What was it about the "Ram" lp that Lennon found so offensive?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by audio, Nov 5, 2006.

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  1. audio

    audio New Member Thread Starter

    I've never understood what were the "jabs" that McCartney took at John and Yoko on the "Ram" album. Can anyone explain this to me?
  2. Jose Jones

    Jose Jones Outstanding Forum Member

    Detroit, Michigan
    The song "Too Many People" (preaching practices.) Allegedly Lennon and sidekick were offended by the idea Macca might be talking about them.

    Also, one of the cover photos supposedly showed one beetle f**king another beetle. :rolleyes:

    I guess if you're an ex-beetle, famous and paranoid, these things might upset you.
  3. Edgard Varese

    Edgard Varese Royale with Cheese

    Te Wai Pounamu
    "Too Many People" was thought to be a jab at the Lennon/Onos.
  4. MikePh

    MikePh Forum Resident/Song and Dance Man

    That was his wife - like Linda was Sir Paul's wife.
  5. Ryan

    Ryan That would be telling

    New England
    I've heard John thought the songs "Too Many People" and "Dear Boy" were directed at him.
  6. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Portland, Oregon
    In a 1971 BBC interview, which I still have on tape, John is particularly perturbed about "You took your lucky break and broke it in two" as a taunt on his post-Beatles career, and the perceived smugness in "Back Seat Of My Car" when they sing "we believe that we can't be wrong". He's also worked up about "Dear Boy", but he doesn't get into why.
  7. Marvin

    Marvin Senior Member

    I'm not sure but I think he once said there were also songs (or a song) on the first McCartney solo album that were (or was) directed at him. Perhaps the line in "Man We Was [sic] Lonely" about "singing songs that I thought were mine alone"?
  8. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Portland, Oregon
    I've never heard that.
  9. Mister Charlie

    Mister Charlie "Music Is The Doctor Of My Soul " - Doobie Bros.

    Aromas, CA USA
    He wasn't the only subject of the alleged digs though. John had said that Paul had little digs on both first albums that were directed to the all of other three (3 legs for instance)as well, and that in some cases only the Beatles themselves would 'get' the reference as it was something they shared privately.
  10. apileocole

    apileocole Lush Life Gort

    FWIW... I don't believe Paul intended them. If there were any references they were musings inclusive of himself; RAM strikes me as being too personally self-oriented of a work to spend its time on those abstractions like making digs at John or George or Ringo. Everyone, John no exception, was being way too touchy as things were still a bit raw then. Also, John I think tended to seeing songs as more of a statement from someone about someone else or something else, and Paul tends to approaching a song as more self-oriented and more of a whimsical muse. The differences definitely enriched their collaborations, but I wouldn't be surprised if John and Paul each had vastly different readings from many songs by others.
    alainsane likes this.
  11. fortherecord

    fortherecord Forum Resident

    Rochester, NY
    Too Many People is full of references to the Lennons. "too many people never sleep in late" I always thought was a reference to the bed-ins etc. and the song as a whole is commentary about John and Yoko's crusade for various humanitarian causes.

    "too many people preaching practices" may be a reference to Dr. Arthur Janov (Primal Therapy) with whom John and Yoko had been in treatment with and whose therapy had been a big influence on John's first album.

    Dear Boy is seems to be a direct dig and John "Bet you never knew dear boy that love was there, bet you never did become aware". Seems to be a pretty direct comment in regards to John's songs on Plastic Ono Band, about being unloved, finding love etc. I always wondered if Paul was commenting about John having left Cynthia as well.
  12. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member


    I recall an interview where Paul admitted that some of the lines in Too Many People were intentional digs at John. He denied this was the case with Dear Boy, though, and didn't address any of the other examples in this thread.
  13. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds

    Los Angeles, CA
    Wasn't "Dear Boy" aimed at Linda's ex?
  14. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member

    That's what I've always heard. It was directed at Linda's first husband.
  15. gswan

    gswan Forum Resident


    Typical with John tho, by 1974 he was over his angst and i have a cd of him on a radio show wanting to play 'Monkberry moon delight' but had to settle for playing 'Jet' as it was shorter.

    Those were two old friends we should have had the chance to watch grow old together, can you just imagine what an interesting time it would have been to watch.

  16. Chief

    Chief Over 11,000 Served

    I think some of the stuff Lennon heard in "Too Many People" was related to things that only Paul knew. There are some obvious lines, but I also think there are some lines that most of us consider harmless, but Lennon thought otherwise. Paul copped to the song containing some digs, so just how many is a matter or debate.

    Regarding "Dear Boy", Lennon was just off-base. He also thought the "we believe that we can't be wrong" line in "The Back Seat Of My Car" was referring to him. Seems pretty unlikely. McCartney was in strick-Brian Wilson mode on that one. The whole song is basically a reworking of the themes of "I'm So Young" and "Wouldn't It Be Nice". The "we believe that we can't be wrong" line fits right in with the theme.
  17. Simon A

    Simon A Arrr!

