Tag Archives: Beatles

Song: “Good Vibrations”

Good Vibrations was selected as the number 6 song in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and the RIAA named it the number 24 song OF THE CENTURY. Uploaded by wikia.com.

Between 1965 and 1967 a recording rivalry developed between Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys (Great American Things, May 16, 2009) in the U.S. and the Beatles in the U.K. The Boys had things their way before the Beatles wave swept over them. Even so, the two groups were frequently in the top 10 together – and then the Beatles released Rubber Soul.

Brian Wilson recognized the album’s groundbreaking production, which he tried to top with Pet Sounds. Lennon and McCartney then released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which inspired Wilson to create Smile. In the midst of this deluge of great music, studio recording changed forever. And “Good Vibrations” played a huge role.

Uploaded by buzzmontgomery.com.

The song came into being through 17 recording sessions at four different studios. Wilson recorded elements of the song, then edited them together in a musical collage. Tony Asher wrote the original lyrics, but very little of his words made the final version (though he did come up with the words, “I’m picking up good vibrations”). Mike Love of the Beach Boys tried to turn the strange sound into a more accessible romance by adding “She’s giving me excitations.”

“Good Vibrations” is acclaimed as one of the top songs of the rock era. It made number six on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and made the top spot in Mojo’s Top 100 Records of All Time. The RIAA rated it number 24 in its list of Top Songs of the Century.

TV Show: The Ed Sullivan Show

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Uploaded to Flickr by sebastian matus.

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Uploaded to Flickr by sebastian matus.

As befits the very earliest days of television, there couldn’t have been a simpler program format. Bring on a wide variety of acts, introduced by a handsome, charismatic host. This long-running show, originally called Toast of the Town, had all of this – except the handsome, charismatic host. It had Ed Sullivan.

Ed was an entertainment columnist for the New York Daily News, and he drew upon his contacts in the early days of the show to get some of the biggest names in entertainment. Nowhere else on TV could you hear a song by a Broadway cast, watch a team of acrobats, laugh at a comedian, cringe at an opera singer, and then hear the hottest pop group of the day.

Ed Sullivan small by conffeti

The show ran from 1948 to 1971, and featured some of the era’s most memorable events. For example, Elvis appeared on the broadcast on three occasions, and indeed was shown only from the waist up during the up-tempo portions of his songs. His first appearance drew 82.6% of the television audience, an amazing number even during the three-channel era.

All America again gathered in front of the Sullivan Show in February 1964, as the Beatles performed on three consecutive Sundays. The first week they sang “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You,” “She Loves You,” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” They drew a studio full of screaming girls, and the largest audience in television history at that time.

Of course, there were some low moments as well. The Doors were instructed to change “You know I couldn’t get much higher,” to “You know I couldn’t get much better,” but didn’t, and were permanently banned from the show. Jackie Mason allegedly gave Sullivan the finger, but filed a libel suit and eventually received an apology. And Bob Dylan was scheduled to perform a protest song, and was told it wouldn’t be allowed. So he walked out and never appeared on the show.

You can watch full episodes at tv.com and see what it was like “back in the day.” Tonight’s video can’t be embed, but it’s worth seeing – ten minutes of the Best of Sullivan, including songs by the Beatles.

Film: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

The charmingly deceptive Ferris Bueller. Uploaded by dvdactive.com.

The charmingly deceptive Ferris Bueller. Uploaded by dvdactive.com.

You’ve got to love a film in which a character sings “Danke Schoen” in the shower. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is a classic movie that definitely deserves its spot on this list, but the unexpected passing of John Hughes makes this the appropriate timing.

Matthew Broderick was so perfect for this movie. He had just the right combination of innocence and wise-ass charm that made the character believable. Well, mostly believable. No one could have quite the chutzpah he exhibited, but we enjoyed all his pranks on his incredible day.

"Danke Schoen." Uploaded by s2.causes.com.

"Danke Schoen." Uploaded by s2.causes.com.

First, he got his girlfriend Sloane out of school by having Cameron trick principal Ed Rooney into believing her grandmother had died. (“Just roll her old bones over here and I’ll dig up your daughter.”) Then he convinced a sniveling maitre d’ that he was Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago. Finally, Ferris lip synched the Beatles’ Twist and Shout aboard a float in the Von Steuben Day parade.

Probably the thing that made the movie most endearing, if that’s the right word, was that Ferris occasionally broke the rules and spoke directly to us. For example, when he explained how he feigned his illness to get out of school. “The key to faking out the parents is the clammy hands. It’s a good non-specific symptom; I’m a big believer in it… You fake a stomach cramp, and when you’re bent over, moaning and wailing, you lick your palms. It’s a little childish and stupid, but then, so is high school.”

This is the place where I’d normally talk about all the awards a movie won. Well, Ferris Bueller didn’t win any. What it won instead was a place in the pantheon of great coming-of-age stories. It’s one of those movies that, when it comes on TV, you have to watch at least till you see one of your favorite scenes. Like this one, the Twist and Shout video. Crank it up!

You’re still here? This post is over. Go home. Go!

Singers: The Beach Boys

Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Epiclectic.

Photo courtesy of Flickr, uploaded by Epiclectic.

From 1964 to roughly 1967 or so, America experienced what was called “The British Invasion.” Following the success of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, any four guys from Britain with guitars and long hair could have their music played on American radio. One band, which had already begun making its presence known as early as 1962, stood up to defend the honor of American pop music.

That group was The Beach Boys.

Their music, based on surfing and girls, had an all-American sensibility that no imported group could match. They had their first Top 20 hit, Surfin’ Safari, in 1962. The next year they entered the Top 10 for the first time with Surfin’ USA, which peaked at number 3. Their first number one single? I Get Around. To put that in perspective, in April the Beatles had the top 5 songs on the Billboard chart, and 14 songs in the Top 100.

The Beach Boys were serious about taking on the Beatles, as evidenced by the production of Good Vibrations. It took more than ten months to create, and at the time was considered their masterpiece.

I remember hearing it when I went to see The Beach Boys at The Dome in Virginia Beach in April, 1969. Looking back, I’m startled to find that the Dome only held 1000 people, since it was the primary music venue at the time for all of Tidewater, Virginia. I remember the girl I went with, the couple we double-dated with, and the single innocent kiss in the car on the way home.

I’m picking up good vibrations. She’s giving me excitations.