“It was 52 years ago today…” the Beatles released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and turned pop music on its head! 🙃✌🏼Track two, “With a Little Help From My Friends,” has always been a fav. As I was working on my new album, exploring themes of kindness & compassion, I knew it would be a perfect fit. That's when I rang up my buddy and touring mate from Banbury, England, the brilliant UK family musician David Gibb. 🇬🇧 I love what we created together, exchanging parts and ideas "across the pond." I am so excited to include our version on my new album Under the Big Umbrella.
Over a spot of tea, 🍵 David and I chatted about his relationship with the Beatles’ music, international friendships, and why he loves children’s music. I think Paul really meant to sing this in St. Pepper's, “So let me introduce to you... the one and only David Gibb…!”
What does the Beatles’ music mean to you and how is it part of your life?
David: The first time I really discovered The Beatles was when I was 11 years old and on holiday in Italy. We had the their '1' album in the car to keep us entertained on the road, and in the evening we arrived at the campsite we were staying to break up the journey. Once all the tents were set up my family went to explore, but I got back into the car and put the CD on again. I wasn't quite sure why, but I knew deep down that the songs I was listening to were special and were important. I sat there for over an hour soaking up those melodies, harmonies and rhythms. As I got older I had the pleasure of slowly working my way through all of The Beatles albums and then their solo records, but nothing will ever quite compare to sitting in that hot car somewhere in Tuscany, hearing those songs for the very first time.
What was it like recording “A LIttle Help From My Friends” after touring the UK with Brady last fall?
When Brady asked me to guest on his album I was really excited, particularly as “With A Little Help From My Friends” has always been one of my favourite Beatles songs. We had so much fun touring together last Autumn and to be able to continue the relationship through song is great! Because we're sending everything over via email, piece by piece, it's a really collaborative way of working, and it's great fun to see how the song has come together!
Photos from the Songs Across the Pond UK Tour Oct. 2018.
Why do you think friendship, especially international friendship, is an important theme for children?
I think the world is a smaller place than it's ever been. Smart phones, the internet, social media - they've all made it so easy to strike up an international relationship at any level. This is a brilliant thing, but it only works for everyone if we approach these relationships with a sense of respect, understanding and openness. We're not born with prejudice and intolerance built in, it's something we learn from society. That's why it's so important for young people to have the opportunity to make friendships with people all round from all across the world at an early age. Brady's music, especially this new album, is all about that which I think it's a brilliant thing.
Who is your favorite Beatle and why?
Well... I know lots of people don't think he's very cool, but for me it's all about Paul. He's just such a brilliant musician, and his melodies are second to none. And he never stopped making music, even when the critics were tearing him apart. To have been in The Beatles, with everything that that entailed, and then to do it all again with Wings, playing those huge stadiums and making platinum selling records is pretty amazing. Ram, his second solo LP is probably one of my favourite records of all time. My Dad would put it on a lot at home, and whenever I play it now it makes me think of him. It's wonderfully kooky and twee*, but with that inherent understanding of rock ‘n’ roll which I think lots of people forget that Paul has. Go have a listen!
*British slang. Twee: affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint. :)
What are a few of your favorite Beatles songs and why?
“Martha My Dear”
Just because of the brass arrangements - they're so lush and almost have this cabaret feel to them. And the piano part is really interesting in the way it uses rhythm, it almost feels like it's going to double back on itself at times. There's a kind of uncertainty to it all, which makes it really charming and welcoming. Sometimes McCartney can be very twee*, but I feel like this is an example of when he manages to walk that line perfectly.
*There he goes again…
“A Day In The Life”
There's something desperately sad and beautiful about that melody and the lyrics. And also something wonderfully British with the references to the Royal Albert Hall and Blackburn, Lancashire. When Brady came over here to tour, quite by chance we ended up staying at an Airbnb in Blackburn, Lancashire. It made me laugh. As to be honest, it's a bit of a grim northern town. I have a feeling John Lennon probably just picked it because he liked the way it sounded when it was sung.
6. What do you love most about children’s music?
I like that when making music for children there's no rules. Kids don’t have any real concept of genre. They don’t care if it’s punk rock, gypsy jazz or hip hop. This means that as a songwriter you can write in any genre and any style you want without someone saying “but I thought you were an ‘insert genre here’ artist?” I also like that you feel you are making a difference. I’ve lost count of the amount of times parents have said that my albums have saved them on a long a car journey! In the UK there’s really not much children’s music out there but there is a huge appetite for quality music for families.
David busking on the streets of Banbury, in his Bay City Roller tartan & jammin’ some “Madness” with his mates!
Learn more about David at www.davidgibb.com and check out his “music for little people, big people and everyone else in between” on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. Follow him on social media at @davidgibb and be sure to look up his tour schedule if you’re over in the UK! Stay tuned for more collaborations…