Friday, March 27, 2009

Two Complete Beatles Album Live this Weekend

There may be a cold front blowing in, but we're planning on burning through the complete Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road albums live this weekend featuring two fantastic new guest singers.

We'll be inside where its warm on Sunday at the Uptown Marble Theater and heating up the crowd outdoors at Threadgills downtown on Saturday.

Want to win tickets to our Abbey Road Sgt. Pepper shows this weekend?

Watch the Beatles videos on our front page [] and tell me which arrangement incorporates music from two Beatles songs and what the two songs are. The first four folks that answer correctly, get tickets to the show of their choice. Send me your answers here:

Go to and watch the videos on the left side of the page.

Here's a look at all of the songs we'll be re-creating live this weekend. Ask yourself, how often do you hear a 10 piece ensemble pull of these tunes live? Don't miss out!

Side one

[edit] "Come Together"
Main article: Come Together

The album opener "Come Together" was a Lennon contribution. The chorus was inspired by a song Lennon originally wrote for Timothy Leary's campaign for governor of California titled "Let's Get It Together". A rough version of this can be heard in outtakes from Lennon's second bed-in event in Canada. It has been speculated that the verses, described by Lennon as intentionally obscure, refer cryptically to each of the Beatles - eg 'he's one holy roller' allegedly refers to the spiritually inclined Harrison. The song was later the subject of a lawsuit brought against Lennon by Morris Levy because the opening line in "Come Together" - "Here come old flat-top" - was admittedly lifted from a line in Chuck Berry's "You Can't Catch Me". "Come Together" was later released as a double A side single with "Something". In the liner notes to the Love album George Martin described the track as a personal favourite.

[edit] "Something"
Main article: Something

"Something", the second track on the album, later became Harrison's first A-side single. Originally written during the White Album sessions, the first line is based on the James Taylor song "Something in the Way She Moves" (Taylor was signed to Apple at the time). After the lyrics were refined during the "Let It Be" sessions (tapes reveal Lennon giving Harrison some songwriting advice during its composition), "Something" was initially given to Joe Cocker, but was subsequently recorded for Abbey Road. "Something" was Lennon's favourite song on the album, and McCartney considered it the best song Harrison had written. Frank Sinatra once commented that "Something" was his favourite Lennon-McCartney song[6] and "the greatest love song ever written".[7] The song was released on a double-sided single.

Harrison was rapidly growing as a songwriter, and with Abbey Road, he made his most significant contributions to a Beatles album. "Something" became the first Beatles number one single that was not a Lennon-McCartney composition; "Here Comes the Sun" has received significant radio airplay despite never having been released as a single. "Something" was sung by McCartney, accompanied for the first part of the song just on ukulele, at Concert for George on the first anniversary of Harrison's passing. Eric Clapton sang the rest with McCartney on harmony vocals and band accompaniment.

[edit] "Maxwell's Silver Hammer"
Main article: Maxwell's Silver Hammer

"Maxwell's Silver Hammer", McCartney's first song on the album, was first performed by the Beatles during the Let It Be sessions (as can be seen in the Let It Be documentary).

According to Geoff Emerick's book, Here, There and Everywhere, John Lennon said the song was "more of Paul's granny music", and refused to participate in the recording of the song.[8]

[edit] "Oh! Darling"
Main article: Oh! Darling

When recording "Oh! Darling", McCartney attempted recording only once a day, so that his voice would be fresh on the recording. Lennon was of the opinion that was the type of song that he would've sung the lead on, remarking that it was more his style. On the Anthology 3 album, Lennon can be heard singing the lead on an ad-libbed verse regarding the news that Yoko Ono's divorce from her first husband had just come through.

[edit] "Octopus's Garden"
Main article: Octopus's Garden

Starr wrote and sang one song for the album, "Octopus's Garden", his second (and last) composition released on a Beatles album. It was inspired by a trip to Sardinia that occurred when Starr left the band for two weeks with his family during the sessions for The White Album. While there, he composed the song, which is arguably his most successful writing effort. While Starr had the lyrics nearly pinned down, the song's melodic structure was partly written in the studio by Harrison (as can be seen in the Let It Be film), although Harrison gave full songwriting credit to Starr. (Harrison and Starr would later collaborate on Starr's solo single "Photograph", and Harrison also probably collaborated with Starr in writing "It Don't Come Easy").

[edit] "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"
Main article: I Want You (She's So Heavy)

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)", is a combination of two somewhat different recording attempts. The first attempt occurred almost immediately after the "Get Back/Let It Be" sessions in February 1969 and featuring Billy Preston on keyboards. This was subsequently combined with a second version made during the "Abbey Road" sessions proper, and when edited together ran nearly 8 minutes long, making it The Beatles' second-longest released song ("Revolution 9" being the longest). Perhaps more than any other Beatles song, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" reveals a pronounced progressive rock influence, with its unusual length and structure, repeating guitar riff, and "white noise" effects; the "I Want You" section has a straightforward blues structure. It also features one of the earliest uses of a Moog synthesizer to create the white-noise or "wind" effect heard near the end of the track. During the final edit, as the guitar riff continues on and on, Lennon told engineer Geoff Emerick to "cut it right there" at the 7:44 mark, creating a sudden, jarring silence which concluded side one of "Abbey Road". The final overdub session for "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" would be the last time all four Beatles worked in the studio together.

[edit] Side two

[edit] "Here Comes the Sun"
Main article: Here Comes the Sun

"Here Comes the Sun" is Harrison's second song on the album and one of his best-known songs, written in Eric Clapton's garden while Harrison was "sagging off" from an Apple board meeting, which he considered tedious. It was influenced by the Cream song "Badge", which was co-written by Clapton and Harrison. While not released as a single, the song has received frequent radio airplay since its release. Joe Brown would later sing it at "Concert for George."

[edit] "Because"
Main article: Because (The Beatles song)

"Because" features a Moog synthesizer, played by Harrison. The chords in "Because" were inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata", which Lennon heard Ono play on the piano, after which, according to Lennon, he played the chord progression backwards. "Because" features three-part harmonies by Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, which were then triple-tracked to sound like nine singers. The results of this have been compared in sound to the Beach Boys.

[edit] The medley

The climax of the album is the sixteen-minute medley consisting of several short songs, both finished and unfinished, blended into a suite by McCartney and George Martin. Most of these songs were written (and originally recorded in demo form) during sessions for The Beatles and the "Get Back"/Let It Be sessions.

"You Never Give Me Your Money" is the first song of the Abbey Road suite. It was written by McCartney and based loosely on The Beatles' financial problems with Apple. It slowly and quietly follows into "Sun King" (which, like "Because", showcases Lennon's, McCartney's, and Harrison's overdubbed harmonies), "Mean Mr. Mustard" (written during The Beatles' trip to India), and "Polythene Pam" (all of these Lennon compositions). These in turn are followed by four McCartney songs, "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window" (written after a fan came into McCartney's residence literally through the bathroom window[9]), "Golden Slumbers" (based on lyrics but not the music of Thomas Dekker's 17th-century song of the same name), "Carry That Weight" which features chorus vocals from all four of The Beatles, although Lennon was in hospital at the time of the primary recording due to a car accident with Ono, his son Julian and Ono's daughter Kyoko (he recorded his vocals at a later date), and the climax, "The End". The latter is notable for featuring Starr's only drum solo in The Beatles catalogue. Starr hated solos and had to be persuaded to do it. It was even edited down several bars from its original recorded version. Toward the end of the song, immediately prior to "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make" line played over piano chords, are eighteen bars or measures of guitar solo: the first two bars are played by Paul McCartney, the second two by George Harrison, and the third two by John Lennon, then the sequence repeats. Each had a distinctive style which McCartney felt reflected their personalities: McCartney's playing included string bends similar to his lead guitar work on "Another Girl" from the Help! album; Harrison's was melodic with slides yet technically advanced and Lennon's was rhythmic, stinging and had the heaviest distortion. Immediately after Lennon's third solo, the piano chords of the final line "And in the end...." begins.

An alternate version with Harrison's lead guitar solo played against McCartney's (with Starr's drum solo heard slightly in the background) appears on the Anthology 3 album. The song ends with the memorable final line, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make".

[edit] "Her Majesty"
Main article: Her Majesty (song)

"Her Majesty", tacked on the end, was originally part of the side two medley, appearing between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam". McCartney disliked the way the medley sounded when it included "Her Majesty", so he had the medley re-edited to remove it. However, second engineer John Kurlander had been instructed never to throw out anything, so after the group left the recording studio that day, he picked it up off the floor, spliced 14 seconds of red leader tape onto the final mix reel, and then spliced in "Her Majesty" immediately after the leader tape. The box of the album's master reel had a notation stating to leave "Her Majesty" off the final product, but the next day when Malcolm Davies at Apple received the tape, he (also trained not to throw anything away) cut a playback lacquer of the whole sequence, including "Her Majesty". The Beatles liked this effect and left it on the album. On the first printing of the LP cover, "Her Majesty" is not listed, although it is shown on the record label. "Her Majesty" opens with the final, crashing chord of "Mean Mr. Mustard", while the final note of "Her Majesty" remained buried in the mix of "Polythene Pam". This was the result of "Her Majesty" being snipped off the reel during a rough mix of the medley. The cut in the medley was subsequently disguised with further mixing although "Her Majesty" was not touched again and still appears in its rough mix.

Sgt Pepper
Side one

1. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" – 2:02
2. "With a Little Help from My Friends" – 2:44
3. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" – 3:28
4. "Getting Better" – 2:47
5. "Fixing a Hole" – 2:36
6. "She's Leaving Home" – 3:35
7. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" – 2:37

[edit] Side two

1. "Within You Without You" (George Harrison) – 5:05
2. "When I'm Sixty-Four" – 2:37
3. "Lovely Rita" – 2:42
4. "Good Morning Good Morning" – 2:41
5. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" – 1:18
6. "A Day in the Life" – 5:33

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