but something about her that his mind can’t quite let grasp. Perhaps, an easygoing egotism to match his. He could have any bird in the world, but this one bird had flown. Thus, it is a rather odd love song if it indeed one. Whereas “Yesterday” is clearly about a man thinking of a woman, “Norwegian Wood” is about feelings evoked by a woman despite the lack of any real bond between them. About what might have been(and never will be) than what once was. It’s not about the feelings for a woman but the responses stirred by her qualities, both easy and elusive, indeed elusive precisely because so accessible, to any man of her choosing. The man in the song isn’t in love with the woman and could just walk away. And she does her own thing and isn’t bound to him or anyone. Is she a free spirit or a self-centered bitch? Either way, she has her own wings, coming and going as she pleases, rather like him. Could they be kindred spirits… except, if the man is really meant to be John himself, he is bound to Cynthia Lennon, a woman he never cared for and married only out of a sense of duty(as she became pregnant with his child). Perhaps, the song offers a clue as to why Lennon was so taken with Yoko Ono later. She had a mind and will all her own.

In “Norwegian Wood”, gone is the self-pitying strain of “I’m a Loser” and the ingratiating vibes of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Away”(as if to prove he can do something more than boy-love-girl songs). It’s as if Lennon finally tapped into the inner poet as guide to his next phase of creativity.
It is perhaps Lennon’s finest ballad, equaled only by “Watching the Wheels” on his last album Double Fantasy. It has the delicacy of “Yesterday” but with a shade of perversity. McCartney’s song is about the pain of something had but lost, whereas Lennon’s song is about the haze of something not worth having but beguiling just the same; you can have her body but not her spirit. It is one of Lennon’s handful of sublime achievements.

Among Lennon’s other songs on the album, “In My Life” is exceptionally good, and its nostalgia would later come to bloom with “Strawberry Fields Forever”. As for “The Word”, “It’s Only Love”, “Girl”, and “Run for Your Life”, they’re all solid tunes and add to album’s consistency. George Harrison’s lone contribution on the U.S. album, “Think for Yourself”, is one of his best. Though harder-edged than the other songs, it shares their sense of interiority, i.e. the song is more like an angst-ridden monologue of feelings tied up in knots. While none of McCartney’s songs counts as great, they are first-rate across the board, sustaining a high level of creativity and craftsmanship. Especially notable are “You Won’t See Me” and “I’m Looking Through You”. (Of course, it needs to be said a lot of Beatles songs got attention, sometimes undue, simply because they were by the Fab Four. “Michelle” is good but far inferior to any number of French chansons that inspired it. And while “Girl” is nice with its Greek touch, why not go for the real Greek stuff that has more flavor?)

For the first time, the songs sound detached from and even indifferent to the phenomenon of Beatlemania, as if composed on a sabbatical, far removed from the constant buzz of fandom. And even though most songs involve romance, they’re about women than girls, about feelings borne of experience than adolescent expectation.

With Rubber Soul, the Beatles crossed the hurdle. They had within them something that would last beyond the initial spring of Beatlemania with its mobs of shrieking teenyboppers. Away from the spotlight, with minimal electric input, looking inward than outward, they proved to themselves and the world that they were here to stay, at least as long as they were willing to explore the fuller range of their talent. It was the moment the Beatles decisively diverged from the fate of the Dave Clark Five. For better or worse, it also started the process by which the Beatles would give up touring altogether the following year.

If the Beatles went ‘acoustic’ with Rubber Soul to show that they were more than a Rock n Roll act from Britain, Bob Dylan had something similar to prove, albeit in reverse order, and it would be hugely controversial, dogging him for several years. Whereas the gaggles of Beatlemanical teeny-boppers uncritically accepted the gentler, maturing Beatles(and would themselves grow into new attitudes), the folkie fans of Bob Dylan had an almost messianic attachment to him as the spokesman of his generation, the poet-prophet of the age, the chosen one who would bear the torch passed to him from Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

So, when Dylan decided to ‘go electric’, it wasn’t regarded merely as a new direction but an outrage, an act of betrayal. It was like Harvey Keitel’s Judas berating Willem Dafoe’s Jesus in THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST for having reneged on his mission on Earth. Indeed, for the next two years, ex-fans would attend his concerts just to boo and jeer him and the Band(led by Robbie Robertson) — the sheer level of derangement has been downplayed over the years by leftist boomers who didn’t want to admit what a priggish and humorless bunch of ideologues they once were.

