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Started by Lon Milo DuQuette. Last reply by Stan Wells Feb 16.
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Started by Paul J Openshaw. Last reply by Rick Heenan Jul 18, 2013.
Edward - In my book on Beatles songs, I spent an inordinate amount of time on "I Am the Walrus," so I know the expletive you're talking about (see below)! That song is the epitome of John and Paul's (even George at times) propensity to use hidden meanings, double-intendres, symbolism, and generally screwing with your head. It would have been so educational to wear their shoes in the mid to late '60s. They were amazed at their success, bored by it, loved it, hated it, and often made fun of it. Group think is like that - easily lending itself to ridicule.
My book has a photo of John dressed in his Egg Man outfit, standing at the keyboard of his piano, with his arms outstretched. Parked in the background is his psychedelic Rolls Royce. The Egg Man was Eric Brudon (The Animals). They called him that because he used to like to crack eggs on women during sex.
Walrus (1967) was a conglomerate of acid trips,nursery rhymes, and Hare Krishna teachings. The walrus in the song came from Louis Carol's, "The Walrus and the Carpenter." Somolina Prichard was the cop known for busting pop stars for drugs. The English garden was John's (his back yard where he spent most mornings).
The song includes lines from Shakespeare's "King Lear" (act IV, scene VI). It was made up from words of three of John's songs put together. After the final take, John made the comment, "Let the ******* figure that one out."
In a Playboy magazine interview, John was asked what the song meant. He replied, "Dylan gets away with murder at times; I just decided I can write this crap too."
While Paul most often had a definite idea (a goal, if you will) in mind when writing, John often patched together several poems and ideas into one song. Sometimes you saw them intertwined with Paul's stuff, sometime vice versa (e.g., "A Day In the Life"), but this one was all John's.
Fascinating and brilliant song-writing team!
Heard it before and I still like it!
Back in the mid eighties, I wanted to write a song but I didn't know how. I was just doing John Prine and Neil Young covers. Then one night I was watching SCTV (Second City Television, remember that?) with the late, great John Candy. He walked out with a western shirt, bolo, cowboy hat and guitar and he said "If ya wanna write a hit country song, ya gotta write about critters. Cuz folks like songs about critters." Up to that point, that was the best songwriting advice I had gotten. So I wrote a song and I call it "The Critter Song". I hope you like it.
It goes a little somethin' like this-
I remember reading the phone book in a theatre class for the same reason .. To show how sound tells a story
I usually write a song story to go along with the lyrics. Just a paragraph with what I was writing about. Some songs are self explanitory, Others need more info. I started doing this after a couple of my songs were misinterpreted and I did a couple shows that required them for publicity.
Sometimes the nonsensical words are more to show the uses of the human voice as an instrument. In a college english class we had to write a nonsense piece to show the power of the voice and establish the meter and tempo of the spoken words. Not as easy as it sounds.
Skat, being a fine example.
Along these same lines...I read an interview with John Lennon and he said that when he was in school and wrote poems (early lyrics) his teachers said they were awful (rubbish) and that he would surely never amount to anything as a poet. THEN, when he became famous early on as a songwriter in the Beatles, he heard that at that same school they were using his lyrics to teach poetry, imagery, time, and creative storytelling! He was so mad that he wrote "I am the Walrus" with it's loose references to Alice in Wonderland, but mostly nonsense words, and said "Here, let them figure this one out!" That's not a direct quote as there were some expletives in there that I can't remember!
I am often blown away when someone takes home one of my CD's, within which I include the lyrics, and then comes back and says "I know exactly what you were trying to say here...I have truly seen, felt, heard, or known...that!" James Taylor was quoted (in the mid 70's when his music and career started to take off) as saying that he would not tell others what he meant to say in a song...he would rather them take what they wanted it to mean from it. I can agree with that...but I have found myself explaining to some people what I meant, especially when they are so off it seems ridiculous to me...but then I remember what JT said and step back and say that if it makes them happy or reminiscent of something positive they can have it for their very own! We can't control what they feel or think, and I guess we shouldn't, we should just be happy that they are that passionate about something we created!
I have a quote in my last CD from the book called "Song Man" by Wil Hodgkinson (the book I referred to below) that goes: "Whatever your level of success, (with songwriting) you will have written songs that mean something to someone. And that should be enough." How true! Edward
I am always amazed at the interpretations of my songs by others ... sometimes it is something totally opposite what I was getting at ... I find this wonderful, magical and interesting .. you are right it IS like a painting ... it is art ...
Opps sorry I meant you Edward in respect to that last post.
Ken is quite right there as is Jackson Browne (a favorite of mine). I have a song which will be on my new CD (there is a video of it on my myspace) called The Meaning Of This Song.....which basically puts in to a song that phenomena (Jackson Browne who said that we listen to their music and lyrics, music and lyrics that inspire us, and then we turn it into something of our own). Paraphrasing the song What comes out of my head blue goes through the listeners head and comes out red. That is the way it is and so it should be you express you feelings or position the listener interprets it as it suits them. Of course not all songs are like that sometimes there is no interpretation available for instance Ohio by N. Young there is no doubt about that song however there may be a difference of opinion or feelings about the situation it is pretty straight forward.
Some of my songs require no explanation others are open to interpretation and I usually don't give an explanation about a song before I perform it. That is all part of songwriting it's like a painting everyone sees it differently.
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