FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE Part 76 THE BEATLES (breaking down the song STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER) (Artist featured is Jamie Wyeth)

Francis Schaeffer correctly noted:

In this flow there was also the period of psychedelic rock, an attempt to find this experience without drugs, by the use of a certain type of music. This was the period of the Beatles’ Revolver (1966) and Strawberry Fields Forever (1967). In the same period and in the same direction was Blonde on Blond (1966) by Bob Dylan….No great illustration could be found of the way these concepts were carried to the masses than “pop” music and especially the work of the BEATLES. The Beatles moved through several stages, including the concept of the drug and psychedelic approach. The psychedelic began with their records REVOLVER, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, AND PENNY LANE. This was developed with great expertness in their record SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND in which psychedelic music, with open statements concerning drug-taking, was knowingly presented as a religious answer. 

Top 30 Psychedelic Beatles Songs

The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever

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Originally the song STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER was on Sergeant Pepper’s but was later moved to MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR.

The Beatles celebrate the completion of their album, ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, on May 19th, 1967 in London.

 

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Previously unseen footage of The Beatles shot during the making of a documentary about the Fab Four’s Magical Mystery Tour film has been made available .

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Magical Mystery Tour beatles on bus

 

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The Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever

Great Album

The Beatles are featured in this episode below by Francis Schaeffer:

The Beatles were looking for lasting satisfaction in their lives and their journey took them down many of the same paths that other young people of the 1960’s were taking INCLUDING THE PATH OF PSYCHEDELIC MUSIC AND FRAGMENTATION. No wonder in the video THE AGE OF NON-REASON Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” 

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

 Today we take a look at the psychedelic music of the Beatles. In the book THE GOD WHO IS THERE, Francis Schaeffer noted:

In this flow there was also the period of psychedelic rock, an attempt to find this experience without drugs, by the use of a certain type of music. This was the period of the Beatles’ Revolver (1966) and Strawberry Fields Forever (1967). In the same period and in the same direction was Blonde on Blond (1966) by Bob Dylan….No great illustration could be found of the way these concepts were carried to the masses than “pop” music and especially the work of the BEATLES. The Beatles moved through several stages, including the concept of the drug and psychedelic approach. The psychedelic began with their records REVOLVER, STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, AND PENNY LANE. This was developed with great expertness in their record SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND in which psychedelic music, with open statements concerning drug-taking, was knowingly presented as a religious answer. The religious form was the same vague pantheism which predominates much of the new mystical thought today. One indeed does not have to understand in a clear way the modern monolithic thought in order to be infiltrated by it. SERGEANT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND was an ideal example of the manipulating power of the new forms of “total art.” This concept of total art increases the infiltrating power of the message involved.

Here is an excerpt of a fine article about Schaeffer’s take on the 1960’s music:

Aldous Huxley(1894-1963) proposed drugs to give the high experience and wrote several books about it. He also used LSD.   Hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups including Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible Sting Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix.  Some of the Beatles work also fit here.  As a whole, the music was a vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were impassible by other means. There is the culture of psychedelic rock fostered by the Beatles and Bob Dylan. The next area of religious experience was Hinduism and Buddhism where there is a grasping of non-rational meaning to life. These eastern religions grew popular as Goethe and Wagner had recommended this thinking with vague pantheism. These seek truth inside one’s own head by meditation, but negate reason.

In the article, “Soli Deo Gloria,” 1-8-14, Stephen Feinstein pointed out:

 

The psychedelic music of the Beatles were a deliberate attempt to destroy antithesis, promote relativism, undermined the truths of Christianity, and promote New Age Spirituality and drug use. The musicians that followed them simply brought more of the wickedness. Since the message was set to catchy tunes and directed toward drug-battered minds, an entire generation bought into the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and we are still living in the ramifications of it today. Music has only become more relative and meaningless. It has only promoted more drug use, violence, and sexual promiscuity…

This all stems from the fact that fallen man rejects absolute truth because they reject the God of the Bible. In the past, they clung to idolatry so that they could appeal to some authority other than God in order to account for their absolute standards. But when the chief thinkers rejected any purpose or meaning to things, and instead insisted upon an atheistic existence, absolute standards were rejected. The philosophers wrote and articulated it, the artists painted it on canvas, the musicians promoted it with their new styles, and the general culture (literature, poetry, drama, cinema, TV, and pop music) unwittingly accepted it. Now this is the default mode of thinking for the people of Western Civilization. People reject absolutes even if they don’t know why. Most people would not call themselves atheists, but their entire view of truth and reality stems from an atheist worldview. It is amazing how the absurd ideas of a few philosophers were able to change the way of thought for the entire modern world.

So Christian, what is your view on truth? In a world where antithesis is rejected, we need to push the antithesis again and again until the culture understands they cannot escape it. There are ways to do this, and perhaps they will be shared in later posts. We know that it is impossible to live without absolutes. We know the universe does have meaning. Therefore we are not hypocritical or inconsistent when we live as such. But the culture is hypocritical and inconsistent when it rejects God’s absolutes and yet forms its own, while with the same breath claiming such absolutes do not really exist. We need to confront them with God’s absolute truth, which is the only absolute truth that exists.

