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A BEATLES Birthday For Dana Bonn

August 6th is celebrated throughout the known universe as the birthday of Dana Bonn. Artist! Photographer! Adventurer! Diner aficionado! And, of course, the intrepid co-host of The Best Three Hours Of Radio On The Whole Friggin’ Planet, This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl. Since Dana’s one of the biggest Beatles fans I know, we’ll observe his annual flipping of the calendar (and flipping off of the calendar) by turning today’s way fab Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do) over to John, Paul, George, and Richard. Happy Birthday to The Curmudgeonly One!

The Beatles are my favorite band, too. My interest is mainly in the pre-Sgt. Pepper stuff, but I also love the group’s late ’60s recordings. Still, the records The Beatles did from, say, late ’63 through ’66 remain my favorite musical body of work by anyone at any time. I don’t have much to add to what I’ve already written about The Beatles on this blog (particularly here and here, plus that time Dana and I drove up to Rama, Ontario for Ringo’s press conference in 2003). So we’ll just spend the rest of today’s blog with my random thoughts and memories of the act you’ve known for all these years.

FIRST BEATLES RECORD I EVER HEARD:

“I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The “Duh!” is strongly implied.

MY FIRST BEATLES CD:
Past Masters, Volume 2
MY FIRST BEATLES LP (AND SECOND, AND THIRD….):
Oooh–tough one. Growing up, the family album collection included Beatles ’65Beatles VIRevolver, and the United Artists soundtrack for A Hard Day’s Night; possession of all of those LPs reverted to whichever sibling owned ’em to begin with. In high school, I borrowed my brother Rob’s copy of Rubber Soul and my cousin Maryann’s copies of Meet The BeatlesThe Beatles’ Second Album, Something NewThe Beatles’ Story, and the UK import Beatles For Sale; I also borrowed Rob’s Jefferson AirplaneBig Brother & the Holding CompanyMamas & PapasLovin’ Spoonful, and Bob Dylan albums, and Maryann’s Dave Clark FiveSearchers, and Beach Boys records.

The first Beatles LP I could call my own was almost certainly a flea market purchase, and it was probably Rubber Soul. Other flea market and second-hand Beatles scores were my own copies of Meet The BeatlesThe Beatles’ Second AlbumSomething NewBeatles ’65, and Revolver. I won a copy of Help! from WOLF-AM for being the first caller to correctly identify George Harrison’s eye color as brown (a fact I knew by quickly going to my room, looking at my Beatles posters, and then racing to the telephone).

I received Introducing The BeatlesLet It BeThe Beatles Featuring Tony SheridanSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and 1967-1970 as Christmas or birthday gifts. I think I bought Yesterday” And Today and Abbey Road new (probably at Gerber Music), and I know I bought The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl at Gerber. I received a copy of The White Album as a high school graduation gift from my friends Faith BerkheimerLinda McLaren, and Joan Davies. A little later on, I purchased a Japanese import copy of Beatles VI from Tommy Allen of The Flashcubes, also at Gerber, and my last-ever Beatles LP purchase to date was a used copy of Rarities at Main Street Records in Brockport. My lovely girlfriend Brenda owned a copy of 1962-1966, so I added that in the matrimonial merger.

I have never owned vinyl copies of A Hard Day’s NightThe Beatles’ StoryMagical Mystery TourYellow Submarine, or The Beatles Again (aka Hey Jude), nor have I ever owned any of the other Beatles LP compilations (Rock And Roll Music or Love Songs).

OTHER FORMATS?
Most of my Beatles 45s were hand-me-downs; only one I specifically remember buying was a British reissue of “Help!”/”I’m Down” in 1977, because I thought “I’m Down” was The Greatest Record Ever Made.  I also purchased a British reissue of The Beatles’ Hits EP. Never had a Beatles 8-track; the only 8-tracks I ever owned were by Paul Revere & the Raiders and The Bay City Rollers (the latter a gift from Birthday Boy Bonn). My Beatles cassette collection consisted of Beatles For Sale and Help! My first Beatles VHS was the Ready, Steady, Go tape, and first Beatles DVD was A Hard Day’s Night. I do not yet own any Beatles Blu-ray discs.

MY FIRST BEATLES BOOTLEG:
The Deccagone Sessions. My second was called Youngblood, and I later got a copy of Sessions, and The Beatles’ Christmas Album.

MY FIRST SOLO BEATLES ALBUM:
Either McCartney or Plastic Ono Band, purchased used at Record Revolution in Cleveland Heights. I may have bought them both at the same time.

