All too often, one must ruthlessly and completely delete the past in order to move forward, whereas, especially in movies and music, there is often inspiration to be had by going back and delving into the past- the roots- and seeing how “back in the day” gave birth to Here In The Now.

Today, I found some photos on twitter I had never seen before, mainly of the Beatles, a few of Dylan and one of a young, bewitched, bothered and bewildered Mick Jagger staring at a picture of The Bob. It made me wonder about all that early music which they would have been listening to at that time and which led to them charting their own course into that great unknown where you often go despite seeing the Danger signs and are never too sure which way you land and where and with whom. Like a failed marriage, or love on the rocks.

With the early Beatles, “raw” is a word often used to describe their music- mainly covers that inspired some of their earliest originals and on which, over a very short period, they turned upside down and got to the bottom to get back to the top.

With George Martin by their side and acid and weed opening up the senses, “raw” turned into into trippy surrealism.

For example, one can listen to McCartney’s cover of “Long Tall Sally” and see how it led to “I’m Down”, returned as “Back In The USSR”, “Lady Madonna” and “Helter Skelter”.

As for Lennon, he was always unique even when covering songs like “Please Mr Postman”, “You Really Got A Hold On Me” and “Slowdown” which were, in many ways, the Soul Man Grandaddies to originals like the amazing, “All I Gotta Do”, “You Can’t Do That” which he replicated as “I Call Your Name” and “Come Together”, which was really stoned down Chuckles Berry. Lennon was one helluva rhythm guitarist as he gave the songs a certain drive- a certain funk whereas that voice was and is as soulful as that of Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye. John Winston Lennon was a Liverpudlian soul man.

The Stones came out of the Blues that founder Brian Jones was listening to- Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, Rufus Thomas- and the straight ahead rock and roll of Chuck Berry, which, Keith Richard, The Human Riff, took and turned into the band’s heavily riff-driven classics- “The Last Time”, “Satisfaction”, “Gimme Shelter”, and “Street Fighting Man”.

Not too many other Rock bands have created such riff-laden song except, perhaps for Led Zeppelin and The Who, and whose musical influences were the same.

Like the flowers, where have all the great riffs gone? Gawd knows. The DIY world might have killed them off forever.

The thing is this: The creative process comes out of influences and those who inspire.

As one matures, this influence can come from the stories in your life, events, politics, sadness, happiness, religion, non-religion, friends, people.

But in music and movies, I personally believe that when you’re feeling flat and plateaued out and lacking in inspiration, there’s nothing better than watching a Hitchcock Retrospective or turning back those weighty hands of time, and listening to how Phil Spector built that Wall Of Sound by bumping tracks, the exacting science of Brian Wilson’s epic “Pet Sounds”, the soulful voice of Lennon singing “I’ll Be Back”, and then blasting out that great mashup called “Rolling Confusion” that brings together The Stones’”Street Fighting Man” and “Gimme Shelter” with the Temptations’ “Ball Of Confusion”. Liberating, invigorating, inspiring stuff.

You come into this world alone, you leave alone and in-between you create your legacy. And nobody and nothing’s gonna change your world.

Hans Ebert
Chairman and CEO
We-Enhance Inc and Fast Track Global Ltd
www.fasttrack.hk

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