29 November 2012

ALL THINGS MUST PASS: George Harrison (25 Feb '43 - 29 Nov '01)

An excerpt from Here Comes The Sun by Joshua Greene:
In March 2001, doctors at the Mayo Clinic discovered cancer in George's lungs. A growth was removed, but within a month the cancer spread. Soon a malignancy was found on his brain. This, too, he took in stride, knowing that death would mean he had finished his work here and was at last entitled to leave.

"He never sat around moping, 'Oh, I'm ill,'" his son, Dhani later said. "Even when he first found out that he was ill years ago and the doctor gave him - what, six months to live? He was just, like, 'Bollocks!' He was never afraid. He was willing to try and get better, but he didn't care. He wasn't attached to this world in the way most people would be. He was on to bigger and better things. and he had a real total and utter disinterest in worrying and being stressed. My dad had no fear of dying whatsoever. I can't stress that enough, really."

Soon after the diagnosis, George took his family by private jet to Varanasi, India, where he bathed in the Ganges - a traditional practice for one who is preparing to die.

After their return, Olivia tried everything possible to find a cure. While staying near a hospital in Staten Island, New York, George received a few select visitors. Ringo visited and stayed for hours.

George's sister, Louise, arrived. They had not seen one another in several years. Louise had become a grandmother in 1990. Her son had taken up Transcendental Meditation, while she had joined the Self-Realization Fellowship and become a dedicated advocated of environmental awareness. "I believe this is your dharma," George told her. "This is what you have to do." Looking back, she remembered him at that final meeting as kind, loving, and completely fearless in the face of death.

Later, Paul visited the hospital and they told jokes, hugged, and cried. George and Paul had known each other nearly half a century. That last visit was the first time they ever held hands.

(page 268)
It's a bit difficult to grasp that it has been eleven years since George Harrison passed away, but, here we are. Time magazine put George on the cover of the 10 December 2001 issue and it's a time capsule. To get to the article on George I had to flip past articles questioning former Attorney General John Ashcroft's new powers to fight terrorism, articles documenting the hunt for Osama Bin Laden and the bloody battles against the Taliban. Remember Enron? They collapsed and officially went bankrupt on 2 December of 2001. There was fascination over the new Segway and praise for the television show JAG.

Of course, for most, the likes of Enron, John Ashcroft, Segways and JAG are easily forgettable while the message and music of George Harrison still endures.

(Honestly, it's not even fair to compare Ashcroft to Harrison, really).

(This demo for "All Things Must Pass" was recorded for the Beatles' Get Back sessions but a complete version was never released until George's first solo record of the same name. I often imagine what Let It Be would sound like with "All Things Must Pass" on the album. If it was included on Let It Be it's would surely have been one of the few songs that actually would have sounded good with the Phil Spector production. Eventually Spector did produce the track and the rest of George's solo debut All Things Must Pass.).

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12 November 2012

TOP 5: Artists/Bands For The Next James Bond Title Theme

Last Thursday I revealed my Top 5 James Bond Title Themes and today - after watching Skyfall over the weekend (it was extremely entertaining and I'd put it just a couple ticks below the modern James Bond classic Casino Royale) - I'm thinking of my Top 5 artists or bands who should do the next James Bond title theme.

I know, I know. You're probably thinking, "Hey, Pet Bear Sounds, the next one doesn't come out until late-2014. What's the rush??"

Truth! But ruminating on these sorts of things is, well, kinda my thing.

If you're playing at home, here's the loose criteria I have created in my head. The people involved have to be alive (sorry, Amy) and relatively active (sorry, Bowie). Repeats of previous James Bond title theme performers are allowed. Also, my Anglophilic bias also tells me that non-UK/Ireland acts are not acceptable for the Bond song (sorry, Black Keys).

08 November 2012

TOP 5: James Bond Title Themes

The latest James Bond flick Skyfall is officially released in the United States tomorrow and I'm just as excited about the title themes as I am the films themselves.

No question that Adele was the best choice for the title theme. The quality and power of her voice ranks right up there with classic Bond song singers like Shirley Bassey. The song itself isn't particularly adventurous in scope and doesn't stray too far from Adele's style but "Skyfall" has all the hallmarks of a classic Bond song: Powerful female vocalist, sweeping strings, epic build, soaring finish. And it has that all-important x-factor doesn't it? "Skyfall" feels like a Bond song and I haven't felt that way about a Bond song in a very long time.

Trivia: How many James Bond title themes have gone to number 1 in the US or UK? Just one. Duran Duran's "A View To A Kill" went to number 1 in the US and just number 2 in the UK.

"Skyfall" - thus far - has peaked at number 2 in the UK and number 8 in the US.

Does "Skyfall" crack the Pet Bear Sounds Top 5 James Bond Title Themes?

06 November 2012

"VOTE!" says Paul McCartney

Sure, it's a little silly to take an endorsement from a billionaire rock star but if you've gone this far and haven't decided between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, well, why not follow the recommendation of a man who has inspired more hope and change than most politicians?

Don't know where to vote? Well, Google has a nice little resource for you.


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05 November 2012

VOTE! OHIO: A Spotify Playlist

It's Election Day tomorrow in the United States and Ohio can be the difference maker for one of the presidential candidates. The lure and allure of Ohio also extends to the music world as well. Many artists have waxed poetic about Ohio and I've collected some of my favorite songs in a Spotify playlist.

Enjoy the Ohio-themed tunes and don't forget to vote. Especially you, Ohio.

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02 November 2012

THE WEEK(s): Some albums get older, some albums are newborn, some albums are in the oven, etc.

Boy, how long has it been since the last one of these? (Hint: 8 September). There has been a lot going on over the last few weeks or so:

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