Beatles – If I Needed Someone

This has that Rickenbacker sound. This song was written by George Harrison, who was influenced by The Byrds song “The Bells of Rhymney.” This one has always been a favorite of mine by George.

If I Needed Someone was one of four songs Capitol Records held off of the American release of Rubber Soul. US audiences hadn’t heard the song until June 20th, 1966, which was the date of release for the American album Yesterday…And Today.

If I Needed Someone was the only George Harrison composition to have been performed live by The Beatles. The other songs that featured George on vocals were covers but this was the only original song before they stopped touring.

The Hollies received an early recording of “If I Needed Someone.” They proceeded to quickly record their own rendition of the song and release it as their next British single on December 3rd, 1965, the exact day that The Beatles’ released Rubber Soul.

The Hollies took the song to #20 on the British charts, and it became the first George Harrison composition to make the charts.

Roger McGuinn: “George Harrison wrote that song after hearing the Byrds’ recording of “Bells of Rhymney.” He gave a copy of his new recording to Derek Taylor, the Beatles’ former press officer, who flew to Los Angeles and brought it to my house. He said George wanted me to know that he had written the song based on the rising and falling notes of my electric Rickenbacker 12-string guitar introduction. It was a great honor to have in some small way influenced our heroes the Beatles.”

From Songfacts

 It was not Ravi Shankar that introduced George to the wonderment of sitar, but Byrd traveler David Crosby shortly after Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. In 1965 The Beatles toured the US and visited Ravi at World Pacific Studios where The Byrds had permanent residency. It was also here that Roger McGuinn’s Rickenbacker jingle jangle influenced Harrison’s “If I Needed Someone.” In turn, The Byrds were influenced by Harrison’s 12-string guitar work. 

If I Needed Someone

If I needed someone to love
You’re the one that I’d be thinking of
If I needed someone

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah, ah, ah

If I had some more time to spend
Then I guess I’d be with you my friend
If I needed someone
Had you come some other day
Then it might not have been like this
But you see now I’m too much in love

Carve your number on my wall
And maybe you will get a call from me
If I needed someone
Ah, ah

Beatles – I Feel Fine

One of the great guitar riffs in rock…very melodic and sounds great on a guitar.

John Lennon said he borrowed from the song “Watch Your Step” by the American blues musician Bobby Parker. I Feel Fine was released in late 1964. It was the A side of the single with She’s A Woman on the B side.

The first note of this song marked the first time feedback was used on a major release. It was created when John Lennon leaned his electric guitar against an amplifier and Paul McCartney played a note on his bass, creating a strangely appealing feedback loop.

The band thought it sounded great, but in this pre-Hendrix era, feedback was considered a technical malfunction and not an artistic enhancement.Producer George Martin was always open to new ideas and agreed to insert it at the beginning of the song. Paul would say that he let them experiment.

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

From Songfacts

An early Beatles track, “I Feel Fine” lyrically is a simple love song about a guy who is crazy about his girl. It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s effective:

She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know

The refrain is typical of Lennon’s songwriting, with the three long notes: “I’m so glad.” The sudden explosive refrain in harmonies is similar to Giovanni Gabrieli’s grand concerto “In ecclesiis,” an early baroque-music-piece. 

There is a very faint sound at the end of the song that was rumored to be barking dogs. It’s actually just McCartney goofing around.

The Beatles included this in their setlist when they toured the US in August 1965. Prior to their famous Shea Stadium appearance on August 15, they taped a performance of this song and five others for an Ed Sullivan Show episode that aired September 12.

The group made two music videos for this song as part of a one-day shoot where they banged out takes for four others as well. These were not high-concept films: just the band having some fun while lip-synching the tracks. The first “I Feel Fine” video got pretty goofy, with Ringo riding a stationary bike. For the second, the band simply sits down and eats lunch. This later version wasn’t released until 2015 when it was included on the 1+ collection.

The Ventures incorporated the riff into their surf rock instrumental version of “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” on their 1965 Christmas album.

In America, this knocked “Come See About Me” by The Supremes from the top spot. “I Feel Fine” stayed for three weeks, at which point “Come See About Me” returned to bump it off.

I Feel Fine

Baby’s good to me, you know
She’s happy as can be, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine

I’m so glad that she’s my little girl
She’s so glad, she’s telling all the world
That her baby buys her things, you know
He buys her diamond rings, you know
She said so
She’s in love with me and I feel fine
She’s in love with me and I feel fine, mmm

Paul McCartney – Nashville July 26, 2010

Paul McCartney came to Nashville in 1974 to record some and promised he would be back to actually play live…well he did although it was 36 years later. 2010 was his first Nashville concert ever. The closest the Beatles got to Nashville was in Memphis in 1966.

A year after he came to Nashville in 1974 I became a very young Beatles fan. Read everything, listened to everything that I could get my hands on, and saw what limited things I could. In the 80s I got to see some of the rooftop Let It Be concert on MTV. It was like the pictures I’d seen coming to life…it made it real…or as real as it got to me.

When the Paul McCartney concert was announced in spring of 2010… I bought tickets right away. I just knew something would happen. The concert would be postponed or something awful would happen…there was no way I was going to see him. My wife, my son Bailey, and I had tickets. Sure enough…on the night of the concert…just a couple of hours before it started… a tornado did damage in Nashville (no injuries) and a warning was out for downtown. While we were there and I just knew…so this is how it’s all going to end…me with a McCartney ticket in my hand.

Waiting at the venue…McCartney came on an hour late to wait for all the warnings to die down. When he came on I was pretty much in shock…all the years reading, watching, and listening to the guy…he wasn’t yet real until he broke into “Venus and Mars” an old Wings song. I was 43 and I felt like a 12 year old kid and I was full of emotion. When he started his first Beatles song of the night…All My Loving…it was even more emotion. This is the man who played with Lennon, Harrison, and Starr at the Cavern Club, Hamburg, and all over the world.

I always was jealous of my friends who liked modern bands…who could just go and see them in concert when we were younger and buy their new records. Most of the bands I grew up liking had broken up or changed years ago.

The concert was worth the wait.

This was Bailey’s first concert…his second was Ringo, third was Paul McCartney again, and fourth was The Who…I told him he was lucky…my first concert was REO Speedwagon…no offense to them but there is no comparison. Jennifer actually got to see Elvis for her first concert…when she was a small child in 1976 in West Virginia…

Paul played around three hours of solo, Wings, Fireman, and of course Beatles songs. With as many songs as Paul has…he could have played most of the night without repeating a song. I saw him again in 2014 and again he was great and added a few more songs… but nothing will beat that first time.

Setlist for July 26, 2010

Venus and Mars
Rock Show
Jet
All My Loving
Letting Go
Got to Get You Into My Life
Highway (The Fireman Song)
Let Me Roll It
The Long and Winding Road
Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
Let ‘Em In
My Love
I’m Looking Through You
Tequila (The Champs cover)
Two of Us
Blackbird
Here Today
Dance Tonight
Mrs. Vanderbilt
Eleanor Rigby
Ram On
Something
Sing the Changes (The Fireman song)
Band on the Run
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Back in the U.S.S.R.
I’ve Got a Feeling
Paperback Writer
A Day in the Life / (With Give Peace A Chance Snippet)
Let It Be
Live and Let Die
Hey Jude

Encore:
Day Tripper
Lady Madonna
Get Back

Encore 2:
Yesterday
Helter Skelter
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
The End

Beatles – Hey Jude

This is one of McCartney’s best written songs. Like a lot of other great songs it builds… from McCartney’s lone voice and piano to a giant sing a long at the end. Hey Jude is one of the most famous songs in rock history.

This was their debut single for their new record company Apple. The A side was Hey Jude and the B side was Revolution. That is a great way to start. This was one of the best double A side singles ever.

The song was not on an album at the time. Hey Jude peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, UK, Canada, and New Zealand in 1968.

Paul McCartney wrote this as “Hey Jules,” a song meant to comfort John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian as John and Cynthia were getting a divorce. The change to “Jude” was inspired by the character “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma! Paul went to visit Cynthia and Julian when the divorce was happening and he composed most of it then.

John wanted Revolution released as a single right away but when he heard this song he agreed to have Revolution as the B side.

It was the Beatles longest single, running 7:11. George Martin was afraid radio stations would not play it but John said ‘They will if it’s us.” When this became a hit, stations learned that listeners would stick around if they liked the song, which paved the way for long songs like “American Pie” and “Layla.”Disc jockeys loved it…they got a break.

The Beatles filmed a promotional video for this song, which was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg who directed Let It Be. He had the Beatles sing the song (the music was on a backing track) in front of an audience of about 100 people, who sang it with them. This was the closest the Beatles had come to a live performance since they had stopped touring two years earlier.

The clip first aired on the UK program The David Frost Show in 1968, and was quickly picked up by other shows, giving the song a big promotional push.

Paul McCartney: “I thought, as a friend of the family, I would motor out to Weybridge (John’s former home with Cynthia) and tell them that everything was all right: to try and cheer them up, basically, and see how they were. I had about an hour’s drive. I would always turn the radio off and try and make up songs, just in case…I starting singing: ‘Hey Jules – don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better…’ It was optimistic, a hopeful message for Julian: ‘Come on, man, your parents got divorced. I know you’re not happy, but you’ll be OK.’ I eventually changed ‘Jules’ to ‘Jude.’ One of the characters in ‘Oklahoma’ is called Jude, and I like the name.” 

Cynthia Lennon: “During the divorce proceedings, I was truly surprised when, one afternoon, Paul arrived on his own. I was touched by his obvious concern for our welfare and even more moved when he presented me with a single red rose accompanied by a jokey remark about our future. ‘How about it, Cyn?  How about you and me getting married?’ We both laughed at the thought of the world’s reaction to an announcement like that being let loose. On his journey down to visit Julian and I, Paul composed the beautiful song ‘Hey Jude.’ He said it was for Julian. I will never forget Paul’s gesture of care and concern in coming to see us. It made me feel important and loved, as opposed to feeling discarded and obsolete.”

Paul McCartney: “I finished it all up in Cavendish (Paul’s home) and I was in the music room upstairs when John and Yoko came to visit and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing up, listening to it as I played it to them, and when I got to the line ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder,’ I looked over my shoulder and I said, ‘I’ll change that, it’s a bit crummy. I was just blocking it out,’ and John said, ‘You won’t, you know. That’s the best line in it!’ That’s collaboration. When someone’s that firm about a line that you’re going to junk, and he says, ‘No, keep it in.’

John Lennon: “He said it was written about Julian…but I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it, Yoko’s just come into the picture. He’s saying: ‘Hey, Jude – hey, John.’ I know I’m sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me. The words ‘go out and get her’ – subconsciously he was saying, ‘Go ahead, leave me.’ But on a conscious level, he didn’t want me to go ahead. The angel inside him was saying, ‘Bless you.’ The devil in him didn’t like it at all, because he didn’t want to lose his partner.”

John Lennon: “Well, when Paul first played ‘Hey Jude’ to me…I took it very personally. ‘Ah, it’s me,’ I said, ‘it’s me.” He said, ‘No, it’s me!’ I said, ‘Check, we’re going through the same bit.’ So we all are. Whoever is going through a bit with us is going through it. That’s the groove.”

From Songfacts

This was named as the song most often referred to in literature in a list compiled by culture interpretation website Small Demons. Amongst the 55 books the site says it’s mentioned in are Stephen King’s Wolves of the Calla (“Why do people over here sing Hey Jude? I don’t know”) and Toni Morrison’s Paradise (“Soane had been horrified – and he drove off accompanying Hey Jude on his radio”).

Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” was runner-up on the list and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” came in third place

In 1987 Julian ran into Paul in New York City when they were staying at the same hotel and he finally heard Paul tell him the story of the song firsthand. He admitted to Paul that growing up, he’d always felt closer to him than to his own father. In Steve Turner’s book The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, Julian said: “Paul told me he’d been thinking about my circumstances, about what I was going through and what I’d have to go through. Paul and I used to hang out quite a bit – more than Dad and I did… There seem to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing at that age than me and Dad. I’ve never really wanted to know the truth of how Dad was and how he was with me. There was some very negative stuff – like when he said that I’d come out of a whisky bottle on a Saturday night. That’s tough to deal with. You think, where’s the love in that? It surprises me whenever I hear the song. It’s strange to think someone has written a song about you. It still touches me.”

The Beatles inner circle was shifting when Paul McCartney wrote this song. John Lennon had recently taken up with Yoko and cast off his first wife, Cynthia; McCartney had broken off his engagement with his longtime girlfriend Jane Asher. He was the only Beatle to reach out to Cynthia and Julian at this time.

The drive to the Lennon home in Surrey was one of reflection for McCartney, who thought about Julian and how difficult life could be as a child of divorce. He wrote the line, “Don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better” thinking about how he could encourage the boy.

Paul was conditioned to think up songs on this trip, as he used to drive to the home for songwriting sessions with John – there were instruments and recording equipment in the attic.

