Music: 5 Songs by The Beatles—Explained

Scrambled Eggs, Socialism & Getting Hitched

TheBeatles

1) Yesterday (from the album Help!
In one episode of GAME KNB? Kris Aquino revealed that “Yesterday”, one the Beatles’ chart-topping hits, was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs”. Not only that, it had a totally different set of lyrics with the words “omelette” and “eggs” in it. John Lennon even suggested to change the title to “Here Comes the Sunny Side Up” but this got him into a heated argument with George Clooney. It wasn’t until Paul McCartney came up with the title and lyrics in a dream that they were able to finally record the song after months of waiting. That it was written in a dream also explains why “Yesterday” sounds so beautiful and unreal. Still, I think recording the song with the original lyrics wasn’t so bad an idea. Might have resulted to an even greater song. It would’ve been the Beatles’ most avant garde, psychedelic song ever—something Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention would kill for.

Scrambled eggs
Have an omelette with some Muenster cheese
Put your dishes in the wash bin please
So I can clean the scrambled eggs 

Well, you probably knew that already. That’s grade-level Beatles fanaticism. But the next four songs—I will provide explanations, anecdotes, trivia that most probably, you haven’t heard before.

 

2) Give It a Day (from the album Yesterday and Today)
Unlike all other Beatles song with the word “day” in the title, this one sounds very straightforward but also very confusing. It’s also very melodic by the way, very Beatles-esque. The song is about the Salem Witch Trials and mentions historical figures Increase Mather and Cotton Mather in the lyrics. The more interesting part comes in the second verse, where Paul stopped short of comparing Puritans with Arab terrorists, albeit indirectly. I used to think it was kind of racist for John and Paul to put the words “Arab terrorists” in the song. I even changed it to “effin’ terrorists” whenever I try to sing it in the shower.

If you read the whole verse, it’s actually more about the Puritans than it is about the terrorists. Substitute Conservative Christian Evangelicals to Puritans and the song’s meaning becomes clearer. Conservative Christians are just as dangerous as extremists or radical Islamists. Lennon-McCartney also paraphrased the Old Testaments’ “eye for eye, teeth for teeth”, implying that these people are stuck in the Old Testament (i.e., wars, genocide, racism, etc.) and finds it hard to accept the more socialist message of Jesus in the books of the New Testament. This is also the reason why they keep denying that climate change is real.

Years and years have passed
Since the Puritans invaded our soul
Just like those Arab terrorists
You’ll never know
But today the gods can’t make us quake
We see our lives as situations
Eyes are eyes and teeth are teeth
Well mine are rotten underneath 

 

3) Shady Lane (from Beatles for Sale No. 2 EP)
Not to be confused with the more popular “Penny Lane” or that beautiful hippie girl played by Kate Hudson in the movie Almost Famous. This song is about the economical disparity and its effect on the relationship between two people coming from different social classes. It’s like Erich Segal’s novel Love Story but more class conscious. The story in the song revolves around a date between a higher class woman and presumably low class man, which is loosely based on “Blind Date with the Chancer”, a play written by William Shakespeare. Of course, the date did not end well and the two ended up splitting the bill (i.e., they went dutch, KKB). As for the title, ‘shady lane’ was said to be the opposite of ‘penny lane’. Penny means money, wealth, capitalism. On the contrary, the title and chorus could be read as a set of basic needs, basic rights—everybody wants one, everybody needs one (A shady lane everybody wants one / A shady lane everybody needs one).

Blind date with the chancer
We had oysters and dry lancers
And the check when it arrived we went dutch, dutch, dutch, dutch
A redder shade of neck on a whiter shade of trash
And this emory board is giving me a rash 

 

4) Elevate Me Later (from The Beatles (Blue Album))
Now, this one shows the more radical side of John Lennon (he’s always been a li’l bit more radical than Paul) and probably the closest the Beatles have ever been to releasing a real protest song (i.e., “Revolution” was reactionary). This, of course, would be overshadowed years later by John Lennon and Yoko Ono going naked in public to protest the Vietnam War. The first verse is taken from the perspective of the upper class “checking out” the lower class people’s “public protest” and seemingly oblivious (“Why’re you complaining? Ta!”) to their grievances and complaints. The second verse is taken from the perspective of the lower class noting the upper class’s luxurious lifestyles (“As you sleep with electric guitars / Range Rovin’ with the cinema stars”) and then returns the question to them as these rich people complain about their meaningless problems.

johnyok
Two Non-virgins

5) We Dance (from The Abbey Road EP outtakes) 
This one’s about getting married, wedding bells. And not fearing to loose your balls to the woman you love (There is no castration fear / In a chair / You will be / with me). The song details how the ones getting married, due to the many preparations and sometimes budgetary concerns, gets very little enjoyment from all these wedding ceremonies. Of course, this was written when Facebook, same-day edits and wedding planners weren’t the fad yet. It’s probably very different then when compared to now. Now, you just have to have a lot of money, pay the hotels, the church, the cake, etc. Just don’t shave your balls and dump it on that expensive wedding cake like in that Jason Biggs movie American Wedding. Funny movie by the way, Stifler ate dog poop.

Can’t find the Beatles’ original version on YouTube but here’s a cover of “Give It a Day” by little-known ’90s band called Pavement. This song was used in the movie I Am Sam.

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