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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Splendid Time Is Guaranteed For All

The Studio Years 1967-1970 at the Bridgewater Public Library

 


Welcome to my blog dedicated to the music of the Beatles.  At the toppermost of the poppermost, I feel compelled to justify my reasons for adding to what is already a massive array of information about the Fab Four.  It came about in this manner:

A few years ago, while I was experiencing one of the lulls which occur to all actors at one time or another, my wife Jane asked me if I would be interested in putting together a program which I could market to local schools, libraries and community groups.  She naturally assumed that I would come up with something related to acting and the theater, but I surprised her by admitting that I had always wanted to do a lecture based on the work of my greatest heroes - the Beatles.  She knew my passion for the subject and she quickly set about learning the guidelines for applying to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the necessary grants.

My task was to actually begin putting together a presentation which would be both entertaining and informative for both the casual fan and the avid enthusiasts like myself.  I discovered early on that the subject was simply too broad to cover in one evening session, so I divided my look at their recording career into two separate presentations - The Beatlemania Years 1962-1966 and The Studio Years 1967-1970.  Each program would run about an hour and fifteen minutes and would include a number of musical selections to illustrate my tracing of their development as recording artists.

I have done each program a number of times now and have gotten wonderful feedback from fans of all ages.  But I still know that I am only skimming the surface of the subject as I briefly touch on the milestones of the Beatles' incredible whirlwind career.  There are so many fascinating details which I simply do not have enough time to delve into as I endeavor to keep the presentation brisk and accessible.

Hence, this blog.  This forum will allow me to tell each story at my own pace and, hopefully, maintain the interest of anyone who stumbles upon it.  My plan at the outset is to journey through the entire official Beatles catalog, giving my take on each song they recorded and released between 1962 and 1970.  To avoid any possible copyright infringement, I will not be providing a download of any of the songs.  They are all out there in multiple formats, and you can easily find them, I am sure. 

Now, I am not a musicologist, nor do I pretend to be one.  I am merely a fan, albeit one who has almost obsessively devoured practically every book about the Fab Four that has come out in the past forty-plus years.  I am less interested in the tell-all books (like Albert Goldman's spiteful The Lives of John Lennon) and much more interested in the books that talk about the music (like Tim Riley's Tell Me Why and Mark Lewisohn's indispensable The Beatles:  Recording Sessions), which is the reason I fell in love with the group in the first place.  This will be reflected in my approach.  I will only refer to events and personalities if they directly relate to the recordings.

But most importantly, I have listened to the music all of my life.  I own almost all of the original vinyl - records now so scratched and worn that they would be of no value to serious collectors, but to me they are priceless.  I also possess the entire catalog on CD, and I even have many of their post-career compilations on cassette, as well as numerous bootlegs sent to me by friends and family.  I believe that my musical taste is broad overall, embracing not just rock, but also blues, jazz, classical and Broadway show tunes.  But, for me, the work of the Beatles is the greatest and most astonishing output in recording history.  No one else, not Sinatra, not Elvis, not Michael Jackson, has even come close.

Tim Riley puts it best.  I use this quote in both of my presentations.

"...as a microcosm of the rock experience, nothing equals the Beatles catalogue: it integrates the best of what came before and signals the array of styles that would soon follow.  They may not be responsible for everything, but nearly everything that comes after would be impossible without them."
                                                                                                                     Tell Me Why, p. 11

I hope you will enjoy the show.



3 comments:

  1. Looking forward to reading more, Mark.

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  2. Hi, Mark. Just discovered your blog, and I intend to experience it from beginning to end. I grew up as this music was being created, and it has been part of my life since. Your sentiments are well-expressed and appreciated, and your approach to documenting this is refreshing. It is also nice to see the American fan experience documented (manipulated though we were). Thanks for your hard work - Goo Goo Ga Joob!

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    1. Thank you, sir. It's always gratifying to hear from someone who is enjoying reading my entries as much as I've enjoyed writing them. I'll soon be continuing the American thread with a look at the Capitol version of Rubber Soul.

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