I’m finally continuing with my Beatles songs series with “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” from 1965′s Rubber Soul.
“Norwegian Wood” has been among my favorite Beatles songs since the first time I heard it over 15 years ago. The exotic sound, the evocatively cryptic lyrics, the mesmerizing melody. It’s just a brilliant song. In 2004 Rolling Stone placed it at #83 on their list of the greatest 500 songs of all time.
The most notable thing about this John Lennon composition as far as its place in popular music history is that it was the first western pop song to feature a sitar.
George Harrison would go on to include sitar in some of his own Beatles songs (“Within You Without You,” “Love You To,” & “Inner Light”) and The Rolling Stones used one in their 1966 hit “Paint It Black.” Continue reading “The Beatles – “Norwegian Wood”” »
Continuing my new picking whatever I want to do next approach to the Beatles songs series; today’s song is “Rain.”
Yes, I’m really picking up steam. After waiting 9 months between “Hold Me Tight” to “And I Love Her” I’ve waited only 13 days to get to “Rain.” At this rate I may even finish this whole series… by the end of the decade.
I think jumping around like this will help me to get a lot more of these done as I can just do songs that I’m actively interested in at the moment instead of being stuck doing a bunch of songs that I don’t really care for that much.
Anyway, back on topic, “Rain” was the b-side to “Paperback Writer” on a single released on May 30th of 1966 in the US (June 10, 1966 in the UK.) This impressive “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” single came out between 1965′s Rubber Soul and 1966′s Revolver.
Neither of these songs were ever included on an album but they can be found on the second Past Masters CD. The Past Masters CDs include all of the band’s official non-album releases. Continue reading ““Rain” – The Beatles” »
Instead of picking up where I left off (about 9 months ago) with my Beatles songs series, I’m going to skip ahead to “And I Love Her.” I figure it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever get to all of them, so instead of going in order (and doing a lot of early songs I don’t even like that much) I’m just going to do the songs I want to do.
“And I Love Her” has always been one of my favorite early songs and I think it’s significant in the band’s history as the first really great ballad that Paul McCartney wrote.
Technically the song is actually in four different keys (E, C#m, F, & Dm) from beginning to end because the song modulates back and forth between a major key and its relative minor and then there’s a half step up for the guitar solo (from E to F.) After the solo the song remains in F (and Dm.) For a final twist it ends on a D major chord (the major version of the relative minor) where you would expect a D minor chord.
Ending on the D major chord in this way is a “trick” known as a “Picardy third” and was used by classical composers including J.S. Bach.
For a more of this type of analysis check out the Beatles as Musicians books. Continue reading ““And I Love Her” – The Beatles” »
It’s been nearly two months, but I’m finally picking up with the next entry in my series on each of the original Beatles songs. “Hold Me Tight” is #9 in the series. “Misery” was #8.
This song was one of the band’s earliest originals as it had been a part of their live act from 1961 (and remained a part of it through ’63.) It was recorded on February 11, 1963 (along with most of the other songs that ended up on Please Please Me) in 13 takes but was scrapped and not put on their debut album. It was recorded again on September 12, 1963 for their second album, With The Beatles.
While it’s not among the band’s greatest songs, I do agree with Ian MacDonald’s opinion in Revolution in the Head that it’s actually quite a bit better than most (including Lennon & McCartney) give it credit for. It’s got great energy. Continue reading ““Hold Me Tight” – The Beatles” »
“Misery” is the 8th song in my series on the 186 original Beatles songs released from 1962 through 1970. “Do You Want To Know A Secret?” was the last entry. These first 8 songs are the 8 Lennon/McCartney originals included on The Beatles 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.
This is a pretty unremarkable song as far as Beatles originals go. It seems to sort of putter along until it’s completion (after just 1:48) with only a few elements of interest and even those moments are sort of silly (like the “la la la la” vocal from Lennon as the song draws to a close.) This is definitely not among my favorite Beatles recordings. Continue reading ““Misery” – The Beatles” »
I’m finally picking up where I left off with my rather ambitious “Beatles Songs” project (maybe a bit too ambitious, I’m not sure if I’m focused enough to ever finish it) where I take pretty detailed look at all 186 original Beatles song from “Love Me Do” to “I Me Mine” in the order that they were recorded. That’s all of the Beatles songs that were released from 1962 through 1970 that were written by The Beatles.
“Do You Want To Know A Secret” is the 7th of those 186 songs and in my opinion it’s definitely not a highlight of their catalog. But that said, I think it’s got it’s charms. It’s a simple song and it’s overly cute but it’s also quite memorable. Continue reading ““Do You Want To Know A Secret?” – The Beatles” »
This is my 6th entry in my continuing series on each of The Beatles 186 original songs released from 1962 through 1970. This song, “I Saw Her Standing There,” is my favorite of them thus far.
It’s a great song, but even if it weren’t a great song it would be notable for being the lead track on The Beatles very first album (1963′s Please Please Me.)
In 4/4 time in the key of E. There’s a good five pages dedicated to the musical analysis of this song in The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul.
What The Beatles Said About It
McCartney: “Sometimes we would just start a song from scratch, but one of us would nearly always have a germ of an idea, a title or a rough little thing they were thinking about and we’d do it. I Saw Her Standing There was my original, I’d started it and I had the first verse, which therefore gave me the tune, the tempo and the key. It gave you the subject matter, a lot of the information, and then you had to fill in… It was co-written, my idea, and we finished it that day.” Continue reading ““I Saw Her Standing There” – The Beatles” »
This is the 5th song in my continuing “Beatles Songs” series which will eventually cover all 186 original Beatles songs from 1962′s “Love Me Do” to 1970′s “I Me Mine” (the only Beatles song recorded in 1970, it was recorded on 1/3/70 by George, Paul, & Ringo. John was out of the country.) Although, admittedly, at this rate it will take about 20 years to complete this project. Hopefully this will give the Beatles fanatics that read this blog something to look forward to!
“There’s A Place” is the 13th track on The Beatles debut album, 1963′s Please Please Me. The song is most notable for it’s lyrical content (it’s more “cerebral” than the other Beatles originals of the time) and it’s double lead vocal (Paul McCartney said that they didn’t consider either his or John Lennon’s vocal part to be the melody or the harmony, they were just both lead vocals that were sung in harmony with each other.) Continue reading ““There’s A Place” – The Beatles” »
“Ask Me Why” is the 4th entry in my series on The Beatles Original Songs. It was originally released as the b-side to their second single (and first #1 hit), “Please Please Me,” and then included on the Please Please Me album.
This song has definitely never been among my favorites. In fact, to me it ranks down at the bottom of the Lennon/McCartney songbook. It sounds very “by the numbers” both lyrically and musically. And even at only 2 minutes and 29 seconds it seems pretty long. I’m admitting now, I don’t have much to say about this song, but I want to cover every Beatles original, so here it is! Continue reading ““Ask Me Why” – The Beatles” »
Picking up where I left off over two months ago, “PS I Love You,” with my “Beatles Songs” series. In this series I take a very close look at every original song The Beatles recorded and officially released from 1962 through 1970. This is the 3rd song in that progression.
I think “Please Please Me” is a significant jump up in quality from “Love Me Do” (which I find pretty boring) and “PS I Love You” (which is both pretty boring and quite safe.)
It was originally recorded on September 11, 1962 (the same day that “Love Me Do” and “PS I Love You” were recorded”) but Beatles producer George Martin felt it wasn’t quite right. It was re-recorded in the version we know today on November 26, 1962 and as soon as they were done recording it, Martin told the band that they had their first #1 hit.
He was right as it went to #1 on the NME & Melody Maker charts, although it hit only #2 on the Record Retailer chart (which has since become the UK
Singles Chart.) It later went to #3 in the US in 1964 during the height of Beatlemania (it was originally released in the US in 1963 but was given no notice at the time.) Continue reading ““Please Please Me” by The Beatles” »