Paul's behavior got John mad

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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby linclink » Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:36 am

James1985 First off.... I think this is the, or one of the, posts from the Yoko thread you were referencing.
Re: Yoko's influences on John

Postby james1985 » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:15 pm

First of all, really enjoying this debate - lots of interesting stuff being said.

OK:

1) I agree that Paul rarely repeats the same trick two albums running (Speed of Sound, POP, and Off The Ground are the only ones I think), and that this is one of the best things about his solo career.

2) For me, experimenting with different genres isn't "sonic experimentation" - it's genre experimentation. I don't think that the White Album, Rev 9 aside, is sonically experimental, because most of the sounds had been heard before. Four men covering that breadth of musical ground is a fantastic achievement, but there isn't "sonic experimentation" going on there. Tomorrow Never Knows, Day In The Life, Like A Rolling Stone, What I'd Say - these are sonic revolutions.
Ram On is the only track on Ram for me that is sonically original - the ukelele - the rest is wide-ranging, but not what you could call sonically experimental. Morse Moose is really just a bass hook - very disco influenced.

3) I Don't Want To Be A Soldier - now that's a pretty original, far-out sound in my opinion. And just as Paul was hung up about not releasing his more avant-garde material, John was embarrassed by his softer, more eclectic side.

4) I think you over-play Paul's influence on JL's Pepper-era songs. I'd say that LSD and George Martin were larger influences on him in that period. Paul showed everyone how to do tape loops etc, but LSD convinced John about the vitality of psychadelic sounds, just as heroin's influence made him reject the whole era later on. And let's not forget it was George Martin who did all the cutting up of Strawberry Fields, scored the cellos in that and Walrus - John told him on Mr Kite that he wanted to "smell the sawdust" and then pretty much left him to it.


To conclude, I guess what I'm trying to say is that Paul was more eclectic in his tastes than John, believed in more types of music than just rock n' roll. But this doesn't mean that he was more "sonically experimental", just that he could hop between genres and instruments with ease and confidence.

Let me begin, after taking JJS to task yesterday for the hubris involved in choosing to elevate his opinions to fact and negate others opinions to simply being mistaken in the face of the facts of his feelings. This IS an interesting subject, AND many Macca folk tend to be a bit touchy about this since, well Mac has been taken to task so hard over so many years about being mainstream, boring, dead in the water as a solo artist, the White & safe Beatle, etc., etc. ... none of any of which do I believe. So whether I agree or disagree with either of you, these are very broad subjects.
James 1985 I think it is largely a matter of semantics as to whether or not something is sonically experimental or merely genre hopping. I don't think something has to be revolutionary sonically, to be pushing an envelope. And JJS I also don't agree that odd time signatures & unusual chords make up all mainstream guitar rock from Stones to Bon Jovi. I'd say James1985 definition of what is sonic experimentation is far too narrow for me, while JJS's definition of what mainstream guitar rock is is far too broad for me. No one here is "right" or "wrong" about these things, this is just my observations about your opinions.
I did poach that James1985 post from the Yoko page to hit a few points too...
1. I'd certainly agree that Psychedelics & George Martin were at least as big an influence on Lennon during that era as McCartney was, I wouldn't say that heroin was what lead him away from that...I think it was more the heroin was a by product of Lennon caving into the pain & pressure that came with divorcing Cynthia, marrying Yoko & growing away from The Beatles, etc.. There were so many factors & such rapid change that his consciousness altering experimentation's chose to genre hop in a rough way. Sadly his Psychedelic use wasn't under the guidance of a trained Shaman. It was wild, productive but also unpredictable & volatile with it being so undisciplined. His lack of Spiritual guidance, or lack of his willingness to continue to search for such guidance, led him to have opened Pandora's box & started down a path with many potential pitfalls...of course the fact that he was willing to eventually reconcile with so much Spiritually speaks volumes about the great depth of his character.
2. As I said Lennon tended to be very off the cuff in interviews, and yes I know he made comments about simply being only into old simple R'n'R- put a backbeat behind it, & say what you mean & there you go...I know, but the thing is this didn't pan out if you take a look at all the different kinds of songs he worked with over the course of The Beatles & his solo work. To differentiate himself from McCartney he may have complained about the pretentiousness & pointlessness of Pepper & psychedelia or whined about Paul's candy ass fruity songs (Maxwell & Ob-la-di), but Lennon was just over touting POB and ignoring his own moves in those directions...as was often his M.O.- he'd napalm whatever past his wasn't in in the moment & inflate where & what he was in his eyes at the time. Such was his nature...taking him at his word is dangerous (as is doing so with anyone), examining a text for truth, or lack thereof, is always a wise idea. Maybe you would agree with him...I think he overstated things enormously.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby jjs » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:08 pm

