the beatles

Recent content on Elsewhere by Graham Reid tagged as the beatles.

Detroit Cobras: Tied and True (Shock)

Detroit Cobras: Tied and True (Shock)

This rough'n'raw outfit from the Motor City have perfected the art of lo-fi covers of Motown r'n'b and old rock'n'roll hits, and strip them right back to the elements which I suspect are in this order; a good time, leopard skin pants, high heels and getting people up dancing. In one sense there isn't anything to get too excited about --...

BIG STAR: The Great Lost American Pop Band - found!

BIG STAR: The Great Lost American Pop Band - found!

The reputation and influence of some artists far outstrips their sales figures. Dylan – even at his various peaks – was hardly shipping out albums by the crate load and Van Morrison’s seminal/essential/classic (pick your own adjective) Astral Weeks clocked up sales of only a quarter of a million copies in the States. The...

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY

IT WAS 40 YEARS AGO TODAY

In November 68 the Beatles released what became known as The White Album, a diffuse and diverse double-vinyl which in places sounded like the work of three separate songwriters who has seconded various other band members. Their producer George Martin argued for a tight single album, and many others have suggested since it might have been...

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

THE CHANGING CULTURE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC: Real world murder in the house

When the recording of Robert Moran’s new opera was released in '94 there was an almost predictable ripple of controversy in the more staid sections of the classical world. And not because this dark, disconcerting piece offered no conventional narrative structure, that one of the performers was proto-punk Iggy Pop (who spoke his part...

Oasis: Dig Out Your Soul (Sony BMG)

Oasis: Dig Out Your Soul (Sony BMG)

Well, no one - least of all the man himself - ever said Noel Gallagher was a wizz with a lyric, but this rowdy and sometimes thrillingly psychedelic album hits some new lows when it comes to raiding his beloved Beatles or just going for the bleedin' obvious. Among the laugh-out-loud moments here are references to  "revolution in her...

KARL WALLINGER OF WORLD PARTY INTERVIEWED (1993): Couldn't care less, couldn't care more

KARL WALLINGER OF WORLD PARTY INTERVIEWED (1993): Couldn't care less, couldn't care more

For a few smoke-filled seconds Karl Wallinger is difficult to see in this small airless room three floors up in suburban London, W10. Then through the haze of his cigarette smoke he emerges like some satiated Cheshire cat. Grinning. This is the day Wallinger has set aside to talk some about the new World Party album Bang!, and as chief Party...

World Party: Goodbye Jumbo (1990)

World Party: Goodbye Jumbo (1990)

By any measure, 1990 was a pretty good year in rock and pop: Sinead O'Connor announced herself with the single Nothing Compares 2 U and the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got; George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 delivered timeless music; and things toughened up in Seattle with Sub Pop signing Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone,...

JOHN LENNON, THE LIFE by PHILIP NORMAN (2008): Just gimme some truth

JOHN LENNON, THE LIFE by PHILIP NORMAN (2008): Just gimme some truth

John Lennon -- who would have been 68, had he lived, at the time of this pubication -- did not have an unexamined life. In countless hours of drugs, meditation and therapy he analysed himself. Through many thousands of interviews -- some brutally honest, others self-mythologising -- he gave others material to scrutinise his life in intimate...

DAMON ALBARN OF BLUR INTERVIEWED; BRITPOP v USA (1993): England Made Me

DAMON ALBARN OF BLUR INTERVIEWED; BRITPOP v USA (1993): England Made Me

Somehow it seemed inevitable that an English musician would talk about clothes. These people work in a world where a photo shoot can be as important as the album of the moment. And right now with the 70s revival, bell-bottoms, chokers and an Afro are being analysed as “cultural signifiers.” Every music has its own pair of trousers....

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

THE MOVE: ALWAYS AND FOREVER; BELATEDLY (2015): Classic pop, great rock then forgot

Anyone dumb enough to rely on an encyclopedia of rock or -- worse -- that self-described disgrace which is "Classic Hits" radio, would be forgiven for not knowing that the Move ever existed. Those DJs at "classic rock" certainly would have no clue . . . but we expect them to be clueless, I suppose. Shame on...

The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Shock)

The Fireman: Electric Arguments (Shock)

Paul McCartney -- who is half of The Fireman with producer/remixer Youth -- has always adopted a curious but probably sensible dichotomy when it comes to music outside of his pop-rock releases. The full title of his classical album of 1993 was Paul McCartney's Liverpool Oratorio, and his small classical composition (played by pianist Anya...

Paul McCartney: Memory Almost Full (Universal)

Paul McCartney: Memory Almost Full (Universal)

From the title to the reflective nature of many lyrics this -- McCartney’s 21st post-Beatles release, not counting live albums, classical digressions, compilations, The Fireman project etc -- could be read as his public swansong. He considers his life on the energetic That Was Me; in an aching falsetto You Tell Me he wonders about...

PIANIST JAY McSHANN: From Charlie Parker to Keith Richards . . .

PIANIST JAY McSHANN: From Charlie Parker to Keith Richards . . .

About 20 years ago I interviewed the legendary Kansas City pianist, Jay McShann, in an Auckland bar. He’d flown in late the previous afternoon, had a “talk-rehearsal” with the local rhythm section, and that night played two exceptional sets of good-humoured Kansas City boogie and blues, sometimes sounding like he was coming at...

Love: Forever Changes (1967)

Love: Forever Changes (1967)

When the British rock magazine Mojo published a special supplement on psychedelic rock back in February 2005, among the albums noted were all the usual suspects: Electric Ladyland by Jimi Hendrix took out the top spot and further down were Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn, the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s and albums by the...

Various: Motown 50 (Universal)

Various: Motown 50 (Universal)

It would be very easy to acclaim this -- 50 of Motown's greatest hits over three discs to celebrate the classic soul label's 50th anniversary. Wow, what's not to like, huh? But then you listen to it: the copy that has arrived for Elsewhere consideration (and presumably the one in New Zealand stores) isn't the UK edition but something else....

BUDDY HOLLY REMEMBERED 50 YEARS ON: His life, his wife, his legacy

BUDDY HOLLY REMEMBERED 50 YEARS ON: His life, his wife, his legacy

It was 50 years ago, on February 3 1959, that the tail-lights of the red four-seater Beechcraft Bonanza faded into gusty winds over the airport at Mason City in Iowa. Within minutes the single-engine plane had plummeted into the snow-covered cornfields of the thinly-populated countryside. And so it was that America woke up on February 4...

MARY WILSON OF THE SUPREMES INTERVIEWED (2009): The Dreamgirl goes on

MARY WILSON OF THE SUPREMES INTERVIEWED (2009): The Dreamgirl goes on

There are many things that stars of stage and screen these days seem very happy to talk about: their former or current addictions, the assault case, the booze-fuelled nights, that bitch/bastard of an ex, their fall from grace and so on. Then there is the taboo area: money. About 15 minutes in to a wide-ranging conversation with a founding...

Giacomo Bondi: A Lounged Homage to the Beatles (Leader)

Giacomo Bondi: A Lounged Homage to the Beatles (Leader)

As someone who has albums of dogs barking out a Hard Days Night and Looney Tunes characters singing Beatles' songs -- as well as a tribute to the Rutles (the Beatles parody band) -- it was inevitable I would pick up this "lounge" version of Beatles songs in Buenos Aires. Giacomo Bondi and the Apple Pies who present this are from...

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

NEIL FINN INTERVIEWED (2001): Man alone

Neil Finn gives the impression he's happier than he has ever been. This year he's been around the country playing solo shows in small venues with contributions by ring-in local musicians, billing them as the Band of Strangers. Soon he starts a five-night stand at the St James in Auckland with a guest list that includes Eddie Vedder from...

SMOKEY ROBINSON: The man and the Miracle worker

SMOKEY ROBINSON: The man and the Miracle worker

It was one of those fortunate circumstances that Motown Records founder Berry Gordy from Detroit met his label’s star (and later his producer and boardroom exec) Smokey Robinson -- who had been around the Detroit scene in high school groups for years -- when both of them happened to be in New York. The ambitious Gordy, who’d...

THE TEMPTATIONS: Creating Heaven for Motown right here on Earth

THE TEMPTATIONS: Creating Heaven for Motown right here on Earth

The ever-changing line-up of the legendary Motown soul group the Temptations (only two original members of the '61 founding group by the mid-Nineties when the five-disc retrospective Emperors of Soul was released) made their career a little difficult to follow. But they were one of the cornerstone acts on Motown. Even their most ardent...

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

ACCORDING TO THE ROLLING STONES edited by DORA LOEWENSTEIN AND PHILIP DODD (2003): Voices off . . .

The Rolling Stones have had quite a marketing profile in their 40th-anniversary year: the reissue of all their early albums through to the mid 70s; the 40 Licks double-disc hit-stacked compilation; the 40 Licks global jaunt (billed as their "farewell tour" in some circles) which has been more musically and financially successful than...

