Television commercials inspired Beatle’s songs

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Television commercials were the inspiration for many of the Beatle’s songs. It seems that the Beatles were too famous to be seen out on the streets, so they stayed in their hotel a lot and watched television with many of the commercials giving them their inspiration for new songs.

This is one of the anecdotes related by Barry Upton, who spoke to the club last Sunday on the topic of “The Brilliance of the Beatles.” Barry is a successful songwriter, arranger, musician and producer. He currently has his own show on local radio in Pattaya.

Barry performed a number of well known Beatles songs, including All My Loving, Here Comes the Sun, Come Together, and You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.  Here, go-go girls Judith and Lara backup with tambourines.Barry performed a number of well known Beatles songs, including All My Loving, Here Comes the Sun, Come Together, and You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away.  Here, go-go girls Judith and Lara backup with tambourines.

In addition to telling his audience about the Beatles, Barry entertained them with several song selections from the Beatles’ catalogue, including “All My Loving,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Come Together,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Yesterday” and “Hey Jude.” Barry had the audience singing along on the last song.

Barry said that the Beatles were a big part of many people’s lives. They successfully merged many musical genres, including country, rhythm and blues, rock ‘n roll, classical, jazz and even big bandstand. Barry noted that the creativity of the Beatles was second to none. This was true, he said, of John Lennon and Paul McCartney particularly; but George Harrison was also very talented and Ringo Starr offered his contributions. Barry commented on Ringo being a very musical drummer who also came up with some very good lyrics and song titles, such as “A Hard Day’s Night.”

The Beatles were very inventive in the studio, Barry said. So was their production team. The song, “Strawberry Fields Forever,” was recorded in several takes. The final version joined together two different takes, but they were not in the same key. Barry related how the studio sound engineer compensated for the differences in key by increasing the speed of the first take and decreasing the speed of the second.

What is interesting about some of the Lennon-McCartney songs, Barry explained, is the contrasting styles within the songs. Lennon and McCartney were opposites in many ways, so it was not surprising that they had different styles of writing. Barry said that Lennon songs have few changes in melody, whereas McCartney’s melodies are up and down (as in the song “Yesterday”). In addition, Barry recounted, Lennon’s lyrics were often about personal experience (sex, pain, politics, peace) and usually written in the first person. McCartney’s lyrics, on the other hand, were more like stories, more dramatic, and usually written in the third person.  What was the Beatles’ most covered song?  Barry asked and responded you might be surprised to hear that it was their song “Something.”

George Martin, the Beatles’ producer, was known as the “fifth” Beatle because of the influence he had on their recordings and career. You can hear some of that in “Yesterday” (listen to the string quartet) and “All You Need Is Love” (where the ending sounds like “Greensleeves”). Barry further revealed a little known fact about the Beatles: they never let a George Harrison song be released as a single.

For people who want to read more about the Beatles, Barry recommended a book called “Revolution in the Head,” by British music critic and author Ian MacDonald. Another good book is “All You Need Is Ears,” by George Martin with Jeremy Hornsby. Barry also mentioned that he will be involved in a special Beatles tribute night (called “BeatleMANIA”), planned for the Amari’s Mantra Restaurant on 11 – 12 October.  Barry has his own show on 96FM Yes2day in Pattaya. The show, called “Morning Glory,” is on from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday. He has also performed at the Blues Factory and other Pattaya venues.

After the presentation, Master of Ceremonies Roy Albiston updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Judith Edmonds to conduct the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand.

To learn more about the Pattaya City Expats Club and their many activities, visit www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com.