Smithereens – Behind The Wall Of Sleep …. Power Pop Friday

This song has a Rolling Stones connection in the lyrics. I love the first line “She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965.” Shrimpton dated Mick Jagger before he was with Marianne Faithful. The second reference is an odd one to Bill Wyman, the Stones’ bass player.

The song was on their debut album  Especially for You released in 1986. They had released a couple of EP’s before this album. Pat DiNizo wrote the song and was influenced by the title of the H.P. Lovecraft short story, “Beyond the Wall of Sleep.” The song was about Kim Ernst. She was the bass player of The Bristols.

Pat DiNizo: “We’d done a gig with The Bristols, four fabulous women who looked, sounded and dressed like Roger McGuinn’s The Byrds, Kim had black hair, really long: ‘She [had hair like] like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965, she had legs that never ended, I was halfway paralyzed. She was tall and cool and pretty, and she dressed as black as coal. If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul.’ Our first two hits were ‘Blood And Roses,’ about suicide, and this one, ‘If you’d ask me to I’d murder’—very dark material [laughs].”

In 1985 they recorded the album at The Record Plant, the famous recording studio that hosted John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen among others. They had to save up gig money to record.

Drummer Dennis Diken: “Those sessions actually almost didn’t happen, we had recorded Beauty and Sadness in Studio B. That was the room where Springsteen recorded The River, and a lot of other big stuff was done there. Studio A was also famous for historic sessions; John Lennon worked there. But we were the low guys on the totem pole, so we got a call on the afternoon of Good Friday 1985—when we were supposed to go in that night—saying, ‘Sorry, but we have a more important session booked in B now. We’re going to have to kick you upstairs to C,’ which was a much smaller room.

“We got on the phone with each other and said, ‘Hey, this ain’t too cool. Maybe we should wait until larger rooms become available again,’ but in the end, reluctantly, we went for it.”

The album peaked at #51 in the Billboard Album Charts. The song peaked at #23 in the Mainstream Rock Play charts.

Behind The Wall Of Sleep

She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965
She had legs that never ended
I was halfway paralyzed
She was tall and cool and pretty and she dressed as black as coal
If she asked me to I’d murder, I would gladly lose my soul

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Well she held a bass guitar and she was playing in a band
And she stood just like Bill Wyman
Now I am her biggest fan
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep

Got your number from a friend of mine who lives in your hometown
Called you up to have a drink
Your roommate said you weren’t around
Now I know I’m one of many who would like to be your friend
And I’ve just got to find a way to let you know I’m not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep
Behind the wall of sleep

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Beatles – Don’t Bother Me

In 1975 my friends and cousin had a clubhouse that was an old horse barn. We had a record player, a lantern, and a one-armed bandit. My cousin played the Meet The Beatles album and me… being a Monkee fan soaked it up and it started a lifelong love for The Beatles.

My first favorite Beatle song was It Won’t Be Long…then this one came in second at the time. George wrote this when he was down with the flu in a hotel room in the Northeast of England. It was the first song he wrote……technically he did have partial credit on the instrumental Cry For A Shadow.

Is it George’s best song? Of course not but it fits in well with the early Beatles and it gets overlooked. If you think about it…”Don’t Bother me” is so George and his attitude at times. I always really liked it…the overall feel of it is cool. It was a very good attempt at his first song.

George Harrison: “I don’t think it’s a particularly good song… It mightn’t even be a song at all, but at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing, and then maybe eventually I would write something good.”

Tom Petty: “I thought it was just the coolest song, like nothing I’d heard in rock,” Petty said in 2014 “I’d say, ‘Well, I like it. A lot. If you did that today, I’d say it was really good.’ And he’d go, ‘Well, you’d be wrong.'”

The Smithereens did a great job covering this song.

From Songfacts

This was George Harrison’s first recorded song. It was his response to critics who claimed he was not an important member of the group because he did not write songs.

A Harrison-penned song would not appear again until the 1965 album Help!. That would be “You Know What To Do.”

This song has a darker, more pessimistic mood that was uncommon of The Beatles main sound, but would come to be Harrison’s trademark stamp. This is actually part of what made the Beatles’ formula work: McCartney was the chirpy, positive one, and Harrison was the melancholic counterpart.

Years later these were sold off at one of the London auction houses. This song in it’s very earliest stages is available on bootleg and features George working the music and lyrics out as he goes along. George stated, “I wrote the song as an exercise to see if I could write a song. I was sick in bed. Maybe that’s why it turned out to be ‘Don’t Bother Me.'” 

For your information, the photography technique for the cover of With The Beatles, in which the Fab Four’s headshots hover in a half-moon, light-and-shadow effect, is called “chiaroscuro.” It’s an Italian word to describe the Renaissance technique of dramatically contrasted lighting effects in oil paintings.

This was the first song on Side 2 of Meet The Beatles, their first album released in the US. With The Beatles was their second UK release.

Don’t Bother Me

Since she’s been gone I want no one to talk to me
It’s not the same but I’m to blame, it’s plain to see

So go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me
I can’t believe that she would leave me on my own
It’s just not right when every night I’m all alone

I’ve got no time for you right now, don’t bother me
I know I’ll never be the same if I don’t get her back again
Because I know she’ll always be the only girl for me

But ’til she’s here please don’t come near, just stay away
I’ll let you know when she’s come home
Until that day
Don’t come around, leave me alone, don’t bother me

I’ve got no time for you right now, don’t bother me
I know I’ll never be the same if I don’t get her back again
Because I know she’ll always be the only girl for me

But ’til she’s here please don’t come near, just stay away
I’ll let you know when she’s come home
Until that day

Don’t come around, leave me alone, don’t bother me
Don’t bother me
Don’t bother me
Don’t bother me
Don’t bother me