New Songs For 2016

Every year I try to add new music to the collection. Nowadays I rarely listen to the radio (either broadcast or satellite) for inspiration. I tend to research new music by reviewing end of the year “best of” lists. This year I branched a little more than usual, trying songs suggested from a number of sources.

Over the last few years, NPR Music has been my most reliable source. My tastes are diverging from Rolling Stone Magazine’s favorites; their sensibilities seem to be changing into the greater mainstream of popular music. Review sites such as Pitchfork have wildly different criteria for musical evaluation than I do. Virtually no modern popular music on the radio interests me. I am offended by the lack of diction and inferior mixing that make singing so hard to understand, the loss of melody as a musical component, and the reliance on electronics as a substitute for instrumental virtuosity. It all sounds less human to me.

All of which makes the selection of new songs a very interesting aspect of the project. I have no obligation to include any artist, and am perhaps more free than ever to choose based on my my opinion. This is a topic I plan on exploring in detail sometime. New songs must adhere to the same criteria as all others. They should be well appreciated if called up in a random iPod shuffle. Some effort is made to include different sounding or innovative music, though today there isn’t much in terms of unexplored territory. Many songs I choose tend to fill holes in my personal music education. The last few years seem to include songs by female country songwriters, where there is a wealth of talent. Or maybe I’m just going country in my old age. Overall, modern music has seemed to have completely abandoned the uptempo swing of yesteryear.

I have added 58 new songs for 2016. This is a typical number of songs in recent years, a little less than half of the overall average (11,000 songs in about 100 years). Great songs grow on you over the years, so songs are rarely given a high rating to begin with. It is a rather sedate group of songs, by my standards. If a certain song appeals to you, then consider further research into that artist. My list for new songs will always be woefully incomplete; they are educated guesses. My focus is generally on older music.

It was a big year for working on the collection. In August I completed standardizing and verifying all the song data, a tiring grind which led to a mild post-effort depression that took several months to battle out of. I think I’m ready to start back up again, with an outline for a general essay on collecting the music, and a compilation of lists of specific types of songs. Like the greatest songs with hand claps, or best one-hit wonders. Happy New Year to everyone. I’m hoping to keep making progress on this big project.

2016 Songs

Little Movies, Aaron Lee Tasjan
Memphis Rain, Aaron Lee Tasjan ★★★
Real Bad Lookin’, Alex Cameron ★★
Am I Wrong, Anderson Paak ★★
Celebrate, Anderson Paak

Time Moves Slowly, BADBADNOTGOOD ★★
E.V.P., Blood Orange ★★
Three Kids No Husband, Brandy Clark
There Goes My Love, Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms ★★
Opposite House, Cass McCombs ★★

I Am Not Afraid, Charley Crockett ★★
Irene, Courtney Marie Andrews
Wine And Peanuts, Daniel Bachman ★★
Watermelon Slices On A Blue Bordered Plate, Daniel Bachman ★★
Lazurus, David Bowie

Can’t Think, Dawg Yawp
The Government Road, The Del McCoury Band
Falling To Believe, Doug Tuttle
What It Means, Drive-By Truckers
Lord It Over, Dylan Golden Aycock

Looking Up, Elton John
Someone In The Crowd, La La Land (Soundtrack)
Ivy, Frank Ocean ★★
Nothing More To Say, The Frightnrs
June Too Soon, October All Over, Glenn Jones

Mr. Fool, John Scofield
Christmas Makes Me Cry, Kacey Musgraves
Present Without A Bow, Kacey Musgraves
This Girl, Kungs & Cookin’ On 3 Burners
Diamond Heart, Lady Gaga

Humble & Kind, Lori McKenna ★★
Dust, Lucinda Williams
Bitter Memory, Lucinda Williams
Emotions And Math, Margaret Glaspy
You And I, Margaret Glaspy

Moth Into Flame, Metallica
Vice, Miranda Lambert
Tin Man, Miranda Lambert
Me & Magdalena, The Monkees
Tragedy, Norah Jones

It’s A Wonderful Time For Love, Norah Jones
Pining, Parker Milsap ★★
Human Performance, Parquet Courts
I’ve Got To Use My Imagination, The Rides
Never Come Home, Robbie Fulks ★★

Aunt Peg’s Old Man, Robbie Fulks
Drivin’, Robert Ellis
Weirdo, Sammus
What’s It Gonna Be?, Shura ★★
Bluebird Of Delhi, Slavic Soul Party! ★★

Cranes In The Sky, Solange
Easier Said, Sunflower Bean
Every Time I See A River, Van Morrison
Caledonia Swing, Van Morrison
No Woman, Whitney ★★

The Three Of Me, William Bell
Fly Away, Yola Carter ★★
A Change Of Heart, The 1975

145. The Drifters

The Drifters are a vocal group from New York, New York. Originally assembled in 1953 as a supporting group for singer Clyde McPhatter, the Drifters brand has one of the more complex histories in pop music history. After McPhatter’s brief tenure as lead singer, the group persevered with modest success until 1958, when manager George Treadwell replaced the entire group. Still recording with Atlantic Records, the second generation Drifters enjoyed a brief peak of popularity, which produced a memorable series of pop standards. By the mid-sixties, their star had faded, but the strength of the original material allowed The Drifters to become a perpetual nostalgia act, often with more than one version of the group in business.

Drifters2-500x371

Wikipedia Biography of The Drifters
Soulwalking.co.uk Biography of The Drifters

Notable Lead Singers For The Drifters

Clyde McPhatter (1932-1972), vocals
Johnny Moore (1934-1998), vocals
Ben E. King (b. 1938), vocals
Rudy Lewis (1936-1964), vocals

Only In America

The Drifters have a few great songs that define their legacy. My favorite song may be the one they never released until over forty years later. The Drifters version of “Only In America” was shelved by Atlantic Records, while a cover version of the song by Jay & The Americans, was sold to United Artists and reached #25 on the pop charts in 1963.

Here Comes The Night, Joel Selvin’s book about the life of record producer Bert Berns, also serves as a comprehensive history of the New York pop music industry of the fifties and sixties. Selvin tells the story of “Only In America” as follows:

With “Up On The Roof” and “On Broadway”, Leiber and Stoller once again reprieved the Drifters from slipping off the charts entirely. It had two long years since “Save The Last Dance For Me”. In April 1963, they returned to the studio with the Drifters and another Mann-Weil song they had remodeled. Originally “Only In America” was more an angry, straightforward protest song (“Only in America, land of opportunity, do they save a seat in the back of the bus just for me”). The civil rights movement was reaching crisis proportions. New harrowing headlines came daily from the South. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and placed in solitary confinement on the day of the session a thousand miles away in Birmingham, Alabama. Leiber and Stoller, from their rarified, socially advanced perspective, as only two smart-ass, New York Jews could, recast the song as a coolly ironic send up (having black people sing lines like “Only in America can a kid without a cent get a break and maybe grow up to be president”).

(Jerry) Wexler was predictably blunt in his assessment. “Are you guys nuts?” he said. “They’ll lynch us.”

The world was not ready to hear black people sing “Only in America, land of opportunity.” Leiber was way too hip for the room. Leiber and Stoller still liked the track immensely. They took off the Drifters vocals and replaced them with Jay and the Americans. White people singing the same song eliminated all irony, turning the record into the kind of cornball sentimentality that Leiber and Stoller previously assiduously avoided. Wexler hated the record so much, he was happy to sell the track to United Artists for something he was never going to release and didn’t even mind as the thing scooted up the charts. Not much anyway.

— Joel Selvin

Also discussed in the Coasters profile, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had a knack for distilling the realities and dreams of young Americans into simple, uplifting songs. The brilliant “Only In America” was forty-five years ahead of its time. I recently shared this on Facebook, and one of my friends shared that his father played this song (the Jay & the Americans version) in the mornings as encouragement for his sons to pursue their dreams.

Amazon.com Link to “Here Comes The Night”, by Joel Selvin

“50 Years Later, A Drifters Song Has Its Day”, by Ryan Zummallen, Long Beach Post, November 2008

Save The Last Dance For Me

My father’s parents emigrated from Scotland around 1920, and never returned. My father had only met a couple of his Scottish relatives until he arranged a visit to Scotland in 1998, where they “rolled out the red carpet”, and cousins Ruby and Dick hosted a family get-together at their lawn bowling club in Clydebank. Dad also used the vacation as an opportunity to play golf, and brought me along with my then brother-in-law John. We traveled around Scotland for a few days before working our way back into town for family gatherings.

At the time, I was actively drinking, an on-or-off practice I never mastered, and eventually quit doing. My father was a teetotaler, and generally disapproved of my drinking habit. So we stayed away from night life for the most part, but John and I sneaked out twice during the vacation for drinks and laughs. Both times were memorable experiences, though the second one was a bit scary, with the potential for real danger. But the first night out was happy and fun, and maybe a little strange, too.

Our first destination was Inverness, the northernmost city in the United Kingdom. Golfers generally travel there to play the famous golf courses in nearby Nairn and Dornoch. We stayed at a bed and breakfast inn in downtown Inverness for three nights, while driving each day to play golf. On one of those nights I dragged John out for beer, cigarettes and a little local flavor.

We found a pub nearby with live music and settled in. The band performed on a stage about ten feet above the pub floor, and were quite loud, making small talk a bit cumbersome, especially for west coast Americans trying to decipher the Scottish brogue. Nevertheless, we soon struck up a conversation with four Scots, two unattached men and a married couple. They were friendly and talkative, and in the case of the married husband, very drunk. We learned he had been on a bender for over twenty-four hours, but to begin with, he was still pretty lucid when we started to chat. He was a successful businessman, and helped manage a significant local establishment. He was a nice fellow, but in bad shape. Early in the evening, we talked about golf, where he admitted that though he was not an accomplished player, he felt he could “putt for Scotland”.