WHERE I SAW THE BEATLES’ FILMS:

The only one I saw in its original release was A Hard Day’s Night at The North Drive-In in Cicero; I saw it again on TV in 1968, on election night (on a double bill with Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella). I didn’t see the others until the ’70s: Help! on Syracuse Channel 3’s afternoon movie matinee, Yellow Submarine on CBS, and Magical Mystery Tour and Let It Be on a double bill at The Hollywood Theater in Mattydale. I also saw The Beatles’ 1966 Tokyo concert in the Spring of ’77 during a program called Rock Of The ’60s at Syracuse University. Rock Of The ’60s was an evening of ’60s rock ‘n’ roll clips–the only way I was gonna see these things in the pre-YouTube days–and it opened with a Dave Clark Five newsreel; from there, it careened its way through a selection of TV clips by The KinksThe WhoThe Rolling StonesThe TurtlesThe Lovin’ SpoonfulThe YardbirdsThe ByrdsBuffalo Springfield, and The Hollies, culminating in The Beatles’ “Revolution” clip and the Tokyo show. My friend Lissa DeAngelo accompanied me to Rock Of The ’60s, and she made it very clear that it was not a date.

MY FAVORITE BEATLES SONG:  

There ain’t no such. Candidates could include “Rain,””Please Please Me,””Help!,””A Hard Day’s Night,””Thank You, Girl,””No Reply,” and several others.

MY FAVORITE POST-1966 BEATLES SONG: 

“The Ballad Of John And Yoko”

BEATLES SONG I’M MOST SICK OF HEARING:  

“All You Need Is Love”

A SONG THE BEATLES COVERED THAT’S BETTER THAN THE ORIGINAL:
The Beatles’ versions of Chuck Berry‘s”Rock And Roll Music,” Buddy Holly‘s “Words Of Love,” and The Marvellettes‘ “Please Mr. Postman” are transcendent and definitive; “Twist And Shout” is a draw between The Beatles and The Isley Brothers, but the lads’ able covers of Little Richard tunes can’t quite match the fervor of the Reverend Richard Penniman.

A COVER OF A BEATLES SONG THAT SURPASSES THE ORIGINAL:
I often (if not quite always) prefer Wilson Pickett‘s “Hey Jude” to the familiar Beatles version. That’s probably about it. Otis Redding did a terrific cover of “Day Tripper,” but I still like The Beatles’ record better.  Would The Rolling Stones‘ “I Wanna Be Your Man” count? It’s a Lennon-McCartney song, but the Stones recorded it before The Beatles did, and the Stones’ version just kicks.

FAVORITE SONG THE BEATLES GAVE AWAY:
“I’ll Be On My Way.” I used to sing it to my daughter when she was a baby.

AWWWWWW…!
Get a hold of yourself, man.

MY FAVORITE SOLO BEATLES TRACKS:  

“Instant Karma!,””Maybe I’m Amazed,””What Is Life,””It Don’t Come Easy.” Oh, and “I’ll Try Anyway” by The Pete Best Combo.

20 FAVORITE BEATLES TRACKS NOT ISSUED AS A U.S. SINGLE:

“The Night Before”
“She Said She Said”
“Another Girl”
“No Reply”
“Every Little Thing”
“Words Of Love”
“Hey Bulldog”
“What You’re Doing”
“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
“Getting Better”
“If I Needed Someone”
“Tomorrow Never Knows”
“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”
“You’re Gonna Lose That Girl”
“For No One”
“Norwegian Wood”
“It Won’t Be Long”
“Cry Baby Cry”
“I’ve Just Seen A Face”
“Tell Me What You See”

MY 21st FAVORITE BEATLES TRACK NOT ISSUED AS A U.S. SINGLE:
“And Your Bird Can Sing”

OOPS….
Aw, man! I forgot “Things We Said Today” and “In My Life,” dammit!

FAVORITE BEATLES DOUBLE-A:
“We Can Work It Out”/”Day Tripper”  But it’s a close one.

