John Lennon – Isolation

Many people posted this song during the lockdown and I can see why.

I always liked the song and understood that isolation doesn’t equate to loneliness. You can be in a crowd of people and yet feel isolated or alone. You can be physically isolated from others yet still feel very much connected to others.

The bass player on this track was Klaus Voormann, who was a friend of the Beatles from their Hamburg days. He was also an artist… he is the artist who designed the cover of Revolver. Ringo Starr also lends a hand with drums on this track.

JLPOBCover.jpg

The song was released on his true debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970. Arguably one of if not his best album. Like Paul’s debut this one was not big in production but unlike Pauls…this album was not light pop songs. You can feel John releasing his inner feelings for everyone to see on this album. Not an album to play to get a party going. You can hear John’s disillusionment with life, fame, and his three former bandmates.

This was during the time John Lennon went to see Doctor Arthur Janov in scream therapy. A way to bare his soul for his feelings like his mom that was killed when he was a teenager.

John Lennon: ‘Isolation’ and ‘Hold On John’, they’re the rough remixes. I just remixed them that night on seven-and-a-half [inches per second tape] to take them home to see what else I was going to do with them. And then I didn’t really, I didn’t even put them onto fifteen [IPS], so the quality is a bit hissy on ’em too. By the time I’d done everything, I started listening. I found out it’s better that, with ‘Instant Karma’ and other things, you remix it right away that night. I’d known that before, but never followed it through.

I usually don’t pay much attention to covers. I ignore actors turn singers but I did find a very good version of this song out there. In 2020 Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp recorded this song and Beck’s guitar work is great. Depp also does the vocals justice in this.

Isolation

People say we got it made
Don’t they know we’re so afraid
Isolation
We’re afraid to be alone
Everybody got to have a home
Isolation

Just a boy and a little girl
Trying to change the whole wide world
Isolation
The world is just a little town
Everybody trying to put us down
Isolation

I don’t expect you, to understand
After you caused so much pain
But then again, you’re not to blame
You’re just a human, a victim of the insane

We’re afraid of everyone
Afraid of the sun
Isolation
The sun will never disappear
But the world may not have many years
Isolation

Beatles – Across The Universe

When I became a Beatles fan way back when I was 8 years old…and up to my teenage years I hardly ever heard this one mentioned by people. I’ve seen its popularity grow through the years. My biggest problem with it is they should have spent more time on it. Lennon accused McCartney of subconsciously trying to destroy it. You could see Paul let out a big yawn while rehearsing in the Let It Be film but that probably had more to do with him being tired after hours of playing in a studio…but maybe Lennon had a point.

One of the reasons John got upset with Paul was because instead of getting professional backup singers or a choir…Paul went out the Abbey Road door and grabbed two “Apple Scruffs” to sing backup on the song. That version did not go on the Let It Be album, however. That version was on a charity album.

This first appeared on No One’s Gonna Change Our World, a 1969 charity album for the World Wildlife Fund. Bird noises were dubbed into this version to create a nature theme. It didn’t sound too bad.

No One's Gonna Change Our World (1969, Vinyl) - Discogs

When I bought the Let It Be album it took a few listens but soon this one intrigued me. The lyrics alone are enthralling because of the imagery. Since I first heard it, the song has taken on huge popularity.

It even had a movie that was made around its title and worked around Beatle lyrics in 2007. That alone boosted its popularity.

I always wondered about the Jai guru deva om phrase. “Jai guru deva, om” translates to “hail to the Heavenly Teacher” or “I give thanks to Guru Dev.” That was a mantra was invented by the Indian guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – the late protégé of Guru Dev.

On February 4, 2008 “Across The Universe” became the first track to be beamed directly into space. It was transmitted through NASA’s antenna in the DSN’s Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex, towards the North Star, Polaris, 431 light-years from Earth. The broadcasting of the Beatles song was done to mark both NASA’s 50th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Across The Universe. Paul McCartney described the transmission as an “amazing feat” adding, “Well done, NASA. Send my love to the aliens!”

David Bowie also did a good version of this song. Liam Gallagher has cited this song as a huge influence on him starting to write songs.

John Lennon: “I was lying next to me first wife in bed, and I was irritated. She must have been going on and on about something and she’d gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into sort of a cosmic song rather than an irritated song… it drove me out of bed. I didn’t want to write it, but I was slightly irritable and I went downstairs and I couldn’t get to sleep until I’d put it on paper.”

John Lennon: “It’s one of the best lyrics I’ve written. In fact, it could be the best.” He added: “It’s good poetry, or whatever you call it, without chewin’ it. See, the ones I like are the ones that stand as words, without melody. They don’t have to have any melody, like a poem, you can read them.”

John Lennon: “The Beatles didn’t make a good record of it. I think subconsciously sometimes we – I say ‘we’ although I think Paul did it more than the rest of us – Paul would, sort of subconsciously, try and destroy a great song… meaning we’d play experimental games with my great pieces, like ‘Strawberry Fields,’ which I always thought was badly recorded.”

The World Wildlife Fund

Across The Universe

Words are flowing out
Like endless rain into a paper cup
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
Are drifting through my opened mind
Possessing and caressing me

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Images of broken light
Which dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter, shades of life
Are ringing through my opened ears
Inciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love
Which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Jai Guru Deva, Om
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world
Nothing’s gonna change my world

Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva
Jai Guru Deva

John Lennon – How Do You Sleep?

