Monday, 14 November 2016

Ticket To Write Playlist: #3 Create Instrumental Hooks


For a full discussion of this songwriting tip go here

1954 Hoochie Coochie Man - Muddy Waters (0:00)
1955 Mannish Boy - Muddy Waters (0:18**)
1959 Money (That’s What I Want) - Barrett Strong (0:00)

1963 Love Me Do - The Beatles (0:00)
1963 Please Please Me – The Beatles (0:12 and 0:19)
1963 Twist And Shout - The Beatles (0:00)
1963 Money (That’s What I Want) - The Beatles (0:00)
1964 A Hard Day’s Night - The Beatles (1:19)
1964 And I Love Her - The Beatles (0:00)
1964 I Feel Fine - The Beatles (0:06)
1964 Words Of Love - The Beatles (0:00)
1964 O, Pretty Woman - Roy Orbison (0:02)
1964 My Girl – The Temptations (0:05)
1965 Ticket To Ride - The Beatles (0:00)
1965 Help! - The Beatles (0:01)
1965 Day Tripper - The Beatles (0:00)
1965 In My Life - The Beatles (0:00 and 1:28)
1965 Michelle - The Beatles (1:25)
1965 (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - The Rolling Stones (0:00)
1966 Got To Get You Into My Life - The Beatles (0:11 and 1:05)
1966 Paperback Writer - The Beatles (0:06)
1966 And Your Bird Can Sing - The Beatles (0:51)
1966 Eleanor Rigby - The Beatles (0:04, 0:31, 1:08 and 1:21)
1966 For No One - The Beatles (0:49)
1966 I'm A Believer - The Monkees (0:00, 0:28, 0:46 and 1:37)
1966 Good Vibrations - The Beach Boys (0:25)
1966 Hold On, I'm Comin' - Sam And Dave (0:00)
1966 Get Ready - The Temptations (0:00)
1966 Gimme Some Lovin' - The Spencer Davis Group (0:00 and 0:14***)
1967 Strawberry Fields Forever - The Beatles (0:00 and 1:18)
1967 Penny Lane - The Beatles (1:09)
1967 Lady Madonna - The Beatles (0:00)
1967 Hey Bulldog - The Beatles (0:00)
1967 Sunshine Of Your Love - Cream (0:00)
1967 Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix (0:05)
1968 Helter Skelter - The Beatles (0:42 and 0:45)
1968 While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles (0:00)
1968 Hey Jude - The Beatles (0:51)
1968 Yer Blues - The Beatles (0:24)
1968 Birthday - The Beatles (0:02)
1968 Piggies - The Beatles (0:00 and 1:06)
1968 Martha My Dear - The Beatles (0:30, 0:57 and 1:16)
1968 Long, Long, Long - The Beatles (0:16)
1968 Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) - Jimi Hendrix (0:10)
1969 Don’t Let Me Down - The Beatles (0:00)
1969 Get Back - The Beatles (0:43*)
1969 Two Of Us - The Beatles (0:09*)
1969 Let It Be - The Beatles (1:41*)
1969 Something - The Beatles (0:01)
1969 Octopus’s Garden - The Beatles (0:00)
1969 Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles (0:23)
1969 Come Together - The Beatles (0:00)
1969 I Want You Back – The Jackson 5 (0:01)
1969 Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin (0:00)
1969 Heartbreaker - Led Zeppelin (0:00)
1969 Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin (0:00)

