Continuing from last week:
#1: With a Little Help From My Friends
This song is my favorite Beatles song. If you recall from my list, I looked into the lessons shared by the works of Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison, (Note: Songs from this week are written by Lennon, McCartney, and Starkey. "Boys" is written by Dixon-Farrell.) and I promised I'd finish the list here in Beatlemania: Part 2.
The beautiful part about this song is that it really is timeless. I know many people that know the covers of this song, but Ringo's rendition still holds true. The biggest lesson I find in the lyrics, which are very simple, is that we just want someone to love. Of course, love takes time, and perfecting the process takes even longer, but to tide us over until we find love, friends come into play. They can make us laugh, keep us company, and just generally make us happier. I think it completely encompasses the Beatles. They were friends first, musicians second. Unfortunately, things fell through towards the end. A lawsuit, an affair, and just some overall ugliness befell the group in the years after 1970, but that's a conversation for another day. I like to best remember them for the years after Hamburg, Germany, and right up to THE album. You know what album. Friends like those only come around once in a lifetime, and it just so happened that one friend played bass, another played solo guitar, another played guitar better (says John, not me), and the smallest one played drums. The smallest one is my favorite. That being said...
BEATLEMANIA: PART 2: RINGO
I love fun! Fun is great. We can have fun by doing simple things, or big things. Maybe even some crazy things can count as fun. Point is, if it makes you happy (and it's legal), do it. Ringo Starr, the second drummer for the Beatles, is a man who is not so inclined musically, but he sure knows how to have fun. I've had the pleasure of seeing him in person, and he has even pointed to me (four times, but who is counting?), winked at me, and given me the peace sign. Call me obsessed, I don't care. At least I don't do drugs.
Ringo's selection of Beatles songs is quite small, only about a tenth or so of their written catalog, and their entire catalog dwarfs his number even more so. Most people know "Boys", "With a Little Help From My Friends", and "Don't Pass Me By". All of those are love songs, which is common for the band, however, there are two very special tracks that I would like to spotlight this week.
"Yellow Submarine": I think most people alive can sing the chorus of this song. For those of you who don't know it (you're in the wrong article), the song is a children's song written mostly by McCartney, with help from Lennon. It tells the tale of a group who live in the Sea of Green on a yellow submarine. Again, it is a children's song, so it really isn't too deep or meaningful. The real meat of this song is in the tune and tone themselves. They are upbeat. Most kids find this to be their favorite Beatles song.
Imagination is very important to children. I believe in fantasy and curiosity when it comes to raising children, and it usually pays off in the end. I think in the world we live in today, we all could use some time beneath the waves. All of the fish we'd see! The discoveries we'd make. Just think of the adventure! We need to feed that inner-child. Even a quick trip to anywhere but here (that being life), could do some real good. Clearing our heads; the kids call it relaxation. Who knows what else we might see on our submarine trip? Hopefully, the next song.
"Octopus's Garden": I covered imagination in the last song, so I'd like to move on to fun for this one. It was rather depressing, discussing heartbreak and letting go last week. I know of a place where none of that exists, and it's all thanks to my friend, Ringo. While the Starkey credit also attributes to "Don't Pass Me By", this is where Ringo really came out of his shell, I think. The pure delight in the lyrics is something I can rarely find anywhere else. At this point in the Beatles' career (1969), they had covered death, depression, and many other real-world scenarios in their lyrics. Enter Ringo (with some help from George), with a really cute piece about a place under the sea where we can escape the rest of the world and just "swim about the coral that lies beneath the waves." Dancing around, shouting, and singing, too! Why bother with reality when we can have fun? Well, we can't always do that, but it would be nice if we could.
"So what?" the critical thinker might ask. So, Ringo has fun with some of his songs. Everyone has those fun songs! Of course, they do. I wouldn't disagree with you there. If we really want to push it, and I will, the Wiggles are strictly a fun band, but that's exactly the point. The Beatles never needed to be fun, they usually kept a straight catalog. Love songs, tragic songs, thought-provoking songs, and they also had very upbeat songs ("I Want to Hold Your Hand" for example), which paralleled their darker songs ("She's Leaving Home" for sure). There are two songs for children in that mix, for some funny reason. Even though the track just two spots above "Octopus's Garden" is about death (which is also laughably upbeat), we can go into a song about children playing in an underwater paradise. I don't know many albums that do such a thing. It's something we all should take with us in the future. Let's stick to the bills, the fights, and the heartbreaks, because that is what life is, but let's also keep an eye out for a chance to go on an adventure, or simply have some fun in our own little minds. A note to your inner child: Never, ever, go away. We would be nothing without you...