Something New, the next Hard Day’s Night

 

Beatles Something new

The harvest of Beatlemania of 1964 continued with their third Capitol album in a seventh-month period, Something New, a title which wasn’t that true at all. To summarize, The Beatles’ Second Album had only been released on April 10. The United Artists’ version of A Hard Day’s Night (US) was an abridged version of the original Parlophone (UK) LP. However, the US LP preceded the better UK version by two weeks (release dates, June 26 for United Artists vs. July 10 for Parlophone).

Beatles A Hard Day's night United Artists cover U.S. v., A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Beatles A Hard Day's Night U.K. cover and the original Parlophone release

With me so far? It gets better. Something New followed the UK Hard Day’s Night by ten days and less than a month after the US LP. If this album has any weakness, it’s the lack of a strong lead single. On the other hand, apart from “Slow Down’ and “Matchbox”, it is notably lacking in the cover songs that would fill their LPs up through Beatles For Sale, or Beatles VI, depending on which continent you were born on.

Anal details: eight of its eleven tracks had already appeared on the original A Hard Day’s Night; five of  those songs had already appeared the month before on the United Artists’ album. It would be the third album release for “I’ll Cry Instead”, which we never even got to hear in the movie! Side One closes with two songs from the British Long Tall Sally EP. I’ll get to the song that closes in a bit. “A Hard Day’s Night”, “I Should Have Known Better” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” had already appeared on both/either Hard Day’s Night LPs. The only remaining orphans from the Parlophone album were “You Cant Do That”, which had already appear on The Beatles’ Second Album in April; and “I’ll Be Back”, relegated to Beatles ’65, soon to be released in December 1964.

Also of note, on the trivial side, in addition to being released in Mono, it was the only early Beatles album where all tracks were in true stereo. Alternate versions of “Any Time at All”, “I’ll Cry Instead”, “When I Get Home”, “If I Fell” and “And I Love Her” appear in the Mono mix. Parlophone released Something New to US Armed Forces bases in Europe; today those copies are appropriately great collector’s items. The German stereo version on the Odeon label has a reprocessed stereo version of “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” and an extended version of “And I Love Her” that repeats the closing riff six times instead of the familiar four. This mix appears on the US version of the now-defunct LP Rarities (1980). In 2004 the album was released on CD as part of the box set The Capitol Years, Volume I.

All fine, but how does it sound??? Despite being A Hard Day’s Night Redux, it’s actually a pretty listenable album. “I’ll Cry Instead” gets it off to a rocking start; “Things We Said Today” was a reflection on Paul’s relationship with actress Jane Asher. “If I Fell” and “And I Love Her” were two of John and Paul’s most tender love songs; given their relative youth, it’s surprising how much depth and maturity they could fit into two and a half minutes each.

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-beatles-only-german-recordings-4075314

http://www.beatlesebooks.com/komm-gib-mir-deine-hand

The final track, “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”, was a German language recording of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It wasn’t something they really wanted to do, and in the end they had to be dragged to the studio in Paris to get the job done. It wasn’t unknown for American artists in the ’60’s to record foreign-language versions of their biggest hits. The Temptations for example did the Beatles one better by recording “My Girl” not only in German but in Italian as well.

For “Komm…”, the band used the original instrumental track, then recorded eleven vocal takes, overdubbing handclaps later. And that’s all Capitol had to offer until November with the release of The Beatles’ Story, a two-LP spoken-word press release until Beatles ’65 arrived in December, with “I Feel Fine” rounding out the year.

 

Mikes’ latest book, FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS, is available at amazon.com.  Mike’s Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Mr.-Michael-Robbins/e/B00CMHSMYA

f & d cover

 

HER MOTHER’S SUIT

[Another short post with my Deviantart OC, Lianna. Enjoy.]

DEAR DIARY: It fits perfectly.

The second I graduated from the Space Academy and got my Independent Pilot’s license, I wanted to try it on. Professor Chronitis kept all my parent’s belongings after he took me in, including Mama’s skin suit.

