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Author Topic: Song of the week - Lady Madonna  (Read 3026 times)

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nimrod

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Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« on: April 02, 2013, 12:20:46 PM »

Lady Madonna
Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 3, 6 February 1968
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Ken Scott, Geoff Emerick

Released: 15 March 1968 (UK), 18 March 1968 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass, handclaps
John Lennon: backing vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps
Ronnie Scott, Bill Povey: tenor saxophones
Harry Klein, Bill Jackman: baritone saxophones


"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 woman. It's really a tribute to the mother figure, it's a tribute to women. Your Mother Should Know is another. I think women are very strong, they put up with a lot of sh*t, they put up with the pain of having a child, of raising it, cooking for it, they are basically skivvies a lot of their lives, so I always want to pay a tribute to them.
Lady Madonna was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing. I got my left hand doing an arpeggio thing with the chord, an ascending boogie-woogie left hand, then a descending right hand. I always liked that, the juxtaposition of a line going down meeting a line going up. That was basically what it was. 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."

Paul McCartney.


The Beatles began recording Lady Madonna on 3 February 1968. They began by recording three takes of the basic rhythm track, with McCartney on piano and Starr playing the drums with brushes.

McCartney added a bass part that evening, and Lennon and Harrison both played fuzz-toned guitars through the same amplifier. Starr also added another drum track.
During the same session McCartney added his vocals, which were later double tracked, and Lennon and Harrison provided backing vocals.
The Beatles returned to the song three days later. McCartney added his second vocal and another piano track, and all Beatles contributed handclaps. McCartney, Lennon and Harrison also recorded their "See how they run" vocals, and the vocalised imitation brass during the middle eight.

That evening four sax players were contacted to complete the song. They were called in at the last minute, without any prepared music, and their lines were largely improvised.

"Paul went through the song on the piano and we were each given a scrap of manuscript paper and a pencil to write out some notes. Had there been music we would have been in and out in about 10 minutes. As it was, it took most of the evening, recording it in A major pitch with the rhythm track playing in our headphones."

Bill Jackman, baritone saxophonist

CHART SUCCESS

Lady Madonna was released in the UK on 15 March 1968, with Harrison's The Inner Light as the b-side. It entered the charts at number five on 20 March, and a week later climbed to the top. It remained there for a second week, and spent eight weeks altogether in the chart.

In the US it was released on 18 March. It fared less well, peaking at number four on 23 March.

Lady Madonna

Lady Madonna, children at your feet
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet
Who find the money when you pay the rent
Did you think that money was heaven sent

Friday night arrives without a suitcase
Sunday morning creeping like a nun
Monday's child has learned to tie his bootlegs
See how they run

Lady Madonna, baby at your breast
Wonders how you manage to feed the rest
Pa pa pa pa...
See how they run

Lady Madonna lying on the bed
Listen to the music playing in your head

Tuesday afternoon is never ending
Wednesday morning papers didn't come
Thursday night you stocking needed mending
See how they run

Lady Madonna, children at your feet
Wonder how you manage to make ends meet
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tkitna

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 12:33:44 AM »

I've never liked the song, but thats no secret. The heavy bass infected production is a killer for me. I also hate the Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa's and think it sounds silly. I just have never liked the song for some reason. My buddy loves it and used to argue with me, but its all just opinion anyways.

nimrod

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2013, 05:59:46 AM »

I've never liked the song, but thats no secret. The heavy bass infected production is a killer for me. I also hate the Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa's and think it sounds silly. I just have never liked the song for some reason. My buddy loves it and used to argue with me, but its all just opinion anyways.

it always eemed odd to me that after all (and during) the psych stuff they threw in this R & B single..
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Ovi

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2013, 08:11:29 AM »

it always eemed odd to me that after all (and during) the psych stuff they threw in this R & B single..

Wasn't 1968 the "back to the roots" year? The Band released 'Music From The Big Pink', Dylan 'John Wesley Harding' - a modest (yet brilliant) folk/country album coming after the ambitious, diverse 'Blonde on Blonde' and The Rolling Stones did 'Beggars Banquet' -a blues/country record after the out of hand psychedelia of 'Satanic Majesties'.

For the record, I think it's a brilliant song. Love the piano melody, Paul's voice, the "see how they run" parts, the brass joining in for the second verse, the sax solo and the "Sunday morning creeping like a nun/Mondays child has learned to tie his bootlace" lyric.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2013, 08:23:09 AM by Ovi »
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nimrod

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2013, 08:14:45 AM »

I must admit, I like it, always did.
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Dcazz

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2013, 02:32:49 PM »

I always liked it as well. I think it's the first up front lead piano songs Paul wrote! I really like the guitar work bettween John and George but at one point the guitar work was mixed down maybe when it was released in stereo(?). I think it sounds the best when they're louder.
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nimrod

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2013, 11:47:34 PM »

IMO this is a classic case of 'mono is better'
It annoys me a bit that the lead vocal drums and Guitars are mainly on one stereo side and piano is on the other, mono just sounds way better for me.

