Just back from a fine weekend outing with Troop 248 - our annual Thanksgiving trip, where we cook all day and the families come out for an early dinner. A fine time was had by all.
So let us focus on something a little happier today, instead of the old-man rant I had planned.
Did you see that some elderly duo has just topped the charts in the UK? The bass guitar player is a whopping 82, and the drummer is even older at 83!
Of course it is the Beatles, and they've just set the record for longest time between #1 singles as well, a whopping 60 years.
There has been significant buzz around their computer-assisted "new" recording with their deceased bandmates. I hope you've heard it, if not it's easy enough to find.
Unlike the last time they tried this with "Free as a Bird", I was struck by how different this one sounds. Paul and Ringo both say it's the last Beatles tune ever, and as their Requiem, it is appropriately sad and dirge-like. I nearly shed a tear within the opening bars, I found it that dramatic.
It has gotten me re-listening to some of the Beatles canon. Like many of us here, I'm contemporary with the Beatles' heyday. So that means as a new human, I was merely along for the ride. Since my late mother was a raging fan, I'm certain I heard many tracks in utero, as well as for many of my early years of life.
But of all the work they did - I find that curiously,. the one album I was never really into was Revolver. It's even more curious, as Revolver debuted three days before I did in 1966. While I can no longer ask her, I could be reasonably certain that my mother and I listened to this album many times in the first few weeks I was home.
But why have I suddenly discovered it some 57 years later? I know what my favourite Beatles songs are. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Penny Lane is perhaps my favorite of them all, but I also like it's counterpart, Strawberry Fields. I also rather like Paperback Writer. Of course, I was at the proper age back in 1987 when the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of Sargeant Pepper, so I have always been particularly enamored of that entire work.
But - their early period? I am somewhat lackluster on that. Their later period, before the breakup, I can take or leave.
In conjunction with their last record, many websites have been posting retrospectives and rankings, including this one. More than a few in the top twenty are from that album Revolver, as well as from the general time period of 66-67-68. I must therefore conclusively rate that as my favourite Beatles era.
I did take the time to listen to Revolver end-to-end last week, based on the rankings referenced above. This particular website calls Tomorrow Never Knows the greatest Beatles song of all.
It’s possible to trace the origins of most modern music, bar rap, back to The Beatles catalogue. But ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was perhaps their most influential track of all. In trying to recreate the sound in Lennon’s head of monks chanting in some cosmic mountain retreat, to accompany lines cribbed from the Tibetan Book Of The Dead intended to emulate a transcendental acid high, the band experimented with loops, sampling, drone and tape manipulation, creating not just the epitome of psychedelia and exposing pop audiences to anti-materialist Eastern ideas, but effectively inventing dance music.
It is interesting, mesmerizing, and musically confusing all at the same time. But listening to it a few times in recent days - just stare at the album cover. George Harrison will look into your soul and beyond.