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Posts Tagged ‘Paul McCartney’

At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Yesterday”. This Paul McCartney ballad, recorded in 1965, has gone on to become the most recorded song in history, with thousands of versions in existence. “Yesterday” was never released as a single in the Disunited Kingdom during the time that The Beatles were together (it was later released in the mid-1970s). It features on their album Help as the penultimate track on the second side (in the DUK release of the album). In the USA, “Yesterday” was released as a single in September 1965 and got to number 1 in the US singles charts.

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At number 4 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Yesterday”

The story of the composition of “Yesterday” is, by now, well documented. Apparently McCartney woke up one morning with this tune in his head, and when he played it to the other band members he felt sure that they would recognise it, feeling that it was not an original tune but rather a tune which was in his head from hearing it somewhere. It turned out that it was an original tune, which had somehow come to him during his sleep.

For quite a while, McCartney used the words “scrambled eggs” to stand in for the lyrics that he would eventually write, as he doodled, developed and played around with the song. Some of this was during the period that The Beatles were filming Help!, with Dick Lester directing the movie. Apparently, at one point Lester got so annoyed at hearing McCartney doodling on the piano at the back of the sound stage and humming the words “scrambled eggs” that he said to him “If you play that song any bloody longer I’ll have the piano taken off stage. Either finish it or give it up!”

When “Yesterday” was recorded, none of the other Beatles was present in the recording studio, just McCartney and a string quartet. When The Beatles played “Yesterday” in concerts, the other band members would usually leave the stage and leave McCartney to perform it on his own on his acoustic guitar. It was the closest thing to a solo McCartney song that The Beatles ever did.

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
There’s a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday love was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Mm mm mm mm mm mm mm

There has been considerable discussion as to whether McCartney is referring to his mother, who died when he was 14, in the line “Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say”, even McCartney himself has said that it may have unconsciously been about her. The song is sufficiently vague that it has universal appeal; there is not one of us who does not long, at some point, to go back to a simpler time for some reason or another.

Here is  video of this most recorded song. I have no idea how long this link will stay active, so if it stops working my apologies. Enjoy!

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At number 7 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Hey Jude”, another of Paul McCartney’s great ballads. “Hey Jude” was recorded in late July and early August 1968, and released as a single later that month. It got to number 1 in the Disunited Kingdom, the USA, and many other countries. At over 7 minutes long, when it was released it was the longest single to top the US charts and, with a 9-week run in the top spot, it also equalled the all-time record for the most number of weeks at number 1.

“Hey Jude” was written by McCartney for John Lennon’s song Julian. The song started as “Hey Jules”, and was meant to act as words of comfort to the young Julian as his father and mother Cynthia were going through their divorce. Later, McCartney decided to change “Jules” to “Jude”, to make it less obvious that it was about Julian.

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At number 7 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Hey Jude”. The photograph shows McCartney with Julian Lennon, John’s son.


“Hey Jude” was also the first Beatles disk to be released on their new Apple label. Disks by other artists were also released on the new label on the same day, such as “Those Were the Days” by Mary Hopkin and “Sour Milk Sea” by Jackie Lomax. 

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
She have found you, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah yeah

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you’ll begin to make it better
Better, better, better, better… Oh!

Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Jude)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Yeah yeah yeah)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Don’t make it bad, Jude)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Take a sad song and make it better)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Oh Jude)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Jude, hey Jude, waaaah)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude (Oooh)
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude
Nah nah nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah, hey Jude [fade out]

Here is a live version of The Beatles performing “Hey Jude” on the David Frost show in 1968. The song is preceded by some messing around and banter between Frost and the group, so even if you know this song it is well worth watching. It is from The Beatles’ vevo channel, and so thankfully this video is unlikely to be taken down.

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At number 8 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Let it Be”. This Paul McCartney ballad is possibly one of the band’s best known songs, and is also the title of the last album which they released (although the songs were recorded before Abbey Road). The song’s lyrics were inspired by McCartney’s mother Mary, who died of cancer when he was 14 years old. The lines “When I find myself in times of trouble / mother Mary comes to me” speak of his longing for her, and of her coming to him in his dreams.

The Beatles released two versions of “Let it Be”, the single version was released in March of 1970, just before Paul McCartney announced that he had left the band. The album version, released in May of the same year, is slightly different. The album version has an additional guitar solo (played by George Harrison), some differences in the lyrics, and some additional orchestrations added by Phil Spector. The album version runs about 10 seconds longer than the single version. Surprisingly, the single only reached number 2 in the Disunited Kingdom, but in the USA and many other countries it reached number 1. “Let it Be” entered the US charts at number 6, which at the time was the highest chart-entry position for any song.

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At number 8 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Let It Be”

McCartney chose “Let it Be” as his contribution to the 1985 Live Aid concert for famine relief in Ethiopia. He was the closing act of the London concert (the USA one, in Philadelphia, started and finished later because of the time difference). I was lucky enough to be at the London concert, but unfortunately his microphone did not work for about the first half of the song. A few years later I saw McCartney perform in Birmingham, but I do not recall that he performed “Let it Be” on that occasion.

The B-side of the “Let it Be” single release was “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” which, if you haven’t heard it, is well worth a listen. It is possibly the strangest and most humorous song recorded by The Beatles, and pretty much unlike anything else you are likely to have heard by them.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Ah, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Oh, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Here is a YouTube video of “Let it Be”, although I suspect that it will be removed fairly soon as Apple seems to be exercising an aggressive policy in getting Beatles songs removed from YouTube.

If/when this video is taken down, you can listen to “Let it Be” via one of the streaming services, for example here is a link to Let it Be  on Spotify. Or, you can listen to Paul McCartney singing it live in concert in New York city.

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At number 14 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “She Loves You”. This song was recorded in July 1963 and was The Beatles’ 4th single release in the Disunited Kingdom, in late August 1963. “She Loves You” had advance orders of half a million copies in the DUK, and of course shot straight to number one in its first week of release. It remained in the charts for a staggering 31 weeks, with 18 of those being in the top 3 and spent 6 weeks in total at number 1.

“She Loves You” is a true joint Lennon-McCartney composition, both of them contributing to its lyrics and melody. Interestingly, it was credited as “Lennon-McCartney”, which would remain the credit of any song they wrote, either together or separately, from this point until The Beatles’ split in April 1970. But, prior to this single, their 2nd single “Please Please Me” and their 3rd single “From Me to You” were credited as “McCartney-Lennon”, something I did not know before I did the research for this blogpost. I have included photographs of the labels of their first four singles below so you can see how each was credited.

 

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At number 14 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “She Loves You”

Here are the lyrics of this incredibly catchy song. Paul McCartney once said in an interview that his father did not like the Americanism of “yeah, yeah, yeah” and asked why they could not have sung “yes, yes, yes”. An interesting suggestion, but I don’t think it would have worked in quite the same way!

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

You think you lost your love
When I saw her yesterday
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say
She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad

She said you hurt her so
She almost lost her mind
And now she says she knows
You’re not the hurting kind
She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
And with a love like that
You know you should be glad

You know it’s up to you
I think it’s only fair
Pride can hurt you too
Apologize to her
Because she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad, ooh

She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
With a love like that
You know you should be glad
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Here is a video of a live performance of “She Loves You”. Enjoy!

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At number 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Saw Her Standing There”. This song was recorded in February 1963 and released on their debut album Please Please Me in March 1963. It is the opening track on their debut album, and was never released as a single in the Disunited Kingdom. However, in the USA it was the B-side of their debut single released by Capitol Records, with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on the A-side. This single was The Beatles’ breakthrough in the USA, getting to number 1 in January 1964 and staying at number 1 for 7 weeks.

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At number 16 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “I Saw Her Standing There”

The song, written mainly by Paul McCartney but with some contribution from John Lennon, was written in 1962. McCartney scribbled the lyrics in a notebook from the grammar school that he had attended as a teenager.

(1,2,3,4!)

Well, she was just 17
You know what I mean
And the way she looked was way beyond compare
So how could I dance with another (Ooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well she looked at me, and I, I could see
That before too long I’d fall in love with her
She wouldn’t dance with another (Whooh)
When I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another (Whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

Well, my heart went “boom”
When I crossed that room
And I held her hand in mine…

Whoah, we danced through the night
And we held each other tight
And before too long I fell in love with her
Now I’ll never dance with another (Whooh)
Since I saw her standing there

Here are The Beatles performing “I Saw Her Standing There” live. Enjoy!

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At number 22 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Eleanor Rigby”. This Paul McCartney composition was recorded in April and June 1966, and released on 5 August 1966 as a double A-side single with “Yellow Submarine”. It is also the the second track on the first side of my favourite Beatles album, Revolver. In fact, in the Disunited Kingdom the single “Eleanor Rigby”/”Yellow Submarine” was released on the same day as Revolver, but in the USA Revolver was released 3 days after the single, on 8 August.

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At number 22 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Eleanor Rigby”.

“Eleanor Rigby” is an exquisite song, certainly one of my favourite Paul McCartney songs. The lyrics are beautiful and haunting, and the use of  a double string quartet showed that the band were evolving beyond the confines of a normal “pop” group, with just a guitar-based sound. The musical arrangement was done by George Martin, the Beatles’ producer.

Ah look at all the lonely people
Ah look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby, picks up the rice
In the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window, wearing the face
That she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie, writing the words
Of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working, darning his socks
In the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah look at all the lonely people
Ah look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby, died in the church
And was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt
From his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

It seems that all the postings of the original Beatles version of “Eleanor Rigby” have been removed from YouTube. I have found this video of the song, which is from the opening sequences of the animated movie Yellow Submarine, but it may get removed.

http://en.musicplayon.com/play?v=556898

You can also find the song on most of the streaming services. Enjoy!

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Today I thought I would post this gallery of Beatles photographs which I came across a few months ago. Judging from the appearance of the Beatles, I am guessing they were taken in 1965, during the Rubber Soul and Help! period. One of them appears to be a still from a scene in the movie Help! Enjoy……

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UPDATE: Unfortunately, to reduce my use of the allocated storage space for images, I have had to remove the gallery. This is what the gallery looked like.

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A screen capture of the gallery. I have had to remove the individual images to save space. Sorry!

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