Re: [Harp-L] harmonica-bashing

Hi Mick -

Another interpretation: being familiar with old blues records (as he says), perhaps he found that Lennonâs harmonica playing lacked the kind of tone and soulful bending he had come to appreciate? IOW, maybe he wasnât bashing the harmonica, just Lennonâs playing?

- Slim.

On Nov 21, 2015, at 2:10 PM, Mick Zaklan <mzaklan@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>   I have a harmonica-related hobby; I like to collect and
> chronicle examples of harmonica-bashing.  Never a shortage of material.
> Stumbled upon this one recently about halfway through James Kaplan's
> excellent new 979 page biography of Frank Sinatra's later years, "SINATRA
> The Chairman."
>   On page 479:
> Earlier that fall, a box postmarked "London W1" landed on the desk of
> Capitol Records' head of international A&R, Dave Dexter Jr.  The carton
> contained eighteen records sent by Capitol's British parent company, EMI,
> to be considered for U.S. distribution by the American label.  Though
> Capitol didn't have an anti-rock policy---the Beach Boys were racking up
> big sales---Dexter didn't think twice about turning down one of the discs,
> a song called "Love Me Do," by the new British group the Beatles.  The fact
> that the record was climbing the charts in the U.K. meant nothing to him.
> "I didn't care for it because of the harmonica sound," he recalled.  "I
> didn't care for the harmonica because I had grown up listening to the old
> blues records and blues harmonica players, and I simply didn't . . . I
> nixed the record instantly."
>   I get the feeling Dave Dexter Jr. wanted to say something more here but
> either couldn't articulate it or else realized he might regret it later.
> Was something racial about to slip out of his mouth?  Or a socio-economic
> stereotype about the kind of folks that enjoy harmonica?  Painful childhood
> memory?  Did his old man take a belt to him while Sonny Terry was whooping
> the blues in the background on the family hi fi?
>   Who knows?  Bottom line, Dexter the blues harmonica detester probably
> cost his employers a few million bucks in lost sales.  I believe Vee Jay
> Records took "Love Me Do" and a few other Beatles tunes Dexter rejected and
> made a pile of money with them.  Several lawsuits followed.
>   Would Dexter have approved the tune if George Martin had gotten Tommy
> Reilly to play the harmonica part on a chromatic harmonica instead?
> Probably
> not.  According to my buddy Pat Missin, John Lennon actually was using a C
> chromatic in the key of G anyway.  A chromatic that he had shoplifted from
> a Dutch music store.
> Mick Zaklan

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