♫ Woman ♫

My original intent was to play the song by the same name by Peter and Gordon, but when I Googled, this one by John Lennon came up before the Peter and Gordon one, and after listening to both, I decided to play this one, which I like much better, even though it was the other that was rattling about in my head as I vacuumed floors earlier today.  It turns out, and this I did not know, that Paul McCartney wrote the Peter and Gordon song!  Small world, eh?

Lennon wrote this song as an ode to his wife Yoko Ono.  Speaking with Rolling Stone just days before his death, Lennon said …

Woman came about because, one sunny afternoon in Bermuda, it suddenly hit me what women do for us. Not just what my Yoko does for me, although I was thinking in those personal terms… but any truth is universal. What dawned on me was everything I was taking for granted. Women really are the other half of the sky, as I whisper at the beginning of the song. It’s a ‘we’ or it ain’t anything.”

In many ways, this song is Lennon’s apology to Yoko. In 1973, the couple was having problems in their marriage, so Yoko agreed to put their relationship on hold and let John sow his oats (she’s more tolerant than I, methinks). He did, taking up with his assistant May Pang and engaging in some unruly behavior. Lennon referred to this time as his “Lost Weekend” – it lasted about 18 months.

This was released as a single in January 1981, about a month after Lennon was murdered.

Woman
John Lennon

Woman
I can hardly express
My mixed emotions at my thoughtlessness
After all, I’m forever in your debt
And woman
I will try to express
My inner feeling and thankfulness
For showing me the meaning of success

Ooh, well, well
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Ooh, well, well
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Woman
I know you understand
The little child inside the man
Please remember my life is in your hands

And woman
Hold me close to your heart
However distant, don’t keep us apart
After all it is written in the stars

Ooh, well, well
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Ooh, well, well
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

Well, woman
Please let me explain
I never meant to cause you sorrow or pain
So let me tell you again and again and again

I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah
Now and forever
I love you, yeah, yeah

Songwriters: John Lennon
Woman lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

♫ We Are The World ♫

Hello my friends.  With a heavy heart tonight, I was not going to do a music post, but two special people convinced me, without realizing that they had a thing to do with it, to do one … and this one in particular.  I shall explain …

A few nights ago, I was chatting via email with our friend Ellen, and she noted that while sometimes one doesn’t feel that they have a song in their heart, they should … sing anyway!  Tonight, I felt as if I had no song in my heart, and really, I just wanted to go to bed.  But, somewhere in my head, I heard Ellen saying, “C’mon, Filosofa … sing anyway!”

And the second motivator was another dear friend, Dutch (Larry Woller) who posted on his own blog this song … We Are The World … and everything just suddenly clicked into place.

This was a benefit single for victims of famine in Africa. It raised over $60 Million, which was distributed to Ethiopia, Sudan, and other impoverished countries.

Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie wrote this song, and Quincy Jones produced it. This talented trio was perfect for the job: Quincy Jones was the hottest producer around, and his Rolodex (what would now be a contact list) was filled with the biggest names in music; Richie had written songs that went to #1 on the Hot 100 each of the previous seven years (“We Are The World” made it eight); Michael Jackson had the biggest album of 1984 with Thriller (produced by Jones) and was the biggest star in the world.

The USA For Africa project began as an idea calypso singer Harry Belafonte had for a benefit concert featuring black musicians. In late December 1984, looking for artists to participate, Belafonte called Ken Kragen, who managed an impressive roster of talent, including Lionel Richie. Kragen convinced Belafonte that they could raise more money and make a bigger impact with an original song; Belafonte agreed and Richie came on board to help.

Kragen asked Quincy Jones to produce, and Jones enlisted Michael Jackson. Richie got Stevie Wonder involved, and from there, word got out and many members of the music industry signed on to help. The project from conception to recording took about a month.

This all-star charity single was inspired by Band Aid, the British group Bob Geldof put together the year before to record Do They Know It’s Christmas?. Band Aid, which included Bono, Phil Collins, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Sting, served as a template, showing how a disparate group of famous artists could come together in one day to record a song.

