Lies, Damned Lies and Dullblog

Michael Gerber
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Lennon Enquirer

Story, nothing — John should’ve sued over the PICTURE

A side-question from the indefatigable @Rob on whether or not Paul McCartney actually was pissed off by Hunter Davies printing this interview in his revised edition of his book The Beatles, sent me off on a desultory Google search to determine the truth. After two minutes I could not, and I don’t have more time to investigate this fully. Everybody, please feel free to fire up your own brains/Googling machines.

When it was mentioned in a comment thread; seeing that it was a private phone call taken down after the fact, not a formal recorded interview, and that the content was significantly more revealing than McCartney’s usual press interactions (especially regarding his old partner), I felt that the assertion that Paul was angry made sense. But this was an assumption.

This brings up something I think is worth setting down in pixels: Hey Dullblog is a blog for “people who think about the Beatles a little too much,” no more or less. I would caution you against taking anybody’s opinion as fact, mine included. Like every other blog on the internet, the site isn’t fact-checked or sourced, and while our community standards in this regard are admirably higher than most of the web, in the end, it’s all opinion. Caveat lector.

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  1. Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

    Paul conducted a British Tv interview after Davies published his private account. In it, he CLEARLY explained that a) he did NOT consent to it and b) that he was unhappy about it. I saw this on you tube but don’t have the link. Those who don’t believe it can either take my word for it or find the interview themselves.

    • Thank you, @Karen.

      Those interested, to Google with ye, and we’ll post it if you find it.

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        Haha–that guy gave a LOT on interviews!
        (Incidentally–I actually remember when the whole thing about John and his dad hit the press–it was a huge deal. The official story line was that after John’s mother died, he went to live with his aunt and uncle. No mention of Fred at all–it was as though John was conceived by immaculate conception. When the reporters found Fred the whole story came out. Poor John. It must have been demoralizing.)

  2. Avatar amoralto wrote:

    In the portion of the interview with Chris Salewicz that was linked above, Paul talks a bit more in the taped recording which didn’t make it to print:

    PAUL: He was the guy I rang up about “manoeuvring swine” too, so it shows what a buddy he is, he immediately put it in print. He didn’t sort of edit it out and say – well to give him his due, he did, actually. In the larger context of it, it was quite nice, it was quite reasonable and he reported my point of view.

    • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

      Thanks Amoralto. That was the essence of what he said in the tv interview, including the typical McCartney posturing at the end when he tries to make it all better. I suspect, though, that Davies was on his shit list from that point on. 🙂

      • Avatar amoralto wrote:

        Hmm, I wouldn’t presume Hunter Davies went on the same shit list the likes of Albert Goldman and Peter Brown were assigned to, but I can certainly see him being kept at a cordial but nonetheless considerable distance thereafter. Paul still invited him to Linda’s funeral service, apparently, and called asking after him around the time he was divorcing Heather Mills and was taking walks near where Davies lived with his family (this is according to Davies, of course, but he doesn’t strike me as particularly sycophantic, and there has been more than one account of Paul randomly calling up old acquaintances after long absences of communication).

        • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

          “there has been more than one account of Paul randomly calling up old acquaintances after long absences of communication.”
          True, that.

  3. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    Someone online somewhere made a comparison between the melody of one of Fred’s songs (That’s My Life) and John’s “Imagine”

    • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

      It does kind of resemble Imagine-and HOLY COW DOES JOHN SOUND LIKE HIS DAD.

    • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

      That song has officially BLOWN MY MIND. I am full of so, so many questions….
      I’ve never understood exactly how much (and what kind of) contact John had with his father. He resurfaced in 1965? And he died in the mid-70’s? Is that correct? Did John support him (financially) or am I making that up? I have theories about Fred and Julia Lennon based on nothing but my own imagination and John’s adult neuroses… I wish I had more real info on Fred!

