Beatles – A Day In The Life

When asked what my favorite Beatle song is…It usually depends on what Beatle mood I’m in…early, middle or late…but this one is always near the top. While writing this I found out a strange thing that happened…The Royal Albert Hall was furious about the lyrics…down below on the page is more information.

The beginning of this song was based on two stories John Lennon read about in the Daily Mail newspaper. Guinness heir Tara Browne dying when he smashed his Lotus into a parked van, and an article in the UK Daily Express in early 1967 which told of how the Blackburn Roads Surveyor had counted 4000 holes in the roads of Blackburn and commented that the volume of material needed to fill them in was enough to fill the Albert Hall.

McCartney contributed the line “I’d love to turn you on.” This was a drug reference, but the BBC banned it because of another section, which they assumed was about marijuana…that guaranteed it would be huge.

George Martin once said he got chills listening to John’s voice in this song. I can relate to that.

In 2005 Q magazine ranked A Day In The Life as the number 1 British song of all time.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4235010.stm

1. A Day In The Life – The Beatles
2. Waterloo Sunset – The Kinks
3. Wonderwall – Oasis
4. God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols
5. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
6. My Generation – The Who
7. Angels – Robbie Williams
8. Life on Mars? – David Bowie
9. Sympathy For The Devil – Rolling Stones
10. Unfinished Sympathy – Massive Attack
Something I didn’t know is that the Royal Albert Hall was furious over the lyric
I read the news today oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
They wrote this letter to Brian Epstein after Brian sent them a copy of the album.
And John’s reply back!
The Albert Hall banned any performance of the song by anyone. The below link tells the story.

 

From Songfacts

A 41-piece orchestra played on this song. The musicians were told to attend the session dressed formally. When they got there, they were presented with party novelties (false noses, party hats, gorilla-paw glove) to wear, which made it clear this was not going to be a typical session. The orchestra was conducted by Paul McCartney, who told them to start with the lowest note of their instruments and gradually play to the highest. >>

This was recorded in three sessions: First the basic track, then the orchestra, then the last note was dubbed in.

Regarding the article about Tara Browne, John Lennon stated: “I didn’t copy the accident. Tara didn’t blow his mind out. But it was in my mind when I was writing that verse.” At the time, Paul didn’t realize the reference was to Tara. He thought it was about a “stoned politician.” The article regarding the “4000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” was taken from the UK Daily Express, January 17, 1967 in a column called “Far And Near.”

John’s friend Terry Doran was the one who completed John’s line, “Now they know how many holes it takes to fill…” Terry told him “fill the Albert Hall, John.”

The ban was finally lifted when author David Storey picked it as one of his Desert Island Discs.

Speaking with GQ in 2018, Paul McCartney explained this song’s origin story: “‘A Day In The Life’ was a song that John had started. He had the first verse, and this often happened: one of us would have a little bit of an idea and instead of sitting down and sweating it, we’d just bring it to the other one and kind of finish it together, because you could ping-pong – you’d get an idea. So he had the first verse: ‘I read the news today oh boy,’ and we sat in my music room in London and just started playing around with it, got a second verse, and then we got to what was going to lead into the middle. We kind of looked at each other and knew we were being a little bit edgy where we ‘I’d love to turn you on.’ We knew that would have an effect.

It worked. And then we put on another section I had: ‘Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head.’ Then we finished the song up and did a big sort of epic recording of it with a big full orchestra and everything. And then did that crescendo thing in the middle of it with the orchestra, which was an idea I’d had because I’d been talking to people and reading about avant-garde music, tonal stuff and crazy ideas. I came up with this idea. I said to the orchestra, ‘You should start, all of you.’ And they sat all looking at me puzzled. We’ve got a real symphony orchestra in London who are used to playing Beethoven, and here’s me, this crazy guy out of a group and I’m saying, ‘Everyone start on the lowest note your instrument can play and work your way up to the highest at your own pace.’ That was too puzzling for them, and orchestras don’t like that kind of thing. They like it written down and they like to know exactly what they’re supposed to do. So George Martin, the producer, said to the people, ‘You should leave this note and this point in the song, and then you should go to this note and this note,’ and he left the random thing, so that’s why it sounds like a chaotic sort of swirl. That was an idea based on the avant-garde stuff I was into at the time.”

The final chord was produced by all four Beatles and George Martin banging on three pianos simultaneously. As the sound diminished, the engineer boosted to faders. The resulting note lasts 42 seconds; the studio air conditioners can be heard toward the end as the faders were pushed to the limit to record it.

The rising orchestra-glissando and the thundering sound are reminiscent of “Entry of the Gods into Valhalla” from Richard Wagner’s opera “Das Rheingold,” where after the rising glissando, Thor beats with his hammer. George Martin said in his 1979 book All You Need is Ears that the glissando was Lennon’s idea. After Lennon’s death, Martin seems to have changed his mind. In his 1995 book Summer of Love: The Making of Sgt. Pepper, he states that the rising orchestra-glissando was McCartney’s idea. >>

This being the last song on the album, The Beatles found an interesting way to close it out. After the final note, Lennon had producer George Martin dub in a high pitched tone, which most humans can’t hear, but drives dogs crazy. This was followed by a loop of incomprehensible studio noise, along with Paul McCartney saying, “Never could see any other way,” all spliced together. It was put there so vinyl copies would play this continuously in the run-out groove, sounding like something went horribly wrong with the record. Another good reason to own vinyl.

In 2004, McCartney did an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper where he said he was doing cocaine around this time along with marijuana. “I’d been introduced to it, and at first it seemed OK, like anything that’s new and stimulating,” he said. “When you start working your way through it, you start thinking, ‘This is not so cool and idea,’ especially when you start getting those terrible comedowns.”

The movie reference in the lyrics (“I saw a film today, oh boy. The English Army had just won the war”) is to a film John Lennon acted in called How I Won The War.

McCartney’s middle section (woke up, got out of bed…) was intended for another song.

The Beatles started this with the working title “In The Life of…”

This is a rare Beatles song with a title that is not part of the lyrics. Another one is “Yer Blues.” 

That’s Mal Evans doing the counting during the first transition from John to Paul. He set the alarm clock (heard on the recording) to go off at the end of his 24-bar count. Evans also helped with the composition of a couple of songs on the Sgt. Pepper album. Although he never received composer’s credit, the Beatles did pay his estate a lump sum in the 1990s for his contributions. Evans died January 5, 1976 after a misunderstanding with the police. 

George Martin (from Q Magazine, July 2007): “John’s voice – which he hated – was the kind of thing that would send shivers down your spine. If you hear those opening chords with the guitar and piano, and then his voice comes in, ‘I heard the news today, oh boy’ It’s just so evocative of that time. He always played his songs to me on the guitar and I would sit on a stool as he strummed. The orchestral section was Paul’s idea. We put two pieces of songs together that weren’t connected in any way. Then we had that 24-bars-of-nothing in between. I had to write a score, but in the climax, I gave each instrument different little waypoints at each bar, so they would know roughly where they should be when they were sliding up. Just so they didn’t reach the climax too quickly. With ‘A Day In The Life,’ I wondered whether we were losing our audience and I was scared. But I stopped being scared when I played it to the head of Capitol Records in America and he was gob smacked. He said, That’s fantastic. And of course, it was.”

In the original take, the 41-piece orchestra was not used. Instead, Lennon had roadie Mal Evans count to 21 in a very trippy manner and set off an alarm clock after the 21 counts. This version is on the second Anthology CD, and is very different than the one on Sgt. Pepper

David Crosby was at Abbey Road studios when The Beatles were recording this. In an interview with Filter magazine, he said: “I was, as near as I know, the first human being besides them and George Martin and the engineers to hear ‘A Day In The Life.’ I was high as a kite – so high I was hunting geese with a rake. They sat me down; they had huge speakers like coffins with wheels on that they rolled up on either side of the stool. By the time it got the end of that piano chord, man my brains were on the floor.” 

