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I´AM THE WALRUS: 50 YEARS

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This November marks the 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus.” Written primarily by John for the TV movie Magical Mystery Tour, “I Am The Walrus” features a cryptic Lennon lyric with a bizarre chorus, an innovative arrangement from producer George Martin,studio trickery from engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott, and an excerpt from Shakespeare’s King Lear. All of this adds up to create The Beatles’ psychedelic masterpiece. Here are ten things about “I Am The Walrus”:

John wrote the bulk of the song during several LSD trips. During one trip, he heard the two-note pattern of a police siren passing by. The sound morphed into the opening notes of “I Am The Walrus.” They are even mimicked in the two note motif in the verse (“Mis-ter ci-ty p’lice-man…”).
“He has too many of the wrong ambitions and his energy is too often misplaced.” That was a description of John Lennon written by the headmaster of Quarry Bank High School in 1956. Just ten years later, a student at Quarry Bank wrote Lennon to tell him that they were analyzing Beatles lyrics in class. Lennon decided to give the students (along with music critics) something a little more difficult to analyze. So, he turned an old playground nursery rhyme that he sang as a child (“yellow matter custard/green slop pie/all mixed together with a dead dog’s eye”) into the line “yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye.”
The title of the song was based on the poem “The Walrus and The Carpenter” by one of Lennon’s favorite authors, Lewis Carroll. It wasn’t until later that John realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the poem! There is no “egg man” in the poem, although Humpty Dumpty does make an appearance in Through the Looking Glass. Surprisingly, Eric Burdon, lead singer of The Animals, stepped forward to claim that he was the egg man referenced by Lennon. Burdon was known as “Eggs” to his friends, due to his strange fetish of breaking eggs over naked women.

John, one of rock’s best vocalists, was always frustrated by the sound of his voice. For “I Am The Walrus,” he asked engineer Geoff Emerick to make his voice sound like it was coming from the moon. As always, Emerick turned John’s strange request into the perfect effect. Emerick had John record his vocals using a low-fidelity talkback microphone (typically used by an engineer in the control room to “talk back” to musicians in the recording studio). This helped create one of rock music’s first distorted lead vocals.

The recording of “I Am The Walrus” was incredibly complex, ultimately taking 25 takes to complete. When Lennon first performed “I Am The Walrus” for George Martin, he asked Martin for the producer’s opinion. “Well, John, to be honest, I have only one question,” Martin said. “What the hell do you expect me to do with that?!?” Luckily, the always inventive Martin came up with an innovative orchestral arrangement that fit the song perfectly. It features eight violins and four cellos, three French horns, and a contrabass clarinet — a rare member of the clarinet family that was a favorite of Frank Zappa. In fact, Zappa loved “I Am The Walrus,” and played it often in his concerts.

George Martin’s arrangement didn’t stop with the orchestral instruments. He clearly felt that John’s song needed something more.

So, he hired the Mike Sammes singers, known for their work on Disney films and TV themes. Rather than create a standard vocal arrangement, Martin took advantage of the singers’ excellent score reading skills and created a sprechgesang arrangement. Sprechgesang, which means “spoken singing”, is a vocal technique halfway between singing and speaking. In his score to “I Am The Walrus,” Martin had the Mike Sammes singers make whooping sounds, laugh, snort, and shout phrases like “Oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper!” Nothing like this had ever been heard on a popular music recording.

At the end of the very complicated mixing sessions for “I Am The Walrus”, John had an idea: mixing a live radio broadcast into the recording. It took some engineering work from Geoff Emerick (plus some paperwork to get permission from his bosses at EMI) to patch an AM radio into the console. During the mix, Ringo manned the radio while John instructed him when to turn the knobs. Coincidentally, Ringo stumbled on the BBC production of Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of King Lear. The broadcast was at the point of Act IV, Scene VI, where the steward “Oswald” is killed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


WATCH PAUL, MARY AND STELLA MCCARTNEY IN NEW DOCUMENTARY SHORT

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Ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 23) next week, the McCartney family has released a Meat Free Monday documentary short called ‘One Day a Week’ about the huge contributor to climate change that is often left out of conference discussions – animal agriculture.

Featuring Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney, Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone, ‘One Day a Week’ uses breathtaking aerial photography and hard-hitting facts to highlight the damaging environmental impact of animal agriculture and encourage people to help.

“There’s a simple but significant way to help protect the planet and all its inhabitants,” says Paul McCartney to camera. “And it starts with just one day a week. One day without eating animal products can have a huge impact in helping maintain that delicate balance that sustains us all.”

Watch ‘One Day a Week’ HERE:

 

 


GEOFF EMERICK TALKED WITH BEATLES MAGAZINE

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Geoff Emerick became an assistant engineer at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in 1962 at age fifteen, and was present as a new band called the Beatles recorded their first songs. He later worked with the Beatles as they recorded their singles “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the songs that would propel them to international superstardom. In 1964 he would witness the transformation of this young and playful group from Liverpool into professional, polished musicians as they put to tape classic songs such as “Eight Days A Week” and “I Feel Fine.”

 

Then, in 1966, at age nineteen, Geoff Emerick became the Beatles’ chief engineer, the man responsible for their distinctive sound as they recorded the classic album Revolver, in which they pioneered innovative recording techniques that changed the course of rock history. Emerick would also engineer the monumental Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road albums, considered by many the greatest rock recordings of all time.

Geoff Emerick was very kind. He talked with ‘BEATLES MAGAZINE’ about The Beatles of course, and he said:

Geoff Emerick:  “I had the pleasure and responsibility of working with The Beatles on so many of their recordings. In fact I was present in the recording studio for their very first session ever.

So you can trust I know good Beatles content when I come across it. If you google The Beatles you’ll bring up such a myriad of websites, you could spend a lot of time trying to find one that’s truly worthy of your attention.

I can direct you to a very good one indeed. Beatles Magazine has content that I enjoy myself and can recommend to every Beatles fan and aficionado.”

 

BM: Thank you so much Geoff.

Visit the website: www.emerickbeats.com

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/officialgeoffemerick

On Twitter: @geoffemerick

“HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE” By Geoff Emerick … Here

 


RINGO AT THE MOODY THEATER, AUSTIN

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Austin, TX, USA – The Moody Theater – 31 October,2017

 


A CHRISTMAS CARD WRITTEN BY JOHN LENNON IS ON SALE FOR $15,000

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A Christmas card written by John Lennon is on sale for $15,000.

The festive note was penned by John, in 1968 for his wife Yoko Ono’s ex, music producer Tony Cox, and the former couple’s daughter, Kyoko Cox. The card, which is being sold on MomentsInTime.com, is believed to be referring to Yoko – who was married to Tony from 1962 to 1969 – moving out. It reads: “Dear Tony, we took most of the stuff I think … if we picked up anything of yours – or something you need (don’t panic!)

“We’ll put it back or send it depending where you are. Hope it’s o.k. there – it sounds it.

“Merry Xmas etc

“John and Yoko (sic)”

Another page of the note sees John asking Tony where the mastertapes of a 1968 concert Yoko performed are, and two of her short films. He writes: “We can’t find them.”

In the part addressed to Kyoko, the card reads: “To Dear Kyoko, A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, lots of love and kisses, John and mommy.”

In February 2016, a four-inch lock of John’s hair sold for $35,000 at auction. The ‘Imagine’ hitmaker’s tresses were chopped off prior to his 1967 movie role in ‘How I Won the War’. What’s more, his Rolls Royce Phantom V once sold for $2.23 million and lyrics to Beatles hit ‘All You Need is Love’ fetched $1.25 million.