The Beatles

El día que renuncié a los Beatles

Me sé todas las canciones, al igual que tú. Me las sé todas desde que era niño, pero no solo las conozco todas, sino que también las puedo tocar y cantar todas, así que elige una, desde “Love Me Do” hasta “The End”.

Hace no tantos años, después de estacionar el que en aquel entonces era mi auto nuevo afuera de las cafeterías de Long Island en las que tocaba la guitarra y cantaba, levantaba las llaves y proclamaba: “Si alguien sabe más de los Beatles que yo, le regalo mi auto”. O si por casualidad tenía un billete de cien dólares, lo pegaba en el muro detrás de mí y se lo ofrecía a cualquiera que pudiera nombrar una canción de los Beatles que yo no pudiera comenzar a interpretar en tres segundos.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Improvise It, Man.’ How to Make Magic Like the Beatles

Paul McCartney está tenso.

En varios momentos de The Beatles: Get Back, el documental de unas ocho horas que consta de tres partes y es una crónica de las sesiones de preparación para la última presentación en público del grupo en 1969, es evidente que McCartney se siente más frustrado que cualquier otro de sus compañeros cuando el grupo se enfrenta con bloqueos creativos e interpersonales que les impiden avanzar.

Sin embargo, McCartney también es el Beatle que parece más motivado cuando enfrenta retos inconmensurables.

“Lo mejor de nosotros —así ha sido siempre y siempre será— surge cuando estamos con la espalda contra la pared y ensayamos, ensayamos y ensayamos sin parar”, les recuerda cuando debaten si deberían optar por la intrépida aventura de trepar hasta la azotea de las oficinas generales de Apple Records en Londres y desde ahí ofrecer su concierto.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘Improvise It, Man.’ How to Make Magic Like the Beatles

Paul McCartney is stressing out.

At various points in “The Beatles: Get Back,” the three-part, nearly-eight-hour documentary chronicling the 1969 sessions that would lead to the band’s final public performance, Mr. McCartney is clearly more frustrated at the creative and interpersonal roadblocks to the group’s progress than any of his bandmates are.

But Mr. McCartney is also the Beatle most visibly invigorated by a daunting challenge.

“The best bit of us — always has been and always will be — is when we’re backs-against-the-wall and we’ve been rehearsing, rehearsing, rehearsing,” he declares as the band debates whether to make the epic climb up to the roof of Apple Records’ London headquarters to play a concert.…  Seguir leyendo »

Charlie Watts at the drums on the set of Ready Steady Go! in May 1966. Photograph: Ivan Keeman/Redferns

I was fortunate enough to meet Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer who died on Tuesday, interviewing him in 2000 for one of his beloved jazz projects. In the interview, I managed to call George Harrison “the bass player of the Beatles”. Still, I got some things right, writing: “Charlie’s the Stone who is so universally well liked that he commands instant respect without trying.”

It soon became apparent when his death was announced that the response was about honouring a great musician – the rock’n’roll legend, the lifelong jazz aficionado – but also a lot more. There was the standard emotional outpouring, the shock and dismay, that sense of grief-ownership that hits you: “Oh no, not Charlie!”…  Seguir leyendo »

It had just turned December on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I was on my customary morning jog, heading out of Central Park toward 72nd Street. The sun was out but it was treacherous underfoot. I’d slipped on some ice and gone tumbling, to be rescued by a group of college boys.

“Are you all right, sir?” they asked, sounding concerned in a way that indicated that I might have looked frail, fragile and quite possibly old. I felt like saying, “Of course I’m all right, man, can’t you see that I am a globe-trotting rock star?” But I saw the genuine concern in the boys’ faces and thanked them, cautiously continuing my run.…  Seguir leyendo »

John and I are in our Dakota kitchen in the middle of the night. Three cats — Sasha, Micha and Charo — are looking up at John, who is making tea for us two.

Sasha is all white, Micha is all black. They are both gorgeous, classy Persian cats. Charo, on the other hand, is a mutt. John used to have a special love for Charo. “You’ve got a funny face, Charo!” he would say, and pat her.

“Yoko, Yoko, you’re supposed to first put the tea bags in, and then the hot water.” John took the role of the tea maker, for being English.…  Seguir leyendo »

My big brother was always the one to bring new music into the house. Until I heard the Beatles playing on his stereo in the basement, my favorite music had been Glen Campbell singing “Galveston” or my father playing “Won’t You Come Home, Bill Bailey” on the piano.

I was young enough to giggle when my brother changed the words of “P.S. I Love You” to...something more puerile, and four years later, young enough to think that “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” was really a band, and not the name of a Beatles record. In those intervening years, a transformation had taken place, and both the sound and the look of the Beatles had completely changed.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is 40 years since Sgt Pepper, having laboured 20 years teaching his band to play, arranged for their debut in full psychedelic regalia. He leveraged a little help from his friends, notably the vocalist Billy Shears, and a riverboat owner named Lucy who had made her fortune in the diamond business. Mitch Miller, head of A&R at Columbia, dismissed the Beatles as "the Hula Hoops of music". Will their songs continue to inspire future generations? Or will their music die along with the generation intoxicated by their wit and charisma in the mind-expanding 60s?

Whenever classical musicians and rock music fans meet, the conversation turns to those four Liverpudlians and how good they really were.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yes, it's been 40 years exactly since Sgt. Pepper, having labored the previous 20 years teaching his band to play, arranged for its debut in full psychedelic regalia. He leveraged a little help from his friends, notably the vocalist Billy Shears and a riverboat owner named Lucy who had apparently made her fortune in the diamond business. Pepper realized that good music-making requires the expanding of horizons. A recent "trip" inspired him to incorporate tabla and sitar into the music. The band exhorted us to sit back and let the evening go so that they could turn us on, musically, lyrically, and blow our minds for the next several decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Jon Wiener, the author of 'Gimme Some Truth: The John Lennon FBI Files', and served as historical consultant on the film The US v John Lennon, released last week (THE GUARDIAN, 19/12/06):

When the Dixie Chicks told an audience in London in 2003 that "We're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas", they set off a political storm in the US that echoed the treatment meted out to John Lennon 30 years earlier. They were talking about the Iraq war, while Lennon had been campaigning against the Vietnam war.The Dixie Chicks got in trouble with rightwing talk radio.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Mark Espiner, a music critic and theatre director (THE GUARDIAN, 18/11/06):

Las Vegas is the whorehouse of theatre and music. Few performers go there other than to make shedloads of cash, often by exploiting themselves. John Lennon knew that. He might have recognised Elvis as the king of rock'n'roll, but he sure wasn't going to follow him to sin city to play his greatest hits. That, he said, would be "going to hell".

Funny, then, or poignant, that with a little help from his friends, that is where he has ended up. Love, the Beatles theatrical extravaganza in Vegas, has wowed the critics.…  Seguir leyendo »

By Bob Stanley (THE TIMES, 18/11/06):

IT’S A QUARTER of a century since a group of Dutch session men rerecorded a bunch of Beatles songs, stuck a basic disco beat behind them, and christened themselves Stars on 45. The subtle Rotterdam accent aside, it was clean, dumb fun — songs like No Reply and I’ll Be Back were rarely heard on the radio in 1981 (nor are they now) and, coming at the end of a period of extended mourning for John Lennon, it reminded everyone that the Beatles had actually been a whole lot of fun and had recorded dozens of better songs than Imagine.…  Seguir leyendo »