Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

The Great Gig In The Sky

October 23, 2011 Leave a comment

If you were given the chance to put together an all-star band that would play on the most important rock show on earth, who among the great rock legends would you put on the roster? I’ve always had this question in my head so I decided to finally make an entry out of it. I’ve spent a great amount of my time listening to old school rock music and I always found myself in awe with the excellent musicianship displayed by all the individuals who contributed to the genre’s beginnings.

First off all, my ideal rock gig should be headlined by a blues-oriented, guitar-driven jam band. It would have three guitarists, a bassist, a keyboardist and a drummer. Here’s the lineup I came up with:

Drums. Mitch Mitchell

Drums: Mitch Mitchell
From: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Mitch Mitchell is the powerhouse drummer behind Jimi Hendrix’s brainchild. Three words are enough to sum up his greatness: “Bold As Love”.

Bass. Berry Oakley

Bass: Berry Oakley
From: The Allman Brothers Band
Long running bass lines were Berry Oakley’s signature style and it created a different kind of groove which complemented Duane Allman and Dicky Betts’ guitar solos, which is best exemplified in “Mountain Jam”.

Keyboards: Billy Preston

Keys: Billy Preston
Often considered as the fifth Beatle for his role in the band’s legendary rooftop concert, Billy Preston was a session musician who worked with other famous acts such as Ray Charles, Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones to name a few. He eventually had a very successful career as a recording solo artist. “That’s The Way God Planned It” is probably the song that truly displayed his passion for music.

Guitar. Duane Allman

Guitar: Duane Allman
From: The Allman Brothers Band
As a guitarist, one of my greatest frustrations is to learn the slide. For that reason, I truly admire Duane Allman who was a proficient slide guitarist. Like Billy Preston, he was also a session musician before he started the Allman Brothers. The entire live album of the Allman Brothers at the Filmore East is a mind-blowing experience.

Guitar. Jimi Hendrix

Guitar: Jimi Hendrix
From: The Jimi Hendrix Experience/Band Of Gypsys
Nuff said about the man. He revolutionized electric guitar playing with his wild solos and his guitar technique, which combined both lead and rhythm styles into one. It would definitely be interesting to see how the smooth and fine sound of Duane Allman’s slide would jive with the thick and raunchy rhythm of Jimi Hendrix. “Little Wing” captures both the complexity and soul of his remarkable playing style.

Vocals/Guitars. John Lennon

Vocals/Guitar: John Lennon
From: The Beatles
The late great John Lennon: the artist and the rebel with an attitude. “Yer Blues” from the Beatles White Album proved that not only can he play the blues, he can also sing it.

DISCLAIMER: Images used for this entry are taken from the links listed below.
Mitch Mitchell:
Berry Oakley:
Billy Preston:
Duane Allman:
Jimi Hendrix:
John Lennon:


The Beat Goes On

October 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Video streaming sites are one of the best things man ever brought to existence. Thanks to these gold mines, I’ve been getting glimpses of an era that I missed more or less by two decades. I spent the past couple of days watching live performances by old school bands who laid down the foundation of rock and paved the way for the hundreds of artists who followed suit and eventually thrived on the scene. Among them are the Beatles.

The original Fab Four from Liverpool greatly influenced my passion for music. Though I learned about them when I was five, I still have the same amount of interest in their craft when I first saw them featured on a TV documentary which was aired everyday on a local channel. Back then, I only knew that they were a band that were very popular during a time when both my Dad and Mom were just teenagers. It never occurred to me that those four lads with mop-tops managed to change the world and had gotten away with it.

As I grew up, the curiosity I had for them eventually turned into admiration which fueled the desire to learn more about John Lennon, the cynical genius, Paul McCartney, the sentimental charmer, George Harrison, the spiritual introvert and Ringo Starr, the easy-going comic. Each of them contributed a great deal of their soul to what is probably the most influential rock band of the previous century.

From L to R: Ringgo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon

What started as a skiffle group matured into the most iconic figure in rock history that crafted songs that revolutionized the scene. Their sound, which rooted from the rock n’ roll influence of their predecessors such as Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, developed its own entity that is timeless at the same time, unique. Listen to a Beatles track and you will immediately recognize the distinct formula, which bears the template of modern rock music. Initially a guitar-driven act, the sound of the Beatles is composed of John’s impetuous rhythm guitar coupled with George’s blues inspired lead guitar riffs, which are both layered on the combined groove of Paul’s melodic bass lines and Ringo’s trademark drum shuffle.

Perhaps, what really brought the Beatles to their legendary status is the potency of their skill in song composition. Their success is often credited to the most successful songwriting team in rock, the Lennon-McCartney partnership. This collaboration filled up the band’s repertoire from cradle to grave. Though John and Paul’s personality and perspective often clashed, their joint effort brought out the best in each other’s craft. It is also worthy to note that the Beatles also had in their arsenal the raw and budding songwriting talent of George, who also penned a number of superb songs which reflected the spiritual tone of his character.

These elements drove the Beatles from anonymity to fame, which eventually led to the transcendence of their influence beyond the music scene. The Beatles’ presented a simple idea: freedom. This probably was the reason why they instantly became a hit back then. They started a revolution which took the globe by surprise and forever changed how common people lived their lives. In a way, they offered an alternative to the uptight way of life folks back then were accustomed to.

Some say the Beatles’ rise to fame wrought adverse effects to our culture and even started the emergence of sex, drugs, alcohol, and other negative stuff currently present in our society. That may be true. However, you can’t help but think about the fact that the Beatles have come and gone yet, most of us cling to the temporary fixes these things offer. Personally, I think the Beatles gave the world an excellent perspective on how to live life with freedom, peace and love but as always, the rest of us only noticed the superficial perks that came along with it. I think at the end of the day, whatever trend or fad may be shoved unto us, it is always our personal responsibility to choose whether we accept all that it has to offer and let it dictate how we live or just incorporate the good things from it into our lives and let it guide us into making this world a more livable place to be. I choose the latter and for me, the Beat will go on and on.

A dialogue between a young John Lennon and Paul McCartney from the 2009 movie, “Nowhere Boy”:
John: Why do you know so much? I mean you don’t seem like the rock and roll kind of guy.
Paul: What you mean because I don’t go around smashing things up and… acting like dick?
John: Yeah.
Paul: No. It’s the music. That’s it. Just the music. Simple.

DISCLAIMER: Image used for this entry is taken from the link below.
The Beatles: