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Roy Wieselquist

Not a Coincidence: 50 Years since The White Album Came Out

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Don't forget that these guys are Englishmen to the core.  They're more concerned with Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath (later, Enoch Powell) in Old Blighty than they are with Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara.  When they flew in from Miami Beach, it was on BOAC; "Miami Beach" may have been their misguided stab at making surf-music satire (i. e., wrong state).

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1 hour ago, Ray Mitcham said:

Didn't Monica Lewinski say something similar?.

I believe she said: "A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke." 

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35 minutes ago, David Andrews said:

Don't forget that these guys are Englishmen to the core.  They're more concerned with Mr. Wilson and Mr. Heath (later, Enoch Powell) in Old Blighty than they are with Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara.  When they flew in from Miami Beach, it was on BOAC; "Miami Beach" may have been their misguided stab at making surf-music satire (i. e., wrong state).

or the words fits the scheme better. or they took the reference from their stay in Miami Beach in early 1964, where they taped an appearance for Sullivan

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(cont.) The White Album: A Treatise on America's Slide into Fascism

Side One, Track 3

3. "Glass Onion" Lennon called one of his joke songs.  He said it means "not having to think."  The man's love of punning is on full display.  A homophone for "the bent back tulips to see how the other half lives": the bent back two lips.  JL was a maniac for puns.  His early In His Own Write and A Spaniard in the Works (two puns right there, that spanner) are much easier to follow than his last collection Skywriting by Word of Mouth and The Ballad of John and Yoko, which has so many per line that it's very hard to follow.  "Trying to make a dove-tailed joint" hah.  "Fixing a hole in the ocean" instead of the roof, a nod to and a departure from Sgt. Pepper.

"Glass onion" is Brit slang for a translucent globe on a light fixture.  So looking through it is sorta like looking through a glass darkly.  It's distorted, hard to see.  Kinda like dealing with the opposite sex.  You can't say she's opaque, but she sure ain't transparent.

In Sound Pictures...George Martin (SPGM) author Kenneth Womack calls "Glass Onion" a "strange satirical effusion" p. 342.  Again that satire. Page 343 quotes engineer Chris Thomas "... it all became a sort of a factory."  Again the rush to get it out for 11/22.  Page 348, London Times critic called the song simply "allusive".  Lot of allusions there.

JL also uses the song to take credit for past subjects: strawberry fields, walrus, Lady Madonna, fool on a hill.

In this period, another North Englander, Jeff Lynne of Birmingham (then with The Idle Race), visited the studioS; so did Jim Webb.  They were knocked out by the machinery's output.

PM played flute superbly, yet satirically.  Not much specific to America's slide into fascism in "Glass Onion."

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Lennon spoke of the layers of an onion in connection with the song.  Glass Onion is a spoof of Beatle fan myth-making.  I think when he sings, "I told you 'bout...", that's a contraction,  meaning he's speaking for all the Beatles' songwriting.

Edited by David Andrews

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5 hours ago, David Andrews said:

Lennon spoke of the layers of an onion in connection with the song.  Glass Onion is a spoof of Beatle fan myth-making.  I think when he sings, "I told you 'bout...", that's a contraction,  meaning he's speaking for all the Beatles' songwriting.

David A.,

So true about layers of meaning in the Beatle lyrics, as in any good poetry.  And you put it very well.  You and Ron B. and Kirk G. are so helpful pointing in the right direction, giving me new sources.  Though, I tell ya, the more I look at different Beatle resources on the web and in books, the more I'm seeing that virtually NO ONE touches on what I see: TWA is all about America's slide into fascism.

Oh wait a minute, we're not allowed to discuss things like layers and meanings and spoofs and myth-making because that's like dissecting a rabbit or some other living animal, right Martin Blank?  That's what your authority D T Suzuki says.  That's what anti-democratic (he stood up for the worst enslavement of working folk and prisoners), anti-Semite (never met a Jew in his life until his privileged self was sent off to college by the munificence of the producers, and then he felt threatened by their intelligence) DTS says.  We are not allowed to ponder the beauty of culture.  You bet that is what the not-see Nazis want.

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The White Album's original working title, A Doll's House (after the play by Henrik Ibsen) had been changed when the English progressive rock band Family released the similarly titled Music in a Doll's House earlier that year.  From the day of its release, everybody referred to The Beatles as 'the White Album’, the last to be mixed separately for both stereo and mono. The Beatles had not been particularly interested in stereo until this album, but after receiving mail from fans stating they bought both stereo and mono mixes of earlier albums, they decided to make the two different.  The sleeve designed by pop artist Richard Hamilton, famously features no artwork at all on its cover (hence the name), and was intended as a contrast to its predecessor Sgt. Pepper which featured a brightly colored and visually dense cover. The cover reflects the contrast in style; where Pepper has a consistent aesthetic and even a concept to some degree, The White Album is a mishmash of numerous styles which infamously came about from each band member’s increasing isolation and disagreements. The album also included a poster comprising a montage of photographs, with the lyrics of the songs on the back, and a set of four photographic portraits taken by John Kelly during the autumn of 1968 that have themselves become iconic. Within the collage of photos inside of The Beatles “White Album” there is a very small photo of Paul McCartney naked which was eventually censored in the United States.  There was also a naked drawing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the same collage that was censored as well. Early album copies had a individual number stamped on the front. Inside the package along with the two discs wrapped in black inner sleeves were four individual photographs of and a folded poster containing a photo-collage with the lyrics to the songs on the reverse (the first album to appear on the Apple label). McCartney described the recording sessions as a turning point for the group, saying "there was a lot of friction during that album. We were just about to break up, and that was tense in itself", while Lennon later said "the break-up of the Beatles can be heard on that album".  Another divisive element was the constant presence of John Lennon's new partner, Yoko Ono, whose attendance in the studio broke with the Beatles' policy regarding wives and girlfriends not attending recording sessions.  Of the album's 30 tracks, only 16 have all four band members performing. Producer George Martin never much liked the White Album, famously stating:

