Friday 21 May 2010

News, Views and Music Issue 61 (Top Five) AAA Ghost Stories

♫ It’s the witching hour, the curtains are drawn and there’s a strange noise coming from the radio...what, they’re playing the Spice Girls again?!? Anyway, if you can look past the material world around you and turn to the spiritual sky you might come across one or two breakthroughs from the spirit world (and I don’t mean the pub down the road). Now given what a hardworking and downright chatty lot the AAA are its hardly surprising that when they passover into the spirit world they aren’t done trying to help us listeners with our problems and spread their music round the world. There’s even been books by the two artists we feature below conducted from ‘beyond the grave’ (although the jury is still out over whether John Lennon or Jerry Garcia really are speaking through mediums about their new lives, given that neither of them published an autobiography in their lifetime). So read on s Alan’s Album Archives goes into the Twilight Zone (the one without vampires).

5) Jerry Garcia. Died: 1995. Ghost Story: Jerry’s spirit is as mischievous as his former self if DeadHeads living in nine states surrounding his place of death. Shortly after 4am that morning, when Jerry officially died in his sleep from the diabetes complications that had plagued him for years and left him in a coma in 1985, all electricity got inexplicably turned off in nine US states, with Jerry’s deathbed seemingly as the epicentre. Technicians never could discover what had caused the fault – was it perhaps Jerry’s cheeky way of saying goodbye to us all with one last electrical rush? A new invention called the world wide web – which presumably you’ve heard of, unless you’re picking this article up by telepathy – also shut off mysteriously for a full 19 hours a year to the day after Jerry’s death, during a national Deadhead day of mourning. Again, no reason for the mysterious black-out was ever discovered. Deadheads were and are, of course, the pioneers of rock fans on the web – was this Jerry’s way of saying thankyou and goodnight?

4) George Harrison. Died: 2001. Ghost story: Take it with a pinch of salt, but according to a poster on the Hampshire Ghost Club forum, Paul McCartney finally got his wish to collaborate on a song with his fellow Beatle in 2005 when George contacted him about writing a song. The track, speculatively called ‘Waiting For Your Friends To Go’ was mentioned by Paul in a BBC6 interview that year and said he very much felt like George was in the room with him. As yet, the song has yet to be released.  You do have to wonder, though, why George – presumably busy playing ukulele with his namesake Formby – would come back to Earth to write with Paul after refusing to throughout his solo career. You’d expect him to contact the other Travelling Wilburys first or even Ringo – peace and love, where are my royalties?!

3) John Lennon #1. Died: 1980. Ghost Story: In Tom Slemen’s excellent series ‘Haunted Liverpool’ (book no 7) the author recounts how seven separate eye-witnesses have recorded how as a 13-year-old boy John Lennon was given an eerie insight into his future life by a passing tramp. John, with his friends Kenny and Bobby (though strangely not his closest friend of the time Pete Shotton) were playing football in Liverpool’s Calderstones Park (the  one that’s meant to have a spooky past anyway, given the amount of carved symbols in the place that no one has yet deciphered). The unnamed tramp interrupted their game and promised to tell them some tales – strangely transfixed the lads are meant to have listened as he explained that ‘one of you three will be the most famous man in the world someday’. Unwilling to commit himself to which of the three he meant (Lennon hadn’t even taken up the guitar back then), the tramp led them to a bridge overlooking a railway line in Mossley Hill. The tramp then threw a tennis ball into the steam from a passing train, saying whoever caught the ball would be the one – despite being barged out of the way by the bigger lad Kenny, it was Lennon who caught the ball. Gloating to his friends, John turned round to speak to the tramp – who had mysteriously disappeared. 

2) John Lennon #2. Ghost Story: The whole story behind the Beatles’ reunion recording session, adding overdubs to the unfinished and unreleased Lennon song ‘Free As A Bird’ is eerie. First of all, each of the three remaining Beatles said independently that they felt Lennon’s spirit watching over them, following several unexplained noises coming from the recording equipment and various disturbances. Secondly, when they came to play back the end of the demo tape they found that Lennon had recorded a backwards tape message in 1979 – something he’d been well known for doing in the mid-60s as all readers of my ‘Revolver’ review will know well. The message ran either ‘my name’s John Lennon’ or ‘it’s turned out nice again’ depending who you ask (it sounds more like the latter to me, I must admit) – rather strange considering Lennon never did this with any other his other copious demos. Thirdly, stepping outside the studio to pose for an official photograph, the ‘threetles’ were joined at the last minute by a rare white peacock which came out of nowhere and spread his wings before the startled fabs, perfectly in shot. Now, if Lennon were to come back as anything then surely a peacock would be as good an emblem as any – and all fans know how important the colour white was to him. Spooky.