His wife was charming, and quite attractive. As her husband’s energy started to fade, she stayed close by, but seemed rather unconcerned, as if this was a common occurrence. He was really drunk, and starting to list, but was hanging in there as best he could for the conversation with the visiting Americans.

I had given up worrying about the fading husband, and was chatting with the others when over the din of the music, I heard him sneeze with a mighty “Whoosh!”. Looking over, as he pulled himself back upright, I noticed his nose now featured the longest snot string I had ever seen in my life. And neither he nor his friends seemed to notice. I expected that his wife or friends would notice, but they were enjoying themselves, and had kind of tuned him out. And for two or three minutes that seemed to last an eternity, this poor man stood there drunk and unaware that he had snot hanging from his nose down below his waist. I casually turned to my brother-in-law and whispered “I think that might be the grossest thing I’ve ever seen”, and we shared a private laugh between ourselves. I can’t remember whether he fixed the problem, or it just dropped eventually.

Although he managed to stay upright, at that point of the evening he was politely coexisting while the others yelled at one another over the music. By then the center of attention was the man’s lovely wife, who was holding court while everybody stood around her in a circle. At some point, it occurred to me that their friends were perhaps a bit too friendly and attentive, and inspired by the spirits of the night, I did something I rarely do — I broke into song:

“So don’t forget who’s taking you home,
And in whose arms you’re gonna be,
So darlin’, save the last dance for me.”

I must have done well, because afterwards all three of them applauded enthusiastically, and urged me to keep singing. I demurred, as I was overcome by shyness, plus I didn’t know the words and melody well enough to sing the whole thing. By midnight, we left our friends for the evening, and walked back to the inn, but I’ll never forget the night I serenaded the beautiful woman with the great song that came to mind and means so much.

The Drifters Songs:

On Broadway, The Drifters ★★★★
Up On The Roof, The Drifters ★★★★
Only In America, The Drifters ★★★★

Save The Last Dance For Me, The Drifters ★★★
White Christmas, The Drifters ★★★

Under The Boardwalk, The Drifters ★★
This Magic Moment, The Drifters ★★
Ruby Baby, The Drifters ★★

Money Honey, The Drifters
The Bells Of St. Mary’s, The Drifters
There Goes My Baby, The Drifters
Whatcha Gonna Do, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters

Related Songs:

A Lover’s Question, Clyde McPhatter ★★
Lover Please, Clyde McPhatter ★★

Stand By Me, Ben E. King ★★★
Spanish Harlem, Ben E. King ★★★
I (Who Have Nothing), Ben E. King ★★
Don’t Play That Song (You Lied), Ben E. King
Amor, Ben E. King

On Broadway, Neil Young

Only In America, Jay & the Americans ★★

White Christmas, Bing Crosby ★★
White Christmas, Darlene Love

This Magic Moment, Jay & the Americans ★★

Ruby Baby, Dion ★★★

Money Honey, Elvis Presley

168. Elmore James

Elmore James was a guitarist and a singer/songwriter from Holmes County in western Mississippi. Although he started early, and was performing at local dances as a teenager, James was not recorded until he was thirty-three years old. By then he had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and returned to Mississippi, where he worked at his brother’s electrical shop. It was there he modified an acoustic guitar for electric amplification, and together with the use of a slide, Elmore James created his distinctive guitar sound. Beginning in 1951 with “Dust My Broom”, James recorded a series of minor rhythm and blues hit songs. Diagnosed with heart problems early in life, James died of a heart attack at the age of forty-five.

Elmore James’s raw electric sound influenced a generation of American and English rock musicians. Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones and Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac were enamored with his music. In their prime, the Allman Brothers Band regularly played two Elmore James songs (“Done Somebody Wrong” and “One Way Out”) in concert appearances. And Stevie Ray Vaughan is famous for his interpretation of “The Sky Is Crying”. James has been described as a loud and raucous performer, with a rough voice that crackled with emotion, halfway between yelling and screaming the words. Rock and roll legend Little Richard considered him one of the few authentic rockers. His greatest legacy may be as a songwriter; several of his compositions are now considered blues standards, recognizable to all aficianados of the blues genre.

latest

Elmore James (1918-1963), slide guitar player, vocals, songwriter

The Broomdusters – Noteworthy Support Musicians

Little Johnny Jones (1924-1964), piano
Odie Payne (1926-1989), drums

Primary Influences:

Robert Johnson (1911-1938), singer, guitarist, songwriter
Tampa Red (1904-1981), singer, guitarist, songwriter

John Peel Wikia Page for Elmore James

Frank Zappa on Elmore James

“Elmore James – even though Elmore tended to play the same famous lick on every record, I got the feeling that he meant it.”

— Frank Zappa, “Good Guitar Stuff or Stereotypifications?”, Guitar Player Magazine, January, 1977

“Well, Elmore James is an acquired taste, and I happen to really like Elmore James, and I like all blues-type guitar players and all that sort of stuff. I happen to think that what they play really means something, as opposed to most of what happens on most rock and roll records – it’s very calculated sound effects that fit the song. But to say that a person has to start with Elmore James before he graduates up to fire-breathing guitar playing status is stupid, because you really don’t need to. If you don’t have any feeling for that type of music, why involve yourself with it? I would rather see a guitar player totally ignore that realm of music in an honest way – saying, “That’s just not my stuff” – than get a cursory glance of it and say, “Now I understand it,” because they’ll just do a parody of it. You’ve really got to love that stuff. I really hope that one of these days that sort of blues comes back. Everything else comes back. And I think that kind of music is great.”

— Frank Zappa, “I’m Different”, by Tom Mulhern, Guitar Player Magazine, February 1983

A Late Addition To My Collection

It appears no videos exist of Elmore James performing. He died shortly before he was scheduled to participate in the American Folk Blues Festival, a yearly European tour of blues musicians, much of which was recorded for posterity.

Elmore James played a variety of blues styles. This one is called “Shake Your Moneymaker”.

Here is one of his most faithful disciples, Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac, channeling his inner Elmore James. Spencer’s contribution to Fleetwood Mac relies heavily on his devotion to James.

Elmore James music is a late addition to my music knowledge. Five years ago, there were only four Elmore James songs in the collection. Since then I added Elmore James’s original versions of songs I already knew, and my recent investigations prompted me to add several more. There are now eighteen worthy choices, and I imagine a few more of these simple, lively songs will be added to the list as time goes by.

Elmore James Song Notes:

1. There are two versions of “Standing At The Crossroads”.

Elmore James Songs:

Shake Your Moneymaker, Elmore James ★★★
Dust My Broom, Elmore James ★★★

Done Somebody Wrong, Elmore James ★★
The Sky Is Crying, Elmore James ★★
Standing At The Crossroads, Elmore James ★★
Dust My Blues, Elmore James ★★
Look On Yonder Wall, Elmore James ★★
Stranger Blues, Elmore James ★★
It Hurts Me Too, Elmore James ★★

Got To Move, Elmore James
Madison Blues, Elmore James
Standing At The Crossroads (Alt), Elmore James
Whose Muddy Shoes, Elmore James
Sunny Land, Elmore James
I Can’t Hold Out, Elmore James
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Elmore James
Happy Home, Elmore James
My Bleeding Heart, Elmore James

Related Songs:

Crossroads Blues, Robert Johnson ★★★
Crossroads (Live), Cream ★★★★

Done Somebody Wrong (Live), Allman Brothers Band

For You Blue, The Beatles

Got To Move, Fleetwood Mac ★★
Got To Move (Live), Fleetwood Mac ★★

I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom, Robert Johnson

I Can’t Hold Out, Eric Clapton ★★

Madison Blues (Live), Fleetwood Mac

New Strangers Blues, Tampa Red

One Way Out, Sonny Boy Williamson II ★★★
One Way Out (Live), The Allman Brothers Band ★★★★

Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Muddy Waters ★★★
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Cream ★★
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, Bob Dylan ★★
Rollin’ And Tumblin’, The Seldom Scene

Shake Your Moneymaker, Fleetwood Mac ★★★

The Sky Is Crying (Live), Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble ★★

TV Mama, Big Joe Turner ★★★★

159. Tom Jones (Thomas Jones Woodward)

Sir Thomas Jones Woodward, aka “Tom Jones”, is a singer from Pontypridd, Wales, just twelve miles north of Cardiff, the Welsh capital.  Blessed with a powerful baritone voice, Jones’ singing style is reminiscent of the great American soul singers of the fifties and sixties.  Married with a child before his 17th birthday, Woodward worked by day and honed his musical skills by night.  In 1964, as lead singer for Tommy Scott & The Senators, he attracted the attention of producer Joe Meek, but efforts to land a recording contract were unsuccessful. However, later that year, Gordon Mills, a songwriter and fellow Welshmen, signed Woodward to a management contract, changed his name to Tom Jones, and brought him to London. Once signed with Decca Records, his second single, Mills’s own “It’s Not Unusual”, was a breakthrough hit in both Great Britain and the United States, and the catalyst for Jones’s lifetime, worldwide success as a professional singer and entertainer. In appreciation for his contribution to British society, Jones was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his “services to music” in 2006.

