Category Archives: Beatles influence

Song & Video Review: “What’s It Like in Liverpool?” by Marc Kenny

Early this week, I was doing my usually daily stroll around my social media accounts when I saw someone had posted this video.  “What’s It Like in Liverpool?” is a song by native Liverpudlian Marc Kenny.

The song is catchy and fun.  The video is bright and lively with scenic shots of Liverpool and the Cavern Club.  So what’s my gripe?  I have to wonder if this song is just another attempt to capitalize on the proud home of the Fab Four?  Kenny’s biography says he’s been reading and writing music since the age of 9 and that while other kids at school were learning classical pieces, his parents bought him the Beatles music book.  I can’t argue with that, I did the same for my son.  But why write a song about Liverpool with lines from Beatles’ songs in it and with a video filled with Beatles related images from around the city?  If someone is so talented (and you only have to read Marc’s long bio to know how talented he claims to be), why resort to capitalizing on the greatest band in the world to become famous?

Then again, I have to wonder whether maybe I’m the only one that is even having these thoughts, since the video currently has over 4,000 viewings and according to Facebook, it’s been shared over 6,000 times.

Well, I do have to admit…I’ve hit the play button at least a half dozen times myself.  The song is very good, the video is also well done, and yes, Marc Kenny has got talent.  And for that reason…

I rate this song and video, 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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You can buy a copy of What’s It Like in Liverpool? on Amazon.com for $0.89 if you’d like to support Marc Kenny.  Or you can buy the studio and live versions, plus one other song here for $2.67.

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Book Review: “Ramones: An American Band” by Jim Bessman

I picked this book up several years ago at an online clearance sale.  My intent was for my husband to read it, since I really never dug The Ramones.  Then I found out that they were heavily influenced by the Beatles. And, there is no lack of Beatles references in this book! Even the story of them rewriting the lyrics to a John Lennon song and getting Yoko’s permission to record it.

Ramones: An American Band was published in 1993, long before Johnny, Joey, Dee Dee, Marky, or any other Ramone wrote their autobiography. In fact, it was written prior to the band breaking up in 1996, so it’ll bring you right up to what was the present moment of the band at that time.

The Ramones are credited with creating Punk music. What a lot of people thought was just a joke band that would never last went on to become one of the greatest bands of all time. This is a band who was the influence behind the Sex Pistols, Debbie Harry and so many Punk bands of the 70’s and 80’s. And though they never enjoyed huge commercial success or even a #1 hit, Spin magazine ranked them the second-greatest band of all time trailing only the Beatles.

I’m glad I took the time to read this book and to get to know the Ramones. This book has made me want to pick up each of the band members autobiographies and get their individual views of how the Punk scene looked from the inside.

You can still buy this book online at all the major retailers, with used copies starting at $0.01.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Book Review: “The New Norm: Lessons from a look-alike” by Mike Oltersdorf

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The New Norm by Mike and Dan Oltersdorf came up on Amazon as a suggested read while I was looking at another book.  What attracted me to this book, besides the fact that this guy looks like my favorite Beatle, is that he has Parkinson’s disease.  I spent many years working in nursing homes as a nurses aid and I’ve seen the devastation that Parkinson’s can reek on someone’s body.  Trust me folks, Alzheimer’s has nothing on Parkinson’s.  My heart goes out to Mike.

Mike Oltersdorf didn’t always look like Paul McCartney.  It wasn’t until his late 40’s after gaining 40 pounds that people started to tell him his resembled the cute Beatle.  This lead to many years of him working as a celebrity look-alike and winning the Beatles Look-alike contest 12 times at Beatles Fest.  But nothing could prepare him for the Parkinson’s diagnosis that made him feel as if his exciting career was over.  Or was it?

This book is Mike’s (and his son Dan) story of how he managed to spin a new take on his life and how he found enlightenment from the lyrics of two Beatles songs.  And through these lyrics, he passes his gift on to the world to teach us all how to live the new norm everyday.

This book is just 80 pages, but packs a punch and ends with a worksheet to help you find your gift to share with the world.  Proceeds from each book benefit the National Parkinson Foundation, so even if you just buy the $0.99 Kindle version, you can know you’ve helped others, but I think you’ll enjoy Mike’s message.

You can order Mike’s book in paperback or for Kindle at Amazon.

I rate this book: 3 out of 4 Beetles!

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Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’ hula hoop dance

A little something for your viewing pleasure.  This is folksinger and hoop instructor Melissa Cox on the beach in New Zealand hoop dancing to the Beatles ‘Twist and Shout’

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Album Review: “Four” by Andrea Perry

a1915268809_2 Damn!  I got suckered by another musician telling me how “Beatle-y” their songs are and that I should listen to their album.  This time, the request came from a musician/producer in Austin, TX named Andrea Perry and her album “Four“.

Hi, I’m a Beatles freak with a new album with several very Beatles influenced songs. I’d love if you’d check it out. <snip> Tracks 4, 5, 13 and 14 are the most Beatle-y. Track 1 maybe too.

Okay Andrea, I’ll be the judge of that!

There is no doubt that there is a ‘Beatle-y’ sound to many of the songs on this album…some listed in Andre’s note to me and some are not.  But, I wonder how many musicians realize that going around proclaiming their music is heavily influenced by the greatest band in the world opens them up to having the entire album put under the microscope by none other than the very neurotic, anally retentive, OCD Beatles fans?  And do you really want to open yourself up to that?  I guess so…

The violins and cellos on the first song ‘My Lover Said’ are what trigger the Beatles-effect right from the get go and this song sets the tone for the album and I think it’s a more Beatles-esques song than – ‘Back Before There Was You’ or ‘While Spinning’.

Now, how does this album stand on its own away from it’s Fab Four fan influence?  Not bad…but there was a song or two where I would have liked to have heard more layered vocals or harmonies because the lyrics seemed to become background noise to the instrumentals.  And though Andrea says that track 5 – ‘While Spinning’ is Beatle-y, it sounds a lot like track 6 – ‘Where Have You Been’. There was also a part of me waiting for this album to climax and I didn’t feel like it quite did that until about track 13 -‘Welcome Home’.

But don’t take my word for it, head over to Andrea Perry‘s website and listen to it for free.  If you like what you hear, the album is only $7 to download!

I’m not going to rate this album because I just don’t think it would be fair.  Yes…heavy Beatles influence.  Yes…the album can stand alone, but has it’s issues.  How would you rate it?

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Another great song and video from The Vals

This band still remains one of my favorite current bands and I’m just waiting for them to come to the United States. You can hear the Beatles influence. For more music, news and tour dates please visit http://www.thevals.co.uk

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Two new holiday songs for your listening pleasure!

The first is ‘Honey Badger Christmas’ by Cliff Hillis.  Cliff is a huge Beatles fan and is known to cover a song or two in his shows.

The second song is VERY Beatlesque!  It’s ‘Imagine Christmas’ by Alan Bernhoft, the man behind all the Beatlesque CDs.

Enjoy!  And have a safe and happy holiday season!

Jenn

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