Category Archives: Paul McCartney

The Great 28

Twenty-eight years ago today, Lynn Moss made an honest man out of Fred Hembeck, a story he’s written about here (June 23), here (June 23), here, and ESPECIALLY here. Kudos to you both. Go to Fred’s MySpace blog and send them your best wishes.
And speaking of Mr. Hembeck, he e-mailed to remind me that Paul, Ringo, Yoko and Olivia are set to appear on Larry King’s CNN show June 26 (9 pm Eastern, 8pm Central) to discuss the first anniversary of Cirque de Soleil’s Fab-inspired “Love” show. Incidentally, my wife went to the Cirque de Soleil show “Delirium” this week in Albany with a friend of hers, while I stayed home with Lydia. She said it was very good, but that she needed to watch some more MTV or something, because of all the frenetic movement.
The other music-related thing I’ll be taping this week is “Paul Simon: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song”. On my local PBS station, it airs Wednesday at 9 pm, and features a bunch of folks singing the songs of Simon. It was taped last month.
I’ve never golfed in my life, yet I was intrigued by last weekend’s piece in the Wall Street Journal, The Problem With ‘Par’; If players at this weekend’s U.S. Open can’t hit the target score, who can? by John Paul Newport (June 16, 2007). Specifically, this paragraph:
“The notion of par has always been somewhat mushy, and is further confused by the word’s other English-language usages. In most PGA Tour events, for instance, subpar scores are par for the course. Unless, of course, a pro is feeling physically subpar, in which case he might shoot above par. On the other hand, only amateurs with decidedly above-par skills can ever hope to post subpar scores.”
If I lived in the Los Angeles area, I think I would apply for this job out of sheer curiosity:

The following position is available at E! Networks:
Job Title: Researcher
Organization: Research
City: Los Angeles
State: CA
Full-time position with benefits providing research, public records and ready reference.

Description: Provide entertainment research in support of all Comcast Entertainment Group units (E!, Style, G4, E! Online, International) including the following:
* Supply in-depth story and background research to assist writers and production staff.
* Locate court documents for legal backup.
* Access public records to locate individuals and track assets.
* Review copyright and trademark records to establish ownership and locate rights holders.
* Answer “ready reference” questions.
* Vet scripts for accuracy and perform fact checking.
* Help maintain both conventional and digital archives and databases.
Skills: College degree required; experience working in a library, archive or research setting; excellent organizational skills; extensive understanding of online databases, particularly Lexis/Nexis; excellent writing, spelling and grammatical skills; ability to work well under pressure; interest or experience working in the entertainment field a plus.
E! Networks is proud to be an equal opportunity employer.

Contact Gina Handsberry at E! Entertainment. Please direct all inquiries to her at She writes, on a listserv I access:
“This is not a media research position (i.e., we do not analyze Nielsen data). Rather, it is a show research position (we provide content research for the programs on the network) and would be well suited for a librarian, information professional, or anyone who has experience doing research for journalistic endeavors. It’s not an easy position to fill, so I thought a post here couldn’t hurt!”

Why I Own Three (count 'em, 3) Paula Abdul Albums

I was at the Olin family reunion; the Olins are my wife’s mother’s people. They were having their international family event, which they have every lustrum. In 2001, the event was held in my hometown of Binghamton, NY. (The 1996 event was in Fargo, ND; the 2006 in eastern Washington state; 2011, somewhere in Ontario.)

One event was an auction. Many of the items were handmade items, or family treasures; I know Carol got a much-coveted family cookbook with typed or hand-written recipes from various members of the tribe. One lot, though, was for a bunch of mostly classical CDs, maybe 10 or 12 of them. I bid on them, but I was outbid by one of Carol’s cousins in her late teens. Truth is I probably could have put in a pre-emptive bid, but it didn’t seem sporting to overbid a poor high school student. She was really happy to get a dozen classical albums for $20, but what the heck was she going to do with three Paula Abdul CDs? She looked SO pained, so apoplectic, that I bought them from her, for $8 or $10, which she appreciated at a couple levels: she was rid of the albatross AND the albums she REALLY want were even cheaper.

