Daily Archives: October 10, 2010

Video of the Day: “Tomorrow Never Knows”


The official video from Apple Corp

It’s difficult to let this John Lennon 70th birthday weekend pass without at least one more song.  I’m going with “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which was recorded in April 1966 at the dawn of the psychedelic era and is probably one of the best representatives of it (perhaps only matched by Lennon’s “A Day in the Life“).  Even forty-four years later it sounds revolutionary.  Sampling and re-mixed effects are very common in popular music now, but no one had ever done anything like this before or would do so again for a long time (I’d argue that it didn’t happen in any significant way till the nineties).  And, remember, the Beatles and their brilliant producer George Martin did it under very primitive conditions, recording (for starters) on just four tracks and with no digital; just tapes that could be sped up, slowed down, spliced, played backwards, and that’s about it.  And yet those limited conditions provided an avant garde masterpiece from a band that was redefining the mainstream.  To put it into perspective: they’d recorded “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” just three years earlier.

After the jump, a documentary clip on the recording of the song.

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Orson Welles


Welles as Othello at the end of his tether: “nothing extenuate”

On this date in 1985 Orson Welles died (born 1915).

Frye’s attitude toward Orson Welles seems to have been somewhat iffy.  He alludes to Welles on a few occasions, but they are not especially friendly.  Frye and Welles were exact contemporaries (Frye born in 1912 and Welles in 1915), but Welles appears to have got under Frye’s skin as a callow interpreter of Shakespeare — a “boy genius” who perhaps earned the title prematurely.

Frye in Fools of Time:

In my own graduate-student days during the nineteen-thirties, there appeared an Orson Welles adaptation of Julius Caesar which required the hero to wear a fascist uniform and pop his eyes like Mussolini, and among students there was a good deal of discussion about whether Shakespeare’s portrayal of, say, Coriolanus showed “fascist tendencies” or not.  But fascism is a disease of democracy: the fascist leader is a demagogue, and a demagogue is precisely what Coriolanus is not.  (18)