Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Act 1: Right; Act 2: Wrong; Act 3: Justice; Act 4: Punishment; Act 5: Payment; Act 6: Release by Paul McCartney - **

First released: 1992

I'm just going to write the same thing about all of these, so I'll just clump it all together. These instrumentals were all from the animated film "Daumier's Law". The songs were composed and recorded in 1989. They are very similar to Paul's other classical work, just very short pieces, however.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Across the Universe by The Beatles - ** for original versions; *** for "Naked" version.

First released: 1969

You know I have never been a huge fan of this song and basically took Lennon’s own views on the track that it never really was properly recorded and released. I actually much prefer David Bowie’s version to The Beatles one. That is until the "Naked" version. The story goes that Lennon recorded this with the other Beatles and a guest female singer and it was slated to become The Beatles next single release until McCartney waltzed in with Lady Madonna. Then, the track was given to the World Wildlife Federation LP and promptly forgotten. This version eluded another compilation until 1980's "Rarities" and then it first appeared on CD in 1988 on "Past Masters, Volume Two". A demo version appears on 1996's "Anthology 2".

A year later, instead of taking more material from the hours and hours of performances from the "Get Back" sessions for release onto "Let it Be", producer Phil Spector decided to dust off this recording, take off the bird sounds and female voice and add it to the "Let it Be" line-up. I still don’t like this version. This version also appears on "1967-1970", though I feel that "For You Blue" would have been a more appropriate choice for that compilation.

Then, when "Let it Be…Naked" was released in 2003, the version was altered again and all of the Spector-isms were removed and finally the song has been released in a version that I like.

This song also became the title of a Beatles-inspired movie in 2007, a film that I actually liked…in places.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"Acoustic" by John Lennon - **

First Released: 2004

Too bad Yoko decided to issue "The John Lennon Anthology" box set back in 1998, because now every album released with John’s name on it seems like another warmed over greatest hits collection sprinkled with one or two unreleased tracks. The fact that you can cram all of Lennon’s released solo output (released and unreleased) onto five discs makes one realize that his output wasn’t all that plentiful. I don’t mind this album, and it makes for pleasant listening as an interesting contrast to Lennon’s first solo album, "John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band", but what was the point? Everything of consequence with Lennon’s name on it has truly been released or bootlegged and this is just another example of something for the completists. Casual fans should steer themselves towards the 1970-1975 and 1980 output. It does have the guitar chords spelled out so if you want to learn to play.

The two star rating refers to the necessity of owning this compilation over the value of the four-star music contained therein.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ach Du Lieber Augustin by The Beatles - *


A three second little attempt of this traditional German folk song was recorded by The Beatles during the lengthy "Get Back" sessions in 1969. Seriously, nothing special.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Absolutely Sweet Marie by George Harrison - ***

First released: 1993

I hate to say it, but unlike The Beatles, I have never been a big Bob Dylan fan. I have had many discussions with Dylan fans that don’t understand my dislike and actually despise the fact that I make a comparison of Dylan to Yoko. Hear me out. I feel that Bob Dylan and Yoko Ono are both excellent songwriters, and both cannot sing. Case in point this tune, which has one thing really going for it, which is George Harrison in a rare live performance sings lead vocals on Dylan’s 30th Anniversary Concert from 1992 and the subsequent CD release "The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration" the next year. Dylan himself originally recorded it for his "Blonde on Blonde" album in 1966 and even he never performed it live until 1988.

Friday, April 25, 2008

About You by Paul McCartney - **

First released: 2001

Ok track from Paul's "Driving Rain". It's a little bit meatier sound that what's typical on the record, but unfortunately in recent years, Paul’s voice is somewhat shot and the overall effect is somewhat pedestrian. I don’t know about you, but it always seems like there’s a few bum notes played here and there. Maybe that was supposed to be the effect, but it doesn’t work for me. It makes it sound like an average garage band rehearsing.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"Abbey Road" by The Beatles - ****

First released: 1969

One of THE classic Beatles LPs and actually their true swansong, despite being released before "Let it Be", it was actually recorded after. This was the first Beatles LPs I ever heard, and I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I didn’t get introduced to The Beatles this way. One could argue that this was The Beatles peak moment, and probably was, and that hearing everything else afterwards would surely be a letdown. It never bothered me, except for the fact that this truly was it. One could compile (and indeed I have) a collection of tracks that were rehearsed with the group and properly recorded solo-ly and try to determine whether The Beatles would have continued to progress had they stayed together beyond this point. My short answer is yes, and a 1971 Beatles album featuring those tracks would have been outstanding. Would they have been able to continue after that is anyone’s guess. Methinks that had The Beatles stayed together, they would have evolved much like The Rolling Stones or The Who, still making outstanding albums through the 70s, but becoming more and more routine as the 80s progressed.

The Beatles possibly had one or two more great albums in them, but in the long run, quitting when they did has the virtue of maintaining The Beatles at legendary status instead of the (sometimes) laughable geriatrics of their contemporaries. It’s always fun to speculate and the events of 1980 concluded the possibilities.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Abandoned Love by George Harrison - ***


Unreleased George Harrison version of an old Bob Dylan song. It's quite a nice sounding country-type song with some nifty guitar work that should be released. It dates back to 1975, and was attempted a few times by George in 1984. Dylan himself didn't release his version until 1985's "Biograph".

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Welcome to Mark Arnold's Beatles Book Site


This is Mark Arnold. I am a writer. I wrote a book in 2006 called, "The Best of The Harveyville Fun Times!" Now, I'm at work on two new books: one is called, "Created and Produced by Total TeleVision: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo & the Rest" for BearManor Media and the other is called, "Mark Arnold Picks on The Beatles", which I plan to publish myself, unless a publisher is interested.

With this blog, I intend to print one review on a daily (hopefully) basis that will eventually appear in the book. I strongly welcome comments and corrections to any factual information that I may say or any song omissions.

I am looking for artists to do both cartoony and realistic drawings and paintings of The Beatles for the book. Everyone's contribution that's used will receive a free copy of the book when it's published, so contact me if you're interested. My tentative plan is to complete the writing of this book in Spring 2008 and publish in the Fall after I get all of the artwork and advertising.

I am trying to review every song written and/or performed by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and The Beatles, regardless if it was released or not.

We'll start off the listings with "Abandoned Love" on the next blog.

In the meantime, here's the rough draft of the introduction to my book. Happy reading and I look forward to your comments and your submissions.

Mark Arnold Picks On The Beatles 1st Edition. All opinions and text are copyright 2008 by Mark Arnold except for any lyrical quotations.

I first became interested in The Beatles in early 1977. I had recently become a fan of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. On February 19, 1977, NBC aired a repeat of the Saturday Night Live episode from October 2, 1976, with Monty Python’s Eric Idle as guest host. On the show were many references to The Beatles including one of Producer Lorne Michael’s appeal to get The Beatles together for $3000 and Idle’s repeated attempts to perform “Here Comes the Sun” at full shout throughout the show. There was also the first appearance of The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles that Idle actually premiered on SNL before airing it on his own Rutland Weekend Television. All of these Beatles references got me really intrigued about who these people were. I had heard of The Beatles, but didn’t know them individually, nor did I know much about their music. Sure, I had heard “Yellow Submarine” and “Come Together” by this time in my life, but had no idea who the performers were, nor did I care.

Anyway, it was Idle’s shouting performance of “Here Comes the Sun” that got me asking my parents, “What does the original song sound like anyway?” My parents said, “Well, we have the album over there (Abbey Road), why don’t you listen to it?” So, I took the album from the rack and placed the needle on side two, track one to listen to “Here Comes the Sun”. I thought to myself, “That’s a nice song and I have heard this before. I wonder what else is on this album.” So I flipped the record over and started with “Come Together” and was amazed and thought to myself: “I’ve heard this before!” And indeed I had, many times on the radio and the earliest memory of it is as background music at a restaurant in Castroville, CA, called The Giant Artichoke circa 1971-1972.

The next track was “Something” and again I was, “I’ve heard this!!” I hadn’t heard the next couple of tracks (“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” or “Oh! Darling”) before but thought that “Silver Hammer” was funny, but wasn’t terribly impressed with “Oh! Darling” at the time. Then the next track was “Octopus’s Garden” and again I was, “I’ve heard this!!” I listened to the rest of the album and concluded, “This isn’t right. There’s four songs on this album that I have heard before and the rest wasn’t too bad.” I was under the impression that albums were always filler for a hit song or two, so to have at least four “hit songs” on a non-greatest hits album was wrong! Nobody could be that good!!

I asked my parents if we owned any more Beatles stuff. The only other item was a 45 of “Help!” back with “I’m Down”. I had also heard “Help!” before and really liked this song. “I’m Down” was new to me, but has since become one of my favorite Beatles songs of all time.

I was hooked. Every time a birthday or Christmas rolled around I wanted to buy a new album. At first, as most fans probably are, I only wanted Beatles. I was disinterested or better still, unfamiliar with what John, Paul, George and Ringo were currently putting out. In fact, as amazing as this is, in early 1978, my mother bought me a 45 of “With a Little Luck” and it was credited to “Wings”, so I asked her why she bought me this. She said, “Take a look at who wrote it.” It said “McCartney” and I said, “Oh.” I played the 45 and discovered that I was totally familiar with the track because of the radio but didn’t know that this was by the same guy that used to be in The Beatles. Dumb, I know, but I learned quickly.

I believed the myth that John, Paul, George and Ringo didn’t produce anything of real consequence after their 1970 break up. In fact, some of my favorite tracks by the foursome appeared long after the split and I’m still discovering quality tracks to this day as you will discover in my reviews.

Songs not listed include those where Beatles were producers or supporting players and do not sing. An exception to this rule are songs by Yoko Ono if included in John Lennon product, or songs by other Wings members if included in Paul McCartney product. Only commercially released albums and compilations in the US or UK are listed and reviewed as they have been considered over the years to be the general acceptable configurations for most of these songs. If a song is part of a compilation or soundtrack, the compilation or soundtrack may be listed in the review, but the compilation or soundtrack will not be listed unless one of the Fab Four has contributed at least 50% of the compilation (i.e. Scouse the Mouse is listed, while Lethal Weapon 2 is not). I have to say that I have personally listened to or viewed everything listed in this book unless otherwise indicated. It’s mainly unreleased material that I have never heard before. Obviously, as Paul and Ringo continue to record new material, these songs will be added to future editions, and if anything has been overlooked or omitted, please let me know at, so that it can be added to future editions. Incidentally, when I say a date for “First released”, it is always the date of the first Beatles-related issue.

Beatles After the Break-Up, The by Keith Badman
Beatles: An Illustrated Record, The by Roy Carr & Tony Tyler
Beatles Anthology, The by The Beatles
Beatles Digest, The by Goldmine
Beatles Forever, The by Nicholas Schaffner
Beatles on Record, The by Mark Wallgren
Beatles Recording Sessions, The by Mark Lewisohn
Beatles Ultimate Recording Guide, The by Allen J. Weiner
Complete Beatles Chronicle, The by Mark Lewisohn
Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles Let it Be Disaster by Doug Sulpy and Ray Schweighardt
Great Rock Discography, The by Martin C. Strong
Lennon and McCartney Together Alone by John Blaney
Long and Winding Road, The by Ted Greenwald
Top Pop Singles 1955-1993 by Joel Whitburn
Unreleased Beatles by Richie Unterberger
and of course the various albums and videos by The Beatles, group and solo, and their friends, and Limewire.

By the way, I will be incorporating a ratings system in this book for you to pick and choose.

**** = GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE (A classic tune and must have track)
*** = I FEEL FINE (A really good if not great track)
** = GETTING BETTER (Not bad, but not great average sounding track)
* = I’M A LOSER (Some artistic merit, but just barely)
0 (no stars) = FOR NO ONE (For completists or masochists only)
no rating = (I haven't heard it, so I can't really rate it. Send me a copy for next edition)

Finally, I just want to offer up the following disclaimer for anyone who thinks I am personally attacking their favorite Beatles group or solo song. This is all in fun and I have to admit that I probably would buy an album of The Beatles farting and enjoy it.