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.

A harrowing live version of this song performed at the turn of the century at the Madison Square Garden is in this link. 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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Source: https://www.google.com.ph/search?q=the+beatles+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjP__W4xMLZAhVCtpQKHScAAnAQ7AkIQQ&biw=1242&bih=557#imgrc=DgmFmmKExuMu9M:

http://www.myusyk.com [which cannot be anymore reached] came out five years ago with Top Ten Saddest Beatles Songs, which is quite a good list. Many may agree, but equally many may not. At any rate, the main contention would probably be about the ranking. That is what I also feel. Sad that the six-minuter youtube video is no longer accessible to launch the countdown. Anyway, here is the list with my own description of each song.

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

Paul McCartney Number 1 as “Egypt Station” Gets Last Minute Sales Surge from Revelation of Beatles Pleasure-Fest

Hey you, Paul. Congratulations!

by Roger Friedman – 

Paul McCartney, his team, and Capitol Records should be proud of themselves. “Egypt Station” finished its first week at number 1 with huge numbers. They were much better than predicted and er, came at the last minute.

The album, McCartney’s first in five years, sold 145,777 copies according to BuzzAngle. Not only that, but 140K of those sales were pure CDs and paid downloads. Streaming was minimal.

That news is great because those are ‘real’ sales, with higher royalties. And fans wanted the album package to keep, not just listen to passively. They were committed.

McCartney worked like a dog on this debut. The marketing campaign has been intense, starting with the two James Corden shows on CBS. McCartney also appeared at private fan shows in London and New York, and streamed the latter on YouTube. Spotify is carrying the audio of McCartney’s Abbey Road show from London.

And who knows? Maybe McCartney’s revelation that he and Lennon pleasured themselves together as young men back in the day was the final magic. Early in the debut week, “Egypt Station” was not doing that well. By Wednesday, before the NY Post cover recalling the raunchy story, the album was only at 25,000. But once the anecdote– which broke in GQ magazine’s UK edition– hit the media, there was a last minute, ahem, surge in sales.

Back on the 13th, Hitsdailydouble.com and BuzzAngle were predicting McCartney sales between 115 and 125K. So something definitely aroused those sales. Most punsters fashioned Beatles titles to go along with it, but few realized McCartney had already given them the best pun from the new album with the song “Come on to Me.”

http://www.showbiz411.com/2018/09/15/paul-mccartney-number-1-as-egypt-station-gets-last-minute-sales-surge-from-revelation-of-beatles-pleasure-fest

Paul McCartney’s ‘Egypt Station’ Set for No. 1 Debut on Billboard 200 Chart

Paul McCartney in the Oct. 2018 issue of GQ.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The top 10 of the Sept. 22-dated Billboard 200 chart (where Egypt Station may bow at No. 1) is scheduled to be revealed on Billboard’s websites on Sunday, Sept. 16.

The likely No. 2 set on next week’s Billboard 200 will be Kamikaze, which could slide from No. 1 into the runner up slot in its second week, with perhaps 125,000 units. It bowed atop the list with 434,000 units in its first week, according to Nielsen Music.

Other albums heading for likely top 10 debuts on next week’s chart include Lauren Daigle’s Look Up Child and Russ’ ZOO. Meanwhile, Mac Miller’s recent release, Swimming, may return to the top 10, following his death on Sept. 7. The set debuted at No. 3 on the list dated Aug. 18.

Source: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/chart-beat/8475299/paul-mccartney-egypt-station-number-1-debut-billboard-200

In The Blue Light

…the new release from Paul Simon gets the nod from Rolling Stone magazine.

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“New versions of deep cuts from throughout his solo career remind us he’s still a perfectionist after all these years,” writes David Browne.

VIENNA, VA - JUNE 27, 2016: Paul Simon is seen while preparing for performances in the Filene Center at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia on June 27, 2016. Simon, now 74, just released a record and is touring with the new material.
T.J. Kirkpatrick/Redux

Leave it to Paul Simon to look back not with anger but with fussiness. Timed to coincide with his farewell tour, In the Blue Light finds Simon rifling through his back catalog and remaking ten cuts from his post-Garfunkel albums. Given how notoriously meticulous he’s always been, you’d think Simon would have gotten these takes right the first time, but let’s not forget this is someone who released an album with not one but two songs called “Think Too Much.”

Simon is hardly the first musician to revisit his or her work, but the twist here is he’s opted for ten largely obscure songs from his solo albums. (Yes, he’s been thinking too much about his deep cuts, too.) As these sorts of projects go, it’s actually a smart decision; we certainly don’t need studio makeovers of “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Still Crazy After All These Years” or “You Can Call Me Al.” At its best, In the Blue Light amounts to a dream set list for devoted PaulHeads who wish he’d do entire shows of rarities and not bother with oft-played hits like “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Graceland” and “Late in the Evening.”

