CHARACTER

Beatles

It’s very hard to process what The Beatles accomplished.  In 1963 they dominated British show business.  In 1964 they dominated American show business and show business in many other countries around the world.

They went, in the course of a year, from being a premiere local Liverpool band to being a top international act.  They made more money in that year than any of them could possibly have imagined making in a lifetime.  They undoubtedly got more pussy in a shorter amount of time than any four young men have ever gotten in the history of the world.

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They were all in their early twenties.  Yet they kept their good humor and their good sense through it all, they remained amazingly productive, they continued to grow as artists.

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They had the kind of character you don’t often find in artists, or in people of any profession — some sort of grounding in practical realities that kept them sane on a lunatic ride through life.  The group bonding must have been at the center of it — when they broke up they got more distracted, less mature as people.

Their music was great, but perhaps their greatest gift to the world was the idea that wild worldly success could be achieved with grace and joy, and a minimum of personal presumption.

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WHAT I’M SPINNING NOW

SpinningBeachBoysChristmasBaja

A fun and endearing Christmas album.  The first side consists of pop Christmas songs, with several Beach Boys originals, which are a little dorky but amiable. The sentimental classics on side two are genuinely lovely.

The arrangements, especially the vocal arrangements, throughout display the usual Beach Boys mastery.

WHAT I’M SPINNING NOW

SpinningNewMorningBaja

This album, New Morning, came as a relief after Dylan’s fascinating but uneven and puzzling Self Portrait.  It was a sign that Dylan was back on track — but in fact the album is excellent on its own merits, not just compared to Self Portrait.  It’s one of Dylan’s best.  The lyrics contain some simple but beautiful poetry and the easy, country-inflected arrangements fit the songs perfectly.

The eccentric, deadpan Three Angels, not much remarked upon in the Dylan literature, ranks among Dylan’s best religious songs (though the more conventional, psalm-like Father Of Night does not.)