The Magic of Music

Abbey Road
Image Courtesy of Apple corp

This time of year, is very special to me because as a family collective we love Christmas. I know this because the women in our family start planning for this extravaganza in October.

To make things worse come the first of December Lady Ann starts watching very average American TV Christmas films full of very bad acting and melodrama that could make you choke on your hot chocolate.

The only thing I truly love about the pre-Christmas warm up is the genius of the creativity of the people who make the Christmas commercials. These thirty or sixty second mini masterpieces are the result of people at the top of their creative game and they have budgets to die for and stories to tell which are truly fantastic.

My favourite by a huge margin this year is the John Lewis Commercial. It’s not only the story that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside although that is amazing, it’s the choice of music and the artist that makes it special.

Golden Slumbers by the Beatles is by any measure a masterpiece. Add Guy Garvey into the mix who has a voice like velvet and a story that resonates with most of us (lying in bed scared of the monster’s underneath) is a work of true genius.

What makes it special is it works on several levels. I can remember listening to Radio Luxembourg on a transistor radio in my bed when Abbey Road was released in 1968. They played the album in its entirely without commercials (which was unheard of at the time) and thinking this was by far the best thing I had ever heard.

Two weeks later after saving up my money from my paper round I had enough money to go and buy the album, something I will always remember. Handing over a couple of quid and running home to listen to the album.

So, let’s travel forwards to the present. I sit down and watch the commercial and listen to Guy Garvey doing a fantastic version and it still has the same effect on me as it did then, it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. That’s no mean feat from an almost 50-year-old piece of music.

Music is invaluable it brings memories flooding back. It feels like it happened only yesterday.

I remember the very moment I heard it, lay in my bed feeling the soft fluffy sheets dressed in my stripy pyjamas with a small transistor radio hidden underneath the pillow, listening to this magical music on a single earpiece with the volume drifting in and out of signal and me thinking life will never get better than this.

That is the Magic of music!

Sir George Martin RIP

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Picture Courtesy of rockcellarmagazine.com

This is a rather spooky coincidence. Last night I sat down after a particularly busy day with a cup of tea (I know but I am English) in my armchair and put my favourite playlist on Spotify and sat and listened to some of my favourite songs.

One of the songs that I was listening to was She’s Leaving Home by the Beatles and it prompted me to write my last post about just how good that song is.

When I woke this morning I learned that Sir George Martin, the producer of that particular song had died aged 90. Now I know it’s always tragic when someone dies particularly for the family and my thoughts are with them today. But as we English say he had a great innings (Cricket analogies always work with my generation).

Now George was known to many in the music industry as Gentleman George for the obvious reason he was a gentle decent human being who just happened to be an immensely talented individual.

His legacy will be celebrated for years to come. His work with the Beatles is an inspiration for anyone who aspires to be a producer. How he managed to create some of the worlds most beautiful music with four of the world’s greatest anarchist’s, The Beatles is the stuff of legend.

He did it by listening rather than talking, suggesting rather than ordering and the results are laid out for all the world to enjoy. What better way to leave this world, leaving a legacy of beauty rather than a trail of death and destruction.

So thank you Sir George Martin for leaving the world a more beautiful place and rest in peace, I will raise a glass to you tonight whilst listening to some of your magical work.

The three most important songs in my life

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Music is magical, it enables you to remember what you were doing when you listened to it instantly. It also reminds you of how you felt when you listened to it. So here are my top three songs this week.

Comes the Sun – The Beatles

Here in the Pennines here in the UK we have 6 months of winter and the village almost hibernates until spring. Its only around this time of year that when the clocks go forward and we get lighter evenings we get to see the neighbours a little more and people stop for a chat. I definitely know summer has arrived when we have the first sunny morning and I have the car windows down and this song comes on the radio as I drive over the moors to work. It sets me up for the day.

God Only Knows – The Beach Boys

I first heard this track on my transistor radio as a teenager. I was on a train travelling to Cornwall to meet my Mother, Father and Brother who had gone on holiday. I couldn’t leave at the same time due to work commitments. I had obviously heard the Beach Boys but the harmonies on the track along with the light coming through the carriage windows made it seem almost hypnotic.

I can still remember the compartment I was sat in, the man in a suit reading his Financial Times, the mother in her flowered dress keeping her little boy occupied by reading him Swallows and Amazons and the musty smell of the velvet upholstery that made your legs sting after sitting on it for an hour or two.

Little Green – Joni Mitchell

Off her 1971 album Blue it’s a track I never get tired of listening to. Every song on this album is a track about lost love wrapped up in the crystal clear voice of mitchell. The words and melodies are magical. Every now and again I put this album on late at night when everyone has gone to bed and listen to it with a drink in my hand. Instantly I am transported back to 1971 thinking about all the people who are no longer with us and count my blessings that I still have my health and the support of a loving family.

Although these songs are magical they may change next week when I hear something I haven’t heard for ages and that reminds me of something else, but thats life i guess.