365 Day Song Challenge: Day 128 – “The Sheik Of Araby”

Day 128: The most obscure song by The Beatles that you can think of.

“The Sheik Of Araby” – The Beatles (Duh)

Sheik Of ArabyIt’s pretty tough for a Beatles song to be obscure these days. I was going to say “Her Majesty” since that 23-second song from Abbey Road was originally considered a “hidden track” (and possibly the first hidden track ever). It got tacked on to the end of the album when it was decided to pull it out from in between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam.”

So, since it was on an album that sold a bajillion copies, it can hardly be considered “obscure,” despite the fact that for years people didn’t really know what it was.

Thus, I decided to go with something even more obscure: “The Sheik Of Araby.” This song was actually recorded in 1962 by The Beatles for their Decca audition (you know, Decca, the brain trust of a label that passed on The Beatles). Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 41 – “And Your Bird Can Sing”

Day 41. Your favorite song from the 60s

“And Your Bird Can Sing” – The Beatles

As we continue the “Your favorite song of the XXs” series, you should know I’m technically breaking the rules with my dates. For an explanation, go here.

The 60s start to ratchet up the difficulty for these challenges. And part of that is that music radically changed during the 60s, much of which can be attributed to The Beatles.

You’d have to either be living in a cave or dead not to have heard all the recent hoopla about yesterday’s 50-year anniversary of The Beatles appearing on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” I’ve seen the date referred to as the day the world changed. This isn’t true, but it’s quite possible it’s the day the United States changed musically. The release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band represented another sea change, and a lot of the music that appeared after that would have been completely foreign to the music listeners of February 8, 1964.

Therefore, to me, it’s pretty easy to break the decade into three distinct sections, with the breaks both revolving (ha!) around The Beatles.

What’s less easy is picking a single song from all the wildly differing styles that came out in the course of the decade. (Can you compare “Love Me Do” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”? And that’s the same band!) But I think I’ve done it.

I am one of those seemingly rare people who prefer The Beatles music pre-Sgt Pepper’s. While I like much of what they did later, it didn’t have the sheer joy of their music up to and including Revolver.

I was introduced to “And You Bird Can Sing” watching the old Beatles cartoon. I think they showed it on MTV for a while. They used “And Your Bird Can Sing” as the theme song to the show, but at the time I had no idea what the name of the song was. When they finally released The Beatles catalog on CD in 1987, I discovered the song on Revolver.

It gained a whole new level on my favorite list when Woody and I drove cross-country in 1996. We listened to nothing but Genesis and Genesis-related artists on the road, but when we stopped in towns, we’d take a break from the Genesis and listen to some other things. This song came up several times and, since we share a brain, we discovered we both loved it.

After that, all it would take is for one of us to say “Bomp” (mimicking the first note in George Harrison’s guitar lick in the song) and we’d be off to the races. I still love the song to this day, and even though there were a number of runners-up for the 60’s, I decided this was my winner.

So—quickly—the runners-up were:

Note that they run the gamut from the start of the decade to the end, and also note how different those early songs are from the later ones. I even thought about including “Heartbreaker/Livin’ Lovin’ Maid” by Led Zeppelin, just to push the point, but I didn’t.

So there you have it. Work kept me up (way, way, way) late and I’m just trying to get this one in, so no witty closing today. Maybe I’ll do two tomorrow. But I doubt it.