My 20th and final Beatles program of the month will be another round of "Band of the Sixties" at the Estes Valley Library District (335 E. Elkhorn Ave, Estes Park, CO) this evening from 4-5pm. It will conclude what has been an extraordinarily successful lecture tour - and one that I hope to reprise next June! Although nothing is yet booked, it appears that Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri in addition to Wisconsin and Illinois are strong candidates for a June 2015 tour.
On the 50th anniversary of the release of the album A Hard Day's Night (at least in England - the US release was July 10), 8 hours of driving today will get me to Cheyenne, Wyoming for another rendition of "Band of the Sixties" from 7:00-8:30pm at the Laramie County Library (2200 Pioneer Ave, Cheyenne, WY).
The biggest news of the day, however, is that I received an email from Dr. Ken Womack of Penn State Altoona (who organized the "International Beatles Conference" at the same University this past February in commemoration of the Beatles' first Ed Sullivan broadcast, at which I participated) inviting me to contribute a chapter to an anthology of Beatles scholarship. With a deadline of October 1, authoring this chapter on "The Beatles and the Avant-Garde" is now my top priority!
Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton (or maybe it was Kenosha to the Newton, Iowa Days Inn) yesterday, and continue on to Lincoln, Nebraska today, where this evening will be another round of "Band of the Sixties" from 6:30-7:30pm at the Bess D. Walt Library (6701 S 14th St, Lincoln, NE).
The debut of "Carte Blanhe: The Beatles' White Album" on Thursday had a small but very engaged audience - about 20 total. "Carte Blanche" is the first program I've done that includes a group discussion after the program (in which we debate which half of The White Album to keep and which half to discard in an effort to whittle it down to a single disc instead of a double). That went so well, that I think I will make an effort to find ways of holding similar discussions after some other programs. But I'll have to think about what such discussions could be added to which programs before implementing them.
Where "Carte Blanche" was the late of my Illinois programs for 2014, so too tomorrow's "The Beatles: Band of the Sixties" will be the last Wisconsin program for this year. This one at the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library (431 West Center St, Whitewater, WI) from 1:00-2:30pm.
This morning from 11am to noon CT I'll be on the radio show "Word of Mouth" on WRLR, 98.3 FM (or listen online at wrlr.fm), and this evening I'm debuting a program on The White Album at 6:30pm in the McHenry Public Library (809 Front St, McHenry, IL). I am particularly looking forward to the group discussion to follow in which we will debate which White Album tracks should be removed to whittle the double album down to a single disc. I have held such a discussion once previously, but it was with just two others. I suspect we'll get much more lively and animated dialogue with a substantially larger group tonight!
The 23rd song credited Lennon/McCartney but recorded by artists other than the Beatles was Paul McCartney's "Goodbye". Paul recorded a demo featuring his singing and guitar playing in February 1969.
The demo was then given to Mary Hopkin to record in the studio, which was done on March 1 and 2 of the same year. Hopkin sings and plays acoustic guitar, while McCartney adds bass, "body percussion" (thigh slaps), and overdubs the guitar introduction and solo. Backing vocals and additional instruments were added, too. Macca also produced the recording, which was commercially released on 28 March 1969.
Hopkin eventually regretted the recording, admitting to Goldmine in 2007, "Although I’m flattered that Paul wrote 'Goodbye' especially for me, it was, I believe, a step in the wrong direction for me. I’m so grateful that he chose 'Those Were The Days' as my first single. I think 'Those Were The Days', being originally a Ukrainian folk song, has a timeless quality, but 'Goodbye' is set firmly in the sixties pop era."
Despite an audience smaller than usual (18), "Band of the Sixties" went extremely well at the Waterford Public Library yesterday. The best way to determine an audience's engagement is by the type and quantity of questions asked following the program. One question last night was about songs written by John Lennon and/or Paul McCartney, but given to other artists to record, which reminds me of my series of "Beatles Giveaways" blogs that I have ignored for some time now. I plan to post the 23rd contribution to that series immediately after posting this.
Looking ahead, today (on Paul McCartney's 72nd birthday) I am debuting "The History of Rock 'n' Roll" from 7-8pm at the Greenfield Public Library (5310 W Layton Ave, Greenfield, WI).
Yesterday's debut of "The Music of Star Wars" was successful overall. I have to admit I was hoping for more people (there were 19 excluding myself), and although I was quite pleased with the material, research, and analysis presented, I was not terribly pleased with the delivery. I suppose that is to be expected for a program debut and that should improve as I give the program more.
Following the presentation, one person asked about a wrong note played by a trumpet in the end credits of Episode IV: A New Hope. I had never noticed it, but after a bit of online research I did find several sources that do mention it. Listening again, I can hear something that's not quite right at 4:07, but it may just be an out of tune note rather than an actual 'wrong note'. Either way, it's the kind of thing that could easily slip past an editor, as this apparently did. Take a listen and judge for yourself:
In any case, I leave the galaxy far far away and return to the 1960's with another rendition of "The Beatles: Band of the Sixties" tonight from 6:30-7:30pm at the Waterford Public Library (101 N River St, Waterford, WI).
Saturday's "Band of the Sixties" at the St. Francis Public Library went exceptionally well, with about 20 very attentive and engaged attendees, who asked about 20 minutes of great questions afterwards. One man (jokingly) asked if I took Preludin before the program (meaning I was apparently very energetic in my delivery). While I can't say I've ever taken Preludin (or anything comparable, for that matter), I'm actually quite pleased with that comment because it's very easy to lose energy when I give the same program over and over again. This was my 27th time presenting "Band of the Sixties", and at times in the past, I've felt like a robot because I use the same slideshow, and say the basically the same thing each time I give "Band of the Sixties". When that happens, the energy of the program is severely curtailed. Having someone ask if I took Preludin before Saturday's program, then, implies that despite the repetitions I've not lost any energy.
In contrast with "Band of the Sixties", today will see the premier of "The Music of Star Wars: A Look at John Williams' Orchestral Scores" at the Racine Public Library (75 7th st, Racine, WI). Where my Beatles programs draw primarily those who lived through the Beatles years, I suspect my Star Wars program will draw all ages. We'll find out this evening.
Back at it with another "Band of the Sixties" program (my 6th "Band of the Sixties" progam this month, and 12th program this month overall) at 1pm in the St. Francis Public Library, 4230 S Nicholson Ave, St Francis, WI.
I'm also considering attending the Brewers game this evening. We'll see...
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.