Paul Simon, Kodachrome, Coneheads Highlights!

Posted in Paul Simon, SNL, Youtube Favs on October 1st, 2011 by Willie

I was sitting around in Portland, Maine yesterday with nothing better to do, when on came the “Coneheads” movie.  I haven’t seen in quite sometime, but its one of those movies where you just have to sit through the whole thing.  I was amazed at the parade of 90s comedy superstars appearing in one scene after another.  Not only did you have original SNL stars Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin in their iconic roles, you had Seinfeld stars Jason Alexander and Michael Richards, mega comedy stars Adam Sandler, Phil Hartman, and Drew Carey, and even film indie stars like Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams.  When the film was released, it was a commercial dud, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t a cult classic. It contains Chris Farley’s best supporting role ever caught on film, where he plays the unlikely love interest Ronnie, and its riffs on the US immigration experience and laws are spot on and brilliant.  Anyway, I couldn’t get enough of the film, especially the scene where Beldar Conehead gets a 35 mm Kodak camera filled with glorious Kodachrome color film, and shoots his life on Earth with his family in the late seventies and eighties.  It’s a brilliant sequence set to Paul Simon’s classic hit song, “Kodachrome,” from his 1973 There Goes Rhymin’ Simon record.  Bit of trivia, the song was banned by the BBC in England for its use of a trademarked commercial item in the lyrics…kinda unfair considering how much commercialism is imprinted on our lives…just ask Andy Warhol.  So below, check out a sweet homemade “Kodachrome” video someone made, as well as the trailer for the legendary “Coneheads” film….See you next zearl!

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James Paul McCartney, The Wings TV Special

Posted in Paul McCartney, Youtube Favs on August 30th, 2011 by Willie

Paul McCartney fans, do I have a present for you.  Did you know that Paul’s real first name was James?  Did you know that Paul did a music special for ABC and the BBC in 1973 called “James Paul McCartney?”  Did you know the critics hated it?  Did you know critics are mostly idiots?  Well, now that you know, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce this 7 part Paul McCartney extravaganza.  What’s extra special about this post, is that this TV special WAS NEVER released on VHS or DVD, so this is the only place you’re gonna find it for now.  You get Paul and his newly formed group Wings, featuring wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine, performing some solo Paul songs, some Beatles songs, and some Wings songs, all with aplomb.  It’s basically a glorified series of music videos stitched together that you’ll find heard to turn off.  My only problem with the videos are Paul’s unfortunate mullet, his worst hair style ever.  Oh well, it shouldn’t stop you for enjoying the music, and it shouldn’t stop you for voting me in as CBS’s Best Local NYC blogger, which you can do by clicking here!  Paul McCartney told me to tell everyone everyday, so if you gotta problem with voting for me, take it up with the old knight himself.  Cheers!






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Ricky Gervais Meets Larry David

Posted in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Fun and Crazy, Larry David, Seinfeld on July 20th, 2011 by Willie

If you’ve been following the site lately, you’ve noticed that I’ve been alternating its content between rock and roll and Larry David.  Larry is just one of my biggest comedy heroes, and his newest 8th season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is off to a roaring start.  The trailers for season 8 point to an appearance by legendary British comic Ricky Gervais, creator of “The Office.”  For anyone who has followed Rickey, you know that he loves “Seinfeld” and considers George Costanza the greatest sitcom character of all time.  I found this incredible 6 part interview of Rickey sitting down with Larry, where they have an enlightening and hilarious conversation about comedy, and delve deep into each others pasts.  It is so entertaining, insightful, and funny, and it’s guaranteed to be the best thing you watch today, so enjoy.





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The Making of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on July 4th, 2011 by Willie

The best discoveries are the ones you make by accident.  Just yesterday, my roommate keyed me into letmewatchthis.ch, one of those movie streaming websites of dubious legality.  It’s a pretty cool site with a lot of variety of stuff, but new and old.  On a lark, I typed in “Beatles” in the search box, and I found something I’ve NEVER seen before.  It was a BBC documentary on the making of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band produced in 1992, on the 25th anniversary of its historic 1967 release.  This documentary, presented below in 6 parts, excited the hell out of me because it featured insights and interviews, I’ve NEVER seen before, and as an obsessive Beatle fan, I’ve seen nearly EVERYTHING.  You’ll see incredible interviews with Paul, George, Ringo, George Martin, and even Brian Wilson, which is interesting because this was the record that caused him to have a mental break down. This is fantastic, and well, worth diving into on your July 4th holiday.  Enjoy.

