Why is “RUBBER SOUL” My Favorite BEATLES Album

Everyone loves The Beatles!
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison – do I have to say more? The history of rock&roll can simply be divided into two periods – before and after the Beatles! No other artist or band could or ever will be able to match their universal appeal and limitless talent, not to mention the social and cultural impact they left. Despite a recording career that lasted for about only 8 years, the worldwide craze and popularity turned them into the greatest success story in music history. Let’s also not forget that the British Invasion started with the Beatles – they opened the door for the rest of the British bands who conquered North America and well, the rest is history…

“If greatness is measured in commercial success and popularity, the Beatles were the greatest popular musicians of the twentieth century.”

It wasn’t just one or two albums that cemented their position as the perfect rock&roll band. From their early sound, which was basically a sophisticated meeting between Chuck Berry, Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly and Little Richard, to their later, more experimental, psychedelic and way ahead of its time music, The Beatles kept on challenging themselves and overcoming all odds. Each and every one of their albums played a particular role and left a deep, irremovable mark in music history. However, many fans and critics consider “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” to be the absolute creative peak of their career and I actually can’t agree more. Many fans often refer to it as their favorite Beatles album. Other popular choices are “Revolver” or “Abbey Road” – both groundbreaking albums. Personally, however, as much as I adore every musical effort of the Beatles, I’ve always had a soft spot for “Rubber Soul”. I bet there are more people out there who feel the same way. I wanted to talk a little bit more about this transitional album because sometimes it gets lost in translation when in fact I believe it’s their most interesting and story-filled album. Let me tell you why…

beatles-rubber-soul

Let’s go back to 1964 when Bob Dylan went down to New York to meet the Beatles. That fateful meeting marked a very crucial point in the careers of everyone involved in it. Imagine the amount of talent and artistic capacity that was about to explode in that room where those two influential rock acts met! Bob Dylan and the Beatles connected right away as ideas and influences started flying around the room. Bob was still strictly an acoustic musician, but it all changed after that meeting. He plugged it in and became a rock&roll player just like that overnight. The Beatles, on the other hand, were influenced artistically and lyrically. Up until that point, their approach to music was simplistic, straightforward and quite innocent. After meeting Bob Dylan, the “poet with a guitar”, however, they no longer came back to the cute love songs – their lyrics became more philosophical and sophisticated and that’s exactly what they needed. That event has always been quite intriguing to me – I do believe that a great conversation can absolutely change your life. This is exactly what happened with Bob and the guys – they pushed each other out of their comfort zones and things were never the same again.
(Bob Dylan also introduced them to marijuana, but that’s a whole new story…)

After releasing a brilliant soundtrack album – “Help”, containing the most covered song in history – “Yesterday”, the Beatles quickly mobilized and “Rubber Soul” was released just in time for Christmas.

beatles-rubber-1

Why do I love “Rubber Soul” so much?

The album cover: The photograph is so engaging – all of the guys are looking to their right, except Lennon, who’s directly looking at you. It makes me feel a bit uncomfortable but quite curious at the same time. One more thing – they didn’t put their name on the cover! Why would they? Everyone knew how the Beatles looked like. It had nothing to do with confidence or arrogance – it’s all clever marketing.

The title: African American soul musicians would often call Mick Jagger (or other white musicians), singing blues and soul music a “plastic soul”. They used that as a reference for the title. It’s just so hilarious…

The music: “Rubber Soul” was the album in which they grew up musically and lyrically. As I already mentioned, this was a transitional album – they turned their back on the simple cheery love songs and focused on delivering a complete and original piece of art. The impact Bob Dylan had on their lives shows off on this album. The change was in the air – they were clearly stimulated by his poetry. The lyrics on “Rubber Soul” are abstract, mysterious, quite ambiguous, and even a bit weird. That is exactly why I love this album so much. The Beatles took that extra step and became even better musicians and songwriters than they were. It’s so impressive to see how their artistry reached new peaks. At the same time, however, “Rubber Soul” still had a little bit of that past naiveté here and there. I guess that’s why it appealed so much to me – it is not that heavy or pretentious as the ones to come; and not as cheesy and sweet as their early stuff. Many people say that “Rubber Soul” was the pot and “Revolver” was the acid and they are absolutely right.