If the Beatles wanted to prove they could make music without the noise, Dylan wanted to prove he could rock with the rest, and that called for amplification, or Dylan plugged. Folkie purists denigrated Dylan for ‘selling out’ to become a pop star, but they missed the mark. While Dylan clearly craved Rock stardom, he was striving for art than pop in music. Indeed, most Dylan songs that hit the charts(usually as cover versions)were composed during his folkie period: “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by Peter, Paul, and Mary, “It Ain’t Me Babe” by the Turtles, “All I Really Want to Do” by Sonny & Cher, and the like. Furthermore, the Byrds, the premier interpreters of Dylan songs, mostly covered the songs from his folkie period. And even though “Mr. Tambourine Man” was released on Dylan’s partly electric album Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan’s version was acoustic and within the folkie idiom.

So, the whole Dylan-goes-electric controversy was rather misconstrued by the diehard folkie purists. It was actually less about folk purity vs pop commercialism than about folk dogma vs personal art. Apart from “Like a Rolling Stone”, hardly a song on Highway 61 Revisited had much commercial viability. Songs like “Queen Jane Approximately”, “Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, “Ballad of a Thin Man”, and especially “Desolation Row” were unlike anything recorded in Rock and Pop. The surreal songs on Blonde on Blonde were even less suited for Billboard charts, though “Rainy Day Woman #2” became a kind of novelty hit.

In retrospect, Rubber Soul is a remarkable album and a pivotal work for the Beatles, but it was Dylan who really turned the Rock world upside down with his monumental masterpiece(that incredibly was topped by an even greater work the following year). And of course, there was the Stones with “Satisfaction”, though it was only with Aftermath in 1966 that they finally mastered the art of the Rock Album as unified expression. Dylan went electric not to fill up concerts but to use the added charge to break through new avenues of expression. Folkie reins weren’t enough; he needed the electric whip to get his chariot going. And he went so very so far very fast, so much so that he veered from riding off the cliff and pulled back(like the game of ‘chicken’ in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE), withdrawing into family life and releasing the acoustic John Wesley Harding in the final days of 1967. Though acoustic, it has more in common with his two electric predecessors than with his folkie output. It too is defined by artistic aspiration, an egoism that was anathema to folkie purists despite the absence of commercialism. For many leftist folkies with the Popular Front mentality, art should be social and relevant, not dwell on personal life, let alone psychology, which was deemed self-indulgent or ‘bourgeois’.

 
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  1. Once again, talking out of turn. Ascribing motive when there was none.

    Great selection tho. Except for Fairport Convention.

    I enjoyed listening to the wonderful music made by those guys.

    As for your theories? No one cares what you think about whatever it is you are thinking.

    • LOL: Mr. Grey
  2. meamjojo says:

    Lot of memories in this article!

    But why was it allowed to be published here since it says nothing about “Da Jews”?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  3. Hitch says:

    The Jew Theodor Adorno of the Frankfurt School who hated Beatles music allegedly wrote many of their biggest “hits”.

    A little help from my neo-Marxist philosopher: was Adorno the fifth Beatle?

    Picture the scene. It’s 1963 and Lennon and McCartney are struggling to write She Loves You. “She loves you,” says Lennon. “What comes next?” “Yeah, yeah, yeah?” chips in Adorno. “Brilliant, Teddy, just brilliant,” says McCartney. The rest is history.

    Of course the entire rock scene was a Tavistock creation.

    The Manufactured Invention of the Beatles, Stones, Grateful Dead and the Birth of Rock n’ Roll by the Tavistock Institute; A Jesuit Corporation.

