Saturday, May 22, 2010

"Hello Goodbye"

"Hello Goodbye" is a song by the Beatles. Though the songwriting credit is Lennon/McCartney, it was written only by Paul McCartney. "Hello Goodbye" was released as a single in November 1967, and topped the charts in both the United States and Britain where it spent seven weeks at number one. The song appeared on the American Magical Mystery Tour LP, which was later adopted as the official UK version of the album, but not on the British 'Magical Mystery Tour' EP.


John Lennon wasn't fond of the song, which he called "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions." His distaste for the song grew further when it pushed "I Am the Walrus" to the B-side of the single. Though Lennon had anticipated "I Am the Walrus" being the A-side of the single, Paul McCartney and George Martin believed that "Hello Goodbye" was the more commercial tune. This dispute fed the conflict over single releases between Lennon and McCartney which prompted Lennon to say after the Beatles' breakup, "I got sick and tired of being Paul's backup band".

The final lines of the song, where the entire band sings "Hela, hey-ba hello-a" (the portion that plays over the end titles of the Magical Mystery Tour film) came spontaneously in the studio. When the song was released, McCartney gave a more mystical explanation of the meaning of his song in an interview with Disc: "The answer to everything is simple. It's a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life."

At least three promotional videos were filmed for "Hello Goodbye", but not aired by the BBC due to the Musicians Union's strict rules on miming. Paul McCartney directed the footage, which was filmed at the Saville Theatre in London, formerly owned by The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein.


Alistair Taylor, who worked for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, once asked McCartney how he wrote his songs, and McCartney took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration on his harmonium. He asked Taylor to shout the opposite of whatever he sang as he played the instrument. Taylor later said, "I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already." In any case, McCartney soon had completed a demo of his newest single — originally titled "Hello Hello."


In 2008, American retailer Target featured various renditions of the song as part of its "Hello Good Buy" campaign.

The song is used as leader for a Dutch television program (the program is called also Hello Goodbye) from the NCRV, where people are interviewed at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands who are waiting for family or friends to come home after a long period (Hello) or who have come to say goodbye to family or friends who will leave for a long time.


* Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, piano, bongos, conga
* John Lennon – backing vocals, lead guitar, organ
* George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums, maracas, tambourine
* Kenneth Essex – viola
* Leo Birnbaum – viola

B-side: "I Am the Walrus"
Released: 24 November 1967
Format: 7"
Recorded: Abbey Road, 2 October–2 November 1967
Genre: Pop rock
Length: 3:27
Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol Records (U.S.)
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


Friday, May 21, 2010

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun"

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is a song by The Beatles featured on the eponymous double-disc album The Beatles (also known as The White Album). It is primarily a John Lennon composition, credited to Lennon/McCartney. The original working title of the song was "Happiness Is a Warm Gun in Your Hand," which was inspired by a magazine containing the phrase, which in turn parodied "Happiness Is a Warm Puppy," a Peanuts book written and illustrated by Charles Schulz in 1962.


According to Lennon, the title came from the cover of a gun magazine that producer George Martin showed him: "I think he showed me a cover of a magazine that said 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun.' It was a gun magazine. I just thought it was a fantastic, insane thing to say. A warm gun means you just shot something."

"Happiness Is a Warm Gun" is Paul McCartney's favorite song on the White Album. Although tensions were high among the band during the album's recording sessions, they reportedly collaborated as a close unit to work out the song's challenging rhythmic and meter issues, and consequently considered it one of the few true "Beatles" songs on the album.


Lennon once claimed the song was "sort of a history of rock and roll," as it features five different sections but is less than three minutes long. The song begins with a brief lilting section ("She's not a girl who misses much..."). Drums, bass and distorted guitar are introduced as this portion of the song proceeds. The surreal imagery from this section is allegedly taken from an acid trip that Lennon and Derek Taylor experienced, with Taylor contributing the opening lines. After this, the song transitions into a Lennon song fragment called "I Need a Fix," built around an ominous-sounding guitar riff. This section drifts into the next section, a chorus of "Mother Superior jumped the gun."

The final section is a doo-wop send up, with the back-up of vocals of "bang, bang, shoot shoot." The song's multiple sections inspired Radiohead's three part "Paranoid Android" on OK Computer.

One of the most salient musical features of the song is its frequent shifts in meter. Beginning in 6/4 time, the song shifts to 4/4 time before the line "a soap impression of his wife which he ate an donated to the National Trust", which uses a measure of 5/4, then 4/4, and to 9/8 and 6/8 time for the guitar solo in the "I need a fix..." section. This gives way to 9/8 and 10/8 measures in the "Mother Superior..." section before returning to 4/4 for the majority of the doo-wop style ending. During Lennon's spoken-word interlude, the song switches into 12/8 for three measures, with Ringo playing a 6/4 beat under it.


Many different interpretations of the song have been offered down the years. It has been said that, in addition to the obvious reference mentioned above, the "Warm Gun" could also allude to Lennon's sexual desire for Yoko Ono and also to his well documented problems with heroin at the time of the recording of The White Album (in this case, the gun being a loaded syringe, although Lennon claimed to have snorted, rather than injected, heroin during the time that he used the drug). Another heroin reference in the song is the line "I need a fix, 'cuz I'm going down/Down to the bits that I left uptown."


* John Lennon - lead vocals, backing vocals, lead guitar
* Paul McCartney - bass guitar, backing vocals
* George Harrison - fuzzed lead guitar, backing vocals
* Ringo Starr - drums, tambourine

Cover versions

* Tori Amos, on the album Strange Little Girls
* Phish, on the album Live Phish Volume 13
* U2, as a B-side of the single "Last Night on Earth"
* Alanis Morissette, during the 1995-1996 Can't Not Tour
* Joe Anderson with Salma Hayek, for the soundtrack of Across the Universe
* Guns N' Roses on the Use Your Illusion Tour
* The Breeders, on the album Pod
* Marc Ribot, on the album Saints
* Dream Theater, circulating in live bootlegs online

Other Uses

It was featured in the Michael Moore documentary Bowling for Columbine in a montage sequence and in the film Across the Universe in which Maxwell is being injected with morphine. Marilyn Manson's single "Get Your Gunn" contains a remix entitled "Mother Inferior Got Her Gunn," a reference to the line "Mother Superior jumped the gun." On the album, "Rarities Volume 1," the song is spelled "Hapiness is a Warm Gun", missing the second "p" in happiness.

Album: The Beatles
Released: 22 November 1968
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 24–25 September 1968
Genre: Hard rock, doo wop, Progressive rock
Length: 2:43
Label: Apple Records
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Did the Beatles Lip Sync?

"We were Liverpool, Hamburg and around the dance halls. What we generated was fantastic when we played straight rock, and there was nobody to touch us in Britain. But as soon as we made it, the edges were knocked off. Brian Epstein put us in suits and all that, and we made it very, very big. We sold out. The music was dead before we even went on the theater tour of Britain. We were feeling shit already, because we had to reduce an hour or two hours' play--and which we were glad [to do] in one way--to twenty minutes, and go on and repeat the same twenty minutes every night. The Beatles' music died then, as musicians. That's why we never improved as musicians. We killed ourselves then to make it--and that was the end of it." --Lennon Remembers, December 1970

Despite the current realities of pop stars lip syncing their way through concerts, the Beatles began as a live band and gradually transitioned into being more of a studio band before giving up on touring in 1966. Whereas currently, lip syncing is a device popularly used to disguise poor singers, the issue for the Beatles was their advanced recording techniques and songs which became increasingly difficult to perform live with the technology available at the time. While the Beatles toured for final time after the release of their 1966 LP Revolver, they never performed a single track off the album on any of the tour dates (though they reportedly rehearsed a few and decided against playing them live). The closest they came to this was performing live the Revolver-era single "Paperback Writer."

The Beatles' television shows were a mixed bag in terms of lip syncing vs. live and depended on the show's format (e.g. Ed Sullivan Show - live until the music video promos for were sent to the show beginning in 1966; Top of the Pops - lip synced; Around the Beatles - lip synced to recordings especially made for the program). Interestingly, union rules prevented the Beatles' music videos in some instances from being aired if they featured a lip-synced performance. The Beatles failed the test with the video "Hello Goodbye," obviously lip synced, but succeeded with the promos for "Hey Jude" and "Revolution," featuring a mixture of a live performance and the 45 single, enhanced by the presence of a studio audience and orchestra in the case of "Hey Jude."

A variation on this theme was present in The Beatles in Nederland television special from 1964 (featuring Ringo's temporary replacement Jimmy Nicol on drums). Perhaps for sound reasons, the special was set up such that the Beatles were to lip sync to their records, but the microphones were left on, leaving the Beatles to sing karaoke to their own recordings. It hardly mattered then, when the audience overtook the stage and crowded out the Beatles - the music played on without them.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pattie Boyd's "Letter from London"


I am writing this with all your letters spread out around me on the floor--and there are hundreds of them! I have just gone through an enormous batch, and I have selected several to answer here in 16 for you.

To Diane Logan of Riverside, Calif. (whose letter is a non-stop chain of questions!): Thanks a lot for all the nice things you say about my face and figure. I started modeling the same way a lot of girls start--because a photographer told me I would be good at it. I model teenage clothes because I am best suited to them. I am five feet six inches tall, measure 34-28-34, and my favorite color at the moment is a shade that is somewhere between ginger and cinnamon. I got picked to play in A Hard Day's Night when my agent sent me to the audition. It was pure luck. Yes, I do get freckles, but only if I go into the hot sun. Jane Asher has little golden ones. She is a natural redhead.

A special thanks to Sia Liss and Sandra Lawrance who write from New York City. Sia is a pretty name. What is it short for? No, I can't buy 16 on the newsstand in London. Worse luck, but Gloria Stavers send it to me by air. She also sends it to the Stones, the Beatles and the other boys. Fancy you meeting Mike McGear in Athens, Sia. Weren't you thrilled? He's very proud of his brother, natch, but he won't trade on Paul's name, so he calls himself McGear (from the Liverpool expression, gear).

'Scuse me if I'm a bit late in saying this to Shelly Heber of Los Angeles, but I hope you majored in Psychology. You sounded kind of worried in your letter. I am sure things turned out all right, because people who do nice things for others (like reading to the blind and tutoring underprivileged children) always seem to be rewarded in the end. Glad you met and liked Tommy Quickly when he was out there. I loved your poem about George--except for that line about him having a "frowning mouth." Not so, I sez!

Lots of questions from Sherry Ice of Parma, Ohio, who hates her real name, Cheryl. I like it, but I think Sherry is cuter. Well, now, I certainly dig high boots, but I also like the new shoes with those "stumpy" heels. Girls don't wear boots so much over here anymore. I have five brothers and sisters. Colin is 18, Jenny is 16, Paula is 14, David is ten and Robert is eight. I don't wear jewelry as a rule and I wear very pale lipstick. I like simple clothes and smock dresses.

Marsha Hughes of Scott City, Mo., asks what chips are. They are the same as your French fries, but are just a little bit longer. In every city here you find a fish 'n' chip shop serving suppers late at night. They give you a bit of hot fish that has been dried in batter and a handful of chips, all wrapped up in a piece of newspaper. You throw a dash of vinegar on this, add some salt and eat with your fingers. It's absolutely FAB! Marsha also asks how to make English tea. First, wash the pot (it should not be metal) with hot water to heat it. Put in a spoonful of loose tea for each person and one for the pot (very important, this). When the water in the kettle boils, take the tea pot to the kettle (not the kettle to the tea pot). Pour the proper number of cups (approximately) that you are making into the pot and let the pot stand for two minutes. We drink our tea with milk and sugar (it is dee-lish!), and the milk should be put into your cup before the tea is poured.

I am rather intrigued by a letter I got from Karen French of Queens Village, N.Y. She says she is writing a story about four girls who go out with the Beatles and will I give her some ideas as to what we do when we have an evening out and date a Beatle. Well, Karen, the first thing the Beatles do before they even think of leaving home for an evening out is make sure that the place they plan to visit is quiet and discreet. It has to be somewhere where they can eat and enjoy themselves without being disturbed in any way. Most of all, they prefer entertaining at home. If you visited them, you'd find that they love listening to records and eating home-cooked food.

Another word or two before I have to go. We were all surprised by Ringo's marriage, but are delighted for him and Maureen. The Stones recently returned from Australia and Mick was the first to get off the plane. I heard he looked sensaysh! All tanned, healthy and handsome. Oh, dear, what about that "Rolling Stone image"? The boys are off to Sweden, then Denmark, and then they'll be with you in America.

P.S. Sorry I said Paul sings Rock and Roll Music! John does--and I gave the wrong info to GeeGee. Forgive.

Monday, May 17, 2010

"Hallelujah I Love Her So"

"Hallelujah I Love Her So" is a rhythm and blues single written by and released by American singer Ray Charles in 1956 on the Atlantic label.

The song peaked at number five on the Billboard R&B chart and much like "I Got a Woman" and "This Little Girl of Mine" before it was a song based on a gospel hymn with lyrics changed around to fit a secular blues format.

These songs predated the groundbreaking success Charles had near the end of the fifties with "What'd I Say" but they helped contribute to Charles' huge success with the R&B community at the time.

"Hallelujah I Love Her So" is a testament to the joyous release of love, featuring a sophisticated horn arrangement, and memorable tenor sax solo (by Don Wilkerson). Peggy Lee, Eddie Cochran and later, Humble Pie would successfully cover the song.


* Lead vocal by Ray Charles
* Instrumentation by the Ray Charles Orchestra
* Produced by Jerry Wexler

Cover versions

* Peggy Lee (as "Hallelujah I Love Him So")
* Connie Francis (as "Hallelujah I Love Him So")
* Eddie Cochran (single A-side)
* Earl Grant
* Jerry Lee Lewis
* Frank Sinatra (taken at a slow, bluesy pace, appears on My Way)
* The Beatles
* The Animals
* Gerry & The Pacemakers
* Humble Pie
* Eva Cassidy (as "Hallelujah I Love Him So")
* The Blues Band
* The Holloways
* Davy Graham (acoustic instrumental version on 1963 album The Guitar Player)
* New Zealand Jazz singer Erna Ferry covered the song for her 2005 album Devil May Care (as "Hallelujah I Love Him So") with the Rodger Fox big band
* Belgian singer Raymond van het Groenewoud translated the song on his 1988 album Intiem
* Saxophonist Maceo Parker on his 2008 album Roots & Grooves

Single by Ray Charles
from the album Ray Charles (or, Hallelujah I Love Her So)
A-side: "Hallelujah I Love Her So"
B-side: "What Would I Do Without You"
Released: 1956
Format: 7" 45rpm
Length: 2:35
Label: Atlantic
Writer(s): Ray Charles
Producer: Jerry Wexler


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Beatle People: Hamish Stuart

Hamish Stuart (born 8 October 1949, Glasgow, Scotland) is a guitarist, bassist, singer, composer and record producer. A member of the Average White Band from 1972 to 1982, he went on to work with Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and David Sanborn before joining Paul McCartney’s band (where he switched between guitar and bass as necessary).

He wrote Atlantic Starr's 1986 hit "If Your Heart Isn't In It" and songs for Smokey Robinson, Jeffrey Osborne, George Benson and Diana Ross.

After collaborating on numerous albums for other artists, he recorded his first solo album Sooner or Later, seventeen years after leaving the Average White Band (AWB), which he released on his own record label, Sulphuric Records.

Apart from playing with his own group, the Hamish Stuart Band, and with his fellow Glaswegian guitarist and friend Jim Mullen, Stuart currently produces Gordon Haskell and the Swedish singer-songwriter, Meja.

He had recorded a couple of singles with his first band, the Dream Police, before he was invited to join the recently formed AWB in June 1972.

In 2006, Stuart toured with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band as bassist. He again joined Starr for the 2008 tour.

In 2007 he produced and appeared as a guest vocalist on the album 'All About the Music' by The AllStars Collective


* Real Live (2001)
* jimjam (2000)
* Sooner or Later (1999)