How Do You Sleep? is very powerful…but you do feel for Paul McCartney. Paul did have lyrics on the Ram album about John and Yoko but you had to look for them. In this song…there is no looking…even the average fan would know exactly who he was singing about. To me, the most vicious line is The sound you make is muzak to my ears. 

The song is on the album Imagine. This John Lennon song is direct and to the point. His feud with Paul was in the papers and after what John took as lyrics aimed at him and Yoko from Paul’s album Ram…it culminated with this song.

John has said that “How Do You Sleep” was like one of Dylan’s nasty songs and mentioned, “Like a Rolling Stone.” The big difference though was that Bob veiled the identity of his target. This song was vicious but not as vicious as it could have been if Ringo and other musicians hadn’t intervened.

Yoko and Allen Klein were feeding some lines about Paul to John during the recording. Ringo was upset with the content and simply said: “That’s enough, John”. Alan White ended up playing the drums on the track.

This song can be hard to listen to as a Beatle fan but it is a catchy dark gritty pointed song. I have always liked it. George Harrison’s slide guitar cuts through and doesn’t have the sweet sound he uses for his songs. It also shows you where George was at the time with Paul. This is not John’s best song by any measure but the music has an intensity about it and is very powerful. It’s ironic, but even without Paul being there he helped pull it out of John.

Paul did later admit that a few lyrics on “Ram” were pointed at John and Yoko but John, never one to hint…went for the throat. He would later soften and say the song was more about himself than Paul.

John and Paul would later repair the relationship…never to the point of working together again but on a friendly basis. They would keep in touch over the years by talking on the phone, in letters, and face to face at times.

John Lennon: “It’s not about Paul, it’s about me. I’m really attacking myself. But I regret the association, well, what’s to regret? He lived through it. The only thing that matters is how he and I feel about these things and not what the writer or commentator thinks about it. Him and me are okay.”

John Lennon: “You know, I wasn’t really feeling that vicious at the time,” “But I was using my resentment toward Paul to create a song, let’s put it that way. He saw that it pointedly refers to him, and people kept hounding him about it. But, you know, there were a few digs on his album before mine. He’s so obscure other people didn’t notice them, but I heard them. I thought, well, I’m not obscure, I just get right down to the nitty-gritty. So he’d done it his way and I did it mine.

Paul McCartney: “You hear the stories from various angles and apparently people who were in the room when John was writing that, he was getting suggestions for the lyrics off Allan Klein,” he said. “So, you see the atmosphere of ‘Let’s get Paul. Let’s nail him in a song…’ And those things were pretty hurtful.”

How Do You Sleep

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head

Ah, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at night

You live with straights who tell you, you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
And since you’re gone you’re just another day

Ah, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at night

Ah, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at night

A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
You must have learned something in all those years

Ah, how do you sleep
Ah, how do you sleep at night

A Concert of The Mind…Fantasy Park

***Dave from A Sound Day has a new feature Turntable Talk…he will have an article by me today about Why the Beatles are still relevant…hope you get to read it.***

Fantasy Park: 1975 – Twin Cities Music Highlights

Imagine a concert in 1975 with The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Allman Brothers, Linda Ronstadt, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and more. Well, it happened! Sorta. Rod Serling did all of the radio promos. It would be one of his last projects…he would pass away before it aired.

It was a 48-hour-long rock concert (Fantasy Park) that was aired by nearly 200 radio stations over Labor Day weekend in 1975. The program, produced by KNUS in Dallas, featured performances by dozens of rock stars of the day and even reunited The Beatles. It was also completely imaginary, a theatre-of-the-mind for the 70s.

The “concert” was made up of live and studio recordings by the artists with live effects added to make it sound legit.

The show had college students hitchhiking all over America hoping to get to Fantasy Park. In New Orleans when the concert aired, the IRS came knocking on the doors of WNOE trying to attach the gate receipts to make sure the Feds got their cut! Callers were asking where they could get tickets to this amazing show.

The show was so popular in Minnesota that they played it again in its entirety the next year…now that people knew it wasn’t real and weren’t looking for tickets. The greatest concert that never was.  Fantasy Park had their own emcee and special reporters covering the weekend event giving you the play-by-play details along with some behind-the-scenes updates.

The concert would always be halted due to rain on a Sunday morning to allow the locals to get in their regular (usually religious) programming and the whole event always ended promptly at 6 pm on Sunday.

Now people look for the full 48-hour tapes of the show. They are a hot collector’s item. Rod Serling passed away on June 28, 1975.

Bands at Fantasy Park

Chicago
Elton John
Led Zeppelin
Joe Walsh
Cream
Shawn Phillips
Pink Floyd
Carly Simon
James Taylor (& Carol King)
Poco
Alvin Lee
Eagles
Linda Rondstadt
Dave Mason
Steve Miller
John Denver
Beach Boys
War
Grand Funk
Yes
Deep Purple
Rolling Stones
Cat Stevens
The Who
Rolling Stones
Moody Blues
Marshall Tucker Band
Allman Brothers Band
Seals & Crofts
America
Joni Mitchell
Doobie Brothers
Loggins and Messina
Crosby/Stills/Nash/Young
Bob Dylan
Beatles

Here is 10 minutes of it here.

