Growing Old Without Him
October 08, 2010
We know how old John Lennon would have been this Saturday—70—but who he would have been, we can only imagine. There were so many Johns: Teddy boy, moptop, Walrus, avant-gardist, Mr. Ono, politicker, house husband, and, finally, in the months before his death 30 years ago this December, model of middle-age content. "Grow old with me," Lennon once crooned into a cassette recorder he used for making quickie demos in his apartment in the Dakota.
I am little enriched for having listened over the past week to most (though not all) of more than 90 songs published with Paul and Linda McCartney credited jointly as co-writers. In fact, I almost wish that President Obama had never given Sir Paul the Gershwin Prize and stirred me to reconsider this remarkably unmemorable work, much of which I had heard at one time or another over the years and appropriately forgot.
Original Research Into the Hypocrisy of Paul McCartney
June 04, 2010
Speaking of aged beknighted idols of the British Invasion who have engaged in dicey songwriting practices, as I started to do in my last post about Mick Jagger, the fact that the Library of Congress has presented Paul McCartney with the Gerswhin Prize led me this week to review Sir Paul's vast output as a composer, and I found something baffling in it. As background, I should point out that McCartney has been jockeying for some time to reverse the order of the songwriting credits—from "Lennon and McCartney" to "McCartney and Lennon"—for Beatles songs that McCartney wrote solely or mainly on h
Rumors Before The Internet
November 11, 2009
Forty years ago, the rumor that Paul McCartney had died, and that the Beatles had covered up his death while for some reason scattering clues of it in their albums, leapt from the counterculture to the mainstream, where it briefly transfixed millions. The key event in the rumor going viral was a Michigan Daily article by student Fred LeBour. Michigan Today recounts the story: On the morning of October 14, the university community awoke to the shocking and incredible report that one of the world's most popular and beloved entertainers was no more.
October 22, 2008
Books about John Lennon shouldn't leave out his music.
December 26, 2005
Chaos and Creation in the Backyard Paul McCartney The last time Paul McCartney made an album in the vein of his latest CD, Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, John Lennon was alive to hear it.
God Only Knows
October 25, 2004
Brian Wilson Presents Smile (Nonesuch) No masterpiece is so great as a lost one—a symphony unfinished, a painting painted over, a novel shredded or suppressed. Largely or wholly unheard, unseen, or unread, such a work derives its life, as most objects of legend do, from scraps of generative evidence and the accretion of romantic speculation about them, and it takes its lasting if ethereal form in the creative imagination of the public. The lost masterpiece is the only artwork that is perfect, the fulfillment of all our artistic dreams, because it exists primarily or solely within them. Incom
This Year's Model
October 06, 2003
North Elvis Costello (Deutsche Grammophon) Why don't we let rock stars grow up? The pop music domain is like a confederation of Never-Never Land and the Island of Lost Boys, where nobody can ever grow old and nasty behavior is the social code. It is some fifty years now since rock and roll began to emerge as a musical style and a cultural phenomenon, originally of a piece with the adolescent rebellion against postwar conservatism that the rebelled-upon used to call juvenile delinquency. The music's surviving originators—Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis, most of the