“I really didn’t think that a lot of the songs were worthy of release, and I told them so ... I don’t want a double album ... I think you ought to cut out some of these, concentrate on the really good ones and have yourself a really super album"

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So sinister is the world that the four Beatle portraits included with the LP look like items spilled out of an SAS file.

Consciously or not, the poster is a reflection of the album's contents.

 

Edited by David Andrews

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On 12/12/2018 at 7:46 PM, Roy Wieselquist said:

David A.,

So true about layers of meaning in the Beatle lyrics, as in any good poetry.  And you put it very well.  You and Ron B. and Kirk G. are so helpful pointing in the right direction, giving me new sources.  Though, I tell ya, the more I look at different Beatle resources on the web and in books, the more I'm seeing that virtually NO ONE touches on what I see: TWA is all about America's slide into fascism.

Oh wait a minute, we're not allowed to discuss things like layers and meanings and spoofs and myth-making because that's like dissecting a rabbit or some other living animal, right Martin Blank?  That's what your authority D T Suzuki says.  That's what anti-democratic (he stood up for the worst enslavement of working folk and prisoners), anti-Semite (never met a Jew in his life until his privileged self was sent off to college by the munificence of the producers, and then he felt threatened by their intelligence) DTS says.  We are not allowed to ponder the beauty of culture.  You bet that is what the not-see Nazis want.

Let’s start this comedy of errors with you. Your words appear in boldface in all instances.

So true about layers of meaning in the Beatle lyrics, as in any good poetry. And you put it very well. You and Ron B. and Kirk G. are so helpful pointing in the right direction, giving me new sources. 

The right direction? That’s a good one, especially since you have not shown where the evidence exists in the lyrics to substantiate your claims. You have just sort of made bald statements and then talked around them trying to get us to accept your absurd positions on their face. To say that your way is the right way and by extension the only way contradicts and is contradicted by your claim that poetry includes things like layers and meanings and spoofs and myth-making. Sorry but you can’t have it both ways. Sounds like a bad case of megalomania to me.

And for future reference when someone puts his or her opinion out there they should expect criticism and questioning especially if the audience includes people who really know what they are talking about. So before you take the step of putting your ideas out there for scrutiny you might want to put your big boy pants on thicken your skin, check your ego and paranoia at the door and try to learn something from the exercise. You can choose ignorance if you would like but that won’t get you very far. And just because you think it so or the voices tell you something is there, most people want evidence or some kind of proof of its existence before they make a leap of faith. There is no such thing as it is because I think it so.

Though I tell ya, the more I look at different Beatle resources on the web and in books, the more I'm seeing that virtually NO ONE touches on what I see: TWA is all about America's slide into fascism.

There may be a good reason for that. Pick one:

o   It just isn’t there

o   People aren’t crazy and are more discerning than you think

o   You overestimate your exegetical skills

o   You are delusional

o   You aren’t who you think you are

o   You type real fast and never review or edit your writing. Remember running off at the mouth gets you nowhere

o   All of the above

o   All of the above and more

Oh wait a minute, we're not allowed to discuss things like layers and meanings and spoofs and myth-making.

Oh sure you are especially if the discussion isn’t at a level so laughable as to be embarrassing to all concerned. (Please re-read paragraph 3.) I love a good discussion especially if it is carried out at a high level.

. . .because that's like dissecting a rabbit or some other living animal, right Martin Blank?  That's what your authority D T Suzuki says. If you can’t decipher such a simple thought you need to take some classes or give up. At the least read T.S. Eliot’s essay  

on metaphysical poetry, Shelley’s Defense of Poetry, Wordsworth’ Preface to Lyrical Ballads, and Cleanth Brooks’ Understanding Poetry. Here’s the exact quote in case you want to think about it some more:

 

Remember a scientific approach to understanding poetry, in which a work of art is rationally taken apart much as one dissects a frog, only eviscerates it and makes it something less — and other — than what it is. D.T. Suzuki recognized the limitations of science in this respect, saying, “The scientific way kills, murders the object and by dissecting the corpse and putting the parts together again tries to reproduce the original living body, which is really a deed of impossibility.”

I find those things you point out about Suzuki as deplorable as the next guy but they have no bearing on his views on poetry. Sorry. You got nothing on me.

We are not allowed to ponder the beauty of culture. You bet that is what the not-see Nazis want. Clever pun you got there just like old JL himself.

Sure you can ponder the beauty of culture any time and anywhere, that‘s what your mind is for. Don’t give up so easily.

Peace.

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, David Andrews said:

So sinister is the world that the four Beatle portraits included with the LP look like items spilled out of an SAS file.

Consciously or not, the poster is a reflection of the album's contents.

 

You're knocking me out, D. A., in a good way:

1. so SINISTER is the world... To me, this is too much of a coincidence.  When I saw your post, I had just read in Sound Pictures...George Martin, the Later Years, 1966-2016 this statement by GM p. 349, "...there was a sinister motive behind that album." (Do you have this book, David? Or do you have a super-logical, scientific perception that can appear to be almost psychic?)  Now, right before then, GM was talking about the B's insisting on two discs in order to satisfy their contract with EMI more quickly.  So the casual reader may think that was GM's ONLY reason for finding TWA sinister.  (In that case, he would say self-serving or manipulative at the worst, but no.)  He hated the album from start to finish.  Also there were many other things going on with GM and his work with his "boys."  Just a few: he was gone for much of the recording (too many small problems that added up to go into here), he was spread thin with his new AIR studios (a very noble venture), and his other acts were drying up.  GM was usually glad to admit it when he was wrong.  But he never admitted that the highest-selling double album of all time and the first ever double original (that's excluding anthologies and collections) pop/rock album was a great, even a good, album.  He could feel in his bones that there was a sub rosa everything about TWA.

And here's a kicker -- the first half of that GM quote above, "This (making TWA a double album) was on the advice of the people governing them and..."  GOVERNING them???!!! No, George, sorry, you have it 100% wrong.  At that time there was NO ONE governing them.  They were free agents, kings of the world.  It was George Martin who LOST any governing he had over them at this time.  Maybe that chafed GM sub- or unconsciously.

2. "portraits...look like items spilled out of an SAS file."  Nailed it.  This is a prison or a police state or a war, not anything good.  They look like the "rioters" who were rounded up at the Democratic National Convention summer 1968, right when they were in the thick of making the album.  "...reflection of the album's contents."  Yup, as is it all.

 

As I mentioned before, this old Luddite is having problems finding much on the interweb about this subject, so I'm depending on the primary source, with the context of the times and their lives.  I have Googled several combinations of "TWA and JFK."  But there are some things there.  For instance, there's a book by Aaron Krerowicz, "From the Shadow of JFK: the Rise of Beatlemania in America."  Another by Ian MacDonald: "Revolution in the Head."  They take an extreme view that the Beatles provided a cosmic bright balance to the dark, apocalyptic atrocity that was 11/22/63.  For the Boom Generation.  But there is so much resistance to anything along those lines of thinking.  The poo-poohing of anything beyond that it was total coincidence, no connection is quite rabid in places.  Kinda like the old Lone Nutters back in the day derided the notion that JFKA could have been anything other than Lee Oswald doing all that damage.  All the laws of physics took a little vacation that day in Dealey: Ozzie was in many places at once and shooting different guns and it goes on beyond what Superman of the comics could perform.  Or could Supe stop time, too?  I forget.

The Den of Geek website, run by Tony Sokol I believe, has a lot of stuff along the lines I'm looking.

Sir Paul was turned down for the score for Rush to Judgment.  That was right as they were producing Sgt. Pepper.  As Krerowicz says, "So Sgt. Pepper went on to be released without this controversy."  BUT that sly Paul slipped one past the censors: "He blew his mind out in a car.  He didn't notice that the light had changed."  Trans.: "They blew his brains out in a limo.  He didn't notice that he was surrounded by his enemies."  No one please tell me that it was about some aristocrat in a car wreck; that happens every day.  Or that it's a clue in the Paul Is Dead flotsam and jetsam.  "A" Day is understatement.

Oh BTW, the whole "Paul is Dead" thing is a CIA fantasy.  You bet they wanted him dead, maybe still do.  They got Lennon.  That was easy.  JL lived and died in the Ubiquitous Murder States of a Merrycaca.

Edited by Roy Wieselquist

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2 hours ago, Martin Blank said:

 

 

 metaphysical

 

 

 

 

 

Oh no Martin you missed the memo.  Metaphysics is for those who are too plain dumb to understand just plain physics, science, reason, logos.  Aristotle around 300 BCE.  2300 years and change ago.

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26 minutes ago, Roy Wieselquist said:

Oh no Martin you missed the memo.  Metaphysics is for those who are too plain dumb to understand just plain physics, science, reason, logos.  Aristotle around 300 BCE.  2300 years and change ago.

you make me laugh. metaphysical poetry is john donne, george herbert, etc. read it. learning won't harm you. they are 17th century english poets. again lol

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McCartney toyed with the business of government file-keeping on the back cover of the Band on the Run LP.

 

 

Edited by David Andrews

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