Saturday, January 14, 2006

Dig A Pony

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
Paul had no input on "Dig A Pony", which was entirely John's. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
When the original song listing for the Get Back album was released this song was called "All I Want Is You." Beatles Illustrated Record : 3rd Revised Edition

January 30, 1969, on the Apple Studios rooftop, after rehearsals January 22 and 28

McCARTNEY: bass, harmony vocal
LENNON: lead guitar, lead vocal
HARRISON: rhythm guitar
STARR: drums

This song was listed on the U.S. album sleeve as "I Dig A Pony." Beatles Illustrated Record : 3rd Revised Edition

LENNON: "Another piece of garbage." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

A Taste Of Honey

AUTHORSHIP Ric Marlow (.5) and Bobby Scott (.5) for the play A Taste of Honey (1960). The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

February 11, 1963, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal (double-tracked)
LENNON: rhythm guitar, harmony vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, harmony vocal
STARR: drums

This song was part of the Beatles' repertoire for concerts in 1962 and 1963. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
The original recording artist was Bobby Scott and Combo, whose 1960 version appeared on the soundtrack album of the movie of the same name. The Beatles Book of Lists
Other versions were also recorded before the Beatles': the Victor Feldman Quartet (released June 4, 1962) and Martin Denny (June 18, 1962) versions were instrumentals. Lenny Welch released the first vocal version September 17, 1962. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

The first meeting between Brian Epstein and The Beatles takes place in The Cavern Club, in Mathew Street, November 9, 1961

ALISTAIR TAYLOR: "Brian and I looked out of place in white shirts and dark business suits. The Beatles were playing 'A Taste Of Honey' and 'Twist And Shout'. We were particularly impressed that they included original songs." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

Friday, January 13, 2006

Carry That Weight

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
McCARTNEY: "I'm generally quite upbeat but at certain times things get to me so much that I just can't be upbeat any more and that was one of the times. We were taking so much acid and doing so much drugs and all this Klein shit was going on and getting crazier and crazier and crazier. Carry that weight a long time: like forever! That's what I meant. There was what my Aunty Jin would have called a bad atmosphere - 'Oh, I can feel the atmosphere in this house, love.' It wasn't difficult, she wouldn't have liked it there. It was 'heavy'. 'Heavy' was a very operative word at that time - 'Heavy, man' - but now it actually felt heavy. That's what 'Carry That Weight' was about: not the light, rather easy-going heaviness, albeit witty and sometimes cruel, but with an edge you could exist within and which always had a place for you to be. In this heaviness there was no place to be. It was serious, paranoid heaviness and it was just very uncomfortable." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

"Golden Slumbers" and "Carry That Weight" were recorded as one song July 2, 1969, at Abbey Road. Overdubbing was added July 3, 4, 30 and 31 and August 15

McCARTNEY: piano, lead and chorus vocal
LENNON: bass, chorus vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, chorus vocal
STARR: drums, chorus vocal
SESSION MUSICIANS: strings, brass

All four Beatles sing the "Carry that weight" chorus. All but Starr sing the "I never give you my pillow" verse. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

All Together Now

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
"All Together Now" was a number in the musical-hall tradition.
McCARTNEY: "When they were singing a song, to encourage the audience to join in they'd say 'All together now!' so I just took it and read another meaning into it, of we are all together now. So I used the dual meaning. It's really a children's song. I had a few young relatives and I would sing songs for them. I used to do a song for kids called 'Jumping Round the Room', very similar to 'All Together Now', and then it would be 'lying on your backs', all the kids would have to lie down, then it would be 'skipping round the room', 'jumping in the air'. It's a play away command song for children. It would be in G, very very simple chords, only a couple of chords, so that's what this is. There's a little subcurrent to it but it's just a sing-along really. A bit of a throwaway." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

May 12, 1967, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, acoustic guitar, lead vocal
LENNON: banjo, backing vocal
HARRISON: harmonica, backing vocal
STARR: drums, finger cymbals

The Beatles sing this in an appearance at the end of the film Yellow Submarine.

LENNON: "I enjoyed it when football crowds in the early days would sing 'All Together Now.' " Red Mole (March 8-22, 1971) via Beatles in Their Own Words

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Come Together

UNITED KINGDOM: Also released as a single October 31, 1969, as the "second A side" to "Something." The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Also released as a single October 6, 1969. It entered the Top 40 October 18, rose to No. 1, and stayed on the chart for sixteen weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
Written after Lennon's car accident on July 1, 1969. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

LENNON: " 'Come Together' is me - writing obscurely around an old Chucky Berry thing. I left the line in 'Here comes old flat-top.' It is nothing like the Chuck Berry song, but they took me to court because I admitted the influence once years ago. I could have changed it to 'Here comes old iron face,' but the song remains independent of Chuck Berry or anybody else on earth." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
Lennon was sued on grounds that he stole the opening melody and first two lines of the lyrics from Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me." Lennon settled - while denying copying the song in October 1973 by agreeing to record three songs published by Big Seven Music. Ballad and Love
They turned out be Berry's "You Can't Catch Me" and "Sweet Little Sixteen," both on Lennon's Rock 'n' Roll album in 1975, and "Ya Ya," by Lee Dorsey and Morris Levy, on his Walls And Bridges album in 1974.

McCARTNEY: "He originally brought it over as a very perky little song, and I pointed out to him that it was very similar to Chuck Berry's 'You Can't Catch Me'. John acknowledged it was rather close it to so I said, 'Well, anything you can do to get away from that.' I suggested that we tried it swampy - 'swampy' was the word I used - so we did, we took it right down. It's actually that bass line down which very much makes the mood. It's actually a bass line that people now use very often in rap records. If it's not a sample, they use that riff. But that was my contribution to that." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "The thing was created in the studio. It's gobbledygook. 'Come Together' was an expression that Tim Leary had come up with for [possibly running for the governorship of California against Ronald Reagan], and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and I tried, but I couldn't come up with one. But I came up with this, 'Come Together,' which would've been no good to him - you couldn't have a campaign song like that, right?" September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

July 21, 1969, at Abbey Road, as Lennon resumed a regular recording schedule following recuperation from his auto accident. Overdubs were added July 22, 23, 25, 29, and 30.

Each exclamation of "shoot" one hears Lennon singing is actually "shoot me!" followed immediately by a handclap. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

GEOFF EMERICK, engineer: "On the finished record you can really only hear the word 'shoot!' The bass guitar note falls where the 'me' is." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: bass, electric piano, harmony vocal
LENNON: lead vocal, handclaps
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums, maracas

McCARTNEY: ". . . Whenever [John] did praise any of us, it was great praise, indeed, because he didn't dish it out much. If ever you got a speck of it, a crumb of it, you were quite grateful. With 'Come Together,' for instance, he wanted a piano lick to be very swampy and smoky, and I played it that way and he liked that a lot. I was quite pleased with that." Playboy (December 1984)

Paul recorded a lot of heavy breathing on the end but it is buried so deep in the mix as to be inaudible. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

This song was banned by the BBC because of the reference to Coca-Cola, which it deemed to be advertising. Beatles Illustrated Record : 3rd Revised Edition

John's copyright infringement was not overlooked by Morris Levy, owner of the Chuck Berry song. Though it was obviously only intended as an affectionate tribute to Berry, it got John into some very deep water in the early seventies when, as compensation, Levy persuaded him to release an album of rock 'n' roll songs available by mail order only through Levy's company Adam VIII Ltd. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "This is another of my favourites. It was intended as a campaign song at first, but it never turned out that way. People often ask how I write: I do it in all kinds of ways - with piano, guitar, any combination you can think of, in fact. It isn't easy." Beatles in Their Own Words

A year after recording 'Come Together', when Paul released the news that the Beatles were effectively disbanded, he told the Evening Standard:
"I would love the Beatles to be on top of their form and to be as productive as they were. But things have changed. They're all individuals. Even on Abbey Road we don't do harmonies like we used to. I think it's sad. On 'Come Together' I would have liked to sing harmony with John and I think he would have liked me to but I was too embarrassed to ask him and I don't work to the best of my abilities in that situation." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "It was a funky record - it's one of my favourite Beatle tracks." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Any Time At All

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "[This was] an effort at writing 'It Won't Be Long.' Same ilk: C to A minor, C to A minor - with me shouting." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

June 2, 1964, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, piano, backing vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar, lead vocal (double-tracked)
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums

Lennon's manuscript of the lyrics sold for L6,000 at an auction at Sotheby's, London, in early April 1988. AP (April 8, 1988)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cold Turkey

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "I wrote this about coming off drugs and the pain involved." Beatles in Their Own Words

