A Hard Day’s Night
In 1964 Paul McCartney and John Lennon released “And I Love Her” as part of The Beatles album A Hard Day’s Night. “And I Love Her” is a song written about a girl named Jane Asher, who was Paul McCartney’s girlfriend at the time. She was an inspiration for many of the songs that Paul McCartney wrote back in the day. He lived with the Asher family in London for a period of time and while he was there he wrote “And I Love Her” in their basement with the rest of The Beatles. After this song was released, there was a lot of controversy about who actually wrote the lyrics to this song. McCartney claimed that John Lennon only contributed to specific parts of the song and didn’t actually write the lyrics of the song. Although McCartney declared that he was primarily the author of the song, John Lennon and the rest of the Beatles all added to the song in their own way, shape, or form.
The song opens with a slow rhythmic beat played by George Harrison. This beat repeats a few times in the beginning of the song before the lyrics start and then continues with the same beat through the duration of two minute and thirty-two second song. Although it sounds like the beat ends on a different note each time, it is actually the same four notes played four times in a row; however, the chord underneath it changes throughout the song. It changes between an F-sharp minor chord and an e6 chord which gives the illusion that the closing note is changing each time when its actually the underneath chord that keeps changing. These notes together create a soft beautiful sound which is a unique aspect of the song.
After the four measures, the first verse begins. Paul McCartney is expressing his love towards who is assumed to be Jane Asher. This verse is dedicated to himself because he is confessing his love towards her. Listening to the lyrics, it sounds like a young boy in a fairy tale confessing his love for a girl. The combination of George Harrison’s twelve string guitar, Paul McCartney’s deep droning voice, Ringo’s bongos, and John Lennon’s careful consideration of the strumming of the melody, the lyrics express the feeling of love and innocence. The use of the bongo is another unique aspect of the song. The bongo is a percussion instrument that is used throughout the song. It creates a hypnotic echoing sound that that adds uniqueness to the music behind the lyrics. The feeling of love and innocence continues on for the second verse.
In the second verse we are trying to understand what about her gives him this feeling of love. This part of the song modulates between an F-sharp to a C-minor chord similar to the music in the first verse. Most bass players would play the same note, of the chord, that the guitarist is playing; however, Paul McCartney did not follow the usual rhythmic patterns. Instead, he plays broken chords. He plays an F-sharp and a C-sharp under the F-sharp minor and a C-sharp and G-sharp notes in unison under the C-minor chord. This gives off a simplistic but effective tune to the song. The only difference between the music in the first verse and second verse is that George Harrison plays a very simple arpeggio melody in the second verse that wasn’t in the first verse.
Dark is the Sky
For the duration of the song, the lyrics express the power of love. Specifically, how love is defined for Paul McCartney. In the third verse specifically, he uses a bunch of different chords to create a series of surprises using simplicity. It starts with a C-sharp minor with a G-sharp base and then moves from a B-major to a B to a G-minor back to a B and ending on a B7. This is another unique aspect of the song because most songs end on the same note they started on but in this case, they ended on a B7 instead of a B.
This change brings the key a half step up and elevates the song slightly. The music continues through the fourth and fifth verse of the song. These two verses have identical lyrics. By repeating the verse twice, he is adding emphasis to those lyrics in particular. Paul McCartney is implying that Jane is not just anyone, she is a shining star in the sky. “Dark is the sky” is referring to everyone and “bright are the stars that shine” is referring to his girlfriend Jane. And I love her doesn’t necessarily reflect the time it was written in, but it does reflect a timeless sense of youthful innocence and therefore a timeless sense of eternal love.
Album Rubber Soul
In addition, “In My Life” from the album Rubber Soul is another Beatles song that was written by both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Once again, Paul McCartney claims that he wrote all of the lyrics to the song and John Lennon assisted him. In most of the songs that the Beatles have written, John Lennon tends to reflect on his life while Paul McCartney writes more about love. One unique aspect of this song is that they stayed on a diatonic scale for the duration of the song, which means that there is five whole steps and two half steps. Before the lyrics start, the song starts out with music that goes from a G chord to a D chord to a G chord to a D chord. After this short introduction, the song begins.
The first verse of this song starts out with the lyrics: “There are places I’ll remember…”. The first line along with the rest of the song is a reflection on the early years of John Lennon’s life. He doesn’t mention any place or person specifically, but he is clearly reminiscing on his past. In the lyrics “Some have gone and some remain” we can assume that he is referring to his friends who have either passed away or are still alive. He reflects on the places he’s been with these people the moments he remembers with them without naming anything specifically.
In the second verse John Lennon is speaking to someone specifically: “There is no one compares with you”. Here, it is believed that John Lennon may be speaking Stuart Sutcliffe who was one of John’s close friends who died from a brain tumor in 1962. Not only was Sutcliffe a close friend of John’s but he was also a former Beatle. He talks about how old memories fade while new memories are created but no matter what people who died will always be remembered.
After the second verse there is a bridge. This isn’t just a bridge, it’s a unique bridge. During this bridge, George Harrison plays has a solo on the keyboard. He uses an electronic tape that gives the music a harpsichord-like sound. He recorded this his solo in a lower octave and made it twice as slow. Changing the speed of the tape, he was able to speed it up to be at the speed he desired.
In the final verse of the song, he repeats the last four lines of the previous verse. Once again this adds emphasis on the idea that he doesn’t want anyone to be forgotten. He repeats the “In my life, I love you more” twice at the end of the song. No matter what happen John Lennon wants Stuart Sutcliffe to know that no matter what he will always cherish the times spent with him in his earlier years of life. By the time the song is over, the listener feels like they have just taken a journey through John Lennon’s earlier life.
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
The last song I looked at was “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” from the Abbey Road album. Unlike the other two songs, the lyrics of this song were credited to both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The first thing that makes this song unique is its length. The song is almost eight minutes long which is almost double the length of most Beatles songs. The second thing that makes this song different from all the other songs is that this song is extremely repetitive. Each verse is nearly identical to the first verse. All of the lyrics in the songs that the Beatles wrote were very simplistic but this was the most modest of them all. This song has to do with obsession. He is talking about someone in particular, a girl that is on his mind that he wants so badly. This is conveyed through the lyrics “I want you, I want you so bad, babe”. As this continues to get repeated throughout the song, it becomes exaggerated. The receptiveness sets a mood that progresses throughout the song.
The song starts out with a musical introduction that sets up the melody for the rest of the song. When the first line of the song begins, John Lennon emphasis the word “bad” when you here the beats of his electric guitar in the background. This shows how badly he wants this girl that is on his mind. Similarly, Paul McCartney does the same thing with his voice on the word “you” in the third line of the verse: “I want you”. Each line is followed by a few drum beats which creates a nice melody to go along with the lyrics of the song. Each time the verse is repeated it becomes stronger than it was before. John Lennon wanted a heavy blue song, that was dragged out and very repetitive and that’s exactly what he got.
When you listen to the second verse, you can hear the intensity and frustration coming though the words of the song. Although this mood calms down a little in the third verse, it picks up again at the start of the fourth verse when we hear the beats coming from the drums as well as the bass. As the song goes on, everything is repeated until the concluding verse. This part of the song is unique because it starts out with “She’s so heavy” and in the background you hear “heavy” being vocalized in different keys which creates a nice melody. The mood of the song is the same as the intensity continues to increase. Overall, “I Want You (She’s so Heavy) is a simple phrase that emphasizes the theme of obsession. Someone’s obsession may not be obvious to someone else and for that reason it may add weight (heavy) to someone’s shoulders.
In conclusion, the style and simplicity of the Beatles is what changed the way people viewed rock and roll. “And I Lover Her”, “In My Life” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” are three of the many songs that define the Beatles and who they are as individuals. The Beatles recorded many songs that ended up being a top hit and as time went on they progressed as a band. Although the Beatles are no longer making music, they still continue to influence and inspire many people across the world.