Thursday, 18 April 2019

White Album 50th Anniversary Notes (pt.2) - Later Lyrics

More Lyric Facsimiles (Probably Post Rishikesh)




Performance Notes

Several of John's songs have some kind of vocal performance direction above the title.

I'm So Tired - “Smokey then heavy voice” a reference to Smokey Robinson?

Revolution - “Marha [?] - Diana - light voice” perhaps another Motown reference - Martha Reeves and Diana Ross?

Bungalow Bill “Band (Water Melon). children!” possibly a (faintly racist?) reference to the band singing backing vocals?


Lyrical Evolution


I'm So Tired

Verse 2, line 2: my mind is set on you is missing.
Verse 3, line 2: Although I'm so tired > Although I'm choked – Lennon obviously later went back to his first choice.
Verse 3, line 3: I believe Sir Walter Raleigh he was > And curse Sir Walter Raleigh he was

When I wrote about this song I was unsure whether to call the “You'd say I'm putting you on” section a chorus or a bridge but it's labelled “8” so in Lennon's mind it was a middle eight – a bridge.


Don't Pass Me By

Penned in purple felt-tip are (unused) lines that Hunter Davis calls “funny in their awfulness” dubbing Ringo “a modern day William McGonagall”

I feel a little foolish sitting here alone
Instead of eating crackers I think I'll just get stoned

You came all wrapped in cellophane
With purple bursting free
The card said open carefully
And pay for C.OD [sic]


Yer Blues

My Mother was of the earth > My Mother was of the sky
My Father was of the sky > My Father was of the earth
But I am of the underworld > But I am of the universe

I'm feeling so uptight now just Dylan's Mr Jones > I feel so suicidal just Dylan's Mr Jones


Back In The USSR

The final verse is added. The last line is initially missing then added as

Let me hear your balalaika working out > Let me see your balalaika working out

Recorded as Let me hear your balalaika ringing out


While My Guitar Gently Weeps



Written on 'NEMS London' headed paper While My Guitar Gently Weeps begins with a list of rhymes

Tampering – tapering, Tempering – thundering,
Tittering – Tottering, Towering, Toppling [TICK]
Wandering - Watering, Wavering, Weathering
Whimpering, wintering, whispering, Wondering [TICK]

and later on the manuscript

Burning
churning
learning
yearning

adding further supporting evidence that Harrison was suffering from a bad case of rhyme's disease when he penned this otherwise excellent song. The manuscript gives a window into the lyrical development. Verse 1 is fully formed but verse 2 develops from

I look at the sky and I notice it's clouding

which is then replaced by

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
I'm wondering why your nigars[?*] keep on burning
still your guitar gently weeps! > still my guitar gently weeps!

[*Everett has it as 'cigars' but it certainly doesn't look like a 'c'!]


After the Burning/churning/learning/yearning list the lyric takes it's final form as

I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps!

I don't know how, someone controlled you, how they
blindfolded you.

Then the bridge undergoes a minor change

I don't know how
You were perverted – you were diverted too
I don't know why you got inverted
No one alerted you

as 'why' and 'how' change places

I don't know why
You were perverted – you were diverted too
I don't know how you got inverted
No one alerted you

George makes a number of attempts to start verse 3

I look at the powers around

I look at the wars of the world that are raging

I'm thinking of wars everywhere that is raging

I look at the trouble and hate that is raging

none of which he seems as happy with as verse 3 line 3

While I'm sitting here doing nothing but ageing

which is tweaked to

As I'm sitting here doing nothing but ageing

This verse survived to the Esher demo

I look at the trouble and pain that is raging
While my guitar gently weeps
As I'm sitting here doing nothing but ageing
Still my guitar gently weeps

by the time they got to Abbey Road (the 'Version 1' acoustic guitar/harmonium 'demo' that appears on Anthology 3 and 'Love') it's become

I look from the wings at the play you are staging
While my guitar gently weeps
As I'm sitting here, doing nothing but ageing
Still my guitar gently weeps

By the final version it's been replaced by a restatement of the first verse

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps



Birthday

After the section marked “SOLO” [1:28] is one called “STAGGERS” – the guitar/bass solo break [1:48]

Helter Skelter


An embryonic version of the 'jazz-style intro verse' is written after the 'do you don't you' verse supporting my theory that the intro was originally the chorus and the chorus was originally the bridge (or 'middle' as Paul notates it)

I go back to the top of the hill (ride)
And I stop and I turn and I give you a thrill
Till I see you again


Piggies

This is a post Esher version (in pencil) as it containing Lennon's line "Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon" (Harrison had sung "Clutching forks and knives to cut their pork chops" on the demo). Mrs. Harrison's line "what they need's a damn good whacking!" is overwritten in red pen for emphasis!

There is also a cut 4th verse that George reinstated on the 1992 Live In Japan album.

Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Playing piggy pranks
You can see them on their trotters
At the piggy banks
Paying piggy thanks
To THEE pig Brother


Revolution

contains a Harrison-style list of rhymes

constitution
institution
desolation
revelation
pollution
dissolution
confusion
intrusion
distribution [?]
Constitution [?]




Glass Onion

Written on the back of an envelope, Glass Onion omits the word 'man' from the Walrus and me/close as can be lines and reveals that Lennon was even more ambitious about trying to cram in self-references

Trying to make a dovetail joint for a yellow submarine


The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

is titled '(the continuing story of) BUNGALOW BILL'


Hey Jude

She has found you now go and get her > You have found her now go and get her

The final version was only settled on very late in the recording sessions


Next: Recording Notes



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