You may be wondering why I’m ranking the 81-second reprise of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘s title track over the original version that oh-so-thematically kicks off the album. “Anthony, quit being so contrarian.” “Anthony, give it a rest with trying to subtly undermine Sgt. Pepper.” “Anthony, stop having hypothetical conversations with yourself on your weird Beatles blog. We’re worried about you. You haven’t eaten in days. You started saving your fingernail clippings in a jar because you said Continue reading “#176: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
“No, we need money first.”
This was John Lennon’s response when asked at the Beatles’ first American press conference if the group would sing for the fans and reporters populating the newly-christened John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964. For the band’s cynical critics, it provided simultaneous ammunition and disarmament; an audacious yet charming change of pace from the safe, controlled pop star persona of the day. (Elvis may have been electric on stage, but he made for a pretty boring interviewee.) It’s debatable the extent to which John was joking, but Continue reading “#177: Money (That’s What I Want)”
It’s the rawest moment on the rawest Beatles album: Ringo Starr yelling “Hold it!” to halt his bandmates from playing before he blows his nose. Why producer Phil Spector saw fit to include this false start on the Let it Be album is a mystery, but maybe we’re all just better off not speculating on why Phil Spector does the things he does.
Hey Phil, next time you murder somebody, maybe start with your barber.
“Dig a Pony” is another in the long line of songs John Lennon wrote only to later deem a “piece of garbage,” and while I wouldn’t go that far, he clearly Continue reading “#178: Dig a Pony”
The Beatles often took inspiration from unlikely sources: their catalog owes an equal debt to the I Ching as it does to a Corn Flakes commercial. But maybe the weirdest is a wordy 1843 poster advertising a Victorian circus.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here writing an entire concept album about the Step By Step episode where Dana gets her driver’s license. It’s not going well.
I don’t have any particular gripes with this song, other than Continue reading “#179: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
In a catalog filled with tracks like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” it says a lot that “Doctor Robert” is easily the most blatant song about drugs the Beatles ever recorded. I mean, if you’re naive enough, you probably could buy John Lennon’s explanation that Continue reading “#180: Doctor Robert”
Look, I actually do like this song. Honest. But I’m going to go on record as saying this might be the most generic set of lyrics ever written, not just by the Beatles, but by any major band from any era. (“Generic” of course is not synonymous with “worst.” Don’t worry, Black Eyed Peas, that title lies safely with “My Humps.” At least Alanis Morissette salvaged it somewhat.) That probably explains why, as with “You Like Me Too Much,” George Harrison didn’t Continue reading “#181: I Need You”
When I wrote about 1969’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” I lamented its lack of lyrical variation (try saying that three times fast), but the truth is, the Beatles had been thrifty with words from the start. “Love Me Do,” the band’s 1962 debut single, contains just 20 unique words. It’s one of those songs that is objectively pretty unexceptional on every level, but Continue reading “#182: Love Me Do”