Reflections on the Wobbly Threads Holding My Brain Together

AKA a post about whatever is going through my head at the time… 

I recently took a “Name that 1960s band” quiz and was told that I was “smarter than 99% of your peers”. That may seem flattering, but it’s grossly inaccurate. I have just spent an inordinate amount of time listening to this decade of music from a very young age and can (sadly) recognize many of the ugly band members. Don’t get offended, ya’ll. You have to remember, these guys (and some gals) were MUSICIANS, not movie stars. What I do believe would actually qualify me as smarter than my peers would be knowing that Zal Yanovsky (guitarist of the Lovin’ Spoonful and a great example of a not-exactly-attractive musician) was married to Jackie Burroughs (aka Hetty King on Avonlea) for a period in the 1960s. Like, whoa. I’m still reeling from this discovery I unearthed earlier this year.

For some reason, I recently thought of this photo of Keith Moon:

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Keith Moon and Snoopy, what more could you possibly want in life?

(Well, a little chocolate never hurts. At least that’s what these sweat pants with an elastic waist band tell me.)

But it made me think of how the photo was taken by Linda Eastman, which then made me think of the last photo taken of Keith Moon:

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You can’t see it clearly in this photo, but Moon was sporting a “Wings” t-shirt that night as well. And all of this made me think of how, as a kid, I frequently checked out Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now from the local library in its massive hardback form, and next to it on the shelf was a book whose spine read Moon. I would devour that book in a few years during a Who obsession and enjoy it so much I had to have a copy. (It really is a very good biography.) And now, on one of my bookshelves, it rests next to my very own compact paperback of Many Years from Now.

Anyway, reflecting on Keith Moon made me want to watch The Who’s video for “Happy Jack,” which has nothing to do with the song really. It’s really about how a robbery turns into a massive cake party. Because cake, obviously, trumps anything of value in that safe.

Which got me thinking about how “promo clips” (predecessor of music videos, if you like) were so different back in the day. Take, for instance, this promo clip for Small Faces’ “Get Yourself Together”:

Basic plot: Three members of Small Faces, who were pretty much the most adorable band ever (excepting The Beatles, of course), dress up as coppers and playfully mug their lead singer. Nothing to do with the song, really. Just an excuse to be adorable. Sad to think that Kenney Jones is the only surviving member of this forgotten gem of a group.

Yeah, Kenney Jones, who, of course, briefly replaced Keith Moon in The Who after his death.

And you know who’s a really big Small Faces fan?

Uhh, dude on the right who stole Steve Marriott’s haircut?

(But then buzzed it off and went through a series of questionable haircuts, only to carefully and painfully re-grow the same haircut some twenty years later and now smartly refuses to let it go…Does it worry you how much I know about Paul Weller’s hairstyles? It shouldn’t. It’s perfectly normal. Ask any medical professional.)

Yep, Paul Weller. The Jam actually did a decent cover of “Get Yourself Together”, but some of Weller’s other covers of Small Faces tunes ain’t so great. (I find his cover of “I’m Only Dreaming” unforgivable, really.)

But you wanna know what’s great “when you’re knocked on your back an’ your life’s a flop”? Besides watching Style Council videos that feature Paul Weller’s great bad dance moves and haircuts, of course. I can see how the man has stayed so thin over the years — he must burn like 1000 calories just singing. Dude packs so much into one line of lyric — all those little dance moves just earn him an extra handful of marshmallows in his hot cocoa in the morning. Because he seems like the kind of guy to drink hot cocoa in the morning. Don’t believe me? Try singing one of his songs sometime. Do it in a sleep mask when you think your husband’s busy gaming, and wow, way to steal my life. Don’t believe me about Paul Weller being the kind of guy to drink hot cocoa in the morning? Sorry, but do you actually think you know more about Paul Weller than ME? You just might, but I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it.

(Could someone please ask Paul Weller if he actually does drink/like hot cocoa + marshmallows? Just to be safe? THANKS! THANKS SO MUCH!!!)

