Before George Harrison dedicated large chunks of his solo albums to songs about his devotion to the Almighty, he wrote some biting lyrics chastising those who worship a different power, the almighty dollar. “Taxman” is his most famous financial finger-pointing, but “Piggies” may be Continue reading “#151: Piggies”
#158: Savoy Truffle
On the surface, “Savoy Truffle” is kind of a novelty song. George Harrison lists off a bunch of fancy candy varieties in a gentle ribbing of his pal Eric Clapton, a chocoholic/problem dental patient. George had a habit of poking fun at Eric’s foibles in song, like when he recorded an awful cover of Continue reading “#158: Savoy Truffle”
#165: Long, Long, Long
I still remember the first time I heard “Long, Long, Long.” No, it was not some life-changing moment that forever altered my state of consciousness. I’ll always remember it because it was one of the most Continue reading “#165: Long, Long, Long”
#169: Honey Pie
“Honey Pie” is about as corny as it gets, and considering we’re talking about Paul McCartney here, that’s saying a lot. I completely understand why so many people blast his affinity for writing silly love songs (sometimes self-deprecatingly), but count me in the camp that finds them Continue reading “#169: Honey Pie”
#172: Mother Nature’s Son
I’m just gonna come right out and drop a hot take: Paul McCartney is pretty darn good at music. Put down the pitchforks and I can explain. Well, first off, have you heard Continue reading “#172: Mother Nature’s Son”
#187: Wild Honey Pie
Now we’re getting into the straight-up weird stuff. There’s really no discernible reason why “Wild Honey Pie” should even exist. It’s just a minute of Paul McCartney going crazy and shrieking “Honey pie!” repeatedly. Notice, I’m not complaining about any of this. As I’ve said before, I like when Paul McCartney gets weird. And apparently I’m not the only one, since the only reason “Wild Honey Pie” ended up on the White Album was because George Harrison’s wife was a fan. It’s the sort of song Continue reading “#187: Wild Honey Pie”
#192: Yer Blues
When future grunge greats Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley were just a year old, John Lennon was perfecting the art of writing depressingly straightforward lyrics about loneliness and wanting to die. I mean, this song literally starts with, “Yes I’m lonely, wanna die,” which doesn’t leave much open to interpretation. Some suggest the song was a parody of the emerging British blues scene, but Lennon says otherwise:
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.
As a…well, I hesitate to use the word “diehard” fan of 90s alternative rock, I definitely think it’s possible Continue reading “#192: Yer Blues”
#193: The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
Lyrically, “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” is so weirdly entertaining that I can’t help but love it–and it’s based on a true story, which makes it even better. Musically, it has so little to offer that it genuinely feels like the one song in the Beatles’ canon that literally anyone could have written. The chorus is essentially a children’s singalong, and John Lennon put less effort into creating smooth transitions than Steven Wright.
Inspired by a curious companion during the Beatles’ 1968 stay in Rishikesh, India, many of the details related in the song Continue reading “#193: The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”
This is one of the earliest Beatles deep cuts I ever heard–my fourth-grade teacher played it every time a student in our class celebrated his or her birthday. I wasn’t very impressed by it then (although it was a passable three-minute diversion from actually doing work), and not much has changed in the ensuing years. It’s a rare Beatles song to emerge from a jam session, which gives it a distinct sense of urgency and an appropriate party vibe, but it’s a pretty underwhelming way to kick off the second half of The White Album.
As with a lot of songs that fall into this range on the countdown, there’s one strong element to “Birthday,” and that is Paul McCartney’s vigorous lead vocal. Beyond that, you’re stuck with Continue reading “#196: Birthday”
#215: Revolution 9
This is pretty much universally considered the worst Beatles track ever (I can’t bring myself to call it a song), and it’s not hard to see why. Diplomatically, it’s considered a “sound collage.” More accurately, it is the auditory equivalent of seeing a dog Continue reading “#215: Revolution 9”