I love Paul vocal and I like his Elvis-like inflection he puts in his voice, I also really like the harmony vocals on 'See How They Run' Johns voice is very distinctive and clear and blends perfectly.
The Sax solo fits very well but would be better without the PaPaPaPaaa's, although for me its a bit of comedy, maybe Johns idea, no doubt George Martin as a producer of comedy wouldve approved ?

A great catchy tune, I forgive Paul for nicking the Piano riff :D
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Dcazz

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 02:38:48 AM »

IMO this is a classic case of 'mono is better'
It annoys me a bit that the lead vocal drums and Guitars are mainly on one stereo side and piano is on the other, mono just sounds way better for me.

I love Paul vocal and I like his Elvis-like inflection he puts in his voice, I also really like the harmony vocals on 'See How They Run' Johns voice is very distinctive and clear and blends perfectly.
The Sax solo fits very well but would be better without the PaPaPaPaaa's, although for me its a bit of comedy, maybe Johns idea, no doubt George Martin as a producer of comedy wouldve approved ?

A great catchy tune, I forgive Paul for nicking the Piano riff :D
"See how they run might be the best part" with Georges descending guitar riff right after!
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Dcazz

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 02:41:58 AM »

IMO this is a classic case of 'mono is better'
It annoys me a bit that the lead vocal drums and Guitars are mainly on one stereo side and piano is on the other, mono just sounds way better for me.

I love Paul vocal and I like his Elvis-like inflection he puts in his voice, I also really like the harmony vocals on 'See How They Run' Johns voice is very distinctive and clear and blends perfectly.
The Sax solo fits very well but would be better without the PaPaPaPaaa's, although for me its a bit of comedy, maybe Johns idea, no doubt George Martin as a producer of comedy wouldve approved ?

A great catchy tune, I forgive Paul for nicking the Piano riff :D
Oop's!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 02:43:51 AM by Dcazz »
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nimrod

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 03:00:47 AM »

Fats Domino - Lady Madonna
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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 03:12:00 AM »

^

Yay Fats!
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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2013, 03:13:31 AM »

I like this song!  :)

I really do.  I remember when I first heard it on AM radio.  I had no idea it was The Beatles until the "See how they run!"  I thought I heard John in the background vocal.

And it was The Beatles.  I liked the piano and saxophones.  Yes, I remember hearing the "pa pa pas" the first time I heard the song and didn't think it was so bad.  It actually made more sense than the lyrics.  I had absolutely no idea what they were singing about! 

It was on the charts for several weeks in the Spring of 1968 here in the United States.
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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2013, 03:16:03 AM »

I forgive Paul for nicking the Piano riff :D

Yeah.  He did, didn't he?
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Tamara

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2013, 06:43:44 AM »

Yeah.  He did, didn't he?


Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band 1956 Bad Penny Blues
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nimrod

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2013, 06:59:47 AM »

^

thats the one :D
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Dcazz

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2013, 01:46:58 PM »

I like this song!  :)

I really do.  I remember when I first heard it on AM radio.  I had no idea it was The Beatles until the "See how they run!"  I thought I heard John in the background vocal.

And it was The Beatles.  I liked the piano and saxophones.  Yes, I remember hearing the "pa pa pas" the first time I heard the song and didn't think it was so bad.  It actually made more sense than the lyrics.  I had absolutely no idea what they were singing about! 

It was on the charts for several weeks in the Spring of 1968 here in the United States.
My mom and I had a similar freindly argument when Obla Di - Obla Da came on the radio for the first time!
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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2013, 03:29:46 AM »

My mom and I had a similar freindly argument when Obla Di - Obla Da came on the radio for the first time!

Well, I'm sure your mom was right.  After all, your mother should know.
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Klang

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2013, 10:19:33 AM »


First time I heard it on the radio I didn't recognize who it was. Was surprised and amused when they named it afterwards.

Somehow a bunch of us got the idea that kazoos were used in the song - like in the middle part - so the local music store had a big run on them. Me and all my pals had them and it became the new "hip" sound around town. Much cheaper than a sitar, for sure. Hilarious.

I like it a lot.

 :)

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Kevin

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Re: Song of the week - Lady Madonna
« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2013, 11:28:01 AM »

I quite like the song.
But I think it demonstrates why McCartney can get up folks noses sometimes. It's as if he's woken up, noticed the trend towards blues based rock and thought  "I'll write a blues based rock song", and bang the boy knocks out a number 1 hit.
Now this is a rare talent which few of us on this earth possess. But it can mean that at times his music can seem disingenious. Sometimes he lacks soul. So it is with Lady madonna. It lacks heart.
Now all this can be forgiven if the song is meant as parody, and you could argue that the blatant Elivisness of the vocal makes this blindingly obvious. And The beatles always were the biggest magpies in the flock - in almost every song you can hear some kind of American act, from Dylan to The Byrds to The Beach Boys to The Chiffons. Not a bad thing mind. they were the masters of parody and pastiche.
I think if I was a moody teenager in 1968* I would have found more to identify with in The Stones angry Jumping Jack Flash than this toe-tappingly good tune.

* Alas I was only 10, and more torn between The Monkees and the Mighty Rolf Harris.
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