Apr 272020
Cassius Clay, after defeating Sonny Liston for the World Heavyweight title, calls up his friend Sam Cooke: “We both too pretty!” exclaims the soon-to-be Muhammad Ali.

Stick with me for a minute: I’m going to ask us to determine whether some musical phenomena were full-on early arrivals from the future or merely a musical equivalent of Secretariat‘s 1973 Belmont Stakes capper to his Triple Crown run. But first, a little background on what the hell I am talking about…

Aug 072015

As an American teenager, I first became aware of Cilla Black as a footnote to my all-encompassing Beatles education. When I got to college, long before the age of YouTube, let alone home computing and the Internet, I met a friend who owned the single of whatever song Paul McCartney threw her way. I remember it boring me, and I never heard another lick of Cilla Black until this week, when in London on vacation with my family and news broke that “Cilla,” as she’s known here, had died.

I had no idea she was so beloved in her home country. It was THE story on the news. There was some telemovie on her life that must have been made a few years ago that’s been running nonstop. In the pantheon of chubby-cheeked English singers, I figured she was a 1-hit wonder, nowhere near as beloved as likes of Lulu, Alison Moyet, the strawberry-blond Spice Girl, and all those other British women pop stars who run together in my mind, despite whatever decade in which they briefly burned brightest. Are the British more sentimental than I thought, or was Cilla Black really a relevant star beyond her footnote status in Beatles biographies?

She was a great…woman!

Jul 072015

The mullet. The worst haircut of all time. What excuse can be made for sporting this atrocity? And on a Beatle, no less! I ask you: Is this the worst look ever sported by any Beatle, at any point in time? Was this a cool, cutting-edge look on Macca, before it filtered into the general population? Combining the mullet with the sleazy mustache brings the look down even further. I’m thinking, as far as Beatle looks goes, this is the bottom, the worst.

My goal here, however, is to be wrong. Can you find a photo of a Beatle sporting a worse hairdo than this? Can we, once and for all, determine the worst-ever style on John, Paul, George or Ringo?

Oct 092014

One of my close, personal Facebook friends posted this clip on his feed today. I watch this every other year or so, which indicates how often I watch Beatles- and Lennon-related documentaries, not just this clip in particular. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t particularly attracted to the cult-worshiping aspects of this scene:

This footage never fails to give me chills – on many levels. What’s really got me going now is the link I followed from the YouTube posting to a Dick Cavett appearance of, possibly, the same guy. If that’s in fact the same guy you’ve got to wonder what was going through his mind when Mark David Chapman completed his twisted act of fandom.

Oct 072014

As I was trying to forget the Nationals’ 18-inning crusher of a loss the other night, I caught up on some old email accounts and see that iTunes has picked four post-Beatles songs for a free download. They chose:

  • John Lennon’Love” (Plastic Ono Band)
  • Paul McCartney’s “Call Me Back Again” (Venus and Mars)
  • George Harrison’s “Let It Down” (All Things Must Pass) and
  • Ringo Starr’s “Walk With You” (Y Not).

Not bad, but can Rock Town Hall do better than iTunes? My challenge “To You”: What are some of your favorite deep cuts from the Fab Four after the breakup?

Jun 102014

Over the years I’ve thought I wanted to delve more deeply into George Harrison’s solo catalog. I know what the general feeling has been but All Things Must Pass is a classic by almost anyone’s standards. And Living in the Material World has enough charms that I bought the reissue a few yeas back to supplant the old vinyl copy. And I bought the big comeback, Cloud Nine, way back when and remember liking it well enough (even if I don’t remember too much of it very well now).

Over the last several decades I thought I should try some of the maligned records that came out between Material World and Cloud Nine but never had; after all, how bad could they be? Back a decade ago after George died a box set of all the Dark Horse material came out and that tempted me.

Thank the music gods that I resisted!

I recently borrowed the one disc Best of Dark Horse, 1976-1989, and it is stunningly pedestrian. There’s one cut that would deserve to go on a true Harrison best of, “Blow Away,” thanks to a stellar chorus. And I’d listen to “Got My Mind Set On You,” “Crackerbox Palace,” “When We Was Fab,” and “All Those Years Ago” all the way through if they came on the car radio (although “When We Was Fab” belongs more on an ELO album – and not a greatest hits ELO album).

And the other 10 tracks, well, if that’s the best of the Dark Horse albums then they must be horrible. I won’t subject any of you to any of them here; seek them out at your own risk.

Am I being too harsh? Why did he even bother putting out this dreck? And is there a worse Best of than this? No cheating on that last question; we all know Christopher CrossBest of sucks (at least I presume it does).


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