Archive for December, 2014
Little Deuce Coupe was the first record I ever owned. Dad, a California native, brought it home from a thrift store where he’d been looking for something else. He presented it to me and told me the names of all the band members, who were dressed as though ready for church. As it played, he also explained car culture terminology. To “shut down” a guy was to smoke him in a hot rod race. This was exotic info for a first grader.
The post-psychedelic version of Status Quo (pronounced “Stay-tus” in the UK) distinguished itself by a deep commitment to shallow boogie rock. I listen to this song, the last one on their 1974 self-titled album, and imagine how it would be if the lyrics delivered some arcane information, like the story of a 16th century Third World uprising. But it’s OK that they don’t.
What springs to mind when this Let It Be song plays: 1) Its spiritual poetics, as if it were a hymn to Lennon’s imaginative Ono and her home continent’s mystic heritage; 2) evidence that the Maharishi era enhanced the Beatles’ artistry; and 3) that Lennon was a craftsman to the core.
Some Beatle versions you can choose from: 1) The official Let It Be one with Phil Spector’s overzealous angels; 2) the earlier version (on Past Masters) with bumble bees and horses; 3) The Anthology version where Lennon has trouble controlling his breath; and 4) the Let It Be Naked version, which is possibly the best one, although it omits the ascending eight notes reinforcing the outro on the familiar Spector version. Sigh.
Recently my teenage son asked me about the 1998 movie Pleasantville and I couldn’t quite articulate why my memories of it were so negative. So we watched it and near the end I thought, well that wasn’t so bad. Then Fiona Apple started up her moaning sick-bed rendition of “Across the Universe” and my memories made sense.