I am overwhelmed by all of the great feedback I am receiving in regard to these Beatle posts. Thank you all for your comments and support!
Moving right along we left off with Beatles VI which brings us to August 6, 1965. The LP Help! is released curiously 19 days before the movie release in the US on August 25, 1965.
According to The Beatles, they were experimenting in marijuana at the time this movie was filmed. That explains why they flub a lot of their lines or their lines don’t make much sense!
Obviously the songwriting was getting a bit more sophisticated. This was evident in the choice of instrumentation that went into some of the songs. The American release was a true soundtrack album, mixing the first seven songs with orchestral material from the film. The holding-over of the other songs, several of which were released on the US version of the next Beatles album, Rubber Soul, created an impression of the group’s direction that differed strongly in the US from the UK.
Yesterday was arranged for guitar and string quartet and recorded without the other group members.
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away showed Lennon’s penchant for Bob Dylan
I was not a big fan of the movie. I loved the music but, I guess you could almost say that it was a sophmore slump! It would be hard for anyone to beat A Hard Day’s Night!
Here are a few fun continuity issues. I remember and early James Bind movie where his tie is up in the beginning of the scene and to the side towards the end! You may want to go out and grab a copy of the DVD and check these out:
During the performance of “Help!” in the beginning of the movie, Ringo is wearing the sacrificial ring in the close-ups but not in the other shots. Also, in the close-ups, Ringo and his drums are on a much shorter riser than in the other shots Help!
In the scene where Prof. Foot and Algernon are trying to get the ring off Ringo in their lab and Ahme comes in to rescue them, the door she enters is red. Then after she comes in, it is gray.
When the boys are at the piano in the Alps at the end of the “Ticket to Ride” sequence, you can see a mysterious hand appear on Ringo’s right shoulder which obviously was a crew member giving the signal for the guys to leave. As the boys turn to leave and ride away, the hand can be seen resting on the top corner of the piano.
And now for my favorite song on the LP You’re Gonna Lose That Girl
In later years, Lennon said that the title track of the album was a sincere cry for help, as the pressures of The Beatles’ fame and his own unhappiness (what he later called his “fat Elvis” period) began to build, and that he regretted turning it from a downbeat song in the style of Roy Orbison’s “Only the Lonely” to an upbeat pop song as a result of commercial pressures.
The Beatles said the film was inspired by the Marx Brothers classic Duck Soup and it was also directly satirical of the James Bond series of films.The Beatles did not particularly enjoy the filming of the movie, nor were they pleased with the end product. In 1970, John Lennon said they felt like extras in their own movie.
Rubber Soul, released Dec 3, 1965 was recorded in just over four weeks to make the Christmas market. Unlike the five albums that preceded it, Rubber Soul was the first Beatle album recorded during a specific period without being interrupted by tour dates.
So there they were on the cover, a bit longer hair. The back cover, little information a bit mysterious! The fact that they had decided to concentrate on recording was evident with their choice of instruments and the way they used the instruments In My Life has a piano solo that sounds like a harpsichord but is actually a piano! The addition of percussion was heard on tunes like Wait. I think one of the most interesting instruments used on the LP was a pack of matches and Ringo’s fingers tapping in the background on I’m Looking Through You
You can make a case for See My Friends by the Kinks which was recorded after they visited India as the first Pop song to include Indian influences with the droning guitars but Norwegian Wood is the first Pop recording to utilize a sitar.
Remember Raga Rock! And speaking of the Kinks, a couple of friends of mine have decided to set up a Facebook page Ray Davies Deserves Knighthood that is worth checking out!
In 2003, the album was ranked number 5 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Incidentely, the real catalyst for pet sounds was the US release of Rubber Soul. Brian Wilson was quoted “I really wasn’t quite ready for the unity. It felt like it all belonged together. Rubber Soul was a collection of songs … that somehow went together like no album ever made before, and I was very impressed. I said, “That’s it. I really am challenged to do a great album.”
Yesterday and Today released June 20, 1966. My sister had the original cover! It was actually a compilation of tracks from UK LP’s Help!, Rubber Soul, and the soon to be released Revolver. It is said that the slipshod nature in which Capitol records compiled their albums irritated the group, who felt they had “put a lot of work into the sequencing” of the British versions.