The stars who sang solos were, in order, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Rogers, James Ingram, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Willie Nelson, Al Jarreau, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Steve Perry, Daryl Hall, Michael Jackson (again), Huey Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, and Kim Carnes. Bob Dylan and Ray Charles were also featured on the song and given close-ups in the video.

Harry Belafonte, who had the original idea for the project, was in the chorus but didn’t get a solo, joining Bette Midler, Smokey Robinson, The Pointer Sisters, LaToya Jackson, Bob Geldof, Sheila E., and Waylon Jennings as backing singers.

Quincy Jones was responsible for managing the egos of all the stars. It went very smoothly considering some very famous people did not get to sing a line. Most of the singers knew Jones personally and respected his wishes that they check their egos at the door.

Just goes to show what we can accomplish when people of all sorts come together for a common cause.  I think … though the cause is different … this song has just as much meaning for our world today as it did when it was released in 1985, some 34 years ago, don’t you?

We Are the World
U.S.A. for Africa

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all

We can’t go on
Pretending day-by-day
That someone, somewhere soon make a change
We’re all a part of God’s great big family
And the truth, you know, love is all we need

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, send them your heart
So they know that someone cares
And their lives will be stronger and free
As God has shown us by turning stones to bread
And so we all must lend a helping hand

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
Oh, there’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

When you’re down and out, there seems no hope at all
But if you just believe there’s no way we can fall
Well, well, well, well let us realize
Oh, that a change can only come
When we stand together as one, yeah, yeah, yeah

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day, so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There is a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

Oh, let me hear you!

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (said we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, come on now, let me hear you

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, yeah

We are the world (we are the world)
We are the children (we are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
And we’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones who’ll make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

We are the world, we are the world (are the world)
We are the children, yes sir (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (so let’s start giving)

There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me, ooh-hoo!

We are the world (dear God) (are the world)
We are the children (are the children)
We are the ones that make a brighter day so let’s start giving (all right, can you hear what I’m saying?)
There’s a choice we’re making, we’re saving our own lives

Songwriters: Michael Jackson / Lionel Richie
We Are the World lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ All You Need Is Love ♫

Yesterday, I re-blogged David Prosser’s post about a philosophy of humanity called Ubuntu.  A short time later, a fellow-blogger asked me to look at her post, and this video was on it.  The connection between this song and David’s post struck me almost like a lightening bolt, and I knew I had my music post for tonight.

The original goal of this song was to combine the love of all nations displaying the possibility of hope and peace as a common denominator in the world.  This was played at Party at the Palace, a British music concert and celebration held in London in 2002.  Artists, including Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, Tony Bennett, Ozzy Osbourne, Queen, and many more contributed to this extravaganza.  The song is originally a Beatles’ classic that in and of itself is quite meaningful …

The Beatles played this for the first time on the “Our World” project, the first worldwide TV special. Broadcast in 24 countries on June 25, 1967, the show was six hours long and featured music from 6 continents, with The Beatles representing Britain.

The concept of the song was born out of a request to bring a song that was going to be understood by people of all nations. The writing began in late May of 1967, with John and Paul working on separate songs. It was decided that John’s “All You Need Is Love” was the better choice because of its easy to understand message of love and peace. The song was easy to play, the words easy to remember and it encompassed the feeling of the world’s youth during that period.

Joining in 2002 at the Buckingham Palace Garden, the stars of the generation gather to spread the message of hope, peace and unity to London, England.

Ubuntu … the philosophy that we are all connected, the idea of humanity, and this song about love … put it together, and then ask yourself what is keeping us from living in this world?