ROLLING WITH THE STONES by BILL WYMAN: Every picture tells a story

ROLLING WITH THE STONES by BILL WYMAN: Every picture tells a story

There's a widespread belief - peculiarly pervasive among rock writers, oddly enough - that Bill Wyman's Stone Alone autobiography of the Rolling Stones was boring, as if this was a surprise. Wyman, the bassist who quit in late '91, was always the odd man out. Seven years older than Mick Jagger and born with the superbly Dickensian...

NEIL YOUNG ARCHIVES VOL 1 (1963-1972) REVIEWED: Here we are in the years . . .

NEIL YOUNG ARCHIVES VOL 1 (1963-1972) REVIEWED: Here we are in the years . . .

There is a difference between something being “much anticipated” and it being “long awaited”. Neil Young’s box set Archives Vol 1 (1962-73) is certainly much anticipated . . . But long awaited? I think most people gave up waiting many years ago: Young announced the series back in the mid Eighties. In...

The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)

The Beatles: Rubber Soul (1965)

While there are any number of Beatle albums which are essential, there is a case to be made that Rubber Soul -- which marked their transition from an increasingly banal and almost irrelevant pop band into a group which became adult, confident and inventive -- is currently the most ignored in their catalogue. But before making the case for...

The Jayhawks: Anthology; Music from the North Country (American)

The Jayhawks: Anthology; Music from the North Country (American)

This influential alt.country/indie-rock band from Minneapolis has a long and slightly convoluted history: Mark Olson quit in '95 after a decade, but has latterly rejoined co-founder Gary Louris who had carried the band name into their slightly-delic pop-rock albums Sound of Lies and Smile, and the country-rock default position on Rainy...

THE BEATLES' ABBEY ROAD IN 2009: A classic from the cover on in

THE BEATLES' ABBEY ROAD IN 2009: A classic from the cover on in

Four decades ago the Beatles released Abbey Road, the album that marked the end of their career even though the inferior Let It Be would appear later, a sad coda to decade which they defined. Producer George Martin loved Abbey Road and considered it “Sgt Pepper, Mark II . . . it was innovatory but in a controlled way, unlike The...

THE BEATLES REMASTERED, 2009 (EMI): Here, there and everywhere

THE BEATLES REMASTERED, 2009 (EMI): Here, there and everywhere

The story behind the extensive and long overdue remastering of the most important music catalogue in pop has been well canvassed. Indeed, I have written this, a Listener article, Getting Better based on my experience of listening through to a large sampling of tracks while in Abbey Road in June. What that article doesn't address is the...

Arthur Alexander: The Ultimate Arthur Alexander (1993 compilation)

Arthur Alexander: The Ultimate Arthur Alexander (1993 compilation)

You only need look at a partial list of those who covered the songs of Arthur Alexander (1940-1993) to get a measure of the man's gifts: the young Beatles (John Lennon a big fan who sang Soldier of Love and Anna); the Rolling Stones and the late Willy De Ville (You Better Move On); Ray Columbus (Where Have You Been retitled as Til We Kissed); Ry...

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

McCartney, Michael Jackson and me: Oh, get a room!

Mostly when I travel I don’t much care about the room I stay in other than hoping for a decent bed and a functioning shower. If you are doing your travel right, you never spend any time in the room anyway. But in Liverpool I set some kind of world record for transience. I’d barely been in the room a minute when the phone...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER; PART 1, 1970-80: Success in the Seventies

Paul McCartney once commented that his solo career since the Beatles -- now stretching to more than four decades -- was largely undiscovered territory. That’s true. But can anyone name anything from his ‘79 album Back to the Egg? And more to the point, why would they want to? But this is also the man -- once known as...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 2, 1980-90: Adrift in the Eighties

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 2, 1980-90: Adrift in the Eighties

Paul McCartney closed the Seventies much as he had started it: with the low-key self-titled album McCartney II which deliberately tried to downplay expectation and evoke the charm of his debut solo album McCartney in 1970. Quite where he might have gone after that was an open book, but the decade had been one of diminishing musical returns...

THE BEATLES AFTER THE REMASTERS (2009): And in the end . . .

THE BEATLES AFTER THE REMASTERS (2009): And in the end . . .

So are the remastered Beatle albums released on 09/09/09 ("number nine, number nine, number") the full-stop on a career which ended almost four decades ago? Maybe not. While at Abbey Road in June listening to the playback of some of these tracks (about which I wrote this), it seemed natural to ask engineers Allan Rouse and...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 3, 1990-2000: Classical, pop and what else ya got?

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 3, 1990-2000: Classical, pop and what else ya got?

As Paul McCartney closed his Eighties on a real high -- a massively successful world tour which won critical accolades and pulled in huge gate-takings -- it would seem he was back in top, rocking form. Not bad for someone who was perilously close to 50. By 1990 he had been two decades out of the Beatles and had behind him more than a dozen...

THE BEATLES ROCK BAND 2009: One, two, a-one-two-three-faaa

THE BEATLES ROCK BAND 2009: One, two, a-one-two-three-faaa

It is one of the many ironies of the Beatles Remastered project (which I have noted in this Listener article) is that these albums might not have even come out at this time were it not for the Beatles Rock Band interactive game. The remasters were finished some years ago and have been sitting around waiting for . . .? Some kind of...

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 4,  2000 - NEW/NOW: Here, there and everywhere

PAUL McCARTNEY SOLO CAREER PART 4, 2000 - NEW/NOW: Here, there and everywhere

For a man pronounced dead by radio DJs back in the late Sixties, Paul McCartney (or his doppelganger) has has a long and productive life. And musically diverse, as the Nineties proved: classical, pop-rock, balls-out rock'n'roll, acoustic sets, experimental electronica . . . Not a bad track record late in a long career. And in the new...

Yim Yames: Tribute to (Rough Trade)

Yim Yames: Tribute to (Rough Trade)

Yim Yames is actually Jim James from My Morning Jacket (no, don't ask me why) and these six songs were actually recorded in 2001, a few days after George Harrison's death as a tribute to a man whose life he said was "a prime example of the healing powers of music". There have been bigger and more self-conscious tributes to Harrison,...

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Tim Finn: Anthology; North South East West (EMI)

Anyone who considers the Tim Finn timeline would quickly conclude that here was a man who always did it his way: the theatrics and manic energy of Split Enz combined with alarmingly engaging and durable music; solo albums which were sometimes uncomfortable for their self-analysis; others which were snappy and poppy; soundtracks and side-projects...

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

NICK LOWE INTERVIEWED (2009): As times go by

It is one of the ironies of Nick Lowe’s life that -- despite producing the first three Elvis Costello albums, the success of his solo debut Jesus of Cool in ‘78 (retitled Pure Pop for Now People in the more sensitive American market), being in the dream team with Cooder and drummer Jim Keltner on the exceptional John Hiatt album...

Brendan Benson: My Old, Familiar Friend (Shock)

Brendan Benson: My Old, Familiar Friend (Shock)

Singer-songwriter Benson had already pumped out three albums under his own name before he came to greater attention as a member of the Raconteurs alongside Jack White. That profile will gain attention for this often hugely poppy outing in which he seems to channel the spirit (and sometimes the chord changes) of those old, familiar songs and...

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

Ray Columbus and the Invaders: The Definitive Collection (Zodiac/Ode)

The point to note about Ray Columbus and the Invaders being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame at the 2009 Music Awards is that it is Ray Columbus AND The Invaders. Columbus might have been the charismatic and energetic frontman, but as this 45-song double disc reminds, he had a band that were as good as it got in this country...

THE SIXTIES by JENNY DISKI: What a long strange trip . . .

THE SIXTIES by JENNY DISKI: What a long strange trip . . .

Has any decade been more feted, essayed and mythologised than the Sixties? The flowers in hippies’ headbands had barely wilted when the analysis began, and since then many of those who were there have hailed it as rare period in human history, the like of which . . . The past few years have seen 40th anniversaries: the assassinations of...

THE POSIES, KEN STRINGFELLOW INTERVIEWED (2006): Power pop to the top

THE POSIES, KEN STRINGFELLOW INTERVIEWED (2006): Power pop to the top

For a man about to go on stage in Holland, Ken Stringfellow sounds as if he’s got his feet on the desk and thinking about getting home for a night in front of the tele. The relaxed Stringfellow has spent a large part of the past 25 years facing audiences: with the neo-psychedelic outfit Sky Cries Mary out of Seattle in the late 80s; in...

EVAN DANDO OF THE LEMONHEADS INTERVIEWED (2004): Learning to crawl

EVAN DANDO OF THE LEMONHEADS INTERVIEWED (2004): Learning to crawl

You know how the arc of fame moves in the States: you have a minor career in rock, hip-hop or the movies so you take to drink, drugs or become addicted to pain-killers. (Who knew there was that much lower back pain in success?) Then you spin out of control. You do silly things such as marrying in Las Vegas to someone you just met, date...

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY ON DVD (2003): And the songs remain the same?

THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY ON DVD (2003): And the songs remain the same?

For a record company it was the cross-marketing opportunity of a lifetime. Well, maybe a lunchtime. But it seemed an uncanny coincidence that Neil Innes -- aka Ron Nasty of the Beatles-parody band the Rutles -- was in Auckland last week just days before the Beatles' remastered, digitally enhanced, but-wait-there's-more Anthology series...

