Happy St. Patrick’s Day from Mahavishnu Orchestra, John Lennon, The Band, The Rolling Stones, Chieftains, Van Morrison, Govinda & Mary & Mars



Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2014

Music of The Band, The Chieftains, Govinda, Mary & Mars, John McLaughlin & The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Van Morrison and The Rolling Stones are featured below.

For St. Patrick’s Day, I have compiled six (6) musical works I own that are in a very direct or indirect way pertinent to Ireland, Irish music or St. Patrick’s Day.  I am of Irish descent – lots of it – and take pride in this day when millions wear green and pretend to be irish, or at least use March 17 as an excuse to ingest green colored drinks and foods.

Very oddly I’ve only used one Chieftains recording in this post.  If I do another March 17 St. Patrick’s Day post in 2015, I’ll have to atone for that sin.

I wanted to incude Louis Armststrong’s great Irish Black Bottom with his free and swinging interpolation of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” but couldn’t find a high enough audio quality recording on YouTube.  My recording is from Satchmo’s excellent The Complete Hot Five And Hot Seven Recordings [Disc 1]

The best known of the following recordings (recordings, not songs) is probably John Lennon’s Luck Of The Irish an unabashedly pro-Irish/anti-English political diatribe.  (I’ll resist the temptation to be political here – John Lennon did it for me!)


Govinda – Celtica

Composed by Shane O’Madden – from the Govinda album, “O Earthly Gods.”

The Rolling Stones & The Chieftains – The Rocky Road To Dublin

If you only had one means to learn about the music of Jamaica, I’d recommend Bob Marley.  If you had only one means to learn about the music of Ireland, I’d recommend The Chieftains.

I especially like The Rolling Stones’ agitated and fun insertion/interpolation of “Satisfaction” at 1.07 – 1.22.

The Band & Van Morrison – Tura Lura Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby)

This unique version, sung by The Band’s Richard Manuel along with guest Van Morrison, is from The Band’s fantastic farewell concert/film, The Last Waltz.  One can watch the performance here.

John McLaughlin & The Mahavishnu Orchestra – A Lotus On Irish Streams

The Inner Mounting Flame was an album of genius and astounding virtuosity that inspired and guided me ever since it was released.  The album is not very “Irish” except for the title of this one musical work, A Lotus On Irish Streams.  To me, this is a just a great excuse to highlight John McLaughlin, Jerry Goodman, Billy Cobham, Jan Hammer and Rick Laird (who is from Ireland!).

John Lennon – Luck Of The Irish

This is a brilliant, cutting and direct account of Ireland’s fate at the hands of the English.


If you had the luck of the Irish

You’d be sorry and wish you were dead

You should have the luck of the Irish

And you’d wish you was English instead


A thousand years of torture and hunger

Drove the people away from their land

A land full of beauty and wonder

Was raped by the British brigands!  God damn, God damn!

Mary & Mars – Ireland’s Green Shores

Songwriter, composer, mandolinist, vocalist Sharon Gilchrist of Mary & Mars is a friend, great musician and former student of mine.  That would be reason enough to include her here, except that Mary & Mars’ Ireland’s Green Shores is a very nice work!


Alphabetically by artist – isn’t alphabetically by artist usually a great way of experiencing a collection of songs?

The Band & Van Morrison – Tura Lura Lura (That’s An Irish Lullaby)

Govinda – Celtica 

John Lennon – Luck Of The Irish

Mary & Mars – Ireland’s Green Shores

John McLaughlin & The Mahavishnu Orchestra – A Lotus On Irish Streams

The Rolling Stones & The Chieftains – The Rocky Road To Dublin


Yesterday, Another Day, John Lennon Fires & Ends The War on Paul


My last post (July 30, 2013) was about Paul McCartney’s attack on John Lennon, during the historical time period known as


Paul wrote and recorded Too Many People, and John would soon respond with a song on his Imagine album.  To regurgitate some of the past – with the release of McCartney’s second solo (post-Beatles) album, Ram, the feud between Paul McCartney and John Lennon went public.

On the front cover of Ram, McCartney is holding a ram by the horns.  Lennon responded.  On the back cover of his album, Imagine, John mocked Paul  by holding a pig by the ears.

On the back cover of Ram is a picture of two beetles copulating.

If John only had responded with a photo holding a pig by the ears, this feud likely would not have been significant.  Paul’s attack on John was most conspicuous and unmistakable because of the following lyrics:

That was your first mistake 

You took your lucky break and broke it in two

The only interpretation seemed to be that John was lucky to have been a Beatle and that he destroyed his “lucky break” be breaking up The Beatles.  The rest of the lyrics of Too Many People were far too subtle in comparison – “too many reaching for a pice of cake…” – and were not intended to signal an attack.


