Beatlemania

I’ll be good to her
I’ll make love to her
Everyone says there’ll come a day
When I’ll walk alongside of her

 

Maggie –  Prudence – “Sadie” – Julia – Rita – Eleanor – Michelle – Madonna

Lady Madonna
The Beatles 1967-1970

Paul McCartney said that this song is a tribute to women everywhere. It was inspired by a picture of an African woman suckling her kid, over the caption “Mountain Madonna.”

Lady Madonna
Children at your feet
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet

Michelle
Rubber Soul – 1965
 
“We used to go to these art school parties because John was at art school and me and George were at the school next door, which is now a performing arts school. John was that little bit older than us, which at that age is impressive. He was a year-and-a-half older than me and you really look up to people like that. But it’s funny because I don’t think I had that same feeling with Ringo, who I think was a few months older than John. John was a pretty impressive cat – being a year-and-a-half older and going to art school, all that was a pretty cool combination for us. So we’d tag along to these parties, and it was at the time of people like Juliette Greco, the French bohemian thing. They’d all wear black turtleneck sweaters, it’s kind of where we got all that from, and we fancied Juliette like mad.

Michelle, my belle.
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble,
Très bien ensemble.

“Have you ever seen her? Dark hair, real chanteuse, really happening. So I used to pretend to be French, and I had this song that turned out later to be ‘Michelle.’ It was just an instrumental, but years later John said: ‘You remember that thing you wrote about the French?’ I said: ‘Yeah.’ He said: ‘That wasn’t a bad song, that. You should do that, y’know.'” Paul McCartney – Observer Music Monthly October 2007

Eleanor Rigby
Revolver – 1966

Paul McCartney wrote most of this song. He got “Rigby” from the name of a store (Rigby and Evens Ltd Wine and Spirit Shippers) and “Eleanor” from actress Eleanor Bron. He liked the name “Eleanor Rigby” because it sounded natural.

Eleanor Rigby
Picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window
Wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

McCartney told Q magazine June 2010 that after recording the song, he felt he could have done better. He recalled: “I remember not liking the vocal on Eleanor Rigby, thinking, I hadn’t nailed. I listen to it now and it’s… very good. It’s a bit annoying when you do Eleanor Rigby and you’re not happy with it.”

Lovely Rita
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 1967
 
  “The song was imagining if somebody was there taking down my number and I suddenly fell for her, and the kind of person I’d be, to fall for a meter maid, would be a shy office clerk and I’d say, ‘May I inquire discreetly when you are free to take some tea with me”.’Paul

Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in the ticket in her little white book
In a cap she looked much older
And the bag across her shoulder
Made her look a little like a military man

“I had a sneak preview of Sgt. Pepper when Paul came to visit me in 1967 and Lovely Rita made me laugh my head of. I love the way it comes floating in. The bassline is great and the lyrics are kind of funny too.”Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys

Julia
The White Album – 1968

John Lennon dedicated this song to Yoko and his mother Julia, who was struck and killed by a car driven by an off-duty police officer on July 15, 1958, when John was 17. Lennon was raised mostly by Julia’s sister Mimi, but starting to see more of his mother at the time of her death.

Julia, Julia, oceanchild
Calls me
So I sing the song of love
Julia

In Japanese, the name Yoko means “ocean child,” which Lennon included as a line in the song.

When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind
Julia

Sexy Sadie
The White Album – 1968
 
The song describes Lennon’s total dissatisfaction with the Maharishi. While at his retreat, it has been said that the Maharishi attempted to rape Mia Farrow. Once The Beatles learned of this, they immediately went to the Maharishi, and Lennon announced they were all leaving. The Maharishi asked why? Lennon said, “If you’re so cosmic, you’ll know why.” As originally written, some of its lyrics were considered obscene, and had to be refined. Lennon had used the Maharishi’s name, but had to change it for fear of being sued. But, Sexy Sadie is the Maharishi. Needless to say, that was the end of the Maharishi and The Beatles relationship. (Dominic – Pittsburgh, PA)

Sexy Sadie, what have you done?
You made a fool of everyone
You made a fool of everyone (wa wa wa wa wa wa wa wa)
Sexy Sadie (wa wa wa wa), oh, what have you done? (wa wa wa wa)

Lennon dubbed the Maharishi “sexy” after he hit on Mia Farrow. Farrow’s sister, Prudence, was also there, and her experience led Lennon to write “Dear Prudence.”

Dear Prudence
The White Album – 1968

While Mia Farrow inspired such men as Andre Previn, Frank Sinatra and Woody Allen, her sister Prudence left her mark on John Lennon. According to Nancy de Herrera’s book: “All You Need Is Love”, Prudence met The Beatles on a spiritual retreat with the Maharishi in India, which she attended with Mia. When Prudence, suffering depression, confined herself to her room, Lennon wrote this hoping song to cheer her up.

The sun is up, the sky is blue
It’s beautiful, and so are you
Dear Prudence
Won’t you come out to play?

Ringo had left the group as the White Album sessions got very tense, so Paul McCartney played drums.

Maggie Mae Let It Be – 1970

This is a traditional song about Liverpool prostitutes (“Maggie” is British slang for prostitute)

 

Oh, dirty Maggie Mae
Dey have taken her away
And she’ll never walk
Down Lime Street any more

The Beatles used to play this when they were still known as The Quarrymen, including at the church fair when John Lennon met Paul McCartney

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  1. Pingback: Beatlemania « Galactic Jukebox

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