The Beatles Discography

Please Please Me (album)

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Album Information
Album Cover Art
By: 
The Beatles
Released: 
Fri, 1963-03-22
Album Type: 
Original
Songs
On Amazon
Sales Rank: 
17
Most-Covered Songs

I Saw Her Standing There

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I Saw Her Standing There".

 

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I Saw Her Standing There" (ISHST)

In contrast with the post-skiffle beat of songs like "Love Me Do" and "Misery" or even "From Me To You" and "Thank You Girl", ISHST is one of the Boys' first hard, fast rockers; it was probably the most blazingly original song they had yet written at the time of its recording, and appropriately and auspiciously, they chose to crown it with the lead-off spot on their first album.

More importantly for our purposes here, the words, music, and arrangement of this song are replete with the touches and techniques that in retrospect define the early "sound" of the group, making it a prime choice for our detailed study.


Words

The lyrics of the first three verses and bridge section contain a deceptively simple boy-meets-girl narrative to which the pulsating music lends a definitely hot connotation, in spite of the lack of any explicit passion in the words. There are many other songs in the world which describe this discovering of one's special love across a crowded room or at a dance, but ISHST is a very far cry indeed from the likes of Rodgers @amp; Hammerstein's "Some Enchanted Evening" or Bernstein's "Maria"; as absurd as this association of titles sounds at first, you cannot deny the uncanny parallels among their respective scenarios.

We also have early examples here of a type of wordplay that would be looked back upon as a Beatles trademark; i.e., the successive use of "How", "She", and "I" at the beinning of the third line of each verse, and the alternation between "when" and "since" at the beginning of the final line of each verse. This device was sufficiently clever to trip up the composers themselves, primarily John. Not only are several of the outtakes riddled by word collisions, but a couple of such mishaps actually managed to creep into the official version; listen to "when/since" at the end of the third verse, or John's hesitation with "since" in the last verse.


Harmony and Form

The song is, and always has been played in the key of E Major; Paul still did it this way on his '89 tour. It must have been a particularly playable key for them in terms of vocal range and chord choices, because they used it so frequently in their early string of original compositions. A non-exhaustive list of examples includes "Please Please Me", "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "There's A Place", "It Won't Be Long", and "All My Loving." Talk about being "tuned to a natural E!"

Though not strictly a blues song, there is nonetheless, a strong bluesy flavor here created by the almost exclusive reliance on the I-IV-V chords, the slow harmonic rhythm with its infrequent chord changes, and the many blue notes in the vocal line which pit melodic notes from the minor mode against the Major chords in the accompaniment; i.e., the tune has a relatively large number of G and D naturals in it for a song in the key of four sharps. Only one truly unusual chord is used in the song, C Major, and it appears with strategic effectiveness right at the climax of each verse where the voices go into their falsetto "wooh".

The form is quite fully cranked out with two bridges, a guitar solo, intro, and full outro, thus making the it run a comparitively long 2:52 as a result:

Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Verse (solo) -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

The song evokes such a pleasurably exuberant mood that I don't believe anyone these days ever finds it to drag or to be too long in its full form; if anything, the outstretched symmetry is one of its best features. Interestingly though, if you bother to study the long line of live versions of the song performed for broadcast or in concert, you'll discover that at some point, they felt compelled to shorten it up by dropping the second bridge.


Arrangement

Throughout, there's a delightful tension embedded in the song from the way that the slowness of the chord changes contrasts with the hard driving activity of the rhythm track and the frequent long jumps in the voice parts. There are several more specific trademark sources of excitement in the arrangement to which the entire group contributes:

- Paul's boogie-woogie bassline outlines the chords in a perpetual motion of eighth notes.

- Ringo's elaboratly syncopated drum fills typically appear in the space between phrases or sections.

- The backing work on rhythm and lead guitars works in fine synergy with the bass and drum parts. George's little obligatto riffs which fill the space between phrases sound a little more tentative than necessary, but you'd miss them if they weren't there. When you work your way through the many later concert and broadcast versions of this song, you find that over time, George *does* in fact come out of his shell a bit, and plays these fills with greater confidence and elaboration.

- The appearance of a full-length improvisatory guitar solo is notable to the extent that instrumental solos of any kind are relatively uncommon on the early singles and albums; the few that do appear tend more toward light- handed embellishment of the main tune (viz. "Love Me Do" or "From Me To You"). Granted, there are those who will argue that George's performance here sounds a tad too stiff and pre-arranged to have been made up in real time, but the point is, it's *intended* to sound as though improvised.

- The tight vocal harmonies of Paul and John, which we will look at below in detail, feature a type of counterpoint which is conspicuously unlike the simpler parallel thirds or sixths of acts like the Everly Brothers. Even the falsetto used here seems so bracingly different from what was to be heard from other contemporaneous groups who made a habit of it, such as The Beach Boys or The Four Seasons. If you can sightread John's parts from my notation below, I recommend you try singing them along with the record for a good time.

- The handclaps and the screaming used for background punctuation are unessential yet nevertheless characteristic.

As always, however, it is only in a thorough walkthrough of the entire song that all the details can be fully appreciated.


Intro

The intro is a simple four measures of vamping on the tonic chord of E, but the count-in, the eighth note pickup in the bass, and the generally rhythmic texture of the accompaniment all help to set, from the very outset, the energetic tone of what is to follow.


Verses - "She was just seventeen.../She looked at me.../We danced all night..."

The verse is in a standard structure of sixteen measures with four phrases of equal length:

      m.1				 5
	|E	|-	|A	|E	||-	|-	|B	|-	||
E:	 I		 IV	 I			 V

	9				 13
	|E	|-	|A	|C	||E	|B	|E	|-	||
	 I	 **	 IV	flat VI	  I	 V	 I


	[** bass players will want to note that Paul often but not always
	    makes sure that E chord in measure 10 is supported by G# in the
	    bass which allows the bassline to melodically move stepwise to
	    the A of the following measure.]

As often happens, the harmony plays an important role in the articulation of the dramatic shape of such a verse: the first phrase expositorily establishes the key, the second phrase reinforces this sense of key with its open ending on V, the third builds towards a climax with its ending on the C chord, and the fourth phrase finally resolves all accumlated tension with its straightforward re-establishment of the home key.

That C Major chord is actually not native to E Major, and in analytical terms is said to have been "borrowed" from the parallel key of e minor. When it moves either from or to the E chord, two of its three voices move in chromatic half-steps (C to B and G to G#) creating a momentary spike of intensity. This is a delightfully ambiguous touch because it leaves it up to us listeners to decide whether the protagonist's tension is one of approach/avoidance or more simply the joy of confident anticipation.

The vocal parts also help to bring the dramatic structure of the music into relief. Paul sings the first eight measures solo and is joined by John for the remainder of the verse in a bit of two part harmony that is most unusual and tangy. In the counterpoint transcribed below, note the number of open fourths and fifths, some of which follow in parallel (measure 11), and the large number of G naturals in either voice which make for "class 1" cross-relations with the G sharps in the E major harmony below:

       m.9                                   E
Paul     |B    C#  D# |E    F#  G | F# E   |      E   E| E  D   |B     G | E

John     |G#   G#  A  |B    B   C#| B  A   | C    C   C| B  G** |F#    G | E

        How could I dance with an-oth-er, whoo, when I saw her stand-ing there


	[** After many listenings, I'm still not 100% certain whether
	    John intends to be singing G or G# in measure 13; it sounds
	    different from one repetition of the phrase to the next.
	    Sometimes, I even suspect he's intentionally shooting for
	    the blue note that lies in between the two, but other times,
	    I worry he was just waffling a bit.]

Paul's octave jump upward in measure 12 is an extraordinary effect, and note how it's motivation is anticipated by the earlier leap downard of almost the same magnitude at the beginning of the second phrase (measure 5, on the words "the way she looked").

The song contains five iterations of this verse section and other than the words, there is very little variation among them. The most significant difference is in the guitar solo section where interestingly, the chord progression is altered in two places; i.e., measure 3 sustains the E chord instead of moving to A, and in measure 12, the A chord from the previous measure is sustained instead of moving to the unusual C chord. I don't think this is random at all; if you try to imagine the solo played over the chord progression from the other verses, you'll find that the two places which were changed here sound somehow stilted or over-emphasized without the underscoring rhythmic emphasis of the words and vocal parts.

A smaller variation worth noting is the way that at the end of the two verses which each precede a bridge section, the bassline in the final measure contains downward scale which nicely leads us straight into the next section.


Bridges - "Well my heart went boom..."

In spite of their drama, the verse sections have an harmonic shape which is closed overall and bound to the home key. The manner in which this bridge section seems to be centered around the IV chord provides both a refreshing change of outlook as well as a platform from which to set up the return to the home key when the next verse comes around.

As with two of its close cousins, "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me", we have another bridge here with phrases of unequal length here. The section is ten measures long, and my ears scan it into three phrases; i.e., two + two + six:

         heart went   boom    As I
	|A	     |-		  ||
	 IV

	 crossed that room   And I
	|A	     |-		  ||
	 IV

	 held   her   hand   in    mine	--  --       --    --  --
	|A	     |-	          |B	   |-	    |A	     |-	      ||
	 IV		 	   V		     IV

The totally static harmony of the first six measures, and the triple repetition of the same melodic phrase builds a suspenseful sense of expectation which is fulfilled by the elongated continuation of the third phrase.

You're so used to hearing it as written that it's hard to imagine it being any other way, but if you can snap out of that mind-set for just a moment, you'll notice that it would have been more obvious (read: less original and effective) to restrain the bridge to the more standard length of eight measures and simply end on the V chord. What we have instead, creates an almost paradoxical effect -- the decision to resolve the V chord deceptively to IV for two full measures on the way to its "real" destination of I is a delaying tactic which, on the one hand, reduces some of the tension built up to that point of the bridge. However, four other factors create an even stronger cross-current of *increasing* tension at the same time -- the lengthening of the phrase by two measures, the jump to the falsetto high notes with its concommitant crescendo, the gutsy support work from the rhythm section, and Paul's dramatic, syncopated lead-in to the following verse with "Well, we ..."

The key contribution of the vocal parts to the strong impact of this bridge is not to be underestimated. In contrast with the verse, we have John and Paul singing together throughout this bridge, with John employing a favorite device of theirs; sustaining during measures 1 - 6, the single note of 'A' against Paul singing the actual melody part above him. However, the real master stroke of this section is in the use of falsetto within the final four measures. The following is what the composite vocal parts of measure 5 - 10 look like:

  m.5			      B -------------- C#------------
  E|G     F#    |E      E |F#-------|---------|E--------|---- A    G| E
  A|A     A     |A      A |B        |         |         |           |

She held  her    hand   in mine ----------------------------  Well we danced

If you listen very carefully though, you'll discover that the top line is not sung by one person alone, but is the byproduct of John's jumping over Paul by an octave in measure 7. The following blow-by-blow narrative of is perhaps less clear than it would appear to you if I had music paper on which to transcribe it, but this is the best I can do with words alone: Paul actually sustains the F# at the beginning of measure 7 all the way through measure 8, and then moves down to E natural for measures 9 and the beginning of 10, before picking up the melody again for the beginning of the following verse. John, who has been singing just A natural beneath him the whole time moves up in parallel fifths with Paul to B at the beginning of measure 7 and in the second beat of the measure jumps a dizzying octave to the high B, and it is he who sustains that impossible high note all the way through to the C# in measure 9. The ultimate clue for this is that on some of the outtakes, the high C# is sustained long enough that it overlaps with Paul's starting the next verse. Check it out!

Stepping back from the details, it's worth noting how, on a structural level, the use here of both falsetto and an octave jump add unity to the overall composition by their subconscious association with the earlier appearances of both techniques.


Outro - "...since I saw her standing there."

The triple repetition of the final phrase of the last verse is relatively conventional for the genre we're dealing with. The first two repetitions are identical both melodically and harmonically, and are built on a simple I-V-I chord progression.

The final repetition, while melodically the same as the previous two, provides a small harmonic modification; i.e., a IV chord gets interpolated between the V and the final I chord. This is the same trick we saw at the end of the bridge, and its reappearance here helps put the brakes on for the conclusion of the piece, as well as providing yet another subtle touch of unification.

For you harmony freaks who like to keep track of every little Beatles trademark, we also have a classically free-dissonant chord at the very end; E Major with at least F# and possible C# as well tacked on for spice.


What's it all about ?

I've made a habit in these Notes of spending a moment or two at the end in consideration of what hidden meanings might be embedded in the lyrics. But I'll tell you, if you need me to sort *this* one out for you, then you're really in trouble :-).

For a rare change, we have no romantic or emotional complications; no angst, no pangs, not even the slightest amount of self doubt; this time, (to paraphrase Richard Price's "The Wanderers") it's more like some "hip ditty bop noise" reminding us in perpetuity of the "nowness and coolness" of being seventeen and falling in, what you think is, true love, most likely for the first time.

Granted, there is more often than not, an eventually bitter side to this experience, but I believe that the song isn't so much whitewashing over this truth, as much as emphasizing that the sweeter part of it is worth taking with you for the rest of your life.

Surely, you *do* know what I mean ?


Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"When was the last time you gave a girl a pink-edged daisy ?  When did you
 last embarass a sheila wid your cool appraising stare ?"        051091#26
---

                Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

Misery

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Misery".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Misery" (M1.1)

KEY     C Major

METER   4/4

FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge ->
                        Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- "Misery" is one of a group of songs from the Please Please Me album sadly fated for obscurity in America, where most people had no familiarity with it until Capitol released the _Early Beatles_ album in spring '65, a full two years after it was recorded. And by that point the drift of popular attention to the group was understandably tilted toward the really new material.

- This obscurity is particularly unfortunate to the extent that the song's overall sound, characterized by a shuffling, "washboard" beat and spare, pseudo-acoustic instrumental texture, represents a genuine if somewhat under-appreciated facet of the group's early style.

- The melody is in short phrases, punctuated by rhythm guitar obbligato figures, and the rhetorical interjections of the song's title in the lyrics.

- The form is the standard two-bridge model with one verse intervening. The relatively short duration of the finished song could have easily accommodated an additional instrumental-solo verse before the second bridge, but my theory is that the closed shape of those verse sections, *especially* built as they are from such a limited set of chords, would have been a claustrophobic mistake that they wisely avoided.

- The lyrics of the four verses form a familiar pattern of ABCC.

- Three of the four verses and the refrains all begin rhythmically on the downbeat. The lone exception is the second verse ("I've lost her now"), which begins with a pickup.


Melody and Harmony

- The first half of the verse tune sports a jumpy pentatonic lick before the other notes of the scale make their appearance in the second half. The bridge tune is based unusually on the step-wise descent of an entire octave.

- Only four chords are used. In order of appearance you have F, G, C, and 'a'; i.e., IV, V, I, and vi, respectively. The vi chord is used in this song as though it were a full-fledged sub-dominant (in the way it sets up the V chord) or even as a surrogate dominant (in the way it sometimes is inserted *between* the I chord on either side). Only at the beginning of the bridge is it used in its more typecast role as the relative minor, or "submediant".


Arrangement

- The voice parts are predominantly sung in unison but there are surprise blossomings into two-part harmony, typically saved for phrase endings.

- Paul uses the same sort of dotted quarter and eighth notes in the bass part that we saw in FMTY. This also cleverly carries forward into the bass line the same snapped rhythm that pervades the main melody of the song, as well as it rescues the bass line from would be otherwise have been a dull, unrelieved four in the bar.

- The piano edit pieces in the intro and bridge are a relatively small touch, but one of no small historic interest; aside from the fracas regarding Andy White's guest drumming stint on the original version of "Love Me Do", this is likely the very first appearance of a guest performer on a Beatles track in order to provide something the Boys could not do for themselves. Granted, it's a far cry from the likes of the string quartets and solo brass instruments that would come later, but it's the same concept nevertheless.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is only four measures long (discounting the opening piano arpeggio), but it has the full essence of the rest of the song embedded within in it:

        "Adagio" -------------->"A Tempo"
        |F      |G      |C      |a     G    
     C:  IV      V       I       vi    V

- Starting off with a dramatically slow intro may have been a fairly common technique among the rest of pop/rock music, but L&M very rarely used it at all. Aside from the contemporaneous "Do You Want To Know A Secret?", I can't even think of another example off the top of my head; something worth keeping an ear out for in the rest of our studies.

- The choice of opening chord progression makes this yet another Beatles song that opens away from the home key, yet quickly converges upon it.

- In the space of just these few measures were are quickly introduced to several devices that ultimately characterize and permeate the rest of the song; e.g., the unison singing which unfolds into harmony, the decorative use of the piano, and the I-vi-V chord progression.

- Mark for later reference the little chromatic move in the bass line during the transition from measure 1 to 2 (F -> F# -> G).


Verse

- The verse is a brief and harmonically static eight measures:

        |C      |F      |C      |F       -      |G      |C      |a       
         I       IV      I       IV              V       I       iv

- Note how the embellishment of the F chord with "neighbor" tones of D-C-D in the guitar part lends a jazzy, added-sixth sound to the accompaniment.

- In spite of the few chords used, a subtle syncopation in the harmonic rhythm is created by sustaining the same chord (i.e., F, the IV) over the two measures that straddle the mid-verse divide between measures 4 & 5.

- As we saw with FMTY, wherever a verse if followed by yet another verse section, the final measure shifts to the vi chord instead of sustaining the I chord all the way through, as happens in verses which are followed by a bridge. I've told you there are formulaic aspects to this sort of composition.


Bridge

- We have another eight-measure section, one that provides the traditional contrast to the preceding verses:

        |a      |-      |C      |-       a      |-      |G      |-       
         vi              I                vi             V

- The harmonic rhythm is slower than the verse, and the steep scale-wise descent in the melody here is in contrast to the jumping here and about seen earlier. Some consistency with the verse is maintained in the way we still have short, declarative phrases in dotted rhythm, punctuated by the accompaniment; here the piano, instead of the guitar, provides the mimicking obbligato.

- The bass line contains two uncanny details that closely unify it with what is going on elsewhere: the lead-in to the bridge begins with the same sort of chromatic lick seen in the intro (G -> G# -> A), and the lead-out of the bridge to the next verse is made up of a descending scale (G - through C), reminiscent of the vocal part.

- The 'a' minor chord in the first measure of this section sounds at first as though it *might* be a part of a modulation to that key but it's really too short-lived to count.

- Unofficial releases of outtakes 1 through 6 of this song are an apt example of both a prime kind of material not included within the scope of the Anthology and candid portrait of them operating under the stress of a series of sloppy mistakes following what otherwise sounds like a pretty clean first take. Take 6 contains typical Ringo drum fills in measures 4 and 8 of the bridges. Though nicely performed and not entirely inappropriate, my guess is that he was asked to eliminate them from the final version in order to keep unbroken the hypnotic mood of the shuffling rhythm.


Outro

- This outro is built from several repeats of the last two measures of the verse into a quick fadeout.

- The vocal parts burst forth in some "oohs" which are more anguished than passionate for a change, as well as some "lah-lahs." These come across as impromptu, though we find in take 1 the virtually the identical set of them as in the final version.

- It is John who takes the lead in these vocal effects, and his move is all the more effective because it is the first time in the entire song that we hear a *solo* voice.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- This is one of the rare, early L&M originals in which the girl is spoken of entirely in the third person. Ironically, it appears back to back on the "Please Please Album" with another one of these rare examples, the very upbeat "I Saw Her Standing There". The uninterrupted flowing beat of "Misery" provides some forward-looking optimism in counterpoint to the otherwise downbeat lyrics. In the context of the album lineup, I believe that this subtle hint in "Misery" of a sun concealed behind the overcast mitigates what might have otherwise been too stark of a manic-depressive contrast between those first two tracks.

Regards,
Alan (awp@world.std.com)


---

"Quite right, invites to gambling dens full of easy money and fast women,
 chicken sandwiches, and cornets of caviar, disgusting!"      030401#29.1

---

Revision History
072991  29.0    Original release
030401  29.1    Add second-pass observations and copy edit




                Copyright (c) 1991, 2001 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Anna (Go to Him)

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Cover versions of the song "Anna (Go to Him)", which also was covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Chains

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Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)
Provenance
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Boys

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Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)
Provenance
Year: 
1960
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Ringo Starr
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Ask Me Why

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Ask Me Why".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Love Me Do" (LMD)

To those who would argue that the early original songs of The Beatles are just the same old stuff of which the Top 40 was made in the early 60s, I draw your attention to this first official release of theirs; in fact, it was exactly 29 years ago **today (I couldn't help notice that in 1962, the 5th of October fell out on a Friday just as it does this year -- such slavish synchrony!)

Granted, by itself, "Love Me Do" (LMD) is hardly the blockbuster of which legendary careers are made. In contrast, those silly lists of "The 500 Most Golden Oldies of All Time" promoted by certain radio stations are peppered through with songs by groups whose claim to fame rests on the strength of just one single; I expect general agreement from you all that LMD wouldn't have done that for our Boys.

In fact, it's tempting at first blush to dismiss this one as too simple and even unappealing. After all, we have what must be very nearly the skimpiest Lennon/McCartney lyric ever, a gawky post-skiffle beat which threatens to break into a polka in a couple of places, and a vocal duet that would appear to be ripped off from the Everly Brothers. But just beneath the surface, you find not only that certain bristling intensity in their voices, but also a great deal of idiosyncratic originality in the compositional details. One might even call it stylistically prophetic, especially in regards to the phrasing, the vocal harmonies, and the modal melody.

The most intruiging aspect to this intuitive innovation of the early Beatles is the question of how much of it was motivated by intentional originality and how much a by-product of less-than-entirely-adept emulation of their derivative influences. It's a quite serious question, the answer to which, in spite of the seeming pejorative value judgment in my choice of words, has nothing to do with the relative merit of the final product itself; but I leave this question for now in the hands of the aestheticians.


Form

The form of this song is fairly typical:

    Intro-> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse ->
	Bridge (solo) -> Verse-> Outro

Of interest is the positioning of the instrumental solo within a repeat of the bridge rather than a verse section. It's because of this that there is only one verse separating the two bridges; more typical of the period (e.g., "I Saw Her Standing There", or even "How Do You Do It") is to double up on the verses in the middle, one of which, in that case, usually contains an instrumental solo.


Harmony and Modality

I've pointed out in connection with several of John's middle-period songs a penchant for harmonic frugality. This song with only three chords is certainly a good early example; these are, in order of appearance are the very basic ones of G, C, and D (I, IV, and V). As we'll see below, in a deft move, the last of them, D, is held back until as late as the bridge section.

LMD is ostensibly in the key of G Major though it contains a strong Mixolydian modal inflection from the heavy use of both F-naturals in the tune and in its reliance on the I-IV-I to establish a feeling of tonal center. The non-modal Major V chord with an F# is used only in the bridge.

Another different sort of modal inflection in this song comes from the liberal melodic use of bluesy bent-notes on b-flat over the G major chord (with its b-naturals) in the accompaniment.

Intro

The intro is a balanced eight measure phrase and utilizes just the two chords of G and C.

We're treated right at the outset to another soon-to-become signature device of John's: the slow triplet rhythm, as it is found here in the harmonica part, measure 3. Furthermore, we find in this harmonica solo a very early example of the use of a hook-phrase used throughout an entire song: the little descending motif of "f-e-d-g", with it's bluesy emphasis on the seventh note of the scale (f) and the heavy use of flutter-tongueing on the repeats, so suggestive of a sob or a cry. There's also the melodic emphasis in this little riff on the note "d." as it appears superimposed of the C chord, lending an overall jazzy C9 flavor the song.

As we soon see, this introductory hook is made ubiquitous in the song by the incorporation of this intro within the final portion of the verse section; or shall I say that the final part of the verse is set-up as the hook by virtue of its having already appeared in the intro ? Just a matter of semantics, I suppose.

Verse

The verse is an unusual thirteen measures long and is broken into the sub-phrases which pretty much follow the scanning of the lyrics:

	(3 times 2) 	Love, love me 		|do.		You
			know I love 		|you.		I'll
			always be 		|true		So

	(3 		ple -   - 	|-e -  -  - | -ase       love me
	    plus 4)	do.  (return of the hook)

This sort of free meter in the scanning of the words (no iambic pentameter for These Boys) is a noteworthy, not infrequent feature of their later songs, especially those written by John. Its appearance here in such an early, and otherwise not so ambitious, piece of work is astonishing.

The music continues on with just the same two chords from the intro. Note how the break of the regular harmonic rhythm in measures 7 - 9 (on the elongation of the word "please") enhances the impact of the irregular phrasing:

	 ------ 3X -----			  ----- 2X -----
	|G	|C	||C	|-	|-	||G	|C	|
G:	 I	 IV

The vocal harmony of this verse contains two specific seminal details which would soon become telltale characteristics of "that Beatles sound"; one being the use of open fifths instead of the more typical thirds or sixths, as in the phrase "Love, love me do":

			     G
			   F
			 /
	Paul:	D	D

			   D
                         /   C
	John:	G	G

Note in the above example the special coloration, a melding of the two voices, that arises from this sort of harmony. I'm fairly certain that it's John on the bottom (though there's that famous interview clip with Paul discussing the infamous acetate of "That'll Be the Day" in which he sings the bottom part of this same fragment), though with Paul in a busking partial falsetto on the top they're hard to distinguish from each other.

The other vocal detail is the sustaining of the same note in the upper part against the scale-wise movement in the lower, as on the drawing out of the word "please"; Paul's bending of the note so reminiscent of the harmonica part:

	Paul:	G	G   G   G

	John:	E	D   C	E

One final point of interest here is in the careful working out of the arrangement no matter how spare and simple it is. Note the unity amidst varation that is achieved by following the harmonica solo of the intro with a verse that first features a vocal duet and then concludes with solo voice and the opening harmonica hook figure as backing.

And a detail within a detail: note how at the end of the verse when Paul sings "love me do" solo, he's actually jumping the octave down from his earlier part to the range where John was singing in the duet. According to the interview with Paul in Lewisohn's preface, this was an artifact of a last minute change in the studio to the arrangement; John was supposed to sing it but it was impossible for him to get the harp in his mouth quickly enough to also play the hook on time. Regardless of the motivation, it's a nice serendiptitious touch.

Bridge

The third of the three chords used in this song finally makes its appearance in the bridge section as part of the bluesy V-IV-I progression. It's all rather dramatic in that, not only haven't we seen this V chord ('D.') yet, but we haven't seen the pitch f# at all in the melody either; the verse staying exlusively with those bluesy/modal f naturals. Of course, just to keep the game interesting, the vocal melody in this bridge alternates continually between the f# and f natural.

The first appearance of the bridge is eight measures long, and features the only new words to be found in the song outside of the first verse. In contrast to the verse, the phrasing of 4 + 4 is quite square, almost too much so; at a distance of almost thirty years, I still find the "bim BOM" rhythm on beats 2&3 of the eighth measure disconcertingly teetering toward the lame:

	-------------- 2X --------------
	|D	|-	|C	|G	|
G:	 V		 IV	 I

The arrangement of this bridge is just as careful as that of the verse. Here we have Paul singing solo while doubled by the harmonic alternating with Paul and John singing in octaves. Note how, just as in the verse, Paul makes another octave jump (upward this time) between his solo and duet parts; just coincidence or true choreography ?

The second appearance of the bridge is an instrumental section of twelve measures, the first eight of which are an adaptation of the previous bridge with John playing a harmonica part in place of Paul's vocal.

Tacked onto this first phrase are four additional measures of harmonica riffing over mostly just the G chord with an oom-pah bassline. In a manner analogous to the ending of the first bridge, this four measure extension concludes with another (dare I say) even more lame "Booomp" on the third beat of the last measure; the solo note of D in the bass, punctuated by a crash of the cymbal here serves in place of the V chord which begs for the next verse.

Outro

The outro, in typical fashion provides a final reinforcement of the hook phrase, with its repetition of the intro/end-of-verse section ad infinitum into the fade-out.


An Overflow of Comparisons

We've come to the end of the song but not yet the end of this article. I've got three sorts of brief comparative analyses up my sleeve for a grande finale.

- LMD versus "How Do You Do It":

Just how does our current offering stack up against the Mitch Murray cover that George Martin would've had them perform for their first single instead ? Some interesting contrasts:

  • Both songs are in the same key of G and have almost identical forms.
  • HDYDI uses "more" chords though nothing more exotic than the so-called Brill Building selection; in addition to I-IV-V, there's vi, ii, and and V-of-V. Compared to the raunchy modality of LMD, it's quite diatonically Major sounding.
  • HDYDI does have a catchy touch of syncopation in its hook phrase, but note how the phrasing is unrelievedly four-square throughout.
  • HDYDI positions its instrumental solo in a more traditional verse section, and furthermore features solo guitar in place of harmonica.
  • You have some of the same sorts of duet/solo alternation in the arrangement of both songs, though HDYDI features straight-line parallel thirds.
  • Though less countrified than LMD, HDYDI is still closer to pop than hard rock or blues.

Point-for-point, HDYDI clearly wins out as a less risky, more "conservative" choice in terms which may explain both the lackluster albeit well-mannered performance given it by the Boys as well as their ultimate rejection of it by them. Besides, they hadn't written this one anyway; "aaaaah, give it to Gerry."

- LMD versus the other L/M originals on the "Please Please Me Album":

Again, there are some interesting point-for-point contrasts. No surprise, but some of the same signature devices of the nascent Beatles sound that we found in LMD are also found in these other songs:

Similarly no suprise, but these other songs have several telltale Beatles signatures *not* to be found in LMD:

LMD, this time quite surprisingly, is unique overall, though, in the modal inflection of its harmony. By the way, you might note how, in spite of their well known R&B background both as Quarrymen and as Beatles at the Beeb, this early set of eight originals overall is rather more pop-than-rock oriented, in spite of the promise of, say, ISHST and PPM.

- the two versions of LMD compared:

Alot has been made of the fact that the official version released on the PPM album contains a studio drummer (one Andy White) with the unfortunate Ringo relegated to the lowly position of hitting the tambourine on the offbeats.

I'd venture to say that as a commercial recording, the Andy White version is the one performed with greater polish and confidence, and recorded with better presence and clarity. Yet, for a unique early snapshot of the Boys at work, the Ringo-drumming version (thankfully now generally available on Past Masters, I) is definitely the one to be preferred because of power with which it speaks to both your ears and heart.

With your ears, you can more easily hear the handclaps in the bridge of this version, though without the tambourine, the overall texture sounds a tad thin. More importantly, from the quiver in his voice, you can tell just how nervous Paul is at this first "for real" recording session; the dotted notes in his bass line sounding tentative and uncertain; the same for Ringo's drumming.

But best and most precious of all is what your heart responds to in this version of the song, if only you'll open it widely enough. There's a lot of "self" invested in those long, drawn-out phrases; you can keenly feel them putting their "all" on the line. And if you've ever been so lucky in life, it ought to resonate in you with some past experience of your own.

Let's say, a situation in which your words weren't all you wanted to say, but you were brave enough anyway to commit it to print and give it to the world ? Where you knew, in your heart, that someday all your hopes and wishes would come true, even if everyone told you "a guitar's all right, but you'll never earn a living by it"--- or words to that effect ? Where you had to prove it to yourself, somehow, some way, somewhere that you could make the future really *happen* for yourself?

That's what LMD meant to our own sweet Boys. It may not have been the best song they ever wrote, but it was the Prime Step for them; it was their first shot at immortality. And such a humble offering...but what a seed of passion contained therein, don't you think ?

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan, but *I* gave him the test." **100590#21
--- ** posted two days early since ** I'll be briefly away from ** the net on 10/5.

Copyright (c) 1990 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Please Please Me

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Please Please Me".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Please Please Me" (PPM)

"Please Please Me" (PPM) is only their second single, but it already represents a quantum leap in compositional terms for the Beatles over their first one, "Love Me Do" (LMD). In addition to the tight vocal harmonies seen earlier, we have here a couple of tricky chord choices, crackling drum fills, continuous variation in the deployment of the backing vocals, and as they say in the 'biz', much, much more.

Compared with the extant tapes of the Quarrymen, the Star Club, the Decca audition, or even the couple of preceding EMI sessions, PPM gives us an energized performance and an arrangement more complicated than anything these Boys had attempted heretofore. This would seem to suggest that the firm and creative influence of George Martin began to be felt even at this early date.

This song is also emotionally quite gripping, not only because of its apparently incessant drive, but even more so for the very human way in which the hero appears to waver in the amount of self-control he can muster -- starting out urgingly insistent yet trying to appear controlled; talking through clenched teeth in a forced-polite voice, even while his facade is continually cracking to reveal the true heat and impatience behind it. On one level, it's a fairly obvious seduction scenario, yet you find yourself quite hypnotized if not overwhelmed by the force and subtlety with which the meaning of the words are played-off against the message of the music.


Stating Point of View

The lyrics of PPM, when compared with the other contemporaneous songs of Lennon and McCartney, seem rather unique in terms of point of view and expositional context. The cannonical bundle of their original songs which were officially released up through the end of '63 (i.e., the 21 single and album cuts running from LMD through "Not a Second Time") makes for an interesting study from this perspective; a thorough job is way out of scope with this current article but even the bare statistics are revealing:

- All 21 songs are about the romantic relationship between a boy and a girl from the perspective of the boy; granted, so far no surprise.

- 17 of the songs are written in direct address to the girl, and these range from the vulnerable pleading of LMD to the mushy puppy love of "Do You Want to Know a Secret", to the glib giddiness of "I Wanna Be Your Man." The harsher confrontations which would suddenly become a staple trademark starting on the "A Hard Day's Night" album with such classics as "Tell Me Why" and "You Can't Do That" are represented in this sampling only by the relatively milder "Not a Second Time".

- Only 2 of the songs are soliloquies in which the girl is spoken of in the third person; you have the encomium of "I Saw Her Standing There" versus the angst-ridden confessional of "Misery".

- Two of the songs stick out as unique; "She Loves You", which features core-talk advice from the singer to his friend regarding the *friend's* girl, and our current choice, PPM.

In PPM, we have what is in essence a direct address, but one that is framed as kiss-and-tell reportage of something that happened The Night Before; as though most of the lyrics should be written in quotes. Of course, it's a small, even moot, distinction because your ultimate experience of the song is on the level of overhearing the boy urging the girl directly and in real time; like a so-called frame-tale short story in which by the second page you've totally forgotten that there ever was any frame established at the beginning because the action itself is so absorbing.


Form

PPM has a compact form of which is likely motivated by the length of the verses and the general raving intensity of mood which would begin to chafe if unduly prolonged. Note the solitary bridge section and the absence of an instrumental solo break:

        Intro-> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro

The use of a complete ending is worthy of note. In context of the rest of the top 40 of this period, circa 1963, where, failing recourse to a statistical analysis of the matter, we seem to at least remember everything as having a fade out at the end, the relatively large number of early Lennon and McCartney songs with complete endings (12 out of those same cannonical 21 singled out above) would seem to be bucking a trend; then again, perhaps "setting a trend" would be more correct under the circumstances; after all, for a while, it *was* their profession.

Harmony and Modality

Compared to the tangy modality of LMD, the melodic material here is purely diatonic E Major. The harmony, in contrast, while still heavily reliant on I-IV-V, presents us with some unusual surprises in the form of the G and C chords which add just a hint of bluesy minor-mode inflection.

Intro

The introductory phrase of only four measures played over the unchanging E Major (I) chord is deceptively simple. Here, as we've seen in so many other songs, the intro, for all its brevity, plays a key expository role.

First off, we have the ever popular hook phrase trumpeted out by the harmonica and guitar in unison. In many songs, such hook phrases foreshadow material that will appear in either the melody of the coming verses or as a mockingbird-like obligatto figure in the background. In PPM the hook is used both ways.