Beatles – I’ve Got A Feeling

I’m glad the Let It Be album is getting a new life because of the Get back film.   It’s not Revolver by any means but it was never meant to be. Let It Be started off as an album that would feature minimum overdubs and get back to playing as a band. I’ve Got A Feeling is a mix of two unfinished songs, Paul McCartney’s “I’ve Got a Feeling” and John Lennon’s “Everybody Had a Hard Year.”

John Lennon did have a hard year. He got divorced, battled heroin addiction, police drug raid, Yoko had suffered a miscarriage and he was convicted of drug possession.

John had worked on this song earlier. After meeting with Paul at his St. John’s Wood home in London sometime in December of 1968 to merge both of their songs into one, John met with the others at Twickenham Studios on January 2nd, 1969, with an arrangement that was already formulated, right down to the synchronized vocals of both composers in the final verse. All that was left was to finalize the arrangement with George and Ringo and to rehearse it repeatedly before it was ready to record.

The Beatles recorded this live on the Apple rooftop, which was used in their movie, Let It Be. John Lennon’s guitar sounds downright nasty and George’s compliments that sound with clean licks off of his Fender.

The Let It Be album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and The UK in 1970.

The version of I’ve Got a Feeling which was released on Let It Be was recorded during the rooftop concert. The studio take was released on the 1996 Anthology 3. Let It Be… Naked, which was a remix album that came out in 2003, patched two different rooftop concert takes.

I would have loved to hear Elvis do a cover of this song…but I can’t imagine him singing the “wet dream” part but it would have been interesting.

Pearl Jam also did a version of this song.

I’ve Got A Feeling

I’ve got a feeling, a feeling deep inside
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
I’ve got a feeling, a feeling I can’t hide
Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Yeah, I’ve got a feeling.

Oh please believe me, I’d hate to miss the train
Oh yeah, oh yeah.
And if you leave me I won’t be late again
Oh no, oh no, oh no.
Yeah, I’ve got a feeling, yeah.

All these years I’ve been wandering around,
Wondering how come nobody told me
All that I was looking for was somebody
Who looked like you.

I’ve got a feeling, that keeps me on my toes
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

I’ve got a feeling, I think that everybody knows
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.
Yeah, yeah, I’ve got a feeling, yeah.
Yeah

Ev’rybody had a hard year
Ev’rybody had a good time
Ev’rybody had a wet dream,
Ev’rybody saw the sunshine
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Ev’rybody had a good year,
Ev’rybody let their hair down,
Ev’rybody pulled their socks up,
Ev’rybody put their foot down.
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

Yeah I’ve got a feeling
A feeling deep inside
Oh yeah, oh yeah.

I’ve got a feeling, a feeling I can’t hide
Oh no
Oh no no no

Yeah yeah yeah yeah
I’ve got a feeling
I’ve got a feeling

John Lennon – Nobody Told Me

Double Fantasy was released in 1980 and I did like the album…but it was a little too pop-leaning in some songs. That album also takes me back to that awful time right after John was murdered. Three years later another album came out and this single was released. I’ve always liked this song. It sounded so much like the old John Lennon. It was quirky and had cool wordplay. It wasn’t John’s best song by any means and no it wasn’t close to Watching The Wheels or Starting Over but it had an edge to it that the other album didn’t.

This single was released in 1983. The song was originally written by John for Ringo Starr to sing on his “Stop and Smell the Roses” album. He even gave Ringo the demo. Ringo didn’t end up recording it because of the tragedy.

There is a lyric “There’s a UFO over New York and I ain’t too surprised” and it was taken from an actual incident. In 1974, John and May Pang (his girlfriend while separated from Yoko) were living in an apartment overlooking New York’s East River, when John saw what he thought was a UFO. May Pang said he yelled out the window “come back – take me!”

The song was off the “Milk and Honey” album with tracks from John and with Yoko. It peaked at #5 in the Billboard 100, #4 in Canada, and #6 in the UK. John wrote the song in 1976 and the working title was “Everybody’s Talkin.”

I liked the song the first time I heard it. It was a fun song and I was happy to hear something new from him. I really could hear Ringo doing this one. The two songs that hit from “Milk and Honey” were Stepping Out and this one.

“Nobody Told Me”

Everybody’s talking and no one says a word
Everybody’s making love and no one really cares
There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs
Always something happening and nothing going on
There’s always something cooking and nothing in the pot
They’re starving back in China so finish what you got Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — strange days indeed Everybody’s runnin’ and no one makes a move
Everyone’s a winner and nothing left to lose
There’s a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandu
Everybody’s flying and no one leaves the ground
Everybody’s crying and no one makes a sound
There’s a place for us in the movies you just gotta lay around

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama

Everybody’s smoking and no one’s getting high
Everybody’s flying and never touch the sky
There’s a UFO over New York and I ain’t too surprised

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed — most peculiar, mama

Cream – Badge

During my senior year in high school in 1985, I had their greatest hits. I wore it out and became a huge Cream fan. I went to an old music store a couple of years ago and they had an original 60s  Leslie Cabinet. Why am I bringing that up? That is what Clapton is playing through on this song.  A Leslie Cabinet (I have video at the bottom of the post) contains a rotating horn and was designed for organs, but many tried it with guitars. It gives an organ guitar a swirling sound. The Beatles used it a lot.

One of my favorite Cream songs. Badge was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison. In George’s handwritten lyrics he wrote the word “Bridge” as in bridge of a song and Clapton thought it read “Badge” so they named the song that. In 1969 Badge peaked at #60 on the Billboard 100 Charts, #18 on the UK Charts, and #49 in Canada.