LENNON AND McCARTNEY 1967-72; COMPOSING OUTSIDE THE BEATLES (Triton DVD)

LENNON AND McCARTNEY 1967-72; COMPOSING OUTSIDE THE BEATLES (Triton DVD)

While you might think there is little left to be said about the Beatles after the break-up and their subsequent solo careers, the narrow and deep focus of this two hour doco is surprisingly interesting. By just taking that period when Lennon and McCartney were starting to go their own ways, and pulling on the handbrake before Wings really...

MIKE McGEAR'S VANISHED MASTERPIECE: Brother can you spare me the time?

MIKE McGEAR'S VANISHED MASTERPIECE: Brother can you spare me the time?

Perhaps "masterpiece" is too strong a word, but the singer-songwriter Mike McGear -- a member of Liverpool's poetry/music group the Scaffold who scored the '68 hit single Lily the Pink -- did crack quite a remarkable album in 1974, which seems to have disappeared entirely. Simply entitled McGear, it was originally released on...

PETE HAM OF BADFINGER: Take a sad song and make it sadder

PETE HAM OF BADFINGER: Take a sad song and make it sadder

Put simply: Pete Ham was one of the singer-songwriters in Badfinger, the British pop band of the late Sixties and early Seventies which enjoyed the patronage of Paul McCartney. He gave them his Come and Get It (used in the Ringo-Peter Sellers movie The Magic Christian) on the condition they record it exactly as his demo. They did, it...

Various Artists: The Lennon and McCartney Songbook (EMI)

Various Artists: The Lennon and McCartney Songbook (EMI)

While there have been quite a number of such compilations in the past interest alights on this one in particular because it has been pulled together by EMI New Zealands in-house memoryman Bruce Ward who does a fine job on such collections -- and here writes the intelligent liner essay. The Lennon and McCartney team were giving away hits in...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009  The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 The Beatles Remasters (EMI)

Much as it is possible to love every crackle and piece of surface noise on the original vinyl albums which some still have or have inherited, the remastering brought out an energy and vitality in the Beatles catalogue which was undeniable. The music (and the Beatles Rock Band game) was much essayed at Elsewhere on release (I heard the...

TICKET TO RIDE by LARRY KANE: Along for the ride

TICKET TO RIDE by LARRY KANE: Along for the ride

In 1980 presidential candidate Jimmy Carter leaned over to journalist Larry Kane and said, "So I heard you toured with the Beatles. What were they like?" Even the 39th President of the United States wanted to know about those young men who changed the social and musical landscape of the 20th century. And Kane should know - he was...

Tommy Quickly: Tip of my Tongue (1963)

Tommy Quickly: Tip of my Tongue (1963)

At the end of '63 the fresh and freckle-faced 18-year old Tommy Quickly was standing at the door of his dreams: he'd been signed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein (who had changed his name from Quigley in the manner of manager Larry Parnes' school of stage names like Vince Eager, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury) and was tipped for massive success....

The Beatles; You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

The Beatles; You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (1970)

The 2009 remastering of the Beatles' catalogue allowed listeners not only the chance to reassess their sound, but also the breadth of their musical reach. Here was a band which created great pop, beautiful ballads, economic psychedalia (Strawberry Fields, Walrus, Lucy in the Sky and others barely broke the 4.00 mark), raga pop and had a sense of...

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

LOVE IS THE SONG WE SING; SAN FRANCISCO NUGGETS 1965-1970 (Rhino): Flowers and freak outs

Any box set or collection which tries to mop up an era, genre or decade is probably doomed to failure, not from lack of genuine effort but because some artists (the big ones) don't want to be included. So you can get a multiple disc, very inclusive set of the Eighties for example and it doesn't have anything by Madonna, Prince, Springsteen and...

MOTOWN, THE FIRST TWO DECADES: There's a place in the sun

MOTOWN, THE FIRST TWO DECADES: There's a place in the sun

In 2009, Motown celebrated its 50th anniversary. Not that there was much to celebrate in 2009. The golden years for this classic and culture-shifting label had started to wither some three decades previous and it was notable that when it released compilation albums to cash in on this anniversary they were shoddy and sorry affairs, woeful in...

Daniel Johnston: Is and Always Was (Feraltone)

Daniel Johnston: Is and Always Was (Feraltone)

I'm probably not alone in thinking of Daniel Johnston, not just as some untutored genius and outsider artist, but as someone whose life has often been pitiable and sad. That he is disturbed is beyond question. That said, Johnston's no-fi cassette recordings (some of which have turned up on CD over the years), can be transfixing for their...

BOB DYLAN SPEAKS, SAN FRANCISCO 1965 (Eagle DVD)

BOB DYLAN SPEAKS, SAN FRANCISCO 1965 (Eagle DVD)

In December 1965 Bob Dylan -- with his "protest singer" days behind him, an electric guitar now his weapon of choice, the as-yet unnamed Band as his group and with Like a Rolling Stone redefining the parameters of pop and rock -- sat down for an hour-long, televised press conference in San Francisco. Dylan would never do...

OK Go: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (Capitol)

OK Go: Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (Capitol)

At the recent Laneways Festival it was noticeable every young band delivered up its obligatory noise segment -- feedback, atonal guitar trash'n'trash -- as if to prove its indie-alt cred. But if everyone is doing it then how independent and alternative is that? You've just conformed to type. And most such noise isn't that interesting anyway....

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

Hank Ballard: The Twist (1958)

The Twist wasn't the first dance craze of the pop era but it was certainly the biggest -- and the last. When Chubby Checker demonstrated the dance on American television in mid 1960 -- "Just pretend you're wiping your bottom with a towel as you get out of the shower, and putting out a cigarette with both feet" -- the simple...

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

The Easybeats: Sorry (1966)

In 1980 EMI released an excellent double vinyl on the Joker imprint entitled The Easybeats: Absolute Anthology 1965-69. It might well have been titled The Rise and Fall of a Pop Group because across 43 tracks in chronological order it traced Australia's Easybeats from their first tentative attempts at being the antipodean Beatles, through...

Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

Elvis Costello: Imperial Bedroom (1982)

By the time Elvis Costello got to this remarkable, emotionally dense and astonishingly concise album (so many moods, styles and emotions in 50 minutes) he had become well separated from his post-punk peers. By '82 -- and he had appeared just five years previous -- he had skirted off from punk-fuelled rock through country music and had...

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

Various Artists: The Gerry Goffin and Carole King Songbook (EMI)

While Carole King went on to greater fame, it is worth remembering that of the songs she wrote with her writing partner-then-husband Gerry Goffin in the early Sixties it was he who penned those memorable and often extremely adult lyrics: think of the pre-sex doubt in "will you still love me tomorrow", the post-sex pleasures of...

CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2010): Attitudes and platitudes

CAROLE KING AND JAMES TAYLOR INTERVIEWED (2010): Attitudes and platitudes

Carole King and James Taylor hardly need an introduction. For 40 years -- more in King’s case, she started writing the music for Gerry Goffin‘s lyrics in the early 60s -- their songs and lives have been public property. No classic hits station (or student flat in the early 70s) could be without a copy of Taylor’s Sweet Baby...

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

The Fourmyula: The Complete Fourmyula (EMI)

In his recent book 100 Essential New Zealand Albums, the writer/broadcaster Nick Bollinger lists three albums by the Fourmyula (1967-71) out of Upper Hutt. Not bad for a band that only released three -- and one of those Bollinger cites was the unreleased Turn Your Back on the Wind. Confused? Bollinger doesn't list their self-titled...

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

The Ivy League: Four and Twenty Hours (1966)

Britain's Ivy League were one of those bands which appeared in the wake of the Beat Boom and the Beatles and scored a couple of quick hits -- Funny How Love Can Be, then Tossing and Turning -- in '65. And that would seem to be it because a couple of key members left and . . . But there is more to their story that that. The band were...

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

Various artists: Nowhere Boy soundtrack (Sony)

This is the music from the film which traces the life of John Lennon from a child to . . . Well, to where the film Backbeat picks up actually. And as with the soundtrack to Backbeat which featured The Backbeat Band (Greg Dulli, Dave Grohl, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and others playing rock'n'roll of the era) so too this album has material...

Pop Mechanix: Now-Then; One Hit Windows (Failsafe)

Pop Mechanix: Now-Then; One Hit Windows (Failsafe)

It would be fair to observe that when the countback of Kiwi bands of the Eighties is done the name "Pop Mechanix" comes up much less frequently than it should. Yet here was a hard-working and thoroughly entertaining live band from Christchurch which cracked urgent singles like Radio Song ("my music, I want to hear it on the...

Liverpool 2010: Forty years after the divorce

Liverpool 2010: Forty years after the divorce

The divorce was as messy as most when, 40 years ago in April 1970, the Beatles broke up. As John Lennon put it later that year on his Plastic Ono Band album, “the dream is over”. But it was Paul McCartney who first made it public and official. In April 1970 McCartney released his first solo album -- Lennon and George...

Shoes: Tomorrow Night (1978)

Shoes: Tomorrow Night (1978)

In that great alphabet of power pop kicked off by the Beatles and which includes Badfinger, Big Star, Cheap Trick and so on, the Shoes out of Zion, Illinois are perhaps the least known today. That doesn't mean they are forgotten or won't be rediscovered however: the Elektra bio which came with their major label debut Present Tense noted that...

The Searchers: Love's Melody (1980)

The Searchers: Love's Melody (1980)

Despite the durability of Gerry and the Pacemakers' Ferry Cross the Mersey, there is little question that the most successful group out of Liverpool in the Sixties -- aside from that other one -- was the Searchers. In the wake of the Beatles there were a dozen or so bands who rode into the charts -- Gerry, The Big Three, Billy J Kramer and...

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

THE SIXTIES by ARTHUR MARWICK: The big picture of the isms and schsims

One of the more mindlessly amusing one-liners about the Sixties says that if you remember them t.hen you weren’t there. Duh. That sitcom aphorism reduces the decade to flakiness and drugs, and bears no serious scrutiny at all. By rule-of-thumb and common consensus, what are loosely called the Sixties are the five years between She...

The Wonders: That Thing You Do! (1996/1964)

The Wonders: That Thing You Do! (1996/1964)

In his Grammy-grabbing career -- between Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13 and Saving Private Ryan, You've Got Mail and The Green Mile -- Tom Hanks did a small, cute, mostly inconsequential and slight pop movie, That Thing You Do! Clearly this story of an imaginary one-hit wonder pop group from Pennsylvania in '64 was something close to...

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR MEMORIES, a doco by DAVID LAMBERT (DV1/Southbound DVD)

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR MEMORIES, a doco by DAVID LAMBERT (DV1/Southbound DVD)

Introduced by Victor Spinetti -- the only man other than the Beatles to appear in three of their films, A Hard Day's Night, Help! and Magical Mystery Tour? -- this rather stilted but nonetheless mildy amusing doco is knobbled by the obvious: it doesn't include any of the original Beatles film; none of their music (aside from covers of relevant...

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman "Hurricane" Smith: Oh Babe, What Would You Say (1972)

Norman Smith was an unlikely chart-topper when he knocked Elton John off the top of the US charts with this, his second single: he was 49 at the time and prior to that his career had been firmly on the other side of the microphone as an engineer and a producer. But what a career he had enjoyed. In his late 30s he'd been taken on as a...

THE RESTLESS GENERATION by PETE FRAME: Britain before the Beatles

THE RESTLESS GENERATION by PETE FRAME: Britain before the Beatles

There is a widely held view, especially amongst those who came of age in the Sixties, that nothing much happened in British music before the Beatles. Yes, there was Cliff Richard and the Shadows, and a few names like Marty Wilde and Billy Fury, and of course the Lonnie Donegan skiffle phase which lead into Tommy Steele . . . but really that...

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, a documentary series by TONY PALMER (Isolde/Southbound DVD)

These days there are any number of documentary flms about music: Ken Burns' Jazz series, Martin Scorsese's series about the blues, country music dealt to in Lost Highway, the excellent History of Rock'n'Roll . . . Individual artists are also getting their due: the Beatles' Anthology; various Elvis docos; Scorsese on early Dylan in No...

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

NEIL FINN AND CROWDED HOUSE (2010): The returning son

Many, many years ago Neil Finn told me he believed bands, and he was referring to Split Enz at the time, had a natural lifespan. Some years after that – in 2001 when he was well into a solo career with the album One Nil – I asked him the question again, and specifically if he felt that about Crowded House. His answer was...

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Crowded House: Intriguer (Universal)

Many years ago, when I interviewed Neil Finn about his solo career (here) post-Crowded House I reminded him that he'd once told me he felt bands had a natural lifespabn. He said at that time he felt CH didn't have quite as long as he wanted . . . which may explain their second coming. This time out, with the same band as for Time on Earth...

LENNON AND HARRISON; GUITARS GENTLY WEEP (DV1/Southbound DVD)

LENNON AND HARRISON; GUITARS GENTLY WEEP (DV1/Southbound DVD)

Although this DVD and CD set is beautifully packaged -- classic cover photos by Astrid Kirchherr, thick and lavishly presented biography book -- it fails to live up to its claim of exploring the (often tetchy) relationship between these two men. The 55 minute DVD notes that the relationship between Lennon and McCartney has been much...

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

THE CHURCH INTERVIEWED (1994): Men keeping the faith

Fourteen years after springing their classic paisley-pop hit An Unguarded Moment, six years on from picking up an American gold disc for their album Starfish and looking at a back-catalogue of releases that reaches dangerously close to double figures, the Church -- now trimmed back to founder members Steve Kilbey and Marty Willson-Piper...

CHRIS BAILEY, THE SAINTS, INTERVIEWED (1994): From Saint to Pope

CHRIS BAILEY, THE SAINTS, INTERVIEWED (1994): From Saint to Pope

There were always a couple of good reasons for liking the Saints, Brisbane’s punk-to-pop finest who were fronted by sole constant Chris Bailey. The first was Bailey running intellectual rings around rock show host Dick Driver on national television. The other was a great song. What that song was came down to taste. Maybe it...

Bill Elliot and the Elastic Oz Band: God Save Us (1971)

Bill Elliot and the Elastic Oz Band: God Save Us (1971)

The problem with political songs is that so often they are merely sloganeering and headlines. Fine print and nuance can't make it into a three minute song. Still, there's nothing quite like a chant such as "power to the people" -- even if we are never quite sure which people should have the power. For a few years from the late...

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOURS by TONY BRAMWELL: Not only a northern song

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOURS by TONY BRAMWELL: Not only a northern song

Tony Bramwell -- who sounds like great man to have a martini with -- has had an extrordinary life, and not just because he was a childhood friend of the Beatles, became their manager Brian Epstein's off-sider, and -- as their road manager and CEO of Apple Records and Films -- was one of a small inner sanctum around the band until they went their...

The Flame: See the Light (1970)

The Flame: See the Light (1970)

Even during their lifespan there were always records which were attributed to the Beatles. The suggestion was that they might put out a single anonymously just to see if it would chart -- or there were the famous bootlegs of "the Beatles with Bob Dylan". After they broke up in 1970 there were any number of rumours that they had...

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Known mostly these days as the writer of Blue Suede Shoes (he sang it before Elvis' chart-topping cover), Carl Perkins was the man who was the most hillbilly cat of them all in the early rock'n'roll era. Looking like a cadaver with his sunken cheeks, and a heroic drinker, the married Carl was the Hank Williams of rockabilly . . . and Sam...

George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

George Formby: When I'm Cleaning Windows (1936)

In his later years George Harrison developed an affection for the ukulele, and one of its greatest practitioners, English music hall comedian, singer and actor George Formby. Right at the end of the Free As A Bird single Harrison threw in a nod to Formby, and specifically to this mildly naughty song which had them rolling in the aisles in...

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

Blitzen Trapper: Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop/Rhythmethod)

More so than their previous releases, this band from the Pacific Northwest seem to ladle in dollops of trippy glam-adelica in the opening overs of this thoroughly enjoyable outing. It's as if a thinking person's band from the late Sixties or mid Seventies has beamed down into the post-grunge pop world (or vice-versa) of Portland and whatever the...

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell: Back to the Island (1975)

Leon Russell is like the Kevin Bacon of rock: there are six degrees of separation between him and anyone else. Actually, that's not true. There are about three. Leon to the Beatles? Well he was at Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh so that takes care of that one . . . and opens enormous doors to others. And Leon to Dylan? Same gig, more...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Monkees; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

By the merest twist of fate, the history of popular American music 50 years ago could well have been very different if just one man had got a different job. Stephen Stills -- a wonderful songwriter but even better guitarist who had his friend Jimi Hendrix on his first solo album -- was a mainspring of Buffalo Springfield and co-founder of...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Naked and Famous: Passive Me Aggressive You (Somewhat Damaged)

From She Loves You and She's a Mod, pop music has always rung to the affirmation of "yeah yeah yeah" -- and to hear this Auckland band work it so well on their newly minted classic single Young Blood (which recently won the Silver Scroll for songwriting) was thrilling. This debut album has been so well canvassed and reviewed that...

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon -- who died in 1990 age 55 -- is best and perhaps only remembered for the great chart-topping single Runaway of '61, even now a thrilling slice of energetic pop. But far from a one-hit wonder as classic hits radio would have you believe, he also did top 10 business with Hats off to Larry and Little Town Flirt -- and he was smart...

John Lennon: I'm Losing You (1980)

John Lennon: I'm Losing You (1980)

The remastered Lennon catalogue (released on the anniversary of what would have been his 70th birthday) naturally allows a reconsideration of some of his material. (See essay here.) This song -- when it appeared on Double Fantasy, see clip -- had a brooding quality and the anger seemed self-directed. But this version, taken from the Lennon...

JOHN LENNON, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED (2010):

JOHN LENNON, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED (2010):

In what would be one of his final interviews around the release of Double Fantasy in late 1980, John Lennon said – as a married, settled man at 40 with a young child – he was interested in seeing if it was possible to have a life centred around a family and a child and still be an artist. “Could the family be the...