LENNON: "It was banned here [in the US] as well. They thought it was a pro-drugs song, you know. . . . I've always expressed what I've been feeling or thinking at the time, however badly or not, you know, from being . . . from early Beatle records on. It got . . . became more conscious later. But . . . so I was just show . . . writing the experience I'd had of withdrawing from heroin and saying, you know, this is what I thought when I was withdrawing.
"Marc Bolan said it was the only new thing that had happened since the original Beatles, when it came out. But I wasn't thinking I'm going to make a new sound. But it was pretty what they call minimal now. Just bass, drums and guitar.
"It was banned because it referred to drugs, and instead of using it as an example of, you know, 'Look, this guy is saying this is . . .' It was like, to me, it was a Rock 'n' Roll verison of The Man with the Golden Arm. You know, it's like banning The Man With The Golden Arm, because it showed Frank Sinatra suffering from drug withdrawal. To ban the record is the same thing. It's like banning the movie because it shows reality." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

LENNON: "We had to fight with the [record] company all the time . . . they didn't like 'Cold Turkey'. And they weren't too crazy . . . they didn't like the extra Beatle stuff. You know, they preferred to keep us in a box." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

LENNON: "When I went to look for the Cold Turkey master tapes, nobody knew where they were . . . So what I realised was if I don't put this Shaved Fish thing together, that's why I didn't call it oldies or goldies or the Best of, because it wasn't - some of them didn't hardly get any air play. But I thought if I don't put this package together, some of the works is just going to go . . . nobody's . . . they will be lost forever. So I've put it together and sort of . . . at least it's there now for anybody who's interested." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

Abbey Road LP

Abbey Road was the Beatles' grand finale. Even though the rough Let It Be was released after, the group's last complete recording sessions were for this album.

The personality clashes that had begun flaring during the White Album sessions and had worsened during Let It Be were even more bitter. Apple was still losing money and the fight to regain control of their song publishing was going poorly (they would admit defeat about two weeks after this album was released). McCartney was becoming more isolated from the other three due to their resentment of his treating them as his backup musicians, and, more recently, because of his lonely effort to bring in his new in-laws as the group's management, instead of Allen Klein, whom he mistrusted.

On Abbey Road, however, these problems are not apparent. The album is the Beatles' most polished, and the band sounds very much together - there is more three-part harmony singing than on any other effort. But it was a carefully crafted illusion: All four Beatles were rarely in the studio at the same time. In fact, a basic compromise was reached that side A would be as Lennon wanted it and side B (the suite) would be for McCartney.

The Beatles essentially broke up shortly after the album was recorded. During a meeting at Apple Lennon told McCartney that he wanted a "divorce." It was kept a secret at the time because Klein, as their new manager, was in the midst of negotiating a better contract with Capitol Records. McCartney finally went public the following spring, saying that he was leaving the group.

UNITED KINGDOM: Released September 26, 1969. One week later it was No. 1 on the chart and it remained there for eighteen weeks. It stayed on the chart for thirty-six weeks. Road

UNITED STATES: Released October 1, 1969. It entered the album chart at No. 178, jumped to No. 4 one week later, and the following week was No. 1, where it stayed for eleven weeks. It was in the Top 30 for thirty-one weeks.
Estimated world sales: by the end of November, 4 million. By the end of 1969, 5 million. By 1980, 10 million. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

February 22 through August 19, 1969, at Abbey Road, Trident, and Olympic Sound Studios.

Versions of some songs were rehearsed during the Let It Be sessions. After the bad feelings of Let It Be, producer George Martin had had enough.

MARTIN: "I was really surprised when after we had finished that album Paul came to me and said, 'Let's get back and record like we used to - would you produce an album like you used to?' 'Well, if you'd allow me to, I will.' And that's how we made Abbey Road. It wasn't quite like the old days because they were still working on their own songs. And they would bring in the other people to work as kind of musicians for them rather than being a team." Compleat
Much of the recording was done with only two or three Beatles present at a time. Beatles Monthly via Datebook (March 1970) Part of this was due to Lennon's auto accident on July 1, 1969, soon after the heaviest schedule of recording sessions began. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

McCARTNEY: "By the time we made Abbey Road, John and I were openly critical of each other's music, and I felt John wasn't much interested in performing anything he hadn't written himself." Life (April 16, 1971)
Usually present when their husbands were recording were Yoko Ono and Linda Eastman, who was pregnant. McCartney: The Definitive Biography

