Two for Tuesday: The Beatles

Back when I did this post, I listed the ten best-selling singles by The Beatles in Great Britain, and included the positions of those songs among their ten best-selling songs in the US. Two songs were on the US list that weren’t on the British list, the ones in today’s Two for Tuesday.

“Get Back” was #3 in the US; it was one of the songs from their last movie, Let It Be. It features the incomparable Billy Preston on the keyboards. Billy had become a “fifth Beatle” by this time, and had the band continued, no doubt he would have joined them. Of course, if that happened, it’s likely that we would never have had “Outa Space.”

“Yesterday” was #5 on the list. It’s possibly the most-covered song in history, with over 2,200 recordings of it. Performed by Paul McCartney on the acoustic guitar with a string quartet, it was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Help!.

Your Two for Tuesday. Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

The Thursday Ten: Billboard’s Top Singles, 1970-1979

I went into the 1970’s as a grammar school kid and went out as a married man, so you might say that it was an important decade for me. This week’s Thursday Ten looks at Billboard‘s Number One Single for each year of the decade.

1970 – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel

Maybe we were a little slower than most, but we discovered slow dancing in the eighth grade, and this was one of the best slow-dance numbers. (The other one was the flip side, “The Only Living Boy In New York.”)

1971 – “Joy To The World” – Three Dog Night

Just could not figure this one out. Three Dog Night was one of my favorite bands; I had their “Captured Live at the Forum” album, and really liked “Mama Told Me Not To Come” and “Out In The Country.” This was a departure from all of that, and not a good one, in my opinion. (Your mileage may vary.) In the Eighties, I saw these guys perform at a corporate function. Kind of sad, really.

1972 – “American Pie” – Don McLean

This wasn’t a bad song; it just got played and analyzed to death. There were two Top 40 AM radio stations in Chicago when I was in high school, and it was not uncommon to switch between both stations whenever the one you had been listening to was playing a song you didn’t like, doing the news, was in the midst of a block of commercials, or running their Weekly Test of the Emergency Broadcast System. Unfortunately, if you didn’t want to hear this, there was a better than average chance that the other station would be playing it as well. I was riding around once, and the station I had on went into their EBS test, so I switched over to the other. It was playing this song. I swear, I switched back to the test.

1973 – “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round The Old Oak Tree” – Tony Orlando and Dawn

Not a bad song. It became popular again when the hostages that were taken in Iran in 1978 were finally released.

1974 – “The Way We Were” – Barbra Streisand

I will grant you this, that Barbra Streisand has a beautiful voice, and has been successful for a long time. That said, this is the depressing theme song to a depressing movie.

1975 – “Love Will Keep Us Together” – Captain & Tennille

The chipper and cheerful Toni Tennille and her husband, the quiet Daryl Dragon (a/k/a The Captain), gained success with this song, written by Neil Sedaka. They had a few more hits and currently can be seen in Lake Tahoe.

1976 – “Disco Lady” – Johnnie Taylor

This was the first cerified platinum single by the RIAA. Johnnie Taylor, “The Philosopher of Soul,” got his start singing with Sam Cooke, and became one of Stax Records’ headline artists. When Stax folded in the Seventies, he switched over to Columbia, for whom this song was recorded.

1977 – “You Light Up My Life” – Debby Boone

The theme from another depressing movie, despite starring the lovely Didi Conn. Debby Boone had a big hit with this and received a Grammy for Best New Artist. Her interpretation of this as an inspirational song, rather than a love song, added a whole new angle to it.

1978 – “Night Fever” – Bee Gees

One of the many songs done by the Bee Gees for the movie Saturday Night Fever. The Gibb boys had been around since the Fifties, although their first album released internationally came out in 1967. I always associated them with songs like “Lonely Days,” “New York Mining Disaster 1941,” and “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart,” so this was a surprise, but the disco beats and their harmonies went well together.

1979 – “My Sharona” – The Knack

Disco had, in the minds of many, worn out its welcome, and by 1979 the battle cry “DISCO SUCKS!” was heard throughout the land. One of the more outrageous events was Disco Demolition, a promotion at Comiskey Park in Chicago dreamed up by Mike Veeck, son of White Sox owner Bill Veeck, and Steve Dahl, a radio personality who had lost his job when the station he worked for went disco. It didn’t go well, to say the least. (Here’s some film from that evening.) Anyway, New Wave was becoming more popular, as evidenced by “My Sharona” by The Knack, and before long, disco was but a fond memory.

Anyway, there’s your Thursday Ten.

#ROW80 Round 3: Last Wednesday in July!

Here we are at the end of July, and so far, it’s been a good round.

Writing:

– I started the rewrite of my Fast Draft novel last Saturday, and so far I have 3,566 words. Admittedly, not much, but I’ve spent a lot of time doing what I should have done upfront.

– Next week is the start of the August Camp NaNoWriMo. Still working on an idea for that. I will have one by the end of the week.

– I’ve kept up with my Tuesday and Thursday blogging. Which reminds me, I need to work on tomorrow’s.

Reading:

– Continuing with my promise to actually read the books that I was assigned in high school, I’m halfway through J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye. I’m remembering why I got about halfway through it and stopped. Nevertheless, I will fight through to the end.

– Fellow Fast Drafter Gene Lempp mentioned last week that he has been reading Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Writers II by Alexandra Sokoloff. I thought the title sounded familiar, and went prowling through my Kindle. I found my copy among the books I swore that I would get to eventually. I’m getting to it now, and it is worth the read.

And that’s all from my end. Hope your round is going well, too.

Two for Tuesday: Paul Jackson Jr.

This man can flat out play the guitar. Enough said.

Paul Jackson Jr. has recorded seven albums on his own, is one of the musicians on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, and is a busy session guitarist in L. A. The first tune, “Preview of Coming Attractions”, was the one that made me say, “I gotta check this guy out!” It’s from his 1993 album A River in the Desert, available, as is everything else, on Amazon. The second is a live version of “It’s a Shame,” written by Stevie Wonder and originally done by The Spinners. The quality is not all that good (I think it was recorded on a cellphone camera), but you can see just how much fun he had doing it. His solo, particularly the section from 2:15 to about 3:00, is one of my all-time favorites; he goes from single notes to octaves to full chords effortlessly. You can find the studio version on 2003’s Still Small Voice.

The Thursday ten: Ten top-selling Beatles singles in Great Britain

So, I wanted to do this as the Top Ten Beatles Singles WorldWide, but couldn’t locate the list. I did, however, find this list that gave the top tens in the US and Great Britain. So, I give you the British Top Ten (in sales) Beatles Singles, along with their US ranks.

#10. Hello Goodbye (#4 US)

This was the video that I remember for this song; I saw it on The Ed Sullivan Show. There were a couple of additional videos filmed. It was released as part of the Magical Mystery Tour album in the US, but only as a single in the UK.

#9. From Me To You (not on the US list)

This was released by Vee-Jay Records in the US. They were a small record label based in Gary, Indiana, just over the Illinois-Indiana border from Chicago. They had obtained the rights to some of the early Beatles records, specifically the album Please Please Me, which they named Introducing… The Beatles. Vee-Jay didn’t do a very good job of promoting the band, unfortunately, which is probably why this didn’t appear in the US Top Ten.

#8. A Hard Day’s Night (not on the US list)

The theme song from the movie of the same name. I was too young to have seen the movie when it first came out, and when it did make it to TV a few years later, I had to go to a school function with Mom, and missed it. This is one of those movies that gets funnier every time I see it, because I notice different things each time. That initial chord is a F add 9, in case you were wondering.

#7. Hey Jude (#1 US)

About three minutes too long, as far as I’m concerned. I find it hard to listen to more than the first verse of this as a result. We used to use this record to tune our guitars; the first two notes are middle C and the A below it, if you want to try it at home.

#6. Help! (#9 US)

One weekend, Mary and I rented Help!, The Shoes of the Fisherman, and a season’s worth of Rumpole of the Bailey, and had a Leo McKern Film Festival.

#5. Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out (#7 US)

A “double A-sided” single, where both sides were considered the featured song. Drove disc jockeys nuts, because they didn’t know which song to promote. They also did this with “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever,” and radio stations ran a poll to decide which was the A side. “Day Tripper” had that great guitar lick, and “We Can Work It Out” featured the harmonium and Paul’s lovely vocal.

#4. I Feel Fine (#8 US)

Another great guitar lick, not to mention the feedback at the beginning. Story goes that John leaned his guitar, a Gibson J-160E (an acoustic with a pickup), up against his amplifier, causing the feedback. As with so many other of these discoveries, John liked it so much that he asked George Martin if they could keep it.

#3. Can’t Buy Me Love (#4 US)

A twelve-bar blues with a chorus, some screaming in the middle, and a short, to-the-point solo by George: classic Beatles. I love this scene from A Hard Day’s Night.

#2. I Want To Hold Your Hand (#2 US)

This was The Beatles’ first #1 single in the US, and their best-selling single worldwide.

#1. She Loves You (#10 US)

The Beatles’ first million seller. Replaced “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as the #1 single in the US. In the UK, this was #1 until replaced by “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

And that’s your Thursday Ten.