To fully grasp all that John Lennon would do in his SONG OF REVENGE (and then some), How Do You Sleep?, it is important to understand a difference between John and Paul – production.  Fully-fledged productions often favored by Paul, as opposed to simpler raw rock songs favored by John.  The Beatles’ Abbey Road album is an excellent example of these two philosophies at work –  John liked Side 1, Paul liked Side 2.

Side 1 is simple – record six songs and be done with it.  Side 2 is complex – record songs, some of which have many parts, and with great time and care, meticulously tie the enormous work together.  Side 1 would be easy to play live;  Side 2 would not.

Side 1 of Abbey Road

On side 1 of Abbey Road, there are six (6) songs written and recorded by The Beatles.  Each of the six songs are stand-alone, unconnected songs.  Every song is separated by a few seconds of silence.  In other words, it is album side of songs that do not convey a special message.  They do not have to flow into each other to create a greater whole or suggest something deeper than the message of the single song.  John preferred an album of stand-alone songs, like those on side 1.

Side 2 of Abbey Road

Side 2 of Abbey Road is a collection of songs that after the first two –  Here Comes The Sun and Because – are connected, i.e. flow together without pause (except for the brief separation before Golden Slumbers) until the end.  The final song heard on the album – Her Majesty – begins at the end of side 2 – The End.  (Her Majesty may have been the first “hidden track,” a favorite trick found on many CD’s.)

You Never Give Me Your Money which begins the suite of songs at the center of Abbey Road Side 2 is itself a microcosm of Side 2 as it is a complex musical work consisting of multiple short well-produced songs that transition into one another.  You Never Give Me Your Money was not the simpler offering that comprised side 1.

0.00 – 1.09  “You never give me your money…”

1.10 – 1.30  “Out of college money spent…”

1.31 – 2.11  “but oh the magic feeling…”

2.12 – 2.27  instrumental transition

2.28 – 2.47  “one sweet dream…”

2.48 – 4.02  “came true today…


AN ORCHESTRA TUNING (becomes a weapon)

The concept of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band had been Paul’s idea – the opening song, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band , was Paul’s composition.  The sound of the orchestra heard at the opening was also Paul’s idea.  The Sgt. Pepper show had a beginning that was large in scope featuring a large ensemble (a classical/art music orchestra) to open the large show.  Orchestras first tune just before the big show opens.  Orchestras are big.  An orchestra tuning must be a big idea.  Just as the Sgt. Pepper show opened with an orchestra tuning, so too would How Do You Sleep? open with an orchestra tuning.  Paul liked Big Ideas.  John ridiculed Paul’s Big Idea penchant even before the first note of John’s message song to Paul had begun.

Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band  (the opening sounds of strings in an orchestra tuning before the concert or show).

How Do You Sleep? opens with the obvious reference to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – an orchestra tuning along with an audience member clearing his throat.  ____________________________________________________________________________

Unlike Paul McCartney in Too Many People, John Lennon in How Do You Sleep? is blunt and direct with no room left for subtlety or interpretation.  John brings on the blunt immediately beginning with the word, “so,” as if the conversation had been ongoing – John had been in the room already letting Paul have the benefit of his wisdom.

So, Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise

You better see right through that mother’s eyes

Those freaks was right when they said you was dead

There had been a worldwide rumor that Paul had died some time before the recording of Sgt. Pepper.  John’s reference to the death of Paul is particularly hard hitting.  How is Paul “dead?”  As  a person?  An artist?  A friend?

You live with straights who tell you you was king

Jump when your momma tell you anything

“Straights” were those who were of The Establishment –  the bland, boring, uncreative sheep who had the power and ran the worlds of business and politics, and brought on The Vietnam War.

“Jump” when Linda Eastman McCartney, Paul’s wife, tells Paul to jump – that was John’s one and only direct attack on Paul’s wife (in the song).

The only thing you done was Yesterday

And since you’re gone you’re just Another Day

This was the most direct attack so far in the song.  John gives Paul credit for having written one good song during the Beatles – Yesterday – and one good song post-Beatles – Another Day.

A pretty face may last a year or two

But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do

Paul is good looking – that doesn’t last – but how will he fare without his partnership with John, and the Beatles?

The sound you make is Muzak to my ears

You must have learned something in all those years

John saves the toughest assault for the end – Paul’s songwriting isn’t good and there’s no excuse for it – why didn’t he learn more in his songwriting and performing days with John and The Beatles?

To add more insult to injury, George Harrison plays guitar on How Do You Sleep?.  George had grown weary of Paul’s demanding ways during the last days of the Beatles as can be seen in this tense, to-hell-with-you-Paul excerpt from the Beatles Let It Be film.

And Ringo had already recorded with John post-Beatles, but not with Paul.

The John Paul Wars were the best and most thoughtful of all of the rock music wars.



Piece of cake, copulating beetles & Paul McCartney attacks John Lennon


McCartney attacks Lennon.  Lennon attacks McCartney.  Later, there is peace (but only after “cake” became a 7-syllable word).

Q.  When is “cake” a seven (7)-syllable word?

A.  When Paul McCartney wants to attack John Lennon.


This post came about because of this short article a friend posted on Facebook:  The 30 Harshest Musician-on-Musician Insults in History.  I believe the article missed the greatest, most effective and significant insults, and I am leaving aside even greater vitriol that has taken place throughout the centuries of Classical music/art music.  (Wagner, anyone?)

There are some good insults (insults can be good?) found in this 30 Harshest post originally from August 15, 2011.  I prefer the clever insults or those that really did more than state something as dunce-headed as, “your mother wears army boots.”  Out of the thirty (30) in the post, my favorite is from Elvis Costello:

“Morrissey writes wonderful song titles, but sadly he often forgets to write the song.”


I think the multifaceted insults cast from Paul McCartney to John Lennon and back are so better worth highlighting than any of the 30 contained in the Flavorwire.com post.  How could the McCartney-Lennon feud have been omitted from the “30 Harshest?”

If one hasn’t studied the Beatles or been alive during the time of the Beatles (1964-1970, if one is American, and 1963-1970, or 1957-1970 if one is from the UK), then it is understandable that one missed out on these very good songs, barbs and photographs hurled from one side to the other.  And not only did John and Paul have vitriol to cast at each other, the other two Beatles – George and Ringo – as well as many Beatles fans, also took sides.

As a band and as friends, it seemed that the Beatles would need to part ways, at least temporarily, at some point.  They had recorded at least two great albums per year, released many great double A-sided singles in addition to those albums (The Beatles did not want to include their hit singles on their hit albums as they did not want to gouge the public and make them buy the same song twice – the opposite of The Beach Boys, for example), made movies, and toured frequently while consistently changing music and leading musicians and audiences in stunning new directions.  (By double A-sided, I am referring to the fact that both songs on the single – the A-side and the B-side – were brilliant and either of them could have been the “A-side.”  One of the best examples of a double A-side(d) single is “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.”  Which of those two songs should be the A-side?)

The Beatles also were very young during those times and would have needed time to simply live life.  When The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, they ranged in age from 20 (George) to 21 (Paul) to 23 (John and Ringo).



With the release of McCartney’s second solo (post-Beatles) album, Ram, the feud between Paul McCartney and John Lennon went public.

On the front cover of Ram, McCartney is holding a ram by the horns.  Ram (front album cover)

Lennon responded.  On the back cover of his album, Imagine, John mocked Paul  by holding a pig by the ears.  (John holding a pig by the ears)

On the back cover of Ram is a picture of two beetles copulating.  (Notice the insect spelling, b-e-e-t-l-e, and not musicians spelling, B-e-a-t-l-e-s, which looks correct.)  This is ripe for multiple interpretations.  Is one beetle named “Paul?”  Is one named “John?”  Whose idea was it to use beetles rather than spiders or ants?



The opening song on Ram, Too Many Peopleis an attack on Lennon’s politically and socially critical obsessions as well as McCartney’s derision on Lennon’s importance in The Beatles.

Too many people going underground

Too many reaching for a piece of cake

Too many people pulled and pushed around…

McCartney was criticizing Lennon and those who were out to change society.  “Underground” usually referred to those who were not “The Establishment,” the mainstream of society.

“Piece of cake” could refer to missing the main course and focusing on the more trivial sweet things – cake.  “Piece of cake” often refers to the ease of a task – it is a piece of cake.  Perhaps this is a further criticism of those who hadn’t put real effort into changing society.  They went into the underground because so many others did, and that this foray into the underground was, by 1971, a shallow and less substantive venture.

“Pushed and pulled around” could also be a reference to the masses who wanted a piece of (not “cake” but) John Lennon and Paul McCartney as Beatles – they wanted them as BEATLES to join the undergournd and anti-war movements that were omnipresent.  The Beatles, however, mostly avoided speaking (and singing) about Vietnam and the most pressing topics of the 1960’s.  (Late-Beatles and especially post-Beatles, John would venture far into anti-war efforts and social movements of the times while the other Beatles did not.  Here is Bed Peace starring John Lennon & Yoko Ono.  This was released by Yoko in August 2011.  It captures the spirit of John & Yoko’s “Bed-Ins,” the late 1960’s anti-war activism, as well as John and Yoko’s proclamation of peace (“War is over if you want it”).  It is a wonderful historical artifact – the conversations with Dick Gregory and Tom Smothers were among my favorite parts of the film.)

