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(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay — why Otis Redding’s biggest hit wasn’t actually a soul song
October 6, 2019 | FT.com | by Dan Einav.

“This is my first million seller,” announced Otis Redding to nervous-looking studio bosses in early December 1967. He was referring to his upcoming record, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”, which would indeed prove to be his first seven-figure release, eventually selling several times that amount. It would also be the last song he ever worked on. Two days after his second recording session on this breezy new ballad, he was dead — killed in a light-aircraft crash.

Executives at Atlantic Records cynically requested that a new song be released immediately. Redding’s collaborator and studio guitarist, and the song’s co-writer, Steve Cropper, was forced to set aside his grief and transform the rough cuts of “The Dock of the Bay” into a coherent track in just 24 hours. The result was an unassuming yet near-perfect composition that would serve as a fitting legacy for one of soul’s greatest talents.

But “The Dock of the Bay” wasn’t really a soul song in the conventional sense. In the summer of 1967, Redding immersed himself in The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper and was inspired by the band’s devotion to stress-testing the limits of popular music. “It’s time for me to change my music,” said Redding, as his wife and employers voiced concerns about his “poppy” new direction which took him away from his roots in soul and R&B.

That autumn Redding was recovering after a punishing touring schedule on a houseboat in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, owned by promoter Bill Graham. It was there, idly watching the ferries sail to-and-from the harbour, that he conceived of that scene-setting first verse and the basic chords for “The Dock of the Bay”. Back in the studio, he asked Cropper to flesh out the melody and the brilliant, bittersweet lyrics.
'60s  1967  Beatles  music  Otis_Redding  pop_music  R&B  singers  songs  soul  Stax  tributes 
october 2019 by jerryking
While My Guitar Gently Weeps — George Harrison’s song began life as a folksy ballad
April 21 2019 | FT.com | by Dan Einav.

The track became one of The Beatles’ finest moments — thanks to Eric Clapton’s uncredited guitar playing..........For most, the song is unmistakably Harrison’s personal triumph; “Only a guitar player could write that,” Mick Jagger noted. Luckily, Harrison remembered that was what he was when he wrote the song: “While My Sitar Gently Weeps” probably wouldn’t have been quite such a hit.
1968  beatles  guitarists  music  philosophy  songs  songwriters 
april 2019 by jerryking
The death of cultural transmission
April 3, 2019 | FT Alphaville | By Jamie Powell.

music publishing = the business of licensing songs for films, television and advertising.

Valuing [a record label's] music catalogue is... crucial for anyone looking to bid for a stake in the business.

Despite the prominence of new music, established artists are still fundamental to recorded music's success. .......So let's think about these golden oldies as assets. Assets whose appeal has, arguably, only been heightened by the advent of streaming which, with its recurring revenues and growing audience, has made recurring payments from established acts even more bond-like in their cash flow consistency.
But like fixed-income assets with long durations, these cash flows are also sensitive to the smallest assumptions about their future viability. Assumptions which are not as rock solid as some investors might imagine. Let's use The Beatles as a point of reference here, as "The White Album" was UMG's fourth best-selling album last year. (If you're asking “why The Beatles?” Well, Alphaville likes The Beatles, sure. The Fab Four could easily be replaced by its other legacy acts, such as Queen and Nirvana).

But the problem for a prospective buyer is why we're a fan. To put it simply: we had no choice. We were indoctrinated.

On a long car journeys to coastal summer holidays, or at home on a knackered JVC stereo, we, like many of our friends, were limited to a dozen or so records (jk: finite resources). One of which, inevitably, would be some form of John, Paul, George and Ringo (and George).

Call it the cultural transmission effect. Music would be passed on generation to generation, amplified by the relative scarcity, physical space constraints and high prices of recorded media.

This provided a boon for the major labels as it not only meant lower marketing costs but reissues, limited editions, and remasters became an easily repeatable trick, as younger generations grew up to become consumers themselves.......The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Marley are after all, great artists. Their music will live on. But that's not the question for a perspective investor.

