Thursday, January 12, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation ~ The Beatles

Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries

Elton John In 1974 a collaboration with John Lennon took place, resulting in Elton John covering The Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and Lennon's "One Day at a Time", and in return Elton John and band being featured on Lennon's "Whatever Gets You thru the Night". In what would be Lennon's last live performance, the pair performed these two number 1 hits along with the Beatles classic "I Saw Her Standing There" at Madison Square Garden. Lennon made the rare stage appearance to keep the promise he made that he would appear on stage with Elton if "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night" became a number 1 single.

Little River Band -“A lot of musicians love ‘Reminiscing’ because of the chords, the way they seem to work, they say it’s a brilliantly written song,” Goble says. “People like Frank Sinatra and John Lennon have gone on record as saying it was among their favourite songs at the time. In [Lennon’s lover] May Pang’s book there’s a whole passage about where he and May made love to ‘Reminiscing’.”
Cheech and Chong - Basketball Jones Tommy Chong mentioned on the Howard Stern show (8/14/06) that George Harrison of the Beatles played the guitar for this song - Most people don't know this, but that is George Harrison playing the lead guitar on this song.

Ricky Nelson - Garden Party" was pounced on by the pundits and dissected unmercifully. Some clues were obvious. For instance, "Yoko brought her walrus"--John Lennon and Yoko Ono were at the concert. Lennon, of course, was responsible for the Beatles song "I Am The Walrus."
The lyric you ask about, "Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan's shoes wearing his disguise," is more difficult to interpret, but I finally found it for you. ""Mr Hughes" isn't Howard Hughes, as most people think, but refers to George Harrison, the ex-Beatle. Rick Nelson was good friends and next-door neighbor to Harrison, and was also a good friend of Bob Dylan. "Mr. Hughes" was the alias Harrison used while traveling, and "hid in Dylan's shoes" apparently refers to an album of Bob Dylan covers Harrison was planning that never came to fruition. "Wearing his disguise" is more obscure, but presumably had something to do with Harrison's habit of traveling incognito.

Rod Stewart - Mine for Me" is the name of a song written by Paul and Linda McCartney. It was recorded by Rod Stewart as a track for his 1974 album Smiler. When released as a single that year, the track became a minor hit in the United States.
Donovan - Donovan was one of the most popular British recording artists of his day, producing a series of hit albums and singles between 1965-1970. He became a close friend of many leading pop musicians including Joan Baez, Brian Jones, Bob Dylan and The Beatles, and was one of the few artists to collaborate on songs with the Beatles. He influenced both John Lennon and George Harrison when he taught them his finger picking guitar style in 1968. Donovan's commercial fortunes waned after he parted ways with Most in 1969, and he left the music scene for a time. He returned to London, collaborating with The Beatles and contributing lyrics (and uncredited backing vocals) to the song "Yellow Submarine", recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 26 May 1966. On 24 October 1966 Epic released the rollicking, brass-laden single "Mellow Yellow", arranged by John Paul Jones and purportedly featuring Paul McCartney on uncredited backing vocals. On 9 February 1967 Donovan was one of the guests invited by The Beatles to join them at Abbey Road Studios for the final orchestral overdub session for the Lennon-McCartney collaboration "A Day In A Life", the grand finale to their new opus Sgt. Pepper LonelyHearts Club Band. In late 1967 Donovan contributed a several songs to the soundtrack of the Ken Loach film Poor Cow. The title track (Originally called "Poor Love") was released as the B-side of his next single, "Jennifer Juniper", a song inspired by Jenny Boyd sister of George Harrison's wife Pattie Boyd. It was another Top 40 hit in the USA. Like The Beatles, Donovan developed a strong interest in eastern mysticism, and in early 1968 he traveled to India where he spent several weeks at the ashram of the Maharishi in Rishikesh. The visit gained worldwide media attention thanks to the presence of (for a time) all four Beatles as well as Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love, actress Mia Farrow and her sister Prudence (who inspired John Lennon to write "Dear Prudence"). According to a 1968 Paul McCartney interview with Radio Luxembourg it was during this time that Donovan taught John Lennon and Paul McCartney various finger picking styles like the claw hammer (note that in the UK Travis Picking by merle Travisis often referred to as claw hammer) which he had learned from his St Albans buddy Mac Macleod. Lennon went on to use the technique on songs including "Julia" and McCartney with "Blackbird". After another US tour in the autumn he again collaborated with Paul McCartney, who was producing Post Card, the debut LP by recently discovered Welsh singing sensation Mary Hopkin. Hopkin covered three Donovan songs: "Lord Of The Reedy River", "Happiness Runs" and "Voyage of the Moon". McCartney returned the favour by playing tambourine and singing backing vocals on Donovan's next single, the anthemic "Atlantis", which was released in Britain (with "I Love My Shirt" as the B-side) in late November and reached #23.

