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1 March 2017
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HMBeatlesfan
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Although I don’t consider the song heavy metal (preferring to call it classic rock or blues rock), I do think it is an influence on heavy metal. Actually, this may sound strange, but if you look at the artists the first heavy metal bands were influenced by, you wouldn’t be caught dead calling any of them heavy metal, such as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Robert Johnson, and various Jazz and Classical acts, among many others.

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1 March 2017
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Martha
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Right, if you look at it the way, that everyone who could possibly have “invented” heavy metal was influenced by someone and this someone again has been influenced by another someone the list of contributors to heavy metal would probably go on forever. Maybe it is just a stupid idea to think about the beginning of every particular style of music because music is a developing process and you are not able to draw strict lines (always amazing how long one needs to figure out the obvious)

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Not once does the diversity seem forced -- the genius of the record is how the vaudevillian "When I'm 64" seems like a logical extension of "Within You Without You" and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita. - Stephen T. Erlewine on Sgt Pepper's

3 February 2018
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Zig
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Re: the line “I got blisters on me fingers!”. I’m currently reading The Beatles Book by Hunter Davies and read this little gem in the ‘Beatles Places’ section; Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Here is what I did know. A hotel in which they stayed during this tour stop was the Marquis De Lafayette Hotel, actually located in Cape May. As @Joe ‘s article will attest, a phone call was arranged between Paul and Elvis Presley on The Beatles’ day off, 31 August 1964.

What I did not know until I read the book is this part of the conversation. From the book:

On 31 August 1964, in the group’s hotel room, orchestrated by The New Musical Express newspaper, Paul placed a call through to the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll , Elvis Presley. The Beatle asked him about his new bass guitar. “Yeah,” Elvis replied, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers.” (McCartney remembered this remark and would get Ringo to say it at the end of the 1968 White Album track ‘Helter Skelter ‘, the stereo version.) Paul responded by saying, “Don’t worry man, it’ll soon go.”

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10 February 2018
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Heath
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Zig said
Re: the line “I got blisters on me fingers!”. I’m currently reading The Beatles Book by Hunter Davies and read this little gem in the ‘Beatles Places’ section; Atlantic City, New Jersey.

On 31 August 1964, in the group’s hotel room, orchestrated by The New Musical Express newspaper, Paul placed a call through to the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll , Elvis Presley. The Beatle asked him about his new bass guitar. “Yeah,” Elvis replied, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers.” (McCartney remembered this remark and would get Ringo to say it at the end of the 1968 White Album track ‘Helter Skelter ‘, the stereo version.)

  

So… the Beatles used the White Album to send a “message” to a certain “someone” stateside on Helter Skelter … I never did buy into that whole “innocent” act.

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13 February 2018
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Ludwig
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I may cause uproar here as I know many seem to really like it (I remember indie bands in the 90s raving about it) but I’m not that keen on Helter Skelter – or to put it another way, I’m not keen on the released version that made it onto The Beatles.

For me what puts me off from the get go, and always has done, is McCartney laughing at the end of the first time he yells ‘see you againnnnnn’. It just seems really sloppy, why didn’t he re-do that bit of the vocal? It undermines the track from the off and signifys to me at least that they aren’t really being very earnest with the song.

Then there is the playing, it seems ham fisted with an air of ‘that’ll do’ about it.

In short I would much have preferred the version that surfaced on Anthology 3 which seems to have more about it and a genuine moody/foreboding atmosphere. This, or a similar approach to the song, should have gone onto the album. Or perhaps left it off entirely and stuck Not Guilty on instead.

Any way there we go, shoot me down if you wish but I felt the need to get it out there. I look forward to hearing from you.

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13 February 2018
10.33pm
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Ludwig said
I may cause uproar here as I know many seem to really like it (I remember indie bands in the 90s raving about it) but I’m not that keen on Helter Skelter – or to put it another way, I’m not keen on the released version that made it onto The Beatles.

For me what puts me off from the get go, and always has done, is McCartney laughing at the end of the first time he yells ‘see you againnnnnn’. It just seems really sloppy, why didn’t he re-do that bit of the vocal? It undermines the track from the off and signifys to me at least that they aren’t really being very earnest with the song.

Then there is the playing, it seems ham fisted with an air of ‘that’ll do’ about it.

In short I would much have preferred the version that surfaced on Anthology 3 which seems to have more about it and a genuine moody/foreboding atmosphere. This, or a similar approach to the song, should have gone onto the album. Or perhaps left it off entirely and stuck Not Guilty on instead.

Any way there we go, shoot me down if you wish but I felt the need to get it out there. I look forward to hearing from you.  

I agree in part; though I don’t hear it as “laughing” what Paul does at that juncture — it’s more like just a vocal affectation common in blues and rock singing, extending a syllable out in staccato repetition — I feel overall that Paul’s singing is oddly restrained.  Sort of paradoxically he’s simultaneously trying to let go, and restraining himself from complete freedom; almost like he’s second-guessing himself, which for an artist visited by the Muse such as he is, is often a recipe for a mediocre product. Not that some of his vocalisms aren’t cool, here and there; but mostly disappointing. The instrumentation, however, I think is quite good — the guitars and bass particularly.

I gave a listen to the Anthology 3 version; didn’t care for it at all (and what I described about Paul’s voice above is even more marked in this version).

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14 February 2018
12.39am
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sir walter raleigh
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I think its up there as one of the most unique vocal performances in history. 

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14 February 2018
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Zig
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No uproar, Ludwig. Everyone is entitled to their opinion based on their personal preferences. 

If you read Joe’s article about the song – or anyone’s article that describes it’s progression – you will discover that every aspect you dislike is exactly what The Beatles (particularly Paul) were trying to accomplish. That slower version you hear on Anthology 3  (which I also enjoy) is just a short excerpt of take 2. It is a far cry from their ultimate goal of “an attempt to create a Rock ‘N’ Roll song as loud and dirty as possible”. 

Ludwig said
…I know many seem to really like it … but I’m not that keen on Helter Skelter – or to put it another way, I’m not keen on the released version that made it onto The Beatles.

While I can’t speak for the “many”, I personally like it for what it is (paul-mccartney) rather than disliking it for what it isn’t (a-hard-days-night-paul-7). 

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14 February 2018
6.47am
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Joe
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Zig said
Re: the line “I got blisters on me fingers!”. I’m currently reading The Beatles Book by Hunter Davies and read this little gem in the ‘Beatles Places’ section; Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Here is what I did know. A hotel in which they stayed during this tour stop was the Marquis De Lafayette Hotel, actually located in Cape May. As @Joe ‘s article will attest, a phone call was arranged between Paul and Elvis Presley on The Beatles’ day off, 31 August 1964.

What I did not know until I read the book is this part of the conversation. From the book:

On 31 August 1964, in the group’s hotel room, orchestrated by The New Musical Express newspaper, Paul placed a call through to the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll , Elvis Presley. The Beatle asked him about his new bass guitar. “Yeah,” Elvis replied, “I’ve got blisters on my fingers.” (McCartney remembered this remark and would get Ringo to say it at the end of the 1968 White Album track ‘Helter Skelter ‘, the stereo version.) Paul responded by saying, “Don’t worry man, it’ll soon go.”

  

This is interesting, but I have a nagging feeling it’s untrue. I’ve read a few of Hunter Davies’s books, and he’s really, really good with the first-hand stuff; less so when he recycles anecdotes and facts he’s read elsewhere. That’s why I found the Lennon Letters and Beatles Lyrics books quite disappointing – the source material is amazing, but his commentary is almost never illuminating, and sometimes incorrect.

First up, Davies wasn’t there at the hotel in 1964. I wonder if the blisters anecdote was reported by the NME, or relayed to him by one of the Beatles a few years later.

His Beatles biography was published on 30 August 1968; the album take of Helter Skelter was recorded on 9 September. He did remain friends with the band so may have been there when it was recorded, and he does have Mal Evans’s handwritten lyrics in his book. However, although the Beatles Lyrics does mention Ringo’s shout, it doesn’t say it was done on Paul’s instruction.

Either way, it feels like a really strange thing for McCartney to tell Ringo to shout. Why would you risk screwing up a decent take by getting someone else to yell a specific phrase at the end? “Right guys, I want you to play as if your lives depended on it. We’ll end in chaos and disarray, and in the dying moments I want you to shout this offhand phrase that Elvis once said to me.” I don’t buy it.

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14 February 2018
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sir walter raleigh
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I too was a little disappointed by the Davies Lyric book. There were many songs that where the anylsis was just half-assed. 

I agree with @Joe very much pn the final point. Spontaneity was a huge part of the recording process. I’m sure Ringo’s blisters line was said off the cuff after their epic (or lame, who knows?) 20+ min take. 

I bet they all got a kick from it when Ringo said it, so maybe that’s when Paul got specific and said “put that in the song.”

This is speculation 

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14 February 2018
1.52pm
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One thing I don’t like about this song is the missed opportunity that is the guitar solo.

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14 February 2018
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Ludwig
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Arghh, just realised I’ve got a typo in the title of this thread! Damn predictive text.

14 February 2018
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Ludwig
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Pineapple Records said

I agree in part; though I don’t hear it as “laughing” what Paul does at that juncture — it’s more like just a vocal affectation common in blues and rock singing, extending a syllable out in staccato repetition — I feel overall that Paul’s singing is oddly restrained.  Sort of paradoxically he’s simultaneously trying to let go, and restraining himself from complete freedom; almost like he’s second-guessing himself, which for an artist visited by the Muse such as he is, is often a recipe for a mediocre product. Not that some of his vocalisms aren’t cool, here and there; but mostly disappointing. The instrumentation, however, I think is quite good — the guitars and bass particularly.

I gave a listen to the Anthology 3 version; didn’t care for it at all (and what I described about Paul’s voice above is even more marked in this version).  

Thanks for your reply. I note what you say about Paul’s vocal delivery, I think he could be/perhaps still is a bit self conscious at times. May be he knew that he was taking himself/The Beatles out of their comfort zone? After all whether you like Helter Skelter or not it is their heaviest sounding song and not usual fare the band served up during their career. Even after trying to out do The Who with this track they obviously didn’t feel the need to keep experimenting within the realms of ‘heavy rock’ sounding songs; they pretty much went back to their pop/rock roots.

14 February 2018
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While their closest approximation of heavy rock, I don’t think it’s their heaviest song; that goes to I Want You (She’s So Heavy) so far as I’m concerned.

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14 February 2018
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Zig said
No uproar, Ludwig. Everyone is entitled to their opinion based on their personal preferences. 

If you read Joe’s article about the song – or anyone’s article that describes it’s progression – you will discover that every aspect you dislike is exactly what The Beatles (particularly Paul) were trying to accomplish. That slower version you hear on Anthology 3  (which I also enjoy) is just a short excerpt of take 2. It is a far cry from their ultimate goal of “an attempt to create a Rock ‘N’ Roll song as loud and dirty as possible”. 

Ludwig said
…I know many seem to really like it … but I’m not that keen on Helter Skelter – or to put it another way, I’m not keen on the released version that made it onto The Beatles.

While I can’t speak for the “many”, I personally like it for what it is (paul-mccartney) rather than disliking it for what it isn’t (a-hard-days-night-paul-7).   

Hurrah! I read Joes article and helped give some context to the track – I had forgot that its origins lay in trying to out do The Who for heaviness/raucousness. Even so, I still can’t get into the track that much. Maybe because Macca openly admits he was trying to beat The Who this desire got in the way of creativity/freedom (like what Pineapple Records mentions above). In essence: trying too hard to sound like The Who rather than giving us The Beatles take on what a heavy, raucous rock song could sound like.

15 February 2018
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QuarryMan
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I wouldn’t say he was trying to sound like The Who, he was trying to out-do them. So if The Who were loud, he wanted to be defeaning.

Ludwig said

Hurrah! I read Joes article and helped give some context to the track – I had forgot that its origins lay in trying to out do The Who for heaviness/raucousness. Even so, I still can’t get into the track that much. Maybe because Macca openly admits he was trying to beat The Who this desire got in the way of creativity/freedom (like what Pineapple Records mentions above). In essence: trying too hard to sound like The Who rather than giving us The Beatles take on what a heavy, raucous rock song could sound like.  

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15 February 2018
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QuarryMan said
I wouldn’t say he was trying to sound like The Who, he was trying to out-do them. So if The Who were loud, he wanted to be defeaning.

  

He (Paul) even stated in the interview that he’d never actually heard the track that the Melody Maker (or whomever it was) was talking about, but just got off on the talk about “the dirtiest most raucous” sound and said to himself “gotta do it!”…  It was the review of The Who record that inspired him, not The Who’s music itself…:-)

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15 February 2018
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Evangeline
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ahdn_paul_06 I’m almost sure that Paul heard The Who’s ‘loudest dirtiest rocknroll song’ (I Can See For Miles) and did try to out do them, not take inspiration from them.

I am you as you are you as you are you and you are all together. 

15 February 2018
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sir walter raleigh
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Billy Rhythm said

He (Paul) even stated in the interview that he’d never actually heard the track that the Melody Maker (or whomever it was) was talking about, but just got off on the talk about “the dirtiest most raucous” sound and said to himself “gotta do it!”…  It was the review of The Who record that inspired him, not The Who’s music itself…:-)  

I’ve read the same interview. Pete Townshend’s phrasing turned Paul onto the idea, without hearing the song first. 

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4 March 2018
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My favourite track from The White Album , The Beatles playing as loud as it gets in what was virtually a cupboard space. Anyone who thinks McCartney is only about ballads get the dirtiest, raunchiest, most fabulous live jam going. The story as I heard it was The Beatles were sorely out of practice playing as a live band since their retirement from touring in 1966, most was done with overdubs and piecing songs together track by track from 1967. This track was an attempt to play as a live ensemble and all the better for it. Everything is cranked to 11, Ringo in particular hits the drums so hard and for so long it leads to the famous “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” Exclamation. Stonewall classic.

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