Paul McCartney – Let Me Roll It

This song has always reminded me of a John Lennon type song because of the heavy use of echo. The song was on arguably Paul’s best album Band on the Run. The song was the B side to the song Jet in 1974.

Paul said:  “[“Let Me Roll It”] was a riff, originally, a great riff to play, and whenever we played it live, it goes down great. We’d play it on two guitars, and people saw it later as a kind of John pastiche, as Lennon-ish, Lennon-esque. Which I don’t mind. That could have been a Beatles song. Me and John would have sung that good.”

From Songfacts

Many have interpreted this song as an olive branch offering to John Lennon after all the bitterness arising from his Beatles breakup song, “How Do You Sleep?.” However, in an interview with Clash magazine in 2010 McCartney explained this was more of a drugs song. Said Macca: “‘Let Me Roll It’ wasn’t to John, it was just in the style that we did with The Beatles that John was particularly known for. It was really actually the use of the echo. It was one of those: ‘You’re not going to use echo just cos John used it?’ I don’t think so. To tell you the truth, that was more [about] rolling a joint. That was the double meaning there: ‘let me roll it to you.’ That was more at the back of mind than anything else. ‘Dear Friend,’ that was very much ‘let’s be friends’ to John.”

Let Me Roll It

You gave me something
I understand
You gave me loving in the palm of my hand

I can’t tell you how I feel
My heart is like a wheel
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you

I want to tell you
And now’s the time
I want to tell you that
You’re going to be mine

I can’t tell you how I feel
My heart is like a wheel
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you

I can’t tell you how I feel
My heart is like a wheel
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you

You gave me something
I understand
You gave me loving in the palm of my hand

I can’t tell you how I feel
My heart is like a wheel
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you
Let me roll it
Let me roll it to you

 

John Lennon – Jealous Guy

Lennon wrote this when he was in The Beatles. They recorded it as a demo called “Child of Nature,” which he’d written about their trip to India to study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It didn’t make it onto any Beatles albums, so Lennon used it on his Imagine album with the lyrics changed to reflect his jealous nature. It was not released as a single in 1971.

The single reached #80 in the Billboard Hot 100 in1988, in conjunction with the release of the film Imagine John Lennon.

Joey Molland and Tom Evans of Badfinger both played acoustic guitar on this track. Badfinger was signed to the Beatles-run Apple label and George Harrison recommended to Lennon, “if you need some guitar players on Imagine, use the Badfinger guys.”

John Lennon said this about the song: My song, melody written in India. The lyrics explain themselves clearly: I was a very jealous, possessive guy. Toward everything. A very insecure male. A guy who wants to put his woman in a little box, lock her up, and just bring her out when he feels like playing with her. She’s not allowed to communicate with the outside world – outside of me – because it makes me feel insecure.

From Songfacts

John Lennon confronts the green-eyed monster in this song, where he sings about the fits of jealousy that controlled him. At the time, he was married to Yoko Ono, who believes the jealousy Lennon describes is not sexual, but more an unfounded feeling of inadequacy. “He was jealous about the fact that I had another language in my head, you know, Japanese, that he can’t share with me,” she told Uncut in 1998. “It was almost on a very conceptual, spiritual level. It wasn’t on a level of physical or anything ’cause I just would never give him a reason for that.”

Paul McCartney stated in the February 1985 issue of Playgirl: “He (John) used to say, ‘Everyone is on the McCartney bandwagon.’ He wrote ‘I’m Just a Jealous Guy,’ and he said that the song was about me. So I think it was just some kind of jealousy.” 

Speaking with Rolling Stone months after Lennon’s death, she said that he made her write out a list of all the men she slept with before they met. “He wrote a song, ‘Jealous Guy,’ that should have told people how jealous he was,” she said. “After we started living together, it was John who wanted me there all the time. He made me go into the men’s room with him. He was scared that if I stayed out in the studio with a lot of other men, I might run off with one of them.”

Klaus Voormann played bass on this track. He was an old friend of the Beatles and designed the cover of Revolver. Other musicians were Jim Keltner on drums, Alan White on vibes and John Barham on harmonium. 

In 1981 Roxy Music recorded this as a tribute to Lennon, who was murdered on December 8, 1980. Their version went to #1 in the UK. Many other groups have covered it as well, including The Faces and The Black Crowes.

Joey Molland recalled working with Lennon in an interview with Gibson.com, “It was great! He was just a plain-talking, regular guy. No b.s. at all. Now, of course, he was John Lennon, so he had that energy about him; he kind of lit up the room, you know? But he welcomed us, said he was thrilled to have us, and then he said, ‘The first song we’re going to do is something called ‘Jealous Guy.” It was pretty amazing, sitting there with your headphones on, hearing John Lennon singing this fantastic song. Totally remarkable.”

Yoko Ono contributed to the track’s lyrics. However, because of the public’s negative attitude towards her at the time, her role was downplayed. She told NME: “Well, if it was just John, [he] would have given me the right credit, but it was a difficult time. No famous songwriter would have thought of splitting the credit with his wife.”

Yoko added regarding her influence on the track: “I think it’s a good song from a women’s point of view as well. John was trying to create a fun song about going on a trip to Rishikesh. That might have been great too, but it ended up not being that.”

Jealous Guy

I was dreaming of the past
And my heart was beating fast
I began to lose control
I began to lose control
I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was feeling insecure
You might not love me anymore
I was shivering inside
I was shivering inside
Oh I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh my I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy

I was trying to catch your eyes
Thought that you was trying to hide
I was swallowing my pain
I was swallowing my pain
I didn’t mean to hurt you
I’m sorry that I made you cry
Oh no I didn’t want to hurt you
I’m just a jealous guy
Watch out baby I’m just a jealous guy
Look out baby I’m just a jealous guy

Ringo Starr – Back Off Boogaloo

Back Off Boogaloo was Ringo’s follow up to his 1971 hit It Don’t Come Easy. It was released as a single only in 1972.

Some say Ringo wrote this song about Paul McCartney to stop his snide remarks in the press about the other Beatles and also to make better music. I can see why some people saw that in:

Wake up, meat head
Don’t pretend that you are dead
Get yourself up off the cart

Get yourself together now
And give me something tasty
Everything you try to do
You know it sure sound wasted

That last line was because Paul was very fond of Cannabis at the time. Ringo has since cleared that up and said it was inspired by Marc Bolan of T-Rex. Bolan had often said the word Boogaloo and Ringo wrote the song. Later on, George helped him finish the song but didn’t want songwriting credit as was the case in It Don’t Come Easy.

The song peaked at #9 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in the UK in 1972.

Chris Welch wrote in Melody Maker: “A Number One hit could easily be in store for the maestro of rock drums. There’s a touch of the Marc Bolan in this highly playable rhythmic excursion … It’s hypnotic and effective, ideal for jukeboxes and liable to send us all mad by the end of the week.”

 

Back Off Boogaloo

Back off, Boo-ga-loo, I said
Back off, Boo-ga-loo, come on
Back off, Boo-ga-loo, Boo

Back off, Boo-ga-loo
What d’yer think you’re gonna do
I got a flash right from the start

Wake up, meat head
Don’t pretend that you are dead
Get yourself up off the cart

Get yourself together now
And give me something tasty
Everything you try to do
You know it sure sound wasted

Back off, Boo-ga-loo, I said
Back off, Boo-ga-loo
You think you’re a groove
Standing there in your wallpapers shoes
And your socks that match your eyes

Back off, Boo-ga-loo, I said
Back off, Boo-ga-loo, come on
Back off, Boo-ga-loo, Boo

George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Another positive song from George. The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #8 in the UK and #9 in Canada in 1973. Just another good song from George that continues his positive message.

“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)” replaced Wings’ “My Love” at number 1 on the Hot 100 singles chart…For the week ending 30 June that year, the Harrison and McCartney songs were ranked numbers 1 and 2 respectively.

George Harrison said this about the song: “Sometimes you open your mouth and you don’t know what you are going to say, and whatever comes out is the starting point. If that happens and you are lucky, it can usually be turned into a song. This song is a prayer and personal statement between me, the Lord, and whoever likes it.”

Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with,
Heart and soul

Om m m m m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord . . .

Please take hold of my hand, that
I might understand you

Won’t you please
Oh won’t you

Give me love
Give me love
Give me peace on earth
Give me light
Give me life
Keep me free from birth
Give me hope
Help me cope, with this heavy load
Trying to, touch and reach you with,
Heart and soul

Om m m m m m m m m m m m m m
M m m my lord . . .

Jon Butcher – Wishes

When I heard this guitar intro I was surprised, to say the least. In the late eighties after hearing Eddie Van Halen and Steve Vai endless finger tapping and scales on guitar.. this was refreshing. Jon Butcher sounded like he was inspired by Jimi Hendrix and it showed in this song….but he didn’t just sound like Hendrix in his other songs.

These comparisons to Hendrix were because of Butcher’s onstage appearance and mannerisms, patterned after Hendrix, and his choice for the band name Axis, which was a reference to Hendrix legendary album Axis: Bold as Love. Butcher’s stated influences are Richie Havens, John Lennon, Phil Lynott, Bob Dylan, and Taj Mahal and today he maintains that the Hendrix comparisons are superficial and has been quoted as saying “Being black, left-handed, and playing a Stratocaster created certain inevitable comparisons, particularly in the early days”.

This song peaked at #42 in the Billboard Mainstream Rock Song Chart in 1987.

Wishes

It’s late at night in the neighborhood
And the thieves have all gone to bed
They can hear your heartbeat in the distance
As you lay down your weary head

But don’t worry, ’cause the dawn is breaking
In another room halfway around the world
And you can’t waste your life
Wishing upon a star

‘Cause if wishes were horses
If wishes were horses
If wishes were horses
Then dreamers would ride
Huh, yes they would

A girl lives her life missing
Some things that she never had
Spends too much time in the unemployment line
You see in her eyes that it drives her mad

Deep within her constitution
Her pride and her dignity show through
So she works that dream
‘Cause it’s all she can do

If wishes were horses
If wishes were horses
She says: if wishes were horses
Then dreamers would ride
Yes they would

Now I’m looking
All around me for the answers
And I know you’re looking hard too
I know what you’re thinking
Maybe wishes come true

If wishes were horses
If wishes were horses
I know, if wishes were horses
Then dreamers would ride

Tom Cochrane – Life Is A Highway

I remembered Cochrane from Red Rider and their hit Lunatic Fringe. “Life Is a Highway” is a song by Canadian-native Tom Cochrane. It is his only US Top-40 hit, reaching #6 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada in 1992. Cochrane is a celebrated artist within the Canadian music scene. His honors include seven Juno Awards, membership in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, being an Honorary Colonel in the Canadian Air Force, and having been inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame.

 

From Songfacts
Cochrane was also the frontman and chief songwriter for the group Red Rider for ten years and hit a few times with that group as well. Their best-known song in America is “Lunatic Fringe.”

This song was inspired by Cochrane’s trip to West Africa, where he was gaining exposure for the World Vision famine relief organization. He recalled to Jam! Music: “When I wrote that song after my first trip to Africa, which was just mind bending and soul-sapping, I was mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted and I really needed something to pull me out of this funk. I had this sketch that I had written and I ended up going into the studio and recorded it in an hour at seven in the morning.”

“The irony is that it was the most positive song I’d ever written, coming out of a pretty heavy experience. I needed a pep talk, and it became that for me and for millions of others.”

Cochrane devotes a great deal of his time to activism and causes, blending them together with his music, similar to artists such as Neil Young.

Since 1992, this song has had a near-continuous popularity thanks to heavy use in commercials. These include one for Cleveland, Ohio-based bank National City Corp and one for the NBC TV series VIPER. Before you say “car commercials,” that was different versions by other artists. It was most recently covered by Rascal Flatts who also got it to #7 on the Hot 100.

Rascal Flatts recorded a more kid-friendly version for the 2006 Disney movie Cars. The original version was used in the movies Cheaper by the Dozen and There Goes the Neighborhood.

Life Is A Highway

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where the brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber pass to Vancouver’s lights
Knock me down get back up again
You’re in my blood I’m not a lonely man

There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

There was a distance between you and I
A misunderstanding once but now
We look it in the eye

There ain’t no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

Life is a highway
I want to ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I want to drive it all night long

The Hollies – Bus Stop

A good mid-sixties pop song from The Hollies. The song peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #5 in the UK, and #1 in Canada in 1966.

Bus Stop was written by Graham Gouldman, who went on to form the band 10cc, best known for their hit “I’m Not In Love.” Gouldman was just 19 when he wrote “Bus Stop,” but he had already written three Yardbirds songs: “For Your Love,” “Heart Full of Soul” and “Evil Hearted You.”

Graham Nash of The Hollies recalls learning about this song when their manager, Michael Cohen, told them about “this little kid who lives down the street,” which was Graham Gouldman. When Gouldman played it for them, they knew they had a winner. Nash says they recorded it in just an hour and 15 minutes.

From Songfacts

This song is about a couple who meet one rainy day at a bus stop. Love blooms when they share an umbrella.

In a Manchester newspaper, Graham Gouldman said he wrote it whilst riding on the No. 95 bus, which ran from East Didsbury – the route went through Manchester city center, to Sedgeley Park, Cheetham Hill, Prestwich, and on to Whitefield near Bury. Gouldman was living with his family on this route in Broughton Park Salford at the time. >>

Graham Gouldman’s father was a talented and creative writer who often helped his son with song ideas. Graham had the idea for bus stop setting, and his dad came up with the first line: “Bus stop, wet day, she’s there, I say, ‘please share my umbrella.'” From that starting point, he was able to finish the song.

In a Songfacts interview with Gouldman, he explained: “He gave me those words and I immediately, as I was reading them, heard the melody in my head, and it just kind of wrote itself. And then the middle part of the song I wrote – I got the melody and the words all in one chunk.”

The timeline in this song is a little askew. We know that love bloomed over the summer, but then we get the line, “Came the sun, the ice was melting.” This harkens spring, so apparently, time has passed. In Gouldman’s Songfacts interview, he clarified: “Winter is over, the snow is passed because the sun has melted it, so there’s no need to shelter anymore under the umbrella. You could say the snow is underfoot so you don’t need an umbrella anyway, but it’s poetic license: it could have been snowing so the umbrella can protect you from the snow as well as the rain.”

According to Gouldman, this song’s middle eight was one of the few instances in his songwriting career when he had a sudden inspiration rather than having to resort to hard toil. He explained to Mojo magazine in a 2011 interview: “You have to be working to make something happen. Occasionally you can wait for some magic, like McCartney waking up with Yesterday already written in his mind, which does happen – it’s like a gift from your own subconscious. Or sometimes, it’s like a tap’s turned on. When I’d written most of ‘Bus Stop,’ I was actually on a bus thinking about how the middle eight should go. And this whole, ‘Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop / Sometimes she’d shop…’ that all came to me in one gush, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try it. When that sort of thing happens, it’s really amazing. But that’s rare. Mostly, you have to do the slog.”

Herman’s Hermits also recorded this song in 1966. They got first crack at many of Gouldman’s songs because their manager was married to his sister.

In the Songfacts interview with Peter Noone, the Herman’s Hermits frontman explained: “‘Bus Stop’ went to the Hollies before us, because Graham didn’t think it was the kind of song that we would like. Then when we heard it, it was like, Are you kidding me? We want that. Luckily John Paul Jones heard it when we were trying to figure it out and he said ‘Nah, I’ve got it,’ and he re-invented the song. That’s John Paul Jones who turned that into a hit record, nobody else. It is not a hit song. If you listen to the Hollies demo version of it, it’s just not good. He reorganized the song and made it what it is: serious artwork.”

There is a short instrumental passage midway through the song, but the vocals, sung by Allan Clarke, carry the day. The only real verse section is in the middle – the rest is chorus and bridge, which at the end of the song is flipped – “Every morning I would see her waiting at the stop” comes in before the “bus stop, wet day” part, providing a bookend.

With so little verse, there are very few details – we have no idea what the bus or people look like – but that works to the song’s advantage because the listener can fill in the gaps. It’s a technique Gouldman picked up listening to The Beatles. “Sometimes it’s what’s left out that makes it work,” he says.

Bus Stop

Bus stop, wet day
She’s there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stops, bus goes
She stays, love grows
Under my umbrella

All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella we employed it
By August she was mine

Every morning I would see her
Waiting at the stop
Sometimes she’d shop
And she would show me what she’d bought

Other people stared
As if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers
Are going to be the same

That’s the way the whole thing started
Silly but it’s true
Thinking of our sweet romance
Beginning in a queue

Came the sun
The ice was melting
No more sheltering now
Nice to think that that umbrella
Led me to a vow

Every morning I would see her
Waiting at the stop
Sometimes she’d shop
And she would show me what she’d bought

Other people stared
As if we were both quite insane
Someday my name and hers
Are going to be the same

Bus stop, wet day
She’s there, I say
Please share my umbrella
Bus stops, bus goes
She stays, love grows
Under my umbrella

All that summer we enjoyed it
Wind and rain and shine
That umbrella we employed it
By August she was mine