The songs: So many interesting things are going on in this record! Where do I even begin? “Norwegian Wood” – probably my favorite Beatles song. Highly experimental and innovative – no other rock band included an Eastern-Asian instrument in a composition before. The sitar makes the whole experience so special and atmospheric. The lyrics and Lennon’s vocals make it even more special… “I once had a girl…or should I say, she once had me…” ;
“Drive My Car” – uplifting and highly entertaining tune with memorable lyrics and compelling beats. “I told that girl I can start right away, And she said, Listen baby I got something to say. I got no car and it’s breaking my heart, But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start”.
I have a soft spot for Lennon, so “In My Life” and “Girl” are the other moments of the record that won me over. “What Goes On” is such a sweet surprise – Ringo kills it on lead vocals; it’s probably my favorite Ringo song of all time. Recently, I had the chance to listen to him perform this song live and I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it felt! “Think for Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone” with Harrison on lead vocals are superb. One more reason I really appreciate this record is because George was starting to wake up and little by little he got out of his shell and proved that Lennon and McCartney were not the only creative geniuses in the band when it comes to songwriting.

 

I have always been drawn to the magic of “Rubber Soul”. This mid-career record of the Beatles offers so many interesting concepts and ideas. I’ve always enjoyed observing and analyzing the evolving process of a band – when you understand that they are growing up and adopting new styles, new sounds, and new approaches. With “Rubber Soul”, thought the transition was quite obvious, it wasn’t that hard to swallow – Beatles didn’t sacrifice their mass appeal, despite sophisticated instrumentation, quality melodies and deep lyrics. I just love how they started searching for a new meaning in music and came up with this highly appealing record… Always (and forever) a pleasure to listen to it!


 

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

Rock & Roll Interviews Gone Wrong!

It must be so difficult to get an interview from a rockstar! Especially back in the days, when the majority of them were not even able to speak properly due to the heavy amounts of drugs consumed before that. Not to mention the whole “wild, egoistical, bad boy, do-whatever-you-want” attitude that was spreading like a disease among all the rock acts. I’ve watched plenty of interviews that went so wrong, that you can’t but ask yourself why would someone become a public figure when they can’t even sit straight for two minutes and attentively answer a few questions in respect to the fans!? Anyhow, recently I watched this brilliant compilation of rock&roll interviews that went completely rogue and decided to share it with you, guys.

In case you haven’t watched the infamous Sex Pistols interview that lasted for a few seconds or seen how stoned Ozzy and Iggy can get, now’s the chance!

 

 

 

 

[PLAYLIST] 10 Classic Rock Songs About SCHOOL

RockNrollHigh School - RamonesSince my semester starts tomorrow – 1st of September, I decided that it’s only right to prepare this playlist of 10 classic rock songs about school. I’m not sure how I feel about this new beginning, cause on top of everything it’s my final semester before graduation, but why not kick it off with a huge rock blast? To everyone who will start school or university tomorrow or any time soon (cause of course, it depends on the country), I wish a lovely new beginning and many new open doors and opportunities! Don’t forget to study hard, be responsible and dream big! Also, try to make new friends and explore new adventures! University/school times are the best ones, believe me! Cheers to the new semester and getting all the As!


 

Alice Cooper – School’s Out (1972)

Summer is definitely over and I wish it’s vacation time already! Till then, enjoy the killer riffs and energetic vibe, coming out of this 70s classic by Alice Cooper.


Van Halen – Hot for Teacher (1984)

This one comes from Van Halen’s infamous 1984 album and it tells us a story of a young man’s hots for his female teacher. Not so sure about the appropriateness of the music video, however the song rocks quite hard!


The Ramones – Rock ‘n’ Roll High School (1979)

This one has to be my favorite, not only because I adore The Ramones, but because it’s so energetic and uplifting. The lyrics are, naturally, representing the punk perspective of school – they just want to have their kicks and chicks and not taught “how to be a fool”. The movie is very cute as well, in case you haven’t watched it, you totally should.


Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (1979)

A lot of skepticism and negative representation of teachers and school institutions come from Roger Waters in this track. Teachers, leave them kids alone and let them fly! The whole desperate atmosphere is highlighted by the voices of the children themselves, who sing “We Don’t need no Education!”


