Two days from today, on October 7, the world will celebrate what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. Seventieth! That's three years older than Mick Jagger, two years older than Paul McCartney and one year older than Bob Dylan. John wanted nothing more than to live to a ripe old age, doing what he did best, write. And whether it was music, songs, poetry, prose or even gibberish, John's mind was a fertile and imaginative landscape that was hugely entertaining and inspiring.
Right from his time with the Beatles as a songwriter, in the few films that he appeared in as an actor and a Beatle, and the visual and aural output post the dissolution of the Beatles, John never skipped a beat in pushing himself against the conventional boundaries of popular art and culture. His many solo albums coupled with the unconditional support he gave to his wife, Yoko Ono's creative releases, his undying devotion to his loved ones and to pursue living in a better world are a testament to his conviction to being the greatest human being possible.
Now as a new generation gets ready to take his legacy into the 21st century, let us remember the only scripture we will ever need to get us through this world of daily conflict, in every way. For that, all we need to do is 'Imagine'… If I may say so.
Here's what you want on your iPod, recommends Luke Kenny
When I read about this album, I thought, 'Oh No, not another shaky cover album', but then I thought again, 'Hey…It's Santana, what am I thinking…?' So I put it on and as Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love sung by Chris Cornell came on, I was flying! And then Scott Weiland comes on with the Rolling Stones' Can't You Hear Me Knocking? And after that its one blast after another with Rob Thomas doing Cream's Sunshine of Your Love, Gavin Rossdale doing T-Rex's Bang A Gong and India Arie and Yo-Yo Ma doing George Harrison's While My Guitar gently Weeps…sublime. Santana has chosen some tough songs to do justice to and in my opinion he does, with flying colors. You ain't heard nothing till you hear rapper Nas do AC/DC's Back In Black. Killer!
It has been the first time I think since I started writing reviews that there have been four albums for this week that have simply blown me away. Sara Bareilles is a phenomenal siner-songwriter and its amazing to see that there are still artists like her around. This album once again proves that nothing can beat a good song, regardless of the genre you are performing it in. And since Sara writes all her songs on piano the playfulness and melancholy are contained within the brightness of the notes she chooses to play. I urge all you female singer-songwriters out there to make this your textbook album for your creative endeavors this season and beyond.
Hands All Over
How indestructible are these guys? I think they are possibly one of the best pop-rock-soul bands out there today. A perfect fusion of pop melodies, soul sensibilities and rock attitude, these guys just get it right everytime! Right from 2002's Songs about Jane to 2007's It Won't Be Soon Before Long and now this. Like all the past albums, right from the opening Misery the melodies and choruses just keep coming at you like a melting glacier in the summer sun. Legendary producer Robert 'Mutt' Lange (Def Leppard, Shania Twain, Nickleback, AC/DC) plays a large part in keeping the sound tight and pristine, a true master of his domain. This one's a keeper.
I've never been much of a Neil Young listener, but when I heard that this album's been produced by the legendary Daniel Lanois I sat up with much curiosity. I wondered, where will the redneck ageing hippie philosophies of Neil Young and the swampy voodoo sonics of Daniel Lanois meet? And as I expected, right in the middle and that's where you gotta be when you hear this one. If you have any respect for the sound of a song you will play this loud on your surround sound stereo systems and marvel at the sheer brilliance of this music. There is no band, its just Neil and Daniel! As a musician and a songwriter it invigorates and blasts the sh*t out of me! BTW the title is a play on Daniel's name Lanois-Le Noise. Because it's all his brilliance, see!