When Bettye LaVette sings “to be free,” the recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee opens a door and steps into the light. LaVette’s new album Blackbirds is inspired by the African American women she sees as her musical forerunners. The concluding track, “Blackbird,” the Beatles song she has performed in concert for a decade, crowns the record. […]
You don’t become hyper-iconic, as biographer Mark Lewisohn dubbed the Beatles, without the right pictures. But you need someone to see what others haven’t yet. Or, perhaps, you need someone to believe in your worth from the start. Astrid Kirchherr saw magic in the pre-fame Beatles. Ram on …
For those seeking uplift in this new pandemic world with the old-familiarity of the Stones or the Beatles, Wash’s Love and Conflict is for you—for more reasons than one. Wash is the iconic voice you’ve known for all these years though you might not even realize it. As one-half of the Weather Girls, Wash sang “It’s Raining […]
“Photograph” can be read as a follow up to the sentiments of “The Long and Winding Road.” “Every time I see your face / It reminds me of the places we used to go,” Starr begins, concluding the first verse with acceptance of a harsh reality: we can’t get back. There will never be a […]
“We live in hope of deliverance from the darkness that surrounds us,” sings McCartney. As we shelter in place facing an uncertain future, “Hope of Deliverance” is perhaps the most applicable McCartney song for this coronavirus moment. Ram on …
The song that John Lennon correlated to reaching for Yoko Ono in a state of drowning is turning 50, along with the rest of the songs on The Beatles’ Abbey Road. “I Want You” (She’s So Heavy)” is often considered a precursor to metal and prog rock. But “I Want You” has a funky origin […]
Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” taps into the myth of the American West with promises of overnight fame and fortune that align with our fascination with hits that seem to appear out of nowhere. “Old Town Road” is one of them, sitting in the Number One Billboard Hot 100 position for eight weeks and counting. The […]
An all-black psychedelic rock band from Brooklyn on tour now, Blac Rabbit devotes the second half of their set to the Beatles. These energetic covers, especially later songs like “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” are faithful in the best ways—and unfaithful in the best ways, too. Ram on …
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February 9, 1964: a dark-haired girl gazes into the box perched in her family’s kitchen. Paul McCartney’s face, framed in a close-up on that TV set, shines on the screen. The girl doesn’t take her eyes off of him and his mop-topped cohorts while her younger sisters lean forward and smile, equally mesmerized. Their dad, […]
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