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Author Topic: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.  (Read 14180 times)

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Kevin

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Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« on: March 29, 2010, 12:20:45 PM »

And slowly the lights go out.....the last time The Beatles sit down to record a song specifically destined for single release.
I remember Yodll saying ages ago that this should have been a Plastic Ono Band single, and for a long time I agreed with him. But I actually really like this now. Paul makes a mighty fine rhythm section and I love the clean, jaunty sound. John's lyrics are great, especially the Christ!/crucify joke. It's nice to see them working together in this way, and a nice reflection on Paul that he was happy with this cobbled together bit of Lennon conceipt to be a single. Both of their popular images as control-freak or humourless paranoid take a battering here.
I'm not sure how telling it is that until you're told most people don't even notice George and Ringo are AWOL.

I also really like Old Brown Shoe, but like most of George's song it doesn't have that climatic moment to lift it out of the second division. Or hje seems to have trouble writing refrains. But I just had a thought that many of John and Paul's
greatest moments come whebn they combine bits of songs and offer advise, whereas George was on his todd.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 12:33:46 PM by Kevin »
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Bobber

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 12:39:07 PM »

Terrible. One of the few songs that makes me feel ashamed to be a Beatlesfan.
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Mairi

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 05:09:18 PM »

Catchy song but I totally hate the lyrics. Typical self-indulgent Lennon lyrics, especially that Christ/crucify thing. he knew that would p*ss people off.

But aside from the lyrics, it really is a great song.
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tkitna

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 07:03:29 PM »

This song sucks. One of the worst songs the Beatles ever released. John rambles on, the song goes nowhere, the twangy guitar is awful, and the whole thing sounds like it was put together in 3 minutes. Just terrible. As Mairi said, typical John self indulgent bullsh*t. It was clear to us all that John had lost all inspiration to write a decent song at this point. Probably one of my 5 most hated Beatle songs.

'Old Brown Shoe' is a decent 2nd tier song from George. The middle break saves it from being too annoying. Love the bass though regardless of who played it (George or Paul) and the drums are cool. Pretty average song in a whole.

SemolinaPilchard

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 08:30:32 PM »

Pauls vocals at the end save it from being completely worthless for me.
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Jane

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 09:21:32 PM »

Great song! Great music!
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Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 10:58:27 PM »

I've always liked the a-side. If you don't like John singing about himself, you probably don't like most of his post-Beatles music either. Some may call it "self-indulgent", but a whole lot of people really eat up all that introspective, personal stuff. When a person makes art about something that they themselves are feeling, it tends to feel more powerful and intense to the end viewer/listener, especially if it's done right. Take Paul for an example of the opposite end of the spectrum. He almost never puts himself into his music. He sings to universally appealing things, or he tells stories about other people. This takes a different kind of talent, and has a very different, but still enjoyable, effect on the end viewer/listener. The only pieces of himself he usually put in his music is that he loved Linda, and that was painfully obvious to anyone who saw them together when she was around. You don't know about their fights, which they undoubtedly had, because they chose to keep them private (which is valid, of course; as I said, it's just two different styles of music and also of life). The one time he actually writes a song about something personal, when he says he loves John, everyone's jaw drops.

The point is, some people like one style more than the other. I happen to like both, and I like this song and the way it allows John to laugh off his frustrations with people driving him nuts all the time. I also think the Christ/crucify joke was more a joking jab at himself than a cocky likening of himself to Jesus. He was referring to his earlier media gaffe. At the same time, the likening was probably ironic; by comparing himself to Jesus and the horrible troubles he went through, John was telling himself that his comparatively minor annoyances weren't that bad. If he were serious about thinking his life was as rough as Jesus's, the song probably wouldn't be so upbeat and fun-sounding.

-------

As for the b-side, I don't know who played the bassline, but I believe George played just about all of it except the drums on the demo, which appears on Anthology, so if Paul played it he was taking instructions from George.

I really love this song. It sounds like the sonic equivalent of riding in a horse-drawn carriage where the horses have been spooked and are running frantically, and the lyric is just as scary. I think it's a really fun song, and I don't think it needs a chorus. I think a chorus probably would have hurt the song, in fact.
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Mairi

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 11:44:15 PM »

I've always liked the a-side. If you don't like John singing about himself, you probably don't like most of his post-Beatles music either. Some may call it "self-indulgent", but a whole lot of people really eat up all that introspective, personal stuff. When a person makes art about something that they themselves are feeling, it tends to feel more powerful and intense to the end viewer/listener, especially if it's done right. Take Paul for an example of the opposite end of the spectrum. He almost never puts himself into his music. He sings to universally appealing things, or he tells stories about other people. This takes a different kind of talent, and has a very different, but still enjoyable, effect on the end viewer/listener. The only pieces of himself he usually put in his music is that he loved Linda, and that was painfully obvious to anyone who saw them together when she was around. You don't know about their fights, which they undoubtedly had, because they chose to keep them private (which is valid, of course; as I said, it's just two different styles of music and also of life). The one time he actually writes a song about something personal, when he says he loves John, everyone's jaw drops.

Not trying to turn this into yet another John vs Paul thread but I just want to point out that Paul could write about personal things, he just chose not to do it in an obvious way like John did. I like John's personal songs like Mother but TBOJAY just comes off as totally self-involved. Wow, people don't like your annoying girlfriend. Poor you.
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tkitna

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 01:42:54 AM »

If you don't like John singing about himself, you probably don't like most of his post-Beatles music either.

Your right because I dont.

nyfan(41)

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 02:05:03 AM »

ballad of j&y - for me, everything good about this song is from paul - - - - especially the harmonies - they are unusual
.
old brown shoe - i'm not sure but i think i like this because it hasn't been played on the radio a jillion times. it also has an unusual gallop to the rhythm that reminds me of the song "highway 61" by bob dylan . . . .  hmm, once more it's paul's harmonies that i like best
i was never quite sure why old brown shoe made the blue 'best of' double album - but i'm glad it did
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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 02:29:49 AM »

Not trying to turn this into yet another John vs Paul thread but I just want to point out that Paul could write about personal things, he just chose not to do it in an obvious way like John did. I like John's personal songs like Mother but TBOJAY just comes off as totally self-involved. Wow, people don't like your annoying girlfriend. Poor you.

I agree about Paul. I know that he can and just usually chooses not to, hence my mention of "Here Today" whose title I just remembered. However, the song doesn't mention anyone not liking Yoko, so I don't know where you're getting that criticism from.
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I_Will

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 02:34:10 AM »

ballad of j&y - for me, everything good about this song is from paul

This.
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Mairi

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2010, 05:36:35 AM »

I agree about Paul. I know that he can and just usually chooses not to, hence my mention of "Here Today" whose title I just remembered. However, the song doesn't mention anyone not liking Yoko, so I don't know where you're getting that criticism from.

You know what I mean though. That was the general attitude towards her at the time the song was written.
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tkitna

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2010, 08:24:11 AM »

That was the general attitude towards her at the time the song was written.

And to this day

Joost

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2010, 08:38:06 AM »

After several double A-sides, this was really a double B-side, wasn't it? Musically I think both songs are throwaways. And the lyrics to TBOJ&Y are embarrassing. Yeah John, I think all those people who had to work crappy jobs in stores and factories really pitied you at the time for having such a hard, difficult life.
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Kevin

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2010, 08:51:13 AM »

i was never quite sure why old brown shoe made the blue 'best of' double album - but i'm glad it did

I believe including obscure b sides not available on albums was a marketing ploy to intice buyers who already had the albums (this was only 3 years after the split.)
I think too there was a deliberate attempt to give the albums an anthology feel, to stop making it just another greatest hits. And George needed his quota on the albums to pay the rent. (I've always suspected Octopuses Garden was included to give Ringo a good royalties whack,)
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Kevin

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2010, 01:10:57 PM »

Catchy song but I totally hate the lyrics. Typical self-indulgent Lennon lyrics, especially that Christ/crucify thing. he knew that would p*ss people off.


I think the lyrics are quite smart and funny.
Ballads are generally doomy, oh woh is me affairs, and I think the "you know it ain't easy" chorus is just John playing around with the whole ballad concept thing. I think the thrown together, sparse country instrumentation justs adds to the charm. I wonder too if John was making a cheeky reference to Dylans recent The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.
I think the Christ/crucify thing was a cheeky nod at the "bigger than Jesus" affair. I think it's quite clever.

I also like the way he included self-depracating (sp) lines like "they look just like two guru's in drag."  He didn't need to draw that kind of negative image upon himself. Again I believe that's another hint that John didn't intend this to be taken too seriously.

We know John courted, and probably enjoyed, all the attention he was suddenly getting, and he was yet to loose his sense of humour completely. I don't really think he expected sympathy.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 01:33:02 PM by Kevin »
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Bobber

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2010, 01:17:45 PM »

I wonder to if John was making a cheeky reference to Dylans recent The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest.
The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde?
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emmi_luvs_beatles

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2010, 01:25:31 PM »

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde?


;D



Anyways, I like this song, even with all of the crap it's getting. I may just be warmed up to it because it was on my first Beatles CD (Beatles 1). And as for Old Brown Shoe, it's a good enough song, especially for a George B side.
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Kevin

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Re: Singles - Ballad of John and Yoko.
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2010, 01:31:27 PM »

The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde?

Yep. I think he was just having fun with the whole ballad thing, which must have struck him as even more amusing because he was writing about himself.
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