Wednesday, August 4, 2010


It's my favorite Beatle solo album of all time. I'm sure many of you dig this album as well. I was just a kid when the Beatles broke up, but I was an older kid and recall reading an article in LIFE magazine at my Dad's office about their breakup.

I was already into music then, and had been listening to rock and roll and r&b since I was about 3 years old. Beatles cartoons were everywhere, and my pre-elementary school friend Rico and I would watch Beatles cartoons every morning together at his house as his much older sisters readied for school. By seven, I had a neighbor with two hippy siblings, and found out about Creedence Clearwater Revival and other great bands that were not on the radio stations yet.

But the Beatles, and Elvis (who my parents actually did like, as opposed to "those Beatles") played the foundation role in teaching me how to play drums. I wish I were half the drummer that Ringo is but there is no doubt his playing greatly touched my musical being and influences my drumming. Ringo just grooves, and that's the beauty of Ringo.

By the time ATMP came out, and I began hearing cuts off of it on the radio and at the record stores in the Houston malls and department stores (Sears, Foley's, Ward's, Woolco, K-Mart, and Sage), I was already taking drum lessons and was learning to play drum set by playing along with the Meet The Beatles album. Later I would play along with other great classics like Sticky Fingers, Layla, Rory Gallagher and lots of other artists of the day.

It was at this time that ATMP was released. I soon found it a great album to learn to play drums by playing with the album, and I wore some serious grooves in that record's vinyl learning to play the drum set. Unfortunately, the grooves I was laying on the drum kit weren't that deep or heavy. But that would come later, and it was the countless hours I spent throughout junior high and high school playing drums both in school and at home to records that gave me good time and a reputation as a groove drummer.

I'm sure there were star studded solo albums before ATMP but I'm not aware of them. Certainly, ATMP was one of ROCK MUSIC'S first star studded solo album.
I remember the beauty and the majesty of songs like "My Sweet Lord", "If Not For You" (featuring Pete Drake on steel guitar), "Wah Wah" and "Let It Rain". IT WAS the first TRIPLE SOLO ALBUM by an artist, with two discs featuring music and a third featuring famous jams with other folks.

My favorite tunes on the discs are "Art of Dying" and "Beware of Darkness", the latter of which was expertly covered by Concrete Blonde in the mid-1980's on their debut album. But there are a ton of other great songs on this album. And again, the third disc jam session is just great stuff.

Some of the following material is gleaned from wiki and other sources, but much of it is my recollection and/or common knowledge. THIS IS A LANDMARK ALBUM FOR ROCK AND ROLL!

As much as I hate to make my fingers type the name Phil Spector, he had a lot to do with the great sound of this album.

The line up was rock and roll royalty and session men, some of whom were not yet well-known. Ringo Starr. Eric Clapton. Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock and Carl Raley of Derek and the Dominos. Members of Badfinger. Billy Preston. Phil Collins. Alan White. Ginger Baker. Jim Price on trumpet. Ray Cooper. Bassist and artist Klaus Voorman (one of my favorites and who was also playing with Lennon at the time) Lots of other talented musicians joined in as well.

Quoting from wiki, this statement from Bobby Whitlock tells the atmosphere of the recording sessions and and paints a cool picture of the personality of George Harrison:

Bobby Whitlock recalls a very jovial and collaborative atmosphere at the sessions, as George Harrison "included everyone on everything he did because there was enough for all."

Of course, it was rare then and it's rare now for a star's ego to allow some kind of free form and jovial attitude. After all, it seems, egos run many folks, but it appears George had a very healthy ego at the time of the Beatle breakup. Good for George.

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