Part 1 – The Beatles had conquered the world, said they were bigger than Jesus, and quit playing live. You get to see the shameful Beatle record burnings, the riot in the Philippines, and the murky underside of Beatlemania. Fun fact I NEVER knew, when George went to India after the Beatles quit touring, Paul actually went to Kenya! Not too many African influences on Sgt. Pepper though…Oh, you also learn how Paul forced the other Beatles to go to work on the new record which gave the other guys a lot of anxiety.

Part 2 – George Martin breaks down the complex insanely awesome production it took to make Strawberry Fields Forever. Plus you get to see the proper Englishman who played the French Horn solo on Penny Lane! Also, Paul gives insight into how he was burned by John when he suggested calling their songwriting team McCartney/Lennon. Hah!

Part 3 – The album concept emerges, the making of the Sgt. Pepper song, and the making of Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. This documentary is awesome because its punctuated with George Martin and Paul McCartney in the studio playing keyboards and breaking down the music theory behind the songs. Genius stuff. Oh, and John accidentally takes LSD in the studio and nearly jumps off the roof of Abbey Road studios.

Part 4 – We get insight in the fierce yet productive songwriting competition between John and Paul. George Martin incorrectly gives Paul all the credit for “With A Little Help From My Friends,” while Ringo saves himself from getting pelted by tomatoes. Lastly, you get immortally indispensable insight into the creation of “Within You Without You.”

Part 5 – Paul McCartney admits that Pet Sounds is the biggest influence on Sgt. Pepper. Plus we see poor Brian Wilson admit to how Sgt. Pepper blew him away so much that it made him insane. Phil Collins stops by and talks about another room. Also, we get to see the mythic Cork Flakes commercial that inspired John Lennon’s “Good Morning.”

Part 6- We meet Peter Blake, the designer of the cover, we learn how “A Day in the Life” was constructed, and we see George Martin nearly break down observing its gorgeousness. Ringo attributes his great drumming to be surrounded by 3 frustrated drummers who could only play one style really well. Paul gets the last word talking about how critics predicted the demise of the Beatles, secretly knowing that he was sitting on the masterpiece that was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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The Beatles, All You Need is Love

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on June 26th, 2011 by Willie

At last we’ve arrived at part 100 of my youtube favorites countdown.  This is the final part of the countdown, and boy has it been a magical journey through some of my favorite songs and videos of all time.  I had to end the countdown on the Beatles because it hurts my eyes when they don’t fall on #1 in any list predominantly about rock and roll.  “All You Need is Love,” is a mysterious song.  It was written specifically for the historic first worldwide satellite TV broadcast, “Our World,” and was watched by over 400 million people globally.  The song is a mystery because there aren’t too many quotes from John Lennon about the inspiration and writing of the song, and the other Beatles and George Martin can’t seem to remember exactly where the song came from.  The song wasn’t made for any album, and the recording of the track (save some overdubs) was mostly done in the live recording you see below.  So you don’t have a bunch of takes and jam sessions in the vault that might give further insight into its creation.  I have yet to hear a demo of John on his guitar or piano plunking out the song for the first time, which would simply be a marvelous thing if it exists somewhere.  Anyway, this song is a Masterpiece, (note the capital M.)  It’s one of the greatest slogans ever set to music and fantastic slice of artistic genius.  It’s also just further evidence of the insane alien amount of productivity the Beatles were capable of.  They had just finished Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, their timeless masterwork, and then a few weeks later, they unleash this masterstroke.  They were an unstoppable force of magic, churning out record after record, with smash #1 singles (that weren’t on the LPs) dotting those releases.  What’s further amazing is that nothing in their tumultuous personal lives slowed them down a bit.  In 1967, John was a full blown drug addict; snorting cocaine, dropping acid every weekend, smoking pot everyday, and probably drinking heavily.  His marriage was falling apart, he was having a massive identity crisis, he was jealous of Paul McCartney, and he was suffering a dark depression.  None of that seemed to stop him from writing a song like, “All You Need is Love,” and then following it up with another track like the brilliant “I am the Walrus,” a few weeks after.  No force, personal or global, could really stop the momentum the Beatles had built for themselves, and it all culminated in them being considered the greatest musicians of the 20th century.  So the countdown ends, but the website doesn’t of course.  From here on out, I’ll be focusing on writing more ambitious “proper essays” and articles on everything from music, politics, culture, and philosophy.  So keep checking back, as I intend to make this one of the best websites you’ll ever read.  Thank you so much.

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