Beatles – Help! Soundtrack Album

We wrapped up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We are going into extra innings and extending three more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, and a music related movie. This is my pick for sountrack…Help! by the Beatles.

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 11 PICK 4- SOUNDTRACKS- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE BEATLES- HELP!

To avoid confusion I’m reviewing the UK version of Help! because that is the one that I own.

The movie Help! was an enjoyable movie. It was not nearly as good as A Hard Days Night but it had it’s moments. I love black and white movies but the color made Help! stand out. The Beatles knew it wasn’t as good as their first…John had a quote about it: “it was like being a frog in a movie about clams.” Nevertheless it was a fun movie and a pleasure to watch today.

Amazon.com: Blujway The Beatles Help Lobby Card Movie Poster Replica 11 X  14 Photo Print: Posters & Prints

They shot the movie in five different locations…London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Austria, and the Bahamas.

It was the first Beatle movie I ever saw…I rented it from a video store in the mid-eighties. The Help! movie was the only Beatle movie they had at the time. With no internet, it was my only window to see the Beatles other than the documentary The Compleat Beatles.

Behind-the-Scenes Footage From the Beatles' 'Help!' Surfaces

The soundtrack is a great album on it’s own.

I picked this album/soundtrack because I always thought this was the transitional album between Beatlemania and The Beatles middle period. After this album would come Rubber Soul and the swinging sixties would officially be kicked off. Help! shows them making strides into the future. You can hear a some of their earlier work and get a hint of what was coming.

Here are a few songs…I’ll leave the big hits off of the preview.

You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away is a good song with a noticeable Dylan influence.

One of my favorite songs on the album is The Night Before…I first heard it on the Beatles Rock and Roll Music compilation album. It’s another song that would have been a single for another band.

As soon as I heard I’ve Just Seen A Face…I learned it on guitar and have been playing it ever since. This is a song that you can see the change starting to take place…from the bouncy numbers to this folk influenced one. This song would be on the American version of Rubber Soul.

You’re Going to Lose That Girl has a catchy call and response chorus. The backup vocals are superb.

The title track is brilliant with John calling out for Help after being battered by Beatlemania. They also dipped into their club roots with a cover of the Larry Williams song Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The album had the hits of course…Help!, Yesterday, and Ticket To Ride…all #1 in the Billboard 100.

I’m ready to watch Help! now…can I smuggle a Blu-ray player on the island?

Help!
The Night Before
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Need You
Another Girl
You’re Going to Lose That Girl
Ticket to Ride
Act Naturally
It’s Only Love
You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See
I’ve Just Seen a Face
Yesterday
Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Beatles – Drive My Car

Beep beep’m beep beep yeah

The song was on their album Rubber Soul released in 1965. What stands out is the Motown type bass line being played by Paul while George doubled him on guitar. Paul played lead with slide guitar.

George Harrison suggested the R&B arrangement and it  was implemented as the rhythmic style of the song. The introduction to the song is confusing to some though.

This is another song by Lennon/McCartney but with Lennon saying it was mostly Paul’s song. Lennon though did write a lot of the lyrics as Paul’s original lyrics were pretty bad…per Paul. It was not released as a single.

According to McCartney, “‘Drive my car’ was an old blues euphemism for sex”.This expression was more common in the pre-automatic shift era of automobiles.

The opening two measures of “Drive My Car” still leave studied “musicologists” scratching their heads to this day. Producer Mark Hudson, who had worked with Ringo on his solo career for ten years, has related how he asked the drummer about the song’s introduction, saying that “he could never figure it out.” Ringo couldn’t even explain it.

The Beatles seem to do that a lot… A Hard Days Night intro and the beginning to I Want To Hold Your Hand have musicologist debating how something was done…and how it worked.

Paul McCartney: “The lyrics were disastrous and I knew it. Often you just block songs out and words just come into your mind and when they do it’s hard to get rid of them. You often quote other songs too and you know you’ve got to get rid of them, but sometimes it’s very difficult to find a more suitable phrase than the one that has insinuated itself into your consciousness.” Other songs he used as a template in this case most likely include “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Feel Fine,” both of which include lines about buying a “diamond ring” for someone.

