Today’s post takes inspiration from one of my go-to sources, Parade magazine. That ubiquitous Sunday newspaper supplement ran a quite interesting article today on the songs of 1970, written by veteran music critic Jim Farber.
The Beatles’ last album, Let It Be, was released 50 years ago, a month after the band officially announced its breakup, and before any of the Fab Four had turned 30. The title track along with “The Long and Winding Road” would become #1 singles in a year extraordinarily rich in #1 singles. Here’s a version of the song about Paul’s mother, Mary, from the 2003 album Let It Be… Naked, a fantastic reworking the original album by Paul McCartney. If you like the sound of this version, check out the remix of “The Long and Winding Road”.
Only a few weeks after the release of Let it Be, McCartney released his eponymous solo album. The album’s best known track is “Maybe I’m Amazed”, written about another woman in Sir Paul’s life, his wife Linda. Here’s Paul and his band Wings performing it live in 1976, with guitarist James McCullough playing the guitar solo that McCartney played himself on the original recording.
A few months before the release of Let It Be, Lennon/Ono with the Plastic Ono Band released the single “Instant Karma”. Here’s a live version performed within days of the song’s release. Yoko’s contributions are suitably mysterious.
Among his bandmates, George Harrison scored the biggest hit in 1970 with “My Sweet Lord” from his triple-album All Things Must Pass. It closed out the year as the #1 single in the U.S.
Over the past few weeks the Beatles have been celebrated and remembered as the 50th anniversaries of their Ed Sullivan Show appearance and first U.S. concerts were observed. So, we’ve got to do our Beatles homage too!
Thanks to Dave for turning us on to this clip from the Late Show with David Letterman featuring Broken Bells covering “And I Love Her”. The ballad is from the Fab Four’s third album “A Hard Day’s Night”. The TV set featuring Ringo Starr’s drumming is a cute idea.
But wait, that TV set may be more than just a cute idea. I’m guessing that Danger Mouse and James Mercer saw this video as they planned their staging. It’s a clip from the movie “A Hard Day’s Night”.
This beautiful song was covered by many, many artists over the years. Here’s an interesting cover from the late jazz legend Sarah Vaughn taped in 1969. She recorded a totally different arrangement of the song on a 1981 album of Beatles covers.
We also like jazz at Music Now & Then – hope you do too.
In 2012 Chick Corea and Gary Burton released “Hot House”, marking 40 years of collaborations by the two jazz legends. Two tracks on the album won 2013 Grammys, “Mozart Goes Dancing” for Best Instrumental Composition and the title track for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.
The album also includes a cover of the Beatles classic “Eleanor Rigby”. The song has been covered (and more recently sampled) by countless artists since its release in 1966, but it’s been a special favorite of jazz artists through the years. In addition to Chick and Gary’s version, check out Stanley Jordan’s interpretation from his 1985 album “Magic Touch”. Jordan’s unusual two-hand tapping technique makes his performance sound like the work of more than one musician.
If you like your jazz more in the classic vein, listen to Wes Montgomery’s cover released in 1967. It’s from his album “A Day in the Life” – yes, another Beatles cover – that reached #1 on the Billboard Jazz Album chart that year.