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        I’ll give you my admittedly rag-tag memory version of the JohnandFreddie story: John lost contact with him at age 5, after being taken by Freddie to Blackpool. In 1964 (around the A Hard Day’s NIght era) some reporters found Freddie working in the kitchen of some local eatery not to far from Brian Epstein’s office (I can’t be sure it was Epstein’s office he was in close proximity to, but it was somewhere near where John frequented.)
        The reporters had arranged a meeting between John and Freddie but John refused to see him. Later in `65 or thereabouts, Freddie shows up at John and Cynthia’s doorstep, Cynthia lets him in and gives him money and a haircut. John finds out and is not pleased. In 1967 or so, John relents, and hires Freddie to open fan mail. The have an uneasy truce for awhile, until John goes into primal therapy and on his birthday carves Freddie a new one when Freddie and his new wife come to visit him and Yoko at Tittenhurst. Exit Freddie, until he’s on his deathbed and John reconnects with him.
        the end. 🙂

  4. Holy crap, he sounds like one of John’s joke voices.

  5. Avatar Rose Decatur wrote:

    I was curious, so I went looking for any indication as to what Hunter’s modern relationship with Paul might be. I found a 2002 interview wherein Hunter says he meets up with Paul for tea “from time to time” and sent Paul a recent wedding gift (this being the time of his remarriage to Heather Mills. I then found this quote from a 2006 interview with The Scotsman:

    “He says he is saddened by McCartney’s current marital troubles, since he’s the band member he knew best. ‘I’ve never met Heather Mills, but I knew Linda well and liked her very much. Paul invited me to her funeral. I couldn’t go, though, because we were in the Lake District at the time, and we have this rule that we never leave when we are here, no matter what happens.

    ‘Oddly enough, just a day or two before the news about the break-up, Paul left a message on my phone in London, saying, ‘Hunter Davies, are you still living in the same house?’ Unfortunately, Margaret wiped it. Our house in London is near Hampstead Heath, and Margaret and I walk there every day when we’re at home. Friends tell me Paul has been seen walking his dog around the Heath, looking rather forlorn and lonely. It’s a sad business.'”

  6. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    from wikipedia:
    After Christmas, in 1965, John was embarrassed to hear that Alf had made a record: “That’s My Life (My Love and My Home)”, released on 31 December 1965] John asked Epstein to do anything he could to stop it being released or becoming a hit. The record never made it into the charts. In 1966 “Freddie Lennon” (the name under which Alf recorded) tried again, and issued three singles with the group Loving Kind. These records did not sell well, either. Though the public at large quickly forgot these attempts to cash in on his son’s success with the Beatles, the records do command fairly high prices among collectors of rare records, with “That’s My Life” being worth over £50.
    Late in his life, Alf wrote a manuscript detailing his life story which he bequeathed to John. It was Alf’s attempt to fill in the lost years when he had not been in contact with his son, and to explain that it was Julia, and not Alf, who had broken up their marriage. John later commented: “You know, all he wanted was for me to hear his side of the story, which I hadn’t heard.” By 1976, Alfred was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and Pauline contacted John via Apple Corps to make sure that he was aware that his father was dying. John sent a large bouquet of flowers to the hospital and phoned Alf on his deathbed, apologising for his (John’s) past behaviour. In 1990, Pauline published a book called Daddy, Come Home, detailing her life with Alf and his meetings with John…

  7. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I confess I’ve always been fascinated with Alf. I think it ties in with my obsession over John’s lottery win: “What if John had never met Paul? What if he hadn’t met Brian Epstein or George Martin? What would have become of him?”
    John was so outrageously lucky to be born when he was, when a precedent had been set by Elvis Presley and Gene Vincent and Buddy Holly, and Parlophone was agreeable to financing his talent. For years, one of my obsessions was “What if John had tried to enter “show business” on his own, and encountered only tasteless, tacky managers who advised him to be Frankie Avalon or Bobby Vee?”
    I imagine he would have quit and become Alf Lennon. Going out to sea on a merchant ship, getting locked up for petty crimes like stealing beer, washing dishes for a living. Clever and musically talented and entertaining and witty, but not making a penny from it. And then either dying early of cancer (like Alf) or getting beaten to death by some genuine tough guy for running his mouth.
    The more we learn about Alf, the more we understand the life John would have lived, sans Beatles.

    • I think you’re exactly right, @Sam. And this line of thinking only makes me appreciate John and his life all the more.

    • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

      “I imagine he would have quit and become Alf Lennon.”
      FUCK! Jesus. Yes. That’s harsh, but sounds so accurate.
      That makes Paul’s “lucky break” line on RAM way more resonant, as well. That really was quite a shitty thing for him to say. No wonder John went apeshit…

      • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

        Yeah, that was shitty of Paul. He and John knew each other’s insecurities better than anyone else, and in the aftermath of the breakup they really drew on that knowledge to hurt each other. I wish that both of them had had someone able to get them to slow their respective rolls. I think they both found out too late that you can’t take the salt out of the soup once you dump it in there.

  8. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    I love this blog, and the usual commenters here because y’all are so intelligent, calm and respectful in your responses to each other, even when disagreeing. I like that, and try to emulate that when I’m on other blogs but sometimes when I’m confronted in a viciously disrespectful way, I can (and have) responded in kind, with cutting precision, kinda dog eats dog or law of the jungle survival instinct. It’s gets tiring sometimes and boring too. But here, I learn so much from you guys, who are so educated,( is my friend) especially regarding The Beatles, it’s refreshing. I said all that to introduce myself and to explain myself in case y’all seen some of my comments on youtube and other sites. I’m opinionated but I know that I’m not always right, and here I will be respectful and behave myself because y’all do and I don’t want to make a fool of myself. Here is my comment on the subject at hand: Paul WAS John’s lucky break. I don’t think he was trying to be shitty. He was telling John, that John “broke him (his heart) in two”. Back to lurking I go.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      Water Falls, please feel free to comment more! And thanks for your kind words about the quality of commenters here. We are fortunate to have so many reasonable people with senses of both proportion and humor reading this blog.
      I think Paul knew that singing “You took your lucky break and broke it in two” about John was cruel (though I agree with you, accurate. They were each others’ lucky breaks). Later in the song he adds “This is crazy and maybe it’s not like me,” which I hear as Paul acknowledging that cruelty, but not being able to stop himself.
      He does basically the same thing in that interview that Amoralto surfaced, where he talks about Davies publishing what Paul told him on the phone. Paul starts out hot and angry and then walks that back, acknowledging that Davies did represent accurately what he’d said. That kind of move — which can seem shifty and insincere — is one reason some people dislike McCartney. I find it more sympathetic, though still dysfunctional. When he brings himself to say something angrily and directly, he gets anxious (and maybe he feels bad about it too, I don’t know). He’s ambivalent in interviews in a way Lennon simply wasn’t. Lennon felt what he felt at the time and said what he believed at the time, and the devil take the hindmost. That’s more appealing in some ways, but could also be very destructive. That John responded to the digs he heard on “Ram” with “How Do You Sleep?” is a great example of the dynamic I’m talking about.

      • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

        “When he brings himself to say something angrily and directly, he gets anxious (and maybe he feels bad about it too, I don’t know).”

        Yeah, for sure. That’s just how he is.

        “He was telling John, that John “broke him (his heart) in two”

        @Waterfalls, I’ve never heard it that way, but that makes perfect sense. And of course Paul’s words were born of hurt. His heartbreak over John is well-documented, not least of all by Paul himself in his songwriting during the ’69-71 period. Still, I never really understood why the “lucky break” line set John off so much, I guess because John spent so much time (essentially the entirety of his post-Paul life!) insisting that he was the greater talent of the two. But now I realize he never truly believed that.
        MAN! Too sad! I’m going to have to go watch cartoons or something…

        • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

          Chelsea and Water Falls, consider also these lines from “3 Legs,” another song on “Ram”:
          “Well, when I thought, well, I thought
          When I thought you was my friend
          When I thought, well, I thought,
          When I thought you was my friend.
          But you let me down
          Put my heart around the bend.”
          That’s pretty directly “John, you broke my heart,” IMO.

    • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

      “He was telling John, that John “broke him (his heart) in two”. Back to lurking I go.”
      That’s an interesting perspective, and certainly fits with everything we know about John and Paul pre-and post breakup.
      And don’t go back to lurking! We have a seat at the table all ready for you. 🙂

  9. Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

    @ Nancy said “Paul starts out hot and angry and then walks that back, acknowledging that Davies did represent accurately what he’d said….When he brings himself to say something angrily and directly, he gets anxious (and maybe he feels bad about it too, I don’t know). “

    My favourite word is steadfastly becoming THIS. I used to wonder if this habit of Paul’s was a function of his personality, or part of getting savvy with the press, but then I saw a pattern in interviews when Paul tended to backtrack on his points whenever John disagreed with them. Paul just doesn’t want to piss anyone off.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      I think that habit is a function of Paul’s feeling insecure, deep down (and hence not wanting to piss anyone off; “please, don’t reject me.”) While I see John’s habit of putting the boot in verbally as a different manifestation of insecurity (“I’ll reject you before, or harder than, you reject me.”) In many ways I think Lennon and McCartney were two sides of the same coin.

      • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

        What a combination of insecurities. John puts the boot in and Paul backs off, finding another way in. Being a friend of John’s probably turned Paul’s natural sense of diplomacy into an art form.

        • Not to harp on this, but given personal experience I feel it’s not fair to hold back:

          When you’re in an alcoholic/addictive family, it is very very common for the other members to apologize for, mitigate the damage of, and generally smooth the way for the alcoholic/addict. This is likely Paul’s “natural sense of diplomacy.” It’s not natural, it’s much too relentless to be “natural.” It’s a learned behavior.

          I don’t know, and I don’t think we know, enough about Paul’s background to figure out who might’ve been the person Paul learned these skills “for,” as it were. (And this hiding of the family background is also absolutely common.) But an alcoholic family pattern is entirely predictive of Paul being attracted to John, bonding with John with familial intensity, forming a surrogate family with the other three, spending his teens and twenties apologizing for and explaining John to people, and then feeling utter betrayal from John when he was replaced by Yoko. Pre-Beatles John desperately needed a series of diplomats (Paul and certainly Brian, and Cyn probably being another). Post-Beatles John could act out just as he pleased, and Paul must’ve been furious that John had “used” him to become unassailable, and then jilted him, lumping him in with all the squares who “never understood me.” If Paul really had been that — if he’d been more conventional than codependent — the Beatles would never have happened.

          • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

            “Not to harp on this, but given personal experience I feel it’s not fair to hold back:
            When you’re in an alcoholic/addictive family, it is very very common for the other members to apologize for, mitigate the damage of, and generally smooth the way for the alcoholic/addict. This is likely Paul’s “natural sense of diplomacy.” It’s not natural, it’s much too relentless to be “natural.” It’s a learned behavior.”
            Where’s the evidence that Paul came from an alcoholic family? This isn’t a challenging question MG–I honestly have never read that anywhere. Most definitely, children raised in such families learn pretty early to read the emotional landscape. But to my knowledge, neither Paul or his brother have ever said that alcohol was a problem in their family. And Michael is certainly alot more open than Paul about things. Surely he would have said.

          • let me get back to you on this @Karen —

    • Being angry towards or about John has always made Paul very anxious, which wasn’t particularly justified by their situation (two peers). I think this is something Paul picked up in his childhood — a traumatic situation Paul had to navigate by never getting angry. His aversion simply isn’t adequately explained by not wanting to fight. Somebody says the greatest song you ever wrote was shit, and you don’t want to FIGHT?

      “I had the option of going for equal time and doing all the interviews or deciding to not take up the gauntlet, and I remember consciously thinking, No, I realty mustn’t. Part of it was cowardice: John was a great wit, and I didn’t want to go fencing with the rapier champion of East Cheam. That was not a good idea. And I also knew that those vibes could snowball, and you start off with a perfectly innocent little contest and suddenly you find yourself doing duel to the death with the Lennon figure and it’s, Oh, my God, what have I carved out here?”

      “The Lennon figure” is the key here. As two grown men, as two ex-Beatles, Paul and John were absolute equals; and had Paul done exactly what John was doing — stating a version of events honestly (that favored himself) — Paul could’ve held his own. Paul could’ve even held his own with John in a fistfight, for God’s sake. Paul’s not-fighting-at-any-cost doesn’t make much sense — until you posit that he was following a trauma-induced pattern laid down during childhood, when he really COULDN’T fight back.

      • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

        I agree that Paul’s evident difficulty with expressing anger directly suggests *some* kind of childhood issue. It could be as simple, and as benign on the relative scale of things, as having been punished for expressing anger as a child. Whatever happened, it seems likely to me that he learned when young to fear the withdrawal of love or approval if he got angry. Which doesn’t mean his parents were “bad” or abusive — he may just have been acutely sensitive to the signals they were sending about what kind of emotions were and weren’t acceptable to express.

        • Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

          Michael and Nancy, I love both your comments so very much! I find Paul’s repression of anger and aversion to violence so… fascinating. In MYFN he mentions how much he hated and desperately tried to avoid fighting (other boys) in his youth, as well.
          I love how Paul’s anger slips through the cracks during his greatest period of musical anguish, ’69-70. Wedged in between some of the most emotive heartbreak songs ever written is MSH, about bludgeoning people to death. Mmmmmmm Kay, Paul. Only Paul could frame such disturbing imagery with a dopey melody…

          • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

            YES, Chelsea, great point about “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.” If you heard just the melody, would you ever guess that it’s a song about a highly successful serial killer? The melody of “Too Many People” is also quite jaunty. I think of it as Paul putting sugar sprinkles on an acid-laced cupcake.
            In his Pitchfork review of the “Ram” reissue, Jayson Greene says the smartest thing I’ve read about how this tendency of Paul’s has misled critics:
            “What a lot of people thought they heard on “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, and everywhere else on the album, is cloying cuteness. But it turns out you can say a lot of things– things like “go fuck yourself” (“3 Legs”), “everything is fucked” (“Too Many People”), and even “let’s go fuck, honey” (“Eat At Home)”– with a big, dimpled grin on your face.”
            Link to whole review:


          • Avatar Water Falls wrote:

            @Chelsea, and @ Nancy, pardon my butting in, but I wanted to point out Paul’s song Monkberry Moon Delight.
            The tune is jaunty, it’s a pity party disguised as a rollicking good time. He’s up in his attic, drunk, practically passed out at the piano, listening to the wind howl. His back is sore from the beatings he’s taken from his “enemies” (former partner, bandmates, Klein etc) pelting him with tomatoes and pureeing him into Beaten soup.
            He’s warning the listener,”don’t get left behind” as he has been. “A rattle of rats had awoken the sinews, the nerves and the veins” (the music press who sided against him and raked him over the coals some more in case he wasn’t sufficiently hurt enough from everyone else) All the while he’s still trying to play music. He must have played everything back over and over again in his mind when he sings, “As I stood with a knot in my stomach as I gazed at that terrible sight as two youngsters (naive Paul & John temporarily safe in Beatlemania bubble) concealed in a barrel, sucking Monkberry Moon Delight”. I take as he watches himself and John drink heartily the sweet nectar of fame and success unaware of how bitter, indeed poisonous the aftertaste will be to them down the road a bit.
            There is a part where he says “I leave my pajamas to Billy Budapest”. Now to me,when I hear this line, my sympathies hear “I leave my PaulJohnmas (P/J dramas) to Bully, boo the pest!, now the fans have taken to jeering him, so he flees it all to hide out with his family on his remote farm. I’m sure Paul probably didn’t even mean any of this the way I have interpreted it, so you are probably looking at “my” neuroses” (maybe I shouldn’t reveal all this {nervous smile}) Any way, for what’s it’s worth, that’s my take on the song and the period after the break up. I happen to love the genius and cleverness of this tune, the “Don’t cry for me, I’m offering you a good time in spite of my pain.” bravado. I still marvel at how he got through all that without going completely nuts.Thank goodness for Linda and her amazing love and strength. Sorry if I have bored you guys. I was going to do my analysis of Uncle Albert and Admiral Halsey but this is long winded enough and I don’t want to lose my newly offered seat at the table by blathering on so.

          • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

            Water Falls, that’s a really interesting interpretation. “Ram” is definitely the album when Paul lets his emotions out most fully. If you haven’t read that Jayson Greene review of “Ram,” please do — I think you’d like it.
            And post that analysis of “Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey” whenever you like!

          • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

            Hey Water Falls,
            I luv your jingle jangle morning interpretation of Monkberry Moon Delight. What you display here is utterly wonderful, and hints at the best what art can offer. It is not about what songs really mean (yes I ‘hate’ the speculation) it is what music, sounds, words and voices trigger in our minds and that can then be shared in ways that are as ambiguous as the words and sounds are that we hear. Please take your seat at the keyboard of the home computer again… we’re all awaiting your next contribution.
            There is no Greil Marcus or ‘Water Falls’ in me. My english was never good enough, to do what you gave us, and when I was young I had an experience that stopped me forever from digging much deeper into lyrics, trying to find meanings that are not there. I remember very well that I liked a lot of lyrics on ‘Ram’ and ‘Wild Life’. And I had these phantasies that John would like and love the hand the Paul offered in ‘Dear Friend’.
            While the ‘Wings’ was staying at the Bell Air hotel for their concerts in Holland mid-August 1972, I managed to become part of their entourage for a day and a night. I had a conversation about these meanings… I remember the smiles and the refusal by Paul and Linda to discuss most lyrics. We did word plays though, for less than half an hour or so, they let me do the talking and just gave nods, or denials and surprised looks, all in brief remarks and the inevitable lot of laughing, with all that grass around. I didn’t smoke, not even inhale.
            The hot subject at the time was that fans felt being addressed directly or in general by the lyrics of both The Beatles, (think of the fan in the ‘Imagine film’ he wasn’t the only lonely one wandering around, or that lyrics we’re about The Beatles. Fans as usual confusing their own emotional attachments,pro-occupations, the feelings of the combined music and words and voice and sounds in a song and the original occasion when the song germinated from these creative musical minds. That was when Paul responded that ‘we’ never could do that, it was pure coincidence, only in the beginning we were sometimes conscious about the ‘from me to you’ message. Another thing about composing lyrics I learned, in smokey The Hague, was that ambiguity in lyrics and poetry allows the audience the best space to enjoy an only slightly guided experience.
            In concerts I still miss the songs from albums like ‘Ram’ and ‘Back to the Egg’ – I want to be thrilled by all the associations that will come up again and have a wonderful night, less Beatly more Paul.
            Come on Waterfall, whenever you are allowed to be back on your machine, give us some more on the songs. This is how art comes out at its best.

        • Avatar Water Falls wrote:

          @Michael Gerber (hello) @Nancy Carr, I agree with you both on this. As children my two sisters and I were so controlled by our mother. I remember in church while we three would sit way in the back pews of the congregation, hoping to not be so easily noticed, but one of us, me for instance, would notice my mother watching, and would mutter underbreath, “Mama’s looking!” like an expert ventriloquist. Immediately all our fidgeting, talking, everything we were doing would stop and we would sit still and look in rapt attention to whatever Sunday message the paster was delivering. Anybody else who may have watched our mother looking at us would have only seen a benign expression, but for us, it was powerful enough to pin us to our seats and tell us “Y’all BETTER behave! Talk about your learned behavior. We laugh about it now but oh back then!

          • Avatar Water Falls wrote:

            I meant to add while my sisters and I were in the back pews, my mother was sitting up in the choir stand situated semi circle around the paster and guest ministers seats with an easy view of us sitting way in the back of the church.

  10. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    Thanks for the seat, but I’m going silent for a little while as I promised my and let two young family members get on the computer for a while, I promised them they could when they were through with homework, but I’m gonna get back on later and catch up to what you guys are saying. Love this thread!

  11. Avatar Water Falls wrote:

    Thanks guys (Nancy & Rob) for your encouragement. I realize my analysis of Paul’s songs are not “enlightenment bestowed from on high”, but merely a fun exercise in “maybe, could be, probably/not & we’ll never know for sure”
    RAM is my favorite post Beatles album by Paul. I love every song on it, in the order they are played. To me it is a tour de force masterpiece. Here goes: Since the break-up and the serial bashing of Paul in the press by JohnandYoko. Paul’s on the phone with John and we gauge what John says through Paul’s side of the conversation. Paul is bitter,sarcastic. He’s speaking for himself and Linda or using the royal “we”.
    Uncle Albert is “snark” for Albert Einstein, genius. Admiral Halsey, I don’t know. “Almighty Hubris, A**Hole (too harsh) John at one time wanted to be a sailer, Top sailor is admiral, Admiral Hubris, Admiral Honor? Whatever.

    we’re so sorry, uncle albert, we’re so sorry if we caused you any pain
    we’re so sorry, uncle albert but there’s no one left at home and i believe i’m gonna rain
    I hurt your feelings genius? I’m sorry, because it’s about YOU. My feelings *phff* who cares right? It’s ALL ABOUT YOU! Except I’m gutted…EMPTY!…and I’m going to cry! (rain, thunder)

    we’re so sorry, but we haven’t heard a thing all day. we’re so sorry uncle albert, but if anything should happen we’ll be sure to give a ring.
    No I haven’t said anything to be reported. No I haven’t done anything either. So sorry to disappoint you genius…
    you WHAT?! Oh yeah?! Well if I need to instruct my lawyers to do something, I’ll be sure to give you a call! Angrily hangs up.

    (phone rings)
    we’re so sorry, uncle albert, but we haven’t done a bloody thing all day. we’re so sorry, uncle albert, but the kettle’s on the boil and we’re so easily called away.
    (P&J contact) I’m relaxing with my family genius, what else would I be doing? Ummm…remember when all the time you had for me was slagging me in the press? Well before you interrupted me, I was really busy, my tea is ready and I’ve got to get back to what I was doing, goodbye!

    hands across the water, water, heads across the sky, hands across the water, water heads across the sky
    (whistling {bird?}
    admiral halsey notified me, he had to have a berth or he couldn’t get to sea, i had another look and i had a cup of tea and a butter pie. butter pie? the butter wouldn’t melt so i put it in the pie. oh alright!
    hands across the water, water, heads across the sky. hands across the water, water heads across the sky
    (little bit of John pov)
    John reaches across the great divide by calling Paul, says he’s thought alot about what Paul has said since they last spoke. John wants to come talk face to face but won’t bother if he is not guaranteed a welcome. Paul
    callous, bitter, hesitates, remembering how easily John humiliated him before the world, but he also knows what it took for John to make the first move and risks rejection of his olive branch. He thinks of his life without John in it, decides to put aside his hard feelings, (OR, it means,”No more abuse or I’ll shove this pie up your…!)

    hands across the water, water, heads across the sky, hands across the water, water heads across the sky.
    The two former best friends decide to let bygones be, make plans to meet as soon as their schedules allow, remember and laugh about the good old days.

    live a little be a gypsy get around, get around, get your feet up off the ground, live a little get around*
    live a little be a gypsy get around, get around, get your feet up off the ground, live a little get around*
    Yoko discovers John’s plans to meet with Paul. Alarmed that all her plans, her influence over John is threatened, flies into action! Maneuvering, manipulating, erecting roadblocks and obstacles everywhere she can to prevent a face to face reuniting without her presence, of the the two best friends, former songwriting partners. She succeeds. The Ono Lennon’s are going to America to live and they have much to do in preparation and no time to waste.#

    hands across the water, water, heads across the sky. hands across the water, water, heads across the sky
    oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oooo oo oo oo!!!!!!!
    John notifys Paul that he’s busy with preparations to go live in America. He won’t be able to come visit because they are leaving very soon and both of their schedules are in conflict for months. Paul assures John it’s going to be alright, that they’ll stay in touch by phone. And as soon as he schedule allows, Paul flies to New York to visit with great hopes that he and his best friend will reconnect like they once had.

