The Most Important Game
Been away for a while and will probably be away for a while longer, but I have a brief window to advance this now-glacial series a little further. So then, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds:
William Shatner’s version, given a little extra ‘treatment’ for the YouTube generation by videoist Paul Heriot. I remember Lee and Herring describing this as Shatner believing that he had to be on LSD in order to sing the song, and Heriot certainly seems to be running with that ball (and also the Star Elephant that will forever be in any room Shatner inhabits). Personally, I love Shatner’s vocals and I think this might be the perfect song for his somewhat unique stylings… but this is a series about Beatles Rock Band and not Shatner Session Band so we’ll move on.
How long has it been since you saw a good old fashioned human sacrifice? TOO LONG YOU SAY well watch this:
That’s the Muppets desecrating ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’, which is exactly one half of today’s offering. The Beatlebots, unwilling to do things by halves, jam the first two songs of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band together exactly as they are on the album. Will they confound expectations by not performing it dressed as the titular band, in a bandstand surrounded by victorian-looking people just like in the film?
Whatever happened to this series? Work happened, and continues to happen. This is the crunch time for about three seperate projects, with a fourth waiting in the wings. Expect forward progress on TMIGEM to be glacial, two a week or less – but it WILL get finished. At some point.
In the meantime, goodbye touring, hello great whacking doses of LSD!
That’s not the Beatles, but Beyond, a chirpy Japanese pop combo with some kind of fun fetish. But even they can’t get away from the song’s central brand – the image of that big yellow sub, made famous by the cartoon – and neither can the Beatlebots, as we’ll see in this special warming-up-to-it-again edition.
The final tour song… ever! And it was actually the final tour song for the Beatles in real life, according to the in-game factoids. (Well, almost. But it was definitely the last song they played that was written by them.)
This was the only even faintly decent cover version of ‘Paperback Writer’ I could find – Gershon Kingsley, from his album ‘Music To Moog By’. That said, there’s something ill-fitting about ‘Paperback Writer’ devolving into a psychedelic wilderness over the course of the song.
Time to get political with ‘Taxman’:
That’s Junior Parker’s ultra-slow, ultra-mellow version, a chuckling drawl (“Aw, now this is awful…”) that makes it clear that Junior is having a whale of a time lounging in the shoes of the man to whom all monies flow. He’s recasting the callous bureaucrat as some kind of blaxploitational Kingpin Of Crime, divorcing the song completely from one cultural milieu – what does Junior Parker care about the Wilson government? – and plugging it into a completely different one, with frankly gorgeous results.
Great stuff! Not relevent, though. Let’s get back to the Beatlebots.
Well, after a week of hard conventioneering, I’m back in the saddle to talk about ‘Drive My Car’.
Soothing stuff and fun to play, as I remember. I bashed this one out before I left, in the hope that I’d have time to write a column on it while I was away, but even after I got back on Wednesday I was still too dead to do more than gaze listlessly at it. Even now, I’m just going to cobble together some random thoughts and hope I can pull myself together enough to keep the momentum up until Budokan ends, the sessions start and things really get crazy. Anyway, a few spoilers:
SPOILER: There is no car.
There are still those, even in the dying days of the Noughties, who deride Rock Band and its ilk as ‘fake’. Well, here’s NES-rock group ‘I Fight Dragons’ doing their chiptune-heavy cover version of ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’, played on a PC-friendly flash clone of Guitar Hero.
So someone’s playing a let’s-pretend version of a let’s-pretend version of the guitar, pretending to play a cover version of a song by a band – probably a hipster band, ugh - who play with Nintendos instead of real instruments. We’re down the rabbit hole of inauthenticity here and I LOVE IT. Suck it, Grandad! Suck it in HELL!
Whoops! The next song on the list isn’t ‘She Loves You’ after all, it’s the far less interesting ‘I Feel Fine’.
Still, it’s a nice rocking groove, as the Ventures here prove.
That’s Nellie McKay’s version of ‘If I Needed Someone’, which by a strange coincidence is what the Beatlebots plough onto in their historic Shea Stadium gig.
Hello Beatles! It’s been a while.
So what happened there? Work happened, to put it bluntly – in the midst of a brutal cold that beat my immune system like a gong, I had to write some pretty serious comics (part of which involved creating an alien language from scratch). In the end, I took the week off the Beatles, and from now on I’ll be doing a more realistic production schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (or at least two out of three) as per Tom’s excellent and timely advice last week on keeping a long-running series going when the enthusiasm starts to run dry.
And what could dry up a man’s enthusiasm faster than the sonic wallpaper that is ‘Eight Days A Week’, our unlucky 13th entry?