Strawberry Fields Forever

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Strawberry Fields.
“Strawberry Fields Forever”

US picture sleeve
Single by The Beatles
A-side Penny Lane
Released 13 February 1967 (US)
17 February 1967 (UK)
Format 7″ vinyl
Recorded November–December 1966
EMI Studios, London
Genre
Length 4:05
Label Parlophone (UK)
Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
The Beatles singles chronology
Yellow Submarine” / “Eleanor Rigby
(1966)
Strawberry Fields Forever” / “Penny Lane
(1967)
All You Need Is Love
(1967)
Magical Mystery Tour track listing
Music sample
MENU
0:00

Strawberry Fields Forever” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. It was inspired by Lennon’s memories of playing in the garden of Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children’s home near where he grew up in Liverpool.[3]

The song was the first track recorded during the sessions for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967),[4] and was intended for inclusion on the album. Instead, with the group under record-company pressure to release a single, it was issued in February 1967 as a double A-side with “Penny Lane“. The combination reached number two in Britain, breaking the band’s four-year run of chart-topping singles there, while “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 in America.

Numerous music critics consider it to be one of the group’s best and most adventurous recordings.[5][6] Among the breakthroughs it established in studio techniques of the time, for a single release, the track incorporates reverse-recorded instrumentation and tape loops, and was created from the editing together of two separate versions of the song – each one entirely different in tempo, mood and musical key. The song was later included on the US Magical Mystery Tour LP (although not on the British double EP package of the same name).

“Strawberry Fields Forever” is one of the defining works of the psychedelic rock genre and has been covered by many artists.[1] The Beatles made a promotional film clip for the song that is similarly recognised for its influence in the medium of music video. The Strawberry Fields memorial in New York’s Central Park is named after the song.[7][8]

Background and writing[edit]

The gatepost to Strawberry Field, which is now a popular tourist attraction in Liverpool

Strawberry Field was the name of a Salvation Army children’s home just around the corner from Lennon’s childhood home in Woolton, a suburb of Liverpool.[9] Lennon and his childhood friends Pete Shotton, Nigel Walley, and Ivan Vaughan used to play in the wooded garden behind the home.[10][11] One of Lennon’s childhood treats was the garden party held each summer in Calderstones Park, near the home, where aSalvation Army band played.[12] Lennon’s aunt Mimi Smith recalled: “As soon as we could hear the Salvation Army band starting, John would jump up and down shouting, ‘Mimi, come on. We’re going to be late.'”[11][13]

Lennon’s “Strawberry Fields Forever” and McCartney’s “Penny Lane” shared the theme of nostalgia for their early years in Liverpool. Although both referred to actual locations, the two songs also had strong surrealistic and psychedelic overtones.[14] Producer George Martin said that when he first heard “Strawberry Fields Forever”, he thought it conjured up a “hazy, impressionistic dreamworld”.[15]

The Beatles had just retired from touring after one of the most difficult periods of their career,[16] including the “more popular than Jesus” controversy and the band’s unintentional snubbing of Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos.[17][18] Lennon talked about the song in 1980: “I was different all my life. The second verse goes, ‘No one I think is in my tree.’ Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius – ‘I mean it must be high or low’ “,[19] and explaining that the song was “psycho-analysis set to music”.[15]

Lennon began writing the song in Almería, Spain, during the filming of Richard Lester‘s How I Won the War in September–October 1966.[20][21] The earliest demo of the song, recorded in Almería, had no refrain and only one verse: “There’s no one on my wavelength / I mean, it’s either too high or too low / That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right / I mean it’s not too bad”. He revised the words to this verse to make them more obscure, then wrote the melody and part of the lyrics to the refrain (which then functioned as a bridge and did not yet include a reference to Strawberry Fields). He then added another verse and the mention of Strawberry Fields.[22] The first verse on the released version was the last to be written, close to the time of the song’s recording. For the refrain, Lennon was again inspired by his childhood memories: the words “nothing to get hung about” were inspired by Aunt Mimi’s strict order not to play in the grounds of Strawberry Field, to which Lennon replied, “They can’t hang you for it.”[23] The first verse Lennon wrote became the second in the released version, and the second verse Lennon wrote became the last in the release.

Musical structure[edit]

The song was originally written on acoustic guitar in the key of C major. The recorded version is approximately in B-flat major; owing to manipulation of the recording speed, the finished version is not in standard pitch (some, for instance consider that the tonic is A).[24] The introduction was played by McCartney on a Mellotron,[16] and involves a I–ii–I– VII–IV progression.[25] The vocals enter with the refrain instead of a verse.[5] In fact we are not “taken down” to the tonic key, but to “non-diatonic chords and secondary dominants” combining with “chromatic melodic tension intensified through outrageous harmonisation and root movement”.[26] The phrase “to Strawberry” for example begins with a somewhat dissonant G melody note against a prevailing F minor key, then uses the semi-tone dissonance B and B notes (the natural and sharpened 11th degrees against the Fm chord) until the consonant F note is reached on “Fields”. The same series of mostly dissonant melody notes cover the phrase “nothing is real” against the prevailing F#7 chord (in A key).[26]

A half-measure complicates the meter of the verses, as well as the fact that the vocals begin in the middle of the first measure. The first verse comes after the refrain, and is eight measures long. The verse (for example “Always, no sometimes …”) starts with an F major chord in the key of B (or E chord in the key of A) (V), which progresses to G minor, the submediant, a deceptive cadence. According to Alan Pollack, the “approach-avoidance tactic” (i.e., the deceptive cadence) is encountered in the verse, as the leading-tone, A, appearing on the words “Always know”, “I know when” “I think a No” and “I think I disagree”, never resolves into a I chord (A in A key) directly as expected.[27] Instead, at the end of the verse, the leading note, harmonized as part of the dominant chord, resolves to the prevailing tonic (B) at the end of the verse, after tonicizing the subdominant (IV) E chord, on “disagree“.[24]

