As I write this I’m aware the 50 years ago today, the Beatles were in Abbey Road Studios recording The Beatles, better known as the White Album. Recording of The Beatles would eventually be completed on October 14th and it would be released on November 22, 1968, just in time to be placed under the Christmas tree for millions of adoring fans.
I love the White Album and will probably post about it again before the end of the year. But I’ll start with today’s observation that it is the Beatles’ animals album. Well what the hell does that mean?
There are four songs on the album that specifically mention an animal in the title:
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey
Martha My Dear was written about Paul’s sheep dog, but does not explicitly mention it in the lyrics. However, there are several other songs that do mention animals in the lyrics. “He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun…” “She’s well acquainted with the touch of the velvet hand like a lizard on a window pane…” And several more. Go find them.
Today’s SotW are the three that were presented all in a row on Side 2.
Graham Nash has recently released his autobiography titled Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life. This has caused him to go on an extensive promotional tour, conducting numerous, in-depth interviews. I’ve heard two of them – one with Howard Stern and the other with Terry Gross. Here is the Stern interview if you’re interested in listening to it:
Nash reveals some very interesting and insightful stories in these interviews (and probably even more in the book). Like how Crosby, Stills & Nash tired to get a record deal by demoing the whole first album live, to many label chiefs and recording stars that were unimpressed and turned them down. Like the cool, dreary morning in LA when he was inspired to write “Our House” after having breakfast with Joni Mitchell. And the unique way Neil Young previewed his then unreleased album Harvest to Nash.
He also tells an interesting story of how C,S & N came to record Paul McCartney’s civil rights inspired “Blackbird.” There is a bootleg recording of them working out the harmony parts and that is today’s SotW.
If you listen closely, you can hear the improvement with each take. It is quite fascinating. I also find it interesting that the Beatles’ “Blackbird” was released in November 1968 and only 3 months later C, S & N were already working on their version. Only the Beatles could generate that level of respect and inspiration.