The question is: to what degree will the royalties from these artists continue to flow? Assume Sir Paul and Sir Ringo will continue to grow exponentially richer off the back of streaming, and perhaps the quoted multiples don't look quite so mad. In this age it's hard to find assets which both grow, and have semi-predictable cash flows.

But if the next generation doesn't hold the same affinity to the artists which defined the first fifty years of the pop era, where does that leave the labels' back catalogues? May we suggest: in a tougher spot than most imagine.
Apple_Music  artists  assets  Beatles  biopics  bonds  cultural_transmission  digital_strategies  finance  finite_resources  golden_oldies  hard_to_find  indoctrination  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_publishing  platforms  Rollingstones  royalties  Spotify  strategic_buyers  streaming  superstars  U2  UMG  valuations 
april 2019 by jerryking
Turn! Turn! Turn! — The Byrds’ 1965 hit used lyrics that dated back more than 2,000 years — FT.com
Nick Keppler OCTOBER 30, 2018

The Byrds’ “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” has been used in films and TV shows to evoke collective memories of the 1960s — starting in 1970, when Homer, one of the first coming-of-age films about a Vietnam war soldier, featured the song on its soundtrack. Since then, the unmistakable chord progression and chorus have ceaselessly popped up in 1960s period pieces: More American Graffiti, Heart Like a Wheel, Forrest Gump, TV’s The Wonder Years (in three episodes) and Ken Burns’s documentary series The Vietnam War.

The song reached number one in the US in December 1965. That year, American ground troops arrived in Vietnam, men on campuses burned their draft cards, black civil rights activists withstood fire hoses and police dogs, and President Lyndon Johnson promoted his “great society” reforms. A chorus of shaggy-haired young men pressed the nation to “turn, turn, turn” and accept that change is inevitable, history is a cycle, strife is temporary, and to everything there is a season.

The song also carries the sonic imprints of the era: Byrds frontman Roger McGuinn once called the chord structure “Beatley” and said they borrowed the drum beat from Phil Spector. But the song itself was concocted by the leader of American folk music’s old guard using lyrics that dated back more than 2,000 years.

Pete Seeger composed “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in 1959 in response to a letter from his publisher. “Pete,” it read, “can’t you write another song like ‘Goodnight, Irene'? I can’t sell or promote these protest songs.” ("Goodnight, Irene” was actually written/adapted by Lead Belly, but Seeger had popularised it with The Weavers.) The response from the rabble-rousing troubadour was predictably defiant. “You better find another songwriter,” Seeger wrote. “This is the only kind of song I know how to write.”

He turned to his pocket notebook, where he jotted down pieces of text for recycling. He found parts of the Bible he had copied, “verses by a bearded fellow with sandals, a tough-minded fellow called Ecclesiastes”, Seeger recalled.

Specifically, it was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, from one of the “wisdom books” of the Old Testament, collections of truths and sayings. The words attributed “a season” to a series of opposing actions: “A time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to reap; a time to kill, a time to heal,” etc. Seeger took the text almost verbatim. He added the “turn, turn, turn” to build a chorus and tacked on his own hopeful concluding line for cold war audiences: “A time of peace; I swear it’s not too late.”
'60s  Beatles  biblical  folk  hits  music  opposing_actions  pairs  protest_movements  scriptures  songs  songwriters  sonic  soundtracks 
november 2018 by jerryking
50 Years Later, a New Spin on the Beatles’ ‘White Album’ - WSJ
By Darryn King
Oct. 30, 2018

The new album was chaotic where “Sgt. Pepper” was kaleidoscopic. Acoustic ballads (“Blackbird,” “Julia”) alternated with scorching rock (“Helter Skelter,” “Yer Blues”). The playfulness of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Honey Pie” and “Piggies” contrasted with the extended, serious-minded sound experiment “Revolution 9.”

Over the years, the patchwork nature of the album has led to speculation that it chronicled the discord among the band members. But new special-anniversary editions, to be released on Nov. 9, may dispel that idea.
anniversaries  Beatles  music  George_Martin  1968  '60s 
october 2018 by jerryking
“Sgt. Pepper” at 50: Why doesn’t the greatest album ever have more hits? | The Economist
Jun 1st 2017by J.T

“Sgt. Pepper” is one of a select group of albums to have sold more than 10m units in the United States, with 5m in Britain (the third-highest in the country’s history). Its cover, with the Fab Four sporting garish military dress in front of a wall of famous figures, is rivalled only by the zebra crossing on Abbey Road in the iconography of the world’s most famous band. Rolling Stone magazine has voted it the greatest album of all time.....
Beatles  hits  anniversaries  1967  '60s  music  iconic  cultural_touchpoints  psychedelic  kaleidoscopic 
june 2017 by jerryking
The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at 50: Still Full of Joy and Whimsy
MAY 30, 2017 | The New York Times| By JON PARELES.

A half-century after its release, the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is a relic of a vanished era. Like a Fabergé egg or a Persian miniature, it speaks of an irretrievable past, when time moved differently, craftsmanship involved bygone tools and art was experienced more rarely and with fewer distractions.

It’s an analog heirloom that’s still resisting oblivion — perhaps because, even in its moment, it was already contemplating a broader sweep of time. ..........We simply can’t hear “Sgt. Pepper” now the way it affected listeners on arrival in 1967. Its innovations and quirks have been too widely emulated, its oddities long since absorbed. .......... “Sgt. Pepper” and its many musical progeny have blurred into a broader memory of “psychedelia,” a sonic vocabulary (available to current music-makers via sampling) that provides instant, predigested allusions to the 1960s. Meanwhile, the grand lesson of “Sgt. Pepper” — that anything goes in the studio — has long since been taken for granted.......“Sgt. Pepper” has been analyzed, researched, oral-historied and dissected down to the minute differences between pressings,......The new box rightfully incorporates “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane,” the masterpieces recorded alongside “Sgt. Pepper” but released before the album. ...For people who, like me, heard the album brand-new in 1967, “Sgt. Pepper” remains inseparable from its era. It was released on June 1, the beginning of the Summer of Love. It was a time of prosperity, naïve optimism and giddy discovery, when the first baby boomers were just reaching their 20s and mind-expanding drugs had their most benign reputation.

In 1967, candy-colored psychedelic pop and rock provided a short-lived but euphoric diversion from conflicts that would almost immediately resurface: the Vietnam War and America’s racial tension. “Sgt. Pepper” remains tied to that brief moment of what many boomers remember as innocence and possibility — the feeling captured perfectly in “Getting Better,” even as Lennon taunts, “It can’t get no worse.”......

“Sgt. Pepper” had an immediate, short-lived bandwagon effect, as some late-1960s bands sought to figure out how to make those strange Beatles sounds, and others got more studio time and backup musicians than they needed. Artistic pretensions also notched up.......Yet while “Sgt. Pepper” has been both praised and blamed for raising the technical and conceptual ante on rock, its best aspect was much harder to propagate. That was its impulsiveness, its lighthearted daring, its willingness to try the odd sound and the unexpected idea. ......It’s the sheer improbability of the whole enterprise, still guaranteed to raise a smile 50 years on.
1967  anniversaries  music  George_Martin  Beatles  '60s  psychedelic  kaleidoscopic  cultural_touchpoints  ingenuity  daring 
may 2017 by jerryking
Guaranteed to Raise a Smile
May 19, 2017 | WSJ | By Dominic Green

Pop music, psychedelia and nostalgia fused together in the album that defined the 1960s.

Universal Music Group, which owns Capitol Records, is marking the anniversary by issuing a multi-disc box set. There is also a box-full of books intended to reintroduce to us the act we’ve known for all these years. Brian Southall, a pop journalist when the band was together, handled publicity for EMI in the 1970s. Mike McInnerney designed the sleeve of the Who’s “Tommy.” Lavishly illustrated, their books reflect the synthesis between pop entertainment and thoughtful art that the Beatles were after......The 1960s formed the Beatles. The Beatles, with a little help from their friend, producer George Martin, made “Sgt. Pepper.” Now “Sgt. Pepper” defines the ’60s............“Pepper” endures not just because it caught the mood of the Summer of Love, or because it married pop music to the modernist techniques of the collage and the tape loop, or because it sounds quaintly futuristic. “Pepper” endures because it entered the past so quickly. On June 25, 1967, little more than three weeks after the album’s release, the Beatles joined Maria Callas and Picasso in the first live international satellite broadcast, for which they performed a new song, “All You Need Is Love.” The event initiated our age of simultaneous global media and announced the triumph of television. Like its Edwardian costumes and parping brass, “Pepper” was a colorized document from history—from a past in which music, not the visual image, could still change the world.
Beatles  '60s  anniversaries  music  iconic  cultural_touchpoints  pop_music  psychedelic  nostalgia  art  1967  kaleidoscopic 
may 2017 by jerryking
‘Grown-up who steered the Fab Four to Stardom
12 March/13 March 2016 | FT | Ludovic Hunter-Tilney. Obit of George Martin, Beatles' producer.

"Martin was measured about his contribution. "I was purely an interpreter," he said, "The genius was theirs, no doubt about that"
Beatles  obituaries  '60s  trailblazers  music  engineering  producers  interpretation 
april 2016 by jerryking
How the Beatles strike a chord in business - The Globe and Mail
Harvey Schachter
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Harvey_Schachter  Beatles  partnerships 
may 2011 by jerryking
It's amazing where The Beatles sometimes turn up!
Apr 03, 2006 | GeorgeHarrison.com | HARVEY SCHACHTER
Presentations: Start with the customer, and end with your company
Most presentations and product demonstrations start with a corporate
overview of the company doing the selling. Instead, consultant Peter
Cohan tells MarketingSherpa you need to save the corporate overview for
the end and start with a powerful slide that captures the needs of the
buyer. The point is to say: "We understand the specific pain you are in,
and we can help you solve it." From there, move on to the actual result
if they buy your product -- the increased productivity or sales or
other benefit that will come from your services. Now you can take some
time to tell them the features of the product or service you are
offering, before ending with details on your company. He urges you to
leave 75 to 80 per cent of your presentation time for questions from the
prospects.
presentations  Communicating_&_Connecting  Harvey_Schachter  pitches  Beatles  services  salesmanship  sales  enterprise_clients 
april 2011 by jerryking
Monday morning manager
Apr 3, 2006 | G&M.pg. B.2 | Harvey Schachter. Most
presentations & product demos start with a corporate overview of the
company doing the selling. Instead, save the corporate overview for the
end and start with a powerful slide that captures the needs of the
buyer. ... Financing: How to raise capital from angel investors.
Raising money from angels requires a shrewd understanding of their
wallets, inner needs, and spouse, according to venture capitalist Guy
Kawasaki.On his blog, he advises you to:Make sure they are rich enough
to never get a penny back, and also sophisticated investors, who can
give you advice.Understand their motivations, whether it's purely
monetary or includes paying back society by helping other entrepreneurs.
Enable them to live vicariously through your efforts, reliving the
thrills of entrepreneurship while avoiding the firing line. Seek their
advice, routinely.Make your story comprehensible to their spouse, who
will have a say if not a veto in the investment.
Beatles  teams  presentations  Communicating_&_Connecting  storytelling  howto  angels  funding  Harvey_Schachter  guy_kawasaki  ProQuest 
december 2010 by jerryking

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