Beatles – I Want To Hold Your Hand

This helped start the modern rock era. No British rock act had dominated in America before the Beatles. Cliff Richard had tried and failed but with this song and an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show…The Beatles kicked down the door and started the British Invasion and the Stones, Kinks, and Who would soon follow.

Rock and Roll can be divided up into two eras… pre Beatles and post Beatles. Everything would change after this. I bought an amp from a long time country studio  musician and he told me that the day after he heard this on Ed Sullivan the world changed. Not just music but everything…music, thoughts, aspirations, and hair of course. Within weeks of this song hitting number 1 there were bands forming in every neighborhood in America.  Guitars were bought, hair lengths were being tested, and a huge urge to learn everything British.

I always hold this song up to why vinyl is the way to listen to some records at times. All the CD versions I’ve heard of this song sound rather flat…when I hear the 45 vinyl single the song jumps out at you. It changes the whole dynamic of the song. After hearing the single the way it was meant to be heard… you can see why this song changed a lot of things. It was maybe the most important single they ever released…it may have had the biggest impact at least in America.

It is said that John and Paul wrote this with an America’s sound in mind. They must have guessed right. This song preceded the Beatles trip here at number 1. Lennon liked the melody so much that he talked about doing something with it again til his death.

This was played on the Washington, DC radio station WWDC before it was released in America by a DJ named Carroll Baker, who got the record from a stewardess. It was a huge hit with his listeners and prompted Capitol Records to release the song ahead of schedule – they planned to issue it on January 13, 1964.

The Beatles were in Paris and celebrated madly when they found out they were #1 in America. They came to America for the first time on February 7, 1964, greeted at the airport by screaming fans. “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was the #1 song in the country at that time, and it stayed on top for seven weeks, until their next single, the re-released “She Loves You,” replaced it.

Bob Dylan thought the line “I can’t hide” was “I get high,” and a reference to marijuana. He was surprised to learn they had never tried pot, and became part of Beatles lore when he introduced them to it.

At times John Lennon realized the crowds The Beatles played to were so loud they really couldn’t hear them sing, so sometimes instead of singing the line, “I want to hold your hand,” he would say, “I want to hold your gland” as a reference to women’s breasts…and people wonder why Lennon is my favorite Beatle!

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and probably on Mars also in 1964.

 

From Songfacts

This was the first Beatles song to catch on in America. In 1963, the Beatles became stars in England, but couldn’t break through in the US. They couldn’t get a major label to distribute their singles in America, so their first three singles there, “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You” and “She Loves You,” were issued on small labels and flopped, even though they were hits in England.

Late in 1963, American news outlets started reporting on this British sensation, and interest in the group started to rise. Capitol Records took notice and released “I Want To Hold Your Hand” Stateside on December 26. The song rose up the chart, and on February 1, 1964, hit #1. It sold better in the first 10 days of release in the US than any other British single, and remains the best-selling Beatles single in the United States, moving over 12 million copies.

Conquering the US was, and still is, a big deal for British bands. Many groups that are huge in the UK (Oasis, Blur) never really catch on in America.
• John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this in Jane Asher’s basement. Asher was an actress who became Paul’s first high-profile girlfriend. After appearing in several movies, TV shows and stage productions, Asher became an authority on baking, and has her own business selling party cakes and supplying baking and decorating equipment. She and Paul broke up in 1968.

Jane had a brother named Pete Asher who teamed up with Gordon Waller to form the duo Peter & Gordon; McCartney wrote their hit single “A World Without Love.” Pete recalled in a 2010 interview with Gibson.com the two Beatles penning this song at his home: “My mother had a practice room that she used to give private oboe lessons when she wasn’t teaching at The Royal Academy, where she was a professor. There was just a piano, and an upright chair and a sofa. Paul used that room to write in, from time to time. One afternoon John came over, while I was upstairs in my room. The two of them were in the basement for an hour or so, and Paul called me down to listen to a song they had just finished. I went downstairs and sat on the sofa, and they sat side by side, on the piano bench. That’s where they played ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ for the first anywhere. They asked me what I thought. I said, ‘I think it’s very good.'” [laughs]

The Beatles performed this on their first two Ed Sullivan Show appearances, which took place February 9 and 16, 1964. There was already a media frenzy around The Beatles, which was amplified when millions saw them on Sullivan’s show. The Beatles were booked for the show before they had a hit in the US, so they actually got paid less than many other guests for their appearance.

• This was one of John Lennon’s favorite Beatles songs. It starts with a falling melody, which is typical of Lennon’s songwriting, and ends with a cadence with a quarter-interval: “I’ll think you’ll understand.” That quarter-interval cadence you can even hear in Lennon’s first bit of “From Me to You” and in “Tomorrow Never Knows.” McCartney most often uses second-intervals. Also typically Lennon is the sudden octave-run, “Haaaaand…” The same octave-run you can hear in the end of the middle part in Lennon’s “Please Please Me”: “To reason with youuuuuu…” Also note that the beginning of the melody in the middle part is almost the same melody as the beginning of the middle part in “Don’t Let Me Down.” 

Two parody groups made answer songs to this in 1964: “I’ll Let You Hold My Hand” by The Bootles and “Yes, You Can Hold My Hand” by The Beatlettes.

This was the first Beatles song recorded on 4-track equipment. Some of their first songs were in mono.

The Beatles also cut a German version called “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand.” They picked up some German while playing The Star Club in Hamburg in 1962.

In the 1960s it wasn’t uncommon for British stars to record new versions of their hits in other languages. The idea was to increase airplay on continental stations and to get a hit before an indigenous artist recorded a version in the local tongue. On January 29, 1964, The Beatles went into the Pathé & Marconi Studios in Paris and recorded “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “She Loves You” (“Sie Liebt Dich”) in German. The lyrics had been hurriedly translated by a Luxembourger named Camillo Felgen, who was then a program director at Radio Luxembourg. As well, apart from their recording of “My Bonnie” in the early ’60s, this was the only time The Beatles recorded in another language. In addition it was the sole occasion on which they recorded outside London.

When this hit #1 in the US, it was the first time a British group topped the chart there since 1962, when “Telstar” by The Tornados did it. Until The Beatles came along, most British groups that had hits in America came and went pretty quickly. The Beatles kicked off the British Invasion, leading to a lengthy occupation on the charts for acts like The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who as well as The Beatles.

It was the youth who discovered The Beatles, and while young people can be easily manipulated through hype and image, in the case of The Beatles it was the music that drew them in. An American girl Sanda Stewart, 15 years old in spring 1964 (according to Hunter Davies in his book Beatles) said: “I was one day in a shop with my mother when I suddenly heard ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ on the car radio. Such a special sound! I could never stop thinking about it. No song has effected me on that way. Several other girls in school had reacted in the same way. We saw the Beatles on photos and thought they were ugly. But their music was fantastic.”

This song was used in the movie Across the Universe at a much slower tempo. 

A fairly straightforward and simple Beatles song, this one still has some musical complexity that foreshadowed what was to come. “The middle eight of that does something,” Tony Banks of Genesis explained. “The way the key changes at that point is something I hadn’t heard before.”

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Oh yeah, I’ll tell you somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

Oh please, say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please, say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand
Now, let me hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide

Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide

Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I feel that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

 

 

Beatles – She Loves You

This song help kick off the sixties. The melody, music, the great harmonies and just the excitement of the song. She Loves You help define them and broke huge. Ozzy Osbourne made a statement about the song… “Imagine you go to bed today and the world is black and white and then you wake up, and everything’s in color.” 

These great melodies that John, Paul, and later George would come up with lasted through their career. Even when their music got a little more sophisticated the melodies remained…they were  underneath the early, middle, and late era Beatle music.

It’s best known for the yeah, yeah, yeah… Yeah, the Everly Brothers did it first, using a hook of “yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah” on their 1961 cover of the song “Temptation,” which was a #1 hit in the UK.

Paul McCartney’s dad wanted the Beatles to sing yes, yes, yes instead because he thought it sounded more dignified.…doesn’t have the same ring does it?

She Loves You peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand in 1964.

In the UK, this is the biggest selling Beatles single. It held the record for top-selling UK single of all time until 1977, when Wings topped it with Mull Of Kintyre.

George Martin didn’t like the ending chord. He thought it sounded too much like the The Andrew Sisters but the Beatles liked it and over rode the producer on this one…and it works great.

in April 1964 The Beatles had the Top 5 Songs on the Billboard Top 100 Singles of the week. The closest any other artist ever got was 3 songs in the Top 10. But there they were- Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist and Shout,  She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Please Please Me, sitting at the top, along with 7 other Beatles songs in the Top 100 the same week.

Cynthia Lennon: “He was also romantic, a side of him I saw more often as our relationship deepened. He wrote love poems on scraps of paper and passed them to me at college. For our first Christmas he drew a card with a picture of me in my new shaggy coat, standing opposite him, our heads together, his hand on my arm. It was covered with kisses and hearts and he wrote, ‘Our first Christmas, I love you, yes, yes, yes.’ A few years later he used the same idea in one of the Beatles’ first hits, ‘She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah.'”

John Lennon: “I remember it was Paul’s idea,” Lennon recalled, “Instead of singing ‘I love you’ again, we’d have a third party.”

Paul McCartney: “We were in a van up in Newcastle somewhere,” “and we’d just gone over to our hotel. I originally got an idea of doing one of those answering songs, where a couple of us sing about ‘she loves you’ and the other one sort of says the ‘yes, yes’ bit. You know, ‘yeah, yeah’ answering whoever who is saying it. But we decided that was a crummy idea anyway. But we had the idea of writing a song called ‘She Loves You’ then. And we just sat up in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it.”

From Songfacts

The Beatles tell quite a tale in this tidy pop song. Some poor guy thinks he has lost his girl for good, but he’s redeemed when he finds out from a friend that she still loves him. There’s even a moral at the end of the story: “Pride can hurt you too.” Good advice when arguing with a loved one.

This was an instant hit in the UK, but not in America, where it was released on Swan records, the only US label that would take it. Swan put it out in September 1963, but while The Beatles were huge in their homeland, they were still no big deal in America until February 1964. That’s when Beatlemania took hold and “She Loves You” became a US hit.

This was one of four Beatles songs that was never released in stereo. The others are “Love Me Do,” “I’ll Get You” and “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).” 

The Beatles released a German version translated as “Sie Liebt Dich” in the US in 1964. They learned some German when they became the house band at the Star-Club in Hamburg in 1962, but needed a German speaker to help them with the lyrics. They recorded the German version in Paris – it was the only time they recorded outside of England.

Apart from “My Bonnie,” which was recorded with Tony Sheridan in their early days in Hamburg, the only other song the Beatles recorded in another language, again German, was “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand” was recorded the same time as “Sie Liebt Dich.”

“Sie Liebt Dich” peaked at #97, the lowest position of the Beatles’ 71 Hot 100 charted songs.

Jack Paar played a video clip of The Beatles performing the song on his show January 3, 1964. The Beatles had appeared on news clips as part of stories about their success in England, but this was the first time they appeared on a US TV talk show. They also played it on both of their live Ed Sullivan Show appearances. When The Beatles agreed to do the show, they were not a big deal in America and took less money than most acts received for their fee. When The Beatles played The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, it got the largest audience ever for a TV show. Sullivan began having regular musical guests from the world of popular music, and it became a showcase for groups like The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Santana and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Paul McCartney and John Lennon were inspired to write this after a concert at the Majestic Ballroom in Newcastle when they were part of a tour with Roy Orbison and Gerry & the Pacemakers. Says McCartney, “There was a Bobby Rydell song out at the time ‘Forget Him’ and, as often happens, you think of one song when you write another. We were in a van up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. I’d planned an answering song where a couple of us would sing ‘She loves you’ and the other ones would answer ‘Yeah Yeah.’ We decided that was a crummy idea but at least we then had the idea of a song called She Loves You. So we sat in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it; John and I, sitting on twin beds with guitars.” 

In the UK, this hit #1 twice in 1963, first on September 4 and again on November 20.

Regarding the falsetto exaltation that occurs at the song’s manic peak, McCartney once explained: “The ‘wooooo’ was taken from the Isley Brothers’ ‘Twist and Shout.’ We stuck it in everything.”

These wordless vocalizations of joy were a Beatles hallmark; they most obvious example is the extended fadeout in “Hey Jude.”

The Beatles played part of this at the end of “All You Need Is Love,” which they recorded four years later.

This song was played at the conclusion of the concert sequence at the end of the film A Hard Day’s Night, although it wasn’t included on the soundtrack album. 

Norman Smith, who was The Beatles engineer, told the story in his autobiography John Called me Normal about feeling his heart sink when he spotted the lyrics on the music stand. As he later relayed to Mark Lewinsohn: “She loves you, yeah yeah yeah, She loves you, yeah yeah yeah, she loves you yeah yeah yeah yeah… I thought, My God, what a lyric! This is going to be the one I do not like.”

Smith had a hit in 1972 with “Oh Babe What Would You Say” as Hurricane Smith. He also produced the first three Pink Floyd albums.

There is a very clear edit in this song between the lines “I think it’s only fair/Pride can hurt you too.” It appears that two version had been edited together. 

In August 2009 the Official Chart Company compiled a list of the Beatles biggest selling hits in the UK, including re-issues. They revealed that this song was the Fab Four’s best seller in their native country, followed by “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

The Melissa Manchester hit You Should Hear How She Talks About You was written as a contemporary take on this song, with the singer telling a friend that a guy is really into her.