The orchestral bit was used in the Yellow Submarine movie. Photos of different geographical areas were shown as The Beatles were apparently traveling in the submarine to try and find Pepperland.

When asked by Rolling Stone magazine what songs of his dad’s constantly surprise him, Sean Lennon said: “I’ve listened so much to that stuff that there are very few surprises. But I do think ‘A Day In The Life’ is always inspiring.”

The American rock band Hawthorne Heights originally named themselves A Day in the Life after this song. In 2003, lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist JT Woodruff changed it to their current name.

On June 18, 2010 John Lennon’s handwritten lyric sheet for this song featuring corrections and alternate crossed-out lines was auctioned at New York Sotheby’s. It was sold for $1.2 million to an anonymous American buyer.

This was rated the greatest ever Beatles song in a special collector’s edition issue by The Beatles: 100 Greatest Songs. The list was compiled to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Fab Four’s final studio album, Let It Be.

There is term for the techniques The Beatles used in arranging the final chords of this song: Deceptive Cadence. Glen Burtnik, who was a member of Styx and was also in a popular Beatles tribute band, told us: “It’s an instance where the listener assumes the next chord, or melody note, will go somewhere it doesn’t. Even though all the indications lead you to expecting a certain outcome, the writer/arranger intentionally surprises you by going someplace else musically. Not sure it’s simple to understand, as you’re conditioned to being used to the outcome.”

Peter Asher, who worked for The Beatles at Apple Records and produced the biggest hits of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, considers this the greatest Beatles song from a production standpoint. “‘A Day In The Life’ certainly combined Beatle ideas and George Martin ideas very effectively,” he told Songfacts.

Keith Richards named his second son Tara after Tara Brown, the Guinness heir who smashes his car in Lennon’s first verse. Richard’s son was premature and died soon after birth.

A Day In The Life

I read the news today oh boy
About a lucky man who made the grade
And though the news was rather sad
Well I just had to laugh

I saw the photograph
He blew his mind out in a car
He didn’t notice that the lights had changed
A crowd of people stood and stared
They’d seen his face before
Nobody was really sure
If he was from the House of Lords

I saw a film today oh boy
The English army had just won the war
A crowd of people turned away
But I just had to look
Having read the book
I’d love to turn you on

Woke up, fell out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs and drank a cup
And looking up I noticed I was late
Found my coat and grabbed my hat
Made the bus in seconds flat
Found my way upstairs and had a smoke
Somebody spoke and I went into a dream

I read the news today oh boy
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
And though the holes were rather small
They had to count them all
Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall
I’d love to turn you on

Buddy Holly – Oh, Boy!

This was recorded June 29-July 1, 1957 at Petty Studios in Clovis, New Mexico. Oh Boy was written by Sunny West, Bill Tilghman, and Norman Petty. Norman was Holly’s producer and owned the studio where this was recorded.

This song played live is very powerful along with Buddy’s other songs. In the 90s I saw a musical play called Buddy that was touring the country. In the musical, there was just “Buddy”, a bass player and a drummer and the songs exploded off the stage. Buddy arranged these songs to sound so big with just a few instruments.

This rocker is a simple song but there is so much going on in the background. From the Crickets backups to the pounding drums of Jerry Allison. Buddy’s Strat comes through clear as he plays against the drums.

The song peaked at #19 in the US Hot 100 and #3 in the UK. This song was paired with the “b” side Not Fade Away…which later became very popular when the Rolling Stones covered it in 1964.

From Songfacts

Background vocals were added later by The Picks (Bill & John Pickering, Bob Lapham).

This was released as a single with “Not Fade Away” as the B-side. While this song did fade away, the B-side has become one of Holly’s well-known songs. It got a boost when it was covered by The Rolling Stones in 1964.

This was credited to The Crickets, who were Holly’s band.

Holly and The Crickets performed this on their second and final Ed Sullivan Show appearance on January 26, 1958. Sullivan was not happy with the song selection, as he considered it too raunchy, but Holly insisted on performing it. Possibly in retaliation, Sullivan introduced him as “Buddy Hollet,” and Holly can be seen trying to turn up his guitar, which had been set too low. While most musical guests were given 2 songs, Holly got just the one. 

Buick spun this into the jingle “Oh, Buick!” for a 1987 commercial.

Oh Boy

All of my love
All of my kissin’
You don’t know what you’ve been a-missin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

All of my life
I’ve been a-waitin’
Tonight there’ll be no, hesitatin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

Stars appear and shadows a-falling
You can hear my heart a-calling
A little bit a-lovin’ makes everything right
And I’m gonna see my baby tonight

All of my love
All of my kissin’
You don’t know what you’ve been a-missin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

All of my love
All of my kissin’
You don’t know what you’ve been a-missin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

All of my life
I’ve been a-waitin’
Tonight there’ll be no, hesitatin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

Stars appear and shadows a-falling
You can hear my heart a-calling
A little bit a-lovin’ makes everything right
I’m gonna see my baby tonight

All of my love
All of my kissin’
You don’t know what you’ve been a-missin’
Oh boy, when you’re with me
Oh boy, the world can see
That you, were meant, for me

Powerpop Friday – Big Star – In The Street

Most people today know this song as the theme to That 70s Show. They never used Big Star’s version for some reason. Todd Griffin covered it the first season and by the second season, Cheap Trick’s version was used. Big Star’s drummer Jody Stephens said, “I don’t know if the general population even knows that Big Star had anything to do with it.” …that is unfortunately true. The general population doesn’t know Big Star which is a crime.

The song was on their great debut album named #1 Record which was released in August of 1972. Billboard went as far as to say, “Every cut could be a single”On the picture above it says “Distributed by Stax Records”…unfortunately it WASN’T… They did a tour and no one could find the album because many record stores didn’t have it. Stax was not equipped to distribute rock records.

By the second album, this was going to be resolved. Columbia was gonna distribute Stax, and then they would have got Big Star into big-box retail outlets. But what happened was Clive Davis, who’s huge in the music world, was the one who brokered that deal… and then he was fired. So the whole thing fell apart after that. America lost out on one of the best bands it ever produced. I would recommend to anyone the documentary on Big Star called…Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me

The song has a great riff and wonderful teenage seventies lyrics.

 

From Songfacts

Stephens played in a band called Golden Smog with Jeff Tweedy, and when Tweedy’s band Wilco came to Memphis, Jody sat in with the group. “We played ‘In The Street’ together – I sat in on drums and Glenn Kotche played the cowbell part and John Stirratt sang lead,” he recounts. “My wife was in the audience and she said when we started playing ‘In The Street,’ somebody sitting in back of her said, ‘Why are they playing That ’70s Show song?'”

In what he described as “ironic” in a 2000 Rolling Stone interview, Alex Chilton received $70 in royalty payments every time That ’70s Show was broadcast.

Cheap Trick’s cover features the lyrics “We’re all all right,” an allusion to their 1978 hit “Surrender” from the album Heaven Tonight. Perhaps a chirpy re-interpretation to suit a primetime network sitcom, the inclusion undermines the ambiguity of the original, which evokes adolescent boredom without either romanticizing or condemning it.

This ambiguity is perfectly encapsulated in the lyric, “wish we had a joint so bad” (also absent from the theme tune, although pot smoking was a recurring theme on the show), the double meaning of which can be read as meaning the protagonist’s craving to get high or for a place to go with his friends. There is certainly a theme of being disposed that runs throughout the deceptively simple lyrics, which is juxtaposed with the major key Power-Pop music.

Chilton has said that along with “When My Baby’s Beside Me,” “In The Street” is the best song he ever wrote

In The Street

Hanging out, down the street
The same old thing we did last week
Not a thing to do
But talk to you

Steal your car, and bring it down
Pick me up, we’ll drive around
Wish we had
A joint so bad

Pass the street light
Out past midnight

Hanging out, down the street
The same old thing we did last week
Not a thing to do
But talk to you

Rascals – Beautiful Morning

This was the first of the group’s singles to be credited to “The Rascals,” the original name of the group, rather than “The Young Rascals” which their producer had them take in order to avoid confusion from listeners with another group “The Harmonica Rascals.”

This song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 in 1968. Beautiful Morning was written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati. The Rascals don’t get talked about as much as some of their peers… which is a shame…they were a great singles band.  The band had 18 songs in the Billboard 100, 3 number 1 hits and 6 top ten hits. The Rascals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on May 6, 1997.

From Songfacts

Written by band members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, this is an upbeat, optimistic song similar in theme to their 1967 hit “Groovin’.” While the late ’60s were a tumultuous time in America and a lot of the music dealt with social and political issues of the time, The Rascals provided hopeful songs that were a welcome relief for many listeners.

Beautiful Morning

It’s a beautiful mornin’, ah
I think I’ll go outside a while
And just smile
Just take in some clean fresh air, boy!
Ain’t no sense in stayin’ inside
If the weather’s fine, and you got the time
It’s your chance to wake up and plan another brand new day
Either way
It’s a beautiful mornin’, ah
Each bird keeps singin’ his own song
So long!
I’ve got to be on my way now
Ain’t no fun just hangin’ around
I’ve got to cover ground; you couldn’t keep me down
It just ain’t no good if the sun shines
When you’re still inside
Shouldn’t hide, still inside, shouldn’t hide
Ah, oh! (Shouldn’t hide) Ah, ah, oh

(Doo, doo-wa) (Doo, doo-wa)

There will be children with robins and flowers
Sunshine caresses each new waking hour
Seems to me that the people keep seeing
More and more each day; gotta say, lead the way
It’s okay, Wednesday, Thursday, it’s okay
(Ah) Monday, Wednesday, Friday, weekday, ah, ah, oh

(Doo, doo-wa)

Ah, ah, oh, oh (do, doo-wa)
Woo, ooo, ooo, oh, oh, oh, ah, woo, doo-wa
Oh, oh, oh, oh

John Lennon – Working Class Hero

This song was a favorite of mine of John Lennon when I was younger. He took some flak about this one and Imagine when it came to being a Working Class Hero and having all of his possessions. His answer was

“What would you suggest I do? Give everything away and walk the streets? The Buddhist says, “Get rid of the possessions of the mind.” Walking away from all the money would not accomplish that. It’s like the Beatles. I couldn’t walk away from the Beatles. That’s one possession that’s still tagging along, right?”

When I was 18 this song was a powerful one to listen to…It still is…For me, the song was about the differences between the social classes. How some could be exploited and how people use ideologies to justify manipulating people. The song was on John’s debut album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.

Boston’s WBCN banned the song for its use of the word “f_ _king”.In Australia, the album was released with the expletive removed from the song and the lyrics censored on the inner sleeve.

From Songfacts

This song caused a fair amount of controversy for John Lennon, as his detractors pointed out that he was raised in an upper-middle-class home by his aunt and had no right to call himself a working-class hero. In an interview with Rolling Stone just three days before his death, Lennon explained: “The thing about the ‘Working Class Hero’ song that nobody ever got right was that it was supposed to be sardonic – it had nothing to do with socialism, it had to do with ‘If you want to go through that trip, you’ll get up to where I am, and this is what you’ll be.’ Because I’ve been successful as an artist, and have been happy and unhappy, and I’ve been unknown in Liverpool or Hamburg and been happy and unhappy.”

The final take as it appears on the album is actually a composite of two different performances done at two different studios. If you listen carefully (it might require headphones) you can clearly hear the sound of the guitar and vocals change where the edit was made about halfway through the song. 