Secondly, we have the unusual pick-up start on the fourth beat. What you'll look back on later as the unrelenting forward drive of this song is thus to be found here right at the very start in the iambic "da-DUM" gesture of those first two notes; even that little drum fill which bridges the gap between the end of the intro and the beginning of the verse reinforces this gesture.

Lastly, take note for now of that pleasant dotted quarter note snap in the second measure of our hook phrase; the better to appreciate how this phrase is modified for its appearance in the melody of the verse.

First Verse - "Last night I said these words to my girl"

The verse is sixteen measures long and is built out of four phrases of even length:

        1
        |E              |-              |A      E       |  G  GA  AB BB |
E:       I                               IV     I         III  IV  V

        5
        |E              |-              |A      E       |-              |
         I                               IV     I

        9
        |A              |f#             |c#             |A              |
         IV              ii              vi              IV

       13
        |E              |A      B       |E              |A      B       |
         I               IV     V        I               IV     V

As you work your way through the four phrases in turn, you quickly discover a clever overall dramatic shape to the verse. The first two phrases hang together like a couplet, and the remaining two phrases seem to meld into a refrain-like eight-measure unit.

The first two phrases are obviously related to each other, though there is a subtlety in the transition between the two of them which is the first clue to our hero's wavering self-control. The last measure of the first phrase, on the one hand, seems to suggest a sudden extra push forward with its syncopated, momentary speed-up of the harmonic rhythm; note the three Major chords moving step-wise in a row and changing on the offbeat, the first of which - G Major - isn't even a legitimate member of the key we're in, adding a bluesy cross relation to the texture - g natural against a background of g sharps. For an instant, we seem to be hurtling just a tad out of control. And yet, with the start of the second phrase, we're right back where we started out before. Order has been restored; as though our hero, carried away by his own sweet excitement quickly catches himself and backs off, the better to resume his former polite and measured, albeit insistent, tack.

Although the second phrase is virtually identical to the first, the difference between them in their final measures is of structural significance. The open ending of the first one on V smoothly motivates the start of the second one. By contrast, the closed harmonic ending of the second phrase on the I chord includes that unusual guitar riff in measure eight, the combination of which sets off this opening couplet from what follows.

The third phrase is one of both musical excursis and build toward a climax by virtue of the introduction of new chords, the progression away from the I yet not necessarily reaching a clear resting point, and of course, the employment in every measure of the hard syncopation on the half-beat between 2 and 3; this last peturbation being ironic to the extent that this very phrase is the only one in the entire song in which the harmonic rhythm holds steady for as long as four measures. The climax, per se, is to be found in the reaching of the melodic apex (high A) of the entire verse in measure 12.

You would surmise at this point that our hero has crosssed the start-line and opened his attack for better or worse, but immediately following, we experience yet another retreat of sorts in the way the fourth phrase resolves the accumlated tension of the preceding one with its return to a musical texture and vocabulary that is very close to that of the first two phrases: no more syncopations, a resumption of plain I-IV-V, and an exchange of the "come Ons" for the "please pleases"; all this, reinforced by the return of the hook phrase at the very end. Incidentally, note how the placement of the hook above the I-IV-V progression in this context gives it a different feel from the one it has when it is accompanied by just the I chord as in the intro or the first half of the verse.

Details, Duckie

All this agitation and the thrashing between polite insistence and a less patient coaxing is only further enhanced by the manifest details of the verse's arrangement.

The adaptation of the opening hook phrase as it appears in the melody of the first two phrases conveys determined insistence on at least two levels. First off, in the second measure, the snapped rhythm heard in the intro is here replaced by a continuation of the "marcato", almost hammer-like quarter notes of the first measure. Enhancing this is the way that Paul sustains the single tone of E *above* John's singing of the actual melody. Quite nicely, the snapped rhythm isn't entirely dispensed with here, but is rather moved all the way to the extended ending of the hook phrase in measure three, where it too adds to the mood of insistence.

The forward-propelling syncopations of the third phrase are put into bold italics by the antiphional deployment of the backing voices of Paul and George; soon to become yet another Beatles signature device. Unusual here is the way in which the fragments sung by the lead and the backers fit seamlessly together in one melodic line; an effect of great antiquity in classical music, the technical term for which is "hocket."

Gentler though undeniable pushes forward are to be found as well in the drum fills which bridge measures 4/5, 7/8, and the springing guitar riff of measure 8 itself.

And on the side of vacillation, the harmonic rhythm over the course of these sixteen measure is more varied, changeable, and uneven than virtually any other example we've looked at in this series thus far.

Second Verse - "You don't need me to show the way love"

Aside from some new lyrics, the entire verse is repeated virtually verbatim with one minor change made at the end to smoothly effect the transition into the bridge. In the last measure here, the harmony holds still on I, the hook phrase is truncated by half, and for a single instant (the only one of its kind in the entire song), all voices and guitars are tacet in favor of a series of solo drum fills. It's a subtle gesture which binds off what has preceded and, at the same time, leads ahead to what follows.

Bridge - "I don't want to start complaining"

Even though this bridge is built out of the same old three basic chords, the lyrics of the song take a decided turn at this point for the openly confrontational in this section, and the music, too, provides plenty of contrast with what has preceded.

First off, there is the unusual ten measure length which is broken up into two phrases of uneven length:

        |A      |B      |E      |-      |
         IV      V       I

        |A      |B      |E      |A   B  |E      |A   B  |
         IV      V       I       IV  V   I       IV  V

Note how both phrases start out away from the tonic and quickly close in on it. The first phrase here is distinguished by its novel use of the backing voices; at first, just harmonized "ahhhs" behind John's solo, followed by the surprising "in my heart" rejoinder of measure 4.

The second phrase is even more interesting. Paradoxically, though its length is stretched out, the harmonic rhythm is conversely quickened in its second half, and this serves to draw us back into the final verse with the same music that was used earlier to lead the first verse into the second one, fanfare-like hook phrase and all.

What is perhaps the most climactic moment of the entire song takes place in the third measure of this second bridge phrase; where the melody suddenly jumps an octave to high B (no coincidence, the single highest melodic peak in the song) on the phrase "to reason with YOU." Ironically, the chords to the beginning of both bridge phrases are identical, yet, the E chord, which in the first phrase provides a focal point of repose, here in the second phrase, by virtue of the melodic high-point, serves as a jumping off point for the rest of the phrase with its open ending on V; context is all.

The musical climax of this section is in direct synchrony with that of the lyrics, yet, with the transition right into the final verse, we back off yet again from what otherwise might have seemed a point of no return.

Last Verse and Outro

The final verse is a full reprise of the first one, and the familiar device of ending with a triple repeat of the last sub-phrase is neatly worked in here as a natural outgrowth of the fourth phrase of the verse.

Although none of the thematic material in this outro is anything new by this point of the song, the boys do bring out a couple of surprises they've clearly been saving till the end. The first one is the pseudo-contrapuntal texture in which the "please please me" and hook phrases seem to swirl and cascade around us. But most attention grabbing of all is choice of chords for the final phrase, each one of which is sharply punctuated by a fill of four even sixteenth notes on the snare drum:

                |E      G       |C      B       |E      |
                 I     V of VI   VI     V        I
                      |               |
                       from parallel
                         minor

The use of the G and C chords is not nearly so far out as might seem at first sight; especially if you think of them in context of being borrowed, as it were, from the parallel minor key; besides, we were even sort of "warned" to half-expect something like this given the early appearance of the G chord by itself in the verse; kind of like how the murder weapon in a mystery appears as a casual prop in the first scene. Still, the bluesy hint of the minor mode plus the implicit cross-relations of the G and C naturals against predominant sharps of the E Major key makes an extremely bracing effect. For laughs, try this last phrase with the more "correct" diatonic chords of G# Major and c# minor and see how hopelessly square it sounds by contrast.

In the final result, this song is a worthy textbook example of where a fade out ending would be, not just wishy-washy, but suggestive of a different unravelling of our hero's outing; one filled with intimations of endless begging. Instead, the audacious ending we are given provides the quite appropriate denoument for the passionate plot of the song up to this point. It is as though our hero, careful not to shoot his whole wad too soon lest all else fails, has held back something, (not without some difficulty, I dare say), with which to bring things ultimately to a head with an abrupt, pro-active bang, so to speak; hence, the full ending from which, this time, there can be no retreat.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan, but *I* gave him the test." 110790#22
---

Copyright (c) 1990 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Love Me Do

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Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Love Me Do".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Love Me Do" (LMD)

To those who would argue that the early original songs of The Beatles are just the same old stuff of which the Top 40 was made in the early 60s, I draw your attention to this first official release of theirs; in fact, it was exactly 29 years ago **today (I couldn't help notice that in 1962, the 5th of October fell out on a Friday just as it does this year -- such slavish synchrony!)

Granted, by itself, "Love Me Do" (LMD) is hardly the blockbuster of which legendary careers are made. In contrast, those silly lists of "The 500 Most Golden Oldies of All Time" promoted by certain radio stations are peppered through with songs by groups whose claim to fame rests on the strength of just one single; I expect general agreement from you all that LMD wouldn't have done that for our Boys.

In fact, it's tempting at first blush to dismiss this one as too simple and even unappealing. After all, we have what must be very nearly the skimpiest Lennon/McCartney lyric ever, a gawky post-skiffle beat which threatens to break into a polka in a couple of places, and a vocal duet that would appear to be ripped off from the Everly Brothers. But just beneath the surface, you find not only that certain bristling intensity in their voices, but also a great deal of idiosyncratic originality in the compositional details. One might even call it stylistically prophetic, especially in regards to the phrasing, the vocal harmonies, and the modal melody.

The most intruiging aspect to this intuitive innovation of the early Beatles is the question of how much of it was motivated by intentional originality and how much a by-product of less-than-entirely-adept emulation of their derivative influences. It's a quite serious question, the answer to which, in spite of the seeming pejorative value judgment in my choice of words, has nothing to do with the relative merit of the final product itself; but I leave this question for now in the hands of the aestheticians.


Form

The form of this song is fairly typical:

    Intro-> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse ->
	Bridge (solo) -> Verse-> Outro

Of interest is the positioning of the instrumental solo within a repeat of the bridge rather than a verse section. It's because of this that there is only one verse separating the two bridges; more typical of the period (e.g., "I Saw Her Standing There", or even "How Do You Do It") is to double up on the verses in the middle, one of which, in that case, usually contains an instrumental solo.


Harmony and Modality

I've pointed out in connection with several of John's middle-period songs a penchant for harmonic frugality. This song with only three chords is certainly a good early example; these are, in order of appearance are the very basic ones of G, C, and D (I, IV, and V). As we'll see below, in a deft move, the last of them, D, is held back until as late as the bridge section.

LMD is ostensibly in the key of G Major though it contains a strong Mixolydian modal inflection from the heavy use of both F-naturals in the tune and in its reliance on the I-IV-I to establish a feeling of tonal center. The non-modal Major V chord with an F# is used only in the bridge.

Another different sort of modal inflection in this song comes from the liberal melodic use of bluesy bent-notes on b-flat over the G major chord (with its b-naturals) in the accompaniment.

Intro

The intro is a balanced eight measure phrase and utilizes just the two chords of G and C.

We're treated right at the outset to another soon-to-become signature device of John's: the slow triplet rhythm, as it is found here in the harmonica part, measure 3. Furthermore, we find in this harmonica solo a very early example of the use of a hook-phrase used throughout an entire song: the little descending motif of "f-e-d-g", with it's bluesy emphasis on the seventh note of the scale (f) and the heavy use of flutter-tongueing on the repeats, so suggestive of a sob or a cry. There's also the melodic emphasis in this little riff on the note "d." as it appears superimposed of the C chord, lending an overall jazzy C9 flavor the song.

As we soon see, this introductory hook is made ubiquitous in the song by the incorporation of this intro within the final portion of the verse section; or shall I say that the final part of the verse is set-up as the hook by virtue of its having already appeared in the intro ? Just a matter of semantics, I suppose.

Verse

The verse is an unusual thirteen measures long and is broken into the sub-phrases which pretty much follow the scanning of the lyrics:

	(3 times 2) 	Love, love me 		|do.		You
			know I love 		|you.		I'll
			always be 		|true		So

	(3 		ple -   - 	|-e -  -  - | -ase       love me
	    plus 4)	do.  (return of the hook)

This sort of free meter in the scanning of the words (no iambic pentameter for These Boys) is a noteworthy, not infrequent feature of their later songs, especially those written by John. Its appearance here in such an early, and otherwise not so ambitious, piece of work is astonishing.

The music continues on with just the same two chords from the intro. Note how the break of the regular harmonic rhythm in measures 7 - 9 (on the elongation of the word "please") enhances the impact of the irregular phrasing:

	 ------ 3X -----			  ----- 2X -----
	|G	|C	||C	|-	|-	||G	|C	|
G:	 I	 IV

The vocal harmony of this verse contains two specific seminal details which would soon become telltale characteristics of "that Beatles sound"; one being the use of open fifths instead of the more typical thirds or sixths, as in the phrase "Love, love me do":

			     G
			   F
			 /
	Paul:	D	D

			   D
                         /   C
	John:	G	G

Note in the above example the special coloration, a melding of the two voices, that arises from this sort of harmony. I'm fairly certain that it's John on the bottom (though there's that famous interview clip with Paul discussing the infamous acetate of "That'll Be the Day" in which he sings the bottom part of this same fragment), though with Paul in a busking partial falsetto on the top they're hard to distinguish from each other.

The other vocal detail is the sustaining of the same note in the upper part against the scale-wise movement in the lower, as on the drawing out of the word "please"; Paul's bending of the note so reminiscent of the harmonica part:

	Paul:	G	G   G   G

	John:	E	D   C	E

One final point of interest here is in the careful working out of the arrangement no matter how spare and simple it is. Note the unity amidst varation that is achieved by following the harmonica solo of the intro with a verse that first features a vocal duet and then concludes with solo voice and the opening harmonica hook figure as backing.

And a detail within a detail: note how at the end of the verse when Paul sings "love me do" solo, he's actually jumping the octave down from his earlier part to the range where John was singing in the duet. According to the interview with Paul in Lewisohn's preface, this was an artifact of a last minute change in the studio to the arrangement; John was supposed to sing it but it was impossible for him to get the harp in his mouth quickly enough to also play the hook on time. Regardless of the motivation, it's a nice serendiptitious touch.

Bridge

The third of the three chords used in this song finally makes its appearance in the bridge section as part of the bluesy V-IV-I progression. It's all rather dramatic in that, not only haven't we seen this V chord ('D.') yet, but we haven't seen the pitch f# at all in the melody either; the verse staying exlusively with those bluesy/modal f naturals. Of course, just to keep the game interesting, the vocal melody in this bridge alternates continually between the f# and f natural.

The first appearance of the bridge is eight measures long, and features the only new words to be found in the song outside of the first verse. In contrast to the verse, the phrasing of 4 + 4 is quite square, almost too much so; at a distance of almost thirty years, I still find the "bim BOM" rhythm on beats 2&3 of the eighth measure disconcertingly teetering toward the lame:

	-------------- 2X --------------
	|D	|-	|C	|G	|
G:	 V		 IV	 I

The arrangement of this bridge is just as careful as that of the verse. Here we have Paul singing solo while doubled by the harmonic alternating with Paul and John singing in octaves. Note how, just as in the verse, Paul makes another octave jump (upward this time) between his solo and duet parts; just coincidence or true choreography ?

The second appearance of the bridge is an instrumental section of twelve measures, the first eight of which are an adaptation of the previous bridge with John playing a harmonica part in place of Paul's vocal.

Tacked onto this first phrase are four additional measures of harmonica riffing over mostly just the G chord with an oom-pah bassline. In a manner analogous to the ending of the first bridge, this four measure extension concludes with another (dare I say) even more lame "Booomp" on the third beat of the last measure; the solo note of D in the bass, punctuated by a crash of the cymbal here serves in place of the V chord which begs for the next verse.

Outro

The outro, in typical fashion provides a final reinforcement of the hook phrase, with its repetition of the intro/end-of-verse section ad infinitum into the fade-out.


An Overflow of Comparisons

We've come to the end of the song but not yet the end of this article. I've got three sorts of brief comparative analyses up my sleeve for a grande finale.

- LMD versus "How Do You Do It":

Just how does our current offering stack up against the Mitch Murray cover that George Martin would've had them perform for their first single instead ? Some interesting contrasts: 

  • Both songs are in the same key of G and have almost identical forms.
  • HDYDI uses "more" chords though nothing more exotic than the so-called Brill Building selection; in addition to I-IV-V, there's vi, ii, and and V-of-V. Compared to the raunchy modality of LMD, it's quite diatonically Major sounding.
  • HDYDI does have a catchy touch of syncopation in its hook phrase, but note how the phrasing is unrelievedly four-square throughout.
  • HDYDI positions its instrumental solo in a more traditional verse section, and furthermore features solo guitar in place of harmonica.
  • You have some of the same sorts of duet/solo alternation in the arrangement of both songs, though HDYDI features straight-line parallel thirds.
  • Though less countrified than LMD, HDYDI is still closer to pop than hard rock or blues.

Point-for-point, HDYDI clearly wins out as a less risky, more "conservative" choice in terms which may explain both the lackluster albeit well-mannered performance given it by the Boys as well as their ultimate rejection of it by them. Besides, they hadn't written this one anyway; "aaaaah, give it to Gerry."

- LMD versus the other L/M originals on the "Please Please Me Album":

Again, there are some interesting point-for-point contrasts. No surprise, but some of the same signature devices of the nascent Beatles sound that we found in LMD are also found in these other songs: 

Similarly no suprise, but these other songs have several telltale Beatles signatures *not* to be found in LMD:

LMD, this time quite surprisingly, is unique overall, though, in the modal inflection of its harmony. By the way, you might note how, in spite of their well known R&B background both as Quarrymen and as Beatles at the Beeb, this early set of eight originals overall is rather more pop-than-rock oriented, in spite of the promise of, say, ISHST and PPM.

- the two versions of LMD compared:

A lot has been made of the fact that the official version released on the PPM album contains a studio drummer (one Andy White) with the unfortunate Ringo relegated to the lowly position of hitting the tambourine on the offbeats.

I'd venture to say that as a commercial recording, the Andy White version is the one performed with greater polish and confidence, and recorded with better presence and clarity. Yet, for a unique early snapshot of the Boys at work, the Ringo-drumming version (thankfully now generally available on Past Masters, I) is definitely the one to be preferred because of power with which it speaks to both your ears and heart.

With your ears, you can more easily hear the handclaps in the bridge of this version, though without the tambourine, the overall texture sounds a tad thin. More importantly, from the quiver in his voice, you can tell just how nervous Paul is at this first "for real" recording session; the dotted notes in his bass line sounding tentative and uncertain; the same for Ringo's drumming.

But best and most precious of all is what your heart responds to in this version of the song, if only you'll open it widely enough. There's a lot of "self" invested in those long, drawn-out phrases; you can keenly feel them putting their "all" on the line. And if you've ever been so lucky in life, it ought to resonate in you with some past experience of your own.

Let's say, a situation in which your words weren't all you wanted to say, but you were brave enough anyway to commit it to print and give it to the world? Where you knew, in your heart, that someday all your hopes and wishes would come true, even if everyone told you "a guitar's all right, but you'll never earn a living by it"--- or words to that effect? Where you had to prove it to yourself, somehow, some way, somewhere that you could make the future really *happen* for yourself?

That's what LMD meant to our own sweet Boys. It may not have been the best song they ever wrote, but it was the Prime Step for them; it was their first shot at immortality. And such a humble offering...but what a seed of passion contained therein, don't you think ?

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan, but *I* gave him the test." **100590#21
--- ** posted two days early since ** I'll be briefly away from ** the net on 10/5.

Copyright (c) 1990 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

P.S. I Love You

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "P.S. I Love You".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "P.S. I Love You" (PSILY.1)

KEY     D Major (with Aeolian inflections)

METER   4/4

FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge ->
                Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The form is virtually identical to that of "Misery", with two bridges separated by only one verse. Even though PSILY uses a much richer set of chords than "Misery", its verse section is still quite bound to the home key, and for that matter, so is its bridge. Therefore, the same avoidance of harmonic claustrophobia would seem equally applicable to both songs, in terms of dispensing with an extra verse section before the second bridge.

- An unusual and creative formal touch here is the way that the intro turns out to be a subtle variation of the bridge.

- The lyrics of the four verses create a relatively clunky pattern of ABAB; compare with "In Spite of All the Danger", of all things.

- Rhythmic attack is virtually always right on the downbeat in this song. The little grace note ahead of the bar in the first syllable of the word "remember" stands out in contrast.


Melody and Harmony

- The intro tune here has a melodic kink around the 7th degree of the scale (C#) similar to what we saw in the verse of "She Loves You". The beginning of the verse traverses an entire octave, scale-wise and with a couple of juicy appoggiaturas, only to balance it out at the end with an upward leap of the same octave.

- The group of chords used in this song is much more exotic than what we've seen in the other very early period songs we've looked at. In addition to the standard fare of what is diatonically available within the home key, we have the chords of the flat-VI (B flat) and flat-VII (C Major), both of which may be said, in theoretical terms, to be borrowed from the parallel minor key of 'd'. The very use of these chords lends an exotic mixed-mode feeling to the song.

- The strangest chord of all in the song is the dominant 7th chord on C#, employed in the intro as a surrogate 'V'. The naturally occurring chord on C# in the key of D is a *diminished* seventh chord and *that* VII chord works nicely as a substitute V because it is the sonic equivalent of the V7 chord with the root note missing. In modifying the C# diminished chord into a dominant 7th, the Boys throw us a curve ball in that you'd sooner expect the latter chord to resolve to the key of F#. Against all textbook rules and logic, they rely on the stepwise movement of all voices (C# -> D, E# -> F#, G# ->A, and B -> A) to make it "work". Still, coming right at the beginning as it does, it's an attention grabber.

- In addition to the chord choices, we find that several of the chord *progressions* in this song are unusual. We're used to finding in the typical early Beatles song such as ISHST, the pervasive influence of I-VI-V sorts of chord progressions which convey a strong sense of directed kinetic motion that is the musical equivalent of Hemingway's much celebrated use of transitive verbs. Here, in PSILY, we find two different types of unusual chord progressions.

- The first unusual type of progression is called a "chord stream", characterized by sliding, stepwise root movement from chord to chord. In the verse section, we find I->ii->I, and flat-VI->flat-VII->I as examples. This is a technique is most closely associated with either early 20th century Impressionism or Jazz and it happens to break one of the standard old-fashioned rules against using parallel octaves and fifths between chords. Aesthetically, it suggests a languid sensuality.

- The second unusual type of progression is called a "deceptive cadence", characterized by the V (dominant) being followed by something other than the I chord. In the verse section, yet again, we find examples of the V being resolved in one case to the plain vi chord, and later on to the flat-VI. Aesthetically, it suggests a last minute retreat from coming to closure; a musical approach/avoidance.


Arrangement

- The look and feel here is decidedly *not* that of rock-n-roll. It's rather more like lounge-pop or Latin dance music, in large part due to the tempo, beat, and choice of percussion instrumentation.

- The vocal arrangement presents Paul in the solo spotlight with a particular style of backing vocal from John and George. Though the backing part persists virtually all the way through, there is more interesting detail to it than initially meets the eye.

- Note, for example, how in all verses except the last one, the backers sing behind isolated words only, making for a musically italic/bold effect. In the last verse, yet again to avoid foolish consistency, this effect is dropped in favor of them singing all the way through with Paul.

- Similarly in the second bridge, we have the successive interjections by solo voices in between the phrases for the sake of some colorful variety.

- The following piece of trivia is usually eclipsed by the "Love Me Do" story, but it should be noted that it is Andy White (again) on the drums in this song; poor Ringo plays only the maracas.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- Even though the words of the bridge are repeated in this intro, the resemblance between the intro and the bridge is cleverly disguised by the addition here of the C#7 chord, and the fact that in the bridge, we're used to hearing an additional vocal part that harmonizes a third above the melody:

        -------------- 3X --------------
        |G      C#      |D              |D      A       |D              |
     D:  IV    VII 7     I                      V        I
                  #5
                  #3

- By the way, this is yet another convergent start away from the home key. The singers come right in on the first beat, without a cue.


Verse

- The verse is not only an unusual ten measures long, but is made up of four phrases of several different lengths:

         "Treasure these few words ...."        "Keep all my love ..."
        <------ phrase #1, 3 measures --------><- phrase #2, 2 measures ->

        |D           |e           |D           |A           |b           |
         I            ii           I            V            vi


         "P.S I love you ...."            "You, you, you ...."
        <--- phrase #3, 2.5 measures ---><--- phrase #4, 2.5 measures --->

        |A           |B-flat      |-  -  -  C   |D           |-          |
         V            flat VI            flat VII  I

- Articulation of the phrasing is nicely aided by the harmony with its multiple deceptive resolutions of V, first to vi, then to flat vi, then *finally* to I, but even then, only via the flat VII!

- The melodic arch of the first three phrases has a bottom-heavy asymmetry that is balanced out by the dramatic swing upward of an octave in the final phrase. Note the repeatedly expressive use of appoggiaturas; i.e., on the words "together", "forever", "P.S", and the middle "you" of the final phrase.


Bridge

- The contrast of this bridge to its surrounding verses is manifest in its simple chord choices and regularized shape. We're on a strict harmonic diet here of I-IV-V, and the eight measure section is articulated into two phrases of four measures each:

        -------------- 3X --------------
        |G              |D              |D      A       |D              |
         IV              I                      V        I

Outro

- In typical fashion, this outro grows out of the final measures of the final verse and presents the formulaic triple-repeat of the little hook phrase in a relatively straightforward manner.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- PSILY is ultimately an ironic blend of both backward and forward looking influences. On the one hand, the relatively soppy lyrics and the pop arrangement are reminiscent of their cover repertoire from the Decca audition period. By the same token, there's a technical sophistication here, especially in the harmony and uneven phrasing, which looks well beyond many of the other apparently more original songs from the early EMI days.

- Aside from the sophistication of any specific technical device used here per se, the most creative touch of all (IMHO) is in the way that the the successive deceptive cadences in the verse provide an exquisitely realistic shyness and emotional "playing footsie" that otherwise belies the readymade paper-cut valentine of the words.

Regards,

Alan (awp@world.std.com)

---

"Quite right, invites to gambling dens full of easy money and fast women,
 chicken sandwiches, and cornets of caviar, disgusting!"      031101#30.1

---

Revision History
080591 30.0 Original release 032001 30.1 Add pass-two observations and copy edit Copyright (c) 1991,2001 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved

This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Baby It's You

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Cover versions of the song "Baby It's You", which also was covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Year: 
1961
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions

Do You Want to Know a Secret

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Do You Want to Know a Secret"

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Do You Want To Know A Secret" (DYWTKAS.1)

KEY	E Major

METER	4/4

FORM	Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The intro is slow, the verse long, and the bridge short. The form is compact, the less popular single bridge model, and the overall duration of the song brief, as well; a likely consequence of the large amount of repetitious rhetoric built into the verse section.

- No exaggeration, the lyrics here, which are identical through all three verses, may nose out even "Love Me Do" for skimpiness, though the use of different material in both the intro and the bridge makes up some of the deficit.

- The song fairly overflows with a number of leitmotifs all built out of chromatic scale fragments of 3 or 4 notes; the rising lead guitar riff at the end of the intro, a descending portion of the verse melody (on the "woah" that precedes the word "closer"), and in the recurrent little descending chord stream that appears in the second half of almost all the odd-numbered measures of the verse.

- Singing in the intro begins after the downbeat. In the verses, it is introduced with a long guitar pickup before the beat, an effect that is carried through the rest of the verse melody. For contrast, the bridge attacks the sung material right ON the beat.


Melody and Harmony

- The tune contains mostly scale-wise movement punctuated by a dramatic falsetto leap upward near the end of the verse before ending it off with a descending chromatic scale fragment

- The song is quite securely in E Major in spite of a firm modulation to the axis of A Major/f# minor during the bridge. Allusions to the parallel minor key of e in both intro and verse provide a touch of pathos as well as harmonic variety.

- The single most unusual chord in the song is the "flat II", found here in both the intro and the verse; we've seen this one before in "Things We Said Today" and "You're Going To Lose That Girl".


Arrangement

- The song leaves a lasting impression of having been enwrapped in a haze of gentle reverberation even though it was not literally nor entirely recorded that way.

- George gets the first of his few chances to take the lead vocal in a LennonMcCartney tune. The composers themselves show up vocally in the form of an old-fashioned "doo-wop"-like backing starting in the second verse. One rare outtake has them singing the backing vocal even in the first verse, the latter being a clear violation of what would emerge as a Beatles layering trademark; which is why they probably dropped that for the official recording.

- Like the piano in-lays of "Misery", the overdubbed tapping of drum sticks in the bridge is a musically small touch that is historically notable because of the trend in recording/arranging practice it signals.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is not merely "adagio", but entirely "ad libitum"; my delineation below of where the 4/4 measure boundaries are is purely a guess:

        |e		|a	e	|G		|F	B	|

      e: i		 iv	i	 III		flat II V

- The shift from e minor to E Major which occurs between intro and first verse is exceedingly smooth because of the "parallel" relationship between the two keys, but if you recall the first time you ever heard this song, it still has the power to surprise.

- Though emotionally and compositionally simplistic on one level, that minorto -Major transition still effectively conveys the angst-cum-epiphanisticjoy "we" all go through in the unique moment of timidly expressing a burgeoning fondness.


Verse

- This verse has an unusual length of 14 measures and is designed as a couplet of two uneven phrases that share a common beginning:

        "Listen ..."
         ------------- 2 x -------------
      m.1
        |E	 g#  g  |f#	B7	|E	 g#  g  |f#	F	|
      E: I	         ii	V	 I		 ii     flat II

        "Closer ..."
         ----------------- 2 x -----------------
       m.7
        |E	g#   g      |f#		B7	|A		|B	   |
         I		     ii		V	 IV		 V

       m.13
        |c#		|f#	B	|
         vi		 ii	V

- The first phrase is six measures and would seem to run harmonically in circles if it were not for its surprise ending in which we find yet another application of the chromatic chord stream cliche. Note how the F chord is unusually placed on top of the note C in the bass; as though Paul were uncomfortable with a certain awkwardness about the chord progression and trying to paper it over a bit.

- The second phrase is eight measures and though it too starts off running in the same tight circle, its harmonic rhythm broadens out into a deceptive cadence on vi before cycling back again to V.

- The melody of this verse is just as repetitious as the chord changes, and the falsetto flip in the last measure finally and satisfyingly opens up the previously constricted pitch range.

- The chord stream of g# minor -> g minor -> f# is more coloristic than "functional"; the ear comprehends the structural harmonic progression as though from E in the first measure to f# in the second. The *other* chord stream in measure 6 - 7 is actually more structurally significant than the previous one in that one hears the F Major chord as a surrogate Dominant with respect to the E (I) chord which opens the second phrase. Note how the melodic use of C natural at this juncture creates an allusion to the minor mode of e.

- The rhythm is in a shuffling beat throughout until the final four measures where it's suddenly interrupted by syncopation (m. 11 - 12), which then moderates to a pulsating bass drum beat before settling back to the shuffle.

- George's pronunciation of the word "ear" (especially in the first and third verses) offers us what 'Simon Marshal' would someday describe as "the old adenoidal glottal stop for our benefit".


Bridge

- This is one of the shortest bridges we've ever seen; only six measures long, and built, just like the verse, out of two phrases unequal in length yet sharing the same opening content:

         ------------- 2 x -------------
        |A	f#	|c#	b	|f#		|B		|
     f#: III	i	 v	iv	 i
     E : IV       		       E:ii		 V

- The harmonic transition into this section from the V chord on B, which ends the previous verse, is somewhat abrupt though by no means rude; the pivot for the modulation is not obvious to the ear, but at least it *is* a common chord to both keys involved.

- The pivot back to the home key is much smoother. It's a rather superb example of just how so-called pivot modulations work for those who have trouble grasping the concept: note how when the f# chord is followed by the B Major one, the ear retroactively reinterprets it as the ii chord of the original home key of E.

- In the arrangement, the do-dahs are given a break in deference to George's solo vocal. And Paul, having played up to this point a nicely elaborate bass line, gets a little carried away in this section and winds up making a mistake on the first c# chord, by playing a B natural which clashes with the chord above it.


Outro

- The deceptive cadence near the end of the verse is leveraged and recycled for the inevitable three-repeat coda.

- The song fades very rapidly and the outtake with the doo-dahs in the first verse reveals that at least one studio performance of the song, if not the official version, actually ended, barely a few seconds after our fade, with a complete ending on an added-sixth chord.

- That added sixth so nicely summarizes the song that it's especially unfortunate they chose to mask it out. Looking back over the full length of the piece, one notes how much the sonority of the added-sixth resonates within it; e.g., the repeated appoggiatura of C#->B on the words "listen" and "secret" in the verse, and the large number of deceptive cadences in which you so strongly anticipate the next chord to be E, yet it turns out to be (surprise!) c# instead. To the extent that this added-sixth has the incidental sound of the I (E) and vi (c#) superimposed upon each other, it makes for an effective harmonic double-entendre.

- BTW, Paul makes yet another mistake in the bass line of this section, analogous to the one in the bridge.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The aesthetic of sentimental shy puppy love and gauzy soft focus is not one to which the Boys were often drawn over the long run; Sweet and Cuddly Moptops notwithstanding, it didn't suit them as a group. Even here, they manage to rescue this one from drowning in its own cliches only by means of an abundance of interesting details and a modicum of sincerity.

- Ironically, it's the more subtle aesthetic of repetition here, which you would be tempted to denigrate offhand as a matter of lazy craft, which provides one of the major sources of emotional realism and "sincerity" to the song. I'd bet, for example, that anyone out there who relates to the pre-confessional anxiety of the intro will also vouch for the corresponding post-declaration euphoria in which all they wanted, even needed, to do was repeat the same words of love like a mantra, endlessly without stopping.

Regards,
Alan (awp@world.std.com)


---
"I don't really know, but it sounded distinguished like,
 didn't it ?"                                                 032101#32.1

---


Revision History
081991  32.0    Original release
032101  32.1    Add pass-two observations and copy edit




                Copyright (c) 1991, 2001 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

A Taste of Honey

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Cover versions of the song "A Taste of Honey", which also was covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions

There's a Place

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Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)
Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions

Twist and Shout

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Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Cover versions of "Twist and Shout", which was famously covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions

With The Beatles

4
Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)
Album Information
Album Cover Art
By: 
The Beatles
Released: 
Fri, 1963-11-22
Album Type: 
Original
Songs
On Amazon
Sales Rank: 
20
Most-Covered Songs

It Won't Be Long

3
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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

All I've Got to Do

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "All I've Got to Do".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "All I've Got To Do" (AIGTD)

  KEY   E Major
  
  METER 4/4
  
  FORM          Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse/Outro
  (fadeout)
  

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- This song retains a strongly exotic flavor from the combination of several factors: the pentatonic mode of the melody, the Major/minor byplay of the harmony, and the belly-dancer-like syncopation of the rhythm.

- We have yet another example here where the bridge is repeated but separated by only a single verse section; this time, I believe the reluctance to provide that additional verse is motivated by the slowness of the harmonic rhythm throughout the song.

- Two small but creative twists are applied to the otherwise straightforward short form: the strange opening that's not quite a full intro, and the manner in which the final verse, arranged as it is with a wordlessly hummed vocal, fades out in mid-section.


Melody

- The melodic material of the song is almost entirely from the pentatonic scale; think of it as the all "black note" scale starting on f#, but transposed here to the key of E. This spell is broken is for only a couple of d#'s in the verse (see the harmonization of the title phrase below), one of which is a juicy appoggiatura.

- Just as we recently observed in "I'll Get You", the melody of this song contains a higher than average quotient of appoggiaturas; this time let's leave the locating of them all as what used to quaintly be described as an exercise for the reader.