Anyway, back to what’s great when you’re down on the bottom and there’s nothing else except to turn the radio dial to the “REAL (and I do mean REAL) Oldies” station and the announcer says, “Want Rick Nelson? We got ‘im!” Uhhh, you betcha, you little mind reader you. IT’S LATE, BOOM!

(Good luck getting that song out of your head.)

Which brings me to one of those things that keeps me up at night: Which pop song is more un-realistic: Ricky Nelson being “Stood Up”  (that was great, Rick!) or Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson fighting over the same girl (Paul – giggle – I think I told you, I’m a lover, not a fighter!!!)? Thinking about it makes my brain hurt and keeps me up at night. It’s such a tough call. Share your thoughts, please.

I’m serious.

I know, I know, I’m a lot like George Harrison, who pondered the BIG (we’re talking Tom Hanks BIG here) life questions in his music (e.g., “What Is Life?”).

Now, once you’ve answered my last question, prepare yourself to answer: girl, who ya gonna choose–Macca or Michael?!

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Nah, just kidding. You don’t have to answer. I just wanted an excuse to post this picture. Paul is, like, so cool. Don’t fight me on this. Unless you want a broken nose.

In case you missed it, there was an article in last week’s Parade about “Haunted Hollywood.” The article claims that Ozzie and Harriet Nelson’s home (featured on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet) is haunted by the wandering spirit of Ozzie Nelson. A “visitor” claimed that she woke up to find Ozzie smooching her in the middle of the night.  Uhhh…what the heck?! You should go all out in your fantasies, lady. I mean, Ozzie is cool and all, but why wouldn’t you say RICKY was kissing you? That would actually attract tourism and all. Whatever. In the words of Jim Morrison (who’s haunting something or other as well, according to the article–when he’s not busy possessing Jason Patric, of course): PEOPLE. ARE. STRANGE.

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Just gonna leave that there and not delve into a whole Beverly Hills, 90210 tangent. You’re welcome. (For the GIF, I mean. This whole blog post is a series of tangents and one more wouldn’t kill it or bring it back to life, depending on whose side you’re on.)

We finally delved into Castle Rock around here, and while I found the mysterious premise intriguing enough, I didn’t really jump out of bed (quite literally) until I heard the familiar voice of David Selby in the fourth episode.

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I’m sure caring, conscientious relatives had told me he would be making an appearance, but I am getting senile and just forgot. Little Critter shrug. Anyway, it was good to see ol’ Mr. Selby still kicking around, and it made me want to marathon some Dark Shadows. It is October, after all. And then I remembered I just recently watched pretty much the entire series, so it may be too soon, unless I want to watch storylines I purposefully skipped (cough, Leviathans, cough). I don’t know — do you think that’s healthy? You can be honest.

I did leave the house recently and saw the newest interpretation of A Star is Born. I found it entertaining, captivating, and moving. I’ve only seen it once, so I’m not properly equipped to meticulously critique and analyze it, but I will say (because this is MY BLOG and you can’t stop me!!!!): I loved the natural chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. I loved how fully each actor engrossed themselves in their respective roles. I loved how moving and believable this love story was–again, in a completely natural, non-forced way. I love how the film emphasized true artistry and how machines of the industry can strive to peel that away and suffocate it. I love how Cooper’s Jackson Maine makes a point of “having something to say” in his music. And how that comes full circle with Ally (Lady Gaga) in the end. I guess the short of it is I loved it more than any movie I’ve seen in the movie theater in quite a while. Maybe you will, too. Unless you’re overly attached to seeing James Mason in swim trunks (tragic) or Barbra Streisand wearing clothes FROM HER CLOSET–in which case, fair enough. Horses for courses as they say.

Which brings me to the final thread holding my brain together…

Okay, so The Beatles recently announced the release of the 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles aka THE WHITE ALBUM. There’s a 3CD version, which features the original album (in a new stereo mix–yeah, if you want Mono, you have to have the Mono Box Set…like, don’t even get me started) and a disc of the Esher demos (Esher is a suburb of London where George Harrison lived; the boys gathered there to record demos for what would become The White Album), a 2LP edition, a 4LP deluxe edition, and a super deluxe 7-disc version, which includes the original album, the Esher demos, 3 discs of studio outtakes, an audio Blu-Ray, and a 168-page hardback book.