1) John Lennon #3. Ghost Story: Lennon’s ghost must be one of the most restless of all if the amount of people in touch with him are to be believed – although, frankly, that makes sense given how concered Lennon was with humanity in his lifetime. There’s even a psychic, Joe Power, from my home town of Ormskirk who claims to have gotten in touch with him! Other people to have spoken to him are: his son Julian, who when young was promised  by John that when he died he would come back to life and present him with a feather. During a film project in Australia Julian got friendly with some local aborigines and agreed to take part in an afterlife ceremony – and was handed a white feather by the elder tribesman. Liam Gallagher, too, claims to have seen Lennon’s ghost shortly before Oasis’ huge catapult to fame when the young unemployed singer was at a friend’s house in their hometown of Manchester. After feeling strange late one night, Liam sensed himself falling out of his body and then seeing himself lying on the bed, with John Lennon looking over him. Interestingly, Liam felt calm at the sight – perhaps the last time the Oasis frontman was ever calm! – and simply stared in awe at where he’d seen his idol.

 Finally, legendary medium Doris Stokes also claimed to be in contact with the Beatle in her third book ‘Innocent Voices In My Ear’ (pages 67-70). Naming Elton John as his ‘best friend’ Lennon came through after one of his friends had a sitting with the medium and he urged the friend to take up backing for her project with Yoko. John mentioned that he and Yoko had matching briefs made with their initials on and that she still owned four pairs of his spectacles some three years after his death – although Yoko has never said whether that’s true or not! Lennon also mentioned how proud he was of the ‘strawberry fields’ area in New York’s Central Park, not far from where he died, how he’d met up with two close pals Brian Jones and Brian Epstein and that he’d already been in contact with son Sean (seven at the time).Lennon also spoke of forgiving his killer Mark Chapman (‘after all, he wasn’t right in the head was he?’) and joking that going out in a blaze of publicity was the best he could have hoped for! Doris also sums Lennon’s spirit – both earthbound and otherwise – pretty well too: ‘He was a strange boy, he sounded cocky and rather arrogant, I’m afraid, but he was also concerned about helping the world’.   

That’s it from us for another week. Don’t have nightmares...make sure the Spice Girls aren’t coming on the radio any time soon! See you next issue!

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo

3) Credit Crunch Songs

4) Songs For The Autumn

5) National Wombat Week

6) AAA Box Sets

7) Virus Songs

8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs

9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics

10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector

11) Political Songs

12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums

13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album

15) AAA Existential Questions

16) Releases Of The Year 2008

17) Top AAA Xmas Songs

18) Notable AAA Gigs

19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue

20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day

21) Hollies B sides

22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums

23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD

24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums

25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era

26) AAA Autobiographies

27) Rolling Stones B-sides

28) Beatles B-Sides

29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time

30) Kinks B-Sides

31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'

32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets

33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away

34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary

35) Brightest Album Covers

36) Biggest Recorded Arguments

37) Songs About Superheroes

38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist

39) AAA Woodtsock Moments

40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers

41) Music Segues

42) AAA Foreign Language Songs

43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering

44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?

45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences

46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves

47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)

48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009

49) Songs About Trains

50) Songs about Winter

51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members

52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!

53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums

54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs

55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)

56) AAA Party Political Slogans

57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'

58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories

59) AAA Artists In Song

60) Songs About Dogs

61) Sunshiney Songs

62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!

63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See

64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule

65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies

66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star

67) Songs To Tweet To

68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos

69) John Lennon Musical Tributes

70) Songs For Halloween

71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia

72) Purely Instrumental Albums

73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands

75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions

76) Top Releases of 2010

77) Songs About Snow

78) Predictions For 2011

79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns

81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s

82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups

83) Strange Censorship Decisions

84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD

85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)

86) Top AAA Music Videos

87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge

88) AAA Documentaries

89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums

90) Strangest AAA Album Covers

91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)

92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue

93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day

94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews

95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings

96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums

97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up

98) Top Songs About Sports

99) AAA Conversations With God

100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly

101) Unexpected AAA Cameos

102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator

103) AAA Court Cases

104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting

105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums

106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!

107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook

108) Classic Debut Releases

109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects

110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1

111) Part #2

112) Part #3

113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know

114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records

115) AAA Instrumental Songs

116) Musical Tarot

117) Christmas Carols

118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011

119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy

120) Top 20 Guitarists #1

121) #2

122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre

123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums

124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter

126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980

127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented

128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK

130) Lyric Competition (Questions)

131) Top Crooning Classics

132) Funeral Songs

133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold

134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)

135) Lyric Competition (Answers)

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!

137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)

138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70

139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks

140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs

141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums

142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon

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159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands

160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!)

161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches

162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs

163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale)

164) AAA Songs About Islands

165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012

166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended

167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest

168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically

171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) 

180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars

185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With

188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives!

190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars

193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric:

200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation)

202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew?

217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year

221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links)

222) Five Random Recent Purchases

223) AAA Grammy Nominees

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums

227) Top ten AAA drummers

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides)

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams!

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year)

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015)

249) The Revised AAA Crossword!

251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry)

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown

254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019

257) Tiermaker

258) #Coronastock

259) #Coronadocstock

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