It appeared on Cream’s final album Goodbye. This song is one of only 3 studio tracks on Goodbye…the rest are live cuts. Badge would be the only Cream song to include 5 people…in addition to Clapton, Bruce, Baker and Harrison, Felix Pappalardi played the piano and Mellotron. Pappalardi produced Disreali GearsWheels Of Fire, and Goodbye. Robert Stigwood produced their debut album Fresh Cream.

Cream were broke up when this album was released. Clapton was already working with Blind Faith. The did reunite for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction in 1993 and played 3 songs. In 2005 the band reunited at the Royal Albert Hall…the location of their last concert in 1969 and later in the year at Madison Square Gardens.

I will say…it’s hard for me to listen to the 2005 reunion. Clapton chose to play his Fender guitar and it just didn’t have the bite his Gibson SG had in the Cream days. I didn’t expect the long jams but I do wish he would have been a bit dirtier in his sound. The musicianship though was great.

Don’t study the lyrics too much. They don’t make much sense. Supposedly many of them came from drunk conversations with George and Ringo.

George Harrison: I helped Eric write “Badge” you know. Each of them had to come up with a song for that Goodbye Cream album and Eric didn’t have his written. We were working across from each other and I was writing the lyrics down and we came to the middle part, so I wrote ‘Bridge.’ Eric read it upside down and cracked up laughing – ‘What’s BADGE?’ he said. After that, Ringo walked in drunk and gave us that line about the swans living in the park

Hope I didn’t bore you all with the Leslie Cabinet information, but I really like them. In this video you will see how  it works and why an organ gets that swirling sound. A sixties model costs around $3000 and up. 

Back to our song of the day!

Badge

Thinkin’ ’bout the times you drove in my car.
Thinkin’ that I might have drove you too far.
And I’m thinkin’ ’bout the love that you laid on my table.

I told you not to wander ’round in the dark.
I told you ’bout the swans, that they live in the park.
Then I told you ’bout our kid: now he’s married to Mabel.

Yes, I told you that the light goes up and down.
Don’t you notice how the wheel goes ’round?
And you better pick yourself up from the ground
Before they bring the curtain down.
Yes, before they bring the curtain down.

Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh
Ah Ah Ah, yeh yeh yeh

Talkin’ ’bout a girl that looks quite like you.
She didn’t have the time to wait in the queue.
She cried away her life since she fell off the cradle.

Beatles – Let It Be

Today I’m guest hosting on “Once Upon a Time in the 70s.” If you can please give them a visit and leave a comment…I would appreciate it! They have a great site and they will be guest hosting my site one day this week! Now back to our song…

This one has always been a favorite of mine. Many people I know thought it was a religious song because of Mother Mary but Mother Mary was Paul’s mother. It does have a gospel feel though.

From Yesterday to Let It Be: how Paul McCartney grappled with his mother's  death in his songs

It’s always had a calming effect on me. The song is part of my DNA and although it’s been played quite a bit on radio…I can still enjoy it.

Paul McCartney has said he wrote “Let It Be” and “The Long and Winding Road” on the same day. How is that for a day’s work?

One thing that makes the song unique is what solo are you going to hear from George? The single version of the song has a good solo, but the album version has the best. On January 4, 1970, Paul, George, and Ringo went into the studio to clean up tracks for the album release. George put down one of my favorite solos of all time. It’s the solo that has some growl to it and is highly melodic. Later on, in 2003 when Let It Be Naked was released…yet another version of the solo was on there but not as good as the distorted version.

On October 31st, 1956, Paul’s mother Mary Patricia McCartney had passed away from breast cancer. Paul had said she was the unsung leader of their family. John and Paul bonded later on when John’s mother was killed by getting hit by a car.

The song was on the Let It Be Album. The album had the largest initial sales in US record history up to that time: 3.7 million advance orders. That is going out on top. Let It Be peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, New Zealand and #2 in the UK. The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1970.

At the time some critics didn’t like the album as much. I’ve always liked the raw feel of it. The album contained Let It Be, The Long and Winding Road, Get Back, and I’ve Got A Feeling…plus a song that could have been a single…The Two Of Us. It shows what high standards they were held to.

I bought the Let It Be at a yard sale when I was a kid. The single had a B side that I had never heard of at the time.  The song is called You Know My Name (Look Up The Number). It’s so off the wall it has to be heard…not described. It is basically John and Paul making a comedy record…with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones on sax.

Paul started to write this during the White Album sessions but instead of Mother Mary…it was Mother Malcome after their roadie Mal Evans. He also sings a ling about Brother Malcome in a video I have below. Mal Evans has said that during the White Album sessions Paul had a vision of him saying Let It Be. I have Mal’s quote below.

Mal Evans: “Paul was meditating one day, they were writing all the time, and I came to him in a vision. I was just standing there, saying, “Let it be, let it be,’ and that’s where the song came from. It was funny; I had driven him back from a session one night (at Twickenham Film Studios in London, January 1969) a few months later. It was three o-clock in the morning, it was raining, it was dark in London and we were sitting in the car, just before he went in, just laughing and talking. He said, ‘Mal, I’ve got a new song and it’s called “Let It Be,” and I sing about “Mother Malcolm,” but he was a bit shy. So, he turned to me and said, ‘Would you mind if I said, “Mother Mary,” because people might not understand?’ So, I said, ‘Sure.’ But, he was lovely.”

