Perhaps a lot of us sing loudly of feelings that are not quite our own, assert kinships and allegiances we do not exactly feel, try to feel familiar and comfortable in places where we are not thoroughly welcomed.
Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’
And there is much melody in this ditty, especially as contributed by a deceptively simple ukelele. Hearing that plangent instrument obsessing over a C# minor 7th chord with McCartney’s sweet falsetto crooning the leading tone at the top and then swooping down through the chord to the tonic, lifts you into a sublime, solitary, and calm place.
The musical Age of Gold in which I had grown up was just about over. Whatever the merits of whatever was coming next, it wouldn’t be the gold I still wanted. Wanted so badly, in fact, that I was willing to squint extra hard to see it in all the new vinyl that came sluicing into our house. But of course when you squint, you are apt to see things that aren’t, strictly speaking, uh, there.
Around 1:30 on the Sunday morning, someone mishandled a cigarette near some combustible Christmas decorations. The ground floor was promptly engulfed in flames, which then quickly spread up the one stairway to the second floor. People on the second floor were trapped. Many jumped from the window, some were pushed from the window by frantic partygoers behind them …
That was kind of the impression I got of Dorothy Ashby’s harp – that she had some abnormal number of fingers and strings to syncopate with. It was a preternatural experience. Which, come to think of it, is exactly the kind of thing orchestrators rely on harps to convey anyhow. I wanted to locate things that no one else knew were there, not just my parents but my contemporaries. Developing a taste for something obviously objectively very good, not just an affectation, which no one else I knew even knew about, that was one way to do it.
It spurred me to try to find shared topics to fascinate her with. Which is where Beatlemania came in. I persuaded my father to take me to see the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night, largely to have something to talk about with her. But of course, to a teenager in 1964, Beatlemania was like a Roach Motel: you could check in, but you couldn’t check out.
In less than three minutes, Bacharach takes you on what seems like a compressed tour of the whole territory of heartbreak, courtesy of his amazing mastery of the pop orchestra. He composes, he orchestrates, he conducts, and he creates a sound that is uniquely his, one I would come to know as the quintessential sound of 60s pop.