Empty Garden – From Elton (John) to (John) Lennon

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Of all tribute songs written by a non-Beatle for John Lennon after his senseless killing in December 1980, nothing compares for me to Elton John’s Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny).

The song likens John to a worthy garden caretaker that some inconsequential person took away, “A gardener like that one no one can replace…It’s funny how an insect can damage so much grain…” The lyrics are Bernie Taupin’s, Elton’s lifetime collaborator, while the beautiful melody is, of course, his own.

From what I remember, Elton rarely played it live since the song’s release in his 1982 album Jump Up! because it was painful for him to be reminded of John Lennon’s death. Elton was a close friend to John; their relationship was secured by their musical collaboration in the mid-1970s. Elton and John appeared together in a concert and Elton is Sean’s godfather.

The official video is accessible in youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AABK5eY1DGc.

A harrowing live version of this song performed at the turn of the century at the Madison Square Garden is in this link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xa_7cuGMIGg. Elton at the beginning explains why he rarely performed the song live.

The lyrics are here:

What happened here
As the New York sunset disappeared
I found an empty garden among the flagstones there
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And now it all looks strange
It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain
And what’s it for
This little empty garden by the brownstone door
And in the cracks along the sidewalk nothing grows no more
Who lived here
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
And we are so amazed we’re crippled and we’re dazed
A gardener like that one no one can replace
And I’ve been knocking but no one answers
And I’ve been knocking most all the day
Oh and I’ve been calling oh hey hey Johnny
Can’t you come out to play
And through their tears
Some say he farmed his best in younger years
But he’d have said that roots grow stronger if only he could hear
Who lived there
He must have been a gardener that cared a lot
Who weeded out the tears and grew a good crop
Now we pray for rain, and with every drop that falls
We hear, we hear your name
Johnny can’t you come out to play in your empty garden
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Saddest Beatles Songs

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http://www.myusyk.com came out with Top Ten Saddest Beatles Songs, which is quite a good list. Many may agree, many may not. But at any rate, the main contention would probably be about the ranking. That is what I also feel. But let’s go through the six-minuter youtube to get to the countdown. Here’s the youtube – http://www.myusyk.com/video/1703/top-ten-saddest-beatles-songs/

10. No Reply from Beatles for Sale is about a partner not being upfront

9. Norwegian Wood from Rubber Soul deals with a one-night affair that would not work

8. I’m A Loser from Beatles for Sale is putting a different face despite a regrettable loss

7. You’ve Got To Hide Your love Away from Help! is purportedly about gays

6. Yes It Is, b-side but compiled in Past Masters is a relationship in transition past a previous one

5. For No One from Revolver is about falling out of love

4. She’s Leaving Home from Sgt. Pepper deals with a daughter who elopes. Verdict “…Fun is something money can’t buy”

3. While My Guitar Gently Weeps from The Beatles aka White Album seems to be the singer silently weeping for everybody for not knowing how to unfold love, perversion, control. (probably!)

2. Eleanor Rigby from Revolver is a very lonely picture cast in a painting. Wow what a great poetry!

1. Yesterday from Help! is longing for a past that is forever gone

My own verdict? I don’t know the basis for the Top Ten whether or not it was the lyrics, song structure, melody, or intent of the writer, or all of the above. But I agree with the Top Two.

Now if you talk about the saddest song of The Beatles, for me it should be Eleanor Rigby. On the other hand, if you talk about the saddest Beatles love song, then it should be Yesterday. There is always something in The Beatles lyrics that hits you hard.

Let’s listen to both again courtesy of youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ntiz-Pmvy4 (Yesterday); (Eleanor Rigby) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wssbIgRh0k

Blur

Got my copy of Blur’s album 13 so here they are – the two songs that I really love from this album back in the 1990s: the upbeat Coffee and TV…

…and the gospel-like Tender Is The Night.

U2 have delayed their Buenos Aires gig so fans can watch Argentina’s World Cup qualifier

RHIAN DALY, OCT 10, 2017 3:57 PM EDT

U2 have delayed their Buenos Aires gig so fans can watch Argentina’s World Cup qualifying match.

The country face Ecuador tonight (October 10) and must win if they want to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

The Irish band, who have brought their ‘The Joshua Tree’ tour to South America, have agreed to push back their stage time by almost two hours, according to the gig’s organisers.

As Yahoo reports, fans will be able to watch the match on four big screens at each corner of La Plata stadium, where the show is due to be held.

Producer Daniel Grinbank told Argentinian paper La Nacion: “Can you imagine what the show’s going to be like if Argentina wins? And if we lose, at least we can get rid of the bitterness with a great show. You can’t go wrong.”

U2 will be supported by Noel Gallagher at the show, as they were for the European dates on this world tour. The guitarist recently described supporting the band as “the most fun” he’s ever had.

Speaking to the FC Barcelona website while visiting the Camp Nou stadium while in Spain with U2, he explained how much he was enjoying the tour. “I’ve been touring in one form or another for over 25 years and this is the most fun I’ve ever had,” he said.

“I’m only on stage for an hour. I’m off stage by eight o’clock, half eight. Have summat to eat, something to drink, watch U2, have two days off. We’re playing in all the great cities in Europe. My family are on the road with me [and] my friends. It’s been amazing. They’re been absolutely brilliant every night. They’re one of my favourite ever bands, ever.”


Beatle George Harrison’s sitar auctioned for $62,500 – BBC News

https://www.google.com.ph/amp/s/www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-asia-india-41438617#ampshare=http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-41438617

A sitar owned and played by George Harrison has been sold for $62,500 (£46,581) in the United States. The instrument, purchased from a shop on London’s Oxford Street in 1965, was used by Harrison during the recording of the Beatles song Norwegian Wood.

The Indian string instrument, crafted by a well-known music shop in Kolkata, was later gifted to a friend of Harrison’s first wife, Patti Boyd.

The name of the successful bidder has not been disclosed by the auctioneers.

Bidding for the sitar began on 28 September at $50,000 (£37,327).

Harrison had discovered the sitar in 1965, on the set of the Beatles’ second film, Help.

His love affair with oriental mysticism first became known in Norwegian Wood, John Lennon’s tale of an extra-marital fling. Acoustic guitar and muted bass were augmented by the Indian instrument.

“We’d recorded the Norwegian Wood backing track and it needed something. We would usually start looking through the cupboard to see if we could come up with something, a new sound, and I picked the sitar up – it was just lying around; I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it,” Harrison was quoted as saying in The Beatles Anthologies.

“It was quite spontaneous: I found the notes that played the lick. It fitted and it worked.”

Next year, Harrison gifted the sitar to George Drummond, a friend of Boyd, during the couple’s honeymoon in Barbados.

The Beatles recorded Norwegian Wood – the first Western rock band to use the sitar on a commercial recording – in October 1965, heralding a short lived “raga-rock” genre.

The sitar is an instrument used in Indian classical music

Image captionThe sitar is an instrument used in Indian classical music

A year later, Harrison travelled to India to learn how to play the instrument under the renowned sitar maestro Ravi Shankar.

In an interview with the BBC’s Mark Tully in April 2000, Shankar said when he first heard Harrison playing the sitar in Norwegian Wood, he was not impressed.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said, “it sounded so strange. Just imagine some Indian villager trying to play the violin when you know what it should sound like.”

Harrison later agreed, saying the sitar on Norwegian Wood was “very rudimentary”.

“I didn’t know how to tune it properly, and it was a very cheap sitar to begin with. But that was the environment in the band, everybody was very open to bringing in new ideas.”

Image copyrightNATE D. SANDERSGeorge Harrison's sitar

Image captionThe sitar was auctioned in the US

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

George Martin’s Film Scores, Orchestral Works to Be Released – Rolling Stone

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/george-martins-film-scores-orchestral-works-to-be-released-w506045

The orchestral works of late Beatlesproducer George Martin will be released on a new album, George Martin: The Film Scores and Original Orchestral Compositions, November 10th via Atlas Realisations/Pias Classics. A limited edition double vinyl LP will be available in January 2018.
Conductor Craig Leon and the Berlin Music Ensemble recorded the album at the Meistersaal in Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin. The LP will feature the music Martin penned for films like Yellow Submarine and Live and Let Die, as well as his previously unrecorded choral and orchestral score for The Mission. It will also include new versions of the overture Martin wrote for a 1988 album version of the famous British radio dramaUnder Milk Wood, as well as hisThree American Sketches suite for violin and chamber orchestra and other previously unreleased original compositions.

A short documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album, including footage of Leon conducting the Berlin Music Ensemble through Martin’s Live and Let Die score and “The Pepperland Suite” from Yellow Submarine. Leon said he decided to put together the George Martinproject after finding the producer’s original composition manuscripts.

“When I was going through it, I was just struck by the elegance of the composition and how much they fit the era that I grew up in music, and again made me think how much I wouldn’t have even had the life I had if George Martin hadn’t done what he did,” Leon said. “He bridged the gap between an interpretive producer and a creative producer, which was the thing that I wanted to do.” (Like Martin, Leon has worked in both classical and rock, producingrecords for the Ramones, Blondie,Suicide and more).

Martin, who produced much of the Beatles’ catalog, died in 2016 at the age of 90.