The Beatles – The Inner Light

This song was the B side to Lady Madonna and a terrific song and melody. This is a George Harrison song and has gone largely unnoticed. It was George’s first song to appear on a single.

Harrison recorded the instrumental track for The Inner Light in India in January 1968, during the sessions for his Wonderwall Music soundtrack album. The only Beatles studio recording to be made outside Europe, the song introduced instruments such as sarod, shehnai, and pakhavaj.

George was reluctant to sing it because he was afraid he would not do it justice. Paul told him ‘You must have a go, don’t worry about it, it’s good.” McCartney and Lennon coaxed George into singing it. Two days later, McCartney and Lennon overdubbed backing vocals at the very end of the song, over the words “Do all without doing“.

George said about the song: : “Following John and I’s appearance on ‘The Frost Programme,’ the Sanskrit scholar Juan Mascaro, who was present in the audience, wrote a complimentary letter to me praising ‘Within You Without You.'” Juan’s letter stated: “It is a moving song. May it move the souls of millions.” George continues: “He also sent me a book called ‘Lamps Of Fire,’ suggesting that I wrote a song with the words of “Tao Te Ching.’  The words of ‘The Inner Light’ came from that book, page 66, 48a.”

“The Inner Light” finally appeared on an album called Rarities (released in the UK in 1978 and the US in 1980, and then the Past Masters CDs released in 1987.

Paul McCartney’s quote on the song… Forget the Indian music and listen to the melody. Don’t you think it’s a beautiful melody? It’s really lovely.

From Songfacts

George Harrison wrote this song. It was released as the B-side of “Lady Madonna” and was Harrison’s first song to appear on a single.

All the music was recorded by Indian session musicians at the EMI studios in Bombay, India, while George was working on the soundtrack to the movie Wonderwall.

George Harrison had originally recorded this for the Wonderwall soundtrack in January 1968. When The Beatles got together for recording sessions shortly before their trip to India, John and Paul added harmonies to the final line, “Do all without doing.” 

The lyrics are a translation of a section of the Tao Te Ching. Juan Mascaro, a Sanskrit teacher at Cambridge University, sent the book to George.

This was Harrison’s last Indian-themed Beatles song.

The original release was in mono; a stereo version was mixed in 1970 and used on the Past Masters compilation. The mono mix features an extra Indian instrument in the intro that did not make it to the stereo version.

Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra performed this at George Harrison’s 2002 memorial show The Concert For George. Lynne was good friends with Harrison and played with him in The Traveling Wilburys.

The Inner Light

Without going out of my door
I can know all things of earth
Without looking out of my window
I could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Without going out of your door
You can know all things on earth
Without looking out of your window
You could know the ways of heaven
The farther one travels
The less one knows
The less one really knows

Arrive without traveling
See all without looking
Do all without doing

 

 

 

Beatles – Nowhere Man

This song’s harmonies are great and so is the incredibly treble solo in the middle. John wrote this song. John wrote this song after he spent all night trying to write a song. He eventually gave up and laid down and then the song came to him. The song peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 in 1966.

John: “I’d spent five hours that morning trying to write a song that was meaningful and good, and I finally gave up and lay down.  Then ‘Nowhere Man’ came, words and music, the whole damn thing, as I lay down…So letting it go is what the whole game is.  You put your finger on it, it slips away, right?  You know you turn the lights on and the cockroaches run away.  You can never grasp them.”

The guitar solo was performed by both John and George in unison on their identical Sonic Blue Fender Stratocasters. George: “I decided I’d get a Strat, and John decided he’d get one too.  So we sent out our roadie, Mal Evans, said go and get us two Strats.  And he came back with two of them, pale blue ones.  Straight away we used them on the album we were making at the time, which was ‘Rubber Soul.’  I played it a lot on that album, (most noticeably) the solo on ‘Nowhere Man’ which John and I both played in unison.”

