Tag Archives: the beatles

Music on Mondays (10-16-2017)—My “Lost on a desert island” music from 1965

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My Lost On A Desert Island music collection would have 18 songs from 1965 on it, eight of them by The Beatles.

My wise old grandmother adopted me in November 1965, and I arrived at her home on December 18, 1965. My mom’s oldest brother and his family drove me from Brigham City, Utah, where I lived, to Kingsville, Texas—1,524 miles—where my wise old grandmother lived. Four years after my dad’s suicide and the two sides of the family still were at war with each other, so even though my uncle was driving to Kingsville anyway to see his dad, in retrospect I wonder what was going through his mind as he delivered his sister’s child to her dead husband’s mother….

Nonetheless, I have lots of pleasant memories of the music from 1965. Following are all 18. Hope you find one to enjoy or one that brings back some pleasant memories for you this Monday, October 16. Note that there are not any videos on Youtube of original music by The Beatles. They all have been taken down, so even though I might have found a couple for my blog post here, by the time you try to listen to them, they might be gone. You can find various versions for karaoke, live versions, cover versions, etc., if you care to go look for them. I find it odd that every music publishing entity in the world is now providing music videos directly to YouTube under the moniker “Topic” (such as Herman’s Hermits – Topic)…. except Capitol, EMI, Apple Corps, or anyone else holding copyrights to music by The Beatles.

“Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat” by Herman’s Hermits

“Down In The Boondocks” by Billie Joe Royal
I didn’t learn until a couple of decades later that
where my wise old grandmother lived in Kingsville
was considered the “wrong side of the tracks.”

“Eve Of Destrution” by Barry McGuire

“Get Off Of My Cloud” by The Rolling Stones
Not until 1978 when I started collecting all the #1 albums
and #1 singles from 1955, the start of the rock ‘n’ roll era,
did I give The Rolling Stones a shot. I was a Beatles fan.

“Girl” by The Beatles

“Help” by The Beatles
This was the #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100
while I was at the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital
in Ogden, Utah, in the “Troubled Youth” ward.
This is the song that inspired me to reach out
to my wise old grandmother for help.

“I Got You Babe” by Sonny & Cher

“I’m Henry VIII, I Am” by Herman’s Hermits

“In My Life” by The Beatles
I sang this song in Student Government on Valentine’s Day in 1971
to my girlfriend at the time, Lynda Young.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” by The Turtles

“Michelle” by The Beatles
NO VIDEO FOUND

“Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter” by Herman’s Hermits

“Nowhere Man” by The Beatles
It wasn’t until April 1993 when I “came out” after moving
from College Station, Texas, to San Diego, California,
that I didn’t feel like a Nowhere Man anymore.

“Run For Your Life” by The Beatles
NO VIDEO FOUND

“This Diamond Ring” by Gary Lewis & The Playboys

“Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles

“You Were On My Mind” by We Five

“You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles
This was my favorite song from the movie and album.
In retrospect, I wonder if I knew I was gay
long before I accepted myself being gay.
NO VIDEO FOUND

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Music on Mondays (10-9-17)—Cathy’s Clown is Downtown at the House of the Rising Sun

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My favorite songs list is coming along nicely. I think this list also might tell me what my favorite albums are. For example, four songs off of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel made the last. However, eight songs off of “Let It Be” by The Beatles made the list. I like both albums but after listening to them one right after the other, yeah, I like “Let It Be” more. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that I already know that The Beatles are my top group of all time….

One of my commenters last week said that he detected a theme, something about death and war. Hmmmm. It was the 1950s with an undeclared war called the “Korean Conflict,” as opposed to World War I, World War II, Civil War, Revolutionary War, Vietnam War, War of 1812. But out of the five songs last week, only two had anything to do with war. Nonetheless, considering that the United States and its immediate predecessor, thirteen colonies, have been in existence for 241 years and at war for 224 of those 241 years, it shouldn’t be any surprise that there are some good war songs and anti-war songs.

Today’s post will be the last time that I group several years together, 1960-1964. My music collecting started in 1965, and my favorites list definitely shows that. So without further ado, let’s start 1960-1964 with, uh, two war songs:

“Ballad of the Alamo” by Marty Robbins, 1960—My youngest uncle who introduced me to Gogi Grant on last week’s list also introduced me to Marty Robbins via his “More Greatest Hits” album of 1961. I can tell you that Marty definitely is my favorite country singer.

“Sink The Bismarck” by Johnny Horton, 1960—Johnny made last week’s list with “The Battle Of New Orleans.” I might have to see if there is something in Johnny’s background that made him sing about specific incidents in war or if he just had a general interest like me.

“Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers, 1960—The Everly Brothers will have quite a few songs on my favorites list. This probably is my favorite of theirs. I have been singing this since I first heard it many decades ago.

“Downtown” by Petula Clark, 1964—We didn’t have country music in northern Utah where I lived from 1961-1965 so I didn’t hear this song, or anything by Petula, until I went to live with my wise old grandmother in deep South Texas in December 1965. Another one from my youngest uncle.

“House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals, 1964—I first heard this song on KLOL FM out of Corpus Christ, Texas, in March 1973. Some friends and I were driving from Kingsville to Alice to buy booze for our senior prom. The drinking age was 18 but Kingsville and Kleberg Country were dry, so it was a 20-mile drive to get real booze. I was 18, so I had the privilege of buying a lot of booze for friends. The rights of passage and the price of admission to the In Crowd.

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Music on Monday (1-23-2017)—Love me do

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When Jim and I downsized back in 2007, we had a few billion books. Now we only have a few million. Thus, I don’t buy books anymore. If I want to read something, I go to the library. That gets me out from behind the computer and out into the world, even though the world is somewhat frightening right now and probably will be for the next four years.

All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles ReleaseThe other day I was at my favorite crowded Costco. They often have several huge tables full of books, all of them at discounted prices. I usually ignore them because I’m not going to buy any of them. On this day, though, going straight through the book section was faster to get through the crowd. A big red book caught my attention: “All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release.” Uh-oh. A quick 10-second flip through a few pages and I invited it to come home with me.

The Beatles first single to be released was “Love Me Do.” There actually are two versions of “Love Me Do” out there, a single version and an album version, uncommon then but done all the time in today’s world.

The single version was recorded on September 4, 1962, and the album version was recorded on September 11, 1962. The single version has no tambourine whereas the album version does.

Ringo Starr played drums on September 4, but after listening to the tape of the recording, George Martin decided he didn’t like the drums and wanted to re-record the song. He scheduled the re-recording session for September 11 and hired a session musician, Andy White, to play drums. Ringo thus was delegated to playing tambourine, which had not been in the song to begin with. Many musicians have appeared on Beatles’ records—Billy Preston and Eric Clapton come immediately to mind—but Andy White is the only musician to actually replace one of the Beatles.

The single, released on October 5, 1962, but inadvertently the version featuring Ringo Starr on drums was used. The error was corrected when the album was released, and Andy White is on drums. The only way to distinguish the two songs is to listen for the tambourine!

“Love Me Do” was released on October 5, 1962 in Great Britain and peaked at #17 on the British singles chart on December 27, 1962. The single was released in the United States on April 27, 1964, and peaked at #1 on the American charts on May 30, 1964.

YouTube doesn’t allow Beatles recordings on its site, so I have uploaded mp3 copies to my web site and included links here. If you don’t trust links, hover your mouse cursor over the link and look in the lower left corner (usually) to see the URL of the link, a great way to avoid malware, viruses, and phishing schemes. If you trust the link, click on it. Alternately you can copy the link’s URL and past it into your browser.

Love Me Do
Single version with Ringo Starr on drums and no tambourine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Love Me Do
Album version with Andy White on drums and Ringo playing tambourine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (10-3-2016)—”Daddy’s Car”

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Although I am officially a Baby Boomer, I identify much more with the post-World War II television generation. Not sure if there is such a gen, but if there isn’t, there should be.

My favorites were TV programs that my wise old grandmother deemed “silly.” In other words, things that “aren’t true and never will be.”

She was watching “The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet.”

I was watching “The Twilight Zone.”

Her, “Mayberry R.F.D.”

Me, “The Outer Limits.”

Her, “Leave It To Beaver.”

Me, “It’s About Time.”

I have always been fascinated by robots, artificial intelligence, the future, the unknown. Even my favorite cartoon was about the future—“The Jetsons,” a 1962 cartoon depicting a family of the future. What would my wise old grandmother say about all the silly Jetsons’ stuff that has come true? Flying cars, jet packs, robotic help, holograms, 3-D printed food, drones, smart shoes, smart watches, even little Elroy taking a trip to the moon with his Cub Scout pack.

Technology here, today.

It got more exciting for me: “Star Trek,”  “Lost In Space,” “The Time Tunnel.”

My fascination with all things silly and not possible shot up last week when it was announced that an artificial intelligence (AI) program had written a Beatles song. Hmmmm. Here it is:

“Daddy’s Car”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

In all fairness, only the music was composed by the AI program. French composer Benoît Carré arranged and produced the song, and wrote the lyrics.

What do I think? Well, I can see “Daddy’s Car” being on “The Beatles Anthology” CDs right alongside “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.”

“Free As A Bird”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Real Love”

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As Sir Paul McCartney said about “The Anthology” CDs, loosely quoted: “There’s a reason we didn’t release this stuff. But if people want to hear it…..” None of the three songs are classic Beatles, of course. Two are early outtakes by John Lennon, post-Beatles breakup. The other one is interesting, but AI still has a way to go. I’m thinking AI might get there, though, perhaps even in my lifetime. After all, Deep Blue plays a better game of chess then do I….

Here I have to give a shout out to a business partner friend,
Joey Thaidigsman, who is a freshman computer science major
at the University of California-Berkeley, wanting to go into
artificial intelligence.

So…..

My considered opinion after being a Beatles fan for 51 years? I’m going with “Daddy’s Car.”

And while this post is about AI and The Beatles, I end with my favorite song about AI and the future:

“Yours Truly, 2095” by Electric Light Orchestra, 1981

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (11-30-15)—Smart man….

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

As I listen to music in my collection, certain songs remind me of certain people from my past. I thought it would be interesting to feature some of those songs for today’s Music on Mondays.

“Help” by The Beatles, released in 1965, reminds me of Barbara.

I met Barbara at the Thomas D. Dee Memorial Hospital in late 1965 when I had been placed in their “troubled youth” program. Barbara was from Bakersfield, California, also a troubled youth. She was near 18 whereas I was 10. She introduced me to The Beatles, and “Help” was my favorite song. Still is near the top of my list of favorite Beatles songs.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Something’s Wrong With Me” by Austin Roberts was a hit in October 1972. Reminds me of Mark.

Mark was the first guy that I had a crush on. I as 17 and supposed to be interested in girls. Wasn’t working. Something was wrong with me….

Mark worked at the Exxon station across from the railroad yards, and since my granddad worked on the railroad, I had no problem hanging around the railroad to watch Mark across the street. I went to Mark’s wedding in 1984 or so…. a bittersweet event.

It took until 1993 before I realized that absolutely nothing was wrong with me. I simply had different interests….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“Pieces Of April” by Three Dog Night was a big hit in November 1972.

“Pieces Of April” reminds me of Sarita, one of my closest female friends from high school. She lived not far from me whereas Mark lived on the other side of town. One day Sarita walked to my house and the two of us walked to Mark’s house. As we were walking down one of the city’s major thoroughfares, I was singing songs. Sarita asked if I knew “Pieces Of April.” I did (of course; I knew all the hits!), so I sang it for her.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

“In My Life” by The Beatles reminds me of Lynda.

Lynda was the second girl I dated, and I sang “In My Life” to her in high school on Valentine’s Day 1972. In December 1973 I asked her to marry me. Her dad, a Southern Baptist preacher, said no. Smart man………

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (11-2-15)—Don’t go walkin’ in the woods alone

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Music always has been a significant part of my life since my mom played the piano and organ, her parents played the violin and flute, and I played the piano and violin, as well as sang. Although I have an appreciation for classical music, I prefer full orchestra over solos, duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and octets.

When I was introduced to The Beatles in late 1965, I fell in love with pop music. After I graduated from Texas A&M University, I set out to own all of the singles and albums that had made it to #1 on the Billboard charts during the rock ‘n’ roll era, generally said to have started in 1955, the same year I was born. That led me to Casey Kasem (1932-2014) and his American Top 40 weekly broadcast, as well as books by Joel Whitburn documenting the Billboard charts.

Music trivia became a part of my life, so much so that I won several weekly happy hour music trivia contests in Houston and College Station during the ’80s.

Two areas of music trivia I always have found interesting: “one-hit wonders” and “most #2 hits without having a #1 hit.”

