G. Harrison's "Only A Northern Song": did the other Beatles really sabotage it (random psych noise)?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ParloFax, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. mjlynott

    mjlynott Forum Resident

    Oldham Lancashire
    One of my favourite Beatles songs. loved it from the first time I watched Yellow Submarine. glad it wasnt on Pepper
    AlmanacZinger and John DeAngelis like this.
  2. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Boston, MA
    ...not to mention the downbeat lyrics for Getting Better. Amongst the mean school teachers and being an angry young man trying to make things better, we have this uplifting stanza from Paul:

    I use to be cruel to my woman
    I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved
    Man I was mean but I'm changing my scene
    And I'm doing the best that I can

    The lyrics for Only A Northern Song have zero to do with it having or NOT having the spirit of Pepper. The problem is the song was too bare boned in its original February 1967 version and a bit over-the-top in it's re-worked version. It actually would have made a great b-side. Imagine Lucy In The Sky/Only A Northern Song as a mid-summer single if they hadn't come up with All You Need Is Love. Ron
  3. Darrin L.

    Darrin L. Forum Resident

    Incorrect...that stanza was written by John...not Paul
    Skywheel, maywitch, nikh33 and 2 others like this.
  4. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Durham, NC
    IMO, it would have not fit well on Sgt. Pepper. I've tried it, and George's record-company griping snaps me right out of the Pepper fantasy world. Not one of his better efforts, IMO. Sounds good, but not much a song there.
  5. ToneLa

    ToneLa Forum Resident

    They can't get much worse!

    I count it as a positive song, Lennon balances out Macca's positivity with some grit and home truths about himself to really ground it, and give it soul. Sometimes expressing something negative is a very positive act!
    DRM likes this.
  6. brainwashed

    brainwashed Forum Hall Of Fame

    Boston, MA
    I stand corrected... either way it's not exactly happy-go-lucky. Ron
  7. DRM

    DRM Forum Resident

    To me, it didn't have a psychedelic vibe that fits 1967 but yet maybe it was too experimental and random for the White Album.

    Although Helter Skelter had its random and chaotic moments.

    Maybe it belongs right where it is: On Yellow Submarine with It's All Too Much.
    John Porcellino likes this.
  8. NothingBrightAboutIt

    NothingBrightAboutIt Forum Resident

    One of the greatest mysteries to me is why they didn't release the Yellow Submarine material while they were in India. They had already released the "Lady Madonna" single, they could have released an LP or even the planned EP with "Across the Universe" as a stopgap right before the release of the film.
    Louise Boat and Six Bachelors like this.
  9. beatleroadie

    beatleroadie Forum Resident

    Only a Northern Song is great with all of its wild soundscapes. Far out. It absolutely should have been on Sgt. Pepper, and it could have probably fit without removing anything, or they could have made When I'm 64 a b-side.

    It doesn't belong on the YS soundtrack, but nothing really does. The Beatles should not have saved any original tunes to debut on an animated film soundtrack. It should have just been GM orchestrations on one side and the other side is the songs in the film.

    It's All Too Much should have been on Magical Mystery Tour. Hey Bulldog could have been a single after Lady Madonna in the Spring of 68 with All Together Now as the b-side, or Hey Bulldog released on the White Album instead of Rocky Raccoon.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  10. jmxw

    jmxw Forum Resident

    ithaca, ny
    I believe they were contractually obligated to provide a few original songs for the soundtrack. [Someone will undoubtedly correct me if my memories are off...]

    And there was some thought to making the soundtrack an EP along with Across the Universe. [see the notes in the Mono box for more details]

    Hey Bulldog was a throwaway track that they recorded so the film crew could get some video footage of them in the studio, in order to edit together a video for Lady Madonna. Rather than just mime the song they had already recorded, they put the studio to use by recording an entirely new [albeit slightly off-the-cuff] track.
  11. Six Bachelors

    Six Bachelors Troublemaking enthusiast

    I am not suggesting for a second that OANS should have been on the LP. I am quite happy with how the LP is (although I think side one works better than side two, but that’s a different discussion).

    What I am suggesting is that a February version of it should have been amongst the outtakes.

    Accepting Giles at his word, I think he has confused the two issues. I don’t think anyone wishes that he mixed the final recording and included it in the LP track listing. I don’t even think many/anyone wishes that he mixed the final recording and included it as an additional track. It was finalised after Pepper was totally in the can (although only just after). The final version does not belong on the 50th set.

    What would have been entirely logical is to present it as it was when the group stopped working on it in February amongst the other outtakes. We have ADITL piano chord takes. They were abandoned for the final mix. They still relate to the process of recording the album.
  12. paul62

    paul62 Forum Resident

    For only a northern song, Paul McCartney was the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company Beatles..............
    johnny moondog 909 likes this.
  13. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    I sorta get the idea that Giles Martin doesn't like admitting that he's wrong on occasion. He doesn't seem to have inherited his old man's sense of humility.
    When it comes to trumpet, though, Miles Davis Paul is definitely NOT!:laugh:
    Six Bachelors, PIGGIES and paul62 like this.
  14. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I still can't wrap my head around the thought that those high-pitch staccatos (staccati??) right after the chorus, or one of the choruses at least, are Paul's trumpet playing... I don't think I ever had a definitive answer on that... I do hear amateurish trumpet blowing elsewhere in the song, but that bit... :confused: So clear and high... Processed perhaps?
  15. ParloFax

    ParloFax Forum Resident Thread Starter

    ^Sorry about the repeat folks! I should have checked my earlier posts on this topic...
  16. NothingBrightAboutIt

    NothingBrightAboutIt Forum Resident

    I've said before that had they persuaded EMI to wait a little longer, they could have released OANS as a B-side to either "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "Penny Lane" (which were released the day OANS was recorded), leaving one of the latter to be added to Sgt. Peppers'.
  17. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen I don't suffer fools or trolls gladly...

    Miles used it as inspiration for some of his playing on Bitches Brew:laugh:

    (no, I am not being serious, people!)
  18. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Senior Member

    Miles Davis playing "Bip Bop": ;)

  19. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    Yes. They sabatoged it. They had to do it to save mankind.
    johnny moondog 909 likes this.
  20. jmxw

    jmxw Forum Resident

    ithaca, ny
    Maybe they should have just cut off Ringo's finger and be done with it...
    johnny moondog 909 likes this.
  21. Isamet

    Isamet Forum Resident

    New York
    I don't see any place for Northern Song on the Pepper album.
    maywitch likes this.
  22. jwb1231970

    jwb1231970 Forum Resident

    George is always griping, Only a Northern Song, Taxman, Don't Bother Me, It's all too Much, Piggies, - he had an axe to grind;)
    johnny moondog 909 likes this.
  23. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    He was getting blisters on his fingers. That might have been merciful.
  24. jmxw

    jmxw Forum Resident

    ithaca, ny
    Well, I wouldn't say he was *always* griping. But he did seem to have a higher gripe to non-gripe ratio than the others...

    Don't Bother Me
    Think For Yourself
    Only A Northern Song
    I Me Mine
    *Love You To [maybe a gripe, it's a bit vague]
    *Blue Jay Way [is he griping that his friends are lost?]
    *Savoy Truffle [griping that too many sweets is bad for your teeth?]

    I Need You [somber love song, but not griping]
    You Like Me Too Much
    If I Needed Someone
    I Want To Tell You
    Within You Without You
    The Inner Light
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    Long Long Long
    It's All Too Much
    Old Brown Shoe
    Here Comes The Sun
    For You Blue
  25. maywitch

    maywitch Forum Resident

    How is She's Leaving Home and When I'm 64 negative/dire? At the end of the song the girl is celebrating her freedom(she's having fun). When I'm 64 is imaging a life in old age with the wife and grandkids Vera, Chuck and Dave. He's asking the question in youth, will you still need me when I'm 64 but imagine that yes, they'll get through it and still be together. They are both by and large hopeful songs, though they don't ignore the hardships or mistakes people might make in getting there, same is true of other songs on the album--they acknowledge there is difficulty, bad things happen or have happened, but it's looking forward to try to get to a better place.(Getting Better and Fixing A Hole do the same thing for example, also Paul songs) The same is true of Within You Without Out too, it's hopeful in the sense that's it's saying "this is true of you too, if you believe, you can make the world a better place, you don't have to be one of the people who don't see the potential" though it is a bit more dour. I mean A Day in the Life isn't exactly a party either, but it's not really a negative bitter song.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
    Mai Tem Baht likes this.

Share This Page