Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Now and then...one comes along...

Back in 1995, a 'new' Beatles song, "Free As A Bird" was released, then another came along in 1996, "Real Love", both of which were from the "Beatles Anthology" albums, both of which electronically re-united the voice of the tape-recorded John Lennon, with his former bandmates. There were three "Anthology" albums total, but for 'whatever' reason, the "Three-tles", as they were known at the time, elected not to paste together a third John Lennon song in Beatles form at that time; rumor had it they were working on Lennon's song, "Grow Old With Me", but they never got around to putting the finishing touches on it. So, that's the way it's stood now for the last dozen or so years; no 'new' Beatles songs have emerged since then.

Once again, though, the rumor mills are generating all kinds of reports about Yet Another Brand-New Beatles Track that's supposed to appear sometime this year. Again, it (allegedly) features the fairly-distant and thin voice of a John Lennon 'demo' recording, this time with backing from the 'Two-tles' (well, George Harrison is no longer with us now; it's just Paul and Ringo left to finish it up). Well, it's come to my attention that the New Beatles Track, titled "Now and Then" has already been posted on YouTube...some Beatlefans think it's just a Beatles-sounding song by some other collection of individuals, but some think it's the real deal, just not quite finished yet.

I must admit seeing the alleged New Beatles Song/Video sure beats the heck out of watching cockatiels whistling the "Andy Griffith Show Theme Song"...which I was watching on YouTube last night...so, dear reader, is the following clip the Beatles or Not? It's possible, but you be the judge...

So, is it, or is it not a Beatles' song? At first, John Lennon's voice seems to be strong, but about a third of the way thru, it's hard to hear him; after that he disappears into the mix. Certainly it COULD be them, but as "The Rutles" proved long ago, other musicians could also approximate the sound of Our Heroes From Liverpool. At any rate, if indeed this is the Beatles, and a record comes out...I'll buy it...and I'll probably buy the CD single it's on...and I'll probably buy the CD album it's on...but, more than likely, Apple Corps. Ltd., the Beatles' business organization will probably feature it as "song number one" on a retrospective of all 200+ Beatles songs ever recorded. In that case, I'd end up paying something like $300.00 just to get one song I don't have. (Which is pretty much what all three "Anthology' albums forced all us Beatles collectors to do 'All Those Years Ago'.)

Paul McCartney now has three separate versions of his newest album, "Memory Almost Full" on the market. I bypassed the initial Starbucks-Coffee version of it, because I read on Ebay that a 'deluxe' version, with three bonus tracks came out, so I bought that, thinking I'd really scored bigtime. Imagine the feeling of relative disgust I had when I found out a third version, complete with bonus songs, and now a performance DVD hit the market? Which meant that I had to go back to the store and buy all the songs I'd already bought, just to get the DVD. Only, this time it was different. I DIDN'T BUY the 'Deluxe-Deluxe' version, on PRINCIPLE. I'll buy new music by McCartney anytime, but I'm not gonna be manipulated in order to further finance his divorce proceedings from HeatherYoko. At this point, I'm not really happy with McCartney, because he so shamelessly markets himself, squeezing out every dollar, pound, peso, lira, yen and drachma that he possibly can out of his fans.

Leave it up to gentleman Ringo Starr to put out new music, without playing merchandising games with the public...that's right, he's got a new album out, titled "Liverpool 8", the title of which refers to the section of Liverpool he grew up in. I've seen pix of that old neighborhood, and it's a fairly somber area, with rows and rows of dingy houses attached to each other, stretching onward for miles, sorta like a prison, except that there was no barbed wire or escape-proof walls. The Beatles left the town fairly early in their career, never to live there again, and some Liverpudlians have always thot The Beatles never gave anything back to Liverpool after they left for the greener pastures. I can see the Liverpudlians' point of view, although, had the Beatles elected to stay there, none of the rest of us might have even known they'd existed. Liverpool, I think you should be proud of 'em.

"Liverpool 8" is a warm and content album, full of Ringo's reflections about his past, his memories of past friends, and even features a song about his drinking buddy Harry Nilsson; it's titled "Harry's Song", but even that title has Beatle implications, for George Harrison's publishing company was called "Harrisongs". In the title track, Ringo sings that while he left Liverpool, he never let Liverpool down, and that is true. Very true. The last song on the album, a little skiffle-sounding tune, "R U Ready" seems to feature Ringo's view on the end of his (or anybody else's) life, he says one shouldn't be afraid to "let go" because there's somebody waiting to catch he or she on "the other side". That's an interesting view; I've never heard it articulated that way before. Most of Ringo's album is warm, content and melodic; most of it rocks pretty well. Although Ringo's never been known for making the highest-quality albums, this one isn't bad, not bad at all. Thank you, Ringo.

Meanwhile, I imagine that the late George Harrison is swirling around somewhere in the atmosphere, looking down on this crazy planet of ours, and he's thinking to himself, "I'm sure glad I don't have to be part of that insanity anymore!" In the meantime, soon, it'll be the 40th anniversary of the release of "White Album". Do you feel old yet?


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