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

Elvis sings a tribute to MLK

Got more than five documentaries on Elvis that I intend to watch over the next two weeks. ATM I am watching Elvis: The Rebirth of the King that the BBC made accessible recently. I was listening to Greil Marcus, author of the book. The Dead Elvis, which I have and who was discussing this song, Elvis’s tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. who was assassinated just that spring of 1968. Here is Elvis in December of that year in his comeback TV special edited for the 2002 25th anniversary of this special with the new backup vocals.

Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 18 Review: Kirkman Agonistes

Missed watching this on time because of a trip somewhere. A good review, this one.

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Everything is coming back to haunt Kirkman and some of his staff members on Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 18. In a move for which the series deserves kudos, the 25th Amendment was used as a plot point.

Michael J. Fox made his debut as Ethan West. I can already tell I’m going to love and loathe him all at once. 

Kirkman Meets Ethan West - Designated Survivor

It’s tough when you want to be Kirkman’s team, but you also understand those questioning him.  

Tom was back to being that sweet, genuine, kind-hearted man that we know and love best. He wasn’t dabbling in that dictator behavior that has been on display for weeks. As a result, the mere thought of anyone coming for him and his presidency was enough to put anyone on edge. 

Therapy Gate was the gift that kept on giving. The press was having a field day with that one because there were apparently seven tapes of therapy notes, and Gamine was strategically dropping them like [insert musical artist of your choice] drops an album. 

Kirkman: How many other tapes are out there? 
Doctor: Seven. 
Kirkman: Seven? So this is only the beginning.

My initial thought about this whole ordeal is that it’s preposterous that leaks of the doctor’s notes could make the entire country turn on Tom like this. 

Who in their right mind would think ill of a man who exercised and advocated for mental health and sought help when he needed it after the sudden death of his wife! 

Rest Peacefully, Madame First Lady - Designated Survivor Season 2 Episode 11

The man’s wife died, like, wouldn’t you be concerned if he didn’t see a therapist after that? 

It’s a Catch 22. If Kirkman never saw a therapist, then people would wonder if he was mentally unstable. They would wonder if he was a ticking time bomb. Hell, they would probably speculate that he wasn’t mourning his wife and start rumors that he was seeing someone on the side.

People would grow concerned that he wasn’t grieving like a normal person.  They would question if he was relatable or human enough. 

Now, they find out that he did see a therapist, and he’s in the same boat. It all boils down to the misconception that people only see therapists if something is wrong with them. 

At this rate, it should be mandatory that the POTUS see a therapist. You know, because it’s the most stressful job in existence. No, really, make it mandatory. 

Tom Kirkman has given everything to this country, even his wife. And now he’s been torn apart because he’s self-aware enough to seek help. Judge him if you want to, history will judge you.

Seth

It’s stunning that Kirkman was getting crucified for seeing a therapist when he was dropped into the presidency after a full-blown terrorist attack wiped out half the government. Let those who aren’t displaying signs of PTSD throw the first stone. 

The best part about this latest debacle was how Kirkman was steadfast in his refusal to apologize for seeing someone. He knew the moment he apologized for seeking help; he would be perpetuating those same problematic and antiquated ideas about mental illness.

Initially, it was ludicrous and frustrating that he would be deemed unfit by the masses based off of the notes that were leaked. Nothing that was mentioned in them supported the notion that he was mentally incapable of running the country. 

Everything there was perfectly normal, including the bits about Andrea. His wife died nearly a year ago, and he’s enjoying the company and friendship of this new, smart woman who knows what it’s like to lose a spouse. It’s perfectly healthy and natural for him to feel some guilt about that. 

Frost

When you’re protective of Kirkman and appalled at the implications about seeking the help of a mental health professional, Darby and the cabinet’s actions are a massive betrayal. 

However, when you think about all of the things that have transpired since Alex’s death, then there is some justification for their actions. I pointed out a great deal of it in nearly every review since then. 

