George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Sitar Lesson and Within You Without You

Posted in George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, The Beatles, Youtube Favs on December 12th, 2012 by Willie

EDIT: Ravi Shankar died yesterday, Tuesday, December 12, 2012, at the age of 92 in Southern California. RIP you beautiful man; legend of music, Beatle guru, sitar master.

Orignally Published May 5, 2011- Part 56 is a double dose adventure of Indian/English fun.  First we have an awesome rare clip of George Harrison in India taking a sitar lesson with legendary sitar master Ravi Shankar in 1966.  After the Beatles quit touring the mad, mad, world in early 1966, they all took long vacations.  George decided to take his wife, Patti Boyd, to India, where he met Ravi, and insisted on becoming his apprentice.  The first video shows Ravi instructing George on some scales near a beautiful lake and mountain, while Ravi narrates the experience, expressing total shock and bewilderment at why a pop musician of George’s stature would be interested in classical Indian music.  Of course, George’s interest in sitar music caused an international explosion in the instrument and genre, and made Ravi Shankar an international star.  Video two shows the results of all of these efforts, “Within You Without You,” the second best song off Sgt. Pepper, (“A Day in the Life” being the best.)  This song is so incredible.  It’s a total masterpiece of artistic expression.  John Lennon said it best about the song, saying that George was “so clear” on this track, and that it was one of his favorite songs.  The lyrics are some of the most brilliant in the entire Beatles catalog, and sonically, its just perfect, a psychedelic joyride through George’s Indian soaked mind.  I also think its a stunningly original song coming from a man who adopted gurus to learn from his whole life, (Perkins, Lennon, McCartney, Dylan.)  This song has nothing to do with any of those guys, its just pure George, and its brave of him to stick his head out, in the Beatles of all groups, with a song like this.  And its undeniably fantastic!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

"Man on the Moon" Walter Cronkite's Broadcast

Posted in NASA, Youtube Favs on August 25th, 2012 by Willie

UPDATE: Neil Armstrong passed away today at the age of 82. I posted this last August 13th, 2011, and as a tribute to his extraordinary life, I’m reposting it today in tribute to one of mankind’s greatest ambassadors for wisdom and peace.

I’m a huge fan of John F. Kennedy, the 34th President of the United States.  JFK was a brilliant man who had a vision to send Americans to the moon before the Soviet Union did it.  He correctly surmised that even though we were behind in the space race, if Americans could send a man to the moon first, the historic achievement would be so vast that it would place us light years ahead of the Soviets in the race to explore space.  Here is a highlight of his most famous speech about going to the moon delivered at Rice University in 1962.

The full speech is extraordinary, and you can watch it by clicking anywhere on this sentence.

On July 20th, 1969, Kennedy’s vision came to fruition as the Apollo 11’s lunar module spacecraft, Eagle, touched down on the moon’s surface in the “Sea of Tranquility.”  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent 21 hours on the moon’s surface while Command Module Pilot Michael Collins orbited in the Columbia before he picked them up.  They returned to Earth on July 24th, splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.  It was one of human history’s greatest achievements ever.  I was born in 1984, and consequently missed this historic occasion.  Luckily, the kind users of youtube have uploaded a special documentary of the original CBS broadcast, expertly hosted by Walter Cronkite, which I will display below.  It is a thrilling document of history, and makes you kind of sad that very little in today’s news and course of human events can rival the majestic profundity of this moment.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beatles, I'm in Love, Ultra Rare Song

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on May 14th, 2012 by Willie

Well, its been a few weeks since I’ve updated the website.  Mainly I’ve been busy working on my next creative endeavor, covering the song I’m posting today.  Its the dream of many a Beatle fan/musician to do their own version of a famed Beatle or solo Beatle song.  I’ve toyed with this dream for years, wondering which of the endless stream of hits to put my own humble little stamp on.  No matter what song you pick though, always has the caveat of never living up to the Beatle recording.  Even the greatest Beatle covers by the world’s biggest acts simply do not live up to the perfection the Beatles achieved in the studio.  When I discovered, “I’m in Love,” a lost ballad written by John Lennon in 1963, I knew I struck gold.  Not only is the song mostly incomplete, leaving open some room for interpretation, it is hardly known save for a subset of hardcore Beatle audiophiles who have combed over every inch of cruddy bootleg tape.  The version below is a minute and thirty seconds of John and a piano, singing the song in 1963.  What’s remarkable about this demo is that it sounds like it could easily be John in 1971 working on a new track for a solo record.  The lyrics, the emotion, the spirit of genuineness, and universalism, are all present in this wonderful and fragile piece of pop songwriting.  My cover is coming along nicely, and I hope to have it done in a few weeks.  Until then, here is the preview, a priceless artifact of sonic soul.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Unicorns, Sea Ghost

Posted in The Unicorns, Youtube Favs on March 20th, 2012 by Willie

I was walking to my new office in Sheepshead Bay this morning when “Sea Ghost” by the Unicorns popped into my shuffle.  As I was strolling down the dirty street towards my destination, I found myself hypnotized by the maritime swing rock of the nautically themed song.  The guitar tone has that perfect garage band crunch, and the melody is both catchy and unpredictable.  In short, its a perfect rock and roll song.  The video below is some crazy fan made video of people running around in ghost costumes, miming the opening piccolo solo, and making merry times to one of the world’s greatest unknown songs. Check it out.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Police, Walking on the Moon, Live

Posted in The Police, Youtube Favs on March 18th, 2012 by Willie

Sting wrote this song while he was drunk in Germany, seems fitting considering the free floating riffs and subject matter.  “Walking on the Moon,” is an unparallelled Police classic, and an example of genuine 80s psychedelia, a sort of rare excursion for 80s pop groups.  Actually the song was originally titled “Walking Round the Room,” which Sting thought was rightfully stupid.  The live performance below is tight and hard edged featuring Sting in one of the worst jackets in human history.  The rest of the band is decked out in normal person clothes, and its easy to imagine what Copeland and Summers must have been thinking concerning the ego level of Sting when their gazes met his visage.  Despite Sting’s violent affront to common fashion sense, the Police are legends, and you’ll have no problem digging this awesome document of their musical power.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bob Dylan, Series of Dreams

Posted in Bob Dylan, Youtube Favs on March 13th, 2012 by Willie

The thing about being a prolific artist with a 40+ year career is that its likely you might release some random epic masterpieces when people are done paying attention to you.  Bob Dylan is such an artist.  His song, “Series of Dreams,” a bootleg from the Oh Mercy sessions, is a fantastic piece of abstract pop.  Given a thunderous production by Daniel Lanois that recalls the late 80s/early 90s peculiar air of serious grandiosity, “Series of Dreams,” is one of Bob Dylan’s best later period songs.  Unlike other songs about his dreamscapes, this one is rather straightforward; a meditation on the elusive nature of dreams that may be meaningless, or may not.  It’s also a sly comment on how people, and even himself, perhaps look too much into his dreams and the lyrics and music they inspire.  It’s also serves as a manly sort of reflection of an everyman looking back at his life and all the dreams he’s dreamt…reminds me as the sort of the song that Clint Eastwood might appreciate.  The video is a beautiful hodgepodge of classic Dylan clips given that universal circle of life 90s editing style, you know, the sort of style that tries to capture and summarize a lifetime worth of moments with a new age touch.  It’s at once both dated and beautiful, and one of my favorite Dylan clips available on YouTube.  Check it out.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

John Lennon, New York City, Live in Madison Square Garden

Posted in John Lennon, Youtube Favs on March 9th, 2012 by Willie

Well, I’m back in America, the land I love, and the city that made me, New York.  After 48 hours of near continuous travel by boat, car, and plane, I’ve made it home to Brooklyn.  Over the last five months I’ve been to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Bangkok, and Railay Beach in southern Thailand.  For someone who has never left the USA before, and never really planned to, it was an eye opening experience.  I found people in the Australasia region to be both extremely warm and friendly, and positive to Americans especially because they love Barrack Obama.  Thanks Mr. President for making Americans cool again overseas.  I’ve also arrived just in time for the American Spring, which will lead right into summer, giving me 3 summers in a row, suck it winter.  I’ve only been in New York for 24 hours, but I’m already looking for a new apartment, been invited to a musical, and eaten the most delicious NYC bagel I’ve ever had.  To celebrate even further, I’m posting John Lennon’s performance of “New York City,” from his fabled Madison Square Concert live performance.  I’ve already linked to performances of “Come Together,”  “Mother,” and “Cold Turkey,” from the same concert, so it doesn’t hurt to keep globbing on more of the same Lennony goodness.  Anyway, it’s good to be back, and it’s good to be home, and I look forward to resuming my daily activities of providing you with the best rock and roll music in the world.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , One Year Anniversary! The Beatles, Birthday

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on February 12th, 2012 by Willie

One year ago, as a birthday present to myself, I launched to a total of 12 viewers, 99% of those viewers being myself, and even I wasn’t impressed.  Yes, the start was slow, but over the course of the year, after presenting a top 100 list of my favorite youtube videos, being nominated for CBS’s best NYC blogger, and updating you fine folks from all over the world with my own homemade music, I’d like to say that the site has really gained its wings, all with practically zero publicity.  Over the past year, I’ve had close to 140,000 page views, from every state in America, and practically every country in the world.  It’s astounding, and a fantastic motivator to keep going.  The site, if you’ve noticed, has been on a bit of a hiatus the last two weeks as I transition for the last leg of my international journey.  For those not aware, I have been spending time in the beautiful Sydney, Australia the last 5 months.  I’m going to spend the next month in Thailand, and will have very limited internet access.  The site will kick into full gear again around late March, when I return to New York City, so stay tuned.  Lastly, I couldn’t have an update without some music, and I couldn’t celebrate an anniversary without the Beatles.  So here is some cobbled together fake live performance of “Birthday,” the Beatles White Album thriller for you all to enjoy.  Again, thanks a lot to everyone, I couldn’t do it without you.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sly Stone, You Really Got Me, Fantastic Kinks Cover

Posted in Sly Stone, The Kinks, Youtube Favs on February 8th, 2012 by Willie

Sly Stone, I can safely say, is the funkiest man ever born in Texas.  Ray Davies, the mastermind behind the Kinks, was born of a more dainty British cloth.  Don’t get me wrong, Ray’s rebellious awesomeness cannot be questioned, but there is no doubt that he is crumpet eating, village green strolling, nostalgia reflecting English gentleman.  What was so great about the rock revolution of the 1960s was how world’s so seemingly divergent, could merge through music, in thrillingly unpredictable ways.  The song below is such an instance.  This is a fantastic, funky, and fresh studio outtake of Sly tackling Ray’s garage rock classic, “You Really Got Me.”  Words to describe what awaits you behind the play button are useless in the face of Sly’s sleek and sexy guitar playing.  So, do your soul a favor and groove to this.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun, Lost Guitar Solo

Posted in George Harrison, The Beatles, Youtube Favs on February 4th, 2012 by Willie

Well, this is miraculous.  Here we have a simple video of famed Beatle producer George Martin, his son Giles, and George Harrison’s son Dhani, all playing around with the master track for “Here Comes the Sun.”  Off Abbey Road, “Here Comes the Sun” is probably George’s second greatest song behind “Something,” also from the same record.  That is a matter of opinion, but the undisputed fact is that from 1968-1971, George was operating at an incredible peak of creative intensity, with his work on Abbey Road serving as a precursor for his immense solo masterpiece album All Things Must Pass.  Anyway, in the video, Dhani is fiddling with the dials when he comes across a lost electric guitar solo George recorded years ago.  It is a gorgeous piece of hard electric rock that gives edge to one of George’s sweetest songs.  While the part sounds great, especially to Beatle fans who have memorized every note of their music, it’s not hard to see why it didn’t make the final cut, as the electric flourish takes away from the gentle majesty of the final mix. It’s a shame the Beatles couldn’t tour in their later era because they probably would have added extra solos and changes to their songs that would have spun off countless beautiful variations.  Still, the undisturbed perfection of what remains what makes discovering anything lost so poignant and moving.  Enjoy this clip and pass it to your friends, especially George fans, its magical.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,