Join 3,374 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Beatles: Also featuring Eric Clapton
June 5, 2013 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Track From the Classic Beatles Song, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (1968)

George Harrison of the Beatles was an accomplished guitar player with a distinctive soloing style. So you might think that with a song as personal and guitar-centric as “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” he would do his own playing. In fact, the song features guitar playing by Eric Clapton.

Also check out Acoustic Demos of White Album Songs (1968)
and A Young Eric Clapton Demonstrates the Elements of His Guitar Sound
posted by T.D. Strange (130 comments total) 53 users marked this as a favorite

 
And Freddie Mercury and David Bowie on the Isolated Vocal Track for the Queen Hit ‘Under Pressure,’ 1981
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:51 PM on June 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


Oh god that's good.
posted by figurant at 7:52 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, those acoustic demos sure didn't last long (take-down notice).
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:58 PM on June 5, 2013


"It's not Beatley enough" - heh.
posted by Miko at 8:00 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course, you also have the whole Pattie Boyd thing, leading to Layla.
posted by jenkinsEar at 8:02 PM on June 5, 2013


Shorter acoustic demos excerpt on YouTube here.

I'll admit to not checking the demos link before posting, for shame, for shame.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:06 PM on June 5, 2013


What is surprising to me is, well, kind of how bad it sounds. I don't mean that he plays bad, just that the solo by itself doesn't sound like much at all. I've heard similar things where iconic songs are reduced to just the vocals which often sound just awkward and silly as hell.
posted by RustyBrooks at 8:11 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to say I respect Harrison, sacrificing his ego to get the song right, even while the rest of the Beatles barely took him seriously as a musician. I haven't watched Let It Be all the way through, but I remember one clip where McCartney is being about as condescending as one can possibly imagine to him.

He deserved better.
posted by dry white toast at 8:14 PM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I guess I never realized it wasn't Harrison on WMGGW. Hearing it, listening for it, duh, it's Clapton.

Man. I'm conflicted about Clapton. Such a talent, and such a douche. I really wish it were easier to separate the art and the artist (so I could, then, recall the perfect night in 1992 laying out in the haze of everyone else's weed under the stars at a Clapton show, without asterisks or caveats.)
posted by notsnot at 8:21 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument!
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:22 PM on June 5, 2013


Dave: Very good. I see, when you think of God, you see Jesus.
Hyde: No man, it's Clapton.
Eric: Oh my God, man. I drew Clapton too.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:28 PM on June 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


The story is, Harrison brought in Clapton, who had not quite yet become the utter hack that he is now, to force John and Paul to work seriously on recording this song; they had been sabotaging it, perhaps due to the verses that you can hear on "Anthology" but not "The White Album".
posted by thelonius at 8:29 PM on June 5, 2013


After Clapton played guitar here, George returned the favor by writing "Badge" for Cream (at least this is how I recall the story).
posted by scody at 8:30 PM on June 5, 2013


....who had not quite yet become the utter hack ...

Compared to your own career in music?

Sorry, sometimes it really gets tiring to hear folks make these kind of comments about musicians, if you don't like Clapton, or whoever, go find another thread to comment in...
posted by HuronBob at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


I always loved that song... but not the guitar solo. I always dreamed of playing it in the way I dreamed it should be played. But I suck at guitar playing and of course it never happened.
Then I heard Prince play it. I'm not a Prince fan, but this is the guitar solo I dreamed of.
PRINCE.
posted by cccorlew at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2013 [35 favorites]


Thanks for posting this... an interesting listen....
posted by HuronBob at 8:45 PM on June 5, 2013


This version of WMGGW by Santana, Yo Yo Ma and Indie Arie is one of my favorite versions of this song...
posted by HuronBob at 8:57 PM on June 5, 2013


Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument!

Oh FFS.
posted by Hoopo at 9:01 PM on June 5, 2013 [33 favorites]


oh man Prince totally kills it in that version!

And then he throws his guitar up in the air and it just vanishes. And he walks off stage as everyone is wrapping up the song.
posted by egypturnash at 9:11 PM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Thanks for the Open Culture links - lots of good stuff in there, including Andres Segovia making a guitar gently weep in an altogether different way.
posted by googly at 9:12 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hoopo - like I said earlier.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:13 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Compared to your own career in music?

What relevance does that have? If thelonius has a career in music, would you be ok with his/her calling Clapton a hack?

Sorry, sometimes it gets really tiring to hear people object to negative assessments because the assessor isn't mega-accomplished in the endeavor in question.
posted by kenko at 9:18 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


What relevance does that have?

I don't know.... how about when someone wants to categorize a musician with a career that has garnered 11 Grammy awards as an "utter hack", I would want to know what type of credentials that person has as a musician that gives credibility to that statement.

Again, if you don't like a musician, writer, artist, why enter into a MetaFilter thread just to throw out the old "your favorite whatever sucks"? ...creativity is subjective, shitting in a thread like this really doesn't bring anything to the community.
posted by HuronBob at 9:26 PM on June 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


That Prince solo is freakingly good. I love how for the first half of the song you don't even see him on stage and then it's his turn to have a little fun.

Holy she-it, that little man can play like nobodies business. And he does is with such showmanship and aplomb, even if you don't like his own music, when he's jamming, he can freaking jam like you wouldn't believe.
posted by daq at 9:36 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument!

Wait. You know so staggeringly little about the Beatles that you are amazed and surprised by the guitar solo to the oh-so-obscure track "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and yet you have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring that they were all untalented hacks who didn't know how to play their instruments.

What on earth is it about music and art threads on the internet that makes people feel it's imperative to "X is crap" and "Y is the MOST AMAZING THING EVER" when these opinions are so clearly grounded in nothing at all?
posted by yoink at 9:43 PM on June 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


While the Prince/Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne version listed elsewhere kicks an absolutely vast amount of ass, this version by Jake Shimabukuro just blows me away every time I hear it.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:44 PM on June 5, 2013 [11 favorites]


You might think that with a relationship as personal as “his marriage”, Harrison would do his own playing. In fact...
posted by lambdaphage at 10:01 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


This song is how my dad introduced me to both The White Album and Clapton. This is probably not a memorable moment for him—he played a lot of records for me as a kid, or tried to at least—but it's stuck with me, him queuing up the side and song on his turntable while explaining that the guy playing guitar on this wasn't the guy who was the actual guitarist for the Beatles and how that was Sort Of A Thing.

And I've always loved that solo, the sound of it in that song, the fuzzy bluesy desperate drama of the riffing and the little woven arpeggiated double climbs at the turnarounds, the way it sat in that punchy descending minor structure. It just kills me.

I don't know how much of that was hearing it for the first time in the context of my dad enthusing about this little bit of music gossip, the Uncredited Clapton Solo thing, and how much of it was just that actual sound just hitting the right buttons for me as a budding musician. But it's a great goddam recording.
posted by cortex at 10:08 PM on June 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


deadmessenger, god golly, Jake can really play! Thanks for that.
posted by ashbury at 10:14 PM on June 5, 2013


What on earth is it about music and art threads on the internet that makes people feel it's imperative to "X is crap" and "Y is the MOST AMAZING THING EVER" when these opinions are so clearly grounded in nothing at all?

Did you RTFA? Harrison worked endlessly on his recordings and could not get it to work, he thought it was all crap. So he called Clapton for help and it became a hit. So are you disagreeing with Harrison?

The Beatles are the most overrated band ever. As musicians playing instruments, they were mediocre, especially compared to a virtuoso like Clapton. And apparently Harrison would be the first to admit it. That is the first humble thing I ever heard about the band that previously declared themselves bigger than Jesus.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:19 PM on June 5, 2013


As musicians playing instruments, they were mediocre

And as songwriters? That's what I get from TFA: that Harrison knew he had written "a nice song" and he stuck with that belief even to the point of stepping aside and having somebody else play it. And he was right.

(And sheesh: "how well they played their instruments" is surely a fair way down the list of what makes the Beatles significant artists, no?)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:32 PM on June 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


As a musician I feel comfortable noting that "The Beatles are overrated" is a tired, predictable bit of iconoclasm that makes about as much sense as "the sky isn't as blue as it looks in some paintings". They were tremendously solid songwriters and recordists with a historically influential production history both aesthetically and technically.

They're not the be-all and end-all, and pop culture narratives and the hype machine that grows up around mega-pop phenomenons certainly has a life of its own, but trying to carry the ball from that reasonable take over to something as foolish as "like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument" makes you sound like you're more interested in talking than in actually saying anything.
posted by cortex at 10:34 PM on June 5, 2013 [43 favorites]


Did you RTFA? Harrison worked endlessly on his recordings and could not get it to work, he thought it was all crap. So he called Clapton for help and it became a hit. So are you disagreeing with Harrison?

Yeah, not getting it to sound the way you'd like is not the same thing as being crap at your instrument. You are not convincing at all and making statements suggesting the Beatles can't actually play their instruments makes you sound like you don't know what you're talking about. What does it even matter if they were "mediocre" "as musicians playing instruments" anyway? As should be obvious to anyone, there's a fuckload of a lot more to music than the technical prowess of the musicians playing instruments. I can't think of a single Beatles song where a lack of technical prowess hampers the finished product. They wrote and performed great songs that people still enjoy.
posted by Hoopo at 10:36 PM on June 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


the band that previously declared themselves bigger than Jesus

do not engage.
posted by device55 at 10:44 PM on June 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


the band that previously declared themselves bigger than Jesus

well, yeah, that was the name of their second album.
posted by item at 11:12 PM on June 5, 2013


something as foolish as "like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument" makes you sound like you're more interested in talking than in actually saying anything.

True dat.
posted by item at 11:14 PM on June 5, 2013


.....who had not quite yet become the utter hack ...

Compared to your own career in music?


No, no, even if he took a shot at Clapton, you can't use that bankrupt "can you do better?" line. There's an old response that pretty well disarms it: you don't have to be a cook to decide an omelette tastes bad.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 11:36 PM on June 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, not getting it to sound the way you'd like is not the same thing as being crap at your instrument.

Yeah actually, that is sort of the entire point of playing an instrument, to make it produce sounds the way you'd like.

Look, it's obvious we have different opinions. You like songwriters, I like virtuoso instrumentalists. A virtuoso can breathe life into even an old standard, but a songwriter can't do anything without a musician who can perform his song on musical instruments.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:37 PM on June 5, 2013


harrison being a less than virtuoso guitar player was a weakness-that-was-really-a-strength. given the awesomeness of the beatles lyrics, melodies, harmonies and general overall songwriting, a bunch of shred in the middle of every song would have been overkill. whereas a nice simple solo with a strong melodic component (something harrison obviously excelled at) almost always fit the bill perfectly.

that said, this particular song was very much written for shredding on top, and that prince solo is fantastic. i love how he not only killed the solo, he did it being all prince-showy, falling halfway off the stage, backwards, being held then pushed back up by a security guy or whatever, struttin around like mick jagger, dropping his hand away from the neck and darting it up one note at a time on those octavey hammer-ons in the middle, throwing the guitar in the air and walking petulantly off the stage he's sharing with george fucking harrison at the end, etc
posted by messiahwannabe at 11:40 PM on June 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Lennon was the best guitarist in the Beatles. His forceful rhythm playing on the either his 325 or the Gibson acoustic totally powered all the early albums and concerts. John and Paul had played a lot of gigs without a drummer in the early days.

Listen to All My Loving or I Saw Her Standing There, or best of all, I Want To Hold Your Hand, to hear the amount of precision and pumping energy he gets. Whenever I hear some of their competitors around the same time, like The Hollies, the lack of this sound is very noticeable. Help! and Run For Your Life are also good examples.
posted by colie at 12:15 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


harrison being a less than virtuoso guitar player was a weakness-that-was-really-a-strength.

I think George's biggest contribution guitar-wise was his interest in unusual extended chord colourings, like the added 6th, 9th, maj 7th etc. The Till There Was You solo, etc.

That added 6th chord at the end of She Loves You is inspired by his enjoyment of those sonorities (it's also his voice that is singing the 6th, I think).
posted by colie at 12:18 AM on June 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Count me in on team beatles-hate-is-predictable-iconoclasm. They invented a form. It was an incredible form and half the musicians I've ever loved listening to have worked in it.

They invented the album, right? Yes, Pet Sounds... but Sgt. Pepper is just (I hesitate to admit this, even to myself) so much better than Pet Sounds. When I picture what it must have been like when it came out*, I picture every other pop musician on the planet hearing it and thinking "oh! that's how you put together an album! damn! Why couldn't we see that?"

I've never been a big fan of virtuosic performance as an end in itself (I kinda grew up musically on riot grrl, once I hit high school and started listening to more than just They Might Be Giants), but nevertheless I think that, taste aside, form-inventors like the Beatles — another example might be Kraftwerk — are if nothing else much more rare than virtuosos are.

*: yeah I am way too young to be smart in this part of the conversation. I think I'll have to defer to people who were alive then...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 12:44 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This thread is about to accumulate a pretty large amount of crap in it, debating the merits/musicianships of the Beatles and Clapton.

I'm going to say that some of the outright dismissal of either is pretty juvenile, even if there's some overrating and some hackery.

And if you are going to say "hey, different strokes for different folks", then don't further up the thread chuck out hilariously blanket dismissals.

For a lot of guitarists, George Harrison is a touchstone - he doesn't have the chops that his influence Chet Atkins has, but his tone and choice of phrasing served a lot of those records perfectly, and never out of balance with the rest of the cut, and with enough melodic curveballs to keep it interesting.

Unlike so much lead guitar work in the years to follow the Beatles.

The problem with "virtuosity" often is that it starts to resemble masturbation more than good sex
posted by C.A.S. at 1:25 AM on June 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Technique is a tool to do what needs to be done. Doing the right thing crudely is a far better option than doing the wrong thing perfectly.

Of course, the right thing perfectly is the winner; but masterpieces don't come across every day.
posted by solarion at 1:59 AM on June 6, 2013


A ukulele version of this song by Jake Shimabukuro (previously on metafilter). (Seriously, if you haven't see it before, you should check it out.)
posted by leibniz at 2:31 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to stick up massively for Clapton here too.

Although he lacks real 'authenticity' in any blues sense and is no doubt an arsehole now, he was once a working class boy from a sleepy suburb of England. In post-war Britain it was hard to get any blues into your ears, let alone make it come out of your fingers - no Spotify or Napster or even radio stations that would play blues!

Due to strict protectionist trade tariffs, Brits couldn't even buy decent US electric guitars like Fenders etc - we had Vox and Burns and crappy German instruments (Harrison was still playing a pitifully bad Hofner Futurama in the Cavern), with only a few Fenders and Gibsons allowed in. You had to befriend a garage electronics nerd to get a decent amp. But, by the age of 17 (1962) Clapton was out there gigging.

Walter Everett (Schenkerian Beatles musicologist) describes Clapton's playing on this track as having 'rhythmic placement, phrasing, and ornamentation unequaled among his peers' and that the solo displays a 'measured rise in intensity, rhythmic activity, tonal drive, and registral climb.' Incredibly accurate description in my opinion.

Which is doubly interesting when you listen to the Prince version, because his solo is only successful when it's being an explicit tribute to the Clapton one (the pyrotechnic hammer-on stuff can be described most kindly as simply showmanship, not virtuosity in any meaningful sense.) All the intriguing moments in it are quotations from the Clapton original, and it's probably most interesting as a comment on white appropriation of 'black' music.

(Also, I can't believe he's so Spinal-Tapped that he actually falls off the stage backwards at one point and is helped back up by roadies while still playing... I thought it might end with a mini-Stonehenge falling on his head).
posted by colie at 2:45 AM on June 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that Clapton isn't near as shit as I thought he was and the Beatles are just as amazing as I've always thought.

Maybe more.
posted by saul wright at 4:14 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, Clapton playing on WMGGW is second to only to "That's actually Paul fuckin' killin it on the Taxman solo" on my list of favorite not-so-obscure Beatles trivia.
posted by saul wright at 4:21 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another plus for Clapton was that he didn't bat a eyelid when he played those gigs with Lennon accompanied by a maniacally screaming Yoko Ono zipped inside a bag.
posted by colie at 4:24 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing is for certain - this is one of the most perfect uses of finger vibrato in recorded music.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 4:27 AM on June 6, 2013


John plays the (very wild) solos on You Can't Do That and the first one on Long Tall Sally, on his Rickenbacker with very heavy flat-wound strings (.12 upwards) that are hard to bend.
posted by colie at 4:51 AM on June 6, 2013


You like songwriters, I like virtuoso instrumentalists.

Now I am thinking how hilarious it would be if they interrupted Something for a nine-minute Joe Satriani noodle-off.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:15 AM on June 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


The Beatles are the most overrated band ever.

You'd think they would be happy with being overrated, but, as the Beatles, they had to push the envelope.
posted by Sparx at 5:25 AM on June 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


It is a hard solo to play perfectly, as this video testifies of Clapton playing it note-for-note at the Concert for George - the man himself actually flubs the final phrase at 2.37:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj4J6i_vw0w
posted by colie at 5:29 AM on June 6, 2013


Clapton. . . . such a douche . . .

[H]e lacks real 'authenticity' in any blues sense and is no doubt an arsehole now . . .


Oh, give it a rest.

Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument! . . . The Beatles are the most overrated band ever.

That pose is out, too, Sunny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately and be right-wing.
 
posted by Herodios at 5:45 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Beatles are the most overrated band ever.

This is secret code for GenX boomer hate. Lemme guess, The Ramones were way better, right?
posted by gjc at 5:48 AM on June 6, 2013


At first I thought that was a lush bit of 60s chorus and some tasty deep-fried germanium fuzz but then:

Then we listened to it back, and he said, “Ah, there’s a problem, though; it’s not Beatley enough”–so we put it through the ADT [automatic double-tracker], to wobble it a bit.

