Looking back on The Beatles “Hey Jude” from a world a little colder

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Even as something of a Beatlephile, I learned a few things reading this Rolling Stone article from 2018 about The Beatles’ most "open-hearted masterpiece," Hey Jude.

Cynthia and Julian thought “Hey Jude” was for them. John heard it as the ballad of John and Yoko. But neither side was wrong — countless people around the world have heard this homily speaking to them. “The movement you need is on your shoulder” — John was so right about that line, and as Paul says, he thinks of John every time he sings that part. “Hey Jude” is a tribute to everything the Beatles loved and respected most about each other. Even George, who plays the most low-profile role in this song, tipped his cap with the na-na-na-na finale of “Isn’t That a Pity,” which you can hear as a viciously cheeky parody, an affectionate tribute or (most likely) both. The pain in “Hey Jude” resonated in 1968, in a world reeling from wars, riots and assassinations. And it’s why it sounds timely as our world keeps getting colder. After more than 50 years, “Hey Jude” remains a source of sustenance in difficult times — a moment when four longtime comrades, clear-eyed adults by now, take a look around at everything that’s broken around them. Yet they still join together to take a sad song and make it better.

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Peter Green, original Fleetwood Mac mastermind, dead at 73

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It has been announced through a family representative that legendary guitarist Peter Green died peacefully in his sleep last night. He was 73.

Green was a founding member of Fleetwood Mac (first called "Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac with Jeremy Spencer") and a celebrated guitar player and songwriter. His spare, tonal, and soulful phrasing made him a guitarist’s guitarist who influenced many that came after him.

Green is listed 58th in Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitar players of all time and 50th by Guitar Playerˆ. Green was also a talented songwriter who wrote many classics, including Black Magic Woman, later made popular by Santana, and the early charting Mac singles, Albatross and Man of the World.

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Joni Mitchell’s humblingly beautiful isolated vocals on “River”

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Joni Mitchell’s "River," from her 1971 masterpiece, Blue, has long been one of my favorites of her compositions. The sad, dreamy imagery of a wintertime love lost and the desire to skate away on an endless frozen river forever has got to be one of the most potent evocations in popular music.

In this isolated vocal from that track, we get to hear just how pure, powerful, and expressive Joni’s vocals were on this recording.

[Via Far Out Magazine]

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The enduring beauty of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” and one of the greatest musical couplets ever written

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Lithub has a wonderful piece on the classic Jimmy Webb composition, "Wichita Lineman," one of the most enduring pop songs ever written. Made famous by the late Glen Campbell, the author of piece describes the song as one that "defies the injustice of repetition."

And then, there’s that amazing "I need you more than want you" couplet.

There is little ambiguity about the greatest couplet ever written. The punchline—the sucker punch—of “Wichita Lineman,” the line in the song that resonates so much, the line that contains one of the most exquisite romantic couplets in the history of song—“And I need you more than want you / and I want you for all time”—could be many people’s perfect summation of love, although some, including writer Michael Hann, think it’s something sadder and perhaps more profound. “It is need, more than want, that defines the narrator’s relationship; if they need their lover more than wanting them, then naturally they will want them for all time. The couplet encompasses the fear that those who have been in relationships do sometimes struggle with: good God, what happens to me if I am left alone?” Hann is certainly right when he says that it’s a heart-stopping line, and no matter how many hundreds of times you hear it, no matter what it means to you, it never loses its ability to shock and confound.

Read the rest here.

Here is Glen Campbell singing the track on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in the late 60s. Read the rest