linclink wrote:I'd just point out that you have opinions & not a monopoly on "facts" mi amigo. Just because you "feel" them doesn't turn them into facts. So let's start there. As far as lumping Lennon into mainstream guitar rock, and not much else, well that would depend largely on what your definition of "mainstream" is, and that, once again would be a matter of subjective opinion, not "fact".
Also Lennon was wildly inconsistent in his views on anything in any given interview (not unlike the great Neil Young in this respect) & he was fairly well aware of that. So he might have been down on some things one minute, & then very pleased with them the next. He was vast & contained contradictions...like in the Whitman poem. I think he was somewhat paranoid about Macca actually consciously undermining him in any real severe fashion, but that said...he was getting a hell of a lot of heat from all corners & on many levels for lots of his coloring outside the lines in life, and...McCartney was certainly arguably egocentric in the studio, & so on.... As far as Lennon's solo career I simply don't agree with you. There are others on here who don't, and have been pretty eloquent about it as well. As far as many of your examples of Macca's experimental solo efforts- Loop & Morse Moose, I think you've chosen cuts that I feel are pretty subpar, period. Neither of our feelings by the way is a fact, they are opinions and that is all. There are no shortage of critics who pigeon hole McCartney as being hyper conservative, and mainstream to a heavy fault. I don't share this opinion, but simply feel that your case is overstated is all. I won't bother to point out to you that you are "wrong" about things because you "feel" some other way than the "facts" I have presented here or elsewhere. Because, as I said, subjective opinions about art involve definitions of your field of examination (& those often aren't agreed upon), and are subjective anyway by nature. You can feel however you like about that, but calling your feelings facts doesn't make them that. What it does is reveal the manner in which you approach a dialogue. And if I
were you I might take a moment to reflect on that. Blessings!!


You're awfully long-winded aren't you? I've outlined a series of facts that are not mine or anyone else's opinions except the parties directly involved. You seem unable to address these few simple facts. I couldn't care less whether or not you agree with them. The fact that people (like yourself) ignore what's in front of their faces preferring instead to cling to the mythology is exactly what the post is about. Is Paul trying to revise the past, or simply set the record straight. If Paul is trying to set the record straight, people who ignore the whole pictureand prefer to cling to the fantasies of the past will be his biggest obstacle, won't they.

If I've made a mistake in my representation of the facts, point it out.

If you're going to tell me John's solo music isn't for all intent and purpose mainstream "guitar rock", save it. It's what he said he liked, it's what he said he was going to do, it's what he did. You know better than he does? What on 'DoubleFantasy/Milk and Honey' would you consider outside the realm of mainstream guitar rock? 'Rock n' Roll'? 'Walls and Bridges'? Mind Games'? 'ST in NYC'? 'Imagine'? 'POB'? The only time anything on these albums left the realm of mainstream guitar rock and approached 'experimental' is when Yoko was involved. The further Yoko was away, the more 'mainstream' the album.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby linclink » Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:46 pm

JJS: When you are talking about art, artistic merit, and what that art is or isn't...that is a subjective opinion. It's also worth noting that just because someone brought a lawsuit, or someone says something in an interview, it doesn't translate that those instances then can be suddenly converted into magically making your subjective observations about particular pieces of art into fact. That's an impossible alchemy. When you are speaking about the art itself, in any manner, any person, be it James1985, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, you or I can say whatever they want. That is their personal feeling, idea, or opinion. It is only that & not a fact. It is fact that they have an opinion/idea/feeling, but the opinion itself is not a fact. A fact is John Lennon was born in 1940 & died in 1980. " 'Plastic Ono Band' is the most radical departure of any solo Beatles album"- that is an opinion- no matter who said it- it is subjective & not absolute. Although there are a few facts that have come up in this discussion, the center of the discussion is based around issues that are purely subjective involving music these artists made. So John said something in an interview, and so he sued Paul, & so Paul has his opinions...those things don't add up to some incontrovertible final scene with final answers that are absolute & undeniable. Just because the major players have their opinions doesn't mean they are perfect and can't be disagreed with. They are human, and get this, they often might not have the clearest perspective. They aren't Gods, and you know that they often give contradictory information at various times they are asked, because their opinion changes, or their memory of something changes as their feelings surrounding it change, etc., etc.. These guys stated different things at different times, and the measure of the art & circumstances surrounding it, still has lots to do with a whole lot of factors, that can be weighed & balanced in various ways, and viewed from various perspectives. You don't write up facts about these things, you express your feelings. And if someone else has feelings other than yours, that's all they are. They aren't a mythology they are clinging to that is designed to somehow frustrate you that they can't be persuaded to see the clarity of the facts of the correct & perfect case you present. I've read these sort of nasty exchanges before on various boards and they often surround the same sorts of issues. I'm just hoping if any folks have the audacity to disagree with you in the future that you might have the decency to be both civil & simply allow that they are doing what you are doing...expressing their opinions & feelings in an open forum.
I've read enough of your posts in this area to have a pretty clear enough picture for what I need to know about how to spend my time. You certainly to have some serious vested emotional investment in defending Paul McCartney for some reason. Hey I don't hate him, & I'm not trying to hurt anyone's hero here either. I just don't completely agree with some things you've said that's all. I also don't agree with everything McCartney has said, or Lennon, or James1985 for that matter. Look I personally don't see this as black or white, and have pointed out repeatedly that I think there is merit to what is being said on many sides. The Beatles, together & solo, were a great collective, and have some fascinating Spiritual, political, social facets to their long history. They also attract a large group of folks who are nearer to Trekkies (or fill in your favorite- Elvis, Tolkien, Star Wars, Beatles all of these attract their share of shall we say unique individuals) and the like who begin to take on venom, absolutist authority and extreme personal identification with the artists involved. I enjoy Beatles forums because it helps me to procrastinate from doing the end of my work in Oriental Medicine (I have one last National Board exam to take). It's interesting to hear differing opinions. I just don't take it that seriously, or get all that worked up about it. It's for fun. And nobody wins anything when they finally prove that they are right & others are wrong. Especially when your talking about opinions about art, because nobody can prove anybody is right or wrong.
Your language, and reasoning here tells me enough to let you know that I don't think I'll be bothering with responding to your posts here from now on. I've had long exchanges, of very differing feelings with other folks here, and they were always respectful & good. I can say this is the first time I've personally encountered this kind of reasoning & attitude. You've had some good exchanges with James1985 here. Carry on. I'm just choosing not to enter into direct dialogue with you here anymore. And seriously, whether you believe it or not, Blessings Of Love & Light To You in your continuing journey. One's lack of understanding, publicly paraded personal issues, or behavior of any kind, doesn't make then a bad person or non deserving of compassion & general agape.
Last edited by linclink on Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby james1985 » Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:48 pm

linclink wrote:These guys stated different things at different times,



Exactly, and I think this cuts to the heart of the matter. No Beatle interview/legal writ/song lyric can be taken out of context.

You can't gain a full understanding of what Lennon said in the court case without understanding that relations between the two were at an all-time low. KJust like the 1970 Wenner interview shouldn't be taken, as many wrongly do, as "What John Absolutely Thought About Everything - The Gospel". Just like you can't understand "Many Years From Now" without the context of Macca thinking "***censored***, everyone thinks John was the cool edgy one and I just wrote songs about sheepdogs and meter maids - better set the record straight".

So, to JJS, I dont think the 1971 court case is that great a piece of evidence in an argument as to who was more "experimental", J or P. It is a fact that John said that in his statement. That we know the animosity between the two men, and that John would have not wanted Paul to win the case, casts doubt (in my considered opinion) over the accuracy of that statement.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby linclink » Sun Mar 29, 2009 5:45 pm

james1985 wrote:
linclink wrote:These guys stated different things at different times,



Exactly, and I think this cuts to the heart of the matter. No Beatle interview/legal writ/song lyric can be taken out of context.

You can't gain a full understanding of what Lennon said in the court case without understanding that relations between the two were at an all-time low. KJust like the 1970 Wenner interview shouldn't be taken, as many wrongly do, as "What John Absolutely Thought About Everything - The Gospel". Just like you can't understand "Many Years From Now" without the context of Macca thinking "***censored***, everyone thinks John was the cool edgy one and I just wrote songs about sheepdogs and meter maids - better set the record straight".

So, to JJS, I dont think the 1971 court case is that great a piece of evidence in an argument as to who was more "experimental", J or P. It is a fact that John said that in his statement. That we know the animosity between the two men, and that John would have not wanted Paul to win the case, casts doubt (in my considered opinion) over the accuracy of that statement.

James1985: Yeah not only are the things the Beatles themselves, bless their collective hearts, not gospel, they are far from consistent, and most importantly- what they said, or did, can't be added up neatly and presented as hard cold incontrovertible facts. They are just different perspectives, at different times, from different folks, and our understanding, of anything & everything, should be a fluid, not static, process of evolving our feelings about any given thing...especially things that are emotive & subjective, such as pieces of art, . My feelings, have changed, & I'm sure will continue to change, in regards to these pieces of art, and many of the surrounding issues. I welcome the movement & other perspectives; even if I don't always agree with them. Thanks for your intelligent, open minded, tolerant & civil dialogue. Blessings!
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby Crisstti » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:25 am

I think JJS has a good point.
It is strange, let's say, that the beatle that is supposed to be the experimental one complained that Paul was the one who wanted to experiment on his (John's) songs, even considering that as sabotaging. He certainly gives the impression that Paul was more willing to experiment and that much of the experimentation on John's songs might have been because of Paul.

As for changing opinions, we should note that this idea of John was one he kept since the early 70's until his death. He talked about it in the Playboy interview (saying that there was a period when he thought that maybe he was being paranoid). His opinion about it didn't really change much.

As for John liking mainstream guitar rock... I think the problem is with the use of the word "mainstream" (which seems to be a bad word...). John stated that he liked "straight forward rock and roll" (I believe those were his words, someone correct me if I'm wrong). And I would agree that that is mostly what he did in his solo career, in different ways. John didn't release an album as experimental as McCartney II. And his albums didn't have the variety that Paul's did.
Now, we should remember that John said that he liked "straight forward rock and roll" as opposed to the concept albums ideas that Paul liked (not to music that was more experimental), and that he seemed to dislike... though it seems to me that Plastic Ono Band is a concept album, pretty much.

And as for Paul not experimenting until the The Fireman albums... what about McCartney II?. And that one was with his own name. Though I don't think that it has anything to do with the argument that he has released those albums under a pseudonym. It's still the same person doing them, and the argument is about how experimental Paul and John are/were, so... The Fireman is still Paul experimenting.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby jjs » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:18 pm

Crisstti wrote:I think JJS has a good point.
It is strange, let's say, that the beatle that is supposed to be the experimental one complained that Paul was the one who wanted to experiment on his (John's) songs, even considering that as sabotaging. He certainly gives the impression that Paul was more willing to experiment and that much of the experimentation on John's songs might have been because of Paul.

As for changing opinions, we should note that this idea of John was one he kept since the early 70's until his death. He talked about it in the Playboy interview (saying that there was a period when he thought that maybe he was being paranoid). His opinion about it didn't really change much.

As for John liking mainstream guitar rock... I think the problem is with the use of the word "mainstream" (which seems to be a bad word...). John stated that he liked "straight forward rock and roll" (I believe those were his words, someone correct me if I'm wrong). And I would agree that that is mostly what he did in his solo career, in different ways. John didn't release an album as experimental as McCartney II. And his albums didn't have the variety that Paul's did.
Now, we should remember that John said that he liked "straight forward rock and roll" as opposed to the concept albums ideas that Paul liked (not to music that was more experimental), and that he seemed to dislike... though it seems to me that Plastic Ono Band is a concept album, pretty much.

And as for Paul not experimenting until the The Fireman albums... what about McCartney II?. And that one was with his own name. Though I don't think that it has anything to do with the argument that he has released those albums under a pseudonym. It's still the same person doing them, and the argument is about how experimental Paul and John are/were, so... The Fireman is still Paul experimenting.



There's more to it than just the points you bring up.

For example, people seem to have a narrow view of what "experimental" means. To some it means nothing more than making "music" from non-music. 45 minutes of non-musical sounds is "experimental", anything done with tape loops is "experimental", (even though most have no idea what "tape loops" really means.) 45 minutes of recorded body noises is "experimental."

But when you're talking about the Beatles as an "experimental" band, it's not because they released all of 3 songs with non-musical elements and/or tape loops. It's because they "experimented" with different sounds in the studio. By this I mean getting different sounds on vocals, drums, and instruments with all sorts of tricks and techniques. They helped redefine and expand what a "rock and roll" band could do. They "experimented" with different genres that was until then unheard of in a pop/rock band. They "experimented" with blending musical instruments from different genres and cultures into pop/rock music, also unheard of in a pop/rock band. They "experimented" with rearranging song structures in unusual ways for pop/rock music. And so on.

I think one of the reasons people now have a narrow view of what "experimental" means, is because all of the above has now been done and overdone to the point that it's now the norm. It's hard (or maybe impossible) for us to listen to "Revolver" or "Sgt. Pepper" in the context of it's time. It's easy to see how 'Revolution #9" can be called "experimental" because it's non-musical and has been far less frequently imitated. It's hard to see how "Sgt. Pepper" can be called "experimental" because it's been imitated in excess ever since.

As for Paul "experimenting" with John's songs...

If you listen to "A Day In the Life", and mentally remove the middle part and the orchestral climax, you basically have a straightforward, typical Lennon song... structurally and harmonically somewhat Like 'God'. McCartney came up with the orchestral climax idea (very "experimental", and very often credited to Lennon) and the idea to inject the "Woke Up..." part in the middle of the song.

Now the point isn't whether or not these additions made the song better, or whether John could have refused the additions if the wanted to. But these were McCartney's ideas, and one could argue that they were certainly risky ideas, and that he was never so bold with his own songs. If one was indeed paranoid, one could look at this song as a perfect example of Paul "subconscious sabotage"... "Experimenting" with John's otherwise simple and straightforward song it in risky ways that he wouldn't do to his own songs. John also had this complaint about Paul's treatment of "Across the Universe."

People see the evidence... They can read John's words about the kind of songs he preferred. They can also listen to his solo records and hear what kind of songs he chose to produce. They can listen to a song like 'A Day In The Life' and hear the simple, straightforward song underneath the elaborate, ornate decorations. They can learn the source of those ornate decorations. They can read John's complaint about how he didn't care for the way Paul "experimented" with his songs... but the whole thing falls apart in their tiny heads, because it's contrary to what they WANT to believe.

They see and hear the evidence, but OJ is innocent.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby linclink » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:03 am

For the record, George Martin regarding the orchestral climax in "A Day In The Life":
"Martin later described explaining his improvised score to the puzzled orchestra:

'What I did there was to write ... the lowest possible note for each of the instruments in the orchestra. At the end of the twenty-four bars, I wrote the highest note...near a chord of E major. Then I put a squiggly line right through the twenty-four bars, with reference points to tell them roughly what note they should have reached during each bar ... Of course, they all looked at me as though I were completely mad.' ". Blessings!!
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby ahawk66 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:11 am

Good post, jjs. It illustrates the idea that when you write something, at times you're too close to it to "experiment", but when you're helping with someone else's stuff, you're bringing a new perspective to their style. That's actually why I'd say they were so good as a team. Even something as simple as John telling Paul not to take out the line, "the movement you need is on your shoulder" from "Hey Jude". He could see or hear something in that line that the writer couldn't.
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Re: Paul's behavior got John mad

Postby Crisstti » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:51 pm

ahawk66 wrote:Good post, jjs. It illustrates the idea that when you write something, at times you're too close to it to "experiment", but when you're helping with someone else's stuff, you're bringing a new perspective to their style. That's actually why I'd say they were so good as a team. Even something as simple as John telling Paul not to take out the line, "the movement you need is on your shoulder" from "Hey Jude". He could see or hear something in that line that the writer couldn't.


Yes...

It's sad that John later got to have such a negative interpretation of it.
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