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Beatles bizarre

December 18th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

There are several blogs that offer any number of Beatles rarities; for Beatles fans like myself suffering under the dictate of arbitrary and cruel bandwidth limits, there is a need to be selective. So I don”t downloaded from them. And yet, I have accumulated a fair bit of Beatles curiosities, some of them actually entertaining. Here are some of them.
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The Beatles ““ Christmas Single 1965.mp3
The Beatles ““ Christmas Single 1968.mp3
The Beatles – Christmas Time (Is Here Again).mp3

Starting in 1963, the Beatles issued annual Christmas flexi discs exclusively to members of their official fan clubs. Besides sincere Christmas greetings, these consisted of a whole lot of free-associating riffing by our four friends, singing a bit in a humorous vein (the group rendition of Yesterday in 1965 is amusingly off-key), Lennon delivering his poetry, and the enactments of gags that showed the influence of The Goons on the Fabs. Some of it, such as the 1966 single, is impenetrable unless one appreciates The Goons (which I don”t).

The 1968 (notable for Tiny Tim doing violence to Nowhere Man) and 1969 singles were recorded separately, unlike all the previous offerings. The 1969 single was issued at a time when the group had virtually split already, even if the dissolution became official only on April 10, 1974. It features a giggly Yoko “interviewing” John (who always seemed to enjoy making these singles the most) and John looking forward to the 1970s (Yoko optimistically predicts that there”ll be “peace and freedom” in the new decade, John evidently takes a more cynical view), Paul is singing This Is To Wish You A Merry, Merry Christmas, George pops up briefly to deliver a quick greeting, and Ringo appears only to promote his movie The Magic Christian.

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) is a Beatles composition “” all four share the writing credit “” released on the 1967 single. There it goes on for more than six minutes. The version here is the shortened version that appeared on the b-side of Free As A Bird.

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Nilsson – You Can”t Do That.mp3
Recorded for his 1967 debut album Pandemonium Shadow Show, Harry Nilsson covered the b-side of Can”t Buy Me Love, and worked in references “” lyrical or musical “” to 20 other Beatles songs (the LP also included a cover of She”s Leaving Home). Indeed, in the beginning it isn”t entirely clear which Beatles song he is actually covering (unless, of course, one knows the title). John Lennon was a particularly big fan of Nilsson”s album. The mutual appreciation developed into one of pop”s most famous friendships.

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Mystery Tour – Ballad Of Paul.mp3
Terry Knight – Saint Paul.mp3

The initial Paul Is Dead rumour preceded the release of Abbey Road by a week. The album”s cover “confirmed” that Macca was indeed dead, but the story began with an error-filled student newspaper article publishd on 18 September 1969 by one Tim Harper for the Drake University”s Times-Delphic. From Harper”s fertile imagination sprang a wild conspiracy theory which caused quite a hysteria. There is an 8-CD series of radio recordings covering in detail the reaction to Paul”s death. The moderately talented Mystery Tour (yes, Mystery Tour) explained why the evidence of Paul” death, with reference to the Abbey Road cover, of course (apparently left-handers are incapable of smoking with their right hand). We also learn that “John Lennon is a holy man”, who “provided lots of clues” as to the conspiracy of Paul”s death and its cover-up. This site has all the answers: it was them Rolling Stones wot dun Paul in, Constable.

Record producer and general music pusher Terry Knight”s single came out before the Paul Is Dead hoax started. He had met the Beatles at a fraught time during the White Album sessions in 1968. Convinced that the Beatles would break up soon, he wrote Saint Paul. His single was released in May 1969, before Harper”s article. Once the rumour had gathered pace, however, Knight”s single was presented as an obituary to Paul, feeding the rumour mill further. Knight himself became the subject of obituaries when he was murdered in 2004 while protecting his daughter from a clearly unsuitable boyfriend.

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May West – Day Tripper.mp3
We”ve had Mae West warbling Twist And Shout (HERE). So how might the septegenarian top that? Why, by doing Day Tripper, of course. Her interpretation, as it turned out, was unnecessary, because time has shown the Beatles” original to be quite adequate, even without the sub-Jimi Hendrix antics at 1:13, which morph into a Chuck Berry-lite solo, and Ms West”s seductive moanings. Still, if Liza Minelli as Lucille 2 planned to record an album of Beatles covers, she”ll have a perfect reference point.

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Mrs Miller ““ A Hard Day”s Night.mp3
Peter Sellers ““ A Hard Day”s Night.mp3
Goldie Hawn – A Hard Day”s Night.mp3

Bless Mrs Miller. She was serious and entirely unironic about her singing, but also possessed the self-awareness to know that she was a bit of a joke. She did her limited best, and was aware that there was no consensual admiration of her singing chops. Though she never intended to create comedy”” she was motivated to disseminate her art widely as a way of inspiring others “” she knew that her cult status was based on listeners deriving amusement from her stylings. Her version of Hard Day”s Night is notable for her lapses in timing and the aggressive licence she takes with reaching the right notes.

Peter Sellers “” a Goon Show alumni, of course “” released a series of comedy versions of Beatles songs, some funnier than others. His Dr Strangelove take on She Loves You is inspired (and will feature at a later point with more Beatles curiosities). Sellers performs A Hard Day”s Night in the manner of Laurence Olivier as Shakespeare”s Richard III. Released as a single in late 1965 (backed with his take on Help, which will also feature at some point), it reached #14 in the British charts in early 1966.

In 1998, Beatles producer George Martin recorded reimagined versions of songs by his former charges, with a roster of guest vocalists taking turns to perform singing duties. Some of these invitees were not terrible good ideas, least of the insufferable Robin Williams (who admirably managed to go a few minutes without turning into a gay hairdresser). Another of these questionable ideas was to ask a giggly Goldie Hawn to sing A Hard Day”s Night, to a smoothy swinging backing track, on which she plays the piano. She feels “okey dokey”. The listener, when hearing Goldie”s vocals, probably less so.

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  1. whiteray
    December 19th, 2009 at 00:20 | #1

    The George Martin project from which came Goldie Hawn’s “A Hard Day’s Night” – and this is definitely a bad version – was his final project before retiring. It may have hit the mark best on its final track, which had Sean Connery reciting “In My Life.”

  2. December 19th, 2009 at 07:39 | #2

    I’ve never heard these before (the Beatles’ Christmas tunes). Urban legend? Not anymore

  3. Shub
    December 22nd, 2009 at 04:20 | #3

    Bless Mrs. Miller indeed! Thanks for the Beatles Christmas songs. You have made my mother very happy with them.

  4. James
    December 22nd, 2009 at 17:40 | #4

    Harry Nilsson gave the Everly Brothers a similar treatment with a version of “Walk Right Back.” In this case (if I remember correctly), the recording wasn’t released at the time but turned up as a bonus track on one of the Buddha reissues on CD, decades later. Whatever the history, it’s just as good as “You Can’t Do That.”

  5. Rick
    December 23rd, 2009 at 17:38 | #5

    If anyone is interisted in The Beatles Christmas records, all 7 of them can be downloaded frhttp://www.morethings.com/mp3/om this page.

  6. Rick
    December 24th, 2009 at 01:20 | #6
  7. January 2nd, 2010 at 18:17 | #7

    Thanks for posting these. I was nine years old (with older siblings who listened to all the latest stuff then) and remember the songs and the controversy over Paul’s supposed ‘death’. When the 9/11 conspiracy theories started blasting off the pages of multiple internet sites, it brought back a flashback memory for me of the “Paul is Dead” hysteria that circulated on discs, radio shows, and mimeograph sheets of 1969.

    In the song “St. Paul” you can hear shades of another top hit of 1969, Steam’s “Na Na Hey Hey (Kiss Him Goodbye)” which is kind of amusing. Anyway, I suppose we humans must have brains that are still not very well wired or evolved, which allow us to fall into various, illogical beliefs.

  8. Jerry D. Withers
    May 7th, 2010 at 07:06 | #8

    About the Beatles’ 68 & 69 Christmas records, a fascinating piece of trivia: Unlike the George Martin produced ones, these were put together by a fellow named Maurice Coles — whom you might also know as (yes) Kenny Everett!

    And this is why it’s called trivia!

  9. halfhearteddude
    May 7th, 2010 at 10:37 | #9

    That is an amazing slice of trivia. From the Beatles to the Snot Rap… not a career arch I’d be satisfied with.

  10. Mi Al
    December 2nd, 2014 at 01:39 | #10

    Wow after Terry Knight – Saint Paul song, I think now that Paul is really dead. RIP Paul.

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