    “The fact that “The Beatles” had their music and lyrics written for them by Theo Adorno was concealed from public view.” John Coleman, former MI6 agent.

    It is also highly debatable whether Paul McCartney died in an automobile accident in 1962 driving a Sunbeam Alpine IIRC.

    • Thanks: Joe Levantine
    • Replies: @Dieter Kief
  4. Franz says:

    It was in 1965, possibly the greatest year in Rock/Pop, that music culture finally began to materialize into something of significance and meaning to the Boomers

    Skip to one generation back. Boomers first shined with punk over a decade later. There were a handful of youngsters in the sixties but no major aces. Dylan, Beatles, Stones… all members of Club WWII, born around 194o or just before and after.

    If you mean what people listened to, it was a seriously mixed bag. There was only one “top” chart in the US, so the Beatles song might be followed by crooners like Al Martino or Tony Bennett, but preceded by the Statler Brothers or Johnny Cash. After that maybe some Supremes or a bit of Smoky Robinson and the Miracles.

    When the music biz ghettoized all the different styles of music off from each other, it actually got tedious. I actually ENJOYED hearing stuff like Burl Ives sing “Blue Tail Fly” followed by Mick Jagger howling “I can’t get no satisfaction,”

    Some of us enjoyed the variety more than All This or All The Other.

  5. I grew up with The Beatles. Loved them, love them still. The music scene right before them was what I call “The Dark Times.” The music was god-awful, with few exceptions (Holley was killed and Elvis was in the army). The Beatles (and the British Invasion) were an absolute godsend. But, make no mistake about why they were motivated to come on the scene (and why Dylan went electric): CHICKS!

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  6. Trinity says:

    Still find it hard to believe the “woke” crowd hasn’t banned ” Brown Sugar” for being too wayciss.

    Cue: Hey Negrita by The Rolling Stoooooooooones.

    • Replies: @(((They))) Live
  7. Trinity says:

    A young Paul McCartney favors a young Sylvester Stallone without the muscles of course.

    Rolling Stones fan, never really liked the Beatles. Liked 2 tunes by the Beatles, ” Let It Be” and “Help.” And Tina Turner’s cover of “Help” is far better imo.

    • Replies: @Dave from Oz
  8. Sparkon says:
    @Clark Kent

    I grew up with The Beatles. Loved them, love them still. The music scene right before them was what I call “The Dark Times.” The music was god-awful,

    I beg to differ…emphatically!

    I was 17 when the Beatles hit it big beginning in early 1964. By that time, I already had a pile of 45s from the late ’50s and early ’60s. I thought that music was fantastic, and as Franz notes, it was a highly mixed bag of hits blasting from AM radios of the day, which seemed to be everywhere.

    And after all, the Beatles themselves acquired and perfected their musical stylistic chops by doing covers of American pop hits, which they worshipped.

    A familiar tale relates how George Harrison landed his gig with John Lennon and Paul McCartney by playing the guitar lead in “Raunchy,” the first big Rock & Roll instrumental hit, co-written and released by Bill Justis in 1957, with several other versions also reaching the charts, but it was the distinctive twangy lead in the original version that was something of landmark in pop music, and came to influence a whole succession of guitar players.

    Bill Justis – Raunchy

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @Sparkon
  9. Trinity says:

    Maybe do a list of most influential American cities in rock and roll, pop, etc.

    San Francisco punched above its weight with The Doobie Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc., etc.,

    Detroit was Motown but even produced some rockers like Ted Nugent and Bob Seger

    Boston with Aerosmith and a few mo’

    And of course loads of NYC and Los Angeles acts.

    Texas spawned a few notable acts like ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughn

    Deep South, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, along with scores of Black artists.

  10. “It’s all over now, Baby Blue.”

