Posted by jeff on Dec 9, 2011 in Rock
, Rock and Roll
, Song Of the week
We had such a good time last week with George Harrison’s ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (the acoustic demo), why should we leave well enough alone? This week’s double-sided SoTW is going to visit a pair of songs that have always been indivisibly associated in my mind – both short (under two minutes), slight demos by artists whose oeuvre I’d assumed I knew completely, only to discover these gems decades after I thought the book had been closed. And as if that’s not enough, the later artist was profoundly influenced by the earlier one.
And if that’s still not enough, the songs sound so much alike it’s spooky, a single acoustic guitar strummed at an insistent rock tempo, with just a little percussive ornamentation by his buddies in the studio.
We’re talking about the discarded Beatles George-song from 1964, ‘You Know What to Do’, and the even more obscure undubbed version of a Buddy Holly demo from 1958, ‘You’re The One’. Buddy Holly (1936-1959) is one of the greatest talents to arise from the world of rock music. He recorded professionally for 18 months before he died in a plane crash (“the day the music died”). I listen to his very small output regularly, as do Paul McCartney and Keith Richards and Bruce Springsteen and everyone who understands anything about fine rock music. He wrote much of his own material, thus inventing the singer-songwriter format and serving as an acknowledged role-model for the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The first recording of the Quarrymen was a cover of ‘That’ll Be the Day’, one of Holly’s biggest hits.
Posted by jeff on Dec 2, 2011 in Rock
, Song Of the week
Beatle of Spirit and Flesh
George Harrison died ten years ago this week. The event could slip by unnoticed, in contrast to the invariably gut-wrenching anniversaries of John Lennon’s death. Paul Simon wrote a beautiful song about John’s death, ‘The Late, Great Johnny Ace’, (SoTW 078), but no one writes any songs about George.
John was the towering figure. He was the domineering 17-year old leader of the group when Paul convinced him to begrudgingly allow 14-year old George to sit in with The Quarrymen. In the 1996 video documentary “The Beatles Anthology”, George was asked about his relationship with John (who had died 16 years earlier). “Well, he was John, you know. He was three years older than me. [Long, thoughtful pause.] He still is.” A 56-year old Beatle candidly showing that the acute inferiority he felt as an adolescent hadn’t been dulled a whit by a lifetime of achieving more than most humans can even dream of.
Tip of the Iceberg Beatle