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The Beatles: History, Political Environment & Music Analysis

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Thu, 03 May 2018

Liverpool, a city 202 miles northwest of London that holds down the right bank of the River Mersey, is the second largest port in the British Isles.1 Rock ‘n’ roll music made its way to England through the port of Liverpool. Liverpool was the entry point for cotton and other imports, including American records, from the United States.2 As a result, compared to the rest of the people in Britain, the people in Liverpool had a stronger exposure to American music. Another factor that contributed to the Liverpudlians’ familiarity with American music was the presence of RAF Burtonwood, a U.S. military base a few miles northeast of Liverpool. 2 It had the most United States Army Air Forces personnel and facilities in Europe during World War II. At the end of the war, 18,000 servicemen were stationed in this base, which was so large it was known as “little America”, and they brought to England things from home, including their favorite records.2

History

All four Beatles were born into the working class, amid the raining down of German bombs and the wailing of air-sirens during World War II.3 By the time they were teenagers, in the 1950s, things were only starting to settle down – Britain was crippled financially, food rationing continued, and the terrain was still jagged with blast marks and craters.4

In the early 1960s, Great Britain still had vast unemployment and stultifying class disjunction, while America, on the other hand, was devastated by the Kennedy assassination and the realities of the Cold War.5 Britons were just coming to terms with the scandal surrounding Government Defense Minister John Profumo’s extramarital affair,6 which damaged the credibility of the government and eventually led to the resignation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.7

The 1960s was a period defined by the Cold War and the relative economic prosperity of capitalism in the west.8 It was an era marked by rock concerts, peace demonstrations, and local pockets of activism and community.9 The Beatles’ early success symbolized a break with the absence of innovation and quality of late 1950s music, and at the same time it was a continuation of the legacy of the 1950s, as the song writing of Chuck Berry and the vocal style of the Everly Brothers, among many other contributing factors, were integral to the formation of the Beatles own stylistic identity.10

Popular culture was not thought to play a role in political controversy or in society at large, but that was until the end of the Second World War. The Cold War suddenly made popular culture controversial. Actor John Wayne was popular mostly because of the political positions with which he was associated. The need to compete with television led the movies to risk controversial subjects, such as anti-Semitism, homosexuality, and juvenile delinquency. Elvis Presley’s introduction of rock ‘n’ roll music to a white, mainstream audience solidified the association between youth and popular music. By the 1960s, the music helped to establish for teenagers a powerful sense of generational identity. The Beatles attracted a college-age audience to rock ‘n’ roll, and so their vast popularity contributed to this new perception.11

It was in this period that the youth of the day began to identify with the victims of social injustice. The Hippie culture made these well-to-do young people feel that they could relate to the minority and the poor subpopulations. They pleaded with predominant institutions, the so-called “establishment”, to reverse their indifference and offer relief, but they realized that the “establishment” would not heed their moral call and that they had to take it upon themselves to organize as a political movement.12

This period had burning issues that mobilized enormous segments of society. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. magnificently translated the Civil Rights movement, primarily a minority issue, into a universal eliciting of consciousness regarding equal rights for all. The Vietnam War funneled the moral outrage of the youthful secularists into a consciousness that is said to have persisted into the present day. 12

Bob Dylan, the central figure in the emergence of rock ‘n’ roll’s cultural importance, had established himself as the leading young folk music performer and as a writer of powerful topical songs.9 He helped politicize a vast segment of rock culture including the Beatles, inspiring the group to accept its popularity as an opportunity to define and speak to a vital youth constituency. The Beatles’ music, and rock music in general, became a medium for addressing the issues and events that affected that generation.13

Society

As a result of the Baby Boom and the tremendous expansion in opportunities for higher education initiated after World War II, more individuals belonged to the intellectual community or were affected by it. The Baby Boomers were also raised with increasing permissiveness by parents. Children were encouraged not only to think on their own, but to think about a wide range of heretofore suppressed thoughts. It was in the 60s that the formerly stable institutions of Western society—the church, the family, and the local community—began to break down, and as the youth of the day, in increasing numbers, began to explore widely divergent socio-cultural milieus, they came into conflict with conditions of society far less comfortable than their own. They began to identify with the victims of social injustice and pleaded with what appeared to be massive and callous institutions to reverse their indifference and offer relief. The Hippie culture was a result of this – they were able to think of themselves as outlaws, which made them feel that they could relate to the minority.12