The Beatles pushed the engineers to add treble to the solo that John and George were playing. Run it through and put the treble on it again and again. The Engineers said, “We can’t do that”…Paul told them that it was ok…if it is terrible we simply won’t use it…they kept on pushing and it worked perfectly. The engineers were also afraid of getting fined by EMI for doing things against regulations…with the Beatles though it soon became commonplace.

This shows how the Beatles were changing the rules as they were going along. Not only in writing superb songs but pushing the limits of the studio as well as doing things that pop stars just didn’t do before them…

From Songfacts

John Lennon came up with this after struggling to write a song for the album. Said Lennon: “I thought of myself sitting there, doing nothing and getting nowhere.”

This was used in the animated Beatles movie Yellow Submarine. They sing it to Jeremy Hillary Boob, Ph.D., who describes himself as an “eminent physicist, polyglot classicist, prize-winning botanist, hard-biting satirist, talented pianist, good dentist too.” The Beatles decide to take him Somewhere, and he eventually helps them to defeat the Blue Meanies. >>

This starts with a three-part harmony sung by Lennon, Harrison, and McCartney.

This is probably the first Beatles song that has nothing to do with love.

Typical of many John Lennon compositions are the “falling” melodies, which can be heard in “Nowhere Man.” Folk music often has falling melodies, indicating melancholy. In Baroque music, a falling melody means sadness. 

There is a very audible feedback 38 seconds into the song after the word “missin’.”

Natalie Merchant performed this at the 2001 special, Come Together: A Night For John Lennon’s Words And Music. She did a mellow version, as the show was also a tribute to victims of the terrorist attacks on America.

In a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon recalled the background to this song: “I remember I was just going through this paranoia trying to write something and nothing would come out so I just lay down and tried to not write and then this came out, the whole thing came out in one gulp.”

In 2003, John Lennon’s original handwritten lyrics to this song were auctioned at Christie’s of New York for $455,500. 

One of the many songwriters influenced by The Beatles is Graham Gouldman of 10cc, who toured with Ringo’s All-Starr Band in 2018. According to Gouldman, this song is an example of how they would create a two-part harmony, but leave out third part, which is implied. “That’s screaming out for the third harmony, but they never did it,” he told Songfacts. “And in your head, you sing along, if you’re musical, the third harmony.”

Nowhere Man

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, The world is at your command

He’s as blind as he can be
Just sees what he wants to see
Nowhere man, can you see me at all
Nowhere man don’t worry
Take your time, don’t hurry
Leave it all till somebody else
Lends you a hand
Ah, la, la, la, la

Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Nowhere man please listen
You don’t know what you’re missing
Nowhere man, The world is at your command
Ah, la, la, la, la

He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

Buddy Holly – Words of Love

Buddy recorded and released this song in 1957. This was not one of Buddy’s biggest hits but a good song all the same. It was recorded on April 8th, 1957 and included a revolutionary gimmick for its time. He recorded his vocals twice and combined the results, thereby harmonizing with himself in the fashion of The Everly Brothers. This was one of the first released pop record to feature vocal overdubbing.

Canadian quartet The Diamonds as a successful follow-up to their #2 hit “Little Darlin’.” Their version of “Words Of Love” peaked at #13 in July of 1957.

I first heard this song by The Beatles. They had covered the song live between 1958-1962 and decided to record it for the Beatles for Sale album in 1964.

Paul McCartney about writing their own songs. “People these days take it for granted that you do, but nobody used to then. John and I started to write because of Buddy Holly. It was like, ‘Wow! He writes and is a musician.'” Paul McCartney purchased the publishing rights to Buddy Holly’s catalog in 1976.

John Lennon on Buddy Holly: “Buddy Holly was great and he wore glasses, which I liked,”  “Buddy Holly was the first one that we were really aware of in England who could play and sing at the same time – not just strum, but actually play the licks.”

