Tag Archives: The Beatles

Abbey Roadsigns

or The Inside Scoop on the Breakup of the Greatest Band in the World

For a time, we thought we were the greatest band in the world; and because we did, we were. – Ringo Starr

The Beatles are bigger than Jesus Christ right now. – John Lennon

The following is an interpretation of the songs of the Abbey Road album as a psychological justification for the breakup of the Beatles, or why it had to happen, in their own words:

Here Comes the Sun – Finally, things are looking up for George Harrison. He?s had a creative breakthrough, probably due to the new vegetarianism and positive outlook on life. Plus, he?s hanging out with other Musicians like Eric Clapton and having a bit of fun. He never seemed to have too much, you know, and was always so damned depressing.

Something – But all good things must come to an end. She is the Beatles, and while George loves her, he just doesn’t know about the future. He’s undecided, as well; does he side with John or Paul? That’s always been his question, I think.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – I think Maxwell is Allen Klein, the doctor they all brought in to fix up the Beatles. Maybe they should have considered Doctor Robert. This one is obviously about litigation and the courts, and Paul’s never-ending battle to prove he wasn’t the one who broke up the band. Further, I think he’s making a comment on his recent drug busts, and John?s forays into obscenity with Yoko Ono (i.e., Two Virgins, etc.).

Oh! Darling – Paul’s frantic plea to John: Don’t leave me. You seem to have it all together, but I need you as a foil to spur my creativity.

Octopus’ Garden – This is Ringo’s attempt to reconcile all the involved parties. But he’s drowning, and the ship’s sinking, and everybody knows it. Meanwhile, he’s getting drunk with Keith Moon and playing Frank Zappa in the movies. He’s ready to move on, just like the rest, and he’s getting tired of being “the funny one.”

I Want You (She?s So Heavy) – John wants to move beyond the Beatles. The social and emotional responsibility of fronting the world’s most popular band has gotten a bit much. Further, he wants to play styles of Music that the Beatles could never get away with (i.e., biting social Commentary and the blues). Further, he wants to distance himself from the hippie movement and free love; he’s more into revolution and visible social change at this point (witness his “Power to the People”) demeanor that follows shortly hereafter, etc. Witness John’s disillusionment with the flower power movement (i.e., Strawberry Fields Forever). He doesn’t want to be anybody’s guru…his whole “bag” has been for people to think for themselves. It’s easy to see misunderstanding with your eyes closed, he says. Let me drag you down with me. If I say jump, does that mean you do it?

Come Together – The visible exponent of the sentiment expressed in I Want You (She’s So Heavy). John is not only writing a campaign slogan for Timothy Leary and San Francisco, showing his affinity for the intellectual revolution over the non-violent peacenik thing, but he’s saying, “Look, people, if you let me do this, the Beatles might still work.”

Because – Why do shitty things happen? Why do bands like the Beatles break up? It’s nobody’s fault, regardless of what they say in Melody Maker. Just because, baby, just because.

You Never Give Me Your Money – Paul’s most direct statement to date on the fact that the other Beatles sued him. Paul obviously wants to keep the band together, but they keep serving him summons (“funny paper”) and breaking off the negotiations. He doesn’t want it to be about money, but he’s trying to keep his shirt and forget the Apple fiasco. In the beginning, he says, we were unemployed, undereducated. If not for this band, we’d be driving trucks. This was our dream, guys, he’s saying. Now, with the dream come true, I think Paul realizes that the dream has got to die. It’s just not working anymore. Like Albert King said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And that hurts Paul like nothing else could.

Sun King – What’s all the nonsense, says John. Why should anybody care but us, says Paul. It?s our business. Lead your own lives – we can’t protect you forever. Further, the whole thing has gotten a bit ridiculous. No matter what we say, it is interpreted as something “deep” and “cryptic.” Check out Charlie Manson’s take on what we did in 1968, for example. John says, “All I want to do is play the blues.” Paul says, “I want to write Musical theater.” George says, “Hare Krishna.” Ringo says, “Where is Buck Owens playing tonight?” The press says, “Paul is dead.” Go figure.

Mean Mr. Mustard – Another interpretation of Allen Klein, I think.

Polythene Pam – Look, everyone, it’s the incredible marketable Beatles, shrink-wrapped in plastic and ready for distribution! Where’s Colonel Tom Parker when you need him?

She Came In Through the Bathroom Window – “She” is the Beatles. She’s come up on the Fab Four by surprise, with her silver lining exposed, and now they all just sit around and wonder what the Hell they’re going to do about it. Further, I think Paul is tired of being the “policeman” and trying to get everybody together and play. Another interpretation might be that “she” is Apple Records. After all, she could “steal, but she could not rob.” They were all losing a lot of money in that little venture, you know. Interpretation #3: “She” is Phil Spector, and she couldn?t really do much to save the sinking ship. Plus, Paul didn’t really appreciate the external input and loss of creative control.

Golden Slumbers – Finally, I think Paul just comes out and says it. This used to be a great band, we used to have a lot of fun, and each of us achieved somewhat of our own Nirvana when it worked. However, the real good thing is about to come to an end. This is also could be seen as a farewell to Brian Epstein, who’d been with them since they were “home” at the Cavern, and always seemed to be a link with their roots.

Carry That Weight – And of course, it’s easy for the rest of the boys (and the media, and the fans) to blame Paul. He seemed to be the most realistic (therefore, the most calculating, cold and cynical) about the Beatles’ situation. And he got most of the heat in the press. Nobody took him seriously as a solo artist until “Band On the Run” took off so splendidly. Plus, he lost his best friend in the bargain. In another view, he’s also the one who had to perform most of the Beatles’ repertoire throughout the following decades. This, of course, has its benefits.

