Guest Blogger Johanna Pinzler: The Beatles – Abbey Road

21 Jul

Love of my life, mother of our daughter, writer of a guest blog post . . .

—–

My Mom used to tell me about her college roommate and best friend who was obsessed with George Harrison. She had a full length picture of his first wife, model Patti Boyd, and she amused herself by throwing darts at her crotch.

I’m not sure why I felt compelled to share that tidbit but I’ve always wanted to tell that story and this seemed like the appropriate moment.

My mother was a tremendously huge Beatles fan . . . or at least that’s how I perceived her as a kid. She certainly had all the band’s albums (or got them in the divorce) and although she didn’t play them much there they were, stashed under the record player along with some of my other favorites by Aretha Franklin and Carole King. Sometime in junior high or early high school I found them and played them and they were very much a part of my self-guided musical education.

With a few exceptions (Prince, Billy Joel, REM) I wasn’t all that interested in the top 40 by the time I hit high school. I was aware of it and even enjoyed a lot of it but I wasn’t obsessed. I was obsessed with musical theatre soundtracks, Motown and the Beatles (at some point The Doors slipped in there too). I always felt somehow out of sync musically with many of my peers but I liked what I liked and as an adult I can look back at my teenage musical tastes and think I was actually pretty cool in a “screw you I’m totally retro” kind of way.

Abbey Road has always been one of my favorite Beatles albums jockeying for position with Revolver and The White Album, but the way Abbey Road really stands out is that I never want to skip any of the tracks when I am listening to it.

With the advent of CD and now Mp3 I am a frequent abuser of my skip button. I do it all the time but never with Abbey Road. Every single song is a work of art and tells a complete (or somehow connected to another in the same album) story.

I had heard that the Beatles were never all in the same room when they recorded this album in the spring and summer of 1969.

It turns out that isn’t entirely true. According to Ian MacDonald in his book “Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties” they weren’t getting along all that well and there was a lot of tension but the 4 of them did get into the studio a few times, in fact some of the most complicated harmonies The Beatles ever sung were done all together on the tracks “Because” and “The Sun King.”

I find this to be a relief because the album is so genius that it makes me sad as both a musician and a fan that this kind of brilliance could be created in any way other than as an ensemble.

I mean the first four tracks alone are “Come Together”, “Something”, “Maxwell Silver’s Hammer” and “Oh! Darling.” Come on!

It would be hard to top that but then this album also contains, “Here Comes The Sun”, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, “Octopus’ Garden”, and as part of the crazy medley on the B side, “She Came in Through The Bathroom Window.”

I teach communications and theatre students at two different colleges in the greater New York area and it gives me chest pains how many of my students only know about The Beatles as some great band from way back. They may know the occasional Beatles song because they still get played and covered by other bands but they don’t “get it.”

It should be part of any kid’s musical education that they have to listen to the Beatles canon.

They just don’t make music like this these days.

It makes me sound like an old fart (hell, it’s not even considered my generation’s music) but there is something so complete about the music The Beatles wrote and recorded especially the later albums. They are eminently singable, feature insanely remarkable musicianship, have meaning, and without them so much of what has followed in Rock and Roll, and really all music, simply would not exist in the same way.

So I say Abbey Road (and The White Album, Sergeant Pepper’s, Revolver and Rubber Soul) should be required listening for all the young whippersnappers out there.

And while I’m at it, get the hell off my lawn.

—–

Johanna Pinzler has an MFA, a husband (who you may be familiar with) and a daughter.

Most often she can be found on subways reading her Kindle while she commutes from Brooklyn to the Bronx and the Upper East Side where, depending on the day, she teaches Theatrical Directing, Public Speaking and Voice and Speech.

In her alternate reality she is a Professional Director . . . she recently returned from Sonoma County, CA miraculously having been paid to do what she loves.

In her past life she got paid to sing rock and roll and show tunes in piano bars.

Go to johannapinzler.com to see pictures of productions she has directed and hire her as an acting coach.

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2 Responses to “Guest Blogger Johanna Pinzler: The Beatles – Abbey Road”

  1. doronklemer July 24, 2014 at 4:26 PM #

    AMEN!! 🙂

  2. Mike July 24, 2014 at 8:57 PM #

    Haha, love it! Another “get off my lawn reference.” Well said on all fronts.

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