Paul McCartney | George Harrison | Ray Romano | Liza Minnelli

McCartney Sounds Like Harrison in New Tune

A long weekend brought closer inspection to Paul McCartney’s latest solo release, Driving Rain. 

Of course, McCartney has been solo since his first non-Beatle recording in 1970 — for 31 years. That’s four times the length that the Beatles were actually together. In that time, McCartney — all sniping and politics aside — has made both some superb recordings and some awful ones. On the upside: McCartney, Ram, Band on the Run, Tug of War, Flowers in the Dirt and Flaming Pie. Not bad. 

And in all those albums, you could never really say that Paul had lifted from himself, from the Beatles’ catalog, or anyone else. 

Until now. 

The culprit is the sixth track on Driving Rain, an album that boasts some remarkably good material, including the title track, a gorgeous ballad called “Magic” and the magnificent 10 minute rave-up “Rinse the Raindrops,” which rocks out and shows Macca at his best. 

The song in question, though, is “Tiny Bubble,” and it’s pretty catchy. It is so catchy that you’ll wind up humming it over and over. Why? I’ll tell you why: the chorus sounds remarkably similar to the Beatles’ “Piggies” on The White Album. You know the song: “Have you seen the little piggies, crawling in the dirt?”  

There's only one problem. “Piggies” wasn’t written by Paul and John Lennon. It is credited to George Harrison. How strange and ironic for Harrison, who is ailing in a Los Angeles hospital. He was once the subject of a highly publicized plagiarism suit involving his “My Sweet Lord” and the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine.”  

Of course, even though Harrison did lift that melody, it was decided he did subliminally. The song was just in his head. 

Now, for George, the shoe is on the other foot. Macca no doubt had that melody running in his head, too. After all, he wrote much of The White Album. Harrison’s only other contributions, writing-wise, were “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Long Long Long” and “Savoy Truffle.”  

Will George sue Paul? Unlikely, and not just because of his medical condition. Harrison is averse to lawsuits, as he sang in his 1971 hit “Sue Me Sue You Blues” : “Bring your lawyer/And I'll bring mine/Get together, and we could have a bad time.”  

Maybe Paul was counting on a strange exchange near the end of The White Album. You can hear John Lennon say these words: "I forgot about it, George, I'm sorry. Will you forgive me?" Harrison simply answers, "Yes." 

George Harrison: The Fight Continues 

Anyone who’s been through a loved one’s fight with cancer can only imagine what George Harrison, his wife and son are going through right now. Yesterday, the New York Post picked up a story from a British paper claiming the end is near for George. However, a reporter who’s been covering the story closely told me yesterday that the bad news is not certain, and that Harrison is receiving treatment for his cancer at UCLA. 

Whichever the case, I wondered if Fox 411 readers could email me their thoughts on Harrison’s incredible music and life, from “Here Comes the Sun,” “Taxman,” and “Something” to the groundbreaking Concert for Bangla Desh. Let’s tell George now how much his music has meant to all of us. 

Harrison — always the "quiet Beatle" — introduced Indian music into pop culture with "Norwegian Wood" and "Within You Without You," and proved himself as a composer and performer on All Things Must Pass. I can still remember bringing home that ominous boxed set of three LPs (you may recall what they were), wondering what his first effort would be post-Let it Be. Of course, the album was amazing. From the sweetly deceptive opening of “I’d Have You Anytime,” to the Dylan cover of “If Not for You” and the majestic title track, George showed that he hadn’t been just hanging around while John and Paul were writing all those Beatle songs. He’d just been biding his time, waiting to spring his genius on the world. In the time to come, he’d produce a lot more meaningful music.

My own favorite moments are his duet with Leon Russell on “Beware of Darkness” from the Bangla Desh album; and “Badge,” the great, often overlooked number from Cream's Goodbye. Each is timeless and resonant. 

George also produced hits for Badfinger (the classic “Baby Blue” ) and Ringo Starr (“Photograph,” Ringo’s shining solo moment). 

So click on that “respond” button at the bottom of this column and send us your thoughts. We’ll try and gather them up in a few days for everyone to read. 

Ray Romano Walks This Way to Grammy’s? 

Ray Romano’s TV show is a huge hit, so why not duplicate that success with a comedy album? His Live at Carnegie Hall is the fastest-selling spoken word album right now, and at least one reason is John Kalodner. The veteran hit producer of groups like Aerosmith and Journey always wanted to do a comedy record, I am told, and finally got the chance with Romano. Now Romano is being talked about as a possible Grammy host, which is smart considering that he and Kalodner should be up for nominations for the Columbia Records release. If you haven’t picked it up yet, give Live a spin. It’s pretty funny, and a lot better to listen to in the car than the hourly updates from Kabul. 

Liza Marriage? A Story To Watch 

People on both coasts did double takes last week when they read about Liza Minnelli’s marriage announcement. 

Liza — who’s already been married to Jack Haley, Peter Allen (both of whom are now dead) and Mark Gero — said she will marry event producer David Gest next summer. 

Liza is 54. Gest is 43. He went to school with Michael Jackson and is well known among the has-been set in Hollywood for courting and befriending older, past-their prime stars. 

Minnelli spent the better part of the last two years dealing with significant health problems. When she showed up on September 7 for Michael Jackson’s return concert, she was wearing strange make-up and a wig, and appeared to have had some kind of face-lift. Overweight and unsteady, she appeared to tremble while she sang “Never Never Land” to Jackson — a number that was omitted by CBS when it broadcast the shows last week. 

Gest produced the Jackson shows at Madison Square Garden, and that’s when Minnelli says they met. In the last few weeks Jackson — who supposedly attended some school with Gest when they were teens — has been telling interviewers that he and Minnelli are planning to make a movie together about childhood stars. Gest is said to be involved in this project as well. 

As for the wedding, Minnelli — who rarely appears in public and hardly ever goes to Los Angeles — could be surrounded by her mother’s closest friends since Gest’s retinue usually runs to the gang including the Gregory Pecks and the Robert Stacks. Now that should be something.

Respond to the Writer