Harmony

- Most of the work here is done by three chords, I, IV, and vi (E, A, and c#), with a little help from their friends, ii and V (f# and B). In addition to the naturally occurring Major IV chord, we also have near the end of the verse an appearance of the borrowed minor iv chord, this one motivated by chromatic downward motion of an inner voice.

- There is no small amount of ambiguity as to whether the song is in E Major or its relative minor key of c#; a by-product of the way in which phrases of the verse start off on vi, and the virtual absence throughout the song of firm V->I chord 'cadences' which would have more clearly established E as the home key. This exploitation of the vi/I chords was something which Lennon and McCartney leaned on heavily during this period; see for other examples, "From Me To You", "She Loves You", and "It Won't Be Long".

- The opening chord is one of those sonorities that defies a neat textbook analysis. Spelled from the bottom up, it's E - C# - F - A; an augmented triad on C# suspended over an E in the bass. In practical terms, the note on the bottom gives John the cue note for his vocal, and the augmented triad above it works as an aurally acceptable albiet surprising surrogate IV-like antecedent to the c# chord which leads off the verse.


Arrangement

- John's single-tracked solo vocal is sensually accompanied by a brief bit of counterpoint from Paul in the verse, and by the chordal accompaniment of both Paul and George in the bridge.

- The vocal counterpoint of the verse starts off as plain parallel thirds, but then changes over to trademark-Beatles parallel 4ths by virtue of Paul briefly holding over one note (marked `*` in the transcription below) and then following the pentatonic scale downward the rest of the way:

     "All  I've got to  do    ...."

  Paul  G# F#   E   F# |F#    E    *  C#     B |C# B G#

  John  E  D#  C#   D# |D#    C#   B  G#     F#|G# F# E
  

- Paul plays double stops on his bass in the portion of the verse in which the c# and E chords alternate; the root notes of each chord are on the bottom and a common note between them, g#, appears on top.

- Syncopated emphasis on the eighth note between the second and third beats of the measure (on "two-AND") is a subtle leitmotif of the song. It is delivered primarily in the form of damped high-hat cymbal slashes from Ringo, but there are places, such as the second half of the bridge, where the bass and rhythm guitar maintain the pattern even while Ringo has switched for the moment to more evenly played eighth-note tapping.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Verse

- This verse is an asymmetrical eleven measures long. Its first phrase is a standard 4-measures but is followed by two more phrases of uneven length; first the two-measure title phrase, and then an unusual 5-measure phrase that is rhetorically elongated by the repetition of material in measures 7 - 8, on the words "call you on the phone, and you'll be running home". Note, by the way, how this point of expansiveness coincides with the location of where the hard syncopation is given a brief rest:

    |c#     |-      |E      |-      |
E:   vi              I

    |c#     |-      |f#     |       |
     vi              ii

    |a      |E      |-      |
     iv      I
  

- The home key of E is established harmonically only by indirect means; the verse opens with a chord that is not the I chord of the home key, and the V chord never appears until the end of the bridge.


Bridge

- This bridge creates the early impression of intending to perhaps stray far and long from the home key, but by the beginning of the second of its two 4-measure phrases, it clearly begins moving steadily back toward E. The B chord in measure 8 is the only appearance in the song of the V chord:

    |A          |-          |c#         |-          |
     IV                      vi

    |A          |E    c#    |A          |E    B     |
     IV          I    vi     VI          I    V
  

- There are two deft variations applied to the repeat of the bridge. Melodically, John modifies the phrase on the words "I'll be here" so that it creates a new high point. And formalistically, the last sub-phrase is repeated, lending a free-verse rhetorical feeling to the section rather similar to that felt in the second half of the verse.


Final Verse/Outro

- In context of the rest of their original songs recorded to this point in time, the humming and early fade of this section are both novel and unprecedented little experiments, particularly significant for the continued creative trend which they pressage.

A FINAL THOUGHT

- I'd also suggest that the hummed ending here is more than just a clever device for its own sake, but that it rather effectively drives home the underlying self-satisfied subtext of the lyrics; to the extent that some things in life, such as the comfortable equilibrium of a relationship between helpmates, defy completely adequate expression in words.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"You can be replaced, you know, chicky baby." 100191#36
---

Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved

This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

All My Loving

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Cover versions of The Beatles' song "All My Loving".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "All My Loving" (AML)

Many people, Lewisohn among them, have described "All My Loving" (AML) as Paul's "best, most complex piece of songwriting yet" as of the time of its official recording in July '63. In spite of all praise however, the song seems to have forever been eclipsed in popularity by the other really big hits of the first American wave of Beatlemania, such as "She Loves You" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand"; not even AML's appearance as lead-off number on the first Sullivan show could prevent it from happening.

Perhaps this loss of status is attributable to AML's relative lack of drama or startling originality when compared to those other songs. Perhaps it's only the matter of never having been issued as a single.

Either way, it's a shame to have happened, because there's quite a lot to be admired in the song. A close look at its compositional details reveals it to be very much a typical song of the second album, "With The Beatles" (WTB).

Especially as concerns form and harmonic vocabulary, AML represents a notable advance in sophistication and technique over the first couple of singles and the original cuts on the "Please Please Me" album.


Form

The form is relatively compact, and the number of verse repetitions plus the complete ending make it seem deceptively familiar:

Verse -> Verse -> Refrain -> Bridge -> Verse -> Refrain -> Outro

In actuality, the appearance a refrain section here is quite noteworthy, especially in conjunction with the short bridge section for solo guitar.

Also special is the way in which the song opens in the midst of the action without an intro, or even a downbeat from which the singer can grab his opening cue note; somewhere on the studio tape I'll bet someone plays the note 'A' for Paul just before they start. Clearly, the Boys liked this trick sufficiently to reuse it from time to time; just browsing among the two dozen-odd songs we've looked at in this series, there's "She Loves You", "It Won't Be Long", "Any Time At All", "No Reply", and "You're Going To Lose That Girl". In AML (as in "No Reply"), the abruptness of the effect is enhanced by the first chord not being the tonic (i.e. I) chord of the home key.


Hooks, Bridges, and Refrains

At risk of oversimplification, I'll postulate the following correlation between the location of the hook in any given pop/rock song and the likelihood of whether a "bridge" versus a "refrain" section to be found within it:

  1. If the hook is found in the verse section (typically in the first or last phrase of the verse), then the middle section of the song is a "bridge", by which I mean to describe a section whose primary purpose is to provide contrast or respite from the music of the verse section, typically implemented in part by harmonic movement away from or back towards the home key.

     

  2. Otherwise, the hook will be found in a "refrain" section, and even though such refrains are typically to be found in the same formal location as the bridges referred to above, they differ in feel from bridges in that they are much the focal point of the song, the fulfillment of the verses, rather than a momentary interlude away from them. As such, refrains tend to showcase a catchy tune and are built from harmony which helps establish a sense of key.

Without exception, the entire first crop of L&M originals up through the "Please Please Me" album fits into the #1 "bridge" category; in general, I believe a statistical study of the Beatles' output would reveal a long term trend in this direction. But what's most curious to note for the purpose of our current study is the sudden burst of interest in the #2 refrain style as evidenced from the songs of mid-late '63; in addition to our AML, you also have "She Loves You", "It Won't Be Long", "Little Child", and "I Wanna Be Your Man".

(Parenthetically, it's amusing to note how the songs of Dylan, given his folk roots, manifest the reverse trend. It has been pointed out that he had never written a song with a true bridge section until his "Blonde On Blonde" album, in songs like "I Want You" and "Just Like A Woman.")

But you'll remind me, won't you, that our current song doesn't quite fit into either of my categories because it has *both* the refrain and bridge. Indeed, I could (and probably should) have proposed the above categorization scheme in the context of analyzing a more strictly category #2 type song, such as almost any one of the others listed at the end of the previous paragraph.

For the momentary sake of a placing AML in one of two pigeonholes, let me suggest that in spirit, it belongs in the #2 category, and I'll accept the burden of explaining below the motivation for its hybrid inclusion of the bridge section.


Harmony and Rhythm

Though AML has virtually none of that Beatles-trademark sort of syncopation or uneven phrase lengths, it does still convey an infectuously unperturbed and self-confident vitality through the incessant fast motor triplets in the rhythm guitar part, as well as through its rapid harmonic rhythm.

In contrast with the earlier songs we've studied thus far, this one utilizes an unusually large number of different chords; we have the appearance of five out of the possible total seven chords diatonically available in the home key, plus a couple of other more adventurous ones as well. The two unusual chords are D Major (the flat VII) and an exotic augmented chord that is used in the bridge to smoothly mediate between c# minor and E Major.

Beyond the large harmonic vocabulary per se, the rate at which the chords change borders on the hyperactive. There is a different chord in virtually every measure of the piece, and in no case is any chord sustained for more than two measures in a row; contrast this back with what we saw last time in ISHST.


Verse

The verse is sixteen measures long and is divided into two musically parallel eight-measure phrases, the former of which is left harmonically open with its ending on the V chord, while the latter one is closed with its ending on the tonic:

      1                             5
    |f#    |B     |E     |c#    |A     |f#    |D     |B     ||
E:   ii     V      I      vi     IV     ii    flat VII V

     9                            13
     |f#   |B     |E     |c#    |A     |B     |E     |-     ||
     ii     V      I      vi     IV     V      I

There are a number of noteworthy details in both the music and the arrangement. Musically, we have the following:

- Each of the couplets boasts a lovely melodic arch in which the peak is asymmetrically placed (measures 3 and 11), making for an early climax and a liesurely winding down.

- The general pause in measure 16 is the only place in the song where total silence reigns for at least a single heartbeat. It provides both some welcome respite from the otherwise non-stop motion of the song, as well as a tactical resetting of the stage the start of the next verse.

- In place of what you might expect as the more traditional harmonic circle of fifths, the first phrase presents a chain of downward *third*-wise chord changes running from measures 3 - 8.

- The D Major chord in measure 7 demonstrates an unusual application of the so-called "flat VII" chord. Typically, we've seen such chords behave either as pseudo dominants (as in the I-VII-I progression at the beginning of "We Can Work It Out", or as a sort of "IV-of-IV", as seen in the second-half jam section of "Hey Jude.") Here in AML, this flat VII behaves like a connecting chord between the ii and V chords, the motivation for which appears to the ear as a result of the arpeggio outline of the root movement in the bass and the upward chromatic movement of an inner line from c#->d->d# over the course of measures 6 - 8. Though this use of the flat VII is definitely less widely found than the other two I listed, it is far from unprecedented, especially in the songs of the Beatles; you'd almost never make the free association without a hint because the two contexts are so different, but (now, dig this) the same flat VII gambit used here in AML appears all over again as one of the signature devices of no less familiar a song than "Help!"

In terms of the arrangement:

- Though its not a particularly fussy vocal arrangement, they did take the trouble to double track Paul in the first two verses while saving a vocal duet in parallel thirds (for Paul, singing with himself again) in the final verse. As a further variation, we're given the nice contrast of Paul appearing *single* tracked in the refrain with George and John sustaining a backing harmony behind him on the phoneme "oooh".

- The bassline suggests a pereptual motion of its own, albeit a much slower one than found in the triplets of the guitar parts. You can't always make out the specific notes in the bass, but the use of a downward walking scale covering the nine notes all the way from F# down to low E more than an octave below is quite stunning, and to our delight, it recurs every verse, in measures 1 -3 and 9 - 11.


Refrain

This section is eight measures long and built out of two parallel iterations of the following 4-measure phrase:

   |c#          |C augmented  |E           |-           ||
    vi          ?? root ??     I

Note how the melodic material of this section is craftily taken in bits and pieces from that of the verse.

The most novel detail of the song is to be found in that augmented chord of the second measure. In the context of a song whose mood and vocabulary are otherwise so impeturbable, this slightly dissonant chord of obscure harmonic origin provides an effective, yet endlessly subtle touch of anxiety that belies the hero's apparent self assuredness.

In "theoretical" terms, such an augmented chord is said to not have a root at all, but is rather the incidental byproduct of melodic motion by an inner voice of the harmonic texture; in this case, from C# -> C natural -> B; what my jazz-trained friend calls a "line cliche." The fact that it is sustained for a full measure, essentially just as long as any other chord in the song, is what particularly draws your attention to it.

Not all augmented chords are necessarily as rootless as this one. For contrast, see the one at the end of the bridge of "From Me To You", which is arguably an inflection of the V chord; a G#5.

In spite of my proposed rules above regarding the paradigmatic tendency for refrain sections to clearly establish the home key, this one does it in only elliptical terms by relying on the weak vi-I progression; i.e., "weak" in comparison to the more traditional textbook cadences of V-I or IV-I perhaps, but a strong favorite of the Boys starting with "Misery" and going through "From Me To You", not to mention (again) "It Won't Be Long", "All I've Got To Do", and "Not A Second Time." I told you AML is rather archtypically second-album in style, didn't I ?


Bridge

In contrast to both verse and refrain sections, this little bridge is ironically the most diatonically stable and harmonically slow moving spot in the entire song, though it's worth noting that it *too* begins with a chord that is *not* I!

  |A    |-     |E    |-   ||f#   |B    |E    |-    ||
   IV          I            ii    V     I

Although there are no new chords used in this section, the specific choice of chord progression is new material strictly speaking. What Tony Barrow described as George's "intriguing" solo is in a style that is clearly not improvised. The latter is no slam on George, but rather a designation of the content of his solo as a "permanently composed" part of the arrangement. In other words, you expect to hear it the same way every time, and would likely be thrown or otherwise disappointed a tad to listen to some alternate version where it's different; and I dare you to find such a one, too!

Alright now, so why did they need a bridge as well as a refrain here ? Just to sharpen the question, consider that if it was to showcase the guitar solo, they just as easily could have done that, as is so common in other songs, by placing the solo over a musical repeat of either the refrain or the verse; so why the need for original material ?

My own pet theory is that there is something about the specific content of the refrain and its relationship to the verse section that creates a small compositional problem which this bridge comes along to fix. I can imagine it having been composed very late in the game only after they had been playing the song without it for a while, feeling inarticulately uncomfortable about something just not being right. I also base this theory on an intuitive feeling that it's hard to imagine the song with only the bridge and *no* refrain. Play this option through your head and see what I mean -- without the refrain, there's an insufficient presence of hook in the song, and though the bridge by itself provides some contrast to the verses, it's too short as is, and if you double its length, then I think its contrast with the verse is no longer sufficient.

But now run the opposite experiment -- play the song out as is but omit the bridge. My reaction is that the refrain does not sufficiently fulfill the functional requirements of true refrain-hood as outlined in my earlier proposal; while it certainly throws a big hook at us, it does not provide a strong sense of harmonic confirmation, nor does it provide much contrast of melody or texture, or harmonic pace from that of the verses.

The bridge for all its modest proportions provides everything that the refrain is lacking. The harmony neatly converges on the home key with simple chord choices, the vocal part is given a rest, and perhaps most subtle-yet-critical, the slowing of the harmonic rhythm, however slightly, provides some well needed breathing space.

I think the final point helps explain why new material is needed here; i.e., the guitar solo section would not be as effective if it had been placed over a repetition of either the refrain or verse because both those other sections are harmonically more active.


Outro

This coda is actually an extension of the second refrain and it squeezes a standard triple repeat of the final phrase of the lyrics into its eight measures which are built from a repeat of the following 4-measure phrase:

        |c#     |-      |E      |-      ||
         vi              I

Note the use again of the vi-I progression, and how, in the interest of what I often describe as an avoidance of foolish, rote consistency, the augmented gambit between vi and I is *not* used. Also note how the single use of vocal falsetto is saved here for the very end, as a small treat.


Kissing Cousins

Though I've kept saying throughout this article that AML is very much a typical song of the "With The Beatles" album in general, you probably noticed by now that "It Won't Be Long" in particular keeps showing up again and again. In fact, AML and IWBL share an uncanny number of features and details:

  • the home key of E Major (granted, there are many others from this period)
  • lyrics that deal with the theme of "absence and return"
  • a vocal opening "in medias res"
  • prominent use of the vi->I progression
  • an augmented chord that is motivated by chromatic linear motion
  • the use of a refrain *and* a bridge
  • even a little solo for bass or low strings of the lead guitar

In an earlier pair of "Notes" on "She Said She Said" and "Good Day Sunshine" I noted a similar laundry list of uncanny parallels between those two songs, suggesting perhaps that the friendly competition between John and Paul may have manifested itself at times in their electing to write separate songs starting from a set of common, abstract constraints. Okay, so maybe it wasn't literally a contest, but I imagine them often trading ideas and comparing notes to the extent that this sort of compositional cross-pollenation would have been inevitable. Did you ever share private idiosyncratic phrases with a friend to the extreme where eventually, neither of you could remember which one of you coined the phrase in the first place ?

But moving beyond speculation, may I suggest in the case of IWBL and AML, that it is specifically when the common denominators between two songs are so numerous that, ironically, the temperamental *differences* between them (and perhaps their individual composers) become most apparent. Take for example here, the way the lyrics of these two songs deal with the theme of lovers separated yet anticipating the immediate future:

- In IWBL, John speaks of a painful separation he has endured when *she* left him, and he now in the present looks forward to a joyful reunion with her, while filled with what sounds like repentence for having caused her to leave in the first place.

- In contrast, AML is written entirely in the present and future tense; if you can pardon my blasphemy, you might say it's a love that has no past. Here, it is *he* who will be doing the leaving and we have no reason to suspect there is anything more than a personal responsibility to be somewhere else which motivates the separation; no hurt, no blame. He earnestly promises to be faithful and muses aloud about having to adjust his lovelife to the realm of fantasy for the duration, but beyond this, any hint of what he's really feeling inside is left to the imagination and the musical subtext, tinged as it is with that small hint of anxiety.

It's difficult to navigate such a contrast without taking sides or appearing to be making a judgment. IMHO, both songs are musically, artistically valid. Maintaining a personal preference for one over the other doesn't necessarily mean the other isn't worthwhile or that it isn't an appropriate favorite choice for someone else. The very least you can say is that both artists, over the long run, as long as they were being sincere and doing their best work, were amazingly consistent and true to their respective visions. In fact, if you want to find a real soulmate for AML, perhaps look to "Things We Said Today."

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


A Personal Postscript

I really do try to not overly waste bandwidth on dragging everything down to me own level ("it's immature, son"), but it's not without some pride that I present this 'Note' as a sort of Second Anniversary Edition of the series.

I posted my first r.m.b. 'Note' here precisely two years ago today, only after much equivocating and even then, with great trepedation; only my regular email correspondents know just how much. It's those same people too who know the depth of the impact on my life in general that doing this series has had. But I'll spare you the maudlin-yet-exciting autobiographical details and all that other David Copperfield sort of crap :-).

For now, I hope for the strength and insight (not to mention the 'net' access) needed to continue the series indefinitely. And I also want to thank publicly both the inner circle of r.m.b. regulars, some of whom have become my electronically serious, permanent friends over time, as well as all the other folks who have from time to time dropped me just a line or two of kind words about the series. At this point, I wouldn't be doing all this without the help of you all, so Thanks!

---
"When was the last time you gave a girl a pink-edged daisy ? When did you last embarass a sheila wid your cool appraising stare ?" 053191#27
---

Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Don't Bother Me

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Cover versions of The Beatles' song "Don't Bother Me".

Provenance
Written By: 
George Harrison
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions

Little Child

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Little Child".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Little Child" (LC)

KEY	E Major

METER	4/4

FORM	Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Break ->
			Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The form of this song is a bit tricky. On strictly musical grounds, I believe one hears it in the way that I've parsed it above, as one of the standard and familiar formal models. However, the repeat pattern of the lyrics would seem to argue otherwise; that what I've labelled a "verse" is more of a "refrain" because the words are unvaried over four repeats of the section. Similarly, that what I've labelled as a "bridge" is more properly a "verse" because it is only in that section that the words *are* varied. This alternate pigeon-holing scheme though would yield an unusual formal structure indeed:

Intro -> Refrain -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Break -> Verse -> Refrain -> Outro (fadeout)

Hence, I'll stay with my original analysis, though this formal ambiguity caused by the disposition of the lyrics is noteworthy. We ran into a similar dilemma on "It Won't Be Long" way back in article #10 of the series and the temporal proximity of these two songs makes me wonder if, on some level, John was consciously experimenting at the time in this way.

- Another quite uncommon feature in the form of this song is the appearance of an honest-to-goodness instrumental *break*, in strict 12-bar blues no less!


Harmony

- The key is decidedly E Major and the mood ravingly upbeat. However, the harmonic diet here is more low-budget than we've seen in a while, restricted to only four chords and very common ones at that. In order of appearance, there are the I, IV, V, and V-of-V; that's the Major chords built on E, A, B, and F#, respectively. Note how the lack of any minor, diminished, augmented or otherwise altered harmonies helps to project the uncomplicated emotional tone of the song.

- Unlike many of the other songs we've looked at, in which harmonic rhythm tends to follow a fairly regular pattern (e.g. chord changes in every measure, or every other measure), the harmonic rhythm in this song is a bit more flexibly varied to help articulate shape of the sections; the verses in particular.


Arrangement

- There's a lot of overdubbing on this otherwise simple track to the extreme that even the original British mix of it on _With The Beatles_ (WTB) has a Dave-Dexter-Jr.-like muddiness that becomes part of the experience of the song, whether or not you particularly like it aesthetically. Unlike the case of I'm afraid to think that there's no clean/dry version of this one even in the vaults of EMI.

- On the vocal parts, a double-tracked John is featured solo, with Paul joining him for little flashes of harmony. Instrumental overdubs feature Paul on piano and John on harmonica pretty much the whole way through.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- Don't be fooled by those seemingly ad-lib and out-of-tempo harmonica chords at the beginning. They are precisely *in* tempo making the intro weigh in at four measures long:

	|E	|A	|E9	|-	|
E:	 I	 IV	 I

- Of course, your ear can't figure all this out until the accompaniment kicks with that piano glissando right before the third chord, but it's just this sort of ambiguity than enhances the fun of the music.

- The spicy F# in the harmonica played over the E chord in the third measure sounds a jazzy, freely dissonant note that is picked up on again in the the repeated appearance of Major 9th chords of the verses, and during a good part of the instrumental break.


Verse

- The refrain-like verse is only eight measures long and built out of two phrases equal in length:

	|E	|-	|-   A  |E	||B	|A	|F#9	|B	||
E:	 I		     IV  I	  V	 IV	 V-of-V  V

- The first four-measure phrase itself subdivides rhetorically into a ready-steady-go group of three short "phrasettes" (to coin a term :-)), quite reminiscent of the "move over once, move over twice ..." snippet in "One After 909", and it is harmonically closed in shape. The second phrase nicely balances this out by subdividing more neatly right down the middle of its four measures, and by its harmonically open ending on the V chord.

- The second verse is a slight musical variant of the first one of the sort we've seen before in songs like "Ask Me Why", "There's A Place", and the slightly later "I Should Have Known Better". Here, the structural purpose of the change is to harmonically close up the ending of the second phrase:

	|E	|-	|-   A  |E	||B	|A	|F#9	 B  |E	    ||
E:	 I		     IV  I	  V	 IV	 V-of-V  V   I

Bridge

- The stylistic gesture of short phrases seen in the verses is perpetuated in this bridge as well, which is only six measures long, yet contains three phrases equal in length:

	|E	|B	||E	|-	||F#	|B	||
	 I	 V	  I		  V-of-V V

- The usage in this section of a poetic triplet nicely contrasts with, and provides some helpful relief from, the quatrains of the surrounding verses.

- Compared to a song like "I'll Get You", there's a virtual absence in this song of melodic appoggiaturas. However, in measure 5 of this bridge, above F# chord, there's a stunner of a d# in the melody on the downbeat.


Break

- It's a rare early Beatles song indeed that has such a break section as this one, both completely instrumental and not based on one of the preceding sections of the song.

- The last two chords of this otherwise pure 12-bar blues passage are modified to include the IV -> V-of-V -> V progression which by this point of the song strongly resonates with the end of the verse sections, and this tweak helps to unify the break section with its surroundings.

- John's wailing solo is quite nicely done and as a little bonus he even throws in some slow triplets right at the climactic penultimate measure as though just to let us know for sure it's a "John song"; as if this fact were not already clear as an azure sky or an unmuddied lake. My only complaint here is the uncharacteristic roughness with which both the beginning and end of this overdub were edited in.


Outro

- We have a very standard looping into the fadeout based on the final two measures of the verse with some clever handling of the duet vocals as they alternate in pattern on the "oh yeahs".

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- This song is the fifth one in a row on the first side of WTB in the key of E. Though a comparison of the album's running order to a Baroque dance suite is perhaps a jesting overstatement, there *is* a certain amount of classic sensibility reflected in the way those five Beatles originals are sequenced to provide a balanced and varied alternation of mood and tempo.

- That said, LC is probably the weakest of those five songs; following on the heels of "Don't Bother Me" it's a case of 'from the ridiculous to the sublime', or shall we say it the other way around ? :-) On casual acquaintance, it's easy to dislike LC for what are, by today's standards, its condescendingly wise-guy/sexist lyrics. Even a closer look at the music itself might make you think of it as a potboiling throwback to the first album because of the small number of chords, the facile melody, and simple phrasing.

- And yet, if you can get beyond your own hyper-serious reactions (heys, Alan, speak for yourself), I believe you start hearing this song actually as one feel-good rocker of no small "sincerity." In time, the words eventually warm up to strike you as the quite realistic braggadocio of a cool dude on the make. And what you at first reacted to as "rudeness" in that cool appraising stare of his is nothing other than his active compensatory factor, more or less.


Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"I bet you're a great swimmer. My turn ? Bingo!"
                                                              	   102191#38
---

                Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

Please Mr. Postman

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Provenance
Year: 
1961
Cover Versions

Roll Over Beethoven

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The original and cover versions of "Roll Over Beethoven", which was covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Written By: 
Chuck Berry
Year: 
1956
Primary Recording
By: 
Chuck Berry
Lead Vocal: 
Chuck Berry
Cover Versions

Hold Me Tight

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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions

I Wanna Be Your Man

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Cover versions and notes on the Beatles' song "I Wanna Be Your Man".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Ringo Starr
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I Wanna Be Your Man" (IWBYM)

KEY  E Major

METER        4/4

FORM Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Break -> Verse ->
                        Refrain -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- This song is ravingly bluesy in a stylized but facile, simplistic way, representing a certain kind of triumph of style per se over content. If you're charitably disposed, you'll say that the heavy attention paid to external mannerism and evocation of mood more than adequately compensates for the otherwise minimalistic amount and quality of material used throughout. In any event, the song would seem to demonstrate just how it is that a pop song *can*, under some circumstances, be be written on the fly in what I'd wager must have been less than a single afternoon.

- In context of the other contemporaneous L&M originals of the period, this one is formalistically notable for its bridge-like refrain, and the improvisatory instrumental break.


Harmony

- Very few chords are used at all, with the verse section being a jam session on virtually just one chord. A few additional chords appear in the refrain though they are all garden variety in nature.


Arrangement

- Ringo, of course, gets to sing the lead vocal and he's accompanied by John and Paul in the refrain. The rest of the texture is quite fluffed up, perhaps even overdone a bit, with double tracking, overdubbed Hammond organ, and a lot of screaming.

- We have the case here where non-official versions of the song, perserved as they are in unreleased recordings of BBC radio broadcasts and live concerts, present a revised arrangement which omits the organ but is in all other respects more effective. I'll single out such specific improvements as we come to them in our walkthrough below.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Verse

- You can hardly call it an intro by itself, but the hot little guitar lick that precedes the opening downbeat helps immediately set the wild and crazy mood of what is to come. Several live versions include four full measures of introductory vamping on E before Ringo's vocal entry.

- The overall section is seventeen measures long and divides up into two eight-measure couplets, plus one additional measure to give a little breathing space for the long pickup into the refrain. This last measure is not strictly "required" in the scheme of things, and its presence does indeed create a slightly awkward metrical asymmetry. My guess is that they decided to include it as the lesser of two evils because if you try this section out without that seventeenth measure, the title phrase which commences the refrain gets garbled in a scramble to squeeze it into measure sixteen.

- Only the I chord (E) is used in this section, though there is a brief hint of the V chord (B) in the second half of measures 8 and 15; this chord change is much more clearly articulated in the live versions.

- The bluesy melody with its emphasis on f# and the flat-seventh (d) lends some indirect harmonic embellishment of that lone E chord.


Refrain

- This refrain is eight measures long and built out of four little 2-measure phrases each of which declaims the title phrase of the lyrics:

riff:     f#-f-e|d#       e-d#-d|c#       f#-f-e|d#
        |F#     |B      |E      |C#     |f#     |B      |E      |-      |
E:       V-of-V  V       I       V-of-ii ii      V       I
                                         **

        [** that f# minor chord just *might* be F# Major but I find
         the recording too muddy to tell for sure.]

- The shift in this section to a distinctly non-bluesy style with those cornball chromatic-scale guitar riffs is the primary source of formal contrast.

- On a more subtle level, the introduction in this section of a number of different chords with a concommitant amount of harmonic rhythm also contrasts with the monotony of the verses. Though this refrain doesn't actually stray at all from the home key, the large number of intensely functional chord changes (with root movements lying along the circle of fifths) make it sound as though it's very much on the harmonic prowl.


Break

- The break is twelve bars long and like the verse, it jams on just a single chord. The heavy blues style returns with what seems like a high water mark amount of shouts and grunting.

- The guitar solo here consists of sound-bite-like short 'licks'. There is very little of the sort of melodic continuity or dramatic sense of direction seen in the solos of either "I Saw Her Standing There" or even "Little Child".

- The live versions turn this section very clearly into a 12-bar blues frame and feature more overall shape to the guitar solo.


Outro

- The outro brings a return of the texture heard in the Break, only this time there is an adaptation of the vocal parts of the refrain superimposed over the backing track.

- A small flash of the IV chord (A) during the fadeout hints at the *real* blues jam session that might have gone on in the studio after the faders had been lowered all the way; see the unreleased Take 7 of "She's A Woman" for an example of what I'm thinking of.

- The live versions of our song in fact replicate the 12-bar blues form seen in the Break and thus take the song to an alternate complete ending.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- Tony Barrow, whose liner notes on the first couple albums are surprisingly accurate most of the time in spite of their unabashed PR-perspective, gets caught in, not one, but *two* lies regarding this song: #1 -- saying the song was written "specially" for Ringo rather than the Rolling Stones, and #2 -- that it is John on the Hammond organ, not (as Lewisohn reports) George Martin.

- There are a number of well known Dylan-Beatles connections out there, but one of the more obscure and unusual examples must be Zimmy's unreleased track from a late '65 session done with the proto-Band; a song entitled "I Wanna Be Your Lover", in the refrain of which he humorously sends up our own "I Wanna Be Your Man". The existence of such a parody forces me to acknowledge, almost against my will as it were, that our song *must* have had, in spite of whatever its limitations, a sufficient presence as a ready-made pop-culture icon in order to draw such distinguished imitation, even if only in jest. But I guess that's what I meant to begin with, with my own wisecrack about the triumph of style per se over content.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"I don't wanna be her's, ... I wanna be your's!" 112491#40
---

Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Devil in Her Heart

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Provenance
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Not a Second Time

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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions

Money (That's What I Want)

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Provenance
Year: 
1959
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

A Hard Day's Night (album)

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Album Information
Album Cover Art
By: 
The Beatles
Released: 
Fri, 1964-07-10
Album Type: 
Original
Songs
On Amazon
Sales Rank: 
15
Most-Covered Songs

A Hard Day's Night

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "A Hard Day's Night".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "A Hard Day's Night" (AHDN)


KEY G Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Verse (solo) -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- Though much less directly blues-derived than either "Can't Buy Me Love" (CBML) or "You Can't Do That" (YCDT), "A Hard Day's Night" (AHDN) bears close comparison to both of those songs. At the very least, all three of them share the same long form, with two bridges and an instrumental break. Of course, the more interesting connection is the manner in which AHDN takes one step further the concept, seen in the other two songs, of a style borne of the fusion between traditional blues elements and those more recognizable as the Beatles own trademarks.

- There's a bonafide trend to be charted here: CBML had a verse section that was close to pure blues in form, chord progression and melody. YCDT retained the blues form and the chord progression, but its melody already had wavered between the minor and Major 3rd. In AHDN, only the 12-bar length and AAB phrasing of the blues remains along with some of the minor 3rd melodic flavor, but the rest had long since gone the way of Lennon and McCartney.

- AHDN is a particularly forward-looking song as well. Aside from several innovations in the area of harmony and arrangement, its rhythmic resources make an especially strong contribution. As we'll see during our walkthrough, behind the generally energetic and syncopated bustle that appears on the surface, there is also a great deal of forward thrust generated here by the way the music, on an almost subliminal level, toys around with surprising stop-and-go contrasts of pace and activity.


Melody and Harmony

- The verse features notable emphasis on the bluesy melodic flat 7th, but with the exception of the closing phrase ("feel alright"), the melodic third is clearly Major, rather than minor. By contrast, the bridge is entirely in the Major mode. All this, by the way, is very similar to what we saw in the melody of YCDT.

- Overall, the words are patter-scanned with one note per syllable. However, in contrast, there are many long-sustained notes which jut out of the tune on a paradoxically frequent but irregular basis. The verse, in particular, contains an unusually large number of different rhythmic values, all the way from half to sixteenth notes, and a steady stream of syncopations; I'd spell it out further but without music paper it's just too tedious.

- The song is firmly in the key of G Major, though the bridge presents a short-lived and weakly established excursion to the unusual key of iii (b minor).

- With the obvious exception of the opening/closing sonority, the choice of chords is familiar. Although the Beatles had already used the flat-VII chord on few songs that pre-date this one (e.g. PSILY, DBM , and AML ), its appearance here is still a notably early example of its employment.

- A couple of dissonant clashes between the tune and the chords are continually reiterated. In the verse, the melodic note 'D' appears first as a 9th against the C Major chord (as on the word 'days' of the opening line) and later as an added-sixth against the F Major chord (as on the syllable "wor" in "working", and on the word "like"). Similarly in the bridge, the melodic note 'A' clashes as an added-sixth against the C Major chord on the word "tight" (you should pardon the expression.) These all pass you by quickly, but on a subtle level the very casualness with which such dissonance is used adds a characterizingly "slang" flavor to the song's overall musical vocabulary.


Arrangement

- Alas, even the mono CD mix of this song has a fake-stereo-like high level of fuzziness to it, though it does have the curious property that if you turn it up loud enough, it begins to feel like a wall of sound. For those who have ever bemoaned this fact, the roughly executed but clearly recorded early outtakes are a revelation.

- The wall of sound effect is partly the result of the drumming style being kept unvaried throughout. With the minor exception of some added four-in-the-bar beating on a cowbell during the bridges, we have wall to wall thumping on drums and cymbals in place of the sort of drum fills and texture changes we're more used to hearing Ringo employ to differentiate formal sections. Instead of creating a "problem", this monolithic approach to percussion here actually adds to the steam-rolling thrust of the song.

- Joking aside, this is very much the song in which the characteristic sound of George's 12-string guitar would establish itself. Its appearance in the opening and closing chords, as well as the manner in which it is doubled with electric piano in the solo section are among the more instantaneously recognizable sound bites in all of popular music.

- John and Paul's vocals employ the familiar double-tracking throughout, but their arrangement itself features a novel gambit. John takes most of the verse as a solo, and ditto for Paul with the bridge. The first half of the verse's closing phrase, though, is done up as a duet in parallel thirds on an unusual downward chromatic run; a gesture that mediates nicely between the alternating solo passages.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- That chord, (bang!), eh? Its great effect is not only related to the pitch content, but to the sudden, crisp attack as well. Wake me up from the dead of sleep many years hence and play it for me by itself out of context, and not only do I trust I'll be able to identify it immediately, but also summon with close to total recall just how it shot through my consciousness the very first time I heard it as a mere not-so-pimply adolescent.