McCARTNEY: "On Abbey Road I was beginning to get too producery for everyone. George Martin was the actual producer, and I was beginning to be too definite. George [Harrison] and Ringo turned around and said: 'Look, piss off! We're grown-ups and we can do it without you fine.' For people like me who don't realize when they're being overbearing, it comes as a great surprise to be told. So I completely clammed up and backed off - 'right, okay, they're right, I'm a turd.'
"So a day or so went by and the session started to flag a bit and eventually Ringo turned 'round to me and said: 'Come on . . . produce!' You couldn't have it both ways. You either had to have me doing what I did, which, let's face it, I hadn't done too bad, or I was going to back off and become paranoid myself, which was what happened." Musician (October 1986)

One night during the album's recording, McCartney called Abbey Road to say he wouldn't be coming to the studio because it was the anniversary of his meeting Linda and they wanted to spend a romantic evening together. This infuriated Lennon, who ran over to McCartney's house at 7 Cavendish Avenue, rushed in, yelled at him for inconveniencing the others, and smased a painting he had done and given to Paul. Salewicz McCartney denied this happened. NBC's Today Show (September 8, 1988) via Beatlefan (November 1988)

STARR, on the lack of studio embellishments: "It's more important that we play good together than to have lots of violins play good together." Beatles Forever

McCARTNEY: Hofner bass, Martin D-28 guitar
LENNON: Sunburst Epiphone Casino, Martin D-28 guitars
HARRISON: Gibson Les Paul, Gibson J-200 acoustic, rosewood Fender Telecaster guitars
STARR: drums

MARTIN: "The one-inch, four-track system lasted right through Pepper up until Abbey Road. We experimented with eight-track in one case on the White Album at another studio, but Abbey Road [studios] didn't have eight-track until Abbey Road itself. EMI always tended to be a bit behind independent commercial studios." Musician (July 1987)

The photograph for the cover was taken on Abbey Road at 10 a.m. on August 8, 1969. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

ANTHONY FAWCETT, assistant to Lennon: "Happy with the front cover, [Iain] McMillan asked me to drive with him along Abbey Road to look for the best street sign to photograph for the back cover. It had to be one of the old-style tiled signs set into the bricks. The best one was at the far end of Abbey Road, and we set up the camera on the edge of the pavement. McMillan decided to take a series of shots and was angry when, in the middle of them, a girl in a blue dress walked by, oblivious to what was happening. But this turned out to be the most interesting shot, and the Beatles chose it for the back cover. Afterward, I joined John and Yoko at Paul's house in St. John's Wood, where everybody had gone for tea after the photo session." John Lennon: One Day At A Time

"PAUL IS DEAD" Hysteria: The cover was alleged to portray a funeral procession, with Paul - because he's a corpse - out of step with the other Beatles. John was reputed to be the priest, Ringo the mortician, and George the gravedigger, becasue of their clothes. Paul also has no shoes on, which is the way the dead are buried in some societies. The impersonator pictured on the cover can't be Paul because he's holding his cigarette in his right hand; the real Paul is left-handed, of course. Also the Volkswagen's license plate reads "28IF," the age Paul would have been on his next birthday if he had lived.

McCARTNEY: "That Volkswagen has just recently sold for a fortune. But it meant nothing, you know." Musician (February 1988)
The VW sold for L2,300 at a Sotheby's auction in 1986. The Complete BEATLES Recording Sessions; The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: "It was a hot day in London, a really nice hot day. . . . Barefoot, nice warm day, I didn't feel like wearing shoes. So I went around to the photo session and showed me bare feet. . . . Turns out to be some old Mafia sign of death or something." Late 1973, RS (January 31, 1974)

Several songs on Abbey Road included bits from other compositions. Part of "Come Together" came from Chuck Berry, the lyrics of "Golden Slumbers" came from a four-hundred-year-old poem, and "Something" got its first line of lyric from a James Taylor song.

McCARTNEY: ". . . We were the biggest nickers in town. Plagiarists extraordinaires." Playboy (December 1984)

HARRISON: "I used to have an experience when I was a kid which used to frighten me. I realized in meditation that I had the same experience, and it's something to do with always feeling really tiny. . . . I used to get that experience a lot when we were doing Abbey Road, recording. I'd go into this big empty studio and get into a soundbox inside of it and do my meditation inside of there, and I had a couple of indications of that same experience, which I realized was what I had when I was a kid." Crawdaddy (February 1977)

McCARTNEY: "George left when we were making Abbey Road, because he didn't think he had enough say in our records - which was fair enough. After a couple of days he came back." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY, on the medley on the album: "We did it this way because both John and I had a number of songs which were great as they were but which we'd never finished." Beatles in Their Own Words

