Beatles – Savoy Truffle

I love the horns in this song. It wasn’t George Harrison’s best on the album…that would be While My Guitar Gently Weeps but this one is fun.

George was good friends with Eric Clapton and was watching his friend with toothaches and getting dental work. Clapton’s weakness was candy and he would eat all of it until it was gone.

Harrison got the lyrics for this from the inside lid of a box of chocolates. Montelimar, Ginger Sling, Cream Tangerine, and Coffee Dessert were names of candies in the Mackintosh “Good News” assortment. The names “Cherry Creme” and “Coconut Fudge” were invented by George, however, to round out the verses.

Press agent Derek Taylor came up with the line  ‘You know that what you eat you are‘.

Derek Taylor: “George said, ‘We need a bit here, da da, da da da da, da da,’ and I thought again of my good friend, Alan Pariser. He had done a film called ‘You Are What You Eat,’ which was a very pippy thing; ‘Don’t eat meat, man, or you’ll be filled with the adrenaline of frightened animals.’ So I said to George, ‘You know that what you eat you are.’

good-news-chocolates

The MacIntosh’s Good News box where George got some of the lyrics.

Harrison wrote the line “We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da” as an in-joke with the band. McCartney had pushed Obla-Di-Bla-Da so much that the band played endless versions of it and were not happy about it.

The White Album was released in 1968 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 about everywhere else…and it would be #1 as well on my list.

The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Garde, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in the mix. It has plenty of songs that you have heard of and many that the masses have not heard. The Beatles more than many bands could bend to a style of music and play that style well.

Some critics said they should have taken the best of the two albums and slimmed it down to one. I understand that argument but as a Beatle fan…Nahhhhh. It’s the Beatles White Album!

George Harrison: “At that time he had a lot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work. He always had a toothache but he ate a lot of chocolates – he couldn’t resist them, and once he saw a box he had to eat them all. He was over at my house, and I had a box of ‘Good News’ chocolates on the table and wrote the song from the names inside the lid: ‘Creme Tangerine, Montelimart’…” 

“He’d got this real sweet tooth and he had just had his mouth worked on. His dentist said he was through with candy. So, as a tribute, I wrote ‘You’ll have to have them all pulled out, after the Savoy Truffle.’ The truffle was some kind of sweet, just like all the rest, ‘crème tangerine,’ ‘ginger sling,’ just candy, to tease Eric.” 

Savoy Truffle

Creme tangerine and montelimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert, yes you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

Cool cherry cream, a nice apple tart
I feel your taste all the time we’re apart
Coconut fudge, really blows down those blues
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

You might not feel it now
But when the pain cuts through
You’re going to know, and how
The sweat is going to fill your head
When it becomes too much
You shout aloud

You’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

You know that what you eat you are,
But what is sweet now, turns so sour
We all know Obla-Di-Bla-Da
But can you show me, where you are?

Creme tangerine and montelimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert, yes you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle
Yes you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

Beatles – Helter Skelter

This is my tenth and last song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Beatles Helter Skelter.

I want to thank Hans for hosting this draft and having me as one of the participants. Thanks everyone for the great songs. A Beatles song had to be in play in the draft for me. I didn’t pick my favorite Beatles song, but one that scared the hell out of me as a kid. This song gave me the creeps because it was so loud. That was before I saw the Manson TV movie.

Now, the sheer energy of it gets me every time. In 1964 they gave us I Want To Hold Your Hand and four years later we hear Helter Skelter…that is growing and versatility. This song was by the band I most admire and it was influenced by another band I admire…The Who…sort of.

The origin of the song…I’ll turn it over to Paul: “I was in Scotland and I read in Melody Maker that Pete Townshend had said: ‘We’ve just made the raunchiest, loudest, most ridiculous rock’n’roll record you’ve ever heard.’ I never actually found out what track it was that The Who had made, but that got me going, just hearing him talk about it. So I said to the guys, ‘I think we should do a song like that; something really wild.’ And I wrote ‘Helter Skelter.’”

The track that Townshend was talking is thought to be I Can See For Miles. Paul took the description and ran with it. Paul and George played the guitars while John played a six string bass…Mr blisters on his fingers played drums.

I’ve played this song at the different places I’ve worked (on cassette and computer) and I get inquiries…who is that? When I tell them who…they don’t believe me at first. A reply that I have got is… no that is NOT The Beatles…that is just not them. This is why I love the Beatles. They covered genres well.

The song has picked up evil vibes along the way because of Manson grabbing the title for his awful deeds. Some have said it was the first Heavy Metal song, but I don’t hear that. I do think it was a cog in the machine and influenced the harder bands though.

I’ve heard so many bands try to cover this song…even down to heavier bands and none match the intensity and energy of this recording. The secret is the punk rawness with it’s jagged edges showing. The only cover I like is U2’s live version on Rattle and Hum because it helped the song regain it’s reputation back and take it from Manson’s grasp to a then modern audience.

I’ve played this song with a band a few times and that little riff is so powerful and so much fun to play. I told the rest of the band…no distortion boxes…no processing…just pure loud overdrive (turn it up to 11 and beyond)…and it works.

The White Album…another reason I love it…you have Blackbird, Rocky Racoon, Dear Prudence, and Helter Skelter on the same album. The album is the very definition of eclectic.

Thank you all again for the songs.

Helter Skelter

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Do, don’t you want me to love you
I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you
Tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer
Well, you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter

Will you, won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Look out
Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter
Look out, ’cause here she comes

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again, yeah, yeah

Well do you, don’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you
Tell me, tell me, tell me your answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

Look out
Helter skelter, helter skelter
Helter skelter

Look out, helter skelter
She’s coming down fast
Yes, she is
Yes, she is
Coming down fast

(I’ve got blisters on my fingers)

Beatles – Glass Onion

The Walrus was Paul! I never knew that John. This song was written by John and Paul but mostly a John song. The song was about people trying to analyze the lyrics to Beatle songs.

Lennon mentioned other Beatles songs in the lyrics: “Strawberry Fields,” “I am the Walrus,” “Lady Madonna,” “The Fool on the Hill,” and “Fixing a Hole.”  One phrase in the song is “cast iron shore,” which is actually a nickname for a coastal area of south Liverpool also known by the locals as “The Cazzy.”

John had started the song during their spring 1968 visit to Rishikesh, India to study Transcendental Meditation with the Maharishi. Most of the songs written in India ended up on the terrific White Album. The most eclectic album The Beatles ever did.

A new name was needed for a newly signed Apple band called The Iveys. John suggested Glass Onion…this was rejected, along with another Lennon suggestion “Prix.” The band  went with the working title for the Beatles song With A Little Help From My Friends… Bandfinger Boogie. They shortened it and became the great power pop band Badfinger.

John Lennon: “I was having a laugh because there had been so much gobbledegook about ‘Pepper,’ play it backwards and you stand on your head and all that.” 

Paul McCartney: “He and Yoko came round to Cavendish Avenue and John and I went out into the garden for half an hour, because there were a couple of things he needed me to finish up, but it was his song, his idea…It was a nice song of John’s.  We had a fun moment when we were working on the bit, ‘I’ve got news for you all, the walrus was Paul.’  Because, although we’d never planned it, people read into our songs and little legends grew up about every item of so-called significance, so on this occasion we decided to plant one.  What John meant was that in ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ when we came to do the costumes on ‘I Am The Walrus,’ it happened to be me in the walrus costume.  It was not significant at all, but it was a nice little twist to the legend that we threw in.  But it was John’s song.  I’d guess I had minor input or something as we finished it up together…We still worked together, even on a song like ‘Glass Onion’ where many people think there wouldn’t be any collaboration.”

From Songfacts

John Lennon used meaningless lyrics to confuse people who were reading too much into his songs. He got a kick out of people trying to analyze his lyrics.

A glass onion is a coffin with a see-through lid. Because of this, it became a big part of the “Paul is Dead” hoax. Another clue for those who believed the hoax: Lennon sang, “The Walrus is Paul.” In many European countries, a walrus represents death. 

Lennon wanted to name one of the bands they signed to Apple Records “Glass Onion.” They chose “Badfinger” instead.

One theory is that “Glass Onion” refers to Lennon’s opinion of the yogic concept of the lotus with its layered petals (layers of consciousness to be stripped away, much like an onion, through meditation) as a bunch of transparent bull used by the Maharishi to manipulate and seduce. He’s also saying the Maharishi’s whole shtick stinks and is a crying shame. 

When Lennon sings about the “Cast Iron Shore,” he’s referring to what was an area of beach at Liverpool, that is now partly built over. This area of Liverpool is called Otterspool. 

According to Mojo magazine, the Beatles recorded 34 takes of the song’s basic rhythm track on Wednesday September 11, 1968, then returned the next day to overdub Lennon’s vocal and again on Friday and the following Monday for further overdubs. On October 10th George Martin, after returning from holiday, added the string section.

Lennon explained to Rolling Stone in a 1971 interview why he said “The Walrus is Paul.” Said Lennon: “‘I Am The Walrus’ was originally the B side of ‘Hello Goodbye.’ I was still in my love cloud with Yoko and I thought, well, I’ll just say something nice to Paul: ‘It’s all right, you did a good job over these few years, holding us together.’ He was trying to organize the group, and organize the music, and be an individual and all that, so I wanted to thank him. I said ‘the Walrus is Paul’ for that reason. I felt, ‘Well, he can have it. I’ve got Yoko, and thank you, you can have the credit.'”

Glass Onion

I told you about strawberry fields
You know the place where nothing is real
Well here’s another place you can go
Where everything flows.

Looking through the bent-backed tulips
To see how the other half live
Looking through a glass onion.

I told you about the walrus and me, man
You know we’re as close as can be, man
Well here’s another clue for you all
The walrus was Paul.

Standing on the cast iron shore, yeah
Lady Madonna trying to make ends meet, yeah
Looking through the glass onion

Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah
Looking through the glass onion.

I told you about the fool on the hill
I tell you man he’s living there still
Well here’s another place you can be
Listen to me.

Fixing a hole in the ocean
Trying to make a dove-tail joint, yeah
Looking through a glass onion.

Beatles – Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?

This song is absurd and hilarious. Paul wrote this song and got right to the point. Do what in the road Paul? We might never know. Well actually at the bottom of the post he does explain it…but a warning…you cannot un-see what you read. 

I’ve always liked it because it is fun. Some people try to take it seriously but it’s not meant to be…a song with two lines to the complete song…that is being a minimalist or little lazy. The first rumor I read about this song was that Paul was desperate for the Beatles to tour again and this was his message to the band…Why don’t we do it in the road? It turned out to be not true…it was inspired by two monkeys…not Monkees…see the Paul quote on down. 

It’s a fun song that sounds more like a John song than a Paul. It will never win a best Beatle song award but it’s fun and fits like a glove on the eclectic White Album. That is what I love about the White Album. Listening to the album you never know what is coming next. It still has a sound that threads all the songs together though. 

Paul and Ringo were the only two playing on this song. John Lennon liked the track but later he said he felt hurt when Paul would leave him out on a track and just do something himself. Paul’s voice is outstanding on this one…very aggressive. This is not the “Yesterday” Paul.

This is interesting…The Beatles were not touring when this was released and  Paul McCartney didn’t play it live until October 8, 2016 when he performed it at the Desert Trip festival with Neil Young.

Paul McCartney: “The idea behind ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ came from something I’d seen in Rishikesh, I was up on the flat roof meditating and I’d seen a troupe of monkeys walking along in the jungle and a male just hopped on to the back of this female and gave her one, as they say in the vernacular. Within two or three seconds he hopped off again, and looked around as if to say, ‘It wasn’t me,’ and she looked around as if there had been some mild disturbance but thought, ‘Huh, I must have imagined it,’ and she wandered off.”

“And I thought, ‘Bloody hell, that puts it all into a cocked hat.’ That’s how simple the act of procreation is, this bloody monkey just hopping on and hopping off. There is an urge, they do it, and it’s done with. And it’s that simple. We have horrendous problems with it, and yet animals don’t. So that was basically it. ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ could have applied to either f*cking or sh*tting, to put it roughly. Why don’t we do either of them in the road? Well, the answer is we’re civilized and we don’t. But the song was just to pose that question. ‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road’ was a primitive statement to do with sex or to do with freedom really. I like it, it’s just so outrageous that I like it.

Paul McCartney and Neil Young…doing it in the road. A very rare live performance. 

Why Don’t We Do It In The Road

Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?

No one will be watching us
Why don’t we do it in the road?

Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?

No one will be watching us
Why don’t we do it in the road?

Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it, do it in the road?
Why don’t we do it in the road?

No one will be watching us
Why don’t we do it in the road?

 

Beatles – Revolution 1

We all know Revolution by the Beatles but this is the acoustic version of the song. They fell into a nice groove doing this. It took a while for this to grow on me but now I like it just as well as the single fast hard rocking version.

The fast version was released as the B-side of “Hey Jude” in August 1968, three months before the slow version appeared on The White Album. John Lennon wanted it to be the first A-side released on Apple Records, the label The Beatles started, but Paul McCartney’s Hey Jude got the honor.

Brian Epstein, the Beatles manager was always careful with them  by asking them to not talk about controversial subjects like the war, politics, and anything that could cause controversy…I don’t think John Lennon got that memo many times. After Brian died they started to be more open and they talked a little more freely.

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

“I think our society is run by insane people for insame objectives. If anybody can put on paper what our government, and the American government, and the Russian, Chinese…what they are actually trying to do, and what they think they’re doing, I’d be very pleased to know.” John wanted to see a plan as the song goes. John said he believed that revolution comes from inner change rather than social violence.

On the  two versions. On one John said “count me in” and the other he said “count me out” as he explains below.

John Lennon: “There were two versions of that song, but the underground left only picked up on the one that said ‘count me out.’ The original version, which ends up on the LP, said ‘count me in’ too; I put in both because I wasn’t sure. I didn’t want to get killed. I didn’t really know much about the Maoists, but I just knew that they seemed to be so few and yet they painted themselves green and stood in front of the police waiting to get picked off. I just thought it was unsubtle. I thought the original Communist revolutionaries coordinated themselves a bit better and didn’t go around shouting about it.”

Engineer Alan Brown: “I was in the control room of studio three and there on the other side of the glass was a figure in semi-darkness going over and over some lines of a song. I knew the voice and sure enough I knew the face. John Lennon was about 30 feet away! He was working on ‘Revolution,’ the slow one, and I remember him going through the song again and again in rehearsal, changing a word or two every time. Each time it would alter very slightly, it would develop and evolve. ‘When you talk about destruction…you can count me out.’ ‘When you talk about destruction…you can count me in.’” John either hadn’t decided which way he felt or which way would be more palatable to his audience.

John eventually decided to opt for both, singing “count me out…in” on this vocal performance, which was sung in a “light voice” in imitation of Martha Reeves and Diana Ross, as his handwritten lyric sheet reminded him.

White Album Version

Revolution 1

Ah, take 2
OK!

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

But when you talk about destruction
Don’t you know that you can count me out in

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright

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

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright

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

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright
Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright, alright, alright
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Alright, alright, alright
Alright
Alright

Beatles – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

This is one of the best songs from the White Album. George stated that the song was written at his mother’s home in Warrington in the north of England.

Harrison was reading I Ching, the Chinese book of changes, and decided to write a song about the first words he saw, which were “Gently Weeps.”

George wanted a sound he wasn’t getting so he called his friend Eric Clapton to play on the song. It also served another purpose. Much like bringing in Billy Preston on Let It Be…John and Paul behaved much better when a visitor came into the picture. Eric declined at first because he said that no one plays on Beatle records and the others wouldn’t like it. George told him it was his song and he wanted him on it. According to George, the atmosphere changed and the song took off from there.

After hearing the playback Eric said that there was a problem…his guitar wasn’t Beatley enough.’ So it was put through the ADT (Artificial Double Tracking) to wobble it up a bit.

George Harrsion:  ‘Eric’s going to play on this one,’ and it was good because that then made everyone act better…It’s interesting to see how nicely people behave when you bring a guest in, because they don’t really want everybody to know that they’re so bitchy…Paul got on the piano and played a nice intro and they all took it more seriously…Also it left me free to just play the rhythm and do the vocal…It was a similar situation when Billy Preston came later to play on ‘Let It Be’ and everybody was arguing. Just bringing a stranger in amongst us made everybody cool out.”

Mick Jagger: “It’s lovely, plaintive. Only a guitar player could write that. I love that song.”

George Harrison: “‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was just a simple study based on the theory that everything has some purpose for being there at that given moment…So I open this book and I saw ‘gently weeps.’ I shut the book and then I started the tune.”

 

From Songfacts

Harrison often had to fight to get his songs on the albums. John Lennon and Paul McCartney were not interested in this song at first, but came around when Harrison brought Clapton to the studio.

This was the first song Ringo played on after leaving the band in frustration a few weeks earlier. He returned to find flowers on his drums to welcome him back.

Clapton used a Les Paul guitar on this track. Later in his career, he switched to a Fender Stratocaster.

Even though this was not a hit, it is one of the most enduring Beatles songs. It remains popular on classic rock radio.

When George Harrison arranged a trip to India for The Beatles to study Transcendental Meditation, they were joined by their good friend Donovan, a singer-songwriter who had hits with “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow.” They shared a lot of ideas on this trip, many of which influenced The White Album. In our interview with Donovan, he said that John Lennon wanted to learn the clawhammer guitar style, while Harrison was interested in Donovan’s chord structures. The A minor descents Donovan showed him ended up in “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

After working on this song, Eric Clapton became good friends with John Lennon, and played with him on some of his solo work. When George Harrison threatened to leave The Beatles in 1969, Lennon was ready to replace him with Clapton.

This was originally recorded as an acoustic ballad with just Harrison on acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney on organ. This version can be found on some bootlegs and on The Beatles Anthology 3

The Demo Version

The Studio Version

While My Guitar Gently Weeps

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know why nobody told you
How to unfold your love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
No one alerted you

I look at you all, see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

The Beatles – White Album…..Desert Island Albums

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The White Album was released in 1968 and peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, #1 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #1 about everywhere else…and it would be #1 as well on “Max’s Desert Island.”

Is this considered the Beatle’s best album? Probably not but if I had to take just one with me to that proverbial desert island…this would be the one. They have albums that are considered better like Revolver and Sgt Pepper but I relate to the rawer songs on this album. The album’s actual name is “The Beatles” but for obvious reasons, it will forever be known as the White Album.

When John Lennon was killed in1980 there were three albums I bought that long winter. Double Fantasy, The White Album,  and Abbey Road. I’m back there again in that 1980-81 winter and spring when I hear this album.

The White Album is as diverse as you can get… Pop, Rock, Country, Folk, Reggae, Avant-Gard, Blues, Hard Rock, and some 20’s British Music Hall thrown in the mix. It has plenty of songs that you have heard of and many that the masses have not heard as much. John Lennon wrote one of his best songs for this album… Dear Prudence.

The Beatles more than many bands could bend to a style of music and play that style well.

Some critics said they should have taken the best of the two albums and slimmed it down to one…but as a Beatle fan…Nahhhhh. It’s the friggin Beatles White Album!

My favorite songs: Sexy Sadie, Dear Prudence, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Cry Baby Cry, Helter Skelter, I Will, I’m So Tired, Revolution 1, Yer Blues, Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except For Me and My Monkey, Back In The USSR, Rocky Raccoon, Happiness Is A Warm Gun and Glass Onion.

Are all of the 30 songs up to the Beatle’s high standards? No, but more than enough are to make this a great double album.

Although the songs differ in style they all have that Beatles touch to them whether it be the hard Helter Skelter, country Rocky Raccoon, or even the fairytale-like Cry Baby Cry.

The sessions were not the happiest time for the band but they came up with the most eclectic batch of songs they ever produced.

 

  1. Back In The USSR
  2. Dear Prudence
  3. Glass Onion
  4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  5. Wild Honey Pie
  6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
  7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  9. Martha My Dear
  10. I’m So Tired
  11. Blackbird
  12. Piggies
  13. Rocky Raccoon
  14. Don’t Pass Me By
  15. Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
  16. I Will
  17. Julia
  18. Birthday
  19. Yer Blues
  20. Mother Nature’s Son
  21. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey
  22. Sexy Sadie
  23. Helter Skelter
  24. Long, Long, Long
  25. Revolution 1
  26. Honey Pie
  27. Savoy Truffle
  28. Cry Baby Cry
  29. Revolution 9
  30. Good Night

 

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Beatles – Yer Blues

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

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

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

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

Lennon was self-conscious about singing the blues.

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

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

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

Yer Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Beatles – I Will

A beautiful song that was written by Paul McCartney that was on the White Album. Paul wrote it in India with a little help from Donovan to shape the song. It took 67 takes to get this song.  McCartney played acoustic guitar and vocalized the bass (you can hear him going “bom, bom” in parts). John Lennon and Ringo Starr both added percussion using various instruments… George Harrison didn’t play on it at all.

The song would have fit comfortably on earlier Beatle albums. The melody is memorable and I always really liked the short guitar break after the choruses.

Paul McCartney: “I was doing a song, ‘I Will,’ that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn’t have lyrics to it. I remember sitting around with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it and we were trying to write some words. We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren’t very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words so I didn’t use them. I kept searching for better words and I wrote my own set in the end; very simple words, straight love-song words really. I think they’re quite effective. It’s still one of my favorite melodies that I’ve written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them; quite a complete tune.”

I Will

Who knows how long I’ve loved you
You know I love you still
Will I wait a lonely lifetime
If you want me to, I will

For if I ever saw you
I didn’t catch your name
But it never really mattered
I will always feel the same

Love you forever and forever
Love you with all my heart
Love you whenever we’re together
Love you when we’re apart

And when at last I find you
Your song will fill the air
Sing it loud so I can hear you
Make it easy to be near you
For the things you do endear you to me
You know I will
I will

Beatles – Revolution 9

My son walked into his first college Music Appreciation class in August. The Professor was waiting for everyone and played this piece by The Beatles. He turned around and asked the class…Is this considered music or not?

Bailey wasn’t the only one who knew this strange piece and in the end…the Professor said yes it was music…like art, music can come in different forms.

I went to youtube to see some of the comments…I’m going to list a few.

“This is what it feels like to have anxiety.”
“I use this song to test my sanity”
“Terrifying for sure, but it’s kind of beautiful in an abstract way”
“I listened to She Loves You right before this. I can’t believe it’s the same band”
“Still better than Justin Bieber” 

And last but not least: “Listened to this blind drunk and by the end, I swear I saw John wearing Ringo’s skin as an overcoat”

I remember listening to this at 2 in the morning alone in the dark in around 1981…scared me to death. The memory has stayed with me to this day. I have grown to appreciate this sound collage. They were trying something new…and it is interesting.

John Lennon wrote this with contributions from Yoko and George Harrison. It’s a highly experimental piece, which Lennon once called “The music of the future.” It is the most controversial and bizarre track on the album.

John Lennon: “an unconscious picture of what I actually think will happen when it happens; that was just like a drawing of revolution.” “All the thing was made with loops, I had about thirty loops going, fed them onto one basic track. I was getting classical tapes, going upstairs and chopping them up, making it backward and things like that, to get the sound effects. One thing was an engineer’s testing tape and it would come on with a voice saying ‘This is EMI Test Series #9.’ I just cut up whatever he said and I’d number nine it. Nine turned out to be my birthday and my lucky number and everything. I didn’t realize it; it was just so funny the voice saying ‘Number nine’; it was like a joke, bringing number nine into it all the time, that’s all it was.”

From Songfacts

This was made by layering tape loops over the basic rhythm of “Revolution.” Lennon was trying to create an atmosphere of a revolution in progress. The tape loops came from EMI archives, and the “Number 9” voice heard over and over is an engineer testing equipment.

Paul McCartney and Beatles producer George Martin hated this and tried to keep it off the album.

This is the longest Beatles song – it runs 8:15. It also took longer to complete than any other track on album.

This helped fuel the “Paul is dead” rumors. If played backwards, you were supposed to hear the car crash where Paul died, and a voice saying “Turn me on, dead man.” Also, playing the line, “I’m not in the mood for wearing clothing” in reverse eventually becomes a rather odd but clear reversal, “There were two, there are none now.”

This is referencing the rumor that Paul McCartney died in a car with “Lovely Rita” and that the two were burned away after the wreck.

The rumor took off in October 1969 when a listener called the radio station WKNR in Detroit and told the DJ Russ Gibb about the backward message. When Gibb played it backwards on his show, listeners went wild and spent the next week calling in and offering their own rumors. The story quickly spread, and McCartney helped it along by laying low and letting it play out.

Lennon felt the number 9 was quite significant. He was happy that, after he changed his name to John Ono Lennon, his and Yoko’s names collectively contained 9 O’s. >>

According to the book The Beatles, Lennon And Me, by John Lennon’s childhood friend Pete Shotton, One evening, Lennon was with Shotton in the attic of his Kenwood home, tripping on LSD and smoking a few joints. They messed about with John’s Brunnel recorders, fiddling with feedback, running recordings backwards and creating tape loops. Opening the windows for some fresh air, John and Pete began to shout whatever was on their minds at the trees outside, the recorder running. This night’s lark was to later captured on “Revolution 9.” >>

Marilyn Manson released their own version of this on the B-side of the single for “Get Your Gunn.” It was called “Revelation 9” and ran 12:57. >>

This was parodied on an episode of The Simpsons. When the guys for a group called The B-Sharps, Barney meets a girl during recording. He exclaims at the studio that he’s making the music of all time. The song is Barney’s girl friend (with striking resemblance to Yoko Ono) saying “Number 8” and Barney burping. >>

Charles Manson thought that when they screamed the words “Right!” it was actually “Rise!” meaning the black community rising over the white people. Charles Manson was of course crazy, and thought The Beatles were warning about a race war.

Revolution 9

lyrics?… Oh, yea…Number 9, Number 9…then the madness starts.