Monday, April 1, 2013

Macca set to rock Bonnaroo in June

Paul is coming to Manchester

I have lived in Manchester for most of my 48 years, and I have seen several things occur that I thought I never would as a boy.
As a music lover, one of those things is the remarkable array of musicians that have visited our community as part of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. I know this event can polarize some of us because it brings both good and bad elements of our culture to our town in a mighty way.
However, when it comes strictly to music, a tremendous list of artists has come here. Of course, the definition of the word “tremendous” can vary depending on who a person is talking to. For people of my generation, identifying a tremendous artist might be a totally different process compared to how somebody half my age might do the defining.
My definition of “tremendous” includes artists like Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, and Bruce Springsteen who have all played at Bonnaroo. Seriously, if anybody had told me when I was a teenager that Bob Dylan would someday play three miles from my house, I would have told that person to seek professional help.
The latest list of performers for Bonnaroo was recently announced, and the first artist to catch my eye was Paul McCartney. A Beatle is coming to Coffee County? Chalk this up as something else I thought I would never see.
Even if McCartney’s career had ended in 1970 when The Beatles broke up, his status in modern popular music would have been secure. The Beatles’ influence on music and our culture cannot be overstated. The band took what Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and Fats Domino started and took it to a whole different level.
The Beatles growth as artists over just an eight-year period is startling. When “Love Me Do” was released in 1962, it was a quaint love song most significant for its use of a harmonica as a lead instrument.
Compare that song to songs like “A Day In The Life” only five years later, and the growth of the songwriting team of McCartney and John Lennon was obvious.
Though McCartney and Lennon wrote less and less together as The Beatles progressed, it is interesting how the perception of them as artists got so rigid. Often, Lennon was designated as the genius with words while McCartney was noted for his melodic flair.
This is not entirely true, and it does McCartney a disservice because he could also come up with fine sets of lyrics. For example, “Hey Jude” is a fine set of words, and the song is almost entirely McCartney’s.
In the final couple of years of The Beatles career, McCartney got on a hot streak that would be a career for most musicians. Songs like “Get Back,” “Let It Be,” and “The Long and Winding Road” all hit the top of the charts and were his babies despite sharing songwriting credit with Lennon. Sometimes the fog of time can dull memories and cause us to miss how much quality product he produced in such a brief period.
Now, McCartney will be visiting Manchester, and he will have a rich catalogue of songs to choose from when entertaining the crowd. Now that he is 70 years old, it is fair to wonder just how many more times he will tour America.
Hopefully, he will visit many more times, and this June he will being playing songs that he has not often brought to our area.  A couple of years ago he played in Nashville, but that was a very rare visit.
This will be a great opportunity to see a legendary artist.

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