Apart from the butcher cover, the album is of interest to collectors for the appearance of unique mixes of Revolver-era tracks unavailable elsewhere. Because of Capitol Records’ haste to release new product, “fake stereo” (i.e. duophonic) mixes of “Dr. Robert,” “And Your Bird Can Sing,” and “I’m Only Sleeping” were made from the original USA mono mixes made on May 1966 and were treated with a degree of compression and reverb not found elsewhere. On the stereo mix of “Day Tripper”, the guitar intro is heard on the left channel and jumps into the right channel (and has John’s extra “yeah” on the first chorus). On the stereo LP, “We Can Work It Out”‘s harmonium is moved to the center during the refrain and the bridge.
In early 1966, photographer Robert Whitaker had The Beatles in the studio for a conceptual art piece entitled “A Somnambulant Adventure.” For the shoot, Whitaker took a series of pictures of the group dressed in butcher smocks and draped with pieces of meat and body parts from plastic baby dolls. The group played along as they were tired of the usual photo shoots and the concept was compatible with their own “black humour”. Although not originally intended as an album cover, The Beatles submitted photographs from the session for their promotional materials. According to a 2002 interview published in Mojo magazine, former Capitol president Alan W. Livingston stated that it was Paul McCartney who pushed strongly for the photo’s inclusion as the album cover, and that McCartney reportedly described it as “our comment on the war”.
Capitol Records printed up 750,000 copies with the cover. Mono copies outnumbered stereo copies by about 10 to 1, making the stereo copies far more valuable today
Capitol initially ordered plant managers to destroy the covers, and the Jacksonville plant delivered most of its copies to an area landfill. However, faced with so many jackets already printed, Capitol quickly changed course and decided instead to paste this more conventional cover over the old one. The new cover, featuring a flipped picture (John’s fringe was brushed in the opposite direction to that in which he usually wore it) of a less than content band posed around an open steamer trunk, had to be trimmed on the open end of the album jacket by about 1/8 inch to address problems where the new sheet, known as a “slick”, was not placed exactly “square” on top of the original cover. Tens of thousands of these so-called “Trunk” covers were sent out. As word of this manoeuvre made the rounds, people attempted, usually unsuccessfully, to peel off the pasted-over cover of their copy of the album, hoping to reveal the original image hidden below. Eventually, the soaring prices of Butcher covers spurred the development of intricate and complex techniques for peeling the Trunk cover off in such a way that only faint horizontal glue lines remained on the butcher cover beneath.
Let’s get to the music! Probably my favorite song on the LP is a George Harrison tune If I Needed Someone A version by the Hollies appeared simultaneously, both being released in the UK on 3 December 1965. The Hollies version appeared on a single. Most of the Hollies previous singles had been big top ten hits. When their version of “If I Needed Someone” only reached the lower half of the top 20 in the UK, they were quite critical and said had they had made a mistake recording it. Personally, I really like this version! The Hollies If I Needed Someone
When McCartney arrived at Lennon’s Weybridge home for a writing session, he had the tune in his head, but “The lyrics were disastrous, and I knew it.” The chorus began, “You can buy me diamond rings”, a cliche they’d used twice before in “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Feel Fine”. Lennon dismissed the lyrics as “crap” and “too soft”. They decided to rewrite the lyrics and after some difficulty—McCartney said it was “one of the stickiest” writing sessions—they settled on the “drive my car” theme (which Bob Spitz credits to Lennon) and the rest of the lyrics flowed easily from that Drive My Car
It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and is the Beatles’ first recording session to extend past midnight. McCartney, working closely with George Harrison, laid down the basic rhythm track, doubling similar riffing lines on bass and low guitar, as per Harrison’s suggestion. Harrison had been listening to Otis Redding’s “Respect” at the time and, as a result of its influence, “Drive My Car” has more bottom than any previous Beatles recording, mimicking the bass-heavy sound generated in Redding’s Memphis studio. McCartney played the lead guitar solo, although Harrison composed the guitar riff which underpins the verses. Harrison doubled this figure an octave lower on the bass. I also like the great piano work of Sir Paul
Nowhere Man is among the very first Beatles songs to be entirely unrelated to romance or love, and marks a notable instance of Lennon’s philosophically-oriented songwriting. A sad song indeed! Lennon said he wrote it about himself. He told Playboy: “I’d spent five hours that morning trying to write a song that was meaningful and good, and I finally gave up and lay down. Then ‘Nowhere Man’ came, words and music, the whole damn thing as I lay down” McCartney said of the song: “That was John after a night out, with dawn coming up. I think at that point, he was a bit…wondering where he was going and to be truthful so was I. I was starting to worry about him”
Revolver was released August 5, 1966. The album is often regarded as one of the greatest achievements in rock music history, and one of the Beatles’ greatest studio achievements. It was released before their last tour in August 1966, but they did not perform songs from the album live. Their reasoning for this was that many of the tracks on the album, such asTomorrow Never Knows, were too complex to perform with live instruments. They toured with Paperback Writer as their only new song from 1966, which was not on the album.
The album cover design was created by Klaus Voormann. When showing his efforts to the band and their manager, Brian Epstein, the band loved it! Voormann’s payment for the album cover was £40. For this work, Klaus won the Grammy Award for Best Album Cover, Graphic Arts. In 1966, at the same time he was designing the cover of Revolver, Voormann became a member of the 1960s band Manfred Mann. Voormann played bass for the band from 1966 to 1969, appearing on all their UK hits from “Just Like a Woman” (July 1966) through to their final single “Ragamuffin Man” (April 1969). As well, he played bass and flute on Manfred Mann’s 1968 international hit Quinn the Eskimo. After The Beatles disbanded, there were rumours of The Beatles reforming as The Ladders, with Voormann on bass as a replacement for Paul McCartney. This line-up (Voormann, Lennon, Harrison and Starr) did perform in various combinations on Lennon’s albums John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970) (Voormann, Lennon, and Starr) and Imagine (1971) (Voormann, Lennon & Harrison) as well as on Ringo Starr’s eponymous album Ringo, in 1973, and Yoko Ono’s Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band (1970) (Voormann, Lennon, Starr, and Ono). Starr’s album features the Lennon-penned hit single “I’m The Greatest” which is the only song in which all four musicians appear together, joined by Billy Preston.
Eleanor Rigby, one of Paul McCartney’s songs on the album, was released as a single (in a double A-side with “Yellow Submarine”) concurrently with the album. The song contains McCartney’s lyrical imagery and a string arrangement (scored by George Martin under McCartney’s direction). Martin once said his composition was inspired by the Bernard Herrmann score for François Truffaut’s film Fahrenheit 451(one of my top 10 all-time favorite movies) however, this is unlikely because the film had not yet been released. The writers of the book Recording The Beatles theorized that Martin was probably referring to the score from Psycho, which was also scored by Herrmann.
Here There and Everywhere is one of Sir Paul’s personal favourites! George Martin has also mentioned it as one of his favourite McCartney songs. John Lennon reportedly told McCartney it was “the best tune on the album” and said in his 1980 Playboy interview it was “one of my favourite songs of the Beatles.” It was ranked the 4th greatest song of all time by Mojo in 2000.
She Said She Said Lennon describes it as “an ‘acidy’ song” with lyrics inspired by actor Peter Fonda’scomments during an LSD trip in 1965 with members of The Beatles. In late August 1965 Brian Epstein had rented a house at 2850 Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills, California for The Beatles’ six-day respite from their U.S. tour. The huge Spanish-style house was tucked into the side of a mountain. Soon their address became widely known and the area was besieged by fans who blocked roads and tried to scale the steep canyon while others rented helicopters to spy from overhead. The police department detailed a tactical squad of officers to protect the band and the house. The Beatles found it impossible to leave and instead invited guests including actors Eleanor Bron (who co-starred with them in Help!), Peggy Lipton and folksinger Joan Baez. On August 24 the Beatles hosted the Byrds and Fonda and, except Paul McCartney, took LSD. This was the final track recorded during the Revolver sessions, and was hastily added when the album lineup was found to be a song short. It took nine hours to rehearse and record the entire song, complete with overdubs. After the recording of the song The Beatles’ producer George Martin is reported to have said: “All right, boys, I’m just going for a lie-down.”