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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beatles: Revolver


1) Taxman; 2) Eleanor Rigby; 3) I'm Only Sleeping; 4) Love You To; 5) Here, There And Everywhere; 6) Yellow Sub­marine; 7) She Said She Said; 8) Good Day Sunshine; 9) And Your Bird Can Sing; 10) For No One; 11) Dr. Ro­bert; 12) I Want To Tell You; 13) Got To Get You Into My Life; 14) Tomorrow Never Knows.

In 1966, the Beatles were cool. Of course, in certain ways, they were cool ever since the world learned enough of them to treat them as such, and in still other ways, they remain cool even today. But I am not just talking about the usual «cool» here; I'm talking about «cool cool», that particu­lar kind of it that sows respect even in the hardened hearts of young cynical intellectuals. For the Beatles, 1966 was that very brief period where they were, like, one of the coolest things ever — so much so that, despite their pop orientation, they could be competing with the likes of Ornette Coleman. After Rubber Soul, nobody could properly predict where they would go next, and, al­though in retrospect their creative development seems quite logical and consistent, back in those days each new record was seen as a revelation.

They even looked cool — still wearing the suits, but exchanging the cutesy ties for rougher look­ing sweaters, adopting «continental intellectual» sunglasses, letting their hair down to barely ac­ceptable length, but still quite a long distance away from the Frisco hippie look (and still untain­ted by the Maharishi aura). Still very much in the public eye, too, keeping touring activities on a limited, but ac­tive scale: the band's last concert, in Candlestick Park, San Francisco, would be held twenty four days after the release of Revolver (without featuring even a single one of the new tracks). This was the year of John's «more popular than Jesus» scandal — adding as much to the «coolness» image as could be sucked up by the world's growing share of cultural rebels. The Beatles, though, were no rebels. They were just cool. Nothing else.

Consequently, Revolver may not be the Beatles' «best ever» album (what is?), or their most «re­volutionary» album (one could write a thesis on that issue and still be left standing in the middle of the road), but the way it seems to me, it is their «coolest» album — in mid-'66, all of the condi­tions for that were met, no difficulties encountered. The reason why so many «hip» people prefer it to Sgt. Pepper are crystal clear — Sgt. Pepper is saturated with idealistic ambition, a genuine desire (at least, on McCartney's part) to make a «grand» statement from a «rock guru» standpoint, which can easily piss off some people, especially if they feel that the actual music is not quite up to the task (and that feeling is not that difficult to feel for an album that has ʽWhen I'm 64ʼ on it). On Revolver, however, the idea of a «conceptual» approach had not yet burgeoned — the songs are perfectly free to flow, without having to work for any common noble purpose. And yet, at the same time, Revolver washes away the last traces of «simplistic teen pop» that could still be evi­dent on bits of Rubber Soul (ʽWaitʼ, ʽRun For Your Lifeʼ, etc.).

It is also a «transitional» album, in the best sense of the word that there is: Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison are now fully established as individual creative forces with separate, coherent crea­tive ideologies (George gets a grand total of three songs to celebrate that, his largest share ratio per one vinyl disc on a Beatles album ever), and yet the group spirit is still completely intact — as evidenced not only by the jointly written ʽYellow Submarineʼ, which works primarily as a char­ming buddy an­them, sealed off by having Ringo sing on it, but simply by the fact that every­thing is perfectly coherent, with no visible attempts to pull the blanket in opposite directions, and plenty of emotionally involved and fruitful collaboration, too, on each other's songs.

And, above all else, perhaps, it's a LOUD album! Revolver is often proclaimed as the record on which the Beatles finally embrace the psychedelic vibe without reservations — but, truth be told, there is relatively little «hardcore psychedelia» out there, apart from Klaus Voormann's sleeve painting and ʽTomorrow Never Knowsʼ. On the other hand, there is a lot of loud, thick, bulging electric guitar-driven rock music, usually provided by John (ʽShe Said She Saidʼ, ʽAnd Your Bird Can Singʼ, ʽDoctor Robertʼ), but also by George (ʽTaxmanʼ, ʽI Want To Tell Youʼ), whereas Paul, assisted by the «rock saboteur» George Martin, is channelling the loudness into the realm of art songs (ʽEleanor Rigbyʼ) or brass band stylistics (ʽGot To Get You Into My Lifeʼ) — adding heap big lot of aural diversity without disrupting the overall flow.

And finally — it is the first Beatles album where not even a single song can be said to «owe a heavier-than-it-should-be debt» to anybody else in particular. I have scrutinized every piece in my mind several times, and not a single one qualifies as «okay, here they are being a bit too much somebody else (Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Bob Dylan, Burt Bacharach, the Byrds, etc.) and not quite enough themselves». Like everybody else, I have my favorite tracks here and ones that I could, more or less, live without (ʽDoctor Robertʼ, even after all these years, strikes me as a rather minor novelty number, notable for its drug-related lyrics rather than much of anything else; melo­dically, it seems like a miscalculated attempt on John's part to upstage Paul with ʽPaperback Wri­terʼ), but all of them exclusively represent the vision of the Beatles and no one else.

A possible exception is ʽLove You Toʼ — the band's (more precisely, George's, since the only other band member to be involved here is Ringo on tambourine) first serious attempt to incorpo­rate real Indian motives in its music, rather than just plunk out a simple (but effective) folk melo­dy on the sitar in ʽNorwegian Woodʼ. It is still a point of debate whether he is responsible for all the sitar playing on the track himself or there are uncredited Indian musicians supporting him at least on the soloing parts — most musicologists are inclined to believe the latter, claiming that it would have hardly been possible for George to master the necessary skills in less than one year of training, not to mention that, for some reason, those «magic skills» would somehow never re-ap­pear on subsequent tracks (and by the time they got around to recording ʽThe Inner Lightʼ in 1968, the Indian session musicians were already given proper credit, even as George was ta­king extra lessons from Ravi Shankar himself).

But this should not detract from the fact that ʽLove You Toʼ is not only the first full-fledged mer­ger of Indian and Western motives in pop music, as opposed to tiny flourishes in the past, but also one of the best such mergers — unlike future, expectedly more meditative, ventures, this one ac­tually rocks, and combines the «spirit of the drone» with the memorability of a pop hook in a way that somehow seems completely inoffensive for both cultural approaches. Nine times out of ten, the whole «East meets West» thing in pop, be it Western-produced or Eastern-produced, is either dead boring or hideously laughable. With ʽLove You Toʼ, I used to be a little bored, for sure, but now I am convinced that its basic melody is no worse than the average melody of a George Har­rison song, and that the sitar carries it in a natural and unforced manner. Indian music aficionados will cringe at its lack of «authenticity», of course, but for those who actually look forward to get­ting into Indian music from a completely Western background, ʽLove You Toʼ and the likes of it would be a respectable initial compromise. At least it was good enough for Shankar.

Besides, ʽLove You Toʼ is as true to George's ego as anything else he'd written. On Revolver, ʽTaxmanʼ introduces us to his mundane side — never a proper hermit, George liked his money just as everyone else does — and on ʽI Want To Tell Youʼ, he plays that kid in The Who's ʽI Can't Explainʼ who finally grew up and learned to articulate more properly: now at least he reali­zes that it's no big deal to be confused, because "I could wait forever, I've got time". Funny buddy thing: both of the songs owe a huge part of their effect to Paul — first contributing the exquisite angry guitar solo on ʽTaxmanʼ (raga-style! mind the irony!), then enhancing the somber mood of ʽI Want To Tell Youʼ with the finger-tapping piano bits.

Speaking of Paul, Revolver marks that particular point in the race where he fully catches up with John, the both of them speeding ahead neck-to-neck (another good point to hold up the reputation of the album). Five out of fourteen songs constitute his private domain (as opposed to the average four or even less on preceding albums), and even though all of them are expectedly «wimpy» and sentimental next to John's «grittier» material, at least two out of five transcend generic sentimen­talism by delving deep into human tragedy — ʽEleanor Rigbyʼ is often seen as the ultimate heart-breaking anthem to loneliness, but ʽFor No Oneʼ, written and arranged on a slightly less epic / an­themic scale, is actually its more reclusive, but not any less beautiful cousin. (Quite closely mat­ched in spirit by Paul's solo classic ʽAnother Dayʼ four years later — although ʽAnother Dayʼ was quite «upbeat» in comparison, not as much of a straightahead downer; not to mention lacking the exquisite extra flourish of Alan Civil's French horn solo).

