Five Myths About the Beatles

(via The Washington Post) (AP photo)

by Allan Kozinn

The Beatles produced some of the most enduring music of all time and rose to a level of near-universal adoration that few other musicians have achieved. But as the story of their brisk evolution from a scruffy, hardworking Liverpool dance hall combo to pop gods who reconfigured music and culture has been told, retold, debated and parsed, many myths have sprouted around it — some created by the Beatles themselves. Here are five.

Myth No. 1
The Beatles objected to trading leather outfits for suits and ties.

“In the beginning,” John Lennon told Melody Maker, the British music magazine, in 1970, Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager, “. . . put us in neat suits and shirts, and Paul was right behind him. I didn’t dig that, and I used to try to get George to rebel with me.” Lennon later complained to Rolling Stone that by giving up leather for suits, “we sold out.” Soon, the story of the Beatles chafing against Epstein’s directives was part of the lore.

The other Beatles — and sometimes, Lennon himself — remembered things differently. “It was later put around that I betrayed our leather image,” Paul McCartney said in “The Beatles Anthology,” “but, as I recall, I didn’t actually have to drag anyone to the tailors.” George Harrison said that “with black T-shirts, black leather gear and sweaty, we did look like hooligans. . . . We gladly switched into suits to get some more money and some more gigs.” Lennon put it this way to Hit Parader in 1975: “Outside of Liverpool, when we went down South in our leather outfits, the dance hall promoters didn’t really like us. . . . We liked the leather and the jeans but we wanted a good suit, even to wear offstage.” To which he added, “I’ll wear a . . . balloon if somebody’s going to pay me.”

Read more:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-the-beatles/2018/07/05/2a88109c-7f0a-11e8-b660-4d0f9f0351f1_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.de5f36da4ae9

Elvis Costello Forced to Cancel European Tour Following Surgery to Remove ‘Aggressive’ Cancer

© Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame

(via msn entertainment)

Elvis Costello has been forced to cancel the remaining six dates on his European summer tour on doctor’s orders following surgery to remove what the 63 year-old singer described as a small but “very aggressive cancerous malignancy.” Six weeks after undergoing a procedure — the location of the tumor was not specified — Costello revealed that post-surgery guidelines recommend three to four weeks of recovery.

Read more:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/elvis-costello-forced-to-cancel-european-tour-following-surgery-to-remove-aggressive-cancer/ar-AAzEVMP?ocid=spartandhp

On Music…

“Track and Hook”: The Death of Creativity in Songwriting?

(via The Pudding)

“Track-and-hook” is Seabrook’s coinage for a music-making method that fundamentally distinguishes today’s music-making from all that came before. What separates track-and-hook from its predecessors is how the music is made. The storied, solitary figure working out musical problems at a piano while filling up an ashtray has been replaced by teams of digital production specialists and subspecialists, each assigned to a snare track, a bass track, and so on, mixed and matched and stuck together like Legos.
“The process doesn’t lend itself very well to art,” Seabrook said. Instead, track-and-hook is far more literally factory-like, a mode of production that emphasizes specialization and volume. As the technology writer Nicholas Carr wrote, “The manufacture of pop songs has been so thoroughly industrialized that it makes the old Motown ‘hit factory’ look like a sewing circle.”
Read more:

https://pudding.cool/2018/05/similarity/

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Our thoughts on this: As Gary Trust writes in Billboard“A Bacharach melody is not inviting people to get involved with it. But track-and-hook creates a template for a lot of different cooks stirring the broth.”

We think the first part of this statement is key. If you were Bacharach, McCartney or Elvis Costello, you wouldn’t want a lot of cooks stirring your broth. While track-and-hook involves more participants, the potential for Bacharach-like greatness is negated. We live in an era of songwriting homogeneity, but not much music that rises above the artistic mean.

Loreena McKennitt: Why I’m leaving Facebook

(Richard Haughton photo)

The invasion of privacy and erosion of human rights, the weaponizing of our personal data, the destruction of the music and news industries, a platform designed to be addictive — the time has come to act, writes Loreena McKennitt.

By (via the star)

I remember as a rambunctious red-headed tomboy running around the house with my playmates and my mother admonishing me, “Don’t run so fast, you’ll break something!” And sure enough, sometimes we did.

Now, decades later, those words come flooding back as I reflect on the defining motto of Silicon Valley, “move fast and break things.” In particular, I think of Facebook.

In response to the recent revelations of its misuse of personal data, I’ve decided to leave the platform and encourage my half-million-plus followers to instead keep in touch through my website. I’m told this is a path of professional suicide, especially as I’m about to release a new recording.

Times have certainly changed in the music business since I started out busking in the 1980s. Some would argue we were the first industry to be broken…

Read more:

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2018/04/19/loreena-mckennitt-why-im-leaving-facebook.html

The Low Notes: Examining The Worst Songs Of All Time

(via urbo) by Jamie Wiles

They say music is subjective, but don’t tell that to the critics.

Lester Bangs, the patron saint of U.S. rock criticism, once said that, “The first mistake of art is to assume that it’s serious.” Yet plenty of music critics get paid to make that mistake, and even more do it on a volunteer basis.

Paid or not, critics seem to assume that the creators of a song are, like, morally culpable for the quality of their product. People hate few things like they hate a bad song. Maybe that’s just because no nuanced weighing of relative merits is as fun as a thorough critical hatchet job.

That’s why we have Sean Beaudoin in Salon sneering at the “10 Bands [He] Will Be Forced to Listen To in Hell.” (Beaudoin goes on to trash The Beach Boys, a band that inspired luminaries from The Beatles to My Bloody Valentine.) It’s why we have Pitchfork, the website that once said of Sonic Youth: “These 40+year olds continue to operate under the perception that they matter.”

Here’s the weird thing about paying really, really close attention to pop music, though: The closer you look at a given track, the harder it is to discard it out-of-hand. When you pry a song open to check out its composite elements—harmonic structure, melodic lines, counterpoint, rhythmic shifts, dynamics, all the nuts and bolts of the pop tradition—pretty much everything is at least interesting. Even the terrible stuff…

Read more:

https://www.urbo.com/content/examining-the-worst-songs-of-all-time/

Here’s What the Members of ABBA Have Been Up To During Their 35-Year Hiatus

© RB/Redferns Abba

(via msn entertainment) by Morgan Enos

BBA suddenly announced their return to the studio and stage Friday (April 27). The legendary Swedish pop band took to Instagram to clarify their full intention behind their upcoming “avatar” tour project, in which the band will be featured as holograms resembling their 1970s selves. Said the band: “We all felt that, after some 35 years, it could be fun to join forces again and go into the recording studio. So we did.”

This most unique pop ensemble, consisting of two married couples — Agnetha Fältskog with Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson with Anni-Frid Lyngstad — may not have produced any music together during their three decades apart, but they’ve hardly been out of commission. There have been plenty of dispatches from both camps prior to their reunion this year. Here is a breakdown of what the members of ABBA have been up to during their long silence…

Read more:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/music/news/heres-what-the-members-of-abba-have-been-up-to-during-their-35-year-hiatus/ar-AAwroXN?ocid=spartanntp

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