The word f–king appears twice in the lyrics. On the printed lyrics that came with the album, the word was obscured.

Why did Lennon curse in the song? Yoko Ono explained in a 1998 interview with Uncut: “He told me, ‘That’s part of being working class. It won’t be working class if what you say is all very clean and very proper.”

The line, “If you want to be like the folks on the hill” is a reference to the Beatles song “The Fool On The Hill.”

Green Day recorded this for the benefit album Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur, and they also performed the song on the 2007 season finale of American Idol. In their version, the last two lines are from the original John Lennon song – John sings them. 

Lennon told the January 1971 edition of Rolling Stone about this song: “I think its concept is revolutionary, and I hope it’s for workers and not for tarts and fags. I hope it’s what “Give Peace A Chance” was about, but I don’t know. On the other hand, it might just be ignored. I think it’s for the people like me who are working class – whatever, upper or lower – who are supposed to be processed into the middle classes, through the machinery, that’s all. It’s my experience, and I hope it’s just a warning to people. I’m saying it’s a revolutionary song; not the song itself but that it’s a song for the revolution.”

This song seemed to resist all Lennon’s efforts to record a satisfactory vocal. Tape op Andy Stephens recalled to Uncut magazine August 2010 that he watched the former Beatle obsess about it day after day, singing “an endless number of takes… well over 100.. Probably 120, 130.”

Stephens added that Lennon became more frustrated as each take passed. “If the mix in his headphones wasn’t exactly what he wanted, he would take them off and slam them into the wall,” he recalled. “he wouldn’t say, ‘Can I have a bit more guitar?’ He would literally rip the cans off his head and smash them into the wall, then walk out of the studio.”

Working Class Hero

As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
Till you’re so f_ _king crazy you can’t follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still f_ _king peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be

There’s room at the top they’re telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Oasis – Wonderwall

This song is awash in sixties influence…which isn’t surprising by Oasis. It caught my attention in the 90s seeing that it had a mod mid-sixties influence. The song peaked at #8 in the Billboard 100 and #2 in the UK in 1996.

This song was supposedly about Noel Gallagher’s then-girlfriend Meg Mathews, who is compared with a schoolboy’s wall to which posters of footballers and Popstars are attached. He said: “It’s about my girlfriend. She was out of work, and that, a bit down on her luck, so it’s just saying, ‘Cheer up and f—in get on with it.'” Noel later married then divorced Meg Mathews.

Noel also said… “The meaning of that song was taken away from me by the media who jumped on it. And how do you tell your Mrs. it’s not about her once she’s read it is? It’s about an imaginary friend who’s going to come and save you from yourself.”

 

 

From Songfacts

The music is based on Wonderwall Music, an instrumental album George Harrison wrote for the movie Wonderwall in 1968. This was the first solo album released by any of The Beatles.

The concept of the “Wonderwall” is based on a ’60s film called Wonderwall – from Psychedelia to Surrealism, starring Jane Birkin. She lives next door to a man who becomes fascinated with her,so he slowly makes holes in his wall so he can watch her through it. This is the “Wonderwall.” Warning: this movie is supposedly terrible.

In 2002, the British army produced a recruitment video that used this under footage of soldiers conducting exercises. The producers of the video didn’t realize they needed permission to use the song, and when Oasis denied, they had to recall all the videos.

The album is the second-best-selling in British history. The best selling album in UK history is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. 

This was the first single Oasis released in the US, and is their biggest hit in that country. >>

Initially, Noel wanted to sing this song, but he gave his brother Liam Gallagher the choice, and Noel ended up singing “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”

What sounds like a cello was played on a Mellotron tape-playback keyboard, although the video features shows someone playing the cello.

At live shows Noel plays his acoustic guitar on a Fender Telecaster. It’s one of the few songs where he uses a Fender guitar rather than a Gibson.

The opening track of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory is the track “Hello,” which starts off with the opening riff of “Wonderwall” playing extremely quietly; this stops once the guitar noise comes in.

