Richard’s “Tokyo Beatles” piece inspired me to dig up a video from one of my favorite Bollywood films Janwar, which feature’s The Indian Beatles and stars Bollywood legend Shammi Kapoor. Shammi’s the cat with the moptop and the cheesy looking white Beatle jacket and black bowtie. Kapoor was known as the Elvis Presley of Hindi cinema, but in this clip, he looks more like Shep of the Three Stooges.
The song in the clip is Dekho Ab Tu and the music and lyrics are credited to Shankar Jaikishan, Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra. But, you’d have to be deaf not to recognize it as I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Lots of Beatles on the blog of late, but that’s okay, you can never have enough Beatles, can you? Of course not!
The Tokyo Beatles were a cover band with a couple of twists (and shouts) that set them apart from other Beatles tribute acts. First off, they were, obviously, Japanese, and sang horribly mangled Japanglish versions of Lennon and McCartney’s compositions. There were also only three of them and their arrangements were kinda, almost jazzy, considering what they were setting out to do. I have a copy of their only album, Meet the Tokyo Beatles, which came out on RCA in 1964. I got it as a gift from Pizzicato Five’s Yasuharu Konishi back in 1994 when I was in Japan.
There is hardly any information on these guys anywhere, either in English or in Japanese. I found an old LIFE magazine article (from an amazing (for its vintage) “Youth in Japan” theme issue) that mentions them and has a pic, but the only real information it imparts is that the Tokyo Beatles were making only $85 dollars a month, in marked contrast to the incomes of the real Beatles and that they had more hair than talent! Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, The Tokyo Beatles!!
Sorry for the lazy post, but the only thing I can think of to say about this guy and his sidekick is: What fucking assholes. In the video above, a “man of God” deludes himself that he’s fighting demonic forces (that would be teh gays) at a National Organization for Marriage (NOM) tour stop on 18 July, 2010. What an ugly, hateful display of ignorance and superstition! Jesus wouldn’t want anything to do with them.
“There are many who have laid with me, then got up and walked away from me.” Following on from Brad’s post about the Phil Spector rarities, here’s another, the amazing single he produced for Cher in 1975, A Woman’s Story.
Someone once called Cher’s 70s output “whore operas” and that’s an especially pointed way to describe A Woman’s Story. Written by Nino Tempo, April Stevens and Phil Spector, it’s the plaintive lament of “a woman who was passed around” who has now found true love in her life, and who desperately wants and needs this love. It’s a really tense, haunting, moving, gorgeous, slow-burning number, fairly unique in both Spector’s, as well as Cher’s, oeuvre. It took me years to track the 45 down (or it may have been a gift, I can’t recall) but as you can hear, it’s an absolute show stopper.
As much as I love it, I actually prefer the Marc Almond cover version from his 1986 EP, titled A Woman’s Story. He really gives his all to this song and it’s interesting to hear his voice’s similarity to Cher’s, who I’ve noted tends rarely to go up a note, but rather down, when she sings. Both singers, Cher and Marc, do not have what we’d call “good” singing voices, but they are amongst the very finest vocalists of our time because they found a way to use their vocal shortcomings and make them work for them, incorporating their idiosyncrasies to develop instantly recognizable singing voices. Download Cher’s version here.
The original flip sides to everybody’s favorite convicted murderer/hugely influential pop music producer Phil Spector‘s string of mega-hits issued on his own Philles label have never been re-issued in any way. Hell, they aren’t even on the above pictured Flips and Rarities LP ! It’s also damn near impossible to get information about these tracks (mostly named for the musicians playing on them or other members of Spector’s crew) let alone hear them so I was thrilled to find this collection of 15 or so of them uploaded to Youtube in bunches. It’s fascinating listening. Ostensilbly these were instrumental throwaways: Jams, half-songs, pseudo jazz workouts whose pupose, I believe, was to ensure that no DJ anywhere would be confused as to which side was the A side. But it’s obvious that Spector was also using these tracks to really push his sonic experiments: Crazy huge reverbs, echo, overloaded pre-amps (I hear the genesis of The Beatles’ Savoy Truffle horns in here), wild-ass solos, etc. I’d sure love to have these all collected and properly mastered. Until then can someone out there tell me where else to find these tracks collected ?
New Orleans musicians Bennie Pete of The Hot 8 Brass Band, trumpet player Shamarr Allen, rapper Dee-1 and Paul Sanchez of Cowboy Mouth collaborated on Sorry Ain’t Enough No More, a stinging slap in the face of Tony Hayward and British Petroleum.
Protest music is alive and well in this powerful video.