    I agree with you here. Ram is musically very Beach Boys influenced...
  18. Phlo

    Phlo Formerly dave-o

    Memphis, TN
    Pulling that one out to play today. I love "Ram."
  19. Evan L

    Evan L Beatologist

    I believe "Dear Boy" is about the fact that Linda liked John Lennon first, and John did not feel the same about her.....undoubtedly if that is the case, then Linda must have told Paul that.

    He was mainly offended at "Too Many People" and "Three Legs"(which John, George and Ringo took as a slam at them).

  20. mark f.

    mark f. Forum Resident

    The cover is pure Pet Sounds.
  21. jopageri321

    jopageri321 Forum Resident

    Alexandria, VA
    John also interpreted "Hey Jude" as being about him instead of Julian...
  22. jopageri321

    jopageri321 Forum Resident

    Alexandria, VA
    Sorry, didn't finish my thought: not that "Hey Jude" is on "Ram", but it is another example of how John could interpret songs differently than Paul intended them.
  23. Fortune

    Fortune Senior Member

    "Monkberry Moon Delight"...the line "I don't get the gist of your letter..." wasn't that a reference to an exchange between Paul and John regarding John and Yoko's use of Paul's apartment?

    MMD is full of Beatles references, "Billy Budapest" = nickname for Harrison... etc.
  24. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds

    Los Angeles, CA
    Which is very interesting because (imo) MMD is fueled by McCartney's frustration and anger at the whole Apple/Beatles/Klein meltdown. I did an analysis of the lyrics here about a year ago, maybe it's still in the archives somewhere. For me, MMD is much more obvious than "Too Many People".

    Maybe that's why Lennon wanted to play it?
  25. Veech

    Veech Space In Sounds

    Los Angeles, CA
    Here is my take on the lyrics to MMD, updated. McCartney claimed in an interview that "Monkberry Moon Delight" actually referred to a milkshake, but you read the lyrics and decide:

    So I sat in the attic,
    A piano at my nose,
    And the wind played a dreadful cantata (cantata...).

    *I think this was real, Macca had a piano in the attic of his farm house. I recall a quote where he was working on MMD on a windy evening. But with "a piano at my nose".. for us piano players you have to be playing pretty intensely to have your face right down by the keyboard. Paul was certainly passionate (i.e. angry, upset) when he wrote this song.*

    Sore was I from the crack of an enemy’s hose,

    *he's hurt, obviously, from being emotionallly beaten by the other 3 and the lawyers*

    And the horrible sound of tomato (tomato...).

    *this sets up the puns in the chorus, but you have a "dreadful cantata" followed by a "horrible sound".. Paul's two quick references to very unpleasant music are striking in their bluntness.*

    Ketchup (ketchup)
    Soup and puree (soup and puree),
    Don’t get left behind (get left behind)...

    *Tomato puns, but also advising the other 3 to not get left behind and in the clutches of Klein*

    When a rattle of rats had awoken,

    *the lawyers stir... *

    The sinews, the nerves and the veins.

    *More really unpleasant imagery. This is NOT a silly love song, Paul has some issues he's dealing with lyrically here, this is as primal (for Paul) as anything Lennon did*

    My piano was boldly outspoken, in attempts to repeat it’s refrain.

    *Did you ever notice how "You Never Give Me Your Money" repeats it's refrain in "Carry that Weight"? He keeps trying to make the others understand his point of view.*

    So I stood with a knot in my stomach,

    *the poor guy is messed up, an emotional wreck*

    And I gazed at that terrible sight
    Of two youngsters concealed in a barrel,
    Sucking monkberry moon delight.

    *Perhaps referring to John and Yoko eating chocolate cake in a bag?*

    Monkberry moon delight,
    Monkberry moon delight.

    Well, I know my banana is older than the rest,
    And my hair is a tangled beretta.

    *no clue on those two lines, but they may be inside references?*

    When I leave my pajamas to billy budapest,

    *Billy Budapest (I have read somewhere) was a nickname for George H*

    And I don’t get the gist of your letter (your letter...).

    *Lennon's infamous letter which he mailed to Paul upon hearing of the release of his solo album*

    Catch up! (catch up),
    Cats and kittens (cats and kittens),
    Don’t get left behind (get left behind)...

    Monkberry moon delight...
    Monkberry moon delight...

    ok, this is all my interpretation, and you have to listen to the intensity in his voice during the performance to catch some of the nuance. But this sure isn't "Teddy Boy", is it? Ram is the only album where I feel McCartney lays it all out and exposes a crack in the veneer. He shows that he's human and can experience great distress just like the rest of us. Guess that's part of why it appeals to me.
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