Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nothing's Gonna Change My World


This is another great guitar song from the Beatles' White Album, including, as it does, guitars both crunchy and squealy. What more could a man ask for? Plus, fuck gimme more cowbell — how 'bout that fire bell in this song?

I'm pretty sure this song has the distinction of having the longest title of any song the Beatles ever released, it's official title being "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey". Of course, John never actually sings that line; instead, he consistently sings "Everybody's got something to hide 'cept for me and my monkey."

One of the inspirations for this song was an editorial cartoon John saw which depicted Yoko, for whom John had recently abandoned both wife and child, as a monkey on John's back, her long claws thrust into him, presumably sucking the talent out of him. (Needless to say, there were racist under- and overtones to a lot of the early objection in the press to Yoko's sudden appearance on the Beatles scene.) John took that depiction and turned it on its head — basically saying, "Fuck you! You're all hypocrites, and you're all hiding something, but me and my 'monkey'? At least we're honest", which you may or may not buy; but it's certainly how John saw himself & Yoko. To John, it was them against the world.

The White Album sessions are notorious for having been just chock full of bad vibes and therefore pretty ungroovy for any of the participants because there was so much tension between the group members by then, a goodly amount of it caused by John's insistence on bringing Yoko to every recording session. (He actually had her sing a line on "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill", the only female lead vocal on any official Beatles release1.) John has been quoted many times saying the White Album is really "me with a backing group; Paul with a backing group; George with a backing group" — that there was really very little cooperation or cross-pollination between group members. George famously brought Eric Clapton in to play lead on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" because he thought the presence of a guest would get the others to behave and treat his composition with the seriousness he felt it deserved but had not been getting.

Yet, despite that, despite the tension, despite the fact that the Beatles weren't exactly "playing well together" by this time, some of the songs on the White Album sound as though they must have been a blast to record, just a ton of fun; and "EGStHEM&MM" is one of them. Because you can hear all the background yelps and "woo"s from John and Paul and it just sounds as though they're really enjoying themselves. And it always amazes me that they didn't just crack up laughing while recording those manic "C'mons" at the end of the song. (If you guessed that the working title of this song was "Come On, Come On", go to the head of the class.)

Considering how at loggerheads John and Paul were by the time The Beatles were recording the White Album, it's interesting to note that John's favorite song on the album was Paul's "Why Don't We Do It in the Road", which Paul went off and recorded with no one else but Ringo while John and George were working on "Revolution 9", a "song" Paul wanted nothing to do with. John always resented Paul for not including him in this recording, and even claimed that he could have sung it  — Paul's song  — better than Paul! (Hard to credit, since Paul kicks the shit of of "WDWDIitR". It's hard to imagine its being sung better.)

And one of Paul's favorite songs on the White Album is John's "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" — understandable, because it's possibly the best song on the album.
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I went on a 4.96-mile run this morning, which brought my March total up to a LuMu-infuriatingly weird 110.21 miles total. (Deal with it, LuMu!) That's the most I've ever run in one month.

BFD.

(Added  later: O, um, I should probably have mentioned above that I listened to "EGStHEM&MM" about 20 times in a row on my run this morning, because it's a good song to run to. That's why I wrote about it.)
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1 I say lead vocal because, technically, there had been some prominent female backing/harmony vocals on one Beatles release, an early version of "Across The Universe"; during the recording of which, two "Apple Scruffs" — female fans who hung around outside the studio hoping to spot a Beatle — named Lizzie Bravo and Gayleen Pease (could someone be named "Gayleen Pease" anywhere other than in England?) were brought in, literally off the street, no singing experience at all, to sing harmony vocal. (You can hear this (significantly sped-up) version here. I've always preferred this version to the piece of shit version that that hack producer Phil Specter Spector issued on the Let It Be album.)

The version of the song containing these girls' prominent harmony vocals, which is a different mix, though not version, from the one the Beatles ultimately released on the Let It Be album (from which the girls' vocals were removed), was given to the World Wildlife Fund and released on their charity album called No One's Gonna Change Our World.

8 comments:

  1. Yes, I can definitely see a BIG distinction here:

    "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey". Of course, John never actually sings that line; instead, he consistently sings "Everybody's got something to hide 'cept for me and my monkey."

    "'cept for'" is ABSOLUTELY noteworthy.

    I'm gonna feel SO much better going about my day now.

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  2. "queen alexadra road is where she said she'd be, but was she there to meet me? no chance." by the toy dolls beats your beatles "everybody's got something to hide except me and my monkey".

    http://blip.fm/~nvl1k

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  3. I'm a post behind again, but of the four beavers pic, which one's facing to his left, George or Ringo?

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  4. I'd forgotten the great guitar and bass work at the end of that. How'd you manage to get EGSt(etc)... spelled correctly and then misspell Phil Spector?

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  5. BLARRRGH! Thanks, Steve! Corrected above. I guess I was thinking of that other great Wall of Sound producer, Arlen Specter.

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  6. How is it that you can make me feel stupid with a post about teenie bopper music from the 60's?

    AND you ran WAY more than me this month!

    Between you and SQ and his f-ing unreadable book lists and Fasty McFasterton 50K times...

    Christ, you two are irritating.

    lol at the f*&king scale comment - In my opinion, the type that needs a scale to measure that performance is kind of like the guy that pulls out the ruler to measure his manhood, he probably need not bother.

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  7. So guess what? You out ran me for the month of March. My antlers are pretty much drooping in shame and despair. They're as tiny and limp as Needle right now.

    But my numbers were nice, even numbers, at least, with none of those unattractive decimals mucking up the works. That's something, right?

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