- I've seen better people than myself argue (and in public, no less) about the exact guitar voicing of this chord and I'll stay out of that question for now (what a cop-out, Alan!), and merely state that its sonority is akin to a superimposition of the chords of d minor, F Major, and G Major; i.e. it contains the notes D, F, A, C, and G -- to my ears, only the B is missing. Even if you don't know a thing about harmony or musical dictation, you can at least hear the G as a suspended 4th over the D on the bottom. Hullaballoo aside, this chord functions as a surrogate 'Dominant' (i.e. V) with respect to the chord on G which begins the first verse.

- As a formal section, this intro is precisely two measures long and is played "in tempo"; check out take #7 before which John explains to the others how he'll "tap toe" through the long pause that follows the opening chord so the others know when to come in. This pause, by the way, is the first example here of how suspense and a sense of rising expectation is created by a change of pace. A large part of this specific effect is the surprise factor, especially as you experience it at the beginning of the film or the album. When the song is literally announced as in a concert ("and now we're gonna play AHDN ...") the effect simply doesn't work as well.


Verse

- Although the 12-bar blues chord progression is not used here, this verse in section is still twelve measures long and built out of three phrases equal in length that form an AAB poetic pattern (actually, quite similar to IWTHYH):

        mm. 1 - 4, 5 - 8
        ------------------------------ 2X ------------------------------
        |G      C       |G              |F              |G              |
G:       I      IV       I               flat-VII        I

        mm. 9 - 12
        |C              |D              |G      C       |G              |
         IV              V               I      IV       V

- The overall harmonic shape is closed and rather static. The appearance of an "official" V -> I cadence is delayed until the third phrase, but well before then, the G chord has been confirmed as the 'I' of the home key several times over by the gentler, less formal means of the the IV and flat-VII chords. The manner in which the first two phrases of the tune seem so firmly centered on the note D provides an additional source of stasis.

- A couple of factors work at pleasing cross-currents to the static harmony and melody and help lend some shape and sense of direction to the verse; e.g. the syncopated stress and sustained duration given to the melodic F naturals in measures 3 and 7, and the holding out of the melodic climax until measure 10 where it is embellished by the brief duet of the two singers.


Bridge

- The bridge is eight measures long and built out of two phrases equal in length and parallel in melodic shape:

        |b      |e      |b      |-      ||G     |e      |C      |D      ||
G:       iii     vi      iii              I      vi      IV      V
(b:      i       iv      i ??)

- The first phrase presents a half-hearted modulation to the key of b minor. The new key is never formally established by any kind of dominant -> tonic (V - I) cadence but for an instant, one surely hears the b -> e -> b chord progression as though it were i - iv - i in the key of b. Of course, all this is all straightened out in the second phrase where G is quickly re-established as the home key via one of our favorite rock cliche chord progressions.

- Some free associations with YCDT are unavoidable. Note the way in which the bridge opens with a dramatically sustained melodic note (on the word "home" -- the longest single duration in the whole song) that is followed by a resumption of a chattier rhythm. The heavy emphasis on B and E chords in both bridges is also striking though it should be pointed out that in the each of the two songs, the chords are to be interpreted in the opposite ways. In YCDT, the modulation was to e and the B Major chord sounded like its V chord; here, it is b minor that sounds like the key to which the modulation has taken place, and the e chord sounds like its iv.

- As ever, we continue to find new examples in the active avoidance of so-called foolish consistency in the creation of small variations: here, the completion of Paul's solo and the return to John's vocal at the end of the first bridge is neatly spliced end-to-end but with virtually no overlap, whereas in the repeat of the bridge, John goes out of his way to create a small spontaneous-sounding overlap by coming in a beat or so early moaning the phoneme, "Oh ..."; I call it spontaneous sounding because the effect appears as early as takes 3 and 7.


Solo

- The solo is melodically unconventional yet very bluesy at the same time. The nervous and frequent changes of rhythmic values seen earlier ripen into what borders on the spasmodic at this point. Indeed, am I the only one who hears the execution of measures 3 and 7 of this solo as sounding "impossibly" fast ?

- Formally, we have the sort of "semi-solo" we first saw back in "From Me To You", where the instrumental is abandoned in the final phrase of the section in favor of a refrain-like reprise of the vocals heard in other iterations of the verse.


Outro

- The outro starts of with their trademark powering-down triple-repeat of the last half-phrase of the final verse, but it ends off enigmatically on virtually the same chord with which the song began. This parallelism by itself provides some unity to the song overall, but still, the use of a non-I chord ending is unusual, and at the time, was virtually unprecedented in a rock song; indeed, non-I openings , while by no means nearly as rare, were themselves still unusual.

- Although the chordal outlines played gently into the fadeout by the lead guitar have none of the commanding impact of the opening chord, the effect at the end is, in its own way, just as suspenseful as the opening. In the film it effectively bridges the gap between opening credits and first scene.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The lyrics are far from epochal or even merely profound. As touched as you might allow yourself to be by the hero's profession of loving gratitude and affectation of the working class hero, you just as easily might be made a little uneasy by his faint air of condescending chauvanism.

- Beyond a point it doesn't really matter, though. Based on "only" music and exuberant mood alone "if necessary", the song AHDN arguably holds a place within the uppermost echelon of the Beatles catalog. And in contrast to the historical subtleties of the "Long Tall Sally" EP , it is very much along what I've described as the indigenous stylistic path of the group.

- Even if you had somehow missed them on Ed Sullivan, or if perhaps you had seen them on Ed's show yet their impact somehow missed you (you dour old curmudgeon), it would have become increasingly, if not impossibly, difficult to ignore the Beatles once the likes of this song and its associated film came on the scene.

- Even my neighbor Fred (yes, that Fred) confided to me once in a moment of exquisite vulnerability that although his parents had taken him abroad on holiday during the summer of '64, a vacation during which he was protectively sheltered from the deleterious influence of Top-40 AM radio, that when he returned to our shores in the early fall, upon hearing our title song, even he now knew the Beatles were onto Something New.

Regards,


Alan (awp@bitstream.com
OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---


"They take a turn down a back alley way and the crowd of screaming girls are after them." 021792#49

---
Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack

All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

to return.

I Should Have Known Better

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I Should Have Known Better".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1963
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I Should Have Known Better" (ISHKB)

"I Should Have Known Better" is a deceptively straightforward song in which, if you look closely enough, you find a number of ways in which The Boys simply refuse to just play it straight.

Although the points of interest find themselves sorted into the areas of harmony, arrangement and form, I think it's pedagogically easier to cover them in an end-to-end run though.


Intro

A number of musical elements which ultimate characterize the entire song are immediately presented in the short and simple four-measure introduction:

- the alternating I-V chord pattern: this continues beyond the intro through no less than five measures of the verse.

- the backing arrangement: we have acoustic guitar, light drumming, and a melodic, almost hyper-active bass which is mixed relatively far back.

- the bluesy harmonica: the 'e-f-e' melodic pattern of this part creates a series of piquant dissonances against the recurring D chord in the accompaniment - the 'e' on the down beat making a nice 9th, and the f-natural neighbor tone making a class-A cross-relation against the f-sharp of the chord beneath. It's also interesting to follow the intermittent use of this harmonica throughout the song. You walk away from a casual listen thinking it's always there but, do trace it carefully and note how, with the exception of the guitar solo, it is actually used rather sparingly, its primary function being to introduce each verse in turn; illustrating yet another basic compositional principle -- in matters of spice, a little goes a long way.


Verse 1 "I should have known better with a girl like you ..."

A most unusual feature of ISHKB is that the verses come in two variants; those which are followed directly by another verse (as are the first, third, and fourth) are characterized by a ten-measure length and a "closed" harmonic shape; i.e., entirely in G Major, both beginning and ending essentially on the I chord:

                 -- 5X --                          -- 2X --
                |G   D    |e   e   |C     |D      |G   D    |

        G:       I   V     vi6 vi   IV     V       I   V
                             3

Other points of interest in verse variant #1:

- From the phrasing of the words, as well as the melodic structure, you see that the ten measures are meant to be parsed as 6 (actually 4 + 2) + 4. Those seemingly "extra" middle two measures ("that I would love everything that you do") with their repeat of the melody from the preceding two measures create a rhetorical, free-verse feeling.

- The slowing of the harmonic rhythm in measures seven and eight adds nice ballast, just as the return of the I-V oscillating harmony in measures nine and ten adds symmetry.

- The closed harmonic shape is reinforced by the melody which hovers around a relatively restricted choice of pitches.

- Coloristically, the melodic emphasis on the note 'e' not only extends the presence of the D9 sonority already heard in the intro, but also creates a pervasive added-sixth chord on G.

- Measure six features the rare occurrence in this genre of a chord in non-root position; the e chord is sustained through the entire measure, with a bass line which descends from G down to E, placing the chord at the beginning of the measure in the so-called "first" or "6-3" inversion.

- And, of course, there's no harmonica here, except in measures nine and ten, where it introduces the next verse.


Verse 2 "Woah-oah, I never realized what a kiss could be ..."

Verse variant #2 is used for those verses (i.e. the second and the fifth) which lead directly into a bridge section, and is characterized by an eight- measure length and an "open" harmonic shape; i.e., starting in G major but leading to the key (actually ending on the V chord) of the relative minor key of e:

                 -- 5X --
                |G   D    |e   e   |C     |B     |

        G:       I   V     vi6 vi   IV
                             3
                                e:  VI     V

Bridge "And when I tell you that I love you ..."

The bridge is an unusually long and well developed sixteen measure section of four different phrases, starting in the key of e minor and eventually modulating back to the home key of G Major via a pivot on the C chord in the ninth measure:

        |e      |C      |G      |B      ||e     |-      |G      |G7     |

      e: i       VI      III     V        i             III      V-of-VI

        |C      |D      |G      |e      ||C     |D      |G    D   |G    D   |
      e: VI
      G: IV      V       I       vi       IV     V       I    V    I    V

Some noteworthy details:

- The melodic line, over the course of the four phrases, creates a lovely arch shape, with the obvious climax on that upward falsetto flip of the twelfth measure. The fairly large amount of melodic ground covered by this bridge is in contrast to the more restricted pitch range of the verses.

- The arrangement introduces the electric guitar in the bridge for the purpose of underscoring the first beat of every measure with a single strummed chord. Note that this effect actually begins on the last measure of the previous verse, somewhat smoothing over the "seam" between the second verse and the bridge.

- The harmony subtly teases you when it dips down to the e chord in measure twelve, just when you think you've fully turned the corner back toward G.

- The harmonica, true to form, returns in measures fifteen and sixteen to herald the arrival of the next verse.


Verse 3 - "So-o I should have realized a lot of things before ..."

Another variant #1 verse.

Verse 4 - Guitar Solo

This is still another variant #1 verse, featuring a guitar solo in place of the usual vocal. This solo, by the way, being a repetition of the original melody with just the slightest hint of embellishment, is a good example of what has become a dying breed.

The solo ends with a surprise touch: the melodic leading tone of f# near the end of the solo, instead of being resolved up to g, is followed by an added-sixth G chord with an e on the top.

Note how this solo section is the only one in which the harmonica continues its ostinato pattern all the way through a verse, creating some strikingly dissonant tone clusters against the melody of the guitar; in particular, against that added-sixth chord at the end.


Verse 5 - "Woah-oah, I never realized what a kiss could be ..."

This is a repeat of the second verse, right down to the same lyrics.


Bridge 2 - "Amd when I tell you that I love you ..."

The only difference between this and the first bridge is the sudden shift, for the first time in the entire song, to a single track recording of John's voice. As an example of the sort of attention paid to fine detail, note how the double tracking is restored just for an instant in order to reinforce the falsetto flip.

This section is perhaps the high point of the song because of the single tracking; it's still has the power to stop you in your tracks, so to speak. Based on outtakes of other songs from this period (e.g., the rough rehearsal of "A Hard Day's Night" on URT), I'm tempted to argue that John was more usually double tracked, not because he didn't sound secure enough without it, but, quite the opposite, because in single track mode, he almost sounds *too intense*. If you doubt the capability of this sound to awaken little spikes of whatnot in it's listeners, I recommend you take a peek at the performance of ISHKB in the baggage car scene of the AHDN film; do keep a lookout for exactly where in the song Patti Whatsername covers her face with her blonde hair 'cause she can't stand it any longer :-).


Outro - "You love me too ..."

The second bridge is followed by an outro which fades out with the same musical pattern and arrangement of the intro, this time, with the voice added.


The Overall Form

When you put it all together, you find that the form is an unusual, even strange, variation on the more standard two-bridge model:

intro-v1-v2-bridge-v1-v1/solo-v2-bridge-outro

The unusual features here are the appearance in the middle of three verse sections in a row, and the appearance of the second bridge at the very end with no verse section following.


Finally, a Rhythmic Detail

Underlying all the other structural and harmonic details discussed above, there is a pervasive use in this song of syncopated accents on the last eighth note of the measure; if you count along very quickly in tempo, you'll find this accent on the off beat of "four-AND". This subtle element not only helps unify the song, but also underlies the extent to which you might say that this song "swings" or conveys a "passionate subtext".

I don't want to spoil the party for those who like to go digging for these details on their own, but I promise you that this syncopation is to be found all over the song. Just a few examples to get you jazzed for further study: the harmonica part starting in the second measure of the intro, the first entrance of the voice part on the word "I", the end of each phrase of the verse (e.g., on the words "you" and "do" in verse one), and of course my favorite, the very top of the falsetto flip.

Oh well, I went into this one expecting to find something close to a standard formula, and boy, was I surprised. But then again, I suppose I should have known better. (Ooops, time for me to cover *my* face.)

Regards,
Alan (awp@prism.tmc.com)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan,
 but *I* gave him the test."                                    020190#15
---

                Copyright (c) 1990 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

If I Fell

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "If I Fell".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "If I Fell" (IIF)


KEY D Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse (original) -> Verse+extension -> Verse+extension -> Verse (original) -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- This one was one of the most soulful songs L&M had yet written at the time of its initial release, and the harmonic card trick contained in its intro remains one of their most clever and daring ever.

- The form is also unusual. Instead of a discrete bridge or refrain section, formal contrast is provided by a bridge-like extension that grows directly out of each of the inner two verses.


Melody and Harmony

- The melody, though punctuated now and then by a leap or two, moves primarily in step-wise fashion and contains a couple of extended upward runs; the latter in spite of the theme of "falling" contained in the lyrics.

- The motif of step-wise, scalar motion is curiously carried forward in the harmony, as well, with the repeated use of the I->ii->iii chord-stream. The harmony carries with it a strong flavor of jazzy bittersweetness, largely the result of the prominence given to the minor iv chord and the deployment of a pungent 7/9 chord at the climactic point where the verse extension commences.

- The intro actually starts off in a different key (D flat Major) from the body of the song, though as we'll see, this is not at all immediately clear to one's ears as it unfolds in real time. Not surprisingly, given such a tonally disorienting opening, the rest of the song stays very closely rooted to the home key without the slightest hint of a modulation.


Arrangement

- John solos in the intro, but the rest of the song finds Paul in the lead with John singing harmony below him in their inimitably funky style in which they sneak in those open fourths and fifths where you least expect them. The overall melodic range is relatively wide, though outside of the intro which is placed in John's baritone range, Paul's lead remains on the high end of his own spectrum.

- The contrapunctal aspect of this particular vocal arrangement is somewhat disguised by the rhythmically placid context and the afore-mentioned predominance of step-wise motion in both parts. The disguise is so successful that, if anything, you walk away with the impression that the arrangement is more of a chordal setting for three parts in the manner of "Yes It Is", but the truth is that there is no vocal part here for George; just John and Paul huddled, according to Lewisohn, closely around the same mike.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is eight measures long and built out of two parallel phrases equal in length:

        |e-flat         |D (natural)    |D-flat         |b-flat         |
D-flat:  ii              flat-II         I               vi

        |e-flat         |D (natural)    |e7(natural)    |A              |
         ii              flat-II
                      D: I               ii              V
 

- Quite unusually for L&M, we find here an old fashioned kind of intro in the style of, say, Gerswhin or Porter. It's fully developed as a section unto itself with material not heard in the remainder of the song, and set-off from what follows by a different texture in the instrumental backing track; examples of the latter include John's four-in-the-bar rhythm guitar strumming punctuated on the downbeats by George, and Ringo's delayed entrance until the verse.

- The harmonic shape of this section is another story entirely; hardly at all "old fashioned" and rather both ingenious and clumsy at the same time. At the very start you pretty much assume that the opening chord (e-flat minor) is the i chord of the home key but as the music free-falls first through D Major and then continues down to D-flat Major, you're no longer so sure about that; in fact, for a couple measures, you're totally lost and out to sea -- go ahead and admit it, it's good for your soul :-).

- It's only after we come back to the e-flat chord in measure 5 that you quite regain your bearings, only now, this e-flat chord feels much more like a ii in relationship to the D-flat chord of the previous measure. The real coup is in the way in which the second time around, the music makes an harmonic pivot, using the same D Major chord that had appeared more or less in passing during the first phrase, now as the I of the actual home key of the song.


Verse (original)

- This verse is ten measures long and breaks down into two parallel four-measure phrases that are followed by a two-measure connector which leads us back to the next verse:

        mm. 1 - 4, 5 - 8
         -------------------------------- 2X ------------------------------
        |D     e     |f#          f-nat.   |e7             |A              |

D:       I     ii     iii        flat-iii   ii              V
                                 diminished

        mm. 9 - 10
        |D              |g      A       |
         I               iv     V
 

- On a subtle level, a kind of circular harmonic "open-ness" is another unifying motif of the song in that both sung phrases of this verse, as well as the connector, end on the V chord. For that matter, so does the bridge-like extension below.

- The chord on the fourth beat of measure 3, which I've provisionally labelled as "flat-iii diminished" is more accurately described without any kind of 'roman numeral' as one of those chords that is the incidental result of linear motion of the various parts as they transition between the chords on either side of it:

                       "heart           to     you ..."
                Paul:   C#              B  |   D
                John:   A               G#     G-natural

                Bass:   F#              F-nat. E

- Note the vocal open 5th in the above example, as well as the similar open 4th at the beginning of measures 9.

- The minor iv makes its quiet, first appearance in the final measures of this section and it too recurs throughout the song.


Verse + extension

- The first eight measures of this alternate verse section are identical to the original verse, but we find a new extension here starting in measure 9 that's an asymmetrical seven measures long:

        mm. 9
        |D7/9           |-              |G              |
         I ..... V-of-IV                 IV

        |g              |-              |D              |A7             |
         iv                              I               V

- One's sense of D Major as the home key remains crystal clear but is made quite ironically bittersweet by some of the chord choices and the way they are orchestrated; e.g. the yearning stretch in the vocals required for the D7/9, and the small shift by John from B-natural to B-flat (on the words "and I") in order to ominously change that Major IV to a minor iv, accompanied as it is by Paul's literally trembling voice the second time around.

- The phrase "sad if our new love" contains an unusual melodic cross-relation between the F-natural (on the word "our") and the F# two words later on "love." Also look out for the way that John, after singing most of this phrase in parallel thirds with Paul, breaks out of the pattern with a slide from E all the way down to A on the downbeat of measure 14.


Outro

- The final verse is essentially identical to the initial one though it leads into a brief coda. The open 4th in measure 9 is repeated here again, though after the intervening general lushness of the texture, it sounds hauntingly hollow coming as the final word.

- The coda, a terse, touching echo of the "sad if our new love" phrase, provides the lead guitar with its solitary moment in the limelight. And then the song gently ends on a surprisingly reverberated single chord.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The lyrics are deceptively simply and full of elliptical, ambiguous word play so typical of John's best work. Examples abound -- the dangling question ("[would you] help me understand ?" -- understand what ??), the use of "to/too/two" in close proximity to each other, and the non-sequitur of the second repeat of the verse extension ("'cos I couldn't stand the pain") when it follows the line "she will cry when she learns ..."

- But beneath the mere cleverness of it all, what makes this song so potent is the desparate vulnerability it manifests; a veritable obsession with the subjunctive "iffy-ness" of love, described as a state in which people might run and hide and pride be hurt. For me though, the greatest ambiguity of all here is in the tension between the hero's begging for love's being requited on the one hand, while at the same time holding back from freely offering it for fear of being rejected. Is this ingenuous realism, such a lot of chutzpah, or likely a bit of both ?

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"You won't interfere with the basic rugged concept of me personality, will you, madam ?" 030192#50
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

I'm Happy Just to Dance with You

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" (IHJTDWY)


KEY c# minor/E Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro + Refrain (2nd half) -> Verse -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- A brisk tempo combines here with relatively small section lengths to make this a short song with a paradoxically longish form; the refrain is not only repeated twice, but the latter half of it appears as part of the intro as well.


Melody and Harmony

- The melody of the refrain is quite pentatonic and has a shape in which downward gestures predominate. In contrast, the verse melody is not at all restricted pitch content-wise, and its shape is more closely resembles an arch.

- This is yet another L&M song in which a Major key (E) and its relative minor (c#) continually alternate as the apparent choice of home key. The verse here is always clearly in the Major mode, yet the intro and the refrains always start off in the minor mode. In the outro, this duality develops into a brief moment of tense conflict before it is ultimately resolved in favor of the Major mode.

- Major/minor gambits must have fascinated John and Paul during this era judging from the number of roughly contemporaneous songs which use the device. The Major/relative-minor trick appears for example in "Not A Second Time" and "And I Love Her". And a similar trick of alternating a Major key with its parallel minor (e.g., A Major/minor) appears in "Things We Said Today" and "I'll Be Back".

- Harmonic gambits are not the only devices to resonate from one song to another on the AHDN album. As I should have pointed out in our last note on "If I Fell", the unusual technique seen there of having three chords in a row moving downward in half-step root motion also appears (admittedly in a different context) in "Things We Said Today".

- All this aside, the chord selection itself in this song is quite straightforward though the use of an augmented alteration of V in place of the more normal Major chord is noteworthy.


Arrangement

- Although George's understatedly sardonic performance as a quipster shines throughout A Hard Day's Night, his double-tracked lead vocal here was to be, fairly or not, his lone moment in the musical spotlight.

- A seemingly trvial and reverberated "oh-ooh" backing part for John and Paul in the refrains actually turns out to critically underscore the rhythmic hook of the song. Note how from the very second measure, the move from the f# chord to the one on G# which recurs over and over again throughout, is always delivered along with a heavy syncopation on the half beat betwwen '2' and '3'; i.e. "on 2-AND". During the intro and first refrain Ringo nicely punctuates this moment with one of his characteristic fills. Unfortunately, he falls asleep at the switch for this during the second refrain and most of the outro. And no, imho this is not an example of what I typically describe as an avoidance of foolish consistency.

- Speaking of consistency, note how the deployment of the backing voices is carefully staged. In the first refrain they appear only after the second phrase ("is everything I need"), whereas in the second refrain it appears after the first phrase as well ("Just to dance with you ...").

- The instrumental backing track is on the fuzzy side though John's bouncy rhythm guitar work does and Paul's bassline both stand out clearly.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro + Refrain (2nd half)

- This section is eight measures long and is built out of four two-measure phrases, the first of three of which are based on the same chord progression:

         -------------- 3X -------------
        |c#             |f#     G#      ||A     B       |E      B       |
c#:      i               iv     V         VI
                                        E:IV    V        I      V
 

- The first four measures are entirely instrumental, while the latter four present what turns out later to be the second half of the refrain.

- Following the initial establishment of c# minor as the apparent home key and repeated emphasis of this fact, the song pivots around toward the relative Major in the final couple measures.


Verse

- The verse is also eight measures long and built out of four two-measure phrases. The first two phrases form a parallel couplet while the last two tend of be heard as one long phrase which balances out the first two:

         -------------- 2X -------------
        |E      g#      |f#     B       |
E:       I      iii      ii     V

        |A              |E      c#      |A      B aug.  |E      (B)     |
         IV              I      vi       IV     V        I      (V)
 

- In spite of the formal similarity between this and the other sections, contrast with the intro and refrains is provided here by the key being clearly E Major throughout, and the fact that even though the tune itself contains some syncopation, that hook rhythm on the chord changes is pretty much avoided here entirely.

- A vi chord (c#) would have been a more likely choice to put in between I and ii at the beginning of this section than the iii chord (g# minor). As it stands, the chord-stream parallel motion inherent in the iii->ii progression adds a jazzy touch that would have been missing had vi been used instead.


Refrain

- The schematic plan of the refrain is identical to what we saw in the intro. The only difference is that the first half of the section now contains an opening vocal phrase to balance out what had been heard earlier as just the second half.


Outro

- The outro is a seven measure section that is elided with the last measure of the final verse. Note the ingenuity with which this section begins as a deceptive cadence coming off the B augmented chord in what is the seventh measure of the verse; you're expecting to hear E (I) at this point, not c# (vi):

        |c#             |f#     G#      |A      B       |
E:       vi                              IV     V
      c#: i              iv     V        VI

        |c#             |f#     G#      |A      B       |E      ||
E:       vi                              IV     V        I
c#:       i              iv     V        VI

- But most powerfully, they don't stop there. In many of their earlier songs, the triple rote repeat (or "petit reprise" as the French call it) of a final phrase during the outro had become a cliche, trademark, or both. Here, in a novel variation on this gambit, they pull the deceptive cadence trick twice in a row before playing it straight the third time around. Somehow it conveys the image of beating something down that refuses to give up.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- It's no surprise that the emphasis on c# minor during the outro is accompanied by a reprise of the back beat heard earlier in the intro. The complete ending on an added-sixth chord also seems especially appropriate. To the extent that this chord tends to sound as though it were a superimposition of the I and vi chords together, it's only fair that while the Major mode is allowed to ultimately previal, a touch of the bittersweet vi is allowed to linger alongside it, or if you will, embedded within.

- By the way, looking for "mistakes" or recording oddities? Then what the hell is that little squeak or scrape that managed to elude the quick pulling down of the faders right after the final chord ?

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"Why don't we do the show right here ?" 030992#51
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

And I Love Her

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "And I Love Her".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes On "And I Love Her" (AILH)

Copyright 1989 Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved

The plaintive bittersweetness of "And I Love Her" derives in large measure from it's tonal ambiguity; is it in a Major or minor key ?

The song continually flip-flops back and forth between the minor key (c#-minor) and it's relative Major (E-Major). Another major point of interest (and source of ambiguity) in this song is that it makes a delicious modulation up one-half step at the beginning of the guitar break, but more on that later. Some quicky technical tutorial first because it will save time later.


Major/minor Relatives, and Pivot Chords

** Technical background on** Major and minor keys are said to be mutual "relatives" then they share the same key signature. (e.g., C major/a minor, F major/d minor etc.).

Implicit in sharing the key signature is the fact that they share the same chords, although each chord has a different harmonic/grammatical meaning (i.e., crudely put, a different Roman numeral) depending on which mode you're in. For example, in the pair of keys C major/a minor, the d minor triad is common to both but it's the II chord of C and the IV chord of A.

The ample selection of common chords in this situation makes it very easy to modulate between the two keys. Such chords are called "pivot" chords when they're used to effect a smooth modulation from one key to another. In terms of aural perception, one experiences such a chord initially in the old key, but within the following two chords, one retrospectively hears it as part of the new key; a kind of harmonic pun. **Technical background off**


Tonal Ambiguity as Seen from an Harmonic Synopsis

INTRO

The intro repeats the following progression of two chords. I think one hears it as a "weak" (i.e. non-dominant) cadence toward the Major. I won't dwell on it, but starting on a non-I chord in this context is itself ambiguous. Think about it, if you stop the song after the first chord, what key would you think you were in?

                f#       -> E
        E:      II          I

VERSE

So far we think we're in E major, but the next thing that happens at the beginning of the verse ("I give her all my love ...") is that the f#-minor chord moves to the c#-minor chord in a IV ->I cadence; this is repeated three times and I think one gets the definite sensation of being grounded in the relative minor. And yet, in the last line of the verse ("You'd love her too..."), we move from the c# minor chord to a straightforward IV -> V -> I cadence right back into E major again. All this goes down quite smoothly because of the pivots which can be schematically shown as follows:

        Intro                   Verse
        --- 2x-----             ---- 3x -----
        f#      ->E             ->f#    ->c#    ->A     ->B     ->E
E:      II      I               II               IV       V       I
c#:                             IV      I        VI

BREAK

The above verse is repeated and then we arrive at the break section "A love like ours ...". Here again, we pivot (this time on c#) in a momentary flirtation with the key of g#(!), then appear to be cycling back toward E on the words "near me", only to pivot back again immediately for the next verse starting in c#:

        break                                                   verse
        -----                                                   -----
        c#      ->B     ->c#    ->g#    ->c#    ->g#    ->B     ->f#    ->c#
E:      VI        V     VI                       III      V      II
                    g#: IV        I       IV      I
                                                              c#:IV     I

By the way, note how the contour of the chord progression in this break echoes in some way that of the verse; down a step, back up, down a fourth, etc. I don't believe that the composer actually sits there and conceptualizes this, but I also don't believe it's a random coincidence.

GUITAR SOLO

At any rate, the verse repeats again, then, instead of a repeat of the break, we get a verse-worth's of guitar solo. But not so fast -- in the instant in which the guitar solo commences, the music neatly modulates up one half step; if the original key pair was E/c#, we're now in F/d; from the world of 4 sharps to one of one flat.

Now, such upshifts for later verses have been a staple of the 2-minute love song since the fifties but this one is unusual because the first chord in the new key is its IV chord. It's a real attention grabber because it contains no notes in common with the previous key. In this specific case, we're talking about a g minor chord (g-b-flat-d) plunked down in a neighborhood of 4 sharps! A sort of triple cross relation.

Once we get a few bars further and the new tonal plane is established it's no big deal in retrospect; you'd have to listen to the song several times in a loop to necessarily notice that you've ended up higher. Nonetheless, the moment of impact of that g triad is special. If I got away with calling the WCWIO refrain a time warp, then this one is the harmonic equivalent.

CODA

There is one final verse following the solo in which everything is as before except that everything is a half tone higher, followed by a coda very similar to the introduction with one critical difference:

        g       ->F     -g      ->D *Major*
F:      II        I     II
d:                      IV        I#3

The song ends ironically on the Major version of the relative minor; I would half expect the sheet music to contain a ":-)" at the end. (This gambit has been around since the Baroque period in which it was considered dissonant to end on a minor chord so all pieces in minor keys ended in those days in this manner -- the fancy term is the Piccardy Third, no kidding.)


So What's *the* Answer ?

Which relative key is the song in; major or minor ? Consider the evidence:

  • the intro is in the Major
  • the verse is in the minor for more than half its length let always shifts to the Major at the end.
  • the break goes to a different key, comes around to the Major only to go right into another verse with its predmominant minor opening.
  • there is only one break section, but there are 5 verses including the guitar solo.
  • IMHO, the upshift modulation is irrelevant to the Major/Minor question and was added in to relieve what otherwise would have been a tedium of too many verses in a row without break.
  • the coda, while ending on the root of the Minor, is nonetheless a Major chord.
  • on the one hand, there are several strong IV-V-I cadences in the relative Major and none in the relative minor. On the other hand, I believe if you tally the total number of measures in the minor verses Major, then minor wins out.

If you insist on my making a binary decision, I'd hesitantly give it to the minor key "on points" (like a boxing match), but it's kind of moot; the ambiguity per se is what is germane here.

Regards,
Alan (awp@mirror.tmc.com)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan,
 but *I* gave him the test."

Tell Me Why

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Tell Me Why".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Tell Me Why" (TMW)


KEY D Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Refrain -> Versey -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Bridge -> Refrain -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- Superficially speaking, "Tell Me Why" is not one of the more conspicuously forward looking songs on the Hard Day's Night album. The very limited, conventionalized set of chords, and the antiphonal vocal arrangement seem particularly familiar, if not predictable. Nonetheless, the bracing, confrontational tone of the lyric, and the subliminal way in which "the blues" are conured even in absence of the 12-bar form, mark this song as one very much if its place in time and context.

- The form is also unusual both in thet way it leads off with a refrain, but even more so in the way that the lone bridge section is saved for very near the end.


Melody and Harmony

- The melody of the refrain is in a pentatonically Major mode and is rhythmically stretched out, whereas the verse emphasizes the bluesy minor third of the scale and is rhythmically chattier and more jumpy. This subtle kind of melodic differentiation between sections is a trait which we've seen in several other songs of tohe period, two of the best examples of which may be found on both sides of the "Can't Buy Me Love" single, b/w "You Can't Do That".

- The harmonic diet is pretty much limited to the I-vi-ii-V cliche chord progression. This set of chords is used in both the refrain and verse sections but the melodic differences spelled out above, as well as the use of a walking bassline in only the refrains, make those sections sound and feel more different than they really are.

- The song contains a much higher than average number of dissonant 7th and 9th chords by virtue of the correspondingly high number of appoggiaturas and "escapes". I wouldn't dream of spoiling the fun of your discovering these on your own :-).


Arrangement

- This song provides a fine example of how a rhythmic motif may serve as a full-fledged "hook". In this case we have. in the intro, refrains, and outro, a triplet drum fill that precedes the downbeat, followed in the next measure by a wrenching syncopation on the eighth note between the second and third beat (i.e. on "two-AND").

- Falsetto singing also appears as a leitmotif. Had it only been used for that magic moment in the bridge, its appearance there would seem somewhat arbitrary. The casual, repeated use of falsetto in the refrains therefore creates a context in which the big moment of the bridge feels better motivated.

- We haven't been consistently checking mono versus stereo versions of songs over the course of this series, but this one features a couple of particularly noticeable differences. On the mono CD pressing, John's solo vocal sounds single tracked in the verses and the bridge, wthereas the stereo LP pressing sounds as though the vocal in those sections had been double or even triple tracked. The stereo version also has an extra second or two at the very end; just long enough to hear someone running a hand down the neck of a guitar to dampen the remaining reverberation of the final chord.

- SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The four measure intro presents an instrumental, quadruple rote repeat of the ii -> V chord progression (e7 -> A7) that is arranged around the rhythmic 'hook' described above.

- Notable are the non-I harmonic start as well as the manner in which the rhythmic hook for drums alone starts the whole thing off.


Refrain

- The refrain is twelve measures long. It consists of two parallel phrases equal in length, each of which is subdivided into a four-measure main phrase followed by a two measure "connector":

         ---------------------- 2X ---------------------*
        |D      |b      |e      |A      ||D  b  |e   A  |
D:       I       vi      ii     V        I  vi   ii  V

- We've seen this chord progression earlier in "This Boy", in which context we commented on the feeling of inevitably that it conveys following from the fact that most of it lies along the circle of fifths. It also happens to be a tonally open-ended progression with its ending on V, and this sense of it is emphasized by the way in which the connector sub-phrase recapitulates the entire progression of the first four measures in harmonic double time.

- The walking bass contrasts with the stretched out melody and creates an illusion that the chords change more rapidly than they actually do.

- And of course, the unifying rhythmic hook always appears at the end of the each six-measure phrase.


Verse

- The verse is eight measures long and, similar to the refrain, is built out of two parallel phrases equal in length:

         ----------------------------  2X ------------------------------

        |D              |b              |e              |A              |
D:       I               vi              ii              V

- Again, the bassline contrasts with the melodic line; this time, though, it's the bassline that is the more stable agent working at cross-currents to the rather nervous, declamatory tune.


Bridge

- The ten-measure bridge consists of two four-measure phrases followed by the two-measure connector, which has become quite familiar by this point in the song from the several repetitions of the refrain:

        |G      |-      |A      |-      |
         IV              V

        |b      |-      |e      |A      ||D   b |e   A  |
         vi              ii      V        I   vi ii  V
 

- This section is setup via a small modification made to the end of the refrain that immediately precedes it. Instead of repeating the I-vi-ii-V progression in the final two measures of that refrain, we are given instead a plain sustaining of the D chord for the full two measures. The longer that this chord is prolonged it begins to "ripen" to our ears from plain 'I' into a V-of-IV. We saw the same effect in "This Boy".

- In addition to the unique falsetto outburst of the second phrase, this bridge is also made dramatic by the sudden slowing down of the harmonic rhythm, the two full measures of drumming triplets, and a foolish-consistency-avoiding elimination of the syncopation in this repeat of the connector phrase.


Outro

- The four-measure outro is entered as a deceptive cadence coming off the V chord that ends the preceding refrain:

        |b              |B-flat         |A4 -- 3        |D              |
         vi              flat-VI        |V               I
 

- It is entirely instrumental, built out of what is, in context of the rest of the song, a novel chord progression, and contains a hard syncopation in every measure. In gesture, it is reminiscent of the codas to both "Please Please Me" and "It Won't Be Long". Here, because literally every phrase of every other section ends on V, the song accumulates a going-in-circles kind of forward inertia that requires a sort of radical intervention in order to bring things to a halt.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- Although one of the more confrontationally bitter songs of the period, this one somewhat uniquely incorporates no small measure of the sad, desparate frustration seen in some of John's other work.

- And just as we've seen in some of those other cases, no amount of studying the lyrics necessarily pierces the surface ambiguity that surrounds the circumstance in which the song would appear to unfold.

- To say that we're eavesdropping in real time on an actual moment of truth feels, somehow, too pat. In spite of all ranting, I think I'd more readily assume it's the rehearsal-like soliloquy in advance of a Showdown, or perhaps even, merely the muttering under his breath for self-comfort, after the moment for a face-to-face clearing of the air had, alas, long since passed.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"If there's anything I can do ..." 033192#52
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Can't Buy Me Love

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Cover versions of The Beatles' song "Can't Buy Me Love".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Can't Buy Me Love" (CBML)

KEY C Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Verse (guitar solo) -> Refrain -> Verse -> Outro (complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST

Style and Form

- We have here a very standard long form with two refrain-like bridges separated by two verse sections, one of which contains a guitar solo. However the combination within the same song of a verse section so traditionally bluesy with a refrain/intro/outro that is equally so *non* bluesy is far from routine and makes this number truly ground-breaking in its own quiet way.


Harmony and Melody

- The verse section uses only the standard three chords of the 12-bar blues form: I, IV and V (C, F, and G Major respectively). Its melody strictly uses flat thirds and sevenths (notes E- and B-flat) and this makes for similarly traditional-blues cross-relations with the E- and B-naturals of the chords below it.

- By contrast, the intro/outro heavily uses the iii and vi chords (e and a minor), and its melody strictly employs the diatonic third of E-natural, both of which connote something other than straight-up blues. Yet, the real kicker comes in the refrain where these two modally different worlds of the verse and intro/outro are starkly contrasted directly with each other in alternation.


Arrangement

- The melodic line plays off a virtually continual stream of syncopation against the steady four-in-the-bar jazz beat of the accompaniment. The sharp angularity of this is somewhat softened by the effect of Paul's solo vocal being double-tracked from end to end.

- George's guitar solo makes an uncanny first impression of genuinely smooth improvisation, but hearing the series of broadcast and live performances of this song will convince you that it was, alas, practised by rote before hand.

- The use of sizzling cymbals everywhere in the song *except* the intro and outro is a typical Beatles example of texture used for purposes of formal articulation.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH

Intro

- We've seen quite a number of early Beatles songs with 'in medias res' of openings (e.g. "All My Loving" and "She Loves You" among others) but this one is one of the most audacious, with the true identity of the home key not becoming clear until close to the end of the intro.

- The section is an unsual six measures long. Under more tritely ordinary circumstances it would actually be a full eight measures (try tacking two measures of C Major onto the end of it before starting the verse -- in fact this is exactly what happens in the outro) but, again in somewhat of a trademark move of theirs, this intro is ellided with (or interrupted by) the beginning of the verse:

Melody:      CEG|G	|E	|G	|E   CEG|G      |E      ||(verse)
Chords: 	|e	|a	|e	|a	|d	|G	||C
     C:		 iii     vi      iii     vi      ii      V        I

- Paradoxically, the primary melodic notes outline the C Major home-key triad almost as slavishly as might a bugle call, while in contrast, all the chords up until the G in measure 6 are all minor. Also note how the melodic "logic" of the triadic outline lets you readily accept those jazzy but otherwise "gratuitously" dissonant 11th and 13th chords on d and G respectively.

Verse

- The verse sections are all strict 12-bar blues frames. The one slightly unusual detail is in the re-appearance of the I chord being delayed until the final measure instead of coming back, as is more typical, in m. 11:

	m. 1
	|C	|-	|-	|-	|
	 I

	m. 5
	|F	|-	|C	|-	|
	 IV		 I

	m. 9
	|G	|F	|-	|C	|
	 V	 IV		 I

- In addition to the blue-note cross relations (e.g. the melodic E-flat against the E-natural of the C Major chord in m. 1), there are several appoggiaturas which spice up the otherwise simply chords chords. Examples include 'D' on the downbeat of m. 2 and 6, the G on the downbeat of m. 5 and 1.

- The halting of the ensemble for an instant right after the downbeat of m. 10 (as in "I don't care too [Brrr-UMP!] much for money") is crisply executed, and a great example of the sometimes eloquent power of silence; the better to listen to your heart beating :-).

Refrain

- The refrain is very similar to the intro, but is a more square eight measures long, and parses neatly into four brief 2-measure phrases. The words make a poetic 'ab-ac' pattern that is echoed by the music itself:

Melody:      CEG|G	|E	||E-flat D|C    CGE|
Chords: 	|e	|a	||C       |-
     C:		 iii     vi       I

		|G	|E   	||D   F  |G      ||(next verse)
		|e	|a	||d	 |G	 ||C
		 iii     vi       ii      V        I

- The stark interjection of those bluesy E-flats in measure three amidst the cheerier E-naturals both earlier and later in the section is perhaps the most distinctive detail of the entire song.

Guitar Solo

- This is one of George's great early solos and I'd place it right up there with the one in "Till There Was You" in terms of being understatedly just right for the context. I especially like the momentary lapse into a paraphrase of the tune in measure 9.

- In between the preceding verse and the beginning of this section is inserted an unnecessary additional measure which serves to better highlight the commencement of the solo as well as to throw you off guard just a bit. This is sort of a reverse variation of the ellision gambit.

Outro

- As mentioned above, this section is identical to the intro except that it includes the additional two measures of C Major that were lopped off at the beginning by the start of the first verse.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The appearance of *any* amount of straight-blues in a Beatles original is noteworthy in and of itself. A recurring theme in our studies has been John&Paul's predeliction for bluesy cover material, going back all the way to the Quarrymen era, made ironic by the virtual dearth of such material in their canonical songbook; you'll find that the number of 12 bar Beatles originals can be counted one less than the fingers of two hands.

- In this light the timing of CBML shouldn't seem a total surprise, given both that its B-side, "You Can't Do That", coincidentally happens to also be largely 12-bar in form, and that the next recording released in England would be the "Long Tall Sally" EP, a four-song collection three quarters of which is covers of 12-bar hits made famous by blues-meisters Richard, Williams, and Perkins.

- What's much more significant though about CBML is how, in context of early '64, it points to the future at least as much as IWTHYH sums up the past. CBML contains in its music a fusion of loosely related styles, and in its lyrics, the transmutation from platitude to poetry of a certain commonplace re: love and money; both of which innovations subtly prophecy particularly fertile trends of Beatles experimentalism to come years hence.

- As with many things in life and love, I've often found it rather awesome and uncanny to look back later and discover just how early were sown the seeds of some great harvest.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"Sorry if we hurt your field, Mister" 010592#45
--- H B D

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Any Time at All

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Any Time at All".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Any Time At All" (ATAA.1)

KEY     D Major

METER   4/4

FORM    Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse ->
                Refrain -> bridge -> Refrain -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- "Any Time At All" (ATAA) is yet another one of those Beatles songs that tends to get eclipsed by the more popular hits of its period, that is still quite a pleasure to discover at whatever stage of your interest in the group's music you eventually encounter it. It's also a fine example of a song whose form and content on the surface seems so straightforward and familiar, yet once you get past the surface glitz, and the simpler pleasures, you find a wealth of more adventurous options to be explored.

- I embarked on this series of articles fully expecting in short order to stumble occasionally (if not quite repeatedly) into examples of formulaic Beatles songwriting. But thus far, every one I've chosen reveals its own variations, once we look at it carefully enough. I am beginning to suspect that by the time we get through the entire repertoire, we'll still not have come across too many songs in total can be said to be playing it strictly by the so-called rules.

- In ATAA the form is conspicuously *not* a variation of the more familiar one- or two-bridge models we've seen over and over again, and is noteworthy on three counts:

  1. A frequently recurring refrain section dominates the song. This folk ballad-like design, while a common enough device in other pop and folk music and, is not often found in the early work of the Boys.
  2. The song contains only two verses. I assume that the doubled-up length of the verses themselves, the number of repeats of the refrain, and the peculiar placement of the bridge so close to the end of the track all argue against inclusion of a late-breaking third verse.
  3. The bridge itself introduces new, unique material (though the melodic material does link back to the appoggiatura stuff earlier), rather than recycling material from the refrain or the verse as is more common.

- The two verses contain no lyrics that are repeated. Their rhyme scheme using the 3rd and 6th line of each verse is novel.

- In context of the refrain's starting with a long pickup and the verse's starting after the downbeat I think it's an effective (and not entirely coincidental) twist that the instrumental section starts right ON the downbeat. Note how much flatter the whole song sounds if the break section simply opts for the same rhythmic gesture of either the verse or refrain.

- It's a heavily syncopated little number. John sets the tone with his downbeat melissma on the word "all" at the start of the refrain. This answered in spades by the backing arrangement at the downbeat of the following measure. Here we find the more gut wrenching of the two flavors of syncopation that can occur on "4-AND;" i.e. the one that's *not* followed by an explicit demarcation of the downbeat that follows. Compare this with the similar "When I Get Home". And contrast it to our recently studied ISHKB and "You Can't Do That" for examples where the downbeat following syncopation on four-AND *is* marked out.


Melody and Harmony

- The tune is somewhat pentatonic and arch-shaped. It is even more conspicuously shot through with appoggiaturas, enough so to bear comparison with "We Can Work It Out".

- The harmony uses a small number of chords and hangs closely around the home key. Beatles trademarks show up here in the prominence given to both the vi -> I cadence (check out "All I've Got to Do" among others), and the chromatically descending bassline cliche.


Arrangement

- The backing track is for a combo of guitars, drums, and piano. The is relatively thin, homogenized, and the recording (at least insofar as we are currently stuck with nothing better than the mono version on CD) is unfortunately noisy.

- John's double-tracked lead vocal rules unassisted except for Paul's hocket-like provision of the second line of the refrain in place of John. The latter creates a novel textural effect and at the same time spares John from having to reach for a high 'A' that is out of his vocal comfort range.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Refrain

- The track begins with a startling drum thwack on the *second* beat of the measure, though where this thwack fits into the meter isn't quite clear to the senses until you hear at least the next repeat of this refrain in context.

- The refrain is a standard eight measure length and has a closed harmonic shape. While the choice of chords is nothing unusual, take note of the unusually varied harmonic rhythm, the several hard syncopations, and the use of the vi-I progression at the outset; the latter an extreme favorite of Lennon/McCartney.


        |b      |D      |A      |-      |b      |G   A  |D      |-      |
D:       vi      I       V               vi      IV  V   I

- The tune is quite full of appoggiaturas; such juicy leaning tones may be heard on each occurrence of the word "all" in this refrain, as well as on the word "any" in measure 4, and the occurrence of "call" and "I'll". The use of several bluesy f-naturals in the tune, which make for cross relations with the f-sharps of the underlying chords, only serves to enhance the effectiveness of the appoggiaturas.

- The tune is constructed out of several short interjectory phrases with enough room between each of them for a series of antiphonal, commentary-like obbligato figures in the guitar and bass parts. These phrases themselves are noteworthy.

- The first one is a sort of mirror image of the first phrase of the tune. The second one does a 4->3 leaning-tone turn around the note C# over the A chord in measure 4. The last one, (G-F#-E-D--F#) at the very end of the refrain, is not only also leaning-tone oriented, but is also a melodic motif which reappears both at the end of the verse (still shyly in the background), and later has the privilege of reappearing at the climax of the bridge.

- Ringo appears to break the syncopation pattern in the second refrain by marking the downbeat instead of avoiding it. My gut tells me this was inattention to detail, not intentional avoidance of foolish consistency.


Verse

- The verse is an unusual fourteen measures long and, in spite of its apparently lopsided 6 + 8 phrasing pattern, is built out of two repetitions of the same phrase:

chords:         |D      |f#     |b      |g      |D      |A      |
bassline:        D       C#      B       Bb      A       C#
D:               I       iii     vi     iv       I       V

                |D      |f#     |b      |g      |D      |A      |D      |-   |
                 D       C#      B       Bb      A       C#      D
                 I       iii     vi     iv       I       V       I

- We have here an almost entirely chromatic walking bassline, which adds a not unpleasant undertow to the chord progression. Note especially how our example here of "the minor iv chord in a major key" is nicely motivated by the movement of the bass.

- When the above phrase is repeated, the first measure of the second iteration is elided to the last measure of the first one. Hmmm, the last time we saw this special effect in these articles was in the verse section of "It Won't Be Long", which now that I think of it *also* has a chromatic walking bassline; no coincidence that the same composer might be involved, eh ?


Bridge

- The bridge is an unusual ten measures long:

          ------------- 2x --------------
top line: |G    F#      |E              |
chord:    |A    b       |A              |
bassline: |E    F#      |G              |
           V4/3 vi4/3    V4/2

          |G        |A        |G        |A        |D        |-        |
           IV        V         IV        V         I

- Though we eventually find an effective release at the end of the bridge, there is a high level of harmonic tension which accrues over most of its duration, due to the repeated approach-avoidance maneuvering with the V chord.

- The build toward a climax is ably abetted by the use of those slow triplets in the lead part, so clearly a John Lennon trademark in so many songs. And as mentioned earlier, the familiar little phrase from the accompaniment to the verse, reveals another side to its character, so to speak, in the passionate context in which it now reappears.

- The harmonic construction of the first two-measure phrase is based on the contrary motion of the outer voices, which factor place the otherwise garden variety 7th chords of that phrase appear in unusual inversions.


Outro

- The outro is a petit reprise of the last part of the final refrain with a finishing flourish of guitar chords that sounds strangely "flown in" from elsewhere in terms of its tone quality.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- I suppose you might say that this is a very typical "John song" of the period. Aside from whatever there is in the phatic subtext of both the words or music that would lead you to make such a statement, there is also the sheer number of compositional devices and tricks used in this song, which could rightly be, described as some of his songwriting trademarks.

- What truly raises the repeated use of such techniques over the course of a career from mere mannerisms to the level of true elements of personal style, is the historical context of continual maturation and evolution in the music of the Beatles. For example, the walking tenor-line in "Dear Prudence" is, technically speaking, the same old trick as it is here, but look at the difference between the two songs! The same goes for the slow triplets in "We Can Work it Out" or "Don't Let Me Down". But let's not get started on this sort of list right here -- it's the sort of topic worthy of a sidebar article or more in its own write.

- In terms of verbal theme ATAA turns out provide an uncanny mirror image of what we saw in TYG. In both songs, there is someone who offers him or herself up completely and unconditionally to support another should such help be wanted or needed. The only real difference between them is in the singer's point of view; here he is the offerer, and there he's the receiver.

- The common denominator of the two songs rather casually provides food for thought about just how it is that mutual love sometimes begins. John seems to imply that when you offer emotional support to another who may have never explicitly solicited it from you that this may yet turn out to be a prime movement.

- Read the lyrics of both songs carefully: in neither case is it necessarily true that the two people involved are aware of any mutual interest prior to the offer of support. This raises the profound question of whether love may indeed ignite based on this kind of sympathetic interest of a 3rd party in absence of any pre-existing acquaintance or attraction.

Regards,

Alan (awp@world.std.com)

---

"Mind you, I stood up for you.  I mean I wouldn't
 have it."                                                  103000#17.1

---

Revision History

050790  17.0    Original release
103000  17.1    Revise, expand and adapt to series template. Also
                fix typo in filename and correct bridge harmony.


                Copyright (c) 2000 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

I'll Cry Instead

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I'll Cry Instead".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I'll Cry Instead" (ICI)

KEY G Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The 'official' version, found on the British _Hard Day's Night_ album, is a standard two-bridge model with neither an instrumental solo section nor double verse in between the two bridge sections. An small unusual twist here is the lack of an outro, proper; instead, the song simply comes to a complete halt at the end of the final verse.

- Strange as it sounds, the song was planned at one point to be used in The Film as the musical accompaniment to the "running and jumping" scene, instead of "Can't Buy Me Love". In order to lengthen it out to match the timing of the film scene, an 'alternate' version, with the first verse repeated at the end, was artificially spliced together. This formalistic oddity can be found on the American film album (from United Artists) as well as the mono pressing of _Something New_.


Melody and Harmony

- As we've seen in many other songs on the AHDN album, the melody of this one is heavily bluesy but only in the verses, and even in there, the use of the blue minor third and seventh is not consistent; look carefully at the tune and observe the continual alternation of b natural and b flat, and the extent to which this lends a characterizing flavor to it.

- Similarly, the chords of the verse are limited to the bluesy set of I-IV-V, while the bridge features a full-blown, albeit short-lived modulation to the key of V (i.e. 'D').


Arrangement

- John's solo is the only vocal part heard on this track. The double tracking is quite noticeably better synched here than usual, leading me to half suspect that it might have been artificially done, even though I don't believe that the Beatles had yet discovered the special effect of 'ADT' at this point.

- The overall instrumental sound is rather countryish by virtue of the strumming style of the rhythm guitar, the chordal obligatto part for the lead guitar, and the prominent use of the tambourine. Note the way they all 'zoom' into the opening G Major chord from the note below, and the extent to which this effect recurs throughout.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- There's not much of an intro to speak of here, except for two measures worth of vamping on the I chord (i.e. G). The guitar part hints at a shift to the IV chord (i.e. C) on the off beat, but I believe these are heard more as transitional neighbor tones filling in between the I chords on either side, rather than as a discrete change of chord root.


Verse

- The verse is sixteen measures long with four phrases all of equal length:

        |G      |-      |-      |-      ||G     |-      |D      |-      ||
G:       I                                               V


        |C      |-      |-      |-      ||G     |D      |G      |-      ||
         IV                               I      V       I

- The harmonic rhythm is almost plodding, but the momentary speed-up in the final phrase helps create a sense of formal closure to the section.

- The melodic phrase heard over the C chord in measure 9 ('d->f->d->c-> b-flat->c' as in "if I could see you now") -- with it's flat 7th and 3rd, as well as the way in which the f and d run roughshod over the C chord below it, are extremely characteristic of both this song and the Beatles semi-bluesy style of this period in general.

- The penultimate phrase of each of the two verses which follow a bridge section feature the dramatic touch of the other guitars dropping out to make way for a long walking bass solo plus tambourine. Together with the specific choice of words that starts off these verse ("*and* when I do you better ..."), this musical effect has a way of connecting them to the preceding bridges and making them feel as if they tie off some kind of business left unfinished back in the bridge.


Bridge

- The bridge is eight measures long with two phrases of equal length:

        |b      |-      |A      |-      ||D     |-      |e      |A  D   |
G:       iii                                                        V
D:       vi              V                I              ii      V  I

- The pivot modulation from G to D is somewhat ingenuously awkward. The move to the b minor chord does not by itself signal the start of a key change, and although the move from there down to A tells you something is afoot, it is a move which is more ambiguous than sure-footed.

- In truth, one does not regain a clear sense of key again in this section until near the end when the new key of D Major is firmly established by its own ii-V-I progression. And yet, just as this happens, we just as quickly scamper right back to the home key in the final measure of the section, a moment which contains the fastest stretch of harmonic rhythm in the entire song. Indeed, this jumpy kind of tonal shifting around neatly reflects some of the unease of the lyrics.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- It's tempting to describe this one as a less mature, less self-aware warm-up for the later "You've Got To Hide Yourself Away". Most notable, in contrast to the few other bitter songs of this still relatively early period (e.g. "You Can't Do That" and "Tell Me Why"), is the complete focus in *this* song on the forlorn aftermath of the breakup, accompanied as it is with thoughts of self-pity and revenge. There are no descriptions or allusions here to any past pleasures, whys or wherefores; only pain.


Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"Well, you stick to that story, son."                        042192#53
---

                Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will,  provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

Things We Said Today

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Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Things We Said Today".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

"Things We Said Today" (TWST)

"Things We Said Today" (TWST) is one of the earliest and best-ever examples of the innovative Harmony stunts which The Beatles were capable of, being uninhibited as they were by any schoolbook knowledge of the so-called rules. On the lyrical side here, there's a correspondingly precocious ambiguity over the exact scenario in which the song, on the surface just a plain old love ballad, takes place.

The one thing that does seem fairly clear is that it's about the impeturbable constancy of true love in the face of logistical challenge, or perhaps more precisely, the *fear* of challenge. As you might expect, one of the most exciting discoveries to be made in an analysis of such a song is the way in which the details of the music assist the words in the evocation of an otherwise difficult to verbalize complex of emotions.

Our friend Macca, in an interview clip from the "Put It There" video, suggests that he chose to revive this song for the '89/'90 tour because it "says something nice, ... it's a simple song, ... easy to play." What do you think ? Is it that he doesn't give himself enough credit, or perhaps, are we hearing just a small note of false modesty ?


Form

The form, for a change, is both straightforward and quite fully cranked out with four verses and two bridges:

        Intro-> Verse-> Verse-> Bridge-> Verse-> Bridge-> Verse-> Outro

Nonetheless, there's a delicate balance here between the rambling and the forthright. The omission of an instrumental solo section (which would have probably appeared either in place of the third verse or as an additional verse section preceding the second bridge) keeps the procedings from becoming too relaxed. To the extent that this is a "mood" song, the outspread form helps conjure the mood, yet at the same time, the omission of the instrumental keeps us focused with some urgency on the fact that the protaganist has a lot that he must say right now lest this moment pass.


Harmony and Modality

The song is primarily in the modal-sounding "natural" minor key of A; you'll note how in the verse sections, the minor v7 (e min7) chord with no g# is used in place of the more tonally functional Major one (*with* the g#, of course.) In contrast, the start of the bridge sections features a shift to the parallel Major key of A, a trick reminiscent of what we saw in "I'll Be Back" (IBB).

The liberal inclusion of the relatively foreign note of B flat throughout the song adds even more spice to both the melody and harmony.

Melodically, this B flat in the context of A minor is suggestive of the exotic Phrygian mode; think of it as the white note scale starting on E. Try the following little exercise if you doubt what I mean about the piquant effect created by this mode: first play the melodic fragment of a-b-a over a sustained A minor chord and then alternate it with a-b flat-a over that same chord. Although this phrase never appears explicitly in the top-voice melody of TWST, its alternating presence is definitely there throughout the song, hidden in the inner voices of the chord changes.

On the harmonic side, a B flat chord is used in both the verse and bridge as part of a gambit in which what has started off as an aggressive excursion away from the home key is abruptly aborted with a return to that very same firm, secure home base. The B flat chord in any mode of A is the unusual "flat II" or "Neopolitan" chord (so-called because of its overly frequent use in 17th century opera of said venue), and what makes its use especially far out in a Beatles song is the fact that they resolve it directly to the I chord rather than via the V chord as is more customary in classical usage. Note how the Boys were so pleased with themselves over this that they recycled the exact same magic trick in "You're Going To Lose That Girl".


A Scarcity Of Songs In Minor Keys

As a sort of side-bar digression, it is worth noting how TWST is one of the very few early Beatles songs to be so fully grounded in the minor mode. Through July '64, they had recorded 51 songs for official release (15 covers, 1 by Harrison, the remainder by L&M), the great majority of which are clearly in Major keys.

While there is a sizeable group of songs which arguably contain some greater or less degree of minor "flavoring", when you get strict about it ("you'll have to be strict, Paul ..."), you find only seven songs that are distinctively and pervasively minor:

  1. the cover, "A Taste of Honey", our surprise entry
  2. George's "Don't Bother Me"
  3. "Not A Second Time"
  4. "And I Love Her"
  5. our own sweet TWST
  6. "When I Get Home"
  7. "I'll Be Back"

A truly uncanny consistency is the fact the the last five songs in the list above *all* make conspicuous use of the trick of switching back and forth between Major/minor phrase or section endings. As I've asked before in other contexts, is this style or mannerism?

The songs which contain only hints of the minor mode are also interesting. I'd say there are at least dozen or more of them in our sample study, but you might find more or less of them yourself depending on how picky or sensitive you are to this sort of thing. These "hints" are actually the result of a couple of different compositional techniques used frequently by the Beatles. For now, just some bullet descriptions with a few examples for further study:

- heavy use of bluesy cross-relations in a minor vocal part against Major chords in the accompaniment; e.g., "Can't Buy Me Love", "You Can't Do That", and "Money".

- emphasis on the I-vi progression; e.g., "It Won't Be Long", "All I've Got to Do", and "From Me To You".

- use of the flat sixth degree of the scale either melodically (e.g., "Do You Want To Know A Secret?") or as part of the minor iv chord (e.g., "She Loves You", and "I Call Your Name").

And now back to the regularly scheduled program.

Vocal Arrangement

The vocal arrangement of TWST is neatly organized around the novelty of using only Paul throughout.

The first verse is primarily single track with two exceptions: the third phrase (as in every verse) has Paul harmonizing in parallel thirds with himself, and the second half of the last phrase of this verse (on the words "things we said today") suddenly shifts to double-tracking.

The remaining verses and both bridge sections are consistently double- tracked in unison with a few similar exceptions as above: the third phrase of each verse uses the same parallel thirds as in the first verse (each voice of which is single tracked), and the second half of the last phrase (again, on the title phrase) has Paul harmonizing with himself in rather early-Beatles-sounding open 4ths. Just as a teaser, this same harmonization appears still one place else, at the end of the second phrase of the final verse; yet again, we encounter the aesthetic of avoiding rote consistency.

By the way, this track is at least one example where the real stereo mix which may be found on the American vinyl pressing, "Something New", provides more easily discernable detail than the mono CD version of "AHDN". In stereo, the overdubbed second vocal is separated very far to the right.

Intro

We have just a brief two measures in which the backing texture of the verse is established. The even strumming and stroking of acoustic guitar and drums sets a predominantly tranquil mood, yet two details belie it, keeping you braced for possibly tenser times:

- the opening sixteenth-note rhythmic fanfare (di-di-DUM) calls you to attention with a bigger, more ominous bang than you'd think you might need given the supposedly gentle nature of the song to come.

- in the syncopated electric guitar part, the chords are stressed on the half beat in between beats 3 and 4 of the measure.

On the official recording of this song, the A minor chord is the only one used in this intro, whereas on the BEEB recording of July '64, you hear them changing to e minor 7 on the offbeats.

Verses

The verse is a standard sixteen measures long, and contains four phrases of even length. Three of these phrases (the first, second, and fourth) are musically very similar. Harmonically too, they are quite static featuring in every measure either the lone a minor chord, or with a change to e minor 7 on the off beat. While you'd expect to find a strict pattern as to which measures sustain the chord versus changing it, a close look reveals some internal inconsistencies throughout the official version, as well as between the official and the BEEB version cited above.

It is, of course, in the third phrase of this section ("Some day when we're dreaming ...") that the mood noticeably darkens, largely as a result of a momentary tonal ambiguity. It's clear right at the beginning of this phrase that the music is suddenly headed away from the home key, but the future course is kept uncertain. By the time we reach the B flat chord in the last measure, it is uncertain to our ears whether we might soon stabilize in the new key of F, or perhaps keep moving along the circle of fifths to the even more remote E flat chord. And yet, at this moment of most extreme tension, the B flat chord resolves surprisingly-yet-comfortingly back into the home key. I notate it below as though a modulation to F is the "correct" answer, but I think my prose description above is more faithful to one's internal experience:

     m.9
        |C             |C9/7          |F            |B flat       |a
      a: III                                         flat II       i
      F: V                             I             IV

Details such as the broad arpeggios in the electric guitar on the downbeat of each measure and the free-form way in which the words are scanned over the underlying rhythm in slow triplets and syncopation, not to mention the harmonized pseudo-duet also help set off this third phrase from the other three.

Verse Variations

The first verse is the only one which is followed immediately by another verse and as a result, it includes a one-measure "reprise" of the intro including the little rhythmic fanfare. Similarly, the final verse connects directly into the outro which also is just a reprise of the material heard at the outset.

Verses two and three connect to bridge sections and feature a surprise ending on A Major instead of the minor chord you'd otherwise expect. It's worth noting how in these verses which adjoin the bridges, the "noisier" texture of the bridge-proper (see below) begins right in the final measure of the verse itself.

Bridge

The bridge sections provide sudden contrast in virtually every category: the harmony shifts entirely and optimistically to the Major mode, the percussion gets much noisier including the addition a tambourine, and the bassline features a different rhythmic and melodic pattern. More to the point, the gambit of harmonic excursion and sudden return which we saw in the verses is now even further developed.

These bridges are each eight measures long and contain two phrases of even length. There is melodic parallelism between the two phrases which is made bittersweetly ironic by a difference in their harmony. The melody too is difficultly chromatic and adds to the emotional intensity of the section; in addition to the usual chords, I've chosen to notate below what I consider to be the structural backbone of this melody:

melody:   C#             D               D#              D natural
         |A             |D              |B              |E7             |
A:        I              IV              V of V          V7


     C#          D               D#              D natural        C nat.
    |A          |D              |B              |B flat         ||a
     I           IV              V of V          flat II          i

Harmonically, the first phrase is "functional" in a relatively traditional way, although you'd sooner expect the D# in top voice of measure 3 to resolve upward to E rather than downward, as it does to D. And though the D fits quite logically on top of the E7 chord upon which it finds itself, the melodic descent conveys some small sense of emotional deflation, especially as it follows the first three measures of rising, happy-Major-mode expectations.

It's in the second phrase, where this same melodic backbone is suspended over an extremely unexpected substitution of the B flat chord for the E7 that the sun chillingly goes in for a brief moment; especially when this half-stepwise descent continues in a second surprise move to the A minor chord for the start of the following verse. As with the verse above, labelling the B flat chord a flat II maybe doesn't even fairly match your experience of the phrase. Perhaps, it's more like an unhinging sensation of harmonic free-fall which is brought to a merciful end by the sudden return to the home key.

Outro

As is common in songs of this period, the outro presents yet another reprise of the introductory material repeated into a fadeout. It would almost be an anti-climax except for the ingeniously unifying stroke of adding in the tambourine part from the bridge section. In spite of the fact that the steady reliability of the A minor backing riff extends as far as you can see to the horizon, this ending also suggests that little pangs of anxiety will also remain a permanent part of the tour.


Future Fear

Without the clues from the music itself, you might mistake this song for one of a time-honored and slightly hackneyed genre: sentimental words of parting between lovers overhead at a railway platform or baggage carousel. But I think it's a tad more complicated.

For one thing, the notion of a parting is mentioned only once, and even then, in hypothetical terms only. Even the rest of the lyrics, which on the surface can easily be read as sweet, simple, besotted gratitude for a love that is requited can easily be re-interpreted as containing more than just a suggestion of head-shaking skepticism and concern about the viability of love's lasting till the end of time; especially "if" one is so far away. This is what I mean about how the hot flashes of uncertainty in the music help elucidate the text.

But the ultimately "nice" message of the song is to be found in the repeating line which ends each verse, in which all fear is revealed to be an illusion. The transcendence of the background accompaniment and the ease with which the steady carrier frequency of the A minor key may be accessed again in spite of momentary free-falls and loss of contact vividly underscore the meaning of the words: that in spite of the potential-yet-inevitable strains upon it, be they tangible impediments or the one of times passing, love can and will persist, oftentimes though it has little more to sustain it than the memory of things we said today.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan, but *I* gave him the test." 010591#24
--- H.B. Fran G&K

Copyright (c) 1991 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

When I Get Home

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Cover versions and notes on "When I Get Home".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "When I Get Home" (WIGH)

KEY A Major/a minor/C Major

METER 4/4

FORM    Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain ->
                Bridge -> Verse -> Refrain -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- We wind up here completing our study of the Beatles third album with this relatively less popular but nonetheless characteristically novel and interesting number. I believe that some listeners find in this song a tense agitation in the refrain and a fierce determination in the verse that are irritatingly out of proportion to the situation implied by the lyrics. For my own tastes, this contrast only goes to heighten a sense of irony and intruigue about the song.

- After all, just *why* the forceful delivery ? Is the hero simply worried that he'll be somehow prevented by woman#2 from returning "home", or perhaps is it more the reflection of an inner ambivalence within the hero himself about wanting to effect such a return ? I similarly wonder what in blazes he possibly means by the line "I'll love her more till I walk out that door again." -- Just going to work or out on errands the next day after his planned return, or is this some off-handed allusion to the inevitability of repeated philandering ? Such wonderfully elliptical ambiguity! :-) But getting back to the music ...

- The most unusual item found here is the key scheme. The relatively large number of songs on the AHDN album which make conspicuous use of either relative Major/minor shifts (e.g. "And I Love Her" and "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" ) or parallel Major/minor shifts (e.g. "Things We Said Today" and "I'll Be Back") has already been discussed in this series. But "When I Get Home" is the only example we've seen in which *both* gamibts are used in the same song.

- Secondarily, the form of the song is also unusual, starting off with a refrain, but also containing a bridge, as well. Compare this, by the way, with "Tell Me Why".


Melody and Harmony

- The parallel Major/minor gambit is based on the keys of A, with the refrain starting out in A Major but ending in a minor. The relative Major/minor gambit is based on the relationship between the appearance of a minor just mentioned and C Major which dominates the verses as well as the bridge.

- Surprisingly, barely six different chords are used within the entire song to exploit such a complex tonal situation, in which your sense of where the home key is is kept continually in flux. I'd suggest that this changeability is so strongly a subliminal hook element of the song that the final ending on C sounds a tad abrupt and forced; perhaps a fadeout would have worked better.

- The melodic style here is essentially declamatory with short phrases of 3-6 notes repeated frequently repeated for rhetorical effect; a Beatles trademark running as far back as "Love Me Do".


Arrangement

- The instrumental backing contains a fuzzy/boomy texture heard on several other tracks from the same album, though some of the fancier drum work (such as fills which bridge the gap between the ends of refrains and the beginning of verses) stands out nicely.

- The vocal arrangement features John single tracked in the verses, double tracked for most of the bridge (sounds like they rather fussily omit the second track for the climactic "I love her more" phrase of that section), and accompanied for emphasis by the others in the refrain.

- The refrain contains a rhythmic hook to be found in the recurring hard syncopations on the final eighth note of the measure (i.e. on "four-AND"), unusually followed by *no* demarcation of where the downbeat of the next measure actually is; a special effect which only goes to make the syncopation feel all the more gut-wrenching.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Refrain

- The refrain is eight measures long and is structured out of two parallel phrases of two measures each that are balanced out by a single phrase of four measures:

        |A              |-              |-              |-              |
A:       I

        |D9             |G              |a              |G              |
         IV              flat-VII        i               flat-VII
                                                     C:  V

- The melodic use of G naturals in the A Major context of the first two phrases lends a bluesy touch. The last phrase is especially tangy by vritue of the melodic E over the D chord in measure 5, followed by the F natural over the G chord in the next measures. Lyrically, the opening of this section must be one of the earliest examples in the Beatles oeuvre to feature wordless phonemes so prominently.

- In terms of dramatic structure, this section strangely begins right off at a point of climax, giving us listeners the feeling of having walked in on something already well in progress. This effect is further heightened by surprising series of harmonic moves in the last couple measures; first the arrival of a *minor* in a place where you expect it to be *Major*, followed immediately by the G Major chord which punningly pivots as a dominant V chord over to the key of C Major.

- Note too, how the uneventful harmonic rhythmic of the first half of this section contrasts with what happens in the remainder of it.


Verse

- The verse is eight measures long and structured in a manner similar to the refrain. This time, the initial two-measure melodic phrase is repeated three times before blossoming out a bit the final time around:

        |------------- 3X --------------|

        |C              |F              |G              |-              |
C:       I               IV              V

- Instead of containing bluesy hints, the tune in this section is shot through with little chromatic scale riffs. In common with the refrain though is the melodic emphasis on the F natural over the G chord near the end here.

- The tone of this verse is hard-edged and determined, and it is effectively designed to not only contrast with the comparative turbulence of the refrain, but also, by virtue of its rhetorical repetitiousness and harmonically open ending on V, to build momentously toward that next section.

- I'll leave the second chord of the verse simply labelled as IV, though I believe it could (and should) be more academically (and correctly) analyzed as the "ii 6/5"; i.e. d7 in the first inversion. Listen carefully and note how Paul plays a double stopped fifth (F-C) in the bass, while the melody contains a D natural against it. For further discussion of this type of chord, see our much earlier note on "No Reply".


Bridge

- This bridge is ten measures long, the only un-square section to be found in the entire song, and can be broken down into a series of five short two-measure phrases which coalesce into an uneven grouping of 2 + 3:

        |C      |a      |C      |a      |
C:       I       vi      I       vi

        |F9     |G      |F      |G      |a      |G      |
         IV      V       IV      V       vi      V

- The tone of this section is closer in spirit to the verses than the refrains, though the internal shape of the bridge is more arch-like with an internal climax somewhere near the middle of the section (on those melodic octave leaps to the F9 chords), rather than ending, like the verses, just on the verge of a peaking.

- Note how the final measure of the refrain which immediately precedes this bridge is modified to sustain the a minor chord.


Outro

- The outro of this song is in the form of a 'petit-reprise'-like extension of the final refrain. In measure 7, this time, an A Major chord is substituted for the expected a minor, which nicely motivates a repeat of the second of the second half of the refrain, starting from the D Major chord; except, of course, for the final surprising ending on C!

- As the final C chord reverberates and fades away, I detect a curious resonance of the note F#, which may or may not have been deliberate. Either way, the subtle appearance of such a dissonant and foreign tone in this context lends a connotation of something uneasily left unresolved which somehow surely seems to fit in with the spirit of what has preceded.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- In considering the thirteen tracks on the _A Hard Day's Night_ album as a whole and in comparison with the group's work which preceded this collection, a number of interesting trends and other observations come to mind.

- First off, a number of earlier trademarks of the group seem conspicuously downplayed, if not entirely avoided. In particular, they would seem to have traded in their sinewy two-part vocal counterpoint for more in the way of solo lead vocals that get punctuated by antiphonal touches of three part singing. There also seems to be much less of the free-verse uneven phrasing here than before. And with exeception of the Major/minor gambits mentioned above or the intro to "If I Fell", there also seems to be less than their typical level of experimenting with unusual chord progressions.

- But of course, there are the undeinable signs here of stylistic development as well. In the absence of cover songs for the first time, it is particularly notable how many different moods, tempos, and instrumental textures are included in the mix; in additional to the obligatory rockers, we also have the likes of a ballad such as "And I Love Her", as well as a couple of semi or pseudo acoustic numbers (e.g. "Things We Said Today" and "I'll Be Back") which anticipate the folk rock style heard later on _Rubber Soul_.

- Just as importantly, there are also the examples of increasingly sophisticated word play and imagery, as well as the several ways in which the spirit and flavor of "the blues" are conjured with only very little if any direct reference.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"I've only one thing to say to you, John Lennon."             043092#54
---

                Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will,  provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

You Can't Do That

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "You Can't Do That".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "You Can't Do That" (YCDT)

KEY G Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Verse (guitar solo) -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST

Style and Form

- Generally speaking, YCDT foreshadows a heavier, harder-rocking sound for the group that would infiltrate an increasingly large portion of their repertoire over the next couple or three albums. Call it the dawn of the Later Early Period :-).

- It also bears a close comparison to its companion A-side, CBML. Both have the same form although the bridge of this one is closer to a "true" bridge than the refrain-like one we saw last time. Both songs also display a split stylistic personality by utilizing relatively straight blues in the verse but not at all in the bridge. The split in YCDT runs even deeper to the extent that the verse itself is not the *pure* 12-bar blues variety seen in CBML, but rather features other elements thrown into the mix.


Harmony and Melody

- The G Major home key would seem like a clue to the new direction in this area, away from the erstwhile favorite choice of E Major on the first two albums, as evidenced by the four songs in G on the "A Hard Day's Night" album; in addition this one you have "I Should Have Known Better", "I'll Cry Instead", and of course, the title cut.

- The melody of the song is quite jumpy throughout, both in terms of rhythmic syncopations and intervallic leaps. The bluesy verse uses the flat seventh scale degree (F-natural) with a traditional consistency that makes for some bracingly dissonant collisions with the F-sharp contained in the D Major chord (as in "I told you before"), but both flavors of the third (scale) degree are used (B-flat and B-natural) and this lends a colorful bi-modal tang.

- The single most dissonant moments in the song come from the clash of F-naturals (the flat seventh degree) in the voice part against C Major chords in the accompaniment; viz. two places in every verse -- on the word "you" in the phrase "and leave you flat", and at the very climax, on the word "Oh!" in the phrase "Oh!, you can't do that."

- The bridge makes an harmonic break with the I-IV-V blues diet of the verses by introducing additional chords and flirting briefly with a modulation toward the key of the relative minor, e. Unusually, both Major and minor flavors of the B chord appear in this section.


Arrangement

- An ostinato figure characterized by vacillation between the Major/minor melodic third appears as a unifying device throughout much of the intro, outro, and verses; at least wherever the G Major chord is sustained for long.

- The intimate direct-address of the lyrics is galvinizingly enhanced by the single-tracking of John's lead vocal, in which, if you listen for it specifically you'll note, he uses an astonishing number of varied shadings of tone.

- By the same token, the backing vocal part for Paul and George, with its subtext of "whatever John says goes double for us!", runs at cross-currents to the direct-address of the lead, even while it reflects and amplifies upon the choppy angularity of the melody and the rhythm track. This is a stylistic trademark that would reappear later in songs like "Help!" and "You're Going To Lose That Girl". At this early date, the contrast of its effect in YCDT with the softening/smoothing-over effect in CBML of Paul's being double-tracked with *no* backing vocal part is instructive.

- A ruthless syncopation on the the eighth note which precedes the downbeat provides a rhythmic hook for the song. We characterized this particular choice of syncopation as "swingingly passionate" way back in the note on "I Should Have Known Better" (which by ironic coincidence turns out to have been recorded the same day as YCDT), and this rhythmic figure turns out to appear on other tracks of the AHDN album as well.

- In *this* song, the syncopations are all the more wrenching because of the way that the drums painstakingly mark the spot where they take place. In the last phrase of each verse, right after the phrase "because I told you before", Ringo beats out in even eighth notes the beats of 'and-four-AND- one.' John sings the syncopated cry of "Oh!" on what I marked as 'AND' but Ringo's playing out the downbeat (i.e. 'one' ) of the next measure helps clarify to your ear what has happened. Contrast this to the raving opening of "When I Get Home", where the downbeat that follows this same 'four-AND' syncopation (on the word "Woah-AHH!") is left to the imagination.

- Lewisohn reports the debut appearance on this track of what would become George's familiar 12-string guitar sound of the period, as well as the inclusion of the unusual choice of cowbell and bongos in the rhythm section. My ears also hear an electric piano (or perhaps organ) doubling the ostinato figure in the opening.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH

Intro

- The intro is for instruments only, providing four measures of just the 'I' chord with the ostinato figure as a constant, and the entry of the bass and percussion delayed until the third measure. Both the suspense- building use of a single chord which happens to continue well into the verse that follows, and the staggered entry of the instruments anticipate the likes of "Ticket To Ride" and "Day Tripper."

- The 'four-AND' syncopation is pervasive right off the bat. Not only is it inherent in the ostinato figure, but it is also picked up by the way the rest of the ensemble enters in measure 3 with a vacuum cleaner- like zooming into the G chord from the F# below.

Verse

- Harmonically, the verse is a classic twelve-bar blues frame, but the content and phrasing belies this a tad. The melody is composed straight through with little or no obvious parallelism among the phrases. The one exception here is in the way the first four measures subdivide into a little couplet ("I got something to say that might cause you pain/If I catch you talking to that boy again").

- By virtue of the earlier mentioned jumpiness, there is also no overall arch or other clearly directed shape to the tune. Consequently, the climax of this section ("because I told you before ...") is ultimately motivated by rhythm and chord progression, rather than melodic contour.

- The notion of a layered arrangement is carried forward in the very typical way in which the backing vocals first start in the seconed verse. In an outtake of one of their very early songs, "Do You Want To Know A Secret", the Beatles would make the understandably inexperienced mistake of starting such vocals right in the first verse, but even at that stage, they were smart enough (or else had someone of greater wisdom who could advise them) to alter their strategy for the official release.

- A small change in harmonic floor-plan differentiates the verses which lead to other verses from those which lead to a bridge. The former move to the V chord (D) in their last measure, while the latter sustain the old I chord.

Bridge

- Just as we saw in CBML, the bridge here again breaks the strict mold of the blues. At the very least, the melody in this section eschews all "blue" notes in favor of a strict diet of the Major third (B-natural) and the Major seventh (F-sharp).

- More substantively, we have here an eight measure section that subdivides into two roughly parallel phrases equal in length, the first of which is harmonically closed off while the second one ends wide open in order to set up the following verse. Additionally, we have an intruiging fake modulation to the key of e minor:

        |B              |e              |a       b      |G              |
      e: V               i               iv              VI
                                       G:ii     iii      I

        |B              |e              |a              |b      D       |
      e: V               vi              iv
                                       G:ii              iii    V

- Though tentative and short-lived, the move toward e is immediate and impetuous. Not only does the section start right off with the B Major chord, but that syncopated D# in the tune there is just about the longest sustained note in the entire song. Despite this, the music turns tail just as quickly back to the home key by the somewhat awkward, or at best anti-textbook, root progression of ii-iii-I; the "book" would prescribe the V (D) in place of the iii.

- This scrambling back to the home key so quickly after such a brief excursion connotes for me the image of someone who in full rant, rambles off onto a tangent ("And while I'm at it, another thing, ...!"), only to catch himself and get back forthwith to the immediate obsession of the moment.

- In the spirit of bridge-ly contrast, the backing voices are also handled different in this section, now used for italic-like emphasis instead of the antiphonal counterpoint heard in the verses. In some spots, it's difficult to tell whether we're hearing John double-tracked here or just him and George or Paul singing together in unison.

Guitar Solo

- The mood of general agitation, as well as the interjections of the backing vocalists, are continued straight into the solo, where choppy chords and tremelo bent notes prevail over any attempt at an outspun melody. For just an instant, around measure 9 of this section just as the chords change to V (D), it almost sounds as though the fragmentary riffs might be ready to coalesce into some kind of longer line, but alas, it's not meant to be, and the solo closes in the same disjointed mode in which it began.

- A certain amount of screaming at the beginning of a solo section is a Beatles tradition going all the way back to "I Saw Her Standing There", but John's growling gesture at the beginning of this one goes beyond mere convention, and can likely be felt in the pit of your stomach long after you might expect to have become used to it from repeated listenings.

Outro

- The outro is both abrupt and brief. It is entered immediately following the end of the last verse with none of the more standard setup via a triple repeat of the last phrase. It consists of only two measures of the familiar ostinato figure scored, in complete symmetry with the song's opening, without drums, although here at the end the bass guitar is included. The lingering on the penultimate F# right at the end is a teasing surprise.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- You'd half expect the less-than-upbeat theme and side-B status of this one to leave it stranded in the backwaters of popularity, but it actually is both a great and favorite song of its period.

- It's tough, tense, and jumping out of its skin with an offbeat attitude and a matching list of colloquial phrases rarely heard if ever, in a pop song of the time; e.g. "cause you pain" (?), "leave you flat" (??), "it's a sin (???). Our hero, after all, seems rather immaturely preoccupied with what some nameless others ("everybody") must think of his relative prowess in the lovemaking department. Either they're "gree-en" with envy at his success, or else they "laugh in (his) face" when he fails.

- There's no talk admission here of his feeling hurt by the actual loss of the girl's love, no mention of any pre-existing feelings; for all we know, the other guy may truly be just a platonic friend and the whole thing just some over-reaction borne of terrific insecurity. Erich ("The Art of Loving") Fromm would not have been impressed :-).

- But even while it may not be pretty or noble, I think that for anyone who has ever experienced the feelings described here, even if only during a small young lapse into pimply hyperbole, this song rings unnervingly true, and there-in likely lies its popularity. What a shame they cut it from the film!

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"Well, you've got to admit you've upset a lot of people." 011392#46
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

I'll Be Back

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I'll Be Back".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I'll Be Back" (IBB.1)

KEY	A Major/minor

METER	4/4

FORM	Intro -> Verse -> Bridge-1 -> Verse -> Bridge-2 ->
                Verse -> Bridge-1 -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The poignant bitter sweetness of "I'll Be Back" stems in large part from its obvious yet equally effective gambit of shifting constantly back and forth between the Major and minor modes of 'A.' There'll be more to say about this before the end but as usual, you find much more than just this one gambit in a detailed walkthrough of the song.

- The form is deceptively familiar but, as we've often seen with other songs, it reveals an uncommon design upon closer look. Most unusual here is the total of three bridge sections, the middle one of which is musically different from the outer two, even though it bears some resemblance to the them.

- The intro, at first blush, would seem almost negligible in its scant two-measure length, but is crucial for the way its being in A Major sets the surprise-trap for the verse, which follows beginning in a minor. I find it rather sublime to contemplate how what you come to later recognize as the central personality trait of this song is presented so neatly encapsulated right off at the start.

- The outro, of course, recapitulates this same notion. For a change, the standard device of a looped figure repeating into a fadeout actually is of "programmatic" significance to the extent that it helps us visualize our hero heading off into the metaphorical sunset with the most exquisitely ambivalent feelings in his heart.

- We also have here yet another one of our examples of an avoidance of foolish consistency -- the final verse is truncated to half of its normal length. It's a good example of formalistic fine-tuning. While it wouldn't be the end of the world to leave this last verse just like the others, when you consider the cumulative duration of the song caused by the preceding three verses *plus* three bridges, it's probably a good thing the Boys decided to not keep us. Play it out in your head with a full final verse and see for yourself if you start getting a tad antsy or not.

- The lyrics of the four verses make a pattern of ABBA', with the middle two identical, and the final one being an abridged variation of the first one.

- Rhythmically, the largest number of phrases begin with a pickup before the downbeat. The erudite musical term for one of these is an 'anacrusis' - drop that one casually at your next party :-) To wit:

Verse:

    "you *know*",
    "'cause *I*",
    "this *time*"

Bridge:

    "I love you *so-o*"
    "I want to *go*"

- The few exceptions to this rule where a phrase begins right on the downbeat stick out all the more so in contrast:

Verse:

    "*You* could find"
    "*You*, if"

Bridge:

    "*I* thought",

- The way, the almost strict alternation of "You" and "I" at the beginning of each section is yet another one of the simpler pleasures one eventually uncovers in this song as a result of obsessive listening.

- At any rate, I would suggest that all these lyrical pickups within the song bear some associative relationship to the guitar pickup in the intro.

 


Melody and Harmony

- The melody sticks throughout within a surprisingly restricted range but is also marked by frequent appoggiaturas. The verses feature the c-natural/c-sharp switch over. The bridges feature dramatically sustained long notes alternating with patches that are more rapidly syllabic.

- The verses harmonically feature a downward chord stream based on the natural minor scale. All of the bridge sections exploit the contrasting choices available from the parallel Major scale.

 


Arrangement

- The arrangement is dominated by the percussive sound of acoustic rhythm guitars, lightly accompanied by maraca-like drumming.

- The primary source of textural relief is found in the vocals. Parallel thirds in the verses alternate with solo, albeit doubletracked, John in the bridges.

- The acoustic strumming is predominantly foursquare yet you find a small snippet of their much-beloved slow triplets in the majority of the verse sections in the measure that has the F Major chord.

 


Anthology Outtakes

- Takes 2 and 3 of IBB are one of the highlights of Anthology 1.

- Take 2 is surprisingly arranged in a 3/4 waltz tempo, features at least one electric rhythm guitar plus a lot of cymbals on the backing track, has not intro, and breaks down in the middle of the second bridge ("too hard to sing").

- Take 3 is in 4/4 and the arrangement sounds closer to the finished product though they hadn't yet lost the electric rhythm guitar. This is a relatively complete take though there is still no outro, and in place of what eventually be the final verse, they loop the ending of the third bridge into a fadeout.

- You can hear John's solo, single tracked voice, always so thrilling, in the bridge sections of both takes.

- Lewisohn remarks on the speed with which they appear in this session to quickly abandon the original plan to do this song in 3/4 and work it up alternatively in 4/4. I wonder though if maybe the song was planned to be in 4/4 from the beginning and that take 2 was a last minute alternate tryout in 3/4. Only the complete session tape will tell for sure. My hunch here is prompted by the fact that the 4/4 version of take 3 sounds suspiciously too polished up compared to the previous 3/4 take. Keep in mind that the length of the entire 6/1/64 recording session for this song was only 3 hours and encompassed 16 takes. If they didn't already have the 4/4 arrangement well in the bag at the start of the session I'm skeptical how they could have worked it up on the spot and still have had time for all the rest of the takes in less than 3 hours.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is two measures long with a two-beat pickup from the guitar hook and it immediately exposes the Major/minor gambit with the start of the first verse:

        3 & 4 & |
                |A		|-		 a ...
A:       	 I                                i

- That little four-note hook (f#-b-e-c#)is used in happy repetition throughout, and its melodic content and rhythmic syncopation become a mantra-like leitmotiv for the song.

- In its first appearance here at the start, the hook provides us with an example of the more gut-wrenching variety of syncopation on "4-AND;" i.e. the one where the following downbeat is specifically NOT clearly marked. Interestingly, the downbeat IS marked everywhere else the hook appears.

 


Verse

- The verses consist of two repetitions of the same six-measure phrase. More precisely it is a four-measure phrase with two trailing measures of "space":

Soprano: |C                 C  D  |E     E     D     B     |
   Alto: |A                 A  B  |C     C     B     G     |
   Bass: |A                       |G                       |
 Chords: |a                       |G                       |
      a:  i                        flat-VII
                                   6    --»    5
                                   4    --»    3

Soprano: |C                    C  |C     B     A     B  C# |
   Alto: |A                    A  |A     G#    F#    G# A  |
   Bass: |F                       |E                       |
 Chords: |F                       |E                       |
          flat-VI                  V
                                   6 -»  5 -»  4 -»  5
                                   4 -»  3 -»  2 -»  3

Soprano: |(C#)                    |-                       |
   Alto: |(A)                     |-                       |
   Bass: |A                       |-                       |
 Chords: |A                       |-                       |
          I

- In spite of the strong pull of the descending bass line, the harmonic shape of the verse is decidedly closed, beginning and ending squarely in A. Curiously, the alternation between minor and Major has no effect on one's perception of this closed-off feeling. The virtually unchanging harmonic rhythm of one chord per-measure only reinforces this further, in spite of the syncopation in the voice parts.

- The tune creates a short chain of 6->5 and 4->3 suspensions against the baseline. It is in this spirit that I notate only a single chord in measures 2 and 4 rather than an actual root chord change. Yes, I understand how the suspension creates what is, de-facto, a C Major chord (in second inversion) in the first half of measure 2, but the sustaining of the baseline through the measure robs you of any sense of root movement between the two halves of the measure.

- The "4-AND" syncopation of the guitar hook is carried through to the vocals in measure 4, where they anticipate the music's shift to the Major mode an eighth note ahead of the downbeat of measure.

- The vocal arrangement of the verses uses rather simple parallel thirds sung by John and Paul throughout (the liner notes to the album imply that George is in there as well, but I don't hear him) yet there are some characteristic details worthy of note. First off, there is a timbral paradox in that overall, one hears John's voice predominating in the melody, yet when you listen carefully, you note that John is on the bottom part, and that it's actually *Paul* on top; this phenomenon is to be found all over the place throughout their repertoire. The other savory detail is the repeated use of that sensuous little trill (pedantically speaking, a "mordent") in the third measure of each phrase; also a longstanding trademark of theirs.

 


Bridge-1 - "I love you so .../I want to go ..."

- This bridge opens up the harmonic architecture of the song by suggesting an excursion, however short lived, to the key of f# minor (which happens to be the relative minor of A). Of course, we never actually settle down firmly within the new key, heading immediately back to the V chord of A.

- The varied harmonic rhythm of this bridge is another source of contrast with the surrounding verses; we even find a syncopation in the chord changes of the last two measures.

- The most unusual thing about this bridge is that measure 5 is only a half-measure and this really adds a unique kick to the way one feels the phrasing of this section; by analogy, think of taking some poetry in strict meter and purposely making one of the lines two syllables short. In a pop song universe where phrases are typically 4, 6 or 8 measures in length, this one of 6.5 measures really grabs your attention:

                                     half-measure
                                         *
        |f#	|-	|b	|-	|E   |D    E   |D    E  |
f#	 i		 iv
                       A:vi		 V    IV   V    IV   V

- The tune here features three appoggiaturas in close order all using the same two notes, C# and B, but in each case, the harmonic context is different; in measure 3 (9->8) in the half-measure 5 (6->5), measure 6 (7->6->5).

 


Bridge-2 - "I thought that you would realize ..."

- The second bridge starts off somewhat differently from the first one, but the two sections are ultimately first cousins in that the 2.5 measure ending of the first bridge is repeated here verbatim.

- The harmonic shape of this bridge is even more open at first than the other bridge section. Though we never settle in any key away from A, I feel the first five or six measures of this section as being on the prowl as far as key is concerned:

        |b	|-	|c#	|-	|f#	|B	|b6	|E ... etc.
                                                          5
A:	 ii		 iii		 vi	 V-of-V  ii	 V
                                                          *
                                                        D in the bass

- Running from the downbeat of measure 1 through the downbeat of measure 3, we have a real Lennonesque descending chromatic line in an inner voice (b->b-flat->a->g#); clearly the man really liked this device.

- There's also an exotically tangy cross relation of the d# in the B Major chord (measure 6) with the d-natural of the b minor 6/5 chord in the following measure.

- We find still more juicy appoggiaturas. The E->D, 4->3 example at the beginning of the section is one of the most climactic moments in the entire song. Similarly, we have another C#->B, 9->8 example in measure 6.

 


Outro

- The final verse is extended a seventh measure with the A Major chord sustained, after which the outro, proper, commences.

- The outro features the Major/minor gambit in a short loop of two measures for each mode. The complete fade out sets in sooner than you realize, though with the strong implication that the alternation itself may go on indefinitely.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- Subtext surges externally. After a dozen or more concentrated listenings to this song, I honestly couldn't help making the free association to a song by Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828), which uses the same minor/Major gambit albeit in a more limited fashion than IBB; it's the first number from his song cycle "Winterreise", entitled in curious anticipation of the final track on the White Album, "Gute Nacht."

- I offer you some excerpts from the lyrics of this song (translated from the German) and wonder if you'll gasp the way I did to discover what bittersweet topic was on Schubert's mind:

 

Why should I remain longer, until I am driven out ? ... I will not disturb you in your dreams, 'twere pity to spoil your rest. You shall not hear my footsteps, softly, softly I close the door. As I go out I will write "Goodnight" to you on the gate so that you may see my thoughts were of you.

- If you like this one, I can't hold back from sharing with you an even more unlikely lyrical correspondence between another Len/Mac song and some older music. This time, we're dealing with an oft-quoted line from "I'm a Loser" ("Although I laugh and I act like a clown ...") and the title of a "virelai" (a distant forerunner of the 2-minute pop song) written by Johannes Ockeghem (you won't see *his* name in Billboard) of the 15th century: "Ma bouche rit et ma pensee pleure."

- Now, just hold on a second ("you promised"), I'm not suggesting that anyone has plagiarised a bloody thing here; I wouldn't even dare to suggest that either of these pieces of music were songs of our Own Sweet Boys' acquaintance. All I am trying to suggest is the extent to which certain themes of heartache appear to perpetually fascinate, not to mention inevitably become relevent to composers of music as well as "us" plain folk. To put it another way, you might say that great minds run in the same direction.

Regards,

Alan (awp@world.std.com)

---

"We've got only half an hour till the final runthrough.  He can't walk
 out on us."                                               121000#19.1

---

Revision History 070490 19.0 Original release; H.B., Cat 121000 19.1 Correct, revise, expand and adapt to series template. Copyright (c) 1990, 2000 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved

This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Beatles for Sale

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Album Information
Album Cover Art
By: 
The Beatles
Released: 
Fri, 1964-12-04
Album Type: 
Original
Songs
On Amazon
Sales Rank: 
26
Most-Covered Songs

No Reply

3
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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

I'm a Loser

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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions

Baby's in Black

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Baby's in Black".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Baby's In Black" (BIB)

KEY A Major

METER 3/4

FORM Intro -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Bridge -> Refrain -> Refrain (guitar solo) -> Bridge -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- Formalistically, this is among the more verbose and complicated songs we've looked at, with its refrain, bridge, and guitar solo sections. While The Beatles didn't go in for this sort of thing very often, neither is such a form unprecedented. Examples uncovered thus far in our studies include "It Won't Be Long", "When I Get Home", and "You're Going To Lose That Girl". The fact that the preceding list is entirely built out of songs that conspicuously belong to John would seem noteworthy.

- Stylistically, the song has an unusual mishmash of elements -- the bluesy tune and choice of chords; the folksy almost hillbilly vocal arrangement; not to mention the exotic touch in the final verse where those drone-like open fifths in the bass parts conjure, to my ears, a strange musical cross between Scottish bagpipes and an Indian tamboura.

- John described it as a waltz (check his spoken lead into the song at the Paris concerts in January '65), but in spite of the 3/4 time signature, the rapid tempo and agitated mood of the piece seem out of character with that romantic dance form.


Melody and Harmony

- The melodic mode is almost entirely Major with the exception of some intermittment use of the bluesy minor third in the refrain.

- Very few chords are used throughout and the song remains firmly rooted in the initial home key. The refrain and verse sections limit themselves to the familiar I-IV-V chords. Although the bridge adds in the vi and V-of-V for variety, its still all simple stuff.

- The one notable harmonic detail is the familiar Beatles trademark of directly following V-of-V with IV instead of V. Early and contemporary examples of this are to be found in "She Loves You", "I Call Your Name", and "Eight Days A Week".


Arrangement

- There's an unusual unrelieved end-to-end vocal duet with John on bottom and Paul on top. This relative lack of textural variety here increases the tension and intensity of the mood. Note though how in spite of the predominance of parallel thirds in the two voice parts, there are several places in which they subtly branch out into a more typically Lennon/McCartney kind of counterpoint; check out the end of the refrain and the opening of the bridge.

- The instrumental texture is similarly consistent throughout, though in a wise attempt to avoid monotony and provide a bit of contrast, they make a temporarily radical change to the backing for the final verse before resuming the original texture for the closing refrain; an effect which would be repeated with equal success in "Help!".

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is a scant four measures long and creates the effect of your having walked in on the middle of the song, just as it was coming out of a refrain section:

        |A      |E      |A      |-      |
A:       I       V       I

- The guitar hook heard right at the beginning anticipates a key phrase of the tune ("Oh, what can I do") and provides a means of unification from the way it is repeated at the end of every refrain except for the second one. The fourth refrain, by the way, presents the guitar hook in a different range than elsewhere, and I have a hard time deciding weather this is avoidance of foolish consistency or just sloppy playing.


Refrain

- The refrain is twelve measures long and is built out of three phrases equal in length:

        |A      |-      |E      |-     ||D      |-      |E      |-      ||
A:       I               V               IV              V

        |A      |D      |A      |-      |
         I       IV      I

- The melodic shape is an inverted arch. The harmonic shape is closed. The chords are the familiar I-IV-V of the blues form though the progression pattern is far from the traditional one of that form.


Verse

- The verse is an unusual fourteen measures long and built out of three phrases whose number of measures create an asymmetrical pattern of 4+4+6:

        |A      |-      |-      |-      |
         I

        |A      |-      |D      |-      |
         (V-of-IV)       IV

        |D      |-      |A      |E      |A      |-      |
                         I       V       I

- Again, the harmonic shape of the section is closed, though the strategy of the chords *not* changing on the phrase boundaries creates a subtle sense of freedom.

- For those who are keeping score of such things, note the "and/but" word collision in the final verse. This one is even picked up by the compilers of the lyrical concordance, "Things We Said Today". However, I believe that if you listen carefully, it also sounds like their is another collision (this time on "he/she") immediately following, though this one sounds as though it is perhaps a residue from an earlier guide vocal track that they were trying to mix out.


Bridge

- The bridge is eight measures long and would appear on the surface to be made up of two phrases equal in length:

        |f#     |-      |B      |-      |D      |-      |E      |-      ||A
         ii              V-of-V          IV              V                I

- Actually, the second phrase carries all the way through into the beginning of the ninth measure, where it makes a striking ellision with the start of the next refrain. It's an unusual example of this technique, even for the Boys, because even the *words* here are ellided at the point where the two sections intersect; e.g. "made...dear" instead of "Oh, dear".

- The overall melodic range is cleverly managed. The frequently repeated refrain contains the unique low point of the tune, but it also reiterates a constricted high point on the pitch 'E' almost to the point of monotony. The verse sections open the high end up as far as 'G', but these sections even more so emphasize the same harping on 'E' heard in the refrains. The climactic peak of the song (on the pitch 'A') is held back and dramatically released right at the start of the bridge.


Guitar Solo

- For a guy who made such a specialty of the well-practiced kind of solo that is the most understated delicate paraphrase of the tune, George really lets go here with a solo whose only obvious connection to the original refrain melody is to be found in the lilting cadence of its rhythmic pattern. Otherwise, in place of the predominantly stepwise melodic arch performed by the singers, we get a guitar part that is not only full of long jumps, but is also peppered through with bent notes and free dissonances against the underlying chords; all in all, a worthy contrast with the surrounding sections.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- To the extent that the common wisdom seems to obssess on the "downbeat" mood of the _For Sale_ album, I suppose that its the implicitly lugubrious nature of the words to "Baby's In Black" that may have contributed more so to this phenomenon than any one other song.

- Personally, I've never been swayed too much by that. For one thing, it has always seemed easy enough to simply interpret the mourning described in the lyric as figurative, rather than literal. And when all else fails, I still find it difficult to get hung about a song that sounds so similar in a way to the traditional folk ditty, "Oh dear what can the matter be?"; no matter *how* gamey the words may be :-).

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"How do you like your girlfriends to dress ?                 061692#59
---

                Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will,  provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

Rock and Roll Music

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Provenance
Written By: 
Chuck Berry
Year: 
1957
Primary Recording
By: 
Chuck Berry
Lead Vocal: 
Chuck Berry
Cover Versions

I'll Follow the Sun

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Cover versions of The Beatles' song "I'll Follow the Sun".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Mr. Moonlight

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Provenance
Written By: 
Roy Lee Johnson
Year: 
1962
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey

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Medley of "Kansas City" and "Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lieber and Stoller
Year: 
1952
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions

Eight Days a Week

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Eight Days a Week".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes On "Eight Days a Week" (EDAW)

Copyright 1989 Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved

The harmony of "Eight Days A Week" is built out of a wonderfully teasing exploitation of the special effect called a "false (or "cross") relation". This harmonic idiom is used quite a bit throughout the Beatles' output and I think that EDAW is an object lesson worth exploring.

("Hey, I thought he'd talk about those infamous parallel fifths, but this false relations stuff sounds *really* kinky!")


False Relations, Defined

A false relation is nothing more than a chromatic contradiction between two notes in a single chord or in different parts of adjacent chords. Within the confines of academic tonal theory this is considered a "syntax error" but it has been used throughout the ages by composers for expressive effect; a sort of a musical poetic license.

As my one sentence definition above implies, false relations come in two flavors; both are well loved by the Beatles and I'll cite examples of each though only the second flavor is of concern in EDAW:

1. contradiction between two notes in one chord -- the manifestation of this seen most frequently is the simultaneous use of the major and minor 3rd in a chord; this is one of the factors which makes the blues sound, well, bluesy. A Beatle example off the top of the head is "The Night Before"; the accompaniment is clearly in D major (which uses F#) while the melody repeatedly incorporates the F-natural of the minor mode.

2. contradiction between adjacent chords -- this is the more subtle of the two flavors because the ear picks it up only by following the succession of two chords over time, whereas the flavor #1 above involves an outright, instantaneous clash. As we'll see, the pervasive application of this effect provides a unifying influence on EDAW.


False Relations Located in EDAW

False relations appear in both the verse and refrain of EDAW. The song is in D-major and the false relation in each case involves G-natural and G#; note that The G-natural has a melodic tendency to fall to F# and the G# has the tendency toward A-natural.

- the verse -- each phrase of the verse has its own false relation. Here's phrase 1 ("Love you every day, girl ..."):

	D-Maj		->E-Maj		->G-Maj		->D-Maj
			(uses G#)	(uses G-natural)

	I		V of V		  IV		I

The effect is particularly subtle because the G# in second chord appears in a middle voice while the G-natural in the following chord is in the outer voices.

In phrase 2 ("Hold me...") the false relation does not happen between immediately adjacent chords but the alternating appearance of G#/G-natural is definitely heard:

	B-min		->E-min		->B-min		->E-Major
			(uses G-natural)		(uses G-major)

	VI		II6		VI		V of V
			  3

I would argue that the false relation is accentuated in the above phrase by the fact that the E-minor chord appears in its first inversion with the G-natural in the bass line!

- the refrain -- ("Eight Days A Week ...") - the progression is as follows with the false relation hopefully clearly spelled out:

	A-Maj		->B-min		->E-Maj		->G-Maj		->A7
					(G#)		(G-natural)

	V		VI		V of V		IV		V

Other Harmonic Teases

EDAW makes very spare use of the dominant chord ("V"), and even when it does appear it doesn't always behave as we might expect. A couple of details (referring the chord progressions outlined above):

- the V chord's first appearance is delayed all the way until the refrain; it doesn't make any appearance in the verse which is a particular tease in that the E-Major chord ("V of V") would seem to prompt for it.

- the first appearance of the V chord at the beginning of the refrain resolves "deceptively" to the VI chord instead of the tonic (I). The V of V in the second part of the refrain finally moves to the V itself but *by way* of the false-relation-inducing IV chord.

- the return of the verse following the refrain, then, is the only place in the song that we have a garden variety V-I cadence. In other words, the verses by themselves rely on the IV-I (so-called Plagal cadence) to establish the key.

- Anybody out there notice that the unique triplet-rhythm phrase which is used both in the (fade-in!!) intro and coda happens to use the same chord progression as the beginning of the verse but over a D pedal tone ? (It's kind of like a Bach Prelude.)


... and one last thing

Lest any of you think I'm some dessicated pedant who derives no joy from the music let me share with you: I was in 11th grade when this song first came out. I was a regular Schroder-from-the-Peanuts-cartoon who was into classical music and eschewed virtually all popular music. To make a long story short, I can still remember (and experience) the hair on the back of my neck standing up when I hear(d) those parallel 5ths/4ths in the break. So there :-).

BTW, I assume a certain basic knowledge of musical notation and theory in these articles. Please don't hesitate to send e-mail if you have any questions or suggestions on how to make them more intelligible.


Alan (awp@mirror.tmc.com)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan,
 but *I* gave him the test."

Words of Love

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Provenance
Written By: 
Buddy Holly
Year: 
1957
Primary Recording
By: 
Buddy Holly
Lead Vocal: 
Buddy Holly
Cover Versions

Honey Don't

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Provenance
Written By: 
Carl Perkins
Year: 
1956
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Ringo Starr
Cover Versions

Every Little Thing

2
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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Lennon/McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

I Don't Want to Spoil the Party

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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

What You're Doing

2
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Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1964
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 

Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby

3
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Provenance
Written By: 
Carl Perkins
Year: 
1957
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions

Help! (album)

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Album Information
Album Cover Art
By: 
The Beatles
Released: 
Fri, 1965-08-06
Album Type: 
Original
Songs
On Amazon
Sales Rank: 
19
Most-Covered Songs

Help!

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Help!".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes On "Help!" (H)

Copyright 1989 Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved

With "Help!", let's take a look at a couple of details in the harmony as well as a glance at the overall form.


Harmonic Details

"Help!" is in the key of A but it's the G Major chord that calls for our analytical attention. The G chord appears repeatedly in this song, alternately serving two unrelated purposes; sort of like a character actor filling two different roles in the same play.

In the verse, the G chord appears as a garden variety flat-VII "aeolian cadence":

	A	->c#	->f#	->D	->G	->A
A:      I        iii      vi     IV    flatVII   I

However, in both the intro and the refrain, the G chord serves a more subtle purpose; in the final analysis (ugh!) I'm not even sure what Roman numeral to give it, or whether to give it one at all.

The chord progression of the intro is a classic harmonic example of starting a piece out in left field; "classic" in the sense that early Romantic song writers like Schubert and Schumann loved this gambit. At what point in "Help!" do you know for sure what key we're in ? Below are some of the ways in which I believe the opening chords can be heard; I think that several of the possibilities below are quickly rejected in retrospect by the ear but I list them all to underscore the ambiguity.

		b		->G		->E		->A

is it 	b:	i		VI 		V-of-flat-VII, huh ???
  *or*
	g:	iii		I		V-of-ii, huh ???
  *or*
	D:	vi		VI		V-of-V		V, maybe ???
  *Actually* it's
	A:	ii		flat-VII	V		I

This is more than just mental gymnastics on paper. Try and put yourself in a frame of mind as though you're hearing this for the first time (try!), and play it out "Name That Tune" style, dealing out one chord at a time. Ask yourself at each step, "what key am I in", "where am I heading ?" I think you'll get the picture.

I think one isn't certain of the key being A until the verse actually begins; the possibility of the A at the end of the intro actually being a V which will go the the D as the I chord is very real to the ear.

Once you get used to this progression I believe you hear the overall motion as being from the ii->V->I; a nice subdominant->dominant->tonic cadence. But what of the G chord ? I put a flat-VII under it but I don't hear it that way at all in this context; flat-VII is a surrogate dominant (V-like) function. What I hear in this context is more of a hard to pigeon-hole "filler" chord between the ii and the V. What makes it work is the contrapuntal movement in the outer voices:

	Top:		F#		->G		->G#

	Bottom:		B	->A	->G	->F#	->E

		A:	ii		 ??		  V

Scale-wise motion, particularly in a bassline or particularly when any line moves chromatically as the top line does here, can make the ear follow and "accept" some of the craziest chord progressions. In music of the late nineteenth century (for examples see Chopin or Wagner) this technique could be extended through very long passages creating a rather floating tonal experience. Our example from "Help!" is a very tiny example of this technique -- it extends over only three chords, the outer two of which are clear tonal anchors like the towers of a suspension bridge. If you'll allow me to quickly change metaphors yet again, I like to think of that G chord here making a harmonic "pleat" between it's two neighboring chords.

It's a very pleasing effect; given that the harmonic rhythm is rather slow throughout, this unusual chord progression which is repeated four times in the course of the song is a conspicuous touch which adds a much needed feeling of forward and outward movement.

Two other unrelated harmonic details I can't resist passing by:

I always hear the final phrase of the refrain as follows; there's a V chord on the word "help" which, though not on the rhythm track, is strongly implied by the voices:

	Won't	you	PLEASE	please	help 	me

	E		A		(E)	A
A:	V		I		(V)	I

This pattern is changed in the final refrain and made into a beautiful example of a deceptive cadence, in pure Bach style; i.e., the word "me" in the final refrain is given an f# (vi) chord. As in all such cadences, thing are quickly put "right" in the following and final phrase.

And that brings me to the second detail -- the final chord of this song is yet another added sixth chord. In contrast to the splat-like attack on this chord at the end of "She Loves You", the boys use it in "Help!" with great subtlety; the plain A chord is given on the down beat, and the sixth is added as a melodic neighboring tone, off the beat, in falsetto voice on the phoneme "Ooh"; but you already knew that :-).


Overall Form

Help! has an unusually flat floor plan:

		----- 3X ------
	Intro - Verse - Refrain - Coda

There are a couple of details which help offset the deadly monotony of this:

- there's the effect created by the chromatic chord progression already described above.

- the lyrics of the three verses create an A-B-A pattern

- the instrumental arrangement provides a dramatic and welcome lightening of the texture at the beginning of the last verse.

But I'd argue that this small amount of relief is frankly not enough to dispell an overall closed, static feeling in the song created by the following factors:

- the harmonic rhythm is fairly slow and unvarying throughout. In the verse, except for the phrase "help in any way" where the chords change twice within a measure, the rest of the chords last two whole measures each. In the refrain, the chords last four measures each!

- the 16 measure verse is built out of a musically identical repetition of the same 8 measures.

- the harmony from an architectural viewpoint, is unrelievedly in one key (A) throughout. In spite of the nice effect with the G chord, the refrain provides no relief in terms of excursion or flirtation with a different key. (By contrast, think about the space opened up by the middle eight of a song like "From Me To You".)

All this is not to say that "Help!" is ineffective or unsuccessful; common sense and experience tells us you don't need to be versed in music theory to recognize a great song when you hear it; right!?

If anything, I find myself pondering that perhaps, this unusual unrelieved closedness is intentional and actually part of what makes the impact of the song so strong. The music underscores the single-mindedness of the message contained within the lyrics; shades of "got no time for trivialities" from a different song of the same composer.

Regards,
Alan (awp@mirror.tmc.com)

---
"They tried to fob you off on this musical charlatan,
 but *I* gave him the test."					070989#6

The Night Before

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "The Night Before".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "The Night Before" (TNB)



  KEY     D Major

  METER   4/4

  FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Verse (half solo) ->
                        Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)
                        

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- With its strong bluesy foreground that is so nicely balanced out by the predominantly pop style that underlies it, this song provides about as good an example as you'll find of the Beatles predilection on the threshold of mid-career for a synthesis of their erstwhile desire to play genuine 12-bar blues with an even greater passion to transcend that it.

- They use the standard long form here, one of their favorites, with its two bridges that are separated by two verse sections, the second one of which is partly for instrumental solo. "From Me To You" and "A Hard Days Night" come to mind as archetypal examples, but there are many others as well.

- In addition, there is an almost subliminally unifying effect created by the recurring use of chromatic shifts and scale fragments; anticipatory shades of Paul's later "You Won't See Me", which happens to share a certain amount of similarity with this song at the level of its subject matter.


Melody and Harmony

- The song utilizes a relatively large number of chords (eight!), fully half of which are foreign in one way or another to the home key. In addition to the I, IV, V, and vi which are diatonically indigenous, we also find here the flat-III, minor iv, flat-VII, and V-of-V.

- In terms of chord progressions, this just may be the first place that The Beatles would use flat-VII in between I and IV. The song also features the first example we've seen in quite a while of the minor iv used in a Major key. Ironically, although I tend to associate the use of this chord especially with John, the most recent example we had seen was back in Paul's "I'll Follow The Sun".

- Chromatic shifting between two flavors of a note appears here under a number of guises. The first and most prominent example is in the opening phrases of the verse where the melodic prominence given to the bluesy minor 3rd (F natural) in phrase 1,2, and 4 is contrasted with a switch to the major 3rd (F#) near the end of phrase 3. Note, by the way just how juicy a cross-relation that heavy use of F natural makes against the D Major chords in the accompaniment.

- Other deployments of the same basic idea are found in the alternation between B natural and B flat implied by the chord change between b minor and g minor in phrase 3 of the verse, as well as the melodic noodling around D/C# and E/D# at the beginning of the bridge.


Arrangement

- Paul's vocal lead is double tracked throughout and he repeatedly throws in a little Gershwinesque grace note in the final phrase of the verse (on the word "did") that reminds me of something John did in "I'm A Loser".

- The vocal arrangement of the verse is of particular interest. What appears at first as a garden variety call-and-response pattern actually turns out to be a single thread vocal line shared, "hocket"-like, between the double-tracked solist (Paul) and the backers. Last time we had seen anything quite like this was "Please Please Me". "Help!" and "You're Going To Lose That Girl" use a device that is, while similar to the hocket, more in the realm of a gloss or commentary on the main line rather than a sharing of it.

- The prominent appearance of the electric piano here yet again would seem to suggest that its sound was something the group had somewhat faddishly latched onto during the late spring of '65.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- This is one of those songs where the instrumental texture is relatively unvaried throughout. I'd dare say that if you could find yourself a bootleg of just the backing track for it, it would sound just like the intro.

- This section is one long eight-measure phrase with a slow harmonic rhythm and a chord progression that neatly opens out to V, thereby providing motivation for the verse which follows:

        |D      |-      |F      |-      |G      |-      |A      |-      |
D:       I               flat-III        IV              V
 

- Two nice rhythmic details to listen out for -- Paul's C# -> D anticipation of the first downbeat; and the manner in which the individually syncopated parts combine during in the last couple measures to make for a compound rhythm that is very close to even eighth notes.


Verse

- The verse is a standard sixteen measures long and is made up of four equal phrases that form a poetic pattern of "aabc":

        ------------------------------ 2X -------------------------------
        |D              |C              |G              |A              |
         I              flat-VII         IV              V

        |b              |g              |b              |g              |
         vi              iv              vi              iv

        |D              |G              |D              |-            |
         I               IV              I              |-            |

             verses which are followed by another verse:|F         G  |
                                                        |flat-III  IV |
 

- The narrative and poetic structure is abetted by the harmonic scheme. The first two phrases open up widely to the V chord. The third phrase, rather than providing any kind of resolution, further heightens the suspense and even adds a touch of anxiety by its staying away from I and introducing the ominous sounding minor iv chord. As is typical, the final phrase puts everything right with its return to I. Note, though, how in those verses that are followed by another verse the harmonic ending is modifed so that a motivation for a return to I at the beginning of the next verse is motivated by a forced move away from I at the last moment.

- A faintly stuffy, pedagogical observation about first minor iv chord in phrase 3: it could alternately be parsed as ii6/b5 because of the e in the melody. To the extent that both ii and iv denote a subdominant function though, the difference between the two labels is somewhat moot.

- Although the lead and backing vocalists share the melodic spotlight in the first two phrases, they interestingly overlap at the "seams" of their respective parts. This creates a special effect at the beginning of the second phrase, where the backers falling away from the lead subtly suggests a kind of sighing accompaniment. The manner in which the backers continue on in the third phrase entirely as part of the background wash, only to dramatically desist entirely for the final phrase, also makes for a dramatic effect.

- George, likely feeling finally unbound after keeping such a low profile in the first half of the song, introduces his solo section with an enthusiastic "Yes!". There's a more half-hearted "yeah" that precedes the second bridge, which for all we know, just might be another one of those infamous "anomalies."

- The half-section's worth of guitar solo is doubled at the octave and definitely sounds more worked out and painfully practiced than it does improvised; the tip-off being in the way that both phrases of it are repeated identically. The interjectory nature of the solo and the dissonant manner in which its melodic content rides roughshod over the chords below it sound peversely out of style with the rest of the song. It's as if they were trying to achieve in music the same kind of obtuse non-sequitor which peppers their onstage verbal antics.


Bridge

- The bridge is eight measures long and built out of two equal phrase:

        |A      |D      |G      |-      ||b     |E      |A      |-      |
         V       V-of-IV IV               vi     V-of-V  V
 

- As is a well-established convention, a subtle change of the percussion pattern is used here to help the bridge sound more set-off from the surrounding verses.

- With the exception of the intro, the harmonic rhythm of this song is relatively fast throughout. The phrase endings of this bridge provide a notably rare and brief breath-catching respite.

- The song makes a slight, short-lived modulation toward the key of G, but it pivots right back around to set up a return to the home key with its big finish on the V chord, set up on a silver platter by V-of-V.

- The melodic climax of the entire song occurs at the very end of this section on the high note 'A'. This is felt as especially dramatic in context of the constricted melodic range of the song overall; you'll note how the verse rather butts its head, so to speak, up against a ceiling of G.


Outro

- The complete ending consists of a simple petit reprise of the final phrase that is easily built out of an extension to the end of the verse:

                                |reprise|- guitar riff  ||
        |D      |G      |D      |F      |D      |-      ||
         I       IV      I      flat-III I
 

- The return of the solo guitar for a final fanfare lick lends a classic touch of unity, and anticipates what is essentially the very same gesture that would appear much later in "Penny Lane"!

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- At a high level, this song thematically belongs to one of the archtypal sub-genres of the two-minute pop song: the one in which the protagonist, post-breakup, acknowledges what a good thing he had in retrospect and expresses the fond hope and prayer for a reconciliation.

- At a closer level of detail, this one bears a surprising amount of comparison with one very specific other song of Paul's songs; one written pretty much around the same time. Granted, this one is written in direct address to the girl and openly begs for another chance. The other song, in contrast, speaks of the girl in third person and, in spite of an expressed longing for a reversal of the situation, the hero there seems, with grim resignation, to better accept his fate.

- And yet, the common demoninator between the two is in their focus on the past, and in their desire for an impossible turning back of the clock by a mere 24 hours. In this sense, in spite of all other differences in musical style, the two songs are closely enough related that I could almost imagine their two titles reversed or comingled: "Last Night" and "The Day Before" :-).

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"I will be pleased, men, to see the earth disintegrated." 112392#70
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

You've Got to Hide Your Love Away

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Videos
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (YGTHYLA)

With this one, we have a song that both further exemplifies some of John's signature style traits, as well as one which, in its time, broke some new ground. The music itself is relatively so straightforward in this song that I'm going to skip the bar-by-bar analysis for the most part, the better to home-in on the more interesting topics.


Harmonic Frugality

It's tempting to attribute what I describe as John's penchant for harmonic frugality as more a reflection of a limited vocabulary than a conscious element of style. But while the latter may be a slight exaggeration, the former would be grossly unfair; granted, much of his output (both early and late) is heavily blues based or influenced, but at the very least, during the Sgt. Pepper and White Album period, we have several examples, such as "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am the Walrus" which are quite imaginative in chord progression.

But at any rate, with our current selection, we have yet another song built exclusively out of four chords; in order of appearance, you have G, D, C, and F. The key is G major, so gramatically, in addition to the standard I, V, and IV, we also have the modal sounding "flat VII" chord.

The use of such a limited harmonic palette contributes to the extremely closed tonal shape of the song. There are no excursions or modulations away from the home key. Luckily, as a matter of avoiding a stultifying sense of stasis, each of the two phrases of the verse section respectively opens up to either the IV or V chord which at least help "motivate" the refrain, and similarly, the two phrases in the refrain section each end on V which neatly leads back around into the next verse.


Almost Pure Modal Harmony

I haven't done an exhaustive study of it (and should! hey, where's my facts checker today when I need her ?), but I believe that this "flat VII" chord, which became so much a part of not just the Beatles' vocabulary, but much of rock music in general during the late 60s, becomes noticeably more common starting with the "Help!" album.

Prior to this album, the only Len/Mac song with a flat VII in it that comes to mind is the title track on "A Hard Day's Night". On the "Help!" album, you find that in addition to the title track, the next *four* Len/Mac songs on side one all contain this special chord; i.e. "The Night Before", our current song, "Another Girl", and "You're Going to Lose that Etc". (And I repeat, I haven't done my homework exhaustively yet so there might be even more!) Does this perhaps give you the feeling that the composer(s) were having a field day playing with a new harmonic "toy" so to speak ?

I describe the harmonic style of YGTHYLA as "almost" modal because of the use here of the Major V chord together with the flat VII. By way of contrast, we saw how in "She Said She Said", the modal spell is kept unbroken by using the *minor* v chord. One spicy by-product of this almost purely modal style is the repeated ocurrence of the indirect juxtaposition of the F sharps in the D chord with the F naturals in the F chord. "Technically" (i.e. pedantically), they're not quite cross relations because in this song, those two chords never follow each other immediately.


Three-Quarter Time

Perhaps the following will come as no surprise to those resident teenagers out there who make a religion out of knowing such details, but a semi- exhaustive search through the tracks on the official albums of the Beatles reveals John to be the most partial of the four toward songs written in ternary meters. Of course, songs in such time signatures comprise only a small fraction of the total canon, but I thought it was interesting to note to whom the lion's share of these belonged:

John -- Baby's in Black
	*YGTHYLA  (our song du jour!)
	Norwegian Wood
	Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (verse)
	Yer Blues
	I WANT YOU (She's so heavy) (in part)
	Dig a Pony

Paul -- She's Leaving Home
	Oh! Darling

George  -- Long, Long, Long
	I Me Mine

(BTW, given George's small "market share" of the official canon, it's significant that in this category, he comes in tied with Paul.)


The Arrangement

The arrangement of this song is notable on two grounds: the *almost* exclusive use of acoustic instruments (sorry, Mark L., but this boy-o hears an electric Hoffner), and the first(!) use of a hired studio musician to supply a part played on "exotic" instruments; i.e. alto and tenor flutes. At risk of belaboring the obvious, this latter tactic became a major clue to the new direction of the boys for many albums to come.


The Form

For a change, there are no fancy tricks in this song with unusual phrase lengths; everything is built out of even numbers of measures and phrases. Do note though, the rather folksy form, the most unique feature of which is the way the "verse" containing the instrumental solo is pushed all the way to the end!:

	Verse - Verse - Refrain - Verse - Verse - Refrain - Verse/Solo

I find it intruiging that many people hear the influence of Dylan in this song. Beyond John's vocal style and the lyrics, I wonder if part of this reaction is based on the use of this form; think of how many of Zimmy's own ballads save the harmonica solo for *after* the final verse!


Vulnerability

Though you know I generally don't get too involved with the lyrics, being pretty much a straight-arrow chords and form sort of fellow, I can't quite ignore what seem to me to be the strange apsects of the words in this song.

We tend to take it for granted that we know all about how the young rebel who was suspended by Headmaster Pobjoy for throwing a blackboard out the classroom window actually had such an insecure, and vulnerable soft core. For every song like "You Can't Do That", there is also one like "Misery". Whenever you find him talking about striking back, if you just wait a minute, you'll also hear about the heartache which motivates it.

But I do believe that YGTHYLA is unique even in this context: here we find our hero immobilized to the point where vengence is the least thing on his mind because it hurts so badly that he can't even stand to be around other people; an even greater emotional crash than in "I'll Cry Instead". In spite of this, we are privy to his state -- as though we could read his mind or his private journal -- and it is from this unusual sense of intimacy that I believe the song derives much of its impact. (BTW, it's interesting to note how such a similar song in tone as "Yes it Is" was recorded in the same week!)

But there is a delightful, almost Dylanesque ellipticality to these lyrics as well. From the phrase "*If* she's gone", you can't tell for certain where we come in within the timeline of the story being told; e.g., has she already gone for good, or are they merely separating for something like a six month hiatus, or perhaps is he just rehearsing his fear of her possibly leaving ?

Similarly, the line "how could she say to me love will find a way" is very difficult; it's the sort of comment you expect someone to make when they're trying to keep a relationship going no matter what, against all odds and obstacles, not when one is ramping down or breaking off. But then again, maybe our hero is himself perplexed and hurt by this very difficulty. For when love somehow cannot find a way, when such a thing is just not possible, is there ever any middle ground left to which one can go ?

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"You'd have wound up a Senior Citizen of Boston. As it is, you took the wrong turn and what happened, you're a lonely old man from Liverpool." 051590#18
---

Copyright (c) 1990 by Alan W. Pollack All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

I Need You

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I Need You".

Provenance
Written By: 
George Harrison
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "I Need You" (INY)


  
  KEY     A Major

  METER   4/4

  FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse ->
                     Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- We have another intruiguing stylistic mix here, this time from George. The pop-rock core is augmented by a folksy undercurrent that manifests itself most strongly in the haunting pseudo-modality of the tune.

- The choice of form is the shorter two-bridge model where the bridges are separated by only one section.

- George's proclivity for blurring somewhat the division between verse and bridge sections by the phrasing of the lyrics shows up again here though in not as pronounced a form as the one observed in "You Like Me Too Much".


Melody and Harmony

- A relatively large number of chords is used (seven!), though there is nothing more exotic in this entire bundle than a V-of-V. George's taste for weakly transitive chord progressions is reflected here in both the holding back of the V chord for as late as the bridge, and his reliance in the verse on IV -> I and the even more indirect stepwise choice of ii -> I to establish the sense of home key.

- George uses an effective trick of his mates in keeping the melodic pitch content and style of the verse and bridge sections distinctively different. Whether or not you're willing to accept this notion as operable on even a subconscious level, you can't deny how striking is the de facto evidence of this effect.

- The verse derives a folksy modalism from the manner in which its melody is restricted to a pentatonic scale (A-B-C#-E-F#) with the solitary exception of one note that is a flat-seventh (G natural), not strictly speaking part of the scale for the home key; look out for it at the very end of the second phrase. This tune is also made distinctive by its large number of appoggiaturas, several of which leave dissonant, non-harmonic tones hanging at vocal phrase endings; see below.

- Just as the V chord is held back until the bridge, so does the non-pentatonic fourth scale degree suddenly make a featured appearance in the tune of that section. In the second half of this bridge we also find a very non-folksy chromatic shifting amongst D natural -> D# -> D natural that is reminiscent to the trick we saw Paul play just last time out in "The Night Before".


Arrangement

- The backing track has a nicely balanced, airy texture of acoustic rhythm guitar mixed with a part for electric pedal tone guitar in which the latter instrument sounds almost like a keyboard.

- The vocal track is pure Middle Period Beatles almost as though it were a recipe-pattern done up "by the numbers": the composer double-tracked on the lead and the two others (with very rare exception, such as "Carry That Weight" where you can hear him right through the heavy mix, Ringo didn't "do" backing vocals) providing an instrumental- like backwash of "ahhhs" in second half of verse and bridge.

- Those mockingbird pedal tone fills at the phrase endings become a leitmotif for the song. As we'll see below, in a couple of instances where the vocal phrases end up on an unresolved dissonance, these guitar fills actually are neccessary to tie up what would otherwise be a disconcerting loose end.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is a mere two measures worth of vamping on the I chord, but in it are quickly introduced both the basic instrumental texture of the entire song as well as the melodic two-part turn 'round C# (C# -> B, D -> C#) which recurs as a motif in all the verse sections which follow.


Verse

- The verse is an unusual fourteen measures in length made up of four phrases which create a classic aa'bc pattern. The last phrase is half the length of the other three and this asymmetry lends a subtle feeling of poetic, free-verse to the whole:

         ----------------------------- 2X ------------------------------
        |A              |D              |A              |-              |
A:       I               IV              I

        |f#             |c#             |f#             |b              |
         vi              iii             vi              ii

        |A              |-              |
         I
 

- The pedal tone guitar turn around C# heard in the intro (or a slight variation on it) reappears at the end of the three of the four phrases of this verse, overlapping in each case with the last two notes of the vocal line in each case.

- In the first two of these phrases the vocal line binds off unusually with an appoggiatura that creates an unresolved dissonance against the chord below it. If you've ever been nearly so depressed, yourself, to the point that you no longer have the energy or motivation to quite finish your sentences before they trail off a few words or so before their proper ending, then you'll likely relate to the poetic effect created by these dissonant, tentative phrase endings.

- In the first and second phrases, you have C#->B and A->G respectively sung against an A Major chord. Without the D->C# resolution offered by the second half of the guitar turn which follows, you'd be left hanging in each of these cases as though waiting for a shoe to drop. Try imagining this scenario out in your mind.


Bridge

- The bridge is nine measures long and its two unequal phrases present an elongated free verse effect that is the exact opposite to the similar truncated effect seen in the verse:

        |D              |E              |A              |-              |
         IV              V               I

        |D              |E              |B              |E      |-      |
         IV              V               V-of-V          V
 

- To the extent that this bridge section provides any contrast to the surrounding verses it is because the home key is established here with more forceful clarity than anywhere else in the song; note the use in this section of both V and V-of-V. We're actually much more used to the opposite effect: of the home key having been established to an almost monotnous fault over the course of the first couple of verses, and the bridge providing contrast by making a brief excursion away from it.

- And ever true to the by-the-numbers recipe for contrasting bridge sections you'll note the addition of a cowbell to the percussion track for just this section.


Outro

- The eight-measure coda is developed as an extension to the final verse, and it kicks in right where the truncated fourth phrase of the verse section is usually to be found:

        |A      |-      |f#     |-      |D      |-      |A      |-      |
         I               vi              IV              I
 

- Harmonically, the coda is built out of the I-vi-IV cliche minus the expected V chord, but the omission of the latter chord is very much in keeping in this instance with the rest of the song.

- The vocal line at this late stage of the song turns around and plays the same mockingbird game as did the pedal tone guitar earlier on. Here, the vocal line repeats three times the same exact melodic phrase of three notes (A -> B -> C#) over each chord change. The effect is especially striking where the ending on C# creates a Major 7th dissonance against the D Major chord; the resolution to which, as always, is provided ultimately by the now familiar D -> C# of the guitar part.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- We find George at his absolutely most vulnerable in this song. Granted, he had appeared pretty crashed out way back in "Don't Bother Me", but with the net result of his being unable to speak directly to his erstwhile love, or anyone else for that matter. In "You Like Me Too Much", on the other hand, he not only seemed sufficiently recovered to address The Girl directly, but he even swaggered a bit before her with his gentle chiding. And in the likes of "Think For Yourself" would come just around the next corner, he would raise the emotional ante from mere negativity all the way to disdain and ridicule.

- Viewed from this perspective, "I Need You" scores uniquely for its bittersweetly mixed tone of plaintive, terminal desperation.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"You want to stop being so scornful, it's twisting your face." 120792#71
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Another Girl

0
Your rating: None

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Another Girl".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Another Girl" (AG)

KEY A Major

METER 4/4

FORM       Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse ->
                        Bridge -> Verse -> Outro

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- If you make the effort to get beyond the pedestrian lyrics and the by-today's-standards embarrassing visual background given this song in the _Help!_ film (Paul out on a beach holding a woman sideways and 'playing' her like some kind of anthropomorphic bass guitar -- or do I misremember it ?), you find here a song that is a veritable cross-section of the tricks and trademarks of the Beatles to this point of their career.

- We also find in this song yet another example of John's cross-influence on Paul. Though the influence in this case is not as obvious on the surface of things as it is in the case of, say, "Paperback Writer" and "Rain", the parallels between "Another Girl" and "You're Going To Lose That Girl" (YGTLTG) are as striking as they are surprising, once they've been pointed out to you. - The form sounds subtly more unusual than it actually is because of the extremely refrain-like final phrase of the verse section. The last time we had seen this effect, way back in this series YGTLTG and "It Won't Be Long" (IWBL), it had thrown us off guard quite a bit. Once you parse this phrase as part of the verse proper, the form suddenly reveals itself as one of the standard forms, with two-verses, two-bridges, and only one verse intervening. The use of such a pseudo-refrain, though, especially when it also appears as the song's introductory section, does have a unique the power to, if not outright confuse, make a formalistically fluid impression.


Melody and Harmony

- The melody makes prominent thematic use of downward chromatic scale fragments and a certain amount of noodling around the same few notes in a constricted pitch range; *both* Beatles trademarks.

- Although the song is hardly a 12-bar blues ditty in terms of chords, tune, or phrasing, the melodical stress on the flat 3rd (C natural) and flat 7th (G natural) scale degrees projects bluesy feel overall.

- The verses rely entirely on I, IV, V, and the flat-VII deployed simply as a neighboring chord between two instances of I. The bridge, though, features an unusual (in context of the Beatles) full-blown modulation to the key of C Major whose relationship to the home key is that of "relative Major of the parallel minor"; the latter being one of this songs principal and unmistakable connections with YGTLTG.

- The emphasis on the melodic flat 3rd is sufficiently stronger than average here to create a Major/minor ambiguity regarding the mode of the home key that is somewhat reminiscent of "I'll Be Back". The effect is especially noticeable where the music returns to A Major at the end of the bridge, and makes you wonder in retrospect if, in the verses, it really was only the melody and not the chords too performed in the minor mode; what do the chord books say there ? Is the first chord A Major or minor?


Arrangement

- Paul is double tracked on the lead vocal with the familiar italicizing effect of the backing voices joining him on the recurring title phrase.

- George supplies notable guitar fills, the frequency and raucousness of which both increase over the course of the song.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The song opens vocally with absolutely no instrumental cue, yet another affinity with John's YGTLTG and IWBL.

- The intro turns out to anticipate the final phrase of the verse section. It's a phrase whose length comes out to be closer to five than four measures; at the very least, it ends on the downbeat of the fifth measure. A side effect of this peculiarity is that the phrase tends to suggest an ellision or overlap with the beginning of whatever follows it whenever it appears:

                                        |Verse -->
        |A      |D      |A      |D      |A ...
A:       I       IV      I       IV      I

Verse

- The sixteen measure verse has a phrasing pattern of AABC and sounds almost like a non-traditional 12-bar form plus short refrain:

        ------------------------------- 2X ------------------------------
        |A              |G              |A              |D              |
         I               flat-VII        I               IV

        |D              |-              |-              |E              |
         IV                                              V

        |A              |D              |A              |D              |
         I               IV              I               IV

- The IV chord which gets sustained through four measures that *don't* exactly coincide with where the phrase divisions lie provides a good example of how harmonic rhythm can be used to strong, albeit subliminal effect.


Bridge

- This eight-measure section sounds as though entered as an ellided, directed extension of the 'refrain':

        |C      |G      |C      |G      |C      |E      |A      |E      |
         I       V       I       V       I
                                       a:III     V       I       V
                                                        (surprise!)

- The music briefly modulates to the key of C Major before it pivots back to A. The pivot in this case relies on tricking you into expecting a return to a minor with the A Major chord then coming as a surprise twist.

- The pivot *into* the modulation is interesting; forcing you, as a listener to hear the final D chord in the preceding verse punning itself as both IV in the home key as well as V-of-V in the new key, the latter not being resolved until two measures into the bridge.

- As is so often the case, the bridge provides melodic contrast with the verses in the way that the erstwhile noodling within a small range is reaplaced here by an extended arch shape which supplies at its zenith the unique melodic high point of the piece.


Outro

- The outro is a simple extension of the verse ending with the the title phrase repeated a canonical three times.

- The trailing guitar lick at the very end is a novel touch that helps unify the song overall from the way in which it carries forward both the motif of the ubiquitous guitar fills and the blusey undercurrent.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- This song may be far from what you'd call one of Paul's career highlights but you've got to admire his craftmanship here even if the material itself is less than entirely distinguished.

- You may want to quibble with Paul from time to time over whether or not you think he exerts a sufficiently discriminating filter on the supply of new ideas and directions which pop into his head. But in terms his facility in the developing of such ideas and his seemingly casual and second-nature mastery of technique, you can only be amazed; maybe :-)


Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"Give 'em a pull."                                              122292#72
---

                Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will,  provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

You're Going to Lose That Girl

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "You're Going to Lose That Girl".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "You're Going To Lose That Girl" (YGTLTG.1)

KEY     E Major

METER   4/4

FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse' -> Bridge ->
                Verse' -> Bridge -> Verse' -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- "You're Going To Lose That Girl" (YGTLTG) and "Help!" make for an an interesting pair of compositional siblings to the extent to that both songs similarly exploit (not just "utilize") the flat-VII chord, and share a similar approach to their backing vocals.

- But YGTLTG also does some funky formalistic things of its own which belie our seemingly straightforward categorization of it as being in the standard "double bridge" model with single verse (that happens to incorporate a guitar solo) intervening. To wit:

    - The same title-based hook phrase is used to both open the song as well as end each verse with a kind of mini-refrain.

    - The bridge is foreshortened by a single measure shy of what would have been a more expectable length of eight measures.

    - The transition into the bridge involves both an extension of the verse's length and an harmonic sleight of hand. The transition back from the bridge involves both a different harmonic sleight of hand and that forehshortening of the bridge's length.

- More on all of these techniques below. Keep in mind, for now, that details such are these are among the tangible, susbstantive musical elements that "define" the Beatles style and sound. It matters not that such tricks are neither unique to this song nor were neccessarily invented by the Beatles themselves. Rather it is the freedom and liberality with which such tricks are deployed throughout the Beatles songbook that stands out dramaticfally against the backdrop of standard/average (read: ordinary/mediocre) pop music of the period from which the Beatles emerged.

- The lyrics all three verses are based on the computer programmer's conditional "if/then" clause, with the third verse being a literal repeat of the first. The two bridges feature identical lyrics that are contrastingly couched in a consequentially assertive tone of voice.


Melody and Harmony

- The introductory hook phrase is notable for its pentatonic flavor and broad arch shape marked by long jumps. The rest of the melodic material is less sharply characterized and placed in a generally lower range.

- The tune of the intro begins with a "pickup" that precedes the first downbeat of the song. The verse and bridge, by contrast, begin "after" the downbeat of their respective sections. Compare this with the other songs we've looked at thus far in this series, and be prepared to track this parameter as we move forward in the series:

    WCWIO has a verse that starts after the downbeat, but both its hook phrase and bridge start "on" the downbeat.

    AILH is a song in which the verse and bridge are "after;" the hook phrase actually "precedes" (aka "is a pickup to") the downbeat.

    DT has a verse and bridge that is on the downbeat and a hook phrase that precedes.

    SLY conspicuously precedes the downbeat in every section, in many cases just with a single syllable.

    H! is a bit harder to parse because of the countrapuntal vocal arrangement. Strictly following the lead line gives us an Intro and Verse that follow the downbeat and a refrain that is emphatically right on it.

- A relatively large number of chords are used, along with a change of key for the bridge section that's a real test of our skills for dealing with so-called pivot modulations. The harmonic rhythm is fast throughout, with a chord change on almost every measure except, interestingly, in the bridge.

- For the verse the standard, indigenous choices of I, ii, V, and vi are supplemented by V-of-vi (in place of iii) and flat-VII. The bridge supplements its use of I and IV with its own flat-VII.

- The home key of the song is E Major but its bridge is clearly in the remote key of G Major. There's no flirtation or fake pass here; it's a fullblown interlude in that second key. I call it "remote" because there is no G chord (either Major or minor) that's native to the key of E; remember, there are four sharps in the key signature, the third of which is G#. In fact, there are NO indigenous chords common between the two keys.

- The only "rationalizable" relationship between E Major and G Major is to say that G is the relative Major of our parallel minor key. Think it over; it may sound convoluted but it's not double talk!

- Given the lack of naturally occuring common chords, the pivot modulation is cleverly made by exploiting the flat-VII chord, treating it, double entendre style as the V of the key of flat III; this is gramatically legitimate though still a surprise. When we looked at Help! last time, we saw there a different, but equally creative and unusual application of the flat VII chord. It's tempting to suggest that the fact that H! and YGTLTG were composed in close proximity to each other implies more than mere coincidence.

- The modulation to flat III which we have here is the more audacious because there is an easier/textbook alternate way to make this key change -- i.e., switch from Major to parallel minor (e.g., "I'll Be Back"), and then it's a short hop to the relative Major (e.g., AILH). Off the top of my head I can't think of a song that combines both these techniques but it's not unheard of; trust me!

- Going to a remote key is one thing, but getting back to the original one can be even more challenging; like rescuing a cat from a treetop. In this case, the Beatles use a pivot chord we haven't seen yet; treating the F Major chord as both the flat-VII of G and the flat-II of the original home key.

- Flat-II is sometimes called the "Neapolitan chord". It's actually not all that exotic a chord, at least not in the classical world; a lot of Baroque music employs this chord in final cadences such as flat II->V-I with the flat II in its first inversion. Usage of the flat II chord in YGTLTG is unusual in that appears in root position and without a V chord between it and the I. This is not the first time the Beatles used this device; it is used with similarly audacious effect in " Things We Said Today" to slide back to the home key from the bridge.


Arrangement

- The backing track is relatively homogeneous with the standard combo backed up by a bottom-heavy piano part, and of course, those bongos. They're unessential but delightful; a sort of squiggly pencil border drawn around a colorful drawing. For a really good time (just when you think you've had your fill of this song) give it a listen, preferably with earphones, and try and hear the bongo part in the foreground with the rest of the music as "accompaniment." Who said Ringo couldn't do anything intricate?

- John sings lead, heavily echoed and double-tracked throughout, with repeated recourse to falsetto for the notes from high G# and upward that occur at the end of each verses.

- The Greek Chorus backing vocals of Paul and John bear some contrast with the ones in "Help!" despite their similarities. Since the backers in this song consistently *trail* the lead, their overall melodic impact is more in the way of antiphonal obligatto, in spite of their frequent overlap with the lead part.

- In this connection I'm reminded of a Playboy cartoon of the same period in which a FAB look alike is harranguing his girl friend, in bed with someone else, while his mates standing right behind him, periphrastically reinforce his message. Don't ask me how I snuck that issue of the magazine into the house :-)

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro is four measures long and has an open harmonic shape, moving from I to V, and nicely motivating the verse which follows. Label this Phrase "A" for now and make note of it:

        |E              |c#             |f#9            |B              |
E:       I               vi              ii              V

- We have another "in medias res" opening: no intro, not even a single chord from which the singers can find their opening notes -- a miracle of the recording studio :-).


Verse

- The verse is 12 measures in length, built out of three even phrases in a 3 * 4, "BBA" pattern. The final phrase is the one we've already heard for the intro. The overall section's like a 12-bar blues frame with very different harmony; here all three phrases open out from I to V:

        Phrase "B"
        ------------------------------ 2X -------------------------------
        |E              |G#             |f#             |B              |
         I               V-of-vi         ii              V


        |E              |c#             |f#9            |B              |
         I               vi              ii              V

- Label the repeating first phrase of the verse as "Phrase B" and observe how the phrasing pattern running from the start of the song through the second verse is a symmetrical pallindrome of A-BB-A-BB-A. For all its symmetry, though, this passage keeps us a great deal more off balance than the more typical four-=sqaure design for a couple of reasons beyond the obvious uneven nature of a grouping of seven:

  • There is an almost hypnotic effect created by the fact that both phrases A and B end with a ii->V chord progression. If it wasn't for the delightful "9" chord in phrase A (with the falsetto G# in the voices) we'd have a potential problem with monotony.
  • From a casual listen, we're not sure how the seven phrases are meant to be parsed; is it two verses of ABB-ABB with a concluding repeat of A or is it two verses of BB surrounded on each side with a refrain of A ? But my question is a bit of a strawman.

- In the final result, I think it's the delayed entrance of the drums until the first B phrase that help's clarify the situation, with its hint that the opening A phrase was "probably" an introduction, from which point the rest of the analysis falls in place with relative ease. The reappearance of the BBA pattern after each bridge really nails it.


Verse'

- All verses that are not immediately followed by another verse (which means all the verses in the song except the first one) are extended to an unusual 14 measure length by the following half phrase which effects the modulation to G in the bridge by pivoting on the D Major chord:

        |f#             |D              |
E:       ii              flat-VII
                     G:  V

- The middle verse features a lead guitar solo for the two "BB" phrases, with the backing vocals still hanging on, and the complete vocal chorus (including lead) resuming in the final "A" phrase.


Bridge

- The bridge cruises along nicely in G and then, just as deftly as it shifted there from E, it shifts back as follows to E for the next verse:

        |G              |C              |G              |-              |
G:       I               IV              I

        |G              |C              |F               E
         I               IV              flat VII
                       E:V-of-flat II    flat II          I

- The section is an uneven 7 measures long, and built out of two parallel but unequal phrases in a 4 + 3, AA' pattern. The foreshortening of the second phrase subtly draws your attention all the more closely to the harmonic gambit played at its end. As an experiment, repeat the F chord for an additional measure before dropping to E and you'll see that it's more satisfactorially four-square in one respect but less, for lack of a better word, "fun."


Outro

- The outro develops out of the final verse at just the point where it sounds like an impossible third bridge might be forthcoming. Instead, that flat-VII, D Major chord is used as the start of a surprise concluding "double Plagal" cadence, the only place in the entire song where the harmonic rhythm exceeds one chord per measure:

        |f#             |D          A       |E          |-              |
         ii              flat-VII   IV       I
                         (IV-of-IV?)

- It's ironic that a song with so much harmonic movement from I to V should choose to end with this heavily Plagal formula.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- In the "Help!" film the Beatles appear as though performing this song live in the studio. The scene, for all its absurd, staged surreality -- (Paul alternately playing bass guitar and sitting a grand piano, and Ringo alternately behind the drum kit or sitting on the floor with the bongos) -- it provides a delightful fantasy of what the real recording sessions might have been like.

- The tobacco companies must have also like this scene. Ringo is shown drumming with a cigarette precariously clenched in his teeth. And we get a long close-up of Paul and George facing each other, hunched on opposite sides of a single microphone in order to tightly execute the backing vocals. The scene is filmed with back lighting such that you can see the rhythmic thrust of their sung syllables punctuate like skywriting the generally smokey haze that builds up as the scene progresses.

- It's the kind of thing that looks cool enough to persuade a person of a certain mindset to want to start smoking as soon as possible, even if the thought has never before occured to that person. So much for not particularly subliminal persuasion.

Regards,

Alan (awp@world.std.com)

---

"Well look after him.  I don't want to find you've
 lost him."                                                  051900#7.1

---

Revision History
071989  7.0     Original release
051900  7.1     Revise, expand and adapt to series template

                Copyright (c) 2000 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved
This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Ticket to Ride

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Ticket to Ride".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Ticket To Ride" (TTR)


KEY A Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- After the folksy originals and nostalgic covers of the Beatles For Sale album, "Ticket To Ride" brings with it a measure of tight toughness that is most welcome to those wondering wither this erstwhile sharp edge of the group's attitude and style had fled following the Hard Day's Night album.

- The form is an ordinary two-bridge model with only one verse in the middle and no instrumental section. The special kicks here are to be found in the arrangement, especially in its exploitation of texture, rhythm, and harmonic dissonance.


Melody and Harmony

- Although the tune does not make a primarily bluesy impression, both the flat 7th and minor 3rd scale degrees do bear some melodic emphasis in the verse and bridge, respectively.

- Five of the seven chords that naturally occur in the home key as well as the flat-VII chord are used. No other more exotic chords show up nor is there any hint of modulation. This relatively bland harmonic diet is spiced up by the liberal use of free melodic dissonance and a certain suspense factor created by the exceedingly slow harmonic rhythm.

- In the dissonance department, Major ninths and seconds appear as though a leitmotif. Not only is there an unusual number of 9th chords in the song, but the bare interval is also found within the opening ostinato figure as well as in the repetitious vocal line which takes the song out at the end.


Arrangement

- The ostinato figure played by the solo 12-string guitar at the outset provides a great deal of unity to the song. As we've seen in other ostinato-driven songs of the Beatles, these recurring, motorized little figures seem to create the illusion of being there in the backing track more of the time than is actually so. For example, if the figure is apparent at both the beginning and end of a section, as long as there is something of sufficient interest to divert your attention in the middle, you will subconsciously "assume" that the figure has continued all the while, even though if you double check carefully you'll find that this is not so!

- The ostinato used here's not as distinctively melodic as the ostinati in either "What You're Doing" or "Day Tripper", but it does have a wrenchingly syncopated rhythm which carries all the through to the characteristic backbeat of the intro and first two verses:

                                    >     >   >
        rhythmic emphasis       1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &

        ostinato                A   E C#A B   E
                                    >     >   >
 

- As a foil to all this, the tambourine is relegated to simply marking off the 2nd and 4th beats of virtually every measure in every verse.

- The vocal arrangement is fussier than we've seen in a while, with three alternating textures used in the verse, alone. The first half of the first phrase is sung by John, solo and single-tracked. Paul joins him above on funky counterpoint for the remainder of this phrase into the first half of the next one, and then leaves John exposed solo at the phrase's end. John then sings the third phrase double tracked with Paul joining him for a final touch of counterpoint at the end of the fourth phrase.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro consists of a four-fold presentation of the ostinato figure over the I chord. The ensemble joins the solo guitar with a slow dramatic drumroll just before the downbeat of measure 3:

        |A      |-      |-      |-      |

- The parallel between this and "You Can't Do That" or "Day Tripper" is noteworthy. The accentuation here by the drumming of the syncopated rhythm inherent in the guitar ostinato is especially gripping and literally pulls you into the music.

- Say, is that a small touch of organ or harmonium used as a wash behind the solo guitar opening ? If so, does it continue throughout, just buried in the mix ? or perhaps, does it drop out quickly once the rest of the ensemble gets going ?


Verse

- The verse sixteen measures long, built out of four phrases equal in length. The section more logically splits right down the middle, with the first half providing an eight-measure expository section that harmonically opens up to the V chord, and the second eight measures providing a refrain-like ending which veers back toward the I:

        |A      |-      |-      |-      ||A     |-      |b      |E      |
A:       I                                               ii      V

        |f#     |D      |f#     |G      ||f#    |E      |A      |-      |
         vi      IV      vi      flat-VII vi     V       I
 

- The tune has an unusually high amount of rhythmic syncopation against the underlying beat (on "four-AND") as well as melodic dissonance against the underlying chords. I'll leave the majority of such details as an exercise for the reader though two examples here are noteworthy. First off, the melodic sustaining of the pitch E over the b chord in measure 7, on the second syllable of the word "away". Even better is the the climactic event over the G Major chord in measure 12, with John singing the pitches F#-E-C# on the stretched out word "ri-i-de", none of which is consonant with the chord below it.

- The three-way alternating pivot off the vi (f#) chord is one of the more novel harmonic gambits we've ever seen the Beatles pull; first to the IV, then to the flat-VII, and ultimately to the V, which under the circumstances is the most comfortingly "functional" of the three choices. It kind of reminds of the feeling one has in a chess game where you think you've been check-mated, but in a half-panic, on considering your several brute-force logical alternatives, you eventually discover with some relief that there is still at least one legal move available to you with which to continue the game.

- The vocal counterpoint at the beginning of the second phrase not only features their trademark parallel, open fourths, but Paul's initial stress on the pitch B provides a development of the added- ninth flavor we've described as inherent in the opening ostinato figure. Also note how John's initial stress on G natural here adds a subtle, partly hidden touch of the blues (I'm also very partial to the little rapid-fire 16th note run with which John ends the phrase):

        Paul:   B       B       A   G   A       A

        John:   G       G       E   D   E       EDC#

Bridge

- The bridge is eight measures long and built out of a parallel-style repeat of the same four-measure phrase:

        |D      |-      |-      |E      |
         IV                      V
 

- Bridge-ly contrast is provided by virtually every compositional parameter:

  • the vocal arrangement shifts to straight-away parallel thirds except for a couple of stray eighth notes in which John is left exposed solo for a split second (check out the second syllable of the word "goodbye.")
  • the rhythm section, including the tambourine, shifts away from wrenching syncopation to a pattern of relatively even-handed eighth notes in which the off-beat (on 2 and 4) pattern, first heard from the tambourine in verses, now prevails in the drums.
  • the harmony, even though it features no kind of modulation, does manage to stay entirely away from the I chord, the section ending firmly on the way back towards it.

- A new guitar riff is used at the very end of the section to lead back into the next verse. Its melodic and rhythmic gesture are reminiscent, albeit not slavishly so, of the opening lick. The F# that marks the apex of this new figure makes for yet another added ninth chord here.


Verse Variants

- This song has a higher than average number of small twists applied to the arrangement of its later verse sections. As spontaneous as these details sound to us, I rather suspect that at least some of them were planned quite in advance.

- Here, in the third verse, John adds the word "yeah" to the end of the second line (in addition the one that repeatedly appears at the end of the first line), and he prefaces the third line with an "Oh" (or is it an "aw"?); the latter variation being repeated in the fourth verse as well.

- Ringo provides an evenly beaten sixteenth note pattern as a fill between the second and third lines of the third verse in place of the plain roll he uses elsewhere in the song. In the final verse he plays in this spot no roll nor fill, but only a single whack "on FOUR!".

- One particular variant feature rises above the status of mere detail to assume structural, and perhaps subtextual significance. The hard syncopations mentioned above which so pungently characterize this song are actually found to be very much subdued starting right after the second verse. Granted, we already noted that the bridge itself dispenses with the syncopation as a matter of contrast. But look ahead -- in both of the final verses, Ringo's drumming sticks with the more evenly played eighth note patterns introduced in the bridge instead of returning to the wrenchingly syncopated pattern; this, in spite of the fact that the guitar ostinato (from which his syncopoated patterns were derived in the first place) does continue to make its own appearance. This could hardly have been accidental and I find myself pondering its motivation -- did they discover that the wrenching rhythm when carried all the way through was simply too much of a good thing, or is there some subtle poetry embedded in this change drumming?


Outro

- The question of what manner of poetry may be conveyed by a change of beat is further sharpened by what happens in this outro where the syncopation is loosened even further than it was for the bridge.

- This time, the effect is one of a sudden, free-wheeling, accelerating release of all tension. John would later use a similar effect at the end of "She Said She Said".

- Also here at the very end, the final vocal lick, which is otherwise double-tracked in unison, splits out for an instant to include one last example of a Major second sonority.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- "Ticket To Ride" was recorded after more than a two-month hiatus (11/27 to 2/15) in the Beatles attendance at Abbey Road. One gets used to the song's having been tucked away on the Help! album as the last song on "side 1", but in truth, it was the first song recorded after the Beatles For Sale album was released, and it appeared as the A-side of a single several months before the film was released.

- Once you get the chronology straight in your mind, it's hard to listen to the song without feeling as though you've crossed a frontier. Lewisohn himself comments on this, though his perspective is entirely on the recording process changes that kicked in at this point in time; i.e., the practice of perfecting the rhythm and backing track first before adding everything else on later as overdubs.

- I'm thinking more of style, though whatever compositional innovations are to be found in this song are not without their own irony to the extent that they represent at least as much a return to erstwhile values as much as they do a forward evolution. Yeah, this one looks at least as far ahead as "Day Tripper", but it equally so picks right up where "A Hard Days Night" left off, followed as it was by the anomalistic Beatles For Sale album.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"I ride this train regularly; twice a week!" 082592#65
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Act Naturally

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Your rating: None

The original and cover versions of the Buck Owens song "Act Naturally", which was covered by The Beatles.

Provenance
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
Cover Versions

It's Only Love

3
Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "It's Only Love".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
John Lennon
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "It's Only Love" (IOL)

KEY C Major

METER 4/4

FORM Intro -> Verse -> Refrain -> Verse -> Refrain -> Outro GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- The combination of textural soft-focus with a Moderato tempo is a bit of a departure for John though the elliptical emotional stance of the lyrics is right up his alley.

- The form is structurally both short and simple. To the extent that, as we'll see, the formal boundary between what I've labelled as Verse and Refrain is rather blurred you might argue that the meat of the song be even more compactly described as a repetition of a single larger Verse + Refrain "combo" section.


Melody and Harmony

- Chromatic scale motion, always one of John's favorite hot buttons, has an influence on both melody and harmony in this song; creating here side effects as diverse as cross-relations, augmented triads, and harmonic root movement of a tritone.

- In spite of the relatively small number of chords that are utilized throughout, the song deploys the mildly unusual flat-VII (B flat) in two entirely different contexts; as we'll see, it's the same old chord but with a different meaning, the result of a change in the angle of approach.

- The melodic hooks of the song feature a sighing 6->5 appoggiatura, whether it's the descending guitar lick of the intro/outro, or the main vocal line; in the verse, on the words "(be)side-you", and in the refrain on the word "hard", so to speak.


Arrangement

- The overall sound of the piece is one that is difficult to pigeonhole. You would expect the prominence of the guitar parts and relative absence of percussion to project a Byrds-ey folk rock image, but the hazy finish applied to the final mix works at cross-currents to that.

- The acoustic and electric guitars remain well isolated from each other on the two stereo tracks in spite of all haze. The lead part consists heavily of choppy chords applied to the syncopated off-beats and short melodic fills between the phrases.

- The vocals feature John all the way; single tracked solo in verse, and doubled up in the refrain. The double tracking here sounds more out of synch and less evenly balanced than usual, making me wonder if one of the two vocals is actually the vestige of a "guide vocal" left over from an early take of the backing track.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- We have a four-measure intro which economically establishes the instrumental texture, tone, and tonality of the entire song:

        --------------- 2X --------------
        |C              |a              |
C:       I               vi

- The intro, (as well as the outro and part of the refrain) place an almost hook-like emphasis on the I->vi progression, which is an old Beatles trademark starting back as far as "Misery" and running heavily through the 'A side' of _With The Beatles_.


Verse

- Very much like what we saw last time in "I've Just Seen A Face", the verse here is a twelve measure section whose 'AAB' phrasing pattern matches that of the blues even though such a connection is supported by neither the harmony nor the style:

        ------------------------------- 2X ------------------------------
chords: |C      e       |B-flat   F     |G              |G augmented    |
b'line: |C      B       |B-flat   F ...
         I      iii6/4   flat-VII IV     V 4  ->  3      #5

                                         6   -> 5
        |F              |G              |C              |a              |
         IV              V               I               vi

- The downward chromatic bassline at the start "forces" a strange root progression of I->iii->flat-VII. The effect of this is somewhat softened by the linear logic of the bassline itself and the placement of the iii chord in so-called second inversion; try playing the same progression with the iii chord in root position and see how much more strange it sounds.

- Some analysts might even argue in favor of not analyzing our e minor chord here as 'iii' with a Roman numeral per se, as much as they would describe it more simply as the transitory harmonic by-product of linear motion between the two surrounding chords. Again, try imagining the phrase without *any* e minor chord in it, just the C Major chord sustained all the way through the entire first measure, and note how the overall feel of it is still the same.

- The usage of flat-VII sounds here like the "IV-of-IV" variant most familiar to Beatles fans in context of the second half of "Hey Jude".

- A constant low-level of harmonic dissonance abounds, rather evocative of the vague basal uneasiness described in the lyrics. Some of it is logically motivated and clearly resolved; e.g. the 4-3 suspension implied by the lead guitar part in measure 3, and the transient augmented chord caused by chromatic motion, this time upward for a change. Yet, some of it is entirely gratuitous; e.g. the added sixths implied by the vocal part over the F and G chords in the last phrase (on the words "so" and "to/it").

- The first two phrases open out to V; not just a "vanilla" kind of V, but that intensified augmented flavor of it. And this only goes to heighten the sense of musical frustration and backing off that is inherent in the deferred gratification of moving onward from V to IV.

- The ending of the section with our much favored I-vi progression is so open ended in feeling that the dividing line between the verse and refrain is much less clearly articulated than usual.


Refrain

- The refrain is eight measures long and built out of two roughly parallel phrases that are equal in length. The first phrase leads into the second one exactly the same way it itself had been set up by the verse ending. The second phrase leads back toward the following verse with its ending on V:

        |B-flat         |G              |C              |a              |
         flat-VII        V               I               vi

                                         6   -> 5
        |B-flat         |G              |F              |G              |
         flat-VII        V               IV              V

- With the the verse ending on the vi chord (a minor), you'd much sooner expect the first chord of this refrain to be either IV (F) or ii (d); try this out and see how well it actually works. The move to B flat, while not at all unsatisfying *does* work as a surprise, and furthermore sets up a cross-relation when the next chord after it is V (G). This use of flat-VII as a subdominant is something we saw for the first time way back in "All My Loving", of all places. As a device, you might describe it as similar in structure and effect to the gambit in which V-of-V is followed by IV, which also turns out to be a much favored harmonic trick of the Beatles.

- No surprise, by the way, but a tambourine is added for this section to provide some contrast in the instrumental backing.


Outro

- The outro is so smoothly handled that you'd never notice where the seams of it are unless you stopped to analyze it per se. It starts off with a single petit reprise of last half-phrase of the refrain that is stretched out for an extra three of measures by John's falsetto melissma, with the whole thing is capped by the intro redux:

                                        ------- 2X -----
        |F      |G      |C      |a      |C      |a      |C      ||
         IV      V       I       vi      I       vi      I
        |--- reprise ---|---- melissma ---------|
                                        | -- 2nd time: intro ----|

- The resonating reverb and tremelo applied to the the final chord is striking; what more can I say about it ?

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The lyrics of this song are deceptively simple in their outlook and message. We've noted elsewhere (e.g. back in our study of "Yes It Is") John's talent for plumbing the poetic depths that are inherent in the bourgeois cliches of the vernacular, and this one provides yet another fine example. Indeed, if it's "*only* love", then why the exquisite pleasure pain over why it's "so hard"? Right!?

- On a different plane, I seem to remember a possibly apocryphal tale that a certain Mr. Zimmermann has claimed to have been clued in to the fact that Our Own Sweet Boys had begun to "take Tea" by the opening line of this very song. Can one of the biographic fiends of this group shed some light on this one? "I get high ...", really, now.


Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com *OR* uunet!huxley!awp)


---
"She'll only reject me in the end and I'll be froostrated."     011993#74
---

                Copyright (c) 1993 by Alan W. Pollack
                          All Rights Reserved

       This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and
       otherwise propagated at will,  provided that this notice remains
       intact and in place.

You Like Me Too Much

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Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "You Like Me Too Much".

Provenance
Written By: 
George Harrison
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
George Harrison
Cover Versions
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "You Like Me Too Much" (YLMTM)


  
  KEY     G Major

  METER   4/4

  FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Break (solo) ->
                          Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- George had been granted his first solo shot as a songwriter with "Don't Bother Me" way back on With The Beatles. Amazingly, he had to wait until this one for a second chance. It's up to the biographers to find out if this was the only other thing he had written since then, or if perhaps there is a plethora of "lost" Harrisongs that have been either surpressed, destroyed or are otherwise waiting to be unearthed by the perseveringly enterprising.

- In spite of its superficial resemblances to the Lennon&McCartney songs which surround it in context, YLMTM contains ample substance which attest to its belonging to George, only; especially in its chord progressions and the attitude of its lyrics.

- The form of the song also contains a number of formalistically distinctive earmarks: the apparently ad-lib/slow intro, the deployment of both a bridge and break, and the subtle manner in which verse and bridge ellide with each other in terms of both music and words.


Melody and Harmony

- The entirety of the melody lies within a narrowly constricted range of only six notes; from G only up to E above it. The verse especially has a circular repetitiveness reminiscent of the kind of rut you can wear in a carpet from too much fretful nervous pacing.

- Furthermore, a falling scale fragment permeates the tune as a leitmotif in both verse and bridge. Seemingly by way of contrast, the break uses a chromatic scale fragment which both rises and falls. This chromatic idea also makes unifying appearances at the end of the bridge, as well as in the intro and outro.

- A larger than average number of chords are used here; six out the seven which appear naturally ("diatonically") in the home key (I through vi), plus flat-III, and a couple of secondary dominants (i.e. so-called "V-of..."s).

- But more so than the variety of chords per se, it is in their unusual sequencing that George's particular style is distinguished. The more typical pop song, whether influenced by blues, rock, folk or whatnot, is dominated by clearly teliological chord progressions that start from (and/or move steadily toward) such harmonically conspicuous goals as the tonic (I) or dominant (V). As a result, progressions which lie along the circle of fifths and involve root movement of a fifth upward or downward also typically predominate.

- In contrast, George demonstrates a prediliction for root movements that are stepwise or by thirds. He also likes to defer bringing things to a sense of climax or resolution, and even once he finally reaches the brink of such a payoff, we'll note a tendency for him to step away from it yet one more time; a musical technique and effect which uncannily matches and reflects the strong subtext of vague, ambivalent dissatisfaction which underlies so many of his lyrics.


Arrangement

- The choice of home key and the prominent role of the piano suggest at least a superficial connection between this song and the subject of our previous study, "Tell Me What You See". And indeed, these two songs were recorded at back-to-back sessions.

- The Steinway-reinforced electric piano part provides the song with a rhythmic hook by virtue of its relentless, syncopated accenting of the eighth note in between the second and third beats (on "two-AND"). The piano also freely embellishes many of the chords with added 6ths and 7ths, lending a sightly jazzy flavor to the backing.

- George is vocally double tracked in unison for start of each verse, with a second harmonizing vocal line (either Paul or George overdubbed) added for the title hook line and continuing through most of the bridge. The harmonization is primarily in parallel thirds though a Beatlesque open fourth occasionally is snuck in (e.g. on the final "you" in each verse).

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- The intro only seems to be slow and out of tempo as an artifact of there being no percussion backbeat behind it. If you compare it carefully with the outro, in which the virtually identical phrase is recapitulated with backbeat, you'll discover the tempi of the two is quite close, with just a small amount of rubato applied to the intro.

- We start off with a drawn-out six measure phrase in which the home key is clearly defined before the song moves on to deal with less direct chord progressions:

        |G      |-      |B-flat  |D      |G      |-      |
G:       I               flat-III V       I

- The use of flat-III right off the bat is unusual enough. When its F-natural is melodically sustained against the following D Major chord (with its concomitant F#) we have a small clash which just might be the most bluesy moment of the entire song.

- A lugubrious touch of reverb is applied in this short passage to one of the keyboard parts and some tremelo to the other one. The latter effect returns in both the break and and outro, but thankfully, the former one is not repeated elsewhere.


Verse

- The verse is sixteen measures long and contains four phrases equal in length. The first two phrases form a couplet followed by a bridge-like third phrase which leads to the closing title hook:

         -------------- 2X --------------
        |a      |-      |C      |G      ||
         ii              IV      I

        |b      |-      |D      |-      ||G     |C      |D      |-      ||
         iii             V                I      IV      V

- In spite of the plentiful supply of 'I' chords in this verse, the harmonic shape of the section is "open" on both ends; both starting and ending away from tonic. Furthermore, the setup of IV via ii and the setup of V via iii are examples of the kind of "weak" or "indirect" chord progressions that I described above as creating a sense of avoidance of harmonic closure.


Bridge

- The demarcation of this bridge as a section distinct from the verses which adjoin it is singnificantly blurred by the flow of the lyrics. The opening bridge line ("I really do") follows seemlessly from the verse ending ("you like me too much and I like you"). Similarly, the ending of the bridge ("If you leave me") moves just as smoothly into the next verse ("I will follow you ...").

- The harmony here, being even more open-ended than the verse on both sides, helps support this sense of formal ellision. In addition, the large number of secondary dominants and some syncopation in the last couple measures create a semi-modulatory feeling of being less than securely grounded. You could parse it as an almost but not quite complete pivot modulation to the key of D except that the end of the section sounds so clearly like big windup on the V chord. Even so, note how the continuation with the next verse (starting on ii) winds up, true to form, leaving the resolution of this V chord deferred until later.

- As a result of all the above, this eight-measure section sounds much less four-square than it would appear to be on paper:

        |e              |-              |A              |-              |
         iii                             V-of-V

        |b              |A              |E      A       |A      D       |
         ii              V-of-V     V-of-V-of-V V-of-V          V

- The melody of this section fails to break the range barriers of the verse, though any potential side-effect of monotony caused by this is balanced out by the striking manner in which the opening of the section broadens out rhythmically.

- One other source of contrast in this bridge is the temporary addition of a tambourine to the backing track.


Break

- The break is a very clever combination play of a 12-bar instrumental blues frame with the four-measure sung title hook phrase grafted on at the end.

- At cross-currents to the underlying blues form, the piano and lead guitar parts trade copycat chromatic scale riffs during the instrumental portion.


Outro

- The outro in introduced, so to speak, by yet one more petit-reprise of the ubiquitous title hook phrase.

- From there on, it's all a rehash of the intro except that this time it's accompanied by the steady support of yer droombeat.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- The lyrics to this song seem to send a mixed message. I mean, if you were on the receiving end of them, would you be convinced in your core that George really "likes" you as unshakably as he professes, or would those reiterated accusations and the recounting of your past misdeeds tend to undermine his claim in your light blue eyes?

- On the one hand, we could debate all night the question of whether this kind of Harrisonian ambiguity is the result of artful design or unintended-yet-unavoidable awkwardness. But, then again, I'm reminded in this regard of a former boss who, when confronted over a bare-faced self-contradiction he had just made, responded that the difference between confusion of mind and complexity of mind or emotion is often merely the thinnest of gray hairs.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"Oh, you can come off it with us." 110292#68
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Tell Me What You See

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Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "Tell Me What You See".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: 
Alan W. Pollack's "Notes On"

Notes on "Tell Me What You See" (TMWYS)


  
  KEY     G Major

  METER   4/4

  FORM    Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Bridge ->
                            Verse -> Outro (w/complete ending)

GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST


Style and Form

- In context of some of the more innovative songs of the "Help!/Beatles VI" era, this one is part of a small group of songs that might be described as nice but non-blockbuster. Several by now well-established Beatles trademark devices and novel touches are apparent here at the detailed level; the larger than usual number of cross-references and associations with other Beatles mentioned below indeed seems to reflect this.

- Nonetheless, the overall mood and technique here are relatively simple and straightforward. I'm sure there is at least one of my readers who has been in love with this one since the first time s/he heard it, and that's fine :-) Just remember, I did say it's nice, didn't I ?

- On the surface, the form is yet again the familiar one of two-bridges-but-no-solo, yet the verse section here is unusual in that its second half sounds a bit like refrain; compare this with the earlier example of "Thank You Girl". Even more unusual is the way that a mini-solo is worked into the second half of the bridge itself.


Melody and Harmony

- The song is clearly and unrelievedly in the key of G Major. A recurring emphasis on the flat 7th scale degree (F natural) at the beginning of each bridge lends some touch of the blues, but compared to examples like "A Hard Day's Night" or "Ticket To Ride", this one contains an extremely mild dose it.

- The harmonic diet is very plain, being limited to the major chords of G, C, and D (i.e., I, IV, and V). The G chord that opens the bridge with an F natural in the melody actually functions as a V-of-IV, but regardless of how you parse it, it's still a chord rooted on G.

- Harmonic rhythm is more varied in the service of formal articulation and this somewhat makes up for the small number of chords.


Arrangement

- The prominent solo part for electric piano as well as the several exotic percussion instruments which substitute during most of the proceedings for the usual full drum kit provide quite a bit of novelty to the backing track. This texture also turns the song into the most strongly Latin-flavored of any Beatles original since the days of "Ask Me Why" and "P.S. I Love You".

- The vocal arrangement features two voices throughout, though the two parts alternate frequently between phrases sung in harmony and those sung at the unison or octave. To the extent that the words communicate the kind of desire for loving union that will never accept 'no' for an answer in spite of all distance and other obstacles, this device takes on an almost programmatic significance; the operative phrase in this regard being "we will never be apart if I'm part of you."

- I definitely hear John in there for at least parts of the song, but in some places, I have a hard time determining whether its the Two of Them, or just Paul over-dubbed with himself.

SECTION-BY-SECTION WALKTHROUGH


Intro

- With just two measures of vamping on the I chord (G), the predominant mood and texture is quickly established.

- The music starts a small instant before the downbeat and this subtle gesture has a way of pulling you into the song as if by the hand, so to speak. Compare this to "I'll Cry Instead" and "The Night Before".


Verse

- The verse is sixteen measures long. Though it parses neatly, on one level, into four phrases that are equal in length, the structure here is more accurately described as two eight-measure couplets; the first being verse-like and the second sounding more like a refrain, with its suddenly slower harmonic rhythm and hook-phrase ending:

        |G      C       |D      G       |G      C       |G              |
G:       I      IV       V      I        I      IV       I


        |G      C       |D      G       |C      D       |G              |
         I      IV       V      I        IV     V        I


        |C              |G              |C              |G              |
         IV              I               IV              I


        |C              |G              |C      D       |G              |
         IV              V               IV     V       I
 

- The tune is distinguished by its opening with a dramatic upward leap of an octave and its abundance of appoggiaturas. In terms of shape, it gets rather obsessively stuck around the 5th scale degree (D) and curiously contains no appearance of the 7th scale degree (F#).

- The opening line of the verse (and much else) is scanned so as to place virtually all rhythmic emphasis off the beat. This nicely cuts across the underlying smooth and steady backbeat.

- The vocal arrangement features two-part harmony in first two measures of the first couplet (with John on the tune) but the remainder of this section has them singing in unison.


Bridge

- The bridge is an even eight measures but its structure is unusual. Only three of the four measures in the first phrase are sung, featuring the title phrase declaimed as though it were a kind of categorical imperative. This phrase is rounded out by a fanfare-like riff on the electric piano (featuring a slow triplet, no less), and leads to a second phrase that is entirely instrumental:

        |G              |-              |C              |-              |

        |G              |D              |G              |-              |
 

- Other sources of bridge-ly contrast here are the dramatically still slower harmonic rhythm and the sudden appearance for the first time in the song of the complete drum kit.

- A unifying connection with the music of the verses is found in the continued high quotient of appoggiaturas and that leap upward at the end of the piano solo; a sixth this time instead of an octave, but the gesture still resonates with the tune's opening.


Outro

- The outro is a compressed variation of the bridge in which only the first phrase is presented as modified so as to lead directly to a complete ending.

- The surprise touch of humming without words here at the end had been used to equally satisfying effect by John way back in "All I've Got To Do."

- A peculiar loud amount of hiss can be heard right at the end on the right channel, leading me to suspect that someone must have been caught asleep at the sliding fader switch.

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS

- That the group had a longstanding sweet tooth for the Latin flavor in their cover repertoire can be traced along a trajectory that runs from "Besame Mucho" through "Mister Moonlight" with several other examples coming in between. But you wouldn't neccessarily say the same thing about their repertoire of original songs, especially during the year or so that preceded our current number.

- Granted, during much of '64 they could be seen as branching out into unaccustomed styles and cross-blends, but the marked trends we've noted are in the direction of first bluesy, and later folksy elements. The turning here toward their erstwhile favored Latin beat is at first glance a mildly shocking surprise, or even an anachronism.

- On another level though, you might say this also shows not only a flexible versatility, but even a restless determination to keep trying new things and not repeat themselves overmuch. In perspective of what was first yet to come from them over the next several years, you might call this otherwise simple song yet another clue to the one of several new directions.

Regards,
Alan (awp@bitstream.com OR uunet!huxley!awp)

---
"Oh, you can come off it with us." 100592#67
---

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

I've Just Seen a Face

4
Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Cover versions and notes on The Beatles' song "I've Just Seen a Face".

Provenance
Written By: 
Lennon/McCartney
Year: 
1965
Primary Recording
By: 
The Beatles
Lead Vocal: 
Paul McCartney
Cover Versions
Amazon MP3: