Los Paranoias

Anthology 3 album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr
Recorded: 16 September 1968
Producer: Chris Thomas
Engineer: Ken Scott

Released: 28 October 1996

Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar
John Lennon: percussion
Ringo Starr: shaker

Available on:
Anthology 3

The Beatles taped this ad-libbed song during a recording session for the White Album, following an impromptu version of Paul McCartney's Step Inside Love, which he had written for Cilla Black in 1967.

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Although Los Paranoias is credited to all four members of The Beatles, George Harrison did not attend the session or otherwise contribute.

It was recorded on 16 September 1968, during a session for I Will. In between takes, McCartney led the group through a bossa-nova version of Step Inside Love. The song had been the theme tune to Cilla Black's BBC TV show, which began in January that year.

After the song, McCartney can be heard mockingly announced the fictional group 'Joe Prairies and the Prairie Wallflowers'. Lennon follows up the comment by saying 'Los Paranoias', perhaps in reference to Trio Los Paraguyas, who often appeared on BBC television shows in the 1950s and 60s.

With Lennon and Starr on percussion, McCartney then improvised Los Paranoias. The song lasted 3'48, but was faded out to last less than one minute when it appeared on Anthology 3.

The phrase 'Los Paranoias' was a running joke within The Beatles, and was nearly used in the lyrics of Sun King on the following year's Abbey Road.

When we came to sing it, to make them different we started joking, saying 'cuando para mucho'. We just made it up. Paul knew a few Spanish words from school, so we just strung any Spanish words that sounded vaguely like something. And of course we got 'chicka ferdi' - that's a Liverpool expression; it doesn't mean anything, just like 'ha ha ha'. One we missed: we could have had 'para noia', but we forgot all about it. We used to call ourselves Los Para Noias.
John Lennon

Lennon eventually used the phrase on his 1973 solo album Mind Games. In the credits for the Plastic U.F.Ono Band the clavinet was credited to "Dr Winston O'Boogie & Los Paranoias". O'Boogie was a pseudonym adopted by Lennon in the mid-1970s.

19 responses on “Los Paranoias

  1. Elsewhere Man

    Also, by virtue of the fact that John is playing wood blocks, it’s obvious that they were working on “I Will” when this bit of silliness broke out…

    On the same subject, is there a full demo version of “Step Inside Love” with Paul on vocal instead of Cilla Black? If so, where…?

      1. Joe Post author

        I’m not sure about that – I can’t hear bongos on the recording. The line-up came from Ian Macdonald’s Revolution In The Head, but I think he was mistaken. I’ve changed Lennon’s contribution to ‘percussion’, hedging my bets.

        1. Julie

          Those are totally coconuts John’s playin’! 🙂

          I dunno how anyone’s hearing wood blocks or bongos. They’re coconut halves overturned and played against a table like one would do to make horse galloping sound effects and whatnot. You can hear the hollowness.

          Source: Musician for 20+ years and super beatle fan since the anthologies came out. 🙂 <3

          1. Vertex

            I think that level of percussion skill was Ringo, not John. Ringo for instance, could hold a stick on one hand and shaker or maracas on the other. John was more likely on the bongo as it was simpler to play. The percussion instrument that sounds like coconuts are actually “claves” that consist of a pair of hollow wooden sticks and Ringo is credited with them on Wikipedia.

  2. kav1963

    The Beatles never referred to themselves as Los Paranoias… It is clearly a joke by John commenting on the laughable latin tinge of Step Inside Love. Paul got the joke and the rest is history… And yes, Bongos are clearly heard on the full version… Let your face grow long and youtube Los Paranoias.

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