Saturday, January 31, 2009

BQRH #8: "Mull Of Kintyre" (Wings)

Happy birthday, Old Dog!

Today is my dad's birthday. Therefore, today's broadcast of BQRH is devoted to one of his favorite songs: "Mull Of Kintyre", by Wings.

Written by Paul McCartney and Denny Laine, it was released as a single in 1977, witnessing its first LP issue on the hits collection "Wings Greatest" one year later. Later editions of Paul's 1978 LP "London Town" tagged the song onto the end as a bonus track.

Note that while this song was a *huge* international hit for Wings, especially in the UK (where it became the biggest selling single ever up to those days, defeating the record established by The Beatles with "She Loves You" almost 15 years before), in the US it basically bombed. However, my guess is that the record company made a mistake, and pushed promotion for the other side of the single ("Girls' School", a fairly generic Rock & Roll track with punk-ish winks) instead.

Well, this is a performance at the BBC, with Paul wearing an awesome military band attire. I want one of those uniforms! He, he, he.

Ready to be served with a nice piece of birthday cake.

All you need is love, BQ.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

BQRH #7: "Hey Bulldog" (The Beatles)

The seventh one....

A deeply symbolic number in the Torah, seven alludes to the infusion of spirituality and Godliness into the creation. Seven is the number of perfection, and thus, it seemed fitting that the seventh report had to include the first proper Beatles video of this new era of the BQRH.

This footage --dated early 1968, prior to the Beatles departing to India-- was filmed for the promo film of another song ("Lady Madonna"), and was synced up with the song the Beatles were actually working on, "Hey Bulldog", and released as a promo for the album "Yellow Submarine Songtrack" in 1999. This offers the quite rare opportunity to witness the Beatles at work in the studio.

Can't help thinking that this song was just a deep cut, lost in a contractual obligation album like "Yellow Submarine", after being discarded (together with "Across The Universe", no less) as a contender for the single release they were to issue before their departure (they chose "Lady Madonna" and "The Inner Light" instead). While this song would be a milestone in the career of any other band, for the Beatles it was almost a leftover. And what a strong leftover it was!

Enjoy this cool video...

(Real) love, BQ.

Monday, January 26, 2009

BQRH #6: "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (Elton John)


This past weekend Sir Elton John played in Santiago, Chile. I am currently waiting for a full report on that show, but in the meanwhile, let me celebrate the event from the distant University Park, PA.

This video is from John's appearance at Cher's TV show in 1974. "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" was his current hit single (he recorded the studio version with the collaboration of John Lennon himself).

Let me confess that I am not a fan of Sir Elton. I find him talented, funny and extremely gifted, but for some reason his music has never grown on me. I own a hits compilation that I usually enjoy (a 1DVD+2CD combo), but I have yet to become a proper fan. Maybe someday.

Anyway, hope you enjoy this....don't forget to send requests, to become followers and to leave comments. Watch this space.

Love comes to everyone, BQ

Sunday, January 25, 2009

BQRH #5: "Strawberry Fields Forever / Help! / Give Peace A Chance" (Paul McCartney)

Hiya, guys and gals!

Promises are made to be fulfilled. So, this is the surprise that I had announced during the previous delivery of this blog.

It was 1990. Paul McCartney was leading his first solo tour ever, 10 years after the demise of Wings and John Lennon's assassination, and 20 years after the Beatles' breakup. When he and his band played their concert in Liverpool, Paul chose to close the show with a tribute to John Lennon, by playing three Lennon compositions (all three credited to Lennon/McCartney, by the way). He started off with "Strawberry Fields Forever", stripped off its well known mellotron intro and favoring a more contemporary rock sound. The medley carries on with a slower tempo version of "Help!", not too different from the approach followed by Deep Purple on their 1968 cover version of that track. Finally, McCartney closes with the coda to "Give Peace A Chance", even allowing for a reprise after the crowd kept chanting the coda acapella. Very impressive!

Almost 19 years after this event, the tearjerking factor still plays a role. It must have been quite an experience to be there...

