Absolutely, re Ringo. Whichever it is when he's asked "are you happy for Paul?" it's funny, because he turns it to Ringo so quickly not out of any apparent animosity at all. "Everyone knew Paul was going to be fine," or something similar, he says. That he goes out of his way to praise Ringo's efforts (and celebrate his success) is a nice gesture.
I enjoyed his responses to the reunion question. Basically "yeah, whatever, if we feel like it, sure. They can come by and be on my record." (I know he laughs and clarifies it would be a Beatles record, etc. But it's just fun and playful.) While thinking about that situation, I couldn't help but think how downright common it is now for massive groups to wait five years between albums without breaking up, which is what it would've been had they reunited for a studio effort then.
Based on everything I’ve read over the years, I think there’s a LOT of truth to his answer that the reason they hadn’t reunited is just that they all hadn’t been free and wanted to at the same time. They all had had success in the intervening years, too, so there wasn’t any motivation/desperation on that front.
By the way, these few interviews (including two magazine articles), and the release of Shaved Fish, represent pretty much the last we’d hear from John until 1980. It gets a lot more mysterious. He mentioned going through funks/bouts of depression...well he went from perhaps his healthiest frame of mind from ‘74-75 into most likely his unhealthiest...I’m thinking the worst was yet to come, sadly. (Of course, it’s hard to know.)
I had forgotten that he mentioned his planned follow-up album at the end of this interview. IIRC he had scheduled studio time in June of '75, and as he discussed here (in March) had brainstormed approximately 3/4 of it. The "what if" of this and his musical plans for 1981 always makes me a little sad.
That stood out to me, as well (about his next project). One can't help but wonder what might have been, had he decided to move ahead with his career through those next years rather than take a sabbatical.
Honestly, it seems the other three ex-Beatles had a drop in quality of their solo material in those years. Would the same have happened to John? Personally I enjoyed his last two solo albums of originals before the break, and would have been curious at the very least to hear where he went musically and production-wise. (Obviously I wasn't as enamored of Rock 'n' Roll, but that's neither here nor there considering he wasn't about to start churning out covers albums!)
Six voters rated John Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll an average of 6.8 (not including a single vote of 1 that, lacking any comment or explanation, appeared to be the work of trolling ... if you want to figure that in, you can do so with your own math skills).
Thanks for participating. Our next album will be posted shortly.
After several years of decidedly mixed reception, Paul McCartney finally had combined commercial and critical success with the 1973 Wings album Band on the Run. That album had seen the band concept retreat somewhat more toward a semi-solo project as two members quit prior to recording, but the trio persisted and was rewarded.
Wings brought in two more musicians before beginning their follow-up album, Venus and Mars. Scottish guitarist Jimmy McCulloch and English drummer Geoff Britton joined the band prior to the initial recording sessions, which took place in Abbey Road Studios in London in late 1974. When personalities collided, Britton quit, and the band brought in yet another drummer, American Joe English.
The group went to New Orleans to record most of the album in early 1975, and recorded enough to fill it out and more: they also came away with a few future B-sides.
McCartney again linked tracks and disparate sections of songs to form a sort of suite, as he had done numerous times before with the Beatles (most famously on Abbey Road) and on Band on the Run. He also led the band in creating another big, highly produced album that was a far cry away from the homespun charm of his early solo career.
Venus and Mars, released in May 1975, was another big hit for the group.
It went platinum and reached #1 on the charts in the US, UK, and Canada, and performed well elsewhere. The album’s first single, “Listen to What the Man Said,” topped the charts; “Venus and Mars/Rock Show,” the album’s third single, performed well enough at #12 in the States, but did not chart in the UK.
With the former Beatles having straightened out various contractual challenges over the previous year or so, Venus and Mars was the first post-Beatles McCartney album to be released on a label other than Apple (Capitol). The band followed it with the massive, worldwide “Wings Over the World” tour, which saw McCartney perform his first North American shows since 1966. That tour generated a triple live album, a television special, and a theatrical-release film.
Please rate and discuss Wings’s Venus and Mars.
(Note the album proper has 13 songs, concluding with “Crossroads.” Many editions, including the one linked above, include bonus tracks.)
I'm not voting or really discussing Venus and Mars in any detail yet, but I thought I'd kick it off with a bit of an opening salvo of sorts. (It might sound stupid.)
I like Venus and Mars!