Yeah, guess which version I want?

I might as well just give Paul and Ringo full access to my bank account. It never ends with this band.

I mean, I still cherish my well-loved, slightly yellowed 30th anniversary edition of The White Album. That’s how old I am. And I know I shouldn’t have to buy this album again, but…I love this band. The sound of my beating heart.

But I will say, new and improved isn’t always guaranteed to be better, even with this band. I strongly dislike the new mixes of “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” that were featured on Beatles 1+. When I hear them, I do a very good impression of the Wicked Witch of the West at the end of The Wizard of Oz. They sound horrible.

I also was really disappointed with how the video for “Real Love” was changed for the DVD release of The Beatles Anthology (and Beatles 1+ collection). I wish I still had my VHS tape of The Beatles Anthology, taped off TV. It had the countdown to the NEW Beatles song and featured Paul, George, and Ringo driving up to the studio. They all get out of George’s sweet ride, and Paul’s all, “Nice motor. Nice motor.” I have lamented getting rid of that tape for YEARS. But, due to the wonders of the Internet, my prayers have been answered. (Don’t judge my prayers. It was a real need.) Someone uploaded the clip to YouTube:

THANK YOU!!!!!!! May God bless and keep you always, may your wishes all come true, may you always do for others and let others do for you…

Now, if anyone also has the ORIGINAL “Real Love” video as aired on ABC in 1996, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH ME!! It would extend my life by years.

But back to horses for courses and how that relates to the White Album and why that is the final thread holding my brain together.

Well, let’s just look at the following clip from The Beatles Anthology:

This clip is a perfect illustration of what makes The Beatles Anthology so great, and why I love it so much and have completely committed it to memory (watching it like 900 times will do that to ya). It features differing memories/opinions of The Beatles’ story, and each narrative is a perfect reflection of that personality:

  • George Martin feels it would have been a stronger single album rather than a disjointed, hodge-podge of a double album.
  • Stylish Ringo, sporting a Raiders ball cap and a plaid jacket, agrees: there should have been two albums, The White and The Whiter Album. Oh, Ringo, you sardonic Beatle you.
  • George, chilling in a Kazookie (some call it “Hawaiian”) shirt and shades on one of the million acres of Friar Park, brings us back to reality: that band had a lot of ego and how do you tell Paul McCartney that “Honey Pie” isn’t that great? Eat cake, Macca!!!
  • Back to Professor George Martin, studying a track list of the album. It could have been a “fantastically good album” if it had been condensed a bit more. Some people believe The White Album is The Beatles’ greatest work. “It’s not my view,” Martin concludes. “But um, horses for courses.” LOVE THIS GUY.
  • Uh oh, I think Paul heard my comment about “Honey Pie.” “I’m not a great one for that–maybe it was too many of that…” (I guess that’s why we have all agreed to just not talk about your hideous mullet/mustache combination of the 1970s.) Paul gets REAL sassy and metaphorically snaps his fingers as he declares: “It was great, it sold, it’s The Beatles’ bloody White Album, shut up!” BURN BABY BURN!!!!
  • What this clip does not show–but what I SWEAR is in the full version (which I can’t verify at the moment because laptops no longer have disc drives, and I can’t put the DVD in the DVD player because the DVD player is in my torn up, non-functional living room at the moment…TMI? SORRY!!) is a shot of George Martin silently swiveling in his Professor chair after Macca’s sassy burn. Classic.

Did I mention I love this band? And “Honey Pie” isn’t THAT bad. “Wild Honey Pie”, on the other hand…travesty. That should have been elbowed, burned, exorcised, the whole nine yards.

Alright, that’s enough. IT’S LATE, after all. This has been a great examination of how my brain works. Don’t worry, I can still hear a couple of marbles swishing around up there, so I am a-okay.

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