27 July, 2006

Beatle Me Round the Head

I've bleated about Paul McCartney in the past, but I've really, really tried to like him this week and haven't exactly succeeded.

My colleague is a big fan of Paul McCartney. Now, each to their own and all that, but I have to say Macca is my least favourite ex-Beatle. It's the point that John lost interest and he took over that I begin to cool towards my home town's most famous sons. Sgt Pepper is the greatest album ever created, but I just can't bring myself to get enthusiastic about what followed. By the time of Abbey Road, it was just Paul doing all the parts and then bullying the others to come in and do a couple of overdubs to justify being able to call it a Beatles album.

Well, today, my colleague persuaded me to give Abbey Road another chance. And that's an hour of my life I'll never get back. It's like a bad 'Wings' album.

You know you're in a bad state when the best thing on it is Octopus's Garden. There's this section which I'm sure fans of the album think is innovative, where the songs kind of flow into one another, but it just sounds like he didn't have that many full songs to hand and Stars on 45 hadn't invented the synchronised hand-clap yet. Here Comes the Sun is great actually, although I seem to remember it was used as the theme song to a holiday TV programme in the 1980s.

This rediscovered interest comes from a book I bought recently, which has the most Ronseal title I've ever read:

The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record.

Isn't that brilliant? And apart from some shoddy proofing (someone at iUniverse, Inc doesn't know when and when not to use an apostrophe!!) and some inappropriately enthusiastic swearing, it's a great read. As you'll expect, it charts the Beatles from the day in 1956 when John Lennon bought a Lonnie Donegan record right up to 31 December, 1970, when Paul McCartney filed his law suit against the other Beatles to formally dissolve the partnership.

So, again there. Paul - not Yoko - split the Beatles up. Although as each of the other three had already pretty much given up, and at one point or other actually left the band, it's a bit lame to be the last one left in the room and then say 'I'm splitting the band up'.

The best bit of the book is where author Craig Cross goes through every single song the boys recorded and gives a potted history of each one. Some of the things he notes are completely new to me. Did you know there's a bit 2' 58" into Hey Jude where John Lennon shouts out 'Fucking Hell!' when he fluffs his part.

No, not like that. Although apparently Yoko made a film called 'Self-Portrait' that was just a shot of John's erect penis deflating. How did this escape the internet, I ask myself? Is this another example of Beatle innovation, inventing the home sex tape 30 years early?

I'm listening to The White Album now. Jesus wept, but 'Martha My Dear'... dear GOD it's poor. SKIP! Give him a break though, 'Blackbird' is lovely, even despite Macca's claim that it's a political song about America's Deep South. (it's about a black bird, see - a lady. That's classy!).