Happy New Year. It’s 2023! (wasTurntable Talk Round 9: Favorite Holiday Song, George Harrison, Ding Dong, Ding Dong) (repost)

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The first time in memory that I heard Ding Dong, Ding Dong was when I bought the 2014 George Harrison: The Apple Years 1968-75 box set. Not only were there the first six of Geo’s solo albums but one DVD that had over 30 minutes of this and that, including two videos of this song. I hadn’t thought about it for awhile until I was searching youtube for a holiday song a couple of years ago and ran across it. When Dave asked us to write about a favorite holiday song, it immediately came to mind. I will warn you that it is an insidious earworm, so beware.

Other than where I first heard it, I didn’t know a lot about the tune. Thankfully wikipedia has a wealth of information on it. I will include just the first 3 paragraphs, but there is a lot more to know, so click the wikipedia link to take you there.  I’ve added the links within the material.

“Ding Dong, Ding Dong” … was written as a New Year’s Eve singalong and released in December 1974 on Geo’s album Dark Horse. It was the album’s lead single in Britain and some other European countries, and the second single, after “Dark Horse“, in North America. A large-scale production, the song incorporates aspects of Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound technique, particularly his Christmas recordings from 1963. In addition, some Harrison biographers view “Ding Dong” as an attempt to emulate the success of two glam rock anthems from the 1973–74 holiday season: “Merry Xmas Everybody” by Slade, and Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday“. The song became only a minor hit in Britain and the United States, although it was a top-twenty hit elsewhere in the world.

Harrison took the lyrics to “Ding Dong” from engravings he found at his nineteenth-century home, Friar Park, in Oxfordshire – a legacy of its eccentric founder, Frank Crisp. The song’s “Ring out the old, ring in the new” refrain has invited interpretation as Harrison distancing himself from his past as a member of the Beatles, and as the singer farewelling his first marriage, to Pattie Boyd. As on much of the Dark Horse album, Harrison’s vocals on the recording were hampered by a throat condition, due partly to his having overextended himself on business projects such as his recently launched record label, Dark Horse Records. Recorded at his Friar Park studio, the track includes musical contributions from Tom Scott, Ringo Starr, Alvin Lee, Ron Wood and Jim Keltner.

On release, the song met with an unfavorable response from many music critics, while others considered its musical and lyrical simplicity to be a positive factor for a contemporary pop hit. For the first time with one of his singles, Harrison made a promotional video for “Ding Dong“, which features scenes of him miming to the track at Friar Park while dressed in a variety of Beatle-themed costumes. The song still receives occasional airplay over the holiday season.

I also want to talk about a phenomenal cover of the song by The Analogues that I ran across while looking for the original. Not only did The Analogues cover this tune, they’ve covered many Beatles songs with such precision that your ears will be both shocked and delighted simultaneously.

More about The Analogues from my old pal, wiki:

The Analogues are a Dutch tribute act to the Beatles. Founded in 2014, the Analogues’ ambition has been to perform live the Beatles’ music from their later studio years, using analogue and period-accurate instrumentation. The Analogues distinguished themselves by performing songs and whole albums live, which the Beatles never played live. While the band does not attempt to look like the Beatles, they have been noted for accurately recreating and reproducing their music and sound.

From 2015 to 2016, the Analogues went on their first tour both in the Netherlands and abroad, performing the Magical Mystery Tour album. In 2017, the band toured with a complete performance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, including a performance at the 17,000-capacity Amsterdam Ziggo Dome on 1 June 2017 to celebrate the album’s 50-year existence. In June 2017, Dutch public-service broadcaster NTR aired a one-hour documentary on the band’s painstaking process of analyzing the Beatles’ compositions and experimental use of studio equipment, as well as acquiring the proper analogue instruments, in preparation of live rendition of the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Before an album can be performed, the multi-layered arrangements are fully written out by the band. From 2018 to 2019, the Analogues toured the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and the UK, playing The Beatles, also known as The White Album.

To sound as close to the original recordings as possible, the Analogues have amassed a collection of musical instruments, such as a black-and-white Rickenbacker guitar similar to John Lennon’s, a light blue Fender Stratocaster similar to George Harrison’s, and a Höfner 500/1 bass. Exotic musical instruments from India are also used in their performances, including a dilruba, a swarmandal, a tanpura, a tabla and a sitar. Further special instruments include a one-metre-long harmonica for The Fool on the Hill and a clavioline for Baby, You’re a Rich Man.

