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Beatles songs that work as poetry
12 January 2014
4.46am
Molly Jones
Market place
The Jacaranda
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9 June 2013
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I think The End (focusing more on the last part of the song) seems pretty poetic. Also Michelle would make a nice poem, I've been in kind of a Rubber Soul kick lately and Girl would also be beautiful. That's all I can really think of right now, it's getting late and i should probably get off the computer.a-hard-days-night-john-2

and to DayInTheLife, I really like your signature, I'd never heard that quote before.ahdn_george_08

“Anyway, there is one thing I have learned and that is not to dress uncomfortably, in styles which hurt: winklepicker shoes that cripple your feet and tight pants that squash your balls. Indian clothes are better.” - George Harrison

24 February 2014
7.14pm
acmac
Carnegie Hall
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Apologies for a very late reply...

Bungalow Bob said
Acmac, these are valid criticisms and your point is very well stated. However… (ahem)… if you are to dislike "Across The Universe" for its purple prose, then how can you ignore the strained, overwrought imagery of "I Am The Walrus?" Or why doesn't "While My Guitar Gently Weep" bother you, with the cringe-worthy bridge consisting of the "diverted, perverted, inverted, alerted" rhyme scheme. (George was furiously thumbing through the rhyming dictionary there.)

I take no offense because you think the song sounds like "student work." (Paul Simon's "Sounds Of Silence," and "I Am A Rock;" now there's some purple student work.) In fact, now that you mention it, "dance before me like a million eyes" is pretty laughable. I never noticed that before. I enjoy almost everything the Beatles did, even though it you examine the music closely enough, there is a lot not to like. Another thing I enjoy is a civilized, good-natured debate, and I think we've got that here. :)

You make excellent points! And it just goes to show how much tastes differ. I don't find the imagery of "Walrus" to be strained or overwrought at all -- I love it; I think it's brilliant. For me it all coalesces into a hi-def vision of pain and fear and filth and menace that cuts right to the bone. And oh my, John's vocal. I think it's one of his most genius deliveries ever. I am BUYING what he is selling, man. That said, Geoff Emerick is right: George Martin deserves mad props for the arrangement and production. Genius all around. Also the song just feels more personal and sincere to me, whereas I feel John is posturing in "ATU." Even the title is pretentious -- the UNIVERSE? Really, John?? Yes, do tell us about THE UNIVERSE, lol.

And "Walrus" is almost purely imagistic; "ATU" is a clutter of unwieldy adjectives, adverbs, and similes: "endless," "restless," "limitless, undying"; "blindly," "wildly"; the aforementioned "LIKE A MILLION EYES" and the equally laughable "LIKE A MILLION SUNS" -- and don't even get me started on "pools of sorrow, waves of joy, are drifting through my opened mind, possessing and caressing me." Ugh. There are only so many multisyllabic Latinates and nebulous abstractions ("life," "love," "sorrow," "joy") a poem can take before it collapses under it's own weight. I even hate the verbs "slither" and "meander"! Blegh. "Images of broken light." Yuck. "Inciting and inviting me." Ew.

Heh. So, basically the song has NO redeeming qualities for me! Except for the nice chorus and the "wind inside a letterbox" image, which does strike my fancy. 

Paul offends similarly in "LAWR." "The wild and windy night that the rain washed away has left a pool of tears crying for the day"? Good grief. So maudlin. Still like the song, tho. I guess I can stomach maudlin better than pretentious (same deal with honest feel-good fluff; give me that any day over stilted pretension or preachiness). 

I see what you mean, but I don't at all mind the bridge of "Gently Weeps." He may have been thumbing through the dictionary, but he makes it work; it's a cogent and interesting statement, to me (well, maybe "diverted" strains). Beyond that, I believe him; it's one of George's most heartfelt vocals. I agree the song is kinda... bombastic and overblown, but it's a particular flavor of bombast for which I have affection. It's such quintessential Sixties Epic Balladry (very much like "Sound of Silence"). And yet the quiet, acoustic version of "WMGGW" is equally lovely. I wish the "play you are staging" couplet had made it into the official version; it balances the "sweeping" lines. 