Marc Cohn: Listening Booth; 1970 (Sony)

Marc Cohn: Listening Booth; 1970 (Sony)

The way singer-songwriter Cohn remembers it, 1970 was when the Beatles, and Simon and Garfunkel, broke up. It was classic singles, the dawn of the singer-songwriter era (James Taylor, Neil Young and others), great albums by various solo Beatles, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Creedence . . . So he goes back to that year for this collection...

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

It was one of the great ironies that after the Beatles broke up the solo careers of the songwriters Lennon and McCartney languished for a while, and that George Harrison unleashed the phenomenally successful All Things Must Pass triple album (with the chart-topper My Sweet Lord) But the most succesful solo Beatle was -- and here's the real...

ALL MY LOVING, a film by TONY PALMER (BBC DVD)

ALL MY LOVING, a film by TONY PALMER (BBC DVD)

At the time when this film screened on television in 1968 -- after the Epilogue, the last offical programme every night in Britain in those days, as director Palmer notes in the interview footage added to the DVD edition in 2007 -- pop music was widely spoken of as the new classical music. It was in those day-glo days when classical music of...

NOEL GALLAGHER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1998): Just being here, now

NOEL GALLAGHER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1998): Just being here, now

The trademark cockiness and dismissive directness is still there, but at times this also sounds like a very different Noel Gallagher, a man more circumspect and, although still expletive-heavy, sounding less prone to shooting from the lip. A little over two years ago we met before an Oasis gig in Leicester and he was garrulous,...

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

It was a curious thing, but in '95 the Beatles released a new single, Baby It’s You, which came on seven-inch vinyl with extra tracks (an EP no less!) and there was an accompanying video. The Beatles in ’95'? What could they teach us 30 years after the event? Quite a lot, actually. While it was easy to be cynical...

THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET (1968-70): Lost in the big Apple

THE MODERN JAZZ QUARTET (1968-70): Lost in the big Apple

If you had a bottomless pit of money to start your own record company, who would you sign? That's what the Beatles faced when they launched Apple Records in early 68. Their famous ad which invited people to send in tapes saw their office swamped – but not one act was signed on that basis: Badfinger (then known as the Iveys) came...

PAUL McCARTNEY INTERVIEWED (2010): Band on the Run remastered

PAUL McCARTNEY INTERVIEWED (2010): Band on the Run remastered

While Elsewhere always does its own interviews, this one provided to coincide with the remastered version of Band on the Run -- which launches a whole McCartney remaster/reissue series -- is interesting, so an exception has been made. For an overview of McCartney's post-Beatles career -- including classical projects and oddities alongside his...

Paul McCartney and Wings; Band on the Run Remastered. (Universal)

Paul McCartney and Wings; Band on the Run Remastered. (Universal)

It's sad in a way, but great albums often are a result of bad situations: death, divorce, betrayal, litigation and debilitating substance abuse seem to make for better and more interesting music than cheery times with the family on holiday. Think about it: Neil Young's Tonight's the Night (death, drugs); John Martyn's Grace and Danger...

Various Artists: Viva Elvis, The Album (Sony)

Various Artists: Viva Elvis, The Album (Sony)

Let's be very clear here, this astonishingly awful album has very little to do with Elvis Presley -- the man, as these people have forgotten, who recalibrated popular music and culture. This has a whole lot to do with a Cirque du Soleil show which sampled Elvis' vocals and then pasted them over backings which, in most instancers, sound like...

BILLIE COMES TO TOWN (1999): The working life of pop princess

BILLIE COMES TO TOWN (1999): The working life of pop princess

You don't see it often and when you do it’s only briefly -- but it drains through Billie’s face for an instant. “Yeah, I’m really tired. I’ve been up since 5.30 so now I’m like, urghh.” She forces a smile, then momentarily disappears back into her own world. It’s Wednesday afternoon...

IN FROM THE COLD; THE WORLD OF RICHARD BURTON, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Triton DVD)

IN FROM THE COLD; THE WORLD OF RICHARD BURTON, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint/Triton DVD)

The great actor Sir John Gielgud used to shake his head in wonder at the towering talent of Richard Burton and say that "he came from nowhere, from nowhere". Which isn't true at all, he came from a very significant somewhere -- and in this insightful, honest and probing documentary by Tony Palmer -- that place was writ large right...

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

Most reviews of this frequently funny, sometimes insightful and too often rambling autobiography -- Keith + tape recorder + ghost writer Fox -- have concentrated on the obvious: the sniping at Mick Jagger which occurs a little in the first three-quarters but reaches a peak in the final throes where the autobiography/chronological account runs...

JEFF KELLY AND THE GREEN PAJAMAS: The other sound of Seattle

JEFF KELLY AND THE GREEN PAJAMAS: The other sound of Seattle

One day, just before I went to the Pacific Northwest, I had lunch with a friend. When I told him I was going to Seattle he said, "Are you going to see Green Pajamas?" I had no idea what he was talking about, I thought he meant some stage play.At this point my friend -- who has a big-time job in a major record company --...

Ivor Cutler: Life in a Scotch Sitting Room and Go And Sit Upon the Grass (1975)

Ivor Cutler: Life in a Scotch Sitting Room and Go And Sit Upon the Grass (1975)

The Scottish poet and comedian Ivor Cutler (1923 - 2006) barely scraped the surface of wide public acclaim outside of the UK, and even there he was a minority figure. But he did appear in the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour in '67 after Paul McCartney spotted the eccentric, quietly spoken Cutler on a late night television show. In that Beatles...

David Peel and the Lower East Side: Up Against The Wall (1968)

David Peel and the Lower East Side: Up Against The Wall (1968)

New York's David Peel was living proof of the adage, "It isn't what you know, it's who you know". And how you could milk that association -- however brief -- for all it's worth. He was also one of those "only in New York" guys. In the late Sixties when this insightful if reductive piece of political rhetoric was...

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

THE JAM and TOM PETTY in '79: Two bands separated by a common language

At the fag-end of the Seventies, the sound of the Sex Pistols explosion in Britain had faded and in the place of furious punk anger came the more intellectual and cooler sound of post-punk: bands like Magazine, Wire and Joy Division. Across the Atlantic the Ramones' flat-tack energy was faltering and the names to note were Talking...

The Beatles: Twist and Shout/Mr Moonlight (1962)

The Beatles: Twist and Shout/Mr Moonlight (1962)

In 1977, after years of rumours about it and litigation, the album The Beatles: Live! at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962 appeared. For those -- like John Lennon, ironically -- who believed the Beatles were a better rock band before their manager Brian Epstein put them in suits in Liverpool, here would be the evidence of them at their...

THE RUTLES. RON NASTY and NEIL INNES INTERVIEWED: I have always thought in the back of my mind . . .

THE RUTLES. RON NASTY and NEIL INNES INTERVIEWED: I have always thought in the back of my mind . . .

In the Sixties they changed the world -- in 1970 they changed their mind and broke up. They were the Rutles, lovable legends from Liverpool who launched their career with innocent hits such as Hold My Hand. Within two years the cynical Ron Nasty and cheery Dirk McQuickly had penned dozens of enduring classics. As they matured through...

Galaxie 500: Cheese and Onions (1991)

Galaxie 500: Cheese and Onions (1991)

When Frank Zappa asked "does humour belong in music?" you knew he was being rhetorical. He certainly poked fun, ridiculed and parodied -- all long before Spinal Tap and the Rutles. The Rutles -- the brainchild of Monty Python's Eric Idle and with music by Neil Innes -- were a brilliant Beatles parody: the casting was excellent and...

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

This too slight, slightly self-justifying, frequently honest and altogether typically disappointing rock autobiography has taken on much more meaning since its 2008 publication, especially with Ronnie's new solo album in late 2010. In the closing chapters here especially he spends a lot of time proffesing his love for his wife Jo, how she...

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Who; Who Are You and The Kids Are Alright (Polydor)

The Who -- with as few living members as the former Beatles -- continue to tour and record, and while we wouldn't deny their current firepower, it is worth noting that the explosive energy of their early years was when they really excelled. From the late Sixties onward Pete Townshend started to over-analyse in a way that perhaps blunted the...

THE HOLLIES. TONY HICKS INTERVIEWED (2010): The road is long . . .

THE HOLLIES. TONY HICKS INTERVIEWED (2010): The road is long . . .

A couple of years Noel Gallagher of Oasis saw Tony Hicks of the Hollies in a local supermarket and felt compelled to yell, "Love yer band, man. You've got the songs". And the Hollies certainly did. Pop-rock classics among them. So when in March 2010, the Hollies out of Manchester, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

JOE MASSOT INTERVIEWED (2001): And after all, you're my wonderwall . . .

JOE MASSOT INTERVIEWED (2001): And after all, you're my wonderwall . . .

Joe Massot – who died in 2002 – had a short but reasonably spectacular career as a film director who had passing glances at rock'n'roll culture. He directed the first rock'n'roll western Zachariah in 1971 (pretty awful) and was working on the '76 Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same when he was removed from the...

The Woofers and Tweeters Ensemble: Daytripper (1983)

The Woofers and Tweeters Ensemble: Daytripper (1983)

And you thought YouTube threw up fly-by-night stars and oddities? This one puts the surfing cat and dancing pig into perspective. In the early Eighties a couple of Australians -- over a few wines -- fiddled with computer technology to simulate the sound of dogs barking and used it to have the "dogs" "sing" a Beatles song....

Laibach: Get Back (1988)

Laibach: Get Back (1988)

The Beatles might have been about "peace and bloody love" as a droll Ringo noted at the end of the Anthology DVD series. But in the hands of Laibach out of what we used to call Yugoslavia of the late Eighties, their music sounded like it was ready to invade Poland. Laibach -- in a thoroughly post-modern and ironic manner...

NOEL GALLAGER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1995): The view from the top

NOEL GALLAGER OF OASIS INTERVIEWED (1995): The view from the top

It's the week after Oasis’ Earl’s Court triumphs where they’ve pulled 20,000 for each of their two night stands and now Noel Gallagher is slouched backstage in the unpromisingly named Gramby Halls, Leicester. In two hours the band will play a blinder of a gig to 3000 in this basketball stadium. Their set tonight is the...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Andrew McKenzie

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Andrew McKenzie

For the past decade New Zealand singer-songwriter and guitarist Andrew McKenzie has been out front of the rocking alt.country outfit Grand Prix (currently not operating) -- but at the very end of 2010 he released a solo album under his own name The End of the World. And it is very solo -- he plays just about everything on it (a little help...

World Party: You're All Invited to the Party (1990)

World Party: You're All Invited to the Party (1990)

Because he wrote She's the One which became a hit for Robbie Williams in 1999 -- and more so because he was sidelined for four years by a brain aneurysm in 2000 -- little has been heard of Karl Wallinger (who is the sole constant in World Party) since his creative peak in the mid Nineties. At that time he'd cracked the Grammy-nominated album...

ITALIAN POP AND ROCK: Searching for the young soul rebels

ITALIAN POP AND ROCK: Searching for the young soul rebels

Let’s be honest, Italian opera might be wonderfully transcendent -- despite Oasis’ Noel Gallagher dismissing Placido, Carreras and the Big Pav as “three fat blokes shouting” -- but Italian pop/rock hasn’t made it internationally. A book entitled Famous Italian Bands would be slim indeed -- and wisely not...

Beady Eye: Different Gear Still Speeding (Liberator)

Beady Eye: Different Gear Still Speeding (Liberator)

In one of life's great ironies it was, of all people, Ringo Starr who enjoyed the greatest chart success with a string of chart singles in the wake of the Beatles break-up. And who would have reckoned on Dave Grohl's subsequent career after Nirvana. So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that Liam Gallagher is the first Oasis brother out of...

Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

Gruff Rhys: Hotel Shampoo (Ovni)

The singer for Wales' Super Furry Animals here delivers his third album and the reference points are pure Sixties melodic pop (the Vogues, Buckinghams, early Lennon-McCartney, the Beach Boys) and the LA singer-songwriters of the early Seventies (all those various Taylors, Dan Fogelberg etc). And a little mariachi trumpet. This makes for a...

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

ROY ORBISON 1960-65: The years of monumental pop

Looked at one way, the great Roy Orbison (who died in late '88) had five separate careers, but he only ever changed musical direction once. "The Big O" -- or "the Caruso of Rock" -- as he was known, had long periods away from the spotlight and it would be fair to observe his defining work was done in an exceptional period...

RAY CHARLES 1954-1960: A soul brother movin' on

RAY CHARLES 1954-1960: A soul brother movin' on

The word "genius" was used so often about Ray Charles that people probably ceased to believe it in this age where a minor sports figure is referred to as "an icon" and "awesome" has long since lost any meaning at all. But Charles was a genius -- "The only genius in our business," said Frank Sinatra --...

The Rolling Stones: Child of the Moon (1968)

The Rolling Stones: Child of the Moon (1968)

Although the Stones' psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request of late '67 has taken a bad rap, they didn't entirely abandon the trippy sound even as they put it behind them and moved into a more blues-based rock for their next single Jumpin' Jack Flash and the album Beggar's Banquet (which had Street Fighting Man on it). They might...

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

JUSTIN BIEBER: TEEN IDOL, a doco by MAUREEN GOLDTHORPE

When Justin Bieber seemingly appeared out of nowhere to the soundtrack of cute r'n'b pop and screaming girls, people who should have known better -- especially those media commentators who had been there for Beatlemania in their own youth -- just seemed idiotic in their damning and condescending comments. They came off as more silly than...

Bugotak: Kon Togethy (2006)

Bugotak: Kon Togethy (2006)

We could fill the bottomless black hole that is From the Vaults with just oddball versions of Beatles songs. (So far we have been restrained, just Laibach, cartoon character Elmer Fudd and the Beatles Barkers *). But this track is irresistible. Bugotak is a Russian group which plays Siberian instruments, guitars, Chinese flutes and...

The Newbeats: I Like Bread and Butter (1964)

The Newbeats: I Like Bread and Butter (1964)

This should come with a consumer warning: It's one of those songs you wake up with nagging away in the back of your brain, the song you can't shake and sticks with you all day. So you have been warned. The Newbeats from Shreveport, Louisiana were never destined for greatness or longevity. There was only so much you could do after a...

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

THE BEATLES Vs THE ROLLING STONES by JIM DeROGATIS and GREG KOT

At a first glance this lavishly illustrated and beautifully presented book -- with dozens of relevant, interesting and never before seen photos of the bands, and of period-piece memorabilia, movie posters and the like -- looks fairly lightweight. But fun. A quick read and you've got it: the two authors posit a rivalry between these two...

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

JIM DeROGATIS INTERVIEWED (2011): Nothing if not critical

Rock critic, writer and most recently university lecturer Jim DeRogatis doesn't pull his punches, but keeps a sense of humour, about his music and its stars. With Gregg Kot, he has hosted Sound Opinions on Chicago Public Radio since '99 (“the world's only rock'n'roll talk show”) and they banter about fallen heroes,...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Liam Finn

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Liam Finn

When people in your family -- in this case your dad and uncle -- are famous musicians your road can actually be harder than most might think: just after a couple of Lennon kids. Liam Finn started his career in the band betchadupa which astutely signed to Flying Nun rather than pursue a major label, and since then he has established himself...

PAUL McCARTNEY 1970 AND 1980 (2011): Lowkey at each end of his first post-Beatles decade

PAUL McCARTNEY 1970 AND 1980 (2011): Lowkey at each end of his first post-Beatles decade

In a few months Sir James Paul McCartney, age 68, will premier his new work, a major orchestral piece for the New York City Ballet entitled Oceans Kingdom, written in conjunction with American composer John Wilson. This ambitious career move in the classical world follows his Liverpool Oratorio, Standing Stone and Working Classical with...

SUEDE REISSUED AND RECONSIDERED (2011): England made me

SUEDE REISSUED AND RECONSIDERED (2011): England made me

At the going down of the sun we will remember them, those great Britpop bands who were The Next Big Thing – like Longpigs, the Seahorses, Mansun, the Supernaturals . . . All household names, right? Yes, it was – and still is -- easy to be cynical about Nineties Britpop, especially from this distance when Oasis and Blur...

THEY ARE ALL THE WALRUS: The story of the Exotic Beatles series

THEY ARE ALL THE WALRUS: The story of the Exotic Beatles series

Some people -- like Allan Rouse and Steve Rooke at Abbey Road studios who remastered the complete catalogue -- listen to an awful lot of Beatles' music. Others -- like Jim Phelan -- listen to a lot of awful Beatles' music. Phelan from London is the man behind the hilarious Exotic Beatles collections -- now up to Volume Four -- on...

Various Artists: Paul McCartney's Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

Various Artists: Paul McCartney's Jukebox (Chrome Dreams/Triton)

With the current reassessment of Paul McCartney's career immediately post-Beatles -- driven by the reissue of Band on the Run and the McCartney and McCartney II albums -- Mojo magazine offered a 15 track cover CD of "The Roots of Paul McCartney" which was a collection of songs which had influenced him. This 29 song collection...

THE BEE GEES INTERVIEWED (1999). Inside Hitsville FLA

THE BEE GEES INTERVIEWED (1999). Inside Hitsville FLA

South Beach in Miami where tanned, bodies beautiful in stamp-sized bikinis parade the boardwalk, the sky is permablue and as you lie in the warm ocean watching the sun set over pastel Art Deco buildings you can hear the distant sound of Cuban music wafting from a seaside bar in the humid night air.Miami, USA. A great place for a holiday -...

THE MOODY BLUES INTERVIEWED (2011): Voices in the sky

THE MOODY BLUES INTERVIEWED (2011): Voices in the sky

In the late Sixties, when the boundaries of pop and rock were being extended into jazz and quasi-classical areas, the Moody Blues were one of the most musically innovative and productive groups of the period. Their albums between Days of Future Passed in 67 and Seventh Sojourn in 72 – an extraordinary seven albums in five years...

