Friday, May 20, 2011

Paul and Jane the 'White Album'

Speaking of Geoff Emerick's book, he had an interesting insight into Paul's work on the 'White Album'.

As all Beatle fanatics know, the early albums, Please Please Me through Rubber Soul were dominated by John Lennon. This is also true of their singles. Revolver was pretty even in the John/Paul contest. But starting with Sgt. Pepper through Abbey Road, Paul became the dominate one. EXCEPT for the 'White Album'. So why did Paul lose a step midway through his creative peak?

Some theories are that he was busy running Apple. Being the only true Beatle workaholic, he was distracted with company business and helping out Apple artists, like Badfinger and Mary Hopkin. And you read stories about Paul overseeing mundane details around the Apple office like checking on the quality of the toilet paper in the bathrooms.

Another theory is that John Lennon, feeling energized by a new life with Yoko, felt that it was time to take back the band.

But Emerick has another idea. He says that Paul was down in the dumps over his break-up with Jane Asher. The timeline fits. The relationship was strained for months, but they didn't officially split until the summer of 1968, which is when the 'White Album' was being recorded.

I suppose Paul's weak output on the 'White Album' was due to a lot of things, but the whole Jane Asher deal makes sense.

Not only does John have more songs on the album, but Paul doesn't have any of his usual show-stoppers. Sure, 'I Will' and 'Blackbird' are lovely and all that, but not there's nothing on the album that matches 'Fool on the Hill', 'Eleanor Rigby', 'She's Leaving Home' or later tunes like 'Let It Be' or 'Long and Winding Road'. No home runs. Yeah yeah, I know, 'Hey Jude' came out a few months before the 'White Album' and it's their biggest hit ever, but I'm just saying...his most famous song on the bloody 'White Album' is 'Ob-la-di Ob-la-da', and that, like Lennon said, 'Is Granny music'.


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