Sunday, September 6, 2015

Continuing: The Songs of the Beatles’ White Album

12. Rocky Raccoon

India, 1968 (l-r): Jenny Boyd, Jane Asher, Paul McCartney, Donovan, Mia Farrow, George Harrison, the Maharishi, the Beach Boys’ Mike Love, John Lennon & Pattie Boyd

Video clip:


Lyrics:

Now somewhere in the black mountain hills of Dakota
There lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoon
And one day his woman ran off with another guy
Hit young Rocky in the eye Rocky didn't like that
He said I'm gonna get that boy
So one day he walked into town
Booked himself a room in the local saloon

Rocky Raccoon checked into his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Rocky had come equipped with a gun
To shoot off the legs of his rival
His rival it seems had broken his dreams
By stealing the girl of his fancy
Her name was Magil and she called herself Lil
But everyone knew her as Nancy
Now she and her man who called himself Dan
Were in the next room at the hoe down
Rocky burst in and grinning a grin
He said Danny boy this is a showdown
But Daniel was hot, he drew first and shot
And Rocky collapsed in the corner, ah

D'da d'da d'da da da da
D'da d'da d'da da da da
D'da d'da d'da da d'da d'da d'da d'da
Do do do do do do

D'do d'do d'do do do do
D'do d'do d'do do do do
D'do d'do d'do do do d'do d'do d'do d'do
Do do do do do do

Now the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said Rocky you met your match
And Rocky said, doc it's only a scratch
And I'll be better I'll be better doc as soon as I am able

And now Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky's revival, ah
Oh yeah, yeah

D'do d'do d'do do do do
D'do d'do d'do do do do
D'do d'do d'do do do d'do d'do d'do d'do
Do do do do do do

D'do d'do d'do do do do, come on, Rocky boy
D'do d'do d'do do do do, come on, Rocky boy
D'do d'do d'do do do d'do d'do d'do d'do
The story of Rocky there

About:
  • Written by Paul McCartney during the Beatles’ Rishikesh Transcendental Meditation retreat in February 1968 with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (btw, did you hear about the Buddhist monk who declined anaesthetic for a tooth extraction? He wanted to transcend dental medication.)
  • McCartney commented in an interview with Radio Luxembourg 2 days before the official UK release in 1968:
PAUL: "I was sitting on the roof in India with a guitar-- John and I were sitting 'round playing guitar, and we were with Donovan. And we were just sitting around enjoying ourselves, and I started playing the chords of 'Rocky Raccoon,' you know, just messing around. And, oh, originally it was Rocky Sassoon, and we just started making up the words, you know, the three of us-- and started just to write them down. They came very quickly. And eventually I changed it from Sassoon to Raccoon, because it sounded more like a cowboy. So there it is. These kind of things-- you can't really talk about how they come 'cuz they just come into your head, you know. They really do. And it's like John writing his books. There's no... I don't know how he does it, and he doesn't know how he does it, but he just writes. It's like any writer, you know. I think people who actually do create and write... you tend to think, 'Oh, how did he do that,' but it actually does flow... just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down, you know. And that's what happened with this. I don't know anything about the Appalachian mountains or cowboys and indians or anything. But I just made it up, you know. And the doctor came in stinking of gin and proceeded to lie on the table. So, there you are." 
Q: "I suppose the idea to do the thing with some sort of a American-Western accent also happened this way, did it?" 
PAUL: "Oh that. Yeah, that was just a joke, you know, as most of it is."
  • Lennon denied involvement in the authorship: "Couldn't you guess? Would I have gone to all that trouble about Gideon's Bible and all that stuff?"
  • The honky tonk piano is played by the Beatles’ producer, George Martin.
George Martin and Paul McCartney
  • Paul McCartney:
“There are some names I use to amuse, Vera, Chuck and Dave, or Nancy and Lil, and there are some I mean to be serious, like Eleanor Rigby, which are a little harder because they have to not be joke names. In this case Rocky Raccoon is some bloke in a raccoon hat, like Davy Crockett. The bit I liked about it was him finding Gideon's Bible and thinking, Some guy called Gideon must have left it for the next guy. I like the idea of Gideon being a character. You get the meaning and at the same time get in a poke at it. All in good fun. And then of course the doctor is drunk.” 
  • McCartney is said to have obtained the idea for the drunken doctor from an road accident he was involved with in 1966.
"Paul had a moped which he came off one day in May 1966. He was a bit stoned at the time and cut his mouth and chipped his tooth. The doctor that came to treat him was stinking of gin and because he was a bit worse for wear he didn't make a very good job of the stitching which is why Paul had a nasty lump on his lip for a while." 
Margo Bird
A Hard Day's Write, Steve Turner
________________________________________

13.  Don’t Pass Me By


Video clip:


Lyrics:

I listen for your footsteps coming up the drive
Listen for your footsteps but they don't arrive
Waiting for your knock, dear, on my old front door
I don't hear it, does it mean you don't love me anymore?

I hear the clock a ticking on the mantel shelf
See the hands a moving but I'm by myself
I wonder where you are tonight and why I'm by myself
I don't see you, does it mean you don't love me anymore?

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair
You were in a car crash and you lost your hair
You said that you would be late about an hour or two
I said that's all right, I'm waiting here, just waiting to hear from you

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You'll never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

One two three four five six seven eight

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

About:
  • Written by Ringo, who also does the lead vocals.
  • Ringo wrote this song in 1963. In an interview for a New Zealand radio station during their 1964 tour of Australia, Ringo is heard in the background saying "sing the song I've written, just for a plug." Then, Paul says "Ringo has written a song called 'Don't Pass Me By.' A beautiful melody. This is Ringo's first attempt at songwriting." At this point, Paul and John actually sing a verse of it and Ringo says, "It was written as a country western, but Paul and John singing it with that blues feeling has knocked me out. Are the Beatles going to record it? I don't know. I don't think so, actually. I keep trying to push it on them every time we make an album." Paul then states, "Unfortunately, there's never enough time to fit Ringo's song on an album. He never finished it." Ringo put the finishing touches on it while in Rishikesh, India.
  • The original title was "Some Kind of Friendly."
  • The lines, "I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair, You were in a car crash and you lost your hair", were used by the supporters of the “Paul is dead” myth to support their case. However the expression "you lost your hair" was a common English expression to mean “you became upset”.


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