 

Words of Love

Hold me close and tell me how you feel
Tell me love is real
Words of love you whisper soft and true
Darling I love you

Let me hear you say the words I long to hear
Darling when you’re near
Words of love you whisper soft and true
Darling I love you

 

Favorite Lines from Songs Part 2

I did Part 1 over a year ago and it was a fun post. I’ve been meaning to do this again. I remembered some of the lyrics suggested by my friends hanspostcard and allthingsthriller on the last post…I have added those to list. Thanks to both of you.

I saw her from the corner when she turned and doubled back, And started walkin toward a coffee colored Cadillac… Chuck Berry

Image result for chuck berry

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose, And nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free Janis Joplin/Kris Kristofferson

Related image

And I need you more than want you, And I want you for all time Jimmy Webb

Image result for jimmy webb

Doesn’t have a point of view / Knows not where he’s going to / Isn’t he a bit like you and me…The Beatles

Related image

Met myself a coming county welfare line, I was feeling strung out, Hung out on the line…Creedence Clearwater Revival

Image result for creedence clearwater revival

And you’ve got to learn to live with what you can’t rise above…Bruce Springsteen

Related image

He’d end up blowing all his wages for the week / All for a cuddle and a peck on the cheek…Kinks

Image result for kinks

Well it’s too late, tonight, To drag the past out into the light, We’re one, but we’re not the same, We get to carry each other, Carry each other…U2

Related image

You can blow out a candle but you can’t blow out a firePeter Gabriel

Image result for peter gabriel

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see…The Beatles

Related image

Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola, C-O-L-A Cola…Kinks

Image result for kinks

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart…Bob Dylan
Related image

A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see oneThe Band

Related image

And the sign said, The words of the prophets, are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls… Simon and Garfunkel

Related image

I lit up from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds, Didn’t get to sleep that night
Till the morning came around…Grateful Dead

Related image

When I said that I was lying, I might have been lyingElvis Costello
Related image
Though nothing will keep us together/We can be heroes/Just for one day…David Bowie
Related image

Lose your dreams and you. Will lose your mind…Rolling Stones

Image result for rolling stones 1974

It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win…Bruce Springsteen

Related image

The motor cooled down, the heat went down, and that’s when I heard that highway sound…Chuck Berry

Image result for chuck berry

We were the first band to vomit at the bar, and find the distance to the stage too far…The Who

Related image

 

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.

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

 

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

Beatles – Baby’s In Black

This song was written by John and Paul together. Baby’s In Black sounded different than most of their other songs at the time. The song was in 6/8 time similar to a Waltz and most Beatle songs to that point were in 4/4 time. The song was on the Beatles for Sale album. The album peaked at #1 in the UK and was taken apart for the American market with 8 of the 14 tracks released on Beatles 65 which peaked at #1 in 1965.

The song took a different approach. Baby’s In Black is about a man who is pursuing a woman, but the woman doesn’t return the interest because she is still in mourning for her previous lover, and the reason she always dresses in black.

I’ve always liked the song because it mixes different musical styles into one. The subject matter is also not a typical boy and girl love song.

Paul McCartney: “We got more and more free to get into ourselves,” McCartney remembers. “Our student selves rather than ‘we must please the girls and make money,’ which is all that ‘From Me To You,’ ‘Thank You Girl,’ P.S. I Love You’ is about…We wanted to write something a little bit darker, bluesy, the title’s dark anyway…more grown up rather than just straight pop. It was more ‘baby’s in black’ as in mourning. Our favorite color was black, as well.”

For an in-depth look at this song musically…. http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/bib.shtml

From Songfacts

The depressing subject matter is hidden by the upbeat music. 

There is speculation that the song was written about mourning the loss of Stuart Sutcliffe after he died of a sudden brain hemorrhage. The song was a 50/50 effort by both Lennon and McCartney but started by Lennon as a response to his own mourning process (which he never really got over). The “baby in black” would be photographer Astrid Kirchherr, who dated Sutcliffe before he died.

This is one of several Beatles songs with a dual melody line – “If I Fell” is another. McCartney and Lennon sang into the same microphone, making it hard to distinguish which is the main melody line. Sheet music of the song usually displays both. 

This was the first 50/50 Lennon/McCartney song written since “I Want To Hold Your Hand” a year earlier. They wrote it together sitting practically nose to nose at John’s Kenwood Estate.

Baby’s In Black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?
She thinks of him
And so she dresses in black
And though he’ll never come back
She’s dressed in black

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?
I think of her
But she thinks only of him
And though it’s only a whim
She thinks of him

Oh how long will it take
Till she sees the mistake
She has made?
Dear what can I do?
Baby’s in black
And I’m feeling blue
Tell me, oh what can I do?

Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage ——- Songs that reference The Beatles

Got matching suits ‘N’ Beatle Boots

Frank didn’t get played on commercial radio often. This is one of the few tracks that did get some airplay.  The album peaked at #27 in the Billboard 100 in 1979.

I’m not familiar with a lot of Zappa’s catalog. The first song I remember liking by him was Catholic Girls off of this album. A friend of mine heavily into Zappa played me this concept album. The triple album came out as a double album and then a single album.

It’s pretty easy to see why it didn’t get radio play as the lyrics were full of profanity. The music is great… Zappa was one of the best guitarists around as well as a great all-around musician and songwriter.

From Songfacts about the album.

Running to 6 minutes 10 seconds, the title track of this triple concept album was obviously written from the heart, even though it is one of the few such songs which does not resort to out and out profanity. The song itself is fairly straightforward, but the uptempo music is both entertaining and witty. At the end, Joe is arrested for the crime of playing music. Zappa never got much airplay, but the few stations that played him often had this song in rotation.

Joe’s Garage is a popular name for real garages, though it remains to be seen if this is out of homage to Zappa or due to a lot of mechanics being Christened Joe! 

In the liner notes to the album, Zappa makes a barely-passing reference to music being censored in Iran, which led some folks to believe the song was inspired by the Iran Hostage Crisis, but the American hostages weren’t taken until months after the album was released.

Zappa was an extremely outspoken enemy of religion, government, commercialism, and just about anything else, so this song and album are right in character. Joe’s Garage has parodies of a broad range of subjects – there’s “L. Ron Hoover” and the “First Church of Appliantology,” the Roman Catholic and Christian churches, lots of references to kinky sex (he also mocked that a lot), the “Central Scrutinizer” is kind of like Orwell’s Big Brother – referencing government censorship, making fun of “dope and LSD” and snorting lines of detergent, the music industry in general… you get the picture.

The ban-on-music thing in the story stems from the government’s “Total Criminalization” policy, where this new philosophy passes the legislation that states that “all humans are inherently criminals” and it’s the government’s job to keep making up laws to give them an excuse to throw everybody in jail.

Bottom line: You can’t narrow the theme of the album down to one thing. If anything, it was more Zappa’s general mockery of the whole capitalist-industrial military-religion complex, and mentioning Iran was just his way of saying “Look what could happen here! It happened there, after all.” Seeing as how this came out before the PMRC targeted Zappa for obscenity in lyrics which led to parental advisory stickers on the album, that kind of makes him a prophet.

Joe’s Garage

A boring old garage in a residential area with a teen-age band
rehearsing in it. JOE (the main character in the CENTRAL
SCRUTINIZER’S Special Presentation) sings to us of the trials and
tribulations of garage-band husbandry.

Central Scrutinizer:
We take you now, to a garage, in Canoga Park.

Frank Zappa:
(It makes it’s own sauce…)

Joe:
It wasn’t very large
There was just enough room to cram the drums
In the corner over by the Dodge
It was a fifty-four
With a mashed up door
And a cheesy little amp
With a sign on the front said “Fender Champ”
And a second hand guitar
It was a Stratocaster with a whammy bar

At this point, LARRY (a guy who will eventually give up music and
earn a respectable living as a roadie for a group called Toad-O)
joins in the song…

Larry:
We could jam in Joe’s Garage
His mama was screamin’
His dad was mad
We was playin’ the same old song
In the afternoon ‘n’ sometimes we would
Play it all night long
It was all we knew, ‘n’ easy too
So we wouldn’t get it wrong
All we did was bend the string like…
Hey!
Down in Joe’s Garage
We didn’t have no dope or LSD
But a coupla quartsa beer
Would fix it so the intonation
Would not offend yer ear
And the same old chords goin’ over ‘n’ over
Became a symphony
We would play it again ‘n’ again ‘n’ again
‘Cause it sounded good to me
ONE MORE TIME!
We could jam in Joe’s Garage
His mama was screamin’,
“TURN IT DOWN!”
We was playing’ the same old song
In the afternoon ‘n’ sometimes we would
Play it all night long
It was all we knew, and easy too
So we wouldn’t get it wrong
Even if you played it on a saxophone
We thought we was pretty good
We talked about keepin’ the band together
‘N’ we figured that we should
‘Cause about this time we was gettin’ the eye
From the girls in the neighborhood
They’d all come over ‘n’ dance around
like…

Twenty teen-age girls dash
in and go STOMP-CLAP,
STOMP-CLAP-CLAP…

So we picked out a stupid name
Had some cards printed up for a coupla bucks
‘N’ we was on our way to fame
Got matching suits ‘N’ Beatle Boots
‘N’ a sign on the back of the car
‘N’ we was ready to work in a GO-GO Bar

ONE TWO THREE FOUR
LET’S SEE IF YOU GOT SOME MORE!

People seemed to like our song
They got up ‘n’ danced ‘n’ made a lotta noise
An’ it wasn’t ‘fore very long
A guy from a company we can’t name
Said we oughta take his pen
‘N’ sign on the line for a real good time
But he didn’t tell us when
These “good times” would be somethin’
That was really happenin’
So the band broke up
An’ it looks like
We will never play again…

Joe:
Guess you only get one chance in life
To play a song that goes like…

(And, as the band plays their little song,
MRS. BORG (who keeps her son SY,
in the closet with the vacuum cleaner)
screams out the window…

Mrs. Borg:
Turn it down!
Turn it DOWN!
I have children sleeping here…
Don’t you boys know any nice songs?

Joe:
(Speculating on the future)
Well the years was rollin’ by, yeah
Heavy Metal ‘n’ Glitter Rock
Had caught the public eye, yeah
Snotty boys with lipstick on
Was really flyin’ high, yeah
‘N’ then they got that Disco thing
‘N’ New Wave came along
‘N’ all of a sudden I thought the time
Had come for that old song
We used to play in “Joe’s Garage”
And if I am not wrong
You will soon be dancin’ to…

Central Scrutinizer:
The WHITE ZONE is
for loading and
unloading only. If you
gotta load or unload,
go to the WHITE
ZONE. You’ll love it…

Joe:
Well the years was rollin’ by (etc.)…

Mrs. Borg:
I’m calling THE POLICE!
I did it! They’ll be here… shortly!

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police…

Mrs. Borg:
I’m not joking around anymore

Officer Butzis:
We have the garage surrounded
If you give yourself up
We will not harm you
Or hurt you neither

Mrs. Borg:
You’ll see them

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police

Mrs. Borg:
There they are, they’re coming!

Officer Butzis:
Give yourself up
We will not harm you

Mrs. Borg:
Listen to that mess, would you?

Officer Butzis:
This is the Police
Give yourself up
We have the garage surrounded

Mrs. Borg:
Everday this goes on around here!

Officer Butzis:
We will not harm you, or maim you
(SWAT Team 4, move in!)

Mrs. Borg:
He used cut my grass…
He was very nice boy…
That’s DISGUSTING!

Central Scrutinizer:
This is the CENTRAL SCRUTINIZER…
That was Joe’s first confrontation with The Law.
Naturally, we were easy on him.
One of our friendly counselors gave him
A do-nut… and told him to
Stick closer to church-oriented social activities.