Although I've listened to LOVE many times, it was only relatively recently that I listened and really appreciated how ingenious it is! The simultaneous combination of different Beatles songs is very clever, indeed. I often play tracks from Beatles albums as background music as preludes to my Beatles programs, and LOVE strikes me as a perfect candidate for such preludes. However, many of the tracks segue without pause, making it difficult to know when to stop. This blog, then, will be an observation of LOVE, paying particular attention to the macro-scale structure, timings, and 'conclusivity' of each collage on the album, with the intent of using this information to help fashion effective preludes.
Collage #1: Track 01-07, 17:02
01. "Because" (with some "A Day in the Life")
02. "Get Back" (with bits of "A Hard Day's Night", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)", "The End", and "A Day in the Life")
03. "Glass Onion" (with bits of "Hello Goodbye", "Magical Mystery Tour", and "Penny Lane")
04. "Eleanor Rigby"/"Julia"
05. "I Am the Walrus"
06. "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
07. "Drive My Car"/"The Word"/"What You're Doing" (with bits from "Taxman", and "Savoy Truffle")
Conclusion: fade out (inconclusive)
Collage #2: Tracks 08-10, 7:48
08. "Gnik Nus"
09. "Something"/"Blue Jay Way" (with bits from "Nowhere Man")
10. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"/"I Want You (She's So Heavy")
Conclusion: abrupt cut on "I Want You", followed by wind sound effects
Single Song #1: Track 11, 2:18
Conclusion: exactly like the original
Collage #3: Track 12, 2:31
Conclusion: exactly like the original
Collage #4: Tracks 13-17,
13. "Strawberry Fields Forever" (with bits of "Piggies", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", "In My Life", "Hello Goodbye")
14. "Within You Without You"/"Tomorrow Never Knows"
15. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (with bits of "Good Night")
16. "Octopus's Garden" (with bits of "Good Night", "Sun King", "Lovely Rita", "Helter Skelter", and "Yellow Submarine")
17. "Lady Madonna" (with bits from "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?", "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", "Hey Bulldog", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)")
Conclusion: reasonably conclusive
Collage #5: Track 18, 4:18
18. "Here Comes the Sun"/"The Inner Light" (with bits from "Oh! Darling", and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)")
Collage #6: Track 19, 4:45
19. "Come Together"/"Dear Prudence"/"Cry Baby Cry"
Collage #7: Tracks 20-21, 4:09
21. "Back in the USSR"
Conclusion: jet sound effects fade out
Collage #8: Tracks 22-23, 8:55
22. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (edit the very end and this could stand alone)
23. "A Day in the Life"
Conclusion: very conclusive piano chord
Collage #9: Tracks 24-25, 5:22
24. "Hey Jude"
25. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)"
Collage #10: Track 26, 3:38
26. "All You Need is Love" (with bits of "Good Night")
Conclusion: quote from "Good Night"
Long before Phil Spector ever added orchestral overdubs to McCartney's ballad "The Long and Winding Road", the composer himself apparently intended to do so.
Sulpy #26.91P; A/B Road: January 26, Disc 6, Track 3
MARTIN: Paul's thinking of adding strings anyway.
HARRISON: Paul, are you going to have strings? Don't know. … It would be nice with some brass, just doing the sustaining chords.
PAUL: Yeah. … We were planning to that it anyway, for a couple of numbers, just have a bit of brass and a bit of strings.
Realizing how much Billy Preston's presence has helped the Beatles, John, Paul, and George discussed inviting him to join the Beatles, and George even suggests asking Bob Dylan to join. Paul adamantly refuses both.
Excerpt from Sulpy #24.08; A/B Road: January 14, Disc 1, Track 9
JOHN: I'd just like him [Preston] in our band, actually. That's how I'd like it. I'd like a fifth Beatle.
PAUL: I just don't because it's bad enough with four. With five on display, it's creating havoc. I dig him, he's an incredibly musician, but none of that.
JOHN: If he's around, then I'd use him.
GEORGE: If I asked Dylan to join then Beatles, then he would as well and we'd get them all in it.
PAUL: Yeah, but for that – that's the point: you don't need to join the Beatles.
JOHN: We'd call it “The Beatles & Co.”, that could be our band. It'd be great wouldn't it? “Beatles & Co.” and the “Co.” is the band!
GEORGE: It's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
PAUL: We can still have him. It's like you can have everything. You don't need to sign him up. You don't need to own him.
George Harrison, of course, eventually did rejoin the Beatles, and the day after Harrison returned, Billy Preston joined in, as well. The addition of an outsider immediately improved the atmosphere and working relations. This can be most easily heard through comparing their musical production before and after, but it can also be seen through their words, as the following transcript illustrates.
Excerpt from Sulpy #22.48; A/B Road: January 22, Disc 3, Track 3
[The band rehearses “Don't Let Me Down”, Preston solos after Lennon's invite]
JOHN: It's great – I say “take it” and he takes it! You're giving us a lift, Bill!
GEORGE: We've been doing this for days, you know.
JOHN: Just choking.
The next recording session after George Harrison quit the band took place on 13 January 1969. In an effort to not be disturbed, John Lennon stayed at home and repeated attempts to phone him resulted in busy signals, implying he deliberately took the phone off the hook so that he couldn't be reached. Consequently, the studio chatter recorded that morning is remarkably candid discussion between Paul McCartney, Linda Eastman (Paul's girlfriend), Michael Lindsay-Hogg (the film's director), and Neil Aspinal (the Beatles' roadie), about the absent John Lennon and his omnipresent companion, Yoko Ono.
Excerpts from A/B Road January 13, Disc 2, Tracks 4 and 6
PAUL: Yoko's very much to do with it from John's angle. And there's only two answers: One is to fight it and fight her and try and get the Beatles back to four people without Yoko, and ask her to sit down at the board meetings. The other thing is to just realize she's there and he's not going to split with her just for our sakes. But then it's not even so much of an obstacle as long as we're not trying to surmount it. While we're still trying to get over it, it's an obstacle. But it isn't really. It's not that bad. They want to stay together, those two. So it's alright, let the young lovers stay together.
MICHAEL: Can't operate under these conditions. There'll be no work coming out.
PAUL: It's like we're striking because work conditions aren't right. But it's not that bad.
MICHAEL: But he knows that, doesn't he?
PAUL: John knows that, sure.
MICHAEL: Does he talk about it at all?
PAUL: We've done a lot of Beatles now, and we've got a lot out of Beatles. I think John's saying now, obviously, if it came to a push between Yoko and the Beatles, it's Yoko.
NEIL: Whenever John talks these days it's like Yoko is talking through him.
PAUL & LINDA: Yeah.
NEIL: Or he shuts up and lets her do it for him. And that's become a thing for him – not ever talking to him like I'm talking to you right now. … When you're talking to John, you always (these days, anyway) tend to think that you're talking to Yoko more than you're talking to John.
PAUL: That's why I say writing a song with him is a bit embarrassing.
PAUL: They're under that thing – they just want to be near each other. I just think it's silly of me or anyone to try and say to them, “no you can't”. Okay, they're going overboard about it, but John always does. And Yoko probably always does. So that's their scene. You can't go saying, “Don't go overboard about this thing. Be sensible about it and don't bring her to meetings.” It's his decision. It's none of our business to interfere in that. Even when it comes into our business, you still can't really say much except “Look, I don't like it, John”. Then he can say, “Screw you”, or “I like it”, or “well, I won't do it”. That's the only way, is to tell John about it.
MICHAEL: Have you done that already?
PAUL: I told him I didn't like writing songs with him and Yoko.
MICHAEL: Were you writing together much more before she came around, or had you cooled it then, before her?
PAUL: We've cooled it because [of] not playing together. Ever since we didn't play together.
MICHAEL: On stage you mean.
PAUL: Yes, because we lived together when we played together. We were in the same hotel, up at the same time every morning, doing this all day. And it doesn't matter what you do, as long as you're this close all day, something grows. And then when you're not this close all day physically, something goes.
PAUL: Neither of us compromise. If I can start to compromise, then maybe they'll bend a little for me.
MICHAEL: Yeah, but if her around so much has caused a lot of trouble, then you're compromising already. You've made a lot of compromise.
PAUL: I think it's because we've thought that the only alternative would be for John to say, “Okay, well, see you then”. And we'd not want that to happen.
These excerpts are all taken from 10 January 1969, following George Harrison's quitting the band.
Excerpt from Suply #10.74; A/B Road: January 10, Disc 4, Track 6
JOHN: I think if George doesn't come back by Monday or Tuesday, we ask Eric Clapton to play in it [the Beatles]. ... Eric would be pleased to join. He left Cream because they're all -
RINGO: All soloists.
JOHN: All soloists. But we're not in our group – all he's got to do is play guitar. The point is, if George leaves, do we want to carry on the Beatles? I do. … [But if not] I'd just get another band, another group, you know, and carry on.
Excerpt from Suply #10.74; A/B Road: January 10, Disc 4, Track 6
MICHAEL: Maybe for the show, you could just say George was sick.
JOHN: No, I mean, if he leaves, he leaves.
MICHAEL: But what's the consensus? Do you want to go on with the show and the work?
JOHN: Yeah. If he doesn't come back by Tuesday, we get Clapton.
JOHN: We should just go on, though, as if nothing's happening.
MICHAEL: I think we should go away.
Excerpt following Suply #10.83; A/B Road: January 10, Disc 4, Track 14
MICHAEL: It's looking like rehearsal's over. Would I be right in feeling that?
RINGO: I feel that.
PAUL: Yup. [sings] I've gotta feeling...
JOHN: I think your general attitude is right.
MICHAEL: I gotta feeling, too, that that's it. Well, are we meeting again on Monday?
MICHAEL: Just as chickens?
JOHN: I'll have Eric [Clapton], Jimmy [Page], and Tommy (?) [to replace George].
PAUL: [to Maureen] A7, D7, G7. Get them off over the weekend and you're in [the band].
George Harrison's quitting the Beatles on 10 January 1969 was the culmination of the several previous days' worth of tension in the recording studio, and the several previous years' worth of Lennon and McCartney 'looking down on' George as someone significantly younger and less musically talented. These excerpts help to illustrate how George was not taken seriously by either Lennon or McCartney.
Excerpt from Suply #3.125-3.126; A/B Road: January 3, Disc 4, Track 1
GEORGE: “All things must pass away.” All out. Back in. “All things must pass. All things must pass away.”
JOHN: [mock sermon] In the beginning was the word. The word was God.... [singing] I think I'll pass away.
Excerpt from Suply #3.130; A/B Road: January 3, Disc 4, Track 6
GEORGE: [to Paul] It should be where if you write a song I feels as though I wrote it. You know, in order to be involved in it as much. That was the good thing about the last album [The White Album] – it's the only album so far I've tried to get involved in.
Excerpt from Suply #6.04; A/B Road: January 6, Disc 1, Track 9
GEORGE: I wrote a gospel song over the weekend.
JOHN: According to Saint who?
GEORGE: According to the Lord. “Hear Me Lord”.
Excerpt from Sulpy #8.01; A/B Road: January 8, Disc 1, Track 1
GEORGE: [to Ringo] “I Me Mine” it's called. Should I sing it to you? I don't care if you don't want it. I don't give a fuck. It can go in the musical. It's a heavy waltz. [sings]
Excerpt from Suply #10.49; A/B Road: January 10, Disc 3, Track 2
JOHN: [plays the intro to Chuck Berry's “I'm Talking About You”]
GEORGE: I'm leaving the band now.
As I prepare for my June 11 debut of Let it Be: The Beatles, January 1969 at Cook Memorial Public Library (413 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL), I've found myself in need of transcriptions of the A/B Road recordings to supplement what is less than stellar audio fidelity. My next several blogs will be such transcriptions, starting with perhaps the most famous: the "fight" between Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
PAUL: It's not together, so that it's not sounding together.
GEORGE: So we keep on playing until we find the bit.
PAUL: Or we can stop and say it's not together.
GEORGE: Yes. Then you've got to carry on until you get it together. I mean, that's all I'm going to play until it's found the blending with the rest.
PAUL: Okay, well, you know, I never know what to say to that, because what I want to say is, “Now, come on” and play, you know. But I can't, you know, and we get into that one.
PAUL: See, if we can get it simpler and then complicate it where it needs complications. But it's complicated in the bit-
GEORGE: It's not complicated. I mean, all I'm playing is the chords.
PAUL: No, no, come on, you always gotta knock me when I say that. I'm trying to help you, but I always hear myself annoying you.
GEORGE: No, you're not annoying me.
PAUL: It gets so that I can't say...
GEORGE: You don't annoy me anymore.
PAUL: You know what I mean. But doesn't everyone agree that it's confused at the moment? So all I'm trying to say is let's get the confusion unconfused, then confuse it. But that's what we've been doing all afternoon. This is why we're not getting anything done. We're just rolling on with it, and we've only got twelve more days. So we've really got to do this methodically.
PAUL: I really am trying to just say, “Look, lads, the band, you know. Should we try it like this?” You know.
GEORGE: It's funny, though, how it only occurs when we record the, um-
PAUL: I know, on this one, it's like should we play guitar all the way through “Hey Jude”, and I don't think we should.
GEORGE: Okay, well, I don't mind. I'll play whatever you want me to play. Or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play. Whatever it is that will please you, I'll do it.
(excerpt from Sulpy #6.02)
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.