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Only A Northern Song on Pepper?
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DrBeatle
Hershey via Boston
1556 Posts
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24 September 2013 - 2.20pm

Pepper would've been really different (and maybe a bit bizarre) if Northern Song, Penny Lane, and SFF ended up on the album. I think we can all agree things worked out for the best the way they ended up 8)

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

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walrusgumboot
Here, There and Everywhere
78 Posts
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22
24 September 2013 - 3.07pm

My two cents....I struggle to get thru OANS and IATM, they belong where they ended up....sorry George 1967 wasn't your year. Not Guilty on White-definitely. Kitten instead of Mr Moonlight-absolutely!!!
a-hard-days-night-george-10

....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?

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vonbontee
Inside an Apple Orchard in a Letterbox
2815 Posts
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24 September 2013 - 3.25pm

DrBeatle said

Pepper would've been really different (and maybe a bit bizarre) if Northern Song, Penny Lane, and SFF ended up on the album. I think we can all agree things worked out for the best the way they ended up 8)

Oh, you think we can agree on that, eh? :D I thought you knew this forum better than that!

I remember George saying 'Blimey, he's always talking about “Yesterday”, you'd think he was Beethoven or somebody' - Paul McCartney

Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
354 Posts
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24
24 September 2013 - 4.14pm

Here's a cool coincidence: I'm new to the Beatles Bible forum, and last week I read here about a new Beatles book "That Magic Feeling; The Beatles Recorded Legacy." So, I went online and found it in my local library, and I'm reading it now. Last night, on page 94 I read about John and Paul giving a radio interview on a break from recording Sgt. Pepper. When the interviewer asked them what they were doing in the studio, John and Paul replied that they were working on some "Happy-go-lucky Northern songs." Isn't that interesting? Right at that time, the Beatles must have been at least puttering around with George's tune. (John and Paul probably half-heartedly puttering with it, having already dismissed the song as an inferior reject.)

My own two cents: "Only A Northern Song" is pretty good, and could have been elevated to great with a little interest and creative input from Lennon, McCartney and George Martin. But either they didn't offer any input, or George wasn't receptive to any help. I like the psychedlic "swirling" feel of the song, and with a little "Beatle magic massaging," it would have fit right in alongside "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite." I wish they had done that. Because, a splendid time was guaranteed for all.

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walrusgumboot
Here, There and Everywhere
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24 September 2013 - 4.32pm

Perhaps a better question would be....how much better would MMT have been with the inclusion of All Together Now, maybe as a singalong on the bus...?stay-on-topic

....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?

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meanmistermustard

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24 September 2013 - 4.56pm

The drunken singalong in MMT at the moment is pretty dismal, not sure I would want another. Cant say i'm a fan of All Together Now, the chorus puts me off, find its lacking in real energy band and a bit forced.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

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DrBeatle
Hershey via Boston
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24 September 2013 - 6.06pm

I like All Together Now for what it is...it's fun. But I'm glad it ended up where it did (on Yellow Submarine). It didn't deserve to be on any other legit album.

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

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Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
354 Posts
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24 September 2013 - 6.19pm

As the new guy on the forum, I don't want to ruffle any Blue Jay feathers here, so I'll gently try to nudge this thread back on topic. Here goes... (ahem)...

So, uh... wouldn't it have been a cool idea to have everyone aboard Sgt. Pepper's bus sing along to "It's Only A Northern Song?" (Hmm... Sgt. Pepper's band probably would have had a ramshackle bus, to transport them to their sad, poorly-attended little gigs at senior citizen centers and such. And a bunch of gaily-colored-uniformed-lonely-hearted-musicians attempting to "sing along" to "It's Only A Northern Song?" That's got a certain charm to it, too. Don't ya think?) :)

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DrBeatle
Hershey via Boston
1556 Posts
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24 September 2013 - 7.31pm

I think the problem with the song being on Pepper at all is that it was a none-too-subtle swipe at John, Paul, Dick James, and George's own unhappiness/disillusionment with being a Beatle. Doesn't really fit in with the vibe of the times, especially during the making of that album when they were all getting on great and really working together.

"I know you, you know me; one thing I can tell you is you got to be free!"

 

Please Visit My Website, The Rock and Roll Chemist

Twitter: @rocknrollchem

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meanmistermustard

19113 Posts
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24 September 2013 - 8.14pm

They weren't really working together for Pepper in the sense of all four pulling in the same way equally. Pepper was more a John and Paul album and both Ringo and George have said that they were pretty much side men at times (Ringo learning to play chess, George more Indian orientated).

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
354 Posts
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31
24 September 2013 - 8.47pm

From my reading, I would say that George and Ringo were just rather reluctantly "going along for the ride" when it came to the Pepper "concept." (Why can I picture George rolling his eyes while he was being fitted into his gaily-colored uniform?) Anyway, I'm not an expert on who played what on the songs (I'll learn all that here in the Beatles Bible.) But I get the feeling that Paul especially was micro-managing George's guitar work on the album, when he wasn't just playing the solos outright. I'm sure somebody here can point out Paul's guitar solos on Pepper. I recall reading somewhere that Paul actually had one of George's solos erased and replaced by Paul's own guitar on a song. That has got to be demoralizing, taken along with John and George Martin's indifference. No wonder George was coming up with dispirited lyrics like "It's Only A Northern Song."

Duke_of_Kirkcaldy
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
180 Posts
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32
24 September 2013 - 11.44pm

vonbontee said

DrBeatle said

Pepper would've been really different (and maybe a bit bizarre) if Northern Song, Penny Lane, and SFF ended up on the album. I think we can all agree things worked out for the best the way they ended up 8)

Oh, you think we can agree on that, eh? :D I thought you knew this forum better than that!

Indeed, I will be a voice of dissent on this until the day I die; mostly because the way most of you feel about "Northern Song" I feel about "Getting Better," "Fixing A Hole," "She's Leaving Home," and "Lovely Rita"... and vice versa.  As it is, Are You Experienced? blew it out of the water in that Summer of Love.  Had The Beach Boys actually finished Smile, that would have as well -- judging from Brian Wilson's finished '04 recording (though it likely wouldn't have been as well-received back then due to its experimental nature).

Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
354 Posts
(Offline)
33
25 September 2013 - 4.12pm

As I said in an earlier post, right now I am reading the book "That Magic Feeling, The Beatles' Recorded Legacy." (which I learned about HERE in the Beatles Bible!) Last night I got to the Sgt. Pepper's recording session where the group began in earnest to , uh... "tackle" the tune titled "Only A Northern Song." It must have been very obvious that John, Paul and George Martin thought that the song was inferior, and not worth much serious effort, which must have left George Harrison in a bitter and sarcastic mood. Somewhere along the line, it had been established that George would get one track on the album, and the book points out that everyone "breathed a sigh of relief" when George presented them with his new composition "Within You Without You."

The producers of the film project Yellow Submarine were due to visit the studio the next day, undoubtedly expecting the Beatles to enthusiastically present to them some brand-spankin'-new Beatles tunes written exclusively for the upcoming movie. It was then determined that the rejected "Only A Northern Song" would be "dumped" onto the film project that apparently the group had very little interest in. The poor movie producers thought they were going to get A-list Beatles material; instead they got "Only A Northern Song." Think about how good the Yellow Submarine movie might have been if John and Paul had cared enough to craft some pertinent new music. And think about how disgruntled George must have felt with the clumsy toss-off of his song onto the Yellow Submarine "scrap heap." Why, its... Its all too much! ;-)

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meanmistermustard

19113 Posts
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34
25 September 2013 - 6.17pm

Personally, I think three of the four tracks that ended up on YS deserved to be there. Only Hey Bulldog is a standout with the others more ho-hum, All Together Now being the lamest of the lot.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

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Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
2829 Posts
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35
25 September 2013 - 6.38pm

No love for "It's All Too Much", MMM? I think that's George's finest creation of all 1967! And, among other things, I enjoy the self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of "Northern Song" - not only is it shuffled off its intended album but John and Paul have to further mess around with it by overdubbing a lot of free-jazz trumpet and glockenspiels - even as they can't be bothered to sing harmony vocals! (And John complained about HIS songs being hijacked for experimental purposes...)

No question that "All Together Now" is the weakest of those YS castoffs, however. (Even though I'd still love to teach my 4-year old niece to sing 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

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meanmistermustard

19113 Posts
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36
25 September 2013 - 6.45pm

IATM drags a bit for me. Strangely I like the 2 min edit in the film and the all consuming 8 minute freakout. Maybe I feel cheated investing in 6 minutes worth when for just 2 more minutes I can get the full 8. All or nothing please.

OANS is ok but nowhere up to the standard of Within You, Without You (for me one of George's greatest ever works).

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

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acmac
229 Posts
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37
25 September 2013 - 7.24pm

I agree with Vonbontee about IATM. Great song! I could see that on Pepper, though I wouldn't want to bump anything off to make room. No idea if it was written at the time, though. Definitely would've been great on MMT. OANS, tho, has never worked for me. And as for ATN, well, any kiddie song that incorporates subversive lines like "Black, white, green, red, can I take my friend to bed? Pink, brown, yellow, orange, and blue -- I love you!" is okay by me. 

Bungalow Bob
Seattle, Washington
354 Posts
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38
25 September 2013 - 11.29pm

According to the book "That Magic Feeling," Paul decided to play the trumpet on "Only A Northern Song." Not surprisingly, he played it badly, as he had almost no skills on a brass instrument. Just imagine the look of sad disgust on George's face as Paul obliviously bleated and tooted his cracked notes on the horn, while John cackled hysterically. On Paul's own songs, he took to micromanaging every note George attempted on guitar, outright rejecting a lot of George's riffs, because that's not how he heard the song in his head. Meanwhile, on George's songs, Paul felt at ease enough to grab an instrument he wasn't good at, and just start messing around. Meanwhile, George Martin would be stifling yawns and constantly checking his watch. Yes, it does seem like it was all too much.

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meanmistermustard

19113 Posts
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39
26 September 2013 - 12.07am

One of the funniest things in the whole of the Beatles catalogue is hearing Pauls trumpet playing on Only A Northern Song isolated. Its hysterically bad.

And lets not forget Paul was the one who brought in the wailing females and who suggested/pushed for the psychedelic ideas on Across The Universe. ATU is beautiful when unadorned and simple.

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

"Don't make your love suffer insecurities; Trade the baggage of "self" to set another one free" ('Paper Skin' - Kendall Payne)

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walrusgumboot
Here, There and Everywhere
78 Posts
(Offline)
40
26 September 2013 - 1.07am

Amen, MMM. The LIB Naked version of ATU is possibly my favorite John song EVER. A beautiful masterpiece. I'm off flippin topic AGAIN.
stay-on-topic

....ya won't be interferin' wit the basic rugged concept o' me personality would ya madam?

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