All You Need Is Love
The Beatles, et al

Love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love, love

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy
Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do, but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

All you need is love (all together now)
All you need is love (everybody)
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
Love is all you need
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)
Yesterday
(Love is all you need)
Oh
Love is all you need
Love is all you need
Oh yeah
Love is all you need
(She love you, yeah, yeah, yeah)
(She love you, yeah, yeah, yeah)
(Love is all you need)
(Love is all you need)

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
All You Need Is Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Hey Jude ♫

For no reason that I can discern, I was in the mood for a Beatles tune tonight.  I tossed about several … Here Comes The Sun, or the silly Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, and even thought seriously about Blackbird, which is one of my absolute favourites, and I would gladly play it again, even though I have already played it on here once.  But, for some reason Hey Jude just kept coming back into my head, so …

Released in 1968, Paul McCartney wrote this as “Hey Jules,” a song meant to comfort John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian as his parents were getting a divorce. The change to “Jude” was inspired by the character “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma!

Says Paul McCartney …

“John and his wife Cynthia had divorced, and I felt a bit sorry for their son, who was now a child of a divorce. I was driving out to see the son and Cynthia one day and I was thinking about the boy whose name was Julian – Julian Lennon, and I started this idea, ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad, it’s gonna be OK.’ It was like a reassurance song.

So that was the idea that I got driving out to see them. I saw them and then I came back and worked on the song some more. But I like that name, Jude.”

And according to the all-grown-up Julian Lennon …

“Paul told me he’d been thinking about my circumstances, about what I was going through and what I’d have to go through. Paul and I used to hang out quite a bit – more than Dad and I did… There seem to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing at that age than me and Dad. I’ve never really wanted to know the truth of how Dad was and how he was with me. There was some very negative stuff – like when he said that I’d come out of a whisky bottle on a Saturday night. That’s tough to deal with. You think, where’s the love in that? It surprises me whenever I hear the song. It’s strange to think someone has written a song about you. It still touches me.”

At the time of its release, it was the longest song ever released as a single.  Hey Jude was a number-one hit in many countries around the world and became the top-selling single of 1968 in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada.

The only complaint I have about this song is that never-ending “na-na-na-na-na …” at the end.

Hey Jude
The Beatles

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her (let it out and let it in)
Remember to let her into your heart (hey Jude)
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you
Hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na, yeah

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you’ll begin to make it better
Better better better better better, ah!

Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude Jude, Judy Judy Judy Judy, ow wow!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (my, my, my)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah, you know you can make it, Jude, Jude, you’re not gonna break it)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (don’t make it bad, Jude, take a sad song and make it better)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (oh Jude, Jude, hey Jude, wa!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (oh Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (hey, hey, hey, hey)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (hey, hey)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (now, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (Jude, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, make it, Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah yeah, yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Hey Jude lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ A World Without Love ♫

I’m taking you way back tonight … 1964.  I was thirteen years old and had just gotten my first full-time job … making $100 per week!  I thought I was rolling in dough!  That was also the year I became a serious smoker, learned to drive a stick shift, and learned to kiss with my eyes closed!  It was, obviously, a memorable year.  Among the memories from that year is this song by British duo Peter and Gordon.

I did not know that John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this song. It is the biggest hit they wrote that was not released by The Beatles. It became the first and biggest hit for Peter & Gordon.  The song was originally meant to be recorded by The Beatles, but that plan was vetoed by John Lennon. Peter Asher explained: “John thought the first line ‘Please lock me away’ was laughable.”

Peter Asher and Gordon Waller, then (1965) and 40 years later (2005)

Peter & Gordon were Peter Asher and Gordon Waller. Paul McCartney went out with Asher’s sister, the actress Jane Asher, which is how he met Peter. This song found its way to Peter Asher when Paul McCartney was living in the Asher household at 57 Wimpole Street in London during his time dating Jane Asher. He played the song for Peter while in his bedroom.  According to Asher …

“Paul had played Gordon and me that song at some point, just in passing. It was really just half a song. It didn’t yet have a bridge. Gordon and I were working at clubs in London at that time, and we got offered a record deal by EMI, who saw us as an English version of The Kingston Trio, or a Peter, Paul and Mary type of thing. We did the American folk song ‘500 Miles,’ and that was the song they were thinking would be our first single. Anyway, we signed the record deal with EMI, and set the date for our first recording session. At that point I went to Paul and asked him if that orphaned song was still up for grabs, since we needed three or four songs to record on that first day in the studio. Paul said we could have it, so I asked him to finish the bridge. And he did. As I recall, the bridge came in the nick of time for us to record; World Without Love’ at that first session.”

An interesting side note:  Peter Asher would go on to become the manager of James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt.  Asher is still alive and active in the music business today, but Gordon Waller died in 2009.

A World Without Love
Peter and Gordon

Please lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside where I hide
With my loneliness

I don’t care what they say I won’t stay
In a world without love

Birds sing out of tune
And rain clouds hide the moon
I’m OK, here I’ll stay
With my loneliness

I don’t care what they say I won’t stay
In a world without love

So I wait and in a while
I will see my true love’s smile
She may come, I know not when
When she does I lose
So baby until then

Lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside where I hide
With my loneliness

I don’t care what they say I won’t stay
In a world without love

So I wait and in a while
I will see my true love’s smile
She may come, I know not when
When she does I lose
So baby until then

Lock me away
And don’t allow the day
Here inside where I hide
With my loneliness

I don’t care what they say I won’t stay
In a world without love

I don’t care what they say I won’t stay
In a world without love

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
A World Without Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Fool On The Hill ♫

I could have sworn that I had posted this song before, but I’m not seeing it in my archives, so … if I have, no matter, for I have it in my head tonight and am determined to play it for you.  I have always loved this song, and today the title, at least, has more meaning than I think it was ever intended to have!

Written and sung by Paul McCartney, it was released in 1967.  I find it interesting that a year later Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66 recorded the song and their version fared much better than the one by The Beatles.  While I like Sérgio Mendes’ music, I much prefer The Beatles’ version of this particular song.

The story, according to Alistair Taylor’s book, Yesterday, goes …

An event which prompted this song happened when Paul was walking his dog, Martha, on Primrose Hill one morning. As he watched the sun rise, he noticed that Martha was missing. Paul turned around to look for his dog, and there a man stood, who appeared on the hill without making a sound. The gentleman was dressed respectably, in a belted raincoat. Paul knew this man had not been there seconds earlier as he had looked in that direction for Martha. Paul and the stranger exchanged a greeting, and this man then spoke of what a beautiful view it was from the top of this hill that overlooked London. Within a few seconds, Paul looked around again, and the man was gone. He had vanished as he had appeared.

A couple of the music critics really did not like this song at all …

  • “Possibilities in this song outweigh its substance—it’s the most unworthy Beatles standard since ‘Michelle.'” — Tim Riley, NPR contributor
  • “… shows signs of becoming a favorite of the Simon & Garfunkel crowd and the transcendental meditators, who deserve it. A callow rendering of the outcast-visionary theme, it may be the worst song the Beatles have ever recorded.” — Robert Christgau, Esquire magazine

The Fool on the Hill
The Beatles

Day after day, alone on a hill
The man with the foolish grin is sitting perfectly still
Nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

His head in a cloud
The man with a foolish grin is talking perfectly loud
But nobody wants to hear him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he’s just a fool
But he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning round

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
The Fool on the Hill lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Let It Be ♫

At the time of its release in 1970, this Beatles tune had the highest debut on the Billboard Hot 100, beginning its chart run at number 6. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney and was their final single before McCartney announced his departure from the band.

McCartney said he had the idea of Let It Be after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles aka the White Album in 1968. According to McCartney, the song’s reference to “Mother Mary” was not biblical. McCartney explained that his mother – who died of cancer when he was fourteen – was the inspiration for the “Mother Mary” lyric. He later said: “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be’.” He also said in a later interview about the dream that his mother had told him, “It will be all right, just let it be.”

Now here’s something I didn’t know. According to Songfacts …

The Beatles weren’t the first to release this song – Aretha Franklin was. The Queen of Soul recorded it in December 1969, and it was released on her album This Girl’s In Love With You in January 1970, two months before The Beatles released their version (she also covered The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby” on that album).

Aretha recorded it with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, who were a group of musicians that owned their own studio in Alabama, but would travel to New York to record with Aretha. David Hood, who was their bass player, told us that Paul McCartney sent demos of the song to Atlantic Records (Franklin’s label) and to the Muscle Shoals musicians. Said Hood, “I kick myself for not grabbing that demo. Because I think they probably dropped it in the garbage. Our version was different. We changed it a little bit from his demo, where their version is different from that demo and from Aretha’s version, as well. Just slightly, but little things.”

A few other bits of trivia:

  • Sesame Street used this with the title changed to “Letter B.” The lyrics were changed to list words that begin with B.
  • The album had the largest initial sales in US record history up to that time: 3.7 million advance orders.
  • This was the first Beatles song released in The Soviet Union. The single made it there in 1972.
  • This song was played at Linda McCartney’s funeral.
  • This was the first Beatles song released in the Soviet Union. The single made it there in 1972.
  • John Legend and Alicia keys performed this song on the tribute special The Beatles: The Night That Changed America, which aired in 2014 exactly 50 years after the group made their famous appearance on Ed Sullivan Show. Legend introduced it as “a song that has comforted generations with its beauty and its message.”

Something else I didn’t know comes from The Vintage News site …

In July 1966 the Beatles toured the Philippines and unintentionally snubbed First Lady Imelda Marcos. Accustomed to high praise if not worship, she invited the group to attend a breakfast reception at the Presidential Palace in Manila, expecting the group to attend without hesitation. When the Beatles were presented with the invitation, however, they asked their manager, Brian Epstein, to politely decline it on behalf of the group, with an explanation that it had never been their policy to accept such “official” invitations.

Soon after, the band realized that the Marcos regime had rarely heard “no” from anyone–and there would be consequences. Imelda Marcos was infuriated when she found out that her grand planned party of 200 guests would not include the Beatles as special guests. Interestingly enough, the Philippine television and radio stations broadcast the snub. Shortly after, all of the Beatles security police suddenly disappeared. Epstein called for an interview, trying to make an apology on Chanel 5 at the Manila Hotel. But when his interview was about to be aired, the state-controlled channel blacked out.

Let It Be
The Beatles

When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music, Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Let It Be lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Ebony and Ivory ♫

I could have sworn I had played this one sometime last year, but no matter for I was determined to play it again anyway.

In the past week, I have written several posts pertaining to the pure hate in this country … a newspaper editor calling for the KKK to kill democrats, a Coast Guard Lieutenant plotting to kill “almost everyone in the world”, a child arrested for refusing to stand for the pledge of ‘allegiance’, to name a few.  It takes a toll on a person’s psyche, and frankly my psyche has had about all it can take of this society.  There are two songs that come to mind right off the bat that make us feel better about things, that give us hope in knowing that at least some people are out to make the world a better place.  One is John Lennon’s Imagine, which I have played a couple of times in the last year, and the other is a song called Ebony and Ivory, done brilliantly by Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney.

Listen to the words, feel the camaraderie between these two men, feel the love.

Ebony & Ivory
Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

We all know
That people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad in everyone
When we learn to live, we learn to give each other
What we need to survive
Together alive

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

We all know
That people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad, mmm, in everyone
We learn to live when we learn to give each other
What we need to survive
Together alive

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

Songwriters: Mccartney Paul James
Ebony & Ivory lyrics © MPL COMMUNICATIONS INC

♫ I Want To Hold Your Hand ♫

It was 55 years ago today that a young British rock group made their U.S. debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  The name of the group, of course, was The Beatles.

From History.com …

Although it was difficult to hear the performance over the screams of teenage girls in the studio audience, an estimated 73 million U.S. television viewers, or about 40 percent of the U.S. population, tuned in to watch. Sullivan immediately booked the Beatles for two more appearances that month.

