White Album track, November 1968
PAUL WELLER: It has such great chords, fantastic melodies and beautiful lyrics. It’s showing the other aspects of John. He’s got that gruff, acerbic side, the popular view of him, but there’s that really touching, loving side to him. Obviously it was more significant that it was about his mother, and Yoko, but no matter who he was singing about, it would still be beautiful. I really relate to the line where he says, “Half of what I say is meaningless”. As writers, we all chuck out lots of rubbish…
EILEEN ROSE: It’s warm, delicate, innocent, almost a nursery rhyme- John Lennon at his most vulnerable. That’s a great opening lyric- “Half of what I say is meaningless, so I sing this just to reach you, Julia.” It conveys the frustration, the inadequacy of words to describe emotions, maybe even the embarrassment of having sensitive emotions. It’s almost like he’s singing to himself. It’s brave to be doing that in time. There’s nothing more compelling than when somebody’s really going out on a limb.
WILLIE CAMPBELL: There’s so much feeling, a really honest emotion. There’s probably a crossover between his mother and Yoko, cos that was the new love in his life.
GUY GARVEY: For all the books written and bar room conversations that I’ve had about John Lennon’s lyrics, especially his less straightforward, trippy stuff. I believe that this is him letting us know the truth. I’ve written one of the lines from it on my bedroom wall to remind me not to squeeze too hard when trying to write my own words: “When I cannot sing my heart, I can only speak my mind.”
24 NOWHERE MAN
Rubber Soul album track, December 1965
NODDY HOLDER: You could already see them growing out of that Fab Four, moptops image. They were experimenting with different sounds. “Nowhere Man” was a great example. They’d be doing all that raucousy stuff and then, for the first time, you saw this softer side.
EUROS CHILD: Rubber Soul is my favourite Beatles album- that and Revolver- and this is my favourite track. There’s just something about the freshness. I don’t think I quite grasped what it was about at first. I saw it more as a story about someone who was lost.
BRETT SPARKS: Coolest minimal guitar solo ever. And that minor seventh chord!
23 COME TOGETHER
Abbey Road album track, September 1969
STEVEN TYLER: We did it in that kinda Beatles movie Sgt Pepper, and it was the best part of the film, I think. That movie got shelved so fast! But we got a chance to work with their producer, Brian Epstein- I mean, shit, George Martin… What an atrocity that movie was! But, y’know we’d never done anything like that back then. We were all heavily under the influence of the sauce. By the end of the day, we were all 10 sheets to the wind. But the memory will live forever cos of the way the song sounds, y’know? Aw yeah, great guitar riff. It’s all about songs, man.
PAUL WELLER: I love John’s voice- his funky way of singing. I just like the performance on that. I like the lyrics as well- it’s not like they’re kind of definite, but it’s that feeling he creates with them.
HOLLY JOHNSON: “Come Together” has a very groovy bassline and a groovier chorus…this is The Beatles song that Frankie Goes To Hollywood nearly covered.
HOWE GLEB: Such a complete rip-off of a Chuck Berry song, but with extraordinary rejuvenation. Like Bowie said, “It’s who does it second, not first, that usually matters.” Groan! Abbey Road was also the record playing at the time when we first dared to play Spin the Bottle with the girls. Severely embedded sonic landscape, you see.
LES McKEOWN: The meaning of this song has changed over the years for me. At first it appeared mischievous. Then, as I got older, the message shifted to reveal something more profound in the composer’s psyche, and it shines a light in our belief systems surrounding people and peace.
RAT SCABIES: Urgh- dope’n’sex, but from them…surely not. The suits were safely back in a Liverpool wardrobe, while Ringo laid down one of the most memorable drum parts ever. It was time to admit that some of their stuff was ok.