Beatlemania ~ November ’63

August 28, 2011

The Beatles kicked off November 1963 with their Royal Variety performance in the presence of the Queen Mother and  Princess Margaret. This night John Lennon was to announced to the crowd “For those of you in the cheap seats clap your hands to this one:  the rest of you can rattle your jewelry” and then launched into ‘ Twist & Shout ‘ and Beatlemania had arrived in Britain!                           

The Beatles went off on a tour of England and was met by large crowds of female girls screaming and fainting at the very glimpse of the mop tops and most of these shows on this tour were held in cinemas as the boys criss crossed the country for the month getting 300 pounds a night and not being able to hear a thing they were playing!

The single ‘ She Loves You ‘ had been No 1 in the UK charts and would be followed by ‘ I Wanna Hold Your Hand ‘ in late November ’63 selling a million copies before release.

On November 22nd the Beatles second album ‘ With the Beatles ‘ was released with its distinctive black and white half shadow cover and haircuts and I remember the girl who lived across the road Linda coming over to my house with the record and hearing it for the first time. It sounds so fresh and tight,  full of atmosphere and the band deliver a masterpiece with Ringo supplying the back beat for the boys to supply their chunky rhythm and sing their hearts out!. No songs were released as singles in England off this LP but all of the songs are well crafted and are super good !

With the Beatles ‘ was the follow~up to the ‘ Please Please Me ‘ LP which was recorded in one day and this LP had more time spent on it and is well recorded by George Martin and the Beatles sparkle and rock with great playing and harmonies from beginning to end with a few covers, lots of original Lennon and McCartney songs and the first George Harrison composition.      

It Won’t Be Long ‘ starts things off with John on lead vocal and plenty of harmonies then slows with ‘ All I’ve Got To Do ‘ followed by Paul singing ‘ All My Loving ‘ brilliantly. Next up is George with his own song  singing ‘ Don’t Bother Me’ . Then we have the rocker ‘ Little Child ‘  with Paul on piano and Lennon with a great vocal performance. Paul takes the lead on the sweet  ballad ‘ Till There Was You ‘ . ‘Please Mr Postman ‘ ends the side with John delivering again a great vocal performance on this Motown classic by the Marvelettes.

George takes the mike on Side Two with a steamrolling version of  Chuck Berry’s ‘ Roll Over Beethoven ‘ and ‘ Hold Me Tight ‘ rocks along with Paul’s vocal and the boys full of energy. Smokey Robinson’s ‘ You Really Got A Hold On Me ‘ is my personal fave and features George Martin on piano. Next along is ‘ I Wanna Be Your Man ‘ with Ringo taking vocals and this song would give the Rolling Stones their first big hit in the UK! Next is a great song  ‘ Devil In Her Heart ‘ which is a Beatle cover of a group called The Donays which would have probably been forgotten if not recorded by the Beatles. the last Lennon and McCartney song on the album is ‘ Not A Second Time’ with John on vocal and to finish the album another Motown hit ‘ Money ‘ which gave John a chance to show us his raw vocal power one more time.                                    

The world would soon change as the Beatles went on to conquer the globe and like the two world wars the Yanks were late to the party!  Will we ever see the likes again!

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Ho, Ho, Ho …..Who’d be a Turkey at Christmas

December 5, 2010

Yes folks! It’s that time of year again when we dig out the snow and the Christmas music classics.

MY TOP TWENTY CHRISTMAS FAVOURITES.

1) ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE by BRENDA LEE 1962 : For me this is the sound of  Christmas and was one of the first records I owned and I still have it somewhere ~ My all~time fave. Love the Boots Randolph sax solo.

2) MERRY CHRISTMAS ( War Is Over) by JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO 1972 : John & Yoko were so in love and it shows on this record. Great words ‘ So this is Christmas and what have you done ‘ I wonder what John would have to say about the state of the world today. Nothing’s changed really!

3) MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY by SLADE 1973 : Noddy & the Boys with their great Christmas party sing~a~long record. Great loud shout of  ‘It’s Christmas’ from Noddy at the end of this record. I can still see them performing it on Top of the Pops in my mind’s eye and let’s not forget Jimmy Saville.                                                                                                                                                                                

4) DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by CHRIS REA 2002 : My Dad’s favourite Christmas song and great lyrics ‘ Can’t wait to see their faces ~ top to toe in tail lights~ I’ve got red lights all around’. Drive safely your be home soon! Also love the words to Chris’s other great song  The JOY of CHRISTMAS.

5) I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS by GREG LAKE 1975 : A magical record from the King Crimson/ELP front man. It was his only UK hit but it gets played every year.  

6) FAIRYTALE IN NEW YORK by The POGUES featuring KIRSTY McCOLL 1987 Kirsty and Shane living it up on this song which always bring a lump to my throat as Kirsty is no longer with us and Shane has had his fair share of troubles but both great talents on a classic performance.                                                                                                                                     

7) The CHRISTMAS SONG by JETHRO TULL 1968 : Tucked away on the B ~ side of  their UK single ‘LOVE STORY’ this is a beauty!. Also new version available on the Tull Christmas CD. Hey Santa ~ Pass us that bottle!

8) The WREN in the FURZE by The CHIEFTAINS 1991 : From the great CD The BELL of DUBLINthis one makes you want to dance a jig ~ a ~ jig and have a few wee drams.                        

9) CHRISTMAS IS GOING TO THE DOGS by The EELS 2000 : From the soundtrack to the Dr. Seuss movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas ‘. The songs rocks along with great words. Love it!

10) SILENT NIGHT by MAHALIA JACKSON 1959 : What a wonderful voice,  just relax, pour yourself a drink and listen! In fact, her whole Christmas CD is a must have!

11) WHAT ARE YOU DOING NEW YEAR’S EVE by ELLA FITZGERALD 1960: From the Swinging Christmas album ~ Ella at her melancholy best on this Frank Loesser song. Again the whole album is just great! and a must have!  What a voice!

12) JINGLE BELL ROCK by BOBBY HELMS 1958 : Let’s face it! it’s not Christmas without this little gem ~ be sure to play it nice and loud. All together now!

13) CHRISTMAS in PRISON by JOHN PRINE 1993: Love this song and love his voice always takes you there !  like an old friend or a 12 year old bottle of whiskey.                                                                                           

14) MARY’S BOY CHILD by HARRY BELAFONTE 1957 : It’s Christmas eve and time to tuck the kids in bed….Santa’s on his way….everything is peaceful….and the lights shine bright!….sing it Harry. Also hats off to the 1978 dance class classic by Boney M.                            

15) I YUST GO NUTS AT CHRISTMAS by YOGI YOUGESSON 1947 : Christmas with the relatives who can drive you mad and they often do. Just play this, listen and smile!

16) PARADE of WOODEN SOLDIERS by The CRYSTALS 1963 : You can pick any track from the Phil Spector Christmas album A Christmas Gift To You’  in glorious Mono, they are all great!, full of goodies from the Crystals, Ronettes, Darlene Love and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans. Brilliant from start to finish. A must have for any collection.

17) I WISH IT COULD BE CHRISTMAS EVERYDAY by WIZZARD 1973 : Roy Wood the mad wizard  with the crazy hair from the Move and ELO fame with his well~known Christmas standard. All very tongue in cheek!

18) MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY by CHUCK BERRY 1964 : B side of the 45 ‘Run Rudolph Run’ and Chuck wrote it! It’s getting late, set them up  Joe and listen to Chuck sing the blues. very intimate and relaxed!

19) LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! by Dean Martin 1959 : Well the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful and since there’s no place to go……. Baby it’s cold outside. SAY NO MORE!

20) HO! HO! HO! WHO’D BE A TURKEY AT CHRISTMAS by Elton John 1973 : B side of  ‘Step Into Christmas’ and Elton and Bernie at their humourous best! It rocks!

Pass us that bottle Santa will yer ! ~ Merry Christmas


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