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Surprising Beatle Musical Moments
28 July 2016
12.10pm
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ewe2
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What surprised you most about individual Beatles performances?

By which I mean their musical performances, not the rest of the show (we'd be here all day)! I'll give examples:

I'll start off with George. He loved to be surprising really. I still laugh at Only A Northern Song , that many hate the song makes it funnier. But it's that absolute rockstar moment when he hits that high note in the last chorus of Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby , so un-George/yet-very-George. It's an intentional rocknroll trope and that it's George who does it and not Paul or John makes it stand out. He was plenty surprising after that but I can't top it.

Ringo next. I didn't hear the music in order, my first real introduction apart from my mum's copy of Beatles For Sale was the Red and the Blue (compilations) and I listened mostly to the Blue. My surprise with Ringo was his drumming on Strawberry Fields and A Day In The Life . I'd never heard anything like that. Less surprising if I'd heard Rain first perhaps. I still think the drumming on ADITL makes you listen to it as a key part of the meaning of the song, few songs do that. I think it's a turning point too, the way he listened to songs changed and his drumming did also.

My surprise with John was two things. Primarily Julia . It's a shock to hear him playing fingerpicking guitar in a very gentle personal song, a sign of things to come. More or less unique for John in the Beatles canon although Across The Universe comes close but less surprising. The other is his sense of humour, not that it wasn't on display outside the studio or on the stage. It also shows that he was a much better musician than he usually demonstrated, something that makes it difficult to appraise him besides his songwriting. Reading Lewisohn's statement that he had to make a joke of every count-in did surprise me. One day I'll do a post on the Beatles musical humour if it hasn't already been done to death, it's a sleeping giant.

Paul. Paul is endlessly surprising, you almost expect it. But I have to pick a favourite and it's his bass singing in I Will . Most people have to be told it's actually Paul humming the bass. It made me laugh when I first realised and those are my favourite surprises.

What's your Beatles musical surprise?

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28 July 2016
2.42pm
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Zig
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Nice idea, ewe2.

I'm not sure if this qualifies, but I was surprised when I first found out that 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko ' was played by only John and Paul. Until then, I had no idea that Paul played drums.

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28 July 2016
4.02pm
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limitlessundyinglove
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I am always caught off guard by Helter-Skelter's fake fade out in the stereo version.  I'm always expecting Long, Long, Long , but instead I get "I'VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!!!"paul-mccartneyIt's weird because Strawberry Fields Forever uses the same trick and it never gets me.a-hard-days-night-paul-10

What's The New Mary Jane is another one.  After the last chord fades out, there's a bit of studio chatter that just gets cut abruptly.

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28 July 2016
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I'm always amazed when listening with new earphones, always something new to discover and surprise.

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28 July 2016
5.22pm
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sir walter raleigh
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It surprised me the first time I heard the backwards guitar on I'm Only Sleeping

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28 July 2016
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I got a real scare when I first heard the inner groove on Sgt. Pepper ahdn_paul_01

Normally, I would put the cd in, listen to it, and take it out when ADITL was finished. But, this time I was pre-occupied with something else, so instead of taking it out right away I left it in for a little. Expecting complete silence, I continued on doing what I was doing, oblivious to anything that could possibly come out of my stereo. 

Suddenly, I heard this strange backwards-laughing, sped-up-talking-type garbled noise blare out of the speakers; at which point I jumped up, grabbed my stereo remote, and pushed the 'off' button whilst thinking: "What sorcery is this?paul-mccartney

And that was one of my Surprising Beatle Musical Moments. a-hard-days-night-george-9

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28 July 2016
10.53pm
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meanmistermustard said
I'm always amazed when listening with new earphones, always something new to discover and surprise.  

A really good pair of closed shell earphones with good dynamic range brings out the little things in the background, and with the Beatles there's always something you miss.

limitlessundyinglove said
I am always caught off guard by Helter-Skelter's fake fade out in the stereo version.  I'm always expecting Long, Long, Long , but instead I get "I'VE GOT BLISTERS ON MY FINGERS!!!"paul-mccartneyIt's weird because Strawberry Fields Forever uses the same trick and it never gets me.a-hard-days-night-paul-10

There's a moment in which I can choose to not listen to Revolution 9 but I often miss it due to probably my favourite studio chatter of all time which starts it, but that's because I'm also always thrown off guard by the juxtaposition of Paul's little piece after Cry Baby Cry , it's a different way of achieving the same anti-climax with Helter Skelter . I do like that effect, it's a bit spooky.

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29 July 2016
2.00am
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I was surprised when i first saw them playing Yesterday live, the whole-band arrangement.

Also hearing the guide vocal in Yer Blues was kinda surprising

But You know my name... was really a big surprise.

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29 July 2016
11.21pm
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  In Martha My Dear there's the soft piano that you think will be the same for the rest of the song and then suddenly the rest of the instruments comes in and it's like one of the surprising-est thing on first listen. (To me, that is.) 

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31 July 2016
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The use of panning in 'Sun King '; it's incredibly soothing, subtle and gorgeous to listen to. I always forget its there until I hear the song and then i have to go back a few times over. Take 35 of 'Sun King /Mean Mr. Mustard' is awesome by the way.

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1 August 2016
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I’m still surprised when I hear young people singing along to the Beatles! 

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

1 August 2016
10.28pm
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I've got another one: literally every time I hear Two Of Us .  For me, it's sort of a forgettable song, and it usually slips under the radar for me, but I am reminded of how great it is every time I hear it.  

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2 August 2016
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@limitlessundyinglove, Two Of Us isn’t forgettable at all. You’re right, it’s great. Although it’s not a masterpiece (we aren’t talking about Strawberry Fields or Penny Lane here), its melody is good, and its lyrics are amazing. They begin as humor (“spending someone’s hard earned pay”, or “wearing raincoats standing in the sun”) and then comes the chorus: “You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead” –it suddenly becomes… What? Serious? Dramatic? Sad? And the melody accompanies the change –in Beatles’ music it always does. I love the song, and at my age that chorus is frighteningly true.

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2 August 2016
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Right there @Oudis, it has a weird older-than-years quality about it, an unsettling note of nostalgia. If there's anything that musicians take away from the Beatles it's that ability to surprise with a middle eight/solo/ending/second part. That ability to think freshly about where a song goes, it's often imitated.

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2 August 2016
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limitlessundyinglove said
I've got another one: literally every time I hear Two Of Us .  For me, it's sort of a forgettable song, and it usually slips under the radar for me, but I am reminded of how great it is every time I hear it.    

I get that with a lot of songs: songs I've heard so many times that I take them for granted, and then I hear them again and my mind is blown anew. 

Anyway, gear thread! I've been meaning to post... surprising moment: Her Majesty , anyone? a-hard-days-night-john-6 (Only for the first dozen listens, though.)

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It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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2 August 2016
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Her Majesty was definitely a laugh of surprise for me too. That sense of humour again. Also one of the great justifications for "random".

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2 August 2016
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ewe2 said
Right there @Oudis, it has a weird older-than-years quality about it, an unsettling note of nostalgia. If there's anything that musicians take away from the Beatles it's that ability to surprise with a middle eight/solo/ending/second part. That ability to think freshly about where a song goes, it's often imitated.  

Well @ewe2, Brahms said “We cannot compose as well as Bach, but we must compose as carefully as Bach”; in popular music, The Beatles are the peak we all strive to imitate.

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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)

2 August 2016
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Oudis said

ewe2 observed  
Right there Oudis, it has a weird older-than-years quality about it, an unsettling note of nostalgia. If there's anything that musicians take away from the Beatles it's that ability to surprise with a middle eight/solo/ending/second part. That ability to think freshly about where a song goes, it's often imitated.  

Well ewe2, Brahms said “We cannot compose as well as Bach, but we must compose as carefully as Bach”; in popular music, The Beatles are the peak we all strive to imitate.  

Indeed! I have now squirreled that useful titbit away for my own future compositions. I credit thee, oh observant one 2, for pointing it out. paul-mccartney-thumb_gif 

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15 August 2016
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ewe2 said

[...] I'm also always thrown off guard by the juxtaposition of Paul's little piece after Cry Baby Cry [...]

@ewe2 

Don’t you think it’s its perfect complement? For me they’re still part of the same song…

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)

15 August 2016
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Oudis said

ewe2 said

[...] I'm also always thrown off guard by the juxtaposition of Paul's little piece after Cry Baby Cry [...]

@ewe2 

Don’t you think it’s its perfect complement? For me they’re still part of the same song…  

We have a thread for that: Where Does "Cry Baby Cry" End?

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