DIY 33 1/3 Books

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33 Responses to “DIY 33 1/3 Books”

  1. Halloween Jack says:

    My list of the worst Beatles songs would include several from the White Album, but I really don’t think that “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” would make the list; it’s just a fun little pop tune that’s only bad if you think that the likes of “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” are the height of Art.

  2. mikelotus says:

    Don’t believe everything Lennon says. He changes stories and makes them up. Many Beatles songs just where word plays based on something they read. Doesn’t mean the song is really about that.

  3. sirkowski says:

    Ob-La-Di’s a great song. But isn’t it closer to ska?

  4. freshacconci says:

    Nobody said anything about “the height of Art” but “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey” is an amazing rock song. The main problem with “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” is that it’s a fun little song that seems to have grown in stature for some odd reason. As a bit of piffle on the White Album, it’s a cute diversion, and its twisting of gender adds a little bit of depth (not much, but enough). Unfortunately, McCartney, a perfectionist, would often try the patience of the others with songs that just weren’t worth it (see also “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”), and so the recording was prolonged and he created too much ill-will within the group (i.e. Ringo walking out). For some reason, the song’s more famous than many other album-only tracks (Revolver‘s “For No One” is McCartney at his best; how many people who know “”Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” know that one as well?). Because it’s so light and goofy, it’s been played a great deal and was also a hit for another British band soon after the White Album was released. So people tend to focus on the awfulness of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, which kind of elevates it in a twisted way. I can listen to it in the context of the whole album, but I can’t imagine ever putting just that song on to give it a listen. I can’t remember off-hand, was it part of the “Blue Album” The Beatles 1967-1970? If so, that didn’t help matters. It’s too famous for what it is.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a child in 1950′s America, there was a raunchy
    song ( for boys) called “Bungaloo Bill the Sailor”–which was probably a variant of a real sailor’s sea shanty.

    Surely, it was known by boys in Liverpool, England.
    So, the title of the Beatles song–at least–predates the claimed origin story

  6. Jack says:

    @#21 POSTED BY MIKELOTUS:
    True enough, but as someone who has dealt with media types asking questions about why something was done or for what reason I can honestly say even if you simply say: “Look, there’s no deep meaning…” people will explain it in some way.

    It’s the nature of arts. Artists create based on an urge. Fans like it but want an explanation. Entertainment pubs have filled this desire by creating a narrative often where no narrative exists.

    So don’t just blame John Lennon. Blame the desire of the masses for an explanation and the willingness to swallow any story fed to them.

  7. noen says:

    The text is never about what it’s about.

  8. BCJ says:

    Wow, synchronicity. I was on Wikipedia’s white album pages just last week when I was considering cashing in and writing Revolutions 2-8. It’s surprising how well documented some topics are on Wikipedia.

  9. TheChickenAndTheRice says:

    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
    Arguably one of the worst Beatles songs…

    Here, here! Of late, I’ve been struggling to see Paul as an equal songwriter to John or even George. Reviewing both his Beatles work and post-Beatles, he seems to have worked from a less inspired place overall.

  10. tigerstripe says:

    Oddly, all of the facts mentioned above are in the 33 1/3 book on Let It Be by Steve Matteo, as many of the songs from the White Album were started during the Twickenham sessions.

  11. Tom Hale says:

    I like Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. Its one of the 4 Beatles songs I have on my phone. I like the carefree happiness of the song. I’ve certainly never though of it as a reggae song though.

  12. Gareth Branwyn says:

    It’s really bizarre to listen to the song after you know it was intended as, or at least inspired by, reggae. Man, that is SO not understanding reggae! No dread beat, no skankin’, mon!

    BTW: I swore that when I did my little DIY 33 1/3 test, a month or so ago, that the Wikipedia entry claimed that the “Desmond” in Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da referred to reggae/ska legend Desmond Dekker. It’s not in the entry anymore (or maybe I saw it elsewhere) and I can’t find in the histoty, but it is in Dekker’s Wikipedia entry.

  13. markmarkmark says:

    wow. this – this is a good boingboing article.

    this whole guest bloggers thing is awesome.

  14. robulus says:

    …but is the rumor that it was Ringo who couldn’t understand nor establish a decent reggae beat

    I have no trouble accepting the veracity of this rumour. None at all.

  15. gruben says:

    Mike Love is such a jerk.

  16. mwschmeer says:

    What would be really fun would to be to write track-by-track entries for an album that didn’t exist, sorta like Lester Bangs used to do in his reviews of real bands.

  17. minTphresh says:

    wasn’t he charlie manson’s buddy?