Come to think of it, the emotional depth of these two — Paul's suddenly emerging ability to in­vent two fictitious, but realistic characters and then get so deeply under their skins — pretty much transcends the depth of anything even John had written up to that point. I cannot even exclude the thought that this is the starting point from which we have to unwind the story of the Beatles' breakup (which, in my opinion, has always been the story of John Winston Lennon being pissed off at one James Paul McCartney stealing his, John Winston Lennon's, band from under John Winston Lennon's nose — and not being able to do anything about it, because all the stealing happened through fair competition. But that's putting it too roughly, of course). In any case, Re­volver sees Paul firmly and finally taming his «sappy» instincts and taking them in the only right direction that can turn one's genius sentimentalism into lyrical tragism.

On the other hand, you could argue that sometimes genius sentimentalism can place a truly great song on a top spot without adding huge psychological depth, and that such feats are arguably har­der to achieve. That is what's being done on ʽHere, There And Everywhereʼ, though, a «sappy», «sugary» song if there ever was one, but you would have to be a hardcore balloon-shooting Pu­ri­tan to remain unmoved by it. Suffice it to say that I have always felt that the line about "running my hands through her hair", regardless of the quality of the lyric itself, actually sounds like the vocal equivalent of «running one's hands through her hair»: this is truly one of the most magical double-tracked vocal recordings ever made (and this is also why the song never produced the same effect in concert, whenever Paul would sing it live later on — heck, there actually was a real reason why the Beatles quit live performing, and it goes much deeper than «how the heck are we supposed to play our backward-recorded guitars onstage!»).

So what about John? At this point, he does not yet fully realize that Paul is tugging on the rug, and Revolver is the last Beatles album to feature him in a completely coherent, workmanlike state, rather than thrown off balance by a miriad extra things. We learn that he is quite preoccu­pied with the LSD issue — but, funny enough, on both of the tracks that deal with it directly his is the view of a curious outsider: it's either "She said I know what it's like to be dead" or "My friend works for the national health, Dr. Robert". ʽShe Said She Saidʼ went on to become a clas­sic drug culture anthem, but even though its lead guitar line is a little reminiscent of the San Francis­co / Grateful Dead jamming style, it is still firmly rooted in the Beatles' usual brand of pop rock; and apart from the thinly veiled lyrics, there is nothing particularly psychedelic about ʽDr. Robertʼ, either. Still, both songs were quite daring for their time, what with The Beatles having the disadvantage of falling under far more closer public scrutiny than, say, The 13th Floor Eleva­tors. «More popular than Jesus» + «Take a drink from his special cup, Dr. Robert» = did I hear somebody calling for trouble? On the other hand, ʽShe Said She Saidʼ could only be interpreted as a vow of abstinence ("I know that I'm ready to leave"), so it's not all that bad.

In reality, there are only two genuine bits of psychedelia on the entire record. The one that people rarely talk about is ʽI'm Only Sleepingʼ, which, formally, is just a semi-autobiographical sketch of a lazy guy who sees no reason to get out of bed, and has nothing to do with drugs — on a lyri­cal basis: the general aura of the song is, of course, extremely trippy, and it would still remain trippy even without the backward guitar solo. Then again, dreaming, or even «waiting for a slee­py feeling» can sometimes be quite a psychedelic experience without any drugs — and there was nobody who could transmit that yawny, sleepy, fuzzy-conscience atmosphere like John could. I used to picture him actually installing a bed in the Abbey Road Studios and recording directly from under the sheets, and it looked very realistic in my mind. (A similar, but slightly different ex­perience would be captured on that same imaginary bed two years later with ʽI'm So Tiredʼ). Listen to how all the instruments are made to sound as if the person playing them had not had any sleep for at least 48 hours — even Ringo's drums seem to be «dragging their feet». And, to boot, a great muffled yawn at 2:01, during Paul's quiet bass break before the second bridge.

The one that people always talk about is ʽTibetan Book Of The Dead In C Majorʼ, a.k.a. ʽIf You Have No Idea On How To Name Your Song, Ask Ringoʼ. Now this one, of course, would be im­possible to dismiss as «non-psychedelic»: there is hardly a more flamboyant way of giving your­self away than "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream". Serious adepts like to point out that the tune is a mere trifle compared to «hardcore» London psychedelia of the time, such as Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. Yet even on an objective basis, there is really far more complexity and au­da­city involved in the meticulous construction of ʽTomorrow Never Knowsʼ from its multiple tape loops than in any of Floyd's astral jamming. And on a subjective basis, well... don't you just love that unnerving Ringo beat?

Seriously, what I love most about ʽTomorrow Never Knowsʼ is how well it ties in with the album cover. (That link alone would suffice to earn the overall non-psychedelic Revolver its overall ve­ry-much-psychedelic reputation). The song places you, the listener, in a capsule, sends you «floa­ting downstream», and has all sorts of impressions flash by in ragged, broken, mysterious tape segments. There has to be an active sender, of course, responsible for the capsule-making and the button-pushing — and there he is, four of them, to be precise, on the album cover, with everyone and everything wedged in between the four Mount-Rushmorian faces. Somebody feeling a bit too God-like, perhaps? Well, the Beatles had been humble enough for too long for their own good; by late 1966, they thought they were entitled to a little more than usual. Besides, feeling God-like is an obligatory ingredient of «coolness» — at least, it used to be like that in the mid-Sixties, when idealistic hopes for the breeding of a new, super-progressive kind of conscience were at their peak, and «coolness» was not yet thought of as incompatible with «mass popularity».

Then again, as great as ʽTomorrow Never Knowsʼ is in its album-closing role, there are some days on which I think that ʽYellow Submarineʼ might have worked even more effectively — as a simpler, friendlier, homelier gesture to say goodbye with. One for the kids — in fact, it is ironic that it took the Beatles most «adult» album up-to-date to contain the first song targeted primari­ly at their pre-teen audiences. (Unless you, too, believe that the whole thing is a metaphor for an acid trip, and that John and Paul were taking it out on their simpleton drummer by constantly sup­plying him with drug innuendos: ʽYellow Submarineʼ, ʽWith A Little Help From My Friendsʼ... throw in the line about "what goes on in your mind", and the picture's complete). For some rea­son, it never satisfied me in its silly position as track No. 6 on Side 1 — couldn't they have at least switched it places with ʽShe Said She Saidʼ? It's a side-closer if there ever was one! Or, at least, a side-opener, for which function it had to wait until the movie soundtrack.

As far as I am concerned, though, that little mix-up with the sequencing is just about the only flaw I can see about the whole record. Almost fifty years later, it continues to sound just as fresh and relevant as it was back in its time, without losing a single drop of its «coolness», despite not even having an overall conceptual backbone (or, perhaps, because of that?), and yet, still being somewhat larger than the sum of its individual parts. Just like Rubber Soul, it pushes its nose in a dozen different stylistic, emotional, and thematic directions — only this time, nobody does the pushing but the Beatles themselves. If Rubber Soul is the album on which they successfully at­tempt to turn into the greatest band in the world, then Revolver is the album on which they know of their superpowers as the greatest band in the world, and not afraid to use them. Ambitious­ness? Vanity? Pretense? A double helping for me, please, with some meaning of within on top.

Check "Revolver" (CD) on Amazon


  1. Looking back at the Beatles with fresh ears in 2012, the one thing that keeps striking me, is how George Harrison was a genius nearly on the level of John and Paul. The young Beatle, the undereducated, rebellious lead guitar player, was all the sudden turning into a psychedelic guru of mental proportions, communicating to the world a specific message rather fearlessly. I think this idea that they knew they had the world's ear really speaks to their overall accomplishment in music. They simply somehow overcame the pressure of being the world's spokesmen, and gave the planet something truly magical and unique. I really don't have much to add to your flawless write up, so I'll leave it with that little thought.

  2. Ah, I love this album. "And Your Bird Can Sing" is probably the Beatles' signature song for me - not my favourite, but the one which instantly pops into my head whenever I think of The Beatles. Eleanor Rigby is beautiful and brilliant. And yeah, Yellow Submarine is quite adorable.

