The Silly One

Paul is a core romantic, thats a fact well documented in any annal of rock music history. But there is a dimension in Macca’s romance that I haven’t seen much elsewhere . So many times Macca seems an outcast in the world of Beatles and the contemporary rock scene in general. While Stones were giving us Sister Morphine, Lennon gave us Revolution and Harrison gave While My Guitar Gently Weeps Macca at similar times was chugging out Yesterday and When I’m Sixty Four (admittedly an old composition).

Two of the more prevalant trends in Rock music can be seen as,
a) Poring into the darker side or express change/angst/anger/rebelion or else
b) going into the real world things bringing them to life and music instead of the more abstract relations and feelings. [Time, Money, Car, Sea, Guitar, Drugs etc] {This obviously is among the oldest concept in poetry writing}
Paul thus comes from such a background which valued material things and the changing times more than the usual old concepts of love and romance.

True to the soul of rock music, Paul also presented a counter. But his counter was of a different breed than most rock artists around. An analysis of some of his lyrics presents a counter but with love and happiness against negativity/sadness or such feelings. By the virtue of him written on so many topics, it can be a crime to brand him or his songs belonging to a particular line of thought. For my analysis thus, I will chose few of his songs which stay true to my hypothesis. His stories so often start with a sad thought or a heartbreaking event.

At the end of the end – The End of the End
The grand old painter died last night – Picasso’s last Words
When I get older losing my hair many years from now – When I’m sixty four
They say that people have had enough of silly love songs – Silly Love Songs

Paul! Perhaps more than the experimental Beatle,was and to date remains a Pop star, a fact brought forth much better on listening to his solo work or the albums with Wings.

The lyrics mentioned above clearly don’t present the loving rosy picture as would be expected from a pop artist. Instead they have all the makings of a rock song beginning, the ideal platform to burst into tirade accompanied by a solo or two and some ingenuous drumming.

And thence comes perhaps the most beautiful part of Paul’s song writing. The light seems more enriching and enticing when its coming from the end of a dark tunnel and that’s where Sir James Paul McCartney brings a different life to his songs. The depressing situation created, shall be rebelled against, with hope shining out of the travesty.

Thus come the later lines of the songs I’ve mentioned in the first place which show the light coming after the darkness of the first line of his songs

Is the start of a journey to a much better place… On the day that I die, I’d like jokes to be told – The End of The End
Drink to me, drink to my health, you know I can’t drink anymore – Picasso’s last Words
I could be handy, mending a fuse… Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight – When I’m sixty four
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs….
‘Cause here I go again – I love you, I love you – Silly Love Songs

Of these songs, the one that has inspired me most is the one called “Silly Love Songs”. It can be quite obviously seen that the rock fraternity at the time was against the Pop artists and the trend of writing Silly love songs as a rockhead would term them. And yet here comes Paul, supposedly one of the Messiahs of Rockheads daringly rubbishing any thoughts harboured by the people and fans of his ilk (rock world). This song, thus, presents Paul as a rebel, rebelling against the original rebels (rock musicians) presenting the ideas of equality, universal acceptance as against the high handedness of the people. A clever retort whose point is well taken by Rolling Stones (magazine).

He mourns the death of the greatest painter of the age, he talks of his very own end, the senility and disabillty of the old age is pondered upon or he just gives a big fuck you to the rockheads. And yet the most inspiring thing is, all this, still comes in the sweetest of wordings and the nicest ‘pop’ular music full of love, laughter . 🙂

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She’s leaving home

Not only the stories associated with the Beatles songs are an interesting bit of trivia for me, but one thing I like about their songs is, the stories they convey through the songs, and No Album does it better than the arguably Most Influential album in the history of Rock music, the concept album, which tells about the Lonely Hearts Club band of Sgt. Pepper. In this album, there are many real life incidents picked up by Beatles (mostly by Macca) and converted them into songs. Lovely Rita is another Macca song from the album, which does a similar thing, but here I shall pick up the song which talks about a certain Miss Melanie Coe, who ran away from her home, thus making it to the front page of Daily Mirror.

Although, Macca made up most of the facts in the song, as Melanie didn’t meet a guy from motor trade, rather her guy was a croupier and she left in the afternoon, contrary to the song, where its early morning when her parents discover that she is missing. Although, Melanie who was just sweet little seventeen then, claims that most of the other facts fitted to her story as well as the truth.

After 10 days of hiding away, the girl was finally discovered, as she too like many foolish teenagers, had let slip the place where her boyfriend worked. Coincidentally, Coe had met McCartney three years earlier when she was a contestant and prize winner on ITV’s Ready Steady Go! She has been known to go on record, saying that although
having a song written about her was good, yet this song shall always serve as a haunting memory of the misdoings of her past, as a result the song has been nothing but a painful reminder of a painful past!

Trivia : This was one of a handful of songs of The Beatles in which the members did not play any instruments.
PS: When discussing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, composer Ned Rorem described “She’s Leaving Home” as “equal to any song that Schubert ever wrote.

Cold Turkey

Beatles broke apart is the major fact everyone is quite aware of, yet the finer or even granular nuances of the fiasco like How, when, why and where  are almost as clear as Mona Lisa’s identity, the only point of difference being, in case of Mona Lisa, atleast the involved parties, lady and Da Vinci might have known all the details. In this case, on the contrary, the subjects, even the Beatles themselves cant be sure about the unknowns.
There are man events which are argued about as being the turning events in the whole cycle, yet the event I am going to talk about today, is the one which is hardly ever considered to be of significance. But, history entices and excites and as a result we talk about Cold Turkey.
Looking at the song itself, objectively there isnt much of note about the song and hence hasn’t been too popular. Its basically a song which deals about Lennon’s heroin addiction, which he decided to leave by going Cold Turkey, he has done a nice job in displaying his pain and things, but that shall mostly be disgressing from the  main point, which is the point I shall presently return to.
Cold Turkey was the final breakup of Lennon/McCartney song writing partnership. Give Peace A Chance being the first  solo single of Lennon is a knowledge which, if not of abundance can be believed to be found in some circles of rock music. The only clincher is the fact, that Give Peace a Chance was attributed to Lennon/McCartney  team instead of being Lennon alone. It was only with Cold Turkey, that Lennon could get over the feeling of being in a ‘relation‘ with Macca and could release the song with a new name John Lennon.

This event which happened in 1969(the year of love?), could definitely be seen as one of the defining event in breakup of the best Rock/Rock’n’Roll/Pop band in the history of music.

Get Back

We (atleast me) have heard a lot of special Dylan, Lennon, McCartney songs through the anals of rock music. Best thing about musicians is, the inspiration they take listening to each other’s music, observing then write and work. Lennon did a Dylan first, then  Dylan did a Lennon which had only left Paul McCartney as one of my all time fav artist, not to be in the mix, and that’s when Get Back come to my listening circles.

Most interesting part of the song is, the lyrics and the theme/tune of the song. This is a pure McCartney song, where you are blasted with his super amazing voice in the starting of the song along with the Ringo drumming at its full fore, pretty strange for a Macca song. Which mostly rely on less of instruments, and even if needed, they are piano/guitar, never the heavy thumping of the drum.

An interesting aspect of Lennon’s writing always is, the slogan or catch phrase writing which he does. Give Peace a Chance, Imagine, All you need is love, You know my name, there are countless such examples and this is the exact same technique applied by Macca.

Such songs, generally have a strong line which is the whole-soul of the song, while there are a few lines thrown here and there, many times they wont even make sense, sometimes they might be a >conversation between 2 people, while the theme line takes most of duration of the song. The aforementioned features (more or less) in above songs can as well be, very easily observed in Get Back.

Song Trivia : –
1. According to Lennon, Paul looked at Ono, everytime while singing the line, “Get Back to where you once belonged”.
– I say ‘Super Win’
2. Although many artists like Clapton have recorded with Beatles, but no one ever got any credit in Beatles songs, Billy Preston, for this song is the only Non-Beatles to have ever got a credit on any Beatles song.

 

Lennon vs McCartney

Towards the end of The Beatles, the inter Beatles relations had come to an absolute low and they were showing their rage against each other, only way they knew, through the means of songs. It all started with the song “Wah Wah” written by George Harrison for his old time friend and the one who introduced him to Lennon and effectively made him a Beatle. McCartney came up with his version of Lennon bashing with the song Too Many People. But the song we are talking about is, How Do You Sleep, John’s response to Paul completing a sort of chain.

George Harrison played guitar on the song, and Klaus Voormann(the man who created the cover of Revolver played bass on the song, both long time McCartney friends, thus hurting him even more. Ringo, the only Beatle who was against the disbanding visited the studio during recording of the song and was reportedly upset saying “That’s enough John”

Having a look at the lyrics, anyone can make out what this song refers to

So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
(We all know about the Paul is dead controversy)
The one mistake you made was in your head
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

You live with straights who tell you you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
(Yesterday is THE most popular song Paul wrote as part of the Beatles)
And since you’re gone you’re just another day
(Another day was the song Paul recorded after leaving the Beatles)
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
(Comparing his songs to muzak/Elevator music)
You must have learned something in all those years
Ah, how do you sleep?
Ah, how do you sleep at night?

Paul’s answer to this was Let Me Roll it, a song sung and written in John’s style and can be seen as an olive branch offered to John! Thus trying to tone down the bitter feelings at both ends.