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10 January 2015
12.52am
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Ahhh Girl
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I was just listening to Hey Bulldog on my drive home, and it dawned on me that "Sheepdog standing in the rain" is more than likely about Martha. I am sitting here in the driveway imagining the picture in John's mind when he wrote that line (or maybe Paul wrote it) of Martha in the rain and the circumstances of her being in the rain. I wonder why she was in the rain. a-hard-days-night-ringo-7

Now I'm thinking about a Martha smiley for the forum.

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10 January 2015
12.59am
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Mr. Kite
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@Ahhh Girl Like this?

Martha.pngImage Enlarger

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If I spoke prose you'd all find out, I don't know what I talk about.

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1 May 2015
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Bongo
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Still loving my beats headphones and for the first time, noticed on the Hey Bulldog song, John Lennon 's singing can be heard through right earphone, while the drums are in the center sound stage.  How strange is that, as usually you hear the vocals in the center????? a-hard-days-night-john-5

http://i276.photobucket.com/albums/kk38/rickdelsie/The%20Beatles/parlunread_zps28270d9d.gif BEATLES Music gives me Eargasms!  apple01

6 May 2015
3.47pm
LMW28IF
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Hey Bulldog is a very underrated song in my opinion.  To me, this is the last song that John sang in the early John singing style.  It's hard to describe, but it seemed to me something changed with his voice after this song, whether something physical or just a style preference.

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Into the Sky with Diamonds, Oudis
9 May 2015
8.04pm
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robert
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It's fascinating that you mention John's voice - because the other day I was thinking the same thing. And I was even thinking of starting a forum thread called John's Voice.

Somewhere at the White Album and strikingly on Let It Be - John's voice went strange - thinner, less confident, and less pitch control. On Plastic Ono Band album it was perhaps the most shocking thing - the weaker, less pitch controlled sound of John's voice.

He never got it back.

Anyone else agree or disagree?

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Oudis

"She looks more like him than I do."

9 May 2015
8.26pm
Wigwam
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I hadn't noticed………so I think I disagree……I'll have to have a proper listen.

 

If true that his recorded voice sounds different it may only be down to a production preference and nothing physical. It's reported John never liked how his voice sounded, (though confusingly he thought he was a great singer), and would always have them tinker with it……maybe he was just into being more honest and a little   braver about how it sounded 'naked'

 

Good topic.

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9 May 2015
8.40pm
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Beatlebug
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@robert, @Wigwam 

I did a mad forum trawl just now (went through the entire 'John Lennon ' section), looking for a topic about John's voice, and almost lost myself instead. The closest thing I could get was 'Lennon's Voice "like an orange"', which wasn't it at all, so you have my approval. a-hard-days-night-john-1

Back on topic, always loved the bit where the song goes wild: Paul does his bulldog and he and John have that interplay, while Ringo and George are there in the back keeping it all together. Just that whole mental image is.. fab! 

EDIT: There's also this thread: http://www.beatlesbible.com/fo.....-writer/ 

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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9 May 2015
10.22pm
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vonbontee
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robert said
It's fascinating that you mention John's voice - because the other day I was thinking the same thing. And I was even thinking of starting a forum thread called John's Voice.

Somewhere at the White Album and strikingly on Let It Be - John's voice went strange - thinner, less confident, and less pitch control. On Plastic Ono Band album it was perhaps the most shocking thing - the weaker, less pitch controlled sound of John's voice.

He never got it back.

Anyone else agree or disagree?

I've never given it a lot of thought, but yeah you may have something there. Of course it may be due to a number of factors - like, the types of songs he was writing frequently became more expressionistic and strident after about 1968, for at least the next few years. (A particularly closed-minded guy at another music forum I frequent maintains that John never wrote a decent song after that year - blames it on you-know-who, of course. I digress.) That sort of thing would naturally lend itself to screamy vocal performances like on "She's So Heavy" or "Mother " or "Cold Turkey ". And maybe by the time he attempted to return to more conventionally melodic material about 1973 or so, he was doing too much drinking and snorting for his voice to be operating at peak capacity. 

Or maybe it could be something of a reflection of the various stresses and hassles he was undergoing all that time. That could cause somebody to have a more chronically constricted throat, I would imagine...

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9 May 2015
11.16pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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@robert 

I also tend to think it's the type of songs he was writing. Listening to "Mother " today (it being Mother 's Day weekend) - and it really is painful to listen to him.

But when he's not dredging up the past and exorcising demons, I think his voice is OK even after '68. 

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11 May 2015
1.31am
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Oudis
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But guys, don't you think John got his voice back right before that December 8th? I mean, listen to "Starting Over"...

Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit” (“Perhaps one day it will be a pleasure to look back on even this”; Virgil, The Aeneid, Book 1, line 203, where Aeneas says this to his men after the shipwreck that put them on the shores of Africa)

11 May 2015
7.40am
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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I was just listening to "Steel And Glass " from '74, and his voice sounds OK. See what you think.

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11 May 2015
6.19pm
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robert
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So I know we're off topic here - but if you listen to John's voice on the earlier records - You're Gonna Lose That Girl - or This Boy or even She Said, She Said - it was so solid and strong and on pitch. I remember reading an interview with one of the studio engineers from Hey Bulldog who said that they were amazed at how good John's voice was - they'd never heard anyone sing so well.

Then listen to Mother - especially the "I wanted you" lines and through the Plastic Ono Band album - Isolation , Remember, Look At Me   - lots of the songs -  hearing John off-pitch like that was shocking. Dig A Pony - another song where his voice never locked. Same for me on all his stuff going forward - not every song - but for me the great majority of songs - John's voice just never seemed the same. And he was in his 30's during the 70's - a young man.

Personally I think his laziness in the studio (he called it wanting to get it quick - but it was laziness) took over once he got out from under the influence of Paul and George Martin both of whom I think pushed him to get his vocal tracks correct. Plus George Martin knew how to produce John's voice - no other producer ever seemed to get it right.

In the earliest years John was the vocal sound of The Beatles - he mentions that in a lot of interviews. But somewhere in '68 something stated to change.

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"She looks more like him than I do."

12 May 2015
4.26am
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Oyster Black Pearl
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robert said
Somewhere at the White Album and strikingly on Let It Be - John's voice went strange - thinner, less confident, and less pitch control. On Plastic Ono Band album it was perhaps the most shocking thing - the weaker, less pitch controlled sound of John's voice.

 

vonbontee said Or maybe it could be something of a reflection of the various stresses and hassles he was undergoing all that time. That could cause somebody to have a more chronically constricted throat, I would imagine...

Well, he was dabbling with heroin around this time, late nights, no sleep... I'm So Tired .....his voice would suffer as a result?

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At last a book about Ringo and drumming.”

 

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14 August 2015
7.20pm
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Ron Nasty
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There's talk of Hey Bulldog  on another thread, and its similarities to Lady Madonna .

I don't know what people think, I wonder if this isn't where John found the Hey Bulldog  riff. It's a 1967 Lee Dorsey song, Get Out of My Life, Woman . You hear Dorsey sing the opening couplet, "Get out my life, woman / You don't love me no more", and then, at 14 seconds, there's a little piano riff. Throughout the song variations of that riff reoccur. Though at a slower tempo, I always think of the Hey Bulldog  riff when I hear it.

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14 August 2015
8.27pm
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georgiewood
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I don't know, RN.  I hear it alright, but that seems like a pretty thin connection.  Thanks for bringing it up, though; this type of observation is one of the things I like best about the Forum. apple01

I say in speeches that a plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. I am then asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off. I reply, 'The Beatles did'.
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14 August 2015
9.14pm
Wigwam
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The piano riff is very similar and it does conjure up 'HB' in my mind Good find........Nothing else struck me as similar in the actual song though.

 

While we are speaking of dogs it's sort of opposite to Rufus Thomas' 'Walking the Dog', and Jimi Hendrix's 'Purple Haze'. The riff in 'Haze' has nothing to do with WTD but the verses are very similar.........least in my opinion.

7 October 2015
6.20pm
LMW28IF
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For those that don't quite hear the difference in early John's voice to his voice after Hey Bulldog , compare the songs on his solo Rock 'N' Roll album of all covers to Beatles recordings of Twist And Shout , Money, Slow Down , Leave My Kitten Alone , Bad Boy , Please Mr. Postman, and Rock And Roll Music (all Rock 'N' Roll covers).  If the songs on his solo Rock 'N' Roll album had been recorded back in 1963 or 1964, it would have been a real treasure.  It seems like mid 68 thru end of his life John slips into a falsetto where he used to belt out the vocals on his early songs.  It makes me think the reason for the difference was physical with his voice, that somehow damage was done.

7 October 2015
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sigh butterfly
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I seem to recall that John's voice was damaged from participating in 4 months of primal scream therapy. Reading Joe's commentary on the subject, this occurred during the months just prior to recording Plastic Ono Band. I'm not a laryngologist, but I would imagine that 4 months of unrestrained, hysterical screaming at the top of your lungs would do a number on your vocal chords.

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8 October 2015
4.18am
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Ron Nasty
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I'm afraid I disagree. John's voice, though obviously not always as good as it could be, was never really damaged. Certainly not in the way George's was in 1974. The problem with John's voice, especially after The Beatles, was that he slathered it in effects, that he was never happy with his clean vocal.

When you get to hear the straight studio recordings, the home demos, him performing without all the studio bells and whistles in place, as I know many here have done, his voice was devastating. The trouble with his releases was that he always insisted on echo, double-tracking, etc.; anything to change a voice that he didn't like. This became more pronounced during the solo years because there were less people to object. And those effects rather than enhance the voice, as he imagined, weakened it.

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8 October 2015
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I agree with Ron, the effects got ever more pronounced, and the falsetto was a choice. Lennon was never confident about his voice and often wanted it mixed back in addition to the effects. Also, unlike Paul's freakish ability (you can't imagine he even thinks twice about a vocal track except for words), Lennon's vocal melodies often take attitude for anyone to sing, they just don't work without the emotion. This adds an extra burden on top of the lack of confidence, and like Ron says, a lack of someone to say "no that's fine, it's a take".

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