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Beatles FAQ - Advanced

Post: 8016 of 8054
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From: planders@shadow.scs.unr.edu (Preston Landers)
Subject: Here is the FAQ 2/2
Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1993 19:03:28 GMT
Nntp-Posting-Host: shadow.scs.unr.edu
Organization: University of Nevada, Reno
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NEMS II---Frequently Asked Questions for Graduates!
Last Update: 1 July 1993
----
This is a modest compendium of "advanced" questions that have 
appeared in rec.music.beatles; some occur and are debated 
regularly. More will be added in future editions, as the need 
warrants. This is not a substitute or honest, thorough scholarship 
on your part! Don't expect to become a Beatles Wizard right off the 
bat! :-)

Corrections and emendations are, of course, welcome.
------

1) What Beatles songs have drug references?

While it is undeniable that the Beatles took varieties of drugs 
during their career, starting with "prellys" (uppers) in Hamburg, 
marijuanaduring "Help", LSD and other hallucinogenics after 1965, 
there is not a shred of evidence that any of their songs *promote* 
drug-taking or drug use. Nevertheless, many first-generation 
Beatles fans recall being inspired by what they found in the music 
and lifestyle of the Fabs to try drugs themselves, almost as if the 
Beatles were giving them permission to do so. The question is 
whether actual advocacy was an element of the Beatles' musical 
message. As with most of their creative expression, the Boys' use 
of drugs seems to have become an undeniable thread in the fabric
of their songs. In print and interviews, the Beatles were always 
careful to say that drug usage was their personal decision, and 
that they weren't suggesting the public at large imitate them (see 
Paul's LSD confession of 1967.)

As a result, many songs were inspired by drug experiences, but few 
have actual specific references. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" 
was a reference to a drawing by John's young son; the initials are 
an unfortunate coincidence (though arguably the images in the 
lyrics were probably based on drug-induced visions). Paul has said 
he meant the words "Found my way upstairs and had a smoke/And 
somebody spoke and I went into a dream" from "A Day in the Life" as 
a reference to nicotine. The "I'd love to turn you on" was a 
multidimensional meaning---turn on to the potentials of life rather 
than merely a drug user's wish to share the wealth. John said he 
wrote "She Said, She Said" about an LSD experience he had with 
Peter Fonda at a party in 1966. "Dr. Robert" is a "tribute" to a NY 
physician who handed out pills and the like to important people and 
rock stars (see question 2 below.) "With A Little Help Etc." has a 
reference to getting high, of course.

2) Who was Dr. Robert?

A New York physician, Charles Roberts, during the middle-to-late
1960's, from whom it was easy (for celebrities, at least) to 
acquire various prescription medications. Most of the drugs were, 
needless to say, of a rather illegal variety. "If you're down he'll 
pick you up, Dr. Robert..."

3) What films should I see related to the Beatles?

Their primary output was "A Hard Day's Night" (1964), superb, 
funny, B&W film that evokes the best of the early hysteria; "Help" 
(1965), a strange, ironic take-off on the James-Bond school of 
filmmaking; "Magical Mystery Tour" (1967), properly a video, very 
much an in-joke but quite charming; "Yellow Submarine" (1968), a 
happy accident of witty writing, animation, and great music; "Let 
It Be" (1970), a mournful, sometimes painful examination of the 
breakup of a super-group.

For easy history (you can skip all that reading!) rent or buy
"The Compleat Beatles" (1981), which has basically excellent
research and great clips of the Fabs' development. Everyone who
reads r.m.b. regularly would do well to see this.

Also ask for Edward Chen's guide to Beatles video/film appearances.

4) What's the story behind the "butcher cover"?

In the UK the Beatles' release sequence included Rubber Soul (1965)
and Revolver (1966). In the US, Capitol decided to make extra money
by releasing an interim album called "Yesterday and Today", with
some songs from the "Help", "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver" albums.
The Beatles were asked to provide a cover photo. The "story" goes 
that they felt their work was being butchered, so they posed 
themselves in white lab coats with meat cleavers, hunks of raw 
steak, and cut-up dolls. This photo actually made it onto 
"Yesterday and Today" and was shipped to some stores in 
1966...until someone at Capitol decided it was in rather poor 
taste. They recalled the album. Some were "fixed" by pasting over a 
hastily-photographed picture of the Beatles around a steamer trunk. 
These album covers provided many hours of amusement for people who 
wanted to peel off the new cover--- a delicate process, but a 
successful job would reveal the "butcher cover" underneath. 
Needless to say, only the first printing of this album had the 
pasted cover photo; "Yesterday and Today" has been deleted from the 
Capitol album lineup. You can tell, usually, if the album you have 
has a butcher cover underneath (though most of these are long since 
peeled) by looking at the right-hand side of the "steamer
trunk" photo, in the white area. If you can see a dark inverted
triangle, that *may* be Ringo's turtleneck sweater in the photo
underneath.