The band? Paul on piano, Robbie McIntosh on lead guitar, Chris Whitten on drums, Wix Wickens on synths, Hamish Stuart on bass guitar, and Linda McCartney on additional keyboards.

Enjoy this delivery, and keep those comments coming. And for those who complain (or just simply wonder) about the English language of this blog instead of my native tongue, please keep in mind that it is harder to write in proper Spanish with a keyboard that doesn't have those tiny slashes we put on top of vowels sometimes. Besides, English also allows me to reach a wider audience. When I get more time, I can make a parallel bilingual version of the blog, but for now, the English version will have to do.

Love to everybody, BQ

Thursday, January 22, 2009

BQRH #4: "In The Court Of The Crimson King" (King Crimson)

Hi there,

When I departed from the Aqui Sgt. Pepper radio show in 1998, I was a naïve 15 year old kid who only listened to The Beatles and very little else (at least the naïvety still remains).

The very fact that back then I rarely listened to the radio (that's true even now) didn't exactly contribute to change the situation, but I was never somebody who could leave a noise pollution unit on (paraphrasing Robert Fripp) just for the remote chance that a lost gem might pop up. Thankfully, college wasn't far away in time, and with that the acquaintance of my current group of friends, who would introduce me to most of the non-Beatles and non-Traveling Wilburys related music I became a fan of.

However, I became a fan of King Crimson by myself, and coincidentally, it happened thanks to a particular radio broadcast. One day in 2002, I was driving to the San Joaquin Campus of PUC in Santiago, a very cold morning, and the bombastic introduction to "In The Court Of The Crimson King" blasted through the speakers of my 1994 Honda like it was the last piece of music I would ever listen to. The station was FM 88.9 Radio Futuro.

The lyrics, while nonsensical, evoked to me a mysterious parallel universe not unlike depictions of fantasy authors like JRR Tolkien or CS Lewis, only more somber, unintelligible and, to this particular soul, much more seductive.

And then there's the vocal performance. God, I always wanted to sing like Greg Lake. A very masculine voice with an awesome range, to me he is the only singer capable to give this song justice, despite respectable trials from later Crimson vocalists like Boz Burrell and John Wetton. It is just that, to me, the soul of those early Crimson albums was not the omnipresent Robert Fripp (who would sail the Crimson ship to much more sharp-edged sonic territories and textures in the coming 40 years) but Greg Lake and his unique voice. To me the key to the later success of Emerson, Lake and Palmer was not Emerson and Palmer's virtuosity, but Lake's vocal deliveries.

This is a fan-assembled video of "In The Court Of The Crimson King", from the 1969 album of the same name. Very well edited, this short film definitely fits the mood of the song. A loving, careful execution, indeed.

Enough talking for me for today. I leave you with Lake, Fripp and co. As always, your comments are welcome.

Love, BQ

PS: Stay tuned for the next delivery of BQRH, as it will be a special gift for Beatles aficionados everywhere.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BQRH #3: "Room At The Top" (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers)

Hello, all good people...

Ever since I moved here, I have become more and more emotional. And the songs I have learned to love these past few years have acquired a new meaning. It is definitely the case for the song I bring to you today.

This song is from a member of the extended Beatles family. Tom Petty is best known for his classic rock band, the Heartbreakers, although for Fab Four lovers, he is also one of George Harrison's siblings on the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. And Mr. Petty has also collaborated repeatedly with one certain Mr. Richard Starkey, MBE. (Tom provided vocals to "Drift Away" from Ringo's 1998 album "Vertical Man" and bass guitar to Starr's 1990 version of "I Call Your Name", while Ritchie drummed on a couple tracks from Tom's solo album "Wildflowers" and the soundtrack to the film "She's The One").

This song is called "Room At The Top", from Petty's 1999 album, "Echo". This album came after Petty's divorce from his wife of over 35 years, so it is his equivalent to Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks". I got this album as a birthday gift from my mommy back in 1999 (Note: can you realize how hard is to buy a Tom Petty album in Chile, where nobody knows who the hell is TP? More merit to my loving mom), and it was my first Petty album (besides the Greatest Hits compilation which I already had).

I fell in love with this song as soon as I first heard it, but it didn't get a proper meaning until the first girl I had truly fallen for broke up with me: "I wish I could feel you tonight / Little one, you're so far away / I wanna reach out, and touch your heart". And Petty continues: "Yea, like they do in those things on TV / I love you, please love me / I'm not so bad / And I love you so". This is a specially significant feeling, particularly when your family and friends are so many miles away from you for the first time in your life. One too many first times for one poor soul....

Extra kudos to Petty and his "co-captain", the Heartbreakers' lead guitarist, resident sound engineer and co-producer Mike Campbell, for the arrangement they designed for this track makes an incredible use of changing moods and shifting tempos that make the song switch from a gentle ballad to a barnstorming rocker and then back again to the slow ballad before culminating with the powerful double guitar riffing courtesy of Campbell and 2nd guitarist Scott Thurston. This is not a very complex song, but the results are too effective to be ignored, and Campbell delivers one of the best guitar solos of his career, fitting perfectly the mood of the song. Literally, one of the best songs about loneliness and abandon ever written, in my humble opinion.

Enjoy this live, raw, great version, recorded in Germany during one of the promotional shows for "Echo" in 1999. The Heartbreakers' lineup at this time consisted of Petty on rhythm guitar, Campbell on lead guitars, Howie Epstein (RIP) on backing vocals and bass, Ben Tench on keyboards, Steve Ferrone (who played with George Harrison during his Japanese tour of the early nineties) on drums, and Scott Thurston on backing vocals, guitars and keyboards.

Comments are welcome....

Love, BQ

Saturday, January 17, 2009

BQRH #2: "Thursday's Child" (David Bowie)

Dear readers, former listeners.

BQ's aim has always been to keep expanding everybody's musical horizons. So, we are presenting today our first non-Beatles related song, ever. David Bowie collaborated with Lennon in 1974 (they wrote Bowie's #1 hit "Fame" together, and also recorded a version of "Across the Universe" during the same sessions), but this particular song is as removed from The Beatles as it can be. Be prepared for more....

Well, today's song is called "Thursday's Child", and was first released on Bowie's 1999 album "...hours". This song was the lead-off single. That album is important from an historical standpoint, as it was the first album ever to see its first release as a commercial digital download (on the now quasi-defunct Liquid Audio format). But also, this was a very laid back effort from this artist, probably his most melodically beautiful album since his Berlin trilogy of the late 70's. However, this album resembles very little of those releases. This is a strong pop album, full of nice melodies, but also great lyrics. In particular, "Thursday's Child" offers a lot more than just a reference to the traditional superstitious rhyme in which an individual's character and fate is determined by the day of the week they are born (by itself a pretty banal concept in my opinion, by the way). This song has quite a bit to do with feeling out of place everywhere, as if the narrator (to whom I can easily relate) felt he could have enjoyed life a lot more had he been born in a different time.

This song also strikes me personally, as a hopeful song from somebody who has been hit hard and who can, despite all shortcomings, find happiness in the hope of the new day. Surely, lyrics can hit people in different ways, but the verse "Lucky old sun is in my sky / Nothing prepared me for your smile / Lighting the darkness of my soul / innocence in your arms" found me in a very emotional mood. And those who know me are aware that I am a romantic....

And the main melody is quite beautiful. Bowie delivers an all-time classic vocal interpretation, as well. This particular live version was culled from VH1 Storytellers in 1999.

Stay tuned for the next episode.....

Love, BQ

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

BQRH #1: "Any Road" (George Harrison)

Hi, everybody!

OK, people. First post here. This video is something I wanted to share with you, especially those who followed me on the radio show back in 1997-1998. A real tearjerker, this is a tribute to George Harrison: his latest and posthumous single "Any Road", from his album "Brainwashed". I get emotional whenever I watch it, and all you Beatles fans will know why when you watch it yourselves.

Love, BQ