Sunday, 16 October 2011

Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970) Part Eight

Album 1 - Paul McCartney - McCartney (1970)

UK Amazon -
US Amazon -

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

 The next song on Macca's debut is yet another song written during The Beatles' retreat to Rishikesh in the Summer of 1968, as was previously mentioned when I was talking about the song Junk.  Teddy Boy itself though was attempted on a few occasions during Beatles sessions, rather than Junk which I think was just recorded as a demo back in 1968.  I'm sure some of my more knowledgeable friends will let me know if it is otherwise.

In some ways Teddy Boy and Junk are sort of similar in that they both go all over the place musically and, once again, he uses the major to minor chord change all three main songwriters in The Beatles used.  In fact he used it earlier on the album to great effect with Man We Was Lonely, where the chorus ends on A major, and then the verse starts with an A minor variant (Am7).  They were all playing around with the major to minor change, and they continued to throughout their subsequent solo careers.

 It's a strange thing to admit, but when I was a kid first hearing this song, I sort of tired of it, much as I did the whole album really.   I say that because now listening with older ears I don't mind this song at all.  Paul's story songs can grate at times where he has all of these characters, which I have read used to irritate Lennon like crazy.  It does however show that McCartney had (and still has) a very creative imagination and was willing to write about all kinds of subject.

Lyrically the song sort of naively is about a young man who is really close to his mother, who is a single parent until she meets a new man, which scares the young son (Teddy).  When the relationship starts between his mother and the new man of her affections, Teddy runs away, which makes me wonder how old he is because he could be under age, but I'll leave that be.  What we do have admittedly is a sweet story with a very nice and understated melody.

The music itself sort of moves around D major, F# major and A major, using some very clever chord changes to keep the movement between keys flowing.  After all, he is moving up two whole tones technically.  The verse has an almost Latino feel to it, especially with the A major to D major play leading up to the verse vocal.

INTRO - D    A|D    A|D    A|D    A||
VERSE - D     |A     |Am   |Em    |G    A|D    |D    |A    |Am   |Em   |G   A|B7  C#7|F#

 This is clearly a song where some time was spent on it, because the choice of chords is just too much to have been arrived at by chance. In saying though it does use chords that McCartney will have been used to by this time, as well as a structure that was by now regular fare for a Beatle.  He is using a pattern where the chords are ascending in fifths, where the fifth of each chord becomes the dominant of the following - D leading to it's fifth A, which leads to E.  He's also using going from the natural fifth (A) to the minor fifth (Am), which is 'Ticket 44' on my friend Matt Blick's list.  The pattern ends there for the rest of the verse, but it's still there as a start.  The B7, C#7 and F# leading nicely to what is called the pre-chorus in the book -

PRE-CHORUS - F#    |F#    |C#    |C#M   |B6  B7|C#7

This has pretty much the same feel as the verse, but with a very different chord structure.  Again he uses the major to minor change (C# to C#m - link mentioned earlier for my friend Matt's blog), with the section sticking mainly to F# major territory, with occasional flattened notes.

CHORUS - F#7   |B7    |E    |A    |F#7   |B    |E    |A    |D   A|D   A|

The chorus is then in A major, and here he starts using a pattern where each chord's dominant becomes the fifth note in the following chord, pretty much descending in fifths as opposed to the verse's ascending in fifths.  F# is the fifth of B, which is the fifth of E, which in turn is the fifth of A, then repeat, and finish with the intro run.  For something similar, my friend Matt Blick suggested looking at The Beatles' song Little Child, and I suggest checking out Matt's 'Ticket 43' (it's called Table of fourths on there) on this link for more details.

All of this I think proves that time was spent on this song,  and it works well without the chord interplay seeming overly convoluted like Maxwell's Silver Hammer (link 1 / link 2).

Basically this is all repeated again for dual verse music, pre-chorus, but then two choruses, and finally a repeat of the first verse, then finishing the song on the F# (the aeolian cadence mentioned in Matt's 'Ticket 10') after the G A B7 C#7 run.

Wow, what a journey that took.  Arrangement wise the shape of the song is pretty simple with, like I said, intro, dual verse, pre-chorus, chorus, then repeat all of that, and finally an outro.  Instrumentally it is much more interesting that it seems at first.  Double tracked acoustic guitar, single lead vocal (doubled in places), drums, bass, harmonies (Paul & Linda), and I think knee slaps later in the song.

A nice song all in all, which is followed by the instrumental Singalong Junk that I sort of mentioned in a previous post - an instrumental version of Junk.

Next we will look at the wonderful and, in my opinion, wasted song Maybe I'm Amazed.

Links -
1. My version of Teddy Boy
2. My version of Singalong Junk
3. Paul performing Singalong Junk on MTV Unplugged
4. Paul McCartney Chord songbook at Amazon UK
5. A fascinating page about the Get Back/Let It Be sessions since Teddy Boy was originally sequenced on the aborted Glyn Johns mixed Get Back album - click here.