Well, it's one of the many albums I bought in that early '00s period of collecting everything by everyone I thought was important to collect. This included Lennon and McCartney, among many others of bygone eras. So within a period of probably about six to 12 months, I bought an enormous number of albums, generally from used CD bins around town, as $7.99 was better than $13.99 (or whatever prices were). So while I already came into this spree owning, say, Imagine and Plastic Ono Band, it was really this period where I got virtually every other solo release up to that point.
That meant I didn't give them the attention I might've had I bought them in real time, or even over a longer period of fandom. Instead it was, "hey, I'm a grown-up with a job; I should be sure to own everything Lennon (and later McCartney, as I grew out of my misguided cynical disdain) released so I am sure to be understood as cultured!"
Much like Rock 'n' Roll and Walls and Bridges, though, I probably listened to Venus and Mars once. Maybe twice. Then it sat on the shelf, a nice space-taker amongst the Beatles solo albums. Look how cultured I was, with that near-completist's demonstration of semi-furniture!
But I listened to this while driving to my little vacation cabin a couple of weeks ago, and I'll be damned: it was good. Maybe not great, but good. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I suppose some combination of changing taste over the past 20 years and just the focused listening environment of a solo drive made the difference.
Now I'm looking forward to a few more listens this week so I can speak a bit more intelligently (he said modestly) about it.
Oh, and while Paul sometimes has a really dopey image, I have to note the album liner notes' closing sentence: "Rock on lovers everywhere, because that's basically it." As dumb and disposable a thought as that is ... he's basically right.
[How about that? Nine or 10 paragraphs without really saying anything about the album. Probably a record.]
Post by Sheriff John Stone on Aug 4, 2021 14:20:30 GMT
I don't own the album, but I remember when "Listen To What The Man Said" came out (after loving the rockin' Band On The Run) and thinking, "Gee, Paul is really going 'pop music' here." I wasn't a fan of the song then, but I've grown to like it very much.
(It's kind of funny seeing these commercials for albums. You don't see a lot of that anymore--at least not that I notice. Though I guess over the years there have been tie-ins that I've seen, like Taylor Swift and Target for Red, I think it was.)
Not only does it double down on the old trope of what each Beatle brought to the group, but it opens with it. Wasn't this boring by 1975? (Obviously not to Rolling Stone, or Mr. Nelson, at least.) It's cartoonishly oversimplified, not all that much different from KISS being characters, or which New Kid On the Block is the cute one versus the rebellious one.
But what's more, Nelson has the same basic approach that made me despise rock critics and fandom as grunge took over in the early '90s, or that happened in hip hop circles a little later in the '90s, or quite frankly that dominates criticism now: authenticity is of utmost importance, and it can be discerned by a listener. Bullshit.
First, it isn't all that important. Whether Joe Schmoe truly believes what he's singing, or whether he lived it out before writing the song, is irrelevant to the quality of the music. That isn't to say experience or conviction can't inform the quality of the music: they might. Or they might not. Is there any study that confirms music sung by "true believers" of its subject matter is somehow better? Much of the greatest popular music ever was written by professional songwriters, not the artists who sang it. Musicals, operas, ditto. Did the writers pour out their souls into each of these works? Or were they professionals who used inspiration, sure, but also skill and craft? I'd argue strongly it's at least as much if not more the latter.
Second, it isn't really discernible. The critical and (in waves) popular assumption seems to be that the more raw-sounding or desperate something sounds, the more authentic it is (and thus better). But what would make a person think that's true? Can't a fiction writer simply write something that seems raw, or desperate? Of course he can! It's still artificial. It's still product. It's just a different aesthetic of product, not a more authentic product.
And in converse, what would make a person think that passion and authenticity can't be directed toward creating a perfectly crafted recording!? It's so obvious to me, and yet rarely even hinted at, much less said. The presupposition is always the opposite.
So yes, whatever nuggets of reality are in this review, I'm wildly turned off by the writer's entire worldview, it seems. But hey, it's a major review from the time. It warrants a read.
I despise rock critics. If I used them as my guides for adding to my record collection, I wouldn't own 95% of what I listen to and enjoy. I remember Paul Nelson as the guy who tore Bob Dylan's Shot of Love to shreds in Rolling Stone. I don't need these self important monsters to tell me what is good music. I love Venus and Mars. In fact, I love it just as much as Band on the Run. I don't care what you think; and I hope that you approve.
I'm not sure which I dislike more. The "cool kids" dumping on Paul McCartney's post Beatles output. Or the fact that, the majority of the time, I wind up agreeing with them.
