While the song certainly isn’t directly Beatle-related, I felt I should include a song from John’s post-Beatle work, as I did with Paul McCartney. The song is beautiful, and I think it is a shame that the Beatles didn’t write any Christmas music together.
W is for The White Album, or more formally, The Beatles. Released in November 1968 after a contentious year for the Beatles, and the world, in many ways the double album defies description. Personally, I love it, warts and all. With the help of modern technology I can selectively skip a few of the subpar songs. That said there are so many hidden gems on the album even fans tend to forget some of their favorites.
On a personal note, I’ll always associate The White Album with the semester I spent in Spain January to May 2002. Despite being a huge Beatles fan and hearing about The White Albumfor years, I never really listened to the entire thing until that point in my life. My schedule included class Monday through Thursday, leaving three-day weekends to explore Spain. I’ll leave it at this: The White Album accompanied me, along with books and a journal, through several hundred miles of Spanish countryside, whether by train or bus. It will always put a huge smile on my face.
Unfortunately, as a Beatles fan, it is easy to tell it’s the beginning of the end for the band. It is very possible to indentify “Paul songs” and “John songs” on the album. The Beatles were growing a part and the fissures in their relationships are apparent on the album. The album is a mess and all over the place. That is part of what makes it so much fun. Enjoy!
V is for vintage everyday. vintage everyday is one of my favorite blogs. It highlights interesting vintage/historic pictures from various periods throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The Beatles feature prominently, as you can see. Enjoy!
U is for Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey. I understand that I must justify the Beatles connection. First, I have to admit that I’ve loved this song for a very long time for a couple of different reasons, both of which directly relate to the Beatles catalog and are a part of the reason why I love their music so much.
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” is really two songs or more, in one, connected by a bridge. The Beatles used this to great effect in both on both “A Day In The Life” and “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.” Paul McCartney discusses this technique in his recent interview with Fresh Air’s Terry Gross. I discussed the interview here. I’m fascinated by this technique. I’m not sure whether it was Paul McCartney or John Lennon who first decided to try and combine songs, I’m just happy it worked. The Beatles used a slightly different version of this technique on Abbey Road. The entire second half of the album is a medley of snippets of songs. It all blends together well.
“Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” also makes extensive use of sound effects, such as a thunderstorm and an answering machine. The Beatles did this well – and to great effect – on Sgt. Pepper, the song “Piggies,” among others. This seemingly small point really does help the lyrics tell a true story. It is the fact that most of the Beatles’ music tells a story that fascinates me as a writer.
T is for Taxman. It is one of my favorite Beatles songs for the guitar work alone. It is one protest song I can get behind whole heartedly. Originally released on Revolver(1966), “Taxman” is one of three songs written by George Harrison on the album. While I knew George sang lead on “Taxman,” I did not know Paul McCartney played guitar on the song. That guitar riff is one of the reasons why I love “Taxman” so much. Madness.
Paul McCartney and George Harrison Deutsch: Paul McCartney und George Harrison (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
S is for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/Strawberry Fields Forever. Well, where do I even begin? Sgt. Pepper is theBeatles album, the album period. Today it is recognized as one of the most influential popular music albums ever made. While I am not normally a fan of psychedelic rock, Sgt. Pepperis something else altogether. It is widely considered one of the first examples of the concept album. I do not know how a true music fan can listen to just parts of the album. You have to listen to the entire thing. Included below is the album in its entirety.
Released 1 June 1967 on Parlophone, it quickly influenced everything – and I mean everything – that came after it on both sides of the Atlantic. To date it has sold 32 million copies worldwide. Within days of the album’s release, Jimi Hendrix learned the title track and performed it live in front of an audience that included Paul McCartney, who was both flattered and impressed.
There is so more I could say about Sgt. Pepper. It is already a huge part of my memories, both childhood and otherwise. I don’t know where the inspiration comes from to write a song like “A Day In The Life.” I’m just glad that it exists in this world.