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  11. Sparkon says:

    It was in 1965, possibly the greatest year in Rock/Pop, that music culture finally began to materialize into something of significance and meaning to the Boomers,

    No doubt 1965 was a great year for pop music, but music culture had already materialized into “something of significance and meaning to Boomers” at least by 1957, to wit:

    Buddy Holly – Words of Love – 1957

    Holly’s version wasn’t a hit for him, but a doo wop version by the Diamonds reached #13 in July 1957, and of course the Beatles covered it in Beatles For Sale, released in the U.K. in late ’64, while we in the United States got the stripped-down Beatles ’65, which excluded six tracks, including “Words of Love.”

    The Beatles – Words Of Love

  12. @Constant Walker

    Your tranny lover has just walked through the door,
    And his high heels are trampling right through you,
    it’s all over now, Baby Blue.

    Gimme a Grammy or a Granny. I’m old

    • Replies: @Constant Walker
  13. @Sparkon

    Early 60s were quite good with Brill Building, Girl Groups and Phil Specter, whole host of black acts, and even Teen Idols had some decent songs. And a lot of good one-hit wonders.

    But Rock Culture as we’ve come to know it really began in 65. That’s when what was deemed strictly entertainment began to take on the contours of personal ‘art’. Instead to playing to the crowd, proving one’s greatness and having the crowd admire that greatness on its own terms. The great bands in this period managed to both make powerful music that was also popularly appealing.

    • Replies: @Sparkon
  14. The further away I get, the more obvious it is that the whole “60s” phenom was an op.

    Maybe the drugs are wearing off.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  15. @Trinity

    “Detroit was Motown but even produced some rockers like Ted Nugent and Bob Seger.”

    Motown called itself ‘The Sound of Young America” but the actual sound of postwar White working class youth was Detroit’s rock scene, chiefly the MC5 and Stooges, along with SRC, The Up, Frost, and some others. No need for London, NYC or especially not SF.

    Nugent and Seger’s early work from the 60s is almost unrecognizable to those who only know their Top 40 careers.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  16. anon[254] • Disclaimer says:

    The Beatles are all suppressed now. You hear classic rock everywhere, everywhere.

    But you don’t hear no Beatles.

    I wonder why.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  17. The Beatles together produced more and more sophisticated music of depth and derivative forms. When they split up, their individual efforts produced only mediocrity. That makes me think the the contribution of George Martin and his son was huge. They had done countless arrangements for Phil Spectre’s groups and many emerging main stream Black bands from the early sixties, and perhaps late 50s.

    That means, intrinsically that they could well have been over-rated.

  18. Trinity says:
    @James J. O'Meara

    And that “op” was very, very Jewish.

  19. Trinity says:
    @James J. O'Meara

    Grand Funk from Flint, Michigan as well.

  20. Notsofast says:

    while rubber soul, marks the maturation of the beatles music, it is revolver that reveals their truly ground breaking metamorphosis into one of the greatest rock groups of all time. “tomorrow never knows” is a recording masterpiece that will live forever as the harbinger of true psychedelic music.

    • Agree: Jefferson Temple
  21. @Trinity

    They have, the Stones no longer play it live

    • Thanks: Trinity
    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  22. @Poupon Marx

    When they split up, their individual efforts produced only mediocrity.

    Mostly mediocrity but there were exceptions. “My Sweet Lord”, “Jet”, “Listen to What the Man Said”, “Woman”, “Watching the Wheels”, “What Is Life”, “It Don’t Come Easy”, “No More Lonely Nights”, “With a Little Luck”, “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Jealous Guy”, etc.

    But even as Beatles, even Lennon and McCartney weren’t capable of doing an entire album. It was the combo of the two, with some input from Harrison, that made it work.

    In contrast, Dylan, Paul Simon, Van Morrison, and Joni Mitchell could fill up an entire album on their own. And Pete Townshend did most of the songs for The Who, which may be why he burned out after WHO’S NEXT.

    • Thanks: meamjojo
    • Replies: @Random Anonymous
  23. @(((They))) Live

    Someone should cancel Stone concerts. The whole thing is embarrassing at their age.

    And change the song to Brown Geritol.

    • Agree: meamjojo
    • LOL: Trinity
    • Replies: @Pat Kittle
  24. Huh. People interpret songs differently. I interpret the ending of “Norwegian Wood” as him burning the house down because the woman humiliated and insulted him by making him sleep in the tub. Wood from Norway is – of course – pine, and catches easily. Isn’t it good?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  25. @Trinity

    And Tina Turner’s cover of “Help” is far better imo.

    Try John Farnham’s.

    • Replies: @Trinity
  26. @Dave from Oz

    I heard of that interpretation, but I don’t think so. Sounds too nutty.

    • Replies: @Jefferson Temple
  27. Hitch says:

    Tavistock mind control agents pushing the “counter culture” movement.

    MTF and FTM

    • Replies: @Hitch
    , @Bardon Kaldlan
  28. G. Poulin says:

    “…didn’t want to admit what a priggish and humorless bunch of ideologues they once were”. Once were? Was there a growth spurt somewhere along the line that I somehow missed?

  29. Unit472 says:

    Remembering the hype that surrounded the US premier of the Beatles and the records the US industry released to promote them its a wonder they caught on at all. It was a carefully choreographed production designed to appeal to 15 year old girls and create Beatlemania. Thank God the Beatles had the talent to plow through what the US industry had planned for them or they could have ended up as the first ”Boy Group” and disappeard into history by the summer of 1964.

    I mean, whatever the Beatles were doing in England, that wasn’t what was being released in America. It wasn’t even Rock n Roll! The big day came and what Beatles songs did the radio play to show case the Beatles? I Wanna Hold Your Hand??? Probably the worst song they ever recorded unless it was the other big Beatles release “She Loves You”. Granted the Beatles did not have a large library of music in January 1964 but their first US album “Meet the Beatles” was more Monkees than Beatles. The album cover was horrible. They looked alien, not English, with half their faces covered by shadow and their mop top hairstyles freshly trimmed to look as ridiculous as possible.

    Our sisters played the album continuously so I Wanna Hold Your Hand and She Loves You were drilled into my 13 year old brain like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer still I did grow to like what rock music as was on the album. I liked “I Saw Here Standing There”. Still do. George Harrison’s lead solo was about as skimpy and minimalist as a lead solo can be but it worked and he wasn’t apeing Chuck Berry. ” Don’t Bother Me ” grew on you too once you started listening to the Beatles riff that backed the song. ” I Wanna Be Your Man” showcased Ringo and revealed he could belt out a song worthy of a Beatle.

    Still no ” Please, Please Me”, Love Me Do and whatever else Capitol Records had in their Beatles inventory. No covers allowed which was a pity because the Beatles Roll Ever Beethoven was better than Chuck Berry’s and Ringo singing Boys was first rate. The whole American debut of the Beatles made me wonder if it inspired Mick Jagger to write “Under Assistant West Coast Promo Man” as the industry “suits” did all they could to sabotage the biggest gift they would ever receive. Rubber Soul was the Beatles announcing they would do it their way from now on.

  30. Trinity says:
    @Dave from Oz

    I gave it a listen and while good, Turner’s version is superior, no contest. Tina started doing her version in 1982 or thereabouts, and this guy’s versions sounds like he is trying to imitate Tina’s take on this Beatles classic. Turner’s version is completely different from the original. That takes a special talent to pull that off.

    Three performers who always dominated covers, actually usually sounding much better than the original artist were Linda Ronstadt, Elvis, and Tina Turner. Imo, Turner is the Queen of Rock and Elvis is indeed the King.

    Patty Smyth also handles covers well and does a bang up job on Whole Lotta Love.

  31. @Trinity

    Cleveland: The Outsiders, The James Gang, Devo, the Raspberries, Nine Inch Nails, Pere Ubu, etc.

    • Agree: AceDeuce
    • Replies: @Trinity
    , @AceDeuce
  32. Trinity says:
    @nosquat loquat

    Always liked “Go All The Way” by The Raspberries. Back then I had no idea that (((Eric Carmen))) was Jewish. Of course back then I thought the Notsees were the bad guys and Jews were completely innocent.