I was recalling this as I finished my annual playing of my entire collection of Paula Abdul albums – Forever Your Girl, Shut Up and Dance (The Dance Remixes), and Spellbound, in anticipation of today, Paula’s 45th birthday. I don’t care what you say: I really like Straight Up. The rest of it: eh, not so much. I didn’t really go through a phase of eighties divas – Paula, Taylor, Madonna, Expose, and Gloria – like some people I know.
I’ve had a long-standing affection for the Traveling Wilburys and have Volumes 1 and 3, now out of print. I’m having a hard time thinking about buying the re-release, despite Nik’s appealing review. So, I decided to go to You Tube and watch a couple videos, including the star-laden Wilbury Twist, at lunchtime yesterday. But by 9 p.m. EDT yesterday, the Twist video that I saw only hours earlier was “no longer available due to a copyright claim by Warner Music Group”; it’s part of the new collection. However, what remains on You Tube is the 2007 version, with more George, Bob, Tom, and Jeff. No Wonder Years kids, Milli Vanilli, Cheech Marin, Whoopi Goldberg, or Woody Harrelson, but the John Candy/Eric Idle intro remains.
A link to reviews of Paul McCartney’s new album, Memory Almost Full. A couple of them have links to the music and/or videos from the album.


Macca and Ebert

Paul McCartney, star of that new iTunes commercial for “Dance Tonight”, turns 65 today, so I’ve been thinking for a couple years, ever since I saw Johnny B. do it, that I should come up with a list of my favorite post-Beatles McCartney songs. This is a little trickier than to make a list of, say, my favorite Beatles songs, for there are huge gaps in my 1980s and 1990s collection. I’ve never owned, and don’t really know, Pipes of Peace, Press to Play, or Broad Street. That said:

1. MAYBE I’M AMAZED from McCartney. I heard Paul was going to be on Ed Sullivan. I was disappointed that it was just a video, but not in the song.
2. MY BRAVE FACE from Flowers in the Dirt. I recall that it was Elvis Costello who encouraged Macca to play the bass like Beatle Paul.
3. JET from Band on the Run. A rollicking good time. Love the bridge.
4. WHAT’S THAT YOU’RE DOIN’ from Tug of War. Admittedly, more for Stevie Wonder, whose output in the early 1980s was, let’s say, less interesting to me – “I Just Called to Say I Love You”, anyone? – but also pointed out Paul’s funky side that I loved in “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Lady Madonna”. BTW, that OTHER McCartney/Wonder song is also on that album, but not on this list.
5. HI,HI,HI, a 1972 single. Goofy song that I loved in part because so many people got bent out of shape over it (“high, high, high”).
6. FLAMING PIE from Flaming Pie. Describing a piece of John Lennon’s early 1960s witticisms.
7. OO YOU from McCartney. Sparse but rocking tune. Love the vocal.
8. LOOKING FOR CHANGES from Off the Ground. This is his rant about saving the animals from testing. I like that:
“I Saw A Cat With A Machine In His Brain
The Man Who Fed Him Said He Didn’t Feel Any Pain
I’d Like To See That Man Take Out That Machine And Stick It In His Own Brain
You Know What I Mean”
9. BAND ON THE RUN from Band on the Run. Anthemic.
10. WE GOT MARRIED from Flowers in the Dirt. In a minor key, it’s a wonderful juxtaposition between the optimism of the lyric and the moodiness of the melody.

If I were to pick my next ten, there would be several from that first album, a few singles, and maybe JENNY WREN from Chaos and Creation.
I should also note that Roger Ebert also turns 65 today. He has long been my favorite movie critic, not because his name is Roger (though that doesn’t hurt), and not because I always agree with him, but because he’s so aware and honest with his personal biases that I usually know that I’ll like a movie he disliked and vice versa. He’s been having some medical issues over the past couple years, but appears to be on the mend.


25 things

Tosy has got me sussed.

