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Alterkaker Hot 3

August 16, 2016

Paul McCartney, due to perform at the Alterkaker Hot 6 Festival in California this October (aka Desert Trip), has been written about more than enough. Yet while not much can be added, there are still those who may not know that Paul played lead guitar (and drums) on a number of Beatles tunes (more than the three cited here). And you almost certainly never saw McCartney perform Jimi Hendrix’ Foxy Lady, but we’ve got the video.

Taxman, Revolver (1966): Interesting that Paul would take lead guitar on one of George’s tunes. "I was pleased to have Paul play that bit on 'Taxman'," Harrison said in 1987. "If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me."

"Good Morning Good Morning," Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): McCartney playing a loud, brash, distorted, psychedelic guitar solo. He also played the loud, brash opening guitar riff on Pepper’s title track.

"Back in the USSR," The Beatles, aka the White Album (1968): This tune is pretty much a McCartney product: He wrote it, sings it, plays lead guitar, bass and drums.

Taxman, by The Beatles
Back In The USSR, by The Beatles
Good Morning, Good Morning by The Beatles
Foxy Lady by Paul McCartney
July 24, 2016

E.L.O., or the Electric Light Orchestra, was comprised of six musicians from Birmingham, England, who merged Beatle-esque pop with classical arrangements and sold over 50 million records. From 1972 to 1986, the band launched twenty Top 20 hits in England; ELO also holds the record for most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits (20) without a single song hitting Number One. The group’s snger/songwriter/producer Jeff Lynne would go on to found the Travelling Wilbury’s.

The group was so successful they even spawned a rare parody/tribute song on Randy Newman’s album Born Again (1979), “The Story Of A Rock And Roll Band.” Newman not only parodies the ELO sound, but also mocks gushing fandom with lyrics like these:

“I love their “Mr. Blue Sky”

Almost my favorite is “Turn To Stone”

And how ‘bout “Telephone Line”?

I love that E.L.O.”

Like Newman, I also love Mr. Blue Sky -- featured on the band's seventh studio album Out of the Blue (1977). The tune utilizes vocoded voices, including the last line which sounds like the voice is saying "Mister Blue Sky” but it’s actually saying "Please turn me over" as this is the last song on side three of the LP. One more note: This irresistibly cheery song was played as a wake-up call to the astronauts on the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Another Newman favorite, Telephone Line, was the second track on their 1976 album, A New World Record, and like Mr. Blue Sky contains the band’s signature stylized vocals and polished, multi-tracked instrumentals.

Finally, a video of ELO doing Can’t Get It Out Of My Head from 1974's Eldorado.

Mr. Blue Sky, by Electric Light Orchestra
The Story Of A Rock And Roll Band, by Randy Newman
Telephone Line, by Electric Light Orchestra
Can't Get You Out Of My Head, by Electric Light Orchestra
May 22, 2016

By now you’ve no doubt heard about the Alterkaker Hot 6 concert taking place in California this October – Stones, McCartney, Waters, and so forth (it is also known as Desert Trip). We’ve featured most of the sextet on our AKH3, but in the coming months we’ll delve a little deeper into some of the acts – starting this week with Bob Dylan songs covered in blistering, hard-edged rock style.

Dylan released Song to Woody in 1962 as a soft folk homage to his icon Woody Guthrie, but the Canadian post-hardcore band Silverstein released this version, which is something else entirely, in 2012 (the band’s name is a reference to the children's author Shel Silverstein).

The original Desolation Row, from the classic Highway 61 Revisited LP released in 1965, is a surreal, enigmatic tune that runs over 11 minutes long. My Chemical Romance, the rock group from Jersey City, recorded this cover in 2009 for the movie Watchmen. They utilize just four verses from the epic song, in the process cutting about 9 minutes and making it sound like  kickass early-80s Ramones.

The Times They Are A-Changin’, the title track from Dylan’s 1964 album, has been covered by Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Nina Simone…but this rendition by Flogging Molly is the coolest by far. Granted, this isn’t straight punk, but rather Celtic Punk, which is the genre of this 7-piece Irish-American band. Prior to forming Flogging Molly, Dublin-born Dave King was lead singer for the heavy metal band Fastway.

Finally, a video of Dylan/Baez performing “Pity The Poor Immigrant” in the 1970s – the liveliest performance ever by this duo, who often seemed lackluster when sharing a stage. No extra charge for the Japanese subtitles.

Song To Woody, by Silverstein
Desolation Row, by My Chemical Romance
The Times They Are A-Changin', by Flogging Molly
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performing Pity The Poor Immigrant