17 May 2011

Mixtape Madness #7: John Paul George Ringo Mix

According to the novel High Fidelity the making of a good mix tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. Furthermore, a good mix is never finished. You never know when you will come across a song that changes the dynamic of the mix you just completed. There is a litany of intricacies to crafting the ideal mix no matter what the mix’s intended purpose should be. This feature is merely a guide on the cosmic highway of mix making, and while experienced, the writer does not claim to be an expert.

John Paul George Ringo Mix
EDITOR'S NOTE: The write up below is taken from a gift for a twelve-year-old who was just discovering the Beatles. It was intended to expand their knowledge of the band, their music, and guide them to other classic bands. It is for that reason that the voice presented in this article differs from the norm here at the What.

This is a mix of songs by the Beatles, both as a band and as solo artists after the band broke up in 1970. You’ll notice that musicians like Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, and others performed a lot with the Bealtes after they broke up. What a lot of people don’t know is that many of those musicians played with the Beatles before they broke up too. This list will have plenty more fun facts like that to accompany the great music that the Beatles made. Enjoy!

1. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite – The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
         John Lennon wrote this song mostly on his own, although he did find a little help from his friend Paul. The song is based on an antique poster advertising a circus that Lennon bought while filming a promotional video for “Strawberry Fields Forever.” Eddie Izzard performed a funny version of the song for the movie Across the Universe.
2. My Sweet Lord – George Harrison (All Things Must Pass)
            George Harrison performed this song for his first solo album, which came out right as the Beatles were breaking up. Harrison wrote the song for Billy Preston (a keyboardist who played with the Beatles at their last concert) to use. Harrison was sued over this song because it sounded too similar to a song by the Chiffons called “He’s So Fine.”
3. It Don’t Come Easy – Ringo Starr (Single)
            This song was Ringo’s first single after the break up of the Beatles, and it was actually written about the break up. George Harrison co-wrote the song with Starr and played guitar on the track. Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, and Nash also played guitar for this recording.

4. Band on the Run – Paul McCartney & Wings (Band on the Run)
            Paul McCartney wrote this song with his wife, Linda. It’s about a band being imprisoned and then escaping. A really cool cover version of this song was done by the Foo Fighters in 2007.
5. Instant Karma – John Lennon (Single)
            John Lennon wrote this song one day, recorded it later that day, and it was released just ten days later! It was recorded with the Plastic Ono Band, whose lineup at that time included Lennon, Yoko Ono, Billy Preston, and George Harrison, among others.
6. Dear Prudence – The Beatles (The White Album)
            Just like in Across the Universe, this song was written and sung to someone to try and get them to come out and play. When the Beatles were in India, actress Mia Farrow’s sister Prudence stayed in her room meditating most of the time. Lennon was worried that she was depressed, so he wrote this song.
7. Handle Me With Care – The Traveling Wilburys (Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1)
            The Traveling Wilburys is a super-group that consisted of George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Lynne. The five members of the band were jamming and trying to come up with a song for one of Harrison’s albums when they wrote this song. They liked it so much that they decided to form a band and release an album, with this song as it’s first single.
8. Something – Paul McCartney & Eric Clapton (Concert for George)
            Since the Beatles broke up, several people have been called the “fifth Beatle” including Jeff Lynne of ELO, Billy Preston, and Eric Clapton. In this song, Clapton joins Paul McCartney to pay tribute to George Harrison, who had recently died. The song begins with McCartney playing ukulele, and then Clapton joins in playing guitar.
9. Revolution – The Beatles (White Album)
            This was one of the first political songs by the Beatles. John Lennon had become increasingly aware of social issues and politics, which made Paul McCartney a bit uncomfortable. McCartney preferred simpler topics to write about, but luckily songs like this helped the Beatles become important figures in late-sixties social activism.
10. When We Was Fab – George Harrison (Cloud Nine)
            George Harrison and Jeff Lynne penned this tune about the Beatles (aka the Fab Four). The band that played the song for the album included Harrison and Lynne, as well as Elton John on piano, Eric Clapton on guitars, and Ringo Starr on drums. If you listen closely, you can hear notes and sounds that sound like different Beatles songs.
11. We Can Work It Out – Paul McCartney (The Unplugged Collection)
            Paul McCartney performed this Beatles’ song on MTV Unplugged in 1991. Even though he wrote the song with John Lennon, he still messed up the lyrics in the first verse. Lennon thought that this was the perfect song to describe McCartney’s optimism.
12. Do You Wanna Dance – John Lennon (Rock’n’Roll)
            This song was originally written by Bobby Freeman in the 1950’s and made famous by the Beach Boys. John Lennon decided to record this song and other cover of fifties tunes while visiting the set of Happy Days.
13. Octopus’s Garden – the Beatles (Abbey Road)
            This is one of the few songs written for the Beatles by Ringo Starr. Starr wrote the song after ordering fish and chips, but getting squid instead of fish. The captain of the boat he was on told Starr how Octopi collect stones and shells on the ocean floor to build gardens.
14. End of the Line – The Traveling Wilburys (Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1)
            Every member of the band sings lead vocals on this song except for Bob Dylan. If you like this band, which came together during the recording of George Harrison’s Cloud Nine album, you may like Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
15. What Is Life – George Harrison (All Things Must Pass)
            Just like “My Sweet Lord,” Harrison originally wrote this song for Billy Preston to record. However, Harrison changed his mind and recorded it for his record with a band that included good friend Eric Clapton.
16. Give Peace A Chance – Plastic Ono Band (Single)
            John Lennon wrote this song after being asked a question by a reporter. When asked what he hoped to achieve by protesting, Lennon responded “All we are saying is give peace a chance.” He liked it so much he wrote a song!
17. Love Me Do – The Beatles (Please Please Me)
            This is an early Beatles tune that features John Lennon playing some pretty sweet blues harmonica at the beginning. Paul McCartney wrote the majority of this song while skipping school in the late fifties.
18. Live and Let Die – Paul McCartney & Wings (Live and Let Die)
            Paul McCartney actually wrote this song to be the theme of a James Bond movie of the same name. It was originally going to be performed by another artist, but McCartney liked it so much he asked if he and his band could perform it. It was this version that was used over the opening credits.
19. Got My Mind Set On You – George Harrison (Cloud Nine)
            This was a song originally written and recorded in the early 1960’s. George Harrison wanted to record a cover of the song with the Beatles, but didn’t get the chance until his 1987 solo album Cloud Nine.
20. Imagine – John Lennon (Imagine)
            This song was based on Lennon’s belief that we are all one people, one country, one world. In the song, he imagines what a world would be like without all of the things that divide us. It’s widely regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time.
21. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Tom Petty & Jeff Lynne (Live Performance)
            This performance took place at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony after George Harrison died. Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne traded vocals and played rhythm guitar. Joining them on rhythm guitar was George’s son Dhani. Prince played the lead guitar solo at the end of the song, which was originally played by Eric Clapton on the original Beatles recording. Rolling Stone magazine called Prince’s guitar solo one of the best ever.

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