John Lennon: Strawberry Fields Forever (1966, demo)

John Lennon: Strawberry Fields Forever (1966, demo)

The working drawings of famous songs can often be as interesting as the finished product, although in this instance the final version of Lennon's psychedelic classic Strawberry Fields Forever of '67 takes some beating. But here, at home in Surrey after he had returned from Spain where he had been filming How I Won The War and had sketched...

THE BEATLES AND APPLE RECORDS: Western communism and rotten at the core

THE BEATLES AND APPLE RECORDS: Western communism and rotten at the core

The Beatles faced a screaming audience for the last time at San Francisco's Candlestick Park in August 1966. After that they retired as a live band. It was inevitable. As Ringo Starr said of their touring years: "It was the worst time and the best time of my life. The best time because we played a lot of good music. The worst time ......

The Smithereens: 2011 (eone)

The Smithereens: 2011 (eone)

It was probably helpful for the long-running power-pop/rock Smithereens out of New Jersey to remind themselves what year they are in with this album's title. Their most recent outings have been covers of the Beatles' first US album Meet the Beatles! (Meet the Smithereens!), one of Beatle b-sides then a truncated run through the Who's...

THE BEATLES' YELLOW SUBMARINE RECONSIDERED (2012): Fantasia for the pot generation

THE BEATLES' YELLOW SUBMARINE RECONSIDERED (2012): Fantasia for the pot generation

Movie producer Al Brodax said it began with a 3am phone call from John Lennon: Wouldn't it be great if Ringo was followed down the street by a yellow submarine?" That -- allegedly/mythically -- was the start and (aside from them knocking off a few songs for the soundtrack and a short appearance before the credits) the end of the...

THE BEATLES' LET IT BE NAKED REVIEWED (2003): Get back . . . at Phil

THE BEATLES' LET IT BE NAKED REVIEWED (2003): Get back . . . at Phil

The story behind the making of the Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be is well known, but to recap: The "White Album" of 68 was aural proof each was going his own way; however, late in the year, McCartney suggested they do a back-to-basics recording, ostensibly for an album to be called Get Back -- and get a film crew to make a doco to go...

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

Pajama Club: Pajama Club (Isaac)

From the deliberate domesticity of the band name/album title, this album which began as a knockabout home sessions between Neil Finn and his wife Sharon comes with some coy downplaying. I guess Neil would be aware of the subtext of the words "Linda McCartney". But here with Neil on drums and guitar, Sharon on bass and SJD...

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (2001): The Beatles first film on DVD

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (2001): The Beatles first film on DVD

There's a brief scene in A Hard Day's Night that went right past most people at the time. Watch carefully in the first few minutes and you'll catch it. John Lennon is sitting in a railway carriage and holding a bottle of Coke. With a knowing look he sniffs, or more correctly, snorts it. It's the little things in life really, isn't it?...

BEATLES FOR SALE, AGAIN: The release of Anthology 1 (London, 1995)

BEATLES FOR SALE, AGAIN: The release of Anthology 1 (London, 1995)

The release of any Beatles album was always an occasion, so 25 years after the band broke up, the plush ambience of the Lancaster Room in the Savoy Hotel doesn’t seem inappropriate for the launch of The Beatles' Anthology 1, a collection of out-takes and unreleased material, the first of a series of three double CDs that effectively mops...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Blitzen Trapper: American Goldwing (Sub Pop)

Still sounding like they were breast-fed equal parts Grateful Dead, early Neil Young, White Album-era Beatles and Elton John's country-flavoured Tumbleweed Connection-gone-grunge, Blitzen Trapper -- an always interesting outfit from Portland -- constantly defy expectation but shift easily from songs about drinkin' whisky in a car to...

Green Pajamas: Just a Breath Away (2000)

Green Pajamas: Just a Breath Away (2000)

Although many tried -- especially in the Britpop era -- to bottle the essence of the Beatles' music at the cusp of marijuana and LSD (Rubber Soul and Revolver), few managed it with as much maturity, sensibility and persuasive power of the song as Green Pajamas out of Seattle, and they frequently did it at the time when grunge affection was...

BRIAN EPSTEIN: Behind the music (2002)

BRIAN EPSTEIN: Behind the music (2002)

When Brian Epstein died in August 1967 at the age of 32, he was one of the most famous men in Britain. His death by an accidental overdose of prescription drugs made the front page of newspapers at home and abroad. Yet a mere five years earlier Epstein was known only to a few close friends and family in his native Liverpool where he managed...

PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: The solo career that faltered, flew then faltered

PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: The solo career that faltered, flew then faltered

"Wings, only the band the Beatles could have been," said Alan Partridge -- who, we should quickly add, is an alter ego of British comedian Steve Coogan.Rock writers were understandably unforgiving toward McCartney's post-Beatle band but the public just wouldn't listen to those damn critics. People liked Wings. They, or more...

BEATLEMANIA IN '64: Good times and bad politics

BEATLEMANIA IN '64: Good times and bad politics

Some photographs are deafening. Consider the images of American kids screaming at the Beatles in late 1964. Even now, more than four decades later, those who remember the times or have seen the footage will hear an inexplicable noise as if it were alive and ear-shattering right now. Beatlemania from this historical distance -- a world of...

THE BEATLES IN NEW ZEALAND 1964: Screaming and cynicism

THE BEATLES IN NEW ZEALAND 1964: Screaming and cynicism

As the saying goes, the past is another country - -often a pretty innocent one, and certainly cheaper. That's why many people prefer to live there. Roll the clock back to over 40 years ago, and look around: a National Government led by Keith Holyoake; the All Blacks back home from a successful tour of France and Britain; Brass Band Parade on...

THE BEATLES IN AMERICA 1964: Songs of innocence -- and experience  (DVD reviewed, 2004)

THE BEATLES IN AMERICA 1964: Songs of innocence -- and experience (DVD reviewed, 2004)

In the beginning there were just the four of them. Then we learned of the fifth Beatle. Depending on who you talked to it was producer George Martin, New York DJ Murray the K, or the dumped drummer Pete Best. Then we heard about their Hamburg days and the dead Beatle Stu Sutcliffe, their manager Brian Epstein (below) and the rest of the...

PAUL McCARTNEY GOES CLASSICAL (1993): An oratorio for everyman

PAUL McCARTNEY GOES CLASSICAL (1993): An oratorio for everyman

Around the time of his 50th birthday in June last year, Paul McCartney could have -- if he so chose -- picked up a couple of mainstream British newspapers and read editorials and think pieces suggesting that this former Beatle be made a knight of the realm. And why not? James Paul McCartney is undeniably Britain’s most popular...

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART TWO (2014): The dark horse at a canter to the end

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART TWO (2014): The dark horse at a canter to the end

The 2004 Oscars were unusual in how lacking in sentiment they were. Usually you'd expect a veteran favourite like Clint Eastwood to be recognised, or some time-server to get best supporting something. But no, what Lord of the Rings didn't win went to choices seemingly unmotivated by heart-tugging or vote-rigging. The Grammys that year...

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

THE LENNON LEGEND BOOK, REVIEWED (2003): More or less Lennon

Had John Lennon lived, he would have turned 63 last month. It's interesting to speculate what kind of music he might be making today. Interesting, but pointless: Lennon never saw the trickle-down of punk and new wave; the big-hair 80s; the rise of rap, Madonna and Springsteen; Guns N' Roses, Nirvana and grunge; trends like nu-metal, nu-jazz and...

ABBEY ROAD REVISITED: Crossing the crossing (2006)

ABBEY ROAD REVISITED: Crossing the crossing (2006)

Long before you reach the most famous recording studio in the world you can hear the sound. But it is not music coming from inside the walls. It is the squeal of tyres as another car or truck slams on its brakes because a tourist - and often a whole group - has stepped on to the nearby pedestrian crossing to have a photo taken in imitation of an...

SIR GEORGE MARTIN INTERVIEWED (1998): The retiring knight of the round vinyl

SIR GEORGE MARTIN INTERVIEWED (1998): The retiring knight of the round vinyl

Of all the knights of pop -- Sir Cliff, Sir Paul, Sir Elton -- it is Sir George Martin, famously known as the Beatles’ producer, who seems the most deserving of the accolade. It was November '95 when I met him in London at the launch of the Beatles’ Anthology albums. He was self-effacing, courteous and well-spoken. (At age...

PAUL McCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

PAUL McCARTNEY'S OFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY REVIEWED (1997): Still can't buy the love?

Paul McCartney is the Beatle old fans love to hate: his sins are manifest in Silly Love Songs, a Linda and not a Yoko, the permanent Mr Thumbs Aloft attitude, the knighthood which his old colleague John Lennon would doubtless have declined …. But there is worse. This past decade, by quiet incremental steps, we have witnessed the...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE LENNON ANTHOLOGY BOX SET (2003): And Lennon's on sale again. . .

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE LENNON ANTHOLOGY BOX SET (2003): And Lennon's on sale again. . .

For reasons which withstand no scrutiny at all, there’s an expectation Yoko Ono will be miserable in interviews. After all, here is the Famous Rock Widow whose husband was gunned down before her eyes leaving her with a much beloved five-year old son, the legacy of the Lennon name and fortune, and the still prevalent perception of her as...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED, THE TOURING LENNON ART EXHIBITION (1997) In his own draw

For anyone who has only experienced her singing -- which slews wildly between a visceral scream of anguish and an orgasmic howl -- Yoko Ono’s remarkably quiet speaking voice, barely above a whisper, comes as a surprise. And this week as she talks about art and music from her home in New York it is aggravated by a cold and initially reduced...

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED 1992: The yin and yang of Yoko

YOKO ONO INTERVIEWED 1992: The yin and yang of Yoko

Few people could claim to have been as publicly reviled, ridiculed, misunderstood and misrepresented as Yoko Ono. As her husband of 12 years John Lennon once remarked, she was “the most famous unknown artist in the world. Everyone knows who she is, but nobody knows what she does.“ And the little that people did know during her...

PAUL McCARTNEY LIVE IN SYDNEY (1993): Younger Than Yesterday

PAUL McCARTNEY LIVE IN SYDNEY (1993): Younger Than Yesterday

Among the tickets touts barking at the crowd outside the Sydney Entertainment Centre before the Paul McCartney concert, the scalper with the XXOS beer gut wrapped in a small-men’s T-shirt stood out. While others on this raw edge of the market economy were offering $130-a-ticket, the swollen T-shirt was nasally hawking “tickets...

ASTRID KIRCHHERR, BEATLES PHOTOGRAPHER, INTERVIEWED (1994): Young, free and wild.

ASTRID KIRCHHERR, BEATLES PHOTOGRAPHER, INTERVIEWED (1994): Young, free and wild.

At 55, Astrid Kirchherr still loves rock music and listens to it every day: The Beatles, the Doors, Bowie . . . “and Prince, he’s such a genius -- if he just wouldn’t wear those stupid clothes! I always wanted him to look serious, young and sexy. But he dressed like an old prostitute in drag.”  Kirchherr laughs...

BACKBEAT, ASTRID KIRCHHERR AND THE YOUNG BEATLES ON FILM (1994): The Birth of the Beat

BACKBEAT, ASTRID KIRCHHERR AND THE YOUNG BEATLES ON FILM (1994): The Birth of the Beat

His letters back home don’t tell the whole story. But such letters seldom do. He says there are plenty of girls “but none of us can be bothered” and that he is “not the happiest man alive. It’s now my seventh week here. I came here for a reason I do not know. I have no money, no resources, no hope . . .”...

ROCK'N'ROLL NEVER FORGETS: A journey back through time

ROCK'N'ROLL NEVER FORGETS: A journey back through time

As an example of cosmic symmetry it could hardly be improved on: my 13th birthday,  the Beatles playing in Auckland, and my Dad offered two free tickets. It was only many years later my older sister told me about the free tickets – and that Dad had declined them. I guess that was why, long after the Beatlemania screaming had...

The Beatles: On Air - Live at the BBC Vol 2 (Universal)

The Beatles: On Air - Live at the BBC Vol 2 (Universal)

Just as the Beatles enjoyed that long and rare association with producer George Martin and EMI's Abbey Road studios, so too they had a mutually beneficial relationship with the BBC. The "Beeb" as it is affectionately knows may have been the conservative face of British broadcasting, but it was also aware of its mandate to represent...

THE BEATLES' US ALBUMS REISSUED: How America misheard the Beatles

THE BEATLES' US ALBUMS REISSUED: How America misheard the Beatles

Thanks to record company exec Dave Dexter Jnr, Americans got to hear the Beatles . . . although if Dexter had had his way they might not have. Dexter – the Capitol Records man charged with releasing non-American acts in the States – turned down the first Beatles singles on offer from the UK (Love Me Do, Please Please...

THE BEATLES INVADE AUCKLAND, JUNE 1964

THE BEATLES INVADE AUCKLAND, JUNE 1964

On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in New Zealand (June 21 1964) Elsewhere is pleased to present an exclusive extract from the forthcoming book Half a World Away: The Beatles' Australasian Tour 1964 by Greg Armstrong and Andy Neill. We pick up the story after they have arrived at Whenuapai Airport near Auckland and been...

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, REMASTERED AND REISSUED (2014): All they had to do was act naturally

A HARD DAY'S NIGHT, REMASTERED AND REISSUED (2014): All they had to do was act naturally

At the same time as the Beatles were filming their first feature A Hard Day's Night, the once-great Elvis Presley was cranking out mindless Hollywood movies such as Fun in Acapulco and Kissin' Cousins. The King of Rock'n'Roll had gone soft and although his films were still successful at the box office, few would acclaim them as high...

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART ONE (2014): The dark horse bolting out of the gate

GEORGE HARRISON REVISITED, PART ONE (2014): The dark horse bolting out of the gate

Perhaps he was no more contradictory than any of us, but because of his larger life George Harrison sometimes seemed to be a man of diametrically opposed parts. He was a spiritual family man who could go on cocaine benders and wasn't above using his status as a former Beatle to pick up women. He was a meditative man but among his...

THE BEATLES AS SEEN ON SCREENS (2015): How the music looked

THE BEATLES AS SEEN ON SCREENS (2015): How the music looked

When the Beatles' remastered albums were released back in 2009 (09/09/09 to be exact, think about it), Elsewhere speculated on what else might be to come. It would seem that with the Anthology (the albums and DVD set and book) and the remastered albums -- which later appeared on vinyl in mono as God intended -- that the well might have...

The Knack: And How To Lose It

The Knack: And How To Lose It

Okay, this is how I remember The Knack and its lead singer Doug Feiger, but it was a long time ago so the memory may be dodgy. It was August 13, 1979 to be exact and the ads boasted "biggest band in the world in NZ at their peak". They were playing at Mainstreet in Auckland. That claim was true, oddly enough: at the very...

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The early albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones appeared in different versions in Britain and the States. New Zealand being a colony thankfully got the UK versions for the most part, just as the gods intended. But in some instances we got something different from both -- and in this case, better. The album The Unstoppable Stones...

The Dwight Twilley Band; Twilley Don't Mind (1975)

The Dwight Twilley Band; Twilley Don't Mind (1975)

The wonderful, and possibly apocryphal, story about this band is that Dwight Twilley and Phil Seymour went to see the Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night together in 1967 -- a bit late when you think it was released three years previous -- and immediately decided to form a band. It would be equally wonderful to report they were an overnight...

The Kinks, Something Else (1967)

The Kinks, Something Else (1967)

Anyone looking for that low door in the wall which allows entry into the distinctive garden of English pop-rock is, almost invariably drawn to the Kinks whose songwriter Ray Davies had a mainline into the Anglo-heartland for almost decade from the mid 60s.Davies' songwriting could sometimes be satirical or cynical, but more often than not he...

Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram (1971)

Paul and Linda McCartney, Ram (1971)

Sir James Paul McCartney has released around 40 albums under his own name  -- or that of Wings, with his late wife Linda, or under some other nom de disque -- since the break-up of the Beatles in 1970. That's about an album a year, and even if we take out live releases or compilations, his strike rate is astonishingly...

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

Harry Nilsson, Nilsson Schmilsson (1971)

The too-short life of the greatly under-appreciated singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson (1941-94) was full of bitter ironies: not the least was that this gifted songwriter's biggest hits were written by others. His memorable Without You was penned by Pete Ham and Tom Evans from the Beatles-blessed power poppers, Badfinger; and although...

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF MOTOWN DVD REVIEWED (2003)

When music magazines make up lists of great players - best drummer, top guitarist or whatever - one name invariably appears in the best bassist countdown: James Jamerson. At which point most people might fairly ask, "James who?" Which is exactly the problem this exciting, moving, good-natured soul-funk documentary seeks to redress....

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

OASIS: DEFINITELY MAYBE DVD REVIEWED (2004)

When Oasis, out of Manchester, started to gain real momentum a decade ago one wag wrote to a Britrock magazine and said this was all very well, but they were dull to watch live: just hold a postcard of them at arm's length and move it about a bit, he said, and that's about it.That was true but he forgot to factor in one thing, that they could...

THE WHO, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT DVD REVIEWED (2004)

THE WHO, THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT DVD REVIEWED (2004)

The first clip on the exceptional Who bio-doco The Kids Are Alright captures the band at their unpredictable best. It is late '67 and they are being interviewed on the US television show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour by the very straight Tommy Smothers. They are witty and slightly heretical and - we now know - prankster drummer Keith Moon...

The Sleepy Jackson: Personality (EMI)

The Sleepy Jackson: Personality (EMI)

I was surprised that this ambitious neo-psychedelic pop album -- which has been winning huge praise in the UK -- wasn't heftily reviewed here, especially since the visionary behind it (who has drawn comparisons with Brian Wilson) is a former Kiwi now based in Perth, Luke Steele. So let's bring this one to your attention: a lushly produced,...

The Beatles: Love (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

The Beatles: Love (EMI) BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2006

You've probably read about this one already (maybe even by me in the Herald where I wrote an extended review) so all it needs is for you to hear these musical collages pulled together by the former Beatles' producer George Martin and his son Giles. It is impressive listening and the assimilation of one musical idea into a completely different...

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