All posts tagged: John Lennon

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CONCERT REVIEW: U2, Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, July 6, 2015

For a group that once loudly and proudly proclaimed that they were reapplying for the job of best band in the world, U2 have faced their share of humbling challenges in recent months: a widely panned deal with Apple that confused and angered iTunes users, a new album released to decidedly mixed reviews (sorry, Rolling Stone!), a bicycle accident that required major surgery and hampered the album’s launch, and a tour that got off to a rather unsteady start. In some ways, the backlash against Songs of Innocence‘s release has been so strong to now merit its own backlash—and may have helped to turn into unlikely underdogs a band that can claim to have sold more than 98 percent of all tickets to 68 arena dates through the end of 2015. While U2’s power as a live draw seems largely undiminished, they went through great pains in the lead-up to the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour to emphasize that they had no intention of settling comfortably into a rock middle age of filling arenas to play crowd-pleasing-but-rote greatest-hits sets that would include …

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Exclusive: Extreme’s Gary Cherone Previews The New Hurtsmile Album “Retrogrenade”

Gary Cherone is perhaps best-known for being the longtime vocalist of the Boston-based rock band Extreme and after that, the guy who picked up the microphone for Van Halen as the group’s singer for the Van Halen III album and tour. (If you’re a Van Halen fan, hopefully you got a chance to see Cherone on that tour — the shows were great!) Since 2007, Cherone has been focused on his new band Hurtsmile, a collaboration with his brother Mark playing guitars, bassist Joe Pessia and drummer Dana Spellman. They released their self-titled debut in 2011, which Cherone described at the time as an album which was “about returning to my roots [and] writing a record in my basement — a straight up rock `n’ roll record that turned out to be more diverse and ambitious than I expected.” The Hurtsmile album was well-received and Cherone and crew have come back around for round two, with plans to release their second album Retrogrenade in late May. Fans can pre-order the album now via PledgeMusic and …

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The Popdose Interview: Julian Lennon

It’s never easy to grow up in your father’s shadow, no matter who you are, so you can only imagine how it was for Julian Lennon, given that not only was his dad one of the Beatles but also there’s a distinct physical and vocal resemblance between the two of ’em. After grabbing the attention of listeners with his 1984 debut, Valotte, Lennon continued to release new albums every two or three years – The Secret Value of Daydreaming in 1986, Mr. Jordan in 1989, and Help Yourself in 1991 – before taking a break for a few years. When he returned in 1998, it was with Photograph Smile, an unabashedly Beatle-esque album which found Lennon seemingly comfortable at last with embracing his heritage. Unfortunately, it proved to be the last thing listeners would hear from him for many years. Finally, in 2011, Lennon emerged with a new album: Everything Changes. The only problem, however, was that its emergence was limited to the UK and Ireland. At long last, however, the album has finally found …

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You’re Dead To Us…Medleys

In which we look at once common curiosities of pop culture that don’t exist anymore, be it because of changing tastes, the fragmentation of culture, or merely the fickle nature of fads.  In the late ’70s in the Netherlands, most disco music came in bootlegged medleys on 45, in which popular dance songs were strung together with a cohesive beat, or the music of one band, say, the Beatles, was remixed with a generic 1-2 drum beat and some synthetic hand claps. Dutch music publisher Willem Van Kooten got wind of this trend when he heard a mix that included a danced-up version of “Venus,” of which he owned the copyright. He decided to record a legit dancebeat-assisted disco medley, using “Venus” as well as some Beatles songs as recorded by studio musicians who he thought sounded like John Lennon and Paul McCartney. (They didn’t.) Because of copyright reasons with the Beatles’ songs, Van Kooten and Stars on 45 had to list the name of every song in the medley in the song’s title: “Intro”/“Venus”/“Sugar, …

The back cover of Let It Be fittingly shows the darker side of its sun-drenched front cover photos.

The #1 Albums: The Beatles’ “Let It Be”

“I’ll finish you all now! You’ll pay!” So said Paul McCartney to Ringo Starr when Ringo tried to convince Paul to hold his solo album release so it wouldn’t conflict with the release of Let It Be. In a court affidavit describing the incident, Ringo said Paul “told me to put my coat on and get out” of his house. At Ringo’s urging, John and George relented, and Let It Be was shelved for a couple of weeks. And with a head start, McCartney reached #1 on the Billboard 200 before Let It Be dethroned it, on June 13, 1970. Let It Be held the top spot for four weeks, the shortest run of any Beatles album to hit #1 except for Anthology 2 in 1996. Although Let It Be was recorded before Abbey Road, it has the feeling of an album patched together out of bits and pieces, the sort of thing bands release as a stopgap or a last gasp. In early 1969, when the band’s squabbles were at their hottest, it looked as …

Beyond being a detail from the cover of "McCartney," we're not sure what this is, either.

The #1 Albums: “McCartney”

It must be great to be Paul McCartney. All that fame, all that money. And it must be terrible, too, because you have to compete with Paul McCartney, and a reputation that will last until the end of time. It’s been that way from the beginning. In 1970, at the precise moment the Beatles were making public their inevitable split, Paul released a solo album, McCartney, which was instantly compared to his previous work, and found wanting. John Lennon and George Harrison didn’t like it. Many critics didn’t care for it, either. Too ragged, too full of half-baked ideas, lacking the hook-laden sound everyone expected from a Beatle. Almost 43 years later, it’s easy to hear what they were talking about. But you can also hear it as a declaration of independence—here’s what interests me, Paul is saying, here’s what’s important to me now. Let John and Phil Spector do whatever grandiose thing they’re doing to Let It Be—I’m unplugging over here. Three tracks on the album stand out: “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which got a …

To honor the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' first sessions at Abbey Road Studios, tood sculptor Paul Baker recreated the "Abbey Road" cover using elements from a classic English breakfast. Note that vegetarian Paul is rendered entirely in mushrooms.

The #1 Albums: “Abbey Road”

Certain albums in this series present a particular challenge, as we’ve noted before: What can one say that’s fresh about some of the most famous albums ever recorded? For that, we turn once more to Wikipedia for five random facts about Abbey Road by the Beatles. —Most of the album was recorded in July 1969, although bits of it go back to February and the last of it was completed in mid-August. Despite the ongoing dissolution of the band, the Beatles were working on a lot of stuff during this period, much of which would be saved for Let It Be in 1970. —While Paul McCartney was lavishing great care on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” take after take after take, the other Beatles were fuming. George Harrison eventually told him, “You’ve taken three days, it’s only a song.” John Lennon was present in the studio but doesn’t appear on the track. —A direct quote: “Abbey Road was also the first and only Beatles album to be entirely recorded through a solid state transistor mixing desk as …