Watch This Pakistani Orchestra Cover Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”

Pakistan’s Sachal Studios Orchestra, an orchestra based in Lahore, Pakistan, does this wonderful and essential cover of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five”, the jazz standard made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the essential Time Out (1959). It’s one of those songs that you’ve already heard a million times, yet it sounds so fresh in a different context that it’s like you’re hearing this music for the first time again.

Supposedly Brubeck was a fan of this cover and called it the most interesting version of “Take Five” that he had ever heard.

This orchestra also does equally great covers of R.E.M. and The Beatles.

Thanks Open Culture for this story.

Listen to Brubeck’s original “Take Five” below:

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Did The Grateful Dead Steal From The Beatles?

Help

I know I wrote about the Beatles yesterday, but I’m on a Beatles kick now so I’m rolling with it.

Here’s something you might not hear often: Help! is my favorite Beatles albumIt’s not their most critically acclaimed (Sgt. Pepper’s) or even their best (Revolver and about 3/4 of The White Album), but for some reason I find myself listening to this album more than anything else. This wasn’t even my first Beatles record – I just naturally gravitate towards this awkward middle child that began the Beatles’ transformation from most popular boy band in the world to most innovative pop band in the world. I have yet to see the movie (I guess that doesn’t make me the biggest Help! fan), so all my thoughts are only related to the music.

It was the album before Rubber Soul, so it’s easy to think that this was their last “bad” album before they made “good” or “real” music. I’d argue that this album, on its own terms, is just as good as anything else they made. This album has everything: rock & roll jams with “Dizzy Miss Lizzy”, cynical pleads for help (pun intended) juxtaposed with sunny guitar pop with the title track, and “Ticket To Ride”, quite possibly their most perfect song. This is also the album with “Yesterday”. George has two songs on here and even Ringo gets to sing, though he doesn’t have any of his own songs on the album (if he did then this would really be the perfect pre-psychedelic Beatles album). With all these different flavors, Help! works considering that all their later album would follow singular modes. For one brief moment, the Beatles were making pop music interesting instead of destroying it, and it pleases the inner popist in me.

To me Help! is also the sound of a band saying goodbye. While recording, they knew that this would be their final boy band album. This was 1965, the year of “Satisfaction”, “Like A Rolling Stone”, and other groundbreaking songs that were changing pop music. All of a sudden the Beatles, with their perfect haircuts and matching suits, didn’t seem like the future of pop music, and they knew it. They were also sick of being a pop band, specifically touring as a unit and getting screamed at while they couldn’t even hear their own songs. Their last tour would only be a year away, and they would soon boldly forgo their given path, but thank God they made my favorite Beatles album before they made better albums.

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Anyways, all of that was a set up for this: below is “Tell Me What You See”, one of the lesser known tracks off Help!.

It sounds nice enough, except it reminded me of another song that is more well known…

DID THE GRATEFUL DEAD STEAL FROM THE BEATLES???

No. Probably not.

I don’t think that the Dead really stole this song, but you can’t deny that Uncle John’s Band (1970) has a strong similarity to this Beatles song. Both share that loose acoustic strumming and washboard rhythm, and both songs wouldn’t be out of place around a campfire.

I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but it’s always fun to see how similar music can unintentionally be. Also, this was an excuse to write about Help!.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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A Guide To The 61 Other People On The ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Album Cover

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There are tons of famous people on what might be the most famous album cover of pop music. Some of them you already know (Dylan, Marilyn Monroe, Karl Marx, etc), but for the longest time I had no idea who most of these people were.

There are plenty of lists throughout the internet that tell you who these people are, but I didn’t really find a list that explained why these people are famous or why the Beatles might have chosen them to put on their album cover. That’s where I come in.

Of course I don’t know any of the Beatles personally, so I can’t ask them why they chose all these people, but I can at least explain what these people did.

Thank you 94.5 Kool FM for providing this chart and the names.

