Well, the final school term of 2014 has begun, and 7 weeks left of this school year! Yay! I have a really big History assignment impending, so I apologise if I don’t get to post as much as I’d like. I also have my Grade 3 violin exam coming in two weeks. These next couple of months are going to be very busy. But The Beatles (and this blog) will not be neglected! I also have another exciting event coming up in a couple of weeks, too, which I’ll write more about at the bottom of this post. The weather is really, really hot here in Adelaide today, but it’ll get to a good 15 or so degrees above this in January, so I guess I’d better get used to it. But to sum up this paragraph, everything finally seems peaceful and round in my mind, and to quote The Beatles, “It’s getting better all the time!” For once, my pessimistic nature seems to be taking a back seat… 😉
So today, I was going to do a relatively detailed post, but I’ve got some other stuff to write about too so I decided just to write about a featured Beatles song. And because it’s so hot today, I’ve decided to feature (drum roll please, Ringo)…’Rain’! (Yeah, I know — it is obviously not raining here, but there are lines in this song that refer to the sun…)
‘Rain’ isn’t even remotely well known, yet it’s still one of the most influential songs ever released (IMO). Only The Beatles could do that! It was, in fact, the B-side to ‘Paperback Writer’ (both gorgeous songs), though some say it was actually a double-A-sided single. It was (slightly obviously) written by John (HE’S SINGING IT), and he, er, rather obviously, is singing it. I read somewhere that he sang much of the backing vocals as well, though according to Wikipedia Paul and George also sang a track each. Apparently (again according to Wikipedia), it has been often hailed “The Beatles’ finest B-side”. Well, The Beatles’ B-sides are actually a lot of their best songs (‘This Boy’ is, in my opinion, a far superior song to ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’. I considerably prefer ‘You Can’t Do That’ to ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. ‘Yes It Is’ is a B-side, and whilst I love ‘Ticket To Ride’ about equally to it, it is still absolutely exquisite. Not to even mention ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Revolution’, ‘Old Brown Shoe’….), so I really do not know how one could choose a finest B-side. So let’s just say its one of their finest…
Some claim that the song was about LSD, and others claim it is about the horrible weather that John saw when he was touring Australia. I — being Australian — obviously think it would be cool if one of my favourite songs is written about my country, but I honestly don’t care if it’s about acid or not. I guess we’ll never know what is the right story, as John never commented on what the song was about. But anyway… The song is notable for being the first exhibition of BACKMASKING! And I guarantee you that no satanic messages were involved 😉 … Both John and George Martin have claimed that they created it. John claims to have accidentally discovered it whilst listening to a tape of the song whilst he was “stoned out of his mind”, and George Martin also claims that he discovered it whilst playing around with the tapes and thinking it would be fun to do something with John’s voice. Geoff Emerick backs up John, but who knows? John played his 1965 Gretsch Nashville (rhythm) guitar, Paul used his Rickenbacker bass for the first time, George used his Gibson SG and Ringo played, well, his Ludwig drums. Talking of Ringo’s drumming, ‘Rain’ often cited as Ringo’s best drumming performance (including Ringo himself). Quote Ringo: “I think it’s the best out of all the records I’ve ever made. ‘Rain’ blows me away…I know me and I know my playing…and then there’s ‘Rain'” The song just has an amazing rhythm track, full stop. Be sure to listen to it with good-quality speakers and/or headphones!
This song was also one of the earliest examples of the music clip. As you may or may not remember from my earlier post Six Ways The Beatles Changed The World, The Beatles basically invented the music clip, and were using promo films as early as late 1965, but at that point were really just miming their stuff in black-and-white. Though you could technically say that ‘Penny Lane’/’Strawberry Fields Forever’ were the first true music videos (they are truly amazing — look them up), ‘Rain’ and ‘Paperback Writer’ were the first songs that had proper music clips. The Beatles are filmed wandering around the grounds of a British mansion called Chiswick House IN COLOUR, and yeah, they mime, but there you have it! To quote George, “So I suppose, in a way, we invented MTV.”
So there you have it — a profile of one of The Beatles’ finest songs, from my favourite Beatles era. (The music from that era is — excuse cliche — too completely and utterly beautiful for words.) Hope you learnt something!
And my news… I’M GOING TO SEE RODRIGUEZ LIVE IN TWO WEEKS! Some of you may have heard of a guy called Rodriguez (or Sixto Rodriguez) and/or a documentary called Searching For Sugarman. Story cut short, Rodriguez was an American folk singer (slightly Dylanesque) who sold about six records in the US, but was “bigger than Elvis” in South Africa. (He also sold quite well here.) He was actually thought dead by most of his fans until he was found by some South African fans in the ’90s. And next month he is touring Australia! We only managed to finally get tickets a couple of days ago, as most of them had been bought by stupid scalpers. But anyway, I’m really excited, and you’ll be sure to get a post on the gig! I’ll leave you with my favourite Rodriguez song now, so good day sunshine until next week! 🙂