The band’s primary analyst is bass guitarist and producer Bart van Poppel. After a thorough analysis of an album’s arrangements and consulting Beatles Gear, they find the necessary equipment such as a 1965 Lowrey Heritage Deluxe organ, or one of only thirty known existing mellotrons in a particular series, used in the intro of Strawberry Fields Forever.

I have enjoyed putting this post together. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do. Thanks, Dave, for asking me to be a part of this round of Turntable Talk. Happy Holidays to All!

This post first appeared on Dave’s blog.

22 Comments Add yours

  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Wonderful post Lisa…bringing attention to this awesome holiday song. You know since I read that book…it’s amazing how insecure a lot of these artist were/are. Many songs George would ask…is it any good when he would play it to someone? Keith Richards asked everyone about Happy wondering if it was any good. It’s cool in one way they are like us…I do the same thing about mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Max. I can see where the writer might lose objectivity when it comes to if it is good or not, they are too close to it. That’s why the audience is important also. Can’t imagine either of them ever wondering, but like you said, it makes them human. When I watch that video, it really feels like Geo is still alive. I wonder if his spirit walks around Friar Park?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        I would not doubt it…supposedly many do roam that place. O’Dell said that her and Pattie came back from dinner one night and all of the doors were bolted shut. They had to wake George up and he was astonished…he said that he left the front door open just for them returning….Plus Terry Doran who lived there for a while with George said he saw a ghost.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Badfinger (Max) says:

        Sorry I went on and on!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Well, it doesn’t seem like the interpretation about George distancing himself from the Beatles was true if he was marketing the song dressed in Beatles-themed costumes!
    I have never heard this song before, btw. I know, I know. You probably gasped and your mouth dropped open the way mine does when someone says, “I’ve never seen Alien,” or “What’s War and Peace? Is that a movie?” lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      LOL, Stace. George had a dry sense of humor that could also be pointed. I’m sure there is a wealth of symbolic messages in that video. I think he felt constricted by being in The Beatles after awhile, and by that time I think some of the lawsuits were flying. Happy to introduce this fabulous song. At Dave’s blog, only a couple of people had heard it before. If I hadn’t watched it on the DVD that came with the boxed set I wouldn’t have either.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. selizabryangmailcom says:

    Oh, good! I thought I was REALLY out of it…but so are a lot of other people too, haha.
    I gotcha. So he was probably making a statement.
    Gosh, fame. It’s so tiring, isn’t it? I hope one day I get SO TIRED of being associated with vampires and aliens in Los Angeles and the throngs of people who want more and the beaucoup bucks I shovel into a bottomless pit from all sales… yeah, I hope that happens, lol!! But good for George. We do have to grow up at some point, I guess. Although The Stones STILL love each other to death, haha….

    Like

  4. I’ll take George any day. I loved the Beatles and after, their solo lives. This was a great read. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Happy to hear you’re a Beatles fan, Kathleen. My pleasure and Happy 2023 is Here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. memadtwo says:

    The first chords played and I remembered it immediately! Thanks for all the history as usual. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      My pleasure. It always gives me an earworm that takes time to wear off, but always in the most pleasant of ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Badfinger (Max) says:

    You brought this song back to me….as far as knowing it better. Happy New Year Lisa!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I know I’m becoming a pest on my Geo but that’s the way it is 🙂 Happy 2023, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        I don’t mind at all! Any time you want to post about George I’ll be there!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          OK “Michael” (“I’ll Be There, just call [George’] name and…”) lol Yes I’m being silly. Happy we have another clean slate to work from for 2023.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Badfinger (Max) says:

            LOL…yes we do! It’s always exciting starting a new one.

            Liked by 1 person

  7. First of all, once gain, I’d like to wish you a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year! 🙂

    I thought I already had commented on this tune. I probably did when your post was first published on Dave’s blog.

    In any case, the song has a very upbeat vibe and, as such, is a great pick for the New Year! And, yes, it’s an earworm! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I had to get it out there one more time. It’s a great tune. I’ve been listening to JT’s Songs from the Wood a lot over the past few days also. It’s a perfect holiday season album.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great Post and Happy New Year Lisa! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Cindy and Happy New Year to You ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome and thanks so much Lisa! ❣️

        Liked by 1 person

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