It still smells like her, all jasmine and roses.   I want to go to all the places she would’ve gone to. I’m gonna find every weird form of life she never got a chance to. I know it’s kind of weird, but sometimes it’s like she’s still with me, even though she’s been dead over 15 years. I do miss Papa; but I wanna do this for her more.

 

her mother's suit scan (2)300 (1)

 

Mikes’ latest book, FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS, is available at amazon.com.  Mike’s Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Mr.-Michael-Robbins/e/B00CMHSMYA

f & d cover

Remember the ship where you were born: Lianna’s Story

I’m afraid when I started posting pix of my OC Lianna Jensen on my Deviantart page, I had no story to go by. Basically I was following the Jim Starlin method of writing, ie, I was making things up as I go. I hadn’t even given her a name until my fourth art set with her. Fortunately by then I also concocted an origin story, and it’s held up pretty nicely since. Enjoy.

 

I wasn’t actually born there. I was seven years old at the time of her launch. She was a Podship, the first of its kind, with a fully-automated wetwork to monitor our life-signs as we slept between the stars. Her Bangali designers christened her the Naga Sentry.    

M-21

Her solar sails could harness the currents of Dark Energy between stars. We weren’t scheduled to be awoken for another 100 years, once we reached our destination. She was billed as the Perfect Vessel to colonize the stars, and in a way she was…a perfect nightmare.   

Seventeen years into our voyage, our ship hit a solar storm, a corrusation of gamma-ray bursts within Sector 006. Oh, our sleeper-beds were undamaged…we were ray-shielded after all.   But the sheer energy billowing through our sails pushed us violently off course, into unknown space. The star-patterns weren’t any that the Navigation banks had been programmed for, so the passengers were awoken too soon in order for them to take charge.

M-23a (1)

That might explain the subsequent behavior of the passengers and crew. We’d entered a sector where the Multiuniverses converged. The quantum energies flowing between these tiny, overlapping Multiverses began to affect our minds. You might say the adults all got cabin fever…

Even my parents. I-I mean, they adored each other…both as smart as whips…b-but they became like….like…oh God…

By the time the Naga Sentry left that sector and returned to a semblence of normal space, the only ones left alive were the children. The bully boys basically took over, organizing into their own little cliques. They kept some of the Smart Boys on, ‘cause they knew how to work the ship. Some of the smart girls attached themselves to the bully-boys in charge. Anyone who wasn’t attached was called a Loner. And culled.

They might just as well have called us lepers. It wasn’t easy being a Loner. You really had to be ninja. You had to be quick…you had to be sneaky…And you had to know where to hide…

There weren’t many Loners left by the time that lone mining tramp-ship almost collided with us. At least her captain had the decency to call the Space Port Authorities. You see, we couldn’t have  known there’d be such advances in sublight engineering in the decades since the Naga Sentry left port. Even the most common ship possessed speeds that had easily overtook our ship and surpassed it. Our mission had become irrelevent. In fact, we’d gone down in history as a legend; the Lost Ship they called us.

We were all pretty much in rags at that point, and didn’t care. Some of the career Terranauts were scared to be around us. Not one man though. He was one of the Observers who came with the rescue ship. I don’t know what Professor Chronitis saw in me, but…he offered me his hand and took me in, and raised me as his own daughter.

 

Mikes’ latest book, FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS, is available at Amazon.com.  Mike’s Amazon page:

https://www.amazon.com/Mr.-Michael-Robbins/e/B00CMHSMYA

f & d cover

 

Culture: Stan Lee resurfaces 1968 ‘Stan’s Soapbox’ column to condemn bigotry ‘It’s totally irrational and patently insane to condemn an entire race’ — Michael1942’s Blog

By Julia Alexander Aug 15, 2017, 5:00pm EDT Marvel’s Stan Lee isn’t shy about speaking out against injustices facing society. Today Lee tweeted a photo of one of his Stan’s Soapbox columns, a monthly piece that ran in Marvel’s Bullpen Bulletins news and information section between 1965-2001, from 1968. Lee’s tweet comes just days after […]

via Culture: Stan Lee resurfaces 1968 ‘Stan’s Soapbox’ column to condemn bigotry ‘It’s totally irrational and patently insane to condemn an entire race’ — Michael1942’s Blog

Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run (2016) review

51SWMXc8H-L._SX340_BO1,204,203,200_

I like that Bruce doesn’t just talk about the records and chart positions. You get into the process, the thrill of seeing Elvis on TV for the first time, the arrival of the Beatles and the Motown sound. You get to know the man and the people he performs with, their gifts and foibles and all the reasons he loves them.

