Thursday, June 21, 2007

Eight Arms To Hold You

I finally got my hands on the 45 picture sleeve of "Ticket to Ride/Yes It Is". The cool thing about this pressing, is that both sides of the disk say, From the United Artists Release "Eight Arms To Hold You". This was in reference to the Beatles' upcoming film, which was eventually titled Help!. The single came out a few months before the film.

I remember back in the 60's, my friends the Wilson sisters of Portland, Pam and Rose, had this single, and I begged them to sell it to me. I thought it was so cool. But it was no go.

Now, 40 years later I finally have my own copy.

The Beatles recorded a lot of songs that were candidates for the movie. "Ticket to Ride" made it, but "Yes It Is" didn't. So I'm listening to "Yes It Is", and thinking, as I have for years, that the lyrics are kind of weird. John sings about how he doesn't want his new girlfriend to wear red because it will remind him of his old flame. Strange behavior. The singer is so hung-up and controlling that he doesn't want his girl to wear a particular color of clothing.

Anyway, as I listen to it for the 10,000th time, I wonder why it didn't make the cut as one of the movie songs, or where it might have gone if it had made it. In the movie, the bad guys from the Eastern cult the Kaili, are after Ringo because he's wearing a sacred ring. Their plan, according to the rules of the cult, are to paint Ringo red and sacrifice him. And then I realize the lyrics of "Yes It Is" have lines about the color red ("Please don't wear red tonight", "Scarlett are the clothes she wore").

So I wonder: Did they write the song with references to "red" because of the script? (Not only do the Kaili want to paint Ringo red, but the giant evil ring stuck on his finger is also red). This seems unlikely, unless it was done unconsciously. Except for the title tunes, Beatle movie songs never had anything to do with the actual plot.

I assume the lyrics about the color red were just a coincidence.

But did the lyrics have anything do with why the song wasn't in the film? Did the filmmakers find the references to "wearing red" and the use of red in the picture confusing and distracting?

Or did the filmmakers even catch the "red" connection, and simply chose not to use the song for other reasons?

Either way, it's a connection I never got before I got my hands on that damn single.


Blogger Ed said...

Reminds me of 'If I Fell'. The singer is so damaged by a prior relationship that it will cast a shadow on his current one.

3:50 PM  
Blogger John Goins said...

Thanks for the comment. I think this calls for some examination of other Lennon lyrics. "Run For Your Life" comes to mind...even though he pinched the lyrics from an Elvis tune, he still felt it appropriate to say "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man."

8:59 PM  

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