Saturday, February 04, 2006

From Me To You

UNITED KINGDOM: Released on April 11, 1963, as the A side of the Beatles' third single. It entered the pop chart one week later at No. 6 and a week later was at No. 1, where it stayed for five more weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Released as a single May 27, 1963, on Vee Jay. It failed to break into the Top 40. Vee Jay released it again August 10, 1964, but it didn't chart. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.5) and McCartney (.5)
Lennon and McCartney wrote this together on February 28, 1963, while on a bus traveling from York to Shrewsbury during a tour with headliner Helen Shapiro. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

ROGER GREENAWAY, of The Kestrels: "The Beatles at this time had had their first No. 1, and John and Paul were writing songs at the back of the coach. Kenny Lynch, who, at this time, fancied himself as a songwriter, sauntered up to the back of the coach and decided he would help John and Paul write a song. After a period of about half an hour had elapsed and nothing seemed to be coming from the back, Kenny rushed to the front of the coach and shouted, 'Well, that's it. I am not going to write any more of that bloody rubbish with those idiots. They don't know the music from their backsides. That's it! No more help from me!' The song that John and Paul were writing at this time was a track called 'From Me To You'." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

LENNON: "There we were, on a coach going from York to Shrewsbury, not taking ourselves seriously, and just fooling around on the guitar, when we began to get a good melody line and we really started to work on it. Before that journey was over, we had completed the lyric and everything. We were so pleased! We knew that we had just written our next A-side. What puzzled us was why we'd thought of a name like 'From Me To You'. In fact, it had me thinking until recently when I picked up the NME to see how we were doing in the charts, when I realised that we'd got the inspiration from reading a copy on the coach. Paul and I had been talking about one of the letters in the 'From Us To You' column." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "We wrote 'From Me To You' on a bus. It was great. That middle eight was a great departure for us. Say you're in C, then go to A minor, fairly ordinary, C, change it to G, and then F, pretty ordinary, but then it goes, 'got arms', and that's a G Minor. Going to G Minor and a C takes you to a whole new world. It was very exciting." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "I played it on the piano and thought, 'No, no one's going to like this.' So I played it to my dad and he thought it was a lovely tune, and that's how it was. You value other people's opinions." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "I remember thinking, 'We've really made it,' when I was lying in bed, early one morning, and I heard a milkman whistling 'From Me To You'. Actually, I'm sure that I once heard a bird whistling the song. I swear I did!" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCartney regards it as one of the first really good songs they wrote. It had different musical ideas and chords for the middle eight. The lyrics were a play on the words 'From You To Us', the name of the New Musical Express letters page.
McCARTNEY: "There was a little trick we developed early on and got bored with later, which was to put I, Me or You in it, so it was very direct and personal: 'Love Me Do'; 'Please Please Me'; 'From Me To You' - we got two of them in there; 'She Loves You' . . . The thing I liked about 'From Me To You' was it had a very complete middle. It went to a surprising place. The opening chord of the middle section of that song heralded a new batch for me. That was a pivotal song. Our songwriting lifted a little with that song. It was very much co-written. We were starting to meet other musicians then and we'd start to see other people writing. After that, on another tour bus with Roy Orbison, we saw Roy sitting in the back of the bus, writing 'Pretty Woman'. It was lovely. We could trade off with each other. This was our real start." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: ". . . I think the first line was mine. I mean, I know it was mine. And then after that we took it from there. It was far bluesier than that when we wrote it." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Thursday 28 February 1963
Granada Cinema, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
While travelling this day between York and Shrewsbury, on the coach containing the entire Shapiro entourage, John and Paul wrote the Beatles' next single, 'From Me To You'.
With this date Helen Shapiro resumed her role as headliner, and Billie Davis left the tour. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

March 5, 1963, at Abbey Road

LENNON: "We nearly didn't record it because we thought it was too bluesy at first, but when we'd finished it and George Martin had scored it with harmonica, it was alright." Beatles in Their Own Words

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

Lennon told singer Helen Shapiro that he sang the high falsetto part on this song and that "I can do the high stuff better than Paul." Coleman He apparently changed his opinion in the next year. (See: "A Hard Day's Night.")

This song was part of the Beatles' concert repertoire in 1963 and 1964. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
This song introduced a Beatle trademark - a falsetto "whoooooo." It was so successful that it was used liberally in the next single, "She Loves You." Forever
The harmonica beginning of the British single differs from the opening of all other versions.
This song was used as the theme song for a radio series in England called From Us to You that starred the Beatles and consisted of five two-hour programs, from December 1963 through June 1965. For the program, the Beatles performed "From Me to You" but changed the lyrics to "From us to you."
Del Shannon recorded this song, releasing it as a single in the United States on June 3, 1963, about a week after the Beatles' version was released there. Shannon's version did not break into the Top 40. Shannon had performed on the same bill as the Beatles earlier in the year in Britain and undoubtedly heard the song in performance.
Three days before this song was released in the United Kingdom, John's son Julian Lennon was born, April 8, 1963.

HELEN SHAPIRO: "I remember John and Paul coming up to me to ask if I would like to hear a couple of songs that they had just written. They were looking for opinions because they were undecided about which should be their next single. We crowded around a piano and Paul played, while the two of them sang their latest composition. One was 'Thank You Girl', and the other was 'From Me To You', which I liked best." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

RAY COLEMAN and LAURIE HENSHAW in MELODY MAKER: "The Beatles have a certain follow-up hit with 'From Me To You', but if this average song was done by a less prominent group it would mean little. An up-tempo number with the just so-so melody, it is not nearly so outstanding in originality as 'Please Please Me'. It's a best seller, inevitably, but the group ought to be able to do something better than this as a follow up to an initial hit." (April 13, 1963) The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

EMI spokesman: "Altogether it looks like being a much bigger record for The Beatles than 'Please Please Me'. They are going from strength to strength." (April 20, 1963) The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
HARRISON: "We're all knocked out over it. We didn't think it would go so fast. It's Fab!" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

Friday, February 03, 2006

From A Window


AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.6) and Lennon (.4)
Brian Epstein would come up and say Billy J. Kramer needed a new song and they would write it on the spot.
McCARTNEY: "We would just make it up. We would sit down at rehearsal and grab a couple of hours somewhere and just with a pen and a bit of paper, scribble the lyrics down." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Fixing A Hole

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
McCARTNEY: "I wrote that." Playboy (December 1984)

Mal Evans, the Beatles' longtime assistant, claimed to have helped write this song. He was not credited but was paid for his help.

Like "Got To Get You Into My Life", this song is described by Paul as "another ode to pot", the drug that got him out of the rut of everyday consciousness and gave him the freedom to explore.

McCARTNEY: " 'Fixing' later became associated with fixing heroin but at that time I didn't associate it really. I know a lot of heroin people thought that was what it meant because that's exactly what you do, fix in a hole. It's not my meaning at all. 'Fixing A Hole' was about all those pissy people who told you, 'Don't daydream, don't do this, don't do that.' It seemed to me that that was all wrong and that it was not time to fix all of that. Mending was my meaning. Wanting to be free enough to let my mind wander, let myself be artistic, let myself not sneer at avant-garde things. It was the idea of me being on my own now, able to do what I want. If I want I'll paint the room in a colourful way. I'm fixing the hole, I'm fixing the crack in the door, I won't allow that to happen any more, I'll take hold of my life a bit more. It's all okay, I can do what I want and I'm going to set about fixing things. I was living now pretty much on my own in Cavendish Avenue, and enjoying my freedom and my new house and the salon-ness of it all. It's pretty much my song, as I recall. I like the double meaning of 'If I'm wrong I'm right where I belong'." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

February 9, 1967, at Regent Sound Studio, with overdubbing February 21 at Abbey Road. The February 9 session was the first the Beatles had held outside an EMI studio since they had signed their recording contract.

McCARTNEY: "The funny thing about that was the night when we were going to record it, at Regent Sound Studios at Tottenham Court Road. I brought a guy who was Jesus. A guy arrived at my front gate and I said 'Yes? Hello' because I always used to answer it to everyone. If they were boring I would say, 'Sorry, no,' and they generally went away. This guy said, 'I'm Jesus Christ.' I said, 'Oop,' slightly shocked. I said, 'Well, you'd better come in then.' I thought, 'Well, it probably isn't. But if he is, I'm not going to be the one to turn him away'. So I gave him a cup of tea and we just chatted and I asked, 'Why do you think you are Jesus?' There were a lot of casualties about then. We used to get a lot of people who were maybe insecure or going through emotional breakdowns or whatever. So I said, 'I've got to go to a session but if you promise to be very quiet and just sit in a corner, you can come.' So he did, he came to the session and he did sit very quietly and I never saw him after that. I introduced him to the guys. They said, 'Who's this?' I said, 'He's Jesus Christ.' We had a bit of a giggle over that." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: bass, lead guitar, harpsichord, lead vocal
LENNON: maracas, backing vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar and solo (double-tracked) (Sonic Blue Fender Stratocaster, tremolo model), backing vocal
STARR: drums
guitar from Guitar (November 1987)

McCARTNEY: "I liked that one." Playboy (December 1984)

McCARTNEY: "This song is just about the hole in the road where the rain gets in; a good old analogy - the hole in your make-up which lets the rain in and stops your mind from going where it will. It's you interfering with things; as when someone walks up to you and says, 'I am the Son of God'. And you say, 'No you're not; I'll crucify you', and you crucify him. Well that's life, but it is not fixing a hole.
"It's about fans too: 'See the people standing there/who disagree and never win/and wonder why they don't get in/Silly people, run around/they worry me/and never ask why they don't get in my door.' If they only knew that the best way to get in is not to do that, because obviously anyone who is going to be straight and like a real friend and a real person to us is going to get in; but they simply stand there and give off, 'We are fans, don't let us in.'
"Sometimes I invite them in, but it starts to be not really the point in a way, because I invited one in, and the next day she was in the Daily Mirror with her mother saying we were going to get married. So we tell the fans, 'Forget it.'
"If you're a junkie sitting in a room fixing a hole then that's what it will mean to you, but when I wrote it I meant if there's a crack or the room is uncolourful, then I'll paint it." Beatles in Their Own Words

Many authors attribute 'Fixing A Hole' to Paul doing a bit of do-it-yourself to the roof of his Scottish farmhouse, but this is not the case.

McCARTNEY: "It was much later that I ever got round to fixing the roof on the Scottish farm, I never did any of that till I met Linda. People just make it up! They know I've got a farm, they know it has a roof, they know I might be given to handyman tendencies so it's a very small leap for mankind . . . to make up the rest of the story." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "That's Paul, again writing a good lyric." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono


AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.25), McCartney (.25), Harrison (.25), and Starr (.25)
This was the first composition to be written by all members of the group and the only instrumental the Beatles recorded for Parlophone.

McCARTNEY: " 'Flying' was an instrumental that we needed for Magical Mystery Tour so in the studio one night I suggested to the guys that we made something up. I said, 'We can keep it very very simple, we can make it a twelve-bar blues. We need a little bit of a theme and a little bit of a backing.' I wrote the melody. The only thing to warrant it as a song is basically the melody, otherwise it's just a nice twelve-bar backing thing. It's played on the Mellotron, on a trombone setting. It's credited to all four, which is how you would credit a non-song." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

September 8, 1967, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing September 28

McCARTNEY: guitars, chanting
LENNON: Mellotron, chanting
HARRISON: guitars, chanting
STARR: drums, maracas, chanting
The electronic sounds at the end were put together by Lennon and Starr using tape loops. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

This was heard in the film Magical Mystery Tour. For the instrumental "Flying", they decided that the music demanded a sequence of aerial shots: clouds and landscapes seen from the air. The film producer Denis O'Dell, who was to become the head of Apple Films, was already working for the inchoate Apple at the time. He had been part of the production team on Stanley Kubrick's 1963 Dr. Strangelove, and remembered that they had hours of aerial shots taken while flying over the Arctic to get the final scenes where B-52s cross the pole to drop their nuclear bombs on Russia. He told Paul, 'I can get you some out-takes,' and did. They edited them together and tinted them to make it look unlike Strangelove. Unfortunately the colour filters over the black and white originals turned the grey cloud shots even more grey and formless when the film was broadcast in monochrome on British television, so the "Flying" section proved very boring viewing and contributed greatly to the adverse reception that Magical Mystery Tour ultimately received. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Eleanor Rigby

UNITED KINGDOM: Also released as a single August 5, 1966 (the same day as the album). On August 10 it entered the chart at No. 2; a week later it was No. 1, where it stayed for four weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Also released as a single August 8, 1966 (the same day as the album). It entered the Top 40 September 10, climbed to No. 11, and spent six weeks in the Top 40. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.7), Lennon (.15), Harrison (.05), Starr (.05), and Shotton (.05)
Written on the upright piano in Mrs. Asher's music room in the basement of Wimpole Street. Mrs. Asher had found someone from the Guildhall School of Music to give Paul piano lessons; it was an idea that he often toyed with but, as before, he was not interested in putting in the homework necessary and also still had a nagging doubt that it might inhibit his composing technique to know the 'right' way to do things.

McCARTNEY: "I wrote it at the piano, just vamping an E-minor chord; letting that stay as vamp and putting a melody over it, just danced over the top of it. It has almost Asian Indian rhythms."

Paul played the tune for his piano teacher but had no name for the tune. At the time Paul often dropped in on Donovan, since he and his flatmate Gypsy Dave lived nearby in Maida Vale, and Donovan remembered hearing it in its unfinished state.

DONOVAN: "One day I was on my own in the pad running through a few tunes on my Uher tape recorder. The doorbell rang. It was Paul on his own. We jammed a bit. He played me a tune about a strange chap called 'Ola Na Tungee'.
"'Ola Na Tungee/Blow his mind in the dark/With a pipe full of clay/No-one can say.'
"It was 'Eleanor Rigby' but the right words had not come yet. Lots of songwriters put in any old words to sketch in the lyric."

Back at Cavendish Paul carried on tinkering with the lyric.

