The Beatles, album "Rock 'n' Roll Music"
Lyrics of the album
Listen the album
LP - collections - Studio EMI Studios - 1976
'I always hate singing the song, 'Twist And Shout' when there's a colored artist on the bill with us.
It doesn't seem right, you know.
I feel sort of embarrassed… It makes me curl up.
I always feel they could do the song much better than me.'JOHN 1971:
'The more interesting songs to me were the black ones because they were more simple.
They sort of said shake-your-arse, or your prick, which was an innovation really.
The blacks were singing directly and immediately about their pain, and also about sex, which is why I like it.'JOHN 1976:
'The last song nearly killed me.
My voice wasn't the same for a long time after – everytime I swallowed it was like sandpaper.
I was always bitterly ashamed of it because I could sing it better than that, but now it doesn't bother me.
You can hear I'm just a frantic guy doing his best.'PAUL 1988:
'There's a power in John's voice there that certainly hasn't been equaled since.
And I know exactly why – It's because he worked his bollocks off that day.
We left 'Twist And Shout' until the very last thing because we knew there was one take.'RINGO 1994:
'We started (recording the album) about noon and finished it at midnight, with John being really hoarse by 'Twist And Shout.''
'That's Paul doing his usual job of producing what George Martin used to call a 'potboiler.' I helped with a couple of the lyrics.'PAUL 1988:
'I wrote it with John.
We sagged off school and wrote it on guitars.
I remember I had the lyrics, 'Just seventeen/Never been a beauty queen,' which John… it was one of the first times he ever went, 'What? Must change that!' And it became, 'you know what I mean.''PAUL circa-1994:
'Sometimes we would just start a song from scratch, but one of us would nearly always have a germ of an idea, a title, or a rough little thing they were thinking about and we'd do it.
'I Saw Her Standing There' was my original.
I'd started it and I had the first verse, which therefore gave me the tune, the tempo, and the key.
It gave you the subject matter, alot of information, and then you had to fill in.
So it was co-written… and we finished it that day.
'I'd find it a drag to play rhythm all the time, so I always work myself out something interesting to play.
The best example I can think of is like I did on 'You Can't Do That.' There really isn't a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist on that, because I feel the rhythm guitarist role sounds too thin for records.
Anyway it drove me potty to play chunk-chunk rhythm all the time.
I never play anything as lead guitarist that George couldn't do better.
But I like playing lead sometimes, so I do it.'JOHN 1980:
'That's me doing Wilson Pickett.
You know, a cowbell going four-in-the bar, and the chord going 'chatoong!''
'Both of us wrote it, but mainly Paul.
I helped him finish it.'JOHN 1980:
''I Wanna Be Your Man' was a kind of lick Paul had – 'I wanna be your lover, baby.
I wanna be your man.' I think we finished it off for the Stones.
We were taken down to meet them at the club where they were playing in Richmond by Brian and some other guy.
They wanted a song and we went to see what kind of stuff they did.
Mick and Keith heard we had an unfinished song – Paul just had this bit and we needed another verse or something.
We sort of played it roughly to them and they said, 'Yeah, OK, that's our style.' But it was only really a lick, so Paul and I went off in the corner of the room and finished the song off while they were all still sitting there talking.
We came back, and that's how Mick and Keith got inspired to write… because, 'Jesus, look at that.
They just went in the corner and wrote it and came back!' You know, right in front of their eyes we did it.
So we gave it to them.
It was a throw-away.
The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones.
It shows how much importance we put on them.
We weren't going to give them anything great, right? I believe it was the Stones' first record.'PAUL 1984:
'I wrote it for Ringo to do on one of the early albums.
But we ended up giving it to the Stones.
We met Mick and Keith in a taxi one day in Charing Cross Road and Mick said, 'Have you got any songs?' So we said, 'Well, we just happen to have one with us!' I think George had been instrumental in getting them their first record contract.
We suggested them to Decca, 'cuz Decca had blown it by refusing us, so they had tried to save face by asking George, 'Know any other groups?' He said, 'Well, there is this group called the Stones.' So that's how they got their first contract.
Anyway, John and I gave them maybe not their first record, but I think the first they got on the charts with.
They don't tell anybody about it these days; they prefer to be more ethnic.
But you and I know the real truth.'
02:09 I Call Your Name (John Lennon – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 01.03.1964
'That was my song.
When there was no Beatles and no group, I just had it around.
It was my effort as a kind of blues originally, and then I wrote the middle-eight just to stick it in the album when it came out years later.
The first part had been written before Hamburg even.
It was one of my 'first' attempts at a song.'PAUL circa-1994:
'We worked on it together, but it was John's idea.
When I look back at some of these lyrics, I think, 'Wait a minute.
What did he mean? 'I call your name but you're not there.' Is it his mother? His father? I must admit I didn't really see that as we wrote it because we were just a couple of young guys writing.
You didn't look behind it at the time, it was only later you started analyzing things.'
RINGO 1964: 'I'm featured on it.
Actually it was written by Carl Perkins about six years ago.
Carl came to the session.
I felt very embarrassed.
I did it just two days before I went in the hospital (with tonsilitis) so please forgive my throat.'
JOHN 1980: 'An effort at writing 'It Won't Be Long' – same ilk.
C to A minor, C to A minor with me shouting.'
'If Paul had written a song, he'd learn all the parts and then come in the studio and say 'Do this.' He'd never give you the opportunity to come out with something.
But on 'Drive My Car' I just played the line, which is really like a lick off 'Respect,' you know, the Otis Redding version.
And I played the line on the guitar and Paul laid that with me on the bass.
We laid that track down like that.
We played the lead part later on top of it.'JOHN 1980:
'His (Paul's) song, with contributions from me.'PAUL circa-1994:
'This is one of the songs where John and I came nearest to having a dry session.
The lyrics I brought in were something to do with golden rings, which are always fatal (to songwriting).
'Rings' is fatal anyway, 'rings' always rhymes with things and I knew it was a bad idea.
I came in and I said, 'These aren't good lyrics but it's a good tune.' Well, we tried, and John couldn't think of anything, and we tried, and eventually it was, 'Oh let's leave it, let's get off this one.' 'No, no.
We can do it, we can do it.' So we had a break… then we came back to it, and somehow it became 'drive-my-car' instead of 'gol-den-rings,' and then it was wonderful – because this nice tongue-in-cheek idea came.'
''The Night Before' that Paul does is good.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I would say that's mainly mine.
I don't think John had alot to do with that.'
02:32 I'm Down (Paul McCartney – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 14.06.1965
'That's Paul… with a little help from me, I think.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I could do Little Richard's voice which is a wild, hoarse, screaming thing – It's like an out-of-body experience.
You have to leave your current sensibilities and go about a foot above your head to sing it.
Alot of people were fans of Little Richard so I used to sing his stuff, but there came a point when I wanted to do one of my own, so I wrote 'I'm Down.''
03:25 Revolution (John Lennon – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 21.06.1968
'On 'Revolution' I'm playing the guitar and I haven't improved since I was last playing, but I dug it.
It sounds the way I wanted it to sound.'JOHN 1972:
'I should never have put that in about Chairman Mao.
I was just finishing off in the studio when I did that.'JOHN 1980:
'The statement in 'Revolution' was mine.
The lyrics stand today.
It's still my feeling about politics.
I want to see the plan.
That is what I used to say to Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin.
Count me out if it is for violence.
Don't expect me to be on the barricades unless it is with flowers.
For years, on the Beatles' tours, Brian Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war.
And he wouldn't allow questions about it.
But on one of the last tours, I said, 'I'm going to answer about the war.
We can't ignore it.' I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something about the war.'
'Chuck Berry once did a song called 'Back In The USA,' which is very American, very Chuck Berry.
Very sort of, uhh… you know, you're serving in the army, and when I get back home I'm gonna kiss the ground.
And you know – Can't wait to get back to the States.
And it's a very American sort of thing, I've always thought.
So this one is like about… In my mind it's just about a spy who's been in America a long long time, you know, and he's picked up… And he's very American.
But he gets back to the USSR, you know, and he's sort of saying, 'Leave it till tomorrow, honey, to disconnect the phone,' and all that.
And 'Come here honey,' but with Russian women.
It concerns the attributes of Russian women.'JOHN 1980:
I play the six-string bass on that.'PAUL 1984:
'I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody.
And 'Back in the USA' was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there.
I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know? It was also hands across the water, which I'm still conscious of.
'Cuz they like us out there, even though the bosses in the Krelmin may not.
The kids do.'PAUL 1986:
'I'm sure it pissed Ringo off when he couldn't quite get the drums to 'Back In The U.S.S.R.' and I sat in.
It's very weird to know that you can do a thing someone else is having trouble with.
If you go down and do it, just bluff right through it, you think, 'What the hell, at least I'm helping.' Then the paranoia comes in – 'But I'm going to show him up!' I was very sensitive to that.'
'Umm, that came about just 'cuz I'd read a review of a record which said, 'And this group really got us wild, there's echo on everything, they're screaming their heads off.' And I just remember thinking, 'Oh, it'd be great to do one.
Pity they've done it.
Must be great – really screaming record.' And then I heard their record and it was quite straight, and it was very sort of sophisticated.
It wasn't rough and screaming and tape echo at all.
So I thought, 'Oh well, we'll do one like that, then.' And I had this song called 'Helter Skelter' which is just a ridiculous song.
So we did it like that, 'cuz I like noise.'JOHN 1980:
'That's Paul completely.
All that (Charles) Manson stuff was built 'round George's song about pigs and this one… Paul's song about an English fairground.
It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me.'PAUL 1985:
'The Who had made some track that was the loudest, the most raucous rock 'n roll, the dirtiest thing they'd ever done.
It made me think, 'Right.
Got to do it.' I like that kind of geeking up.
And we decided to do the loudest, nastiest, sweatiest rock number we could.'
''Taxman' was when I first realized that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes.
It was and still is typical.'JOHN 1980:
'I remember the day he (George) called to ask for help on 'Taxman,' one of his first songs.
I threw in a few one-liners to help the song along because that's what he asked for.
He came to me because he couldn't go to Paul.
Paul wouldn't have helped him at that period.
I didn't want to do it.
I just sort of bit my tongue and said OK.
It had been John and Paul for so long, he'd been left out because he hadn't been a songwriter up until then.'PAUL 1984:
'George wrote that and I played guitar on it.
He wrote it in anger at finding out what the taxman did.
He had never known before then what could happen to your money.'GEORGE 1987:
'I was pleased to have Paul play that bit on 'Taxman.' If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.'
'We were doing our Tamla Motown bit.
You see, we're influenced by whatever's going.
Even if we're not influenced, we're all going that way at a certain time.'JOHN 1972:
'I think George and I helped with some of the lyrics.
I'm not sure.'JOHN 1980:
I think that was one of his best songs, too, because the lyrics are good and I didn't write them.
You see? When I say that he could write lyrics if he took the effort – here's an example.'PAUL 1984:
'That's mine – I wrote it.
It was the first one we used brass on, I think.
One of the first times we used soul trumpets.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I'd been a rather straight working class lad, but when we started to get into pot it seemed to me to be quite uplifting.
It didn't seem to have too many side effects like alcohol or some of the other stuff, like pills, which I pretty much kept off.
I kind of liked marijuana and to me it seemed it was mind-expanding, literally mind-expanding.
So 'Got To Get You Into My Life' is really a song about that.
It's not to a person, it's actually about pot.
It's saying, 'I'm going to do this.
This is not a bad idea.' So it's actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.
I haven't really changed my opinion too much, except if anyone asks me for real advice, it would be stay straight.
That is actually the best way, but in a stressful world I still would say that pot was one of the best of the tranquilizing drugs.
I have drunk and smoked pot and of the two I think pot is less harmful.
People tend to fall asleep on it rather than go out and commit murder, so it's always seemed to me to be a rather benign one.'
'It's a good sounding record that means nothing.'PAUL circa-1994:
'I remember 'Hey Bulldog' as being one of John's songs and I helped him finish it off in the studio, but it's mainly his vibe.
There's a little rap at the end between John and I, we went into a crazy little thing at the end.
We always tried to make every song different because we figured, 'Why write something like the last one? We've done that.' We were on a ladder so there was never any sense of stepping down a rung, or even staying on the same rung, it was better to move one rung ahead.'GEORGE 1999:
'We now have an unreleased video of 'Hey Bulldog,' as you know.
When we were in the studio recording 'Bulldog,' apparently it was at a time when they needed some footage for something else, some other record (Lady Madonna), and a film crew came along and filmed us.
Then they cut up the footage and used some of the shots for something else.
But it was Neil Aspinall who found out that when you watched and listened to what the original thing was, we were recording 'Bulldog.' This was apparently the only time we were actually filmed recording something, so what Neil did was, he put (the unused footage) all back together again and put the 'Bulldog' soundtrack onto it, and there it was!'
'What happened was 'The Girl Can't Help It' was on television.
That's an old rock film with Little Richard and Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran and a few others… and we wanted to see it, so we started recording at five o'clock.
And we said, 'We'll do something, We'll make up a backing track.' So we kept it very simple – twelve bar blues kind of thing.
And we stuck in a few bits here and there in it, with no idea what the song was or what was gonna go on top of it.
We just said, 'Okay.
Twelve bars in A, and we'll change to D, and I'm gonna do a few beats in C.' And we really just did it like that… random thing.
And we came back here to my house and watched 'The Girl Can't Help It.' Then we went back to the studio again and made up some words to go with it all.
So this song was just made up in an evening.
Umm, you know.
We hadn't ever thought of it before then.
And it's one of my favorites because of that.
I think it works, you know, 'cuz it's just… It's a good one to dance to.
Like the big long drum break, just 'cuz, normally we might have four bars of drums, but with this we just keep it going, you know.
We all like to hear drums plodding on.'JOHN 1972:
'Both of us (wrote it.)'JOHN 1980:
''Birthday' was written in the studio.
Just made up on the spot.
I think Paul wanted to write a song like 'Happy Birthday Baby,' the old fifties hit.
But it was sort of made up in the studio.
It was a piece of garbage.'PAUL circa-1994:
'We thought, 'Why not make something up?' So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff.
So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all in the same evening.'
03:09 Get Back (album version) (Paul McCartney – John Lennon and Paul McCartney) - 27.01.1969
Songs of Beatles