Peter and Gordon, A World Without Love

There’s a new movie out from Danny Boyle, who made Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, called Yesterday, about an indie Indian rocker who has an accident and wakes up in a world without Beatles. As in, a world in which he knows the Beatles music but no one else knows of it. I don’t know if this is a good premise for a movie, I have my doubts, but it surfaced this charming story of Peter and Gordon, guys who should have been remnants, but who kept getting hit songs, starting with this one Paul McCartney wrote when he was 16.
This story in Slate is terrific filling in the details.

We Don’t Know

Jody Rosen has written a long and worthwhile story about masters archives, jumping off from a fire that burned about 120,000 masters of the Universal Music Group in 2006. He does a great job explaining why the masters of albums by Elton John and Nirvana and Muddy Waters and John Coltrane, among many others, are valuable even when you can stream their music online. But then he gets grittier, and talks about Don Bennett, whose masters burned in the UMG fire, and whose career is almost impossible to survey. He was a vocalist in the Chocolate Watchband, which I’d heard of, but he also had a solo career, which has almost completely disappeared. The point? Lots of music that is disregarded at first turns out to be valuable later. So, here is the Chocolate Watchband. And a plea for Rosen to digitize the album he bought and get it out there!

The Opposite of Remnants

Vampire Weekend has a new album out. Drew Magary wrote a funny review of it. I haven’t listened to the album yet. Don’t know why I would (though I like Oxford Comma, the song), but this is my favorite quote (I liked that one Shins record a lot, only to recoil afterward): “Motherfucker, this just sounds like the other two songs. Like The Shins did a one-off album after scoring a djembe at a yard sale.”

LINK: Michael Salfino on Paul McCartney’s Solo Career

Longtime friend of the Remnants, Michael Salfino tackles what turns out to be a more interesting question than it seemed on first hearing. How great was Paul McCartney’s solo career compared to the Beatles?

You can read Michael’s thoughts here: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2018/07/reassessing-paul-mccartneys-solo-career-successful.html

For my part, I think McCartney’s best solo song is Maybe I’m Amazed, but I also think Silly Love Songs is a brilliant bit of self-referential pop fluff (with a side of self referential sarcasm).

Michael doesn’t point out that Sir Paul is the only Beatle to record songs with Elvis Costello, Kanye West, and (the remains of) Nirvana. Constantly exploring, working, imploring, McCartney’s career has been admirable, even when the music is less successful. It’s hard to always write and perform great music.

And for pleasure? This one:

https://youtu.be/4IKXjuE4gH0

 

LINK: Beatles/Stones Cage Match, Refereed by Michael Salfino

Michael is a friend of Remnants, and has categorically decided who is greater, the Beatles or the Stones.

A fun read.

Michael and I went to a show with Mike Meyers, the Spy Who Shagged Me, at the NY Public Library a few years ago, that tried to answer the same question.

Michael’s approach here is a little more data driven than Mike’s (and his brother’s), and at the same time just as arbitrary as everyone else’s. The problem, I think, are the categories. Deriving anything from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame is bound to get you in trouble.

What are the right categories? Off the top of my head?

Best Album

Best Run of Albums

Live Performance

Influence

Innovation

Songs

I don’t know. It’s hard not to shape the questions to fit the answer you want to give, though I think the answer is the Beatles, even though the Stones are my more favorite band.

Try going with my categories and Michaels and see if you can up with different answers?

It could easily be a tie.

 

Dream Syndicate, Still Holding On To You

They came from LA in 1983. Jon Pareles, NY Times rock critic then and now, wrote about their show at the Mudd Club. They did indeed do a fine job imitating the Velvet Underground back then, as I learned a few days later at their show at Gerdes Folk City.

Their second album, Medicine Show, was produced by Sandy Pearlman, of Blue Oyster Cult fame, who had a few years had produced the Clash’s Give ‘Em Enough Rope. Medicine Show sounds harder than Days of Wine and Roses, their debut. I put the record on the other day, for the first time in probably 30 years and liked this one right off the bat.