Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970) - Part Four

ALBUM 1 - Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970)

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1. The Lovely Linda
2. That Would Be Something
3. Valentine Day
4. Every Night
5. Hot As Sun / Glasses
6. Junk
7. Man We Was Lonely
8. Oo You
9. Momma Miss America
10. Teddy Boy
11. Singalong Junk
12. Maybe I'm Amazed
13. Kreen-Akrore

Now we come to a song that is an absolute quandary to me.  The question I have is how the heck was it not included on any of the last three Beatles albums?

Junk was written in 1968 while The Beatles were on a break in Rishikesh, which initially was written using an alternate tuning on the guitar.  A demo of this was recorded at George Harrison's house, along with other songs that were put forward for what became the album The Beatles ("The White Album"), and is featured on the Beatles Anthology series of CD's.

Macca changed the music drastically for the version featured on the album which uses standard tuning, but with some very inventive chord changes.  So much so that a few choice words came from my mouth while I was trying to perfect the song.

I did "hmm" and "ah" over whether to cover this version or the original demo version, but ended up picking this version because, quite frankly, I wasn't about to let it get the better of me!  There are also some bloody great chords that I could pilfer.

So much thought went into this song, with the chords working around the melody so beautifully.  It works so well in fact that he repeats the song later on the album with an instrumental version entitled Singalong Junk, which was apparently take 1 of the song.  I still don't personally understand why that was on there, but in a way you get used to it.

The album version is played in the key of A major, although there are chords thrown in such as in the verses there are a C#7/E#, which features an E# note (a sharpened fifth in the scale of A major) and also a Em7/A, which features a G note (flattened seventh in the key of A major).  In the chorus you have the D7sus4 according to the book, but the Dsus4 works.  The 7 in the D is a C note, which is a flattened third in A major scale, and then the D minor chord features an F note, which is a flattened sixth in the A major scale.

In summary then you have the verse of F#m, C#7/E#, F#m/E, Dmaj7 (which is held onto), and then the Em7/A to the A chord.  To someone who doesn't play that sounds like gibberish, but to a guitarist it is a structure which, when perfected, makes you metaphorically pat yourself on the back.

The chorus then is D7sus4 to Dm to A, which is held until the run of E, F#m7, E7/G#, A, E7/B and A/C#.  The second part of the chorus is basically the same, except that it misses the E7/B and the A/C#.  Even Harrison must have been impressed when he heard the finished piece with regard to the chord work, because I am sure that they were all keeping an eye on each other's careers.

As you can see from the chorus chords, there is a fantastic use of the bass notes in them, where it is an ascending line for the run (E F# G# A B C#).  It is a beautiful touch where essentially the guitar is playing everything for the song - melody, harmony, bass line, everything.

Musically it is far more inventive than anything that Lennon would do for the rest of his career, and lyrically it is clever in the same way as Lennon's Mr Kite, but this is completely original whereas Lennon was reading from a poster he bought in a second hand store.  I'm not putting down Mr Kite there by the way, because I really love that song.

Lyrically he is being sentimental and dreamy about the subject at hand.  He's giving a list of items on the junk yard, and then explaining that there's a sign up advertising items for sale and at what price, as well as wondering "why why" some of the items are even there at all - why would someone get rid of them?

To be honest though, you don't really need the lyrics, because the music and melody itself are timelessly so beautiful.  I will say though that it is one of a few songs on here that are great songs, whereas some could have done with more work, or even left out altogether.  But, the fact that there are all sorts on the album does show a lot of facets of Paul McCartney.  This song itself is McCartney at his best.

The next song we will be looking at it the country tinged Man We Was Lonely.