Music Throwback Saturday: Beatles for Sale songs

The two-timed character in the Beatles’ song was more tame than the earlier character.

BeatlesforsaleTo American album collectors of the 1960s, Beatles for Sale was an odd duck. Unlike other albums, it neither shares the name of an American collection or primarily matches up with any US release. It became the basis of both Beatles ’65 and Beatles VI, as usual by adding a non-album single, such as I Feel Fine/She’s A Woman.

And note the weariness on their faces, a function, it is believed, of constantly touring, making records or appearing in films.

This continues my reflection of Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Sometimes, the Beatles were as much influenced as influencers. Links to all songs.
I Feel Fine:

It was obviously inspired by Bobby Parker’s riff on his 1961 track ‘Watch Your Step‘.

I’m A Loser:

[Early in 1964] After hearing Freewheeling, which was Dylan’s second album, they went out and bought his debut album Bob Dylan, and according to John…we all when potty on Dylan.

Here’s Bob Dylan’s Dream from Freewheelin’.
Dylan also inspired the thoughtful lyric on You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, from Help!

No Reply:

It was based, John said, on ‘Silhouettes‘, a big hit in 1957 for the Rays…His repetition of the line “I saw the light’…could possibly be an illusion to Hank Williams’ song of personal salvation ‘I Saw the Light‘ (1948).

Interesting that the two-timed character in the Beatles’ song was tamer than the earlier character in Silhouettes, who threatens to smash her door down.

I received for Christmas, Reading the Beatles: Cultural Studies, Literary Criticism and the Fab Four, edited by Kenneth Womack and Todd F. Davis. The first article, by Ian Marshall, talks about the Beatles archetypes Ringo the goofball, George the quiet spiritual one, John the intellectual activist, and Paul the cute, melodious one. Marshall posits that those distinct personality types” account for some of the enduring appeal of Beatlesmusic.”


Paul McCartney weaves in new bits amidst familiar tunes at Fenway Park July 17

Pure McCartney: Early Days – which should segue into other videos

George Harrison estate slams Trump: Don’t use ‘Here Comes The Sun’— try ‘Beware of Darkness’

The First Trailer for Ron Howard’s Beatles Doc Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years

15 Rare, Behind-the-Scenes Photos of the Beatles

Guitarist Randy Bachman: Demystifying the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night”

How I (fictionally) met someone: “I was attending a meeting of the I Hate The Beatles Club, and you walked in and dragged me out by the collar without saying a word. Seemed odd at the time…”

Drinks at the Gadang Sports Bar

Google Eight Days A Week


John Lennon would have been 75

Both the first verse of the song The Word and the first verse of John, chapter 1, begin with the words, “in the beginning…”

John-LennonMy friend Dan sent me this article How did the Beatles Get Their Name? Any Beatles fan worth his or her salt has heard the Flaming Pie story:
Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision–a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them “From this day on you are Beatles with an A.” “Thank you, Mister Man,” they said, thanking him.

Flaming Pie, not coincidentally, is the name of a 1997 Paul McCartney album.

In the book The Gospel according to the Beatles by Steven Turner, it’s clear that John, far more than any of his cohorts, grew up with religious training. He was living with his Aunt Mimi (Stanley) Smith, who grew up Anglican, though neither she nor her sisters attended church as adults.

Still, Mimi and her sisters made sure their children were sent to Sunday school. John was a chorister and member of a Bible class. “For a time, he was attending events at the church four days a week.”

It was that respectable, impersonal, “bourgeois” version of Christianity that John eventually rejected. Still, the lessons he heard seeped into his thinking. The structure of the flaming pie story, Turner opines, is based on Acts 10:11, and/or Genesis 17. John himself called the flaming pie story “imitation Biblical stuff.”

“Mimi’s religion could be summarized by a stanza she framed on her wall:
However black the clouds may be
In time they’ll pass away
Have faith and trust and you will see
God’s light make bright your day

Compare these to the lyrics from Tell Me What You See, from the UK version of the Help! album.
The first time I heard The Word, from Rubber Soul, it reminded me of the beginning verses of the Gospel according to John. Both the first verse of the song and the first verse of chapter 1 begin with the words, “in the beginning…” John acknowledged to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine that The Word was the first song he’d written to impart knowledge. (“This could be a Salvation Army song,” said Paul at the time.)

Girl, also from Rubber Soul, is a response to a book John read called Masochism in the Modern Man by Theodor Reil, who suggested that the command to love one’s enemies and pray for those who persecute us is masochistic. “In John’s hands, those ideas led him to question whether the ‘girl’ had been raised to believe ‘that pain would lead to pleasure…’ Did the girl believe those who told her “that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure’?”

Turner said that The Beatles “were skeptical, even dismissive of the church, but yet many of the core beliefs… were secularized versions of Christian beliefs.” All You Need Is Love would be a prime example.

There’s a lot more in the book, both involving the Beatles’ philosophy as a group and individually, but this is enough for now.

John Lennon would have been 75 today. And his son Sean turns 40!

Tell Me What You See: Lyrics, and Song
The Word: Lyrics, and Song
Girl: Lyrics, and Song
All You Need Is Love: Lyrics, and Song

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