For my final Beatles song, or at least my final Beatles Weekend song, I’m going with not a single track but the medley that closes side two of Abbey Road. Technically, this medley probably begins with ‘Sun King’ or even ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ — I don’t know if the band members ever clarified which songs are officially part of it — but this YouTube clip I found starts with ‘Mean Mr. Mustard.’
This is an odd little group of songs. It starts with sketches of Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam, an interesting brother and sister team… he shouts obscenities at the queen while she dresses in drag.
This weekend marks my 39th and 40th Beatles Weekend selections… five months of the Fab Four. And upon reaching that milestone, I’m going to give the boys a rest and shift my attention to another weekend theme. You’ll find out what that is one week from today.
For the final Beatles Weekend, I’m focusing on their final album, Abbey Road. Certainly one of their finest moments on record, Abbey Road features a combination of their heaviest (‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’), silliest (‘Octopus’s Garden’) and most enduring (‘Here Comes the Sun,’ ‘Something’) songs.
My older daughter, on those morning rides to school, invariably requests ‘I’ve Just Seen a Face,’ the band’s first real foray into country music in their own writing. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs as well.
I remember the first time I heard it… not so much the time or place, which are fuzzy, but the actual experience of hearing it. I remember thinking that the melody was so perfect that I must have heard it before (and I probably had without realizing it). Not to compare Plain White T’s to The Beatles, but I had the same reaction to their ‘Hey There Delilah‘ when I first heard that.
I’ve really come to appreciate the Help! album over the past several months as I’ve played it on a daily basis for my daughters on our way to school each morning.
I’ve always considered it a good second-tier Beatles album, and I suppose I still do considering how amazing that first tier is… but I now believe it’s closer in quality to Rubber Soul and Revolver than I’d ever given it credit for before.
I don’t remember when I first became aware of ‘Hey Jude.’ It’s one of those songs that I’ve just sort of always known. I have only one specific memory of the song and it’s a rather lame one.
It came on once when I was bringing my high school girlfriend back to her house and we sat in the car listening to the whole thing. Those “na na nas” seemed to last forever. I’d love to spin that memory into something salacious but we were in fact just sitting and listening to the song. I told you it was lame.
I’ve mostly stuck to themes on these Beatles weekends, picking two songs from the same album, two songs by George Harrison, two sides of the same single, etc. This week I’m eschewing a thematic connection and just highlighting two great songs.
‘Blackbird’ has always been one of my favorite Beatles songs. I remember first becoming aware of it during the summer after my junior year in high school.
Usually, as with yesterday’s featured song, The Beatles gave Ringo a song to sing just to throw him a bone. You keep the beat for the rest of us, bloke, so here’s a few minutes in the spotlight.
But a couple of Beatles songs just wouldn’t be the same without Ringo on lead vocals. One is ‘Yellow Submarine,’ a corny trifle that’s perfect for Ringo because he sounds like he really means it… that’s a song aimed at 8-year-olds and it needed to be sung at their level. And I don’t mean that as an insult to Ringo. On the contrary, it’s kind of a gift.