Inspired by the powerful bass on a Wilson Pickett track, 'Paperback Writer' was the first track on which Paul McCartney used a Rickenbacker bass guitar boosted by a microphone and loudspeaker to give it a much fuller sound.
When I was on a flight to Sri Lanka, a good few years ago, I read an article in an in-flight magazine, claiming that this song was about a writer who had exiled himself from Britain, as he was a pedophile but I cannot find any information now to support this and I cannot remember the name of the man anyway. The general feeling is that this could be about any writer who is trying to get a book published and as John Lennon had already written two books, himself, maybe that is how Paul McCartney got the idea for the song!
One of the things I love about The Beatles is that every so often they would come up with a song that was completely off the wall and 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' is one of those. Although it's a fun sing-a-long song, it has quite dark lyrics: the theme being about a guy called Maxwell who goes around murdering people with a hammer. A McCartney song from the Abbey Road album.
From the Revolver album, this song was written by Paul McCartney and is allegedly one of his favourites. It was inspired by the Beach Boys song 'God Only Knows'. McCartney has been heard to say many times that he wished he had written 'God Only Knows', a song from the Pet Sounds album which is heralded by many as the greatest album of all time.
What I love about this track is that it is a simple description of a neighbourhood that could be anyone's: it just happens to be the home town of the greatest pop group the world has ever known. It is a song that will forever remind them and their family and fans where it all began.'Penny Lane' is a double 'A sided' record with 'Strawberry Fields Forever'. Incidentally the place, Penny Lane, is believed to have been named after the 18th century merchant and slave trader, James Penny.
One of the few Beatles tracks written by George Harrison, 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' is a beautiful song which features the guitar of Harrison's friend, Eric Clapton. It featured on The White Album.
Allegedly, Paul McCartney made this song up as he was escorting John Lennon's young son, Julian in a taxi at the time when his parent were splitting up. McCartney sang to the little boy "Hey Jules....." When the song was recorded, it was changed to Jude to make it less personal and because it Jude sounded better. Another track from The White Album, which at over seven minutes long was, at the time, the longest single ever to top the charts.
Two versions of this John Lennon song were recorded: the familiar rock version and a more slow, bluesy version which was on the B side of 'Hey Jude'. 'Revolution', too, was included on The White Album. Like so many of the popular songs that were around at the time, it was inspired by political events in the world.
In the very early days of their career, The Beatles began experimenting with different sounds and this track opens with guitar feedback, which until then had never been used on records, although bands such as The Who and The Kinks were known to use feedback deliberately in their live shows. This track is included on the band's fifth album Beatles '65.
Ah! How can anyone not love this song? It's a peace lover's anthem. On July 25 1967, the world's first live global television link, involving 25 countries and watched by 400 million viewers took place. The Beatles were invited by the BBC to write and perform a song, as The United Kingdom's contribution to the satellite broadcast. Their brief was to produce a song with a message that would be understood by the whole world and this is the song that John Lennon came up with. Simple yet so powerful.