Saturday, May 28, 2016

Continuing The Beatles' White Album tracks: Helter Skelter / Long, Long, Long

1968
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The track Helter Skelter, the second last on Side 3 (the White Album being a double album) will be forever associated with Charles Manson.  The item below looks at the song, the Manson aspect will be looked at tomorrow, being too lengthy to do in this post.
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Helter Skelter
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Video:

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Lyrics:

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah yeah yeah hey

Do you, don't you want me to love you
I'm coming down fast but I'm miles above you
Tell me tell me tell me come on tell me the answer
Well you may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Now helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter yeah
Ooh!

Will you, won't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter ooh
Look out, cos here she comes

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
And I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
And I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah yeah yeah

Well do you, don't you want me to make you
I'm coming down fast but don't let me break you
Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain't no dancer

Look out helter skelter helter skelter
Helter skelter

Look out helter skelter
She's coming down fast
Yes she is
Yes she is coming down fast

(My head is spinning, ooh...

Ha ha ha, ha ha ha, alright!

I got blisters on my fingers!)
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About:
  • Written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon and McCartney.
  • When The Who released I Can See for Miles, Pete Townshend was quoted in an interview as saying that the song was the group’s most extreme sound to date. It inspired McCartney to not only want to do likewise but to top it. He stated in a 2008 interview:
I was in Scotland and I read in Melody Maker that Pete Townshend had said: 'We've just made the raunchiest, loudest, most ridiculous rock 'n' roll record you've ever heard.' I never actually found out what track it was that The Who had made, but that got me going; just hearing him talk about it. So I said to the guys, 'I think we should do a song like that; something really wild.' And I wrote Helter Skelter.
You can hear the voices cracking, and we played it so long and so often that by the end of it you can hear Ringo saying 'I've got blisters on my fingers'. We just tried to get it louder: 'Can't we make the drums sound louder?' That was really all I wanted to do - to make a very loud, raunchy rock 'n' roll record with The Beatles. And I think it's a pretty good one.
  • A helter skelter is a fairground ride mainly popular in Britain, in which people could climb the inside of a wooden tower and slide down a spiral ride on the outside.
A touring helter skelter, travelling to shows, fairs and events, often used with burlap sacks for sliding.

A modern form of helter skelter, permanently fixed in a playground

  • According to McCartney:
I was using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom - the rise and fall of the Roman Empire - and this was the fall, the demise, the going down. You could have thought of it as a rather cute title but it's since taken on all sorts of ominous overtones because Manson picked it up as an anthem, and since then quite a few punk bands have done it because it is a raunchy rocker.
  • According to Ringo Starr:
Helter Skelter was a track we did in total madness and hysterics in the studio. Sometimes you just had to shake out the jams, and with that song - Paul's bass line and my drums - Paul started screaming and shouting and made it up on the spot.
  • According to John Lennon:
"That's Paul completely ... It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me.”
  • The first version was a 27 minute jam session. 21 takes were recorded, the last take being the one used on the album.
  • The fadeout line “I’ve got blisters on my fingers” was from Ringo, whose fingers were literally bleeding and blistered from the constant forceful playing. He shouted it on the 18th take in response to John’s call “How’s that?”
  • Don McLean references the song and the Manson murders in American Pie with the line “Helter Skelter with a summer swelter”.
  • The song has been hailed by many as an introduction to (and by some as the birth of) heavy metal.
  • Over the years there have been suggestions that the remaining members of The Who and the Beatles should form a combined band and tour as The Whotles.
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Long, Long, Long
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Video:

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Lyrics:

It's been a long long long time
How could I ever have lost you
When I loved you

It took a long long long time
Now I'm so happy I found you
How I love you

So many tears I was searching
So many tears I was wasting, oh oh

Now I can see you, be you
How can I ever misplace you
How I want you
Oh I love you
Your know that I need you
Ooh I love you

Oh
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About:

• This track concludes Side 3 and is a complete contrast to the heavy Helter Skelter which precedes it.

• Written by George Harrison, who also provides the vocals.

• The "you" in the song refers to God.

• The Beatles recorded 67 takes.

• The rattling sound at the end is a bottle of Blue Nun wine that was left on a speaker.

• The last 30 seconds of this song has been called an audio simulation of Paul's supposed death in 1966. 

• The song marked Harrison’s return to the guitar after 2 years studying the sitar.

• From Wikipedia:
The idea for the end of the song was inspired by the sound created by a wine bottle sitting on a Leslie speaker, through which the organ was connected. Whenever McCartney played a certain note on the keyboard, the bottle began to vibrate, producing an eerie clattering sound that the Beatles decided to incorporate in their subsequent performances of the track. To compound the effect on the selected take, Starr played a fast snare drum roll and Harrison vocalised a prolonged, high-pitched wail. While noting the "palpable spiritual longing" conveyed in the song, Chris Gerard of PopMatters describes this coda as a "weird spectral ending, with Harrison wailing like a wounded ghost while the band members rattle their instruments ominously".

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