Showing posts with label John Lennon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Lennon. Show all posts

Friday, April 03, 2020

The records that made me (some of 'em): Meet the Beatles

Here's No. 5 of my magical mystery tour through the record albums that have influenced me greatly through the years -- "Meet the Beatles." DUH!

If one is of a certain age -- OK, Boomer! -- this one's probably on your list. And on the list of many in the generations that followed, even if indirectly. Why? It's because probably no rock band was more influential than the Fab Four.

My Beatles journey began in 1965, at age 4. My Aunt Sybil and Uncle Jimmy bought me "Meet the Beatles" for Christmas. I was hooked. Got my folks, I am sure against their better beatnik-hating judgment, to subsequently buy me some Beatles 45s from the record rack at the National supermarket in the Broadmoor Shopping Center.

Man, I was well on the way to wearing out those glorious singles by John, Paul, George and Ringo. Until. . . .

Until a British newspaper interview from March 1966 got reprinted in an American teen magazine in July that year. You probably know the one.

“Christianity will go,” John Lennon told journalist Maureen Cleave. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I know I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

Lennon was a notoriously complicated guy. Americans, for the most part, are a notoriously uncomplicated people with notoriously uncomplicated triggers for losing their shit. After what Lennon said hit newsstands in the United States, Americans' lost shit hit the fan. And how.

And then there was the South. Remember the South? I do; I'm from there.

RADIO STATIONS banned Beatles records. Radio stations burned their Beatles music. Kluxers were burning Beatles albums along with their crosses. Preachers were damning Beatles songs to the lake . . . of . . . fiiirrrrrrre.

No one was more outraged than Mama. Now, my parents weren't exactly churchgoers, but you had the principle of the thing. Or something like that.

So my Beatles singles and my copy of "Meet the Beatles" got busted up. Mama carefully explained how them Limey beatniks were sayin' terrible things about Jesus H. Christ -- who we weren't actually acquainted enough with to drop in on, like, ever -- but, you know, there was the principle of the thing.



Double crack!



HEY, IT WAS the Age of Batman. Who never disparaged Christianity or compared his popularity to that of Jesus Christ, who I am sure would have lost badly to the Caped Crusader, too.

But again, it was the South. One of the Southiest parts of the South. And I'm sure it didn't help that Paul McCartney was a "n****r lover." After all, in those same Beatle profiles that made John an Enemy of God, Paul showed himself to be an Enemy of the Southern Way of Life (TM).

“It’s a lousy country where anyone black is a dirty n****r,” McCartney told Cleave, the author of the London Evening Standard's original profiles -- a quote that also made it into the teen mag Datebook, the periodical that sparked the all-American freak-out. In the white, Southern working-class world into which I was born, them was fightin' words.

And Mama was fightin' mad. Or at least browbeating-your-5-year-old-kid-into-letting-you-bust-up-his-prized-Beatles-records mad.

To paraphrase a musical selection from Hee-Haw, that hillbilly artistic endeavor that came to CBS television three years later, "
Thppt! They was gone!"

It wasn't until years later, after I myself had become a certified beatnik, that I started rebuilding my Beatles stash, which decades later is considerable. Yes, I have multiple copies of "Meet the Beatles."

And I still love "I Want to Hold Your Hand," though I think the German version, "
Komm, gib mir deine Hand," on "Something New" is even better. I'm funny that way.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

War is over. (If you want it.)

"The battle is always lost within the castle."

Well, John Lennon got that one right. We elected Donald Trump president -- or at least voters in states comprising a majority in the Electoral College elected Donald Trump -- and what seems to be a nearly inevitable war with Iran already is lost.

It didn't -- doesn't -- have to be fought. The fuse was lit when Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational nuclear agreement with Iran, then ramped up sanctions in an attempt to destroy the Iranian economy.

After a year or so of tit-for-tatting with the mullahs, Trump poured jet fuel on the burning fuse by ordering the (nominally) peacetime, extralegal assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, said to be the second-most powerful member of the Iranian government. The Iranians will strike back -- hard.

When they do, Trump, who has blown up any plausible deniability that he is a madman, has threatened to respond by committing war crimes on an epic scale -- airstrikes against 52 Iranian targets including civilian sites and cultural treasures.

THE IRANIAN regime is not innocent in this, and Suleimani had much blood on his hands, including American blood. Then again, so does North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Trump considers him a friend . . . at least for the time being.

Tomorrow, who the hell knows?

No, Iran is not innocent. But after years of neocon warmongering, Trump's diplomatic duplicity, foreign-policy recklessness and -- now -- an illegal assassination of a foreign official that pretty clearly was an act of war, the United States stands before a global jury guilty as charged.

We are a deeply wrong country set to embark on a clearly illegal and unjust war.

And we are guilty of putting the madman who's about to pull the trigger in just the position to do it. With impunity.

As we say during the Roman Catholic Mass, "Through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault."

But . . . perhaps if getting into this catastrophic mess is our fault, maybe we also can get out of it. Somehow, like we eventually did in Vietnam. 

"War is over. (If you want it.)"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Your Daily '80s: You say goodbye, and I say. . . .

It was 30 years ago today, the world stopped to pray . . . and though I don't really want to stop the show, I thought that you might like to know that the singer's going to sing a song, and he wants you all to sing along:

All we are saying is give peace a chance. . . .

Saturday, December 11, 2010

This week's 3C&T playlist

Here's the playlist for this week's episode of
3 Chords & the Truth --
All those years ago.


Song Name




Lavender Road

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger
(Sean Lennon/Charlotte Kemp Muhl)



Give Me Some Truth

John Lennon



Dust in the Wind




Livin' On A Prayer

Bon Jovi



(Just Like) Starting Over

John Lennon



Beyond the Great Divide

Emmylou Harris



The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon

The Moody Blues



Baby the Rain Must Fall

Glenn Yarbrough



Watching the Wheels

John Lennon



Here Comes The Sun




Look at Me

John Lennon



I'm Looking Through You




Looking for My Life

George Harrison



I Looked Away

Derek and the Dominoes



Look What You've Done




Hard Times Are Over

Yoko Ono



Helter Skelter




I Just Shot John Lennon

The Cranberries



Too Late for Goodbyes

Julian Lennon



A Woman Left Lonely

Janis Joplin & Full Tilt Boogie



Whatever Gets You Thru the Night

John Lennon



Mind Games

John Lennon




Sean Lennon



Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

John Lennon


3 Chords & the Truth: All those years ago

They're funny, aren't they, those "zero" anniversaries?

You know, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years. . . .

Thirty years. Those "zero" anniversaries have a way of taking something that happened a long, long time ago and making it seem like it was just yesterday. Just as vivid as yesterday. Just as raw as yesterday.

JUST AS painful as it was yesterday, only in this case, "yesterday" was three decades ago.

That's what 3 Chords & the Truth is all about this week, what happened 30 years ago, and how it hurt us . . . how it changed us. This episode of the Big Show is a look back -- a meditation, actually.

It was 30 years ago Wednesday that a madman murdered John Lennon. I had some thoughts on that here. I have some musical thoughts on that awful day, and what it has meant to my generation, here.

FOR WHAT it's worth, I rather like the way George Harrison put it . . . "All Those Years Ago."
Hear them shouting all about love
While they treated you like a dog
When you were the one who had made it so clear
All those years ago.

Hear them talking all about how to give

They don't act with much honesty
But you point the way to the truth when you say
All you need is love.

Living with good and bad

I always looked up to you
Now we're left cold and sad
By someone the devil's best friend
Someone who offended all.

We're living in a bad dream

They've forgotten all about mankind
And you were the one they backed up to the wall
All those years ago
You were the one who Imagined it all
All those years ago.

Deep in the darkest night

I send out a prayer to you
Now in the world of light
Where the spirit free of the lies
And all else that we despised.

They've forgotten all about God

He's the only reason we exist
Yet you were the one that they said was so weird
All those years ago
You said it all though not many had ears
All those years ago

You had control of our smiles and our tears
All those years ago
IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

And they all shine on. . . .

It's a drag, man.

Coups. D'etat, da city, da whatever. Recalls, free for alls, agitation, confrontation, conflagration -- they're all a drag, man.

The Mayor Suttle Recall Committee is a drag. Recall-committee member John Chatelain is a drag. Recall "money man" Dave Nabity is not only a drag, he's harshing all of Omaha's mellow.

And from the first time that they really done us -- ooh, they done us -- they done us good. I heard that on a record somewhere, and somebody ought to have a bed-in to protest this crap. At least that way, we wouldn't have to go far when the recall-istas wanted to do us good . . . again.

Personally -- being that I'm still a work in progress when it comes to peace and love and enlightenment -- I'd prefer to have a protest action built around "Everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey," then have 28,720 chimpanzees all flinging their feces at John Chatelain, Dave Nabity (right) and their trusty flack Jeremy Aspen in a bit of symbolic political theater.

But like I said, that's just me. And my monkeys.

IF IT SEEMS that I might be a bit around the bend, here, just keep in mind that reading the Omaha World-Herald is getting to be a drag, too. Like, I mean, look:
A civil war has erupted within the group pushing for Mayor Jim Suttle’s recall.

A member of the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee — Omaha attorney John Chatelain — accused possible mayoral candidate David Nabity on Wednesday
of trying to “take control” of the committee to “enhance his mayoral ambitions.”

He said Nabity tried to exert control over the committee by raising the bulk of the money for the group from his friends and possible supporters.

Nabity acknowledged he plans to start a second pro-recall committee but vehemently denied Chatelain’s charges. He said the new committee will include businessmen who want to be involved in government and campaign affairs in Omaha long after the recall has ended.

“I’m afraid Mr. Chatelain has a warped sense of the facts, and his comments are so far off-base that it’s not worth responding to,” said Nabity, who added that Chatelain was angry because of run-ins they had during the campaign.

A Republican, Nabity is not a newcomer to politics or controversy. He ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in 2006.

Last year, he helped to form a group of businessmen and women called the Omaha Alliance for the Private Sector. The group has been highly critical of Suttle and the city’s contracts with firefighters and police unions.

IT'S PRETTY BAD when there's just too much hate for one target to accommodate, you know?

Watch out! Knife

It became clear Wednesday that Nabity has provided crucial support to the group.

Nabity has said he was not a part of the group, but he acknowledged Wednesday he has been a key fundraiser for the group, persuading his friends and supporters to donate to the campaign. He also acknowledged he was instrumental in bringing a national recall expert to Omaha — Paul Jacobs — to help manage and organize the paid circulators.

Nabity said the group came to him for help.

But Chatelain said Nabity came to the group, saying he had friends who wanted to donate and who wanted the committee to hire paid circulators.

Nabity raised about $200,000 of the $287,000 the committee eventually collected, Chatelain said.

It was after Nabity raised the money and hired Jacobs that he began to try to “take control” of the group, said Chatelain.

At one point, Nabity asked Chatelain to step down. Nabity then said if he wasn’t allowed to put his people in charge of the recall effort, he would take “his donors” and start a new committee, Chatelain said.

“At this point, we began to suspect that Mr. Nabity was putting his own mayoral campaign team in place and wanted to control the recall campaign through it,” Chatelain said in a written statement.

WHAT CAN I say about this kind of insanity? Nothing. At least nothing beyond telling folks to step back, stay safe and enjoy the show.

Fortunately, I don't have to -- and it's just total Instant Karma that this is happening this week -- because the great, late John Lennon already did:
Instant Karma's gonna get you,
Gonna look you right in the face,
Better get yourself together darlin',
Join the human race,
How in the world you gonna see,
Laughin' at fools like me,
Who on earth d'you think you are,
A super star,
Well, right you are.

Well we all shine on,

Like the moon and the stars and the sun,
Well we all shine on,
Ev'ryone come on.
AND JOHN is just getting warmed up. He also has some questions for the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee:
You say you got a real solution
Well you know
we'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well you know
We're all doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait
Don't you know it's gonna be alright?
BUT NO. The recall-istas are not interested in making sense and addressing public concerns.
Ev'rybody's talking about
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, is-m, is-m, is-m.

Ev'rybody's talking about Ministers,

Sinisters, Banisters and canisters
Bishops and Fishops and Rabbis and Popeyes,
And bye bye, bye byes.

Let me tell you now
Ev'rybody's talking about
Revolution, evolution, masturbation,
flagellation, regulation, integrations,
meditations, United Nations,
ME, I'M sick of arguing. I'm sick of being sick of the perpetually outraged.

And all I am saying is give Jim a chance.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Your Daily '80s: All the lonely people

The morning after, on Good Morning America.

It's 7 a.m., Dec. 9, 1980. Here's David Hartman.

Meanwhile, in the U.K. . . .

Hours after John Lennon's murder in New York, a shocked Great Britain sat down to watch this memorial on BBC 1's Nationwide program.

Roll the videotape. . . .

A terrible day in the life

I always heard these things in my bedroom in Baton Rouge -- news of shocking deaths in the dark of the night.

In 1978, I was in high school, up late and listening to the radio when I heard the pope was dead. A month and a half later, I was up late working on homework and listening to the radio --
WFMF -- when I heard a report that the pope was dead. I thought somebody had screwed up and put on an old newscast.

In 1980, I was a sophomore in college. The night of Dec. 8, I was up cramming for finals, listening to the radio. The DJ came on with the shocking bulletin -- John Lennon was dead, shot outside his apartment building in New York.
He read the news today . . . oh boy.

Oh, God, no.

Please, God, no.

The death
of the pope was big (as was the death of the other pope), but I wasn't Catholic then. The murder of John Lennon was shattering.

The pope was an old man in Rome. He was the vicar of Christ, but he was a distant one back then -- a guy you read about in the papers, or perhaps saw on the TV news once in a while.

John Lennon . . .
the Beatles . . . they had been a daily presence in my life -- a pervasive part of the culture in which I had marinated since the age of 3. John, Paul, George and Ringo were the soundtrack of my earthly existence.

IN 1964,
my Aunt Sybil and Uncle Jimmy gave me a copy of Meet the Beatles. I had me some Beatles singles, too.

In 1966, John told an interviewer the Beatles were more popular than Jesus Christ, which arguably was true. Truth, however, is no defense against public indignation when veracity meets unpopularity -- people like funhouse-mirror images of themselves a lot better when everybody knows the mirror is all screwy and not him.

Then, John Lennon suddenly was a communist or something, and Mama busted up all my Beatles records. That's how we showed our esteem for the second person of the Holy Trinity back then, as opposed to going to church.

WHEN I was old enough to think for myself -- and to buy my own damned record albums -- the Beatles were back. Big time.

John was always the challenging Beatle. The one most likely to piss you off -- and to make you think. I rather like how he'd sometimes mess with your head, and it was funniest when people didn't get how funny it all was.

Like "Imagine." It's funny to see religious Republicans enthusiastically singing along with "Imagine," a song Lennon once described as "virtually the Communist Manifesto." (Well, OK. Not every Republican.)

We didn't always agree with this presence in our lives -- hell, we didn't always understand this musical fixture of ours -- but we always had to give him credit for honesty, just like we always had to give him credit for amazing songs. We couldn't not give him his due for the music of of our lives.

And now, Dec. 8, 1980, at about 10 o'clock at night. . . .

Suddenly, it was like the soundtrack of my life had been left sitting in the rear window of my '76 Vega. It had warped. It didn't sound right.

A constant presence wasn't, not anymore.

I heard the news 30 years ago today. Oh boy, nothing has been the same since. And it hurts.

Still, it hurts.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Cleanse your brain here

Politics is awful.

It's often hateful. The bullshit is so deep that you'll contract something nasty if you don't wear hip waders and occasionally spray yourself down with disinfectant.

And then there's Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Nancy Pelosi, talk-radio screamers . . . and Steve King. The tea party is outraged -- and largely victorious.

People are still talking big about "watering the tree of liberty" with the blood of tyrants. I am reminded, however, of Gov. Earl Long's question of the arch-segregationist boss of Plaquemines Parish, Leander Perez:
"What are you going to do now, Leander? The Feds have got the atom bomb."

THAT'S WHY, today of all days, we need a palate cleanser. That would be this video, I Met the Walrus, based on an interview then 14-year-old Jerry Levitan recorded with John Lennon in a Toronto hotel room as he and Yoko Ono prepared to head to Montréal for their second 1969 "bed-in for peace."

THEN, in Montréal. . . .