1970 Layla - Derek And The Dominos (0:00)
1970 Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin (0:01)
1970 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath (0:37)
1970 War Pigs - Black Sabbath (0:51)
1970 Paranoid - Black Sabbath (0:00)
1970 All Right Now - Free (0:00)
1970 Iron Man - Black Sabbath (0:27 and 1:13)
1971 Sweet Leaf - Black Sabbath (0:03)
1971 Children Of The Grave - Black Sabbath (0:13 and 2:08)
1971 Black Dog - Led Zeppelin (0:12)
1972 Superstition - Stevie Wonder (0:00 and 0:09)
1972 Smoke On The Water – Deep Purple (0:00)
1972 Supernaut - Black Sabbath (0:03)
1973 Sabbath Bloody Sabbath - Black Sabbath (0:00)
1973 A National Acrobat - Black Sabbath (0:00)
1973 Papa Was A Rollin' Stone – The Temptations (0:00)
1973 The Ocean - Led Zeppelin (0:08)
1973 Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) - The Rolling Stones (1:10)
1975 Walk This Way - Aerosmith (0:00 and 0:03)
1975 Jive Talkin' - Bee Gees (1:17)
1975 It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll) – AC/DC (0:00)
1975 Kashmir - Led Zeppelin (0:00)
1975 Symptom Of The Universe - Black Sabbath (0:00)
1976 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap – AC/DC (0:00)
1976 Nobody’s Fault But Mine - Led Zeppelin (0:00)
1976 Don't Fear the Reaper - Blue Öyster Cult (0:00)
1976 Wonderful Tonight - Eric Clapton (0:01)
1976 Sir Duke – Stevie Wonder (0:00 and 1:04)
1976 The Ripper - Judas Priest (0:45 and 1:32)
1977 We Will Rock You - Queen (0:00)
1977 Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC (0:00)
1977 Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be – AC/DC (0:34)
1978 Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty (0:23)
1978 Riff Raff – AC/DC (0:45)
1978 Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Love - Van Halen (0:00)
1979 Highway To Hell – AC/DC (0:00)
1979 Girls Got Rhythm – AC/DC (0:00)
1979 Beating Around The Bush – AC/DC (0:07)
1979 Parisienne Walkways - Gary Moore (0:03)
1979 My Sharona - The Knack (0:00 and 0:07)
1979 Good Times - Chic (0:01)

1980 Another One Bites The Dust - Queen (0:00)
1980 Hells Bells – AC/DC (0:19 and 1:18)
1980 You Shook Me All Night Long – AC/DC (0:00 and 0:16)
1980 Back In Black – AC/DC (0:00 and 2:49)
1980 Crazy Train - Ozzy Osbourne 0:17)
1980 Mr Crowley - Ozzy Osbourne (3:19)
1980 Heaven And Hell - Black Sabbath (0:00)
1980 Breaking The Law - Judas Priest (0:00)
1980 The Rage - Judas Priest (0:00)
1981 The Sign Of The Southern Cross - Black Sabbath (1:17)
1981 For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) - AC/DC (0:00 and 0:16)
1981 Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie (0:00)
1981 Tainted Love - Soft Cell (0:03)
1981 In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins (3:40)
1981 Under Pressure - Queen And David Bowie (0:00)
1982 My Face Is On Fire - Felt (0:01)
1982 Run To The Hills - Iron Maiden (0:00 and 0:07)
1982 Hallowed Be Thy Name - Iron Maiden (0:00 and 0:59)
1982 Mickey - Toni Basil (0:00)
1983 The Trooper - Iron Maiden (0:00 and 0:12)
1983 Waiting For Darkness - Ozzy Osbourne (0:26)
1983 Blister In The Sun - Violent Femmes (0:00)
1983 Little Red Corvette - Prince (0:50)
1983 Holy Diver - Dio (1:13)
1983 Blue Monday - New Order (0:00 and 1:18 ****)
1984 I Want A New Drug - Huey Lewis And The News (0:01)
1984 Ghostbusters – Ray Parker Jr. (0:13, 0:21, 0:46 and 2:01)
1986 You Can Call Me Al - Paul Simon (0:00)
1986 The Final Countdown - Europe (0:13)

1991 Enter Sandman - Metallica (0:00)
1991 Smells Like Teen Spirit - Nirvana (0:00)
1991 Come As You Are – Nirvana (0:00)
1993 Loser - Beck (0:00)
1994 Whatever - Oasis (0:11)
1997 Bitter Sweet Symphony - The Verve (0:17)

2000 Go - The Apples In Stereo (0:01 and 0:10)
2000 The Real Slim Shady - Eminem (0:00)
2001 Plug In Baby - Muse (0:05)
2002 Lose Yourself - Eminem (0:31)
2002 Cleanin' Out My Closet - Eminem (0:06)
2002 Business - Eminem (0:08 and 0:18)
2003 Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes (0:00)

2014 Fancy - Iggy Azalea (0:00)
2016 Fingernails - Matt Blick (0:00)

Notes

*Original Let It Be album version
** Original single (with 2:58 run time and female BVs)
***US single (with piano and cowbell)
****2011 Total Version


  • In order to better understand the influence of ideas on and by the Beatles songs are laid out in chronological order.
  • Songs written or performed by the Beatles are in bold.
  • Songs covered by the Beatles, or to known to have had an influence on them, are in italics.
  • Songs written by Matt Blick can be found at www.mattblick.com/songs

Did I miss an example? Leave a comment below!

Thanks to Pete Murphy, Nancy Rost, Curtis Pea, Gary Horn, Ben Spencer, Bert Zoetemeyer, Luke Seagrave, Martin Quibell, Scott Lake, Patrick Bonier, Ben Bradley, Stephen Wort, Michael Rose, Jeff Charreaux, Rod Johnson and Jonathan Nelson for suggestions.

Further Reading

Ticket 2: Take out every unnecessary section, repeat or other element
Ticket 4: Create intros, outros and solos by mutating the main sections of the song
Ticket 9: Develop melodic or chordal fragments to create longer ideas or new sections
The Be-Atletudes
About Beatles Songwriting Academy

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Check out music by Matt Blick

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Friday, 21 October 2016

The Night That Changed American Music: The Beatles On Ed Sullivan



We gathered round to hear the sound comin’ on the little screen
The grief had passed, the old men laughed, and all the girls screamed
’Cause four guys from England took us all by the hand
It was time to laugh, time to sing, time to join the band.

I Saw It on T.V. by John Fogerty


CBS called it 'the Night That Changed America' as 73 million Americans tuned in to watch the Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. Among those impacted were children and young adults who would go on to define music throughout the rest of the 60s, 70s and 80s. From working musicians like David Crosby, gleaning tips on 'how to hold an electric guitar' to five year old Richie Sambora receiving his life's calling.

Session ace Will Lee who wound up working four nights a week in the same studio the Beatles appeared in as part of his 'day job' on Late Night With Letterman thought
maybe music is gonna be my life from now on
For Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) and Robert Cray it was the most potent guitar advert possible
[It] was the beginning. That got me to learn how to play the guitar. 
The girls were screaming at The Beatles, as an 11/12 year old kid, by the time I got the guitar, I wanted that, too.
Worship songwriter Mark Altrogge says
It was electrifying - like watching fireworks for the first time - I'd never seen or heard anything like them.
Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh
I took one look and it was, ‘F**k school. I memorized every Beatles song and went to Shea Stadium and screamed right along with all those chicks

What Greg Kihn calls “the single most important moment in Rock history” had a visceral effect
When it ended the sudden void sucked the air out of my parent’s living room
Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) says
I remember exactly where I was sitting. It was amazing. It was like the axis shifted ... It was kind of like an alien invasion.
For Joe Perry (Aerosmith) the experience was
... akin to a national holiday … I wasn’t prepared by how powerful and totally mesmerizing they were to watch. It changed me completely. I knew something was different in the world that night. Next day at school, the Beatles were all anybody could talk about.
Nancy Wilson (Heart) 'heard the call' to become musician
The lightning bolt came out of the heavens and struck Ann and me the first time we saw the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. … it was a huge event, like the lunar landing: that was the moment Ann and I heard the call to become rock musicians … we didn’t want to marry them … we wanted to be them.
As did 14 year old Billy Joel
the single biggest moment that I can remember being galvanized into wanting to be a musician for life ... all of a sudden there’s this band, and they played their own instruments and they wrote their own songs, they looked like working class kids and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do. I want to be like those guys.’ That one performance changed my life. Up to that moment I'd never considered playing rock as a career. 
And Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi)
One of my earliest memories was sitting cross-legged on the floor … and watching The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was five years old and I remember thinking, 'Wow! That's what I want to do.' I always knew I wanted to be a rock star, and The Beatles set that in motion. 
They were the most incredible thing I ever saw. I couldn't put it into any kind of historical context at the time … but I knew, even at that young age … that I was witnessing something truly life-changing. And not just for me, but for everybody as well.
For Tom Petty it represented escape
The minute I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show – and it's true of thousands of guys - there was the way out. There was the way to do it. You get your friends and you're a self-contained unit. And you make the music. … I really saw in The Beatles that here's something I could do.
Bruce Springsteen says
It shifted the lay of the land ... Rock 'n' roll came to my house where there seemed to be no way out … and opened up a whole world of possibilities.
And for 13 year old Steven Van Zandt (The E Street Band) it was a glimmer of hope
February 9th, 1964, it all began for me. Suddenly, maybe there's hope for my life. Because I didn't fit in anywhere. And I was starting to get concerned! I didn't know that I could actually try and make a living out of doing this, make a career out of it.

This was the main event of my life. It was certainly the major event for many others, whether or not they knew it at the time. For me, it was no less dramatic than aliens landing on the planet.

Steven also points to the instant effect it had
On the day before The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show, there wasn't a single rock and roll band in America. And February 10th, everyone had one.
Greg Kihn recalls
In a single weekend everything had changed. … Every kid in school went through the same metamorphosis. … Brylcreem lost a whole generation in a single hour. The direction of our lives shifted as radically as the direction of our hair. It was magic.
Tom Petty remembers
Within weeks, you could drive through literally any neighbourhood in Gainesville and you would hear the strains of garage bands playing ... I mean everywhere. And I'd say by a year from that time, Gainesville probably had 50 bands.
Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd) simply states
Like everybody else in our generation [we] freaked out and wanted to start a rock ’n’ roll band.
Gene Simmons (Kiss) acknowledges the debt of many
There is no way I’d be doing what I do now if it wasn’t for the Beatles … It blew me away that these four boys [from] the middle of nowhere could make that music.

SOURCES

CBS News here and here
Greg Kihn 
Rock Cellar Magazine
Ultimate Classic Rock
Music Radar
Austin Chronicle 
Beatles Songwriting Academy 

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Friday, 14 October 2016

Under The Influence: Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd)


This incredible music [A Day In The Life] just overwhelmed us. When it came to the middle of the song, where the orchestra rises, it sounded like a plane taking off in the room. It just killed us. And when it ended with that incredible chord, we all sat there stunned.

For me [While My Guitar Gently Weeps] was the song of the century. This may sound naïve now, but the Beatles were like gods to me as a kid. Not literally, of course, but it was like they were more than human in some way. This was the point where they embraced heavy blues-based guitar, which made musicians realise you could write modern songs with cool chords that weren't necessarily blues-based and still stick some heavy guitar in them. There were no credits on this album, so I didn't even know it was Clapton for a few weeks, and Eric literally makes his guitar weep at the end. Every guitar player loves this song – because every guitar player has a tear-stained guitar.

Gary Rossington: 'The Hour Of Music That Rocks My World' Guitar World Magazine



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Monday, 10 October 2016

Golden Ticket: Create Instrumental Hooks (Ticket 3)




The rhythm's in the guitars 
- Paul McCartney

Summary

Don't let the vocals be the only source of melody in your song. Share it around the instruments. Don't let every gap between singing be 'dead space'. Fill some with compelling instrumental melodies. Write a part that will make the listener break off from the vocal melody to 'sing' some other part (as Frank Sinatra literally did in his cover of Something (3:58 and 4:06).

Skippable Theory

One of the most common ways to introduce an instrumental hook is to build your song around a riff. (A riff, or ostinato, is a repeated musical figure). In rock and metal the riff is so central that it often displaces the vocal line as a the main element (think of how 'un-melodic' the chorus melodies of Smoke On The Water, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction or Walk This Way are compared to their riffs.

A second way is to write a fill or lick (which usually occurs once per song, or once per section) in holes left by the vocal melody.

A hook is an intrinsic part of the song and usually the most popular part. Compare the original and unplugged versions of Layla. When Eric Clapton replaces the opening lead guitar melody with a few strummed chords the heart of the song is lost.

Beatles Application

The Beatles generally preferred chord progressions over riffs, but early covers like Twist And Shout (0:00), Money (That’s What I Want) (0:00) and Words Of Love (0:00) had strong, simple riffs that paved the way for classics like I Feel Fine (0:06), Hey Bulldog (0:00) and Paperback Writer (0:06). A riff doesn't automatically have to open the song – think of the choruses of Helter Skelter (0:42 and 0:45) and Get Back (0:43*), and simple riffs derived from underlying chords can be effective, as in the case of Ticket To Ride (0:00) and In My Life (0:00). A riff doesn't have to be played on guitar. The Beatles riffed on harmonica (Love Me Do) (0:00), piano (Lady Madonna) (0:00) and horns (Got To Get You Into My Life) (0:11 and 1:05).

The Beatles created some memorable instrumental fills from fragments of the vocal line (see ticket 4) but others were 'original' – like the breaks that end the choruses of Here Comes The Sun (0:23), and Let It Be (1:41*) and the chord-based fills that punctuate the verses in Please Please Me (0:12 and 0:19) and Yer Blues (0:24).

Counter melodies are another source of hooks, ranging from simple descending notes on piano in Hey Jude (0:51) and guitar in Help! (0:01) to the elegant string lines in Eleanor Rigby (0:04, 0:31, 1:08 and 1:21).

It's no surprise that a supremely melodic band produced so many 'hummable' solos; simple - And I Love Her (0:00), rhythmic - While My Guitar Gently Weeps (0:00), harmonically complex - Michelle (1:25) and technically challenging - And Your Bird Can Sing (0:51).

Lastly they highlighted the hooks with unusual instrumentation and recording techniques; mellotron and swarmandal - Strawberry Fields Forever (0:00 and 1:18), french horn - For No One (0:49), piccolo trumpet - Penny Lane (1:09), harpsichord – Piggies (0:00 and 1:06), sped-up piano - In My Life (1:28) and sped-up piano/guitar - A Hard Day’s Night (1:19).

Featured Song And Recommended Artists

In I'm A Believer by The Monkees there are two distinct hooks; on organ (0:28) and electric guitar (0:46). These are highlighted in three ways; by occurring where there are no vocals, by the instruments being kept low in the mix at all other times and by being put 'front and centre' – introduced together at the opening of the song (0:00). The electric piano solo (1:37) is another memorable hook, it's sound buried in the mix till that point.

All rock bands employ riffs but Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Black Sabbath are masters of the art. And anything can be a hook, from drum fills (In The Air Tonight (3:40) - Phil Collins) and intros (Run To The Hills (0:00) – Iron Maiden) to bass lines (Another One Bites The Dust (0:00) and Under Pressure (0:00) by Queen), from keyboard lines (The Final Countdown (0:13) - Europe and Tainted Love (0:03) - Soft Cell) to horn parts (Sir Duke (0:00) – Stevie Wonder and Baker Street (0:23) - Gerry Rafferty). Unusual combinations work well like the sampled strings on Bitter Sweet Symphony (0:17) by The Verve and the electro theremin on The Beach Boys Good Vibrations (0:25).

Reader Application

  • If you are someone who primarily creates melodies by singing, try giving a melody line to an instrument instead of writing lyrics for it. Eric Clapton's lead guitar melody on Wonderful Tonight (0:57) could have become a 'chorus' e.g. “You look so good, You look so nice, You look so Won-der-ful To-night”... but thankfully it didn't! Don't automatically 'give' every melody you compose to the vocalist.
  • If you are an instrumentalist write some riffs! You may have to simplify your chord progressions or your vocal lines to make room, but it will be worth it.
  • Experiment with fills that are not just 'noodling' – melody is not exclusively the singers domain.
  • If you have some 'chops' on your instrument and are prone to overplaying when you write try humming a riff, or restrict yourself to playing guitar or keyboard with one finger.
  • Once you have a hook consider how to make it stand out. Having other instruments drop out is one way. An unusual instrument or sound is another possibility. Indeed trying out an unusual instrument can often inspire you to create a hook in the first place.


*timings are from the Let It Be album version

Further reading

Ticket 3: Create Instrumental Hooks
Gary Ewer: Exploring a Deeper Definition of a Song Hook

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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

What Goes Online (Sep 2016)




I'm very pleased to announce my new EP Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky will be released via Bandcamp iTunes and all on Nov 1st. Dean Jackson had the world premiere of my track Me And The Devil on his BBC Introducing show and you can stream it for the next 30 days here. I'm on around 1:33:30. You can read the blog post on what Charles Dickens and Tori Amos have to teach songwriters mentioned here

Speaking of streaming I want to recommend the Compleatly Beatles podcast. One mammoth episode per album (Revolver is 2 hours plus) humorous and informative. Find it on iTunes

Some great general Beatles writing: John Medd on discovering the Beatles and Martin Fitzgerald's introduction to the Help album

And in a more technical post Aaron Krerowicz looks at the way Paul McCartney extends melody lines in I Will.

Neil McCormick in The Telegraph imagines a Beatles 'Worst Of' album called (appropriately) 'Misery'

And Billboard interviews Donovan

In 1966, your album Sunshine Superman came out, as did Revolver, Pet Sounds, and Blonde on Blonde. What was going on that year creatively that we have these albums that 50 years later still resonate? 
Three things came together: There was the invasion of pop culture, with what they called folk music. Folk music ... invaded pop culture with meaningful lyrics. That meant protest, that meant civil rights, that meant explorations of the levels of consciousness. The second thing was ... the bohemian invasion of bohemian ideas, and that was self-change and responsibility for the future ... And the third element was we were really good. In 1966 we proved to everybody that the engineers, the producers, the songwriters and the fans were ready for something extraordinary and that’s what happened. The '60s burst wide open in '66 into full colour!


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Friday, 16 September 2016

Eight Days A Week Film And Premiere: Bullet Point Review


I went to watch the premiere of Eight Days A Week:The Touring Years with my family last night – here's some thoughts

Premiere


  • Red Carpet is blue.
  • Shocking to see what a frail old lady Yoko has become. Like seeing that old teacher you used to be terrified of, decades after leaving school.
  • Did she just say she was married to Paul?
  • To be fair they didn't help her by getting Scouse comedian John Bishop to do the interviews. When Yoko got confused by his accent he replies “You married one of us.” That bamboozled her.
  • My daughter asks if that old lady was Yolo. (She later tries to cover herself by saying “I know her name is Yoko. I thought it was Yoko Yolo?”). Ditto for when they interviewed 'Jazz Martin'.
  • Macca giving the thumbs up, and Ringo flicking peace signs like a manual-tourettes makes me wish each Beatle had had their own hand signal. I don't know about George's but John's would definitely have been flicking V-signs.
  • We're gonna get a post credits treat. And John Bishop has obviously never seen a Marvel film.


Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years

The tagline is “The Band You Know. The Story You Don't”. We'll see...

  • If you're wondering "Is it OK to sing along with the film when I'm in a cinema?" The answer is: "No". "But it's the Beatles!" Doesn't matter. Unless you are The Beatles SHUT THE HELL UP! Moving on...
  • Footage from Manchester ABC in 1963. Looks and sounds amazing. Where did they get this? Is it colourised? [Update: Pathe. And No].
  • The Beatles hired a third roadie in the States. Did not know that! Mark Lewisohn has probably already researched his entire family tree.
  • I think I've solved the McCartney 'piano strings on a bass mystery' (they wouldn't work). There's a picture of him playing a guitar with 'bass strings' on that I think comes from the post-Hamburg period where Lewisohn says he mimed on a broken guitar.
  • We're getting a little Apple Corps 'sanitation' – they cut away from John 'pulling a crip' (imitating a disabled person on stage).
  • Another good clip – pretty sure this one has been colourised.
  • Whoopi Goldberg gets emotional about her Mum buying her Beatles tickets. That's great parenting right there.
  • Beatles say racial segregation is stupid. Hear that 1960's America? Stupid. Gotta love em.
  • Important point. Obviously I am not A/B-ing but from what I'm hearing Giles Martin has done a great job in remixing/remastering.
  • Was worried looking at the trailer that the quality of the footage wouldn't warrant a big screen viewing - there's poor footage but it doesn't detract, and some great stuff.
  • There's a ton of '3D-ing' photos and digital cigarette smoke everywhere.
  • Everyone is smoking always. Surprised it didn't get an 18 cert in todays climate.
  • The press conferences are priceless. Eddie Izzard is right, they're four stand up comic with impeccable timing. George tapping cigarette ash on John's head during an interview is hilarious.
  • Beatles handwritten lyrics for I Want To Hold Your Hand has a 'teachers note' at the bottom “3/10. See Me”.

  • There's a clip of Lennon playing on a melodica from '65. Put on your tinfoil hat cos he's playing the first three chords of Strawberry Fields Forever!!!!


  • Interview with Paul brings home how unique Lennon And McCartney were and why it was incredible they met. “I'd never met someone else who wrote songs”.
  • Footage of Liverpool fans singing at Anfield in 1964 capture the Beatles indirectly creating football chants. The rise of LFC under Shankley and the Mersey Sound = more serendipity.
  • Might be a dodgy stream but it looks like some of the audio and video are from different live gigs. (Didn't they do that on the Anthology show?).
  • Damn, Ringo is laying into the drums. Move over Bonzo.
  • Nice moment where they try to recreate what Shea would have sounded like through the tannoy PA. And by nice I mean hideous.
  • Cliched 'increasing speed photo montage to A Day In The Life orchestral freakout' segment. Works well though. That's why people do it.
  • That's Candlestick Park. So how are we gonna handle the studio years? Oh! - with a couple of animated jpgs and some on-screen text. At least they didn't fudge it with some “we played live...in the studio” blather.

Post Credits Sting

What's it gonna be? Spiderman: Homecoming? Yellow Submarine reboot? Let It Be? Oh it's Shea Stadium. OK.


  • Sounds and looks good. This audio was rerecorded though. [Update: Extensively rerecorded as documented here. But they seem to have re-replaced Act Naturally with Ringo's original live (and flat) vocals. What goes on?].
  • Definitely think they've edited out another 'Lennon crip' here. They've kept the speaking in tongues. Didn't he tell the crowd to shut up too?
  • It's crazy to see the worlds biggest band do a 30 minute set featuring three covers.


Conclusion

Sorry Ron, that is “The Story We Already Knew”. Well told, nicely edited, with a few rarities that were worth the price of entry and sounding fabulous. But unless we're making a biopic of the third roadie - nothing new. Though that's a film I'd totally watch.

Worth buying or streaming.


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Monday, 29 August 2016

Golden Ticket: Chromatic Descent Starting From The Root (Ticket 17)


Summary

Put a descending chromatic counter melody within your chord progression, starting from the root note of the chord.

Skippable Theory Lesson

Play the notes E - D# - D - C# - C. This is a descending chromatic line.
Play G and B above each note of the descending chromatic line. This puts the idea into an E minor chord.
Play G# and B above each note of the descending chromatic line. This puts the idea into an E major chord.

Beatles Application

The Beatles probably learned this concept from Lenny Welch's 1962 single A Taste Of Honey (0:14) which they covered the following year. There the line is F# - F - E - D# within the chords F#m - F#m (maj7) - F#m7 - B major. This same basic sequence is extended in And Your Bird Can Sing (0:36) F#m - F#m (maj7) - F#m7 - B7 - D and Something (0:27) Am - Am (maj7) - Am7 - D9 - F.

In the examples above the first three notes of the melodic line remain on the same chord but putting the first four notes on the same chord yields this pattern from Cry Baby Cry (0:11) Em - Em (maj7) - Em7 - Em6 - C7 and a similar one from I Me Mine (0:31) Am - Am (maj7) – Am7 - Am6 - Fmaj7. Michelle (0:00) extends this pattern to six descending notes (F - E - Eb - D - Db - C) and six chords Fm - Fm (maj7) - Fm7 - Fm6 - Bbm - C.

Every use of the line in a major key is harmonised differently by The Beatles. The most straight forward is the verse of Something (0:05) where the four note line is placed over a C - Cmaj7 - C7 - F progression. The same line is harmonised as C - Cmaj7 - Gm7 - A7 in Sun King (0:58) and in the key of F it appears as F - Fmaj7 - F7 - Gm in Strawberry Fields Forever (0:00) and F - Caug - Fm7 - Fm6 in Fixing A Hole (0:06).

Guest Artist: Frank Sinatra

Rodgers and Hart were early proponents of this progression using C - Cmaj7 - C7 - C6 in the refrain of their 1937 Broadway hit My Funny Valentine which was later covered by Frank Sinatra (0:02). A mere two years later Sinatra sang over the minor version of the changes on the Harry James And His Orchestra recording of All Or Nothing At All by Lawrence/Altman (0:09). And in 1969 he tackled both in his signature song My Way (0:07 and 0:18).

Application

Though the simplest application is to insert the line into one chord there are many other possibilities. In C major for instance a C - B - Bb - A line over a Cmaj chord would create a C - Cmaj7 - C7 - C6 progression, but you could harmonise the same line with C - G/B - Gm/Bb - F/A or even C - Em - Bb – F. In the key of Am an alternative progression might be Am - E/G# - G - D/F#. Try adding different notes around the line and see what you can come up with.

As well as experimenting with the chords you can use different inversions. Try placing the moving line at the top of the chord - as in the verse of Something (0:05), the middle of the chord - Strawberry Fields Forever (0:00), or the bottom of the chord - Got To Get You Into My Life (0:21). George Harrison's solo song Try Some Buy Some – takes this last option to extremes Em - Em/D# - Em/D - Em/C# - Em/C - Em/B - B7 followed by Am - Am/G# - Am/G - Am/F# - Am/F - Am/E - F#dim (0:00 and 0:13).

Don't just use the minor variation when playing in a minor key (eg. Am in the key of Am) as George does in I Me Mine. The progression, due to it's chromatic nature, works just as well on the ii, iii or vi intervals of a major key. I’ll Be Back is in A major but the progression is Bm - Bm (maj7) - Bm7 - C#m (1:03) – starting on the ii chord. And Your Bird Can Sing is in D major but the progression appears on F#m – the iii chord. And Something's second use of the progression (0:27) starts on Am (the vi of C major). So explore what you can do on those intervals too.

See the full list of songs using this ticket here.

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