  3. This is the blueprint for a perfect album to me. There is great diversity, but also perfect harmony. No one songwriter dominates. It makes them seem more of a group (and is their last great statement as a group, I'd argue); also, George's songs inject something totally new and unique into the Beatles sound. His eastern textures provide perfect counterpoints to the songs around them. The tension in this album is intense- but, unlike subsequent albums, in a positive, creative way.

    As you bring up in your review, is this is the first album that is purely Beatles music. All of their influences have finally been assimilated into one cohesive whole. They take on styles, but in a way only they could- no contemporary R&B artist could have possibly written "Got To Get you Into my Life," and no other rock band could have conceived of "She Said She Said." This album rocks, has just the right amount of humor ("Yellow Submarine," the best example of the Beatles' sense of humor laid to track), and it is utterly timeless. There is not a dated moment anywhere, and that is saying something remarkable for music that dabbles in psychedelia. Thank George Martin for that, whose true gift to the Beatles was reining in self-indulgence for the sake of the music. It also raised the bar for their contemporaries to nearly impossible heights- but that just made sure new music by the Beach Boys, the Stones and the Kinks would be that much better.

  4. I'm curious whether this album would benefit from adding Paperback Writer/Rain. I enjoy all the singles and outtakes on Byrds, Kinks, Beach Boys albums, but I think they haven't been added to any of the Beatles albums yet (so we have to get Past Masters). One might argue that the Beatles tended to have conceived of their albums as vaguely conceptual, so just adding singles would interrupt the flow.

    I'm not so sure though, I think the Beatles' albums would be lots better if, say, PPW&Rain were added to Revolver (would be two of the best tracks on it), We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper would make Rubber Soul a lot more interesting as well.

    1. I think for far too long there's been a "sanctity" to the Beatles' catalog and getting anything beyond official releases is difficult. In this age of the mp3 download, I think they (Paul, Ringo, George M., Queen Elizabeth, Michael Jackson's estate or whoever happens to own the rights to the "canon" at the particular moment) are going to have to start releasing more of this kind of thing.

      As for the single/album dichotome, it's just as you said: We have to buy Past Masters or the Number 1 album to get the singles. Again, "they" are smart to force people to plunk down an extra $10-15 for one or more discs of singles.

      It is interesting to see where they would fit into the context of the contemporary albums, though. I have always felt that "Hey Jude" would fit in perfectly in the next-to-last spot that the godawful Revolution 9 occupies on the Great White Wonder. Even the running times are similar.

    2. Actually the reason the Beatles albums don't contain any singles, is because they didn't want to rip of their fans by having them pay twice for the same songs.
      It was the habit back then for albums to contain an artist's most recent singles, with some "filler" material added. The Beatles thought this was arip-off, and didn't want anything to do with it. Quite nobel, in its own way.

    3. It's actually even more mundane, and its roots lie in the difference between US and UK's record business models. In the US the albums were a well-selling format and including the singles was the bait to make people buy them, whereas singles were mostly useful as promotional items, since hit lists were compiled from radio airplay. In the UK albums were much more niche and it was presumed that somebody who shelled out the cash for an LP was such a fan as to have bought all the singles already, plus hit lists were compiled from sales figures and so labels needed to make singles desirable. Notice that in the cases in which the albums included singles, for example "Please Please me", "A Hard Day's Night", "Help" or "Revolver", the album was released AFTER the single had already had its sales run.

      The same reason - market differences - is what explains why British albums had more songs. In the US royalties were paid per song, while in the UK royalties were paid per fraction of an album, so in the US more songs equalled more royalties paid by the label to the songwriters, but in the UK it was not so.

      So, as much as we want to believe that US record labels were stereotipically greedy and UK record labels were stereotipically gentlemanly, reality is otherwise.

      Not to mention that the Beatles, at least until Epstein died and started doing their own business, had zero input in record company affairs, record release dates and number of singles per year were purely the label executives' turf, and even sequencing was more the job of George Martin than theirs.

  5. What's your opinion on the song, Dr. Robert? You never mention your opinion of it in your reviews sir! Personally, I think it's one of the funkier cuts on the album and the "Well, well well your feeling fine" refrain is typical Beatles genuius. Good stuff.

    1. I believe he's being sarcastic. George goes out of his way to mention how unimpressed he is with 'Doctor Robert' at every available opportunity, and perhaps one unavailable one. (He still rocks, though. Rocks hard.)

  6. I totally get what you're saying about "Here, There." Of course, being a hopeless romantic, I don't see it as sappy and sugary, but life-affirming and poetic. Okay, maybe that's a bit much. The fact is, to my ears, HT&E fulfills all the promises that were made going back to All My Loving and even I'll Follow the Sun. It is THE exemplary Paul love song. Whether it it's those sweet harmonies, the minor shift midway through the verse (changing my life with a wave of her hand...) or that modulation on the bridge, it's just a beautiful piece of wide-eyed innocence in grown-up clothes. Oh, and the way the last verse goes right into the coda: "You will be there...and everywhere." Awesome.

  7. It is easy to see why people have put this album over Sgt Pepper's in the last few years (not over Abbey Road probably) - as you clearly said it Paul has stepped up and is on level on John - but him, is still the engaged artist from the beginning. The sound is unique as usual, and thus too many tried to imitate it: some great loud pop with psychedelic touches, no concept fuss, and still - Beatles sound, no trade off. Gotta be the perfect thing, they would get higher, but perhaps, never tighter. Absolute favorite: I'm Only Sleeping.

  8. The beginning of Paul's takeover, although—you're right—no one could see it at the time. Or could they? The American LP, which I grew up on, omitted "I'm Only Sleeping," "Bird," and "Dr. Robert" (all of which made their debut on the excellent "Yesterday and Today"). To American ears, how was this not Paul's album?

    Not that I'm anti-John, but let's give it up for Paul's amazing harmony part on "Bird": "You tell me that you've heard every sound..." It sends the song, um, rocketing skyward. And Paul supplies guitar solos on "Taxman," the best Beatles solo so far, in my humble opinion.

  9. I'm not stupid enough to debate the genius of the Beatles, but even genius sometimes produces manure.
    Yellow Submarine is one example out of three for the Beatles. It has trivial melodies and the arrangement lacks any imagination. The sound effects in between are silly.
    The emperor doesn't wear clothes in this song.

    1. I beg to differ. Triviality, Silliness, and naked emperors are kind of the point of the song. Besides, don't you know that the Sea of Green is just down Penny Lane past Strawberry Field?

      I kind of like the bogus shouting in the middle anyway...I can totally see John standing outside the studio screaming at Paul, "Yesterday, mate? Here There and Friggin Everywhere? I got ballads in me, too, right? Let me take you down....."

  10. I consider this the Beatles "Grown-Ass Men" album. Where they don't care about what anyone else is doing and do their own thing, even within the band. Earlier albums had them doing stuff in comparison to others, or as brilliant homages to their past. This album has them owning up to their own uniqueness and running to hills with it.

  11. Oh George, I think you should read one or two books about The Beatles songs. Your theory that Revolver was the FIRST album in which Paul had as many songs as John is false. In fact,Paul began to contribute as many songs as John in Beatles for Sale . Like John, Paul contributed 5 songs to Help (Tell me what you see is Paul’s song, according to Paul and John). Like John, Paul put 3 on With The Beatles ( I Wanna Be your Man was a collaboration but with Paul as the main writer, just as It won’t be long was a team work with John as the main contributor).
    Paul not only contributed 5 to Rubber Soul (Drive My Car, You won’t see me, I’m looking through you, Michelle, and Wait- yeah, Wait is a Macca dominated composition, check the book Many Years From Now by Barry Miles) , he also wrote the middle eight of Norwegian Wood and In My Life (in fact, McCartney claimed he wrote the complete melody of that song, including even the guitar riff and the introduction) and co wrote The word and the longer sections (that Lennon described erroneously as“ the middle eight”) of What Goes on .
    In Beatles for Sale maybe John had more action as a vocalist, but Paul contributed more songs. According to the songwriters, Eight days a week, Every little thing, I’ll Follow the sun and What youre doing are mainly Paul compositions. No reply, I’m loser and I Don’t want to spoil a party are mainly Lennon`s. And Baby`s and black is a true 50-50 collaboration. So Macca has 4 and Lennon has 3.
    In fact, Paul (6) has more songs than John (5) on Revolver. Yellow submarine was mostly a McCartney song, not an equal collaboration between Paul and john like you said.
    John said about Yellow Submarine to Playboy in 1980: “Paul’s baby. Donovan helped with the lyrics. I helped with the lyrics too…Paul’s idea, Paul’s title – so I count it as a Paul song…written for Ringo.”
    Paul also said its essentially his song: “ I was laying in bed in the Ashers' garret, and there's a nice twilight zone just as you're drifting into sleep and as you wake from it; I always find it quite a comfortable zone, you're almost asleep, you've laid your burdens down for the day and there's this little limbo-land just before you slip into sleep. I remember thinking that a children's song would be quite a good idea and I thought of images, and the colour yellow came to me, and a submarine came to me, and I thought, Well, that's kind of nice, like a toy, very childish yellow submarine. I was thinking of it as a song for Ringo, which it eventually turned out to be, so I wrote it as not too rangey in the vocal. I just made up a little tune in my head, then started making a story, sort of an ancient mariner, telling the young kids where he'd lived and how there'd been a place where he had a yellow submarine. It's pretty much my song as I recall, written for Ringo in that little twilight moment. I think John helped out; the lyrics get more and more obscure as it goes on but the chorus, melody and verses are mine.
    So in conclusion, Macca was equal, at least in quantity of compositions, to Lennon before Revolver, starting as early as Beatles for Sale.
    Ps1: Tomorrow never knows is a Lennon song, but who contributed the most revolutionary musical aspects of that song: the tape loops, the drum pattern (according to Geoff Emerick was Macca`s idea), the cool bass, the backward guitar solo? The answer is Paul. Well, the tambura was George’s.
    Ps 2: Norman Smith, the recording engineer from Please Please Me through Rubber Soul said that Paul was the musical director in the studio from the beginning , so it’s funny how you make him look only like sidekick to John.
    Ps: I recommended you this website which has lot good info about The Beatles songs.Dont take this bad, I love your blog. Forgive my poor english.

  12. Sebastián Mora I like your post, history writes far too much about Lennon. He WAS the lead vocalist on the early albums, more or less, but Paul was indeed an equal partner. I love the story about John listening to Paul's first couple of solo albums and he admitting to bursting into tears at the beauty of Paul's best tracks on them.

  13. "And finally — it is the first Beatles album where not even a single song can be said to «owe a heavier-than-it-should-be debt» to anybody else in particular."

    I don't know about that, George. 'Good Day Sunshine' owes a great deal to the Lovin' Spoonful's 'Daydream'. Sir Paul admitted he was writing 'Sunshine' with 'Daydream' in mind, as did Ray Davies with his own 'Sunny Afternoon'.

  14. Plus, Paul has said more than once that he was trying to do the Beach Boys on "Here, There and Everywhere". It'd be interesting to hear them cover it.

  15. You are spot on with the observation that JWL fury at JPM's artistic advance from Rubber Soul onwards undermined the Beatles as a unified force.What has always puzzled me is , how during the transition from Johnny & the Moondogs to Parlophone Beatles , during which time Paul wrote the majority of the immature songs , was clearly the superior musician & tutored John in song-craft , suddenly vanished. John produced an avalanche of pop classics , Paul only a small landslide , a fact which appeared to bear no relationship to their Fifties development.

  16. "...Paul wrote the majority of the immature songs...,"John produced and avalanche of pop classics, Paul only a small landslide...", WHAT????!!!

    Are you being facetious?......Or am I misunderstanding your point?

    After re-reading your post, I believe I must have misunderstood your point, as you were obviously noting the irony of those Lennon lovers who feel in order to "help out" and elevate The Great John Lennon, they must somehow
    diminish the greatness of Paul McCartney, and in doing so, they do a great disservice to both men.

    1. Anonymous, why would you omit "during the transition from Johnny & the Moondogs to Parlophone Beatles , during which time..." from your quote, since that provides all the context?

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