On the tenth anniversary of George Harrison’s Death

A Facebook comment on a favorite group’s site seemed to memorialize the death of George Harrison in a positive, mournful way.

Loving controversy as I do, and real Rock ‘n Roll, my opinion of George Harrison is much less flattering, my sentiment on his passing much less mournful, and my comment on him and his fellow performers in his most famous band, the Beatles, far less charitable: TWO DOWN, TWO TO GO…

Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bill Haley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, this was real AMERICAN MUSIC; the musicians drank straight-up whiskey, did mountains of speed, and smoked a lot of weed! No Psychedelic Brit Crap, no agnostic guru leader, no hippy hedonism, just simple self abuse and dissipation.

Ever wonder why members of my generation, iconically called Baby Boomers, are leaving behind a lower standard of living for future generations? Why we now have massive debt and deficit? Well, toke another hit, Boomers; bitch like a brit, Boomers; do your thing Boomers; do what you’ve got to do, no one can tell you what to do, ’cause you and millions like you listened to: Four low British bred, surely less than brilliant, electrically amplified, lysergically distorted, acid eroded, agnostic, misogynistic, whinny baby, musical bastards whose greatest contribution to music will be said to be, a hundred years from now, that they played the guitar and sitar in concurrent convulsive cacophony while the children of America’s Greatest Generation, the “Gifted Generation,” writhed on the couch in a calamitous stupor avoiding all responsibility and the “awful pain, man,” of “growing up! The “British Invasion” of the Sixties was the first whiff of the nascent decay of our rotting, indolent generation, far more concerned with “me” than “you” and the beginning of the musical Europeanization of America. George, like Lincoln, you lived too long.

Now I’ll go, put on a vinyl disk, and remember what it was like to dance cheek to cheek with someone special, a real slow dance, crinkled chiffon prom dress swirling as we swayed, thinking of an embrace, a kiss, of our years growing up together, and amazed at what a fine young woman that little girl next door had so suddenly become…

No, George Harrison wasn’t such a bad musician, actually he was a pretty fair lyricist, but he wasn’t us, just like entitlements, welfare, drug abuse, amorality, perversion and selfishness isn’t us. It’s all from EUROPE and it’s all wrong.

Even I must admit to spending hours listening to many of the Beatles’ Albums, beginning with Rubber Soul, the Album that corresponds with the beginning of the Beatles psychedelic drug abuse. Catchy and subversive, our generation enjoyed, even acclaimed, the melodies and lyrics of the Beatles’ songs. And while many actually enjoyed the just the “music,” I “enjoyed” watching other young radicals and rebels get sick, release pent-up demons, abuse their minds and bodies on acid, hash, peyote, alcohol, reds and yellows, barbies and the old favorite, heroin, or as we called it, smack.. I enjoyed watching a friend, Danny G., fly off the 5th floor balcony of a dorm at Berkeley; and, oh, was thrilled at finding a 14 year old “flower power girl” dead, curled up in a fetal position, laying on a filthy mattress in Hashbury. I thrilled to the screams of adolescents in the Psych Ward who OD’d and had to be “restrained” while they tripped out “on a magical mystery tour,” all while the Beatles lived in a luxury “Ashram” surrounded by pagans, mystics and fools who worshiped cows while India’s lower castes starved.

Our parents were right, these hippie kids, oh, weren’t they hip, were losers, angry, disturbed, mental, lazy, weak, weird…long hair drop-outs, or buzz cut marines, illiterate or literati…all were seeking a different life, a more fulfilled life, and had they the millions of dollars that each Beatle pocketed (those poor Limey bastards who got rich on the misery of so many), had they those millions perhaps they would have found peace. I am 64 and my best friend at the time, Tom P., has been institutionalized for 40 years; he who knew every word of every Beatles song.
I am truly glad that so many of the most Gifted Generation, that’s us Baby Boomers, were strong enough to avoid the temptations and dangers offered us by the pied pipers of sex, drugs and dissipation, but then again, I refer to my premise and ask my generation why have we failed to advance our culture, our civility and our country? If you are happy and prosperous in your life, in your family’s life, enjoy the blessing. In my life I have seen too much pain and suffering, been the cause of too much pain and suffering to ever rest easy. Maybe it wasn’t just the Beatles, or the Cream, or the Who, or Pink Floyd, or the Mamas and the Papas or the Airplane, or the Dead; maybe it was me at the Filmore intoxicated by the sadness, the meaningless of it all, or maybe it was just me failing to find hope as I watched brilliant people tune in, turn on and burn out…maybe I should have written TWO DOWN AND THREE TO GO.

Y’all really would rather listen to the Beatles than George Gershwin or Cole Porter or Woody Guthrie or Muddy Waters or Hank Williams or Ella? Really?


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6 Responses to On the tenth anniversary of George Harrison’s Death

  1. Dave says:

    The author–Bull? is an idiot and his total ignorance is on display in this worthless article and subsequent comment. You obviously don’t know George’s history–that’s the reason you make the ill-informed remarks you do. For instance–comparing Ella and George is like comparing apples and oranges. What an asshole!

    • Bull Sullivan says:

      Dave, thank you for your comment. Of course, I do not agree with you, but I appreciate the time and effort it must have taken you to string 80 or so coherent words together. As to your comment that I don’t know George’s history, that’s just not so. As to my comparison of Ella and George, you may be right. The Liverpudlian minstrel should not even be mentioned in the same article as the soulful American diva, let alone the same sentence. Music, great music, American music, has been set back several generations, perhaps I should say retarded, by the tonal effluent the Beatles called music. If you wish to lounge about in the toilet listening to the swirling, sappy, sentimental and pubescent whirl of flushing gibberish, that’s your perfect right. In fact, that may be the only thing that approaches perfection in your life. The Beatles, Two Down, Two To Go!

  2. tip says:

    George Gershwin. You mentioned them in the same breath.

    • Bull Sullivan says:

      I am glad you cleared that up, and I apologize for insinuating you might be a musical oaf, but don’t you think Ella would be fabulous, perhaps different, but as interesting as Leontyne Price’s magnificent performance as Bess.

  3. tip says:

    Mr Sullivan, a great deal of American culture and population are originally European. Branding it as “wrong” seems absurd. I feel sure that Ella and George would think you are being silly. Linking your friends’ tragic mental illness to the Beatles is a stretch. Do you not think that alcohol and speed are dangerous and cause delusions, illness and death?

    • Bull Sullivan says:

      While a “great deal of American culture and population are originally European” the point you miss is that “all” original American culture and population was not European.It was white Anglo Saxon protestant. It was from islands far removed from the mainstream “continental” European culture of Lord and Vassal, far removed from the decaying absolute monarchical systems of government and pedagogic teachings of the Roman Church. The Framing Fathers were, with one or two notable exceptions, English or Scottish or Scots-Irish, with varied political and religious beliefs, but all of whom believed in personal freedom and in the importance of a belief in the Creator in private and public life. It was the decay of European systems that sent the decaying masses of continental Europe to America after its founding; in point of fact, it was the decay of English liberality that sent the best and brightest, the most adventurous and greatest risk-takers to the New World in 1607 and 1620. They are the seminal Americans, the creators of The Republic, the heroes of liberty. The European migrations, not immigrations, for their no policy of control or limitation on number, of the 1820’s through the 1870’s, were motivated not by political considerations, but economic reality. These first Euro-Americans brought not only their their customs and culture, many brought their allegiance to the Pope, to Marx and Engels, and to the notion that wealth equaled status and power, all of which were and are antithetical to the ideals of the Founding Documents. The devolution of the American Political System, and American culture into the ultramontane Euroamerican monetarist based social welfare system of today is testament to the decay and corruption of the ideals that the Framing Fathers held so dear and paid for with their blood. The persons cited in the commentary were not my just my friends, they were emblematic of an entire generation for whom moderation is dirty word, and who gave over the right to truth and justice to the creaming, whinny European voices of fear and discontent of hard work, hard choices and the hard price to be paid for liberty. HELL NO WE WON’T GO, MAKE LOVE NOT WAR, WE ARE ALL THE SAME, PEACE. Every phrase of which finds its way into the “thought” and belief of modern euroamericans, a majority of whom are as worthless to American societal accomplishment and cultural growth as the platitudes of their political leaders and licensed (MD’s) dope dealers. The last WASP gasp, the 18th Amendment, dealt with the need to restrain the proclivity of many European immigrants, the Irish and southern Europeans such as the Italians, to abuse alcohol and encourage others to consume it as well.

      The repeal of it by the 21st Amendment coincided with the rise of the modern welfare state under a progressive President whose actions further weakened the American state. I would happily give up my annual fifth of single malt scotch to see the end or restriction of Ethyl Alcohol sales, and surprisingly, to you I am sure, the legalization and restriction of the sales of narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens. As a counselor, at the time of the degradation of music into a “personal” statement and accompaniment to the consumption of drugs and ETOH, I am convinced that an entire generation retreated into a narcissistic state of perpetual adolescence, the remnants of which remain and profoundly affect post modern American culture.

      Thank you for your comment, I enjoy thoughtful comments. Oh, one last thought, to mention Ella and George in the same breath, well, it reveals a lack of knowledge of musicology and culture. One, Ella, was amongst the greatest performers of an original, true America musical art form, a confluence of spiritual, primitive and Appalachian chords, jazz; the other, George, an apt but imperfect imitator of that form, who will be remembered only for the commercial success he had.

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