Ah. Yes. Too much. But then The White Album is significant as a master class in keeping the right mistakes. Even if it's too much wobble or Revolution 9. (What? Look, Johnny earned it okay? Plus, to be fair he was really high a lot then. Anyway Clapton couldn't have saved that one if he'd wanted to.)

I don't remember the recording order but I wouldn't be surprised if John's chuggy warbly Yer Blues solo was in response. Girl, you know the reason why.
posted by petebest at 5:55 AM on June 6, 2013


The Beatles are the most overrated band ever.
    This is secret code for GenX boomer hate.


Yes.

Lemme guess, The Ramones were way better, right?

Here's the fun part. The Ramones were 'boomers'.

No: here's the fun part: All the punks were 'boomers'.
 
posted by Herodios at 5:56 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


My god, this thread is full of bar room bores pontificating about how the Beatles are crap.

No, no, even if he took a shot at Clapton, you can't use that bankrupt "can you do better?" line. There's an old response that pretty well disarms it: you don't have to be a cook to decide an omelette tastes bad.

That response is silly and makes you sound like an armchair athlete shouting at his television.

Deciding an omelette tastes bad means only that it is not cooked to your taste. Without supporting argument, it does not entitle you to claim that the cook is 'bad' (a hack). So if you do glibly pass judgement on a renowned musician's abilities then it is fair to ask WTF you know about playing an instrument anyway.
posted by epo at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument!

This of course is why the other two hundred-odd* Beatles songs are unlistenable and languish in justifiable obscurity.

*May be slightly less depending on whether you think Billy Preston can play keyboards. Also, "Baby You're a Rich Man" is redeemed only by Brian Jones' oboe.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


“Ah, there’s a problem, though; it’s not Beatley enough".

"Waggling the oscillator" is, I believe, the salient phrase to google, here.
 
posted by Herodios at 6:00 AM on June 6, 2013


You know, responding to trolls in a thread like this is like a tennis match: the game only continues so long as you keep hitting the ball back to them.

So ignore the trolls (who appear in every single music thread) and focus on the matter at hand, maybe?
posted by dry white toast at 6:09 AM on June 6, 2013


Wow it's like a Beatles song, but performed by someone who actually knows how to play a musical instrument!

What is this fucking nonsense? You play an instrument in order to create a reaction (perhaps favourable, perhaps not) in the listener. This is the highest good. This is the actual purpose. Communication is the exact and precise fucking point. The rest doesn't matter.

I would suggest The Beatles possibly scraped over this modest bar.
posted by Wolof at 6:15 AM on June 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Re: "the Prince one" Which is doubly interesting when you listen to the Prince version, because his solo is only successful when it's being an explicit tribute to the Clapton one (the pyrotechnic hammer-on stuff can be described most kindly as simply showmanship, not virtuosity in any meaningful sense.)

Respectfully disagree. After watching it again, the artist is clearly bringing the Jimi. Balls-out tone, scorching lines, O-face, no survivors . . . It's got it all. The Spinal Tap reference is just gold plated genius on top of everything to remind y'all he can do it all day and all night and have six more albums in the can by morning. He knows its old rock, but it's always supposed to be fun.

I think he's really saying, "Clapton? You mean Jimi, maybe. Ah like so -" BAM. Then, after walking off with the place in his pocket (and the band aren't slouching) he goes, "I do like the high wailing Clapton does like this-wise. . . " Y'know to be polite. Plus he made Dani laugh and smile and George would have appreciated that.

Also, the hat deserves its own FPP.
posted by petebest at 6:19 AM on June 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


So dry white toast doesn't feed trolls then? Good to know.
posted by epo at 6:22 AM on June 6, 2013


Prince is indeed Bringing the Jimi.
posted by colie at 6:22 AM on June 6, 2013


That Prince solo is freakingly good... And he does is with such showmanship

As I was watching it I thought "it's too bad there's no really slick guitar equivalent of a mic drop because it would be awesome if when he was done he just *wham* stroll off stage and then, sure enough, never doubt the Purple One.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:31 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even if it's too much wobble or Revolution 9. (What? Look, Johnny earned it okay? Plus, to be fair he was really high a lot then. Anyway Clapton couldn't have saved that one if he'd wanted to.)
posted by petebest


Hmmmm.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:34 AM on June 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Deciding an omelette tastes bad means only that it is not cooked to your taste.

Very well, then: You don't have to be a structural engineer to know that the Tower of Pisa leans. (Hey, man, I wanted it to lean, 'cuz it was all about breaking free of orthodoxy and introducing a new form. And, uh, the ground was kind of soft.)
posted by Longtime Listener at 6:43 AM on June 6, 2013


the artist is clearly bringing the Jimi

Totally, he even pretends to play with his teeth for a brief moment.
posted by grog at 6:54 AM on June 6, 2013


Let's talk more about Prince in this thread because his omelette tastes the best obvs.
posted by entropone at 6:58 AM on June 6, 2013


No: here's the fun part: All the punks were 'boomers'.

I thought that was obvious. I'm from the very last year of the boomers and I was way too young for punk. By the time I was old enough to get into clubs, it was eight years after 1977.
posted by octothorpe at 6:58 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Enron Hubbard: "One thing is for certain - this is one of the most perfect uses of finger vibrato in recorded music."

I thought that distinctive sound was Chris Thomas manually tweaking the oscillator on the sound board.

... of course I went to look for something to back that up and found this quote in the Wikipedia article:

Clapton wanted a more "Beatley" sound, so the solo was run through an ADT circuit with engineer Chris Thomas manually 'waggling' the oscillator: "apparently Eric said that he didn't want it to sound like him. So I was just sitting there wobbling the thing, they wanted it really extreme, so that's what I did"

but now I'm wondering if you knew that and you meant you're hearing finger vibrato underneath that magic. I'm not guitar-ist enough to tell.
posted by komara at 6:59 AM on June 6, 2013


OK, so re: technique etc

"Waiting for the man" is approx. 2 chords.
"Wild thing" - 3 chords - played by Hendrix @ Monteray.

are these good songs or poor songs?
posted by marienbad at 7:01 AM on June 6, 2013


There is manual 'finger vibrato' all over the solo from Clapton, never mind what processing the sound also went through afterwards.
posted by colie at 7:05 AM on June 6, 2013


Fwiw, about 5:17 in on the Prince video above is a good example of "finger vibrato", which is all done by the guitar player. That "underwatery" warble sound late in the solo on the Beatles track is done by a circuit board. Clapton's solo had lots of both.
posted by petebest at 7:13 AM on June 6, 2013


Amazing to note that Clapton was only 23 at that point and had already been in The Yardbirds, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, was a month away from Cream's farewell tour and a few months away from forming Blind Faith.
posted by octothorpe at 7:22 AM on June 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Leaving aside the Beatles track, which is of course an undisputed classic, the linked video of Clapton playing his SG and chatting about his playing style is made of pure awesome. I saw it for the first time when I was just starting to play the guitar as a teenager, and learning the "stock phrases" he talks about helped me immeasurably to figure out how to play solos and improvise. And the tone he's getting in that video is phenomenal. I imagine if one was there in person, it would be deafening though.

It's also pretty funny when he's explaining how to get the "woman tone" and how the wah wah works and totally screws it up mixing up bass and treble and confusing the issue.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:34 AM on June 6, 2013


Wow, that was some spectacular trolling. Even over at Progressive Ears, where virtuoso playing is way of life, dive-bombing Harrison and Clapton just for shits and giggles is bad form. Congratulations young man.
posted by Ber at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


learn the guitar solo on the tune "something". really LEARN it - not just the notes, but the articulations, the bends, which strings he uses to play which notes, etc. And then come in here and tell me that the guitarist who played that (I have no reason to believe it isn't George Harrison) is not a fucking virtuosic player and master of expression on the instrument.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


one more quick one - the descending cross-picking pattern that happens in "Help!" under the lyric "won't you please help me?" - play that sucker in time, along with the recording, perfectly every time, so it's good enough that people will still debate it 50 fucking years later. George had GAME.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 7:55 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah actually, that is sort of the entire point of playing an instrument, to make it produce sounds the way you'd like.

You probably shoulda just stopped before here. Not being able to solo as well as Clapton means no more than not being able to solo as well as Clapton. It's very unlikely George was sitting there trying to play exactly what Clapton does on that song and was unable to pull it off. Clapton brought his own style and input to the table and it worked. That is not an indictment of George no matter how badly you want to paint it that way.

Look, it's obvious we have different opinions. You like songwriters, I like virtuoso instrumentalists.

Yeah, no. You're just a guy with an opinion on the Beatles who doesn't know what he's talking about. Enjoy your Steve Vai and Joe Satriani records. A guy who borrows his handle from a song by the Clash likes "virtuoso instrumentalists" rather than "songwriters". I'm gonna go ahead and suggest that if you're listening to the Clash for instrumental virtuosity you kinda missed the point.
posted by Hoopo at 7:58 AM on June 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


The virtuoso/hack/who's better at playing debate is completely stupid and beside the point. Clapton, Hendrix and each of the Beatles and really any of these guys have/had exactly as much ability/talent as was necessary to produce some of the greatest music of the twentieth century. They all had strengths and weaknesses, but not a single one of them was lacking in technique or style. To say the Beatles or any of those guys couldn't play their instruments is total horseshit.

I think using the term "virtuoso" is a little ridiculous though. They're not working at that level. That's a word that should be reserved for people like John Coltrane or John McLaughlin or Itzak Perlman.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:59 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm a George fan of course, but Geoff Emerick's memoir of recording the Beatles says he did flub his solos constantly in the studio. Paul, being some sort of musical genius android, never ever played a bum note and was always lurking ready to take over on lead guitar.
posted by colie at 8:13 AM on June 6, 2013


George Harrison's understated guitar solos on Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down are pretty good, IMO.
posted by Daddy-O at 8:29 AM on June 6, 2013


I didn't know that was George. Stands to reason I suppose, with the Wilbury connection.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:31 AM on June 6, 2013


Storyboard P deserves his own FPP, but in the meantime watch him freestyle to the Beatles original.
posted by nixt at 8:32 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenager and particularly intolerant of my parents' "The 60s were just the absolute bees knees" boomer booster-ism, I used to disparage the Beatles among their friends (my favorite trick was declaring Yoko my favorite Beatle and watch my dad's aging hippie friends try to figure out how not to order me off their lawn). Satisfied with being fully irritating, I would then stomp off to my bedroom and listen to Fugazi under the absolutely ginormous Beatles poster on my bedroom wall.
posted by thivaia at 8:35 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


On an only tangentially related note, there's a fella on Youtube that posts a lot of videos of Beatles stuff. He's obviously worked very hard at analyzing and internalizing their playing styles.

Here's his interpretation of how to play like John Lennon.

And how to play like George Harrison

And why Ringo is an underrated drummer
posted by wabbittwax at 8:40 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


The fact that George flubbed notes in the studio (according to Geoff Emerick, the beginning of "Baby's in Black" was particularly problematic) is completely irrelevant - it's the finished product that counts. Here's a lyric for you - "Scrambled Eggs, how I love my baby's legs" - shite, of course. Fortunately, the lyricist saw fit to change it to "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away" - and changed pop music forever. Again. And not for the last time, not be a long shot. At the age of 21.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:41 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Beatles were overrated? Of course they were: no band could possibly be good enough to justify that level of popularity. I mean, when Lennon said they were more popular than Jesus, it was a stupid thing to say, but the fact is he was right - at that time, based on best estimates, there were more Beatles fans in the world than Christians.

That doesn't mean they weren't very, very good and it certainly doesn't mean they weren't extremely important in the evolution of rock and roll.

And as far as their ability to play instruments goes, I'd say these things: First, that for guys without training who never learned how to read music, they did pretty damned well. And second, that I would rather listen to music from a band that writes great songs and plays well enough than music from a band that writes mediocre songs and plays brilliantly, any day.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


All I know about music is what I like/don't like, but, man oh man do I love threads where the big brains on MeFi drop science on techniques and reveal inside scoops on classic artists and historical recordings. Alllllll day!
posted by lord_wolf at 9:30 AM on June 6, 2013


The thing for me (as a non-musician) about The Beatles as musicians was how identifiable their playing style was. Maybe not as much with John but George's guitar, Paul's Bass and Ringo's drums all have a unique sound and style that jumps out at you. George might not have been a virtuoso but his style was his own. I can't think of too many current rock musicians that you could say that about even if they are technically much more adept.
posted by octothorpe at 9:35 AM on June 6, 2013


I think it's also worth bearing in mind that it was so much harder to learn music (with or without notation skills involved) at that time, for kids of the Beatles' or Clapton's social class.

It's touching when Paul tells the story about how he and John would take two buses across Liverpool, for example, to visit some guy who was rumoured know a new chord shape.

(Paul has also said that whenever they learned a new chord, they would then attempt to write a song around it. Their songwriting partnership seemed to include these kind of homework-style formalist exercises/competitions... Pollack and McDonald believe that they [un?]consciously rewrote and ruminated each others' material a lot, e.g. Paul's failed 'That Means a Lot' is a rewrite of 'Ticket to Ride', 'Sexy Sadie' is a darker 'Yesterday.')
posted by colie at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2013


Here we go again. Same crap in every Beatles thread amidst the other intelligent posts. Well, haters will hate.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


My god, this thread is full of bar room bores pontificating about how the Beatles are crap.

Full of bar room bores? Or just charlie don't surf?
posted by grouse at 10:39 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


It always makes me sad when I see people claiming the Beatles were not good at playing their instruments because it tells me there are still people in this world who claim to like music but have never listened to Abbey Road all the way through. Oh well.
posted by The World Famous at 10:40 AM on June 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Geoff Emerick's memoir of recording the Beatles says [George Harrison] did flub his solos constantly in the studio. Paul, being some sort of musical genius android, never ever played a bum note and was always lurking ready to take over on lead guitar.

Not quite true. Paul was always ready to play lead on his own songs. And, of course, Paul played the leads on George's own "Taxman".

But, in Paul's own words, half* of the reason he ended up on bass in the first place was his tendency to 'choke' on solos when playing live. Early on, of course, there was no studio playing -- just live in a club full of drunk Germans (or Scousers).

So who shall play lead, captain: the firey multi-instrumentalist who can outplay all the other bassists but might choke on lead any given night, or the solid, tasty player who can imitate all your influences and quietly innovates from there?

By the time they'd got their big break, their live playing roles were well set. They were an 'act'. Later, in the studio, all three Beatle guitarists played lead on various tracks, though George got the most.

It's been said many times, but if you listen to the solos on "The End" off Abbey Road, you can match the players to their earlier efforts. After Ringo's big bash it's Paul, George, John . . . Very distinctive. Listen to "The End", then "Taxman".

And you knew that was John on lead on "Get Back", right?

---------------------------
*he other half being that there was no one else to do the job. Group dynamics. . . .
posted by Herodios at 10:52 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never listened much to The Beatles (obviously, it doesn't mean that I didn't know most of their songs) but recently, as I'm more and more into playing songs with my guitar, I've bought the complete Beatles chord songbook. It's amazing what you can do with a fistful of chords. Then I bought Ian McDonald's book, Revolution in the Head. Definitely one of the best books about a band I've read, combining a little biography (whenever it's useful to the understanding of a song) with lots of writing and recording history, and also a little musical theory when it's relevant. Pretty interesting to discover how much their songs were the result of a more or less careful blend, the role of george Martin, the way Paul and John worked together. The book is also great in presenting the output of each member in a descriptive way that avoids devotion or pointless criticism, but addresses the (musical as well as personal) qualities and weaknesses of each member.
posted by nicolin at 11:00 AM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something that occurred to me is that you rarely see any mention, in discussions of the Beatles' musicianship, of the fact that in the early days Paul and John both exclusively appeared playing instruments that were in fact small-scale mini versions of guitars. This was a conscious choice by both of them.

They are sometimes called 3/4 scale or short scale, although the Hofner violin bass and the Rickenbacker 325 are really 5/6 scale. But the size reduction makes the 325 feel like a little toy in your hands, and it weighs around 5 pounds (I realised a lifetime's ambition and bought one last year). It's hollow, despite having no f-holes, as is the Hofner bass.

This definitely affected the way John plays loads of barre chord shapes with his little finger low down the neck (Hold Me Tight), and Paul's very busy playing (You Can't Do That). You see how they throw the instruments around in concert (compared to the enormous wardrobe-size proportions of the Fender Precision bass) and it's a part of how they played and looked.
posted by colie at 11:06 AM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


colie: "I'm a George fan of course, but Geoff Emerick's memoir of recording the Beatles says he did flub his solos constantly in the studio. "

If I had McCartney dogging me at every turn, I'd be messing up solos, too.
posted by notsnot at 11:12 AM on June 6, 2013


Isn't the reason Paul picked up the Hofner violin bass that he could buy a righty bass and turn it around to play lefty with its being awkwardly shaped?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:18 AM on June 6, 2013


The Beatles were overrated? Of course they were...

No, they weren't. Pay attention to how often you still hear their music today, in so many contexts by so many artists. Why? Because they produced lasting, beautiful music. The melodies, harmonies, arrangements, rhythms, all not only endure but have influenced just about every bit of popular music being produced today, as well as a good bit of jazz and "serious" music.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:24 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


the reason Paul picked up the Hofner violin bass

I think Paul says that, but he talks a lot of stuff... it's a mix of things such as the fact that he couldn't afford a Fender, didn't really want to play bass (he plays it like a guitar), couldn't get a Fender anyway, didn't want to look like The Shadows... it's a bit of a red herring because Paul's Hofner was in fact a left-handed instrument - it has the pickguard, control knobs and buttons in the correct place for a lefty.
posted by colie at 11:36 AM on June 6, 2013


It is a hard solo to play perfectly, as this video testifies of Clapton playing it note-for-note at the Concert for George - the man himself actually flubs the final phrase at 2.37:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rj4J6i_vw0w


He didn't flub it because it's hard to play. It's not hard to play. He flubbed it because he's not perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. Even God.
posted by The World Famous at 12:18 PM on June 6, 2013


Now now, let's not make this thread about David Gilmour.
posted by cortex at 1:10 PM on June 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


You misspelled Rick Wright.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:11 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Count me in on team beatles-hate-is-predictable-iconoclasm. They invented a form. It was an incredible form and half the musicians I've ever loved listening to have worked in it.

And that is precisely the problem. Some of us view that "form" as a straightjacket that music got shoved into and has never escaped. I often wonder what the musical world would be like if this overwhelming conformity to Beatleism had never occurred, and other diverse styles had developed in its place.

So if you're going to fill the internet with yet another gushing acclamation that is completely out of proportion to their actual talent, then you should not be surprised if some people deride this as idol worship rather than music appreciation.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:17 PM on June 6, 2013


Womp womp.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


charlie don't surf: Did you RTFA? Harrison worked endlessly on his recordings and could not get it to work, he thought it was all crap. So he called Clapton for help and it became a hit. So are you disagreeing with Harrison?
By the same argument, Bob Dylan is a shit musician with little-to-no influence on others because his vocal performances are awful, and I heard that once he was unhappy with his vocal track on a song.

Clearly Glenn Campbell is 10 times the genius that Dylan is. HE can carry a tune!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:25 PM on June 6, 2013


You misspelled Rick Wright.

I always spell Wright wrong.
posted by The World Famous at 2:52 PM on June 6, 2013


Some of us view that "form" as a straightjacket that music got shoved into and has never escaped.

Then some of you haven't been paying a hell of a lot of attention to music, because the Beatles had a great big influence on aspects of pop-rock songwriting and production, but not some girdling containment of the whole gestalt of commercial pop music, let alone of music in general. That whole diverse set of styles you're bemoaning did and does exist.

There are far more interesting critical things to say about the Beatles than "they couldn't play their instruments" or "they're over-rated". If you have those things to say, by all means, have at it already and contribute something meaningful to the thread; so far you've just been countering the lazy overrating phenomenon you dislike with equally lazy proclamations of "meh".
posted by cortex at 3:11 PM on June 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


for the people getting cranky on this thread: as a semi-non-participant, I've had the easiest time just reading it for the really insightful things some people are saying and totally ignoring the less insightful things that other people are saying (and I'm including myself in the "less insightful" category here). The conversation probably feels frustrating from your perspective, but some really great material has come out of it.

I have this theory that metafilter, when it's working at its best, does with annoying trolls what oysters do with annoying grains of sand, and I think that's what's been going on here in this thread. And thankfully we have the aggressive moderation and the 5 dollar barrier to keep the really irredeemably stupid trolls in check.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:51 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Then some of you haven't been paying a hell of a lot of attention to music, because the Beatles had a great big influence on aspects of pop-rock songwriting and production, but not some girdling containment of the whole gestalt of commercial pop music, let alone of music in general. That whole diverse set of styles you're bemoaning did and does exist.

I paid a lot of attention to music as I grew up and learned to play musical instruments, during the era after the Beatles, where all the big acts were doing their Sgt. Pepper concept album. The result was a dominant paradigm of Prog Rock acts like Uriah Heep. Satire like "This Is Spinal Tap" were lampooning what music had become after the Beatles shaped the music industry.

Sure there is a lot of diverse music and it has always been that way. Let me show you a video of what happens to that diverse music after the music business gets ahold of it. This is what Beatles music feels like, to me.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:41 PM on June 6, 2013


What you're saying is that the Beatles' imitators were lousy. That's a totally different thing. I don't like The Killing but it doesn't make me go around complaining about Twin Peaks.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:01 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


after the Beatles shaped the music industry.

Ah, there's yer bad connection right there. The Beatles didn't shape the music industry. If anything, they have lots of examples where they had no idea what they or it was doing - or how. Brian Epstein didn't know from merchandising, Paul thought songs "belonged to the air", even John's "Jesus" comment belies a fundamental disinterest or unawareness of how the rock press worked.

Yes, Brian put them in suits and cleaned them up to a huge degree in order to be more popular, but that was because he was following the only guide he thought that mattered, the theatre, not trends of the music industry. The story of the Beatles is very often that of an immensely popular group tipping over a new forum, adopting a new medium (stereo effects or music "videos"), or jamming on the roof of all places, followed immediately by a swarm of money-driven chiselers who congeal in that new trail and ultimately prevent there from ever being another popular music phenomenon like the Beatles again.

They started in revolt of artists like Pat Boone (linked above) for one. They wanted the real deal of Little Richard and Sun-Records-Elvis. Most of their music industry decisions were truly disastrous, and they could have easily wobbled off the trajectory they were on at any time. The music industry would have done then what it always does: apply the most recent successful formula for as long as it possibly can.

But then the Beatles would work magic. They'd peg the needle with the bass on "Day Tripper" or make tuning a radio over gobbledygook lyrics work somehow on "I am the Walrus" and whoosh there's another one. Then, the industry lurches toward them, that tack is absorbed, and many copying attempts are flogged for whatever spare change they can bring.

No, they didn't shape the music industry as we know it through any (or not much) conscious effort on their part. They survived it. Even as Paul grew to be the richest entertainer in the history of the world, and Apple became the curious multi-billion dollar son-of-a-tax dodge we know it to be; they didn't create that environment. Allen Klein, Robert Stigwood and a vast mutating multi-tentacled leviathan of suck embedded itself in Los Angeles in their name.

Although, to be fair, John could be a lying arsehole, Paul could churn out some crap and they made out like bandits anyway. But you can't blame the music industry on them directly. That was a natural outgrowth of buck-making humanity.
posted by petebest at 7:09 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, they weren't. Pay attention to how often you still hear their music today.

And this is the thing: pop music has moved in recent years away from melody to emphasizing rhythm. But melody is what endures. Millions of people who know nothing of classical music will recognize Eine Kleine Nachtmusik or The Blue Danube instantly, and will complete the melody after hearing the first two measures. I have zero doubt that in 500 years, people will recognize the melody of "Yesterday," even if they have no idea where from.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:38 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I sort of agree, ricochet biscuit. But on the other hand, Lennon wrote a lot of one or two note melodies that, without the accompaniment and lyrics, most people wouldn't recognize. For example, I Am The Walrus.
posted by The World Famous at 8:09 PM on June 6, 2013


Herodios: "That pose is out, too, Sunny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately and be right-wing."

And as always, Eric Clapton was ahead of his time on that one. He was doing the passionate right-wing thing all the way back in the 1970s - to the tune of saying publicly that he was a fan of the fascist National Front goons and defending them by proclaiming that they were right when they said all those awful black people oughtn't be coming to England and stealing jobs from the nice white people. Odd stance for a blues musician, really, and one he hasn't felt it necessary to disavow, lo all these many years later. Whenever asked, he just gets befuddled and says he doesn't understand what anyone's problem was, he was only speaking his mind.

But that doesn't really enter into his guitar playing. He may be a massive turd personally, but I really don't believe anyone can begrudge him at least that decade or so of musicianship that he had where he was pushing himself very far and doing amazing things with his instrument. And this song is part of that tremendous decade - it's a pleasure to hear it isolated like this, all stark and keening and glorious.
posted by koeselitz at 11:02 PM on June 6, 2013


'Trying to write a song with only one note' (like Long Tall Sally) seems to have been another of the form experiments they set themselves.
posted by colie at 11:13 PM on June 6, 2013


Fascinating. Thanks, T.D. Strange.
posted by homunculus at 12:36 AM on June 7, 2013


'Long Tall Sally' is a Little Richard song.

And here's where I rail against one of the great injustices of this world: try searching google or YouTube or anywhere for a recording of Paul McCartney and Little Richard singing together, like a duet, or a medley. I haven't ever found one because evidently there isn't one.

The idea that our world does not contain such a recording while both these men are still alive makes me sad all day.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:04 AM on June 7, 2013


Herodios: "That pose is out, too, Sunny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately and be right-wing."

    And as always, Eric Clapton was ahead of his time on that one.


Koeselitz, I was merely quoting the movie line in full.

I have nothing to say about the "Eric-Clapton-is-a-racist" meme.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:27 AM on June 7, 2013


Not really a meme. "Throw the wogs out! Keep Britain white!" isn't very ambiguous.

But whatever – this was about his guitar playing. Personally, I've always kind of felt like this bootleg of Cream at the Grand Ballroom in Detroit in 1968 is the apex of his career, really. Those rolling, roiling guitar lines he could whip out... just stunning. His musicianship was all shot through with fiery greatness.
posted by koeselitz at 8:48 AM on June 7, 2013


wabbittwax: Long Tall Sally was the unconscious inspiration for their attempts to write a song with only one note in it. According to my completely idle speculation, anyway.

Around 1965 (when they started smoking pot), Paul was telling interviewers that he thought he 'could hear a whole song in just one note', which is what made me interested in this idea. Paul also did a recent interview in which he remembered that he sometimes used to say to John 'it's good, but you've done that note 50 times in the song already, why not try a different note?'. It's the inverse of that conversation.

Obviously Long Tall Sally doesn't literally have only one note in the vocal, but the feeling is there. John's response to this unspoken one-note challenge was the verse of Help! and Paul's is the verse of Paperback Writer. All You Need is Love and its B-side Baby You're a Rich Man do the same for the choruses. After that, their unconsciouses had worked through this particular musical puzzle.
posted by colie at 9:18 AM on June 7, 2013


Presented without comment, an excerpt from Eric Clapton's autobiography:
I had never really understood, or been directly affected by, racial conflict. I suppose being a musician helped me to transcend the physical side of that issue. When I listened to music I was fairly disinterested in where the players came from, or what color their skin was. Interesting, then, that ten years later I would be labeled a racist, for making drunken remarks about Enoch Powell onstage in Birmingham, England. Since then I have learned to keep my opinions to myself, even though that was never meant to be a racial statement. It was more of an attack against the then government policies on cheap labor, and the cultural confusion and overcrowding that resulted from what was clearly a greed-based policy. I had been in Jamaica just before and had seen countless commercials on TV that were advertising a "new life" in Great Britain; and then at Heathrow, I had witnessed whole families of West Indians being harassed and humiliated by the immigration people, who had no intention of letting them in. It was appalling. Of course it might have also had something to do with the fact that Pattie had just been leered at by a member of the Saudi royal family -- a combination of the two perhaps.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:25 AM on June 7, 2013


I really hope this doesn't derail into 'is Eric Clapton a racist or not?'

Sometimes it's relevant to a discussion of him, but for chewing over a Beatles track he solo'd on, I reckon not.
posted by colie at 9:28 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, having posted that last thing without editorializing now I feel like I should offer my own admittedly charitable reading of that whole debate. The remarks in question are indefensible and the above quote actually does little to address the actual content of what he said. I think probably Pattie got goosed or ogled by some dude and Eric had way too much booze in him and just let loose with that tirade onstage against everybody and everything, not really having any idea what he was talking about.

Further, I think he probably has no memory now of what it was he actually said and probably has not bothered to look it up to jog his memory. So in his head somehow he remembers saying stuff about cheap labor and exploitative immigration policies, despite the fact that he didn't really say anything like that.

I think he really believes the thing about immigration, and supported Enoch Powell without really grasping the larger implications of what the man stood for.

I think he's neither a racist nor a xenophobe, despite the truly odious things he said on that particular evening.

And I'm sorry for the derail.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:38 AM on June 7, 2013


Among all the Beatles are overratted arguments, here we have a fairly thoughtful examination and comparison of the music of the Beatles & The Rolling Stones.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 10:20 AM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


'Long Tall Sally' is a Little Richard song.

It is. "I'm Down" is so close to it that I figure there is no way McCartney was not trying to emulate it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:05 PM on June 7, 2013


« Older "The first time I went into the grocery store, nob...  |  Vine is a smartphone app that ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments