and now for the songs — October 28, 2021

227) Blonde on Blonde — “Eleanor Rigby”

From the stunning album by the Welsh band named after Dylan’s double LP. Bruce Eder says in All Music Guide that:

The group took part in the Middle Earth Club’s Magical Mystery Tour, which brought them an initial splash of press exposure. They were also fortunate enough to open for the Jefferson Airplane on the latter group’s British tour. . . .

BoB also played at the Isle of Wight Festival (as did Dylan), but they never managed to garner widespread popularity.

Eder notes that their ‘69 album Contrasts “showed more of the early but burgeoning influence of progressive rock, while retaining their early psychedelic coloration.” It is from that album that I take BoB’s reimagining of McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby,” one of the greatest covers of a Beatles song I have ever heard. Not everyone shares my assessment. Vernon Joynson opines that it is “[a]mong the [album’s] few blatant missteps . . . a needless horn enhanced cover.” However, David Wells notes in the CD reissue’s liner notes that:

[T]he performance that garnered most critical attention was a bold, dramatic reshaping of Eleanor Rigby [demonstrating that] Blonde on Blonde had the requisite blend of artistic nerve and instrumental prowess to compete at the highest levels.

By the way, hot off the presses is Paul McCartney on writing “Eleanor Rigby” — https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/10/25/paul-mccartney-writing-eleanor-rigby-beatles.

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