Friday, 18 May 2012


there is steve kilbey and the church
there is jim aka roger mcguinn and the byrds
there is ray davies and the kinks
there is bob dylan
and there is the late great jake thackray
but the greatest influence on my music and songwriting
remains that pair of giants
lennon and mccartney
it would obviously be churlish to diminish mccartney
supreme melodist
virtuoso multi-instrumentalist
outstanding vocalist
frequently inspired lyricist and songwriter
just look at songs like yesterday, penny lane and hey jude
but when i look for key songs in the beatles catalogue
it is not generally mccartney or harrisongs that stand out
it is lennon's
the exceptions that prove the rule
are their first double whammy from 1963
she loves you and i wanna hold your hand
both co-written eyeball to eyeball in hotel rooms while on tour
but from that point on lennon establishes himself as the key writer
that opening chord of a hard day's night
cuts a swathe through popular music
ticket to ride is rock's first proto-heavy metal track
help! combines its writer's vulnerability
with similar climactic energy and drive to a hard day's night
norwegian wood moves into edgier lyrical territory
meshing english folk with indian raga
tomorrow never knows ushers in the strangeness of psychedelia
this incredible recording has never dated
despite - or perhaps because of -
the head-swimming onward march of technology
rain updates ticket to ride's heavy metal style
harnessing the byrds' gleaming treble guitar tone
then smudging it with a druggy smear of backwards vocals
strawberry fields picks up where help! left off
adding depth, subtlety and texture to the angst
and instrumentation almost orchestral in its sweep
a day in the life represents perhaps lennon's (and the group's) peak
a devastatingly sad and moving mood piece
with lennon's voice at its most vulnerable
another contender for greatest ever beatles recording
could be i am the walrus
an astonishing rant against england and petty authority
sneered against an incredible backing track
brilliantly orchestrated by george martin
that scales and descends a relentless escher staircase
the distortion of revolution captures the zeitgeist of the year of my birth
in the same way as the stones' street fighting man
happiness is a warm gun offers three or four songs in one
a kind of history of folk and rock music sewn together
finally there is the political boldness of come together
mccartney weighing in with a superb swampy bassline
as if to prove his worth
as lennon's indispensable partner in crime
where would we be without them?

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