Beatles Song of the Week

After wrapping up the Sgt. Pepper sessions in late April, 1967 The Beatles began work almost immediately on new material.  On May 9th they recorded the song “Magical Mystery Tour” (long before the idea for turning it into a film was born, by the way).  And on the 11th they began work on one of the ultimate John & Paul collaborations, “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”

We know for a fact that John and Paul wrote many of the early Lennon-McCartney compositions together.  We also know that many Lennon-McCartney authored tunes were written mainly by one with some suggestions and improvements added by the other.  And we are positive that some songs were completely the work of just John or just Paul with no contribution from the other (despite the Lennon-McCartney writing credit).  Most of the time it is impossible to say “John wrote that part,” or “that part is Paul’s.”  That’s probably why the songwriting partnership worked as well as it did.  But for a few songs the contrast is there and the writing history is known.  I point to “We Can Work It Out,” “I’ve Got a Feeling,” “A Day In The Life” and this week’s Song of the Week, “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”  These songs were basically cobbled together using two unfinished songs, one by John and the other by Paul.

“Baby You’re a Rich Man” was a song which The Beatles intended to be a tribute to their friend and manager, Brian Epstein.  John wrote the “Beautiful People” verses and Paul inserted a refrain he’d written called “Baby You’re a Rich Man.”  The songs sound perfect together.  The record itself is an interesting one in that it sounds slightly advanced for May, 1967 and captures The Beatles in a unique sound that they hadn’t made before and really would not make again.  This could be due to the fact that The Beatles recorded and mixed this song at Olympic Studios in London -the first time they had completed a song away from Abbey Road.  Listen to the great bass playing in the intro and the interesting drumming throughout some of the verses.   And who could ignore the clavioline (the oboe sounding instrument played throughout the song)?  That’s actually a keyboard instrument making that psychedelic sound.  Anyway, enjoy the song and the cool video featuring home movies shot when The Beatles went on vacation together in the summer of 1967 with the goal of buying their own Greek island!  But that’s another story…

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