Monthly Archives: October 2013

Remembering John Lennon, founder of The Beatles

The famous John Ono Lennon, the founder of the worldwide known music band The Beatles, was born on this very day in the year of 1940. Over three decades after his death, John Lennon remains one of the most important and perhaps the most misunderstood artist in rock music history. Remembering John Lennon offers a unique and intimate look at the man beyond the legend. The Beatles tasted great success in Lennon’s presence until 1970. They became the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music. With Paul McCartney, he formed a songwriting partnership that is one of the most celebrated of the 20th century.

Later he came up with critically acclaimed albums as his solo work. Here’s a look at some of his most famous songs of all time.

Give Peace a Chance: This song was Lennon’s debut solo single even though he was still a part of Beatles then. The song is based on an anti-war theme and interestingly was recorded in John-Yoko’s honeymoon room.

Imagine: Imagine is the most timeless song by John Lennon ever. It has been covered by a lot of artists but nothing can match with the original.

Instant Karma: Instant Karma is again one of the best he has written. The song was ready in just 10 days.

Revolution: One thing that makes this song special is John Lennon playing the guitar himself.

In My Life: This song was a Beatles production. The song originated with Lennon, and while Paul McCartney contributed to the final version.

Jealous Guy: This one is written and performed by John Lennon which first appeared on his 1971 album Imagine. It is one of the most commonly covered Lennon songs.

Mother: Mother is actually a cry to both his parents, who abandoned him in his childhood. The song was first released on his 1970 album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

Mind Games: Mind Games was out when John Lennon began distancing himself from the political and social issues he had embraced in the previous 18 months. It was also around this time that he and his wife, Yoko Ono, were going through marital problems.

(Just Like) Starting Over: This was the first single released from Double Fantasy, and the first new recording Lennon had released since 1975. It was chosen by Lennon not because he felt it was the best track on the album, but because it was the most appropriate following his five-year absence from the recording industry.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over): This one has become a Christmas classic over the years. It was a part of Lennon and Ono’s peace campaign.

JohnLennon_soloBorn and raised in Liverpool, as a teenager Lennon became involved in the skiffle craze; his first band, the Quarrymen, evolved into the Beatles in 1960. When the group disbanded in 1970, Lennon embarked on a solo career that produced the critically acclaimed albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, and iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”. After his marriage to Yoko Ono in 1969, he changed his name to John Ono Lennon. Lennon disengaged himself from the music business in 1975 to raise his infant son Sean, but re-emerged with Ono in 1980 with the new album Double Fantasy.

John was murdered three weeks after the release of Double Fantasy. The news that John Lennon was dead came as an immense shock, infinitely sad, not only because of his death but for the death of an era, and for the Beatles songs that played all through that time, delivering a message worth listening for in each of their songs. The silly, innocent songs, like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and the songs so deep they were poems, like “Eleanor Rigby,” and no wonder we try to listen between the words of the songs for the messages the Beatles had allegedly hidden there. Now Lennon has been shot dead and the Beatles are no more. Ringo, Paul and George brought new albums on to the shelves, and all the radio stations were playing them over and over. And John is still alive in the hearts of all music lovers around the globe.

Something by George Harrison from Abbey Road

“Something” is a song released by The Beatles in 1969. It was featured on the album Abbey Road, and was also the first song written by George Harrison to appear on the A-side of a Beatles single. This was released as a Double A-side single with “Come Together.” It was the only song written by George Harrison released as a single by The Beatles. They had used some of his songs as B-sides, including “The Inner Light” and “Old Brown Shoe.” “Something” was the only Harrison composition to top the American charts while he was in The Beatles. Harrison wrote this during a break while they were working on The White Album. It was not recorded in time for the album, so Harrison gave this to Joe Cocker, but Cocker didn’t release it until after The Beatles did.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney—the two principal song writing members of the band—both praised “Something” as among the best songs Harrison had written. As well as critical acclaim, the single achieved commercial success, topping the Billboard charts in the United States, and entering the top 10 in the United Kingdom. The song has been covered by over 150 artists including Elvis Presley, Shirley Bassey, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, James Brown, Radiohead, Julio Iglesias, Smokey Robinson and Joe Cocker, and is the second-most covered Beatles song after “Yesterday”.

During the 1968 recording sessions for The Beatles (also referred to as the White Album), Harrison began working on a song that eventually became known as “Something”. The song’s first lyrics (“Something in the way she moves/Attracts me like no other lover”) were adapted from an unrelated song by fellow Apple artist James Taylor called “Something In The Way She Moves” and used as filler while the melody was being developed.

Harrison later said that “I had a break while Paul was doing some overdubbing so I went into an empty studio and began to write. That’s really all there is to it, except the middle took some time to sort out. It didn’t go on the White Album because we’d already finished all the tracks.” A demo recording of the song by Harrison from this period appears on the Beatles Anthology 3 collection, released in 1996. Many believe that Harrison’s inspiration for “Something” was his wife at the time, Pattie Boyd. Boyd also claimed that inspiration in her 2007 autobiography, Wonderful Tonight, where she wrote: “He told me, in a matter-of-fact way, that he had written it for me.”

However, Harrison has cited other sources of inspiration to the contrary. In a 1996 interview he responded to the question of whether the song was about Pattie: “Well no, I didn’t [write it about her]. I just wrote it, and then somebody put together a video. And what they did was they went out and got some footage of me and Pattie, Paul and Linda, Ringo and Maureen, it was at that time, and John and Yoko and they just made up a little video to go with it. So then, everybody presumed I wrote it about Pattie, but actually, when I wrote it, I was thinking of Ray Charles.”

The original intention had been for Harrison to offer the song to Jackie Lomax, as had been done with the previous Harrison composition, “Sour Milk Sea.” When this fell through, the song was given to Joe Cocker (who had previously covered The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends”); his version came out two months before that of The Beatles. During the Get Back recording sessions for what eventually became Let It Be, Harrison considered using “Something,” but eventually decided against it due to his fear that insufficient care would be taken in its recording; his earlier suggestion of “Old Brown Shoe” had not gone down well with the band. It was only during the recording sessions for Abbey Road that The Beatles began seriously working on “Something.”

The lead vocalist for “Something” was George Harrison. The song runs at a speed of about sixty-six beats per minute and is in common time throughout. The melody begins in the key of C major. It continues in this key throughout the intro and the first two verses, until the eight-measure-long bridge, which is in the key of A major. After the bridge, the melody returns to C Major for the guitar solo, the third verse, and the outro. Although The Beatles had initially attempted an edgier acoustic version of the song, this was dropped along with the counter-melody. A demo of the acoustic version with the counter-melody included was later released as part of Anthology 3. On the final release, the counter-melody was replaced by an instrumental break, and the song was given a softer tone with the introduction of a string arrangement by George Martin, The Beatles’ producer.

Richie Unterberger of Allmusic described it as “an unabashedly straightforward and sentimental love song” at a time “when most of the Beatles’ songs were dealing with non-romantic topics or presenting cryptic and allusive lyrics even when they were writing about love”.