Tom Jones (b. 1940), singer
The Official Tom Jones Website

tom-jones-performs-at-glastonbury_0

The Aging Sex Symbol

Tom Jones was always a mainstream performer, and never considered a rock musician. He was renowned for his sex appeal, which he and his management used to great benefit. In this wonderful early video, It is apparent that Mr. Jones is a powerfully built man. He actually looks a lot like a college roommate of mine who played football.

As his initial success waned, Jones transformed himself in a middle of the road crooner, singing popular songs from many genres. Here he sings the American country hit, “Green, Green Grass Of Home”:

For the next few years, Jones was a consistent presence on popular and easy listening radio programs. From 1969 to 1971, he even hosted a successful TV variety show. He performed regularly in Las Vegas, where he was an object of intense adulation. Women threw undergarments and hotel keys onto the stage, and Jones played to his desirous audience by dancing suggestively, or wiping sweat from his brow and gifting the soiled handkerchiefs to his admirers. A few videos online capture this nonsense, which I find rather vulgar.

Though his star faded in middle age, Jones stayed hip by interpreting new songs using contemporary instrumentation, but he would never have earned a spot in my countdown without a late career renaissance. I was surprised how effectively Jones sang the blues in Martin Scorcese’s 2003 documentary “The Blues”. When an authority like Van Morrison suggests that Tom Jones is one of his favorite singers, further research is merited, and finds that Jones has crafted a fitting culmination to his career. Two recent albums, Praise And Blame and Spirit In The Room, are gentle and thoughtful, with spare, traditional instrumentation. Jones interprets songs of a spiritual nature, that contemplate life’s great mysteries — life and death, and Heaven and Hell.

Avant-Garde

Over the past century, popular music of the English speaking world has come full circle. The formalization of peasant music into jazz and blues, and the major music forms that followed — be-bop and free jazz, rhythm and blues into guitar-based rock, electronics and computerized sounds, the incorporation of Latin and African rhythms, and the spoken word set to a beat — these innovations have exhausted the possibilities for further exploration. Like classical music before it, popular music is a finite art, and has already enjoyed its peak period of innovation.

Wikipedia states, “the Avant-garde are people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics”. In this recent blog posting, Charles Hugh Smith argues that disruptive avant-garde movements in the arts have reached a point of diminishing returns, and that the avant-garde movement’s true concern is social innovation.

“It’s art that’s irrelevant, not the avant-garde. This is a boring age for art, mainly because of how boring the collectors are. These days collectors actually want to buy contemporary art. How boring can you get? It’s like they are buying fantastically expensive bespoke IKEA furniture for their homes. Now, art is not a bad day job if you can pull it off. I don’t begrudge anyone trying to make a living at it, like any other day job. But as day jobs go, it has no more glamour or dignity than doing public relations or corporate law. Not to mention academia! We’re all servants of the most boring and clueless ruling class in a century.

Avant-gardes, on the other hand, are always interesting, but they are not really about art, whatever some silly art school textbooks might say. Avant-gardes are about media, about social relations, about property-forms, but they are only ever incidentally or tactically concerned with art. The most interesting ones around at the moment might be about pharmacology or horticulture or even ‘business models’.”

— McKenzie Wark

What’s Avant-Garde Now? Social Innovation, by Charles Hugh Smith
“McKenzie Wark, Information/Commodification”, DisMagazine.com

To most music fans, Tom Jones will be remembered as a sexy pop singer, but these modern updates of folk songs deserve to be a significant part of his legacy. These big picture songs, with clearly sung lyrics and impeccable musicianship, are the logical conclusion to the popular music era. They are the only innovation in modern music worth preserving for posterity. In the coming century, pop music will endure in its current unimaginative form, at least for a while. The only music worth remembering will be the masters of the various instruments, the occasional jazz composition, and the rare songwriter who eloquently captures the misery of the dying Industrial Age.

Tom Jones Songs:

It’s Not Unusual, Tom Jones ★★★★

What Good Am I?, Tom Jones ★★
Burning Hell, Tom Jones ★★
Nobody’s Fault But Mine, Tom Jones ★★
Help Yourself, Tom Jones ★★
If He Should Ever Leave You, Tom Jones ★★
Hard Times, Tom Jones & Jeff Beck ★★
Sometimes We Cry, Tom Jones & Van Morrison ★★
Tower Of Song, Tom Jones ★★

If I Only Knew, Tom Jones
Hit Or Miss, Tom Jones
She’s A Lady, Tom Jones
In Style And Rhythm, Tom Jones
Goin’ Down Slow (Live), Tom Jones & Jeff Beck

Related Songs:

It’s Not Unusual, Willie Bobo ★★★
It’s Not Unusual (Instrumental), Willie Bobo

Hard Times, Ray Charles ★★★
Hard Times, Ray Charles & David Newman ★★
Hard Times (Live), The Crusaders ★★

Goin’ Down Slow, Duane Allman
Goin’ Down Slow (Alt), Howlin’ Wolf ★★

139. The Coasters

The Coasters are a rhythm and blues vocal group from New York, New York. Originally based in Los Angeles, California, the group’s career is linked to their primary songwriting duo, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Early in their career, Leiber and Stoller wrote and produced a series of popular songs for the Robins. After their initial success, they signed a contract to work for Atlantic Records in New York City. Leiber and Stoller encouraged the Robins to follow; two members of the group, Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner, joined them. Adding two singers and a guitarist, the band’s new name reflected the move from the west coast to the east coast. The Coasters experienced great success in the late fifties, with lively, amusing stories of American teenage life. The Coasters were the first band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.

Coasters

Wikipedia Biography of The Coasters
Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Biography of the Coasters

The Group Roster During Their Prime:

Carl Gardner (1928-2011), vocals
Cornell Gunter (1936-1990), vocals
Wil “Dub” Jones (1928-2000), vocals
Billy Guy (1936-2002), vocals
Adolph Jacobs (b. 1939), guitar

Two Other Important Members:

Ulysses B. “Bobby” Nunn (1925-1986), vocals
Leon Hughes (b. 1929), vocals

Leiber, Stoller and Curtis

Jerry Leiber (1933-2011) and Mike Stoller (b. 1933), songwriters, producers
King Curtis (1934-1971), saxophone

Yakety Yak, Don’t Talk Back

Take out the papers and the trash,
Or you don’t get no spendin’ cash,
If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor,
You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more.
Yakety yak, (don’t talk back.)

“Just put on your coat and hat,
And walk yourself to the laundromat,
And when you finish doin’ that,
Bring in the dog and put out the cat.
Yakety yak, (don’t talk back.)”

— Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

“Yakety Yak” is a sub-two minute blast of shuffling rock and roll, punctuated by King Curtis’s saxophone iconic solo, which became known as “yakety sax”. The message is clear: finish your chores, or you don’t get to hang out with your friends tonight.

Three Cool Cats

My favorite Coasters song is “Three Cool Cats”, originally released as the flip side to the hit song “Charlie Brown” (Billboard #2, 1958). I learned about “Three Cool Cats” from The Beatles, who covered the song during their first major audition with Decca Records.

“Three cool cats, three cool cats.
Parked on the corner in a beat-up car,
Dividing up a nickel candy bar,
Talking all about how sharp they are, these
Three cool cats.

Three cool chicks, three cool chicks.
Walkin’ down the street, swingin’ their hips,
Splitting up a bag of potato chips,
And three cool cats did three big flips, for
Three cool chicks.

— Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller

Through the course of this exercise it’s becoming apparent I place a high value on song lyrics like these. Simple words, laced with a hint of common slang, that paint complex images of modern America. I can taste my favorite candy bar, and I can feel those swingin’ hips walking in my direction. “Three Cool Cats” is easy enough for a child to sing, and the subject matter is funny, and important.

Complex, poetic lyrics can be deeply moving, but simple words that evoke powerful imagery are just as impressive.

Coasters Song Notes:

1. A longer version of “Three Cool Cats” has surfaced in recent years, and can be found on These Hoodlum Friends: The Coasters In Stereo. I discovered it a few years ago as “Take 11-12” on an album called Charlie Brown, which no longer appears to be available.

2. Several alternate takes of “Yakety Yak” can be found on These Hoodlum Friends: The Coasters In Stereo.

3. I just learned that “Poison Ivy” is a sly ode to sexually transmitted disease. How did I not figure that out?

Coasters Songs:

Three Cool Cats (Take 11-12), The Coasters ★★★★

Three Cool Cats, The Coasters ★★★
Yakety Yak, The Coasters ★★★
Yakety Yak (Take 5), The Coasters ★★★
Down In Mexico, The Coasters ★★★
Poison Ivy, The Coasters ★★★

Shoppin’ For Clothes, The Coasters ★★
Charlie Brown, The Coasters ★★

Young Blood, The Coasters
Searchin’ The Coasters
Along Came Jones, The Coasters

Riot In Cell Block #9, The Robins
Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Robins
Framed, The Robins

Related Songs:

Three Cool Cats, The Beatles

Double Crossing Blues, Johnny Otis (with Little Esther and The Robins)

138. Booker T. & The M.G.’s

Booker T. & The M.G.’s (Memphis Greats) are a rock quartet from Memphis, Tennessee. They are best known as the Stax Records house band. Together with The Memphis Horns, the M.G.’s provided a spare, soulful background for Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and other singers in the Stax Records “stable of artists”. In addition to their duties as house band, the quartet released music under their own name, several of which are among the finest rock instrumentals. Compared to the smooth “Sound of America” emanating from Detroit’s Motown Records, the Stax sound is sharp and stinging, funky and soulful.