The original title was “Wishing Stone.”

In an interview conducted in Australia around the time of the release of Be Here Now, when asked which 3 songs he would like to be remembered for, Noel immediately responded with “Live Forever” and “Wonderwall” and then proceeded to list several others, including “Champagne Supernova,” “Magic Pie” and “Cigarettes & Alcohol.”

At the very end of the song, the intro to “Supersonic” can be faintly heard being played on acoustic guitar.

Radiohead recorded a bootleg cover of the song in which Thom Yorke sings many incorrect lyrics and cuts out mid-chorus when a background voice says, “Is this abysmal or what? It’s always good to make fun of Oasis.” 

This was prevented from reaching #1 in the UK by Robson & Jerome’s Double A-side, “I Believe”and “Up On The Roof.”

The song’s music promo won the Best Video at the 1996 Brit Awards.

Jay-Z opened his set at the Glastonbury Festival in 2008 by singing a few minutes of this song – quite poorly. The famous UK festival was known for rock acts, so having Jay-Z perform stirred things up. After Noel Gallagher made public remarks taking issue with a rapper’s invitation to the festival, Jay responded with the on-stage mockery of “Wonderwall.”

The It’s a Shame About Ray episode of the HBO series Girls closed with Lena Dunham’s character Hannah singing this song in her bathtub, followed by a segue into Oasis’ original version. The day after its original broadcast on February 2, 2013, the tune re-entered Billboard’s Rock Digital Songs at #50.

This was voted #1 on the state-funded Triple J youth network’s “Hottest 100” countdown of the best songs released between Jan. 1, 1993, and Dec. 31, 2012. The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” was runner-up. More than 940,000 votes were cast for the poll, which was held to celebrate two decades of Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown. “Wonderwall” previously topped the annual “Hottest 100” in 1995, a time when Oasis were at the peak of their powers.

Noel on the song’s drum placement (The Art of Noise: Conversations with Great Songwriters by Daniel Rachel): “I write songs purely for feel. Like the drums coming in on ‘Wonderwall’: people were going, ‘Why have they come in there, it’s an eighth of a bar too early?’ ‘What’s an eighth of a bar?’ I struggle to understand people’s perceptions. It comes in there because to me that’s where it sounds right to. ‘That’s wrong.’ I’m like, ‘Wrong to who? How can it be wrong?'”

This topped a 2016 survey commissioned by the website Sunfly Karaoke ahead of Father’s Day to find the favorite karaoke songs of dads around the UK. The song narrowly beat Blur’s “Parklife,” which came second in the poll.

Ryan Adams covered the song for his 2004 Love is Hell album. His version was supposed to be an inside joke with his then girlfriend, with whom he would debate the merits of Oasis vs Blur, but Adams managed to put a much darker spin on the song. He told Uncut: 

“It occurred to me that I was singing it from the perspective of someone in danger of committing suicide. That’s not what I was thinking about when I first did it, but it did have a different meaning. It’s someone saying, you’re my last hope. 

But in the second verse, that hope it’s not happening, and I’m singing like that person would sing if that’s the last thing they’re ever going to sing. That’s how I feel in that moment. It’s not a perversion to tap into these those things. I can let my body sing this way and let my mind go there, and I can feel all those things because they’ve been real things in my life at some point.”

Wonderwall

Today is gonna be the day
That they’re gonna throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you gotta do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do, about you now

Back beat, the word was on the street
That the fire in your heart is out
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before
But you never really had a doubt
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do about you now

And all the roads we have to walk are winding
And all the lights that lead us there are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how

Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

Today was gonna be the day
But they’ll never throw it back to you
By now you should’ve somehow
Realized what you’re not to do
I don’t believe that anybody
Feels the way I do, about you now

And all the roads that lead you there are winding
And all the lights that light the way are blinding
There are many things that I
Would like to say to you but I don’t know how

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
And after all, you’re my wonderwall

I said maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
You’re gonna be the one that saves me
You’re gonna be the one that saves me

Jimmy Ruffin – What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

Jimmy Ruffin was the brother of then Temptation David Ruffin. This was written by Motown writers Jimmy Dean, Paul Riser, and William Witherspoon. They wrote it for The Detroit Spinners, but Ruffin convinced the Motown writers to let him try it, and they liked what they heard.