The End – And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. And they weren’t making love anymore; so it was only fair that they stopped taking it. They weren’t even sleeping in the same room at that point. Witness the angry solos from George, Paul and John.

Her Majesty – Paul, of course, was desperate to have the last word. He was going to get the brunt of the blame, after all. Once he made the decision to quit, there was nothing else to do but crawl away and get drunk. She (the Beatles) was a pretty nice girl, but there was no way she was going to put out again. Someday, however, Paul was hoping, it might all work out again.

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Star Song

I haven’t written a song for stardances in quite a while, and this one kind of crept up on me this evening. Perhaps its more of that Beatleish mood I’ve been in … the last one was a John-like thing, and this one seems more like a George.

for Sondra Galyn

There’s something in your eyes that makes me happy
I think it’s what you see when you see me
Behind my sad disguise I find you looking
To find the truth inside and set it free

There’s something in your smile that makes me want you
I think it’s how you know just where I stand
Inside my secret self I find you laughing
It makes me glad to know that I’m your man

And when you tell me that you love me
I realize that it is real
There is no pretense or confusion
And no question of the way I feel

There’s something in your touch that feels like sunshine
I think it’s your connection to the light
That sends a spark to deep inside my shadows
To burn away the darkness of my nights

There’s something in your laugh that makes me love you
I think it’s that you share your heart with me
And take from me the best I have to offer
Knowing that the best is yet to be

And when you tell me that you love me
I understand that it is so
There is no pretense or confusion
I don’t need to question it to know

There’s something in your eyes that makes me happy
I think it’s what you see when you see me
And there I am reflected in your vision,
The person that I know that I can be.

20 OCT 2002

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Time

Does anyone remember that Beatles song (penned by Lennon), The Word – I think it was on Rubber Soul … it went “Say the word, and be like me, say the word, and you’ll be free, say the word I’m thinking of, and you know the word is love …” and so on? I was just thinking about writing that kind of hook into a song, you know, the repetitive beginning and ending line (each verse begins with the same phrase, and each chorus ends with those same words, which of course is one of the standard Irish bardic patterns, although I’m not sure that John Lennon knew that explicitly – some things make their way into pop culture on the sly, despite all the established discouragement)…

Anyway, I came up with this new lyric to match that sort of pattern.

I’ve got time to let the good things come as they will
I’ve got time to listen to the fool on the hill
I’ve got time to watch the empty glass start to fill
You won’t catch me trying to keep the second hand still

I’ve got time to let the grass grow under my feet
I’ve got time to taste of kisses warm and so sweet
I’ve got time to separate the chaff from the wheat
You won’t find me out in the rushed and bustling street

Used to be I was so worried and stressed
Trying to rush out and find happiness
Now I just wait and the waiting is fine
I’m in no hurry, cause I’ve got time

I’ve got time to sit and talk with lovers and friends
I’ve got time to look beyond all the latest trends
I’ve got time to see more than beginnings and ends
You won’t catch me at the last minute making amends

Used to be I was concerned with the date
Trying to make sure I wouldn’t be late
Now I just relax and things work out fine
I’m in no hurry…cause I’ve got time

I’ve got time to just enjoy what comes ’til it goes
I’ve got time to watch the river as it just flows
I’ve got time to figure out what I’ve got to know
You won’t find me out trying to race the wind as it blows

19 OCT 2002

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Getting to see Sir Paul

You know, having recently acquire a pair of tickets so stardances and I could go see Paul McCartney on his latest tour of the US got me to thinking about how long, exactly, I have been influenced by the Beatles, as a Musician, as a person. When I was 6 or 7, my cousin (who at four years older was a complete Beatle freak, and owned EVERYTHING they ever produced, be it singles, EPs, lunch boxes, etc.) made two eight track tapes for me for Christmas of the Beatle albums Love Songs, Live at the Hollywood Bowl, Rock and Roll Music and most of the 45s. For a period of about five years, these were the only records I listened to, other than the occasional Elvis and Johnny Cash. I learned how to play guitar, bass, piano and organ from Beatles songbooks and records. Moreso than any other Musician, Paul McCartney influenced the bass player I am today. The funny thing is, up until about two days ago (perhaps when I bought the tickets), I typically would answer John when asked which was my “favorite” Beatle. You know, it always was Paul. It was always the melody that drew me in, that and the fact that I could actually sing like Paul – John was another matter altogether.

BTW, Paul McCartney was the FIRST person under the age of 30 EVER quoted in Life magazine. Of course, he said some inane things, like “if we gave all the world leaders LSD, this would be better planet” but THINK ABOUT IT. Before Paul McCartney, no one under 30 was considered to have an opinion worth circulating in mainstream print media. He also was one of the producers of the Monterey Pop Festival, co-introduced Indian religion to the west, has been a strong advocate of vegetarianism, and so on. He was also one of the first pop stars to get busted for drugs and have it enhance his reputation (LOL).

I know Paul has done some smarmy things (like suggesting to Michael Jackson that he go into the Music publishing business, and then letting himself get outbid for his own song collection – oh, why didn’t he and Yoko bid together on that one?), but consider this: without Paul, the Beatles probably never would have advanced beyond a teen audience, and would never have received as much mainstream airplay.

Yesterday is one of the most covered songs of all time, and was voted by VH1 viewers last year as the “greatest rock song of all time” (of course, they are VH1 viewers … their opinion should be considered in whatever light you view that sort of folk).

Some of the Paul songs that changed my life?

Helter Skelter
Oh Darling
Let It Be
Got to Get You Into My Life
All Together Now
Eleanor Rigby
Blackbird
Maybe I’m Amazed
Hey Jude
Why Don’t We Do It In the Road? …

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