Saturday, December 13, 2014

The White Album tracks, continued


Continuing a look at the tracks of the Beatles' White Album. The album is officially known as The Beatles, that being embossed upon the pure white cover of the double album, but it was quickly dubbed the White Album. The album tracks were mostly written during the 1968 sojourn that the Fab Four, and others, spent with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at his ashram in Rishikesh, India.


I’m So Tired


Lyrics:

I'm So Tired

I'm so tired, I haven't slept a wink
I'm so tired, my mind is on the blink
I wonder should I get up and fix myself a drink
No, no, no

I'm so tired I don't know what to do
I'm so tired my mind is set on you
I wonder should I call you but I know what you'd do

You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke, it's doing me harm
You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind

I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
Although I'm so tired I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid get

You'd say I'm putting you on
But it's no joke, it's doing me harm
You know I can't sleep, I can't stop my brain
You know it's three weeks, I'm going insane
You know I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind
I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind
I'd give you everything I've got
For a little peace of mind

(Monsieur, Monsieur, Monsieur, how about another one?)


Video clip:



Comments:

Written and sung by John Lennon, although credited to Lennon-McCartney.

* * * * * *
The song was written by Lennon whilst at the 1968 meditative retreat at Rishikesh, India with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lennon was strongly missing Yoko Ono, whose postcards to him were cherished, and he was plagued by insomnia. This song was in the form of an open letter to her. "I got so excited about her letters," he said. "I started thinking of her as a woman, and not just an intellectual woman." Lennon later said of it: "One of my favourite tracks. I just like the sound of it, and I sing it well".

* * * * * *
The Beatles also started and completed "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” during the same recording session.

* * * * * *
At the end of the song there is mumbling in the background which, if played backwards, sounds like "Paul is a dead man. Miss him. Miss him. Miss him." This added to the many supposed references to the "Paul is dead" conspiracy scattered throughout the White album. Lennon was actually mumbling "Monsieur, monsieur, how about another one?"

* * * * * *

"I'm so tired, I'm feeling so upset
Although I'm so tired I'll have another cigarette
And curse Sir Walter Raleigh
He was such a stupid get"

Is the insult for a stupid person person“get” or “git”? I always understood the word to be “git” buy apparently Northerners say “get”, as Lennon did on this album, and southerners say “git”.

According to World Wide Words:

From before 1300 a get was what had been begotten, a child or offspring. But by about 1500 it had started to be used in Scotland and northern England in the sense of misbegotten, a bastard; from there it became a general term of abuse for a fool or idiot. By about 1700 get seems to have lapsed into slang or dialect, only to reappear in the wider language in the 1940s with a different spelling and lacking the associations with illegitimacy. James Joyce uses the older spelling (and meaning) in Ulysses in 1922: “The bloody thicklugged sons of whores’ gets!” These days, it’s a widely known and used term of abuse in Britain for somebody regarded as totally worthless or useless, most commonly appearing in cries of frustration such as “that stupid git, now look what he’s done!” 
http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-git1.htm


Blackbird

* * * * * *

Video clip:


* * * * * *

Lyrics:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

* * * * * *

The only sounds recorded for this track were McCartney’s singing and playing, plus the tapping sound of McCartney tapping his feet as he is playing. 

* * * * * *

The sounds of the birds were dubbed in later. According to Stewart Eltham, engineer: 

 “I taped that on one of the first portable EMI tape recorders, in my back garden in Ickenham, about 1965. There are two recordings, one of the bird singing, the other making an alarm sound when I startled it.”

* * * * * *

The background of the song is the civil rights struggle that was taking part in America at the time the song was written, 1968, the song being written after McCartney read about race riots in America. The blackbird with broken wings learning to fly is symbolic of the black struggle at that time.

The “blackbird” of the title is a black woman, the word “bird” being English slang for a girl or woman. 

“I had in mind a black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about, so this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the States: 'Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.' As is often the case with my things, a veiling took place so, rather than say 'Black woman living in Little Rock' and be very specific, she became a bird, became symbolic, so you could apply it to your particular problem.”

- Paul McCartney

* * * * * *

One of the 10 most recorded covered songs.

* * * * * *

The guitar accompaniment for "Blackbird" was inspired by J.S. Bach’s Bourrée in E minor, a well known lute piece, often played on the classical guitar.

As teenagers, McCartney and George Harrison tried to learn Bourrée as a "show off" piece. The Bourréeis distinguished by melody and bass notes played simultaneously on the upper and lower strings. McCartney adapted a segment of the Bourrée as the opening of "Blackbird", and carried the musical idea throughout the song. 

"We had the first four bars (of the Bourrée in E minor) and that was as far as my imagination went. I think George had it down for a few more bars and then he crapped out. So I made up the next few bars, and (sings his four-note variation Bach's theme) it became the basis of Blackbird."  
– Paul McCartney

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