    Cue: Heart Of Rock & Roll by Huey Lewis & The News

  33. Jon Chance says: • Website

    Pop music can be very enjoyable. But it’s generally corrosive to the mind and soul.

    The world would be less of a mess if Glenn Gould was piped into our ears everywhere in the giant shopping mall America has become today.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
    , @Sparkon
  34. @Jon Chance

    But Gould was nuts.

    Maybe he would done better with Mantovani.

  35. He lit her house on fire at the end of Norwegian Wood.

  36. @Priss Factor

    I like the brief response, but could have added that Bob Zimmerman ( aka Dylan) was the first Folk Music singer to make millions out of Folk singing that was meant for the lower strata of society. The highly talented Wagner loathed the Jewish German composer Mendelssohn for his talent at using music for the sake of money making and his whiny music that was out of place within the German music tradition that was full of pride.

    Some old habits die hard.

  37. Sparkon says:
    @Priss Factor

    But Rock Culture as we’ve come to know it really began in 65. That’s when what was deemed strictly entertainment began to take on the contours of personal ‘art’.

    Rock Culture, howsoever you define it and understand it, began whenever you think it did, but my comment was in response to Clark Kent’s claim that, for him, at least, music before the Beatles was what he called “The Dark Times.”

    I think you’re simply too young to have lived through the ’50s and early ’60s, or to have any real appreciation for music of that era, so you’re merely parroting what the MSM, especially Rolling Stone, have told you about “Rock Culture,” revealed in the smarmy platitudes you’ve included in your comment.

    Opinions are like bellybuttons; everybody has one, and some are full of lint.

  38. @anon

    What do you mean. I hear Beatles on my local classic rock station pretty frequently.

  39. @Priss Factor

    Are you aware of the twisted sense of humor that Lennon possessed?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  40. @Poupon Marx

    Yes, I think George Martin must’ve been the indispensable 5th Beatle. The idea of Adorno writing even some of those songs seems pretty dumb to me.

    I can’t let this thread go without plugging the following video, long and dry though it is:

  41. @Jefferson Temple

    The song is twisted without the act of arson, which would make it psycho(in the manner of ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away”).

    It’s clear the relationship is casual, it’s off-and-so or take-it-or-leave-it.

    When he has to go sleep in the bath, there’s only a bit of drowsy irritation, no rage or anger.

    What’s strange is he is nevertheless stirred to melancholy despite their mutual agreement of non-commitment.

    The arson interpretation is offered in the book TWO OF US(and maybe other books), but even the author of that book isn’t really sure what the song means. For me, ‘norwegian wood’ refers to gazing into a fireplace in a mood of solitude.

  42. @Priss Factor

    I like your interpretation. I never thought about arson when listening to the song. But Lennon was reputed to have a twisted sense of humor. It is reflected in the books of drawings and poems/prose published during the Beatles days.

  43. anonymous[570] • Disclaimer says:

    Norwegian Wood is a play on words and the song is about Paul thinking he would get laid but getting played with and ditched instead.

    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  44. Sparkon says:
    @Jon Chance

    if Glenn Gould was piped into our ears everywhere in the giant shopping mall America has become today.

    That piece by Gould is far too pensive and plodding for my taste.

    My first job in 1962 was at a newly built, very modern supermarket in my neighborhood where they piped in Muzak, which I remember as being quite perky and upbeat – good music for stocking shelves and bagging groceries. Ike liked it, and had it piped into the West Wing, but some thought Muzak was brainwashing, one of the buzzwords of the era, while others claimed Muzak improved worker performance and satisfaction.

    Whatever the case, I prefer instrumental tunes that can evoke non-verbal feelings. I like most classical music, but despise opera, especially when the fat lady sings.

    By my count, there were no less than 63 instrumental hits that made Billboard’s Top 10 in the six years 1960 – 1965.

    So let’s give a listen to a couple piano instrumental hits from near the beginning and end of that era.

    Floyd Cramer – Last Date
    (#2, Nov. 1960)

    Ramsey Lewis Trio – The ‘In’ Crowd
    (#5, Oct. 1965)

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  45. AceDeuce says:
    @nosquat loquat

    The Pretenders.

    Technically, you could include The Cars.

    • Replies: @nosquat loquat
  46. AceDeuce says:
    @Priss Factor

    Norwegian Wood was a then-popular style of furniture, akin to Danish Modern.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  47. AceDeuce says:
    @anonymous

    Paul? Lennon was the writer and the singer.

    (I know Paul said that he contributed, and it’s credited to both, but the lyrics, by any interpretation, are Lennon all the way.)

    • Replies: @anonymous
  48. anon[254] • Disclaimer says:

    “The art of ballad is about the poetic engraving of emotions.”

    [email protected]\$%?

    Hardehar. What a bunch of illiterate crap.

  49. @Hitch

    The Jew Theodor Adorno

    His mother was a Catholic and his father converted to protestantism – so – – there you go.

  50. @AceDeuce

    Hell yes. I somehow how forgot about Akron’s own, the great Chrissy Hynde. I thought The Cars were a Boston band.

    • Thanks: AceDeuce
    • Replies: @AceDeuce
  51. @AceDeuce

    But the room had no furniture.

    She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere
    So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair
    I sat on the rug
    Biding my time, drinking her wine

    In the first stanza, she seems to ask about the wood

    She showed me her room
    “Isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?”

    • Replies: @anonymous
  52. anonymous[570] • Disclaimer says:
    @AceDeuce

    Yes, that’s correct.

  53. anonymous[570] • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.
    John goes home with pretty Norwegian girl who talks til 2am, while John bides his time, drinking her wine. Then she laughs after telling him it’s time for bed and tells him she must get up in the morning to work. He goes to sleep in the bathtub, alone, but with Norwegian “wood”.
    I trust I don’t need to explain the other meaning of “wood” in the sexual context.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  54. @anonymous

    Btw, the she must be a tranny.

    In the first stanza, she asks, “Isn’t it good, Norwegian wood?”
    It could only mean she has a ‘wood’, but that’d be true only if she’s a man.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  55. @Rev. Spooner

    “Breathe deep the gathering gloom.”

  56. Hitch says:
    @Hitch

    BOB DYLAN IS AN OLD WOMAN from Michelle XX



    Video Link

    • LOL: Franz
  57. gay troll says:

    Oh, hear this Robert Zimmerman
    I wrote a song for you
    About a strange young man
    Called Dylan
    With a voice like sand and glue
    His words of truthful vengeance
    They could pin us to the floor
    Brought a few more people on
    And put the fear in a whole lot more

    Ah, Here she comes
    Here she comes
    Here she comes again
    The same old painted lady
    From the brow of a superbrain
    She’ll scratch this world to pieces
    As she comes on like a friend
    But a couple of songs
    From your old scrapbook
    Could send her home again

    You gave your heart to every bedsit room
    At least a picture on my wall
    And you sat behind a million pair of eyes
    And told them how they saw
    Then we lost your train of thought
    The paintings are all your own
    While troubles are rising
    We’d rather be scared
    Together than alone

    Now hear this Robert Zimmerman
    Though I don’t suppose we’ll meet
    Ask your good friend Dylan
    If he’d gaze a while
    Down the old street
    Tell him we’ve lost his poems
    So they’re writing on the walls
    Give us back our unity
    Give us back our family
    You’re every nation’s refugee
    Don’t leave us with their sanity

    Ah, Here she comes…

    -David Bowie

    Happy ever after in the market place
    Molly lets the children lend a hand
    Desmond stays at home and does his pretty face
    And in the evening she’s a singer with the band

    -The Beatles

    • Replies: @Trinity
    , @Priss Factor
  58. Trinity says:
    @gay troll

    Allegedly the late David Bowie was a serial flasher and he was a bisexual, “he likes men and boys.” Lol. Love that line from Saturday Night Fever.