STARR: ". . . I love the second side of Abbey Road, where it's all connected and disconnected. No one wanted to finish those songs, so we put them all together and it worked. I think that piece of that album is some of our finest work." Big Beat

LENNON: "I liked the A side, but I never liked that sort of pop opera on the other side. I think it's just junk because it was just bits of songs thrown together." Beatles in Their Own Words

LENNON: "It was a competent album, like Rubber Soul. It was together in that way, but Abbey Road had no life in it." Beatles in Their Own Words

George Martin considers this his favourite Beatles album. Musician (July 1987)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Carolina In My Mind

The other major signing to Apple was James Taylor. His group the Flying Machine had acted as a backing band for Peter Asher when he toured America with Peter and Gordon. When Peter was appointed head of A & R for Apple, James was one of the first people he thought of signing. Paul played drums on the track 'Carolina in My Mind' from James's first album, which was issued as a single. James was a good example of the talent that Apple discovered but were unable to develop. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Act Naturally

UNITED STATES: Also released as a single September 13, 1965, as the B side to "Yesterday." It missed the Top 40 by seven positions, peaking at No. 47.

AUTHORSHIP Johnny Russell (.5) and Vonie Morrison (.5)
Russell later said he wrote the song in half an hour in 1961. He spent two years trying to get the song recorded. In 1988 he was a singer and humorist at the Grand Ole Opry. AP (July 11, 1988)

June 17, 1965, at Abbey Road. It was the last song recorded for the album and chosen specifically for Ringo to sing.

McCARTNEY: bass, harmony vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums, lead vocal

This song's original recording artist was Buck Owens. Lists His version, released March 11, 1963, became a No. 1 country and western hit in the United States. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles
This song was part of the Beatles' live repertoire in 1965. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
The song was prophetic in a way. Starr later acted in many films - more than any other Beatle - and always played a Ringoesque character.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Carnival Of Light

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.25), McCartney (.25), Harrison (.25) and Starr (.25)
In December 1966, David Vaughan asked Paul if he would contribute some music for a couple of Carnival Of Light Raves that Binder, Edwards and Vaughan were promoting at the Roundhouse as part of their idea of bringing art to the community, in this case in the form of light shows, experimental music and films. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

DAVID VAUGHAN: "I asked Paul to do it and I thought he would make more of it than he did, I thought this was a vehicle for him, if anything was. My trouble is, I except everbody to drop everything. I forget other people have got things on." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Paul agreed to make a contribution, despite being in the middle of the recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper. So on January 5, after overdubbing a vocal on 'Penny Lane', the Beatles under Paul's direction freaked out at Abbey Road, producing an experimental tape just under fourteen minutes long. The tape has no rhythm, though a beat is sometimes established for a few bars by the percussion or a rhythmic pounding on the piano. There is no melody, though snatches of a tune sometimes threaten to break through. The Beatles make literally random sounds, although they sometimes respond to each other; for instance, a burst of organ notes answered by a rattle of percussion. The basic track was recorded slow so that some of the drums and organ were very deep and sonorous, like the bass notes of a cathedral organ. Much of it is echoed and it is often hard to tell if you are listening to a slowed-down cymbal or a tubular bell. John and Paul yell with massive amounts of reverb on their voices, there are Indian war cries, whistling, close-miked gasping, genuine coughing and fragments of studio conversation, ending with Paul asking, with echo, "Can we hear it back now?" The tape was obviously overdubbed and has bursts of feedback guitar, unpleasant electronic feedback and John yelling, "Electricity." There is a great del of percussion throughout, again must of it overdubbed. The tape was made with full stereo separation, and is essentially an exercise in musical layers and textures. It most resembles "The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet," the twelve-minute final track on Frank Zappa's Freak Out! album, except there is no rhythm and the music here is more fragmented, abstract and serious. The deep organ notes at the beginning of the piece set the tone as slow and contemplative.

DAVID VAUGHAN: "That organ is exactly how I used to see him. I used to picture him as a maniac from the seventeenth century: one of those brilliant composers who'd suddenly been reincarnated into this century, let loose with modern technology. A lot of people thought Paul McCartney was shallow. I didn't see him as that at all, I saw him as very very deep. He had this open fire with a big settee in front of it, there would be no lights on, and he'd be playing music at top volume. I used to sit there watching him for hours. I think that's the real him; this real deep, dark . . . I thought, 'Who knows what he could do if they'd leave him alone for a bit?' Because he could absorb a lot without encountering any mental block, he could express that Machiavellian, European horror." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now