Saturday, February 11, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

AUTHORSHIP Harrison (1.00)
HARRISON: "[This] was written at the time [early 1969] when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen, all this signing accounts, and 'sign this' and 'sign that.' Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever; by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided - I'm going to 'sag off' Apple - and I went over to Eric [Clapton]'s house. I was walking in his garden. The relief of not having to go and see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I was walking around the garden with one of Eric's acoustic guitars and wrote 'Here Comes The Sun.' " I Me Mine

July 7, 1969, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing added July 8 and 16 and August 6, 11, 15, and 19

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

Hey Bulldog

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.9) and McCartney (.1)
LENNON: "Paul said we should do a real song in the studio, to save wasting time. Could I whip one off? I had a few words at home so I brought them in." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY: "I remember 'Hey Bulldog' as being one of John's songs and I helped him finish it off in the studio, but it's mainly his vibe. There's a little rap at the end between John and I, we went into a crazy little thing at the end. We always tried to make every song different because we figured, Why write something like the last one? We've done that. We were always on a staircase to heaven, we were on a ladder so there was never any sense of stepping down a rung, or even staying on the same rung, it was better to move one rung ahead. That's why we had strange drum sounds using tables and tops of packing cases. We'd say to Ringo, 'We heard that snare on the last song.' Whereas now, a drummer just sets up for a whole album, he keeps the same sound for his whole career! But we liked to be inventive. It seemed to us to be crucial to never to do the same thing twice, in fact, as they say now, 'They never did the same thing once!'" Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

February 11, 1968, at Abbey Road

The Beatles were committed to being in the studio to make a promotional film for "Lady Madonna," and McCartney suggested that they might as well use the studio time to record a new song. He asked Lennon to write something, and Lennon brought in some lyrics he had at home. In the studio, the Beatles completed the lyrics. Lennon described how he wanted the song to go and the group played together and created a backing while they were being filmed.
The lyric "measured out in you" was supposed to be "measured out in news," but McCartney misread Lennon's handwriting and they agreed that the new line was better.
The title of the song was also changed during the session. It was originally called "Hey Bullfrog." Paul barked at the end of the song to make Lennon laugh; they kept the barking in and changed the title to "Hey Bulldog" even though a bulldog is never mentioned in the lyrics.
This recording session was the first Yoko Ono attended with Lennon. Lennon said later that he was embarrassed to be recording something as "lightweight" and "poppy" as this song during her first visit to the studio. The Beatles: A Celebration, Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970

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

This song was not used in the original U.S. verison of the Yellow Submarine film.

LENNON: "It's a good-sounding record that means nothing." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

ERICH SEGAL, co-screenwriter of Yellow Submarine and author of the popular Love Story, claimed in the early 1970s that the Beatles wrote this song for him, titling it for the mascot of Yale, where he was a lecturer. Washington Post (March 1987)

Friday, February 10, 2006

Help! LP

Half of Help! is composed of songs from the Beatles' second film, while the other half consists of tracks recorded a couple of months later. The album is basically a transitional one, with elements of both the group's raucous past and its experimental future. It is heavily influenced by the then-pervasive folk-rock sound, particularly as embodied by Bob Dylan.
The introspective gilmpses provided by the previous Beatles For Sale grew deeper on Help! According to author John Lennon, the title song is an honest cry for help. "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" invokes a melancholy mood. And while not autobiographical, Paul McCartney's "Yesterday" fits with the album's tamer tone.

UNITED KINGDOM: Released August 6, 1965. It entered the album chart August 11 at No. 1, where it stayed for eleven weeks. Road

UNITED STATES: Released August 13, 1965. The American LP featured only seven Beatles songs from the film and six orchestral cuts from the soundtrack. Road


McCartney was frustrated by the group's lack of control over the American repackaging of their British releases. On a trip to California, they came across the U.S. version of Help! Hearing it for the first time, they discovered that parts of Ken Thorne's film score had been added to the album, despite the Beatles' decision to keep it off the British release. RS (July 12, 1979)

HARRISON: ". . . They'd make new packages like Yesterday And Today, just awful packages." Crawdaddy (February 1977)

Despite the repackaging, the U.S. album immediately qualified as a gold record because of advance orders of a million copies - the first time this occurred in the recording industry. Help! reached No. 1 on the album chart on September 11 and stayed there for nine weeks.
In 1982 world sales were estimated to have been 2.3 million. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

