(MPL / Hear Music)


Now in November 2013 it’s coming up on 33 years since the Beatles story ended mere feet from the corner of Central Park West and 72nd St. I remember moving into my 24th floor apartment in 2 Lincoln Sq. on Columbus Avenue between 65 and 66th Street in early 1980. Little did I know at the time I was living in the square block owned by Mitt Romney’s Mormon church. Turns out the bigwig Mormon elders in Lincoln Square liked my dad and as such he ended up owning the restaurant lease in the building between 1976 till 2001. I remember driving down Columbus Avenue with my dad just after The Yankees won the American League pennant in October 1976 and just after he bought the restaurant and I was getting my first true glimpse of the Upper West Side. I always felt, who needed to go above 57th Street anyway? (lol)

After graduating from 5 Towns College in 1979 and after following my musical idol then, Pekka Pohjola, around Finland for two years, I finally moved into 66th street, called the Lincoln Square area, in early 1980 to work full time in the family business, in another restaurant my dad owned just across Central Park South called the Chambers deli. From my apartment window in Lincoln Square I could clearly see John and Yoko’s apartment in the Dakota at the corner of 72nd st. Truth be told, as a real New Yorker living and working in the neighborhood for years I never thought of bothering him. For real New Yorkers, Lennon was off limits (at least for those first few months of 1980! - lol) and besides Pekka was my idol since 1976. I remember looking at the Dakota from 24 floors up and I remember the sun was really bright during those months in early 1980 and here I was looking right at it. This was 1980: Boom Nov. 22, Boom Dec08, The Beatles were all over in the snap of a finger and I had to live on 66th street for ten more years. Who wanted to bother John is no longer a mystery to me. People in the know, knew what really happened here. Enter the age of overkill.

I was still trying to find a way to work with my musical mentor Pekka Pohjola throughout 1980, while working at the Chambers deli on 6th and 58th st., one block south of Central Park. My dad had owned the Chambers since the late 1960’s through till the late ‘80s and so many great people came in there to eat dinner. My dad introduced me to to B.B. King’s manager, Sid Sheinberg, who worked in the building above, that back before becoming the medical arts building was actually the original Chambers Hotel (not the one that reopened on 56th Street) and you can see the original Chambers Hotel sign if you look up around the 58th Street side of the building. Back in 1980 I was first contemplating a place for myself in the music world that would so dramatically change in just two years. Living and working mere feet from John Lennon and the legacy of The Beatles during those years was and still feels like a dream. Even though I didn’t have a chance to meet him in NYC during 1976 to 1980, (we did meet at a party in L.A. on New Year’s Eve 1973, no less for a few seconds when I gave him a hug!) back then still had to be the greatest time and place in the world for me in my life. Back then everything was so different from the world John Lennon would have experienced had he not been destroyed in a diabolical conspiracy, mere days after the election of Bush and Reagan. I am basically just setting the scene here because of the sinister way The Beatles were destroyed in a time altering conspiracy. No stranger himself to the Upper East Side, Paul McCartney was Lennon’s song writing partner and together, as the greatest song writing team in music history, they ushered in the dawn of rock and progressive rock. All of this Beatles era memory trawling for me comes into a sharp focus upon listening to Paul McCartney’s 2013 CD release, and to quote a phrase; NEW is the album that in the future will be regarded as McCartney’s greatest recorded achievement.

So, as an original Beatlemaniac at 60, I can honestly say that NEW is also in some ways McCartney’s most Beatle-esque masterpiece. His covers album, of songs he actually owns mind you (lol), Kisses On The Bottom and his symphonic instrumental album Ocean’s Kingdom from 2011 album were somewhat overlooked, even though no feathers were ruffled. But clearly, with memories still so fresh from the misery of Hurricane Wilma (and Katrina) in late 2005, when Chaos And Creation brought disaster to bear in my own backyard, NEW emerges as a messianic gift to the music world.

One thing is clear, McCartney’s backing band - including the multitalented Brian Ray, guitar ace Rusty Anderson, drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and long time Macca keyboard wiz, Wix - sounds reborn in a way, as if being in Camp McCartney for ten+ years has instilled in these guys a kind of Beatle-esque ESP. There’s also four fab producers on NEW including Giles Martin, who follows brilliantly in the footsteps of his father’s 5th Beatle stature. The level of production here, even for an artist as finessed as McCartney, has truly been stepped up a notch. Further production control on various tracks by Mark Ronson, Paul Epworth and Ethan Johns offers a wide range of sonically amazing results. The younger Martin has truly amazing ears as was so clearly proven by his historic sound work on the George Harrison Let It Roll album from 2009. Sonically, compositionally and even visually, for Beatlemaniacs, NEW is nothing less than the aural equivalent of a meeting with the Maharishi.

Singling out one NEW track here over another would be futile, as in a strange way, they’re all equally connected, the exception being a hidden, quite stark and naked sounding 15th track, ostensibly written for his wife Nancy Shevell called "Scared" that almost abruptly ends NEW. For untold millions of people who are now over 50, NEW is for you. (As if a one year old would remember the first time Paul and The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan! - lol) To coin another phrase: Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

My theories of the unfortunately never to happen 1986 Beatles reunion CD and ‘87 world tour is not unfounded in my world. Does anyone else remember, just a few years after the Beatles implosion of 1970, John was raving on radio about what a masterpiece Band On The Run was? Fantasies and rantings about the Beatles legacy and the what ifs and what really happened that night in 1980 will go unabated for centuries to come but as Paul’s latest pinnacle NEW cosmically proves: John Lennon would have truly loved this album.


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