Absolutely agree about civil disagreement. It's fun to compare notes with you. :)

24 February 2014
8.25pm
OneCoolCat
The Cavern Club
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6 February 2014
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Let It Be makes a good read on its own.
I'm A Loser too
Inner Light

 

 

 

25 February 2014
4.45pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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acmac said
Apologies for a very late reply...

Bungalow Bob said
Acmac, these are valid criticisms and your point is very well stated. However… (ahem)… if you are to dislike "Across The Universe" for its purple prose, then how can you ignore the strained, overwrought imagery of "I Am The Walrus?" Or why doesn't "While My Guitar Gently Weep" bother you, with the cringe-worthy bridge consisting of the "diverted, perverted, inverted, alerted" rhyme scheme. (George was furiously thumbing through the rhyming dictionary there.)

I take no offense because you think the song sounds like "student work." (Paul Simon's "Sounds Of Silence," and "I Am A Rock;" now there's some purple student work.) In fact, now that you mention it, "dance before me like a million eyes" is pretty laughable. I never noticed that before. I enjoy almost everything the Beatles did, even though it you examine the music closely enough, there is a lot not to like. Another thing I enjoy is a civilized, good-natured debate, and I think we've got that here. :)

You make excellent points! And it just goes to show how much tastes differ. I don't find the imagery of "Walrus" to be strained or overwrought at all -- I love it; I think it's brilliant. For me it all coalesces into a hi-def vision of pain and fear and filth and menace that cuts right to the bone. And oh my, John's vocal. I think it's one of his most genius deliveries ever. I am BUYING what he is selling, man. That said, Geoff Emerick is right: George Martin deserves mad props for the arrangement and production. Genius all around. Also the song just feels more personal and sincere to me, whereas I feel John is posturing in "ATU." Even the title is pretentious -- the UNIVERSE? Really, John?? Yes, do tell us about THE UNIVERSE, lol.

And "Walrus" is almost purely imagistic; "ATU" is a clutter of unwieldy adjectives, adverbs, and similes: "endless," "restless," "limitless, undying"; "blindly," "wildly"; the aforementioned "LIKE A MILLION EYES" and the equally laughable "LIKE A MILLION SUNS" -- and don't even get me started on "pools of sorrow, waves of joy, are drifting through my opened mind, possessing and caressing me." Ugh. There are only so many multisyllabic Latinates and nebulous abstractions ("life," "love," "sorrow," "joy") a poem can take before it collapses under it's own weight. I even hate the verbs "slither" and "meander"! Blegh. "Images of broken light." Yuck. "Inciting and inviting me." Ew.

Heh. So, basically the song has NO redeeming qualities for me! Except for the nice chorus and the "wind inside a letterbox" image, which does strike my fancy. 

Paul offends similarly in "LAWR." "The wild and windy night that the rain washed away has left a pool of tears crying for the day"? Good grief. So maudlin. Still like the song, tho. I guess I can stomach maudlin better than pretentious (same deal with honest feel-good fluff; give me that any day over stilted pretension or preachiness). 

I see what you mean, but I don't at all mind the bridge of "Gently Weeps." He may have been thumbing through the dictionary, but he makes it work; it's a cogent and interesting statement, to me (well, maybe "diverted" strains). Beyond that, I believe him; it's one of George's most heartfelt vocals. I agree the song is kinda... bombastic and overblown, but it's a particular flavor of bombast for which I have affection. It's such quintessential Sixties Epic Balladry (very much like "Sound of Silence"). And yet the quiet, acoustic version of "WMGGW" is equally lovely. I wish the "play you are staging" couplet had made it into the official version; it balances the "sweeping" lines. 

Absolutely agree about civil disagreement. It's fun to compare notes with you. :)

Acmac, thanks for your very late but highly entertaining reply. This latest post of yours was as much fun (to me) to read as the big-time rock critics who lace their music reviews with tangential banter and humorous asides. For example: "There are only so many multi-syllabic Latinates and nebulous abstractions… a poem can take before it collapses under its own weight." Now that sounds like a colorful line of dialogue that Woody Allen would write for one of his characters. I had to look up the word "Latinate," and I'm still not sure I'd be comfortable using it in a sentence. But I sure enjoyed encountering it. I hope to hear more of your pithy dissection of the Beatles' "poetry." :)

26 February 2014
3.24pm
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Apple rooftop
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I think
the first part of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"
really works as poetry
(if you ignore the "do de doo doo, whoah yeah" bit).

The lizard on the windowpane,
the soap impression of the wife,
the multicoloured mirrors on the hobnailed boot:

This is all some pretty effective imagery (I think).

But then,

I really don't know anything about poetry.
In fact,
I kinda hate it.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
26 February 2014
3.24pm
acmac
Carnegie Hall
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1 August 2013
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Heee, glad you enjoyed the rant from my inner lit-crit nerd. :)

26 February 2014
4.33pm
Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
Hollywood Bowl
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16 September 2013
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Von Bontee said
I think
the first part of "Happiness Is A Warm Gun"
really works as poetry
(if you ignore the "do de doo doo, whoah yeah" bit).

The lizard on the windowpane,
the soap impression of the wife,
the multicoloured mirrors on the hobnailed boot:

This is all some pretty effective imagery (I think).

But then,

I really don't know anything about poetry.
In fact,
I kinda hate it.

Von Bontee, this was a brilliant idea of yours, to write a poem about the Beatles' lyrics as poetry. I may not know much about iambic pentameter, but dog-gonnit, I know a poem when I hear one. I found myself imagining that I was sitting on a metal folding chair in a small audience as you stood at a rickety podium, reading this. And when you reached the dramatic ending (In fact… I kinda hate it.), I wondered if applause was called for. I don't know the etiquette of poetry readings, so I Googled it. According to one website, "Beatnik applause" is often employed at poetry readings: everyone in the audience snaps their fingers in unison at the conclusion of a poem. So… Snap. Snap. Snap. Snap. (Since you can't actually hear these well-deserved finger-snaps, I'm using a little poetic license here.)   :)

27 February 2014
9.59pm
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
Apple rooftop
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Thanks BB! :)

The fact that I originally wrote it as a regular paragraph then just decided to add the improvised line breaks afterwards on impulse ('cause "why not?") basically shows what little I know about actual poetry - which I really hate when I have to read a poem over & over because I JUST DON'T GET IT and then resent the author for making me feel stupid and soulless. (I have encountered poems that I do really like, or find quite impressive at the least.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
27 February 2014
10.13pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
Somewhere other than where you are.
Apple rooftop
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Only poem I've ever enjoyed is this one, because it makes fun of poetry. Just shows how much I hate poetry.

(This signature brought to you by Spaghetti Tuesdays. Occurring on Wednesdays since 2013.)

27 February 2014
10.40pm
When Im 64
USA
Ed Sullivan Show
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If children are studying the 20th century, I'm in their text books.

                                                                        - Paul McCartney

28 February 2014
9.44pm
YouKnowMyName
YouKnowWhere
Royal Command Performance
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Across The Universe definitely. I'll Follow The Sun maybe. Some parts of It's All Too Much

 

Oh yeah and Flying...those "Lalalala" parts are really thought-provoking.

You know my name you know number too
You know my name you know my number
What's up with you?

24 May 2014
6.39pm
When Im 64
USA
Ed Sullivan Show
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Julia definitely.

The following people thank When Im 64 for this post:

Oudis

If children are studying the 20th century, I'm in their text books.

                                                                        - Paul McCartney

24 May 2014
6.46pm
AppleScruffJunior
Sitting here, doing nothing but procrastinating
Apple rooftop
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18 March 2013
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IveJustSeenAFaceo said
Only poem I've ever enjoyed is this one, because it makes fun of poetry. Just shows how much I hate poetry.

How could you hate poetry? :O

What about this 'lil gem that I was reading on Wednesday

 

Sailing to Byzanthium- W.B Yeats

THAT is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees
- Those dying generations - at their song,
The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,
Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long
Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.
Caught in that sensual music all neglect
Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress,
Nor is there singing school but studying
Monuments of its own magnificence;
And therefore I have sailed the seas and come
To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire
As in the gold mosaic of a wall,
Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,
And be the singing-masters of my soul.
Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take
My bodily form from any natural thing,
But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make
Of hammered gold and gold enamelling
To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;
Or set upon a golden bough to sing
To lords and ladies of Byzantium
Of what is past, or passing, or to come.

 

Or a poem talking about 1963:

Annus Mirabilis- Philip Larkin (one of my favourite poets)

Sexual intercourse began

In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me)

- Between the end of the Chatterley ban

And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been

A sort of bargaining,

A wrangle for the ring,

A shame that started at sixteen

And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:

Everyone felt the same,

And every life became

A brilliant breaking of the bank,

A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than

In nineteen sixty-three (Though just too late for me) -

Between the end of the Chatterley ban

And the Beatles' first LP.

The following people thank AppleScruffJunior for this post:

Oudis
INTROVERTS UNITE! Separately.....In your own homes.----Make Love, Not Wardrobes!
24 May 2014
6.47pm
Annadog40
I am here you are here we are here and we are all together
Apple rooftop
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Never say never, cause it's never 'never'

If you are like a new thingy than introduction your self in the into place here

If you can't log in or can't access the forum, then head over to the unofficial back up forum and someone will help

25 May 2014
2.18am
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
Apple rooftop
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McCartney's "Footprints" from Press (co-written with Eric Stewart)

IT'S BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE,

AN OLD HAND GATHERS WOOD,

CAN HE SEE ME SITTING HERE?

HIS MIND IS SOMEWHERE ELSE.

 

HIS FRIENDS HAVE FLOWN AWAY,

HE'S LEFT OUT IN THE COLD.

HE WON'T SIT BY MY FIRE,

HE SAYS HE LIKES IT IN THE SNOW.

WHERE FOOTPRINTS NEVER GO,

HE LIKES IT IN THE SNOW.

 

IT'S GETTING DARK OUTSIDE,

THE OLD MAN'S GOING HOME.

HAS HE SOMEONE WAITING THERE?

IS HE LIVING ON HIS OWN?

WHERE FOOTPRINTS NEVER GO,

HE LIKES IT IN THE SNOW.

 

OH, WHITE BLANKET,

COVERS THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT USED TO BE,

BUT HIS HEART KEEPS ACHING IN THE SAME OLD WAY,

HE CAN'T HELP FEELING THAT SHE MIGHT COME BACK SOME DAY.

 

IT'S BEAUTIFUL OUTSIDE,

A MAGPIE LOOKS FOR FOOD.

THE OLD HAND THROWS A CRUMB,

DO YOU THINK HE'S FOUND A FRIEND?

WHERE FOOTPRINTS NEVER GO,

HE LIKES IT IN THE SNOW.

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
25 May 2014
2.21am
When Im 64
USA
Ed Sullivan Show
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I Want to Come Home by Paul McCartney.

If children are studying the 20th century, I'm in their text books.

                                                                        - Paul McCartney

11 September 2014
8.50am
Oudis
Rishikesh
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Bungalow Bob said

It is a very blustery, dark rainy morning here in Seattle, Washington. I just walked outside to mail a letter. Now, as I'm reading this thread, I'm reminded of a line from a song: "Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox"… I don't think you even have to understand the English language to hear how beautifully that "flows."

You're quite right. The music is in the words.

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