Most of the songs were recorded during two time periods: February 15 to 19 and June 14 to 17. Exceptions are noted within individual song entries. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: "Normally John and I would go in the studio, sit down with the guys and say, 'Right, what are we going to do?' I'd say to John, 'Do you want to do that one of yours or shall we do this one of mine? Which shall we play 'em first?' 'Oh, this one, right. We'd like to do this song.' We'd show it to the band over the course of twenty minutes, possibly half an hour. It hardly ever took us that long. Ringo would stand around with a pair of drumsticks which he might tap on a seat or a screen or a packing case. John and I would sit with our two guitars. George would bring his guitar and see what chords we were doing and figure out what he could do. George Martin would sit down with us and then we would separate, go to each instrument and come out ready to fight. And we just did it, and within the next hour, we would have done it. We would have decided how we were going to play this song. If for some reason it needed to be mixed quickly we would go upstairs to the control room, but we often left it to them and just went home. But as things went on we might go up to the control room more often." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "If you talk to George Martin now about whether he knew he were doing drugs, he would say, 'Well, I suspected it, but they kept it out of my face.' Which we generally did. It wasn't like the scenes of debauchery that followed. The least discreet would be that Mal, our road manager, might be over behind the sound screens rolling a joint. It was fairly good-natured, pleasant stuff. I mean, obviously we had to be in such a state as to be able to record. You don't want to do vocals when you're scared to do vocals. So it had to be controlled, and I think it was, but I think the idea that music can be enhanced by marijuana was definitely being researched at the time, so you would smoke a joint and then sit down at the piano and think, 'Oh, this might be a great idea!' I'm not saying that was the only way to work because before that we worked completely straight, completely clean, no alcohol or anything, and had a bunch of very good ideas under those circumstances.
"It was the discipline of EMI. We had a certain attitude towards EMI, that it was a workplace, that was always there underneath it all, although we would often party. There was George Martin himself, who was fairly practical, and the engineers. You didn't want to mess around. Then there was our own controlling factor. We didn't want to be lying around unable to do anything. We knew why we were doing it: it was to enhance the whole thing. I think if we found something wasn't enhancing it, booze for instance, we gave it up. Once or twice we'd try a little wine when people were around, but generally you'd fuck up solos and you couldn't be bothered to think of a little complex musical thing that would have sounded great. You might have wanted to think of a harmony part to something and now it was a bit of a chore and tuning up is a bit of a chore when you're stoned.
"In the early days we recorded 10:30-1:30, then break for lunch. Nobody paid for your lunch, you just had an hour off to go and buy it for yourself. Very EMI. Then 2:30 till 5:30. And that was generally it, just those two sessions, or then, if you were really going crazy, 7:00 till 10:00, an evening session, which was really working late. By the time you'd done that, you wanted to go home or you wanted to go to the pub or something. Then later we heard rumours that people like Sinatra sometimes worked at three in the morning, so as things got a little wilder and a little more into party frame we did try that, and we had the place and we were able to do it. But I'm not sure how productive it was really. I think most of our best stuff was done under reasonably sane circumstances because it's not easy to think up all that stuff, and you've really just got to get the miracle take if you're stoned. It can be done, just sometimes, but it may be one in a hundred." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

During the recording of instrumentals for the movie soundtrack, a twenty-one-string sitar was used to create exotic effects. Harrison was fascinated with the instrument, bought one for himself, and studied Indian music and, later, religion. This had a major effect on the Beatles' music and activities months later. Beatles Forever
McCartney was heard on lead guitar for the first time on this album. He played it on two songs, "Another Girl" and "Ticket To Ride." Beatles Illustrated Record : 3rd Revised Edition
While in the studios on February 18, the Beatles' song publishing company, Northern Songs Ltd., went public. Diary The action, taken for tax reasons, would later prevent Lennon and McCartney from controlling the rights to their songs.

On the cover, the Beatles signal "Help us" in semaphore, but the photo was reverse-printed. Holding it up to a mirror reveals the letters LPUS - "Help us." The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London

The movie Help! was filmed from February 22 to May 12, 1965. February 22 to March 10 was in the Bahamas, March 13 to 22 in Austria, and then at Twickenham afterward until May 12. The Beatles generally didn't like the finished film. McCartney said it was "a bit wrong for us. We were sort of guest stars." Lennon went so far as to call it "crap" and say that director Richard Lester "forgot about who and what we were. And that's why the film didn't work. It was like having clams in a movie about frogs." Beatles Forever
The songs that were included in the film make up the first half of the album, up to and including "Ticket To Ride".

LENNON: "Help was a drag, because we didn't know what was happening. In fact Lester was a bit ahead of his time with the Batman thing, but we were on pot by then and all the best stuff is on the cutting-room floor, with us breaking up and falling about all over the place." Beatles in Their Own Words

Whereas they had worked closely with Alun Owen on A Hard Day's Night, feeding him lines that could be used in dialogue, there was no such collaboration with Marc Behm, who just gave them a series of off-the-peg wisecracks that could have been said by anyone. The group's resentment at even having to mouth these lines can be seen on screen.

McCARTNEY: "It was wrong for us, we were guest stars in our own movie."

Marc Behm's original screenplay, then called Eight Arms To Hold You, was first submitted to Peter Sellers, who turned it down. Dick Lester had Charles Wood rewrite it as a suitable vehicle for the Beatles, bearing in mind that Brian Epstein still wanted them to play themselves, rather than character parts, but with no smoking, drinking or sex. On the other hand, the Beatles themselves did not want to make a standard rock movie in which the group is discovered playing at a high-school dance. It was almost impossible to write an adequate follow-up to A Hard Day's Night; Alun Owen had written the only possible film for the Beatles, which was a thinly disguised version of their own lives. To produce a fictional story with four main leads who have the characters that the fans know and want to see was a very challenging task; but it took Charles Wood just ten days to get the script ready. He opted for a Technicolor romp. "It was just an assignment," he told Lester's biographer Andrew Yule, "I don't think I did a particularly good job." Bud Ornstein was not that keen on it either but was anxious to get another Beatles film in the cinemas as soon as possible so he gave his grudging approval.

McCARTNEY: "They kept offering up scripts. The scripts that were being presented to us weren't that great, nothing was really an inspiration. You do hear actors saying, 'You know, I'd love to get working, love, but I just haven't seen a decent script.' There was a thing called Talent For Loving, by Richard Condon, which was the big hot script everyone liked and thought we ought to do, but we hated it. In the end Charles Wood and Marc Behm wrote Help!, and it was pretty higgledy-piggledy. We'd have meetings but we weren't that interested.
"We just browsed through it, really, rather than taking it very seriously. We didn't bother learning our lines. I'm sure we were reacting against the lousy script. Basically we lost the plot, but I don't think there was much of a plot there to start with. It was this endless, 'The ring must be found! Kali must be appeased.' Maybe that's why we didn't enjoy it. I've always felt we let it down a bit, but we just didn't care and that would fit more readily with a poor script.
"To give them their due, we were saying, 'Can't we go somewhere nice for this film?' And they'd say, 'What d'you mean?' and we'd say, 'Well, I've never been in the Caribbean. Could you work that into the plot?' And we said, 'No one's ever been skiing, could you work that in the plot?' I have a friend who says that's the whole thing about writing screenplays. First imagine where you want to be for a year, then: 'The waves were lapping on the Hawaiian beach . . .'
"By this time we were starting to smoke a bit of pot and we were getting a little bit more sort of laissez faire about the whole thing. We would occasionally get stoned on the way to the film set, which was pretty fatal. My main memory is of being in hysterics, because for all of us, one of the great things about early pot was the sheer hysteria, the laughs. Things could appear very very funny, hilariously so. And nobody quite knew why we were laughing, and of course this made it even funnier. It was like kids giggling at the dinner table, it really was. I remember one of the scenes, it was after lunch and we'd crept off into the bushes and come back a little bit sort of 'Hi there!', pretending we'd had a glass of wine too many or something.
"There was a scene where Patrick Cargill, the police inspector, had a gun on us from behind. So we all had our hands up and we were all looking out the window. Then someone would start giggling - 'Stop it, stop it,' - and after a while you could just see the shoulders heaving, and you could feel people going. It was like all those classic outtakes from Peter Sellers movies, and we were just gone! Then there was this added element of this gun behind us. It was loaded with blanks, but he had to keep letting it off and we were hypersensitive - 'Bang!' 'Oh, oh!' And we'd jump a mile when this thing went off! I don't know how Dick ever put up with us but he somehow had to make a movie under those circumstances." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Ten thousand fans gathered in Piccadilly Circus outside the London Pavilion on the humid summer evening on July 29, 1965 for the premiere of Help! It was a showbiz evening: the Beatles arrived in a black Rolls-Royce and were presented to Princess Maragaret and Lord Snowdon. There was a party afterwards at the Orchid Room of the Dorchester Hotel. The film was a financial, though not a critical, success.

Got To Get You Into My Life

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
McCARTNEY: " 'Got To Get You Into My Life' was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot. I'd been a rather straight working-class lad but when we started to get into pot it seemed to me to be quite uplifting. It didn't seem to have too many side effects like alcohol or some of the other stuff, like pills, which I pretty much kept off. I kind of liked marijuana. I didn't have a hard time with it and to me it was mind-expanding, literally mind-expanding.
"So 'Got To Get You Into My Life' is really a song about that, it's not to a person, it's actually about pot. It's saying, 'I'm going to do this. This is not a bad idea.' So it's actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret. It wouldn't be the first time in history someone's done it, but in my case it was the first flush of pot. I haven't really changed my opinion too much except, if anyone asks me for real advice, it would be stay straight. This is actually the best way. But in a stressful world I still would say that pot was one of the best of the tranquillising drugs; I have drunk and smoked pot and of the two I think pot is less harmful. People tend to fall asleep on it rather than go and commit murder, so it's always seemed to me a rather benign one. In my own mind, I've always likened it to the peace pipe of the Indians. Westerners used to call it 'native tabacco'. In the sixties we all thought this was what they were smoking." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "I think George and I helped with some of the lyrics, I'm not sure." Hit Parader (April 1972)

LENNON: "We were influenced by our Tamla Motown bit on this. You see we're influenced by whatever's going." Beatles in Their Own Words

April 7 and 8, 1966, at Abbey Road, with overdubs on April 11, May 18, and June 17

McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal (double-tracked)
LENNON: tambourine
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums
IAN HAMER: trumpet
LES CONDON: trumpet
PETER COE: tenor sax

McCARTNEY: "It was the first one we used brass on, I think. One of the first times we used soul trumpets." Playboy (December 1984)

McCARTNEY: "We got some cool horn players, and they played some good screaming high stuff and got into the spirit of it." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Paul hired two members of Georgie Fame's Blue Flames for the job: Eddie Thorton on trumpet and Peter Coe on tenor sax. The other musicians were session jazzmen. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "I think that was one of his best songs, too, because the lyrics are good and I didn't write them." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Golden Slumbers

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.7) and Thomas Dekker (.3)
Paul wrote "Golden Slumbers" at Rembrandt, his father's house in Liverpool. Jim McCartney had remarried, giving Paul a stepsister, Ruth, and some of her sheet music was on the piano, including Thomas Dekker's lullaby "Golden Slumbers."
McCARTNEY: "I liked the words so much. I thought it was very restful, a very beautiful lullaby, but I couldn't read the melody, not being able to read music. So I just took the words and wrote my own music. I didn't know at the time it was four hundred years old."
It was first published in Dekker's The Pleasant Comedy of Old Fortunatus in 1603 so it was well out of copyright. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "I was at my father's house in Cheshire messing about on the piano and I came across the traditional tune 'Golden Slumbers' in a songbook of Ruth's [his step-sister]. And I thought it would be nice to write my own 'Golden Slumbers.' " Beatles in Their Own Words
"I can't ready music and I couldn't remember the old tune, so I started playing my tune to it, and I liked the words so I just kept that." Beatles Forever
The original "Golden Slumbers" was a four-hundred-year-old poem by Thomas Dekker. A-Z
McCartney changed the lyrics slightly. The original lines, as written by Dekker:
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes;
smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep pretty wantons do not cry,
and I will sing a lullaby.
Rock them, rock them, lullaby. Beatles Forever

"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: "I remember trying to get a very strong vocal on it, because it was such a gentle theme, so I worked on the strength of the vocal on it, and ended up quite pleased with it." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: bass, piano, lead vocal
STARR: drums

HARRISON: ". . . Another very melodic tune of Paul's which is also quite nice." Late 1969, The Beatles: A Celebration

BOB ZEMECKIS, film director: "The first 8mm films I made when I was thirteen had Beatles music on the soundtracks. Even my first 16mm film at USC used 'Golden Slumbers' on the track." Crawdaddy (June 1978)

Give Peace A Chance

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "After answering all these questions, many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many times, it got down to all we were saying was, Give Peace A Chance. Not we have any formula or Communism or Socialism will answer it or any '-ism' could answer it. We didn't ahve a format or a . . . we couldn't give you a plan . . . but just consider the idea of . . . of not having this war, just consider it. So that's what, we, in a nutshell, we were saying. So we recorded it in the bedroom of the Montreal Hilton. . . . There was like Tommy Smothers and Tim Leary and Dick Gregg, and all people sort of clapping along and singing on the chorus. And if you hear the record, it's funny actually, because my rhythm sense has always been a bit wild, and halfway through it, I got on the on-beat instead of the back-beat and it was hard because all the . . . there was non-musicians playing along with us. And so I had to put a lot of tape echo to double up the beat to keep a steady beat right through the whole record, so it goes Bo-boom, Bo-boom, instead of Ba, Ba." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

LENNON: "The real word I used on the record was 'masturbation', but I'd just got in trouble for 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' and I didn't want any more fuss, so I put 'mastication' in the written lyrics. It was a cop-out, but the message about peace was more important to me than having a little laugh about a word." Beatles in Their Own Words

YOKO ONO: "Anyway, it's not a cop-out. It was a consideration because it's the song that has to go round the world, you know." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

LENNON: "I was pleased when the movement in America took up 'Give Peace A Chance' because I had written it with that in mind really. I hoped that instead of singing 'We Shall Overcome' from 1800 or something, they would have something contemporary. I felt an obligation even then to write a song that people would sing in the pub or on a demonstration. That is why I would like to compose songs for the revolution now . . ." Red Mole (March 8-22, 1971) via Beatles in Their Own Words

LENNON: "There was supposed to be a party for the release of the 'Give Peace A Chance' record which was the first Plastic Ono Band record, but we'd had a car crash or something so we couldn't come; so at the dance ahll where they had the party for the Plasic Ono Band all the Press came to meet the band and the band was on stage which was just a machine with a camera pointing at them showing them on the stage themselves." December 6, 1980, The Last Lennon Tapes

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Glass Onion

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "That's me, just doing a throwaway song. . . . I threw the line in - 'The walrus was Paul' - just to confuse everybody a bit more." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

"PAUL IS DEAD" Hysteria: In some parts of Scandinavia, the walrus is an image of death. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London

LENNON: "That was a joke. The line was put in partly because I was feeling guilty because I was with Yoko and I was leaving Paul. I was trying - I don't know. It's a very perverse way of saying to Paul, you kno, 'Here, have this crumb, this illusion, this stroke, because I'm leaving.' " September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

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, and he worked on the arrangement with George Martin. It was a particuarly good arrangement, I think. 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." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

September 11, 1968, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing September 12, 13, and 16 and October 10

McCARTNEY: bass, piano, flute, backing vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar (Gibson), vocal (double-tracked)
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums, tambourine
Road provides Gibson

The lyrics allude to several previous Beatles songs, in order: "Strawberry Fields Forever," "I Am The Walrus," "Lady Madonna," "The Fool On The Hill," and "Fixing A Hole."
"Glass Onion" was originally what Lennon wanted to name the new Apple group that eventually called itself Badfinger. John Lennon: In My Life

The Beatles favourite restaurant was Parkes on Beauchamp Place. Tom Benson ran it:
McCARTNEY: "Tom was a very sweet, quiet-spoken Liverpool guy. His mum had a flower stall outside the Liverpool News Theatre which showed cartoons and news all day while you were waiting for a train. He said, 'You know the old lady who sells flowers outside the News Theatre?' 'Yeah?' 'It's me mum!' 'Oh, well, blow me down!' So of course then the flowers on every plate was all explained."
These same flowers made their way into "Glass Onion". Tom would bend the petals back on tulips to create a strange organic sculpture for each plate, the stamen and inside colouring of the petals making an almost unrecognisable object. John referred to them in the song: "Looking through the bent back tulips, to see how the other half live." The other half being the wealthy Chelsea crowd who patronised the restaurant, as well as, presumably, the parts of a tulip not normally seen. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "With 'Glass Onion' I was just having a laugh, because there had been so much gobbledegook written about Sgt. Pepper. People were saying, 'Play it backwards while standing on your head, and you'll get a secret message, etc.' Why, just the other day I saw Mel Torme on TV saying that several of my songs were written to promote the use of drugs, but really, none of them were at all. So this one was just my way of saying, 'You're all full of shit!' " The Beatles: A Celebration

Harrison named this song as one of his favourites on the album. Late 1969, The Beatles: A Celebration

Good Night

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: " 'Good Night' was written for Julian the way 'Beautiful Boy' was written for Sean, but given to Ringo and possibly overlush." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

McCARTNEY: "You could almost be forgiven for thinking 'Good Night' was mine, because it's so soft and melodic and so un-John. I believe John wrote this as a lullaby for Julian, and it was a very beautiful song that Ringo ended up singing to the accompaniment of a big string orchestra. I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great. We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly. John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that's what has remained with me; those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person. I always cite that song as an example of the John beneath the surface that we only saw occasionally. I think that was what made us love John, otherwise he could be unbearable and he could be quite cruel. Now that I'm older, I realise that his hostility was a cover-up for the vulnerability that he felt, and if you look at his family history it's easy to see why. But this is an example of that tender side. I don't think John's version was ever recorded." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

June 28, 1968, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing July 2; then remade completely July 22

STARR: lead vocal
SESSION MUSICIANS: thirty-piece orchestra, harp
CHOIR: four boys, four girls

The orchestration was scored by George Martin. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

LENNON: "I just said to George Martin: 'Arrange it like Hollywood. Yeah, corny.' " Beatles Forever

George Martin's Hollywood arrangement, which uses a large string section and the Mike Sammes Singers, is perfect for this sentimental ballad. Ringo is the only Beatle on the track. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Early versions of the song included a spoken introduction by Starr: "Come along children, it's time to toddle off to bed . . ." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Good Morning Good Morning

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "I often sit at the piano, working at songs, with the telly on low in the background. If I'm a bit low and not getting much done then the words on the telly come through. That's when I heard 'Good Morning, Good Morning' . . . it was a cornflakes advertisement." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY: "This is largely John's song. John was feeling trapped in suburbia and was going through some problems with Cynthia. It was about his boring life at the time, there's a reference in the lyrics to 'nothing to do' and 'meet the wife'; there was an afternoon TV soap called Meet The Wife that John watched, he was that bored, but I think he was also starting to get alarm bells and so 'Good morning, good morning'." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

February 8, 1967, at Abbey Road, with overdubbing February 16 and March 13, 28, and 29

MARTIN: "We weren't averse to putting recorded effects in, too. There were all sorts of sound effects that you could get on record, so in the case of 'Good Morning, Good Morning,' for instance, there was a whole farmyard of animals dubbed in from a [sound-effects] disc." Musician (July 1987)

GEOFF EMERICK: "John said to me during one of the breaks that he wanted to have the sound of animals escaping and that each successive animal should be capable of frightening or devouring its predecessor. So those are not just random effects, there was actually a lot of thought put into all that." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

The sound effects were taken from the EMI sound-effects tapes 'Volume 35: Animals and Bees' and 'Volume 57: Fox-hunt'. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

MARTIN: "Imagine my delight when I discovered that the sound of a chicken clucking at the end of 'Good Morning' was remarkably like the guitar sound at the beginning of 'Sgt. Pepper' [reprise]. I was able to cut and mix the two tracks in such a way that the one actually turned into the other. That was one of the luckiest edits one could ever get." All You Need Is Ears : The inside personal story of the genius who created The Beatles

McCARTNEY: bass, lead guitar and solo (right-handed Fender Esquire), backing vocal
LENNON: lead and backing vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums
SOUNDS INCORPORATED: three saxophones, two trombones, French horn
Sounds Incorporated was a British band that appeared on the same bill as the Beatles on the '64 British tour, '64 Christmas shows, and '65 North American summer tour.

McCARTNEY: "When we came to record it we used Sounds Incorporated to do a big sax thing; they were friends of ours who had been on tour with us. But we still felt it needed something more manic so we decided to use a lot of sound effects on the fade. The great thing about working at EMI Abbey Road was that anything you needed was within reasonably easy rech. EMI was so multi-dimensional they had everything covered and we took advantage of all this. We used Daniel Barenboim's piano that he'd just recorded on; they would sometimes lock it but we would just ask, 'Can you unlock it?' and they'd say, 'Sure.' That was used on the big chord at the end of 'A Day In The Life'. There were so many grand pianos laying around, there were Hammond organs, there were harmoniums, there were celestes, and there was a sound-effects cupboard which they used for doing plays and spoken-word albums. George Martin said, 'There is a library, what do you want?' and we said, 'What have you got?' so we got the catalogue. 'Right, elephants, cock-crowing, the hunt going tally-ho, we'll have that . . .'" Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "A bit of a gobble-de-gook one, but nice words." Hit Parader (April 1972)

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

LENNON: " 'Good Morning, Good Morning' was fairly straight rock and roll except for some strange beats on it. Sounds Incorporated playing their saxes and all that." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY: "That was our first major use of sound effects, I think. We had horses and chickens and dogs and all sorts running through it." Playboy (December 1984)