Tom has come across as an autocrat. He has overstepped and abused his power. He has made questionable decisions. He screwed up big time with the drunk driver who killed Alex. 

He barely showed his face for a significant period of time after Alex died. The way he appointed Darby probably raised a few eyebrows. There have been whispers that some of the White House have doubted him, and leaks were happening long before the hacker business because of it. 

Kirkman: What’s going on? 
Emily: A coup, sir.

When he fired Moss, it was a complete and utter nightmare, and though the public may have thought it was on mutual terms. People talk. Tom declaring war on Kunami was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

They are not entirely unreasonable in this case when you think about it. 

I love Tom’s confidence going into this hearing though. He feels like he has proven himself enough, and there shouldn’t be any question if he’s capable. I’m happy he didn’t follow Lyor’s advice. There is no way he should have to resign. 

Ethan is the type of character who seems like a decent person doing his job, but you quickly realize he has ulterior motives. Right now, he loves the fact that he’s in the limelight and that he will be the most relevant man in the world because of his role in this case. 

I’m so excited about Michael J. Fox’s presence on the series. I cannot wait to see what else he brings to the table. 

Ethan West

I love Tom, but I cringed so much when he confided in Andrea. Sure enough, she’s the shady one in the bunch. Ugh, not Dr. Frost! She has been so enjoyable, and it was nice to see Tom interacting with someone who understands him and appeared to be a genuine friend. 

I hate that his vulnerable words are about to come back to bite him in the butt!

So, about this Damian development. I was all prepared to mention the absurdity of him being granted so much leeway while working with Hannah. We have been force-fed Damian, and I have struggled to find his presence necessary. 

Now, he’s possibly dead (again). I can’t say I feel anything. We’ve been down this road before, and he has outstayed his welcome. So his old Russian handler is behind this, right? Could it be the hacker? 

  • I’m very disappointed in Andrea Frost right now. I was rooting for her! I loved her leather jacket though. 
  • Penny is wise beyond her years, and I love it when she has moments with Kirkman. I feel like he could get his entire life together if he just talked out his problems with Penny.
  • Trey is underused. Why? For a moment, I thought he was the one leaking information about the shrink. That would have been interesting. 
  • Emily finally realizes how terrible her actions were, but I love that Kendra reminded her she isn’t out of the woods yet. 
  • Chuck reminding Emily that he’s more than the basement-dwelling tech geek and that he could get used in various ways was worthy of a fist pump. 
  • Trisha deserves a raise. 

Over to you, what’s your first impression of Ethan West? Are the others wrong for arranging a hearing to determine if Kirkman is fit to be president? Is Damian really dead? Do you care? Hit the comments!

Source: https://www.tvfanatic.com/2018/04/designated-survivor-season-2-episode-18-review-kirkman-agonistes/

 

 

In the Fab tradition

Klaus Voorman returns his trophy along with other artists.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/anti-semitic-controversy-could-provoke-rule-change-at-german-music-awards-1103293

Winners at this year’s Echos, Germany’s top music awards, have returned their trophies to protest rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang for lyrics such as “I’m doing another Holocaust.”

6:19 AM PDT 4/17/2018 by Scott Roxborough

Getty. German rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang performing at the Echo Awards April 12.

Controversy and scandal are rocking the Echo Awards, Germany’s top music industry honors, after a rap duo came under fire for lyrics comparing themselves to Holocaust survivors.

At the 2018 awards, held in Berlin on April 12, German gangsta rappers Kollegah and Farid Bang won the Echo for best rap album for their top-selling disc Jung, brutal, gutaussehend 3 (Young, Brutal, Good-looking 3). The album includes the song “0815,” in which the rappers say their muscles are “more defined than Auschwitz prisoners” and add, “I’m doing another Holocaust, coming with a Molotov” cocktail.

The decision to give the pair a prize was criticized that night by Campino, the lead singer of Germany’s legendary punk band Die Toten Hosen. Campino said he likes provocation as much as the next guy, but “for me personally, misogynistic, homophobic, right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic insults cross the line” of acceptability. The audience gave Campino a standing ovation.