Start, for instance, with “How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” from the soundtrack to his flop 1980 movie One-Trick Pony. The original was gauzy and slouchy, the musical equivalent of a sigh, but he’s recast the song as woozy jazz, complete with Wynton Marsalis’ mellow trumpet. It’s as if Simon had dropped by a club after a hard day at the office and sat in with the house band, and the after-hours mood is a terrific match for the song’s despondent tone. He gives a similar last-round-of-the-night makeover to “Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy,” one of the least remembered songs from Still Crazy After All These Years.

Some of the other remakes are equally, and surprisingly, gratifying. Working with the chamber music ensemble yMusic, he changes up “Can’t Run But” (from 1990’s The Rhythm of the Saints) from a slice of hypnotic Brazilian world music into Philip Glass-style modern classical music. Simon takes the same tack with 1983’s enchanting “René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War,” the elegantly old-school Hearts and Bones ballad that deserves to be rediscovered. Even though the haunting doo-wop harmonies of the first version are now gone, it too benefits from yMusic’s sawing-strings accompaniment.

But leave it to Simon—who made Nile Rodgers play 90-something guitar takes for one session—to redo songs in ways that don’t exactly overhaul the originals. “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor,” his darkly comic litany of urban-life neuroses from 1973’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, repeats its descending-piano and doesn’t add much other than Simon’s now lower timbre. Simon appears to have the most issues with his 2000 album You’re the One, since he’s revamped four songs from it.

In a perverse move, “Pigs, Sheep and Wolves,” his anti-racial-profiling dig, is now a jaunty Mardi Gras march, but the alterations in the other You’re the One tracks are so slight you wonder why he bothered. Few beyond Simon will notice that “The Teacher” is more unplugged than the mild-mannered clank of the original or that “Love” and “Darling Lorraine” move at a slightly peppier clip than the versions we already know. (Simon does, however, seem to relish the “She’s so hot!” line in the latter more than in the preceding version.) It’s likely that only Simon will notice the differences—which, in a way, makes this one of the most Paul Simon albums of all.

There’s third season for Designated Survivor after all

“It will become a Netflix exclusive, even in the US,” reports Mariella Moon

Ben Mark Holzberg/ABC
Netflix has saved President Tom Kirkman’s re-election bid from failure by snapping up Designated Survivor after ABC canceled the show. According to Deadline, the third season of Kiefer Sutherland’s political thriller will be a global Netflix original — yup, even in the US and Canada, where it’s streaming on Hulu. Its creator’s deal with Hulu reportedly made the transition to Netflix tougher than it should be. In the end, though, they were able to hammer out a deal that involves giving Netflix exclusive streaming rights to the show’s first two seasons in the US and Canada starting this fall. The title is already available on the platform in other countries.

 

Netflix VP of Content Bela Bajaria said in a statement:

“Timely and gripping, Designated Survivor has quickened the pulses of our Netflix members outside the US and Canada in its first two seasons. The international audience for the show drove our interest to bring the show to the world as a Netflix original for its third season and we are excited to bring the first 2 seasons to our US and Canadian members as well.”

ABC dropped Designated Survivor after its second season experienced a drop in ratings: It suffered in its 10PM time slot and couldn’t perform as well as its first season did. However, it did well in delayed viewing, making it a perfect candidate for the streaming platform and an audience that prefers to watch multiple episodes in one go.

The show’s third season will focus on Kirkman’s re-election bid and, to properly depict real elections, will tackle smear campaigns and fake news. Netflix has ordered 10 episodes, which will start production later this year and will premiere in 2019.

Egypt Station

…Paul McCartney’s new album receives mixed receptions. My impression of it? It’s career spanning in terms of musical styles, an this includes his solo side projects. It’s like going back to Chaos and Creation in the Backyard with I Don’t KnowCome To Me hints of Wings’ instrumentation and Happy With You his early solo pre-Wings years.

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Rolling Stones Magazine by Rob Sheffield

His first LP in five years is structured like a ride on the cosmic train, complete with silly sex songs and a plea for peace. The result is classic Paul.

Make a list of all the songwriters who were composing great tunes in 1958. Now make an overlapping list of the ones who are still writing brilliant songs in 2018. Your list reads: Paul McCartney. Sixty years after “Love Me Do,” his legend already inviolable, Macca keeps adding new gems to his songbook, with nothing to prove except he’s the only genius who can do this. Egypt Station, his first in five years, is a deeply eccentric song cycle in the Ram mode, made with pop savant Greg Kurstin. The past fifteen years have been a glorious time to be a Paul fanatic—the man has been on a songwriting roll, ever since the 2005 Nigel Godrich jam Chaos and Creation in the Backyard. (And oh yeah—in his spare time, he happens to be still the greatest live performer on earth.)

