Sunday, July 17, 2011

Devon picks his favorite Beatle songs from 1963 - 1970



1963 "Love Me Do" is a simple love song. The instruments are basic with only two chords used through out the whole song. The blues-like harmonica played in the song really gives the song a distinct sound.



1963 "Don't Bother Me" was written by George Harrison. Being the first song ever written by him, he regards this song as the worst song he ever written. "Don't Bother Me" was written while George was in the hospital sick.



1964 "A Hard Day's Night" "We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day... and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '...night!' So we came to 'A Hard Day's Night.'"



1964 "No Reply" The song is about a young man who is unable to contact his apparently unfaithful girlfriend, although he knows she is home ("They said it wasn't you, but I saw you peak through your window".)

1965 "You've got to hide your love away" It was rumored that this was the first gay rock song, a message to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who was gay. In the part of The Beatles Anthology, that covers Epstein's death, this song is played, giving credence to the idea that this song was indeed a song about hiding one's homosexuality.


1965 "Girl" This was one of John Lennon's favorite Beatles songs. He revealed in the January 1971 edition of Rolling Stone, that in this song he was, "in a way, trying to say something or other about Christianity" which he was "opposed to at the time." He explained: "I was just talking about Christianity in that - a thing like you have to be tortured to attain heaven. I'm only saying that I was talking about 'pain will lead to pleasure' in 'Girl' and that was sort of the Catholic Christian concept - be tortured and then it'll be alright, which seems to be a bit true but not in their concept of it. But I didn't believe in that, that you have to be tortured to attain anything, it just so happens that you were."



1966 "She Said, She Said" The song was inspired by actor Peter Fonda, who was dropping acid with John Lennon while they were together at a party at the Playboy Mansion. John was trying to take in the beauty of the girls and the atmosphere, and Peter Fonda was whispering, "I know what it's like to be dead man." John originally wrote it as "He Said He Said" because it did come from Peter, but felt it didn't sound right, so he changed it to "She."



1967 "Lucy in the sky with diamonds" The "Lucy" who inspired this song was Lucy O'Donnell (later Lucy Vodden), who was a classmate of John's son Julian Lennon when he was enrolled at the private Heath House School, in Weybridge, Surrey. It was in a 1975 interview that Lennon said "Julian came in one day with a picture about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds." The identity of the real Lucy was confirmed by Julian in 2009 when she died of complications from Lupus. Lennon re-connected with her after she appeared on a BBC broadcast where she stated: "I remember Julian and I both doing pictures on a double-sided easel, throwing paint at each other, much to the horror of the classroom attendant… Julian had painted a picture and on that particular day his father turned up with the chauffeur to pick him up from school." Confusion over who was the real Lucy was fueled by a June 15, 2005 Daily Mail article that claimedthe "Lucy" was Lucy Richardson, who grew up to become a successful movie art director on films such as 2000's Chocolat and 2004's The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers. Richardson died in June 2005 at the age of 47 of breast cancer. Many people thought this was about drugs, since the letters "LSD" are prominent in the title, and John Lennon, who wrote it, was known to drop acid. In 1971 Lennon told Rolling Stone that he swore that he had no idea that the song's initials spelt L.S.D. He added: "I didn't even see it on the label. I didn't look at the initials. I don't look - I mean I never play things backwards. I listened to it as I made it. It's like there will be things on this one, if you fiddle about with it. I don't know what they are. Every time after that though I would look at the titles to see what it said, and usually they never said anything."


1967 "I Am the Walrus" Lennon explained the origins of this song in his 1980 Playboy interview: "The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to 'Element'ry penguin' is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, 'Hare Krishna,' or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days." The idea for the Walrus came from the poem The Walrus and The Carpenter, which is from the sequel to Alice in Wonderland called Through the Looking-Glass. In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon said: "It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, s--t, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it?" This song helped fuel the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead. It's quite a stretch, but theorists found these clues in the lyrics, none of which are substantiated:
"Waiting for the van to come" means the 3 remaining Beatles are waiting for a police van to come. "Pretty little policemen in a row" means policemen did show up.
"Goo goo ga joob" were the final words that Humpty Dumpty said before he fell off the wall and died.
During the fade, while the choir sings, a voice says "Bury Me" which is what Paul might have said after he died.
During the fade, we hear someone reciting the death scene from Shakespeare's play "King Lear."

In addition, a rumor circulated that Walrus was Greek for "corpse" (it isn't) in Greek, so that is what people thought of Paul being the Walrus. Also, in the video, the walrus was the only dark costume. 


1968 "Happiness is a warm gun" The title came from an article in a gun magazine John Lennon saw. "Happiness Is A Warm Gun" was the slogan of the National Rifle Association. It struck Lennon as "fantastic, insane… a warm gun means you've just shot something." Like the composer Wagner, Lennon felt that a song must have increasing excitement, climax and redemption. The song is built from pieces of several different little songs, with different melodies and rhythms, and one after another, the excitement is increasing. The climax is the falsetto, and finally the redemption is in the continuing call and answer.
When The White Album was released in 1968, it was not commonly known that Lennon was a composer, as many people thought that he was only a lyric writer. After The Beatles broke up, their individual songwriting contributions were revealed in greater detail. 

A popular theory is that Lennon meant for this to be a drug metaphor for doing heroin:
-"Needing a fix"
-"Jump the gun" meaning to cook it up
-"Bang, Bang, SHOOT, SHOOT"
-"When I hold you in my arm, nobody can do me no harm" - heroin addicts tell how when you're on it, nothing can do you no harm and Lennon's overall nature seem to point to this.


1969 "I Want You (She's so heavy)" John Lennon wrote this about Yoko. Lennon was experimenting in heavy rock, so the song has few lyrics and long stretches of repeated chords. John Lennon sang this monofonic, as some of the troubadours sang in the Middle Ages: There is no chord behind the melody, but an instrument follows the singer's melody. The song ends with an orchestra arrangement, which was Lennon's idea, and is very much similar to the end of "Entry of the Gods into Valhalla" in "Das Rheingold" by Richard Wagner. The rhythm was based on Mel Torme's "Coming Home Baby."


1970 "Dig a Pony" There is a false start in this song that was caused by Ringo, as you can see Lennon looking back at him to make sure he's ready before they start again. What caused the hiccup is unclear: if you watch the clip, just as they are getting ready to count into the song, you see Ringo blowing smoke out of his mouth. There is a hesitation and you see him bending over, but it looks like he's already put his cigarette down prior to that. In the 1988 film Imagine: John Lennon, home video footage reveals Lennon being asked about several lines from this song by a young man who was found hiding on the property surrounding Tittenhurst, Lennon's home in Ascot, England. Lennon assures him that the song refers to no specific person and that the lyrics are "nonsense," a lyrical technique he also attributes to unspecified Bob Dylan songs. John stated in 1969 about this song, "I just make it up as I go along."

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