1. I’ve come to realize that my last kiss… was probably done perfunctorily.

2. I am listening to… a lot of Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson and the B groups they used to be in.

3. I talk…more often than not with a filter of appropriateness.

4. I want…a couple more hours per day to read and play. I need to play.

5. My best friend(s)…with a few exceptions, don’t live around here, so I see them rarely.

7. The weather is… wet, but pleasantly so.

8. I hate it when people…are inconsiderate. My current pet peeve involves the bus kiosks around two of our hospitals, St. Peter’s and Albany Med. The hospital employees use the kiosks to smoke their cigarettes during their breaks, then go back work.

9. Love is… as strong as death. That’s a lyric in a church anthem, from the Song of Solomon, and it always gets to me.

10. Marriage is… not for the meek.

11. Somewhere, someone is thinking… someone stole my invention. In all likelihood, it didn’t happen.

12. I’ll always… remember the things I should have done more than the things I did do.

13. I have a secret crush on… oh, golly, any number of people. However, I haven’t watched a program because a person was on it since I watched Sisters for Sela Ward.

14. The last time I cried was… watching Flashpoint last week. It was a CBS News special about reporter Kimberly Dozier’s near death experience in Iraq from an IED. Her soundman and cameraman died, as did a soldier and his translator.

15. My cell phone is… missing.

16. When I wake up in the morning… I start ruminating about what needs to be done. Then I end up doing a list of things not on the list at all.

17. Before I go to bed… I often play Internet backgammon.

18. Right now I am thinking about… caffeine.

19. Babies are… statements of optimism in a sometimes miserable world.

20. I go on MySpace… almost never, even though I have a page.

21. Today I… answer a bunch of question about a blog I helped initiate last week.

22. Tonight I… hope to watch one of those episodes from six weeks of Scrubs, Earl or the office. That was on my list LAST week; saw one Earl.

23. Tomorrow I… go play racquetball in the morning, if the three-year old and I get out of the house in time.

24. I really want to… get a massage.

25. Someone who will most likely repost this? I haven’t a clue; Eddie could.
Don’t steal beer in Montana
“I know I don’t know most celebs in real life, and therefore shouldn’t go throwing haterade at them left and right … but man, I cannot stand Paris Hilton.” – Jen Hubley, About.Com. Haterade – I like that.


"A splendid time is guaranteed"

It was 20 years ago today: Sgt. Pepper came out on CD, honoring the 20th anniversary of the release of the Sgt. Pepper LP. I bought the LP sometime in June 1967 for $3.67 at W.T. Grant’s, and while I wasn’t immediately overwhelmed by the music – I was, eventually, especially “Getting Better” and “Fixing a Hole” – I did realize that the album was something special.

It was the cover, often parodied (see here, starting with 240) – but this will change as more titles are added) and all the cool stuff enclosed in the package, such as the sergeant stripes – I still have that sheet SOMEWHERE.) The lyrics actually being listed indicated that they were (gasp!) IMPORTANT.

With very few exceptions, it seems as though the idea of The Album – i.e., a collection of songs designed to be put together as a coherent whole – is endangered. If Sgt. Pepper were released today, would the individual cuts get downloaded, thus missing the impact of the coherent whole?

There have been few covers of songs from Sgt. Pepper, save for Joe Cocker’s classic rendition of “With a Little Help From My Friends”, that have really stood out for me. Recently, I was able to hear the MOJO recording of the package, which didn’t send me. Bill Cosby, on his “Hooray for the Salvation Army Band” album did a cover of the title tune, with female backup singers: strange.

One exception is the take of Sgt. Pepper by a group called Big Daddy. “With a Little Help from My Friends” as “Chances Are” by Johnny Mathis. “Mr. Kite” turned into Palisades Park”. “A Day in the Life” as a couple Buddy Holly tunes. And possibly my favorite, “Within You Without You” as a beatnik send-up. Good stuff.
JEOPARDY answer from 5/15/2007 under YOUR DAYS ARE NUMBERED for $600: “Title of the 1965 Beatles No. 1 hit song that is a calendrical impossibility.” Response below.
Am I going to be going to Starbucks to get the new Paul McCartney album on June 5? Well, it does sound intriguing, but I’d like to hear a review or two beforehand. Macca’s last album, 2005’s “Chaos and Creation in the Backyard”, which I have, was pretty good, so history would suggest he’s due for another dud. But I’ll keep a good thought. Here’s the first video. BTW, I have a copy of the Macca interview in the June 4, 2007 New Yorker.
A link to the Smithereens’ “I Want To hold Your Hand. And another link, in case the first one goes away.
J question: What is “Eight Days a Week”?