McCARTNEY: "I was just mumbling around and eventually came up with these words: 'Picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been'. Those words just fell out like stream-of-consciousness stuff, but they started to set the tone of it all, because you then have to ask yourself, what did I mean? It's a strange thing to do: most people leave the rice there, unless she's a cleaner. So there's a possibility she's a cleaner, in the church, or is it a little more poignant than that? She might be some lonely spinster of this parish who's not going to get a wedding, and that was what I chose. So this became a song about lonely people.
"I knew quite a lot about old people. I was a Boy Scout and I often visited local pensioners as a good deed. I used to think it was the right thing to do - I still do, actually - but what I'm saying is, I wasn't ashamed to go round and ask someone if they wanted me to go to the doctor's for them or to help old ladies across the road. It had been instilled into me that that was a good deed. So I sat with lots of old ladies who chatted about the war and all this stuff, and also, as I fancied myself as a writer, a part of me was getting material. There was a corner of my brain that used to enjoy that kind of thing, building a repertoire of people and thoughts. Obviously writers are always attracted to detail: the lonely old person opening her can of catfood and eating it herself, the smell of the catfood, the mess in her room, her worrying always about cleaning it up, all the concerns of an old person.
"I'm told that there's a gravestone with Eleanor Rigby on it in the graveyard in Woolton where John and I used to hang out, but there could be 3000 gravestones in Britain with Eleanor Rigby on. It is possible that I saw it and subconsciously remembered it, but my conscious memory was of being stuck for a name and liking the name Eleanor, probably because of Eleanor Bron, who we knew and worked with around that time. I'd seen her at Peter Cook's Establishment Club in Greek Street, then she came on the film Help! so we knew her quite well, John had a fling with her. I liked the name Eleanor. I wanted a genuine second name. I'm big on names, always have been, so I was very fussy to get the correct name and I was in Bristol on a visit to see Jane Asher at the Old Vic, and just walking round the dock area I saw an old shop called Rigby, and I thought, 'Oooh'. It's a very ordinary name and yet it's a special name, it was exactly what I wanted. So Eleanor Rigby. I felt great. I'd got it! I pieced all the ideas together, got the melody and the chords, then took it out to John because I hadn't finished all the words. And he and I worked on it.
"I had Father McCartney as the priest just because I knew that was right for the syllables, but I knew I didn't want it even though John liked it so we opened the telephone book, went to McCartney and looked what followed it, and shortly after, it was McKenzie. I thought, 'Oh, that's good. It wasn't written about anyone. A man appeared, who died a few years ago, who said, 'I'm Father McKenzie.' Anyone who was called Father McKenzie and had any slim contact with the Beatles quite naturally would think, 'Well, I spoke to Paul and he might easily have written that about me; or he may have spoken to John and thought John thought it up. John wanted it to stay McCartney, but I said, 'No, it's my dad! Father McCartney.' He said, 'It's good, it works fine.' I agreed it worked, but I didn't want to sing that, it was too loaded, it asked too many questions. I wanted it to be anonymous. John helped me on a few words but I'd put it down 80-20 to me, something like that." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "Well that started off with sitting down at the piano and getting the first line of the melody, and playing around with words. I think it was 'Miss Daisy Hawkins' originally; then it was her picking up the rice in a church after a wedding. That's how nearly all our songs start, with the first line just suggesting itself from books or newspapers.
"At first I thought it was a young Miss Daisy Hawkins, a bit like 'Annabel Lee,' but not so sexy; but then I saw I'd said she was picking up the rice in church, so she had to be a cleaner; she had missed the wedding, and she was suddenly lonely. In fact, she had missed it all - she was the spinster type.
"Jane [Asher] was in a play in Bristol then, and I was walking 'round the streets waiting for her to finish. I didn't really like 'Daisy Hawkins' - I wanted a name that was more real. The thought just came: 'Eleanor Rigby picks up the rice and lives in a dream' - so there she was. The next things was Father Mackenzie. It was going to be Father McCartney, but then I thought that was a bit of a hang-up for my dad, being in this lonely song. So we looked up through the phone book. That's the beauty of working at random - it does come up perfectly, much better than if you try to think it with your intellect.
"Anyway there was Father Mackenzie, and he was just as I had imagined him, lonely, darning his socks. We weren't sure if the song was going to go on. In the next verse we thought of a bin man, an old feller going through dustbins; but it got too involved - embarrassing. John and I wondered whether to have Eleanor Rigby and him have a thing going, but we couldn't really see how. When I played it to John we decided to finish it.
"That was the point anyway. She didn't make it, she never made it with anyone, she didn't even look as if she was going to." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY: "I got the name Rigby from . . . a shop called Rigby. And I think Eleanor was from Eleanor Bron, the actress we worked with in film [Help!]. But I just liked the name. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. Eleanor Rigby sounded natural." Playboy (December 1984)

McCARTNEY: "Then I took it down to John's house in Weybridge. We sat around, laughing, got stoned, and finished it off." September 1966, The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition

In The Beatles: A Celebration, Tom McKenzie, the Beatles' compere, or emcee, from February 1962 to July 1963, claims "Father MacKenzie" was named after him.

LENNON: "So we made it into MacKenzie, even though McCartney sounded better . . ." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

LENNON: "I wrote a good lot of the lyrics, about 70 percent." Hit Parader (April 1972)
"The first verse was his and the rest are basically mine. . . .
"He had the whole start . . . he had the story and knew where it was going. . . . I do know that George Harrison was there when we came up with 'Ah, look at all the lonely people.' He and George were settling on that as I left the studio to go to the toilet, and I heard the lyric and turned around and said, 'That's it!' " September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

McCARTNEY: "I saw somewhere that [John] says he helped on 'Eleanor Rigby.' Yeah. About half a line." May 3, 1981, The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition

Instrumental backing was recorded April 28, 1966, at Abbey Road. Vocals were overdubbed April 29, and another McCartney vocal was added June 6.

McCARTNEY: "I thought of the backing, but it was George Martin who finished it off. I just go bash, bash on the piano. He knows what I mean." September 1966, The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition

McCARTNEY: lead vocal (occasionally double-tracked)
LENNON: harmony vocal
HARRISON: harmony vocal
SESSION MUSICIANS: four violins, two violas, two cellos

LENNON: "The violins backing was Paul's idea. Jane Asher had turned him on to Vivaldi, and it was very good." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Ringo had a flat that he was not using at 34 Montagu Square, and Paul rented it from him to use as a studio.

McCARTNEY: "It ended up being of more practical use to me, really. I thought, let [William] Burroughs do the cut-ups and I'll just go in and demo things. I'd just written 'Eleanor Rigby' and so I went down there in the basement on my days off on my own. Just took a guitar down and used it as a demo studio."

WILLIAM BURROUGHS: "I saw him there several times. The three of us talked about the possibilities of the tape recorder. He'd just come in and work on his 'Eleanor Rigby'. Ian [Sommerville] recorded his rehearsals so I saw the song taking shape."

Paul recorded most of the demo versions of "Eleanor Rigby" at the experimental recording studio that he had set up in Marylebone. Burroughs admired how much narrative Paul was able to pack into just a few lines. Paul also played it to Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger after they had rejected his offer of "Etcetera".

McCARTNEY: "Marianne was much more interested in 'Eleanor Rigby' but I had to say, 'No, I want that one'." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "I remember thinking to myself, 'What am I going to do when I'm thirty?' Thirty was the big age. Will I still be in a group? I remember being round at John Dunbar's house, having a very clear vision of myself in a herringbone jacket with leather elbow patches and a pipe, thinking 'Eleanor Rigby', this could be a way I could go, I could become a more serious writer, not so much a pop writer. It was the first inklings of what I'm starting to get into now, writing a solo piano piece, writing a piece for classical orchestra or the Liverpool Oratorio. I never did get into it then, I just stayed in pop. But I remember imagining myself with the patches, thinking, 'Yes, it wouldn't be bad actually'. But quite a good thing - at the terrible old age of thirty." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "Ray Charles did a great version of this. Fantastic." Hit Parader (April 1972)

STUDS TERKEL, author: " 'Eleanor Rigby' I found a fantastic study of loneliness." Crawdaddy (November 1974)

Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby

AUTHORSHIP Carl Perkins (1.00)

October 18, 1964, at Abbey Road, in just one take

LENNON: acoustic guitar, tambourine
HARRISON: lead guitar, lead vocal (occasionally double-tracked)
STARR: drums

The original recording artist was Carl Perkins, who issued it on his Teen Beat LP, released August 18, 1958. The LP also included two other songs covered by the Beatles: "Matchbox" and "Honey Don't." The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

This song was part of the Beatles' live repertoire in 1961 and 1962 and again in 1964 and 1965. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Every Little Thing

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.9) and Lennon (.1)
Paul wrote this song at Wimpole Street sitting in his garret room alone, strumming his guitar.
McCARTNEY: " 'Every Little Thing', like most of the stuff I did, was my attempt at the next single. I remember playing it for Brian backstage somewhere. He had assembled a few people. It was one of those meetings - 'Oh, we have to do some recordings, who's got what?' and we played a few at Brian. We didn't often check things with Brian, in fact I just remember it in connection with this because I thought it was very catchy. I played it amongst a few songs; it was something I thought was quite good but it became an album filler rather than the great almighty single. It didn't have quite what was required." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "John and I got this one written in Atlantic City during our last tour of the States." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

September 29 and 30, 1964, at Abbey Road
The second night's session was fun. One take was ended when McCartney burped his vocal, and the next take, although complete, ended in loud laughter.

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

McCARTNEY: "John does the guitar riff for this one, and George is on acoustic. Ringo bashes some tympani drums for the big noises you hear." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

Besame Mucho

AUTHORSHIP Velasquez (1.00) English lyrics by Skylar

McCARTNEY: "With 'Besame Mucho' by the Coasters [1960], it's a minor song and it changes to major, and where it changes to a major is such a big moment musically. That major change attracted me so much." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Monday, January 30, 2006

Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "[The title] was just sort of a nice line that I made into a song. It was about me and Yoko. Everybody seemed to be paranoid except for us two, who were in the glow of love." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

"Monkey" or "monkey on the back" was forties and fifties jazz-musician argot for heroin addiction.
McCARTNEY: "He was getting into harder drugs than we'd been into and so his songs were taking on more references to heroin. Until that point we had made rather mild, rather oblique references to pot or LSD. Now John started to be talking about fixes and monkeys and it was a harder terminology which the rest of us weren't into. We were disappointed that he was getting into heroin because we didn't really see how we could help him. We just hoped it wouldn't go too far. In actual fact, he did end up clean but this was the period when he was on it. It was a tough period for John, but often that adversity and that craziness can lead to good art, as I think it did in this case." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Rehearsed with the tape running June 26, 1968, at Abbey Road, then recorded June 27, with overdubbing July 1 and 23

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

This song has the longest title of any Beatles song.

LENNON: "Fats Domino did a great version of this one." Hit Parader (April 1972)

Blue Jay Way

AUTHORSHIP Harrison (1.00)
Harrison wrote the song August 1, 1967.

George and Patti attended Ravi Shankar's concert at the Hollywood Bowl on August 4, 1967, and the day before George gave a press conference with Ravi to help promote the event. It was during this trip that George wrote "Blue Jay Way", another song in which he used the sitar to particularly good effect. The sound of the instrument was becoming a profound element in the Beatles' work. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

He was visiting Los Angeles and had just arrived at the Hollywood Hills house on Blue Jay Way he and Patti had rented. He was waiting for his friend Derek Taylor to come and see them. The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition

HARRISON: "Derek got held up. He rang to say he'd be late. I told him on the phone that the house was on Blue Jay Way. He said he could find it okay, he could always ask a cop. I waited and waited. I felt really nackered with the flight, but I didn't want to go to sleep till he came. There was a fog and it got later and later. To keep myself awake, just as a joke to fill in time, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way. There was a little Hammond orgran in the corner of this rented house, which I hadn't noticed. I messed around on this and the song came."
The lyrics were written on stationery of Robert Fitzpatrick Associates, a Los Angeles firm. Harrison later got the original back from Beatles biographer Hunter Davies. The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition

September 6, 1967, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing September 7 and October 6

McCARTNEY: bass, backing vocal
LENNON: tambourine
HARRISON: Hammond organ, lead (double-tracked) and backing vocal
STARR: drums

The vocal, organ, and drums were all "phased." The original sounds were recorded on two tape machines and played back slightly out of synchronization to create a swirling effect. Electronic sounds and other studio effects were also used. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

Performed in the film Magical Mystery Tour.

In the film George sits cross-legged on the floor, his expensive cars behind him, playing a keyboard chalked on the concrete floor like a pavement artist or an Indian beggar, while the camera does various clever tricks using prisms, still used today in rock videos. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
The phrase "Don't be long" is sung twenty-nine times. Beatles Forever