She Loves You

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you’ve lost your love
Well, I saw her yesterday-ay
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say-ay

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
But now she says she knows
You’re not the hurtin’ kind

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad

You know it’s up to you
I think it’s only fair
Pride can hurt you, too
Apologize to her

Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

John Lennon – Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

Merry Christmas everyone…this is a repost from last year but I have updated it another year older…and a new one just begun.

My favorite Christmas song hands down. Yea I’m biased because I am a Beatles fan but this one is great.

I think of High School when I hear this song. Our school had a Christmas poster contest and a buddy and I made a poster as a joke and wrote “So this is Christmas and what have you done another year over, and a new one just begun” and won first prize…with an assist from John.

John’s voice goes so well with this song. The song peaked at #2 in the UK charts in 1971….the song did peak at #42 in the Billboard 100 in 2019.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote this in their New York City hotel room and recorded it during the evening of October 28 and into the morning of the 29th, 1971 at the Record Plant in New York. It was released in the US for Christmas but didn’t chart. The next year, it was released in the UK, where it did much better, charting at #2. Eventually, the song became a Christmas classic in America, but it took a while.

Lennon originally wrote this as a protest song about the Vietnam War, and the idea “that we’re just as responsible as the man who pushes the button. As long as people imagine that somebody’s doing it to them and that they have no control, then they have no control.”

The children’s voices are the Harlem Community Choir, who were brought in to sing on this track. They are credited on the single along with Yoko and The Plastic Ono Band.

From Songfacts.

John and Yoko spent a lot of time in the late ’60s and early ’70s working to promote peace. In 1969, they put up billboards in major cities around the world that said, “War is over! (If you want it).” Two years later this slogan became the basis for this song when Lennon decided to make a Christmas record with an anti-war message. John also claimed another inspiration for writing the song: he said he was “sick of ‘White Christmas.'”

Lennon and Ono produced this with the help of Phil Spector. Spector had worked on some of the later Beatles songs and also produced Lennon’s “Instant Karma.” It was not Spector’s first foray into Christmas music: he and his famous session stars (including a 17-year-old Cher) spent six weeks in the summer of 1963 putting together A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, featuring artists like The Ronettes and Darlene Love. Unfortunately, the album was released on November 22, 1963, which was the same day US president John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The album sold poorly as America was focused on news of the killing.

This was originally released on clear green vinyl with Yoko Ono’s “Listen, The Snow Is Falling” as the B-side.

At the beginning of the song, two whispers can be heard. Yoko whispers: “Happy Christmas, Kyoko” (Kyoko Chan Cox is Yoko’s daughter with Anthony Cox) and John whispers: “Happy Christmas, Julian” (John’s son with Cynthia). >>

This being a Phil Spector production, four guitarists were brought in to play acoustic guitars: Hugh McCracken (who had recently played on the Paul McCartney album Ram), Chris Osbourne, Stu Scharf and Teddy Irwin. According to Richard Williams, who was reporting on the session for Uncut, when Lennon taught them the song, he asked them to “pretend it’s Christmas.” When one of the guitarists said he was Jewish, John told him, “Well, pretend it’s your birthday then.”

As for the other personnel, Jim Keltner played drums and sleigh bells, Nicky Hopkins played chimes and glockenspiel. Keltner and Hopkins were part of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band, and a third member, Klaus Voorman, was supposed to play bass on this track, but got stuck on a flight from Germany. One of the guitarists brought in for the session covered the bass – which one nobody seems to remember.

John Lennon was shot and killed less than three weeks before Christmas in 1980. The song was re-released in the UK on December 20 of that year, reaching #2 (held off the top spot by “There’s No One Quite Like Grandma” by St. Winifred’s School Choir). It made the UK Top 40 again in 1981 (#28), 2003 (#32) and 2007 (#40). Also in 2003, a version sung by the finalists of the singing competition Pop Idol reached #5.

The Fray were the first to chart with this song in America, reaching #50 in 2006; Sarah McLachlan’s version went to #107 that same year. Other artists to cover it include The Alarm, The Cranes, The December People, and Melissa Etheridge (in a medley with “Give Peace a Chance”). 

The Australian artist Delta Goodrem also covered it in 2003, taking it to #1 in her native country as a double-A-side single with “Predictable.” 

This didn’t appear on an album until 1975, when it was included on Lennon’s Shaved Fish singles compilation. Most Christmas songs are compiled with other songs of the season, but Shaved Fish listeners got to hear it year round.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

(Happy Christmas Kyoko)
(Happy Christmas Julian)

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
A new one just begun
And so happy Christmas
We hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas
And a happy new year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear
War is over, if you want it
War is over now

Happy Christmas

Beatles – Get Back

John Lennon was primarily a rhythm guitar player but George Harrison briefly left the Beatles during the recording of Let It Be.  John took the lead guitar part on this song and made a memorable solo. John was a very aggressive guitar player and on this one he was on the mark.

McCartney got the idea for the title “Get Back” from the line “Get back to where you should be” from a song George Harrison wrote called “Sour Milk Sea,” which was eventually recorded by Jackie Lomax. McCartney changed the line to, “Get back to where you once belonged”.

Early versions include the line “I dig no Pakistanis.” The song began as a commentary about immigration, telling people to “get back” to their own countries. It was meant to mock Britain’s anti-immigrant proponents. Paul McCartney, who wrote the song and sang lead, thought better of it and made the lyrics more palatable.

At the end of this album version, we hear cheering, followed by McCartney saying, “Thanks Mo” in response to Ringo’s wife, Maureen, who was clapping. Lennon then says, “I’d like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we’ve passed the audition.” This part came from the live rooftop performance.

This song went number 1  everywhere. #1 in the  Billboard 100, Canada, UK, New Zealand, The UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Ireland…and so on. The B side was Don’t Let Me Down…which personally I like more.

From Songfacts

“Get Back” was going to be the title of the album and the documentary film about making it. The Beatles stopped touring in 1966 and were worn thin by 1968, but they rekindled their passion for performance after shooting the “Hey Jude” promotional film in September that year before a live audience. Energized by the effort, they agreed to the documentary; the concept was The Beatles “getting back” to their roots and playing new songs for a live audience without any studio tricks.

The song “Get Back” came closest to capturing that spirit. Produced by George Martin, it was released as the follow-up single to “Hey Jude” in April 1969 (a month later in America) and was another blockbuster for the group, going to #1 in most territories.

The album became something completely different from the live set they planned. Glyn Johns, who engineered the sessions, was asked to put it together from what were really rehearsal tapes. After he assembled the album, it sat around while the Let It Be documentary was being edited from the film footage of The Beatles rehearsing in the studio and playing on the rooftop. During this time, The Beatles made the Abbey Road album, released it, and broke up.

Phil Spector, who had worked on John Lennon’s solo song “Instant Karma” (which George Harrison played on), was brought in to produce the Get Back album, which was re-titled Let It Be. Spector took the tapes and added orchestrations using his “Wall Of Sound” technique, and the album that was supposed to be the raw sound of The Beatles returning to their roots was released as a highly produced swan song on May 8, 1970, after they had broken up.

The Beatles famously performed this song from the rooftop of Apple Records on January 30, 1969, footage of which serves as the climax to their Let It Be documentary film. Knowing it would get shut down pretty quickly, the group kept mum about the performance, which was designed to promote the single and provide an ending for their film. They got in three takes of “Get Back” before police pulled the plug. The plan worked: Not only did they get their film ending, but the audio (including their banter) was used on various edits of “Get Back” to give it a live feel and add some character.

In their early days, The Beatles were musical warriors, playing in clubs for hours most nights. The “Get Back” single harkened to those days and was advertised as “The Beatles as nature intended.”

The single version runs 3:11 and contains a false ending at 2:34, after which McCartney comes back with a spoken verse:

“Get back Loretta, your mummy’s waiting for you, wearing her high-heeled shoes and her low-neck sweater, get back home, Loretta.”

The album version is a little shorter (3:09) and omits this section. It begins with a behind-the-scenes bit from the band tuning up during a session for the song on January 27, 1969. We hear John Lennon poke fun at the first line (“Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it couldn’t last”) by saying:

“Sweet Loretta fat she thought she was a cleaner, but she was a frying pan.”

Preston was a salve and a spark for the group. On January 10, 1969, George Harrison quit and almost left for good. He came back to work on January 21, but the tension lingered. Preston showed up the next day and galvanized the group; he played on “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down,” and participated in sessions for several other tracks.

The Beatles met Preston in 1962 when they were both playing in Germany, but they hadn’t seen each other since. It was Harrison’s idea to bring him in; after George left the Let It Be sessions, he saw Preston in concert with Ray Charles and arranged for him to join The Beatles. Having him in the studio eased the tension and made it easier for the group to put personal conflicts aside and record the album.

The press release to promote the single contains this quote from McCartney: “We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air… we started to write words there and then… when we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller coast by.”

Lennon claimed this was basically a rewrite of their 1968 song “Lady Madonna.”

Beatles fans found lots of hidden meaning in their lyrics, and sometimes the band did too. In his 1980 Playboy interview, John Lennon claimed that Paul looked at Yoko in the studio when he sang the line “get back to where you once belong.” John was sure he was disrespecting her.

There was speculation that the character “JoJo” was based on Joseph Melville See Jr., Linda McCartney’s first husband, who was from Tucson, Arizona. McCartney denied this, explaining in his 1988 autobiography Many Years From Now that he and Linda were on good terms with See, who used the first name Melville, and that “JoJo” was “an imaginary character, half-man and half-woman.”

Linda attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, and in 1979 she and Paul bought a ranch there. As for Joseph Melville See, he never remarried, and in 2000 he killed himself in Tucson.

Billy Preston’s piano solo was spontaneous. he told New Jersey’s Asbury Park Press in 2000: “I was playing a Fender Rhodes on ‘Get Back.’ They just told me, ‘Take a solo!’ I wasn’t expecting to do a solo. When we were rehearsing, I wasn’t playing a solo.”

The last version of the song The Beatles played on the Apple rooftop can be heard in the widely bootlegged “rooftop sessions,” which finds McCartney mocking the police as they shut them down. You can hear him ad-lib the lines “You been out too long, Loretta! You’ve been playing on the roofs again! That’s no good! You know your mommy doesn’t like that! Oh, she’s getting angry… she’ll have you arrested! Get back!”

An edited version of the rooftop performances was released on the Anthology 3 collection in 1996.

Some of the artists to cover this song include: The Bee Gees, The Crusaders, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Green, Elton John, The London Symphony Orchestra, The Main Ingredient, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Billy Preston, Kenny Rogers, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The Shadows, Status Quo, Rod Stewart, Ike and Tina Turner, and Sarah Vaughan.

In 2003, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr gave permission to Apple Records to rework the album and remove Phil Spector’s production. The result is the stripped-down version called Let It Be… Naked, which McCartney claims is what the group intended.

McCartney played this at halftime of the 2005 Super Bowl. This was the year after Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed during the halftime show, so the NFL insisted on an act that wouldn’t incite controversy or push the envelope. McCartney fit the bill.

Get Back

Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner
But he knew it wouldn’t last
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona
For some California grass

Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back Jojo, go home

Get back, get back
Back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Back to where you once belonged
Get back Jo

Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman
But she was another man
All the girls around her say she’s got it coming
But she gets it while she can

Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back Loretta, go home

Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged

Get back, get back
Get back to where you once belonged
Get back, get back, get back

John Lennon – Imagine

December 8, 1980 remains a day I still don’t fully understand and I guess I never will. A couple of years ago I posted this on what I was doing on that day and the day after. Ever since he was murdered the mournful intro to this song connects me to that day again.

This song has been dissected to pieces and I wouldn’t even attempt to do it.  It’s never been my favorite John Lennon song but it is his most important solo song…and a song that he is remembered by.

This may be the most popular song by an ex-Beatle. The song was released in 1971 and it peaked at #3 in the Billboard 100 and  #1 in Canada. In 1981 the song peaked at #1 in the UK after Lennon’s death.

In 2002, this came in #2 in a poll by Guinness World Records as Britain’s favorite single of all time, edged out by “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

John Lennon: The concept of positive prayer … If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing  then it can be true … the World Church called me once and asked, “Can we use the lyrics to ‘Imagine’ and just change it to ‘Imagine one religion’?” That showed [me] they didn’t understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea

From Songfacts

Lennon was asking us to imagine a place where the things that divide us, like religion and possessions, did not exist. He felt that would be a much better place.

This song is a strong political message sugarcoated in a beautiful melody. Lennon realized the softer approach would bring the song to a wider audience, who hopefully would listen to his message: If you want peace, first you have to imagine it.

The imagine concept came from Yoko Ono, who was very much into open-mindedness and using your imagination. In 1964, she published Grapefruit, a book of “instructions and drawings” that established the lyrical concept for the song. Here are some examples of her “instructions”:

Imagine the clouds dripping
Dig a hole in your garden to put them in

Imagine myself crying and using my tears to make myself stronger

Grapefruit was re-issued in 1971 before the song was released. That July, John joined Yoko on a series of book signings where he wholeheartedly endorsed it, often wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the book’s cover.

John Lennon wrote and recorded this song at his Tittenhurst Park estate in the English countryside where he and Yoko took up residence in the summer of 1969. When they moved to Tittenhurst, The Beatles hadn’t officially broken up, but they were on the outs and would never record together again (the last Beatles photo shoot took place there in August, 1969).

Lennon had released two avant-garde albums with Yoko: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins and Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions. At the end of 1969, they released another: Wedding Album, which contained sounds gathered at their wedding and “bed-in” honeymoon. In 1970, after a round of primal scream therapy, Lennon released his first commercially viable non-Beatles album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, with contributions from Ringo Starr and production by Phil Spector.

In early 1971, Lennon worked up songs for a new album – “Imagine” was one of them. In May, he summoned several of his musical cohorts to Tittenhurst to record it, including Spector, George Harrison, bass player Klaus Voormann, piano man Nicky Hopkins, and drummers Alan White and Jim Keltner. They recorded on-campus in the studio Lennon had recently built, which he called Ascot Sound Studios. It was a genial atmosphere; footage from the sessions shows Lennon and his cohorts enjoying each others’ company, but also getting down to business when it came time to work – Phil Spector kept the sessions on track, and Lennon was exacting in his musical detail. “Imagine” was one of the first songs they recorded. With a very simple arrangement designed to spotlight the lyric, it required just Lennon’s vocals and piano, Voormann’s bass, and White’s drums. Strings were overdubbed later.

Lennon took the sole songwriter credit on this track, but later said that his wife, Yoko Ono, should have been credited as well. On December 6, 1980, two days before he was murdered, Lennon did a radio interview with Andy Peebles for the BBC where he explained: “That should be credited as a Lennon/Ono song because a lot of the lyric and the concept came from Yoko. But those day, I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”

On June 14, 2017, the National Music Publishers’ Association announced that Yoko would finally be added as a songwriter for “Imagine.” This took place at a ceremony where Yoko was given the Centennial (song of the century) award for her contribution, which was followed by a Patti Smith performance of the song.

Hundreds of hours of footage was shot to document the Imagine sessions and subsequent events, including John and Yoko’s move to New York City shortly before the album was released. Music videos (or as they were known at the time, “promotional films”) were rare in 1971, but The Beatles were on the vanguard, creating them for some of their songs and also making five movies. Yoko Ono was a visual artist, so having cameras around wasn’t a big deal to the couple.

Every song on the album got a video, and in 1972 they were compiled into a film called Imagine. The clip for the song “Imagine” shows John and Yoko walking to the entrance of their home at Tittenhurst, where Lennon then plays the song on a grand piano in a white room. Yoko eventually sits next to him on the piano bench, where they share an intimate moment.

Footage for the project was later used in these films:

1988: The documentary Imagine: John Lennon
2000: Gimme Some Truth – The Making of John Lennon’s Imagine
2019: John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky

There are two famous Steinway pianos associated with this song: a brown Model Z upright in Lennon’s studio and a white baby grand in one of the rooms of his estate. Film footage shows Lennon first writing the song on the upright, then working it out on the grand. He tried recording it on the grand, but the room was too big, which caused excessive reverberation, so he recorded it in the studio on the upright.

The grand is more associated with the song because it’s the one he plays in the music video and the one used in promotional images – it’s a more striking visual than the upright.

In 2000, George Michael paid over $2 million for the upright, and then donated it to the Beatles museum in Liverpool. It has since been “on tour” around the world to promoting peace. The grand Lennon had shipped to his apartment in New York City, where Yoko still lives. It’s assumed she still owns it.

A sidewalk mosaic spells out the word “Imagine” in a section of Central Park dedicated to Lennon. The area is called Strawberry Fields, and is located across from Lennon’s apartment where he was shot.

Released as a single in America, “Imagine” climbed to #3 in November 1971. In the UK, John and Yoko decided not to release it as a single to put focus on their Christmas peace anthem “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” In 1975, “Imagine” was issues as a UK single for the first time, reaching #6. Soon after Lennon’s death in 1980, it was re-released in the UK and hit #1 on January 10, 1981, where it stayed for four weeks. On February 7, it was replaced at #1 by Lennon’s “Woman,” marking the first time an artist replaced himself on top of the UK charts since The Beatles followed “She Loves You” with “I Want To Hold Your Hand.”

This is credited to The Plastic Ono Band, the name Lennon used for some of his recordings after leaving The Beatles.

Lennon didn’t think the song had any hit potential when he wrote it. After recording a rough version in his home studio at his Tittenhurst Park estate, he made a demo record with “Imagine” as the flip side of his political screed “Gimme Some Truth.” He wanted some perspective on the songs, so he invited a few journalists and other associates over to have a listen. Ray Connolly of the London Evening Standard recalls Lennon playing him the demo and asking, “Is it any good?” Connolly and the others who heard it had to convince Lennon he had a hit on his hands with “Imagine.”

Yoko Ono performed this live at a show in Budapest, Hungary in 1986 that was included on the 1997 reissue of her album Starpeace. She included a studio version on her 2018 album Warzone.

On September 21, 2001, Neil Young performed this on a benefit telethon for the victims of the terrorist attacks on America. Almost 60 million people watched the special in the US.

At a 2001 tribute special to Lennon, Yolanda Adams sang this with Billy Preston on organ. Preston played keyboards on some Beatles songs, including “Get Back.”

Oasis used the piano intro on their 1996 song “Don’t Look Back In Anger.”

This song returned to the Hot 100 three times in the late 2000s thanks to cover versions by Jack Johnson (#90, 2007, for the compilation Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur), David Archuleta (#36, 2008) and The Glee Cast (#67, 2009). Other artists to cover it include Joan Baez, Bruce Hornsby, Ray Charles, Eva Cassidy, Our Lady Peace and A Perfect Circle.

This song plays a role in the movie Forrest Gump. Gump (played by Tom Hanks) appears on a talk show with Lennon, talking about a place where there are “no possessions” and “no religion.” It’s implied that Gump gave Lennon the idea for the song.

Some speculate that this song contains backwards messages. With a keen ear and vast imagination, you can barely make out the words “people war beside me” when reversing the line “imagine all the people.” 

On September 13, 1980 Elton John played a free concert in New York’s Central Park, ending it with “Imagine.” This performance was three months before Lennon’s untimely death; before playing the song Elton said, “This is for a dear friend of mine who doesn’t live too far from here, so let’s sing it loud enough for him to hear it” (Lennon lived only a few blocks from that part of Central Park). The flamboyant Elton performed the song wearing a Donald Duck outfit. 

Julian Lennon shared his thoughts on the song in the 2019 documentary Above Us Only Sky: “He’s not shoving it down people’s throats. It’s not religious and it’s not political – it’s humanity and life. We all really want what he’s singing about, and I think that’s why even today the song is still so important. The sad thing is, the world is still in a bad way. Why is it impossible to move forward in these dreams and make them a reality?”

The jazz musician Herbie Hancock recorded this as the centerpiece to his Imagine Project. His version features Jeff Beck, P!nk, Seal, India.Arie, Konono N°1 and Oumou Sangaré.

According to Yoko Ono, who controls the rights to John Lennon’s music, the most frequent request she gets comes from musicians who want to record “Imagine” but change the “no religion, too” lyric, a request she has always denied.

So, does this mean you can record any song, but you need special permission to alter the lyrics? Essentially, yes. Alex Holz at the music licensing and royalty service provider Limelight tells us: “Artists can be afforded ‘some’ leeway in adapting a track to your band’s style (so long as you don’t alter the fundamental character of the work), though lyric changes/alterations typically require direct permission from the publisher as a derivative work. Every songwriter/publisher/song is unique and requirements vary.”

This was the last song played on WABC before they switched from a Top 40 format to talk radio on May 10, 1982. Based in New York City, WABC was for decades the top AM radio station in the country. They debated long and hard to decide which song should be their farewell. 

It’s a stretch, but some have wondered if Lennon included a message in the video for this song. Lennon wears a cowboy hat in the beginning, and Yoko wears jewelry that evokes Native American culture. This could be a kind of message about all cultures getting along. Or it could just be what they chose to wear. >>

A moving rendition of “Imagine” took place in Paris on November 14, 2015, at the Bataclan theater, where 89 people were killed by gunmen in terrorist attacks the previous night. The German pianist Davide Martello brought his grand piano to the theater and played the song while crowds mourned outside the venue.

Over the next few days, Martello brought the piano to every location in Paris where the attacks took place, performing the song in tribute.

When Nike used the Beatles song “Revolution” in 1987 TV commercials, Yoko Ono joined the surviving band members in suing the company. In the court proceedings, it was revealed that Yoko appeared in a Japanese TV commercial for a telephone company where “Imagine” plays. According to court documents, she authorized use of the song and was paid about $400,000. The “Revolution” case unified the Beatles in their opposition to having songs used in commercials, especially since they didn’t control those rights – Capitol Records and Michael Jackson did.

At the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, four singers from that country performed “Imagine,” with each taking a verse. The singers represented a range of genres, including K-pop, with Ahn Ji-young of the duo Bolbbalgan4 performing along with Ha Hyun-woo of the rock band Guckkasten, Jeon In-Kwon of the rock band Deulgukhwa, and the solo artist Lee Eun-mi.

The theme of the ceremony was “Peace in Motion,” with a message of unity as athletes from North and South Korea entered under one flag.

Ben & Jerry’s, makers of “Cherry Garcia” and “Phish Food,” named an ice cream flavor after Lennon’s hit song in 2007. Retired since 2013, “Imagine Whirled Peace” was a caramel ice cream mixed with toffee cookie pieces and chocolate peace signs.

Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today (ah ah ah)

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

Beatles – Real Love

This was the second “new” song by the Beatles to be released in the 1990’s and it was on the Anthology 2 album. I liked the song but it didn’t resonate with me like Free As A Bird did. Real Love sounded more like a Lennon solo song with the Beatles backing him…but I love Lennon’s solo output so I did like it but it wasn’t as “Beatle-ly” to me than Free As a Bird.

The song was more fully realized than Free As a Bird and didn’t take as much input by the other three shaping it. This is the only Beatles song where the songwriting credit is John Lennon alone instead of Lennon-McCartney or all four Beatles.

Paul McCartney did his best John Lennon imitation to help the lead vocal because the recording of John’s voice was low and spotty in some places. The lead vocal is actually a John and Paul duet.

The song with Lennon’s early takes on “Real Love,” recorded with just guitar and vocals, had also appeared on the soundtrack of the Imagine: John Lennon documentary before the Beatles got to finish it.

The song peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100, #12 in Canada, and #4 in the UK in 1996.

From Songfacts

This was an unfinished song written by John Lennon that was completed by the remaining Beatles. It was the second “new” release for the Anthology 2 album (“Free As A Bird” was the first). Yoko Ono supplied Lennon’s demos and gave the remaining Beatles permission to use them.

Jeff Lynne from The Electric Light Orchestra put this together. He has produced albums for George Harrison and played with him in The Traveling Wilburys.

Lennon recorded his demo on a small tape recorder, which posed a challenge when Lynne tried to mix it with updated tracks. He was able to use a noise reduction system to improve the sound. 

According to notes in the John Lennon album Acoustic, when Lennon wrote this song, the original title was “Girls and Boys.”

Real Love

All my little plans and schemes
Lost like some forgotten dreams
Seems that all I really was doing
Was waiting for you

Just like little girls and boys
Playing with their little toys
Seems like all they really were doing
Was waiting for love

Don’t need to be alone
No need to be alone
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real

From this moment on I know
Exactly where my life will go
Seems that all I really was doing
Was waiting for love

Don’t need to be afraid
No need to be afraid
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real

Thought I’d been in love before
But in my heart, I wanted more
Seems like all I really was doing
Was waiting for you

Don’t need to be alone
Don’t need to be alone
It’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real

Beatles Anthology 1…Desert Island Box Set

We are wrapping up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We went into extra innings extending four more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, music related movie and now ending with Box Sets. This is my pick for the final round…the Box Set I would take to the island: Beatles Anthology 1

2020 ALBUM DRAFT- ROUND 14 PICK 6- BOX SETS- BADFINGER20 SELECTS- THE BEATLES -ANTHOLOGY 1

Now for my last pick in our draft. I’ve come full circle with the Beatles…back in July (hard to believe it was that long ago) it was the White Album and now the 1996 release of Anthology 1 that focuses on a happier but hectic time in the Beatles history.

I can’t explain how excited I was for this release. I was working at a wood shop…just a few months away from my first corporate IT job and I was about to buy this new Beatle CD with a new song. For the first time in my life I could buy a Beatle song that wasn’t recorded in the sixties called Free As A Bird. I had a friend I worked with that doubled as a distribution center driver during holiday season. My plan was to head to lunch the day it was released and buy it in a record shop…remember those? My friend came in with a thick CD case and said here you go…it was Anthology 1 and he said Merry early Christmas. 

Anthology 1 covered everything in the time span of 1958-1964. You got a rare McCartney/Harrison song and a Lennon/Harrison song included. Also home studio taped songs and early Decca demos that were shopped and that I only read about until then. Many of the songs were listed in books but had been locked away in EMI’s vault. Also on this were live performances and alternate takes of the songs. 

The Anthology series introduced the Beatles to a new generation. I had a couple of cousins who were all into New Kids On The Block…when Anthology came out they called me and said now they understood why I liked the Beatles and to this day they still do.

The other thing it did was to help Paul McCartney’s standing. After John Lennon was murdered he was put on a pedestal and Paul was a square.  It was unfair. After the Anthology Paul’s reputation as a great songwriter and singer started to move up again in it’s rightful place…

Now to the song that really excited me. The first official new Beatle song in decades. Free As A Bird still stands up to me. George’s slide just cuts through you and it sounds modern yet older at the same time.

The video is hands down my favorite music video. It was still the mid 90s and CGI wasn’t what it would become just a just a few years later but this works well.

In Spite of All the Danger… a McCartney/Harrison song…the only one to be credited as such was recorded in 1958! One of the first recordings they ever did. You can hear those raw harmonies forming and this was part of the birth of the Beatles. They never properly recorded this song later on which is a shame. I like George’s solo on this one also. Paul will perform it in concert on occasion.

The home/demos were great to hear. Before the Cavern, Hamburg, and worldwide stardom…the start of it all. Hallelujah I Love Her So.

This Anthology covers so much and to see them grow just between 1958-1964 is something special…not to mention how much they grew with the two other Anthologies. Every band grows but usually not to this extent. So to my fellow castaways we have enough to keep us entertained. Thanks to everyone and thanks to Hans for hosting this. Hope to see you all back when the next draft starts.

Paul, George And Ringo Over The Blue Moon – Keener13.com

Build-A-Band

Remember Build-A-Bear? Well this is the rock edition. I think this post may go under…”looked great on paper but…” but lets give it a try. Have you ever thought about if you could have a pick of any musicians living or dead and bring them together in their prime…what combinations would you come up with?

Who would you pick if you could pick anyone? We have a time machine so don’t worry…Jimi Hendrix is just a trip away.  This is a discussion my friends and I have once in a while. I always wondered what a band with Keith Richards and John Lennon together would have sounded like…probably as raw as you could have sounded…a band with Big Star’s Alex Chilton and the Beatles Paul McCartney? It would be interesting.

There are many musicians I have left out…most likely they were here in previous editions that I’ve went through in the past few weeks.

Now… I would want to make at least two or three different bands…a rock, hard rock, and a pop/rock band.  Now I could go on and on…Soul, Blues, Funk, Country/Rock, and even Heavy Metal. Who would you pick? What would your “dream” band be? If I had time I would have listed around 10 different kind of bands…but these 3 will do for now.

How to play 'Watching the Wheels' by John Lennon - Chords, Lyrics, and  Guitar Tabs from SongnotesMontreaux Switzerland 1972 by Dominic Lamblin : rollingstones500+ ALLMAN BROTHERS ideas in 2020 | allman brothers, allman brothers band,  southern rockJohn Paul Jones | Wiki | Bass Player Amino                  Resultado de imagen para charlie watts young | Charlie watts, Rolling  stones, Rhythm and bluesLeon Russell “Leon Russell” « Cool Album of the DayRod Stewart - Wikipedia

Rock  band.

  • John Lennon – Rhythm Guitar/vocals
  • Keith Richards – Rhythm guitar/vocals
  • Duane Allman – Lead guitar
  • John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) – Bass
  • Charlie Watts – Drums
  • Leon Russell – Keyboards
  • Rod Stewart (early seventies version) – Lead Vocals

Jimi Hendrix on Twitter: "I have a song on abortion and a song on Vietnam  and a song on just about any problem"Old Love by Eric Clapton | SetlistingJohn Entwistle | Wiki | Guitar Aminoyou may say i'm a dreamer — Young Keith Moon in the band the BeachcombersITCHYCOO PARK// FAKEGRAM - 1 - WattpadJon Lord - Wikipedia

Hard Rock Band

  • Jimi Hendrix – Lead guitar and vocals
  • Eric Clapton – Lead guitar and vocals
  • John Entwistle – Bass
  • Keith Moon – Drums
  • Steve Marriott (Small Faces and Humble Pie) – Lead Vocals
  • Jon Lord (Deep Purple) – Keyboards

Silly Love Songs #TheBeatlesMania | Paul mccartney, John lennon beatles,  Ringo starrAlex Chilton, Big Star, Dead at 59 - GuitarVibe.comI Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea - Lyrics and Music by Elvis Costello & The  Attractions arranged by nrdcskbClem Burke InterviewBrian Wilson (@BrianWilsonRP) | Twitter

Pop/Rock Band

  • Paul McCartney – Bass/Lead Vocals
  • Alex Chilton (Big Star) – Guitar/Lead Vocals
  • Elvis Costello – Rhythm guitar/Lead Vocals
  • Clem Burke (Blondie) – Drums
  • Brian Wilson – Keyboards/Vocals

Beatles – Here Comes The Sun

If you want to hear an optimistic song look no further than this one. This is another Beatles song that was not released as a single. Harrison wrote it and  sang lead, played acoustic guitar and used his newly acquired Moog synthesizer on this track. It was one of the first pop songs to feature a Moog.

George wrote “Here Comes The Sun” after he decided to not show up for a scheduled Apple business meeting in early Spring. He wrote this in Eric Clapton’s garden using one of Clapton’s acoustic guitars enjoying a spring day.

Here Comes the Sun was on the Beatles last studio album Abbey Road. The album contained two of George’s best known songs. Something and Here Comes the Sun. This is one of my favorite George songs.

George Harrison: “‘Here Comes The Sun’ was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever; by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go and see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote ‘Here Comes The Sun.'”

When The Beatles’ music was finally made available for download on iTunes in 2010, “Here Comes The Sun” was the top-selling song the first week.

From Songfacts

“It was just sunny and it was all just the release of that tension that had been building up on me,” Harrison said in a 1969 BBC Radio interview. “It was just a really nice sunny day, and I picked up the guitar, which was the first time I’d played the guitar for a couple of weeks because I’d been so busy. And the first thing that came out was that song. It just came. And I finished it later when I was on holiday in Sardinia.”

In the documentary The Material World, Eric Clapton talked about writing this song with Harrison: “It was one of those beautiful spring mornings. I think it was April, we were just walking around the garden with our guitars. I don’t do that, you know? This is what George brought to the situation. He was just a magical guy… we sat down at the bottom of the garden, looking out, and the sun was shining; it was a beautiful morning, and he began to sing the opening lines and I just watched this thing come to life.”

The music begins on the left channel and gradually moves to the right as Harrison’s vocal begins.

The instrumental break is similar to “Badge,” which Harrison helped Clapton write for his band Cream.

John Lennon did not play on this. Around this time, he was making a habit of not playing on Harrison’s compositions as the two were not on the best of terms. The two eventually settled their differences as George contributed quite a bit to Lennon’s album Imagine two years later. 

The Beatles had stopped touring by the time they recorded this song, so they never played it live. The first time Harrison played it live was at the 1971 Concert for Bangla Desh, which he organized to bring aid to that country. He played it at a handful of appearances in the ’70s and ’80s, but didn’t perform it on a tour until 1991, when he joined Eric Clapton for 12 shows in Japan. This version can be heard on the album Live in Japan.

At the Concert for Bangla Desh, Harrison brought Badfinger lead singer Pete Ham to the front of the stage to sing it with him. Badfinger was signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records and had a hit months earlier with “No Matter What.” Harrison had them play on his first post-Beatles solo album, All Things Must Pass, in 1970, and used them as backing musicians at the concert. The Badfinger story, though, had a tragic ending. As Apple Records disintegrated, the group left the label and ended up in legal wranglings that left them angry and broke. Ham committed suicide in 1975.

In 1976, a cover by Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel was a #10 hit in the UK.

Richie Havens covered this in 1971. The Beatles’ version never charted, but his hit #16 in the US. Havens told DISCoveries magazine in 1994: “Fortunately, I can sing things that changed my mind and gave me articulation, like the songs of The Beatles. What they did was, they presented the language we speak in a very straightforward way. The images were totally clear. The influence of clarity – that was the whole influence of the British Invasion.”

Other popular covers were recorded by Nina Simone and Peter Tosh.

On November 20, 1976, Harrison performed this with Paul Simon on Saturday Night Live. On a previous show, producer Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles $3,000 (union minimum), to show up and perform. He said they could split it up any way they wanted, giving Ringo less if they felt like it. Lennon and McCartney were watching together in New York at the time and almost went. On the show when Harrison performed this, there is a skit where he is arguing with Michaels over the money. Michaels tries to explain that the $3000 was for the whole group, and he would have to accept less.

When Harrison died in 2001, many artists performed this at their concerts as a tribute. It was played at the induction ceremonies of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the all-star jam.

George Harrison played a guitar solo that was placed at 1:02 into the song, but didn’t make the final cut. Here’s the clip where George Martin and Dhani Harrison listen to it.

Harrison released a follow-up song called “Here Comes The Moon” on his self-titled 1979 album. That song is a tribute to the moon, the “sun’s little brother” that acts like a mirror in the sky, reflecting our light.

In 2006, this was voted by the members of the GeorgeHarrison.com forum as their favorite song of his.

Take That’s Gary Barlow covered this for a 2012 advert for Marks and Spencer. It was the first song he’d recorded as a solo artist since his sophomore album, Twelve Months, Eleven Days in 1999. He said: “It’s a real a privilege to cover such an iconic track. You can’t better perfection but I hope we’ve given it a modern twist that will capture the mood of the nation and provide the perfect anthem for summer 2012.” The song’s exposure on the commercial resulted in the original Beatles recording charting in the UK singles top 75 for the first time.

Paul McCartney was also feeling the pain from Beatles’ business dealings around this time and wrote his own, far more pessimistic, song about it: “You Never Give Me Your Money,” which was also included on Abbey Road.

Tom Petty, who was Harrison’s good friend and played with him in the Traveling Wilburys, said of this song in Rolling Stone: “No piece of music can make you feel better than this. It’s such an optimistic song, with that little bit of ache in it that makes the happiness mean even more.”

At the 2016 Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump, speaking before her father Donald took the stage, emerged with this song playing. The Harrison estate was not happy and voiced their displeasure on Twitter: “The unauthorized use of #HereComestheSun at the #RNCinCLE is offensive & against the wishes of the George Harrison estate. If it had been Beware Of Darkness, then we MAY have approved it!”

Naya Rivera and Demi Lovato sang this on the 2013 Glee episode “Tina in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Nina Simone’s version was used on the TV series Scandal in the 2015 episode “You Can’t Take Command.”

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, many found solace in this song. Some hospitals would play the song when a patient was discharged.

Harrison and Simon on SNL

Here Comes The Sun

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here

Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say
It’s all right

Here comes the sun (doo doo doo)
Here comes the sun
It’s all right
It’s all right

Chuck Berry – Roll Over Beethoven

I like going back to the pioneers who started all of this. Those old raw recordings have been inspected, dissected, and copied to this day. All rock bands will do a Chuck Berry riff somewhere and most likely will cover at least one of his many songs.

I first was introduced to Chuck Berry by the Beatles faithful version. This song is a staple of early rock and roll. Everyone from George Harrison to Keith Richards were influenced by Chuck Berry. His songs were mini stories set against a fast guitar with a driving beat.

This song is about the rock ‘n’ roll craze that was taking over America. Beethoven and Tchaikovsky were classical composers who were being bumped aside by rock. At the time, many critics dismissed rock music as a passing fad…and the fad is still going on.

Berry started writing this song to rib his younger sister, Lucy, who played classical music on the family piano. Chuck was telling her to stop playing so he could play rock and roll.

The song peaked at #29 in the US Charts and #2 in the R&B Charts in 1956.

From Songfacts

Berry was careful to write lyrics that told a coherent story, which in this case follows a young many as he pursues his favorite music. Berry also took care to deliver his lyrics clearly so a wider audience could understand them. This helped him avoid the fate of many Little Richard songs: more popular, but sanitized covers by Pat Boone.

The line, “Early in the mornin’ I’m a givin’ you a warnin'” is a tribute to Louis Jordan’s 1947 track “Early In The Mornin’.”

Jordan, a jump-blues innovator, certainly earned the tribute: his 1946 song “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” has a guitar intro (played by Carl Hogan) that Berry lifted for “Roll Over Beethoven.”

The Beatles released a version of this song in 1963, which they played at most of their early live shows. The following year, The Beach Boys released “Fun, Fun, Fun,” which copied the intro to “Roll Over Beethoven” nearly note for note.

This was used in the 1992 movie Beethoven, which is about a Saint Bernard.

The Electric Light Orchestra covered this in 1973, mixing in some of Beethoven’s music. It was their biggest hit at the time, going to #6 in the UK and #42 in the US.

ELO was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 7, 2017, less than a month after Berry’s death. They opened the ceremony with a performance of this song in tribute to Berry.

For a February 4, 1977 primetime special celebrating 25 years of American Bandstand, Berry performed this song joined by Seals & Crofts, Gregg Allman, Junior Walker, Johnny Rivers, the Pointer Sisters, Charlie Daniels and Doc Severinsen. This was one of the first “all-star jams” that would later become commonplace. This performance served as a showcase for the musicians, who were introduced as they performed by Paul Williams. 

Iron Maiden spoofed this on their song “Roll Over Vic Vella,” which was used as the B-side to the single for “From Now to Eternity” It’s one of the few singles that featured a photograph of the band performing as cover art. 

Leon Russell often covered this song. He performed it on the musical variety show Shindig! in 1964.

The Beatles version…the bands I’ve played in used more powerful amps in a small club than the Beatles had at that time for stadiums. They made it necessary to boost the power with larger amps…to this day I don’t see how they heard each other…they probably didn’t. 

Roll Over Beethoven

Well, I’ma write a letter
I’m gon’ mail it to my local DJ
Yeah that’s the jumpin little record
I want my jockey to play
Roll over Beethoven, I gotta hear it again today

You know, my temperature’s risin’
The jukebox blowin’ a fuse
My heart’s beatin’ rhythm
And my soul keeps a-singin’ the blues
Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news

I got the rockin’ pneumonia
I need a shot of rhythm and blues
I caught the rollin’ arthritis
Sittin’ down at a rhythm review
Roll over Beethoven, they rockin’ in two by two

Well, if you feel and like it
Go get your lover, then reel and rock it
Roll it over and move on up just a
Trifle further, then reel and rock it
Wind another
Roll over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues

Well in the mornin’ I’m givin’ you my mornin’
Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes
Hey diddle diddle, I’ma play my fiddle
Ain’t got nothin’ to lose
Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news

You know she wiggles like a glow worm
Dance like a spinnin’ top
She got a crazy partner
Ya oughta see ’em reel and rock
Long as she got a dime the music will never stop

Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven
Roll over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues

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