Did The Grateful Dead Steal From The Beatles?


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.



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…


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!.

Playlist: 20 Songs For July 2015


It’s been a while, but monthly spotify playlists are back. Fun fact: there was a Neil Young song on this mix before he took (most) of his albums off of Spotify. I will try and survive somehow.

Here are my 20 songs for July 2015:

1. The Presidents Of The United States Of America – “Video Killed The Radio Star”

2. Charanjit Singh – “Raga Madhuvanti”

3. Grateful Dead – “Eyes Of The World”

4. Hiss Golden Messenger – “Mahogany Dread”

5. Excuse 17 – “Watchmaker”

6. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – “Dream Baby Dream”

7. The Weakerthans – “Aside”

8. White Reaper – “Pills”

9. State Champion – “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love”

10. The Death Of Pop – “Nowhere”

11. Houndstooth – “No News From Home”

12. Wilco – “Magnetized”

13. R.E.M. – “Strange Currencies”

14. Yo La Tengo – “Friday I’m In Love”

15. Vince Staples – “Summertime”

16. Tame Impala – “Yes I’m Changing”

17. Titus Andronicus – “I Lost My Mind (+@)”

18. Deafheaven – “Irresistible”

19. Spraynard – “Applebee’s Bar”

20. Communions – “Forget It’s a Dream”


Playlist: The 70s – Dazed And Confused


Just like I made a playlist for the 60s, the good old 1970s gets its own spotify playlist.

I’ve tried to cover as much ground as I could – from disco (Bee Gees, ABBA), Heavy Metal (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin), R&B, funk, and soul (Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye), lo-fi and punk (Buzzcocks, The Clash, New York Dolls), soft rock (Fleetwood Mac, Elton John), singer-songwriter (Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor), to good old rock & roll (Bowie, Springsteen, Aerosmith). I also tried to throw in some deep tracks, including songs from Ann Peebles, Candi Staton, The Damned, David Essex, Dr. John, Fela Kuti, Freda Payne, Jorge Ben Jor, The Osmonds, Richard Hell, Rodriquez, The Slits, and more.

And yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Dazed and Confused soundtracks are on here too.



In Case You Missed It: You Can Stream The New Ryan Adams Album (That Isn’t His Upcoming Self-Titled Release)


Devoted Ryan Adams fans know that the alt-country musician’s true music love isn’t the country-rock that made him famous (apparently he hates all country music not associated with the Grateful Dead). Instead, Adams loves noisy hardcore punk rock via Husker Du, The Replacements, and so on. He’s even recorded a sci-fi metal concept album and produced a hardcore Fall Out Boy EP (no, that’s not a typo).

So it wasn’t too surprising when earlier this year Adams released the vinyl-only 1984, which is 10 tracks and 30 minutes of blustering hardcore yet melodic punk. What is surprising, however, is that now the rest of us can hear the album below. It’s a treat for fans, a surprise for newcomers, and proof of this man’s mad genius.

20 Songs For July 2013 (Via Spotify)


July was a very busy month for me, but I still managed to distract myself by listening to a lot of music throughout my summer school finals (very hard to do right?).

This month’s playlist includes a special 4th of July song from Bruce Springsteen, deep cuts from The Replacements and Stones, and I finally get around to listening to Songs: Ohia and The Microphones.

Here are my 20 songs for July 2013.

Soundtrack to Bloomington

Over the weekend I went down to IU, and when I had some free time I purchased many new albums that for some reason I could not find back home.  College will be such a great place to discover new music!

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

A Tribe Called Quest – The Low End Theory

James Black – James Blake

The Band – The Band

The drive down to IU is long, but these albums made the three-hour ride much more enjoyable.

The Black Crowes – Before The Frost

Whiskeytown – Faithless Street

The Grateful Dead – American Beauty