In 1964 I waited in line to see A Hard Day’s Night. Tonight, fifty years later, I stood in yet another line to see the same fantastic movie one more time. Today is the exact 50th anniversary (July 6, 1964) of the London premiere of director Richard Lester’s comic and musical masterpiece. His film is truly a black & white gem. MTV, music videos, the Monkees and music TV shows would have never happened had this film not existed.
Here are four or five bits of trivia. Ringo came up with the catchy title of the movie. The opening chord on George’s Rickenbacker guitar is the subject of a complete Wikipedia page. A thirteen year old Phil Collins is one of the extras screaming and going crazing in the audience. Jim McGuinn of the Byrds ordered an electric 12-string the next day after seeing the film with his band mates and folk rock was born. The name The Beatles is NEVER actually spoken at any time during the movie (yes, it is on Ringo’s Ludwig drums).
My local theater was packed for this digital restoration and George Martin’s son, Giles, did a marvelous job as the soundtrack rang out with such spectacular clarity. At the end, as the credits rolled with those familiar photo booth styled photos filling the screen the audience burst into applause. Fifty years later there was no denying this delightful, low-budget little engine that could, is truly a classic. The Beatles’ joy, youth, charm, incredible talent, humor, passion and yes, purity was right there filling up the screen for ninety minutes. They had the world by the balls with a smile and a wink and an undeniable bag full of songs unlike anyone else.
Just how cool is Brooklyn, New York?
Here’s yet another example of all the talent and creativity in NYC’s hip borough. Thanks to NPR Music we’ve posted another one of their Field Recordings from a couple of weeks ago on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library. Three hundred and fifty musicians of all sorts of skill level, age and musical background participated (and had a blast) on the summer solstice with the world premier of a new piece from Brooklyn percussionist Sunny Jain called “100+ BPM”. Sunny has worked with everyone from Kenny Barron to Nora Jones and Peter Gabriel and is part of his own group called Red Baraata. You’re gonna love this clip. All the energy, creativity and passion is so infectious.
Watch it now.
One of the most satisfying drives that I’ve ever been part of has just wrapped up and it was quite a success. Music In Schools Today (MUST) was founded back in 1980. It’s an organization in the SF Bay Area that makes sure donated musical instruments find a new home in schools and youth music programs. Close to 300 flutes, saxophones, violins, French horns and guitars were collected. That’s me with Peter Rogers (left) from the Marin Symphony at one of our collection locales. That vintage, playable classical guitar of mine (with pretty good intonation and action) wasn’t doing anyone any good sitting in it’s case for the last 25 years. And that’s the point. After you or your kids have moved on with that banjo, violin or sax there’s still some great music waiting to be coaxed out of it IF placed in the hands of an excited young person somewhere at a nearby school.
Apparently, the 300 instruments we gathered will allow 1000 kids to take lessons and fall in love with music. Talk about gratifying! So, after you’ve explored your closet, garage or attic for that gently used instrument be on the lookout for a non-profit group in you hometown collecting them. Who knows, that intrument just might make it into the hands of the next Stevie Wonder, Joshua Bell or Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Here’s the MUST link.