Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Beatles' White Album tracks, continued


Continuing a look at the tracks of the Beatles' White Album.
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Side 3, Tracks 1-3:
Birthday
Yer Blues
Mother Nature’s Son
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Birthday


Video:

Lyrics:
They say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you

Ah
Ah
Ah
Come on
Come on

Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Dance yeah

Oh
Come on

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Oh dance! Dance

They say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you

About:

"With 'Birthday' we had a few friends around and it was one of our party's birthday, can't remember who. Pattie Boyd was there, Terry Dolan, just a few mates. Normally we didn't have friends around to sessions so it was very unusual. We didn't know what song to do so we decided to make one up. We did what Roy Orbison had done with 'Pretty Woman’ and Little Richard had started with 'Lucille’, do-do do-do do-do do-do; Roy Orbison goes, do-do do-do DO-DO DO-DO- he just changes the end a little bit. We changed basically the same riff of Lucille and Pretty Woman into Birthday- do-do do-do do-do do-do…'You say it's your birthday.'"
- Paul McCartney, interview, 2008

"We thought, 'Why not make something up?' So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff. So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all in the same evening."
- Paul McCartney, interview, 1968

"Paul was the first one in, and he was playing the 'Birthday' riff. Eventually the others arrived, by which time Paul had literally written the song, right there in the studio." 
- Chris Thomas, producer of the song (George Martin was away so Chris Thomas, his assistant, produced it)

"'Birthday' was written in the studio. Just made up on the spot. I think Paul wanted to write a song like 'Happy Birthday Baby' (sic), the old fifties hit. But it was sort of made up in the studio. It was a piece of garbage.”
- John Lennon, Playboy interview, 1980
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Yer Blues


Video:

Lyrics:
Yes I'm lonely wanna die
Yes I'm lonely wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why

In the morning wanna die
In the evening wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why

My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it's worth
I'm lonely wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why

The eagle picks my eye
The worm he licks my bone
I feel so suicidal
Just like Dylan's Mr. Jones
Lonely wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why

Black cloud crossed my mind
Blue mist round my soul
Feel so suicidal
Even hate my rock 'n' roll
Wanna die yeah wanna die
If I ain't dead already
Ooh girl you know the reason why

About:

Although credited to Lennon and McCartney, it was written solely by John Lennon, while on retreat in India.

John used "yer" instead of "your" in the title so as not to be taken too seriously. The song is a good-natured jab at the British blues scene, at British imitators of blues artists. The song is half-satirical, and half-earnest. There was a British blues boom in 1968, causing debate in the press at the time as to whether white men could sing the blues.

“Yer Blues was written in India, too. The same thing up there trying to reach God and feeling suicidal.”
- John Lennon

“The funny thing about the [Maharishi’s] camp was that although it was very beautiful and I was meditating about eight hours a day, I was writing the most miserable songs on earth. In Yer Blues, when I wrote, 'I'm so lonely I want to die,' I'm not kidding. That's how I felt.
- John Lennon

“George had this idea that he wanted to do it in the control room with the speakers blasting, so that he got more of an on-stage feel... I remember that John Lennon came in at one point and I turned to him and said, 'Bloody hell, the way you lot are carrying on you'll be wanting to record everything in the room next door!' The room next door was tiny, where the four-track tape machines were once kept, and it had no proper studio walls or acoustic set-up of any kind. Lennon replied, 'That's a great idea, let's try it on the next number!' The next number was Yer Blues and we literally had to set it all up - them and the instruments - in this minute room. That's how they recorded Yer Blues, and it worked out great!
- Ken Scott, sound engineer

“Yer Blues, on the White Album, you can't top it. It was the four of us. That is what I'm saying: it was really because the four of us were in a box, a room about eight by eight, with no separation. It was this group that was together; it was like grunge rock of the sixties, really - grunge blues.”
- Ringo Starr
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Mother Nature’s Son


Video:

Lyrics:
Born a poor young country boy
Mother Nature's son
All day long I'm sitting singing songs for everyone.

Sit beside a mountain stream
See her waters rise
Listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies.

Find me in my field of grass
Mother Nature's son
Swaying daisies sing a lazy song beneath the sun.

Mother Nature's son.

About:

What a difference ins styles and influence: Lennon’s Yer Blues sandwiched between McCartney’s Birtjhday and Mother Nature’s Son. Milk and Scotch.

Written by Paul McCartney, Mother Nature's Son was inspired by a lecture on nature given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India, although the song was mostly completed in Liverpool.

Mother Nature's Son was recorded during a tense period within the Beatles. McCartney worked mostly alone on the song; no other Beatles appear on the recording.

John Lennon and Ringo Starr were working on Yer Blues elsewhere in Abbey Road at the time that Paul McCartney was working on Mother Nature’s Son. They did, however, briefly enter studio two where McCartney was working. Lennon hated McCartney recording without the rest of the band.

“Paul was downstairs going through the arrangement with George and the brass players. Everything was great, everyone was in great spirits. It felt really good. Suddenly, halfway through, John and Ringo walked in and you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. An instant change. It was like that for 10 minutes and then as soon as they left it felt great again. It was very bizarre.”
- Ken Scott

McCartney recorded 25 takes of Mother Nature's Son. He recorded his vocals and acoustic guitar simultaneously, and take 24 was judged to be the best attempt. 

“I seem to remember writing Mother Nature's Son at my dad's house in Liverpool. I often used to do that if I'd gone up to see him. Visiting my family I'd feel in a good mood, so it was often a good occasion to write songs. So this was me doing my mother nature's son bit. I've always loved the [Nat King Cole] song called Nature Boy: 'There was a boy, a very strange and gentle boy...' He loves nature, and Mother Nature's Son was inspired by that song. I'd always loved nature, and when Linda and I got together we discovered we had this deep love of nature in common. There might have been a little help from John with some of the verses.”
- Paul McCartney

“That was from a lecture of Maharishi where he was talking about nature, and I had a piece called I'm Just A Child Of Nature, which turned into Jealous Guy years later. Both inspired from the same lecture of Maharishi.”
- John Lennon


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