In Their Own Words

The Beatles have been in the news recently.  A video game called Rock Band will now feature a game with the Fab 4.  Recently, they were on the cover of Rolling Stone with the title, “Why The Beatles Broke Up”.  This got me thinking about how great and innovative The Beatles were.  Like many of you, I have been told time and time again that The Beatles are/were awesome.  It has been shoved down my throat by everyone.  Although I agree with them, music isn’t something that is factual.  Music is art; it can be appreciated by some, yet hated by others.  Though I think The Beatles were a pioneering band, I don’t want to tell you how to listen or feel about music.

Recently I spoke with KY, our podcast co-host, and she told me of her deep love for The Beatles.  Obviously, KY was not around when the Beatles were putting out albums, but she encountered their music through her father.  Our parents are our first influences, and music is a big part of that.  How many times did your parents play a song that you hated as a child.  Now, when you hear that song, you can remember your mom cooking dinner and singing along.  Or you can remember your Dad swinging you around while that song played in the background.  Music is the soundtrack to our lives and it encompasses everything we do.  When you hear a song, it can take you back to a special time in your life, a time that only a few other people can relate to.  I’m certain that when KY hears The Beatles, she is magically transported back in time to her childhood.  Many magical things can take place with music, and the Beatles for KY, and millions others, has that effect.

Close your eyes and imagine your favorite boy band:  New Kids on the Block (Sorry NKOTB, don’t wanna ruin their street cred), Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, New Edition, Blah-Blah-Blah.  Now imagine them making their signature pop sound, then having a harder rock sound and changing rock music.  Can you imagine it?  That might sound impossible, but it happened once before.  The Beatles were the “Pop Band” that the girls screamed over.  They had their “Pop” radio friendly tunes, and the girls went bananas.  Then things changed, around Rubber Soul to Revolver.  The Beatles lost their “boy band” label and quickly became a rock band.  Not just any rock band, but a very influential band.  The Beatles started experimenting with musical sounds/arrangements in their music. When listening to a Beatles album from the 60’s, you think, “what’s so revolutionary about them?”  But then you start hearing other songs from that time period, and nothing sounds like them.

Enough about me.  It is hard to highlight a band of this magnitude in a blog.  Shoot, even ABC tried to do a 4 part documentary, and that wasn’t even enough.  Getting back to KY, I asked her what her favorite album was and after much thought she told me The Magical Mystery Tour, which by chance, was my favorite Beatles album.  Paul McCartney is my favorite Beatle, and he wrote many of the tracks on the album so I think that is why I like this one the most.  I know you are probably sick of my writing, so what I decided to do was list the tracks on the album and give you some quotes from The Beatles.  This should give you some insight into the world’s greatest band!  May the love of music continue to grow inside of all of us, and may we continue to be as passionate about music as our parents.  So this segment is dedicated to the homie KY:

The Magical Mystery Tour

1. Magical Mystery Tour (Lennon/McCartney)- “Paul wrote it. I helped with some of the lyric” (John), “Magical Mystery Tour’ was co-written by John and I, very much in our fairground period. One of our great inspirations was always the barker: ‘Roll up! Roll up!’ The promise of something– the newspaper ad that says ‘guaranteed not to crack,’ the ‘high class’ butcher, ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ from Sgt. Pepper… You’ll find that pervades alot of my songs. If you look at all the Lennon/McCartney things, it’s a thing we do alot.” (Paul)

2. The Fool on the Hill (Lennon/McCartney)- “‘Fool On The Hill’ was mine and I think I was writing about someone like the Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn’t taken too seriously… I was sitting at the piano at my father’s house in Liverpool hitting a D6 chord, and I made up ‘Fool On The Hill.'” (McCartney) McCartney played the song for John Lennon during a writing session for “With a Little Help From My Friends,” and Lennon told him to write it down. McCartney didn’t; he was sure he wouldn’t forget it. (Wiki)

3. Flying (Lennon/McCartney, Harrison, Starkey) “Flying was an instrumental that we needed for (the film) ‘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 12-bar blues. We need a little bit of a theme and a little bit of a backing.’ I wrote the melody, otherwise it’s just a 12-bar backing thing. It’s played on the mellotron, on a trombone setting. It’s credited to all four (Beatles), which is how you would credit a non-song.” (Paul)

4. Blue Jay Way (Harrison) “Derek Taylor got held up. He rang to say he’d be late. I told him on the phone that the house was in Blue Jay Way. And he said he could find it okay… he could always ask a cop. So I waited and waited. I felt really nackered with the flight, but I didn’t want to go to sleep until he came. There was a fog and it got later and later. To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way. There was a little Hammond organ in the corner of this house which I hadn’t noticed until then… so I messed around on it and the song came.” (Harrison)

5. Your Mother Should Know (Lennon/McCartney) “I dreamed up ‘Your Mother Should Know’ as a production number… I’ve always hated generation gaps. I always feel sorry for a parent or a child that doesn’t understand each other. A mother not being understood by her child is particularly sad because the mother went through pain to have that child, and so there is this incredible bond of motherly love, like an animal bond between them. But because we mess things up so readily they have one argument and hate each other for the rest of their lives. So I was advocating peace between the generations. In ‘Your Mother Should Know’ I was basically trying to say your mother might know more than you think she does. Give her credit.” (McCartney)

6. I Am The Walrus (Lennon/McCartney) “We write lyrics, and I write lyrics that you don’t realize what they mean till after. Especially some of the better songs or some of the more flowing ones, like ‘Walrus.’ The whole first verse was written without any knowledge. With ‘I Am the Walrus,’ I had ‘I am he as you are he as we are all together.’ I had just these two lines on the typewriter, and then about two weeks later I ran through and wrote another two lines and then, when I saw something, after about four lines, I just knocked the rest of it off. Then I had the whole verse or verse and a half and then sang it. I had this idea of doing a song that was a police siren, but it didn’t work in the end (sings like a siren) ‘I-am-he-as-you-are-he-as…’ You couldn’t really sing the police siren.” (John)

7. Hello Goodbye (Lennon/McCartney)- “‘Hello Goodbye’ was one of my songs. There are Geminian influences here I think– the twins. It’s such a deep theme of the universe, duality– man woman, black white, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye– that it was a very easy song to write. It’s just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive. You say goodbye, I say hello. You say stop, I say go. I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day.” (Paul)

8. Strawberry Fields Forever (Lennon/McCartney)- “Strawberry Fields is a real place. After I stopped living at Penny Lane, I moved in with my auntie who lived in the suburbs… not the poor slummy kind of image that was projected in all the Beatles stories. Near that home was Strawberry Fields, a house near a boys’ reformatory where I used to go to garden parties as a kid with my friends Nigel and Pete. We always had fun at Strawberry Fields. So that’s where I got the name. But I used it as an image. Strawberry Fields Forever. ‘Living is easy with eyes closed. Misunderstanding all you see.’ It still goes, doesn’t it? Aren’t I saying exactly the same thing now? The awareness apparently trying to be expressed is– let’s say in one way I was always hip. I was hip in kindergarten. I was different from the others. I was different all my life. The second verse goes, ‘No one I think is in my tree.’ Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius– ‘I mean it must be high or low,’ the next line. There was something wrong with me, I thought, because I seemed to see things other people didn’t see. I thought I was crazy or an egomaniac for claiming to see things other people didn’t see. I always was so psychic or intuitive or poetic or whatever you want to call it, that I was always seeing things in a hallucinatory way. Surrealism had a great effect on me, because then I realized that the imagery in my mind wasn’t insanity; that if it was insane, I belong in an exclusive club that sees the world in those terms. Surrealism to me is reality. Psychic vision to me is reality. Even as a child. When I looked at myself in the mirror or when I was 12, 13, I used to literally trance out into alpha. I didn’t know what it was called then. I found out years later there is a name for those conditions. But I would find myself seeing hallucinatory images of my face changing and becoming cosmic and complete. It caused me to always be a rebel. This thing gave me a chip on the shoulder; but, on the other hand, I wanted to be loved and accepted. Part of me would like to be accepted by all facets of society and not be this loudmouthed lunatic musician. But I cannot be what I am not.” (John)

9. Penny Lane (Lennon/McCartney)- “John and I would always meet at Penny Lane. That was where someone would stand and sell you poppies each year on British Legion poppy day… When I came to write it, John came over and helped me with the third verse, as often was the case. We were writing childhood memories– recently faded memories from eight or ten years before, so it was recent nostalgia, pleasant memories for both of us. All the places were still there, and because we remembered it so clearly we could have gone on.” (Paul)

10. Baby You’re A Rich Man- “In ‘Baby You’re a Rich Man’ the point was, stop moaning. You’re a rich man and we’re all rich men, heh, heh, baby!” (John)

11. All You Need is Love (Lennon/McCartney) “I think if you get down to basics, whatever the problem is, it’s usually to do with love. So I think ‘All You Need is Love’ is a true statement. I’m not saying, ‘All you have to do is…’ because ‘All You Need’ came out in the Flower Power Generation time. It doesn’t mean that all you have to do is put on a phoney smile or wear a flower dress and it’s gonna be alright. Love is not just something that you stick on posters or stick on the back of your car, or on the back of your jacket or on a badge. I’m talking about real love, so I still believe that. Love is appreciation of other people and allowing them to be. Love is allowing somebody to be themselves and that’s what we do need.” (John)

* All the quotes were taken from the website:  Beatlesinterviews.org