In a 2018 interview with GQ, Paul McCartney talked about how he came up with the idea for this song: “John and his wife Cynthia had divorced, and I felt a bit sorry for their son, who was now a child of a divorce. I was driving out to see the son and Cynthia one day and I was thinking about the boy whose name was Julian – Julian Lennon, and I started this idea, ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad, it’s gonna be OK.’ It was like a reassurance song.

So that was the idea that I got driving out to see them. I saw them and then I came back and worked on the song some more. But I like that name, Jude.”

This was the first song released on Apple Records, the record label owned by The Beatles. It was recorded at Trident Studios, London, on July 31 and August 1, 1968 with a 36 piece orchestra. Orchestra members clapped and sang on the fadeout – they earned double their normal rate for their efforts.

Paul McCartney on his songwriting partnership with John Lennon in Observer Music Monthly October 2007: “I have fond flashbacks of John writing – he’d scribble it down real quick, desperate to get back to the guitar. But I knew at that moment that this was going to be a good collaboration. Like when I did ‘Hey Jude.’ I was going through it for him and Yoko when I was living in London. I had a music room at the top of the house and I was playing ‘Hey Jude’ when I got to the line ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder’ and I turned round to John and said: ‘I’ll fix that if you want.’ And he said: ‘You won’t, you know, that’s a great line, that’s the best line in it.’ Now that’s the other side of a great collaborator – don’t touch it, man, that’s OK.”

This song hit #1 in at least 12 countries and by the end of 1968 had sold more than 5 million copies. It eventually sold over 10 million copies in the United States, becoming the fourth-biggest selling Beatles single there. Factoring in the price of records in 1968 vs. 1964, when the top-seller “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was released, “Hey Jude” might be the biggest earner.

When McCartney played this song for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John interpreted it as being about him; he heard the line “You were made to go out and get her” as Paul imploring him to leave his first wife and go after Yoko (“I always heard it as a song to me,” said Lennon). This was one of Lennon’s more narcissistic moments, as he failed to grasp that the song was written for his son.

This was going to be the B-side to “Revolution,” but it ended up the other way around. It is a testament to this song that it pushed “Revolution” to the other side of the record.

George Harrison wanted to play a guitar riff after the vocal phrases, but Paul wouldn’t let him. Things got tense between them around this time as McCartney got very particular about how Harrison played on songs he wrote.

Julian Lennon didn’t find out that this song was written for him until he was a teenager. It was around this time that he reconnected with his dad, whom he would visit in New York from time to time until his death.

In terms of songcraft, this is one of the most studied Beatles songs. It starts with a vocal – Paul’s voice singing “Hey” – then the piano comes in (an F chord). The song gradually builds, with McCartney alone playing on the first verse, then the sounds of George Harrison’s guitar, Ringo’s tambourine, and harmony vocals by George and John. The drums enter about 50 seconds in, and the song builds from there, reaching a peak of intensity with McCartney delivering the “better… better… better” line punctuated by a Little Richard-style scream, then the famous singalong resolution.

The “na na na” fadeout takes four minutes. The chorus is repeated 19 times.

“Jude” is the German word for “Jew,” but nobody in the Beatles camp knew that. In 1967 and 1968, the group owned a retail store on Baker Street in London called the Apple Boutique, which they closed around the time this song was released. On the shuttered building, an employee scrawled the words “Revolution” and “Hey Jude” to promote the new Beatles single. Without proper context, this proved offensive to Jewish residents, who read it as hateful graffiti.

Wilson Pickett recorded this shortly after The Beatles did. His version hit #16 UK and #23 US and provided the name for his album. Duane Allman played on it and got a huge career boost when the song became a hit. He spent the next year as a session guitarist for many famous singers and then formed The Allman Brothers, who are considered the greatest Southern Rock band of all time.

Thanks to the communal nature of this song, it is sometimes used to pay tribute to those who have passed. When Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr appeared on the 2014 CBS special The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, Paul dedicated the song John Lennon and George Harrison. Musicians who performed earlier in the show joined on stage for the ending, which closed the telecast.

In America, an album called Hey Jude (originally titled “The Beatles Again”) was released in 1970 containing this and several other Beatles songs that were released as singles or B-sides. The album has not appeared as a CD because Apple Records made the decision to copy only the British LP releases onto CD. In the ’60s the American record company managed to get extra LPs off the British releases by cutting down the number of tracks, then putting them out with singles and B-sides as additional albums. 

As discussed in the DVD Composing the Beatles Songbook, while Paul wrote this song for Julian, in a lot of ways McCartney wrote this song about his brand-new relationship with Linda Eastman.

After the “Oh” in the crescendo, McCartney sings “YEAH!” in a non-falsetto voice. The note he hits is F Natural above male High C, a very difficult note for a male to hit in a non-falsetto voice.

The original 1968 version was recorded in mono, and many listeners find it far superior to the stereo remake from 1970, which is much more heavily produced.

On The Beatles Anthology 3, there is a version of this song with an introduction spoken by John and Paul: “From the heart of the black country: When I was a robber in Boston place You gathered round me with your fine embrace.”

“Boston place” (mentioned by Paul) is a small London street where The Beatles’ company Apple had just installed an electronics laboratory. In a more familiar scene, Boston Street was that street in which The Beatles ran for the title sequence of their film A Hard Day’s Night. John spoke of the “Black Country,” which was the name of the old smokestack industrial region in the middle of England.

Richie Havens played this at Woodstock when he opened the festival in 1969.

If you listen at about 2:55, you hear a sound from John Lennon while Paul keeps singing. It sounds like “Ohh!” at first, but it is really him saying “…chord!” You can barely hear it, but if you listen really closely, you can hear him say “Got the wrong CHORD.” He says “chord” much louder than the other words. And about two or three counts later, you can hear McCartney say “F**king hell.” 

The song debuted at #10 in the Hot 100, and in doing so it made history by becoming the first ever single to reach the top 10 in its first week on the chart.

When the Beatles music was made available for download for the first time – on iTunes November 16, 2010 – “Hey Jude” was the most downloaded Beatles song that day.

McCartney played this at the 2005 Live8 concert in London. He started with “The Long and Winding Road” and flowed it into the end of “Hey Jude,” which closed out the Live8 concert. 

Paul McCartney played this at the 2005 Super Bowl halftime show. He performed the year after Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed on stage, causing an uproar. McCartney was deemed a safe and reliable choice for a nudity-free performance.

Sesame Street did a parody of this (and tribute to healthy eating) called “Hey Food.”

With hundreds of crowd favorites to choose from in his catalog, Paul McCartney mixes up his setlists when he plays live, but this one always seems to stick. “I’ll switch up the songs, but I’ve got to do ‘Hey Jude’ because it is such fun and it’s great handing that over to the audience,” he told GQ. The greatest thing is, you feel this sense of community, and in these times when it’s a little dark and people are separated by politics and stuff, it’s so fantastic to see them all come together singing the end of ‘Hey Jude.’ I’m very happy about that, so I keep it in the show.”

This appears frequently throughout Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, including the first installment, The Gunslinger (1982). The fantasy western is set in a parallel universe where a lone gunslinger is on a quest for revenge. King explained the significance of the song in a 1988 interview with The Guardian: “I see the gunslinger’s world as sort of a post-radiation world where everybody’s history has gotten clobbered and about the only thing anybody remembers anymore is the chorus to ‘Hey, Jude.'”

Hey Jude

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her (let it out and let it in)
Remember to let her into your heart (hey Jude)
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you
Hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na, yeah

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you’ll begin to make it better
Better better better better better, ah!

Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude Jude, Judy Judy Judy Judy, ow wow!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (my, my, my)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah, you know you can make it, Jude, Jude, you’re not gonna break it)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (don’t make it bad, Jude, take a sad song and make it better)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (oh Jude, Jude, hey Jude, wa!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (oh Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (hey, hey, hey, hey)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (hey, hey)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (now, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (Jude, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, make it, Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah yeah, yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude

Beatles – I Saw Her Standing There

(One, two, three, four)

Well, she was just seventeen
You know what I mean

One of the most famous count offs in history. It’s a great rocker by the early Beatles. This wasn’t released as a single in England. In the US, it was released as the flip side of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” which was their first hit in the America.

The title was original “Seventeen” until it was changed for the album. There have been many covers of this song…some very good but I’ll take the original every time.

This was one of 10 songs The Beatles recorded in one day (February 11, 1963) for their UK debut album, Please Please Me. It was the first song on the tracklist. Can you imagine that happening today?

I Saw Her Standing There peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #1 in New Zealand, and #1 (I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There) in Canada in 1964.

This was the last song John Lennon performed for a paid audience. He played it at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974 when he took the stage at an Elton John concert. Elton released this version as the B-side of “Philadelphia Freedom” the following year.

Paul McCartney: “Those early days were really cool, just sussing each other out, and realizing that we were good. You just realize from what he was feeding back. Often it was your song or his song, it didn’t always just start from nothing. Someone would always have a little germ of an idea. So I’d start off with [singing] ‘She was just 17, she’d never been a beauty queen’ and he’d be like, ‘Oh no, that’s useless’ and ‘You’re right, that’s bad, we’ve got to change that.’ Then changing it into a really cool line: ‘You know what I mean.’ ‘Yeah, that works.'”

From Songfacts

John Lennon and Paul McCartney started writing this in McCartney’s living room after they skipped school one day, with Paul writing the majority of this song in September of 1962.

The Beatles frequently played this at the Cavern Club, where they often played between 1961-1963. In fact, it was because of the crowd reaction to their live shows that George Martin decided to have them simply record their live show in the studio for their first album. That’s why he kept Paul’s “1, 2, 3, 4” count at the beginning, which was taken from the 9th take and edited on to the first. 

The Beatles performed this on their first two Ed Sullivan Show appearances, which took place a week apart in February 1964. Getting on the show was a really big deal because it had a huge audience. About 73 million people watched the first show, which made The Beatles household names.

This became the first Beatles song performed on the TV series American Idol when Jordin Sparks won in 2007 and sang it on the finale with runner-up Blake Lewis. The first line of the song – “She was just 17” – was fitting, as that was Sparks’ age.

Chuck Berry was a big influence on The Beatles, and the bass line of this song borrows from Berry’s track “I’m Talking About You.” 

At the 2001 World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, McCartney went to one of the games at Yankee Stadium and was shown between innings singing along as this played in the stadium. It was McCartney’s second visit to Yankee Stadium, and he saw The Yankees win that day, although they eventually lost the World Series.

Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman sing this song during a very powerful scene in the 1988 Oscar-winning film Rain Man. 

The Who, Daniel Johnston, Santo & Johnny, and The Tubes all covered this song. 

With Dave Grohl playing drums, Paul McCartney played this at the Grammy Awards in 2009.

I Saw Her Standing There

(One, two, three, four)

Well, she was just seventeen
You know what I mean
And the way she looked
Was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another
Ooh, when I saw her standing there?

Well, she looked at me
And I, I could see
That before too long
I’d fall in love with her
She wouldn’t dance with another
Ooh, when I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Oh we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long
I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another
Ooh, since I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went, “Boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine

Oh, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long
I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another
Oh, since I saw her standing there
Oh, since I saw her standing there
Yeah, well since I saw her standing there

Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

This is one of the best songs from the White Album. George stated that the song was written at his mother’s home in Warrington in the north of England.

Harrison was reading I Ching, the Chinese book of changes, and decided to write a song about the first words he saw, which were “Gently Weeps.”

George wanted a sound he wasn’t getting so he called his friend Eric Clapton to play on the song. It also served another purpose. Much like bringing in Billy Preston on Let It Be…John and Paul behaved much better when a visitor came into the picture. Eric declined at first because he said that no one plays on Beatle records and the others wouldn’t like it. George told him it was his song and he wanted him on it. According to George, the atmosphere changed and the song took off from there.

After hearing the playback Eric said that there was a problem…his guitar wasn’t Beatley enough.’ So it was put through the ADT (Artificial Double Tracking) to wobble it up a bit.

George Harrsion:  ‘Eric’s going to play on this one,’ and it was good because that then made everyone act better…It’s interesting to see how nicely people behave when you bring a guest in, because they don’t really want everybody to know that they’re so bitchy…Paul got on the piano and played a nice intro and they all took it more seriously…Also it left me free to just play the rhythm and do the vocal…It was a similar situation when Billy Preston came later to play on ‘Let It Be’ and everybody was arguing. Just bringing a stranger in amongst us made everybody cool out.”

Mick Jagger: “It’s lovely, plaintive. Only a guitar player could write that. I love that song.”

George Harrison: “‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was just a simple study based on the theory that everything has some purpose for being there at that given moment…So I open this book and I saw ‘gently weeps.’ I shut the book and then I started the tune.”

 

From Songfacts

Harrison often had to fight to get his songs on the albums. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were not interested in this song at first, but came around when Harrison brought Clapton to the studio.

This was the first song Ringo played on after leaving the band in frustration a few weeks earlier. He returned to find flowers on his drums to welcome him back.

Clapton used a Les Paul guitar on this track. Later in his career, he switched to a Fender Stratocaster.

Even though this was not a hit, it is one of the most enduring Beatles songs. It remains popular on classic rock radio.

When George Harrison arranged a trip to India for The Beatles to study Transcendental Meditation, they were joined by their good friend Donovan, a singer-songwriter who had hits with “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow.” They shared a lot of ideas on this trip, many of which influenced The White Album. In our interview with Donovan, he said that John Lennon wanted to learn the clawhammer guitar style, while Harrison was interested in Donovan’s chord structures. The A minor descents Donovan showed him ended up in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

After working on this song, Eric Clapton became good friends with John Lennon, and played with him on some of his solo work. When George Harrison threatened to leave The Beatles in 1969, Lennon was ready to replace him with Clapton.

This was originally recorded as an acoustic ballad with just Harrison on acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney on organ. This version can be found on some bootlegs and on The Beatles Anthology 3

The Demo Version

The Studio Version

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know why nobody told you
How to unfold your love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
No one alerted you

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

The Beatles – White Album…..Desert Island Albums

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The White Album was released in 1968 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 about everywhere else…and it would be #1 as well on “Max’s Desert Island.”

Is this considered the Beatle’s best album? Probably not but if I had to take just one with me to that proverbial desert island…this would be the one. They have albums that are considered better like Revolver and Sgt Pepper but I relate to the rawer songs on this album. The album’s actual name is “The Beatles” but for obvious reasons, it will forever be known as the White Album.

When John Lennon was killed in1980 there were three albums I bought that long winter. Double Fantasy, The White Album,  and Abbey Road. I’m back there again in that 1980-81 winter and spring when I hear this album.

The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in the mix. It has plenty of songs that you have heard of and many that the masses have not heard as much. John Lennon wrote one of his best songs for this album… Dear Prudence.

The Beatles more than many bands could bend to a style of music and play that style well.

Some critics said they should have taken the best of the two albums and slimmed it down to one…but as a Beatle fan…Nahhhhh. It’s the friggin Beatles White Album!

My favorite songs: Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cry Baby Cry, Helter Skelter, I Will, I’m So Tired, Revolution 1, Yer Blues, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey, Back In The USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Glass Onion.

Are all of the 30 songs up to the Beatle’s high standards? No, but more than enough are to make this a great double album.

Although the songs differ in style they all have that Beatles touch to them whether it be the hard Helter Skelter, country Rocky Raccoon, or even the fairytale-like Cry Baby Cry.

The sessions were not the happiest time for the band but they came up with the most eclectic batch of songs they ever produced.

 

  1. Back In The USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. Glass Onion
  4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  5. Wild Honey Pie
  6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
  7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  9. Martha My Dear
  10. I’m So Tired
  11. Blackbird
  12. Piggies
  13. Rocky Raccoon
  14. Don’t Pass Me By
  15. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
  16. I Will
  17. Julia
  18. Birthday
  19. Yer Blues
  20. Mother Nature’s Son
  21. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  22. Sexy Sadie
  23. Helter Skelter
  24. Long, Long, Long
  25. Revolution 1
  26. Honey Pie
  27. Savoy Truffle
  28. Cry Baby Cry
  29. Revolution 9
  30. Good Night

 

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Beatles – Bad Boy

Well, this rock and roll has got to stop
Junior’s head is hard as rock
Now junior, behave yourself

This song was written and originally recorded by Larry Williams, a black rock singer admired by John Lennon. The song is about a rebellious kid who loves rock and roll. The Beatles chose cover songs that fit them very well.

I really like Larry’s version of this also. His version is rooted in the fifties with rhythm and blues… With Lennon’s voice, the Beatles version makes it sound like an early garage rock/punk record.

This Larry Williams song didn’t get much traction in the charts when it was released in 1959 but the British bands were listening and covering this song. The Beatles covered three of his songs on albums… Slow Down, Bad Boy, and Dizzy Miss Lizzy.

One of the very good covers The Beatles did early on. Nice guitar and Lennon’s voice comes right at you. The song was included on the American Beatles album The Beatles VI. In the UK it wasn’t on an album until the release of A Collection of Beatles Oldies in 1966. It was released in December just as the Beatles were starting on Sgt Peppers. Having an Oldies album released only 4 years after you start recording is odd but it was perfect timing because they would never sound the same again.

 

Bad Boy

A bad little kid moved into my neighborhood
He won’t do nothing right just sitting down and look so good
He don’t want to go to school and learn to read and write
Just sits around the house and plays the rock and roll music all night
Well, he put some tacks on teachers chair
Puts chewing gum in little girl’s hair
Man, junior, behave yourself

Buy every rock and roll book on the magazine stand
Every dime that he get is lost to the jukebox man
Well, he worries his teacher till at night she’s ready to poop
From rocking and a-rolling spinning in a hula hoop
Well, this rock and roll has got to stop
Junior’s head is hard as rock
Now junior, behave yourself

Going tell your mama you better do what she said
Get to the barber shop and get that hair cut off your head
He took your canary and he fed it to the neighbors cat
He gave the cocker spaniel a bath in mother’s laundromat
Well, mama’s head has got to stop
Junior’s head is hard as rock
Now junior, behave yourself

 

 

George Harrison – When We Was Fab

I loved this song when I heard it. To hear George sing about his time with The Beatles surprised me. Of all the Beatles George seemed to have the most resentment and some of it was understandable. A few years after this he would join the remaining Beatles and start on The Beatles Anthology.

George co-wrote the song with Jeff Lynne, who also co-produced the album that shortly pre-dates the two of them forming The Traveling Wilburys. ‘When We Was Fab’ is a musical nod to the psychedelic sound that the Beatles had made their own. George used a sitar, string quartet, and backward tape effects.

This one peaked at #23 in the Billboard 100, #20 in Canada, and #25 in the UK.

He also got some help from Ringo. Starr played drums on this track and a few others on the album. Harrison says that when he started writing the song, he had Ringo’s drumming in mind for the intro and the overall tempo.

The album was Cloud Nine…it peaked at #8 in the Billboard Album Charts, #5 in Canada, #10 in the UK, and #27 in New Zealand.

 

From Songfacts

Harrison wrote this after the Beatles had split up. It’s about the days of Beatlemania, when the group was known as “The Fab 4.” It sounds very much like a Beatles song. 

Jeff Lynne, George’s bandmate from the superstar band The Traveling Wilburys and leader of The Electric Light Orchestra, produced this song and as well as the rest of this album. A huge Beatles fan, Jeff also appears briefly in the video for this song (look for the big afro). 

Harrison states in this song: “income tax was all we had.” Excessive taxation was a scourge for him – he wrote the Beatles song “Taxman” on the subject.

Gary Wright, who had a big hit with “Dream Weaver,” played piano on this track.

 

When We Was Fab

One! Two!
Back then long time ago when grass was green
Woke up in a daze
Arrived like strangers in the night
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab!)
Back when income tax was all we had
Caressers fleeced you in the morning light
Casualties at dawn
And we did it all
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot doo)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)
In my world you are my only love

And while you’re in this world
The fuzz gonna come and claim you
But you mo better wise
When the buzz gonna come and take you away
Take you away. Take you away

The microscopes that magnified the tears
Studied warts and all
Still the life flowed on and on
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)
Long time ago when we was fab (Fab)

But it’s all over now, baby blue
(Oo! doot, doot doot. Fab!)
Long time ago when we was fab
(Fab!) Like this pullover you sent me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot. Gear!)
And you really got a hold on me
(Fab! Doot, doot, doot, Gear!)

Astrid Kirchherr (1938-2020)

I read about Astrid when I was in 8th grade in the Hunter Davies book…how she took the best pictures of the Beatles before they were THE BEATLES. She became a fan and then influenced them in many ways. She brought her art friends with her to see them in Germany. From there… their hair, clothes, and style changed. It can honestly be said that without her and her friends the Beatles as we know them might not have existed.

Astrid passed away at the age of 81.

Historian Mark Lewisohn Tweeted about Astrid: “intelligent, inspirational, innovative, daring, artistic, awake, aware, beautiful, smart, loving and uplifting.” 

 

#RingoStarr
@ringostarrmusic
God bless Astrid a beautiful human being And she took great photos peace and love

Image

 

George Harrison
@GeorgeHarrison
Astrid is and was the sweetest woman, so thoughtful and kind and talented, with an eye to capture a soul. Our family loved her and none more than George. I am truly saddened but honoured to have known her. Olivia
ImageImage
Astrid Kirchherr, Beatles photographer and collaborator, dead at ...
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Legendary Beatles Photographer Astrid Kirchherr Has Passed Away ...

 

Beatles – Day Tripper

One of the greatest rock guitar riffs…this was credited to Lennon – McCartney and they both worked on it.

This was released as a double-A-sided single with “We Can Work It Out.” It peaked at #1 in the UK and #5 in the Billboard 100.

“We Can Work It Out” got more airplay in the US. In America, the single was released on the same day as the Rubber Soul album, although neither song was on that album. The Beatles were popular enough to support the output…they thought of releasing singles and albums as two different things. What other bands would not place both of these songs on their new album?

A great rock song that still sounds good today.

Paul McCartney: “That was a co-written effort; we were both there making it all up but I would give John the main credit. Probably the idea came from John because he sang the lead, but it was a close thing. We both put a lot of work in on it.”

John Lennon: “Day Trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferryboat or something. But the song was kind of – you’re just a weekend hippie. Get it?”

 

From Songfacts

John Lennon’s lyrics were his first overt reference to LSD in a Beatles song. The song can be seen as Lennon teasing Paul McCartney about not taking acid.

In 2004, Paul McCartney did an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper where he explained that drugs influenced many of The Beatles’ songs. He singled this one out as being about acid (LSD), but also said that people often overestimate the influence of drugs on their music.

The Beatles had some fun with the line, “She’s a big teaser,” which they jokingly worked up as “she’s a prick teaser.” In context with the next line, “She took me half the way there,” it’s pretty clear what’s going on. The group managed to slip in subtle sexual innuendo in a few of their songs, including “I’m Down” and “Please Please Me.”

A short promotional film of The Beatles lip-synching to this song was made for the TV special The Music Of Lennon and McCartney, which first aired December 17, 1965 in the UK. It was one of the first music videos. 

Jimi Hendrix sometimes covered this at his concerts.

James Taylor did a cover version on his album Flag

With a packed schedule and feverish demand for TV appearances, The Beatles made music videos for five on their songs, including this one, at a one-day shoot at Twickenham Film Studios in London on November 23, 1965. They did three different versions of “Day Tripper,” lip-synching the song while having fun with the set pieces.

Day Tripper

Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out
Got a good reason
For taking the easy way out now
She was a day tripper
One way ticket, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there
She’s a big teaser
She took me half the way there, now
She was a day tripper
One way ticket, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Tried to please her
She only played one night stand
Tried to please her
She only played one night stand, now
She was a day tripper
Sunday driver, yeah
It took me so long to find out
And I found out

Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah
Day tripper, day tripper, yeah

Muhammad Ali and reuniting the Beatles

Just think of the photographs snapped of Muhammad Ali and the Beatles. Put together they would reach the moon and back. Muhammad Ali was probably the most famous person in the world in the 20th century. Kids on remote islands in the middle of nowhere knew about Ali. The two were truly the greatest in their fields.

Muhammad Ali played with the idea of reuniting the Beatles in the 1970s.

The two culture icons would meet on February 18, 1964 right after the Beatles broke through America. The Beatles wanted to meet Sonny Liston because he was favored 7-1 to win the match between him and Ali but Sonny declined to meet them.

By all accounts, Ali had no idea who The Beatles were. But he welcomed the opportunity for some extra publicity with them. Although The Beatles fumed because the soon-to-be-new champ was late and kept them waiting, when he arrived he quickly broke the ice with his opening line, which has since been reported as either: “Hey, Beatles, let’s go make some money!”; or the equally memorable: “Hello there, Beatles! We oughta do some roadshows together. We’ll get rich!”

At one point, Ali used one of his favorite lines at the time, telling the Beatles: “You ain’t as dumb as you look!”

Lennon… but of course… shot back: “No. But you are!”

After a nervous silence…everyone started to laugh. Ali made up one of his rhymes.  “When Liston reads about The Beatles visiting me / He’ll get so mad, I’ll knock him out in three!” It actually took 6 rounds for Ali to win on February 25, 1964…Sonny wouldn’t return for the 7th.

Joel Sacher was attending the inauguration gala for President Jimmy Carter. He was there as a personal guest of Muhammad Ali, maybe the most recognizable man on the planet at the time. Ali and Sacher were meeting with one of the few men who was almost as recognizable Ali. They were talking to John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono, and while the conversation included plenty of nostalgia about meeting the Beatles in Miami long ago.

Ali was armed with a proposal, one that was the brainchild of Sacher and a business associate that had the potential to stun the world. They wanted to reunite The Beatles.

In 1976 inventor Alan Amron and businessman Joel Sacher partnered with Ali to promote The International Committee to Reunite the Beatles. They asked fans worldwide to contribute a dollar each. Ali said the idea was to use the proceeds to establish an international agency to help poor children. “This is money to help people all over the world”, he said. He added, “I love the music. I used to train to their music.” He said a reunion of the Beatles “would make a lot of people happy.”  The  Beatles were indifferent to the plan. No reunion happened.

Here is a PDF of a newspaper article describing Ali’s plan. It was a nice gesture. Ali and the Beatles.pdf

The International Committee to Reunite the Beatles released a single called “Get Back Beatles” and it was released by singer-songwriter Gerald Kenny.

The Beatles turned down big-time money in the seventies and didn’t reunite. Personally, I’m happy they didn’t…no way could they have lived up to people’s expectations.

The forgotten story of how Muhammad Ali and a Jersey guy tried to ...

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After Muhammad Ali died

 

Paul McCartney:

 “I loved that man. He was great from the first day we met him in Miami, and on the numerous occasions when I ran into him over the years. Besides being the greatest boxer, he was a beautiful, gentle man with a great sense of humor who would often pull a pack of cards out of his pocket, no matter how posh the occasion, and do a card trick for you.

Ringo Starr:

“I taught (Ali) everything he knew!” Starr said, before growing more – and less – serious. “That was a thrill, of course, and I was putting my money on Liston, so I really knew what was happening!”

Beatles – Something

This was released as a double A-side single with “Come Together.” It was the only song written by George Harrison released as a single by The Beatles. They had used some of his songs as B-sides, including “The Inner Light” and “Old Brown Shoe.”

The song was written about his then-wife Pattie Boyd. This song moved his songwriting abilities up… in the eyes of his bandmates Lennon and McCartney. George had written some very good songs before like Taxman, If I Needed Someone, and While My Guitar Gently Weeps but this one…this one placed him in another league. George had two of the highlights on the album wth Something and Here Comes The Sun.

Harrison wrote this during a break while they were working on The White Album. It was not recorded in time for the album, so Harrison gave this to Joe Cocker, but Cocker didn’t release it until after The Beatles did.

When I  saw Paul McCartney in 2014 he played this as a tribute to George Harrison. He played a version of this using a ukulele George had given him…and it made it really special.

Frank Sinatra called this “”the greatest love song of the past 50 years”.” He often performed it in the ’70s, at one point wrongly attributing it to Lennon and McCartney rather than Harrison.

With at least 200 cover versions on record, this is the second-most-covered Beatles song; only “Yesterday” has been covered more.

Harrison chastised McCartney for being too active with his bass lines in this song. In the past, Paul had sometimes been critical of George’s guitar playing on his songs. I have to say though…Paul did a great job on this song…his bass playing compliments the song.

From Songfacts

Pattie did inspire “Layla” when Eric Clapton realized he loved her a few years later. She and Clapton were married from 1979-1988 (he also wrote “Wonderful Tonight” for her).

In her 2007 book Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me, Pattie Boyd wrote: “George wrote a song called ‘Something.’ He told me in a matter-of-fact way that he had written it for me. I thought it was beautiful and it turned out to be the most successful song he ever wrote, with more than 150 cover versions. George’s favorite version was the one by James Brown. Mine was the one by George Harrison, which he played to me in our kitchen. But, in fact, by then our relationship was in trouble. Since a trip to the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India in 1968, George had become obsessive about meditation. He was also sometimes withdrawn and depressed.”

Harrison came up with the title and the first line after listening to a James Taylor song called “Something In The Way She Moves.” Taylor was signed to Apple Records (The Beatles’ label) at the time.

This is the only song on the Beatles 1 album that was not a #1 hit on its own in the US or UK. “Something” and “Come Together” spent one week at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart when the compilers of the chart changed its ranking method and stopped giving separate rankings for the two sides of a single. It was also gave Harrison representation among the 27 tracks. 

Harrison had the first line, “Something in the way she moves,” but had trouble coming up with the second. He considered “attracts me like a pomegranate,” before coming up with “attracts me like no other lover.”

This was used in a commercial for Chrysler cars in 1987.

John Lennon said that this was his favorite song on Abbey Road.

Harrison wrote this on a piano. The Beatles often composed and recorded separately at this time.

Harrison pictured Ray Charles on vocals when he wrote this. Charles did eventually cover it.

With 21 string players used in overdubs, this ended up being one of the most orchestral Beatles songs. This sound made it a staple of light rock radio and, in bowdlerized instrumental form, Muzak.

Before this was edited down, it contained a long instrumental tag at the end. 

Dave Grohl, a former member of Nirvana and leader of The Foo Fighters, recorded a tribute song to Harrison on the Foo’s first album called “Oh, George” based on the guitar lead to this. Harrison was Grohl’s favorite Beatle, and this was one of the first leads he learned to play on guitar.

Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and Dhani Harrison performed this song on the CBS special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America. The show featured Grammy-winning performers covering Beatles songs; it aired on February 9, 2014 – the 50th anniversary of the group’s first Ed Sullivan Show appearance.

Something

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You’re asking me will my love grow
I don’t know, I don’t know
You stick around and it may show
I don’t know, I don’t know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

 

John Lennon – Cold Turkey

Not the most pleasant song available from John but it does get your attention. I do like the guitar sound that John and Eric Clapton get in this song.

This song is about drug withdrawal. Quitting “Cold Turkey” means abruptly stopping drug use and the effect it has on your body and mind. John Lennon quit cold turkey because he wanted to get off drugs and start a family with Yoko.

John wanted to record this with the Beatles but they rejected it so he went off and recorded it on his own.

Eric Clapton and John played guitar on this, Ringo drummed, and Klaus Voormann played the bass, It was released as a single in 1969 as The Plastic Ono Band. The song peaked at #30 in the Billboard 100, #14 in the UK, and #30 in Canada.

This was Lennon’s second single away from The Beatles. “Give Peace A Chance” was released a few months earlier. This was also the first song John took complete credit for as he dropped the McCartney from Lennon and McCartney.

Its first public performance on September 13, 1969, was recorded and released on the Live Peace in Toronto 1969 album by the Plastic Ono Band.

John Lennon: “Cold Turkey was banned. They thought it was a pro-drugs song. But I’ve always expressed what I’ve been feeling or thinking at the time. So I was just writing the experience I’d had of withdrawing from heroin. To some it was a rock ‘n’ roll version of The Man With The Golden Arm because it showed Frank Sinatra suffering from drug withdrawal.”

From Songfacts

Lennon performed this on September 13, 1969 at The Toronto Rock and Revival Show, where he introduced his Plastic Ono Band (at least the configuration of it for this show). Eric Clapton was on guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass, and Alan White on drums. Yoko Ono was also part of the act, and she made an impact during “Cold Turkey.” As the song played, she emerged from a bag on stage, stepped up to a microphone, and made turkey-sounding noises (not out of character). The set was released as a live album called Live Peace In Toronto 1969.

Eric Clapton played some of the guitar on this. Lennon asked Clapton to join The Plastic Ono Band, but Eric declined.

Lennon wrote and recorded this song before attending Arthur Janov’s Primal Scream therapy workshop, which played a part in his song “Mother.” The screams he used in “Cold Turkey,” he was actually emulating Yoko singing.

When John Lennon decided to return his MBE (Member of the British Empire) award on November 25, 1969, he sent it to Queen Elizabeth II with a note explaining, “I am returning this MBE in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.”

Cold Turkey

Temperature’s rising
Fever is high
Can’t see no future
Can’t see no sky

My feet are so heavy
So is my head
I wish I was a baby
I wish I was dead

Cold turkey has got me on the run
My body is aching
Goose-pimple bone
Can’t see no body
Leave me alone

My eyes are wide open
Can’t get to sleep
One thing I’m sure of
I’m at the deep freeze

Cold turkey has got me on the run
Cold turkey has got me on the run

Thirty-six hours
Rolling in pain
Praying to someone
Free me again

Oh I’ll be a good boy
Please make me well
I promise you anything
Get me out of this hell

Cold turkey has got me on the run

Beatles – Tomorrow Never Knows

Turn off your mind relax and float down stream… 

Like “A Hard Day’s Night,” the title came from an expression Ringo Starr used. Ringo’s turn of the phrase took the edge off the heavy philosophical lyrics. Working titles for the song before Ringo gave them inspiration were “Mark I” and “The Void.”

It was on what perhaps is the greatest Beatle album…Revolver.

The inspiration for the song came from a book entitled “The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based On The Tibetan Book Of The Dead.” This book was published in August of 1964 by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner, and Richard Alpert

The Beatles made “tape loops”…short tapes of grandfather clocks, sitars, seagulls, laughter, and other things. They brought them to the studio and put them together at different speeds, played forward, and backward. That is what you hear at the beginning.

John wanted his voice to…sound like the Dalai Lama chanting from a mountaintop, miles away or like a group of Tibetan monks chanting on a mountain top. Well, that was impractical so John suggested they suspend him from a rope in the middle of the studio ceiling, put a mike in the middle of the floor, give him a push and he’d sing as he went around and around. They didn’t do that either but they ended up putting Lennon’s voice through a Leslie Speaker Cabinet (a rotating speaker cabinet) and that made John happy.

Tomorrow Never Knows was a great innovation. It opened the door to Sgt Pepper and was one of the great psychedelic rock songs.

John Lennon on LSD: “Leary was the one going round saying, ‘take it, take it, take it,’” Lennon remembered in 1980, “and we followed his instructions in his ‘how to take a trip’ book. I did it just like he said in the book, and then I wrote ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ which was almost the first acid song: ‘Lay down all thought, surrender to the void,’ and all that sh*t which Leary had pinched from ‘The Book Of The Dead.’”

From Songfacts

John Lennon wrote this, and described it as “my first psychedelic song.”

The book is a reinterpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead and a guide to understanding it through psychedelic drugs. Lennon would read it while tripping on LSD, and according to his biographer Albert Goldman, he recorded himself reading from the book, played it back while tripping on LSD, and wrote the song.

The most overt reference to the book is the line:

Turn off your mind
Relax and float downstream
It is not dying

The book states: “Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.”

To accompany the psychedelic imagery in Lennon’s lyric, each Beatle created strange sounds which were mixed in throughout the recording, often backward and in different speeds. Their producer, George Martin, was older and more experienced, but he allowed the group to experiment in the studio as much as they pleased.

The night before they recorded this song, Paul McCartney created 16 tape loops of guitar sounds and odd vocals that he brought in to the studio to create some of the effects. Several people remember standing around the room holding pencils for the tape to loop around and back into the recording machine as the various sound effects and instrumentation were faded in and out.

John Lennon used only one chord in this whole song, which creates a hypnotic feeling. For his vocals, he asked producer George Martin to make him sound like the Dali Lama.

Drugs influenced the creation of this song, but the Beatles recorded sober. “We would have the experiences and then bring that into the music later,” Ringo Starr explained.

George Harrison played a droning Indian instrument called a tambura on this track, which added an ethereal feel to the soundscape.

The musical break that comes in about a minute into this song consists mostly of guitars that were heavily processed. This wild passage makes use of just about every studio trick at their disposal, including passing from one channel to the other. Those listening in mono (often in cars) didn’t get the full experience.

This was the first track recorded for the Revolver album, but the last one on the tracklist.

On May 6, 2012, this song was featured in an episode of the popular American TV series Mad Men. The episode was set in 1966, and part of the plot was the ad agency in the show helping a client capitalize on Beatlemania. This was a big deal, since Beatles songs are very rarely licensed for TV shows – at least in their original versions. Cover versions and performances (think American Idol) show up from time to time, since those just have to be approved by Sony/ATV, which owns the publishing rights. Getting permission to use an actual Beatles recording requires permission from Apple Corp, which is controlled by The Beatles and their heirs.

The Wall Street Journal reported the payment for the song at $250,000, and that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner had to reveal to Apple exactly how the song would be used, which was a big deal since he is very secretive about scripts. In the episode, the main character Don Draper has trouble adapting to changing musical times. He plays this song to see what all the fuss is about, and after a character-developing montage while the song is playing, he switches it off. The song then comes back to play over the closing credits.

Phil Collins covered this on his debut solo album, Face Value, in 1981, using synthesizers to create many of the unusual sounds. Like The Beatles did on Revolver, Collins used it to close the album. 

Our Lady Peace remade this song for the soundtrack to the movie The Craft. It’s played during the opening credits. 

Oasis pays tribute to this song in “Morning Glory” with the line:

Walking to the sound of my favorite tune
Tomorrow never knows what it doesn’t know too soon

The Beatles were a huge influence on Oasis.

This song is featured on the 2006 Beatles album Love (a soundtrack to the Cirque du Soleil show based on their music) remixed with “Within You Without You.” 

Tomorrow Never Knows

Turn off your mind relax and float down stream
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void
It is shining, it is shining

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being

Love is all and love is everyone
It is knowing, it is knowing

And ignorance and hate mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing

But listen to the colour of your dreams
It is not leaving, it is not leaving

So play the game “Existence” to the end
Of the beginning, of the beginning