EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is taken from a release from Capitol Records describing the Beatles' latest album, telling what their latest effort "is all about." Today's article is the first of two describing the double pocket album, the second of which will appear Thursday.
One of the comments heard about the Beatles' latest album is that they have returned to their "old Bag."
No so. They've returned to everybody's old bag.
From the first cut on, it's a revolution in every sense of the word. George Harrison said flatly that the first cut was "Paul's tribute to Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys), whom he digs very much."
American performers have been spreading the joys of the U.S.A. for some time. The Beatles pay tribute to home as it would have been done in another country--and titled it BACK IN THE USSR.
George says that Paul's first inspiration came from the "I'm backing the U.S.S.R." I think it was originally "I'm backing U.S.A." There were several more ideas, but that's how it ended up.
DEAR PRUDENCE has simple and almost child-like lyrics (not as surrealistic as LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS) coupled with the latest in electronic sounds.
George says of GLASS ONION: "It's just nice, the imagery of that 'looking through a glass onion.'" Phrases and titles from STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER, THE FOOL ON THE HILL, I AM THE WALRUS, and LADY MADONNA parody the Beatles' own style.
OB-LA-DI, OB-LA-DA was once planned as a single. HEY JUDE's success curbed that, however. Here are echoes of African folk music.
"There's a fellow in London, Jimmy Scott, and his Obladi Oblada Band," George says. "He made it up based on some African saying. Obladi Oblada, life goes on, man."
The side continues with the barest fragment of a lament, typical of hyper-rock. George says the cut is wild, and they called it WILD HONEY PIE.
BUNGALOW BILL is a lilting, happy treatment of a theme typical of "Jungle Book" type movies. It confronts the adult governed world.
On WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS, George blends voice and instrument so each plays an equal part in softly crying, "sad."
Then there's the shock ending to the last cut. With that old Gene Chandler DUKE OF EARL styling, John defies belief by saying "Happiness is a warm gun." Its origin confirms the feeling that this is a powerful argument for gun control.
"After Kennedy--the second Kennedy--was killed, British papers printed ads from American gun mags, and one of the selling things was 'Happiness is a warm gun,' believe it or not," George says.
In MARTHA MY DEAR, "Martha is a big sheep dog," according to George. I'M SO TIRED brings back the '50s and the plaintive ballad with a rock beat.
BLACKBIRD will go into a lot of folk singers' repertoires. About PIGGIES, George says it was written almost three years ago. It's got the last word on ticky-tacky houses all in a row.
ROCKY RACCOON starts out country-heavy, but there's a quick jump to Dylan, and a Nilsson Scat type ending which refers to the Gideon Bible.
Like ACT NATURALLY, the sixth cut is a country song for Ringo. This time his request is DON'T PASS ME BY.
WHY DON'T WE DO IT IN THE ROAD is like Elvis at his dirtiest; I WILL is updated Bobby Vee at his cleanest, and JULIA is one of those sweet things Donovan can do without sounding like he's trying to convince you he's calling out to his real girl friend.
Next: sides three and four.