Paul McCartney:  “”It was wonderful because this nice tongue-in-cheek idea came and suddenly there was a girl there, the heroine of the story, and the story developed and had a little sting in the tail like ‘Norwegian Wood’ had, which was ‘I actually haven’t got a car, but when I get one you’ll be a terrific chauffeur.’ So to me it was LA chicks…and it also meant ‘you can be my lover.’ ‘Drive my car’ was an old blues euphemism for sex, so in the end all is revealed. Black humor crept in and saved the day. It wrote itself then. I find that very often, once you get the good idea, things write themselves.”

From Songfacts

Laden with sexual innuendo, this song is about a guy who meets an aspiring actress, who tells him he can “drive my car,” as she has a keen interest in him, and might even be in love.

She keeps trying to lure him in (“I can show you a better time”), but when he finally agrees to take the job, she admits that she doesn’t have a car, but still wants him to be her driver. It’s pretty clear that all this driving talk is leading to sex, but there’s no proof that it isn’t just a song about a guy, a girl, and a car – making it another radio-friendly Beatles track.

Originally, it was a very different song lyrically, with the chorus, “I can give you golden rings, I can give you anything, baby, I love you.” Knowing that storyline would lead them nowhere good, they hashed it out until they came up with “Drive My Car” for the title, and changed the song so it was the woman soliciting the man.

Paul McCartney played bass, piano and lead guitar on this one; George Harrison played guitar and did backing vocals. John Lennon sang lead with McCartney and also played tambourine.

The “beep beep” refrain is a take-off on The Beatles own “yeah, yeah yeah”s in “She Loves You” as well as a nod to The Playmates song “Beep Beep” (a #4 US novelty hit in 1958).

Paul McCartney played this at halftime of the 2005 Super Bowl. The year before, Janet Jackson exposed a breast on live TV, which caused a great deal of controversy. McCartney was a solid choice because he was unlikely to offend anyone.

At the 2005 Live 8 Concert in London, McCartney performed this in a duet with George Michael.

The title of the album comes from “plastic soul,” a derogatory phrase McCartney had overheard black musicians using about Mick Jagger. (“Plastic” in those days meant anything fake or processed.) Paul can be heard using the phrase in studio chatter on June 14, 1965, during recording of the “Help!” B-side “I’m Down.” Reliably, he put his own spin on the phrase.

Drive My Car

Asked a girl what she wanted to be
She said, “baby, can’t you see
I want to be famous, a star on the screen
But you can do something in between

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you”

I told a girl that my prospects were good
And she said, “baby, it’s understood
Working for peanuts is all very fine
But I can show you a better time

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you”

Beep beep’m beep beep yeah

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you

I told a girl I can start right away
And she said, “listen, babe, I got something to say
I got no car and it’s breaking my heart
But I’ve found a driver and that’s a start

Baby, you can drive my car
Yes, I’m gonna be a star
Baby, you can drive my car
And maybe I’ll love you”

Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah

John Lennon – I’m Losing You

Yesterday was John’s birthday 80th birthday…that just doesn’t seem right. He has been gone for 40 years…the same amount that he lived. 

I’m Losing You is on the Double Fantasy album released in 1980.

There are two versions of this song that are well known. Co-producer Tom Douglas brought Rick Nielsen and Bun E. Carlos of the band Cheap Trick to play on this song, but it was eventually re-recorded with the studio musicians. That is the version that ended up on the album.

The Rick Nielsen and Ben E. Carlos version was included years later on the John Lennon Anthology Collection released in 1998.

Some say the edgier track with Nielsen and Carlos wasn’t used because Yoko didn’t like the version, the recording didn’t fit in with the rest of the album, or it sounded a little too much like Cold Turkey…a previous song by Lennon. If I had to guess I would say it was because the track would have stood out against the others. Personally I would have went with the Nielsen and Carlos version anyway.

While on vacation in Bermuda during the summer of 1980, Lennon tried to call Yoko Ono but couldn’t get through to her and wrote this song based on his frustration.

Double Fantasy peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and The UK in 1981.

From Songfacts

This is a track from Double Fantasy, Lennon’s final album during his lifetime, released only three weeks before his murder. The song resulted from John’s inability to get Yoko on the phone at a time when he feared for their relationship.

Yoko Ono told Q November 2010 that this is one of her favorite Lennon songs. She said: “I’m Losing You is an incredible song. I think as a songwriter, that tops it all. Some of the songs I’m in. But it’s almost like Picasso drawing a lot of his wife because his wife was around. And I was very lucky I was his wife.”

Director Jay Dubin, whose work at the time included commercials for Crazy Eddie’s, was called in to shoot a music video to promote the Double Fantasy album. On August 10, 1980, he brought his team to the Hit Factory studio and captured Lennon performing this song, along with “I’m Moving On” and some cover tunes. The video was abandoned after Lennon’s death a few months later and the footage has never materialized.

Here are the two versions

I’m Losing You

Here in some stranger’s room
Late in the afternoon
What am I doing here at all?
Ain’t no doubt about it
I’m losing you
I’m losing you

Somehow the wires have crossed
Communication’s lost
Can’t even get you on the telephone
Just got to shout about it
I’m losing you
I’m losing you

Well, here in the valley of indecision
I don’t know what to do
I feel you slipping away
I feel you slipping away
I’m losing you
I’m losing you

Well now you say you’re not getting enough
But I remind you of all that bad, bad, bad stuff
So what the hell am I supposed to do?
Just put a band-aid on it?
And stop the bleeding now
Stop the bleeding now
Well…

I’m losing you
I’m losing you

Well, well, well
I know I hurt you then
But hell, that was way back when
Well, do you still have to carry that cross? (Drop it!)
Don’t wanna hear about it
I’m losing you
I’m losing you

Don’t wanna lose you now
Well…
No, no, no, no…

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 – Taxman

George steps up to the plate on Revolver and knocks it out of the park. If you think you pay too much tax…The Beatles were in a 95% tax bracket.

At the time, high earners paid exorbitant taxes in England. Many successful entertainers left the country so they could keep more of their money. As a result, The Beatles, as well as The Who and The Rolling Stones, spent a lot of time in America and other parts of Europe as tax exiles.

This is a strong one by George and it was the opener for the album. On the song, it wasn’t George that played the solo…it was Paul. It’s a brilliant small solo and adds a lot to the song. Paul played it with an Indian feel for George.

Revolver is the only album on which Harrison has three songs. On all the others he only has two or fewer. On The White Album he had four, but it was a double album so he was only allotted his usual one track per side.

 George Harrison: “You are so happy that you’ve finally started earning money – and then you find out about tax. In those days we paid nineteen shillings and sixpence out of every pound (there were twenty shillings in the pound), and with supertax and surtax and tax-tax it was ridiculous – a heavy penalty to pay for making money…It was, and still is, typical. Why should this be so? Are we being punished for something we have forgotten to do?…That was the big turn-off for Britain. Anybody who ever made any money moved to America or somewhere else.”

George Harrison: “‘Taxman’ was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes.”

 

From Songfacts

George Harrison wrote this song. The music was inspired by the theme song for the popular 1960s TV series Batman, which was written and originally recorded by the conductor/trumpeter Neal Hefti, and covered by the surf rock group The Marketts early in 1966 in a version that hit #17 in the US. Harrison was a big fan of the show.

This was the first track on the Revolver album. It was the first song Harrison wrote that was given such prominent position, indicating that he was capable of writing songs as good as Lennon and McCartney’s.

“Mr. Wilson” and “Mr. Heath” are mentioned in the lyrics. They are British Prime Ministers Harold Wilson and Edward Heath, who were being scorned in the song for contributing to English tax laws. Before this song was released, Wilson had presented The Beatles with the award for England’s Show Business Personalities of 1963 at the Variety Club of Great Britain Annual Show Business Awards held on March 19, 1964 in London. 

Over the next few years, George Harrison came to realize that money, when you have lots of it, is a rather ephemeral concept and does not translate to happiness. This played into his spiritual awakening. In 1969, he told BBC Radio: “No matter how much money you’ve got, you can’t be happy anyway. So you have to find your happiness with the problems you have and you have to not worry too much about them.”

The fade-out ending is a reprise of the guitar solo as all completed takes of the song ended with John and Paul singing “Taxman!”

There’s been a lot of confusion over who played lead guitar on this track. Harrison said in his 1977 Crawdaddy interview: “I helped out such a lot in all the arrangements. There were a lot of tracks though where I played bass. Paul played lead guitar on ‘Taxman,’ and he played guitar – a good part – on ‘Drive My Car.”

Jeff Emerick said in his book on recording the Beatles that Harrison just couldn’t get the solo right, so Paul played most of the guitar parts, including the solo. The repeat of the solo at the end of the song was the same “exact” solo by Paul, which Jeff dubbed from the middle of the song to another piece of tape and cut into the fade at the end.

Seth Swirsky, who worked as a staff songwriter before producing the Beatles documentary Beatles Stories, told Songfacts: “I think Paul McCartney was one of the greatest guitar players of the ’60s. Nobody really recognized him as an electric guitar player, or an acoustic guitar player, but his leads on ‘Taxman’ and on different songs that you think George played, they ripped. I think George is great, but when Paul played lead on some songs, they tore. They were just very unique. There’s no one like Paul McCartney in the history of the world.”

The guitar solo at the end is a straight copy of the middle-eight. This same solo was later reused as a tape spool on “Tomorrow Never Knows.” >>

“Weird Al” Yankovic recorded a parody of this song called “Pac-Man” in 1981. It was never officially released on any of his albums (possibly because Pac-Man Fever got there first), but a demo version can be found on Dr. Demento’s Basement Tapes No. 4. The song is very faithful to the Beatles’ original, plus some musical and well-placed Pac-Man sound effects. Sample lyrics:

I used to be a pinball freak
That’s where you’d find me every week
But now it’s Pacman
Yeah it’s the Pacman >>

This wasn’t the last Beatles song to question who else is getting their cash. On their 1969 Abbey Road album, Paul McCartney contributed “You Never Give Me Your Money,” where he takes aim at their unscrupulous business partners.

Blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan covered this song. His version sounds very different, but the lyrics are identical. 

Harrison put some math into the lyrics. In the beginning of the song, he sings, “There’s one for you, 19 for me” before “If 5 percent appears too small.” One of 19 is 5 percent. 

In his 1987 reminiscence “When We Was Fab,” it was clear that the taxation of long ago was still on George Harrison’s mind, as he sang, “Income tax was all we had.”

In 2002, H&R Block used this in commercials for their tax preparation service. The ads aired shortly after Harrison died.

Taxman

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah I’m the taxman

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Don’t ask me what I want it for
If you don’t want to pay some more
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re working for no one but me.

Beatles – Revolution

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head

This song was the B side to Hey Jude…a heck of a B side. John Lennon wanted it to be the first A-side released on Apple Records, the label The Beatles started, but Paul McCartney’s “Hey Jude” got the honor.

This was the first overtly political Beatles song. It was John Lennon’s response to the Vietnam War.

The “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” videos were shot in a studio setting and meant to look like the band was performing it live. They both aired September 8 on Frost On Sunday, a popular UK show hosted by David Frost, who was at the Twickenham shoot to introduce the clip for the segment on his show, making it appear that the band was really there.

*** A little fun here… I always wondered about the Revolution video. Between 10-13 seconds on the video below you see George say something to Paul. It’s either “John’s mic is sh*t” or something else …what do you think? Any lip readers?

The dirty guitar sound was created by plugging the guitars directly into the audio board and overloading it. The guitar sounded so scratchy that many who bought the 45 RPM single tried to return it, thinking it was defective.

There are two very different versions of this song… a slow version that appears on The White Album, and a fast, loud version was released as a single. In the slow version, Lennon says “count me in” as well as “count me out” when referring to violence. This gives the song a dual meaning.

The song peaked at #12 in the Billboard 100 and #1 in Canada

John Lennon: “I wanted to put out what I felt about revolution,”  “I thought it was about time we spoke about it, the same as I thought it was about time we stopped not answering about the Vietnamese war when we were on tour with Brian Epstein and had to tell him, ‘We’re going to talk about the war this time and we’re not going to just waffle’…That’s why I did it: I wanted to talk. I wanted to say my piece about revolutions. I wanted to tell you, or whoever listens, to communicate, to say, ‘What do you say? This is what I say.'”

Paul McCartney:  “It was a great song, basically John’s…it was an overtly political song about revolution and a great one. I think John later ascribed more political intent to it than he actually felt when he wrote it.”

Continuing, Paul writes: “They were very political times, obviously, with the Vietnam war going on, Chairman Mao and the Little Red Book, and all the demonstrations with people going through the streets shouting ‘Ho, Ho Ho Chi Minh!’ I think he wanted to say you can count me in for a revolution, but if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao ‘you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.’ By saying that I think he meant we all want to change the world Maharishi-style, because ‘Across The Universe’ also had the change-the-world theme.”

 

From Songfacts

John Lennon wrote this in India while The Beatles were at a transcendental meditation camp with The Maharishi. Lennon told Rolling Stone: “I had been thinking about it up in the hills in India. I still had this ‘God will save us’ feeling about it, that it’s going to be all right (even now I’m saying ‘Hold on, John, it’s going to be all right,’ otherwise, I won’t hold on) but that’s why I did it, I wanted to talk, I wanted to say my piece about revolution. I wanted to tell you, or whoever listens, to communicate, to say ‘What do you say? This is what I say.'”

Revolutionaries take different approaches to reach their goals. In a 1998 interview with Uncut, Yoko One gave her thoughts on Lennon’s approach and how he expressed it in this song: “John’s idea of revolution was that he did not want to create the situation where when you destroy statues, you become a statue. And also what he means is that there’s too much repercussion in the usual form of revolution. He preferred evolution. So you have to take a peaceful method to get peace rather than you don’t care what method you take to get peace, and he was very, very adamant about that.”

The fast version was released as the B-side of “Hey Jude” in August 1968, three months before the slow version appeared on The White Album.

There are so many versions of this song because Paul McCartney didn’t like it. Lennon really wanted this song to be the “A” side of the single instead of “Hey Jude,” and kept changing it around to come up with something that would make Paul see it his way. He basically wrote the song because he felt like he was being pulled in so many directions by different people, all of whom wanted his backing, politically. It was also him questioning his own belief in the revolution that was going on… whether he was “out” or “in.” In truth, he was writing about a revolution of the mind rather than a physical “in the streets” revolution. He truly believed that revolution comes from inner change rather than social violence. (This is discussed in the DVD Composing the Beatles Songbook)

Nike used this for commercials in 1987. Capitol Records, who owned the performance rights, meaning The Beatles version of the song, was paid $250,000. Michael Jackson, who owned the publishing rights, meaning use of the words and music, also had to agree and was paid for the song (Jackson acquired the rights to 251 Beatles songs in 1985 when he outbid Paul McCartney for them, fracturing their friendship in the process).

The commercials caused a huge backlash from Beatles fans who felt that Nike was disrespecting the legacy of John Lennon, who likely would have objected to its use, but the ad campaign, called “Revolution in Motion,” was successful, helping Nike expand their market by featuring ordinary joggers, gym rats and cyclists. “We’re trying to promote the concept of revolutionary changes in the fitness movement and show how Nike parallels those changes with product development,” the company stated. “Because of this ‘revolution,’ we were able to draw a strong correlation with the music and the lyrics in the Beatles song.”

It wasn’t just fans who had beef with the ads: the surviving Beatles, along with Yoko Ono (representing Lennon’s estate), sued Nike, bringing even more publicity to the campaign. The ads ran for about a year, and eventually a settlement was reached in the lawsuit. As years went by, it became more acceptable to use songs in commercials, but Beatles songs remained off-limits, as any use would result in a lawsuit and hostile reaction by fans. What was “revolutionary” about the Nike commercials were that they were the first to do it.

In 2002, “When I’m 64” was used in a commercial for Allstate insurance. Many Beatles fans were not pleased, but it didn’t get nearly the reaction of the Nike commercials, partly because it was not a political song, but also because it was sung by Julian Lennon, which implied endorsement by his father.

On September 4, 1968, The Beatles made a promotional film for this song and “Hey Jude” at Twickenham Studios in London. These were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who did the previous Beatles videos: “Paperback Writer” and “Rain.”

Unlike those clips, which were shot outdoors, the “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” videos were shot in a studio setting and meant to look like the band was performing it live. They both aired September 8 on Frost On Sunday, a popular UK show hosted by David Frost, who was at the Twickenham shoot to introduce the clip for the segment on his show, making it appear that the band was really there.

Another edit of the footage was later broadcast on Top Of The Pops, and yet another was shown in America on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. When the Beatles compilation 1+ was released in 2015, a restored version of the video was included in the set.

Before this song was used to shill for Nike, Yoko Ono was fine with using John Lennon’s music in commercials; she authorized “Imagine” for a Japanese ad and said it was “making John’s music accessible to a new generation.” Nike bypassed the living Beatles, but went to her for approval, since the lead vocalist (the “principal performer”) of a song needs to grant permission under certain statutes. Also, as the keeper of Lennon’s legacy, it helped to have her consent for publicity purposes. Nike claimed the song was used “with the active support of Yoko Ono Lennon.”

This is one of the Beatles songs (“Help!” and “In My Life” are other examples) where John Lennon’s falsetto makes an appearance. He takes it up high for the word “be” in the line, “You know it’s gonna be all right.”

Nicky Hopkins played the piano. When The Beatles needed keyboards, they usually used Hopkins, Billy Preston, or their producer, George Martin.

 The word “Revolution” is mentioned just once, in the first line.

John Lennon wanted his vocals to have an unusual sound, so he recorded most of them lying on his back in the studio. The famous scream at the beginning is a double-tracked recording of Lennon. >>

The version on the Hey Jude compilation, released in February 1970 in the US, was the B-side of the “Hey Jude” single. The Hey Jude compilation album peaked at #2 in the US and consists of a collection of singles and B-sides that had not previously appeared on US non-soundtrack album releases. The album cover was taken at the final Beatles photo session, at Lennon’s (later Starr’s) country estate in Ascot, England. >>

Thompson Twins performed this song at the Philadelphia stage of Live Aid on July 13, 1985. The concert, which raised money for famine relief in Africa, had a global audience of at least 1.5 billion. Thompson Twins were joined on stage for the performance by Madonna (who contributed backing vocals and tambourine), Steve Stevens (best known as Billy Idol’s guitarist) and Nile Rodgers, who was also on guitar.

Thompson Twins included the song on their album Here’s to Future Days, which was released a few months later and produced by Rodgers.

The Stone Temple Pilots performed this at Madison Square Garden as part of the 2001 special, Come Together: A Night For John Lennon’s Words And Music. Their version was released as a single, with proceeds going to charity.

Revolution

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it’s evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
All right, all right, all right

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We’d all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We’re doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell is brother you have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
All right, all right, all right

You say you’ll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head
You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free you mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right, all right
All right, all right

John Lennon – Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

Heard this before I knew who John Lennon was and it is a good song…just not one of his best songs to me. It was his first solo number-one single. Many times the charts are about timing and it was the right time for this one to hit. In the video, you can see John walking around New York interacting with different people

Elton John sang backing vocals and also played piano on this track. He had a bet with Lennon that “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” song would become a #1 hit. If it did Lennon would have to appear in concert with Elton. Lennon never thought it would be a #1 hit.

When it did reach number 1, Lennon made good on the wager by making a guest appearance at an Elton John concert on Thanksgiving night 1974 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. It turned out to be Lennon’s last live concert performance.

This very upbeat John Lennon song has a simple message…do whatever works for you. It was his first US #1 hit as a solo artist… he had another with “(Just Like) Starting Over,” which topped the chart in 1980 after his death.

John got the phrase by watching late-night TV. He was watching Reverend Ike, a famous black evangelist, who was saying, “Let me tell you guys, it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever gets you through the night.” Lennon loved it, wrote it down, and wrote a song about it.

This song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #2 in Canada, and #36 in the UK. in 1974

 

From Songfacts

In December 2005, John and Yoko’s personal assistant May Pang told Radio Times: “At night he (John Lennon) loved to channel-surf, and he would pick up phrases from all the shows. One time, he was watching John loved it and said, “I’ve got to write it down or I’ll forget it.” He always kept a pad and pen by the bed. That was the beginning of Whatever Gets You Thru The Night.”

With this song, Lennon became the last of the Beatles to hit #1 US in their respective post-Beatles careers. By this time Paul McCartney had hit #1 three times, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr twice each.

Structurally, this is a rather unusual song: it’s really all chorus, separated by blasts of saxophone. Lennon alters the lines a bit in the various sections though:

Whatever gets you through the night
Whatever gets you through your life
Whatever gets you to the light

Don’t need a sword to cut through flowers
Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Don’t need a gun to blow you mind

These little lyrical alterations keep the song from sounding repetitive, even without verses.

In 1975 Lennon helped out on Elton’s John’s #1 cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Lennon played guitar on that track and was credited as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie.”

In 1975 Lennon helped out on Elton’s John’s #1 cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.” Lennon played guitar on that track and was credited as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie.”

What was it like recording the Walls And Bridges album? When we asked David Thoener, who was an engineer at the sessions, he told us: “It was amazing. Despite all of the personal pain John Lennon was in, (it was during his lost weekend) he was a consummate professional in the studio. Almost as if working kept him sane, through those difficult times. Working with him was quite an experience and something I am very glad to have been part of.”

This hit the top of the US charts, but it fell fast. It spent just three weeks in the Top 10 before dropping from 2-16 in November 1974. In 2004 Fantasia broke this record when after two weeks in the Top 10, “I Believe” dropped from #6-18.

Bobby Keys, who appears on many Rolling Stones recordings, played the tenor saxophone on this track. Ken Ascher played the Clavinet.

Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

Whatever gets you through the night
It’s all right, it’s all right
It’s your money or your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Don’t need a sword to cut through’ flowers
Oh no, oh no

Whatever gets you through your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Do it wrong, or do it right
It’s all right, it’s all right

Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Oh no, oh no

Hold me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
Come on, listen to me; come on, listen, listen

Whatever gets you to the light
It’s all right, it’s all right
Out of the blue, or out of sight
It’s all right, it’s all right
Don’t need a gun to blow you mind
Oh no, oh no

Hold me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
I won’t do you no harm
Trust me, darlin’, come on, listen to me
Come on, listen to me, come on, listen, listen

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

Beatles – Yer Blues

Great hard bluesy song on one of my favorite Beatle albums…The White Album. This is one reason I like the White Album so much. The variety it gives you is off the charts…but there is no mistaking who the band is in every song. The Beatles kept their style through the lush soft songs to the hard ones.

What I like about it is the rawness. This song and Helter Skelter have enough to spare.

The room they recorded this in was called Room 2A, which was next to the control room of EMI Studio Two and was a mere 8 ft. by 15.5 ft. The room had been used for storing four-track machines before it was emptied. It was very tight quarters for The Beatles once they set everything up. That added to the sound. They jammed together from 7pm to 5am and after 14 takes produced this song.

John Lennon wrote this in India while The Beatles were on a retreat learning meditation with the Maharishi.

Lennon was self-conscious about singing the blues.

John Lennon: “There was a self-consciousness about suddenly singing blues,” John continues. “Like everybody else, we were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school (in the late ’50’s).  But to sing it, was something else. I was self-conscious about doing it.”

Ringo Starr: “We were just in an 8 foot room, with no separation, just doing what we do best: playing.”

A 9 minute version with Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell was performed on the Rolling Stones’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus. They called themselves the Dirty Mac.

Yer Blues

Yes, I’m lonely
Want to die
Yes, I’m lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

In the morning
Want to die
In the evening
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth

I’m lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

The eagle picks my eye
The worm he licks my bone
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan’s Mr. Jones

Lonely
Want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

Black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock and roll

Want to die
Yeah, want to die
If I ain’t dead already
Oh, girl, you know the reason why

 

John Lennon – Slippin’ and Slidin’ 1975

Sorry if you have seen this twice but it only posted for a second and then vanished.

I usually feature originals but I found this video of John covering Slippin and a Slidin’ that I never have seen before and I had to include it. My son listened to John Lennon’s Rock and Roll album (made up of entirely covers of mostly 50s Rock and Roll) and he flipped over it. Afterward, he played it so much I relistened to it and John’s love of that music really came through.

The song was on the Rock and Roll album released in 1975. I could listen to John sing the phone book.

The album made it to #6 in the Billboard 200, #6 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. Stand By Me made it to #20 in the Billboard 100. John Lennon did not make another album until Double Fantasy in 1980.

 

Slippin’ and Slidin’

Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
I been told, baby, you been bold, I won’t be your fool no more.

Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.

Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.

John Lennon – Love

A simplistic beautiful song by John Lennon. Love was on the John Lennon album Plastic Ono Band. Phil Spector produced this as well as playing the piano on it.

The Lettermen recorded the song in 1971. This single became a top 20 hit on the Japanese Oricon singles chart and hit number 42 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the only charting version of the song in the US and the last charting single of the group’s career.

Other covers included The Dream Academy, Barbara Streisand, and many others.

John’s version charted when he was killed in the UK at #41  in 1981. It also charted at #58 in Japan in 1998.

The Plastic Ono Band album peaked at #6 in the Billboard Album Charts, #8 in the UK, and #1 in Canada in 1971.

 

Love

Love is real, real is love
Love is feeling, feeling love
Love is wanting to be loved

Love is touch, touch is love
Love is reaching, reaching love
Love is asking to be loved

Love is you
You and me
Love is knowing
We can be

Love is free, free is love
Love is living, living love
Love is needing to be loved

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

A Matter of…Pee

Those crazy 70’s rock stars…a note left in red ink by no other than John Lennon.

This is a note from an upset John Lennon to Phil Spector. It seems that Keith Moon and Harry Nilsson supposedly…relieved themselves in the recording console in an unnamed studio. John was quite certain of that fact. The studio was threatening to evict them but John wasn’t having it. John didn’t date the note but it was from John Lennon’s “lost weekend” period between 73-75… the note sold for over $88,000.

This is what the note said.

“Phil –

See you around 12:30

Should you not yet know it was Harry and Keith who pissed on the console. Jerry now wants to evict us or that’s what Capitol tells us. Anyway tell him to bill Capitol for the damage if any. I can’t be expected to mind adult rock stars nor can May (Pang, Lennon’s personal assistant) besides she works for me not A+M. I’m about to p..s off to Record Plant (another recording studio) because of this crap.”

John Lennon Letter to Phil Spector Going Up For Auction

There are a million articles on this subject…here is one of the more complete ones.

https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/john-lennon-keith-moon-phil-spector-a-matter-of-pee-letter/

John Lennon – Slippin’ and a Sliding’

I usually feature originals but I found this video of John covering Slippin and a Slidin’ that I never have seen before and I had to include it. My son listened to John Lennon’s Rock and Roll album (made up of entirely covers of mostly 50s Rock and Roll) and he flipped over it. Afterward, he played it so much I relistened to it and John’s love of that music really came through.

The song was on the Rock and Roll album released in 1975. I could listen to John sing the phone book.

The album made it to #6 in the Billboard 200, #6 in the UK, and #5 in Canada. Stand By Me made it to #20 in the Billboard 100. John Lennon did not make another album until Double Fantasy in 1980.

 

Slippin’ and Slidin’

Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, been told long time ago,
I been told, baby, you been bold, I won’t be your fool no more.

Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Oh, big conniver, nothing but a jiver, done got hip to your jive,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.

Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Oh Malinda, she’s a solid sender, you know you better surrender,
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’, won’t be your fool no more.