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Backwards Beatles

Post: 16301 of 16304
Xref: theporch
Subject: Back Words and Music
From: (Greg Panfile)
Distribution: world
Date: Mon, 23 May 94 12:40:00 -0400
Organization: Channel 1(R) 617-864-0100 Info
Lines: 78

Here's the list of backwards material in Beatles music, with some
solo material too. The article (originally titled Teg Sdrawkcab but
somehow those words were lost...) prattled on at length beyond
what's here; the address for the 910 is PO Box 751 New Monmouth New
Jersey 07748 and back issues are available. This appeared in vol 2
April 1966, Tomorrow Never Knows: backwards sitar or tamboura
drone, random organ notes, and distorted, pentatonic descents on
lead guitar.
Same month, Rain: vocal lines only, repeats of earlier material
both the verses and choruses, are the backwards material.
May, I'm Only Sleeping, backwards lead guitar. Supposedly composed
by George frontwards, then figured out backwards to get the texture.
Solo, fill, and outro are prominent placements.
December, Strawberry Fields Forever. Backwards percussion;
conventional wisdom says it's cymbals, but to me it sounds more like
kitchen pots and pans, all on the next to last verse. On the last
verse, what sounds like a single drum or tin can backwards on a
steady beat. The associated outtake Backwards Talk Experiment was
Lennon fooling around with words and noises, is not particularly
interesting and was never used.
February 1967, Only a Northern Song. Tape loops, mellotron notes,
and heavily sustained guitars appear backwards on George's first
entry (all backwards-featuring cuts are John or George). While
usually interpreted as dealing with business issues, the song
actually spends most of its time flaming the terrible sheet music
that used to afflict Beatle fans way back then.
Same month, Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite. Hard to discern what
is actually backwards, but given the snippets of tape loops and
George Martin's description of literally throwing them up in the
air, then gathering them up for splicing, random chance dictates
that at least some of them must be backwards.
April, Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove. Whatever you believe about what if
anything coherent is said, it's clear that at least some of it is
backwards vocalization, probably from Paul, with a "dum-da-dum"
that sounds like John and a "ho ho ho" laugh that sounds like Ringo.
May, Baby You're A Rich Man. Similar to Northern Song and Tomorrow
Never Knows, backwards distorted lead guitar fills throughout.
June, It's All Too Much. Again the distorted backwards lead guitar
out front, and the second George entry.
September, Flying/The Bus. Lots of backward percussion as in SFF,
plus some mellotron and the first appearance (I think) of backwards
October, Blue Jay Way. As in Rain, backwards dubs of vocal material
from the lead singer and note it's George again.
June 1968, Revolution 9. Lennon, perhaps not even a "song," and the
last Beatle cut with backwards material. Lots of it too:snippets of
piano, chamber strings, orchestra, guitar, Gregorian chant, car hors
and orchestra, crowd noise, clapping, some full band rock and roll
jamming, the whole ball of whacks.
Also, let's not forget that sometime in early 1968 there was at
least an attempt at finishing Across the Universe, and at the time
it included some backwards arpeggios on twelve string acoustic
guitar. Lewisohn states that these dubs were never used, but they
are there clear as a bull on track 2 of Yellow Dog's Unsurpassed
Masters vol. 4, indicating that either an acetate was cut or those
tracks are still on the master. That'd be in February, after Blue
Jay Way but before #9.
Quicknote on solo stuff: Lennon's Meat City single and album have
some hidden words spoken backwards. #9 Dream has the single word
"John." Those are mid-70's cuts, '73 and '74 respectively. Lastly,
George put some vocals and other reversed effects on "When We Was
Fab," obviously feeling that the Beatle era was closely associated
with that and other studio tricks, at least from his point of view
and probably John's as well.
Special thanks to the poster who called my article "wonderful..."
Even if it isn't, it's nice to know someone out there is actually
reading the stuff and likes it...

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