For there to be ANY kind of traction, ANY paradigm shift, anyone with the power to bring about change, needed are powerful names- people like Quincy Jones, Jay-Z, Taylor Swift, Sir Lucian Grainge, Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John- to band together and go to bat for other musicians.
But will they?
The business of what’s still known as “the music industry” seems to be fine. It still has or has sold or has licensed its various catalogues.
It owns all Mechanical and Publishing Rights. It has its cabal of lawyers and layer upon layer of deal makers and gatekeepers to keep retirement plans afloat and portfolios under lock and key.
Yeah yeah yeah, you’d like to think that everyone has heard of them, but it doesn’t take you long to realise that few actually know ABOUT them- their songs, the backstories, their evolution through the years and heard on every new album released.
There’s the role that producer George Martin played in familiarising them with the recording studio and production techniques starting with recording on a four track machine, but which became a playground for experimentation.
There’s also been their influence on lives and how their music is the soundtrack to much of everything we’ve gone through and our continuing to go through.
Some might say, “Who cares? The Beatles happened another lifetime ago”. True, they did. But, especially for those musicians who have not completed their “education” on the Beatles, there’s a very strong chance that an important part of their homework is missing.
Many more will leave us. Friends, some more famous than others, musical heroes, music icons, political heroes, sporting legends and everyone in between. It’s the inevitability of life. Death catches up with everyone so it really comes down to what one does in the Now and in the Living. Without wishing to sound like a Hallmark greeting card…
Looking back isn’t the answer as it always means coming up against a wall of regrets. But there’s no time for regretting. The past has packed up and walked out the door. It’s now all about what can be done today which segues into tomorrow and knowing that something positive- no matter how small and insignificant- has been achieved.
I really needed this. And it came in through the bathroom window. It’s again about the power of music to take you somewhere else where only you know exists somewhere in your mind. But the songs of Paul McCartney, with often more than a little help from his friends, especially John, are magical and spiritual. They’re uplifting and positive and where, yes, all you need is love and to know that in your hour of darkness, mother Mary will come to you saying, Let it be, let it be.
We’ve lost our way in recent times, but this little Carpool Karaoke video with James Corden brings it all back home- the innocence, first love, real love, friendship, friends taken away from us, memories and knowing that everything is possible. It’s up to us to know which door to open and go through.
Looking back to those surreal, weird and right out there days when firmly entrenched in the music industry with many of us making The Wolf of Wall Street look like pussies, there weren’t a helluva lot of executives who actually lived and loved and BREATHED the music, certainly not like pioneers of the industry like Sam Philips, Chris Blackwell, Berry Gordy Jr, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, David Geffen, Ahmet Ertegun, below, and the handful of others.
And we still Get Back just like Jo Jo though most of us may not be from Arizona. Thanks to Beatle fans around the world uploading rare videos with interviews and sharing their discoveries, we’re finding out more and more about this pretty fab band…and also finding nothing at all. Maybe that’s what keeps the magic of the Beatles alive after all these years- after all these decades: Something new always pops up which then causes a chain reaction of searches on YouTube that can last until Tomorrow Never Knows.
Recently, I was watching a video where George, Paul and Ringo were interviewed reminiscing about some of the tracks they had recorded. George Martin might have been there. None could remember who played guitar on several tracks, or who played bass, and, sometimes, even who was on drums. Let’s not forget that George wasn’t the only “lead guitarist” in the band and Ringo wasn’t the only drummer whereas often Sir Paul and Sir George Martin shared keyboard duties and engineer Geoff Emerick was always in what could be called the final pot pourri mix.
The question is, How did they do it, and, maybe even more importantly, what drove them to that space in time and particular place where it really didn’t matter what anyone else thought and whether it would be popular or accepted just as long as they produced what was in their hearts and minds? It really was that simple.
Call it evolution, colour it revolution, but to go from the rudiments of pop to turning what we know as music on its head when deciding that the recording studio was this wonderful musical land of Oz where lived a wise old Wizard who could see where they wanted to go and guide them down that yellow brick road that led to Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and where Tomorrow Never Knows is something that’s been explored and theorised for over four decades, but there really are no answers.