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Author Topic: Piggies (lyrics)  (Read 443 times)

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real01

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Piggies (lyrics)
« on: April 13, 2015, 09:14:13 PM »

So... Do you like Piggies? Some do, some don't.
I've read this (with which I strongly disagree):
Quote
"In his book Revolution in the Head, music critic Ian MacDonald describes "Piggies" as a "bludgeoning satire on straight society", dismissing the song as "dreadful" and "an embarrassing blot on (Harrison's) discography."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piggies

First of all, there isn't a song, not one, of which any of the guys (J, P, G or R) should be ashamed of, not even Revolution No 9.
Revolution No 9 is Yoko Ono's best song in the Beatles! cheer1 OK, I'm joking - but J & Y loved to make noises (being madly in love) and Revolution 9 is the result of J&Y harmony.
(I'm not saying the song itself is a harmony - it is chaos!)

Back to Piggies... It would be better to say:...
Quote
Author Walter Everett refers to the lyrics as involving an "Orwellian comparison of pigs to socially horrid though outwardly refined tyrants."[5] Pink Floyd (who were working on A Saucerful Of Secrets at the same time), later released Animals in 1977, also about Orwell's social comparisons.


I like the music, but let's take a closer look at the lyrics.
In the first verse we have the main characters mentioned - piggies playing in the dirt:
Have you seen the little piggies
Crawling in the dirt?
And for all the little piggies
Life is getting worse
Always having dirt to play around in


2nd:
Have you seen the bigger piggies
In their starched white shirts?
You will find the bigger piggies
Stirring up the dirt
Always have clean shirts to play around in

Again - stuff already mentioned in the first verse, with a bit of variation - basically, pigs playing in the dirt.
Two lines stick out - starched white shirts, clean shirts.

OK - a little bit unusual - pigs wearing shirts. But, then, some people choose pigs for their pets and we've all seen some pets like dogs or cats being dressed in some outfit.
Also, 'Piggies' could be a song for children (like 'Yellow Submarine' or 'All Together Now') - it is not a song mentioned for children, as we'll see it in the end, but I just mention this possibility.

3rd:
In their styes with all their backing
They don't care what goes on around
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damn good whacking

They don't care what goes around - so, they just think of eating and sleeping.

Last two lines - well, things get serious here - pig's eyes lacking of something and they deserve whacking.
Again, a bit strange (like with those lines about shirts).

If the things were not quite clear before, here we have it cleared, in the last verse:
Everywhere there's lots of piggies
Living piggy lives
You can see them out for dinner
With their piggy wives
Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon


Pigs living piggy lives... Pigs and their wives... eating their bacon!
Quote
PIGGIES
    JOHN 1980: "I gave George a couple of lines about forks and knives and eating bacon."
   


OK, it is not a great discovery that 'Piggies' is a song about people - I just wanted to show how the lyrics are composed.
(The word piggies/y is repeated seven times in this song /running just 2:04/ - but that's for achieving funny effect - piggy lives, piggy wives....
(If George wished, he could use other words: hog, boar, swine...)

A nice song with a social commentary.

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Moogmodule

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2015, 10:03:27 PM »

I wouldn't call it an embarrassment. Likewise I don't rank it too highly in the George repertoire. I also find it a bit heavy handed satire wise. This to me was George in his most self righteous mode. Which was never a good path for him to take when writing songs. And the music isn't anything too memorable beyond the pseudo classical arrangement. Considering the songs george was starting to write in this period (I think he'd written Something at this stage for instance) I can only imagine that this one made it on the album as it was thought to fit into that quirky mould that John Paul and George were putting into the album.
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Klang

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2015, 10:37:59 PM »


I think this was a nice departure from earlier form for the group (remember, the previous official releases were Sgt. Pepper/MMT - relatively sugary stuff) that blended well with the rest of the album. It didn't seem too heavy handed to me at the time. It became the counter-culture's business to criticize the...uh...culture.

It was fun social commentary at the time, and I view it the same way now.

 :)

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tkitna

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2015, 11:39:14 PM »

First of all, there isn't a song, not one, of which any of the guys (J, P, G or R) should be ashamed of, not even Revolution No 9.

Well, I disagree with you on that comment.  The Beatles have more then a handful of songs which I feel they were just testing to see what they could get away with.  'Piggies' is one of them.  Horrible song.

In My Life

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 02:08:02 AM »

It was fun social commentary at the time, and I view it the same way now.

 :)

That's pretty much my take on it. The first time I listened to the white Album as an adult I didn't remember this song like I did a lot of the others but I did think, "Good one George!' The nasty side of me likes the line "What they need's a damn good whacking", which, from what I've read was an expression George picked up from his mom. Gotta love those momisms!
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Kelley

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stevie

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 02:36:59 AM »

I think it gets bad press because of the 'connection' with the Manson Family.

Also, didn't George start writing it in about 1963 and his mum found the words on a bit of paper and she made him finish it? Lol
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Normandie

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 01:57:17 PM »

The nasty side of me likes the line "What they need's a damn good whacking", which, from what I've read was an expression George picked up from his mom. Gotta love those momisms!

I like that line, too!   ha2ha

I think it gets bad press because of the 'connection' with the Manson Family.

I agree. Sometimes I wish I'd never read Helter Skelter; some of Manson's twisted interpretations of the songs on the White Album spring to mind when I listen to them.
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real01

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2015, 07:32:04 PM »

And one more thing - the song has a nice gradation (crescendo) - the first verse is 'calm', not so loud. In the second, the strings come in (things get intense!)
In the third - we have 'whacking' (which someone has mentioned before) and third verse is considerably louder than the other three - and George sounds 'angry'.
The last verse is the heaviest - other band members join in singing, maybe double-tracked vocals (+violas, cellos) etc.
So, it has nice structure.

And if you didn't know the name of the song and what is about and you hear that 'baroque' intro - you could picture ladies from 17th century, nicely dressed dancing in the castle.
And then you hear: dirt, sties, etc.  ha2ha
Plus, it ends with an 'edit piece': One more time...
A fun number, I'd say.

And the music isn't anything too memorable beyond the pseudo classical arrangement.
But aren't Strawberry Fields, A Day In The Life, All You Need Is Sex... (pardon! Love glassesslip) also 'pseudo classical'?
(In My Life has a 'pseudo baroque' part played in the middle. 'Honey Pie' has 20s atmosphere, 'Rocky Racoon' has a folk-fiddle in it etc.)
It's George Martin's touch, right?
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 07:35:28 PM by real01 »
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Moogmodule

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2015, 09:26:02 PM »

And one more thing - the song has a nice gradation (crescendo) - the first verse is 'calm', not so loud. In the second, the strings come in (things get intense!)
In the third - we have 'whacking' (which someone has mentioned before) and third verse is considerably l

But aren't Strawberry Fields, A Day In The Life, All You Need Is Sex... (pardon! Love glassesslip) also 'pseudo classical'?
(In My Life has a 'pseudo baroque' part played in the middle. 'Honey Pie' has 20s atmosphere, 'Rocky Racoon' has a folk-fiddle in it etc.)
It's George Martin's touch, right?

Sure there's some classical flourishes in lots of Beatle songs. But that's not what makes them great songs. They're just added flavour. The harpsichord baroque touch in Piggies is about all that memorable about it in my opinion. The rest is pretty mundane musically to my ears.

It's amusing enough. I just think george did a lot better during and after the Beatles.

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Klang

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Re: Piggies (lyrics)
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 09:37:22 PM »


Gets rather jazzy in the bridge.

 8)

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