There appears to be a connection between the cultural revolution of the sixties and the Beatles’ music.14 Beat music, which is exemplified by the music of the Beatles, became popular in the 1960s, and at the same time, youth propagated more egalitarian and informal ways of communication as the new standard for social interaction.15 The communication code of the peer group is characterized by an open and almost permanent negotiation of feelings and opinions.16 The Beatles’ songs could articulate the vocabulary of the rising youth culture so well. The Beatles’ songs evoked a sense of awakening, as they were articulating and promoting the open and reciprocal idiom of the peer group as a model for civil conversation, giving a full voice to youth culture.14

Politics and Economy

Britain, in the 1950s, was recuperating from the aftermath of the war. The cost-of-living index continued to rise rapidly, causing strikes among market workers and employees. Acute coal shortage brought about actual importation from the United States. But employment remained high, because industries began a rapid expansion. The supply of consumer goods also continued to increase, reversing the policy on rationing. The general picture of the economy was brightening.17 The 1960s was witness to the Cold War and the relative economic prosperity of capitalism in the west.8 The United States economy’s longest peacetime expansion took place from 1961 to 1969.18 The period also saw the Civil Rights movement, the call for equal rights for all, and the Vietnam War, among other issues, which mobilized a huge segment of society into civil disobedience.12 Rock music, which held the youth together,11 was one of the mediums in which they addressed these issues.13

Artworld Relations

Rock ‘n’ roll is a music form that revolutionized in the United States in the late 1940s and early 1950s through a mixing together of various popular musical genres of the time. It is rooted mainly on rhythm and blues, country, folk, gospel, and jazz. The style quickly spread to the rest of the world and developed further, leading eventually to modern rock music. At around the same time that rock and roll hit Britain in early 1956, a similar form of music came along which is popularly known as skiffle. It was really a fusion of American Jazz, blues and folk music. It also had been surfacing in various semblances for quite a few years.19 From its inception in the early fifties, it had offered teenagers, at that time, a new way of taking in music. With its unmistakably mutinous undertones, rock provides a musical score for the twilight universe that is adolescence. It was commonly looked down by older music listeners but for the youth of that period, it seemed like a personalized declaration of independence.20 A thumbnail chronology of 1950s rock days is a thumbnail chronology of a war between young and old.20 Before a bunch of American records reached UK and stirred the Brits, the firepower started when Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock reached number one both in the US and UK, and Chuck Berry’s Maybellene began to scream on the radios.20

By the late 1950s, rock raced across the pop charts which entertained a lot of teenagers. However, the success of the form by this time is counteracted by most adults and the music industry itself that still looks at rock disdainfully. The new sound is fighting a generational, musical, social, personal war with society.21 While somewhat disturbing society’s walls, rock ‘n’ roll is imploding in the hearts of some teenagers in an English seaport called Liverpool,21 including the young Beatles members, John, George, Paul and Ringo.

The first flourishes of rock n’ roll in the form of Bill Haley and His Comets aligned music with rebellious youth. Particular rock and roll idols following after started the ball rolling for the Beatles. This is topped by none other than Elvis Presley who’s dubbed as the guy who lit the Beatles’ fuse.22 The rock artists who had a major impact on the Beatles ranged from FatsDomino, Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, little Richard, to Chuck Berry. The list goes on. To the Beatles, Elvis may have represented the music style that they wanted, but he wasn’t quite the complete package. He sang brilliantly and looked fantastic. He had great songs but he didn’t actually write them. However, there were other artists coming onto the scene who also wrote their own material, and this kind of self-sufficiency really appealed to the young Lennon and McCartney.23

At the top of it was Chuck Berry. He was one of the few black performers whom white teenage audience consciously listened to during the 1950s, and he did largely entertained them on the strength of charismatic stage character, his distinctive, rocking, and widely imitated guitar licks, and his ingenious songs. One aspect of Chuck Berry’s tremendous influence that should be highlighted, is the way he introduced a more sophisticated and disciplined form of lyricism to rock music. Thus inspiring the likes of Lennon and McCartney to compose their own songs.23