He spent his childhood walking in egg shells around his father Doug, a man always on edge, seemingly disappointed in how life did NOT turn out for him, disapproving of his children. He was Bruce’s foe as well as his hero, and he grew up never knowing when the fuse would be lit.

Ten years of groundwork went into his apprenticeship in New Jersey. Behind his songs was the lingering dread that was only relieved on stage. It wasn’t until the 1980s that Bruce was diagnosed with depression, something I never knew about, that most of us didn’t know, and it was then, before his biggest hit Born In the USA, that he began treatment and got the help he needed. It took a lot of courage to express that part of himself, a never-ending specter that rises up and must be endured. This he has done with medication and the support of his loved one. It’s a long read but worthwhile, on a level with or even surpassing Bob Dylan’s Chronicles. Highly recommended.

The worth of Walls: Berlin

In 1981, during The River tour, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt ventured through Checkpoint Charlie into East Berlin, where the oppression was thick in the atmosphere. This visit changed Van Zandt from a man who once preached that rock and politics never mix, into a firebrand of justice.

Bruce said this in his bio, Born to Run:

“The power of the wall that split the world in two, its blunt, ugly mesmerizing realness, couldn’t be underestimated. It was an offense to humanity: there was something pornographic about it, and once viewed, it held a scent you couldn’t quite get off of you.”

berlin wall going up

Going up, 1961…

berlinwallbrandenburg-cp-584

.…and coming down, 1989

The Berlin Wall went up in August 1961. It began to fall in November 1989. 28 years. I’ve lived almost twice that long. That’s how much walls are worth.

https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/berlin-wall

The Berlin Wall was 140 km (87 miles) long. Despite this, over 5,000 people successfully defected to the West by a variety of means.

The U.S, border with Mexico is 1,954 miles long. Think about that.

 

Jim Starlin and me

I’ve been reading a lot of Jim Starlin this year. It hadn’t meant anything before; I go on binges with one author or another and run with it till my interest in them is exhausted. I’d been following Starlin’s work in comics from the beginning of his career. He’s always espoused far-out conceptions and abstractions that appealed to a warped mind like mine. This time, I think there’s more to it than that.

I want to assure everyone up front, my family especially, that I am not contemplating suicide. I have no intention to harm myself in any way. That being said, I think we can all agree this has been a shitty last six months. I’ve lost four family members, people I’ve known all my life. My father committed suicide November 1st; the very next day my uncle Rick suffered a stroke. My father’s twin brother Wayne gave up and passed away a month later. My brother Eddie was taken by cancer, and another brother of mine is fighting the same insideous disease. He’s a stubborn cuss and he’s determined to fight it, and maybe give the big C a kick in the groin while he’s at it, and I’m proud of him for that.

dad's celebration of life 1

[From my father’s celebration of life, November 25, 2018]

Losing Eddie was hard. In a way he’s had a very big influence on the artist I’ve become. He was an artist in his own right; he’d done some beautiful work in the ’70’s, and we had a sketch book of his work at the funeral. Without him I probably wouldn’t have been such a Beatlemaniac, never been introduced to the wide world of comic books. Artists are no stranger to my family.

eddie's funeral sat feb 23 2019

[Eddie’s funeral, February 23, 2019]

I’m still very angry at my father. We’ve all shared our grief and confusion. He was our patriarch, our rock for at least four generations; we’d come to rely on his stubborn good sense and the advice which may not have been we’d WANT to hear, but was usually what we NEEDED to hear. I’ve come to a point where my overriding sense is anger. Why didn’t he talk to anyone, tell us how he was feeling? Why didn’t he say anything? I know I’m not the only one feeling this. I’ve vented some of my feelings into my writing and my art, but that does nothing to relieve that empty hole in our lives that’ll never be filled.