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1. Sri Yukteswar Giri

A famous Hindu guru. There are many Hindi gurus on this album cover, since this was during the Beatles’ India phase.

2. Aleister Crowley

An English occultist who founded the religion and/or philosophy of Thelema. Crowley believed that he was a prophet who would guide mankind into the Aeon of Horus, his form of Nirvana.

3. Mae West

An American actress and sex symbol. She was essentially the original Marilyn Monroe, even though she was born 33 years before Monroe and died 18 years after.

4. Lenny Bruce

The famous American comedian and social satirist whose posthumous pardon from a notorious obscenity trial was a landmark achievement for American freedom of speech.

5. Karlheinz Stockhausen

Groundbreaking German composer who helped popularize electronic music and aleatory in serial composition. He also composed music with helicopters.

6. W.C. Fields

American comedian who helped popularize the “lovable egotist” persona.

7. Carl Gustav Jung

Swiss psychiatrist who defined many well known psychological concepts, including the idea of extraverts and introverts.

8. Edgar Allen Poe

THE RAVEN

9. Fred Astaire

Arguably the greatest and most important American film dancer.

10. Richard Merkin

American painter and illustrator who had an eccentric personality and fashion sense, almost like an American Salvador Dali.

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11. The Vargas girl

A famous pin-up illustration designed by the most famous pin-up artist, Peruvian painter Alberto Vargas.

12. Huntz Hall

American actor who was famous for his roles in the “Dead End Kids” and “Bowery Boys” movies from the late 30s till the early 50s.

13. Simon Rodia

The designer and builder of the Watts Towers.

14. Bob Dylan

Duh.

15. Aubrey Beardsley

English illustrator who was influenced by Japanese woodcuts and was a major player of the Aesthetic movement along with Oscar Wilde. He’s one of my favorite illustrators – very dark but gorgeous illustrations with lots of attention to detail. Check out some of his work here.

16. Sir Robert Peel

British Prime Minister who served two terms in 1834-1835 and 1841-1846. He’s credited with creating the modern English police force and the “bobbies”.

17. Aldous Huxley

Author of Brave New World, a book that you should read.

18. Dylan Thomas

Welsh poet from whom Bob Dylan got his last name.

19. Terry Southern

American Beat writer who co-wrote the script for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider.

20. Dion

American singer-songwriter who was a popular rock & roll performer before the British Invasion.

21. Tony Curtis

American actor who in many popular films including Some Like It Hot. Father to Jamie Lee Curtis.

22. Wallace Berman

American visual artist who pioneered the Assemblage form.

23. Tommy Handley

British comedian famous for his role in the BBC radio program ITMA (“It’s That Man Again”).

24. Marilyn Monroe

Duh.

25. William S. Burroughs

Beat writer and author of Naked Lunch, a book you should (try to) read.

26. Sri Mahavatar Babaji

Indian saint who was also on the cover of George Harrison’s 1974 album Dark Horse.

27. Stan Laurel

English comic actor and one half of famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.

28. Richard Lindner

German-American painter known for his abstract urban paintings.

29. Oliver Hardy

The American half of Laurel and Hardy.

30. Karl Marx

Author of The Communist Manifesto and the father of Marxism.

31. H.G. Wells

English science fiction author who wrote The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.

32. Sri Paramhansa Yogananda

Indian guru who wrote Autobiography of a Yogi, which introduced the idea of meditation to mass Western culture.

33. Stuart Sutcliffe

The original Beatles’ bassist who helped come up with the band’s name (Sutcliffe and Lennon came up with the “Beetles”, but Lennon later changed the spelling to “Beatles” to match the word “Beat”).

34. “Petty Girl”

A design of a pin-up girl by George Petty. These are the images that you think of when you see women on fighter planes.

35. Max Miller

Famous British comedian known as “The Cheeky Chappie”.