Motley Crue – Smokin’ in the Boys Room (1985)

The original version of this track comes from Brownsville Station, released in 1973 but I do prefer this one. Getting caught “smokin’ in the boys room” at school would “surely be the death of us all.”


Nirvana – School (1989)

Another one of my personal favorites on this list. Quite the rocker, actually! School may not be the most pleasant place for some people who are always troubled…


The Police – Don’t Stand So Close To Me (1980)

Very suggestive song – another one of those, telling the story of a student having a crush on the teacher. You know, Sting was actually a teacher once…Maybe he’s singing from experience.


The Kinks – The Hard Way (1975)

Their entire “Schoolboys in Disgrace”, 1975 album is basically a plotline on real school experiences of Dave Davies. This song is actually written from the perspective of a teacher who says, “Boys like you were born to waste. You never listen to a word I say… No matter what I do or say, You’re much too dumb to educate…”


Sam Cooke – Wonderful World (1960)

School and romance go hand in hand…Just like Sam Cooke sings, some students may not be so good in history or geometry, but they can be pretty good boyfriends 🙂


Chuck Berry – School Days (1957)

This late 50s classic by Chuck Berry simply tells us about a school day – with all of its expectations, adventures, agonies and horrors. “Ring ring goes the bell, The cook in the lunchroom’s ready to sell, You’re lucky if you can find a seat, You’re fortunate if you have time to eat, Back in the classroom open your books, Gee but the teacher don’t know how mean she looks.”


[+] Bonus Tracks

The Replacements – F**K School (1982)

The Beach Boys – Be True to Your School (1963)

 


 

References:
Gimme An F: 20 Classic Songs About Hating School, retrieved from http://www.vh1.com/news/201135/classic-songs-about-hating-school/
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
Cheers~
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Remembering The Finest Live Performances from WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL ’69

poster woodstockThe legendary, three-day Woodstock Festival is one of those musical events which can never be forgotten and will always be referred to as the pivotal festival that simply made history. Everyone has heard of it and so many of our parents were even there to attend it! Unfortunately, my generation will never have the chance to witness such magic. I mean, legends such as Grateful Dead, The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and many more together on one stage, performing in front of over 400,000 people…imagine the scale of such event!

Woodstock festival, billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music” was scheduled from August 15 to 17, 1969, but it continued till the 18th on a dairy farm in New York state. The event gathered together hippies, flower children, rockers, rock legends and every other person who wanted to be part of history. It was declared as a free concert, as the fences were torn down and the huge flows of people were just simply crushing everything on their way. Babies were born, two people actually died, 33 people were arrested, tons of food was eaten, and tons of marijuana was smoked. This anti-war festival successfully managed to provide the idealistic harmony and quality of music the audience was hoping for. Definitely the biggest event in music!

Since we celebrated the 47th anniversary of Woodstock ’69 quite recently, I decided to gather up some live performances and remind my readers of the scale and brilliancy of the event. I hope you guys will enjoy the music and be able to feel the magic of Woodstock!


 

Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit

Santana – Soul Sacrifice

The Who – My Generation

Joe Cocker – Let’s Go Get Stoned

Jimi Jendrix – National Anthem U.S.A

Janis Joplin’s Woodstock Performance

Grateful Dead’s Woodstock Performance

Richie Havens – Freedom

Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s Woodstock Performance

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s Woodstock Performance

Ten Years After – I’m Going Home

…and many many more….

 

 

Playlist: 10 Of the Longest Classic Rock Songs

 

I was just listening to Pink Floyd’s “Shine on You Crazy Diamond” when suddenly I felt like I should browse through my music library and try to find some classic rock songs that go a little (sometimes a lot) over the average song duration. Those epic tunes have always been my favorites – there’s something so special and engaging…I mean sharing 10-20 minutes of your life with a song is indeed an engagement and this means that the song has to be more than extraordinary. I have always been fascinated by how those true rock artists manage to maintain a song for over 10 minutes – it’s quite the challenge, isn’t it?

When it comes to lengthy musical pieces, I think we can mostly find them in jazz or nowadays in electronic music. However, I argue that the rock music scene from the 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s has a lot to offer when it comes to epic long tunes. In no particular order, here are 10 examples, chosen by me, of classic rock songs that go over the average song length. I do hope you have about 2 and half hours of your life to spend with them.