I think Motown has been the soundtrack to more breakups than anyone else. This song peaked at #7 in the Billboard 100 in 1966. The great Smokey Robinson produced this track. He worked on many Motown classics as an artist, writer, and producer. This would be Jimmy’s biggest hit of his career.

From Songfacts

Many Motown songs deal with heartbreak, but this one is especially bleak. The poor guy has recently joined the ranks of the brokenhearted, and he’s not sure what happens next. He knows he can’t take the pain much longer, but keeps coming up empty in his search.

Originally, this contained a spoken intro:

A world filled with love is a wonderful sight
Being in love is one’s heart’s delight
But that look of love isn’t on my face
That enchanted feeling has been replaced

It was cut out before the song was released, but the version with the intro did appear on a British compilation which also included Ruffin’s version of the song in Italian (“Se Decidi Cosi”).

Other Motown acts to record this song include Diana Ross and The Supremes, who did a cover of this for their album Let the Sunshine In, and The Contours, who did it at a faster tempo. Both of these versions contain the spoken intro.

In the UK, this charted at #10 when it was first released in 1966, but make #4 when it was re-released in 1974.

Dave Stewart (not the one from Eurythmics) released a keyboard-driven version of this song in 1980 with Colin Blunstone of The Zombies on vocals. This rendition, which had Amanda Parsons and Jakko on backing vocals, made #13 UK.

The British duo Robson & Jerome took this song to #1 in the UK when they released it as a single along with covers of “Saturday Night At The Movies” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”

Vonda Shepard recorded this for an episode of the TV series Ally McBeal.

The Isley Brothers recorded a version entitled “Smile” that is the same exact backing track with different lyrics and phrasing. It can be found on the Motown Sings Motown Treasures album. 

Paul Young recorded this for the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes. His version went to #1 on the US Adult Contemporary charts and made #22 on the Hot 100 (the only version besides Ruffin’s to make this chart).

On an episode of the TV series JAG, Col. MacKenzie plays the song on a jukebox in a bar, lamenting her breakup with Mick, the Australian naval officer. Mac, Bud (who was having romantic issues with Harriet) and Lt. Rabb (who just broke up with girl friend) are all sitting at the bar singing along with the song unaware of the others’ romantic issues.

The theme song from the 1992 Whitney Houston film The Bodyguard was Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You,” but according to her leading man Kevin Costner speaking at her funeral in February 2012, the first choice was this song, which ended up being used in Fried Green Tomatoes (the Paul Young version).

 

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

A world filled with love is a wonderful sight
Being in love is what’s heart’s delight
But that look of love isn’t on my face
That enchanted feeling has been replaced
As I walk this land of broken dreams
I have visions of many things
But happiness is just an illusion
Filled with sadness and confusion
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Maybe,
The fruits of love grow all around
But for me they come a tumblin’ down
Everyday heartaches grow a little stronger
I can’t stand this pain much longer
I walk in shadows, searching for light
Cold and alone, no comfort in sight
Hoping and prayin’ for someone who care
Always movin’ and goin’ nowhere
What becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
Help me, please
I’m searching though I don’t succeed
But someone look
There’s a growing need
Oh, he is lost, there’s no place for beginning
All that’s left is an unhappy ending
Now what becomes of the broken-hearted
Who had love that’s now departed?
I know I’ve got to find
Some kind of peace of mind
I’ll be searching everywhere
Just to find someone to care
I’ll be looking everyday
I know I’ve got to find a way
Nothing’s gonna stop me now
I’ll find a way somehow
I’ll be searching everywhere