the beatles song plays in the background

Never Say Never (Part 8)

Pairing: Arthur (Mr.) Ketch x Reader
Word Count: 1,365
Warnings: Smut.  Fingering. Oral sex (male & female). Unprotected sex.
Sequel: Part 8/? of  Never Say Never

A huge thanks to @lucis-unicorn for being my beta and my idea bouncer and at times a co-author.  

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In the very end of “The Dark Side of the Moon”, just as the final words, “There is no dark side of the moon really, matter of fact it’s all dark” are over, if you listen very closely (preferably with headphones), you can hear an instrumental version of “Ticket to Ride” by the Beatles playing faintly in the background. The song was probably being played in the main offices of Abbey Road during the recording of the interview with Gerry O’Driscoll, who provided the album with its closing line. 

youtube

George Harrison’s demo for Ringo’s 1971 hit “It Don’t Come Easy”

Ringo co-wrote the song with George, who also produced this, added background vocals, and played bass and the wonderful guitar that’s so integral to the song’s success.

It’s quite ragged, but this version is AWESOME. There are no horns, and with fewer layers of overdubs, you can really hear backup vocals. George’s guitar is also truly sweet in this version – easily the equal of anything he played on All Things Must Pass. There’s even a bonus “Hare Krishna” chant in the middle!

Play this NOW, thank me later.

Part 9 - “One, Two, Three...”

Part of opposing contemporary pop music’s artificiality is the way that “rock” and other musics present themselves as live and “raw.” Because of modern recording technology, pop music usually erases mistakes. Vocals can be tuned digitally, wrong notes can be re-recorded, and parts played out of rhythm can be adjusted. Many rock and folk artists, however, leave these “mistakes” in their recordings to create an atmosphere of authenticity or to subtly remind audiences that “real humans” are playing the instruments. One Direction has included moments like this in their music as well, seemingly as another way to combat the perception of boy bands as inauthentic.

The simplest way for bands to create the illusion of a live performance is with a count-off. Typically in a live setting, bands will use a count-off (either vocal or with drum sticks) so that everyone starts together at the same tempo. But in a studio with multi-tracking, click tracks, and editing, count-offs are unnecessary. Famously, The Beatles’ first album Please Please Me begins with a count-off for “I Saw Her Standing There.” Ian MacDonald explains,

Hoping to capture some of the excitement of [a live performance], [producer] George Martin considered recording Please Please Me in front of the group’s home audience, and it was probably this unfulfilled plan which prompted him to retain McCartney’s introductory count-off, so evocative of The Beatles’ gigs at The Cavern and The Casbah.

MacDonald also explains that the count-off is actually from a different take than the rest of the recording, and Paul McCartney remembers keeping that take because it sounded “especially spirited.”

Though these kinds of count-offs were normally edited out even in the 1960s, The Beatles were recording “live,” without many overdubs or splices. For One Direction, however, this is not the case. Count-offs occur in “Midnight Memories” (vocals and drum sticks count-off “One, Two, Three,” while muted guitar strings strum on all four beats before the song begins), “She’s Not Afraid” (as the guitar begins to play the main riff, party sounds of people talking fill up the background; Louis then screams “One, Two, Three, Four” before Harry’s vocals begin the first verse), and “Act My Age” (acoustic guitars strum muted strings in rhythm as the vocal calls out “One, Two, Three, Four”). In “Happily,” the count-off comes before the chorus.[1] On Made In The A.M., “If I Could Fly,” a simple piano ballad, starts with the piano’s damper pedal audibly being pressed down, emphasizing the fact that the song was recorded on an acoustic, rather than digital, piano. On Beatles-esque “Olivia,” studio chatter is included at the beginning of the track, and you can hear a producer explaining the form of the song to a musician. Most of the words are hard to distinguish, but you can clearly hear, “then you rest for four bars.” At the end of the track, you can hear people in the studio clapping and talking to each other. The inclusion of these count-offs or “unnecessary” studio sounds remind us of the “authentic” process of music making.

One Direction has also included what we might call “mistakes” in some of their recordings as another marker of authenticity. “Through The Dark” begins with an acoustic guitar note unrelated to the ensuing music. In the background, a light hit of a tambourine is heard and then the song-proper begins. The moment only lasts one second, but its inclusion offers an insight into the studio. It sounds like an outtake, or as if the engineer began recording while the guitarist was warming up. Before we can get a full sense of what is going on, though, the song begins. It’s clear that the moment does not add anything significant musically to “Through The Dark.” Rather, it functions as a signifier of authenticity in the same way that the count-offs evoked live performance

“Fireproof” is led by a single electric guitar, which leaves the arrangement sounding empty and unbalanced, almost like a demo version. A second guitar is added only for a solo in the second half of the second verse. While this shouldn’t be characterized as a “mistake” in the same way as the false start of “Through The Dark,” it is an unusual sonic choice for a pop song. The introduction features only this guitar, and without the drums and bass joining in, one can hear amplifier buzz underneath the playing. More explicitly, the song ends with the guitar alone again. After the final part is played, the guitarist drops their fingers off the string, creating an audible slide noise and the sound of open strings ringing out with the delayed effect placed on the guitar. Again, this is something that could have—and by pop standards should have—been removed from the final recording, but its inclusion is a reminder that the guitar was played by a human. The mistakes adds authenticity.

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[1] Ironically, most live performances of “Happily” uploaded by fans to YouTube reveal that the band does not include the count-off.

“But I’m In A Cool Boy Band”: Anxiety and Masculinity in the Music of One Direction

by Scott Interrante

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Musicology.

Introduction

Part 2 - The Right Stuff

Part 3 - A “Cool” Boy Band

Part 4 - Masculine Anxiety

Part 5 - Story Of My Life

Part 6 - I Can’t Compete With Your Boyfriend/He’s Got 27 Tattoos!

Part 7 - Rock Me

Part 8 - Guitars, Gender, Authenticity

6

George and Olivia Harrison, screen capped from Dark Horse Tour footage included in Living in the Material World, and from The Beatles’ Real Love music video.

“Besides the company, conversation and wisdom of my beloved friend, I already long for the live background music to our lives. If I began singing a song - any song - he would accompany and encourage me. If I played three chords on the uke (compulsory instrument in our home), he would be my band. George was so generous and ‘grateful to anyone that is happy or free.’ A good moment to him was always worth making better.

I love you, George. The joys, sorrows, lessons and love we shared are more than enough to fill my heart until we meet again.” - Olivia Harrison, “A Few Words About George,” Harrison, 2002 [x]

Bee Fact #397

The song ‘let it be’ by the Beatles was a love song to a bee which they wrote while under the influence of narcotics. If you play the song backwards on a record player, you can hear John Lennon in the background very faintly humming.