Cheers


 

Rush – “2112”

The title track from Rush’s fourth studio album was an absolute ground-breaking moment for the Canadian rockers. The story is set in the future – in the year of 2112 when there’s no music. A man, however, discovers the magic of music and everything changes.


Deep Purple – “Child in Time”

“Child in Time” comes from Deep Purple’s 1970 album – “Deep Purple in Rock”. It’s a very straightforward protest against the Vietnam War. Interesting fact, the song is actually based on It’s a Beautiful Day‘s psychedelic song “Bombay Calling”. Ian Gillan once said in an interview, “There are two sides to that song – the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song ‘Bombay Calling’ by a band called It’s A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we’d play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original ‘Bombay Calling’. So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines ‘Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line.’ That’s how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that’s why it became so popular.”


The Velvet Underground – “Sister Ray”

Some late ‘60s vibes with Velvet Underground! Nothing special to say about this song – it’s typical Lou Reed from the beginning till the end of it. It may be all about drugs, violence and all of these bad things in life; however the song has definitely something else to offer as well.


Pink Floyd – “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”

In my book, the kings of maintaining both lengthy and breathtaking rock tunes have to be Pink Floyd. Throughout their career, they have a great number of tracks that go over the average song duration. However, I chose those two songs specifically because I feel like they both perfectly illustrate how powerful a lengthy song can be and how well it can play with your emotions and moods. On top of that we get brilliant instrumentals, skillful improvisations and numerous important parts and details that go one after another like waves.

Pink Floyd – “Echoes”


The Doors – “The End”

Jim Morrison wrote this song about his girlfriend, however in time, it turned into something much deeper and meaningful. “The End” is one of their most emblematic tracks, coming from their self-titled debut album. He once said, Everytime I hear that song, it means something else to me. It started out as a simple good-bye song… Probably just to a girl, but I see how it could be a goodbye to a kind of childhood. I really don’t know. I think it’s sufficiently complex and universal in its imagery that it could be almost anything you want it to be.”


Guns N’ Roses – “November Rain”

And it all comes back to this song – one of Guns N’ Roses’ greatest accomplishments of their career. “November Rain” is a beautiful power-ballad that ruled the first half of the 90s. Read more about it here: The Story of Guns N’ Roses’ “November Rain”


King Crimson – “Starless”

“Starless” has pretty much everything I love about progressive rock  – smooth intro, saxophone accompaniments, jam sessions, long improvisations and memorable drums. The tune comes from King Crimson’s seventh studio album – “Red”, released in 1974.


Led Zeppelin – “Achilles Last Stand”

Achilles Last Stand” is a very essential song for the future development of British heavy metal music. Written by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant in Page’s home in California, the tune simply changed the course of rock history. On top of that, it impresses with John Bonham’s powerful drumming and John Paul Jones‘s bass line.

Jimmy Page has often referred to “Achilles Last Stand” as his favorite Led Zeppelin song.


Yes – “The Gates of Delirium”

YES are the other absolute masters of lengthy and epic rock tunes. “The Gates of Delirium” is a 22 minute progressive saga based on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace. It starts with a vocal section and it evolves into a mythical and rather long instrumental section. By the end of the song, you finally realize that for the past 20 minutes you have experienced the whole range of feelings – from tenseness and anxiety to calmness and hope.


 

 

[Playlist] 50 Songs For When You Want to Dance and ROCK!

I have to admit – this was indeed one of the most interesting and enjoyable playlists I’ve ever made (and believe me I’ve made a lot of playlists throughout my life). It’s June, summer is right around the corner, everyone is in a good mood and I truly believe that the best way to let loose and embrace this awesome summer feeling is through music! I collected 50 songs from various genres – classic/hard/soft/pop/ rock, etc. and came up with this playlist of songs perfectly suitable for your dance + rock mood! I do hope you enjoy it! I am jumping from one era to another but that doesn’t really matter – these rock tunes are here to make us feel good and DANCE!