The Everly Brothers - The duo broke up in 1973, but reformed in 1983 with a new album produced by Dave Edmunds. "On The Wings Of A Nightingale", written by Paul McCartney for the brothers, became a hit single in both the US and UK,

David Bowie - For Ziggy Stardust fans who had not discerned the soul and funk strains already apparent in Bowie's recent work, the "new" sound was considered a sudden and jolting step. 1975's Young Americans was Bowie's definitive exploration of Philly soul - though he himself referred to the sound ironically as 'plastic soul'. It contained his first #1 hit in the US, "Fame," co-written with John Lennon (who also contributed backing vocals) and one of Bowie's new band members, guitarist Carlos Alomar.

Cilla Black (born Priscilla Maria Veronica White on 27 May 1943) is a British singer, actor, and television personality, and was the second-biggest star to emerge from the early 1960s Liverpool scene after The Beatles.

A naturally gifted singer, as a child Cilla was encouraged to sing by her family. In the early 1960s, determined to break into show business, she got a part-time job as a cloakroom attendant at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool, where The Beatles regularly played. Ideally placed to promote herself to local musicians, she impressed the Beatles and others with her talent and began her stage career with impromptu performances at the Cavern. During this period she also worked as waitress at the Zodiac coffee lounge, where she met her future husband and manager Bobby Willis.

She became close friends with the Beatles and after their breakthrough to international success in 1963, their manager Brian Epstein took over the management of a number of other musicians from Liverpool. Although her first name was often shortened to "Cilla", her stage name came about by accident when local music paper Mersey Beat misprinted her name as Cilla Black, but she liked the sound and decided to use it professionally.

Cilla was introduced to Epstein by John Lennon who persuaded him to audition her. The first audition was not successful, partly because of nerves, and partly because the Beatles (who backed her) played the songs in their vocal key rather than re-pitching them for Cilla's voice. But after seeing her again at the Blue Angel jazz club, Epstein signed Cilla up as his only female client on 6 September 1963.

Epstein signed Cilla to Parlophone records and introduced her to George Martin, who produced her debut single, "Love of the Loved" (written for her by Lennon and McCartney), which was released only three weeks after she signed with Epstein. The single peaked at a modest #35, making it a failure, relatively speaking, compared to most of Epstein's other artists.

Jackie Lomax
After Brian Epstein's death, the Beatles' new record label Apple took over responsibility for Jackie's recording career, with George Harrison becoming heavily involved on the production side. In spite of having a backing band that consisted of 75% of the Beatles as well as Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkins, success remained elusive. The shambles which was Apple, after the break-up of the Beatles, made matters even worse. During that period Apple released three singles and the Is this what you want? LP. By 1970, the break-up of the Beatles had badly affected Apple Records and Allen Klein was called in. Apple artists found themselves under contract to a label who had no interest in them.

Mary Hopkin - Born in Pontardawe, Wales, she grew up Welsh-speaking and began her musical career as a folk singer. She was "discovered" by Twiggy, and became one of the first artists to record on The Beatles' Apple record label.

Her single "Those Were the Days", produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK on August 30, 1968 (catalogue number APPLE 2). Despite competition from a well-established star, Sandie Shaw, who released her version of the same song as a single, Hopkin's version became a #1 hit in the UK singles chart, and reached #2 in the US.

On February 21, 1969 her debut album Postcard, also produced by McCartney, was released. It includes covers of three songs from Donovan, who also played on the album, and one song each from George Martin and Harry Nillson.

The next single was "Goodbye", written by Paul McCartney (but credited to Lennon-McCartney), released on March 28, 1969 (APPLE 10); it reached #2 in the UK singles chart. It was kept off the top of the charts by the Beatles' single "Get Back". "Goodbye" has never been officially released by the Beatles, although a demo version can be found on some of the Beatles' bootlegs.

Harry Nilsson - ... Some of the albums from Derek Taylor's box eventually ended up with the Beatles themselves, who quickly became Nilsson fans. This may have been helped by the track "You Can't Do That", in which Nilsson covered one Beatles song but added 22 others in the multi-tracked background vocals. When John Lennon and Paul McCartney held a press conference in 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps, John was asked to name his favorite American artist. He replied, "Nilsson". Paul was then asked to name his favorite American group. He replied, "Nilsson". 1974 found Nilsson back in California, and when John Lennon moved there during his separation from Yoko Ono, the two musicians rekindled their earlier friendship. Lennon was intent upon producing Nilsson's next album, much to Nilsson's delight. However, their time together in California became known much more for heavy drinking and drug use than it did for musical collaboration. In a widely publicized incident, they were ejected from the Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood for drunken heckling of the Smothers Brothers. To make matters worse, Nilsson ruptured a vocal cord during the sessions for this album, but he hid the injury due to fear that Lennon would call a halt to the production. The resulting album, Pussy Cats, which may charitably be described as 'uneven', was a shock for listeners who knew Nilsson as one of the best singers of his generation.

After the relative failure of his latest two albums, RCA Records considered dropping Nilsson's contract. In a show of friendship, Lennon accompanied Nilsson to negotiations, and both intimated to RCA that Lennon and fellow former Beatle Ringo Starr might want to sign with them, once their Apple Records contracts with EMI expired in 1975, but wouldn't be interested if Nilsson were no longer with the label. RCA took the hint and re-signed Nilsson (adding a completion bonus clause, to apply to each new album), but neither Lennon nor Starr switched to RCA.

Splinter - The Place I Love
While some of the songs recall Badfinger (especially "Gravy Train" and "Haven't Got Time"), most of The Place I Love very much resembles a Harrison solo album, but it is more consistent than most of them. Even the vocals sometimes resemble Harrison's; Purvis and Elliott harmonize in a beautifully Beatlesque way. Any Beatles aficionado who hasn't discovered The Place I Love ought to search it out. Lost classics such as "China Light", "Costafine Town", and "Situation Vacant" are among the best Beatles songs that the Beatles never made and Harrison's guitar playing on this album is some of the best on his career (notably "Somebody's City", "Drink All Day" and "The Place I Love").

Mike Mcgear - Born Peter Michael McCartney (January 7, 1944), Mike McGear is a British performing artist from the 1960s and 1970s, and the brother of Paul McCartney. He changed his name so as not to appear to be riding on Paul's coattails. In 1974, McGear released McGear in which he collaborated with his brother Paul. He is also a photographer, and has published pictures he took of The Beatles backstage and on tour.

Jeff Lynne - (born December 30, 1947) in Birmingham, UK, is a British singer-songwriter and record producer. He was the co-founder (with Roy Wood and Bev Bevan), guitarist, and lead singer of The Electric Light Orchestra in the 1970s and 1980s, as well as a co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys (with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison in the late 1980s. Prior to The Electric Light Orchestra
In 1987 Lynne produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine, being a Beatles obsessive the two worked together well, the album would turn out to be something of a come-back for Harrison.In 1989 he co-produced the acclaimed album Full Moon Fever by Tom Petty, which included the hit singles "Free Fallin'", "I Won't Back Down" and "Runnin' Down A Dream", all co-written by Lynne. This album and Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 (also co-produced by Lynne) both got nominations for the Grammy as Best Album Of The Year in 1989.In February of 1994, Lynne fulfilled a lifelong dream by working with the three surviving Beatles on their Anthology album series, and reunion tracks "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" (overdubbing John Lennon's demos for the songs). He has also produced records individually for George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, and worked extensively on the Roy Orbison album Mystery Girl.

Badfinger - This line-up signed with The Beatles label Apple Records in 1969 and Paul McCartney soon became enamored with the group's vocal sound, if not their unassuming name. He proposed a change of the band's name to his proteges, still known as "The Iveys".John Lennon wanted to call the band "Glass Onion", but no one liked the name. (Lennon later used the name for one of his comical songs on the White Album). Instead, The Iveys chose another Beatles-inspired moniker: "Badfinger." This was a reference to "Bad Finger Boogie", an early working title of "With a Little Help from My Friends," from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".Paul McCartney wrote and played piano on the band's breakthrough song, "Come And Get It", intended for part of the soundtrack to The Magic Christian. It was a hit throughout Europe and the United States, where it reached the Top Ten. During the recording session for "Come and Get It", a jam session produced another song, "Rock of All Ages", also featuring McCartney on the piano, and that song ended up on the group's debut album "Magic Christian Music".The band's career began increasing exponentially. The band recorded many sessions for fellow Apple Records labelmates, notably George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" and Ringo Starr's single "It Don't Come Easy", while Evans and Molland performed on John Lennon's Imagine. Pete Ham also performed alongside George Harrison during the Concert for Bangladesh in August 1971, raising Badfinger's critical stock even further among the rock intelligentsia. Harrison's friendship toward Pete Ham, however, sowed internal dissension between the two Badfinger guitarists, Ham and Molland.Badfinger's second album, Straight Up came out in 1972, including "Day After Day", "Baby Blue" and "Name Of The Game", all popular singles on both sides of the pond. 'Straight Up' was hailed as the most requested CD release in Goldmine magazine during the early 1990s. George Harrison and Todd Rundgren took production credits on this, Badfinger's most commercially successful record, with Harrison playing the slide guitar solo on "Day After Day", their last British hit.

Doris Troy - Troy worked with Solomon Burke, The Drifters, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick before she co-wrote and recorded "Just One Look," which hit #10 in 1963. The song has been covered by The Hollies, Linda Ronstadt, Bryan Ferry, and Harry Nilsson. As her solo career peaked, she did back-up for the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd (famously singing on their seminal album Dark Side of the Moon), George Harrison, Dusty Springfield, and Carly Simon.

Billy Preston - He is probably best known for his work with The Beatles (he is the only artist to receive label credit on a Beatles single: Get Back). He played on many of the tracks on their 1970 Let It Be album, on I Want You (She's So Heavy) on 1969 Abbey Road album and on some of the solo records of John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Ronnie Spector - In early 1971, during Phil Spector's tenure as head of A&R at Apple Records, Ronnie recorded the single Try Some Buy Some/Tandoori Chicken, release as Apple 33 in the UK, Apple 1832 in the US. The A side of the single was written by George Harrison, and produced by Harrison and Spector. Although the single was not a big hit, it had one lasting influence: when John Lennon recorded Happy Xmas (War Is Over) later the same year, he asked Spector to reproduce the same mandolin-laden Wall of Sound that he had created for Try Some Buy Some. (Lennon liked the rockabilly B-side too, and is reported to have sung it at his birthday party in New York in October 1971.)

The Fool - They designed the clothes The Beatles wore for the 1967 TV broadcast of "All You Need Is Love", and also the decoration of John Lennon's Gibson J160E acoustic guitar, which appeared in the broadcast
A huge 3-storey mural painted in psychedelic colours on the facade of the Beatles' Apple Boutique in London's Baker Street, which also stocked their creations. Months later, the mural was painted over by civic order, due to protests from other local businesses, before the shop failed
The bodywork on John Lennon's Rolls-Royce. This outraged one old woman in central London who attacked it with her umbrella, shouting: "You swine, you swine! How dare you do this to a Rolls-Royce!" (He answered by obtaining another Rolls, and painting it flat-black)
Decoration to John Lennon's piano
Decoration to George Harrison's Mini car and bungalow Kinfauns (including a custom fireplace), as well as several of Harrison's guitars
Decoration to Eric Clapton's legendary Gibson SG guitar and Jack Bruce's Fender VI (six-string) bass for the 1967 Cream tour of the US
Set design for Joe Massot's 1968 movie Wonderwall. They also appeared in the film's party scene
Paul McCartney's upright piano

RUBYHORSE - "Punchdrunk," Rubyhorse’s anthem, comes with a resonant, humbling endorsement. The Floydian ballad, a tapestry of acoustic guitar, elegant strings and piano, features a gorgeous, simply stated slide part courtesy of the late George Harrison. Joe speaks of this with reverence: "When we had finished recording the song, we listened to it and it just felt there was something missing… some part. We tried various instruments and it just wasn’t right. We sent him (Harrison) a copy of the song through a mutual friend and we got a call back to say that he loved the song and that he’d love to play on it, so we sent the reels over to a studio in England and he put his part down. We were mixing in Miami when we received the tapes and it just blew us all away. He finished off the song. It was just a beautiful, beautiful part. It was the biggest honor that we’ve ever received and probably will ever receive."