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29 March 2010
1.23pm
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PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
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I just recently finished reading Tim Riley's book of song-by-song analysis called Tell Me Why (which I recommend with a few reservations), and he says of "Come Together" that John wrote the lyrics about himself.  But for as long as I've known this song, I've always thought each of the four verses was a mini-profile of each of the four Beatles.

 

Thus, in the first verse, the "holy roller" line is an allusion to George and his interests in Eastern religion.  The second verse is a bit more cryptic, but the third verse's references to an "Ono sideboard" and "Walrus gumboot" are clearly references to John, and the fourth verse's line, "got to be good-looking, cuz he's so hard to see," are pointers to Paul (always the "cute Beatle", right?) - which by default makes the second verse about Ringo.

 

But who am I to argue with the experts?   :-)

 

(That would be you guys ... what do the experts say?)

Not a bit like Cagney.
29 March 2010
3.02pm
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Joe
Pepperland
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There's some discussion here (scroll down for the comments): http://www.beatlesbible.com/so.....-together/

Personally I think reading anything into it is a waste of time - Lennon was clearly fooling around, and there's no deep meaning to any of it. It's enormously fanciful to think he put coded messages about each of the Beatles into the verses, but I suppose if you look hard enough you can find any interpretation you want.

In Rock Band there's a studio outtake that sometimes plays before the song begins, and Lennon can be heard singing "He got... teenage lyrics". That's probably the most accurate interpretation of all.

Now, tell me about Tim Riley's book. What are your reservations?

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29 March 2010
3.36pm
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PeterWeatherby
A Park in the Dark
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Riley's book was a lot of fun for me, because I'm a musician and his analysis of each song is written from a "musicologist" point of view.  He does some very thoughtful interpretation of their songs by noticing chord progressions, shifts in rhythm, use of counterpoint, things like that.  I think his "read" of Revolver absolutely nails it, and he makes a very good argument for that album being their best - even better than Pepper.

 

Reservations?  He makes a few factual mistakes here and there, which were distracting to me and, I thought, damaged his credibility just slightly.  For example, he makes passing reference to John coming in to add harmony on the third verse of "All My Loving" (it was actually Paul, double-tracking with himself); once in a while he gets a lyric wrong; things like that.  And his own personal like or dislike of a song sometimes rises too much to the surface for my tastes.  If he likes a particular song, he'll spend several paragraphs dissecting it and explaining it; but for songs that I thought deserved some thorough musical analysis (like "Within You, Without You"), he only dedicates one or two paragraphs before dismissing the song as unimportant.  I'll probably never forgive him for shrugging off both "I Will" and "Blackbird" as basically forgettable songs.

 

But on the whole, it's a book worth reading if you're a musician.  Even if you're not a musician, it's still worth reading for the way he analyses not only the individual songs, but the overall shape and meaning of the albums as a whole (he is somewhat harsh, and rightly so, on the way many of the US albums tampered with the track order and inadvertently changed the impact and trajectory of those albums by doing so).

Not a bit like Cagney.
29 March 2010
4.12pm
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Joe
Pepperland
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Ooh, that sounds interesting - thanks. It sounds like it's pitched somewhere between Revolution In The Head and Walter Everett's books, which is just about my level. I'll add it to my list.

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31 March 2010
5.58pm
iCaramba
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28 January 2013
4.49pm
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Beatles in the Blood
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1st verse:
"HERE COME OL' FLAT-TOP,
HE COME GROOVIN' UP SLOWLY.
HE GOT HAIR DOWN TO HIS KNEE,
GOT TO BE A JOKER HE JUST DO WHAT HE PLEASE."

This verse references Ringo. "Flat-Top" makes reference to Ringo's bluesy musical roots and the disparaging stereotype that was often applied to those that played that style of music.
"Groovin' up slowly" refers to the fact that Ringo was the last to join the final and 'official' line-up of the band, yet his drumming ability was very limited and borderline acceptable at the beginning, especially compared to the abilities of the rest of the band. As he honed his skill, he slowly became better and better at holding down the beat of the music, or 'groove' as it was also loosely referred to. As the group continued to record and release music, his talent slowly came up to the standards of the other three.
"He got hair down to his knee" simply refers to the fact that Ringo had a longer, shaggy hairstyle when he joined the band, while the other three had the short, close-cropped style favored by the 'mods' of the day.
"Got to be a joker he just do what he please" is obvious: Ringo was the funny one, the 'cut-up' of the group and he often said and did bizzarre and unexpected things in formal situations the group found themselves in during the early years. His enthusiastic, upbeat attitude was a major influence of the early writings of John and Paul.

Verse #2:
"HE WEAR NO SHOE-SHINE,
HE GOT TOE-JAM FOOTBALL.
HE GOT MONKEY-FINGER,
HE SHOOT COCA-COLA.

HE SAY I KNOW YOU, YOU KNOW ME.
ONE THING I CAN TELL YOU IS YOU GOT TO BE FREE.

The subject of this verse is George. "He wear no shoe-shine" is a reference to going to bare-foot, a quite-common state of dress that George adopted once he became so enamored of the Indian Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Bare feet and simple robes were the accepted dress of the followers of the Yogi, and George's influence quickly spread to the other three Beatles.
Toe-Jam football is just a reference to bare-foot 'soccer' style football playing, the common social outdoor activity practiced by many while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
"Monkey-Finger" refers to George's manual dexterity and amazing abilty to master many, many different styles of stringed intruments, notably the 'sitar', an almost unknown instrument at the time that he was introduced to and quickly learned how to play while worshipping at the yogi's temple.
"He shoot coca-cola" is obvious: 'coca-cola' is street-slang for cocaine, a drug that George, as well as the others, would often 'shoot up' directly into thier veins.
"I know you, you know me...we got to be free" is simply the basic premise of the entire teachings of the Yogi, that George was so whole-heartadly promoting to his fellow bandmates.

"COME TOGETHER RIGHT NOW...OVER ME" refers to the message the Yogi deleivered to the band asa group that would supposedly heal the growing rift and dissention between the four members of the band and unite them as a single cohesive unit once again.

Verse #3:
"HE BAD (NOT 'BAG&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10 PRODUCTION,
HE GOT WALRUS GUM-BOOT.
HE GOT ONO SIDEBOARD,
HE ONE SPINAL CRACKER,
HE GOT FEET DOWN BELOW HIS KNEE,
HOLD YOU IN HIS ARMCHAIR YOU CAN FEEL HIS DISEASE.

No questions about this one, it's about John all the way:
"Bad production" refers to John's increasing level of drug use and the negative effect it had on his abilty to effectivly create acceptable music with the rest of the band, and to function with the rest of the band.
John was the 'Walrus' referred to in the '
I Am The Walrus; lyrics', clearly this refers to him.(notwithstanding the later lyric 'the walrus was Paul' from "Glass Onion")
A 'sideboard' is the term used when attorneys would be called away from a trial during court for private discussion. "Ono sideboard" makes refernce to the growing distraction that the rest of the band felt Yoko Ono was having on John.
John's increasing uncooperative attitude towards the professional and musical direction the rest of the band wanted to follow manifested itself in John constantly griping and complaining to the others, or in slang terms "breaking thier backs", a term referenced with 'spinal cracker'.

"Feet down below his knee" also makes refernce to his stubborn, uncompromising desire to do things his way only with little or no regard for the rest of the band's wishes. To give in was to be seen as being on 'your knees', but John had 'feet below his knees', so there was no way he was going to kneel(stand on his knees) and be subserviant when he could 'stand on his feet' and be the decison-maker.
"Hold you in his armchair (possibly..."arms, yeah...) you can feel his disease" refers to the fact that John's tough exterior persona barely fooled anyone, as his self-loathing and self-doubt, fueled and magnified by increasingly excessive drug use began to consume him. To be close to , or to 'hold him in your arm...' was to know the real John, where one could 'feel his disease'.

Verse #4:
"HE ROLLER COASTER,
HE GOT EARLY WARNING.
HE GOT MUDDY WATER,
HE ONE MOJO FILTER.
HE SAY ONE AND ONE AND ONE IS THREE
GOT TO BE GOOD LOOKING 'CAUSE HE'S SO HARD TO SEE"

Well, last of the four is Paul, and this is clearly all about Paul.
'Roller coaster' refers to Paul's aggravating habit to the rest of the band by constantly changing his stated desire to either break up and move on to a solo career or to remain as a band and contue on as the 'Beatles'.
'Early warning' makes reference to the fact that they all made it clear to Paul long before that his selfish, superior attitide was going to create a rift between them and in fact it finally did.
'Muddy water' describes the bad feelings and growing poor relationship between Paul and the rest of the band due to his constant lying and manipulation of them, and particularly about his attempts to convince the others to let his father-in-law manage the band as opposed to the choice the others made.
'Mojo filter' refers to Paul's habit of 'spin doctoring' information to the others and manipulating thier perceptions so as to ultimately get his way.
'One and one and one is three' refers to Paul's attempts to try and convince the others that if he did indeed leave the band and start a solo career, they remaining three could carry on and continue to be 'the Beatles' without him, contray to everyone else's opinion.
'Got to be good looking...': a straightforward reference to the fact that he was typically considered the 'cute, good looking one' of the group.
'...so hard to see' desribes the increasing time away from the rest of the band that Paul was spending on persoanl projects, to the detriment of any possible group projects

Does that explain it a little more?

The Incedibly True Story THat Never Ends. By Sam.

Best Friend: WHat are you listening to

Me: The Beatles

Best Friend: Go Figure

28 January 2013
5.09pm
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meanmistermustard
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Im not sure if you are being serious but its certainly inventive.

Bag Production was a?reference to Bagism and the like which went along the lines of if folks where in a bag then colour of skin, race, hair colour etc would be irrelevent as you couldnt see them removing sexism, racism?etc. Its also mentioned in Give Peace A Chance and Ballad of John and Yoko. I think there was actually a Bag Production that John setup and?Yoko sang in a bag during a gig, no sure if John did. And wasnt it David Frost they got to go in a bag during an interview??

 

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