SHADY WENT TO A GAY BAR!
(...not that there's anything wrong with that.)
There, I said it! Let's get all of the snickering over with right now. If there are any outbursts later I'll clear the courtroom.
Yes, I admit that I went into a gay establishment but I didn't intend to. Oh alright, Dick Tracy, I guess maybe my first hint should have been the fact that there were no women in the joint. Perhaps I should have put two and two together when I noticed that the walls were covered with framed portraits of divas like Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross and Liza Minnelli.
It just didn't sink in because...well, because I got distracted. Here's what happened (just the facts).
Friday, May 29th, 1981, 8:45PM: My partner Frank and I were working the night watch out of LAPD Homicide Division. (Oops!...pardon me...wrong story.) Actually, I was sitting on a bar stool that evening halfway through my first draft beer and paying no attention to the clientele when, to my delight, an exciting medley of Beatles songs began to play on the club's bitchin' sound system. My eyes grew wide in disbelief as the long string of Beatles favorites continued, blended seamlessly and mixed with a nonstop dance beat. It was the coolest thing I ever heard! I wondered where it came from, who assembled it and why didn't I know about it.
STARS ON 45
Turns out I wasn't listening to the Beatles after all. It was Stars on 45, a Dutch act put together by Jaap Eggermont, formerly of Golden Earring, and consisting of studio musicians recreating the authentic sound of the Beatles and weaving portions of their songs together over a fixed drum/clap track.
The Stars on 45 Beatles medley soared to #1 on both the Billboard and Cash Box charts and spawned other medleys including the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Abba, the Supremes and the Carpenters. Many Beatles tribute bands have emerged in the years since but I never heard any of them imitate the Fab Four better than Stars On!
"Stars on 45 (Medley)" - Stars on 45
(May/June 1981, highest chart position #1)
In 1982 I saw the Stars on 45 perform live in concert at a Harrisburg hotel. It was a fabulous show!
Now I'd like to offer a few of my favorite songs by the real Beatles. If you're like me you've heard some Beatles hits so many times that you wouldn't care if you never heard them again. I tried to avoid songs like those and instead present selections that you might not have heard lately and Beatles footage that you might not have seen before. Let's begin with the opening track from the English combo's second UK album With the Beatles. The rocking "It Won't Be Long" was written by John Lennon with an assist by Paul McCartney on lyrics and arrangement.
"It Won't be Long" - Beatles
December 1963, from album
With the Beatles
Second in line..."Not a Second Time," another track written by Beatle John and included on With the Beatles.
"Not a Second Time" - Beatles
December 1963, from album
With the Beatles)
The rollicking "When I Get Home," another John Lennon composition, appeared on the album A Hard Day's Night and was first released in America on the album Something New.
"When I Get Home" - Beatles (July 1964,
from albums A Hard Day's Night and
Penned by Paul, "The Night Before" is a track from the album and the film Help!
"The Night Before" - Beatles
(August 1965, from the album
and motion picture Help!)
Paul and Linda McCartney wrote the song "Hi Hi Hi" in Spain while Paul was, in his words, "in a sensuous mood." That helps to explain allegations of sexually suggestive lyrics and drug references that got the record banned in the UK by the BBC. Negative publicity often boosts sales and the former Beatle's rowdy recording made it to #5 in Britain and #10 stateside.
"Hi Hi Hi" - Paul McCartney and Wings
(January 1973, highest chart position #10)
Ringo Starr and George Harrison wrote "Photograph" and
the two ex-Beatles recorded it with Ringo singing lead and playing drums and George on guitar and harmony vocals. "Photograph" was released as a single in the fall of 1973 and went all the way to #1 in the U.S. while halting at #8 back home in the UK.
"Photograph" - Ringo Starr
(November 1973, highest chart
Many songs by the so-called quiet Beatle resonated with me. "If I Needed Someone" is a beautiful George Harrison composition from the UK album Rubber Soul and the USA album Yesterday and Today. The Hollies recorded the song and released it on a single with only modest success. The Beatles version achieved immortality.
"If I Needed Someone" - Beatles
(December 1965, from UK album
Rubber Soul and 1966 USA album
Yesterday and Today)
A gem from George's solo career, "Blow Away" was released on Valentine's day 1979. At the time everybody and his grandmother was making disco records and "Blow Away" swept in like a fresh cool breeze.
"Blow Away" - George Harrison
(April 1979, highest chart position
#16 Billboard, #12 Cash Box,
#2 Adult Contemporary)
John Lennon was assassinated 31 years ago today on December 8th, 1980. The following spring George Harrison released "All Those Years Ago," a loving tribute to his friend and former bandmate. The single spent three weeks at the #2 position on the American Billboard chart. In an ironic twist Harrison's record was blocked from the top spot by the band of Beatles imitators the Stars on 45 and their Beatles Medley!
"All Those Years Ago" - George Harrison
(June 1981, highest chart position #2)
"I just had to let it go," explained John Lennon when fans, handlers and hangers-on wondered why he retired from the music business and withdrew from the limelight rather than milking his Beatles fame for all it was worth. Lennon reminded all of us that fame and fortune are not the only measures of success. As John discovered, it can be realized in the quiet role of husband and father.
"But I can be alone without Yoko, but I just have no wish
to be. There’s no reason on earth why I should be alone
without Yoko. There’s nothing more important than our
relationship, nothing. And we dig being together all the time.
Both of us could survive apart but what for? I’m not going
to sacrifice love, real love for any whore or any friend or
any business, because in the end you’re alone at night and
neither of us want to be. And you can’t fill a bed with
groupies. It doesn’t work. I don’t want to be a swinger.
I’ve been through it all and nothing works better than to
have someone you love hold you." — John Lennon
"Watching the Wheels' was the third and final single to be released posthumously from the John Lennon/York Ono album Double Fantasy following John's murder.
"Watching the Wheels - John Lennon
(May 1981, highest chart position
#10 Billboard, #7 Cash Box)
"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love.
When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we
are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion,
excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love
ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we
cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability
to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all
hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-
hearted vision of people who embrace life."-- John Lennon
31 years and counting, John.
We will always remember.
Have a Shady day!