Monday’s Music Moves Me: By George! Part 2

Two weeks ago, I did a playlist of songs that George Harrison wrote when he was with the Beatles that were included on The Fab Four’s albums. This is the second part of that list. It’s a little longer than the first, because I went back and forth about whether to include the three songs featuring Indian instrumentation and whether or not to include two songs that weren’t actually issued as part of an official Beatles release. In the end, I decided to include all of them.

  1. “Love You To” George was introduced to Indian classical music by David Crosby, then a member of The Byrds, in 1965. He first tried his hand at the sitar on Rubber Soul, playing it on “Norwegian Wood.” later, he took lessons from Ravi Shankar on the instrument, and began to write songs that were accompanied by himself and Indian musicians. The first included on a Beatles album was “Love You To,” from the Revolver album. George wrote three songs in total for that album.
  2. “Within You Without You” George’s lone contribution to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. There’s an analysis of this song on Wikipedia.
  3. “The Inner Light” George’s third Indian piece was done as the flip side of “Lady Madonna.”
  4. “Blue Jay Way” From the Magical Mystery Tour album (in the US, an EP in the UK), George was staying in Los Angeles near a street called Blue Jay Way. He wrote this one while he was waiting for publicist Derek Taylor one evening. It has a definite Indian feel to it, although played with guitars, drums, and a harmonium. It sounds a bit draggy, but that was the mood he was going for.
  5. “Only A Northern Song” George wrote this for Sgt. Pepper, but the band decided not to include it there (much to George’s chagrin). It incorporates a few elements of the later “Revolution No. 9.” It was included on the soundtrack for Yellow Submarine to help fulfill a “four new songs” requirement that United Artists had for the film.
  6. “Think For Yourself” Also included on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, only parts of it were actually played in the film. As Wikipedia puts it, “The song’s lyrics advocate independent thinking and reflect the Beatles’ move towards more sophisticated concepts in their writing at this stage of their career.”
  7. “Something” This song, from Abbey Road, was the first song written by George to appear as the A side of a Beatles single. It was held in high regard by the other three Beatles, especially John Lennon, who insisted that it be the first single from the album. It’s been covered many times, including by Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Andy Williams. Apparently, there’s no truth to the rumor that Allen Klein, the band’s manager, issued the song because they needed the money. It reached #1 on the Hot 100 and #2 on Cash Box, as well as #17 on the Easy Listening chart.
  8. “Here Comes The Sun” One of George’s better-known songs; he describes it as playing around with the D chord. George recorded a reply for it on his eponymous 1979 album called “Here Comes The Moon.” From Abbey Road.
  9. “I Me Mine” from Let It Be. It was the last new track recorded by the band before their breakup in April 1970.
  10. “For You Blue” Also from Let It Be, a better-than-average 12-bar blues song. Slide guitar is played by John Lennon.
  11. “Old Brown Shoe” The band chose this as the B side to the non-album single “The Ballad Of John And Yoko.” George plays both lead and bass guitar and provides the vocal. John is missing from this track, recovering from a car accident.
  12. “Cry For A Shadow” This is an early instrumental piece written by George and John that was never released on any album until the first Beatles Anthology album.
  13. “All Things Must Pass” George had presented this song to the band for inclusion on the Abbey Road album, but it was bypassed in favor of Paul’s “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” It became the title track for George’s debut solo album.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 20, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

Monday’s Music Moves Me: By George! (Part 1)

I woke up this morning thinking about George Harrison and the contributions he made to The Beatles, as a musician, singer, and songwriter. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote the bulk of The Fab Four’s songs, and in fact really didn’t take him seriously as a songwriter until The Beatles (aka the white album). So I set about finding his songs on the band’s original collection of albums (the ones made between 1963 and 1970) and was surprised to find that there were almost 20. So, I broke that playlist in half (no need to thank me) and will give the first half today and the next on our next freebie Monday.

  1. “Don’t Bother Me” Appeared on the second British album, With The Beatles, and the second US album, Meet The Beatles. It was also featured in the movie A Hard Day’s Night.
  2. “I Need You” Appeared on the US and UK Help! soundtrack albums.
  3. “Think For Yourself” From the US and UK album Rubber Soul.
  4. “If I Needed Someone” Also from Rubber Soul. George’s contributions started to become a little more prevalent with this album.
  5. “Taxman” The way I heard the story, the only way Paul would keep this on Revolver (US and UK) was if he played the guitar solo. George obviously agreed.
  6. “I Want To Tell You” Also from Revolver. A third George song, “The Inner Light,” was on Revolver; that’ll be on the next playlist.
  7. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” The white album had four sides (2 records, two sides each), and George had a song on each side. Things were not well among the members of the band, so George invited Eric Clapton to play on this song. The Les Paul that Clapton plays on this song had been gifted to George from Eric; George told Eric that he didn’t have to bring a guitar with him, that he had a good one. Eric adjusted his tone to make his solo sound a little more “Beatle-y.”
  8. “Piggies” George’s sense of humor and social consciousness are evident here in a rather funny song.
  9. “Long, Long, Long” This followed “Helter Skelter” on record 2, side 1. It was a welcome relief from the loudness and violence of that track.
  10. “Savoy Truffle” Per Wikipedia: “”Savoy Truffle” is a song by the English rock group the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). The song was written by George Harrison and inspired by his friend Eric Clapton’s fondness for chocolate. The lyrics list the various flavours offered in Mackintosh’s Good News chocolates and serve as a warning to Clapton about the detrimental effect that his gorging would have on his teeth.”

Part 2 in 2 weeks. That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 6, 2019.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

The Friday Five! Five Favorite Guitar Players, Part 1

Before I start, let me apologize for the fact that some of you received a partial version of this post in your email, and I think it also went out to Facebook and Twitter. I wanted to see if I had gotten a few HTML commands right and meant to hit the “Preview” button, and managed to hit “Publish” instead. Duh.

FridayFive

I’d like to introduce a new feature here on the blog: The Friday Five! How do you like the logo? I ripped off borrowed the idea from the Jackson Five. Hope they don’t mind…

I’ve been thinking about changing The Thursday Ten to The Friday Five for a while, mostly because it’s easier to come up with a list of five things than a list of ten I’d occasionally like to do something different on Thursday, like Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writer’s Workshop or something else of my choosing. The Thursday Ten isn’t going away entirely; I’ll still do one from time to time when I can think of a list of ten things.

So welcome to the inaugural Friday Five. This week’s topic: My five favorite guitar players.

From the start of sixth grade until my stroke in 2007 (about thirty years) I played the guitar. And most of the time, the guitar won…

Thank you! I’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your servers!

But seriously…

I wanted to recognize some of the people who inspired me to keep playing. These are in the order in which I learned of them. Obviously, there are many more than these, but these are the ones that are key.

George Harrison. I wouldn’t have even taken up the guitar if it weren’t for George. My world went a little Beatles-crazy after they first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. We divided ourselves into four camps, called John, Paul, George, and Ringo. There weren’t quite as many people in the George camp; he was the funny-looking quiet one who stood between Paul and John, focused on his playing. Even then I could tell he was a fantastic musician, and as time went on, he distinguished himself, not only as a guitar player, but as a singer, a songwriter, and a humanitarian. And a very funny guy…

Terry Kath. Maybe by virtue of the fact they came from my hometown, maybe it was the horns, but Chicago was my favorite band when I was in high school. Terry might not have been why I started listening to Chicago, but he was definitely the reason I kept listening to them. Where the rest of the ensemble was cool and played with precision, Terry played with utter abandon. He was an excellent singer, guitarist, and songwriter, and the world lost one of its bright lights when he accidentally shot himself in the head in 1978.

Carlos Santana. Around the same time Chicago was making its way into my ears, I heard another band, Santana, named for its leader and lead guitarist, Carlos Santana. They blended blues, rock, Latin, jazz, and some Eastern music, and the result was mesmerizing. It took a remarkable player like Carlos to make it work. Carlos’s collaborations with Mahavishnu John McLaughlin (and the latter’s spiritual direction) added a level of mysticism to his playing. He has become an elder statesman in his later years without losing any of the fire or spirit in his playing.

Lee Ritenour. At a time when I was just sick and tired and bored with music and ready to chuck it all in, I rented a video of Lee Ritenour and his band playing. When it was over, I said, “that’s what I want to play!” He started out as a session musician (at sixteen) and was conversant in a number of genres when he went out on his own. Originally, his music was more fusion-like, but since then he’s gotten into more straight-ahead jazz, emulating the style of the great Wes Montgomery and the jazz players of the 1950’s (Tal Farlow, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall and others).

Tommy Emmanuel. I was browsing the music at Borders one day (remember them?), and they had a CD (remember them?) on display: The Journey by a guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel. I read the back of the jewel case (remember them?), and saw that Joe Walsh lent his considerable skills to one of the tracks, so I figured, what the hell, and bought it. I took it home and played it, and loved it. I had to find more by him, and that’s when I discovered that, while Tommy was an outstanding electric guitarist, he was an even better acoustic fingerstyle player, and that was more his thing. He is one of the few players to have been granted the honorific Certified Guitar Player by the great Chet Atkins (OK, it’s more of a joke than anything, but the players aren’t).

I could spend a year of Fridays listing the guitarists who influenced me (and, if you aren’t careful, I just might), but these are the five that jumped immediately to mind. Tomorrow, five others might jump to mind. With me, you ccan never tell.

Anyway, that’s your Friday Five for the last day of July 2015.