They may not have changed the world as a barbershop quartet.
It was just over 50 years ago when the Fab Four released their first record to a square world and ushered in Beatlemania, moptops and you say you want a revolution–– well, you got it.
Sure, those Brit guys get the glory but a small kid from Ohio (me) had a bit of an influence on the band. Dig.
Here’s the original Lennon-McCartney lyrics to She Loves You: She loves you,
yes, yes, yes
She loves you,
yes, yes, yes…
I suggested they get a bit more informal–– yeah, yeah, yeah.
The band originally wanted to sport crewcuts, wear cardigan sweaters and perform barbershop quartet music. I suggested they let their hair grow, suit up and play electrified rock and roll music.
The band wanted to drop acid–– sulfuric acid. A punk kid talked them out of it.
The same kid helped them change the lyrics to some of their most famous songs. See if you can guess what those songs were from these original titles the band had: I Am The Wombat, Baby, You’re A Financially Sound Man With A Diversified Portfolio, Carry That Freight, Revolution 7, Penny Loafers, Very Attractive Sadie, Let It Pee, A Day In Wife, Glass Pearl Onion, Cathy Rigby, Everybody’s Got Something To Ride Except Me And My Orangutang, Get Plaque, The Day Before Today, She Came In Through The Coal Chute, While My Guitar Takes Imipramine To Boost Its Spirits and Here Comes That Big Yellow Circle Thingy In The Sky.
Yes, the band changed the world, but it might not have been without some guidance in the shadows from a midwestern youngster.
Growing up in the late pocket of Baby Boomerdom, The Beatles were at the height of their popularity. The most common question of the day was, “Who’s your favorite Beatle?”
If your answer was John, you were an artsy rebel.
Paul, a cutesy pleaser.
If you chose George, you were the quiet loner.
And Ringo was, well, the goofy outsider.
When I was about 10, my best friend Joe would invite me and a couple other pals to his garage. He’d swipe a pack of his old man’s Raleigh cigarettes, which came with coupons for being a loyal smoker. Collect enough coupons, you could maybe get a new set of lungs.
We’d light up in his garage, wield badminton rackets as guitars and pretend that we were the Beatles, smoking ciggies and singing like in the movie A Hard Day’s Night. Now Joe, being our cordial host and supplier of smokes and the only one of us who could actually sing, Joe always picked John or Paul since those two did most of the singing. I would try to get whichever one he didn’t pick. BUT, if Ernie was there, well, Ernie would take second dibs on the basis of the fact he was much bigger than me and a bully– so as the old saying goes, “Might makes Lennon or McCartney.”
Which left being George or Ringo. My first choice of those was to be George. I was pretty awesome on lead badminton racquet, and I could muck my way through harmonies. Last choice was Ringo. Pretending to play drums with tree sticks was not so glamorous.
We’d smoke, we’d play, we’d sing. Back then, it seemed the pecking order of people I knew for favorite Beatle was #1- John, #2- Paul, #3- George and #4- Ringo. John and Paul were probably 80-90% of the picks.
George never really got his due. He was not the popular Beatle, but he did write some of the band’s greatest songs. Now Martin Scorsese will give George his due, and I for one am looking forward to it. I won’t be smoking or playing badminton racquet, but I will be missing Joe, who left the stage far too early, my youth and the innocence of days when “Who’s your favorite Beatle?” could bond you to damn near anyone.
Ringo Starr has been ‘Best-ed’ out of The Beatles.
Ringo (real name “Rin Go Starkey”) replaced Pete Best as drummer of The Beatles in 1962, and for the next eight years was the backbeat of the most famous rock band in history.
On September 9, the popular video game Rock Band introduced a version for songs of The Beatles. It was an instant bestseller.
Ringo gets das boot by Jerry Mungerton. Rim shot, please.
On October 6, a 17-year old Atlantan named Jerry Mungerton scored a perfect 100% score drumming on six straight songs, and the avatars of John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were so impressed, they fired the avatar of Ringo Starr and replaced him with young Mr. Mungerton.
“It was awesome,” said an ecstatic Mungerton, “I mean I miss my human mom, dad, sis and girlfriend a lot– but being in The Beatles is worth it. Yeah, I love those flesh people and everything, but I mean come on, we’re talking The Beatles here!”
A dispondent Ringo avatar guzzled his third 40 of Olde English 800 and was somberly reflective. “It was a good run while it lasted,” he said, “I’ll miss me mates, but I guess I’m no Jerry Mungerton so it’s understandable they’ve moved on without me.”
With that, the ex-drummer guzzled his high octane 40 and hurled the empty bottle against a brick wall, and broke down sobbing. “Me life’s a bloody shambles,” he cried.
Meanwhile, somewhere a wolf howled, a tumbleweed tumbled and a kitten yawned.
The world is abuzz, aflutter, a-something, with the recent release of the entire recorded catalog of The Beatles, meticulously digitally remastered.
While many will wrestle with the decision of paying almost $300 for the remastered set, you should know some of the hidden gems unearthed by these incredible technological wonders.
Oh, you saucy lads-- let's rock again, shall we? Yes, let's do! Play that funky music, white boys!
1. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is restored with the missing Gregorian chant track featuring The Monks of the Benedictine Abbey Road. While producer George Martin thought the background vocals dragged the pace of the song down, they do lend an interesting texture and depressing patina that sells the intense yearning for holding ‘your hand.’
2. The re-mix on “I Feel Fine” reveals the previously hidden lyrics: “I’m in love with her and I feel fine/ well, actually I’m a bit congested and have some flu-like symptoms/ best to get to a chemist’s shoppe after this session/ got no time to get sick/ hope I’m not coming down with something…”
3. A refreshed, revitalized“Eleanor Rigby” unearths a hidden track of Marcel Marceau pantomiming the sorrow that Eleanor feels throughout the song. Although one must strain to hear the masterful mime at work– frowning, pretending to wring his sopping hankie of tears and walking against the wind to go to her grave in the cemetery– the impact is felt deeply. The song achieves new poignancy, sadness, depth, and announces to the world “It truly sucks to be Eleanor Rigby.”
4. McCartney’s classic song “Yesterday” enjoys a new day in the sun with the alternate lyrics mixed in: “Yesterday/ saw a movie starring Danny Kaye/ it was good, I have to say/ oh, I really love my Danny Kaye.” Although McCartney has long denied an infatuation for Danny Kaye, these lyrics prove otherwise.
5. While you probably know Eric Clapton plays the guitar solo on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” you’ve never heard it like this. The re-mastered version allows you to hear Clapton’s stomach growling during his performance. Following his solo, you can clearly hear Clapton’s voice off-mike asking “What’s a fellow have to do for a sandwich, some chips, a kidney pie, or something? A bowl of gruel, a bite of something, please. I’m starving here!”
6. Despite the long time rumor that at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, John says, “I buried Paul”, the newly re-mastered version clearly has Lennon saying, “I cremated Paul.”
7. The stories of the rifts among The Beatles comes to clear audio life with some of the re-mastered songs. In the revised “Yellow Submarine” you can hear Ringo call McCartney “an overbearing codger” and Paul responding “shut up, you gormless git!” In the re-engineered “Long And Winding Road”, one can actually hear a fistfight break out between Lennon and McCartney, along with the sound of Yoko Ono being thrown through the air and crashing onto an amp, cursing McCartney and knocking over Ringo’s drum kit while accidentally stepping on a cat and dragging her nails across a chalkboard and tripping a fire alarm.
8. On Lennon’s “Revolution 9″ track from The White Album, the re-mastered version reveals the following previously unheard lyric, “mumbler mime” instead of “number nine.” Apparently, this was an insulting reference to Marcel Marceau who was a notorious low talker. When Marceau heard about the snide insult, he pretended to punch Lennon. John decked him.
There are many more audio gems to be discovered in this digital dive. Grab your wallets and go!