PROOF THAT A PARTIAL COLLECTION OF THE BEATLES’ B-SIDES WOULD MAKE AN ALBUM BETTER THAN MOST ARTISTS’ GREATEST-HITS SETS:
We’ll stick with pre-Sgt. Pepper Capitol sides, just for continuity:

“I Saw Her Standing There”
“You Can’t Do That”
“I Should Have Known Better”
“I’m Happy Just To Dance With You”
“If I Fell”
“Slow Down”
“She’s A Woman”
“I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party”
“Yes It Is”
“I’m Down”
“Act Naturally”
“Day Tripper”
“Rain”

MY OPINION OF “YESTERDAY”:  

An underrated track, its popularity and ubiquity notwithstanding. The arrangement resists any temptation to go overboard, and remains elegant and understated. The lyrics are heartbreaking, devastating (and a sad partner to “For No One”). If you’ve ever sat, beer in hand, and listened to this song while thinking about the shadow hanging over you as love leaves you behind, then you appreciate how “Yesterday” can mirror the depth of your own sorrow and regret.  Or, um…so I’ve heard.  

FAVORITE DRUMMER IN THE BEATLES:  

Ringo. I don’t mean that as a slap against Pete Best, just a repudiation of the oft-cited [fake] quote from John Lennon, with Lennon supposedly saying that not only wasn’t Ringo the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles. Worth repeating here for extry-emphasis: JOHN LENNON NEVER SAID THAT! Ringo remains one of the most underrated performers in rock ‘n’ roll history.

FAVORITE BEATLES IMITATION: 
“Lies” by The Knickerbockers; honorable mentions to The Rutles and the transcendent pop of The Spongetones.

FAVORITE EXAMPLE OF THE BEATLES IMITATING:

I insist that “Tell Me Why” was a conscious effort by Lennon and McCartney to write a song in the Tottenham Sound of then-rivals The Dave Clark Five. “Tell Me Why” sounds more like a DC5 song than it sounds like anything else The Beatles ever did.

FAVORITE WRITING ABOUT THE BEATLES:  
Paperback WriterMark Shipper‘s wiseass fictional history of The Beatles, is hilarious, and it’s my favorite rock ‘n’ roll novel.  The introduction to The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz is one of the greatest, most exciting pieces of non-fiction rock writing I’ve ever seen.

Did I watch and enjoy Ron Howard’s Beatles’ documentary Eight Days A Week?

Yeah.

Was I blown away by Peter Jackson’s relevatory and awe-inspiring three-part masterpiece Get Back?

Yeah.

Do I still regard The Beatles as the Toppermost Of The Poppermost?

Yeah!

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: This Ain’t The Summer Of Love

An infinite number of tracks can each be THE greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT: This Ain’t The Summer Of Love

Written by Albert Bouchard, Murray Krugman, and Don Waller

Produced by Sandy Pearlman, Murray Krugman, and David Lucas

From the album Agents Of Fortune, Columbia Recoirds, 1976

I’ve written many times about my friend Tom, who killed himself in 1979. The other day, the random thought occurred to me that, if he had lived, Tom and I probably would have parted company somewhere along the line. It was an unsettling, sobering thought. As much as we had been friends, our paths were already starting to diverge when he carried out that final act. He is frozen at a point in time when we were friends. It’s been more than forty years, and the memory still aches. Losing a friend is difficult. Losing a friend to suicide leaves a wound that never quite goes away. That mental scar inevitably dominates my recollection of a former friend. 

There are specific songs that always remind me of Tom, songs I first heard when Tom played them. Both David Bowie‘s “All The Madmen” and the Runaways‘ cover of the Velvet Underground‘s “Rock And Roll” are superglued to Tom’s memory. And that is likewise true of “This Ain’t The Summer Of Love,” a track from Blue Öyster Cult‘s 1976 album Agents Of Fortune. I only knew the band from radio play of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” but Tom had the LP, and played it for me. Tom was particularly fond of “This Ain’t The Summer Of Love,” and his enthusiasm was infectious. 

BÖC’s best-known tracks are “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and (later on) “Burnin’ For You,” with maybe an honorable mention for “Godzilla.” My favorite remains “This Ain’t The Summer Of Love,” a lean and efficient LP track from Agents Of Fortune(the album that gave us “Don’t Fear The Reaper”). I learned of the song through my doomed high school pal Tom, prompting me to purchase my own battered, used copy of the album in time for college. During my freshman year, Side One of Agents Of Fortune was as much a go-to slab of vinyl as my Sex Pistols and Monkees records, and “This Ain’t The Summer Of Love” in particular fit well alongside my steady diet of RamonesTelevisionJam, and Dave Clark Five.
For me, 1979 was the summer of love. I had met Brenda the preceding fall, and we were getting increasingly serious about committing our hearts to each other. She was with me the night I saw Tom for the last time, and she was with me the next morning when a phone call delivered the news of his death. She tried to comfort as best she could. It was a summer of love, no matter what a song said. It was also a summer marked by the start of a lingering sadness that’s not ever going to go away. Friendships end. That’s the nature of all things in this physical world. 

We make our way as best we can. Some are unable to make their way. The day a good friend of mine killed himself in 1979 was one of the worst days of my life, until an even worse day took its place decades later. The emotional scar never heals. I look back, and wish I could have helped.

If you find yourself in something similar to my old friend’s shoes, help is available. If you know someone else going through whatever it was my friend went through, please try to be a guide toward that helping hand, that helping voice, the bedrock of support your friend needs. Indeed, the support we all need. Your friend is not alone. You are not alone. 

We are not alone.

So this ain’t the summer of love. Who says it can’t be? Don’t fear the reaper. And don’t be afraid to fight back.

If you like what you see here on Boppin’ (Like The Hip Folks Do), please consider supporting this blog by becoming a patron on Patreon, or by visiting CC’s Tip Jar. Additional products and projects are listed here.

This Is Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio with Dana & Carl airs Sunday nights from 9 to Midnight Eastern, on the air in Syracuse at SPARK! WSPJ 103.3 and 93.7 FM, and on the web at http://sparksyracuse.org/ You can read about our history here.

I’m on Twitter @CafarelliCarl

THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE: I Only Want To Be With You

Here’s another chapter from my eventual book The Greatest Record Ever Made! (Volume 1)An infinite number of rockin’ pop records can be the greatest record ever made, as long as they take turns. Today, this is THE GREATEST RECORD EVER MADE!

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD: I Only Want To Be With You

Written by Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde

Produced by Johnny Franz

Single, Philips Records [U.K.] single, 1963


There is a persistent temptation (and corresponding peril) in attempting to apply contemporary context to past events. It’s revisionist history, a sparkly thing that’s difficult to resist, even as we just chat about the pop songs that enrich our lives. Please forgive me for the premeditated sin I’m about to commit. Because as I look back, I can’t help but wonder what singing a song called “I Only Want To Be With You” may have meant to a closeted bisexual woman named Dusty Springfield.
It’s plausible to counter that she didn’t even think about the connection between the lyrics of her first big hit record and the love she had to hide away. We look back on the ’60s as a time of cultural revolution, an expansion of civil rights, social conscience, a slow dawning of recognition of the disenfranchised at society’s margins. Gay rights weren’t really seen as part of that at the time. Maybe it started to change, incrementally, with the Stonewall riots in 1969, which served as the flashpoint for the gay rights movement as the ’70s beckoned. But in 1963? The closet. The closet was where one stayed if one was gay in ’63.

British singer Dusty Springfield (born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien) was a member of a folk trio called The Springfields. Presaging The Ramones, the members of The Springfields (which included Dusty’s brother Tom) took the group’s name as a surname; combining this with a nickname she’d gained as a soccer-loving tomboy in her youth, Mary O’Brien became Dusty Springfield. Dusty left The Springfields in 1963, and began her solo career with a single: “I Only Want To Be With You.”I don’t know what it is that makes me love you soI only know I never want to let you go’Cause you started somethingCan’t you see?That ever since we met you’ve had a hold on meIt happens to be trueI only want to be with you
A decade later, writer Greg Shaw would note that Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You” explodes with as much pure pop noise as any Dave Clark Five record. The horns propel, the strings soar, the girl-group spirit celebrates, the music leans forward the way a rockin’ pop song outta. Miss Dusty Springfield presides over all of it, dancing by herself at the microphone, singing sweetly of her love, her happiness, her contented fulfillment in the arms of her chosen one. Her only wish, only ambition, is to be with the object of her desire. It can–we hope–really be as simple as that.

Falling in love is an experience. In our pop music, we prefer it to be a giddy, blissful experience, free of the heartache and doubt that may often threaten us in our real-world affairs. Pop songs do recognize that love’s path may lead through temptation, betrayal, misery, to tests of faith and failures in spite of good initial intent, a path that might reach redemption or fall prey to the hazards that cause us to crash, broken and beaten, before we get to that magic place we so wanted to claim as home. Pop songs can reflect the complications and compromises we may face day to day, every day.
But both pop music and love itself can offer the promise of something sweeter to believe in. Joni Mitchell described the love’s illusions she recalled as The dizzy dancing way you feelNeil Diamond (via Micky Dolenz) saw a face that made him a believer. The Temptations had sunshine on a cloudy day, and so many others have used music to express sacred hopes for new love. Wouldn’t it be nice to be together? I’ve just seen a face, I can’t forget the time or place. No matter what you are, I will always be with you. Hey hey, you you, I wanna be your boyfriend.
Nothing has ever embodied that hope and celebration with greater authority than Dusty Springfield and “I Only Want To Be With You.” The song is love, new love, everlasting love. It radiates with the sheer delight of falling in love. Even listening to it again now, you still believe Dusty as she sings about the only thing she really wants.

