The Beatles, album "20 Greatest Hits"
Lyrics of the album
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LP - collections - Studio EMI Studios - 1982
'It came to the charts in two days.
And everybody thought it was a 'fiddle' because our manager's stores send in these… what is it… record returns.
And everybody down south thought, 'Aha! He's just fiddling the charts.' But he wasn't.'JOHN 1972:
'Paul wrote the main structure of this when he was sixteen, or even earlier.
I think I had something to do with the middle.'RINGO 1976:
'The first record, 'Love Me Do,' for me that was more important than anything else.
That first piece of plastic.
You can't believe how great that was.
It was so wonderful.
We were on a record!'JOHN 1980:
''Love Me Do' is Paul's song.
He had the song around in Hamburg even, way, way before we were songwriters.'PAUL 1982:
'In Hamburg we clicked… At the Cavern we clicked… but if you want to know when we 'knew' we'd arrived, it was getting in the charts with 'Love Me Do.' That was the one.
It gave us somewhere to go.'PAUL 1984:
''Love Me Do' …the first song we recorded, like, for real.
First serious audition.
I was very nervous, I remember.
John was supposed to sing the lead, but they changed their minds and asked me to sing lead at the last minute, because they wanted John to play harmonica.
Until then, we hadn't rehearsed with a harmonica; George Martin started arranging it on the spot.
It was very nerve-wracking.'PAUL 1988:
''Love Me Do' was us trying to do the blues.
It came out whiter because it always does.
We're white, and we were just young Liverpool musicians.
We didn't have the finesse to be able to actually sound black.
But 'Love Me Do' was probably the first bluesy thing we tried to do.'PAUL circa-1994:
'George Martin said, 'Can anyone play a harmonica? It would be rather nice.
Couldn't think of some sort of bluesy thing, could you John?' John played a chromatic harmonica… I actually had one too but he'd been clever – he learned to play it.
John expected to be in jail one day and he'd be the guy who played the harmonica.
The lyric crossed over the harmonica solo, so I suddenly got thrown the big open line, 'Love me do,' where everything stopped.
Until that session John had always done it.
I didn't even know how to sing it… I can still hear the nervousness in my voice.'
''From Me To You.' It could be done as an old Ragtime tune… especially the middle-eight.
And so, we're not writing the tunes in any particular idiom.
In five years time, we may arrange the tunes differently.
(jokingly) But we'll probably write the same old rubbish!!'JOHN 1980:
'We were writing it in a car, I think… and I think the first line was mine.
I mean, I know it was mine.
(humms melody) And then after that we just took it from there.
We were just writing the next single.
It was far bluesier than that when we wrote it.
The notes, today… you could rearrange it pretty funky.'PAUL circa-1994:
'The thing I liked about 'From Me To You' was it had a very complete middle.
It went to a surprising place.
The opening chord of the middle section of that song heralded a new batch for me.
That was a pivotal song.
Our songwriting lifted a little with that song.
It was very much co-written.'
'We wrote that two days before we recorded it, actually.'PAUL 1963:
'John and I wrote it together.
We were in a van up in Newcastle somewhere, and we'd just gone over to our hotel.
I originally got an idea of doing one of those answering songs, where a couple of us sing about 'she loves you' …and the other one sort of says the 'yes, yes' bit.
You know, 'yeah yeah' answering whoever is saying it.
But we decided that was a crummy idea anyway.
But we had the idea to write a song called 'She Loves You' then.
And we just sat up in the hotel bedroom for a few hours and wrote it, you know.'JOHN 1963:
''Yeah.' That's sort of the main catch phrase from 'She Loves You.' We'd written the song, and then suddenly realized we needed more… so we added 'yeah, yeah, yeah' and it caught on.'JOHN 1980:
'It was written together (with Paul) and I don't remember how.
I remember it was Paul's idea – instead of singing 'I love you' again, we'd have a third party.
The 'Woooo' was taken from the Isley Brothers 'Twist And Shout,' which we stuck into everything.'PAUL 1982:
'Occasionally, we'd overrule George Martin, like on 'She Loves You,' we end on a sixth chord, a very jazzy sort of thing.
And he said, 'Oh, you can't do that! A sixth chord? It's too jazzy.'
We just said, 'No, it's a great hook, we've got to do it.''PAUL 1988:
'We rehearsed the end bit of 'She Loves You' and took it to George.
And he just laughed and said, 'Well, you can't do the end of course… that sixth… it's too like the Andrew Sisters.' We just said, 'Alright, we'll try it without,' and we tried it and it wasn't as good.
Then he conceded, 'You're right, I guess.' But we were both very flexible.
We would listen to George's ideas too, because he was a producer and a musician, and he obviously knew what he was talking about.
There was good to-and-fro.
We loved that bit, and we rehearsed it alot.
John and I wrote that in a hotel room, on twin beds during an afternoon off – I mean, God bless their little cotton socks, those boys WORKED! Here I am talking about an afternoon off, and we're sitting there writing! We just loved it so much.
It wasn't work.'
'Let's see, we were told we had to get down to it.
So we found this house when we were walking along one day.
We knew we had to really get this song going, so we got down in the basement of this disused house and there was an old piano.
It wasn't really disused, it was rooms to let.
We found this old piano and started banging away.
There was a little old organ too.
So we were having this informal jam and we started banging away.
Suddenly a little bit came to us, the catch line.
So we started working on it from there.
We got our pens and paper out and just wrote down the lyrics.
Eventually, we had some sort of a song, so we played it for our recording manager and he seemed to like it.
We recorded it the next day.'JOHN 1980:
'We wrote alot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball.
Like in 'I Want To Hold Your Hand,' I remember when we got the chord that made the song.
We were in Jane Asher's house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time.
And we had, 'Oh you-u-u/ got that something…' And Paul hits this chord, and I turn to him and say, 'That's it!' I said, 'Do that again!' In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that – both playing into each other's noses.'PAUL circa-1994:
''Eyeball to eyeball' is a very good description of it.
That's exactly how it was.
'I Want To Hold Your Hand' was very co-written.'
'John and Paul, but mainly Paul.'JOHN 1980:
'That's Paul completely.
Maybe I had something to do with the chorus, but I don't know.
I always considered it his song.'PAUL 1984:
'We recorded it in France, as I recall.
Went over to the Odeon in Paris.
Recorded it over there.
Felt proud because Ella Fitzgerald recorded it, too, though we didn't realize what it meant that she was doing it.'PAUL circa-1994:
''Can't Buy Me Love' is my attempt to write a bluesy mode.
The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well but they won't buy me what I really want.'
'We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night.
I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day…' and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '…night!' So we came to 'A Hard Day's Night.''JOHN 1980:
'I was going home in the car and Dick Lester suggested the title, 'Hard Day's Night' from something Ringo had said.
I had used it in 'In His Own Write,' but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo.
You know, one of those malapropisms.
A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny… just said it.
So Dick Lester said, 'We are going to use that title.' And the next morning I brought in the song… 'cuz there was a little competition between Paul and I as to who got the A-side – who got the hits.
If you notice, in the early days the majority of singles, in the movies and everything, were mine… in the early period I'm dominating the group.
The only reason he sang on 'A Hard Day's Night' was because I couldn't reach the notes.
(sings) 'When I'm home/ everything seems to be right/ when I'm home…' – which is what we'd do sometimes.
One of us couldn't reach a note but he wanted a different sound, so he'd get the other to do the harmony.'PAUL circa-1994:
'The title was Ringo's.
We'd almost finished making the film, and this fun bit arrived that we'd not known about before, which was naming the film.
So we were sitting around at Twickenham studios having a little brain-storming session… and we said, 'Well, there was something Ringo said the other day.' Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical… they were sort of magic even though he was just getting it wrong.
And he said after a concert, 'Phew, it's been a hard day's night.''
02:19 If I Fell (John Lennon – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 27.02.1964
'That was my first attempt at a ballad proper.
That was the precursor to 'In My Life.' It has the same chord sequences as 'In My Life' – D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things.
And it's semi-autobiographical, but not consciously.
It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads – silly love songs – way back when.'PAUL 1984:
'This was our close-harmony period.
We did a few songs… 'This Boy,' 'If I Fell,' 'Yes It Is' …in the same vein, which were kind of like the Fourmost – an English vocal group, only not really.'
'We are always worried with each record.
With 'Ticket To Ride' we were even more worried.
There's bound to be a time when we come in at 19 (on the charts).
But this 'number one' business doesn't seem to stop – great while it lasts – but now we'll have to start all over again and people will start predicting funny things for the next one.'JOHN 1970:
'It's a heavy record, and the drums are heavy too.
That's why I like it.'JOHN 1980:
'That was one of the earliest heavy-metal records made.
Paul's contribution was the way Ringo played the drums.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I think the interesting thing is the crazy ending – instead of ending like the previous verse, we changed the tempo.
We picked up one of the lines, 'My baby don't care,' but completely altered the melody.
We almost invented the idea of a new bit of a song on the fade-out with this song… It was quite radical at the time.'
'We think it's one of the best we've written.'JOHN 1980:
'The whole Beatle thing was just beyond comprehension.
When 'Help' came out, I was actually crying out for help.
Most people think it's just a fast rock 'n roll song.
I didn't realize it at the time; I just wrote the song because I was commissioned to write it for the movie.
But later, I knew I really was crying out for help.
So it was my fat Elvis period.
You see the movie: He – I – is very fat, very insecure, and he's completely lost himself.
And I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was.
Now I may be very positive… yes, yes… but I also go through deep depressions where I would like to jump out the window, you know.
It becomes easier to deal with as I get older; I don't know whether you learn control or, when you grow up, you calm down a little.
Anyway, I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for help.'PAUL 1984:
'John wrote that… well, John and I wrote it at his house in Weybridge for the film.
I think the title was out of desperation.'
But I think Paul helped with the verse.'JOHN 1980:
Including the guitar lick, the guitar break, and the whole bit.
It's just a rock 'n roll song.
Day trippers are people who go on a day trip, right? Usually on a ferry boat or somethng.
But it was kind of – you know, you're just a weekend hippie.
Get it?'PAUL circa-1994:
'Acid was coming on the scene, and we'd often do these songs about 'the girl who thought she was it.' Mainly the impetus for that used to come from John – I think John met quite a few girls who thought they were it… But this was just a tongue-in-cheek song about someone who was a day tripper, a sunday painter, a sunday driver, somebody who was committed only in part to the idea.
Where we saw ourselves as full-time trippers, fully committed drivers, she was just a day tripper.
That was a co-written effort – we were both making it all up but I would give John the main credit.'
'Paul did the first half, I did the middle-eight.
But you've got Paul writing, 'We can work it out/ We can work it out' real optimistic, you know.
And me, impatient, 'Life is very short and there's no time/ for fussing and fighting, my friend.''PAUL circa-1994:
'I wrote it as more of an up-tempo thing, country and western.
I had the basic idea, the title, had a couple of verses… then I took it to John to finish it off and we wrote the middle together, which is nice – 'Life is very short/ And there's no time for fussing and fighting my friend.' Then it was George Harrison's idea to put the middle into waltz time, like a german waltz… The lyrics might have been personal.
It is often a good way to talk to someone or to work your thoughts out.
It saves you going to a psychiatrist, you allow yourself to say what you might not say in person.'
I think I might have helped with some of the lyrics, Yes, I did.
But it was mainly Paul's tune.'JOHN 1980:
''Paperback Writer' is son of 'Day Tripper' …meaning a rock 'n roll song with a guitar lick on a fuzzy loud guitar.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I arrived at Weybridge and told John I had this idea of trying to write off to a publishers to become a paperback writer, and I said, 'I think it should be written like a letter.' I took a bit of paper out and I said it should be something like, 'Dear Sir or Madam, as the case may be…' and I proceeded to write it just like a letter in front of him, occasionally rhyming it… And then we went upstairs and put the melody to it.
John and I sat down and finished it all up, but it was tilted towards me – the original idea was mine.
I had no music, but it's just a little bluesy song, not alot of melody.
Then I had the idea to do the harmonies, and we arranged that in the studio.'
'It's a happy place, that's all.
You know, it was just… We were trying to write a children's song.
That was the basic idea.
And there's nothing more to be read into it than there is in the lyrics of any children's song.'JOHN 1972:
'Paul wrote the catchy chorus.
I helped with the blunderbuss bit.'JOHN 1980:
''Yellow Submarine' is Paul's baby.
Donovan helped with the lyrics.
I helped with the lyrics too.
We virtually made the track come alive in the studio, but based on Paul's inspiration.
Paul's title… written for Ringo.'PAUL 1984:
'I wrote that in bed one night.
As a kid's story.
And then we thought it would be good for Ringo to do.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I was laying in bed in the Asher's garret, and there's a nice twilight zone just as you're drifting into sleep and as you wake from it – I always find it quite a comfortable zone.
I remember thinking that a children's song would be quite a good idea… I was thinking of it as a song for Ringo, which it eventually turned out to be, so I wrote it as not too rangey in the vocal.
I just made up a little tune in my head, then started making a story – sort of an ancient mariner, telling the young kids where he'd lived.
It was pretty much my song as I recall… I think John helped out.
The lyrics got more and more obscure as it goes on, but the chorus, melody and verses are mine.'GEORGE 1999:
'Paul came up with the concept of 'Yellow Submarine.' All I know is just that every time we'd all get around the piano with guitars and start listening to it and arranging it into a record, we'd all fool about.
As I said, John's doing the voice that sounds like someone talking down a tube or ship's funnel as they do in the merchant marine.
(laughs) And on the final track there's actually that very small party happening! As I seem to remember, there's a few screams and what sounds like small crowd noises in the background.'
'I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it.
The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head… Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church.
I don't know why.
I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day.
Then the name Father McCartney came to me, and all the lonely people.
But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks.
Dad's a happy lad.
