Posts Tagged ‘George Harrison’

New song: “Deadline.”

July 26, 2010

Click here for my latest song, “Deadline.” It’s a song about anticipation, about wanting something RIGHTNOW.  As was the case with “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song),”I was inspired by my experiences as a newspaper editor — this time, I was thinking of the times I’ve spent waiting for a story to be turned in. Musically, I was going for a later-period George Harrison sound.

UPDATE: If you like what you hear, you can buy the song at here and at iTunes right here.

(For fellow music-production nerds, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, with plugs by IK Multimedia among others. I recorded background vocals with a TNC (Chinese import) ribbon mic into a TNC preamp, and the lead vocal was recorded with a Audio Technica 4047 into a Groove Tubes Brick preamp. I used my Line 6 Variax electric guitar along with a $30 Craigslist find, a 60’s-era Teisco for the slide guitar parts).

Here are the lyrics:

Here I sit, I’m waiting again
I can’t quit until you hit “send”
Taking your time to polish all your phrases
Never you mind if I make some changes

(chorus:) I will live a life sublime
Told in tales of endless rhyme
If only you reply in time
For my deadline

All the pieces will fall into place
All my questions will vanish into space
Biding my time till night turns into day
Walking the line until you come my way


All of my passion, all of my pain
Would find compassion
If not for your disdain


The Traveling Wilburys: a book review

May 7, 2010

In the grand rock tradition of supergroups, none can surpass the Traveling Wilburys. George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne merged several of the 20th centuries greatest musical themes: rockabilly, Beatlemania, ballad rock, folk-rock and arena rock among them.

Unfortunately, the story of how the group came to be — and how they did what they did — has been relatively overlooked in the annals of rock music. That’s why Genesis Publications’ limited edition book “Traveling Wilburys” should be on any serious music lover’s list.

The book, signed by Jeff Lynne, immerses readers into the group and its work with an innovative use of photos, memos, doodles and hand-written lyrics — some reproduced on small memo-pad-sized sheets and stuck between the full-sized pages — culled from the group’s sessions between 1988 and 1990.

The story is told through the voices of the Wilburys, with occasional asides from a few close friends and family, as well as group “side man” Jim Keltner, who provided drums on most of the tracks on the supergroup’s two albums.

Petty, Lynne and Keltner

The stories they tell offer a fascinating glimpse inside the world of these superstar musicians. The group came out of an album Harrison was finishing with Lynne as producer called Cloud Nine. Somehow — the precise explanations vary — Harrison and Lynne began dreaming of putting together a faux group with luminaries like Dylan and Orbison.

Within days, the four, along with Tom Petty, were working on the nub of an idea Harrison had for a song. As Harrison tells the story, after the group recorded the guitar track at Dylan’s home studio, he realized he needed lyrics:

I look behind his garage door and there was this big cardboard box that said “Handle With Care” on it. And that was it. Once we got the title, it just went off. The lyrics were flying around. We could have had 29 verses to that tune, it was brilliant.

Harrison submitted the song to his label as a b-side to his next single, “This is Love,” but both label and artist quickly realized the song was too good for a b-side.

Thus, the Traveling Wilburys was born.

As famous and accomplished as each member was, it is clear that Orbison was considered the true star. As Barbara Orbison said:

Roy might be in the kitchen and George would come down and say, “I have Roy Orbison in my kitchen!” And I would say, “You know, we’ve been here now for three weeks.”

The book also recounts the shock after Orbison’s sudden death after the first album was finished, and days before a video for “End of the Line” was to be shot. They went ahead with the shoot but chose to highlight an empty rocking chair during Orbison’s vocal parts.

The surviving Wilburys went on to record a second album with its idiosyncratic title, “Volume 3.” While its sales were disappointing, a boxed set of the two albums ended up going to No. 1 in Great Britain and No. 9 in the U.S. in 2007.

All in all, The Traveling Wilburys book offers an intimate look at a historic moment in musical history. At $345, the limited-edition book offers no larger meanings or broader context. But it does allow participants, and those closest to them, to tell their tales directly. And those tales deserve to be treasured, as it is unlikely we will see a group like this again.

“Serendipity” — the music video

February 1, 2010

Here is the just-released music video for my song “Serendipity.” It was conceived, shot and edited by the fabulous Elie Gardner of St. Louis. She did a great job, given what she had to work with!

As I wrote last year in a blog post, “Serendipity” was my attempt to say that even a calamity — in this case, a flood — can end up being a positive thing. Musically I was going for a Tom Petty/Jeff Lynne/ELO/George Harrison kind of sound. I recorded it via Sonar Producer Edition, using an Audio Technica 4047 and a Groove Tubes Brick preamp, for all you fellow recording nerds.

And, if by some odd chance you really like the song, it IS available on iTunes or Amazon.


New Beatles track rumored once again

July 6, 2009

As true Beatles fans know, there were at least four John Lennon songs that Yoko Ono gave the three surviving Beatles in the early 1990s in connection with the Anthology project. Two of the songs — “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” — were completed by the “Threetles” and producer Jeff Lynne and released. One, “Grow Old With Me,” was apparently deemed too complete for Lennon’s three bandmates to mess with.

But there was a fourth — “Now and Then” — that has been the subject of persistent Internet rumors.

A recording of the raw, low-quality, cassette track is floating around the Internet (it’s pretty easy to find.) It’s a rambling, reflective, minor-key piano ballad that seems to be in mid-birth. Lennon was quite free in his songwriting, often taking bits of songs and moving them to other songs as he saw fit (and completely rewriting lyrics, as he did when he changed “A Child of Nature” into “Jealous Guy.”)

It’s been widely reported that Paul, George and Ringo worked on Lennon’s “Now and Then” recording, but gave up after a time. Lynne told an interviewer in 1995:

“There was one afternoon messing with it, but a lot of words weren’t there. We did a rough backing track. It was a very sweet song and I wish we could have finished it. The decision was made to do something already complete. Also because of the [limited] time frame.”

I remember another report saying that George wasn’t keen on the critical reaction to “Free and a Bird” and resisted finishing work on “Now and Then.”

Whether or not that’s true, now there are fresh rumors about the recording. This report claims that all four Beatles’ work is on the track.

Which brings us to the YouTube video above. This is the quite creative work of someone identified as “Bojon0307”, who has taken the Lennon recording and added instrumentation as well as backing vocals from some Beatles tracks to make what he or she imagines might be a new Beatles track. Well done indeed, though I don’t care for the animated Lennon “singing”the song…

Although I have mixed feelings about the “Threetles”‘ Anthology-era releases, I sort of hope that the rumors are true and that Paul and Ringo will release “Now and Then.” Wouldn’t you love to hear it?

Jeff Lynne to complete George Harrison’s unfinished tracks

June 18, 2009


Here’s a report confirming that ELO founder/producer/Wilbury Jeff Lynne will finish some tracks that George Harrison started and never completed before his death. Harrison’s widow, Olivia, said in a recent interview that there are many unfinished tracks, and that she would seek help to finish them off.

Harrison’s music, of course, was treated to a career retrospective released this week, “Let it Roll.” I just received a copy and I will be sharing my impressions soon.

Jeff Lynne is an obvious choice. He was a true friend of Harrison’s, and he produced the two “Threatles” songs in the 1990s that were released on Anthology: Free as a Bird and Real Love.

Also, Lynne used admirable restraint in producing Harrison’s posthumous release, 2002’s “Brainwashed.” He did not insist on the prototypical ELO/Lynne drum sound, nor did he ladle on excess strings or synths.

Still, I sure hope he asks Paul and Ringo to play on at least some of the tracks. That would be fitting, wouldn’t it?

New video: The Beatles Rock Band

June 17, 2009


Here’s the latest video promotion for the Beatles Rock Band game. Pretty creative stuff here! Thanks to Lee Glynn of the St. Pete Times for pointing this out. Enjoy!