The group made their first public concert appearance in the United States on February 11 at the Coliseum in Washington, D.C., and 20,000 fans attended. The next day, they gave two back-to-back performances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and police were forced to close off the streets around the venerable music hall because of fan hysteria. On February 22, the Beatles returned to England.

Now, I must confess to being a bit strange when I was young … shut up Joe, don’t even say it … and I was not all that impressed with The Beatles that first time I saw them on Ed Sullivan.  Nor was I impressed by the girls ripping off their clothes, screaming and fainting.  Eventually I came to appreciate The Beatles and their music, but unlike some others, it was definitely not love at first sight.

I am including two clips tonight.  The first is a clip from the November 18, 1963 edition of the Huntley-Brinkley Report by Edwin Newman.  The video no longer exists, but this audio-only copy was discovered in 2013, and I think you’ll enjoy it … I did!  The second is a video of one of the songs they performed on 09 February 1964.

I Want to Hold Your Hand
The Beatles

Oh yeah I tell you somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

Oh please say to me
You’ll let me be your man
And please say to me
You’ll let me hold your hand
Now, let me hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide

Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I say that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

And when I touch you
I feel happy inside
It’s such a feelin’ that my love
I can’t hide
I can’t hide
I can’t hide

Yeah, you got that somethin’
I think you’ll understand
When I feel that somethin’
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand
I want to hold your hand

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
I Want to Hold Your Hand lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Norwegian Wood ♫

I’m betting this is one you haven’t heard, or likely even thought of for a few years, at least.  I felt like dusting off something different tonight, and this was the first thing that popped into my head.

A bit of interesting history accompanies this one …

This was the first pop song to use a sitar – George Harrison played it. Harrison was new to the sitar and took many takes to get it right. He bought the instrument, which he described as “crummy,” and taught himself to play. It was David Crosby of The Byrds, and Crosby, Stills & Nash who had introduced Harrison to the sitar shortly after the folk musician Shawn Phillips had shown him the basic steps. A few months later, Harrison studied the sitar with Indian musician Ravi Shankar, who helped Harrison explore Eastern music and religion.

John Lennon, who wrote the song, explained why it was decided to use the sitar on this song …

“I think it was at the studio. George had just got the sitar and I said ‘Could you play this piece?’ We went through many different sort of versions of the song, it was never right and I was getting very angry about it, it wasn’t coming out like I said. They said, ‘Well just do it how you want to do it’ and I said, ‘Well I just want to do it like this.’ They let me go and I did the guitar very loudly into the mike and sang it at the same time and then George had the sitar and I asked him could he play the piece that I’d written, you know, dee diddley dee diddley dee, that bit, and he was not sure whether he could play it yet because he hadn’t done much on the sitar but he was willing to have a go, as is his wont, and he learned the bit and dubbed it on after. I think we did it in sections.”

Paul McCartney said he came up with the title, inspired by the Norwegian Wood furniture in the Asher household, where he was staying.

But the trivia I thought the most intriguing was what John Lennon said about the writing of the song …

“I was trying to write about an affair without letting my wife know I was having one. I was sort of writing from my experiences – girl’s flats, things like that. I was very careful and paranoid because I didn’t want my wife, Cyn, to know that there really was something going on outside of the household. I’d always had some kind of affairs going on, so I was trying to be sophisticated in writing about an affair, but in such a smoke-screen way that you couldn’t tell. But I can’t remember any specific woman it had to do with.”

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
The Beatles

I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
She showed me her room
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

She asked me to stay
And she told me to sit anywhere
So I looked around
And I noticed there wasn’t a chair

I sat on a rug biding my time
Drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said
“It’s time for bed”

She told me she worked
In the morning and started to laugh
I told her I didn’t
And crawled off to sleep in the bath

And when I awoke I was alone
This bird had flown
So I lit a fire
Isn’t it good Norwegian wood?

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul Mccartney
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC