The Beatles Cartoon, Paperback Writer
Ringo Starr – you know, of Beatles fame – turns 68 today, so he and Paul McCartney will presumably be getting together to drop acid and mime about the old times. And what old times they were, when four dirty little scamps in leather bondage gear suddenly took the music world by the throat and declared to God-fearing Americans that they were even more marvelous than Agamemnon and Moses put together. Or something like that. We don’t know, we’re making it up. We can’t remember the 60s, because we weren’t there. And we don’t mean that we were out of our minds, man. We mean that we weren’t born yet. Even so, we thought we’d get Ringo a gift, and it boiled down to a toss up between another ring, or a clip of an old cartoon. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday Ringo!
The Beatles, Don’t Let Me Down
Yes! Thursday! We adore Thursdays, because they’ve been recently declared – by us – the official day of love. A time for romance, snogging, and smearing handfuls of treacle into your lover’s soft thighs. Today, The Beatles explain how there’s a woman out there really watering their testicles. Yoko perhaps?
Ananda Shankar, Streets of Calcutta
The excellent Indian Ravi Shankar turns 89 today, and he’s had quite a trip so far. He turned George Harrison into a pipe smoker of the highest order, and managed to sire Norah Jones while he was at it. Good for him. He is a wonderful sitar player. Hence we decided to get him a gift. We sat in an oblong and necked handfuls of psychedelic drugs to get in the mood, then discussions turned pretty weird. Orca – child of the wild stallion – blew a thought bubble insisting that Ravi needed to find the purple styrofoam road, while a whispering koala bear kept repeating the words “dental freshness” over and over again. It was an unusual night. In the end we settled on some trippy music by Ravi’s nephew, Ananda. Happy Birthday, Shankar!
The Chiffons, He’s So Fine
Were he still with us, George Harrison would be turning 66 today. And what a 66 years! A member of The Beatles, a member of The Traveling Wilburys, some argue that he was the true genius. So, what to get such a marvelous pop star? We formed a think tank using flipcharts, and drew graphs and pictures of spiders webs long into the night, before it boiled down to a large glass of Vimto, or a song that he may remember from back in his My Sweet Lord days. In the end we got him both. Happy Birthday, Mr Harrision!
It’s a strong, valiant name
We’ve already tackled the greatest Roberts to ever light up the silver screen, now it’s the turn of the Georges. Only, in this case, we’re not just limiting ourselves to the actors. We cast an astonishing magnifying glass over the history books, searching, scouring, foraging. Occasionally all at the same time. And there are many great Georges who didn’t even make the cut – Costanza, Michael, Washington, Clooney, Harrison. Plus, of course, “Boy”. These are the four that kept them out…
1. George Carlin
Our love for George Carlin literally knows no bounds. Huge in America, he was barely known in Britain, probably most recognised for being in Bill and Ted – which is ridiculous, because he was a totally brilliant stand up comic. He was also the first man ever to host Saturday Night Live.
2. George Foreman
Popstars-turned-actors – or the other way round – think they’re so clever. Look, we’re doing two jobs! But they pale in comparison to George Foreman. Completely pale. First he was a brilliant heavyweight boxer – famous for being the most feared and brutal puncher on the planet. Now he’s a cheerful father-of-ten, with a fantastic portable grill business. Amazing.
3. George “Van” Morrison
Better known as Van Morrison, why he struck off the George bit we will never understand. Even so, all is forgiven, because his Irish brand of folk/soul is too great to ignore. Don’t believe us, then listen to this…
4. Saint George
Despite his flag now being synonymous with sneering racists – ironically, given that he is also the patron saint of Ethiopia, Greece, Palestine and Lithuania – you have to doff a small cap to Saint George. After all, he did go to battle with a dragon. Granted, over the years that may have been exaggerated a touch – he probably just trod on a toad. Still, he’s a saint.
This man does not count
There is an enormous difference between a film produced/executive produced by a pop star, and a film that stars them as well. Most of the latter category feature rap music’s force of nature, Will Smith – a man who will surely direct himself playing the parts of God and Jesus in the same film one day. We can hardly wait. But until that day comes, we’ve decided to quench our thirst by looking at some of the greatest films produced by people in the music industry. These are the ones we like best…
1. Repo Man
A totally weird/brilliant film, what makes this punk-fuelled tale of car reposession, drugs and aliens even more surreal is that it was produced by Mike Nesmith from The Monkees. It stars Emilio Estevez – possibly at his peak – and Harry Dean Stanton, who is one of our favourite actors ever. Probably our sixth favourite to be precise.
The Beatles, Rain
The Beatles were amazing, everyone knows that, and the above track is the flipside to Paperback Writer. It’s a great video, made even better by George Harrison kicking it off with a rather grand notion…
Oop, has someone been smoking pot?
Although Sgt Pepper is often hailed as The Beatles’ druggie 1960s masterpiece, Revolver and Rubber Soul were equally far out, and frankly, better albums. Most fans will probably argue long into the night over which one is their greatest record, so we’ll settle it right now. Rubber Soul is their best to listen to, but Revolver has a more impressive cover. Bosh! Done! Now, as for the sleeve, it was clearly the band’s way of telling the world that they were totally into their drugs now – just look how zany they are! Photographs are mixed with cartoons, John is emerging from George’s hair, Paul has a cartoon of George in his ear, and Ringo has a half-man-half-toon Paul lying down on his head. Bonkers. It’s all just too bloody trippy – the album cover equivalent of telling your parents that you want to be a dancer by coming down for dinner in a frilly pink tutu.
Hear some classic Revolver after the jump…