♫ Paperback Writer ♫

Yesterday, Roger sent me a link to a Beatles’ song, Rain, that I only vaguely recalled.  When I told him that I barely remembered that one and that perhaps it didn’t play well over here, he told me that it was the “B” side to this one, Paperback Writer, which I definitely recall!  Roger ended his comment with, “One of my favourite Beatles’ songs”, but I wasn’t sure if he meant Paperback Writer or Rain!  For tonight, since Roger is a published author, I am going to assume he meant this one, but if by chance I’m wrong, I’ll play Rain one day soon!

Paperback Writer was largely written by Paul McCartney (though the song is credited to McCartney-Lennon), who based the lyrics on a challenge made to him by his Aunt Lil. McCartney recalled …

“The idea’s a bit different. Years ago, my Auntie Lil said to me, ‘Why do you always write songs about love all the time? Can’t you ever write about a horse or the summit conference or something interesting?’ So, I thought, ‘All right, Auntie Lil.’ And recently, we’ve not been writing all our songs about love.”

According to SongFacts …

Paul McCartney wrote this after helping some friends, including John Dunbar, set up the Indica Bookshop (in the basement was the Indica Gallery, where John Lennon eventually met Yoko Ono), in January of 1966. Paul was the first customer of the shop.

This song was a sort of an homage to lots of authors, including John Lennon, who had already written two books: In His Own Write and A Spaniard In The Works. He also was thinking of the author Martin Amis, whom he had just developed a passion for. 

The song is sung from the perspective of an author soliciting a publisher. A “paperback” is cheaper than a traditional hardcover book, and at the time was considered of lower quality and written for mass consumption. The implication is that the writer isn’t all that good.

The first #1 hit for The Beatles that was not about love.

John Lennon and George Harrison sang the French nursery rhyme “Frére Jacques” in the background. The Frére Jacques part has nothing to do with John Lennon – Paul just thought it was clever – but it does translate to “Brother John.”

Check out the charts …

I don’t think I’ve seen a song with so many #1 slots!  Okay, enough babbling … this one’s for you, Sir Roger!

Paperback Writer
The Beatles

Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It’s based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job
So I wanna be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

It’s a dirty story of a dirty man
And his clinging wife doesn’t understand
His son is working for the Daily Mail
It’s a steady job
But he wants to be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer (paperback writer)

It’s a thousand pages, give or take a few
I’ll be writing more in a week or two
I could make it longer if you like the style
I can change it ’round
And I wanna be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

If you really like it you can have the rights
It could make a million for you overnight
If you must return it you can send it here
But I need a break
And I wanna be a paperback writer
Paperback writer

Paperback writer (paperback writer)
Paperback writer (paperback writer)
Paperback writer (paperback writer)
Paperback writer (paperback writer)
Paperback writer (paperback writer)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Paperback Writer lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The Beatles – Paperback Writer Lyrics | Genius Lyricshttps://genius.com › The-beatles-paperback-writer-lyrics
Paperback Writer Lyrics: Paperback writer (writer, writer) / Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? / It took me years to write, will you take a look?

35 thoughts on “♫ Paperback Writer ♫

  1. Pingback: ♫ Rain ♫ | Filosofa's Word

  2. Jill, I love this song. When it was released it was a flash back to the earlier rock and roll songs of The Beatles. I had a similar feeling with “Back in the USSR” off The White Album. They showed they could still rock the house. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

      • True, Even the ones I cared less about were interesting. I have seen a documentary of the making of Sergeant Pepper which reveals the amazing talent and care they took to make such great music. They experimented with sounds and instruments new to them. George Martin gets due credit for encouraging that exploration, but the curiosity and pursuit of excellence was already there. Keith

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    • I’m not surprised that it is new to you, for I have never thought of it as one of their best. I hope you liked it, though! The evening is gone and what I’m hoping for soon is 🛌😴 xx

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  3. In Winnipeg, Paperback Writer hit No. 1 first, then we turned it over and Rain hit No. 1 the following month. Two great songs that both deserved their own chart spots.
    But, Jill, where did you get the information about the Anglicization of “Jacques”? You are way off base. As an intro, do you remember the American comic, Jack Carter. He made a whole lot of comedy on the fact his name was synonymous with the famous French explorer, Jacques Cartier. But he was as wrong as you are. Believe it or not, the French name “Jacques” actually translates to the English name “James.” Frère Jacques is actually Brother James. And now you know the rest of the story.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Cool … I haven’t checked yet to see if “Rain” charted here, but probably it did. I dunno … it was late … blame it on lateness, tiredness. No, I don’t remember Jack Carter, but I did always think that Jacques translated into Jack, and I remember the John F. Kennedy was often called “Jack” … so … 🤷

      Liked by 1 person

      • An easy progression to make, but, though lots of non-Française people it, it just happens to be wrong. But can you imagine, in Protestant France, the old Alglican bible would have to have been re-titled as the King Jacques’ Version? (Just a stray thought…)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. If Roger was attending to his words he should have clarified ‘Rain’ as the said favourite🙄. (Thanks for the promotion too Jill)
    What fascinated me about ‘Paperback Writer’ was that one of the characters in the book also wanted to be a ‘Paperback Writer’ .

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    • ACK!!! My bad. I should have included both. Well, never fear, for “Rain” will fall soon! Maybe sooner than that, even, though probably not tonight. I know a few who would love to be a ‘Paperback Writer’, though I am willing to settle for just being a somewhat relevant blogger. Sigh. I still want to write that book, but I just cannot get a start. Perhaps Jeff may be willing to try again soon, and that will help motivate and inspire. I just don’t know.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nah, my ‘Bad’, (I insist on ‘badding rights here).
        It’s a long hard road writing Jill. Unless you are a hack who knows what sells and work that ruthlessly being published is hard and making cash even harder. True, there are a few of genuine talent and ingenuity who make the breath through but they sparkle amongst the millions of books published (beneath which are millions more unpublished).
        Now me, I’m self-published because being stubborn and very protective of my work makes for instant rejection by a publishing house, or an editor’s nightmare. Yet with very little hope of being recognised on goes the project (nearly finished the re-editing of the editing). That’s how it goes.
        How to start?
        Put words to paper, don’t think about them, just let them flow out, all the thoughts, concepts, feelings and motivations. The first few drafts will be awful or unworkable, that’s how it goes.
        I would recommend Audrey Driscoll for a reader friendly, plain view of writing (and she has a lovely garden too).
        https://audreydriscoll.com
        There again you can visit my own maverick world which illustrates who not to get published or market😉.
        Put words to paper and they will draw you on.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sorry, Chief, but I already had dibs on ‘badding rights’, so it WAS my bad, but I have now rectified the situation!

          I sometimes think that perhaps I have found my writing niche with my blog. I do seem to do better with facts and opinions, socio-political issues seem to be my forte, and it’s maybe my comfort zone. Then again, sometimes perhaps it’s good to break out of one’s comfort zone. I think the detritus of the pandemic and the political chaos in the U.S. at the moment clouds my brain and doesn’t give it an opening to break out into other venues, other ideas.

          However, knowing that you and David both have confidence in me makes me keep trying. I will check out Audrey’s blog … I’ve seen her on numerous other blogs, but don’t think I’ve ever visited hers before. If it’s meant to be, I figure that one of these days a spark will ignite and I’ll be off and running! ‘Twould be good if that could happen while I’m still alive ‘n kicking!

          Thank you, my friend. For so many things.

          Liked by 1 person

          • There’s no doubt Jill you run a popular and fiery political blog which inspires a lot of followers and also acts as a forum for like minded folk.
            For anyone working in such areas during these times of turbulence and asinine behaviour by the opposition and its supporters respite is essential to avoid burn out. Frustration and anger are a drive but the engine needs rest.
            In my personal case I concluded my own responses to such situation, if left unchecked were growing basically visceral and intended to hurt and humiliate my opposition (the taste of their own medicine response). Not good too much brooding and savouring.
            Hence my tendency to spend long interludes on my books, a place to go, work out the frustrations in an environment where I felt comfortable. They were if popular guaranteed also to annoy a lot of people who I reckoned deserved annoying (soft power?).
            Anyone who puts a lot of effort into their blog work will have a nascent ability to channel that into other areas too.
            It’s a good place to go Jill. Put words to paper and the rest will follow.

            Best wishes
            Roger

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  5. A great song, from the best band ever. That chart listings screenshot is actually very similar to most of their singles at that time – they sold the occasional record or million! Interesting that there is a video for it – ahead of their time and way before MTV.

    Liked by 2 people

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