15. revolution 9

“Second of two in a row from the outfit known as The Beatles, because one record could never do justice to everything they accomplished, particularly through their so-called studio years, which never went further, wider, weirder, more provocatively abstract than the track known as Revolution 9 (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone call it a song). My first encounter came toward the end of Grade Seven, springtime 1972. Twelve years old and because I’m sort of responsible, I guess, I’ve been assigned to help slightly bad kid Malcolm Mills make a mix tape for the end of year dance — entrusted with the key to the school’s downstairs music room. Anyway, among other options, Malcolm’s grabbed his big brother’s copy of the Beatles White Album, intending to extract some of the obvious pop stuff. But we end up digging through all four sides, at some point wondering why there are two Revolutions listed. The first is just a slowed down version of the radio hit, and thus not near as cool. The second one’s called Revolution 9 and it’s …?

Well, it’s not really music, is it? It’s just all this baffling noise that keeps going on and on. But then Malcolm gets it. This is the one where it says Paul is dead, the secret track where all the Beatles mysteries are revealed. It has to be. So we listen again, louder, making sure we haven’t missed anything. Then a third time, VERY LOUD, which is when Mr. Walton, the Gym teacher, barges in, and asks us what the hell we’re doing. We never did finish that party tape. But I did get my tiny head turned around in a profound way – a question mark imposed upon all manner assumptions I had as to what music actually was. Or more to the point, at what point does noise become music? Or what happens when the two are indistinguishable? And who’s making the call? The secret, of course, is not to decide, just enjoy. Surf the chaos. See where it takes you. Thank you, Beatles. And Yoko, of course. No Yoko, no Revolution 9. No Beatles getting elevated to that level where they really were (still are) definitively, superlatively fab.” (Philip Random)

189. gimme some truth

 

“So I’m twelve almost thirteen, smart enough to not believe in the God I’ve had foisted on me my entire life, and thus scared to death of death – the fact that sometime somehow I will die, maybe in ten minutes, maybe in a hundred years of old age, but either way, everything will end, my heart will cease pumping, my mind will cease minding. Then nothing. Just blank. Like a light getting clicked off. Sorry, but twelve almost thirteen year old me can’t accept this. There has to be something, which is why I just can’t buy John Lennon’s Imagine, all that no heaven stuff – above us only sky. There bloody well better be more than just sky. And Imagine’s kind of lame anyway, too hippie la-la-la. Gimme Some Truth on the other hand, from the same album. That I can chew on. Way more than just sky.” (Philip Random)

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663. well (baby please don’t go)

As already noted, John and Yoko’s Some Time in New York City has to rate as mostly disastrous, there being far too much Yoko Ono in the mix, and the sort of one-note politicking that feels like a repeated kick to the head. And yet there are a few moments such as the live take on Well (Baby Please Don’t Go) which happens to include Frank Zappa (and at least some of the Mothers) tearing things up with all due savagery and respect. Even Yoko’s saxophonic wailing kind of works, at least for a while.

42. The Solid Time Of Change

Installment #42 of the Solid Time of Change aired on Saturday June-24-2017 (c/o CiTR.FM.101.9).

Podcast (Solid Time begins a few minutes in). Youtube playlist (not entirely accurate).

The Solid Time of Change is our overlong yet incomplete history of the so-called Prog Rock era – 661 selections from 1965 through 1979 with which we hope to do justice to a strange and ambitious time indeed, musically speaking.

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Part Forty-Two of the journey went as follows:

  1. Mason Williams – classical gas
  2. Van Morrison – you don’t pull no punches but you don’t push the river
  3. Genesis – the musical box
  4. Rainbow – stargazer
  5. Deep Purple – sweet child [space truckin] in time
  6. Rolling Stones – you can’t always get what you want
  7. Beatles – strawberry fields forever
  8. Beatles – revolution 9
  9. Pink Floyd – echoes

Fresh episodes air pretty much every Saturday night, starting 11 pm (Pacific time) c/o CiTR.FM.101.9, with streaming and download options available within twenty-four hours via our Facebook page.

931. John Sinclair

In which ex-Beatle John cries foul at the imprisonment of his friend John Sinclair (artist, shit-disturber, manager of the MC5) who was busted for two joints of marijuana, thrown in jail for ten years. Welcome to Richard Nixon’s America. Found on 1972’s Sometime in New York City, an album which was not well received at the time. Or as Philip Random puts it, “Definitive proof that Yoko really can’t sing and John, for all his musical genius, still has to at least try for a album to be even half-way good. Feel free to skip this one, except John Sinclair, of course.”

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1054. I don’t wanna be a soldier Mama

Imagine was the big deal John Lennon song of the moment (all that pie-in-the-sky god-free utoptianism). But I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama was selling a harder, louder 1971 truth. Because the Vietnam War just kept dragging on, and even if it did end soon, everybody knew there’d be another one coming along soon to keep all the young boys busy tearing each other apart, so they wouldn’t have time to wise up, turn on the old men whose corrupt souls kept conjuring the f***ing things.

(photo: Iain Macmillan © Yoko Ono)

1084. madness

Elephant’s Memory are one of those they-really-coulda-been-somebody bands. Songs on the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s band of choice when they were slumming in NYC in the early 70s. But for whatever reason, it never really happened for them. Which doesn’t mean they didn’t drop a few strong albums along the way, including 1972’s Elephant’s Memory, which is where Madness can be found.