    Cue: Nights On Broadway by the Bee Gees

  59. @gay troll

    Was Bowie doing a twist on ‘song for woody’?

    Dylan wrote a bunch of portraitures.

    Hattie Carroll, his wife Sara, maybe Edie Sedgwick with “Like a Rolling Stone”. “Girl from North Country” might be about Echo, a girl he knew.

    Catfish baseball player. Reuben the boxer. Joey the gangster(unintentionally hilarious).

  60. AceDeuce says:
    @nosquat loquat

    Ric Ocasek (Richard Otcasek) was from Baltimore, but moved to Cleveland at 16. At 21, he met Cleveland native Benjamin Orr (Benjamin Orzechowski ), who was already a locally famous musician just out of high school. When Orr moved to Columbus a few years later, Ocasek went too, and the two started a musical partnership in various incarnations.

    Eventually they moved to Boston and were in a few bands before they formed The Cars with two other guys (oddly, neither one of them was actually from Boston, either).

    So the “from Cleveland” thing was semi tongue in cheek on my part, but still…

    • Replies: @nosquat loquat
  61. Anonymous[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    The room decor is probably a true detail that prompted the idea of a song about how this prospective conquest turned to disappointment. Lyricists commonly use double meanings; wood and “wood”. Singing about a girl he “once had” and then correcting it to, “or should I say, she once had me”, is a big clue.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  62. Sparkon says:
    @Sparkon

    By the way, the twangy guitar riff in “Raunchy” was played by co-writer and session musician Sid Manker, while Bill Justis himself played the killer sax.

    I was inspired to check that out after Tubi served up Denny Tedesco’s The Wrecking Crew today, and I was happy to watch most of it during and after my daily work-out.

    It may come as a shock to some still in the dark about this particular chapter in the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll, but about 20 or more session musicians provided the backing instrumentation for many familiar hits by familiar bands in the ’60s and ’70s, led by guitarists Tommy Tedesco and Glen Campbell, drummer Hal Blaine, bass guitarist Carol Kaye, and a score of others.

  63. @Anonymous

    The room decor is probably a true detail that prompted the idea of a song about how this prospective conquest turned to disappointment.

    Not necessarily disappointment. It was trendy in some parts back then to eschew furniture and sit on the floor. It was like bohemian as opposed to bourgeois.

    Look at the hippies sitting on the floor in the “Your Wildest Dreams” video.

    The minimalist style seems to have caught on even in Texas about a decade later. Isn’t it good, Hickory Wood.

  64. @Hitch

    I have to say I love Joan Baez,tho I wasn’t happy when I found out she banged Martin Luther King!😮

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  65. @Bardon Kaldlan

    Baez turned everything pretty. One-note performer. Application, not interpretation. Baez balm on everything. Good thing Dylan dumped her.

    • Replies: @Bardon Kaldlan
    , @Franz
  66. @Priss Factor

    Uhm…no comment on the King business?😮

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  67. @Bardon Kaldlan

    Uhm…no comment on the King business?

    😮

    I HAD A DREAM… Joan Baez was sucking muh dick…

  68. Franz says:
    @Priss Factor

    Baez turned everything pretty.

    Whether or no … she did have the decency to apologize for getting the lyrics wrong to “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” for the rest of her career.

  69. yous tuipid old faggot

    bob dyl;an cant sing and the beatles are gay

  70. @Priss Factor

    Well, except that the album after Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, was the greatest rock album of all time.

    If you don’t recognize that, John Entwistle will haunt you from the afterlife.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  71. @Random Anonymous

    Quad has its moments, some very great, but it sags in parts.

  72. @AceDeuce

    No, I think you’re absolutely correct. Without the Cleveland connection, the Cars would be nothing . . . Anyway, Ocasik even looks like he’s from Cleveland . . .

  73. @Priss Factor

    Stones cover bands I’ve seen gits my feets a’movin.

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