36. Another “Petty Girl” by George Petty

37. Marlon Brando

American actor who starred in On the Waterfront, A Streetcar Named Desire, and Apocalypse Now. He was also Vito Corleone. Do you need more?

38. Tom Mix

American actor who helped define western films and was one of the first major cowboy actors.

39. Oscar Wilde

Irish author and playwright most famous for The Picture of Dorian Gray.

40. Tyrone Power

American film and stage actor who played many popular swashbuckler and romantic leads.

41. Larry Bell

American abstract artist and sculptor.

42. David Livingstone

Scottish missionary and explorer who traveled extensively throughout Africa.

43. Johnny Weissmuller

American swimmer who won several Olympic gold medals and who played Tarzan in the 30s and 40s film versions.

44. Stephen Crane

American author who wrote The Red Badge of Courage.

45. Issy Bonn

British actor and comedian most famous for “My Yiddishe Momme”

46. George Bernard Shaw

Irish playwright and co-founder of the London School of Economics.

47. Albert Stubbins

English footballer who won the League Championship for Liverpool in 1947.

48. H.C. Westermann

American abstract printmaker and sculptor.

49. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya

Indian yogi who was one of the few Indian holy men who was also married and worked as an accountant for the British Indian government.

50. Lewis Caroll

English writer most famous for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

51. Sonny Liston

American professional boxer who became the World Heavyweight Champion in 1962 but then was beaten by Muhammad Ali in that one photo you know.

52 – 55. Wax figure of The Beatles

George, John, Ringo, and Paul.

56. Shirley Temple (1st)

American actress known for her early roles as a child. She would later become the United States Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia.

57. Marlene Dietrich

Famous German-American actress who was a high-profile WWII frontline entertainer. Supposedly Madeline Kahn from Blazing Saddles was based on Dietrich.

58. Diana Dors

English actress who was pinned as the English Marilyn Monroe.

59. Shirley Temple (2nd)

60. Bobby Breen

Canadian singer and child star from the 30s.

61. T.E. Lawrence

The Lawrence of Arabia.

Other interesting things in the album cover:

-The other famous people on this album cover include James Joyce (right under Bob Dylan) and Bette Davis (right above George Harrison’s shoulder)

-Shirley Temple is actually on this album for a third time a cloth doll wearing a sweater that reads “Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys”

-Other random things found on the album cover include a stone figure of Snow White, a garden gnome, a doll of the Hindu goddess Lakeshmi, a Fukusuke figure, and more.

-Apparently some people who were originally planned to be on the cover but were excluded include Leo Gorcey, Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Adolf Hitler, and Timothy Carey.

-I triple checked to make sure this list is accurate, but if I messed up anything let me know via Twitter @BradyWGerber

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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There’s An Episode Of The Powerpuff Girls Entirely Made Up Of Beatles References (And It’s Brilliant)

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Remember when we were younger and watched all those cartoons and didn’t get any of the references which are now so obvious? Case in point, this Beatles-inspired Powerpuff Girls episode.

This episode, with the dialogue almost entirely made up of Beatles lyrics and song titles, is an essential watch for all Beatles fans. Many of the characters and events are also taken from real events based around the Fab Four – the Yoko references are especially great.

Makes you wonder what other cartoon references we didn’t get while we were younger. Is there a Hey Arnold episode made up entirely of Velvet Underground lyrics?

The references start at 4 minutes.

 

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Hear Eric Clapton’s Isolated Guitar Part From “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, And Try Not To Cry

Found this via Open Culture and it’s pretty cool hearing Slowhand do his thing with The Beatles.

 

And while we’re talking about The Beatles, enjoy this short clip of an old documentary of the Fab Four’s trip to the East. It’s quite enlightening.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Top Lists: My Favorite Guitar Solos

What makes a great guitar solo?  Is it how fast or flashy it is, or how slow and soulful it is?  Does it sound like a voice that you could sing to, telling its own story?  Does it start small but then crescendos into a colossal showcase of talent and emotion?  Solos are great for different reasons, but the one thing all great solos have is soul.  The following solos are my favorites, and they’re each here for different reasons.  These aren’t necessarily the best solos I’ve ever heard, but each solo here has soul and shows what can happen when an talented guitarist is in harmony with his instrument.