In the middle of the second chorus, the “funereal brass” is introduced, stressing the ominous lyrics.[5] After three verses and four choruses, the line “Strawberry Fields Forever” is repeated three times, and the song fades out with guitar, cello, and swarmandal instrumentation. The song fades back in after a few seconds into the “nightmarish” ending, with the Mellotron playing in a haunting tone – one achieved by recording the Mellotron “Swinging Flutes” setting in reverse[28] – scattered drumming, and Lennon murmuring, after which the song completes.[5][27]

Recording[edit]

The working title was “It’s Not Too Bad”,[29] and Geoff Emerick, the sound engineer, remembered it being “just a great, great song, that was apparent from the first time John sang it for all of us, playing an acoustic guitar.”[16]Recording began on 24 November 1966, in Abbey Road’s Studio Two on a 4-track machine.[30] It took 45 hours to record, spread over five weeks.[31][32][33] The song was meant to be on the band’s 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but was released as a single instead.[34]

A 1960s-era Mellotron, similar to that used on the Beatles recording

The band recorded three distinct versions of the song. After Lennon played the song for the other Beatles on his acoustic guitar, the band recorded the first take. Lennon played anEpiphone Casino; McCartney played a Mellotron, a new home instrument purchased by Lennon on 12 August 1965 (with another model hired in after encouragement from Mike Pinder ofThe Moody Blues);[35] George Harrison played electric guitar, and Ringo Starr played drums.[36] The first recorded take began with the verse, “Living is easy …”, instead of the chorus, “Let me take you down”, which starts the released version. The first verse also led directly to the second, with no chorus between. Lennon’s vocals were automatically double-tracked from the words “Strawberry Fields Forever” through the end of the last verse. The last verse, beginning “Always, no sometimes”, has three-part harmonies, with McCartney and Harrison singing “dreamy background vocals”.[22][37] This version was soon abandoned and went unreleased until the Anthology 2 compilation in 1996.

Four days later the band reassembled to try a different arrangement. The second version of the song featured McCartney’s Mellotron introduction followed by the refrain. They recorded five takes of the basic tracks for this arrangement (two of which were false starts) with the last being chosen as best and subjected to further overdubs. Lennon’s final vocal was recorded with the tape running fast so that when played back at normal speed the tonality would be altered, giving his voice a slurred sound. This version was used for the first minute of the released recording.

After recording the second version of the song, Lennon wanted to do something different with it, as Martin remembered: “He’d wanted it as a gentle dreaming song, but he said it had come out too raucous. He asked me if I could write him a new line-up with the strings. So I wrote a new score[38] (with four trumpets and three cellos) and we recorded that, but he didn’t like it.”[30] Meanwhile, on 8 and 9 December, another basic track was recorded, using a Mellotron, electric guitar, piano, backwards-recorded cymbals, and the swarmandel (or swordmandel), an Indian version of the zither.[39][40] After reviewing the tapes of Martin’s version and the original, Lennon told Martin that he liked both versions,[41] although Martin had to tell Lennon that the orchestral score was at a faster tempo and in a higher key (B major) than the first version (A major).[27] Lennon said, “You can fix it, George”, giving Martin and Emerick the difficult task of joining the two takes together.[42][43] With only a pair of editing scissors, two tape machines, and a vari-speed control, Emerick compensated for the differences in key and speed by increasing the speed of the first version and decreasing the speed of the second.[16] He then spliced the versions together,[41] starting the orchestral score in the middle of the second chorus.[42](Since the first version did not include a chorus after the first verse, he also spliced in the first seven words of the chorus from elsewhere in the first version.) The pitch-shifting in joining the versions gave Lennon’s lead vocal a slightly other-worldly “swimming” quality.[44]

Some vocalising by Lennon is faintly audible at the end of the song, picked up as leakage onto one of the drum microphones (close listening shows Lennon making other comments to Ringo). In the “Paul is Dead” hoax these were taken to be Lennon saying “I buried Paul.”[45] In 1974, McCartney said, “That wasn’t ‘I buried Paul’ at all – that was John saying ‘cranberry sauce’ … That’s John’s humour … If you don’t realise that John’s apt to say cranberry sauce when he feels like it, then you start to hear a funny little word there, and you think, ‘Aha!'”[46] Shortly before his death in 1980, Lennon expressed dissatisfaction with the final version of the song, saying it was “badly recorded” and accusing McCartney of subconsciously sabotaging the recording.[47]

Release[edit]

When manager Brian Epstein pressed Martin for a new Beatles’ single, Martin told Epstein that the group had recorded “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”, which in Martin’s opinion were their two finest songs to date.[48] Epstein said they would issue the songs as a double A-side single, as they had done with their previous single, “Yellow Submarine“/”Eleanor Rigby“. The single was released in the US on 13 February 1967, and in the United Kingdom on 17 February 1967.[48] Following the Beatles’ usual philosophy that songs released on a single should not appear on new albums, which wasn’t always the case, both songs were ultimately left off Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Martin later admitted that this was a “dreadful mistake”,[49] even though both were given a belated album appearance on side two of the LP of “Magical Mystery Tour“, which released as a double EP in the UK, but in the USA, the LP had the whole soundtrack on side one with the 1967 singles released on side two; however, the US LP version is now the CD version.

For the first time since “Love Me Do” in 1962, a single by the Beatles failed to reach number one in the UK charts. It was held at number two by Engelbert Humperdinck‘s “Release Me“. In a radio interview at the time, McCartney said he was not upset because Humperdinck’s song was a “completely different type of thing”.[50] Starr said later that it was “a relief” because “it took the pressure off”.[51][nb 1] “Penny Lane” reached number one in the US, while “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at number eight. In the US, both songs were included on the Magical Mystery Tour LP, which was released as a six-track double-EP in the UK.[53]

The song was the opening track of the compilation album 1967–1970, released in 1973,[54] and also appears on the Imagine soundtrack issued in 1988.[55] In 1996, three previously unreleased versions of the song were included on the Anthology 2 album: Lennon’s original home demo, an altered version of the first studio take, and the complete take seven, of which only the first minute was heard in the master version.[56] In 2006, a newly mixed version of the song was included on the album Love.[16] This version builds from an acoustic demo (which was run at the actual recorded speed) and incorporates elements of “Hello, Goodbye“, “In My Life“, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“, “Penny Lane” and “Piggies“.[57]

Promotional film[edit]

The Beatles (McCartney, Harrison, Starr and Lennon) pouring paint over a piano in the video for the song

The Beatles produced a promotional film clip for “Strawberry Fields Forever”, which served as an early example of what became known as a music video.[58] It was filmed on 30 and 31 January 1967 at Knole Park in Sevenoaks, Kent. The clip was directed by Peter Goldmann,[59] a Swedish television director who had been recommended to the Beatles by their mutual friend Klaus Voormann.[60]

One of the band’s assistants, Tony Bramwell, served as producer. Bramwell recalls that, inspired by Voormann’s comment on hearing “Strawberry Fields Forever” – that “the whole thing sounded like it was played on a strange instrument” – he spent two days dressing up a large tree in the park to resemble “a piano and harp combined, with strings”. Writing for Mojomagazine in 2007, John Harris remarked that Bramwell’s set design reflected the “collision of serenity and almost gothic eeriness” behind the finished song.[61]

The film features reverse film effects, stop motion animation, jump-cuts from daytime to night-time, and the Beatles playing and later pouring paint over the upright piano.[62] During the same visit to Knole Park, the band shot part of the promotional film for “Penny Lane”.[63][nb 2]

Critical reception[edit]

Among initial reviews of the single, the NME‍ ’s Derek Johnson confessed to being both fascinated and confused by “Strawberry Fields Forever”, writing: “Certainly the most unusual and way-out single The Beatles have yet produced – both in lyrical content and scoring. Quite honestly, I don’t really know what to make of it.”[65] Time magazine hailed the song as “the latest sample of the Beatles’ astonishing inventiveness”.[66]

“Strawberry Fields Forever” has continued to receive acclaim from music critics. Richie Unterberger of AllMusic describes the song as “one of The Beatles’ peak achievements and one of the finest Lennon-McCartney songs”.[5]Ian MacDonald wrote in Revolution in the Head that it “shows expression of a high order … few if any [contemporary composers] are capable of displaying feeling and fantasy so direct, spontaneous, and original.”[67] In 2004, this song was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone‍ ’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time“.[6]

In 2010, Rolling Stone placed it at number three on the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs.[68][69] “Strawberry Fields Forever” was ranked as the second-best Beatles song by Mojo, after “A Day in the Life“.[70] The song is ranked as the 8th greatest of all time by Acclaimed Music.[71] XFM radio placed the song 73rd in their list of the 100 Best British Songs and 176th in their Top 1000 Songs of All Time list.[72][73]

Cultural influence[edit]

Paul Revere & the Raiders were among the most successful US groups during 1966 and 1967, having their own Dick Clark-produced television show, Where the Action Is. Mark Lindsay (singer/saxophonist) heard the song on the radio, bought it, and then listened to it at home with his producer at the time, Terry Melcher. When the song ended Lindsay said, “Now what the fuck are we gonna do?” later saying, “With that single, the Beatles raised the ante as to what a pop record should be”.[74]

It has been written by Steven Gaines in the biography Heroes and Villains that Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys heard the single while he was underway with his legendary unfinished album, Smile.[75] Later, the event was claimed by Gaines to have been one of many factors that accelerated Wilson’s already plummeting emotional state and the project’s imminent collapse, as Wilson could not find a way to complete the album to his satisfaction,[75] and by the Beach Boys’ former manager Jack Rieley‘s account, feared that what he had accomplished over the last several months of recording would sound dated to contemporary rock audiences.[76][nb 3] In 2014, Wilson stated that he thought “Strawberry Fields Forever” was “a weird record”, but denied that it had “weakened” him.[79]

The promotional films for “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were selected by New York‘s MoMA as two of the most influential music videos of the late 1960s.[80] Both were originally broadcast in the US on 25 February 1967, on the variety show The Hollywood Palace, with actor Van Johnson as host.[81] The Ed Sullivan Show and other variety shows soon dropped their time constraints to allow for psychedelic music performances.

A cartoon based on the song was the final episode produced for The Beatles animated television series.[82] “Strawberry Fields Forever” figures prominently in the award-winning Spanish film Living Is Easy with Eyes Closed, in which a fictional story is told of Lennon’s true, original development of the song in 1966 in Spain.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has been covered a number of other times, notably by Peter Gabriel in 1976 on the musical documentary All This and World War II,[83] and by Ben Harper for the soundtrack of the film I Am Sam.[84] Vanilla Fudge, the debut album by Vanilla Fudge, also contains a cover of “Strawberry Fields Forever” titled “ELDS”; the album in fact spelt out an acrostic of the song as an homage, with preceding tracks titled “STRA”, “WBER” and “RYFI.”[85]Todd Rundgren‘s version of the song was released on his 1976 album Faithful. The song was also covered by Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson for the 2007 movie Across the Universe. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs recorded a ska version of the song featuring Debbie Harry for their album Rey Azúcar, which was a hit throughout Latin America.[86]

“Strawberry Fields Forever” has also been covered by Richie Havens at the Woodstock Festival, Trey Anastasio,[87] the Bee Gees, the Bobs, Campfire Girls, Eugene Chadbourne, Justin Currie, Design, Noel Gallagher, Richie Havens, Hayseed Dixie, Laurence Juber, David Lanz, Cyndi Lauper, Zlatko Manojlović,[88] Marilyn Manson, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Mother’s Finest, Odetta, Andy Partridge, Plastic Penny, Pip Pyle, the Residents,Miguel Ríos, the Runaways, the Shadows, Gwen Stefani, Tomorrow, Transatlantic, Michael Vescera, the Ventures, Cassandra Wilson, Otomo Yoshihide, XTC, Ultraviolet Sound and Karen Souza.[89]

The song returned to the charts 23 years later when British dance group Candy Flip released an electronic version of the song. The song was generally well-received, AllMusic describing it as “funkier and more club-happy than the Beatles’ original”[90] and was a commercial success on both sides of the Atlantic, reaching number three in the UK pop charts[91] and number eleven on the US Modern Rock Tracks chart.[92]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[93]

The Beatles
Additional musicians and production staff

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Australian Go-Set National Top 40[94] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[95] 13
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[96] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[97] 1
Norway (VG-lista)[98] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[48] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[53] 8

 

 

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Top 10 Beatles Psychedelic Songs

Keystone/Hulton Archive, Getty Images

Ahh, psychedelia…that warm fuzzy glow of surrealism that drips over — and then into –one’s head. Though it’s debatable as to who invented the musical form, the Beatles were certainly one of the first architects to lend a hand, and mind’s eye, to the proceedings. Whether from the wellspring of hallucinized minds, or just a natural occurrence of the utterly creative, it’s a trip for the listener that carries on nearly 50 years later. So tune in, turn on and rock out as we give you our Top 10 Beatles Psychedelic Songs.

10

‘She Said, She Said’

From: ‘Revolver’ (1966)

With a biting guitar riff kicking things off, this beauty form ‘Revolver,’ oozes and throbs in technicolor glory. Written by John Lennon (obviously the most psychedelically inclined of the four) after an incident at an L.A. acid party. “Peter Fonda came in when we were on acid and he kept coming up to me and sitting next to me and whispering, ‘I know what it’s like to be dead” Lennon told Journalist David Sheff in 1980. “He was describing an acid trip he’d been on. We didn’t want to hear about that! We were on an acid trip and the sun was shining and the girls were dancing and the whole thing was beautiful.” In all of its two-and-a-half minutes of glory, it manages not only genuine psychedelia but pristine pop of the highest order as well.

9

‘It’s All Too Much’

From: ‘Yellow Submarine’ (1969)

This George Harrison-penned tune is one of the band’s most captivating works from the psychedelic era, and one of the Beatles’ great lost songs. The song was originally written in the later half of 1967 and was considered for inclusion as part of ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ but ultimately shelved. It finally found a home on the ‘Yellow Submarine’ soundtrack in early-1969. Clocking in at just under seven minutes, it’s an unrestrained ride for a good portion complete with guitar feedback, trumpets, bass clarinet and general merriment.

 

8. ‘A Day In The Life’

From: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967)

It’s easy to forget 46 years later, but the entire ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album was truly groundbreaking stuff on all levels, songwriting, production, presentation and spirit. The finale of the LP, ‘A Day In The Life,’ is a piece of day-glo pop art in 4/4 time and still remains a breathtaking adventure. From the unassuming intro of acoustic guitar, piano and vocal, the song twists and turns as it adds color and flavor along the way, until its mid song chaotic climax explodes and suddenly becomes a totally different song. The perfect example of one of Lennon’s ideas and one of Paul McCartney‘s woven together seamlessly into a totally unique creature. We return to the Lennon theme and once again crescendo out-of-bounds at songs end. Recorded on a four-track machine under the impossible-to-understate guidance of Sir George Martin. No Pro Tools were harmed in the making of this record.

7. ‘Within You Without You’

From: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967)

“We were talking about the space between us,” so begins this heady masterpiece of ethereal drone from the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘ LP. The pure bliss of 1967 is in full bloom on this Harrison-penned beauty. Sitars and strings wow and flutter, as tabla instigates the rhythm that flows like an Eastern river into previously uncharted pop group waters, while George delivers some suitably intriguing lyrics. Though in many ways a Harrison solo track, it was an important piece of the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ puzzle and totally of the moment in time that was the ‘Summer of Love.’

6. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’

From: ‘Revolver’ (1966)

One of John Lennon’s most haunting songs, and of course, that’s saying a lot. ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ first appeared in the U.S. on the hodgepodge LP ‘Yesterday And Today’ in June 1996. It would appear in a different mix on the U.K. ‘Revolver’ album a couple months later. With Lennon’s droning vocal sitting atop a lazy, shuffle rhythm, the song creeps along with a certain acidic nonchalance complete with some tasty backwards guitar lines throughout. The spot-on backing vocals and McCartney’s always splendid bass lines drive it onward.

5. ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’

From: ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ (1967)

As the Beatles began recording in early-1967, it was obvious a different approach was at play. The first song recorded during the sessions that would ultimately create ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,’ it was unlike anything anyone had ever heard from a pop group before. The final record of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ was famously made up of two totally different takes, with producer George Martin slightly speeding up one version, while slightly slowing down the other, then splicing them together to create one of the most unique records ever made. The lyrical imagery, the variety of instruments used and the overall vibe of the recording were all miles away from ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand.’ Miles away indeed, but in reality, it had been just three years between the two. The rate of change and growth in such a short time still boggles the mind.

4. ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

From: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (1967)

Although John Lennon always maintained that the lyrics were inspired by a painting his son Julian created, no one was buying it. It just so happened that the letters L, S and D feature so prominently in the title of a colorfully blazing pop song circa 1967? well, believe what you like, it lead to such other preposterous gems like ‘Albert Common Is Dead‘ and ‘Love Seems Doomed‘ (both by the Blues Magoos by the way!) Ultimately, that’s neither here nor there, it’s this song we are concerned with and what a song it is!  Three-and-a-half minutes of pure lysergic bliss, full of picturesque and surreal lyrics set to one of the Beatles’ most trippy songs. Trippy yes, but surging skyward at the same time, especially on the dynamic chorus. The inventive bass playing of Paul McCartney kept getting more crucial to the band’s sound, and it is in full flight here. Later covered successfully by Elton John, and brilliantly by William Shatner.

3. ‘Only A Northern Song’

From: ‘Yellow Submarine’ (1969)

Though it was recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, ‘Only A Northern Song’ wouldn’t see the light of day until it was used on the ‘Yellow Submarine’ soundtrack in early-1969, nearly two years after it was originally put to tape. The song creeps in slowly and builds as it moves along. A variety of wild tape loops, harsh trumpets and percussion are used to create a slightly disorienting effect. Lyrically, it was Harrison’ jab at the Beatles publishing arrangement. “Only A Northern Song was a joke relating to Liverpool,” Harrison said in Anthology. “In addition, the song was copyrighted Northern Songs Ltd, which I don’t own, so: ‘It doesn’t really matter what chords I play… as it’s only a Northern Song.'” Would ‘Sgt. Pepper’ have been even greater had this mind-melter been included in favor of, say ‘When I’m Sixty Four?’ All signs point to a positive affirmation.

2. ‘I Am The Walrus’

From: ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ (1967)

‘I Am The Walrus’ is, without question, one of John Lennon’s finest creations and a 100% psychedelic adventure. The song appeared on the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ LP as well as the flip of ‘Hello Goodbye.’ The LSD-inspired lyrics mesh with lyrics that Lennon himself called nonsense. “The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend” Lennon told interviewer David Sheff in 1980,  “I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days.” The percussive use of strings is brilliant and adds an ominous touch to the journey, while the end of song chaos that erupts is a mind-blower unto itself. ‘I Am The Walrus’ is pure genius all the way!

1.’Tomorrow Never Knows’

From: ‘Revolver’ (1966)

The be-all and end-all of psychedelic rock and roll, ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ has no equal. The final song on the landmark ‘Revolver’ album is one of the most mesmerizing slices of rock and roll ever recorded. Written by Lennon, the song’s shape was helped immeasurably by Paul McCartney who suggested the insistent drum pattern and also contributes the backwards guitar solo here. Though not much of a psychedelic-styled writer himself, Sir Paul certainly knew how to decorate the tree. The surging beat pushes the song into the clouds and beyond. The sitar drone, chanting, and tape loops all brew together in this psychedlic stew. The unconventional lyric was inspired by the Timothy Leary book ‘The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead.’ Lennon said he wanted it to sound like “a group of Tibetan monks chanting on a mountain top.” A truly unique record that still amazes 47 years on.

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

35

‘Paperback Writer’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Harry Benson/Getty Images

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: April 13 and 14, 1966
Released: May 30, 1966
10 weeks; no. 1

‘They were great vocalists — they knew instinctively what harmonies to pitch,” said George Martin. But in the sumptuous intro to “Paperback Writer,” Lennon, McCartney and Harrison went beyond mere formation singing. The trio transformed the title lyric into a medieval chorale that sounded like “She Loves You” dipped in acid. Fastened to a roaring pop song, that sleet of harmonies — combined with the paisley haze of the record’s B side, “Rain” — formally announced the Beatles’ immersion into psychedelia.

“The way the song itself is shaped and the slow, contrapuntal statements from the backing voices — no one had really done that before,” Martin claimed. The producer acknowledged that the Beach Boys were “a great inspiration” to the Beatles, but insisted that his charges had already perfected their vocal craft back when they were playing their club residencies in Hamburg, Germany: “Every night they’d be singing — they’d listen to American R&B records and imitate them,” he said.

McCartney came up with the song’s unusual structure on the long drive out to Lennon’s house, where the duo frequently spent their afternoons writing songs. “I would often start thinking away and writing on my way out, and I developed the whole idea in the car,” he said. “I came in, had my bowl of cornflakes and said, ‘How’s about if we write a letter: “Dear Sir or Madam,” next line, next paragraph, etc.?'” (Some have suggested that the lyric about an aspiring hack was a jab at Lennon, who had published two books of cheeky surrealism, In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works.) Lennon later described “Paperback Writer” as the “son of ‘Day Tripper’ — meaning a rock & roll song with a guitar lick on a fuzzy, loud guitar.”

To engineer Geoff Emerick, the secret ingredient was the propulsive boom he got out of Starr’s bass drum. “No one, as far as I remember on record,” said Emerick, “had a bass drum sounding like that. We had the front skin off the bass drum and stuffed it with sweaters.” Emerick also placed a microphone within an inch of the drum, for which he was reprimanded by EMI studio executives: “You couldn’t go nearer than two feet to the bass drum, because the air pressure would damage the microphone.”

The success of “Paperback Writer” forced a revision of that policy. “I got a letter from EMI allowing me to do that,” Emerick said, “but only on Beatles sessions.”

Appears On: Past Masters

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Jamie Wyeth's 2009 painting "The Sea, Watched." (© Jamie Wyeth. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

 Updated August 10, 2014, 12:00 am

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the painter Jamie Wyeth drove around the Brandywine River Valley between Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware. And he spotted a white barn with a giant American flag painted on its broadside sitting atop the curve of a green hill. A pond in front reflected its red, white and blue. He decided to paint it with an end of day mood.

“I felt I had to record this stirring image,” he’s quoted saying in his retrospective exhibition “Jamie Wyeth” at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts through Dec. 28. The museum describes this 2001 watercolor “Patriot’s Barn” as “speaking to the feeling of vulnerability so pervasive in the nation at the time.”

“I look at myself as just a recorder,” Wyeth is quoted saying in a video screening in the exhibition. “I’m doing a diary.”

But that’s not really true—or, at most, only describes part of what he’s up to. Wyeth is an expert painter of handsome, realist portraits and landscapes in honeyed earth tones, but his ultimate goal is to describe an authentic America, what some might call the real America. It’s a celebration—in vivid fact slathered with plenty of myth-making fantasy—of an East Coast Yankee vision of a Marlboro Man United States.

Wyeth's 1963 painting "Portrait of Shorty." (© Jamie Wyeth. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

That mythologizing extends to Jamie Wyeth’s own place in one of the most storied creative American families. “Wyeth was born in 1946 to a family of artists famous for their distinctive and imaginative realism,” the first lines of the first sign of the exhibit read. Wyeth’s grandfather N.C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth (1882-1945) was a top illustrator who painted swashbuckling pirates, noble Plymouth Pilgrims, and cowboys and Indians of the Wild West. His father Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) was renowned for painting flinty scenes, frequently seasoned with a dash of surrealism, depicting hardscrabble life in rural Pennsylvania and coastal Maine, people and places that seemed sandpapered down by the elements.

Jamie Wyeth learned the family trade from an aunt and his father. His 1963 oil “Portrait of Shorty” depicts a worn down Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, neighbor with a stubbly chin and wearing a grimy tank top. Painted when Wyeth was just 17, this vividly realistic picture reads as a masterpiece in the old sense of the term—works crafted by apprentices to prove they had achieved the skill of master artists.

Jamie Wyeth with his painting "Portrait of John F. Kennedy" at the Museum of Fine Arts on June 23, 2014. (Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Wyeth’s obvious talents, family connections and his 1968 marriage to the Du Pont descendent Phyllis Mills, opened doors to the top of American society—portraits of the Kennedys and involvement in NASA’s 1969 “Eyewitness to Space” art program aimed at bolstering support for moon voyages (when polls showed a majority of Americans opposed space spending). The exhibit includes a little 2005 ink sketch of President George W. Bush’s dogs and cat on White House stationary—with a curatorial note explaining that Wyeth has painted Christmas cards for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Professionally, Jamie Wyeth has stuck close to the family’s stomping grounds of coastal Maine and the Brandywine River Valley. In Maine, he has studios on Monhegan Island, which he purchased at age 22 with earnings from his first solo art exhibition, and in a lighthouse on Southern Island, off the coast of Tenants Harbor near Rockland, which he’s used since 1991. At these places, he paints landscapes in a closely observed realist style close to his father’s work, which describes both their charm and points to the difficulty he’s had in emerging from his dad’s giant shadow.

Wyeth's 1984 painting "Kleberg." (© Jamie Wyeth. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Jamie Wyeth arrived on the scene decades after realism had gone out of style in favor of various abstractions. His father’s conservative approach was so rigorous that it read as crotchety, lived-in, gravitas. But Jamie has just seemed conservative—even as contemporaries like David Hockney, Chuck Close and other artists at the top of the fine art game began to make realism cool again in the 1960s and ‘70s. The “Richard Estes’ Realism” retrospective exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art in Maine through Sept. 7 is another example. Those paintings look like time capsules today because these artists so faithfully reproduced the fashions and technologies of their era. A celebrated exception to this style among realists who emerged in that era is Lucian Freud, who ensconced himself in his studio to dissect the meat of his nude models with brushwork so rich and a gaze so intense that it read as soul.

The subjects of Jamie Wyeth’s Maine paintings are stacks of firewood, lobster traps, lighthouses, gulls, white clapboard churches, a curly-haired ram, a whale jawbone, a giant propeller left over from a shipwreck. In Pennsylvania, he paints chickens, hay bales, pigs, goats, angus cattle, horses, barns. He paints his wife—a “champion equestrian” before she was crippled in an auto accident when she was 21—standing in doorways brooding or sitting on benches dressed in prim 19th century dresses (or perhaps 1970s hippie prairie gowns?) or driving carriages pulled by white Welsh ponies through the dark woods of the Brandywine Valley.

Wyeth's 2005 painting "Envy - The Seven Deadly Sins." (© Jamie Wyeth. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

There’s always been a bit of showiness in Jamie’s painting that’s become more pronounced as he’s aged. This sweet tooth for fantasy can lead him astray—as in his Maine cornball idea to portray the “Seven Deadly Sins” using seagulls, including “Pride” represented by a bird with a red lobster in its beak.

“The danger with Maine is that it is so anecdotal and emblematic in terms of pretty houses, pretty lobster traps—‘quaint’ things,” Wyeth has said. “Maine is not that way. Maine has a lot of edge, a lot of angst.”

Wyeth’s landscapes are all rustic Americana, a cozy, misty-eyed vision of some imagined respectable, pastoral 19th century U.S. golden age. In that, his paintings stand as a sort of counter to the urban, industrial, diverse America that his images so carefully ignore.

Wyeth's 1972 portrait of ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, "Profile with Black Wash (Study #23)." (© Jamie Wyeth. Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

Well, that he ignores except for time he spent in New York City in the 1960s and ‘70s hobnobbing with the top of the 1970s gay New York art world—though the MFA can’t bring itself to mention any sexuality here. One room of the show offers portraits of critic and ballet impresario Lincoln Kirstein, ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, and pop artist Andy Warhol.

MFA curator Elliot Bostwick Davis, who organized the exhibition, reports in the catalogue that Wyeth painted the full frontal nude here of the star dancer in 1977 “in an effort to become even closer to Nureyev.” Warhol, the MFA winkingly notes, appreciated Wyeth’s talent, artistic lineage and “cuteness.”

The male eroticism continues in a shirtless 1969 self-portrait, a 1977 rendering of a topless Arnold Schwarzenegger flexing his body builder bicep, and a 1990 full-body nude of a Maine teenage boy sitting on a chest, discreetly observed from the side, emphasizing his slender adolescent frame. The MFA exhibition makes no comment about how this engagement with part of contemporary America contrasts with the old time, “traditional” ways of life represented in Wyeth’s better-known landscapes.

Perhaps acknowledging it would distract from Wyeth’s main subject—alluring nostalgia for some imagined American past. In his signature Northeast landscapes, nobody is seen farming or fishing. The trappings of these invisible labors become picturesque background decor for rural estates and seaside summer cottages. The grinding work has been tidied away. Wyeth paints so beautifully, so seductively that it’s easy to not notice that he’s painting clichés—Maine and Pennsylvania as old timey, rustic “vacation land.”

Greg Cook is co-founder of ARTery. Follow him on Twitter @AestheticResear and be his friend on Facebook.

Jamie Wyeth

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jamie Wyeth
Born James Browning Wyeth
July 6, 1946 (age 69)
Wilmington, Delaware
Nationality American
Education Home-schooled
Known for Painting
Notable work Portrait of John F. Kennedy
Portrait of Andy Warhol
Movement American realism
Elected National Academy of Design

James (“Jamie”) Browning Wyeth (born July 6, 1946) is a contemporary American realist painter, son of Andrew Wyeth, and grandson of N.C. Wyeth. He was raised in Chadds Ford Township, Pennsylvania, and is artistic heir to the Brandywine School tradition, painters who worked in the rural Brandywine River area of Delaware and Pennsylvania, portraying its people, animals, and landscape.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

James Wyeth is the second child of Andrew and Betsy Wyeth, born three years after brother Nicholas, his only sibling. He was raised on his parents’ farm “The Mill” in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in much the same way as his father had been brought up, and with much the same influences. He demonstrated the same remarkable skills in drawing as his father had done at comparable ages. He attended public school for six years and then, at his request was privately tutored at home, so he could concentrate on art. His brother Nicholas would later become an art dealer.[1]

Artistic study[edit]

At age 12, Jamie studied with his aunt Carolyn Wyeth, a well-known artist in her own right, and the resident at that time of the N. C. Wyeth House and Studio, filled with the art work and props of his grandfather. In the morning he studied English and history at his home, and in the afternoon joined other students at the studio, learning fundamentals of drawing and composition. He stated later, “She was very restrictive. It wasn’t interesting, but it was important.” Through his aunt, Jamie developed an interest in working with oil painting, a medium he enjoyed at a sensory level: the look, smell and feel of it. Carolyn Wyeth and Howard Pyle were his greatest early influences in developing his technique in working with oil paint. While Jamie’s work in watercolor was similar to his father’s, his colors were more vivid.[1][2]

As a boy, Jamie was exposed to art in many ways: the works of his talented family members, art books, attendance at exhibitions, meeting with collectors, and becoming acquainted with art historians.[1] He also developed an offbeat sense of humor, sometimes veering to the macabre.[2]

For at least three years in the early 1960s, when Wyeth was in his middle to late teens, Wyeth painted with his father. Of their close relationship, Wyeth has said: “Quite simply, Andrew Wyeth is my closest friend—and the painter whose work I most admire. The father/son relationship goes out the window when we talk about one another’s work. We are completely frank—as we have nothing to gain by being nice.”[3] At age 19 [about 1965] he traveled toNew York City, to better study the artistic resources of the city and to learn human anatomy by visiting the city morgue.[4]

Marriage[edit]

Tenants Harbor Lighthouse, Maine prior to construction of a new house and reconstruction of the tower

In 1968, Wyeth married Phyllis Mills, daughter of Alice du Pont Mills and James P. Mills[5] and one of his models. Although she had earlier been permanently crippled in a car accident and must use crutches (and later a motorized chair)[5] to get around, Wyeth finds her a very strong, determined woman whose elusive nature means that he continually discovers something new about her. Mills is the subject of many of his paintings (which usually depict her seated) including And Then into the Deep Gorge (1975), Wicker (1979), and Whale (1978), as well as, by implication, his painting of Phyllis’ hat in Wolfbane (1984).[6]

Phyllis had worked for John F. Kennedy when he was a senator and president.

Portrait of Andy Warhol Jamie Wyeth (American, born in 1946) 1976

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Jamie Wyeth, Bianca Jagger, Larry Rivers, Andy Warhol, New York, 1977

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Artists Jamie Wyeth, left, and his father, Andrew, who died in 2009

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