Could The Beatles have reunited before John’s death?

This question floats around through Beatles fans and rock music circles constantly, probably on a daily bases. Yes, we have no lives.

But really, isn’t the idea that the fabs could have reunited at some point between 1970 and 1980 and done something as magical as what they did in the 1960’s, kind of like believing in Bigfoot or unicorns? Maybe not that outlandish but still highly unlikely. John, Paul, George and Ringo, despite all being earthly present (until December 8, 1980), would have had to work through an Everest sized mountain of conflicts of interest both personal and legal, in order  to reconvene as the Beatles, in order to function and work with the same energy and sense of purpose and be something like they once were.

The cold reality was…

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Vincent Bugliosi 1934-2015

I heard this morning that Vincent Bugliosi, the famed prosecutor who put Charles Manson and his followers away for the awful Tate-La Bianca killings in Los Angeles in 1969, died over the weekend of cancer at the age of 80. While I am in the middle of writing a new Beatles related piece, I thought I’d comment on this current (somewhat Beatles related) bit of news.

I’ve been fascinated by this case since I heard about it, as a 9-year-old in the late 1970’s. It’s kind of like a recurring nightmare that has caused me to read the famed book, Helter Skelter, and seek out further information to understand the case that has haunted me since childhood. The central question to these murders is why? Vincent Bugliosi, the prosecutor pushed one motive on the jury to frame the murders and put Charles Manson at the center of it all. He called the motive “Helter Skelter” and it resonated. I’m not a Helter Skelter defender. Not the song, which I love, but the raison d’etre for the killings. This motive, central to using the conspiracy theory, was used by Vincent Bugliosi to tie Manson, who didn’t actually murder any of the victims, to the crimes and lock him up with the actual murderers. Apparently, Helter Skelter (the motive) was based on the concept that the Beatles playground themed proto-heavy metal track, and the rest of the White Album, supposedly inspired the idea in Charlie and his followers’ minds that an armegeddon like race war was about to take place and  would need to be set in motion by Manson so that he and his followers could go into hiding in the California desert and wait out the war until its conclusion.  Then at which time, Manson supposedly prophecied that the black masses would defeat the white masses, but would be unsuited to rule the new world and would lead them to relinquish their power to Manson, who would them rule over a new and better world. Pretty out there stuff!

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The trials and tribulations of aging singers, part 2.

It’s been eons since I last posted anything and thanks to the encouragement of my friend Willie, have decided to just shake off the rust and get back to it.

For quite a while now, I’ve been thinking about singers and how often, their voices change through the years to the point of not sounding much like what I liked about their voices earlier in their careers. In a previous post, I mentioned how Elton John’s voice today isn’t even remotely in the same ballpark as his voice was back in the 1970’s which is quite sad as it was truly one of the best of that generation’s. Paul McCartney is another whose voice seems to be on the downward slope as witnessed by his less than stellar vocals on “Maybe I’m Amazed” from Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special in February. Paul, admirably, is still aiming high as “Maybe I’m Amazed” is, after all, not an easy song to sing. But it just didn’t sound good hearing all that vocal straining throughout the whole song. Paul’s once syrupy smooth mid to upper mid-range is almost gone now.

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Record Buying: On grading, the market place and other collecting conundrums

In the world of collecting, the subject of condition by experts and novices alike stirs a great deal of conflict for various reasons. For someone such as myself, who has been purchasing new and used vinyl LP’s and singles since the age of five, I’d like to think that my rather large investment of time, energy and money made me a more discerning collector, and later dealer. I’ve also come to the realization through the years, that despite by knowledge, there really is very little exact science and far more subjectivity in this hobby but there are ways to understand the market place better which I feel can make collecting a more fun and happier experience. So it is with this in mind, I’d like to start by giving an overview of grading and condition and their effects on pricing in the market place as well as some little quirks to the hobby.

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Dave Grohl: Surfing The Placid Swells Of Grunge

I have to admit that I’m pretty nonplussed by the long-term success of former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. Since the death of Kurt Cobain back in 1994, Grohl has managed to establish himself, with a long string of successful albums and concert tours, as a go-to nice guy in the world of rock. I freely admit I’m kind of bewildered. I thought after his aptly-titled debut hit record “Foo Fighters” that he put out a string of albums each of which would go on to sell less than the one before it till he was left with a core of devoted fans while the masses would move on the next whatever. Or maybe he could have followed some other muse and became a more substantial artist by tapping a bit deeper into his core and actually push some experimental boundaries. Boy was I wrong. I can’t help being mildly bemused about the huge success of a guy who, admittedly drummed and sang backup quite well, but then was able to transform himself into the leader of a multi-platinum selling band after the death of the more creative,  but self-destructive Nirvana leader, Kurt Cobain.

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The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame: You Wanted The Best?

Every year, the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame nominating committee releases a list of the latest crop of musical acts who might be selected for the next year’s induction into it’s hallowed, (or hollowed?) hall. Among the artists up for consideration in the 2015 ceremony is Green Day, Chic, The Marvelettes, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Bill Withers, Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, NWA, The Smiths, The Spinners, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts,  Lou Reed, Stevie Ray Vaughn, War and Sting. As is often the case, within a microsecond of this announcement, and from just about every single one since the Hall’s inception in 1987, comes a litany of responses, largely of the disgusted variety. These responses typically come from those decrying that their cherished musical heroes have once again been screwed over by the committee and excluded and those that made the list suck far too much to be given the nod.

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At Least The Stones Still Have Charlie Watts

“Would You Let Your Daughter Marry A Rolling Stone?” can now be replaced with “Would You Let Your Insurance Company Insure A Rolling Stone?”

I just came across this article and found nothing of it to be troubling, surprising or disturbing despite the headline.

The Guardian; Rolling Stones Settle Insurance Claim

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Vee Jay Records: Originals Vs. Repros (The Basics)

I was recently asked by a pal about how to tell the difference between legitimate Beatles releases on Vee Jay Records versus counterfeits. Though this could cover a serious amount of ground, I think just a few main pointers might be useful therefore this is by no means a comprehensive list.

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The Rocket Man has landed

Elton John was the first musician I was aware of.  I became conscious of his catchy tunes and wonderfully elastic voice from hearing him on my brother’s cheap record player, my Dad’s stereo and my Mom’s car AM radio. His hits were the the soundtrack of my early childhood, in the early to mid 70’s and I was fascinated with the sound of his records, way beyond my pre-kindergarten existence.  My brother and I had quite a few of Elton’s 45’s from his UNI Records days, then MCA and we had to badger our Mom into buying multiple copies of them, because we wore them all out, because they were really, really good. Elton John’s music has been an anchor throughout my life.

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