The Beatles – “Something” (Guitar Player: George Harrison)

 

Jimi Hendrix & The Band Of Gypsys – “Machine Gun” (Guitar Player: Jimi Hendrix)

 

Wilco – “Impossible Germany” (Guitar Player: Niles Cline)

 

John Mayer – “Covered In Rain” (Guitar Player: John Mayer)

 

Led Zeppelin – “Heartbreaker” (Guitar Player: Jimmy Page)

 

Prince – “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” (Guitar Player: Prince)

 

Steely Dan – “Kid Charlemagne” (Guitar Player: Larry Carlton)

 

Sublime – “Santeria” (Guitar Player: Brad Nowell)

 

The White Stripes – “Ball And Biscuit” (Guitar Player: Jack White)

 

Pink Floyd – “Money” (Guitar Player: David Gilmour)

 

Tedeschi Trucks Band – “Midnight in Harlem” (Guitar Player: Derek Trucks)

 

Dire Straits – “Sultans of Swing” (Guitar Player: Mark Knopfler)

 

Were there any that I miss? Comment below or hit me up on twitter @HeadfoneNation

And before you say anything, Yes, “Stairway to Heaven” was denied from this list.  Sorry Wayne.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Top Lists: The Most Underrated Beatles Songs

For every Beatles song we know by heart, there are about ten other songs you’ve probably never heard.  The Beatles recorded about a dozen albums, some better than others, and each album has a hidden gem or two.  Here are some of the songs that fab four have recorded that don’t get the credit they deserve, and I tried to get at least one song from each album.

“You Never Give Me Your Money” (from Abbey Road)

“No Reply” (from Beatles For Sale)

“I’ll Follow The Sun” (from Beatles For Sale)

“I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party” (from Beatles For Sale)

“And I Love Her” (from A Hard Day’s Night)

“I Need You” (from Help!)

“Anna (Go To Him)” (from Please Please Me)

“For No One” (from Revolver)

“I’m Looking Through You” (from Rubber Soul)

“She’s Leaving Home” (from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

“You Really Got A Hold On Me” (from With The Beatles)

“All I’ve Got To Do” (from With The Beatles)

Were there any songs that I missed? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @Bradywgerber.  And while you’re doing that, check out my favorite Beatles albums.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: Songs To Help You Enjoy Your Simple Bliss

Today is a great day.  You’re in a great mood and it’s beautiful outside.  You go out for a walk and you take the time to smell the roses and count your blessings.

These are the songs that should accompany you for these moments.

The Beatles – “Here Comes The Sun”

 

The Cave Singers – “Swim Club”

 

Delta Spirit – “Devil Knows You’re Dead (EP Version)”

 

The Head and the Heart – “Down in the Valley”

 

John Denver – “Sunshine On My Shoulders”

 

Josh Ritter – “You Don’t Make It Easy Babe”

 

Louis Armstrong – “What a Wonderful World”

 

The Moldy Peaches – “Anyone Else But You”

 

Mumford & Sons – “Timshel”

 

My Morning Jacket – “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)”

 

Paul Simon – “Father and Daughter”

 

Tom Waits – “Blue Skies”

 

Wilco – “One Sunday Morning (Song For Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend)”

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Happy Days: Happy Birthday To 3/4 Of My Family!

Today and the next couple of days are very exciting for the Gerber family!  Today is my mom’s 49th birthday, this coming monday will be my sister’s big 21st birthday, and then last but not least I’ll be turning 19 this Wednesday.  It’s awesome that all our birthdays are so close together (sorry dad that you’re stuck in February).  I’ll go ahead and knock out all our birthdays right now with a little family birthday tradition.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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