April 14, 2007

"They had on the most beautiful long, black leather trenchcoats. I thought... 'If I have to learn to write songs to get one of those, I will.'"

When Mick Jagger first saw the Beatles. Oh, you've done things too, motivated by beautiful clothes.


Mark Daniels said...

Another interesting Beatles/Stones moment: Back in 2002, McCartney put together the big benefit show for the families of New York City firefighters and police who had been injured or died in the attacks of September 11, 2001. The two remaining Who appeared. So did the Stones. McCartney headlined.

Backstage on the day of the show, McCartney and Jagger sat in a room. McCartney told Jagger that he was planning on playing some new material. Jagger tried throwing cold water on the idea, telling Macca that at gigs like this one, people just wanted to hear the old stuff. McCartney, the inveterate pleaser, began playing and singing one of the songs he intended to perform that night. He said that he thought, scolding himself, "Here I am auditioning for Mick Jagger."

McCartney did perform some of the old stuff. He also performed several of the new songs already scheduled to appear on his 'Driving Rain' LP. In addition, he performed a simple, catchy, singalong song--later added without being listed to the LP---called 'Freedom." The other 'Driving Rain' songs were applauded, politely perhaps. (I think that they included the inane but melodic 'From a Lover to a Friend' and the great rocker, 'Lonely Road.') But 'Freedom,' with its simple lyrics and immediate accessibility, exactly fit the mood of the moment. Firefighters and their families could be seen in the audience singing along with a tune they'd never heard before and its conclusion was met with thunderous applause. I wonder what Jagger thought of McCartney's decision to introduce new material.

(Probably emboldened by his experience in New York, McCartney would later introduce his deeply spiritual tune, 'Follow Me' when he headlined the famed Knebworth Music Festival in Britain. That was a tour de force. Macca is capable of mediocrity, but also of greatness. Like Jagger.)

Rock on, Ann. Thanks for linking to this interesting article.

Better Living: Thoughts from Mark Daniels

Glenn said...

I became a law professor for the cool threads.

I was misinformed.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Glenn writes: I was misinformed.

Have you considered a civil suit?

Mark Daniels said...

Just like Rick who went to Casablanca for the water.

Ruth Anne:
I used to think that I was the punster-in-chief. But I can't even compete with you.

Mark Daniels

James said...

This is something I read on Colby Cosh's blog a while back that impressed me:

There are a lot of things people haven't quite absorbed about the Beatles. I remember being dumbstruck by a passage in Ian Macdonald's Revolution in the Head, which, incidentally, has no credible rival as the best book ever written about rock music. Macdonald paints us a scene of the Beatles' earliest days as celebrities, after they'd just migrated to London. We meet two promising young performers whose blues-influenced band has just been signed to a contract: a Mr. Mick Jagger and a Mr. Keith Richards. They've swung by the studio to exchange pleasantries and watch the northern quartet at work. They watch as McCartney and Lennon, equipped with a chorus and a verse they've worked on earlier, try to stitch things together with a middle eight, messing around on a piano. In maybe fifteen minutes of banter and tinkling, they've knitted a few chords into a future hit.

This is all completely foreign to Mick and Keef, and as they watch, the penny drops. They realize that a person who can play an instrument can write a song. There's no magic to it--no massive leather-bound manual locked in a Brill Building safe that tells you how to do it. It hadn't occurred to them that there could be such an animal as a rock-and-roll group that wrote its own songs. Until Lennon-McCartney, rock songs were, for the most part, something that arrived intact and complete from the record company.Colby Cosh

Ron said...

It's not like Buddy Holly hadn't done this just a tick earlier; I think John saw that and wanted to do the same thing.

blake said...

"Oh, you've done things too, motivated by beautiful clothes."

No. No, I haven't. (Unless you mean motivated by beautiful clothes on a beautiful woman.)

James, I'd heard that story as John & Paul whipping out a song for the Stones--"I Wanna Be Your Man", I think--and them realizing how it couldn't be that hard.

Ron said...

So I sez, Keef, ya don't 'ave ta try'n snoggle Althouse wif dat ol' yarn 'bout sniffin' up dad, just fer the post, I can mention Starkeys ol' trencherman 'n' she'll luv it, she will, indeed! Iz at least better'n 'er havin' 'er 19th nervous breakdown over yabbos, strewth!

A Man of Wealth and Taste

Chip Ahoy said...

Yes, have been so motivated. Recently got the idea for a cow-boy hat -- a great big one, like a Stenson. Seemed like a good idea to whip it on in front of women I'm trying to impress with the idea I'm not a red neck. Saw it on TV.

lee david said...

I can almost hear him say that line. Mick has one of the driest, most sardonic, and cutting wits that I have ever encountered. In the previous line of quote in the article he had called the Beatles the four headed monster, seemingly mocking them for their slick, clean, marketing and packaging. If you got one you got them all. The "Fab Four", the "Four Mop Tops" and all of those terms that are sort of analogus to the Three Musketeers "all for one and one for all". The line about the trench coats was reported in the article to have been delivered jokingly. I'm sure that it was probably delivered with a smile but it was a biting take down of the Beatles internal conformity and the constriction of individuality in their public image that they willingly played along with. Mick hated the slick, clean, packaged marketing stuff, it was the antithesis of the gritty blues and rebel rock that he loved and had inspired the Stones. He pushed hard and calulatingly in the opposite direction, creating sphere of his own in the first wave of the "Brittish Invasion" that led to a sharp division in the camps of the fans of Brittish rock. Those who are of a certain age will remember the arguements about which band was the best and that the fans were very loyal to their choice, to the point that some refused to even consider the work of the other worth listening to. The difference has served Mick and the Stones very well, and still does. It was no accident. In those early comments by Mick, I see his utter disdain for the carefully crafted, sanitary image that Brian Epstein created for the Beatles. However, Mick is no fool, and while you may find a number of biting bits of wit like this, which whistle right over the heads of most Americans anyway, I'll bet that you can't find many instances of direct and pointed comment by him that "dissed" the Beatles. He knows very well who blazed that trail accross the Atlantic that the Stones were able to follow and that eventually led right back home and to M.B.E.'s. In a way the Brittish rockers carved a new class for themselves in the Brittish class system. It is almost impossible for Americans to fathom the restriction of social and financial mobility that class, real or percieved, imposes on Britons.

Long, winding, and divergent roads to be sure. It is interesting to follow their paths through the American and Brittish cultures.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I remember that Mick Jagger conformed some lyrics to American standards when The Stones appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. [Let's spend the night together ---> let's spend some time together.] And I know he made silly faces when he sang it, but he also conformed to have a great national audience that night.