By Jim Campbell
June 16, 2018
Those of you who frequent our site know I’m a Beatles fan as well as an Eagles fan, never missing a concert since I heard them play the first time at the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, CA.
As luck would have it, I sent away for two tickets to the Beatles concert played at Dodger Stadium and ended up in the front row over the Dodger Dugout with the then girl of my dreams the adorable Miss Suzie.
They played on second base with their opening act a group called, Red Rubber Ball.”
I was about to write a book entitles “The Unauthorized list of your favorite tunes when copyright issues raised their ugly head.
Alas, what a far better way, to bring you my message with all of their songs that were so special to many of us who grew up in the sixties and for generations to follow.
The Beatles had such harmony both in voice and guitar, they frequently sang at concerts with another member of the vans voice.
Their audience had no clue.
In the beginning, John and Paul wrote most of the music and got the fame.
This didn’t sit well with George or Ringo so they had a meeting with Brian Epstein and said, we have songs in us great lyrics etc.
More history was to follow.
Billboard’s Nov. 21, 2015 cover featuring The Beatles.
Even in 2015, the band’s accomplishments still stagger: 34 top 10 hits, 50 songs in the top 40 and the most No. 1s in a calendar year (six in 1964 and five in 1965) — plus, McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are the only artists to take over the Hot 100’s top five positions simultaneously.
The deluxe reissue of The Beatles’ 1 hits collection, released Nov. 6 and featuring the following eight indelible classics, is expected to make a top 10 debut on the Billboard 200.
“I Want To Hold Your hand” (REACHED NO. 1 ON FEB. 1, 1964)
In late 1962, The Beatles began to blitz the United Kingdom with effusively energetic songs, but America initially took a skeptical view of their music, as well as their girlish haircuts.
“The big story about ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ ” recalls McCartney.
In spite of their wishes, their manager Brian Epstein got them on the Ed Sullivan Show and the rest as is said is history.
“They were playing in Paris, an engagement at the Olympia Theater, a famous old theater Edith Piaf played at, and we got a telegram, as you did in those days, saying, ‘Congratulations, No. 1 in U.S. charts.’
They jumped on each other’s backs.
Brian Epstein, the groups manager died at age 32 of a barbiturate overdose.
It was late at night after a show, and we just partied.
That was the record that allowed them to come to America.”
A song thought to have religious overtones about “Mother Mary,” was actually written by Paul McCartney in memory of his mom, Mary Patricia. (Source)
One of the band’s five songs to occupy the Hot 100’s top five slots on April 4, 1964 (with “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You” and “Please, Please Me”), “I Want to Hold Your Hand” ranks as the chart’s No. 45 single of all time.
“Love Me Do” (May 30, 1964)
With a two-chord structure and repetitive, sing-song melody, “Love Me Do” from debut studio album.
Please Please Me doesn’t hint at the grandeur or emotional complexity of future Beatles songs.
“Their early stuff is more simple than their later material, and that’s one of the great things about The Beatles,” says McCartney.
“This was a very simple song that fell into the category of ‘fan songs.’
All our early songs contained ‘me’ or ‘you.’ We were completely direct and shameless to the fans: ‘Love Me Do’; ‘Please Please Me’; ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand.’
A lot of people are fond of ‘Love Me Do’ because it evokes a period — and hey, it was No. 1, so it’s OK by them.”
On “Love Me Do,” Starr plays only the tambourine, because producer George Martin, accustomed to working with England’s top session aces, replaced the band’s drummer with veteran studio musician Andy White.
“Eight Days A Week” (March 13, 1965)
Recently, McCartney has started his concerts with “Eight Days a Week,” originally sung by Lennon.
“When people review our shows, they say, ‘They opened with a Beatles classic, ‘Eight Days a Week.’
‘Paul said I wouldn’t put it as a ‘classic.’
Is it the cleverest song we’ve ever written? No.
Has it got a certain joie de vivre (Cheerful enjoyment of life that The Beatles embodied? Yes.
The best thing about it was the title, really.”
In many anecdotes, Starr uttered the phrase that became the song’s title; the actual story is that McCartney had lost his license for a year due to a speeding ticket, so a driver was taking him to Lennon’s house.
“Just as we reached John’s, and Paul said, ‘You been busy?’ Just small talk.
And he said, ‘Busy? I’ve been working eight days a week.’ I ran into the house and said, ‘Got a title!’ And we wrote it in the next hour.
With the swaying “Hold me, love me” chant in the pre-chorus, The Beatles — all still in their early 20s — continued to turn innocent desire into carnal wishes.
“Our parents had been rather repressed, and we were breaking out of that mold.
Everyone was let off the leash. Coming down from Liverpool to London, there were all sorts of swinging chicks, and we were red-blooded young men.
All that’s on your mind at that age is young women — or it was, in our case.”
“Help!” (Sept. 4, 1965)
After two years of breakneck recording and touring, Lennon was unhappy in his marriage to his former college sweetheart and stuffed with drugs.
Tasked with writing a song for The Beatles’ second film, he began to erase the band’s merry, dashing veneer with “Help!”
“I turned up at John’s house for a writing session,” recalls McCartney, “and saw the opportunity to add a descant [melody in the second verse].
They finished it quite quickly; we went downstairs and sang it to John’s wife at the time, Cynthia, and a journalist he was friendly with called Maureen Cleave.
The Fab Four were very pleased with themselves.
John Lennon’s Guitar Sells for $2.4M at Auction (Source)
Lennon later said, “I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help,” though he also masked his misery with the song’s chirpy tempo.
McCartney added, “He didn’t say, ‘I’m now fat and I’m feeling miserable.’
He said, ‘When I was younger, so much younger than today.’
In other words, he blustered his way through.
We all felt the same way.
But looking back on it, John was always looking for help.
He had [a paranoia] that people died when he was around:
His father left home when John was 3, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died.
Paul said, I think John’s whole life was a cry for help.”
“We Can Work It Out” (Jan. 8, 1966)
McCartney refers to “We Can Work It Out” as “a girlfriend song,” and like “Help!,” the lyrics acknowledged that not everything in a Beatles’ life was perfect.
According to lore, John wrote it about a fight he had with girlfriend Jane Asher.
“I don’t remember the circumstances, but I’m clearly saying, ‘Try and see it my way, because I’m obviously right.’
It may be arrogant, but it’s what every man wants to say to every girl.
‘Please think of this from my point of view. It might make things easier. It’d certainly make it easier for me.’ “
In Ian MacDonald’s book Revolution in the Head: The Beatles’ Records and the Sixties, the author points to “We Can Work It Out” as the moment when Lennon’s dominance of the band ended and McCartney became “ascendant not only as a songwriter, but also as instrumentalist, arranger, producer and de facto musical director of The Beatles.”
MacDonald also notes that the song took 12 hours to record, which was an unprecedented length of time. “It wasn’t a complicated song,” says McCartney.
“Maybe I was fussing over it because it was my song.
You get an idea of how things should sound, and if it doesn’t quite sound like that, you keep pushing.”
“Paperback Writer” (June 25, 1966)
“Love is a great thing to write a song about,” says McCartney.
” ‘You left me, I hate you.’ ‘I love you, please come to me.’
‘Don’t go anywhere, because I’m coming.’
It’s what us humans are about.”
But after a few years of writing love songs, he got restless.
One result was “Paperback Writer,” a funny tale of ambition, frustration and a desperation to please others, inspired by a Daily Mail article he read about an aspiring novelist.
McCartney wrote the lyrics in the style of a form letter, and Lennon sagely advised him not to change it.
“Penny Lane” (March 18, 1967)
The farther The Beatles traveled from Liverpool — in physical and emotional distance, money and fame — the more they thought about the city.
Their combined sentiment culminated in “Penny Lane,” a pre-Google Maps aerial view of their hometown. McCartney even unsheathed a Liverpudlian accent when he sings the word “customer.”
“Penny Lane was a place in Liverpool that we were very nostalgic for,” he says.
“It was a terminal where John and I got the bus to go to each other’s houses.
And all the things in the song are true.
We never saw a banker in a plastic mac [raincoat], we made him up — but there was a barber, there was a bank. There was a fire station.
“Hey Jude” (Sept. 28, 1968)
There might not be a better-known origin tale in Beatles lore than “Hey Jude,” which McCartney wrote while thinking about John’s son Julian, then 5 years old — but that’s only part of the story.
According to Paul, he was on the way to see him after John and Cynthia got divorced, and because I was good friends with [Julian], it came into my mind: ‘Hey, Jules, don’t make it bad,’ ” he recalls. “It’s a song of hopefulness.”
Later, McCartney changed “Jules” to “Jude.” “I’d heard the name in a musical — Carousel, I think: ‘Jude is dead’ or something like that.
Paul hadn’t realized ‘Jude’ means ‘Jew’ [in German].
That caused some confusion, and a man got quite angry with me over that.”
So angry that after McCartney and a few friends painted “HEY JUDE” on the highly visible window of the Apple Boutique on London’s Baker Street in 1968, the passerby mistook the phrase for anti-Semitic graffiti and smashed the glass with a soda siphon.
“Hey Jude” was not only The Beatles’ longest song to date, it was the first release on their Apple Records label.
The single spent 19 weeks on the Hot 100 — longer than any other Beatles entry at the time — and nine of them at No. 1, making it the group’s longest-leading hit and the No. 10 Hot 100 single of all time.
Even Lennon, who often said unkind things about McCartney’s songs, called the stirring ballad a masterpiece.
When Paul married Linda Eastman of Eastman Kodak fame, the founded the group “Wings,” with a number of great hits.
Sadly Linda went on to succumb to breast cancer, a disease that likely could have been cured today.
Loved the Wilburys, Now Tom has joined Roy & George you just know they are planning a reunion. REST IN PEACE Tom Petty!
Here’s the back story: (Source)
Here’s the back story: (Source)
If I’ve missed any of your favorites please drop me a note and I’ll add to the songs and backstories above. Thanks, J.C.