Okay, what the @*%$ does this have to do with Starlin? Part of it may be that he crafts characters with suicidal tendencies. Honestly, when I first started reading comics I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to the names of the artists, apart from Jack Kirby and Jim Steranko. If a cover is striking, if the implied scenario looks you right in the face and grabs you by the nethers, I’m hooked. ‘Chicks with ample bosoms’ were not as big a draw in the 1970’s (at least not to my untainted eyes–hee hee hee).

I didn’t make a connection between what I was feeling and what I was reading till one night at work. I work the late shift; there’s not that many people in the store, which means I usually have way too much time to think. I was reading his book, The Art of Jim Starlin , thinking about the kind of heroes I admired and it just it me, and I wondered if I should be worried.

I haven’t been very demonstrative of my grief, apart from too many angry outbursts. My tendency is to withdraw into myself, even more than I usually do. I suppose I could have worse escapes than comic books. They’re my fall-back, my go-to when I need to relax and refresh. Except…

There was this Essential Warlock collection I’d been avoiding at the library. Adam Warlock was one of those heroes I’d gravitated to in the ’70s who nobody else seemed to take an interest in, but the point is this book was large–massive–like 576 pages. I’d passed it by for months ’cause I wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment. Then when I finally got around to picking it up…it was checked out. Of course it was. So I put in a hold and finally got the complete story I’d seen in drips and drabs over the years.

Here’s the nub of it; when Starlin took over the series, he was in a bad way. He went  from high school straight into the Navy, spending the next three and a half years overseas. He became a member of the Navy’s aviation division as a photographer’s mate. He was sent from base camp to Sicily, then transferred to an intelligence unit in Southeast Asia. There’s more to the story, but here’s what he said about it:

“I was still pretty messed up psychologically, living on too much booze and drugs and had split up with the lovely Heather [his then-girlfriend]. So it should come as no surprise that what I ended up changing Warlock into was a suicidal paranoid/ schizophrenic.”

It wouldn’t be the last time he put a character through its suicidal paces. in the 1986 DC miniseries Cosmic Odyssey, Green Lantern John Stewart destroys an entire solar system because of his arrogance and stupidity. He felt all those millions of deaths through his power ring. He was frighteningly aware of what he’d done and he was ready to die. Martian Manhunter J’onn J’onzz give him a tough love speech, which was probably not the best approach to a man on the verge of killing himself, but it seemed to work. Stewart put the gun down, calls back his ring and says “Screw you, J’onzz” before leaving the room.

johnstewartxanshi23    johnstewartxanshi24

I’d picked up a book at a library sale, a cheap book that looked like it might help me understand my father’s suicide. But when I got it home, (1) I found it had a religious slant, and (2) as soon as he wrote about his father being a coward, I put that f—-r down. I didn’t need to hear that. I may never know why he did it, I may be angry at my father, but I don’t believe he was a coward, and I don’t need some religious putz’s judgmental crap on the subject right now.

I’m not looking to punish myself but here’s the other thing about Jim Starlin: his work is not easy reading. Adam Warlock in particular is a character who puts on a front of serene indifference and self-righteousness, while inside he’s struggling with nagging self-doubt and guilt over the consequences of his actions. Starlin’s stories are usually not a day-trip to another galaxy where Batman quips, “Oh, a giant starfish is about to swallow Gotham. Hmm. I have a Bat-pill for that.”

starlin-warlock-vampireBatman d in family starlin

{Batman doesn’t get off scott-free, sometimes]

I’ve been fortunate to have a therapist who’s been helping me through these hard times, a man I’ll always be grateful for. I’ve talked this through with my wife and my therapist, this sudden obsession with Starlin and my own troubles, and I guess we can all agree it’s something that’s helping me cope. I have no answers for those others groping to make sense of what must seem to be a senseless act. My wife and son worry about me as much as I’m worried for them.

I try to get through each day, try not to think too much about the fact that I don’t have that rock to fall back on now, that I have to somehow be the one my immediate family depends on. I just hope I’m up to it.