[“The Music Lesson – Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg on the Rolling Thunder Revue, in Lowell, Mass” – for Jack Kerouac – photograph by Elsa Dorfman]
“Pop fragments addenda”. So, to conclude, some essential Dylan and The Beatles. Not to forget, the Stones (tho’, significantly – and this is 1971, after all – only one track from the Rolling Stones, the lasciviously seductive “Let’s Spend The Night Together” – famously delivered as “Let’s Spend Some Time Together” on the Ed Sullivan tv show – appears on Allen’s list). A contemporaneous (1967) clip of them doing that song (on the BBC’s Top of the Pops) can be seen (and heard) here; a lively, athletic stadium version can be heard and witnessed here. David Bowie and Muddy Waters each also give it a going-over.
Fragments of “the mop tops” – “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (being a more innocent rendition of the same sentiments?). George Martin can be heard introducing it here. It can barely be heard above the screaming fans in Washington DC in 1964 here, and here‘s their appearance on the aforementioned Ed Sullivan, that very same year.
“I heard the News today Oh Boy (Pepper)” (by which he means, of course, the classic track from Sergeant Pepper.. “A Day In The Life“). “I Am The Walrus (sic)”; “Strawberry Fields (Forever)“; “Give Peace A Chance“. The latter, hugely important, anti-Vietnam War anthem, can be heard live (in Toronto, in 1969, backed by The Plastic Ono Band) here.
Allen, incidentally, can be spotted serenading John Lennon in Jonas Mekas’ footage of his (Lennon’s) 31st birthday celebrations (1971 at the St Regis Hotel in New York City). How many other “familiar faces” can you spot?
“Geo(rge) Harrison (as before”. So here’s another “My Sweet Lord” – this time, a studio version.
Finally, Bob Dylan. There might be a little bit of a problem with copyright here (there may be some problems with copyright elsewhere!) So we’ll perversely conclude with five great alternative versions of the songs Allen chose. Mavis Staples of The Staples Singers delivers a pretty trenchant Masters of War; Pete Seeger sings “(A) Hard Rain(‘s Gonna Fall)“; The Byrds deliver their classic “(Mr) Tamborine Man“; Joan Baez, in concert in 1972, attempts “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowland(s)” (sic) and Blind Boy Grunt does a serviceable version of Gates of Eden.
oh – and AG (not immodestly) includes himself “Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience” which can be listened to in its entirety here. Footage of Allen performing The Nurses Song may be viewed here (“and all the hills echo-ed and all the hills echo-ed”).