40 AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING
Revolver album track, August 1966
GENE SIMMONS: When I started putting together my own bands, I can’t tell you how long it took to figure out these melodies with the harmonies and everything. The instrumentation just lifts it leagues beyond anything. Here’s a song where style is every bit as important and perhaps even more so than the content, where all of a sudden the package it comes in is so glorious that it actually enhances what’s inside the package.
JOEY BURNS: This has great playing and fantastic George Martin orchestration. I love the way the guitars weave around each other. It’s soulful, but technically it’s very clever, too.
SEAN ROWLEY: There happened to be an occasion, quite recently, when I was sitting indoors listening to the album. All of a sudden, the lyrics took on this meaning to me that I became obsessed by. I think it’s a dig at Mick Jagger, with “and your bird can sing” as a reference to Marianne Faithfull. For one very brief, very stoned moment, I was convinced I’d cracked the meaning.
39 BLUE JAY WAY
Magical Mystery Tour EP-set track, December 1967
GLENN TILBROOK: What rotten luck it must have been to be George Harrison in The Beatles, from one point of view. With a songwriting partnership like Lennon and McCartney working alongside you, your stuff is bound to get overlooked. I think it was very melodically inventive and lyrically quite experimental, and, perhaps, hasn’t got the full credit sometimes that it deserves. Musically, it’s a very strong statement. The backing vocals are completely unlike anything that had been done up to that point. What an immense leap they made.
STEVEN SEVERIN: It was the stand-out track of Magical Mystery Tour. The production is amazing, with the cellos and backwards voices, some nice organ and lot’s of phrasing. It’s one of the first tracks that made me want to work in studios and be a musician. It’s got very sinister lyrics, which is odd for them at the time.
EDWYN COLLINS: I just got a book which says this track is evocative of the fog over LA. I think it’s indicative of a substance called LSD.
38 LET IT BE
Single, March 1970
JIM REID: It’s almost like, schmaltzy, but it doesn’t matter, it’s just such a good pop song. I think that Paul kind of gets a raw deal. John got shot and everybody thinks John’s the genius. John was a genius but so was Paul. Just ‘cos Paul lived on to be old and embarrassing, don’t forget what he did in The Beatles.