Paul McCartney: “One night during this tense time, I had a dream. I saw my mum, who’d been dead ten years or so. And it was so great to see her because that’s a wonderful thing about dreams: you actually are reunited with that person for a second; there they are and you appear to both be physically together again. It was so wonderful for me and she was very reassuring. In the dream she said, ‘It’ll be all right.’ I’m not sure if she used the words ‘Let it be’ but that was the gist of her advice. It was, ‘Don’t worry too much, it will turn out okay.’ It was such a sweet dream. I woke up thinking, ‘Oh, it was really great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing the song ‘Let It Be.’ I literally started off ‘Mother Mary,’ which was her name. ‘When I find myself in times of trouble,’ which I certainly found myself in. The song was based on that dream.”

“She was reassuring me, saying, ‘It’s going to be OK, just let it be.’ I felt so great. She gave me the positive words. I woke up and thought, ‘What was that? She said ‘Let It Be.’ That’s good.’ So I wrote the song ‘Let It Be’ out of positivity.”

From Songfacts

Since Let It Be was The Beatles’ last album, it made an appropriate statement about leaving problems behind and moving on in life. The album was supposed to convey an entirely different message. It was going to be called “Get Back,” and they were going to record it in front of an audience on live TV, with another TV special showing them practicing the songs in the studio. It was going to be The Beatles getting back to their roots and playing unadorned live music instead of struggling in the studio like they did for The White Album. When they started putting the album together, it became clear the project wouldn’t work, and George Harrison left the sessions. When he returned, they abandoned the live idea and decided to use the TV footage as their last movie. While the film was being edited, The Beatles recorded and released Abbey Road, then broke up. Eventually, Phil Spector was given the tapes and asked to produce the album, which was released months after The Beatles broke up. By then, it was clear “Let It Be” would be a better name than “Get Back.”

According to McCartney, this is a very positive song, owing to its inspiration. One night when he was paranoid and anxious, he had a dream where he saw his mother, who had been dead for ten years or so – she came to him in his time of trouble, speaking words of wisdom that brought him much peace when he needed it. It was this sweet dream that got him to begin writing the song.

Many have been moved by the song on a deeply personal level, including Corden, who broke down when they sang it together. “I remember my granddad, who was a musician, sitting me down and telling me, ‘I’m going to play you the best song you’ve ever heard,’ and he played me that,” he said. “If my granddad was here right now he’d get an absolute kick out of this.” McCartney replied, “He is.”

It was John Lennon who wanted Phil Spector to produce the album. Spector worked on Lennon’s “Instant Karma” and was known for his bombastic “Wall Of Sound” style. McCartney hated Spector’s production, and in 2003 he pushed to have the album remixed and released without Spector’s influence. The result was Let It Be… Naked, which eliminated most of Spector’s work and is much closer to what The Beatles intended for the album. “Maggie Mae” and “Dig It” were removed, and an entirely different guitar solo was used for this song.

The Beatles weren’t the first to release this song – Aretha Franklin was. The Queen of Soul recorded it in December 1969, and it was released on her album This Girl’s In Love With You in January 1970, two months before The Beatles released their version (she also covered The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” on that album).

Aretha recorded it with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who were a group of musicians that owned their own studio in Alabama, but would travel to New York to record with Aretha. David Hood, who was their bass player, told us that Paul McCartney sent demos of the song to Atlantic Records (Franklin’s label) and to the Muscle Shoals musicians. Said Hood, “I kick myself for not grabbing that demo. Because I think they probably dropped it in the garbage. Our version was different. We changed it a little bit from his demo, where their version is different from that demo and from Aretha’s version, as well. Just slightly, but little things.”

In April 1987, this was released as a charity single in aid of The Sun newspaper’s Zeebrugge ferry disaster fund. Featuring Paul McCartney, Mark Knopfler, Kate Bush, Boy George and many others, it was called “Ferry Aid” and spent three weeks at #1 in the UK. 

Billy Preston added organ and electric piano to this track. Preston was such a significant contributor to the Let It Be album that John Lennon floated the idea of making him a full band member. Preston’s contributions were more than musical: He came in after George Harrison got frustrated with the sessions and quit the band. After his bandmates agreed to his terms (including abandoning a live performance they had planned), Harrison returned to the sessions after 12 days and arranged for Preston to join them. Having Preston there kept tensions at bay and greased the creative gears, allowing them to complete the album that was looking precarious when he arrived.

This was the first Beatles song released in The Soviet Union. The single made it there in 1972.

In 2001, McCartney helped organize the “Concert For New York,” to benefit victims of The World Trade Center disaster. He closed the show with this, inviting the other acts and some New York cops and firefighters on stage to sing with him.

This song was played at Linda McCartney’s funeral.

On July 18, 2008, Paul McCartney joined Billy Joel onstage at Shea Stadium in New York and played this as the final song of the final concert at Shea. As a member of The Beatles, McCartney played the first stadium rock concert when they performed at Shea on August 15, 1965.

Until 1994 and the recordings for “Free As A Bird,” the session for this song on January 4, 1970 was the last Beatles recording session. Lennon wasn’t present that day, as he was on holiday.

A cover by American R&B artist Jennifer Hudson featuring the Roots, who are the house band on NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, debuted at #98 on the Hot 100 in February 2010. She recorded it for the Hope For Haiti Now charity telecast after the earthquake that devastated the country. It was the third time the song had entered the US singles chart as Joan Baez’s version peaked at #49 in 1971.

A month after Jennifer Hudson’s version reached the Hot 100, Kris Allen took the song to the chart for a fourth time when his cover debuted at #63. Allen’s cut charted after he performed the song on American Idol, with proceeds from its digital sales benefiting Haiti earthquake relief efforts through the Idol Gives Back Foundation.

John Legend and Alicia keys performed this song on the tribute special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, which aired in 2014 exactly 50 years after the group made their famous appearance on Ed Sullivan Show. Legend introduced it as “a song that has comforted generations with its beauty and its message.”

Sesame Street used this with the title changed to “Letter B.” The lyrics were changed to list words that begin with B.

Paul sings “Brother Malcolm” in this rough version near the end

Let It Be

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be, be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shinin’ until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

And let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Beatles – One After 909

A pure rock and roll song by The Beatles. It’s always a joy to listen to because it goes back to their roots They played this song live in the early days before Beatlemania. When they recorded the final version on the roof you could see they were having a good time. George’s guitar playing on this is perfect.

A song that was recorded in January of 1969 but was written by John and Paul  in the 1950s. Being a very early attempt at songwriting, John Lennon reluctantly brought it forward for The Beatles to record when they were looking for new material in early 1963. They recorded it but didn’t have a take that they liked.

In 1969 John pulled out “One After 909” from his memory and presented it again. On this occasion, it was reworked with enthusiasm and with a different feel and arrangement, the result becoming a cool presentation of early Beatlemania at their final live performance on the rooftop in 1969.

John, Paul, and George were talking about the song and John said he always wanted to change the words. Paul said no…it’s great like it is so they played the song on the rooftop. It would be included on the Let It Be album released in 1970

The song was about a lady who tells her boyfriend she is leaving on the train that leaves after train number 909. He begs her not to go, but she does anyway. He packs his bags and rushes after her and discovers that she is not on “the one after 909,” so he goes home depressed and goes into the wrong house.

John Lennon: “I wrote it when I was about seventeen, either right before or after ‘Hello Little Girl,’ and it was resurrected for (the ‘Let It Be’) album, probably for lack of material. Nine has always been around. I’m not sure why. I was born on the ninth of October, I lived at nine Newcastle Road, ‘Revolution 9.’ Numerologically, I’m apparently a number three or six, so I’m not sure where the nine comes from…but it’s all part of nine.”

Paul McCartney:It was a number we didn’t used to do much but it was one that we always liked doing, and we rediscovered it. There were a couple of tunes that we wondered why we never put out; either George Martin didn’t like them enough to or he favored others. It’s not a great song but it’s a great favorite of mine because it has great memories for me of John and I trying to write a bluesy freight-train song. There were a lot of those songs at the time, like ‘Midnight Special,’ ‘Freight Train,’ ‘Rock Island Line,’ so this was the ‘One After 909.’ She didn’t get the 909, she got the one after it! It was a tribute to British Rail, actually. No, at the time we weren’t think British, it was much more the Super Chief from Omaha.”

One After 909

My baby said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I begged her not to go and I begged her on my bended knees,
You’re only fooling around, you’re fooling around with me.
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you’ve got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I’ve got the number wrong

Well she said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you’ve got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I’ve got the number wrong

Well she said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909
I said move over honey I’m traveling on that line
I said move over once, move over twice
Come on baby don’t be cold as ice.
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 9-0,
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 9-0,
Said she’s trav’ling on the one after 909.

Beatles Rooftop Concert at IMAX

My son Bailey bought us tickets to see The Beatles rooftop concert in the IMAX theater on Friday night. If you get a chance to do this…do it. It sounds like you are there listening live. It lasts around 1:30 minutes. They added a brief Beatles history and a little followup after the performance.

They played on the freezing  rooftop of Apple Records on January 6, 1969. It was the first time they played in front of an audience since August 29, 1966. You could see the breath of people on the roof and in the street. It is not easy playing in cold weather. Your fingers freeze and you cannot feel the strings. It’s a wonder their guitars didn’t go out of tune more.

It was clear that the Beatles could have toured like their peers The Stones, Led Zeppelin, and The Who and sounded every bit as good. They were very raw and earthy sounding because of the type of songs they were writing at the time. Songs that could be played live, not the Sgt Peppers experimental music. The songs linked to the style of the White Album.

They had just written these songs and rehearsed them that month so the songs were new to them except One After 909. John and Paul wrote that one when they were teenagers. It’s hard to believe how young they were at the time. None of them were thirty but they had packed a lot of living in their years being The Beatles.

John Lennon was normally a rhythm guitar player but he plays the lead on Get Back and you can tell he enjoyed stepping up and doing that. They would complete one more album after this…and that was Abbey Road. That is called going out on top.

To see them in an IMAX theater was amazing. It looked like it was recorded yesterday…not 53 years ago. I’ve seen the Get Back documentary twice but it’s nothing like seeing the concert at a theater…it changes the dynamics of it…plus IMAX just makes it that much better.

It would have been interesting to see them play in a more controlled enviroment but I’m glad we got this. Right after John Lennon said ” I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we pass the audition.”…someone in the theater shouted out…”You most certainly did John”

That about sums it up.

….

Beatles – Help! ….Album

I don’t post many albums, but I wanted to go over this one. This will be the UK version of the album. The American version was a different album with the soundtrack music replacing some of the songs.

In my opinion, it was one of the most important albums the Beatles ever released. The album signaled a change with the Beatles. Rubber Soul is usually credited as the album that represented the Beatles transformation from pure a rock/pop band into something more. I’ve always seen Help! as the bridge from Beatlemania to the middle period of Rubber Soul and Revolver. With songs like You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, The Night Before, I’ve Just Seen A Face, and Ticket to Ride it was apparent that a change was coming.

Was the album as good as Rubber Soul? No, but it cleared the way for the change that was coming. In 1963 the Beatles released She Loves You…4 years later they recorded A Day In The Life. That is only 4 years…it would be like building a go-cart and 4 years later building a rocket and going to the moon. There were steps in between though and Help! was one of them. What makes the Beatles so special is they didn’t repeat themselves. They progressed with every album into a different sound and feel. It wasn’t only drugs but social issues, fame, isolation, and superior songwriting skills.

You can tell pot had some influence on this album. Most of the songs were not as fast-paced with a beat group mentality. You still had some songs that were the Beatles that everyone knew at the time. Songs like You’re Going to Lose That Girl, and the two covers Act Naturally and Dizzy Miss Lizzy. I’ve always liked You’re Going to Lose That Girl with the call and response and Ringo did an excellent job on Act Naturally.

I think the most underrated song on the album is The Night Before. If any other band did this song…it would have been a single. Other songs that I like (that were not hits) are It’s Only Love (although Lennon hated it), I’ve Just Seen A Face, I Need You, and Another Girl.

I shouldn’t rate Beatle albums because it’s hard for me to be objective about them but I would give this 5 out of 5 stars. A fun movie also if you get a chance …watch it.

Track Listing

Help!
The Night Before
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
I Need You
Another Girl
You’re Going To Lose That Girl
Ticket To Ride

Act Naturally
It’s Only Love
You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See
I’ve Just Seen A Face
Yesterday
Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Beatles – Ticket To Ride

According to John Lennon, when the Beatles were in Hamburg, prostitutes had to have a piece of paper proving they have a clean bill of health…as in a Ticket To Ride. McCartney said it was “a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.” Lennon’s description caught a 9-year-old boy’s imagination much more.

George Harrison came up with the way the riff was played. Ringo came up with a distinctive staccato drum pattern for this song based on the way George played it. He said a big part of his drumming style is being a left-handed drummer trying to play right-handed.

I remember this the most by it being used in the Beatles movie Help! in the scene where The Beatles ski… poorly. Copies of the original single released on Capitol Records say: “From the United Artists Release ‘Eight Arms To Hold You’,” which was the original working title of Help!

Mark My Words: Movie Review: The Beatles in Help! (1965)

The Beatles were one of the first groups to make music videos, which were done so they could promote their songs without showing up at TV stations. They made one for “Ticket To Ride” in a shoot where they did four other songs as well. All the footage was shot in the studio; this one saw the band performing in front of oversized tickets for trains and busses.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada and the UK in 1965.

Carl Palmer: “One of the most exciting, rhythmical patterns and parts and songs that I ever heard, which I thought was really big-time and had it all going is a track by The Beatles called ‘Ticket To Ride, the drum part on that I always thought was exceptional.”

From Songfacts

The Beatles taped a performance of this song that was broadcast on an episode of Ed Sullivan Show that aired September 12, 1965 (the last Ed Sullivan show broadcast in black and white). The Beatles recorded it prior to their Shea Stadium concert that took place August 15.

The Carpenters covered this in 1969 with the gender reversed to suit lead vocalist Karen Carpenter (“he’s got a ticket to ride…” Their mellow version was released as the duo’s first single and included on their first album, which was also called Ticket To Ride. Their rendition didn’t chart, but made its way onto plenty of light rock playlists.

In Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining, a supernatural Big Band ensemble plays a swing version of this at The Overlook Hotel.

Ticket To Ride

I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today, yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

She said that living with me
Is bringing her down yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s ridin’ so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice,
She ought to do right by me
I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away, yeah

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s ridin’ so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
She said that living with me
Is bringing her down, yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

Ah, she’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care

Billy Lee Riley – Red Hot

I first heard this song by the ‘Beatles in Hamburg on the Star Club album. They took the song and injected it with steroids…George ripped through it. The quality is terrible but the energy is not.

“Red Hot” featured Jerry Lee Lewis on piano. The song was written by Billy “The Kid” Emerson. Emerson had already had a minor hit when Elvis Presley recorded “When It Rains It Really Pours“. “Red Hot” was showing a lot of promise as a big hit record, but Sam Phillips pulled Sun Records promotion for the single and switched it to “Great Balls Of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Riley earned notoriety throughout the South with his wild live performances, and in the late’50s his shows were banned by various town councils and college administrators who worried that Riley’s raucous “devil’s music” would corrupt the souls of innocent teenagers. Riley’s backing band, The Little Green Men, were the main Sun studio band. They were Riley, Roland Janes, J.M. Van Eaton, Marvin Pepper, and Jimmy Wilson, later joined by Martin Willis.

These are the kind of singles that the Beatles liked to cover…not massive hits but good songs that not many bands were covering.

Red Hot

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, I got a gal, six feet four
Sleeps in the kitchen with her feet out the door, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she walks all night, talks all day
She’s the kinda woman who’ll have her way, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she’s the kinda woman who louds around
Spreadin’ my business all over town, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Well, she’s a one man’s woman, that’s what I like
But I wish she wasn’t gonna change her mind everynight, but

My gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Yeah, my gal is red hot
Your gal ain’t doodly squat
Well, she ain’t got no money
But man, she’s a-really got a lot

Beatles – Penny Lane

I love the visuals in this song. I’ve never had the pleasure of being there but it feels like I’m standing in the middle of Penny Lane in 1967.

This song was part of what I think was the best single ever released. Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields. Both of the songs are connected with Liverpool. Both John and Paul wrote about places where they grew up.  Paul explained that Penny Lane was a suburban district where, until age four, he lived with his mother and father.

The Beatles did not include these two songs on Sgt Pepper. They recorded singles and albums separately for the most part. They ended up on the Magical Mystery Tour album in America.

Lennon and McCartney were competitive and for the most part it was a good competitiveness that resulted in timeless songs that will be still remembered 100 years from now.

They made promotional films for both songs. This must have been a shock to some people. They had not seen the Beatles since the year before…they had ditched the mop tops and gone weird…that must have been in some people’s minds. The music had a sophistication that earlier songs didn’t have.

The single only made #2 in the UK…it was locked out of the #1 position by no other than Elbert Humperdinck with Release Me. It did peak at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in Canada, and #1 in New Zealand in 1967.

In 1967, Capitol released Beatles music on a new but short-lived format called “Playtapes.” These tape cartridges did not have the capabilities to include entire albums, so a truncated four-song version of “Magical Mytery Tour” was released in early 1968 in this portable format, some rare copies having a picture from the “Help!” soundtrack album on the front of the tape. “Penny Lane” was one of the four songs on this release. These Playtapes are highly collectable today.

Paul McCartney: “When I came to write it, John came over and helped me with the third verse, as often was the case. We were writing childhood memories: recently faded memories from eight or ten years before, so it was a recent nostalgia, pleasant memories for both of us. All the places were still there, and because we remembered it so clearly we could have gone on.” John himself relates: “We really got into the groove of imagining Penny Lane, you know – the bank was there, and that was where the tram sheds were and people waiting and the inspector stood there, the fire engines were down there. It was just reliving childhood.” In John’s Playboy interview of 1980, he concurs about his input in writing the song: “I wrote some of the lyrics. I can’t remember which. It was all Paul’s melody.”

“There was a barber shop called Bioletti’s with head shots of the haircuts you can have in the window and I just took it all and arted it up a little bit to make it sound like he was having a picture exhibition in his window. It was all based on real things; there was a bank on the corner so I imagined the banker, it was not a real person, and his slightly dubious habits and the little children laughing at him, and the pouring rain. The fire station was a bit of poetic license; there’s a fire station about half a mile down the road, not actually in Penny Lane, but we needed a third verse so we took that and I was very pleased with the line ‘It’s a clean machine.’ I still like that as a phrase, you occasionally hit a lucky little phrase and it becomes more than a phrase. So the banker and the barber shop and the fire station were all real locations.”

Here are the two videos…Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane… See those glasses that John Lennon slips on in the Penny Lane Video? The square ones…I have some identical from that time period…they are really cool.

Penny Lane

In Penny Lane, there is a barber showing photographs
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say, “Hello”

On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
And little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass
And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen
He likes to keep his fire engine clean
It’s a clean machine

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
A four of fish and finger pies
In summer, meanwhile back
Behind the shelter in the middle of the roundabout
The pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray
And though she feels as if she’s in a play
She is anyway

In Penny Lane, the barber shaves another customer
We see the banker sitting waiting for a trim
And then the fireman rushes in
From the pouring rain, very strange

Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
I sit, and meanwhile back
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes
There beneath the blue suburban skies
Penny Lane!

Beatles – Christmas Time Is Here Again

It’s that time of year…and this is one holiday song that is on my list and not worn out. I first heard this in 1994 when I bought the Beatles Anthology album. I never knew of this song before. this song was never officially released until it appeared as the B-side to “Free As A Bird” in 1994. I’ve posted it every year since I’ve blogged and will continue to do so…it’s repetitive butI like it…it drives home the point.

My friend Dave posted this song a few days ago and he has more info than I do so check it out.

The song, credited to Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey. The original version was distributed to The Beatles fan club in 1967. It’s the only song ever written specifically for the Beatles Fan Club members. Along with the Beatles…actor Victor Spinetti  and roadie Mal Evans were on the recording.

Between December 1963 to December 1969, sent out 7 flexi discs that had  spoken and musical messages to their official fan clubs in the UK and the US at Christmas time.

The Beatles recorded this in 1967 and wasn’t released until 1994 paired with “Free As A Bird”. It is a fun Christmas song that will stick in your head. The Beatles did not release a Christmas song commercially… only to their fan club when they were active.

Many performers of this era like The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons released Christmas songs, but The Beatles never had an official Christmas release.

Christmas time is here again

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time…[music continues and fades to background]

[spoken]

This is Paul McCartney here, I’d just like to wish you everything you wish yourself for Christmas.

This is John Lennon saying on behalf of the Beatles, have a very Happy Christmas and a good New Year.

George Harrison speaking. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas, listeners everywhere.

This is Ringo Starr and I’d just like to say Merry Christmas and a really Happy New Year to all listeners

[a John Lennon pastiche at this point, very hard to understand]