Segarini: Music or Nostalgia…Which is It? Part 2 – 21 Beatle Songs I Don’t Mind at All…and 1 I Will Never Tire of Hearing

 

Bob 1967

Earlier this year, on a whim, I posted this sentence in the Status Window on my Facebook Timeline.

“It wouldn’t bother me to never hear another Beatle Record.”

…Apparently, I am The Antichrist.

=0=

Part One of Music or Nostalgia, Which is It? can be found here

I have always been mystified by the reactions of obsessed people when someone (me in this case) doesn’t share their obsession.

Don’t get me wrong. I have my obsessions too, but damned if I could or would get upset or angry if everyone else didn’t share them. After all…they are MY obsessions. Knowing what you love is part of the fabric of a happy and informed life. …and we all have the right to pick and choose our personal favourites without being obligated to demand everyone else embrace them Fanatictoo.

By the same token, we also have the right to dislike, or not be engaged by things that others worship, without fear of an angry mob armed with pitchforks and torches careening through the village streets to burn down our castles and hoist our heads on a stick.

=0=

I understand hating War…and Cancer…and Violence…and Torturing Animals, etc, but I don’t understand hating hot dogs, hip-hop, Michael Buble, or plaid. I also am tired of hearing people say that everything they ‘hate’ is ‘crap’.

It is not ‘crap’.

It is just not to your taste.

And really…hating something as innocuous and harmless as a pop singer, a slovenly Mayor, or a brand of beer seems a bit harsh…what have they ever done to you?

=0=

grumpymenPeople who know me well know that I am an opinionated, dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon, and proud of it.

I know what I like, I know what I don’t like, and I am content with continuing to search for MORE things to like, and in so doing, discover MORE things to avoid.

I will find my own path, and I will mark my own territory…and I fully expect everyone else to do the same. I will NEVER try to convince you to embrace something I do, but I am ALWAYS willing and able to tell you WHY I like the things I like.

If you want me to respect YOUR opinion, be prepared to be able to do the same.

Either way, no matter what others like, none of the rest of us are obligated to agree with them. If this produces a person who becomes agitated, raises their voice, and eventually turns beet red and displays steam coming out of their ears, back away slowly and calmly…there is nothing you can do. You are standing directly in front of a person who needs YOUR opinion to match theirs. They need to be validated…which means…they don’t really HAVE an opinion based on anything they can explain.

If they could, if they truly believed what they were saying, they wouldn’t need your approval.

Cat in tu-tuNo amount of facts, proof, or reasoning will alter their foundationless beliefs.

You cannot communicate with a closed mind.

It would be easier to get your cat into a tu-tu without he or she slicing you up a la Wolverine.

=0=

Out of the Icons of what is referred to as Classic Rock, only The Beatles seem worthy of blind devotion to me…and for much more than the music that ended up on their records.

Circus MagazineThe Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Hendrix, The Who, and their revered god heads; Jimmy Page, Jagger and Richard, Moonie and Townshend, and Jimi himself, have also created some fine music and do indeed deserve respect and recognition, but in truth, they created a very small portion of the music I hold dear. Except in small doses (2 to 5 minutes) when I am feeling nostalgic, I can do without them. I don’t love them and I don’t hate them. They’re okay.

And 40 years ago they were relevant.

Over the years, I have found more artists and music that reaches deeper and lasts longer with me…and without the burden of thinking that what has gone before is the greatest, best, as good as it gets, end all and be all, I can continue to search for new music and artists with an open mind.

I really do feel sorry for those who deny themselves the joy of discovery because they think there is nothing else to discover they will like…or love.

There is.

There ALWAYS is….

=0=

There was a time when The Beatles were the single most important thing in my life.

Beatlemania will never end

Unlike Canada, America was late to the party, finally acknowledging and embracing the Fab Four a full year after America’s Hat was Yeah, Yeah, Yeah-ing their hearts out and raiding record stores for anything that remotely represented the insurgence of British Bands whose pompadours had been combed down and whose collars had been shorn from their suit jackets, and Beatle fanatictheir shoe heels elevated.

If you think the fan worship of today’s contemporary pop artists is rampant and ill-advised, it pales in comparison to the fanaticism and all-encompassing fervor created by The Beatles and their Carnaby Street cohorts.

Which is why the American charts were suddenly and irreparably changed forever.

When The Beatles finally DID arrive on America’s radar, there was enough product available all at once, that all things British became desirable and undeniable; a giant wave of teenage empowerment with The Mop Tops at the crest and at the core. A tsunami of music, fashion, style, and attitude.

Beatles Chart

Almost everyone under the age of 21 signed up instantly with the rest of the populace eventually joining the ranks. They ended up creating or joining the Frank and Fansbiggest and longest lasting Fan Club in the history of pop music, and eventually, all of pop culture itself…much to the chagrin and amusement of those who stubbornly refused  or simply couldn’t get it, Those whose ears had already been sealed by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and the Everly Brothers, or by Peter, Paul and Mary or the Beach Boys, by Sinatra and Bennett, and others who were deemed “as good as it gets”…rendered incapable of sharing the joy and ultimate importance of this latest ‘changing of the Elvis Fansguard’, because to them…the best music had already been made. Because to them, they had seen all the great bands, heard all the best artists…and convinced of that, merely stepped off the Music Train and walked away as the train kept a’rollin’ toward the music and artists yet to come.

=0=

I had already been writing songs for years when I caught a Jack Paar Christmas special on television and saw and heard The Beatles for the first Jack Paartime.

I became Moses to their Burning Bush.

In mere minutes, I was transformed by this grainy black and white footage, struck by musical and visual lightning so powerful, that my writing and musical development were not only re-directed and refueled, I suddenly had a mission; to spread the word, to share this feeling, to shake the shoulders of everyone I knew and encourage them to seek out and experience this revelation, to join the New Church, to be part of the revolution I was SURE was coming, unaware that there were already millions of converts around the globe, and I was just one more member of the congregation.

=0=

susan-berry-2

When I was 13, I recorded a song I had written that had been influenced by my favourite music at the time, (1958), Doo-Wop. I wrote about the girl across the street. Older, beautiful, everything necessary for a 13 year old boy’s first serious crush. I tried to write a song that my current heroes, Dion and the Belmonts, could have had a hit with…and if I would have had the courage, I would have tracked them down and sent it to them.

Jim BurgettWhen I was 14 or 15 I wrote a song that I fantasized about Elvis or Sinatra recording. They didn’t, but Elvis HEARD it several times because Wayne Newton closed his Vegas show with it for decades. This is the original recording of it by Jim Burgett, a Nevada entertainment icon, and the man who discovered my first band, The Family Tree, and recorded our first single, Prince of Dreams, in his garage in Lake Tahoe.

After The Beatles, my songwriting became not only more important to me…it was now enhanced with everything The Beatles had learned from THEIR influences, and later, by the originality of what those influences led to for John, Paul, and George.

=0=

People tend to forget that every artist, every band, starts out doing covers. The Beatles did not start out writing and recording their own material, nor did any other iconic group.

Everything comes from somewhere.

If it weren’t for Buddy Holly, the Everlys, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry, there would be no Beatles. Not only did they cover most of the artists who influenced them, they wrote in the style of those artists as well.

rock stars  '50s

Their covers name-checked rock and roll with Chuck Berry (Roll Over Beethoven), Rhythm and Blues (Money, You Really Got a Hold On Me, Anna), Country, (Honey, Don’t) Show Tunes, (Till There Was You) and jazz (Taste of Honey). All of these artists and musical touchstones also informed their own songs as well. Then, The Beatles did what all great writers and performers do…

…they evolved.

And suddenly, their influences were fused together in a unique and personal way that was ONLY theirs, and enabled them to progress from Love Me Do, to The Long and Winding Road…and everything in between. The Beatles of their first LP were not the same Beatles of Abbey Road…yet new artists are judged by the whole of the Beatle catalogue, the entire CAREERS of ‘Classic Rock’ Heroes. by the people who have heard all the great music. Seen all the great bands.

That…is Wrong.

Wrong then…and wrong now.

=0=

My music was altered by the Beatles as much as their music was informed by that which altered theirs. Like every other band busy combing their hair down over their foreheads and ripping the collars off their suits, I too was influenced so much by them, that my first attempts mimicked their music a little too closely, but some did not. I was on my way….

=0=

Like the Beatles, every band out there was treading the same backwater of what had gone before.

The Jades 1960-61 Bob 2nd from left

L to R – Dave Peck, Bob Segarini, Ronnie Ruffoni, Risty Val, and Eddie Grogan

The first band I was ever in, The Jades, dealt in the Little Richard, Chuck Berry sandbox, with sorties into early R&B like Jesse Hill’s, Ooh Pooh Pa Doo, Ray Charles’ What’d I Say, and always equipped to toss in the occasional instrumental like Memphis, Hideaway, and the James Brown version of Night Train. By the time I was booted out of the band (for growing my hair long and combing it down) the British Invasion had reached the Lower 48 about the same time as what James Taylor referred to as “The Great Folk Scare of the ‘60s” which fused together in the mid-‘60s and labelled ‘Folk-Rock’. Beau BrummelsPopularized by groups like The Byrds, it also trickled down to us local Wanna-Be’s and, trend-following me saw my writing influenced as well, resulting in a recording at Coast Recorders in San Francisco (the same studio I would play tambourine on a Beau Brummels track, ‘Laugh Laugh’, which was produced by the same man who produced our band’s (The Us) sessions, Sylvester ‘Sly Stone’ Stewart, who Sly DJat the time was a local DJ.) The recordings were never released on the label they were recorded for, Autumn Records, because I refused to allow strings to be put on them. One of many times I have shot myself in the foot over the years.

After a brief time spent in a Modesto, California based band, The Ratz (replacing ex-Brogue, Gary Cole nee Grubb, who changed his name again to Gary Duncan and ran off to San Francisco to form the Quicksilver Messenger Service), I took the giant step of forming my own band, The Family Tree, and began writing in earnest. The Brogues bass player, Bill Whittington, became our first bass player.

The Brogues

Most of our material at the outset was the usual assortment of rock and roll chestnuts, but we rapidly added our own compositions, written by guitarist/singer Michael Durr and myself, and sooner than most, our playlist was top heavy with original material…most of which was influenced by, you guessed it…The Beatles.

The Family Tree early

Still in the midst of the folk-rock era, our first single, mentioned earlier, was released on the Mira label and was a minor hit in Northern California, leading to the opportunity to record the backlog of songs we had written, some of which you can hear in the link posted earlier in this column. This, however, was our first release.

By the time this record hit the street, we were already playing the Fillmore and Avalon in San Francisco, the Crystal Ballroom in Portland Oregon, and touring up and down the West Coast from San Diego to Vancouver non-stop.

=0=

Like so many others, I owe a great deal to The Beatles and their music, and I have tried my best to pay homage when possible, and give credit where credit is due, and to continue to search for artists and music that has the same effect on me as they did.

But I am not nostalgic.

I do not long for those days, nor do I think the Classic Rock era (1962 – 1973) was the last great era of popular music.

There is more great music being made right now, than ever before.

Most of it, unfortunately, isn’t at our fingertips like it was back then. It is on the internet and in your local clubs and venues. All you have to do is go out and find it. If you did, I would call you someone who loves music. If you don’t…well, what can I say?

=0=

Twenty One Beatle Records I Don’t Mind At All…and One I Will Never Tire Of

First, a little background information…

From Wikipedia: “Lennon said the main intention of the Beatles’ music was to communicate, and that, to this effect, he and McCartney had a shared purpose. The book “Help! 50 Songwriting, Recording and Career Tips Used by the Beatles” points out that at least half of all Lennon–McCartney lyrics have the words “you” and/or “your” in the first line.

The Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership makes up the majority of the Beatles’ catalogue. The first two UK studio albums included twelve cover tunes and fifteen Lennon–McCartney songs, with one track (“Don’t Bother Me”) credited to George Harrison. Their third UK album, A Hard Day’s Night, is made up entirely of Lennon–McCartney compositions. The next album released, Beatles for Sale, included six covers and eight Lennon–McCartney originals. The subsequent release, Help!, had two covers and two Harrison compositions along with ten Lennon–McCartney tracks and was the last Beatles album to feature a cover until Let It Be, which featured an arrangement of the traditional Liverpool folk song “Maggie Mae”. All other songs released on studio albums by the band after Help! were original compositions, with George Harrison contributing between one and four songs on each record, Ringo Starr writing two songs (“Don’t Pass Me By” and “Octopus’s Garden”) and being given joint credit with Lennon and McCartney for a third (“What Goes On”), and a fourth and fifth joint credit on “Flying” and “Dig It” (both songs credited to all four Beatles), and the rest of the catalogue coming from Lennon and McCartney.”

You can read the whole informative article here

With that in mind, give the next music video a listen. Two things become very clear. George Martin was right to replace Pete Best, and The Beatles needed help to find their feet. As the evolution of their music becomes evident over the course of their LPs, it is pretty easy to see that judging a new artist by their first recordings can be a mistake. Not many of us can claim Martin’s ears, and even though live audiences understood the music and personalities of this band, it is extremely rare for popularity and greatness to co-exist. Just turn on the radio or read a contemporary music magazine to see absolute proof of this.

…and it has ALWAYS been this way. Like Sinatra and Elvis, The Beatles were a fluke. A Cosmic Event. A Miracle. Magic.

=0=

Turned down by every label in England, George Martin heard something in these recordings the others didn’t. With a great track record and hits by people like Peter Sellers (!) under his belt, Martin had enough clout to get The Beatles signed to Parlophone. The rest, as they say, is history.

Would YOU have signed this band?

The Decca Sessions

=0=

The 21 songs plus 1

My love of the Beatles and their music stemmed from the incredible amount of actual, real songs they wrote. Songs that could be interpreted by other artists. Songs that spoke of the human condition. Songs that spoke for us, gave life to our feelings when the words themselves eluded us. The Beatles best songs spoke to and for us. They still do.

I Don’t Want to Spoil the Party

Many of The Beatles songs dealt with insecurity and self doubt. This is one of the earliest and best.

I Should’ve Known Better

John channels self doubt and hindsight and still manages to entertain. Such a great song.

I Will

My favourite version of this song, believe it or not, is by James Taylor’s son, Ben. It played during the end credits of a romcom movie that Paul Reiser was in. I was happy to be reminded of this song, which I hadn’t heard in years.

I’ll Be Back

An exercise in harmony singing, and masterful use of switching back and forth between major and minor chords.

I’m a Loser

The Beatles always showed their human side in their best songs. To hear them sing “I’m a loser” was both comical, and disturbing. How could a Beatle think he was a loser. How little we knew about life then.

I’ll Cry Instead

If the Beatles could admit to crying, so could we. Another life lesson some of us got, some of us didn’t.

I’m Happy Just to Dance With You

Gratitude for what you have. Well put by George. Well put by anybody.

I’m Looking Through You

So good, even Annie Murray had a hit with it.

For No One

Like most of these songs, this sounds so simple, but when you learn it, you realize otherwise. Mr. Anger and The Anger Brothers did a great version of this.

Here, There, and Everywhere

I had tears in my eyes listening to this song the first time I heard it. Words of love none of us could articulate growing up.

I’m Only Sleeping

John takes one of the most mundane feelings we all share and writes a song with depth and meaning we can all relate to. ‘Keepin’ an eye on the world going by my window.” Just wow.

…and just for fun….

Even the cartoons were witty and clever.

Mother Nature’s Son

From the horn arrangement to the soft, muted vocals…Harry Nilsson’s influence is all over this.

Blackbird

Everyone who has ever covered this digs deep for their performance. A song for the ages, and one of McCartney’s best…still.

No Reply

The pursuit of love is a recurring theme with The Beatles…and they get cheated on more often than not in their songs. Even Beatles ouch.

We Can Work it Out

The first time I heard this I was driving on a winding Northern California 2 lane highway (Highway 12) and had to pull over to make sure I heard who it was. I had a feeling it was The Beatles, but I didn’t know for sure. It was so different from what they had done before, and, to me, the beginning of their exploration of the studio and what they could do.

Paperback Writer

Another tune that evidenced The Beatles stretching outside their comfort zone and what was expected of them.

She Said She Said

Good pot, a little acid, and Peter Fonda (or was it Jack Nicholson), and Lennon STILL manages to write a killer song, change-up time signature and all.

Girl

Rubber Soul was recorded in a 2 week break from touring that left The Beatles exhausted and burnt out and they still managed to make one of the best LPs of their career. The rasp in their voices, the world-weary vocals, did nothing but make their music even more human and compelling.

Dr. Robert

The groove and bounce of this song still makes me dance in my chair…and the lyrics make you wonder just what is being sung about.

Penny Lane

Name-checking the sights and sounds of Paul’s childhood made us think about ours. Such a lovely homage to what helped form the man.

Your Mother Should Know

A tribute to George Formby and English Music Hall. The Beatles never hid their influences, but by this stage of their career, every influence was buit upon and added to naturally and organically.

…and the song I will never, ever, tire of hearing?

Free As a Bird

So much do I love this song, that I have forgiven Jeff Lynn for the porn perm, the mustache, and the pomposity of ELO and the abandonment of Roy Wood and The Move. This song and its accompanying video is the sum total of everything I loved about The Beatles. It is a shame that the copyright holders have made it impossible to view it the way it was intended, but I am assuming that if you have the complete Anthology, it is included there. The song, the eerie yet riveting performance and technology that reunited the 3 (at that time) remaining Beatles with Lennon, and the glorious video, glides through their entire career and usually brings a tear to my eye. There is so much to see while Lynn’s spot-on production channels George Martin so perfectly, that he is there in spirit as much as John is.

Even run backwards, the video is a dreamy, surreal trip through the Beatle’s career and lives, and the song…the song is a fitting cap to it all.

=0=

As long as I’m at it, here are some of the songs that I have written over the years that would not exist without the inspiration afforded to me by The Beatles.

…and thanks to them, I am still looking for and finding great music and artists to listen to, love, and champion.

=0=

Let me know about any new artists and music that you happen to come across.

You know where to find me….

=0=

Your Comments are Welcome.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

2 Responses to “Segarini: Music or Nostalgia…Which is It? Part 2 – 21 Beatle Songs I Don’t Mind at All…and 1 I Will Never Tire of Hearing”

  1. peter kashur Says:

    hmmm, seemingly a mccartney bias….i would have guessed differently….. i think wayne owes you money.

  2. A well informed and entertaining read… and sing along! Thank you. Really great ‘personal signature’ tune of yours at the end of this article. ” and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: