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Miscellaneous questions about the Beatles
12 November 2014
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Zig
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ahdn_paul_06What a great question. I’ve read bits here and there (but not everywhere) about wanting to start and end each side with strong tracks and just filling in with the rest, but I don’t know if there is any one resource that delves into that aspect of each album specifically. If there is, I’d love to have it.

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13 November 2014
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Initially, wasn’t it George Martin who had that duty?

I think he held that responsibility throughout his time with the boys (whose input greatly increased through the years)

Rubber Soul ‘s track order always amused me.

[I’m going to] Drive My Car [over to your place of] Norwegian Wood [and after I light that place up] You Won’t See Me [I’ll be a real] Nowhere Man [! You should] Think For Yourself [about] The Word [,] Michelle [.  I mean,] What Goes On [,] Girl [?] I’m Looking Through You [,] In My Life […] Wait […] If I Needed Someone [, you should] Run For Your Life [.]

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13 November 2014
7.55pm
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C.R.A. said

Initially, wasn’t it George Martin who had that duty?

I think he held that responsibility throughout his time with the boys (whose input greatly increased through the years)

Yes. I think AG’s question wasn’t so much who decided, but how it was decided.

BTW, very creative linking of the RS track listing. Bravo!
apple01

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13 November 2014
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Actually, I hadn’t thought to ask “who” because I assumed it was The Beatles who had picked the running order. I have heard/read multiple times during the UK vs US albums debates that the UK ones are in the order The Beatles originally intended. It would be interesting to know if george-martin did pick the early ones. It would also be intersting to know the how. Hum, those two questions, the who and the how (edit: the why), could be more intertwined than I originally thought.

Now that I have had some more time to think about it, I remember some discussions on the forum about running order. Perhaps they were just speculations people made about why certain songs are in certain spots on each album. Guess I need to do some searching.

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13 November 2014
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John and Paul sat down with George M for 24 hours working out the running order of the White Album and i believe the Beatles (more than likely John and Paul) were involved in working out the sequencing from Revolver onwards. Lewisohn notes in Chronicles in the 15th November 1965 entry that for ‘Rubber Soul

On 16 November George Martin worked out the LP running order and telephoned it over to Abbey Road . On 17, 19 and 23 November discs were cut, lacquers were rushed to the pressing plant, the sleeve was quickly printed, and finished copies of the LP were in the shops by Friday 3 December.

For Pepper Neil Aspinall is quoted as saying

“The back of the cover took some time and had to be left till last because we were printing lyrics and they had to be designed and we had to have a running order.  We couldn’t have that until everyone had decided on it.  I remember Paul and I walking along.  I think Kingly Street in the West End, trying to work out some clever word using S for Sgt Pepper : and then we’d try to get a vowel, say–but we couldn’t get it right so the running order had to be done in another way.”

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13 November 2014
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@Ahhh Girl On album tracklistings, and the who, what, when thing.

I think The Beatles (particularly John and Paul) had input from an early stage, through discussions with GM.

The idea of Please Please Me  was to capture the feel of a live performance they might give. So there had to be some discussion of the order they would play those songs live, even if GM had the sign-off.

I think that was probably true of most albums (though some had their order dictated to a degree – A Hard Day’s Night , Help !: film songs on one side, non-film the other, opening with the title track, etc.).

There is actually a different tracklisting for Pepper from the 6 April 1967 (Side 1: Sgt. Pepper A Little Help Mr. KiteFixing A Hole Lucy in the SkyGetting Better She’s Leaving Home ; Side 2: Within You Without You When I’m 64Lovely Rita Good MorningSgt. Pepper – RepriseA Day In The Life ) which shows there was ongoing discussion on that one.

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13 November 2014
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There is a thread on the rejected Pepper running order for anyone who wants to read the thread/discuss it.

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18 November 2014
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George Martin decides the running order for Rubber Soul (16 November 1965)

I think it’s a safe assumption that all albums prior to that were decided by GM too.

As mentioned by others, by the time of Pepper it was a collaborative effort, and I assume subsequent ones were too. The White Album was decided during the group’s only 24-hour session – George and Ringo were both on holiday at the time.

This is from Mark Lewisohn’s Complete Recording Sessions book which, despite its age, is still essential:

Even working to the tried and trusted George Martin formula of opening each side of vinyl with a strong song, and ending it with one difficult to follow, the 31 songs were just too varied and wide-ranging in styles to slip easily into categories. In the end, after dropping What’s The New Mary Jane altogether, there was an approximate structure, the heavier rock songs (Birthday , Yer Blues , Me And My Monkey, Helter Skelter ) mostly ended up on side C, George Harrison ‘s four songs were spread out one per side, no composer had more than two songs in succession* and each side lasted between 20 and 25 minutes. And, as a joke, most of the songs with an animal in the title (Blackbird , Piggies , Rocky Raccoon ) were placed together, in succession, on side B.

Another decision was to link each successive song, either with a crossfade, a straight edit or simply by matching the dying moments of one with the opening notes of the next. The Beatles, like Sgt Pepper , had none of the customary three-second gaps between songs.

*This isn’t strictly true, as John has Cry Baby Cry , Revolution 9 and Good Night in succession. However, there’s Can You Take Me Back in between the first two, so maybe Lewisohn was counting that.

Glyn Johns was given the responsibility of sifting through the Get Back session tapes. I believe there were three rejected running orders that he presented to the group. Phil Spector was drafted in and spent a few days mixing and overdubbing (his involvement is usually hugely overstated). I assume he decided the running order for the album too, although the takes he used had mostly been selected as ‘best’ before he started work on the project.

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18 November 2014
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meanmistermustard said
For Pepper Neil Aspinall is quoted as saying

“The back of the cover took some time and had to be left till last because we were printing lyrics and they had to be designed and we had to have a running order.  We couldn’t have that until everyone had decided on it.  I remember Paul and I walking along.  I think Kingly Street in the West End, trying to work out some clever word using S for Sgt Pepper : and then we’d try to get a vowel, say–but we couldn’t get it right so the running order had to be done in another way.”

I’m trying to work out what this means, but I’m a bear of very little brain. I understand S for Sgt, but why follow with a vowel? Is he talking about an acrostic using the song titles?

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18 November 2014
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He seems to be suggesting an acrostic using the first letters, but ignores that Sgt. Pepper  was always going to be followed by With a Little Help … so the first two letters would have had to be S-W-…

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18 November 2014
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Joe said

George Martin decides the running order for Rubber Soul (16 November 1965)

I think it’s a safe assumption that all albums prior to that were decided by GM too.

As mentioned by others, by the time of Pepper it was a collaborative effort, and I assume subsequent ones were too. The White Album was decided during the group’s only 24-hour session – George and Ringo were both on holiday at the time.

This is from Mark Lewisohn’s Complete Recording Sessions book which, despite its age, is still essential:

Even working to the tried and trusted George Martin formula of opening each side of vinyl with a strong song, and ending it with one difficult to follow, the 31 songs were just too varied and wide-ranging in styles to slip easily into categories. In the end, after dropping What’s The New Mary Jane altogether, there was an approximate structure, the heavier rock songs (Birthday , Yer Blues , Me And My Monkey, Helter Skelter ) mostly ended up on side C, George Harrison ‘s four songs were spread out one per side, no composer had more than two songs in succession* and each side lasted between 20 and 25 minutes. And, as a joke, most of the songs with an animal in the title (Blackbird , Piggies , Rocky Raccoon ) were placed together, in succession, on side B.

Another decision was to link each successive song, either with a crossfade, a straight edit or simply by matching the dying moments of one with the opening notes of the next. The Beatles, like Sgt Pepper , had none of the customary three-second gaps between songs.

*This isn’t strictly true, as John has Cry Baby Cry , Revolution 9 and Good Night in succession. However, there’s Can You Take Me Back in between the first two, so maybe Lewisohn was counting that.

Glyn Johns was given the responsibility of sifting through the Get Back session tapes. I believe there were three rejected running orders that he presented to the group. Phil Spector was drafted in and spent a few days mixing and overdubbing (his involvement is usually hugely overstated). I assume he decided the running order for the album too, although the takes he used had mostly been selected as ‘best’ before he started work on the project.

I’ve always thought it was more the Beatle who sang lead than who wrote the track (tho one could argue that Revolution 9 has no lead vocalist as its a sound collage).

I posted this about the White Album a while back, just an observation

Random thought.

Was there an early plan to have each side of the While Album end with tracks by John, Paul, George and Ringo but it was forgotten about during the 24 hour running order work out?

What i mean is as follows

Side 1 – Happiness Is A Warm Gun = John.

Side 3. Long, Long, Long = George.

Side 4. Goodnight = Ringo.

the only wrong one is side 2 which ends with Julia (John) and not a Paul track.

Was there a late switch with Julia and I Will as they felt it worked better?

John, Paul and George Martin did put all the animal themed tracks on side 2, the more rock tracks are on side 3, so there is a precedent for such an idea. 

and

Was listening to the end of side 1 and beginning of side two and it occured to me that sides 1, 2 and 3 open with a Paul track which is quite a big deal considering side openers were a big deal with LP running orders back in the day (John closed all but one album (Beatles For Sale) up to and including Pepper, Pepper, no lead singer gets two tracks in a row on Revolver etc) and it got me thinking.

John, Paul and George Martin spent 24 hours working out the sequencing: the animal themed songs are on side 2, the heavier tracks on side 3; George gets 1 track on each side of each LP, Ringo gets one song on each LP; John and Paul get a maximum of two songs in a row. It was very clearly organised and diplomatic. So would it be too far fetched to think the original plan was that John and Paul got two side openers on the album and that each Beatle got to close a side (see this post above) but it proved too difficult to achieve? Its damn close for it to happen as for that to be achieved all thats needed is that on side two for Julia to become a Paul track and Martha My Dear be switched for a John track (tho not a direct switch as that wouldnt work well). Too damn close.

table-1.PNG

table-2.PNG

Had to fix the tables

I wonder if there is a way to make it work.ahdn_george_01a-hard-days-night-ringo-4

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18 November 2014
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ahdn_paul_06 mmm, thanks for reposting that post. Now that I look at it, I do recall you posting it before. It went way over my head at the time. I get it now. It is perfectly clear. I just needed to progress to the level of being able to take it in.

18 November 2014
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When John dreamed of the Beatles becoming bigger than Elvis, did he think about the loud, screaming concert crowds that eventually grated on their nerves? Did he see that coming if the Beatles got that big? Surely he knew about the noise of the fans drowning out Elvis’s music.

18 November 2014
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John wanted the crowds and the adulation and the girls. He speaks during his 1975 Tomorrow interview (i cant find the but without it being spliced) of seeing Elvis coming on the screen and all the girls screaming and thinking “thats a good job”. The problem was that it became boring over time and it eventually affected the music and how they were playing on stage.

Its the same with anything; you see something which appeals and you want it and when you get it its great initially but over time the novelty of it wears off.

Typically found it as soon as i posted (from around 10:40 onwards).

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18 November 2014
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meanmistermustard said
John wanted the crowds and the adulation and the girls. 

Huh.  That’s what I want too. a-hard-days-night-john-1

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18 November 2014
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georgiewood said

meanmistermustard said
John wanted the crowds and the adulation and the girls. 

Huh.  That’s what I want too. a-hard-days-night-john-1

Fine but dont come crying to us when they get too much for you and you get fed-up with it all. John has warned you.a-hard-days-night-john-5

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18 November 2014
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@Ahhh Girl There is another aspect to remember, The Beatles were simply bigger than Elvis. For all the hysteria that surrounded Elvis, it was nothing like the hurricane The Beatles found themselves at the eye of. Take Shea Stadium in 1965, for example, that was the first stadium concert by anyone, and the 55,000 fans assembled to see them was the largest audience ever at the time.

Whatever they expected from fame, they got it on a level that was unprecedented.

Take just a couple of examples. Their arrival in Adelaide on 12 June 1964, around 200,000 people lined their route from the airport to the city centre, just hoping to catch a glimpse of them as their motorcade passed, while around another 30,000 surrounded the Town Hall where they were to meet the Mayor and make a balcony appearance.

Or their return to Liverpool on 10 July 1964 for the Northern première of A Hard Day’s Night  when an quarter of the city turned out to line the route in from the airport or stand in front of the Town Hall. These were streets they could walk 18 months earlier.

It’s kind of like wishing that one day you’ll get to drive a Ferrari, and somehow that day arrives, but you find yourself in the Formula One car!

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21 November 2014
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Thanks for those videos, mmm and RN. That interview makes me wish I could reach over and hug John.

The video from Adelaide really made the phrase “rock’n’roll royalty” sink in.

29 November 2014
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How many songs did the beatles write during White Album era (including songs appeared on Abbey Road and on solo albums)

1 December 2014
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meanmistermustard said
John wanted the crowds and the adulation and the girls. He speaks during his 1975 Tomorrow interview (i cant find the but without it being spliced) of seeing Elvis coming on the screen and all the girls screaming and thinking “thats a good job”. The problem was that it became boring over time and it eventually affected the music and how they were playing on stage.

Its the same with anything; you see something which appeals and you want it and when you get it its great initially but over time the novelty of it wears off.

Typically found it as soon as i posted (from around 10:40 onwards).

I’ve seen this interview before but didnt seem to remember the content what mmm talked about when I streamed the video. However, interestingly what reminded me of having watched this video was John’s mimicry of Paul at about 13:50. a-hard-days-night-george-10John! heart

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