    #At first I thought John was already permanently living in NYC, thinking about Paul in England and as we use to say, “reached out and touched”, thus ‘hands across the water, heads across the sky’. I had Yoko manipulating John and scaring him with “If you leave the US to go to England the American goverment won’t let you back in.”
    Preventing John’s face to face with Paul, and having Paul flying to NYC (head across the sky) to see John.
    But according to historical timeline RAM was released May 17, 1971. John and Yoko moved to America to live in Sept of 1971, so I changed the interpretation to fit that timeline.(I liked it better the other way creatively)
    *When I first heard the “live a little be a gypsy get around…” I thought I heard, and interpreted it as:
    “little little bee, a gypsy…” or “little little b(itch) a gypsy…”. But I thought that harsh and Paul would not be that obvious even if he did mean it, which I don’t know that he did, I’m just speculating. Although with 3 Legs he appears to have snuck the insult in, used layers, smoke and mirrors, to distract from it and buried it deep in code, IMHO. There is nothing cloying cute about Paul’s coded music if a person looks deep enough.
    Thank you Nancy for steering me to the Jayson Green review, I enjoyed it.

    • Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

      Thanks for this, Water Falls. While you’re right that we’ll never know for sure, I’m with you on feeling that at some level this is addressed to John.
      My own sense is that Paul hides what his songs are about, even (maybe especially) from himself when they have a negative emotional charge.
      “Ram” is also my favorite of Paul’s solo albums. He has said that the line about “too many people preaching practices” was the only thing on it directed at John and Yoko, but John certainly heard more and I think more is there. “3 Legs” and “Smile Away” seem especially pointed to me. And that’s not mentioning the photo of the copulating beetles.
      Glad you enjoyed Greene’s review. It warms my heart to see “Ram” finally getting its due.

    • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

      I luv your characterization of John as ‘Admiral Hubris’. A while ago in a comment I mentioned ‘The Hubris syndrome’ something Lennon suffered from early and Paul never ever. Those who suffer think it’s all about them… All these humble comments John made about: we’re only a rock ‘n roll band, is simply a cover up or an attack against something he wanted to get away from, The Beatles Myth, expectations, or to get this off his back…
      At the same time he was in the press all the time. Plain stupid, what the hell was he thinking to get in the press with every little issue, except for his mental break down, heroine use and misbehaviors in relation with Julian etc.
      Of course I can’t say Lennon was wrong seeing all these little attacks in Paul’s songs on Ram. I want you to keep on writing about that subject… to come up with the other songs as well.
      To me Lennon belongs in the same league of mental debilitated hubris sufferers as Thatcher and Blair.

    • Karen Hooper Karen Hooper wrote:

      I absolutely love this, Water Falls. Wow. I must confess that, except for a few songs, I don’t give Paul’s lyrics a passing thought. They are just usually so cryptic that I don’t have the energy to try to interpret them. Thanks for this.

    • Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

      Water Falls

      You called Mr. OnoLennon ‘Admiral Hubris’ well that triggered off some in my head. Then early this morning I got this conversation between Seinfeld and Obama – interesting. Way toward the and Seinfeld asked Obama: “How many world-leader are just completely out of their minds?”
      Guess what Obama said: “A pretty sizeable percentage.”
      1.48 into the conversation:
      Do we really think entertainment folks with the ambition to be the topper of the toppermost or that kind of BS are not part of that breed?
      Oh yeah, John wrote ‘Give Peace A Chance’, and ‘Happy Christmas’ and ‘Imagine’ – that doesn’t make him immune to the Hubris -syndrome. And to be honest I am not sorry for him. There are moments and people in life who gave you the chance to choose the normal road…

  12. Avatar ChelseaQW wrote:

    Thanks, Waterfalls, for sharing your RAM analysis! 🙂 I too dearly love RAM. That anyone would call it “cloying cuteness” is just…. idiotic. I’m sorry but…. WHAT? You don’t have to like it, but that interpretation is just plain stupid. (OK, rant over)
    I’m aware that Paul has gone on record to say that “Dear Boy” is about Linda’s ex, but…. come on, now. I absolutely can buy that Paul used Linda’s ex-husband as INSPIRATION for the song, and that probably that first verse is about him. But the rest? Is totally about John. So that song becomes about Paul AND Linda’s ex’s. (which is adorable, IMO) Along with the infamous beetle shot, I think Dear Boy is as close as Paul gets to acknowledging the sexual undercurrents btwn him and his Ex. Which is also probably why he backs off of it publicly whenever it comes up.

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