The most strident and obvious attack on John came with the lines:

That was your first mistake 

You took your lucky break and broke it in two

This was the lyric that went too far for many fans and unlike phrases such as “too many people going underground” or “too many people being pushed and pulled around,” this meaning was conspicuous and unmistakable.  Paul McCartney seemed to be telling John Lennon and the entire world that The Beatles were a “lucky break” for John even though back in the 1950’s, John had asked Paul to join HIS band, and Paul joined JOHN’S band.

And to go a step further – Paul was asserting that John broke up the band.  John “broke it in two.”  The idea that a four-man band would break into two, rather than four solo parts, was significant to those in the inner circle of The Beatles but probably not yet to the outside world.  The idea that The Beatles had broke into two factions would become clear to many when John released his Imagine album in September 1971.


McCartney, perhaps in a brief effort to ameliorate some of the pain he may have caused Lennon (the guy who was lucky to have been a Beatle), might be assigning blame for the legal and financial problems that the Beatles experienced near the end of their time as Beatles (the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein and the hazards of new management, the establishment and serious problems of future Beatles’ management, the dissolution of the Beatles, etc.) to business managers and lawyers “breaching practices.”

Too many people breaching practices

Don’t let them tell you what you want to be

At the end of the verse, McCartney might even cast the Beatles’ and Lennon’s problems as not all of John’s fault.

Too many people holding back

This is crazy and maybe it’s not like me

Perhaps important people are holding back and not able to help Lennon, The Beatles and their predicaments?

The situation is crazy and maybe it’s not like McCartney – no, perhaps Paul is stating that it is really not like him to be the one to level an attack on John (“maybe” was the only indecisive word of the song).

But perhaps this last note of possible positivity is an illusion.  If Paul had only ended Too Many People at this point, the song would still be a strong personal attack on John “Lucky” Lennon but one that might have ended on an uptick.  Instead, Paul now descends into “your girlfriend’s a dog, mine’s hot, and your mother wears army boots” territory as he saves his most personal and unnecessary sneer for the end.

That was your last mistake

I find my love awake and waiting to be

Now what can be done for you?

She’s waiting for me

Paul’s love is “awake” (enlightened?) and “waiting to be” (at peace and not being “pulled and pushed around”).

Paul saves the phrase, “to be,” for the final sections of Too Many People.  Would a listener be reading too much into the twice-stated “to be” –

Don’t let them tell you what you want to be

I find my love awake and waiting to be

as possible references to Paul’s famous song, Let It Be, or a slight dig at John’s songwriting significance or ability?  John might have seen it that way as John would, in turn, attack Paul and the significance and ability of his songwriting in a song on John Lennon’s next solo album, Imagine.

And as mentioned above George Harrison and Ringo Starr would also be involved in this war.  To be continued…



John Lennon – “I Got Resources On My Fingers!”

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile and now it begins.

I want to have access to information and intelligent resources.  I surround myself with great friends, music, books, gear – musical and digital – recordings, musical scores, videos, DVD’s, VHS tapes (from one century ago), cassette tapes, albums, MP3’s, MP4’s, MP5’s (when it’s their time), wax cylinders, paper from trees not welded into books and more.  (There was a joke and an intentional mistruth in the previous sentence – I love and study but do not possess any wax cylinders but I’d be happy if I did).

Tonight I’ve added a new section to www.emichaelmusic.com – one called, “Resources.”  It will be a living document.  I’ll update it frequently and I look forward to adding readers’ suggestions as well.  I’ve been compiling resources like this for years and dividing them into categories.  I’ve posted these in various places. The College Music Society has posted my resources for the past 5 or 6 years.  I’ve also included some of these in some of my course syllabi at different universities.  As of tonight, the first installment resides here at my site.

The first of my Resources is a list of music and entertainment industry sites that I visit – almost all of which I value.  Some might be included for good reasons – because I like or love the content at the sites, others because I feel that they should be there, and still others because they will irritate or irk people.  And why not?  Doesn’t the Bible suggest that we should afflict the comfortable?

The title of this post is a paraphrase of an actual John Lennon quote.  At the end of The Beatles “Helter Skelter,” (4.25 of the song) Lennon yells, “I got blisters on my fingers!”  Tonight it struck me that he might have said “I got resources on my fingers.”  Or at least that would make for a good title of this post.

Without further delay, I present to you the first installment of my R E S O U R C E S.   I hope you enjoy and find them helpful.  This site will be updated and revised.  Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions.  Future installments of RESOURCES will include favorite books, Twitter accounts, social media services and companies and more.

If you missed the RESOURCES in that last paragraph, I’ll repeat myself.




Annuit Coeptis