So I went through the telephone book and I got the name McKenzie.
I was in Bristol when I decided Daisy Hawkins wasn't a good name.
I walked 'round looking at the shops, and I saw the name Rigby.
Then I took the song down to John's house in Weybridge.
We sat around, laughing, got stoned and finished it off.'JOHN 1980:
'Paul's baby, and I helped with the education of the child… The violin backing was Paul's idea.
Jane Asher had turned him on to Vivaldi, and it was very good.'PAUL 1984:
'I got the name Rigby from a shop in Bristol.
I was wandering round Bristol one day and saw a shop called Rigby.
And I think Eleanor was from Eleanor Bron, the actress we worked with in the film 'Help!' But I just liked the name.
I was looking for a name that sounded natural.
Eleanor Rigby sounded natural.'
'We had been told we'd be seen recording it by the whole world at the same time.
So we had one message for the world – Love.
We need more love in the world.'PAUL circa-1994:
''All You Need Is Love' was John's song.
I threw in a few ideas, as did other members of the group, but it was largely ad libs like singing 'She Loves You' or 'Greensleeves' or silly little things like that at the end, and we made those up on the spot.'
'That's another McCartney.
An attempt to write a single.
It wasn't a great piece.
The best bit was at the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano.
Like 'Ticket To Ride,' where we just threw something in at the end.'PAUL circa-1994:
''Hello Goodbye' was one of my songs.
There are Geminian influences here I think – the twins.
It's such a deep theme of the universe, duality – man woman, black white, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye – that it was a very easy song to write.
It's just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive.
You say goodbye, I say hello.
You say stop, I say go.
I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day.'
02:22 Lady Madonna (Paul McCartney – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 06.02.1968
'It sounds like Elvis, doesn't it? No, it doesn't sound like Elvis… it IS Elvis.
Even those bits where he goes very high.'JOHN 1980:
Good piano lick, but the song never really went anywhere.
Maybe I helped him on some of the lyrics.'PAUL 1986:
''Lady Madonna' is all women.
How do they do it? – bless 'em.
Baby at your breast, how do they get the time to feed them? Where do they get the money? How do you do this thing that women do?'PAUL circa-1994:
'The original concept was the Virgin Mary, but it quickly became symbolic of every woman – the Madonna image but as applied to ordinary working-class women.
'Lady Madonna' was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing.
It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression.
It took my voice to a very odd place.'
07:05 Hey Jude (Paul McCartney – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 12.08.1968
'Well, when Paul first sang 'Hey Jude' to me… or played me the little tape he'd made of it… I took it very personally.
'Ah, it's me,' I said, 'It's me.' He says, 'No, it's me.' I said, 'Check.
We're going through the same bit.' So we all are.
Whoever is going through a bit with us is going through it, that's the groove.'JOHN 1972:
'That's his best song.'PAUL 1974:
'I remember I played it to John and Yoko, and I was saying, 'These words won't be on the finished version.' Some of the words were: 'The movement you need is on your shoulder,' and John was saying, 'It's great!' I'm saying, 'It's crazy, it doesn't make any sense at all.' He's saying, 'Sure it does, it's great.''JOHN 1980:
'He said it was written about Julian.
He knew I was splitting with Cyn and leaving Julian then.
He was driving to see Julian to say hello.
He had been like an uncle.
And he came up with 'Hey Jude.' But I always heard it as a song to me.
Now I'm sounding like one of those fans reading things into it… Think about it: Yoko had just come into the picture.
He is saying.
'Hey, Jude' – 'Hey, John.' Subconsciously, he was saying, 'Go ahead, leave me.' On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead.
The angel in him was saying, 'Bless you.' The devil in him didn't like it at all, because he didn't want to lose his partner.'PAUL 1985:
'I remember on 'Hey Jude' telling George not to play guitar.
He wanted to do echo riffs after the vocal phrases, which I didn't think was appropriate.
He didn't see it like that, and it was a bit of a number for me to have to 'dare' to tell George Harrison – who's one of the greats – not to play.
It was like an insult.
But that's how we did alot of our stuff.'PAUL circa-1994:
'There is an amusing story about recording it… Ringo walked out to go to the toilet and I hadn't noticed.
The toilet was only a few yards from his drum booth, but he'd gone past my back and I still thought he was in his drum booth.
I started what was the actual take – and 'Hey Jude' goes on for hours before the drums come in – and while I was doing it I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums.
And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable.'
03:09 Get Back (Paul McCartney – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 27.01.1969
'We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air.
We started to write words there and then… When we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to rollercoast by.'JOHN 1980:
''Get Back' is Paul.
That's a better version of 'Lady Madonna.' You know, a potboiler rewrite.'
Songs of Beatles