Egypt Station flows as a unit, structured like a long ride on a cosmic train, beginning and ending with ambient railway-station noise. It comes five years after 2013’s New, where he stepped out with the psychedelic nugget “Queenie Eye,” one of his funniest and weirdest ever. (Real talk: “Queenie Eye” would have been a top 5 song on Magical Mystery Tour.) These days, he’s not on any kind of assembly line—he only makes albums when he’s got enough worthy songs saved up, which is why his recent work has been top-notch. On Egypt Station, he mixes pastoral acoustic reveries like “Confidante” with intimate piano confessions like “Do It Now.”

Macca spends most of the album singing in character, voicing sentiments people don’t usually expect from this guy. Case in point: “I Don’t Know,” a ballad of mid-life doubt. (“I got crows out my window, dogs at my door / I don’t think I can take any more.”) He’s also picked up a knack for silly sex songs like “Come On To Me” or the ridiculous “Fuh You,” which basically serves as a sequel to his 1971 shagathon “Hi, Hi, Hi.” With the Romantic Beatle slavering “I just wanna fuh you,” it makes “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” sound subtle.

This album’s masterpiece: “Dominoes,” one of those Paul creations that feels both emotionally direct yet playfully enigmatic. An eerie acoustic guitar hook, worthy of the White Album, builds for almost five minutes, complete with an old-school backwards guitar solo and the disarming farewell line, “It’s been a blast.” It aims for sonic territory someplace where “Too Many People” meets “You Won’t See Me,” yet it ends up somewhere different entirely. “Dominoes” is one of his toughest solo moments ever—it has the unmistakable McCartney touch everybody else keeps failing to copy, yet it feels totally fresh and new.

All Egypt Station has that playful spirit. “Back In Brazil” is a surprisingly successful electro-samba detour, while “Do It Now” expresses the same sentiment as his classic John Lennon elegy “Here Today,” as an older-and-wiser Paul reflects on the kind of emotional resolutions you seek when you realize how short life is. “Happy With You” is a sober folk oddity: “I sat around all day, I used to get stoned / I liked to get wasted but these days I don’t.” Even the timely anti-Trump protest “Despite Repeated Warnings” is a 7-minute mini-suite in the style of “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”: even when he’s pissed off about political apocalypse, Paul gonna Paul. As he always should. And as Egypt Station suggests, as he always will.

Consequence of Sound by Tyler Clark

A minor entry in Macca’s catalog is still worth a couple spins

The Lowdown: On his 18th or 25th solo record (depending on how you feel about Wings), Paul McCartney continues his late-career explorations of love, sex, death, and the spaces in between in his first work for longtime label home Capitol Records since 2005’s Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.

The Good: McCartney’s always brought a light touch when approaching life’s biggest questions, and he uses it well on Egypt Station’s best moments (which are also, generally speaking, its quietest). From admitting that things don’t get clearer with age on the piano pub ballad “I Don’t Know” to extolling the virtues of a boring home life on “Happy with You”, McCartney continues to provide solid blueprints for how to age gracefully, pain and all. That’s not to say that he’s not still enamored with the possibilities and pitfalls of love; the one-two punch of “Hand in Hand” and “Dominoes” makes excellent use of every creak in McCartney’s occasionally fragile tenor to deliver the strongest endorsement of coupling that you’re likely to hear on a major-label release this year. If you only have the chance to check out one song here, make it the closer (“Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link”), which provides a succinct summation of the album’s energies that’s as fun as it is useful.

The Bad: Much of Egypt Station is devoted to giving advice, but the bromides offered (forget the haters, seek peace, don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today) probably won’t inspire any life-changing realizations. Also: if you’re not into senior citizen sexiness, you can safely avoid “Come On to Me” and “Fuh You”; the former thuds along with all the charm of an earnest cover of a Franz Ferdinand track that was meant to be sung ironically while the latter amps up its dirty, old man vibes with a misheard-on-purpose chorus and bloodless Top 40 production from OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder that will try the patience of old-school McCartney fans and skeeve out their grandkids listening to it on Kiss FM.

The Verdict: Egypt Station is a minor entry in a major catalog, a Paul McCartney record for people who like Paul McCartney records. Though he may never produce an essential late-career record like contemporaries Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, or even Neil Young, Paul McCartney continues to make music that takes far more chances than it has to. That fact alone should earn Egypt Station at least one spin.

Essential Tracks: “I Don’t Know”, “Dominoes”, and “Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link”