All these musical influences were quickly spread to a mainstream audience of young people during the 1950s and 60s. Before TV took over as a multi-purpose medium for spreading this, radio was king. That well-known Beatle sense of humor came about partly because of the radio comedians they listened to as kids. At the same time, it was also via the airwaves that they first heard the strains of rock and roll. At their time, TV sets were a definite luxury, but one commodity that could probably be inside all of their homes was the radio.24 During the mid-50s the only British channels that people could tune into were those of the government-controlled British Broadcasting Corporation. The BBC basically transmitted what the adults wanted to hear, easy listening, all the way from Vera Lynn to Frankie Laine. Rock ‘n’ roll music was no way to be broadcasted then. Radio helped to shape the Beatles’ musical tastes and their sense of humor.25

Sample/Analysis

Love Me Do

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon: vocals, harmonica

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass

George Harrison: acoustic rhythm guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine

The form is quite simple perhaps because Paul started composing this when he was very young, probably around 15 or 16. In line with this is the simple plaintive melody and rhythm of the song. The group has started out with simple rhythms, unsophisticated and straightforward lyrics, and themes that are very appealing to the teen audience. The very striking and remarkable feature in the song is the harmonica which John played quite well. The harmonica also added that certain x-factor to the tune and to the song in general. The lyrics were just repeated all throughout the song, which makes it quite short. The vocal aspect of the song appears to be apt for the theme of the song.

The lyrics of the song is a simple dedication of a devoted lover to his loved one. The song is not as soft and mellow as Yesterday, but not as hard as Helter Skelter. Compared to the other hits of the Beatles after the release of Love Me Do, this song in particular carried a big significance to the band members because it just signaled that they are now in the recording industry, which they only used to dream of.

I Saw Her Standing There

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded:

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon:lead vocals, harpsichord, banjo

Paul McCartney: bass

George Harrison: violin, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, snare drum roll

I Saw Her Standing There is one of the boys’ first fast, hard rockers. The arrangement of this song is filled with techniques and touches unique to the group that defined the early sound of the Beatles. The song narrates a simple boy-meets-girl story in the first person to which the pulsating music lends a definitely hot connotation, in spite of the lack of any explicit passion in the lyrics. They also used a type of wordplay that also became a Beatles trademark. In terms of its form, the song has a comparatively long running time of 2:52 which consists of a 2 bridge model with 2 verses intervening, one of which is for guitar solo. The fast pace of the song enhance a general feeling of urgency. Also, the tune covers a broad range and consists of an entirely interesting mix of step-wise motion with dramatic long-jumps. Each of the members contributed to the over-all excitement in the arrangement of this song. This includes Paul’s boogie-woogie bass lines, which outline the chords, Ringo’s elaborately syncopated drum fills that appear in the space between sections, the backing work on rhythm and lead guitars that works in fine synergy with the bass and drum parts. Furthermore, the tight vocal harmonies of Paul and John feature a type of counterpoint that seems bracingly different from what was to be heard from their contemporaries. Lastly, the handclaps and the screaming used for background punctuation are unessential yet nevertheless characteristic.

The song evokes such a pleasurably exuberant mood and an absence of romantic/emotional complications. It’s more of a ‘hip ditty bop noise’, as Richard Price puts it, reminding us in perpetuity of the ‘nowness and coolness of being 17 and hip’, as well as falling for the first time in what a teenage thinks just might be ‘real’ love. Although there’s an eventually bitter and disappointing side to this experience, the song emphasizes that the sweeter part of it is worth taking with someone for the rest of his life. Just like any of their early period songs, this song contains no profundity in its lyrics. It just implies the usual situation that a teenager faces in terms of love and the opposite sex. It appears to be somewhat a way of expressing a teen feeling about love and the common view of the youth about it at the time. Here, it seemed that the Beatles try to make an impression that they are like the other youngster as to how they view that certain aspect of the teen world.

All my Loving

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon: backing vocals, rhythm guitar

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass

George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums

The song is one of the several Beatles songs with somehow superficial lyrics about love and affection. The melody is quite lively though it’s not as upbeat as IWant to Hold Your Hand and I Saw Her Standing There. There were also some stopgaps in between the stanzas in the song. Evidently, it is one of those songs that characterized the early songwriting and music composition of the Beatles.

I Want to Hold Your Hand

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon:lead vocals, harpsichord, banjo

Paul McCartney: bass

George Harrison: violin, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, snare drum roll

The song is deceptively straightforward and regular in design. It starts with a falling melody. Also, it sounds closer to conservative pop than rebelliously hard rock. It has the non-intuitive two-part vocal harmony, falsetto screaming, an occasionally novel chord progression, abrupt rhythm even some elided phrasing and the overdubbed handclaps. The original song has no real “lead” singer or even a clearly defined melody, as Lennon and McCartney sing in harmony with each other. They sing in duet virtually the whole way through. Paul plays quite a bit of double-stops in the bass part, Ringo throws in some of his structurally significant drum fills in between the second and third phrase of each verse, and most subtle of all, George contributes a number of lead guitar fills.

It was the youth who discovered the Beatles, and while young people can be easily manipulated through hype and image, in the case of the Beatles it was the music that drew them in. This song is undeniably one of the Beatles all-time hits and in several ways represents the compositional height of what could be called their Very Early period. In context of November 1963, I Want to Hold Your Hand was the best they could do, a kind of summing up of all they had done to-date. It also has a seemingly puppy-love simplicity that does hold up remarkably well like a classic. I Want to Hold Your Hand was not subject to numerous cover versions like other Beatles songs such as Yesterday or Something. Nonetheless, it was one of their greatest hits. Their early songs mostly consist of simple and uncomplicated meanings behind the lyrics that were tailored for the young audience.

A Hard Day’s Night

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon:lead vocals, harpsichord, banjo

Paul McCartney: bass

George Harrison: violin, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, snare drum roll

The song has a long form, with two bridges and an instrumental break. It has a deep similarity with typical “blues” melodic structures which creates a combined style between traditional blues elements and those more recognizable as the Beatles’ own trademarks. A Hard Day’s Night is a particularly forward-looking song since it has numerous innovations in the area of harmony and arrangement. It has a generally energetic bustle that appears on its surface. On a subtle level, the very casualness of the discordance between the tunes and chords adds a characterizingly “slang” flavor to the song’s over all music vocabulary. John takes most of the verse as solo and Paul with the bridge. In the chorus, Paul handles the high harmony and John the low harmony. The opening chord has its great effect because of the sudden, crisp attack of the song. The pause that follows the opening chord is an example of how suspense and a sense of rising expectations is created by a change of pace. The effect has a surprise factor that works well at the beginning of the film or album. The song is parallel in itself since it ends off inexplicably on practically the same chord with which the song began. This also provides some unity to the song generally. Furthermore, it closes with a fade-out which was new to the Beatles at that time since the prior songs had closed with a final chord such as She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand.

The lyrics are far from profound. Basically, the song speaks about one’s undying devotion to his loved one and how he works hard so she can buy the things she fancies. The singer sings about his tiredness when he comes home from work. But when he sees the things that his lover does, these perk him up. The song was sung on an exuberant mood along with fast paced beats in it. It also incorporated new techniques that the Beatles have not yet done in their earlier songs like Harrison’s arpeggio-playing during the fade-out. The simple lyrics cater to a larger audience of young people. This is due to the theme of the song which is about love that gets it across to a lot of young listeners. Furthermore, there is but a few meanings to this song which is usually the characteristic of their early period songs. Perhaps, because their main goal by then is to gain popularity through entertaining a larger portion of music listeners, the kids.

Help!

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon:lead vocals, harpsichord, banjo

Paul McCartney: bass

George Harrison: violin, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, snare drum roll

The song Help! has a two-part lead vocals and a speeded-up tempo. The final take in the recording session was the best, and onto this Ringo Starr overdubbed a tambourine, and George Harrison added the series of descending Chet Atkins-style guitar notes which close each chorus. One can listen to a couple of complicated, fast riffs in the song which added more pulse to the overall rhythm. The melody, somewhat, counteracted the message of the song of being depressed and disheartened. It was noticeably composed to satisfy their commercial instincts at this time. The lyrics, on the other hand, is somehow repetitive that makes the song a bit short compared to their prior songs. The vocals were solid enough to agree with the harmony of the instruments most notably the tambourine playing at the background. It still definitely has some blues elements incorporated in the song which is most common to the Beatles’ songs.

The song’s lyrics seem straightforward and superficial. The lyric that emerged was not simply a boy talking to a girl, but more of a patient to a psychotherapist or just someone seeking help from somebody else or from a mind-altering substance. The song was a marked departure from the boy-girl relationships that they have been talking about in their early songs. On the other hand, the song had commercial appeal, with its fast tempo and lively instrumentation. Here, the group is starting to develop emotional depth and weight in composing their songs.

Yesterday

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Magical Mystery Tour, Track 11 (Parlophone CDP7 48062-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 12 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 7 July 1967 A Single / Baby You’re A Rich Man

Recorded: 14 June 1967, Olympic Sound Studios; 19 June 1967, Abbey Road 3; 23-25 June 1967, Abbey Road 1; the song was aired on the Eurovision program “Our World” on 25.06.1967

Length: 2:57

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4 (with occasional 3/4)

Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse (guitar solo) | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Refrain | Outro (fade-out)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon:lead vocals, harpsichord, banjo

Paul McCartney: bass

George Harrison: violin, lead guitar

Ringo Starr: drums, snare drum roll

Yesterday has a unique arrangement, an attractive tune, even some asymmetrical phrasing and a couple of off-beat chord progressions. It has a tempo that is uncharacteristically slow. The instrumental backing consists entirely of an acoustic guitar and a string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello) with the two elements mixed. The track is sung solo by Paul virtually all the way through with a particular exception for a short patch of double tracking to highlight the high notes at the end of the first bridge. As with Paul’s other hymns, the bass line of this song is played with special emphasis whether through the hard-picked notes on the low-strings of the guitar or supported by the cello. The string arrangement supplements the song’s air of sadness, notably the moaning of the cello melody and its blue seventh that connects the two halves of the bridge as well as the descending line by the viola that shifts the chorus back unto the verses. There is an ironic tension between the content of what is played by the quartet and the restrained, spare nature of the medium in which it is played, adding an engaging level of depth to the performance. This is quite different from the fast paced, upbeat songs of the Beatles prior to this one especially because of its soothing, light melodic structure.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Rubber Soul, Track 2 (Parlophone CDP7 46440-2)

Released: 3 December 1965

Recorded: 12, 21 October 1965, Abbey Road 2

Length: 2:05

Key: E Major

Meter: 3/4 (6/8)

Form: Verse (instrumental intro) | Verse | Bridge | Verse | Verse (instrumental solo) | Bridge

| Verse | Outro (with complete ending)

Instrumentation:

John Lennon: double tracked lead vocal, 6 & 12 string acoustic rhythm guitars

Paul McCartney: harmony vocal and bass

George Harrison: doubletracked sitar

Ringo Starr: finger cymbals, tambourine, maracas

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) is a rhythmic acoustic ballad featuring signature Beatle harmonies in the middle eight. “Norwegian wood” refers to the cheap pinewood that often finished the interiors of working class British flats. The lyrics speak of an encounter between the singer and an unnamed girl. They drink wine and talk. The speaker may have been hoping to sleep with the girl, declaring “it’s time for bed”. But the girl leaves him to crawl off to “sleep in the bath” alone. Later, the singer finds that the girl has left him for another love, so the singer lights a fire and burns the girl’s house as an act of revenge. Lighting a fire may also be interpreted as smoking a cigarette or smoking some weed. The instrumental backing is acoustic in style approach.

The intro is sixteen measures long. The presentation of the hook phrase consists of the solo acoustic guitar followed by the entrance of the sitar (which then carries the melody) and bass guitar. All the verses follow the pattern set up in the intro. The bridge is also sixteen measures long, and the slowness of the harmonic rhythm helps maintain the measured mood established earlier The outro provides one repeat of the hook.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) is the first pop record ever released to feature a sitar (Newman 93). In direct contrast to earlier Beatles songs such as Love Me Do and I Want to Hold Your Hand, Norwegian Wood(This Bird Has Flown)provides a darker outlook towards romantic relationships. The exotic instrumentation and oblique lyrics are indications of the expanding musical vocabulary and experimental approach that the Beatles were rapidly adopting.

Yellow Submarine

Writer/s: Lennon/McCartney

Producer: George Martin

CD: Revolver, Track 6 (Parlophone CDP7 46441-2)

Yellow Submarine, Track 1 (Parlophone CDP7 46445-2)

Yellow Submarine Songtrack, Track 1 (EMI 5 21481-2)

Released: 5 August 1966 (Double-A Single / Eleanor Rigby and LP Revolver)

Recorded: 26 May 1966, Abbey Road 3; 1 June 1966, Abbey Road 2

Length: 2:38

Key: G Major

Meter: 4/4

Form: Verse | Verse | Refrain | Verse | Refrain | Verse (instrumental) | Verse | Refrain

Instrumentation:

John Lennon: acoustic guitar, blowing bubbles

Paul McCartney: bass, acoustic guitar

George Harrison: tambourine

Ringo Starr: lead vocals, drums


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