Recent investigation suggests that the "urban-legend" version of 
the butcher cover story might be impossible to confirm. The photo 
session in question was actually completed months before, for the 
"Paperback Writer/Rain" single, the concept being developed by John 
and photographer Robert Whitaker; at the time they may have been 
completely unaware that Capitol was planning to release "Yesterday 
and Today." In any case, there is no evidence, either from the 
Beatles own words or any other traceable source, that the Butcher 
Cover was photographed as a protest against Capitol's marketing 
practices. However, the legend that it was engineered for just this 
reason seems particularly tenacious.

(Thanks to snopes [David P. Mikkelson] for the above information.)

5) What's backwards masking?

The Beatles began to enjoy experimenting with bits of backwards 
tape,
as can be heard as early as their single "Rain". What "backwards
masking" refers to, however, is the alleged recording *forwards*
of a reverse message, comprehensible only by playing the song
*backwards* --- although this is not the audiophilic definition
of the term (which is a phenomenon perceived when a soft passage
is followed by a loud passage of music, talk, whatever...the loud
noise having a tendency to "mask" the last few seconds of what
preceded it.)

Some of the "Paul is Dead" clues focus on this phenomenon (in
the White Album track "Revolution No. 9", for instance). The 
Beatles denied placing secret messages in their backwards 
recordings, and said that these were only coincidences. (Although 
the "end bit" from the Sgt. Pepper CD, played in reverse, sounds 
too deliberate to be a coincindence).

6) Who was Stuart Sutcliffe?

John's best friend in Liverpool Art College, Stuart was a gifted
abstract painter. He played bass for the Silver Beatles only during
1959-1961, when (because of admitted lack of musical talent) he 
chose to remain in Hamburg with his girlfriend Astrid Kirscherr, 
herself an artist and first professional photographer for the 
Beatles. Stuart died in 1962 of a brain hemorrhage.

7) Did John and Paul write their songs together or separately?

The composition process was most often separate in the physical
sense, especially in the early stages of a song. But almost each
song underwent a metamorphosis in the recording studio, when John
and Paul would give each other "helpful" suggestions on completing
a tune. Sometimes one or the other was stuck for an eight-bar 
middle, or a guitar riff, and the other would fill in. It is 
undeniable that friendly competition between the two was operant 
almost from the beginning of their songwriting career (1957) and 
influenced their songwriting talents. From an early stage, John and 
Paul had an agreement about acknowleging joint songwriting credit, 
even if this wasn't strictly fact. Until August 1963, these songs 
were known as "McCartney-Lennon" tunes; after this point (as Paul 
remarks in the introduction to "The Beatles Recording History") 
John "got his way" and the credit became officially "Lennon & 
McCartney". A few songs were, in fact, written jointly; "Flying", 
from Magical Mystery Tour, is credited to all four Beatles.

8) Who was first to quit the Beatles?

Trick question. It was unofficial and well-concealed, but Ringo 
walked out of the White Album sessions on August 22, 1968, in the 
middle of recording the album, and proclaimed to the others he had 
definitely quit. The three remaining Beatles covered for Ringo and 
apparently (from what can be gleaned from the recording info 
available) substituted for him on drums on various famous tracks, 
probably "Back in the USSR" among them. Ringo returned at the end 
of a week, finding a welcome-back greeting of masses of flowers 
over his drumkit.

9) Who owns the right to the Beatles' songs?

During the great Apple debacle the Beatles experienced in the late 
'60's, the lads found themselves losing tremendous amounts of money 
and needed a lot of cash fast.  This and other contributing factors 
(like Dick James selling his stake in Northern Songs) led to the 
Beatles selling the publishing rights to their songs (except for 
some of the early ones like "Love Me Do" which were published by 
various companies and are now owned by MPL -- Macca's
company). The song rights were for sale again a few years back, and 
Paul mounted a joint effort with Yoko to buy them back -- but (as 
Paul tells it) Michael Jackson outrageously outbid everyone, 
offering a really unheard of and unanticipated price. He walked 
away with the whole kit and kaboodle.

Consider the following scenario, if you will. If "Please Please Me"
was in a film and not sung by the Beatles, then Mr. Jackson did
license it. He owns the song, like a book copyright, while EMI owns
rights to the Beatles recordings.  Presumably EMI never licenses a 
Beatles recording for use in such a case unless the Beatles think 
it's okay (this may be an unofficial arrangement, probably because 
the Beatles are suing Capitol-EMI for rights of the recordings in 
the US), which was what caused the uproar over the Nike commercial 
(apparently Yoko okayed it, but no one asked the others, and, hey, 
Yoko wasn't a Beatle anyway.  :-) ).

(Thanks to Jay C. Smith for the answer to No. 9.)

10) What ever happened to Raymond Jones, the young man whom
Brian Epstein reported was his first link to the Beatles?

He was the lad who, we are led to believe, was the individual who
asked Brian Epstein for a copy of "My Bonnie", which in turn led
to Mr Epstein visiting The Cavern and discovering The Fabs.

("My Bonnie" was from the session the Beatles did with Tony 
Sheridan in 1961, as a backup band. It was released to European 
markets on the Polydor label; when the Beatles hit the States, "My 
Bonnie" was rereleased here, but the original Polydor version 
acquired something of a "cult" status for collectors in 1964, who 
believed they were on to the first inkling anybody had---as Brian 
told it in his biography---of the Beatles' music.)

The evidence currently available---most convincingly from the pen
of Bill Harry, who published a Liverpool fanzine called "Mersey 
Beat", and was a sharp observer of the Mersey music scene---
suggests that this story is a fabrication.

It is almost inconceivable that Brian did not know about The 
Beatles before that date.  Brian was running a very successful 
record store (Nems), very close to The Cavern (maybe 100 metres), 
and it is hard to believe could not have heard about the events 
there.

As Bill Harry remembers, the Boys were also regular customers in 
the store, and if their record appetite was as wide-ranging as they 
have indicated (the full spectrum of American pop, rhythm and 
blues, and rock/rockabilly), Brian would surely have been busy 
ordering special titles for them.

More objectively convincing is the fact that Brian wrote in, and 
was a major distributor for, Mersey Beat - a newspaper that was at 
times nothing more than a Beatles fanzine (and Bill Harry was their 
personal friend, as well).

Finally - how come this guy has never been traced?

It seems likely that Raymond Jones was an attempt on Brian's part
(through his ghostwriter for "A Cellar Full of Noise", Derek 
Taylor) to mythologize the Beatles' appearance on the musical 
horizon. As if they needed mythology!

(Thanks to Stephen Carter for contributing to No. 10.)

11) Who plays the guitar solos at the end of the second side of 
"Abbey Road," and in what order?

First off, you need to count the rhythm in 4/4 time:

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4....etc. (with each quadruplet
being one measure or "bar" of 4 beats) -

So, begin counting where they go into the sequence immediately
following the drum solo, with the guitars crunching out the
chords in unison, and the voices singing, "Love you. Love you...."

(Then the 1st guitar comes in.)

di-di-da-da-DAH.... (that "DAH" is count #1 of the first measure)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(4 bars, with some high notes by the 3rd bar -
some folks hear just one guitar here....if so, it's all George;
I think maybe there are two guitars that sound pretty similar....
the first 2 bars are Paul, but the 3rd & 4th [the high notes] are
definitely George; logic would suggest the latter possibility [2 
bars each])

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars of dirty, crunchy, nasty fast chordal chomping - definitely 
John)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars, steady 8th-note, whiny-tone, high notes in the 2nd - 
definitely Paul)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars, low, growling notes, whipping up to mid-range notes - 
George)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars, a few very, low, sustained notes - John)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars, more staccato bursts of shrill, trebly single notes - 
Paul)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 bars, quick looping run up to very high notes - George)

1-2-3-4 1-2-3-4
(2 final bars of slashing ugly chords - who else but John)

....crashing directly into Paul's little piano notes.

John is clearly identifiable in this sequence. He frequently used 
that dirty, overmodulated tone, and his tendency was to play 
chordal, rhythm-style guitar, rather than a lot of clear, high 
single notes. When he did play single-note runs, he usually bent a 
few low notes into slightly out-of-tune or dissonant groans, like 
in "Happiness is a Warm Gun".

Paul's style is also obvious where he uses that shrill, whiny, 
piercing thin tone that he seems to like. You can hear it in a 
number of his other recorded guitar solos, like on "Back in the 
USSR", and much of the stuff on his 1st solo lp and "Ram".

George didn't have the most obvious guitar style back then, with 
his fingerstyle (he's absolutely unmistakable with his later slide 
style of playing). But you can tell it's him in this sequence by 
listening to some of his other solos from various 1968-69 
recordings ("Savoy Truffle", "Let it Be", others).

(Thanks to Stuart Troutman for his contribution to No. 11.)

12) Isn't it true that there's a hidden sequence of morse code 
after the lines "Let me take you down..." in "Strawberry Fields 
Forever"? And doesn't this hidden code spell out John Lennon's 
initials (J. L.)?

Bob Clements, our resident amateur radio expert, answers:

The "code" is pretty clearly there if you listen for it.  It
appears from 0:16 to 0:20 on the official release (Magical
Mystery Tour CD) on the left channel.  It does sound a lot like
intentional hand-sent Morse.  As I read it, it says:
        -.-  .-  -.-  -  -  .  .-
where the last dash is considerably extended and there is too
long a space between the first dash and the first dot.  This
translates as "KAKTTEA" if you believe it's Morse.

But it isn't.

It gets interesting if you listen to the various outtakes.  We
know from Lewisohn and other evidence that the released SFF is
spliced together from a "slow" version (mixed from take 7) and a
"fast" version (mixed from take 25).  If you listen to take 7,
you find that the "code" appears after the same vocal phrase
three times, only the first of which appears in the official
release.  And the second and third occurrences sound much less
like Morse code.  They are certainly not the same patterns (or
"letters").  They also have a little dynamics, fading at the end
of some dashes rather than the on/off keying that makes it seem
like Morse.

The "code" as we hear it on the released version first appears at
take 6, which is where that vocal track first appears. (Take 5
was a false start.)

What is really fascinating, though, is take 4.  On that take, a
different vocal track appears AND a different "code" sound
appears.  It is shorter, less Morse-like, and less of a pure
tone.  It sounds like some kind of intermodulation distortion,
but I can't pick out what the source is.

My GUESS is that it's coming from the Mellotron (also on the left
channel) or something sitting on/near the Mellotron, vibrating in
response to that particular sustained minor chord.  I think that
chord is repeated every time the "take you down 'cause I'm going
to" line occurs, and it doesn't appear elsewhere.

That's the end of my speculation.  Sources:  The outtakes on URT1,
the Condor "Srawberry Fields" CD, and the vinyl URT6 which has
takes 1 through 7.  And THE BOOK (i.e., Lewisohn's "...A Recording
History").

--Bob Clements, K1BC, clements@bbn.com

13) I heard that "meeting a man from the motor trade" in "She's
Leaving Home" really refers to an abortionist in Britain.

According to our linguistics expert, Harold Somers, there is no
basis for this assertion. An abortionist is not "a man from the
motor trade." The man in question is Terry Doran, a friend and
later associate of the Beatles who used to be a car salesman before
he worked for Epstein and later for Apple Corps. The reference to
Doran was just a personal tribute by Paul. Most theories indicate
that the girl leaving home is, in fact, running away with a car
salesman because, presumably, he can make her happy.

14) What is the first chord of "A Hard Day's Night"?

Harold Somers says:

I'd call it D7sus4/G.

Even if you had a 12-string, it would not sound perfect unless you 
were lucky enough (rich enough) to have a *Rickenbacker* 12-string, 
which is strung differently (the octave strings are above rather 
than below the normal strings - that's why the Ricky sounds 
distinctive).
----
Paul Schwotzer, pws@hp-lsd.COS.HP.COM, says:

This is one that was sent to me, it sounds pretty good:

 +---|---|-O-|---|---|---
N+---|---|-O-|---|---|---
E+---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---
C+---|---|-O-|---|---|---
K+---|---|-O-|---|-O-|---
 +---|---|-O-|---|---|---

----
Joe "Top Gear" Gogan, v086kzmq@ubvmsd.cc.buffalo.edu, says:

 I posted this along time ago, that the chord is very possibly TWO 
guitars.

  The chord definitely has 'G7,9sus4etc...' characteristics to it, 
but when my band played this live, we added a D ? on the other 
guitar played at the same time. It achieved astounding results.   
The D ? that was played was the one found on the fifth fret:


 8    7    6     5     4      3
 |    |    |     |  x  |      |
 |    |    |     |  x  |      |
 |    | x  |     |  x  |      |
 |    |    |     |  x  |      |
 | x  |    |     |  x  |      |
 |    |    |     |  x  |      |

  Why not play the D? in first position, with the G bass on 6th 
string, on my Ricky 360/12v64 no-less.   This one, if not two 
guitars is the closest I've heard, but you be the judge.  It looks 
like this:

3      2      1       nut
|   3  |      |       ||
|      |      |       ||
|      |      |       ||
|      |   2  |       ||
|      |      |   1   ||
|   4  |      |       ||

----
Dan Kozak, dbk@mimsy.umd.edu, responds to Joe Gogan:

>I posted this along time ago, that the chord is very possibly TWO 
guitars.

Nope, tho' 12 strings _do_ sound that way sometimes (I should know,
I've got enough of them).

>The chord definitely has 'G7,9sus4etc...' characteristics to it, 
>but when my band played this live, we added a D ? on the other 
>guitar played at the same time. It achieved astounding results.   
>The D ? that was played was the one found on the fifth fret:

Almost right chord, wrong position . . . I don't know about anybody
else, but I find the difference between a bar chord and an open 
chord (i.e. with open strings) to be like that between night and 
day. The HDN chord is an open chord, which I would describe as 
D7sus4/A.

>  Why not play the D? in first position, with the G bass on 6th 
>string, on my Ricky 360/12v64 no-less.   This one, if not two 
>guitars is the closest I've heard, but you be the judge.  It looks 
>like this:

This is very close to what I posted when this started recently 
except that I indicated that all three low strings (E, A, D) were 
open, but now I'd like to revise that to say that if you hit the 
low E at all, it should be very slightly, i.e. accidently.  There 
is no G in the bass in this chord, the low note is the open A 
string.

> Please, someone who has tried these two please tell me what you 
>think, but not before you try them.

I have . . . on a '67 366-12 through a pre-62 Vox AC-30, no less. 
:-) And I played it with the record.  You might also note that the 
ending (overdubbed) guitar pattern is based on this same form -- 
pick the top 3 strings and go between the D7sus4 and a Dm7 (i.e. G 
to F on the high E).

15) What are the foreign lyrics in "Sun King"?

Note that the Beatles freely mixed dialects and languages here, and 
when this is combined with less than perfect enunciation and 
accent, many uncertainties arise, leading to many possible 
interpretations.

The lyrics are usually published as:

Quando paramucho mi amore de felice corazon
Mundo paparazzi mi amore chica ferdy parasol
Cuesto obrigado tanta mucho que can eat it carousel

But that is NOT correct.  I believe the lyrics could be:

Quando para mucho, mi amore de felice corazon
Mundo paparazzi, mi amore, chicka/chica ferdy/verde para sole
Cuesto a brigata, tanta mucho, que/cake and eat it, care of sun

NOTE CHANGES:  "chicka ferdy" is a Liverpool expresssion of
                 indeterminate meaning, but could also
                 be a combination Spanish/Liverpudlian pun
                 "chica verde" [green girl]

                "parasol"  could be "para sole" [for the sun],
                 or perhaps "pa re sole" [for sun king],

                "que can eat it" should be "que/cake and eat it",
                 (see John's comments below on this pun),

                "carousel"  could be "care of sun".

                "obrigado" could be "apre gabbo" [open deception]
                 or perhaps "obligado" [obgligation]
                 or "a brigata" [a party].
                 or "obbligado" [musical term - what is it?]
                 or "Abrigado" [raincoat].

So a rough literal translation would be:

Quando  para mucho mi amore de felice corazon
IF/WHEN FOR  MUCH, MY LOVE  OF HAPPY  HEART

Mundo paparazzi  mi amore chicka/chica ferdy/verde  pa  re   sole
WORLD PAPARAZZI, MY LOVE, CHICKA/GIRL  FERDY/GREEN  FOR KING SUN

[then choose one of these three]

Cuesto a brigata,   tanta mucho, que/cake and eat it, care of sun
THIS     PARTY  ,   VERY  MUCH,      CAKE AND EAT IT, CARE OF SUN

Cuesto apre gabbo,  tanta mucho, que/cake and eat it, care of sun
THIS   OPEN DECEPTION,  VERY  MUCH,  CAKE AND EAT IT, CARE OF SUN

Cuesto obligado,    tanta mucho, que/cake and eat it, care of sun
THIS   OBLIGATION,   VERY  MUCH,     CAKE AND EAT IT, CARE OF SUN

(Thanks to Mario Giannella for the above.)

16) Did Pink Floyd and the Beatles ever record a song together?

Pink Floyd, when Syd Barrett was still a member, was involved
in recording at EMI Studios, Abbey Road (later Abbey Road Studios)
at the same time The Beatles were busy recording "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band", but the two groups did not record
together, and may have met only briefly in their comings and
goings at the studio in March 1967.
----

More updates will be added as the need warrants. If you have
questions, suggestions, or complaints on any of the above, please
send to saki (dmac@math.ucla.edu).
--
...................................................................
.
: Preston Landers    :  Not valid in all areas. Times approximate. 
:
:                    :  Some restrictions apply.  Not the Beatles. 
:
:                    :  Parental discretion advised.  Retain stub. 
:
: planders@shadow.scs.unr.edu                                      
:
...................................................................








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