Creedence Clearwater Revival held (and probably still holds) the record for most #2 hits without having a #1 hit with five #2’s: Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising, Green River, Travelin’ Band, and Lookin’ Out My Back Door. They also had a #3, #4, #6, and #8. I have a complete Creedence Clearwater Revival discography; I like their music since it’s easy to sing along.

Another group on the “most #2 hits without having a #1 hit” list is Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs, with two #2 hits: Wooly Bully and Lil’ Red Riding Hood. I always liked Lil’ Red Riding Hood and just discovered that it was not in my digital music collection. It is now.

This song, while building on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” is more about the man with concealed sexual intentions rather than the animal, although some might say that the man with ulterior sexual intentions is an animal….

The singer remarks on the “big eyes” and “full lips” that Red Riding Hood has. An added element is that he says to the song’s audience that he is disguised in a “sheep suit” until he can demonstrate his good intentions. Note that instead of a sheep’s baah the song uses a wolf call in the form of a howl.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Music on Mondays (10-5-15)—Decades of music

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My musical life seems to run by decades, give or take a year or two:

Decade 1—1955-1965: My mom played the piano and organ, and her parents played the flute and violin. My musical life began with me playing the piano and violin.

Here is a video of a young lady playing a Fritz Kreisler (1876-1962) variation of “Tambourin” by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). I include this piece because I won a solo medal for my performance of it in sixth grade Texas violin competition.

Decade 2—1965-1973: I discovered The Beatles, The Who, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Beach Boys. These were my junior high and high school years, so I had only my allowance with which to buy music. Since there was so much music I wanted, I had to resort to stealing music. Remember that I have freely admitted that I was a juvenile delinquent!

This probably is my most important music decade because of the formative years. I cannot pick a favorite song from this decade although The Beatles definitely are my favorite group. So here’s one of my favorite Beatles songs which I sang to my girlfriend, Lynda, at school on Valentine’s Day in 1973:

Decade 3—1973-1983: My first decade after high school graduation, and I was flush with money, almost all of it being spent on music and music equipment. My college years were spent at Texas A&M University in College Station, and the years after that were spent in Houston. By the time I left Houston in 1983, I had over 5,000 vinyl albums and the best stereo system money could buy.

Following is “Photograph” by Ringo Starr, another song that I sang to the Lynda, this time at Thanksgiving 1973. The Beatles as solo artists were important to me during this decade.

Decade 4—1983-1993: This decade was spent back in College Station and the music collection continued to grow. By this time, though, CDs were in the marketplace, and CD players were in the home and in the car. I did a lot of driving during this decade, so I forsook the home music system in order to have a booming car music system. The vinyl album collection stagnated at about 5,500 but the CD collection grew by leaps and bounds.

The Police probably take top honors for favorite song from this decade with “Every Breath You Take.”

Decade 5—1993-2003: This is my lost music decade. My life pretty much was in limbo and without any direction or will to live, I didn’t see a need for acquiring more music. When I left College Station in 1993 with the intent on suicide in Canada, I left behind a vast vinyl and CD collection, taking only 100 CDs with me to listen to in the car as I drove to Canada. Only about 50 CDs were added to the 100 CDs during this time.

I have been adding music to this decade for the past couple of years so I’m not completely familiar with all it has to offer. Smash Mouth is one of the groups from this decade that I recently discovered. Here is their song, “Walking On The Sun.”

Decade 6—2003-2013: My life took on a new direction and, with that new direction, a new interest in music. Vinyl and CDs were losing favor with the public in preference for digital downloads, which made it very easy to sit at home and buy music. During this time I ripped all the CDs and sold them, so my music now is all digital.

I discovered that Sir Paul McCartney’s son, James, had grown up and was doing a little music here and there. Here is his song, “Angel”:

Decade 7—2013-present: My music collection is divided into classical and non-classical. I bought over 20 hours of non-classical music this weekend so that collection currently stands at 1,707 hours and 48 minutes of music and takes me about 170 days (almost 6 months at 10 hours a day) to listen to it all. I do listen to it all, in chronological order.

I have been following Black Sabbath ever since the beginning back in 1970. They released “13,” their nineteenth studio album, in 2013, their first ever to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Considering that back in the ’70s they were considered anti-religious, anti-Christ, anti-everything, I thought it interesting that one of their singles from “13” is titled “God Is Dead?”. Note the question mark at the end of the title. Here it is:

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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