The Beatles (band)/Headscratchers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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  • Note: The whole discussion for "Imagine" has been moved to John Lennon.
  • Why do the Beatles spend a good 4 minutes at the end of "Hey Jude" singing "Nah, nah-nah, na-na-na-nah, na-na-na-nah, heyyy Juuuuuuuude" over and over? (And over and over and over and over...)
    • Reportedly it wasn't supposed to last that long, but they just kind of got into a thing and kept going.
    • Because there probably wasn't enough room on the tape to go longer. "Hey Jude" is like listening to the very heart of music as a whole. 4 minutes isn't long enough.
      • Amen.
  • Why does it say, on at least two different pages of this wiki, that "Please Please Me is about oral sex"? This is far from being the only example here of the common error of presenting hypothesis as if it were proven fact, but it's the one that annoys me the most. According to one poster on the InkTank forums, this decidedly non-canonical idea comes from one music critic who's notoriously filthy-minded (not just for this idea alone, either), hence is not the best of sources.
    • Well, I find it hard to deny that they intended sexual overtones to be read into the song--at the very least as double entendre--but nothing as specific as oral sex. Remember: the thing about Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory is that it makes people feel smart about themselves, and since most people are dumb and perhaps recognize it on some level, that's a common need.
  • This is more of a "it makes me curious" than something that annoys me, but I wonder what Yoko Ono, being Japanese, thought of Ringo's stage name, especially given that the Beatles are connected to Apple Corps. Ringo means apple in Japanese, and while I've read that Ringo's name came from wearing rings, it's just an interesting coincidence, especially considering there was someone at least of Japanese descent involved with the band.
    • It is worthy to remember that by the time she and John first met, she had already spent many years living in the US and was a fluent English speaker (which might have made her aware of the 'ring', not 'apple' origin), plus the Beatles were already famous, by then Yoko must have already been aware that Ringo was not one of the creatives in the band and finally, that was in 1966, long before Apple Corps was started (thus there was no reason to think apples were important for the Beatles back then) so I believe she thought the same as you: "it's just a curious coincidence".
  • The entire point of Michelle is that the singer has "fallen in love" with a French girl, and can't tell her because he doesn't speak French. If you can't carry on a conversation with the object of your affections, it's probably not real love.
    • According to That Other Wiki the song is meant to be a parody of the French style of music. It's not serious.
    • And if it was serious, it could get handwaved as Love At First Sight or something similar.
    • One of the beautiful - if divisive - things about Paul's songwriting is that lyrics were often an afterthought. (John usually did just the opposite, explaining his sometimes musically underwhelming songs with deep, emotional lyrics vs. Paul's beautifully melodic Silly Love Songs.) This was just the case with "Michelle": it started out as an instrumental done In the Style Of Chet Atkins and the Love At First Sight lyrics came later. So the lyrics aren't really even that relevant; they just served to turn a wordless Chet Atkins parody into a lovely imitation of the French ballad. It is a pop song after all.
  • The song Day Tripper. Okay, so she's a day tripper, right? That means she goes somewhere for the day and then comes back... so what on earth is she doing with a ONE WAY TICKET?
    • A "day tripper", in slang, is a person who uses hallucinogens constantly, so that it is more or less an all-day-every-day thing. What a "Sunday driver" is, on the other hand, I really don't know....
      • No, it's someone who uses drugs occasionally but isn't a real hippy, just a poser.
      • "Sunday driver" is a colloquial term for sluggish drivers, implying that they treat all of their drives like leisurely weekend sightseeing excursions.
      • "She only played one-night stands"--that's clear enough. Listen to Mae West's cover, if you still don't get it.
      • What about the "easy Way Out" part?
  • I don't see how Got To Get You Into My Life can be anything other than a typical Silly Love Song. Even though Paul confirmed it was about pot, it doesn't make sence to me. Again, I've never done drugs, so mabye I just don't see it.
    • To just do a quick breakdown of some of the lyrics: "I was alone/I took a ride/I didn't know what I would find there" ~ The singer first experiments with drugs. "Another road where maybe I could see another kind of mind there" ~ It's common after drug experiences to feel like you're no longer the same person you were before taking drugs. "Then I suddenly see you/did I tell you I need you/Every single day of my life?" ~ The singer does drugs, enjoys the high, develops a craving for it. And so on.
      • It could just as eaisly be about going to new places and meeting someone unexpectantly, then typical silly love at first sight. There's no overt drug references.
      • This is what has been called double-coding; it is open to multiple readings and serves different audiences in different ways. Plenty of drug-influenced Beatles songs play this way: "Lucy in the Sky" perhaps most obviously (initials aside, it was conceived as an articulation of psychedelic mind expansion), "Yellow Submarine," etc. Even the phrase "turn me on" turns up in several Beatles songs like "A Day in the Life" and "She's a Woman" -- to the uninitiated it would seem pretty benign, but to those hip to it, it was a winking reference to drug lingo.
  • Is it just me, or did John Lennon's solo career decline really hard?
    • A lot of the Beatles made sort of "filler songs" during all of their solo careers. One could say it's because they're so passionate about music just making nonsense is good for them. One could call it lazy money-grabbing (this troper prefers the former, seeing as being a Beatle gives you enough money for various swimming pools filled with cash by itself). I mean, Paul wasn't exactly all creativity.
    • Yeah, the Beatles were never quite as brilliant in their solo careers as they were as a band ... but even when they were together, Beatles lyrics were often pretty simple ("She's So Heavy," for instance), which isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes, Less Is More.
  • Before John's murder, he, Paul, and George occasionally joked in interviews about a reunion. Even given that they were joking, would a genuine reunion have been likely if John hadn't been killed?
    • To be honest, I get the feeling that a Beatles reunion would have always been a long-shot even if Mark David Chapman hadn't decided to intervene. They may have 'teased and made jokes' about it, but Lennon at least always seemed to be fairly clear that he had little interest in it. Maybe something along the lines of the Anthology, but that would have been it, I personally think.
      • John, George, and Paul had patched up their differences by that time. There was ample evidence to show the Beatles were on the way to reunion before yet another huge fan of Catcher in the Rye decided to murder someone.
        • Maybe--but even at best, there's a huge gap from "on speaking terms again" to "getting the old band back together and touring." Considering how quick the ex-Beatles all were to describe the chances of a reunion as slim to nil, the evidence doesn't seem that ample.
        • Peter Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money makes it clear that in 1980, discussions about a reunion concert were ongoing ... possibly in Central Park.
        • If they had gotten back together, I expect that it would have been for a one-shot deal, likely for charity. My best friend has always felt they would have gotten together for Live Aid, which seems a reasonable thought.
      • For what it's worth, when Lorne Michaels offered a Comically Small Bribe on Saturday Night Live for the Beatles to come down to the studio and play, John and Paul (who were both in New York) got on the phone with each other about going to get it. They ultimately didn't, but were legitimately willing to do it.
        • "You can divide it up any way you want--if you want to give Ringo nothing, that's up to you."
    • One possible interpretation might be that Lennon was simply uninterested in anything too similar to living life as a jetsetting rock star. Perhaps he felt he didn't want to go through "the lost weekend" again, and wanted a stable, normal-ish family life and to be there for Yoko or Sean. He felt bad about his mistakes and didn't want to go back. He might have enjoyed his freedom in not surrendering to a group vote, too.
  • It seems like the re-releases in 2009 didn't fix the problem that the singing only comes from one side. No matter what version I find, The song Norwegian Wood always has the singing come from one side, as do many of their other songs. Hey, record companies, we have the technology to fix this, so use it!
    • Hey, I think the whole point in these songs was Gratuitous Panning. Though I agree that in songs like Norwegian Wood and Yellow Submarine, it was irritating.
      • Perhaps that was the point, but it's still annoying nonetheless. I have sensitive ears, especially for that kind of thing, and so hearing them out of one ear only almost ruins those songs for me.
    • Personal opinion: Please Please Me to The White Album were all Mono, and I plan to listen to them Mono. I get that some people like listening to music in Stereo instead, but I feel like they made it one way, I'll listen to it that way. I do agree that they should have at least tried to utilize the technology they have to finally make real stereo versions, but it's no skin off my nose that they didn't.
    • It was never a "problem" and never needed "fixing." In the 60's, all the Beatles really cared about mastering was the mono mixes, as that's what would get played on the radio. Stereo mixing was left for studio engineers to do, and since they needed to "show off" stereo, they heavily separated the vocals from the music. If it bothers you that much, buy the Beatles in Mono box set. The few albums not included because they were never mastered in mono have stereo panned properly.
  • I love the Beatles, but is it just me or were they kind-of mediocre as a live band? I mean, even the best footage of them wasn't exactly transendental. Plus, even they themselves have derided their own equipment claiming they couldn't hear each other and in some cases, were playing different songs? They didn't move around much either. Today, Sir Paul has enough gear that everyone in the arena can hear him and there's plenty of film clips being shown on huge-@$$ screens to keep everyone entertained; but if you bought a ticket to see the Beatles back in the mid-sixties, wouldn't you feel a bit ripped-off?
    • On the evidence, it does seem that, yeah, many of their live gigs would have sucked ass. To be fair, however, a lot of these criticisms can be put down to the fact that it was The Sixties and they were pioneering a lot of this stuff in the first place. When they started gigging, smaller venues were the standard, so there wouldn't have been as much need for powerful speakers or a lot of room to really move about (although Brian Epstein did reportedly tame their live act down a lot when he signed on as the manager; they were reportedly a lot more active and rowdy on stage before he came along). It was The Beatles themselves who did the first major stadium gig (Shea Stadium in 1965), and presumably a lot of the things that work to iron out most of these problems -- screens so that everyone can see, speakers powerful enough that everyone can hear without completely deafening the performers, the idea that you don't need to stay still so everyone can see you, things to entertain the audience -- hadn't been ironed out yet. Plus, for the not being able to hear themselves and the problems that caused, that was in large part because the audience was mainly more interested in screaming loudly at them rather than listening to the music, which was why the band couldn't even hear what they were playing -- so if they weren't satisfied it's kind of their own fault in the first place (and presumably the ones who went just to see their favourite Beatle and scream at them would have considered it money well spent).
    • The Beatles were reportedly pretty wild when they were performing live in Hamburg (nailing condoms to the wall of the club, drinking on stage, that kind of thing), but that went the same way as the leather jackets and messy hair with the onset of Beatlemania. They were being marketed to suburban teenagers and nobody on the business side of things wanted to scare their parents off.
  • Why does everyone say that Ringo is the least popular Beatle? From what I see, he gets so much attention for being the sad little Woobie on the drums. If anyone, it's George who no one remembers.
    • Maybe way back when the group was together that was the case. Modern day fans, however, seem to focus more on the musicianship and songwriting of the individual members, and the fact is that Ringo wrote too few songs (three in total, if I recall correctly, one of which was penned with John or Paul's help and another rumored to have been more or less completely rewritten by George) during his time with The Beatles to be much more than a blip on the radar. Meanwhile, "Here Comes the Sun", "Taxman", "Something", and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" are generally regarded as some of The Beatles' best songs, and all of them were written by George (who also has the perpetually popular solo album All Things Must Pass going for him). I'll say this, though, Ringo's still the best actor out of all of 'em.
  • Why were the Beatles so family-friendly comparedto their contemporaries? The rest of the Big Four were singing tons of songs with dirty, nasty subjects, while the Fabs almost never went out of family friendly territory. They did every so often (See: Please Please Me, I've Got A Feeling, Piggies, Getting Better) but still, it's strange to me.
    • The same reason why once they became visible, Brian Epstein had them dress in suits rather than the leather jackets they wore in Germany -- a branding that positioned them as wholesome and upright. The Rolling Stones, etc., came later and went with raunchier material in part to distinguish themselves from the Beatles. That being said, some of the Beatles' material is less than family friendly: "I Am the Walrus," "A Day in the Life," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Back in the USSR," "Happiness Is a Warm Gun," "Run for Your Life" and "The Ballad of John and Yoko" were all banned from the radio in either the US or the UK for one reason or another (but usually to do with drugs or politics, rather than sex).

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