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Norwegian Wood and Eleanor Rigby
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The Walrus
Working for the national health
1024 Posts
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3 August 2012 - 4.04pm

vonbontee said
Did Father MacKenzie MURDER Eleanor Rigby??

 

I'm never going to be able to hear that song again without thinking of this interpretation.

And I neeeeeeeeed her all the time

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Dipsy
Turned left at Greenland
238 Posts
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3 August 2012 - 4.10pm

Referring back to the original question of:

Sunii said
I was watching a press conference on Youtube, and one of the reporters asked Paul if Norwegian Wood was about a lesbian.

Another question was asked to John what Eleanor Rigby was about. John being a clown and all said it was about 2 queers.

I can't help but wonder if any of their songs were about the "gay community". Any comments?

"Norwegian Wood" is about an independent temptress in the wake of the feminist movement: John makes this independence prevalent when he opens the song with "I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me?", meaning that the woman he sang about was in control--dare I say "wearing the pants"?--during that particular encounter. The theme of female independence continues when he later says, "She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh. I told her I didn't and crawled up to sleep in the bath."<--Translation: the woman worked while the man stayed at home, a total reversal of traditional gender roles. In general, "Norwegian Wood" is a nod to the power that women had always been able possess over men, especially in matters of desire--bottom line, the man in the song was peeved because he didn't get what he wanted: sex. And how did he express his dissatisfaction and anger? Why, he burned her house down! In order to preserve his power and masculinity, he had to get the final word in somehow...

As for the meaning of "Eleanor Rigby", Mustard summed it up beautifully:

meanmistermustard said
Only by doing little in her life - one of the many distant figures who knew her but didnt know her, probably doing the small talk and the sympathy as and when required. My reading of it is that when Eleanor was buried every part of her existence died with her, she had no one else, no kids, no husband, nothing, certainly not around anyway ("Waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door. Who is it for?"). The theme of the song is loneliness in society for the eldery and it comes across to me that Father MacKenzie did little to ease her's, the wiping his hands of the dirt showing him moving on and absolving himself from her death, he had done his duty as a member of the Church but little outside of that. 

McKenzie seemed to be past the point of caring so maybe he had lost his zeal for his role as 'Father' due to nobody atttending the services and hearing his sermons and that had led to his apathy. 

There were reports at the time that Eleanor Rigby was a comment on the deminishing role of the church within society, how it had stopped being the central point of the community - there probably still are. 

"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know? I'm just one of those people."

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minime
511 Posts
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3 August 2012 - 4.40pm

Interesting topic... It makes me kind of embarrassed a-hard-days-night-ringo-6Unfortunately, I don't think there is any pure "gay" song in the Beatles catalogue, although it would be very cool. I can't help but think that the Beatles avoided the topic on purpose, considering how diverse themes they had in their songs. And even later on, remarkably, I can't think of any gay song that any member of the Beatles have written...! Perhaps Paul has one, though, since I'm not overly familiar with his solo output. Maybe I'm expecting too much, since most pop stars (irregardless of their sexuality) never write gay songs, anyway. Not that we would know about them, at least.

Anyway, I think during the sixties the beatles must have been horrified of having a song that might have anything  to do with (male) homosexuality. And no wonder if you consider the way British media dealt with the "issue" at the time. Ugh. I seem to remember that Something had more to do with George's relationship with God(s) than his affair with Pattie Boyd, but he chickened up and didn't use a "he" pronoun in the fear of being declared as a "poof". 

As a curious side-note, although I haven't yet fully finished Can't Bye Me Love from Jonathan Gould ( I wonder if I ever will), I noticed a quote from somewhere around the Internet which goes as follows: "

"Apart from its wonderfully nuanced lead vocal, “Oh! Darling” is an expression of musical minimalism. It matches a relentlessly simple accompaniment with a relentlessly repetitive lyric that offers a promise good behaviour (“I’ll never do you no harm”) as the prelude to a desperate plea (“If you leave me, I’ll never make it alone”). Given the state of relationships among the Beatles during this time, it is hard to imagine that Paul’s rendering of this heartbroken sentiment, however satiric, did not have some basis in his sense of rejection by John."

a-hard-days-night-paul-3 Isn't he reading a little too much into it? And according to Paul, Jealous Guy is about him. I guess it comes full circle, then...

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meanmistermustard

19090 Posts
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3 August 2012 - 5.29pm

minime said


 

And according to Paul, Jealous Guy is about him. I guess it comes full circle, then...

minime said
Interesting topic... It makes me kind of embarrassed a-hard-days-night-ringo-6Unfortunately, I don't think there is any pure "gay" song in the Beatles catalogue, although it would be very cool. I can't help but think that the Beatles avoided the topic on purpose, considering how diverse themes they had in their songs. And even later on, remarkably, I can't think of any gay song that any member of the Beatles have written...! Perhaps Paul has one, though, since I'm not overly familiar with his solo output. Maybe I'm expecting too much, since most pop stars (irregardless of their sexuality) never write gay songs, anyway. Not that we would know about them, at least.

Anyway, I think during the sixties the beatles must have been horrified of having a song that might have anything  to do with (male) homosexuality. And no wonder if you consider the way British media dealt with the "issue" at the time. Ugh. I seem to remember that Something had more to do with George's relationship with God(s) than his affair with Pattie Boyd, but he chickened up and didn't use a "he" pronoun in the fear of being declared as a "poof". 

As a curious side-note, although I haven't yet fully finished Can't Bye Me Love from Jonathan Gould ( I wonder if I ever will), I noticed a quote from somewhere around the Internet which goes as follows: "

"Apart from its wonderfully nuanced lead vocal, “Oh! Darling” is an expression of musical minimalism. It matches a relentlessly simple accompaniment with a relentlessly repetitive lyric that offers a promise good behaviour (“I’ll never do you no harm”) as the prelude to a desperate plea (“If you leave me, I’ll never make it alone”). Given the state of relationships among the Beatles during this time, it is hard to imagine that Paul’s rendering of this heartbroken sentiment, however satiric, did not have some basis in his sense of rejection by John."

a-hard-days-night-paul-3 Isn't he reading a little too much into it? And according to Paul, Jealous Guy is about him. I guess it comes full circle, then...

Never heard any of that that before and dont believe there is any truth in it either - say about as much as How Do You Sleep? being about John. You might as well go the full distance and say that Maxwells Silver Hammer is about Ringo.

"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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