Music Notes #1 – Sorry Paul.
This past summer, in an interview promoting his new solo album, Keith Richards slagged the Beatles. He referred to Sgt. Pepper as “rubbish” and stated that – “there’s not a lot of roots in that music.” I think my jaw dropped. It seemed somehow sacrilegious.
It was in response to the interviewer’s point that, in the past 20 years, he has played more Stones than Beatles music.
I have too.
In my car I have satellite radio. I play harmony roulette, (12 pre-set stations, I have to sing with one of them). This provides an incredible variety of music, from Classic Rock, to Underground Garage, to a station that plays only acoustic covers of songs and another deep cuts from classic albums. Of course, E Street Radio plays only Bruce – but it also has other people covering Bruce, and Bruce covering other people. (he sings Royals by Lorde lately – stripped down, fabulous)
The other time I play a concentrated set of music is when I hike for an hour every day with my iPod.
Here’s the thing. 9/10 times when a Beatles song comes on I switch it to something else. I’m sorry. I do it fast because I feel so incredible guilty. The Beatles are important to me in a way that ties back into my childhood like no other band or singer. My sister got a new Beatles album every Christmas for many years. We’d wait at the record store for the new CHUM chart every week – all about the Beatles songs. They used to do a double play and play them twice! It’s how we learned to harmonize.
But now when I want music, their saccharine sweetness, their almost impossible buoyancy, doesn’t thrill me. Now to be fair, the only exceptions are the later, solo John Lennon works. Other than that, no Beatles song from the ‘60s works for me now the way so many many Stones songs still do.
I think Keith’s point about roots is valid. He claims there really is nothing new in rock and roll – even hip hop and ad jingles – it all come from the Blues. And when Jumpin’ Jack Flash or Sympathy for the Devil come on, I don’t turn away, I turn it up loud.
Music Notes #2 – Inside the Music Store
I love music stores. The sounds, the sights, the people softly playing instruments, or occasionally someone really letting loose. The guys who work there are all passionate about music, and the instruments they sell. I was getting lots of assistance with an electronic piano rental, and purchasing extra guitar strings for Music Night when the young man asked me what kind of music I played.
“I’m a back-up singer in a Bruce Springsteen cover band”. I replied.
“Hey! My uncle played an amazing Clarence Clemon’s style sax. You guys should get together.”
Okay so none of that second part actually happened. But wouldn’t that have been cool?