What’s the definition of a great song?
There’s more than one answer to that question but I’ve had a few glasses of red wine so tonight my answer is…
A song that can survive a dreadful, painful rendition by one of the reigning queens of popular music.
On Sunday February 9th, 2014, the Grammy Awards…the same show that once picked Jethro Tull over Metallica for best metal performance…saluted the 50th anniversary of The Beatles American debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The Beatles broke up in 1970, when I was 8 years old. Even so, once I developed a bit of musical taste, around 13 (you have no sense of music appreciation before Grade 8), the Fab Four soon became my favourite group and they still are.
Katy Perry has a strong voice and a great rack. Lung power times two.
She’s a pop star created in a boardroom. “We need a sexpot who has a decent voice….look at the hooters on her! Get a bunch of writers and producers together and they can come up with songs that even Paris Hilton could hit the charts with. Okay, not Paris, but maybe this chick.”
Perry ripped into “Yesterday” in the same way she might have attacked an Aerosmith power ballad. And not a great one like “Dream On” but dreck like “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
The beauty of “Yesterday” is its simplicity. On a an emotional scale from 1 to 10, the tune goes from maybe 2 to 7. Perry, like her over-the-top predecessors Whitney, Mariah and Celine, starts at 7 and goes to 10.
What saved the night was seeing the greatest rhythm section in pop music history taking the stage and singing the hits they created. Perhaps it’s just my overactive imagination or just wishful thinking, but I’ve got a feeling they shared a sense of, “We really came up with some great songs, didn’t we?”
Yes you did.
Thanks Paul, Ringo, George and John.