Monday, May 23, 2011

The Final Straw

Three more entries today in this month's group writing project Please Please Me in which I invited you to write posts inspired by Beatles song titles or Beatles song lyrics...

Chris P of Rowing for Pleasure writes of a rowing race around Hayling Island in choppy conditions in which the only song to sing was We Can Bail It Out.

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on bailing till I can't go on?
While you see it your way,
You won't stop rowing though our boat may soon be down.
We can bail it out,
We can bail it out.

Why don't you just stop rowing.
You can just carry on and still you think that it's all right.
But the water's inflowing,
We must bail like hell and get it dry, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Carol Anne of Five O'clock Somewhere has been on a three week road trip around California and other assorted bits of America near the left coast. Apparently there were lots of barbecues and lots of detours. She writes of both. The song for the trip just had to be The Long and Winding Road.

Baydog has been writing about food again too. And drink. He has prepared a delicious plate of Jersey seafood for us. Well I guess it's not actually for us. It's for him. Or his family. I swear that you can actually smell it when you click on and zoom in to the picture.

And he made us martinis. Well, once again, I guess it's not really for us. The picture of the martini looks enticing too. There is a glass. And an onion. I guess that's why he called his post Glass Onion.

Glass Onion. We Can Work It Out. The Long and Winding Road.

An interesting trio of Beatles songs which in their own way tell the whole story of the group and the Lennon-McCarney song writing partnership and their eventual break-up.

Most people probably know that the vast majority of the songs credited to Lennon and McCartney were not actually written by Lennon and McCartney. They were written by either Paul or John working alone. Only a small number of the songs were actually written by John and Paul together.

We Can Work It Out was recorded in 1965 and was an example of a Lennon and McCartney collaboration. It is widely interpreted as a song that references the inner struggles of the Beatles as a band and especially the tension between John and Paul. On the other hand, Paul has said that the lyrics "might have been personal" and thus a reference to his relationship with Jane Asher. Who knows? What does it matter? Most songs have more than one meaning anyway.

Glass Onion on the other hand was very much a John Lennon solo song-writing effort. It was on the 1968 White Album and its mysterious lyrics have been analyzed for over 40 years by Beatles aficionados searching for deep meaning in the song. Probably it's just nonsense. What's wrong with nonsense anyway?

And then The Long and Winding Road, which was on the Let it Be album, was written by Paul alone. It actually played a central role in the break-up of the group. The song was recorded in January 1969, and then in the spring of 1970 Lennon and the Beatles' manager, Allen Klein, turned it over (along with all the other Let it Be recordings) to Phil Spector, who remixed it using 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, three trumpets, three trombones, two guitars, and a choir of 14 women! When Paul heard the result he was outraged at what Spector had done to "his" song and shortly afterwards announced the breakup of the Beatles. In the subsequent court case, Paul cited the overdubbing of this song without consulting him as one of the six reasons for dissolving the Beatles' partnership.

Hey, they grew up. It had to happen one day. I guess what Phil Spector did to Paul's sad little song was just the final straw?


Baydog said...

Allegedly, what Phil Spector did to the song pales in comparison to what he reportedly did in the following years.

Tillerman said...

Yup. He's now in a California prison serving 19 years to life for murder.

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