Booker-T-and-the-MGs

Wikipedia Biography of Booker T. & The M.G.’s

Booker T. Jones (b. 1944), organ, piano
Steve Cropper (b. 1941), guitar
Donald “Duck” Dunn (1941-2012), bass
Al Jackson, Jr. (1935-1975), drums

Lewis Steinberg (b. 1933), bass (1962-1965)

All band members contributed to songwriting and music production.

Official Website for The Memphis Horns

Wayne Jackson (b. 1941), trumpet
Andrew Love (1941-2012), saxophone

Pop Instrumentals

Sometime in the early to mid-seventies, the pop instrumental started to fade away, and soon powerful radio stations stopped promoting songs without singing. Instrumentals had a long history as part of the popular music scene. In 1938, Artie Shaw’s version of “Begin The Beguine” was a #1 Billboard hit for six weeks. The instrumental maintained a consistent presence on popular radio during the sixties and seventies, comprising a small but significant percentage of total songs played. In the mid-seventies, disco instrumentals “TSOP” by M.F.S.B. (1974) and “A Fifth Of Beethoven” by Walter Murphy (1976) both hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The genre’s last gasp came around 1985, when “Axel F” by Harold Faltermeyer, became an international hit, through its association with the movie Beverly Hills Cop.

For a few years in my early childhood, my mother taught an adult exercise class at the local high school, a precursor to today’s aerobic classes. She collected quite a few pop instrumental records by artists like Herb Alpert to use as exercise music. By the time we acquired singles of “Soul Limbo” and “Hang ‘Em High” by Booker T. & The M.G.’s, she no longer taught the class, but still enjoyed these popular, but not jazzy songs. Compared to others my age, I think I take a far greater interest in these songs of the past. I still enjoy them very much.

Here’s a fine performance of the band’s biggest hit, “Green Onions”, followed by related artists The Mar-Keys playing their biggest hit, “Last Night”:

Time Is Tight

I’ve included two videos of the 1969 hit “Time Is Tight”. The first is from late December, 1970. My mom and sister, my best friend and I sat in the rafters at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, as far back as possible, to see Wilbert Harrison, Booker T. & The M.G.’s, and then Creedence Clearwater Revival headlining. It is no coincidence that Creedence sounds like Booker T. & The M.G.’s; the two bands admired one another, and spent time jamming while in Oakland. I recently became aware portions of this concert were videotaped. Memories like this are so sweet; I wish I could reminisce with Mom, and thank her for that night, and everything else.

The second video is one of my favorite YouTube discoveries since starting the music blog, a fine homemade video from Belgium in 2009. “Time Is Tight” is the rare song I could hear every day and never grow tired of. I could wake up every morning, take my marching orders from Booker T. Jones and Steve Cropper, venture out into the world and embrace the day. Duck Dunn passed away in 2012, and Al Jackson, Jr., the “Human Timekeeper”, was murdered in his home in 1975. All four men are masters of rhythm, and legends of popular music.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s Song Notes:

1. My version of “Green Onions (Live)” is hard to find. It can be found on the 2-CD set Concert For The Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

2. I have two versions of “Soul Limbo” and “Time Is Tight”. The best mix of “Soul Limbo” can be found on the album Soul Limbo. The monaural version of “Time Is Tight” is best and worth finding, but is not currently available on iTunes.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s Songs

Time Is Tight, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★★★
Green Onions, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★★★
Soul Limbo, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★★★

Groovin’, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★★
Green Onions (Live), Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★★

Soul Dressing, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★
Slim Jenkin’s Place, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★
Over Easy, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★
Melting Pot, Booker T. & The M.G.’s ★★

I Got A Woman, Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Comin’ Home Baby, Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Hang ‘Em High, Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Behave Yourself, Booker T. & The M.G.’s
Hip Hug-Her, Booker T. & The M.G.’s

Related Songs:

The following songs feature most or all members of Booker T. & The M.G.’s, also known as the Stax Records rhythm section:

(I Love) Lucy, Albert King ★★
Oh, Pretty Woman, Albert King ★★
Laundromat Blues, Albert King ★★
Crosscut Saw, Albert King ★★
Kansas City, Albert King ★★★
The Hunter, Albert King
As The Years Go Passing By, Albert King ★★★
Born Under A Bad Sign, Albert King ★★

As The Years Go Passing By (Live), Boz Scaggs ★★★★

Gee Whiz, Look At His Eyes, Carla Thomas
B-A-B-Y, Carla Thomas
I’ll Bring It On Home To You, Carla Thomas

Please Uncle Sam (Send Back My Man), The Charmels ★★
As Long As I’ve Got You, The Charmels

Knock On Wood, Eddie Floyd ★★★★
Big Bird, Eddie Floyd
Love Is A Doggone Good Thing, Eddie Floyd
I’ve Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do), Eddie Floyd ★★

I Got To Love Somebody’s Baby, Johnnie Taylor
Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One), Johnnie Taylor ★★
Who’s Makin’ Love, Johnnie Taylor ★★★

What’ll I Do For Satisfaction, Johnny Daye

You Can’t Run Away From Your Heart, Judy Clay

I’m A Big Girl, Mable John
Your Good Thing (Is About To End), Mable John ★★★

Last Night, The Mar-Keys ★★
Sack O’ Woe, The Mar-Keys ★★

(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay, Otis Redding ★★★
(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay (Take 2), Otis Redding ★★★
Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song), Otis Redding
Hard To Handle, Otis Redding ★★
I Can’t Turn You Loose, Otis Redding
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long, Otis Redding ★★★
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (Live), Otis Redding ★★
I’ve Got Dreams To Remember, Otis Redding
I’ve Got Dreams To Remember (Alt), Otis Redding
Love Man, Otis Redding
My Lover’s Prayer, Otis Redding ★★
Pain In My Heart, Otis Redding ★★
Respect, Otis Redding ★★★
Respect (Alt), Otis Redding
Shake, Otis Redding ★★★
That’s How Strong My Love Is, Otis Redding ★★
These Arms Of Mine, Otis Redding
Tramp, Otis Redding & Carla Thomas ★★
Try A Little Tenderness, Otis Redding ★★★
Try A Little Tenderness (Take 1), Otis Redding ★★

I’m Going Home, Prince Conley ★★

You Don’t Know Like I Know, Sam & Dave
Hold On, I’m Comin’, Sam & Dave ★★★
Soul Man, Sam & Dave ★★★★
Soothe Me, Sam & Dave ★★
I Thank You, Sam & Dave ★★
Wrap It Up, Sam & Dave ★★
You Got Me Hummin’, Sam & Dave
When Something Is Wrong Is My Baby, Sam & Dave ★★
Soothe Me (Live), Sam & Dave ★★

You Don’t Miss Your Water, William Bell ★★★
Any Other Way, William Bell
Everybody Loves A Winner, William Bell

In The Midnight Hour, Wilson Pickett ★★★★
Don’t Fight It, Wilson Pickett
Ninety-Nine And A Half (Won’t Do), Wilson Pickett ★★
634-5789, Wilson Pickett

More Related Songs:

Comin’ Home Baby, Mel Tormé ★★

Groovin’, The Rascals ★★★★
Groovin’, Willie Mitchell ★★

I Got A Woman, Ray Charles ★★★★
I Got A Woman, Elvis Presley
I Got A Woman, Jimmy Smith ★★

1. The Beatles

The Beatles are a rock group from Liverpool, England.

Like many British youths growing up in the fifties, the Beatles discovered rock and roll music from the merchant marines returning from America with the latest records, and from progressive commercial radio stations such as Radio Luxembourg. An indifferent student, John Lennon found purpose in life with rock and roll, not just the music of artists like Bill Haley and Chuck Berry, but also the flamboyant style of Elvis Presley. He pleaded with his mother Julia and aunt Mimi for a guitar; surprisingly it was Mimi who yielded and bought John a small Spanish model for £17. John played it constantly, and shortly thereafter started his own band, The Quarrymen.

On July 6th, 1957, Quarrymen played a church dance function. Band member Ivan Vaughan invited his schoolmate Paul McCartney, who impressed the band afterwards with his knowledge and facility with the guitar. In particular, Paul could tune a guitar, something the others had not mastered to that point. Shortly thereafter, Paul was asked to join the band.

“Paul and John formed a close camaraderie, unusual for boys that age. The two-year age difference, which at first seemed insurmountable to them, melted away in their mutual interests and similarities, although on the surface the two boys couldn’t have been more different. Baby-faced Paul was self-righteous, conscientious, and deferential to his elders. John defied authority, was hedonistic, amoral, and enjoyed his role as the outspoken iconoclast.”

— Excerpt from “The Love You Make”, by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines

In early 1958, McCartney brought along his school friend George Harrison to meet John and audition for the band; Harrison joined the band as lead guitarist. Tragedy struck in July, 1958, when John Lennon’s mother Julia was killed by an automobile. This cause a period of relative inactivity, though John and Paul still worked at writing songs together. George left the group to temporarily perform in other bands, though by late 1959 the three guitarists were performing once again as the Quarrymen. Stuart Sutcliffe, a fellow art student of Lennon’s, joined the band as a bass player, though he was a better artist than a musician.

The Reeperbahn and Brian Epstein

Two major events in the band’s history helped fulfill their destiny. Between August, 1960 and December, 1962, the band’s booking agent, Allan Williams, arranged a series of engagements in Hamburg, Germany. During this period, the band performed numerous residencies at clubs in the Reeperbahn, the city’s red-light district known for its nightclubs and sex trade. The band recruited Pete Best to be the band’s drummer during this grueling period. The band endured squalid living arrangements, and were required to perform several hours each night, seven days a week. When they returned to Liverpool, their musical ability and stage presence had improved dramatically. In July 1961, Stuart Sutcliffe left the band to pursue an art career, and Paul McCartney took over as the full-time bassist.

Brian Epstein was the son of wealthy merchants; his family owned the largest furniture business in Liverpool. A style-conscious, effeminate young man, Epstein struggled mightily to find his place in society, failing to find happiness in school, dress designing, acting, and even the national service, before returning to the family business. Brian was assigned to run the small record division for a new store in Liverpool’s city center, and within a year the North End Music Store (NEMS) grew to occupy two floors and become the largest record store in northern England. One day, a customer asked for a copy of “My Bonnie” by a group called The Beatles. While in Hamburg, the band had backed Tony Sheridan in a recording session. While researching the origin of the record, Epstein learned the Beatles performed lunchtime shows daily at the nearby Cavern Club. He visited the rowdy downstairs club, and though he felt out of place in his tailored suit and tie, he was smitten by the handsome and energetic young men. Epstein obsessively promoted “My Bonnie” in his store, and pursued a new goal in his life — managing The Beatles.

The group dismissed Allan Williams and hired Epstein to conduct the band’s affairs. Epstein booked the band at larger concert venues. He insisted the band wear matching suits to clean up their appearance, rather than the leather outfits they preferred. Most importantly, as the owner of a large record store, he had connections to British record companies. Still, success did not come easy. A first demo session with Decca Records was deemed a failure, and afterwards all but one recording company turned them down. That company was Parlophone Records, a subsidiary of EMI Records best known for producing comedy albums. Parlophone producer George Martin heard the Decca auditions and wanted to meet the band. The first EMI recording sessions, conducted in June, 1962, were once again a disappointment. Martin suggested that Pete Best’s loud, primitive drumming was unacceptable, and in August, 1962, before their next recording session, Brian Epstein was tasked with the unpopular job of firing Pete Best. Lennon and McCartney then offered the job to Ringo Starr, the top drummer in town, and the drummer for local favorites Rory Storm & The Hurricanes. He accepted when they offered him a £5 per week raise.

the-beatles-granger

Wikipedia Biography of The Beatles
The Official Beatles Website
The Beatles Rarity Website
The Beatles Bible – A Comprehensive Fan Website


John Lennon (1940-1980)
, rhythm guitar, vocals, primary songwriter
Paul McCartney (b. 1942), bass, vocals, primary songwriter
George Harrison (1943-2001), lead guitar, vocals, songwriter
Ringo Starr (aka Richard Starkey)(b. 1940), drums, vocals


Brian Epstein (1934-1967)
, manager
George Martin (b. 1926), producer, arranger, composer, engineer, musician
Billy Preston (1946-2006), keyboards

The Swift Rise to Stardom

By the spring of 1964, The Beatles were the most popular and influential music act in the English speaking world.  Over the course of 1963, their popularity spread through Great Britain and western Europe, beginning with their first #1 hit song (“Please Please Me”) and culminating with a November appearance at the Royal Command Performance.  In one of the great acts of defiance in rock history, John Lennon suggests the different ways the audience show their appreciation, before launching into their closing song, “Twist And Shout”.

Early Beatles records and concerts featured many “cover” songs, those written by other composers, but soon they compiled a fine collection of their own songs.    John and Paul developed a knack for writing love songs with clever, complex chord structures and melodies.   The band’s live performances generated a hysterical reaction from their female fans, who screamed their approval in loud unison.  The height of “Beatlemania” intensity is captured in this video of the brilliant “She Loves You”:

“The Beatles arrived full-fledged. You could argue that they are more sophisticated as the years went by, but not that they got a whole lot “better” because rock and roll doesn’t get better than this. “She Loves You” is the Beatles song with the “Yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus that nonbelievers made fun of when they first hit the States. Of course, any rock fan would understand that the exuberance of “yeah, yeah, yeah” is the whole essence of the form. As millions took it to heart, it was “She Loves You” more than any other record which established the Beatles as the soul of pop culture.”

— Dave Marsh, “The Heart of Rock and Soul”

Amazon.com Link to “The Heart of Rock ad Soul”, by Dave Marsh

They were, in a word, adorable.  In my lifetime, no other rock band elicits this reaction from the girls.  Handsome and clean cut, they played sweet, smart, rocking music, with a hint of menace bubbling under the surface.  Elvis Presley’s early career is the only comparison.  He achieved massive popularity seemingly overnight, and young women would scream their approval every time Elvis wiggled a little, but the Beatles endured constant, ear-splitting screams throughout their short concerts, a phenomenon they soon grew tired of. But in 1963, if you were lucky, it was still possible to see them perform without the screams.

The Beatles made their first trip to the United States in early 1964, a ten day tour that included two appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, a popular Sunday night variety show. On February 9th, over seventy million people tuned into the first program, the highest percentage of American households ever tuned into one television program. Once home in Britain, the band was given seven weeks in their breakneck schedule to write music and star in a motion picture.

A Hard Day’s Night

A Hard Day’s Night was released in July of 1964, and was a surprise hit, achieving financial success and critical acclaim. It remains one of my favorite movies of all-time. Second only to my father, the Beatles are my idols. Ever since my mother started buying Beatles records in 1964, I’ve wanted to be like the Beatles as portrayed in A Hard Day’s Night. It left a powerful imprint about the way life should be.

“Many critics attended the movie and prepared to condescend, but the movie could not be dismissed: It was so joyous and original that even the early reviews acknowledged it as something special. After more than three decades, it has not aged and is not dated; it stands outside its time, its genre and even rock. It is one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies.

In 1964, what we think of as “The ’60s” had not yet really emerged from the embers of the 1950s. Perhaps this was the movie that sounded the first note of the new decade–the opening chord on George Harrison’s new 12-string guitar. The film was so influential in its androgynous imagery that untold thousands of young men walked into the theater with short haircuts, and their hair started growing during the movie and didn’t get cut again until the 1970s.

The most powerful quality evoked by “A Hard Day’s Night” is liberation. The long hair was just the superficial sign of that. An underlying theme is the difficulty establishment types have in getting the Beatles to follow orders. (For “establishment,” read uptight conventional middle-class 1950s values.) Although their manager (Norman Rossington) tries to control them and their TV director (Victor Spinetti) goes berserk because of their improvisations during a live TV broadcast, they act according to the way they feel.

When Ringo grows thoughtful, he wanders away from the studio, and a recording session has to wait until he returns. When the boys are freed from their “job,” they run like children in an open field, and it is possible that scene (during “Can’t Buy Me Love”) snowballed into all the love-ins, be-ins and happenings in the park of the later ’60s. The notion of doing your own thing lurks within every scene.

When a film is strikingly original, its influence shapes so many others that you sometimes can’t see the newness in the first one. Godard’s jump cuts in “Breathless” (1960) turned up in every TV ad. Truffaut’s freeze frame at the end of “The 400 Blows” (1959) became a cliche. Richard Lester’s innovations in “A Hard Day’s Night” have become familiar; because the style, the subject and the stars are so suited to one another, the movie hasn’t become dated. It’s filled with the exhilaration of four musicians who were having fun and creating at the top of their form and knew it.”

— Roger Ebert, “Great Movie: A Hard Day’s Night”

The Mersey Beat

The Beatles retired as public performers in 1966; the touring became counterproductive to the greater goal of making music. As great and popular as the band’s early music is, most critics believe it is the second half of their career which yielded the greatest music. I agree to an extent; a quick perusal of my song ratings indicates I consider Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band the two best albums, with A Hard Day’s Night a close third. But there’s something special about the early records. Happy, uplifting dance music, with ringing guitars and bright harmonies from deep in the heart of England — the Mersey Beat. Producer George Martin proved to be the perfect collaborator; his expertise at producing different types of audio recordings served them beautifully through their career. Early Beatles records sound unlike anything else; the sound jumps off the CD grooves. John Lennon is especially strong in the early days, both as a singer and a rhythm guitarist. Songs like “All My Loving”, “And I Love Her” and “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” still rank among the best examples of rhythm guitar playing in pop music.

As important as the Beatles were to me, I don’t remember seeing them on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I’m not sure why; even though I was only five years old, it seems I would remember. I’m not sure we watched. As I age, fewer early childhood details remain in the memory banks. I do know that the school year of 1963-4 was an important year. I entered first grade well ahead of the other kids, having already learned to read, write and do simple mathematics. I was deemed a “gifted” child, and after a few weeks, I was skipped into the second grade, though I was already one of the youngest children in my grade.  I had just turned six. Later that year, I developed chronic, severe ear problems.  The decision was made to have my tonsils and adenoids taken out. After surgery, I started to hemorrhage, and for a short time the doctors had some difficulty stopping the bleeding. I was in the hospital for a week or so, and then home for another week.  During the week at home, I completed over a hundred pages, about one-third of our second grade math exercise book, in one day, and finished the book in April. Those were the glory days; maybe it’s been all downhill since.

Growing up, I never felt fitting in with the other students was a problem.  I always felt accepted, though being the youngest kid in class by more than a year robbed me of some opportunities I otherwise might have had. I went on a couple dates, and made out with girls a few times here and there, but I was a year and a half younger than most of the girls, and never had a steady girlfriend until after high school. I was a late bloomer in sports, too; I made huge strides from a tiny fourteen year old sophomore playing pee wee basketball, to a skinny sixteen year old star guard just beginning to develop his speed and strength. After high school, I took a year off from school before advancing to college.  I wanted to keep playing basketball, and when I arrived at school, I quickly fell in love for the first time.  Even the lovely Andrea was ten months older. Occasionally I question the wisdom of my parents, allowing me to skip first grade. I never got to be the big star in high school, the big man on campus, which was a real possibility had I stayed put. Did I lose confidence in the process? Or did the transition to competing with older students push me to greater levels of achievement? In both cases, the answer is probably yes.

The Stay At Home Beatles

The Beatles transitioned from their backbreaking schedule of touring and performing, fueled by alcohol, cigarettes and amphetamines, to a life of fame and privilege. A great deal of energy was still devoted to music and recording. They became seekers of greater truths and knowledge, and started to use mind-altering drugs. Beatles For Sale and Help! were created in a haze of marijuana smoke, and the use of LSD informs much of their subsequent work. In particular, John was enamored with LSD and became somewhat dependent on its mind-expanding properties. His overindulgence made him less energetic as their career progressed, and a gradual transition took place in which Paul became the more productive and impressive contributor. John was always my favorite Beatle growing up, through college and into adulthood, but today I slightly prefer Paul’s overall contribution. This does not suggest that John’s later work is substandard; songs like “Revolution” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” are among his best songs. Their camaraderie was largely based on a fierce and competitive rivalry. Paul was a hard worker, who developed into a virtuoso bassist, which is evident starting with the “Paperback Writer b/w Rain” single from 1966.  He was a competent drummer and guitarist as well, and his domineering desire to produce and excel was sometimes off-putting to his band mates.  Both John and George were a little more laid back, and a more focused on performing as a four piece band.

So far, little has been said about George and Ringo.  Both played key roles in helping the Beatles be the greatest band of their era.  George had a knack for inventive, short guitar solos, and his songwriting ability improved with age. By the time the band folded in 1970, he was a major contributor, and his song “Something” is considered by many the top song of Abbey Road. His subservient role within the band, given one or sometimes two songs per album, gnawed at him.  After the Beatles disbanded, he received critical acclaim for his album All Things Must Pass. Ringo was the quintessential support drummer, providing a syncopated beat without fanfare. He disliked the concept of soloing, and with the exception of passages in “Birthday” and “The End”, was never featured in the foreground. Though never considered a great drummer, Ringo gave the band exactly what they needed, musically and emotionally. In any great team, there is synergy among the players.  Each player must complement the others.  George and Ringo excelled at complementing the two dominant singer/songwriters.

The Love You Make

To prepare for this profile, I read “The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story Of The Beatles”, by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines. I inherited this book from my mother, who bought it in 1983 when it was released. Peter Brown was part of the Beatles’ inner circle.  He was an assistant and confidant to Brian Epstein, a friend to all four Beatles, and helped direct the band’s business affairs for several years. The book is still considered the best inside look at the personal lives of the band, but it has a tabloid quality that some surviving members considered a betrayal of trust, and Brown alienated himself by publishing it.

Amazon.com Link to “The Love You Make”, by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines

Brown and Gaines capture the happiness and excitement of the band as their popularity grows into massive stardom, but overall the story is quite depressing.  There are stories of greedy businessmen and the signing of bad contracts.  There are opportunistic charaltans, too; everybody wants a piece of the Beatles, and the naive young men, including Brian Epstein, allow much of it to happen. The Beatles engage in heavy drug and alcohol use, promiscuity, and ostentatious displays of wealth, spending beyond their means. Like many poor boys before them who got rich, they reaped the benefits and paid the heavy price for the trappings of success. Given the details shared in the book, it’s a wonder they maintained such a pleasant public image. But that was fifty years ago, when the papers tended to give major celebrities a bit more latitude. This is not to suggest that anyone in the band’s inner circle is guilty of bad intent.  As their wealth and power grew, jealousy, ambition and ultimately romantic love pulled the band apart only nine years after Ringo joined the band.

Brian Epstein’s demise is particularly painful. He is portrayed as a tortured young man, with the dual curse of being both Jewish and homosexual, well before homosexuality was even marginally acceptable. He seeks out companionship in anonymous and masochistic ways, and when introduced to amphetamines by the band, he becomes hooked, and starts to use barbiturates to sleep at night. That combination often proves to be deadly.  Epstein died peacefully in his bedroom on August 27th, 1967; he was thirty-three years old. Although the band never fully accepted Epstein, being a member of upper class society, his death caused their business affairs to spiral into chaos for some time.

The final chapter of the book describes John Lennon’s assassination in considerable detail. It gives some background of the assassin Mark David Chapman and how he planned the murder. There are descriptions of the two meetings between Chapman and the Lennons: at 5:00 PM, John signed his new Double Fantasy album for the deranged fan, and at 10:50 PM Chapman shot Lennon five times, witnessed by his wife Yoko Ono, in front of their apartment building in New York City. The day was December 8th, 1980. My girlfriend Andrea turned twenty-three that day, and I was playing a college basketball game against Cal State University – Bakersfield when it happened.

Three days later, I had one of my most triumphant moments as a basketball player.  We traveled to Palo Alto, my hometown, where we played against Stanford University. I was a starting guard, a senior in college, and one of the team captains.  The Stanford “Marching” Band played a sad, beautiful rendition of “Yesterday” during the warmup period. Our team played well, we took an early lead, but our smaller team of non-scholarship players finally succumbed to the big university in a close game.  The score was 68-62.

I worked hard to win the starting position on the team that year, and for the first time in my life, stayed completely free of drugs and alcohol during the fall quarter leading up to basketball season.  I was in great shape, and playing the best basketball of my life.  But during the successful first weekend of the season, I allowed myself to have a few beers with my teammates afterwards. Things were still going satisfactory the day we nearly beat Stanford, but on December 26th, during the lonely winter break, I stayed up all night with acquaintances, high on whiskey and cocaine, and the following night I was tired and sluggish for an important game.  I played terribly, and missed a key free throw late in the game. Five days later, two hours into 1981, at a teammate’s New Year’s party, I drunkenly snuggled up to the family’s guard dog, and the dog bit me in the face. I was taken to the hospital and required more than twenty stitches to close the wounds. After that, I was lost.  I fell out of shape recovering from the wounds, and never regained a significant period of sobriety until years later. My poor father stopped keeping the scrapbook he so lovingly put together for years. I didn’t get to play as much, and only had one good game afterwards; while playing in San Luis Obispo, I turned to my father watching in the stands, pointed to him and yelled, “This is for you.” It was my first major mistake in life, and perhaps the biggest one. I’m not sure my parents ever trusted me after that; the coaches most certainly did not. In hindsight I’ve come to believe that these mistakes in life begin to add up, and sap a person’s self-confidence. If ever given a chance to speak to a young student-athlete about drugs, this is the story I would tell. Don’t make the first big mistake.

Did John Lennon’s death had anything to do with my fall from grace that winter?  Why did I sabotage my own success? John Lennon was still my favorite musician at the time, and his senseless killing was so very sad. But I can’t argue that was a catalyst for my downfall. I was young and naive, and though I was just beginning to understand that cocaine and alcohol were horrible for me, I didn’t know that I wasn’t able to stop when I needed to prioritize my own goals and accomplishments.  Sometimes I chose that physical sensation of pleasure at the exact wrong time.

Gratitude

It seems the Beatles have become passé — I often steer conversations to popular music, and rare is the occasion when somebody else mentions the Beatles. People cite bands like the Rolling Stones, or Led Zeppelin, or Pink Floyd as a favorite far more often than the Beatles. Maybe the Mersey Beat is too sweet and earnest a sound to endorse.  Everybody likes what sounds rough and cool; never mind the Beatles came from tougher circumstances than most others. The world is a harder and less optimistic place than it was fifty years ago. The Beatles are still, and always will be, the greatest rock and roll band of all-time, by a considerable margin. The question is whether they are the greatest pop musicians of the 20th century. Based on my five years of study, I’d suggest that Louis Armstrong is the most influential musician, Duke Ellington the greatest bandleader, with Lennon/McCartney and Bob Dylan as the greatest songwriters. Dylan is a story teller from the folk tradition, brilliant stories with simple melodies and chord structures.  Beatles songs echo the traditions of pop standards, with less elaborate stories bolstered by clever melodies and chord changes. Dylan is hard to characterize; his contribution is far removed from the mainstream of popular music. Both Dylan and the Beatles benefited from living at the right time; the Western world experienced a renaissance of ideas in the sixties. Before the Beatles, there weren’t any songs on the radio about the Tibetan Book of the Dead (“Tomorrow Never Knows”) or singing about the neglected concerns and fates of the elderly (“Eleanor Rigby”).

I’m grateful to have lived when I did.  To have the Beatles come along when you’re five years old, singing clear and beautifully about love.  Producer George Martin’s now primitive recording equipment retains the human essence of the performances. That they were able to create the various sound effects featured on their recordings is a testament to hard work and ingenuity. I arrived before the business of music started to homogenize popular music in earnest. The human imperfection of great music can still be found today, but rarely will it be found on your corporate radio station. There was huge social upheaval in the world fifty years ago; the civil rights movement was in full swing, and the people of the United States would soon question the wisdom of fighting communism in southeast Asia. Looking back, it still seems the world was a far happier and more optimistic place than it is today. Maybe I was just a happy kid growing up in a nice town.

I’m grateful for having completed the first draft of my music project. I’m going to add a few more artists, and over the next year or so I’ll edit the earlier entries to reflect the improvements I’ve made.  It feels great to finish.

I’ve made lots of mistakes, though I always had the best intentions. My conscience is clear in that regard. I was fifty years old when I started the “big countdown”.  Now I’m fifty-five, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get to enjoy another twenty. More than anything, I want twenty more years to enjoy life and see what unfolds. I’m sure I’ll get many things right moving forward, and I’ll keep refining the iPod collection.

“All these places had their moments,
With lovers and friends,
I still can recall.
Some are dead and some are living,
In my life I’ve loved them all.”

—  John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Beatles Song Notes:

1. On April 4th, 1964, the Beatles held the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, by far the greatest dominance of the pop music business ever witnessed.

2. Two songs stand out as underrated. When asked about “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party”, John Lennon was brief, saying that it was a very personal song.  I imagine it had something to do with his relationship with his first wife Cynthia. The song has a country and western sound, as did many of their songs in that era.  The other great underrated song is “She’s Leaving Home” from Sgt. Pepper’s.  Not strictly a Beatles performance, Paul provided most of the words and melody, and John helps out with the vocals and a few connecting phrases. The song was recorded with a string choir, and is among the greatest Beatles compositions. Composer Ned Rorem described “She’s Leaving Home” as “equal to any song that Schubert ever wrote.”

3. After the Beatles disbanded, John Lennon offered opinions on many of their songs.  The opinion I disagree with most is his dismissal of “And Your Bird Can Sing” as a “throwaway”.  While I appreciate the double entendre of “you don’t get me”, the highlight is the music, with Paul, George and Ringo making rather complex contributions to an otherwise simple song. One of the last examples of just the Fab Four playing an upbeat, two minute song.

4.  The sweetness of the Beatles’ early music belies the toughness of their upbringing.  All of them grew up in lower middle class neighborhoods, except for Ringo, whose family was very poor. John was the only one who typically had spending money.  They were really tough kids, and not averse to the occasional scuffle. Late at night, during a party to celebrate Paul’s twenty-first birthday, John flew into a drunken rage and attacked Bob Woller, a local disk jockey, breaking three of his ribs and sending him to the hospital, after Woller suggested Lennon and Brian Epstein were queer.¹

Beatles Songs:

Please Please Me

I Saw Her Standing There, The Beatles ★★★★
Misery, The Beatles ★★
Anna (Go To Him), The Beatles ★★★
Chains, The Beatles
Boys, The Beatles
Ask Me Why, The Beatles
Please Please Me, The Beatles ★★★
Love Me Do, The Beatles
P.S. I Love You, The Beatles
Baby It’s You, The Beatles ★★
Do You Want To Know A Secret, The Beatles ★★★
A Taste Of Honey, The Beatles ★★
There’s A Place, The Beatles ★★★
Twist And Shout, The Beatles ★★★

Note: Monaural versions of “I Saw Her Standing There”, Chains”, “Ask Me Why” and “Please Please Me” are also included in the collection.

With The Beatles

It Won’t Be Long, The Beatles
All I’ve Got To Do, The Beatles ★★
All My Loving, The Beatles ★★★★★
Don’t Bother Me, The Beatles ★★
Till There Was You, The Beatles ★★★
Roll Over Beethoven, The Beatles ★★★★
You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, The Beatles ★★
I Wanna Be Your Man, The Beatles
Devil In Her Heart, The Beatles
Money (That’s What I Want), The Beatles

Note: Monaural versions of “All My Loving”, Till There Was You”, “Roll Over Beethoven” and “Money (That’s What I Want) are also included in the collection.

The Beatles’ Second Album

Devil In Her Heart (Mono), The Beatles
I Call Your Name (Mono), The Beatles ★★★

A Hard Day’s Night

A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles ★★
I Should Have Known Better, The Beatles ★★
If I Fell, The Beatles ★★★★
I’m Happy Just To Dance With You, The Beatles ★★★★
And I Love Her, The Beatles ★★★★
Tell Me Why, The Beatles
Can’t Buy Me Love, The Beatles ★★★★
Any Time At All, The Beatles
I’ll Cry Instead, The Beatles ★★
Things We Said Today, The Beatles
You Can’t Do That, The Beatles ★★★
I’ll Be Back, The Beatles

Note: Monaural versions of “If I Fell”, “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”” are also included in the collection.

A Hard Day’s Night – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I’ll Cry Instead (Alt), The Beatles ★★

Beatles For Sale

No Reply, The Beatles
I’m A Loser, The Beatles ★★★
Baby’s In Black, The Beatles
Rock And Roll Music, The Beatles ★★
I’ll Follow The Sun, The Beatles ★★
Mr. Moonlight, The Beatles
Kansas City/Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!, The Beatles
Words Of Love, The Beatles
Honey Don’t, The Beatles ★★
Every Little Thing, The Beatles ★★
I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party, The Beatles ★★★★
What You’re Doing, The Beatles
Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, The Beatles

Help!

Help!, The Beatles ★★★
The Night Before, The Beatles ★★★
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, The Beatles ★★★
I Need You, The Beatles
Another Girl, The Beatles ★★
You’re Going To Lose That Girl, The Beatles ★★★
Ticket To Ride, The Beatles ★★★★
Act Naturally, The Beatles ★★
You Like Me Too Much, The Beatles
I’ve Just Seen A Face, The Beatles ★★
Yesterday, The Beatles ★★★★

Rubber Soul

Drive My Car, The Beatles ★★
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), The Beatles ★★★
You Won’t See Me, The Beatles ★★★
Nowhere Man, The Beatles ★★★★★
Think For Yourself, The Beatles
The Word, The Beatles ★★
Michelle, The Beatles ★★★
Girl, The Beatles
I’m Looking Through You, The Beatles ★★
In My Life, The Beatles ★★★
If I Needed Someone, The Beatles ★★

Revolver

Taxman, The Beatles ★★★
Eleanor Rigby, The Beatles ★★
I’m Only Sleeping, The Beatles ★★★
Love You To, The Beatles ★★
Here, There And Everywhere, The Beatles ★★★★★
Yellow Submarine, The Beatles ★★
She Said She Said, The Beatles ★★★
Good Day Sunshine, The Beatles ★★
And Your Bird Can Sing, The Beatles ★★★★
For No One, The Beatles ★★
Doctor Robert, The Beatles
I Want To Tell You, The Beatles
Got To Get You Into My Life, The Beatles ★★★★★
Tomorrow Never Knows, The Beatles ★★★★

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles ★★
With A Little Help From My Friends, The Beatles ★★★★★
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles ★★★★
Getting Better, The Beatles ★★★
Fixing A Hole, The Beatles ★★
She’s Leaving Home, The Beatles ★★★★
For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite, The Beatles
Within You Without You, The Beatles ★★★
When I’m Sixty-Four, The Beatles ★★
Lovely Rita, The Beatles
Good Morning Good Morning, The Beatles
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise), The Beatles
A Day In The Life, The Beatles ★★★★

Magical Mystery Tour

The Fool On The Hill, The Beatles ★★
Flying, The Beatles
Your Mother Should Know, The Beatles
I Am The Walrus, The Beatles ★★★
Hello, Goodbye, The Beatles
Strawberry Fields Forever, The Beatles ★★★
Penny Lane, The Beatles ★★★
Baby, You’re A Rich Man, The Beatles
All You Need Is Love, The Beatles ★★★

The Beatles (White Album)

Back In The U.S.S.R., The Beatles ★★
Dear Prudence, The Beatles ★★
Glass Onion, The Beatles
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, The Beatles ★★
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill, The Beatles
While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles ★★★★
Happiness Is A Warm Gun, The Beatles ★★
Martha My Dear, The Beatles ★★★
I’m So Tired, The Beatles ★★★
Blackbird, The Beatles ★★★★
Piggies, The Beatles
Don’t Pass Me By, The Beatles
Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?, The Beatles
I Will, The Beatles ★★★
Julia, The Beatles ★★★★
Birthday, The Beatles ★★
Yer Blues, The Beatles ★★
Mother Nature’s Son, The Beatles ★★★
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey, The Beatles ★★
Sexy Sadie, The Beatles
Helter Skelter, The Beatles ★★
Long, Long, Long, The Beatles
Revolution 1, The Beatles ★★★★
Honey Pie, The Beatles
Cry Baby Cry, The Beatles
Good Night, The Beatles ★★

Yellow Submarine

It’s All Too Much, The Beatles
All Together Now, The Beatles
Hey Bulldog, The Beatles ★★

Abbey Road

Come Together, The Beatles ★★★
Something, The Beatles ★★★
Oh! Darling, The Beatles
Octopus’s Garden, The Beatles
I Want You (She’s So Heavy), The Beatles
Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles ★★
Because, The Beatles ★★
You Never Give Me Your Money, The Beatles ★★★
Sun King, The Beatles ★★
Mean Mr. Mustard, The Beatles
Polythene Pam, The Beatles
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, The Beatles ★★
Golden Slumbers, The Beatles ★★★
Carry That Weight, The Beatles ★★★
The End, The Beatles ★★★
Her Majesty, The Beatles

Let It Be

Two Of Us, The Beatles ★★★
I Me Mine, The Beatles
Dig It, The Beatles
Let It Be, The Beatles ★★★
I’ve Got A Feeling, The Beatles
One After 909, The Beatles
For You Blue, The Beatles
Get Back (Alt), The Beatles ★★

Let It Be… Naked

Across The Universe (Alt), The Beatles ★★

Past Masters, Volumes 1 & 2

From Me To You, The Beatles ★★
Thank You Girl, The Beatles
She Loves You, The Beatles ★★★★★
I’ll Get You, The Beatles
I Want To Hold Your Hand, The Beatles ★★
This Boy, The Beatles ★★★
Sie Liebt Dich, The Beatles
Long Tall Sally, The Beatles
I Call Your Name, The Beatles ★★★
Slow Down, The Beatles
Matchbox, The Beatles
I Feel Fine, The Beatles ★★★★
She’s A Woman, The Beatles
Yes It Is, The Beatles ★★
I’m Down, The Beatles ★★★
Day Tripper, The Beatles ★★★
We Can Work It Out, The Beatles ★★
Paperback Writer, The Beatles ★★★
Rain, The Beatles ★★★
Lady Madonna, The Beatles
The Inner Light, The Beatles ★★
Hey Jude, The Beatles ★★★
Revolution, The Beatles ★★★★
Get Back, The Beatles ★★
Don’t Let Me Down, The Beatles ★★★★
The Ballad Of John And Yoko, The Beatles ★★★
Old Brown Shoe, The Beatles
Across The Universe, The Beatles ★★★
Let It Be (Single), The Beatles ★★★
You Know My Name (Look Up The Number), The Beatles

Note: The monaural version of “From Me To You” from an older version of Past Masters, Volume 1 is included in the collection.

Unsurpassed Masters

Volume 1
There’s A Place (Take 5-6), The Beatles ★★★
I Saw Her Standing There (Take 6-9), The Beatles ★★★
A Taste Of Honey (Take 6, Track 2), The Beatles
From Me To You (Take 1-2), The Beatles

Volume 3
All You Need Is Love (Alt), The Beatles ★★
Flying (Alt), The Beatles

Volume 4
Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me And My Monkey (Alt), The Beatles ★★

Volume 5
You Never Give Me Your Money (Alt), The Beatles
Let It Be (Take 27), The Beatles ★★★

Volume 6
Thank You Girl (Take 1), The Beatles

Volume 7
Do You Want To Know A Secret (Take 7), The Beatles ★★
Misery (Take 1), The Beatles
One After 909 (Alt), The Beatles
Can’t Buy Me Love (Take 2-3), The Beatles ★★★★
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, The Beatles

Live At The BBC

I’ll Be On My Way (Live), The Beatles
Thank You Girl (Live), The Beatles
That’s All Right (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Carol (Live), The Beatles
Soldier Of Love (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Crying Waiting, Hoping (Live), The Beatles ★★
You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me (Live), The Beatles ★★
To Know Her Is To Love Her (Live), The Beatles
A Taste Of Honey (Live), The Beatles ★★
Memphis, Tennessee (Live), The Beatles ★★
Can’t Buy Me Love (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Till There Was You (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Roll Over Beethoven (Live), The Beatles ★★
All My Loving (Live), The Beatles ★★
Sweet Little Sixteen (Live), The Beatles
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes (Live), The Beatles
Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees) (Live), The Beatles
I Just Don’t Understand (Live), The Beatles
I Feel Fine (Live), The Beatles ★★
I’m A Loser (Live), The Beatles ★★★★
Ticket To Ride (Live), The Beatles ★★
I Got To Find My Baby (Live), The Beatles

On Air: Live At The BBC, Volume 2

I Want To Hold Your Hand (Live), The Beatles
If I Fell (Live), The Beatles ★★
And I Love Her (Live), The Beatles ★★
This Boy (Live), The Beatles

The Anthology Series

Volume 1
Ain’t She Sweet, The Beatles
Cry For A Shadow, The Beatles
Three Cool Cats, The Beatles
Please Please Me (Alt), The Beatles
I’ll Get You (Live), The Beatles
I Saw Her Standing There (Live), The Beatles ★★
From Me To You (Live), The Beatles
Money (That’s What I Want) (Live), The Beatles
She Loves You (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Twist And Shout (Live), The Beatles ★★
All My Loving (Live), The Beatles ★★
You Can’t Do That (Alt), The Beatles ★★
I Wanna Be Your Man (Alt), The Beatles
Long Tall Sally (Alt), The Beatles
Kansas City/Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!, The Beatles

Volume 2
Yesterday (Alt), The Beatles ★★
Yesterday (Live), The Beatles
Help! (Live), The Beatles ★★
I’m Looking Through You (Alt), The Beatles ★★★

Volume 3
Honey Pie (Alt), The Beatles
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da, The Beatles
Good Night (Alt), The Beatles ★★
Cry Baby Cry (Alt), The Beatles
Sexy Sadie (Alt), The Beatles
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Alt), The Beatles ★★
Mother Nature’s Son (Alt), The Beatles ★★
I’m So Tired (Alt), The Beatles ★★
I Will (Alt), The Beatles
Two Of Us (Alt), The Beatles ★★★
The Long And Winding Road (Alt), The Beatles ★★
All Things Must Pass, The Beatles ★★
Come Together (Take 1), The Beatles ★★
Come And Get It, The Beatles
Oh! Darling (Alt), The Beatles
Octopus’s Garden (Alt), The Beatles

The Artifacts Series

The Early Years
Don’t Bother Me (Take 10), The Beatles

Beatlemania
I’m Down (Live), The Beatles

Inner Revolution
Across The Universe (Take 2), The Beatles ★★
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Take 1), The Beatles ★★★
Goodbye (Demo), The Beatles

Get Back To Abbey Road
Her Majesty (Take 3), The Beatles

Youngblood
There’s A Place (Take 1), The Beatles ★★★
Dream Baby (Live), The Beatles

Ticket To Ride
1965: The Beatles Third Christmas Record, The Beatles

Alone Together
Blackbird (Take 32), The Beatles ★★★
Dear Prudence (Alt), The Beatles
Helter Skelter (Mono), The Beatles
Julia (Alt), The Beatles ★★

The Longest Road
Don’t Let Me Down (Alt), The Beatles ★★★★

Baby It’s You (CD Single)

Baby It’s You (Live), The Beatles ★★★
I’ll Follow The Sun (Live), The Beatles ★★★
Devil In Her Heart (Live), The Beatles

Free As A Bird (CD Single)

This Boy (Takes 12-13), The Beatles ★★★

The Beatles – Rare Masters

All My Loving (Alt), The Beatles ★★★★★
And I Love Her (Alt), The Beatles ★★★★
I Should Have Known Better (Alt), The Beatles ★★
I’m Only Sleeping (Alt), The Beatles ★★★
Penny Lane (Alt), The Beatles ★★

Related Songs:

Anna (Go To Him), Arthur Alexander ★★★

Chains, The Cookies ★★★

Boys, The Shirelles ★★

Baby It’s You, The Shirelles ★★★
Baby It’s You, Smith ★★

A Taste Of Honey, Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass ★★★

Twist And Shout, The Isley Brothers ★★★

Roll Over Beethoven, Chuck Berry ★★★★★
Roll Over Beethoven, Electric Light Orchestra
Roll Over Beethoven (Live), The Rolling Stones

You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me, The Miracles ★★★★

I Wanna Be Your Man, The Rolling Stones
I Wanna Be Your Man, The Smithereens ★★

Devil In Her Heart, The Donays

Money (That’s What I Want), Barrett Strong ★★★

And I Love Him, Esther Phillips ★★

Rock And Roll Music, Chuck Berry ★★★

Mr. Moonlight, Dr. Feelgood & The Interns ★★★

Kansas City/Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!, Little Richard ★★
Kansas City (Alt), Little Richard ★★
Kansas City (Live), James Brown ★★
Kansas City, Albert King ★★★
Kansas City, Wilbert Harrison ★★★★

Long Tall Sally, Little Richard ★★★
Long Tall Sally (Alt), Little Richard ★★

Words Of Love, Buddy Holly & The Crickets ★★

Honey Don’t, Carl Perkins ★★★★
Honey Don’t (Alt), Carl Perkins ★★

I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party, Rosanne Cash ★★

Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, Carl Perkins ★★

Act Naturally, Buck Owens ★★★★

Slow Down, Larry Williams

Matchbox, Carl Perkins ★★★★
Matchbox (Alt), Carl Perkins ★★★★
Match Box Blues, Blind Lemon Jefferson ★★

We Can Work It Out, Stevie Wonder

Hey Jude, Wilson Pickett ★★★★

Got To Get You Into My Life, Earth, Wind & Fire ★★★

With A Little Help From My Friends, Joe Cocker ★★★★
With A Little Help From My Friends (Live), Joe Cocker ★★

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Elton John
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, William Shatner

A Day In The Life (Live), Jeff Beck ★★

I Will, Alison Krauss & Union Station ★★

Here Comes The Sun, Richie Havens

That’s All Right, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup ★★★
That’s All Right, Elvis Presley ★★★★

Carol, Chuck Berry ★★
Carol (Live), The Rolling Stones

Soldier Of Love, Arthur Alexander ★★

Crying, Waiting, Hoping, Buddy Holly ★★★
Crying, Waiting, Hoping (Alt), Buddy Holly ★★

Memphis, Tennessee, Chuck Berry ★★★★
Memphis, Tennessee, Lonnie Mack ★★★★★
Memphis, Tennessee, Johnny Rivers ★★★★
Memphis, Tennessee, Elvis Presley
Memphis, Tennessee (Live), The Rolling Stones

Sweet Little Sixteen, Chuck Berry ★★★★
Sweet Little Sixteen (Alt), Chuck Berry ★★★

Lonesome Tears In My Eyes, Johnny Burnette & The Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes, Los Lobos ★★

Nothin’ Shakin’ (But The Leaves On The Trees), Eddie Fontaine ★★★

I Just Don’t Understand, Ann-Margeret ★★

Three Cool Cats, The Coasters ★★★★
Three Cool Cats (Take 11-12), The Coasters ★★★★

Ain’t She Sweet, Gene Austin & Nat Shilkret & His Orchestra

¹ Excerpt from “The Love You Make”, by Peter Brown and Steven Gaines