I don't think Venus and Mars is a bad album. I also don't think it's a particularly good one either. Rockshow is great. I like Listen to What the Man Said. I think Treat Her Gently is a pretty good ballad. But, I find the majority of the rest of the album to be rather unmarkable. Although You Gave Me the Answer is pretty memorable, but not really in a good way. It's another one of those old timey sounding Paul songs, and I tend to dislike those more than like them.
Boy, could this album have used a few songs like.....say....Junior's Farm. Even though the song predated the album by about six months, I think it would've pulled the album together a bit.
But, I'll go with a six. A bit of a let down after Band on the Run.
Venus and Mars was a surprisingly good follow-up to Band on the Run. Side one is very good, I like all of it's tracks. The first two tracks together are perfect openers to the album, and worked especially well live with the Jet medley. The drums on RS's last part are very punchy, I love it. But my favorite song might be Letting Go. Absolute killer.
Paul and Wings kept the very adventurous spirit present on BotR alive on this album. Even though there are only 13 songs it feels like there are idk, 25. There are times it goes kind of all over the place though. The second side loses me frequently. The Listen To What The Man Said's saxophone REALLY bothers me. I barely can't stand it. Would be a better song without in my opinion. Not great, but better.
Spirits of Ancient Egypt is nuts. I like some of it's musical aspects and (weird) singing but the lyrics are a big NO. Totally turns me off the song. This has got to be one of Paul's top 5 WTF moments.
Kapitan: Yes, let's keep it going. If you're not sure which years we've covered, check the first post of the thread: I've edited it to list each year we've touched upon.
Sept 22, 2021 13:10:08 GMT
jk: If no one jumps in soon, I'll go for 1997, which is 13 years back from 2010. Fact is, we haven't had a '90s year yet.
Sept 22, 2021 13:46:32 GMT
Kapitan: No, but we do have a whole '90s thread that covered a lot of that territory. (In fact, that's what inspired the idea, to some extent)
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:28 GMT
Kapitan: Not that I'm opposed to a '90s year, mind you
Sept 22, 2021 13:52:58 GMT
jk: I see where you're coming from, Cap'n. I even did a double-take when looking through 1997 albums and songs (these look familiar!). My next suggestion is that we go back 13 years from 1972 to 1959.
Sept 22, 2021 17:04:34 GMT
jk: OK, it's one of the "doldrum years" but it was crammed full of goodies that even register with folks who weren't born for another 20 years. Of course, if anyone has a better idea, I'm all for it.
Sept 22, 2021 17:05:59 GMT
Kapitan: That would make sense; we also haven't really touched the early to mid 80s, which I'm sure people (mostly) recall. And of course EVERY year in the '60s seems loaded...
Sept 22, 2021 17:06:53 GMT
jk: Yes, the early-ish '80s also came to mind. But let's see who else joins in...
Sept 22, 2021 17:08:04 GMT
Kapitan: So far we've had me, jk, kds, and carllove choosing years. Would love to expand that circle.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:20 GMT
Kapitan: Which, I guess with four of us so far, is more a square.
Sept 22, 2021 17:13:38 GMT
jk: Ha, yes. Sheriff? B.E.? sockit? The Kid?... We'll see.
Sept 22, 2021 17:16:41 GMT
The Cincinnati Kid: I might come up with something. I love those kind of threads, but am terrible in participating. I still haven't posted anything for 2010.
Sept 22, 2021 19:26:41 GMT
lonelysummer: 1959 is a doldrums year? Hmm....
Sept 22, 2021 19:44:28 GMT
jk: That's what they say... you know, that period from *cough* "the day the music died" to the arrival of the British Invasion. Like you, I couldn't agree less with that notion, hence the inverted commas!
Sept 22, 2021 19:52:30 GMT
Kapitan: I assume he means the stereotype that between early rock and roll and the British Invasion, nothing happened. But that it was in quotes (plus his actual comments) make me think it was an ironic usage.
Sept 22, 2021 19:52:54 GMT
Kapitan: Whoops, near-simultaneous post. But it confirms my suspicion.
Sept 22, 2021 19:53:21 GMT
jk: Great minds and all that!
Sept 22, 2021 19:53:34 GMT
sockit: I would like to showcase the year 1983. That's the year I graduated high school and I was all in on what was current.
Sept 23, 2021 0:07:54 GMT
carllove: I was in College then. Sounds like a good year! Go for it! It’s a group effort!
Sept 23, 2021 4:31:48 GMT
carllove: BTW - I’d be down for 90’s years. I like the years being broken out. Meanwhile we can move to 1983 with sockit’s help. 1972 has ended its interest.
Sept 23, 2021 4:34:56 GMT