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It was good to see that despite it being over fifty years ago today that he and the other three lads taught- and are still teaching- other bands to play, the genius and magic of McCartney- Sir Macca- bass guitarist, musician extraordinaire and musical catalyst, has not been lost on people who still stick to the belief that the technology will never replace a great song and true musicianship.

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GarageBand has its time and place, but nothing can replace 4-5 guys making music together in a bedroom, or a garage, which I guess has to with friendship, dreams, inspiration, honesty, and being honest to one’s self and not being caught up in the bullshit of phoney profiles, photo-shopped profile pics and asinine updates. You can count me in- out- of all that.

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Of course, the music of the Beatles led to a period of music where so much happened so quickly, music was a chameleon that shaped and turned on minds and when guitar gods reigned supreme and even dwarfed the front men.

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Roger Daltrey or the windmill guitar slashing of Pete Townshend? Or, for that matter, Roger Daltrey or Keith Moon or Townshend versus Keith Moon? And was the manic drummer totally bombastic and shambolic, or the perfect foil and partner in crime for Townshend’s songs?

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I’ll stick with the latter while never underestimating the role of John Entwhistle in creating the sound of The Who.

Roger Daltrey, I never accepted, perhaps because having heard Townshend’s demos in bootleg form, I preferred his vocals.

After all, they were his songs, and as Dylan has always proven along with John Lennon and McCartney plus the Stones, Bowie, Jim Morrison and the Doors, accept no substitute for the original version.

Someone covering “Imagine” or “Light My Fire” or “Like A Rolling Stone”- not even the Stones- has never worked. It becomes schtick.

If there was a perfect Rock band- the Beatles were and are the perfect “band band” and best ever “boy band” we’ll ever see- I’d go for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin.

Though impossible to outrun Hendrix on a free rein, drummer Mitch Mitchell urged him on while putting his own stamp of approval and ownership on their material whereas Noël Redding, as with most bass players at that time, was happy to stand with his feet nailed to the floorboards, watching, listening and ensuring nothing got derailed and ran into any oncoming crosstown traffic.

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I might be wrong, but it seems that Bill Wyman as “The Silent Stone”- very different to “The Quiet Beatle”- “created” this role of the stoic bass guitarist.

And on the subject of Wyman, gawd, that intro and his playing throughout “Jumping Jack Flash” was amazing.

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In Led Zeppelin, bassist John Paul Jones looked on and kept that weapon of musical reconstruction on the path to Rock’n Roll righteousness as there was simply no harnessing, not only the crotch rock, out front and centre, of Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, there was Bonzo- John Bonham and his Moby Dick- attacking a song like “Whole Lotta Love” to which he added so much that it must be THE Rock air drum anthem, then went from the quiet before the storm on the magnificent “Ramble On” whereas “Stairway To Heaven” has been the dissected and discussed until those Houses Of The Holies tumbled down.

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Those “Beatles Years”, or whatever you might call them, is a period in time that will never come again- all that music, all that creativity, all that making of Rock icons, all those influences, all that inspiration.

Cream with Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and Clapton that partly morphed into Blind Faith, Free, the very underrated Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Small Faces, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, the brilliance of Ray Davies who could be Damon Albarn’s musical daddy, and his Kinks, Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention, all combined to create a short explosion of a music culture that intertwined with daily life as there was no clutter to take the eye off the eight-ball.

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Even the Top Of The Pops commercial sounds of the Hollies, Donovan, Manfred Mann, even the Dave Clark V- listen to the chord structure of their “Because”, Cat Stevens, Badfinger, the Turtles, Lovin’ Spoonful, the early Bee Gees, the Beach Boys, though, perhaps, not in that “cool zone”, contributed enormously to this music smorgasbord from which much of today’s music has been shaped.

Donovan at the Hollywood Bowl

Just listen to The Struts and The 1975, two very good bands, or Lorde and the influences are there.

And thank god, or whoever’s taking us to where we’re going on this trip, for this.

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  1. Justin says:

    That Hendrix clip for the early performance of Purple Haze is a classic example of great “room sound” and players playing their parts. The way they interact with Jimi is outstanding. Raw and egoless….

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