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Old Feb 06, 2006, 10:03 PM   #1
Fluxus
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Join Date: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
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Default Beatles Fantasy League - 1977

It's been a bit since I finished one. They are definitely getting harder!

The Beatles Fantasy Albums #7 - 1977

The Beatles’ Crackerbox Palace (EMI 1977)

1977 was a great year for Beatles even if it wasn’t a particularly great year for new music by the Beatles. The Beatles contract with business manager Allen Klein was dissolved on January 10 and on April 8 he was indicted by a grand jury for various fraudulent offenses. There were two official Beatle releases from EMI, The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl (produced by George Martin) and the Beatles’ Love Songs (a double disc compilation, like 1976’s Rock n’ Roll Music). There was also the release of the bootlegged Beatles Live At the Star Club (recorded in Hamburg in 1962), which the Beatles tried to stop. Beatle Fan Fests continued to gain popularity, Beatlemania opened on Broadway and a movie version of Sgt. Pepper’s was planned. And Beatle fans kept waiting for a reunion.

John enjoyed his retirement and green card. After John and Yoko attended the Jimmy Carter Inauguration Ball in January, John took off for Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. John, Yoko, and Sean spent four months in Japan, inspiring John to write “Free As A Bird.” It was a big year for Paul, starting with the release of the triple-live lp, Wings Over America, which went to #1 and generated a live hit single version of “Maybe I’m Amazed.” The departure of the drummer and guitarist from Wings, freed Paul up to spend a year recording in various places, including the Virgin Islands. While no new album was released in 1977, the sessions produced Paul’s biggest single ever, “Mull of Kintyre.” Much of the session work resulted in the 1978 album, London Town. Paul also produced an instrumental version of Ram (Thrillington), a single for Linda (“Seaside Woman”) and a son with Linda (James). In addition, Paul and Linda recorded Holly Days as a Denny Laine solo album and Paul wrote a song for Roger Daltrey’s One of the Boys lp.

George was happy to report that he didn’t write a single song in 1977. Although, he released three singles from late 1976’s 33 1/3 (“Crackerbox Palace,” “True Love,” and “It’s What You Value”), created some music videos and did plenty of interviews. 1977 saw George’s divorce from Patti finalized and the “My Sweet Lord” case resolved. His new love in 1977 became Formula One racing and was often seen hanging out with racing great Jackie Stewart. He did appear on one 1977 release, Splinter’s Two Man Band, on his new Dark Horse label. The only Beatle solo album to be released in 1977 was Ringo’s disco-fied Ringo the 4th. The album didn’t sell very well, but as aged better than expected. It’s two singles (“Wings” and “Drowning In A Sea Of Love”) barely sold. Ringo did a bit of movie work, filming scenes with Mae West in Sextette and with Keith Moon for The Kids Are Alright. Ringo also continued his studio work, appearing on albums by Peter Frampton, Attitudes, The Alpha Band and Lonnie Donegan in 1977. Perhaps the most interesting thing Ringo did was provide the voice and several songs for the animated film, Scouse The Mouse.

A 1977 Beatles album would enter a crowded music world, competing with the growing disco genre, exploding new punk rock stars the Sex Pistols, and more “new wave” artists like Elvis Costello and the Talking Heads, and the bloated arena rock of Kiss, Queen, and Led Zeppelin. Crackerbox Palace is patchwork attempt to select songs that might have been on a 1977 album from the Fabs. All George’s songs are 1977 singles from 33 1/3. “Real Life” is a 1977 demo from John, recorded at The Dakota (which would become “Real Love”). The other two John songs are from Mind Games from 1973. Paul’s 1977 smash single “Mull of Kintyre”/ “Girls’ School” (which was “Girls’ School”/“Mull of Kintyre” in the USA) is here and a song from 1976’s Wings At The Speed Of Sound. “Waterspout” and “Boil Crisis” are two 1977 demos from Paul (“Boil Crisis”is Paul’s attempt at punk, mentioning Sid Vicious). Ringo’s first single and another fun track from Ringo the 4th are included. Crackerbox Palace sees George dominating the album’s songs (including the Cole Porter song, “True Love”). It might not have been The Beatles most cohesive album as it attempts too many styles (disco, punk, FM mellow rock, Scottish folk) without doing any particularly well. Fully released from Apple and Klein contracts (and with John’s diminished role in the band), this might also be the official parting of the Lennon-McCartney writing team (which actually was fairly non-existent by 1968). The separate “Lennon” and “McCartney” writing credits on Crackerbox Palace surely would have given critics a reason to attack the quality of the songs on the album. Actually, all the songs are pretty damn good!

Note 1: I always thought that “The Note You Never Wrote,” on Wings At The Speed Of Sound, although written by Paul, was sung by Denny Laine. Turns out it is Paul with a weird vocal effect (like John on “I am the Walrus”).

Note 2: There are three bootleg quality demos on this album, which require a bit more imagination to see as Beatle songs. However, John’s “Real Life” is reminiscent of “My Mummy’s Dead” on Plastic Ono Band. So he might have left it that way.



Side 1
1. Crackerbox Palace (George Harrison)
2. Waterspout (Paul McCartney)
3. Girls School (Paul McCartney)
4. Meat City (John Lennon)
5. It’s What You Value (George Harrison)
6. Wings (Ringo Starr and Vini Poncia)
7. Real Life (John Lennon)
Side 2
1. The Note You Never Wrote (Paul McCartney)
2. Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley (Allen Toussaint)
3. Pure Smokey (George Harrison)
4. True Love (Cole Porter)
5. Only People (John Lennon)
6. Mull of Kintyre (Paul McCartney)
7. Boil Crisis (Paul McCartney)
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