Monday, August 2, 2010

ROCK Sex: "Taxman" - The Beatles > The Jam > Bangles > Beastie Boys > Cypress Hill > Sean Lennon



ROCK Sex tells you how it will be.

Today's relay race of cultural handoff is the song "Taxman".

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George Harrison wote the original in 1966, with the unusual assist of John Lennon on a few lines, and the even more unusual twist of Paul McCartney on lead guitar!

George's frustration over the insanely high tax rate of the UK at the time has become a perennial anthem because of its lyrics as much as its terrifically funky riff line, which grooves in the spirit of James Brown's "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and the "Batman" TV Theme.

THE BEATLES -"Taxman" (1966)



Almost immediately the great Garage Rock band The Music Machine, led by Sean Bonniwell, did this seething cover. Lennon had contributed the two harmony lines calling out Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who ran the two political parties of Britain. But Bonniwell changes that to President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary Of State Dean Rusk, as an unusually early and gutsy dig against the taxpayer-funded Vietnam War.

THE MUSIC MACHINE -"Taxman" (1966)



Pleasantly unexpected was this soulful version by Memphis great Junior Parker, with its slinky groove and reflective stance.

JUNIOR PARKER -"Taxman" (1970)



Later, anglophiles Cheap Trick did an original sequel, which mentions The Beatles and probably took its title from the lyrical cue "ah-ah, Mister Heath" in the original.

CHEAP TRICK -"Taxman, Mister Thief" (1976)



Contrary to their Punk peers, THE JAM openly owned up to their Mod and Beat roots. The bass riff of "Taxman" first triggered this song.

THE JAM -"Dreams Of Children" (1980)



...and then another song on the same album (US version)!
[They also did a cover of "And Your Bird Can Sing", as well.]

THE JAM -"Start!" (1980)



The Beatles' daughters then get into the queue.

THE BANGLES -"I'm In Line" (1982)



Here's that bass coupled with some of the rhythmic tumble of "Tomorrow Never Knows".

RIDE -"Seagull" (1990)



Having sampled The Beatles on their epochal PAUL'S BOUTIQUE (1989), which many consider the SGT. PEPPER of Rap albums, here's THE BEASTIES bringing it oddly full circle by covering The Jam.

BEASTIE BOYS -"Start!" (2000)



Staying on the HipHop tip, remember Junior Parker's version? Well, CYPRESS HILL did when they sampled it for this spliff bliss anthem.

CYPRESS HILL -"I Wanna Get High" (1993)



Here's the riff reaquipped on a groovy trip from the film OCEANS 12.

DAVID HOLMES -"Yen On a Carousel" (2004)



What would it sound like if Joe Meek remixed the REVOLVER album as a Spaghetti Western soundtrack?

OF MONTREAL -"Coquet Coquette" (2010)



Here's Sean Lennon and Les Claypool (Primus) abstracting it through prog-adelica.

THE LENNON CLAYPOOL DELIRIUM -"Mr. Wright" (2016)




© Tym Stevens



See Also:
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist


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