Listen to some of the tracks and check the playlist below the videos:

 

Playlist:

Bob Seger – Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll
AC/DC – You Shook Me All Night Long
Aerosmith – Walk This Way
Tina Turner – Steamy Windows
Billy Joel – Uptown Girl
David Bowie – Let’s Dance
David Bowie – Fame
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama
Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
INXS – Need You Tonight
Kenny Loggins – Footloose
Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone
Steve Perry ft.  Kenny Loggins  – Don’t Fight It
Van Halen – Jump
Chubby Checker – Twist
Bryan Adams – She’s Only Happy When She’s Dancing
Def Leppard – Make Love Like a Man
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar on Me
Queen – Another One Bites The Dust
Queen – I Want to Break Free
Roxette – The Look
Van Halen – Summer Nights
Van Halen – Jump
Van Halen – Dance The Night Away
Sammy Hagar – I Can’t Drive 55
Genesis – Invisible Touch
Genesis – I Can’t Dance
ELO – Don’t Bring Me Down
Eric Clapton – Cocaine
Kiss – Rock And Roll All Nite
Hall & Oates – Maneater
Hall & Oates – Out of Touch
Poison – Your Mama Don’t Dance
The Beatles – Twist and Shout
Bon Jovi – Bed Medicine
Bon Jovi – Livin’ On A Prayer
Guns N’ Roses – Paradise City
George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You
Joan Jett – I Love Rock N’ Roll
Queen – We Will Rock You
ZZ TOP – Gimme All Your Lovin’
Bryan Adams – Summer of ‘69
Motley Crue – Girls, Girls, Girls
Duran Duran – Skin Trade

Foreigner – Reaction To Action
Foreigner – Hot Blooded
Warrant – Cherry Pie
Def Leppard – Rock Rock Till You Drop
Def Leppard – She’s Too Tough
Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode


 

[Rock History] Today in 1967, The Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

beatles s

The 8th studio album of The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released today in 1967! This is one of those records that don’t really need an introduction, accompanied by a bunch of words expressing how great and impressive it is. What do we need to understand and remember, though, is that this record is one of the most essential and unsurpassed albums ever made and its influence, contributions and success will forever remain unmatched. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is simply the holy grail of rock music; an absolute breakthrough masterpiece that features adventurous elements of rock&roll, classical music, psychedelia and art rock, all racing together on superior studio technology. The Beatles were fearless; boundaries were demolished and the ultimate achievement was reached. It’s been almost 50 years since its release but this record still remains the greatest musical statement of all time!

Let’s look through some facts about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and listen to some music!

beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is #1 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band spent 27 weeks at the top of the album charts in the UK and 15 weeks at #1 on the USA charts as well. It’s also the third best-selling album in the UK with over 5.1 million copies being sold.
  • Sgt. Pepper band is the name of the alter ego group they chose to present themselves as. This alter ego band gave them freedom and flexibility to experiment and explore new musical directions.
  • The Beatles spent over 129 days and 700 hours on the LP which was 30 times more than they did on their debut album “Please Please Me”.
  • George Martin – the producer of the record explained that Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was an attempt to match Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. “Without Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper never would have happened … Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds,” Martin stated.
  • The album cover art cost more than £3000 which was quite expensive at that time. It was designed by British pop artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth. The collage includes 57 photos and 9 waxworks of famous people, such as actors, scientists and writers, including Bob Dylan, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Stan Laurel, Oscar Wilde, Lewis Caroll and many more. Lennon wanted to include Jesus and Hitler, however his ideas were rejected.
  • Time magazine described the record as “a historic departure in the progress of music”.
  • The lyrics were printed in full on the back cover of the record. This was done for the first time on a rock LP.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band back cover

  • Paul sings five lead vocals; John sings three; John and Paul share the lead on two; Ringo sings lead on one song and George, Paul and John share the lead on one song as well.
  • ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ was thought to be a reference to LSD. However, John stated that it was from a drawing made by his 4-year old son Julian.
  • All the songs were written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except “Within You Without You”, which was written by George Harrison
  • The total length of the album is 39:52 as it includes 13 songs.
  • Paul wrote and sang lead on the title track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. Three days after the record came out, the Jimi Hendrix Experience opened a show with their interpretation of the track.
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a record with songs designed in a way so that they couldn’t be performed live. The Beatles were embracing the studio experience and adopted numerous experimental approaches that simply cannot be adjusted for a live performance.

beatles sgt


References:
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sgt._Pepper’s_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band
“50 Sgt. Pepper Facts”, retrieved from http://www.udiscovermusic.com/the-beatles-sgt-pepper
I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~