Now other artists as well as politicians and business leaders are joining in to condemn the rappers — and the Echos for honoring them.

“Anti-Semitic provocations do not deserve a prize; they are repugnant,” said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in an interview with Der Speigel magazine. In comments to German tabloid Bild am Sonntag, the German-born CEO of Arbus Tom Enders said the award “hurts Germany’s international reputation. Is anti-Semitism becoming acceptable in Germany?”

Maas noted how particularly offensive it was that the rappers were honored on April 12, or Yom Hashoah, the national day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. The protest also comes at a time when anti-Semitic incidents and violence are on the rise in Germany.

In an essay for the Die Welt daily, Jewish German comedian Oliver Polak said that the normalization of anti-Semitism in popular music was part of the reason “that young Jewish people are chased around and beaten up in schoolyards.”

Several Echo winners have also spoken out, with some returning their awards in protest. Two-time Grammy winner Klaus Voormann, the so-called “fifth Beatle,” returned his lifetime achievement Echo, as did the Notos Quartett, winners of this year’s Echo for best classical music album, saying the Echo “is for us nothing more than a symbol of shame.”

This is not the first scandal for the Echos. In 2016, the awards, handed out by music industry association BMVI Music Group, honored German rock band Frei.Wild, a group accused of far-right and neo-Nazi leanings.

Part of the problem, critics say, is the nomination process. Unlike the Grammys or Britain’s Mercury Prize, the Echos are primarily chosen on the basis of commercial, not artistic, merit; the best-selling albums and artists are automatically nominated. An expert jury picks the winners from those nominees. If the jury can’t decide, an Echo Awards advisory council, made up of executives from the major music labels, gets the final vote. 

This setup makes the Echos numbingly predictable. The same top-selling artists turn up year after year. German pop star Helene Fischer won her 17th Echo Award last week. British songster Ed Sheeran swept the top categories, winning album of the year, international artist of the year and hit of the year for his track Shape of You.

But the voting procedure also means best-selling bands with objectionable views — whether right-wing groups like Frei.Wild or rappers with violent or apparently anti-Semitic lyrics such as Kollegah and Farid Bang — are automatically nominated as well.

The BMVI initially defended its procedures, but on Sunday, association CEO Floridan Drucke said Echo organizers would reconsider their nomination and selection process in the wake of the scandal. Drucke said the association rejected all forms of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and the glorification of violence.

For their part, Kollegah and Farid Bang say they also reject anti-Semitism, and that their lyrics have been misinterpreted.

A world without The Beatles

Hmmmm… interesting film if it exists at all.

http://www.nme.com/news/music/ed-sheeran-danny-boyle-richard-curtis-beatles-film-rumours-2294162

Ed Sheeran rumoured for Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis film about The Beatles never existing

By 

Paul McCartney and Ed Sheeran Credit: WireImage/GettyRead more at http://www.nme.com/news/music/ed-sheeran-danny-boyle-richard-curtis-beatles-film-rumours-2294162#ArfvCC02Etw2LrBc.99

It’s tentatively titled ‘All You Need Is Love’

Ed Sheeran is reportedly set to star in a new film from Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis set in a world where The Beatles never existed.

The Mail On Sunday reports that the singer-songwriter will appear in a new musical comedy project directed by Trainspotting‘s Boyle and written by Notting Hill‘s Curtis. It’s thought to be tentatively titled All You Need Is Love.

The film’s plot is described as being “about a man who wakes up one day to find he is the only person who can remember the songs of The Beatles”.

According to the report, Sheeran will make an onscreen cameo in the movie, as well as providing original music to the soundtrack.

“Everything Ed touches turns to gold,” a source told the paper. “If anyone can make a film about the Beatles’ songs even better musically, it’s him.”

Sheeran is a known fan of The Beatles, having once performed an acoustic cover of ‘In My Life’ in front of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (see footage of that below). McCartney later sent Sheeran a signed guitar with the message: “For Ed, who is brilliant.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Sheeran has responded to a tabloid story that suggested he was putting up railings around his house to keep out homeless people.

“Your story is bollocks, I have done lots of work in the past for [homeless charities] Crisis and Shelter and would never build railings outside my home for that reason,” Sheeran wrote on Instagram.

“The reason was to keep the paps that you employ from being on my doorstep. Have a good day”.

Talking about Badfinger & John Lennon

https://www.sfchronicle.com/music/popquiz/article/Badfinger-s-Joey-Molland-on-overcoming-tragedy-12828853.php

Badfinger’s Joey Molland on overcoming tragedy, hanging with the Beatles

April 12, 2018 Updated: April 14, 2018 9:44am

Singer/guitarist Joey Molland will play the Chapel in San Francisco on Sunday, April 22. Photo: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images 2015
Photo: Scott Dudelson / Getty Images 2015
Singer/guitarist Joey Molland will play the Chapel in San Francisco on Sunday, April 22.

As one of the first acts signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records label, Badfinger was destined for greatness. But after selling 14 million albums worldwide and scoring three Top 10 hits between 1970 and 1972 — including “Come and Get It” (written by Paul McCartney), “No Matter What” and “Without You” — the British quartet was sidelined by mismanagement and tragedy. Two of its members, guitarist Tom Evans and singer Pete Ham, committed suicide, and drummer Mike Gibbins died of a brain aneurysm in 2005. Now guitarist Joey Molland, 70, the sole surviving member of Badfinger, is on the road performing the group’s best-selling 1971 album, “Straight Up.” He spoke to The Chronicle from his home in Minneapolis, where he has lived since 1983.

Q: Is this tour, in part, an effort to give the Badfinger story a happy ending after the band endured so much tragedy?

A: Over the years, people have tended to dwell on that. A few years ago, a guy even wrote a book about how tragic it was. But we’re talking about four young guys who had great success. We lost all the money, of course, which is par for the course in rock ’n’ roll. That must be written into the rules: “It’s legal to steal money from rock bands.” But these records have remained on the radio. I don’t think of it as tragedy. I think of it as a great story. I wish Peter wouldn’t have done it. I wish Tommy

Q: If nothing else, you can claim that you had the best hair in rock ’n’ roll.

A: Yes, we did. It must have been the Liverpool water, wasn’t it?

Q: What was the best part of being in the band?

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Q: Badfinger also became a part of the Beatles story. You played on John Lennon’s “Imagine,” George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and the Concert for Bangladesh. What was it like being around those guys at that time?

A: The Beatles were the center of the universe. It was fantastic to be around them. We were in awe. They didn’t have entourages. They didn’t have any roadies. They carried their own guitars. They plugged themselves in. Growing up in Liverpool, we had all the same influences as them. We went to the same shops, listened to the same radio, played the same clubs. So when they needed players, they asked us.

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Q: Any moments that stand out?

A: It was awe-inspiring to be in the studio as John Lennon comes in at 11 p.m. with his acoustic guitar, sits on a stool and says, “We’re going to play a new song tonight.” And he plays “Jealous Guy” for the first time. It was amazing. We just freaked out. George would sit down with you and play the songs and talk about them, talking you through them: “Play up-and-down strokes …” It was a great experience. It was a learning experience as well.

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Q: Did you have any idea Badfinger’s music would become so ingrained in popular culture — like hearing “Baby Blue” in the finale of “Breaking Bad,” or Mariah Carey and Harry Nilssoncovering “Without You”?

A: Who knew? We were writing songs and making records like all the other bands — and we were envious of the other bands because they all seemed better than us. It is incredible. People like Martin Scorsese using “Baby Blue” in “The Departed” and “Without You” in “Casino.” The songs are still on the radio. If I go around and drive in the car today, I’m going to hear them!