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Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

At number 6 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Something”. This is one of George Harrison’s best known songs, and was the first (and last) time that one of his songs was released as a Beatles’ single, along with “Come Together” (which I blogged about here). As I said in that blogpost, “Something/Come Together” only got to number 4 in the Disunited Kingdom, but in the USA “Something” got to number 1, the first George Harrison composed song to top the US charts.

“Something” was highly praised by Harrison’s more illustrious songwriting band members, John Lennon said it was the best track on the Abbey Road album, and Paul McCartney said it was the best song that Harrison has ever written.

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At number 6 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Something”

The official video for “Something” was shot in August 1969, during the Beatles’ last photo shoot at Lennon’s Titenhursr Park estate. By this time, they could barely bear to be in each other’s company. The video shows each band member with their wives, but not with each other. It illustrates how they had become separated as band members, Lennon had already told the others that he wanted out, but McCartney had persuaded him to not go public about it. Within a few months their official split would be announced by McCartney. The photo below, one of those taken during this last photo shoot, again shows the distance which had grown between them.

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Taken during the Beatles’ last ever photo shoot, in August 1969 at John Lennon’s Tittenhurst Park estate.

Something in the way she moves
Attracts me like no other lover
Something in the way she woos me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Somewhere in her smile she knows
That I don’t need no other lover
Something in her style that shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

You’re asking me will my love grow
I don’t know, I don’t know
You stick around and it may show
I don’t know, I don’t know

Something in the way she knows
And all I have to do is think of her
Something in the things she shows me
I don’t want to leave her now
You know I believe and how

Unfortunately I cannot find The Beatles’ version of “Something” on YouTube, but here is a version of George Harrison performing it live in Japan with Eric Clapton.

Which is your favourite George Harrison song?

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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 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Come Together”. This John Lennon song is the opening track on The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road, and is one of the funkiest tracks that the band recorded. It was also released as a double A-sided single along with George Harrison’s “Something”, which we will come to in this list in a few weeks’ time.

“Come Together” got to number 1 in the USA, but in the Disunited Kingdom it only got to number 4. This is possibly because the song was banned by the BBC, apparently because they felt that the line “He shoot Coca-Cola” could be interpreted as product placement. The song started its life as a campaign song for Timothy Leary’s bid to become Governor of California, but after giving Leary a demo version, Lennon went on to develop the song into something quite different. It was recorded in July 1969.

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At number 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Come Together”

The driving rhythm guitar, played by Lennon himself, is one of the song’s stand-out features. Lennon also played electric piano on the song. The fantastic bass line is played by Paul McCartney, who also sings backing vocals. The lyrics are non-sensical, with the opening line lifted from a Chuck Berry song “You Can’t Catch Me”. This led to a lawsuit, but the dispute was settled out of court.

Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly
He got joo-joo eyeball, he one holy roller
He got hair down to his knee
Got to be a joker he just do what he please

He wear no shoeshine, he got toe-jam football
He got monkey finger, he shoot Coca-Cola
He say, “I know you, you know me.”
One thing I can tell you is you got to be free

Come together right now over me

He bag production, he got walrus gumboot
He got Ono sideboard, he one spinal cracker
He got feet down below his knee
Hold you in his armchair you can feel his disease

Come together right now over me

(Right!
Come, oh, come, come, come.)

He roller-coaster, he got early warning
He got muddy water, he one mojo filter
He say, “One and one, and one is three.”
Got to be good-looking ’cause he’s so hard to see

Come together right now over me

Oh
Come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, come together
Yeah, oh
Come together
Yeah, come together

“Come Together” has been covered by a huge number of artists, including The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, The Arctic Monkeys and Aerosmith. It remains one of The Beatles’ most popular rock songs (as opposed to ballads or other genres from their huge variety of work).

I cannot find the original Beatles’ version of “Come Together” on YouTube, but here is a live version which John Lennon performed in New York City in 1972. It is pretty close to the original version. Enjoy!

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At number 11 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “A Hard Day’s Night”. This song was recorded in April 1964 and released in July. It was The Beatles’ 7th singles release in the Disunited Kingdom, and got to number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. It is also the title of The Beatles’ 3rd album, and the title of their first movie.

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At number 11 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “A Hard Day’s Night”

The title of the song apparently comes from a phrase that Ringo Starr would often say, with John Lennon being the main composer and singer. The opening chord is considered one of the most recognisable in rock ‘n’ roll. The single and album were both at number 1 simultaneously in both the DUK and the USA in August of 1964, something which had never been achieved before by any recording artist.

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright

You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things
And it’s worth it just to hear you say you’re going to give me everything
So why on earth should I moan, ’cause when I get you alone
You know I feel OK

When I’m home everything seems to be right
When I’m home feeling you holding me tight, tight

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I been working like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright, oww

So why on earth should I moan, ’cause when I get you alone
You know I feel OK

When I’m home everything seems to be right
When I’m home feeling you holding me tight, tight

It’s been a hard day’s night, and I been working like a dog
It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log
But when I get home to you I find the things that you do
Will make me feel alright
You know I feel alright
You know I feel alright

Here is a video of this wonderful song from the album Live at the BBC. Enjoy!

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At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”. This is one of my favourite Beatles songs, not just of 1965 but of any period. I simply adore this song. It is, in  my opinion, pure perfection. Instrumentally, if features the first use of a sitar on a Beatles’ song (and probably on any western pop music song). Lyrically, it is both profound and light; leaving the listener wondering at the end of the song – what happens next?

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At number 12 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

As the screen capture above to the Rolling Stone blurb says, “Norwegian Wood” was John Lennon writing about an affair, but in a way to try and hide it from his wife. The song is only ten lines long, but it is ten lines of perfection. It is a mainly Lennon composition, with Paul McCartney claiming that he contributed the two lines “She told me…..”, and the title. But, in an interview just before his death, Lennon claimed it was his song entirely, with no contribution from McCartney.

I suspect McCartney’s version of events is more true; even when a song was nearly entirely a creation of one of them, the other would often suggest ideas or word changes in the studio, as they were recording the song. This went on even right up until the end, when they were barely speaking to each other outside of the studio. So, with this song, I suspect that McCartney did indeed suggest a line or two and a word here and there.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…
She showed me her room, isn’t it good, norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.

I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, “It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, norwegian wood.

Here is a video of this mesmerising song. Enjoy!

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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 15 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Help!”. This John Lennon song is literally that, a cry for help. Lennon wrote it when he was depressed over the winter of 1964/65. It was recorded in April 1965, and was released as a single in July of the same year. It is also the opening track of their album Help!, which was released in August of 1965, a week or so after the movie of the same name was released.

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At number 15 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Help!”

Not surprisingly, Help! got to number 1 in many countries around the World, including the USA and Disunited Kingdom, but also Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Help, I need somebody
Help, not just anybody
Help, you know I need someone, help

When I was younger (So much younger than) so much younger than today
(I never needed) I never needed anybody’s help in any way
(Now) But now these days are gone (These days are gone), I’m not so self assured
(I know I’ve found) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

(Now) And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
(My independence) My independence seems to vanish in the haze
(But) But every now (Every now and then) and then I feel so insecure
(I know that I) I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way
(But) But now these days are gone (These days are gone), I’m not so self assured
(I know I’ve found) Now I find I’ve changed my mind and opened up the doors

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me, get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me, help me, help me, ooh

Here is a live version of Help!, performed on a British TV programme some two weeks before the famous concert at Shea Stadium. Enjoy!

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