Some may regard “I Only Want To Be With You” as a relatively minor part of Dusty Springfield’s career. It was her first single and her first hit (# 4 in the UK, # 12 in the States), but “Wishin’ And Hopin'” and “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” were bigger hits in America. “Son Of A Preacher Man” didn’t match the chart performance of any of those, but it’s likely considered the definitive Dusty single, from the definitive Dusty LP Dusty In MemphisThe Bay City Rollers‘ 1976 cover of “I Only Want To Be With You” precisely matched the UK and US chart peaks of Dusty’s original version, and some will speak on behalf of another subsequent cover by The Tourists (with Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, who remained together as Eurythmics). I’m fond of the Rollers and Tourists records, too; however, neither of ’em is The Greatest Record Ever Made.
No. Today that honor belongs to a former tomboy named Mary, who remade herself with glamour and taste into a pop icon called Dusty. We don’t know who, if anyone, she had in mind as she sang “I Only Want To Be With You.” Dusty’s life was not as happy as the infectious exuberance of her song. She did not remain closeted, though she bristled at being labeled gay, claiming that she liked sex with men and women equally. But she drank too much. She suffered from emotional problems. She hurt herself. She was (unofficially) married briefly, to a woman, in a relationship marred by physical conflict and injuries. Cancer took her in 1999, a mere two weeks before she was inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
We honor Dusty Springfield by remembering the wonder of her music: the pain of her heartbreak songs, the soul of her performances, the visceral thrill of her artistry. Most of all, I remember the transcendent joy of “I Only Want To Be With You,” a triumphant dedication of love and devotion to the only one with whom she wished to be. Whomever that happened to be.

“I Only Want To Be With You” written by Mike Hawker and Ivor Raymonde, Unichappell Music, Inc.
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Pop Co-Op / Factory Settings

Pop Co-Op

Factory Settings (Futureman)

http://www.popco-opband.com

From the band’s website; “POP CO-OP is a group of four geographically dispersed musicians who focus on making the music they want to hear. They formed in 2016 as a result of Spongetones bassist Steve Stoeckel inviting friends on social media to collaborate in songwriting: Stoeckel threw out titles and music, asked for lyric snippets, assembled the snippets from contributors into full song lyrics, and recorded the song. Along the way, Stoeckel enlisted the guitar talents of Joel Tinnel, who introduced him to Bruce Gordon (aka Mr. Encrypto). Gordon already had several CD’s to his credit and subsequently introduced Stacy Carson to the group.

The group had so much fun creating a first song together that they decided to form a band and release an entire album. The effort was truly cooperative: each member wrote, recorded, engineered, produced, and mixed these 12 songs in every combination. “POP CO-OP” was the obvious band name.”

If this had been the only positive result of the creation of the internet, it would have been worth it. These four acquaintances mesh perfectly together, in a musical melange that is equal parts friendship, fun, craftsmanship, and reverence for the very best of what is often humbly referred to as pop music.

“No Man’s Land,” which heralds these eleven splendid tracks, begins with a stomping Dave Clark Five beat and the best melody this side of Andy Partridge. Switching gears, “Keen To Be Near You” is a soft, Jane Austin-inspired ballad with lovely touches of mandolin and a vocal by Stoeckel that will melt even the hardest of hearts.

I think my favorite of the set, however, is the rollicking “Won’t Be Me,” which sounds like Billy Gibbons being backed by Chuck Berry and Rockpile. I really can’t get enough of this one, in particular.

Also, when you’re finished devouring “Factory Settings,” you’ll want  to pick up the quartet’s 2017 debut, “Four State Solution.” It’s a seriously inspired start to what will undoubtedly be an illustrious discography.

D.P.

http://popco-opband.com/

https://popco-opband.bandcamp.com/album/factory-settings

https://popco-opband.bandcamp.com/album/four-state-solution