Saturday. "Friday Night arrives without a suitcase/Sunday morning creeping like a nun." Perhaps its part of that eight-day-week the Beatles introduced. Lady Madonna was McCartney's 'come-back' single after critics savaged Magical Mystery Tour. Musically, it's an impressive response, the boogiewoogie piano and handclaps combining to create an infectious driving sound. Lyrically, it is less successful. The title was inspired by a magazine photograph of an African mother and child captioned Mountain Madonna. This image immediately runs into trouble with a very British reference to paying the rent. Then it turns bizarrely accusatory ('Did you think that money was heaven sent?') before losing all coherence in what Ian MacDonald calls 'acid tinged unreality'. Macdonald particularly disapproves of the 'pointless allusion to I Am the Walrus' suggesting that this 'wanton self-mythologising ... in the context of the developing 'Pa
1962 would be the key year in the history of The Beatles. But it got off to a very bad start. In the early hours of New Year's Day they drove to London. They were heading for an audition at Decca Records - then the most prestigious record company in the UK. After battling through a snowstorm they finally arrived the studio at the appointed time of 11.00 - only to find that there was nobody there to meet them. Then they were told that they could not use their own amplifiers. But the session went ahead? Over the next hour they recorded the following songs, which included three Lennon and McCartney originals: Like Dreamers Do Money (That's What I Want) Till There Was You The Sheik Of Araby To Know Her Is To Love Her Take Good Care Of My Baby Memphis, Tennessee Sure To Fall (In Love With You) Hello Little Girl Three Cool Cats Crying, Waiting, Hoping Love Of The Loved September In The Rain Besame Mucho ? The Beatles did not perform well. They we
At the end of the lengthy recording session for the single version of Please Please Me George Martin turned to The Beatles and said, 'Gentlemen, you have your first Number One!' George was rarely wrong about anything but in this case the jury is still out.
'Words are pouring out like endless rain into a paper cup' In 1970 John Lennon gave a series of confessional interviews to Rolling Stone Magazine. Rather ungallantly, he revealed the source of the opening line of Across the Universe as a scolding from his then wife Cynthia in 1967. I was lying next to my first wife in bed ... and I was irritated. and I was thinking. She must have been going on and on about something and she'd gone to sleep and I kept hearing these words over and over, flowing like an endless stream. I went downstairs and it turned into a sort of cosmic song rather than an irritated song, rather than a "Why are you always mouthing off at me?"... [The words] were purely inspirational and were given to me as boom! The tune also appears to arrived in an unusual way. Hunter Davies recalls that he was walking (in silence) with John around the garden of his Weybridge mansion. Suddenly they heard the sound of a siren from passing police car
The Beatles first flew into New York in February 1964 to find an adoring new audience. To American ears their new music came with a charmingly fresh approach to the English language. Interestingly, this initially came across more in their spoken interviews than their song lyrics - the early ones followed the established 'American' style ('I want to hold your hand'). But success gave them the confidence to draw on British cultural and linguistic references. Many were unknown to most American listeners. the National Health Service (from ‘Dr Robert’) or the News of the World (‘Polythene Pam’), and British English vocabulary like ‘ ring my friend’ (‘Dr Robert’ again: Americans would say call ), ‘time for tea ’ (‘Good Morning, Good Morning’: see sense 3 here ), and dressing gown (‘She’s Leaving Home’ – it’s a bathrobe in American English). Not to mention those plasticine porters in ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ – the American equivalent Play-Doh does