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The official weekly rmb FAQ

Subject: The official weekly rmb FAQ
From: (saki)
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 05:19:14 GMT

Archive-name: Beatles Weekly FAQ
Last-modified: 22 June 1997

The Top Twenty Most Frequently Asked Questions in

1. What does John mean when he sings "such a stupid get" in "I'm So

It's a reference to Sir Walter Raleigh, who popularized tobacco in
England, and who is indirectly responsible for the protagonist's
addictive ire. "Get" is a Northern British variant of "git", meaning
"bastard" or "idiot" (from "beget", to engender). 

2. Are "Let It Be" or "Yellow Submarine" available on video? 

Not at the moment. Both films are currently out of print. Apple has 
anounced no release schedule for the films.

Despite being out of print, both videos may be found occasionally for
rent or even purchase in "speciality" stores.

3. Who says "I've got blisters on my fingers!" at the end of "Helter

Ringo. See Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions" for details.

4. Can anyone tell me where to buy bootlegs?

Not in public! Selling bootlegs is illegal, although private purchase
is not. Nevertheless, do not reveal the names of sources in public
on the net. Ask any apparently-knowledgeable soul by email. 

5. Who owns publishing rights to the Beatles' songs?

The Beatles and EMI control their *recordings* (CDs, LPs, singles).

EMI leases the *publishing* rights (words & music) from owner Michael
Jackson, until 1999. Jackson just agreed to merge his holdings with
Sony after that date.

Several songs (not originally a part of Northern Songs, such as "Love
Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", plus many George Harrison songs) remain
the property of their authors, and Polygram (due to a deal with the
erstwhile Dick James Music) owns "Please Please Me".

6. What does "jai guru deva om" mean in "Across the Universe"?

It's Sanskrit for "Glory to the spiritual master"; it was a mantra
of John's that he included as part of the lyric. "Om" is a meditative
syllable finishing the phrase. May also be a reference to the
Maharishi's guru, Guru Dev.

7. What words are spoken at the end of "I Am The Walrus"?

It's an excerpt from a BBC radio broadcast of Shakespeare's "King 
Lear", Act IV Scene VI. See Lewisohn's "Recording Sessions", p. 128-129,
for details. The words are spoken by characters in the play via a
live radio feed, spontaneously incorporated into the song by John

8. Do the Beatles sing "Smoke pot, smoke pot, everybody smoke pot" at
the end of "I Am The Walrus"?

Nope. The lines are "Everybody's got one" and "Ooompah, oompah, stick 
it up your jumper". These nonsense phrases were sung by the Mike Sammes 
singers, hired to do backup for the song. See Lewisohn's "Recording 
Sessions" (p. 127) for details. 

9. Could someone post the Beatles' email addresses?

The Beatles do not have Internet accounts (so far as we know) nor
email addresses. Any reference to apparently legitimate routes (such
as or are entirely bogus.

McCartney spokesman Geoff Baker has remarked that the only computer
any of the Beatles has is a set up at McCartney's Sussex home, running
musical notation software. Baker says that neither he nor any of the 
Beatles could handle the potential email overload resulting from
their cyber-presence. However, faxes of r.m.b. have been reported to
be sent to Macca's MPL office, for his perusal, and Yoko is said to
have someone who regularly reviews rmb postings.

Macca's company, however, has a Web site in New York (https://www. and an associated email address for the New York
office. This site deals only with McCartney's music publishing
concern; he deos not read email there and that office will not forward
email to him. So they say....

10. Did the Beatles make up all the Paul Is Dead clues?

No evidence ties the Beatles to a deliberate hoax; fans of the clues
continue to believe otherwise however. See Andru Reeve's "Turn Me On,
Dead Man" (Popular Culture Ink, 1994; available from Beatlefest) for
details. Two college students (Tim Harper and Fred LaBour) confessed
to making up a number of the "clues" in 1969.

11. Does "Norwegian Wood" have a hidden meaning?

John claimed it was about an affair he was having but wanted to keep
secret; Paul added the final image, which he said is a reference
to burning down the woman's flat (apartment). 

There's no evidence that the song is about a marijuana cigarette or
was ever titled "Knowing She Would". The working title was actually
"This Bird Has Flown".

12. Is it true Ringo didn't perform the drum solo on Abbey Road/was
overdubbed on Beatles records?

Ringo did perform the drum solo, at the urging of his compatriots.
There's also no evidence that Ringo was regularly overdubbed by
anybody, including Bernard Purdie, a session drummer who claimed he'd
done session work on Beatles tracks.

13. Does "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" refer to LSD?

The song's title derives from a painting done by John's son Julian.
John claimed the lyrics referred to Lewis Carroll's "Alice" books. 
The imagery may be drug- or surrealism-influenced but an exact
reference to LSD in this song is lacking, despite the song's initial
letters...which are more accurately transcribed as "LITSWD".

14. Can you hear "I buried Paul" at the end of "Strawberry Fields

It's actually "cranberry sauce". Listen to the track on A2; John also
confirmed in interviews that he said "cranberry sauce" apropos of

15. I heard that Paul was right handed except when playing bass!

Paul is left handed for everything. Ringo is also left handed.
John and George are right handed.

16. Is Linda Eastman McCartney related to Eastman-Kodak?

No, she's not. Her original family name was Epstein (unrelated to
Brian) and her family was in entertainment law.

17. What was the first chord played in the song "A Hard Day's Night"?

According to New York Times music critic Allan Kozinn, the first
chord can be described as "different voicings of a G suspended 
fourth chord---G major with an added C---while McCartney played 
a D on his bass" (from "The Beatles", Phaidon Press, 1995, p. 96). (Tom Hartman) responds:

There *is* an F in the chord, so it could actually be called
either an F add 9/D Bass, or, a G7sus (the F makes it a 7). 

The point for most people who ask this question is this: they want to
know what to play to reproduce the predominant sound of the opening
chord. The problem: if they are looking for one chord they can play
that sounds *just like* the opening, they won't find that, since the
opening of the record is a combination of instruments (guitar and
piano), and chord voicings.

A "What was that chord?" FAQ is in progress. :-)

18. What's the deal with the "Saturday Night Live" reunion offer?

During the first season of "Saturday Night Live," (April, 1976)
producer Lorne Michaels parodied the multimillion dollar offers for a
Beatles reunion by publicly offering the "generous" sum of $3200 live
on the air. Little did Michaels know that the offer nearly succeeded,
with John and Paul going so far as to call a taxi to take them to the
studios from the nearby Dakota (where the duo were watching the show 
together). As John relates in his "Playboy" interview, "We nearly got
into a cab, but we were actually too tired."  

19. What happened to Paul's tooth in the "Paperback Writer"/"Rain"

In the film made to promote these two songs, Paul appears to have a
chipped tooth...and it's true. He suffered the injury in December
1965, riding his moped near his father's house outside Liverpool. The
tooth was still not capped permanently when the film promos were made;
and outtakes of the "butcher cover" photograph show Paul's jagged
tooth as well.

20. What's a good book to read about Beatles history/recordings/etc.?

The short version: Any of Mark Lewisohn's books are good ("The Beatles
Recording Sessions", "The Complete Beatles Chronicle"); Allan Kozinn's
"The Beatles" is an excellent musical/historical primer; William
Dowlding's "Beatlesongs" has recording dates, details, and quotes
from the Fabs and others about their works.

AVOID at all costs books by: Albert Goldman, Fred Seaman, Geoff
Guiliano, Peter Brown-Steven Gaines, all of which are flawed due
to poor research, outright lies, and/or misplaced agendas.

For a long list (ALLBOOKS) or a short list (QUICKBOOKS), request
either FAQ from

Is your question not answered here?

Maybe it's one of the FAQTCBA...Frequently Asked Questions That Can't
Be Answered. :-) These include:

- Who's more talented, Paul or John?
- Is Ringo really a good drummer?
- Can George play the guitar at all?
- Are the Beatles better than (fill in 90s band of choice here)?
- Who is the fifth Beatle?
- Are bootlegs moral or immoral?

These sorts of questions tend to spark topics that have a periodic
recurrence in r.m.b. If you start one up, please be aware that a) you
may never get a definitive answer, and b) you may get mail from folks
telling you "We just discussed this last month!" Be forewarned.

Happy Beatling!

"I can see her now with her headphones on, jumping up 
and down to her favorite song."
saki  (

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