The twins

“In the 1960’s, there were two groups on Capitol Records – one American, the other British – whose name began with the letters ‘B-E-A-.’ Each of these groups featured a bass playing songwriter born in June of 1942, and each group made records that have withstood the test of time to become classics of popular culture.”

I started delivering the Press, the Binghamton evening and Sunday morning newspaper, back in the days when there were actually evening newspapers, in 1964 or early 1965. (The M-Sa morning paper was the Sun-Bulletin; the two papers subsequently merged into a seven-morning Press & Sun-Bulletin.)

So, I had money of my own. Naturally, because I wanted to get all of the Beatles albums (I had some singles), I joined the Capitol Record club in 1965. My first album was Beatles VI, and I worked backward and forward from there, including this weird mostly talk album called The Beatles Story. I got Something New relatively early in the process. I distinctly remember getting Meet the Beatles in STEREO, which was a problem, because I only had a MONO player! There were directives about not playing a stereo record with a mono needle, lest you wreck the album. I didn’t play Meet the Beatles for weeks, then I did, and it SEEMED OK…

I also got Daydream by the Lovin’ Spoonful, Herman’s Hermits’ Greatest Hits, the Hollyridge Strings performing Beatles tunes, some instrumentalist named Billy Strange, and, of course, BIG HITS FROM ENGLAND AND USA. One side had two songs each from BEATLES (England), BEACH BOYS (USA), and PETER & GORDON (England), the “kids” side; the Peter & Gordon cuts, not so incidentally, were by Lennon & McCartney. The other side contained 2 tunes by NAT KING COLE(USA) and CILLA BLACK (England), plus “Tears and Roses” by AL MARTINO (USA), the “adults” side. I probably still have it upstairs in the attic.

Thus, my very first album I owned that featured the Beach Boys was on an album that also featured the Beatles. “I Get Around” was a great song that I had heard on the radio. But it was the other song, “Don’t Worry Baby”, a lovely ballad with exquisite harmonies that I don’t think I had been familiar with, which really intrigued me. I’d heard many of the beach/girls/cars songs on the radio, but this was something special.

So when it became available, I bought the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. As Paul McCartney noted, “Pet Sounds was my inspiration for making Sgt. Pepper’s…the big influence. That was the big thing for me (in 1966). I just thought, ‘Oh, dear me. This is the album of all-time. What are we going to do?'” Eventually, Paul gave a copy of Pet Sounds to all of his children. At the end of 1966, a year-end poll in one of England’s music papers found The Beach Boys topping The Beatles as the #1 vocal group in the world.

And, of course, the Beatles’ Rubber Soul, one of my next record club purchases, inspired the Beach Boys’ would-be legendary SMiLE, the album with a 37-year gestation period, finally released last year by the primary songwriter.

So, here’s to Paul McCartney, whose 63rd birthday was two days ago, and Brian Wilson, whose 63rd natal day celebration is today. Twins separated only by 48 hours and 6000 miles.

And speaking of vintage music, the 25th Annual Old Songs Festival is this weekend at the Altamont Fairgrounds near Albany. There was a stretch when I used to go every year, but that pattern has been altered. We PLAN to attend this year, and I hope to meet up with a friend (SKA) I haven’t seen in about three years.

Of course, yesterday, for Father’s Day, we PLANNED to go out miniature golfing, but then Lydia fell asleep on her mother’s lap for two hours, then she was hungry, then she needed changing, etc., etc. Was it Bobby Burns who said something about plans and rodents and people?