  18. freshacconci says:

    It was Dennis Wilson who was Manson’s buddy, not Mike Love. Love is still a dick, but can’t be blamed for that.

  19. dekonstruktr says:

    wow weird, i just read the same wiki article about Ob-La-Di this morning for some unknown reason. I found it quite interesting. The Joyce Bond version on the first Tighten Up comp is pretty cool!!

  20. Clumpy says:

    You won’t find track-by-track Wikipedia summaries for more obscure releases, Gareth, but for anything Beatles (or Clash, Hendrix, etc.) a little track perusal can be quite entertaining. The White Album in particular was a testy recording session, leading to a good many anecdotes.

    But what’s up with the hate of “Ob-la-di?” It might be a little corny, but it’s not as bland as any of the mindless blues riffs the Beatles tried like “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” The White Album is great because of its flaws – its ragged schizophrenia and backstory gives it significance, but it’s not as consistent as Abbey Road nor does it have the cultural significance of a Sgt. Pepper’s.

  21. Charles Platt says:

    Maybe it’s time to mention the seemingly plausible suggestion (never admitted even in Lennon’s “frank” interviews) that “four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire” referred to the notoriously promiscuous female Beatles fans in that part of the world. “And though the holes were rather small, they had to count them all. Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.”

    Now, *there’s* a song that never quite sounds the same after reviewing it in that light.

  22. devophill says:

    Who even plays drums on Ob-la-di? Is it ringo? IIRC Paul played drums on a few songs on that album.

  23. markfrei says:

    #27 “an album that didn’t exist”

    AllMusic guide (allmusic.com) used to have a lot of those kinds of reviews, some quiet funny.

  24. devophill says:

    Who even plays drums on Ob-la-di? Is it Ringo? IIRC Paul played drums on a few songs on that album.

    Whoops. Shoulda read the wiki…

  25. freshacconci says:

    McCartney plays drums on “Back in the USSR”; Ringo had left the band at that point. Paul also plays drums on “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”, but he’s the only Beatle on that song anyway.

  26. freshacconci says:

    I think the drumming on “Ob-la-di” is one of the few times Ringo was out of his element. If you read the Ringo Starr article on Wiki (plus the excellent track-by-track analysis “Revolution in the Head” by Ian MacDonald, itself the authoritive source for most of those Wiki articles on individual Beatle songs), Starr is both a popularly underrated drummer and pretty much universally acclaimed as a drummer professionally. His influence on countless drummers is critical. He isn’t a flashy drummer but he’s gifted and was the perfect drummer for the Beatles (as it’s been commented mainy times before, just imagine how wrong-sounding it would have been had Keith Moon been the Beatles’ drummer). Just listen to “Rain” and tell me he wasn’t a great drummer.

  27. freshacconci says:

    And please, McCartney wasn’t Lennnon’s equal? Listen to Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s and Abbey Road, plus “Penny Lane”. McCartney is peerless (well, his only peer as a songwriter is Lennon of course). Lennon and McCartney worked off each other when they stopped writing together: they were in a healthy competition and each relied on the other equally. Yes, McCartney’s solo output is underwhelming, but you know what? So is Lennon’s. After Plastic Ono Band it goes downhill fast. The Beatles all needed each other. After it was over, aside from a few early triumphs (All Things Must Past, Ringo, some individual tracks from McCartney’s first few albums, pre-Wings, Plastic Ono Band), they just weren’t as good as they were as a whole.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is one of my favorite Beatles songs.

  29. Gareth Branwyn says:

    I don’t hate “Ob-La-Di” I don’t hate any Beatles tune. It’s just among my least favorite, and given what they apparently were going for, it was something of a “failure.”

  30. tikal2k says:

    Now I wish I hadn’t read that Wikipedia summary for the White Album, I really didn’t want to find out what the original lyrics to Sexy Sadie were.

    In addition, it sounds like the Magic Alex guy who was helping the rumors along didn’t seem very noble himself, what with his later attempt to get with a traumatized Cynthia after getting her all liquored up.

  31. Cupcake Faerie says:

    @ #16,17 Freshacconci
    You said it bro!Total agreement on both counts.
    Personally I don’t have much love for Ob-La-Di.The Beatles are great when they’re not trying too hard. I love the White Album – it’s their best IMHO – but I usually skip over Ob-La-Di. It’s the kind of sing they would cover on Lawrence Welk.

  32. Manooshi says:

    @ROBULUS: Too funny.

    I grew up listening to my older bro’s White Album on vinyl. The free poster and all. I dig it.

    But being a child of the ’80s, I always preferred Siouxsie and the Banshees version of ‘Dear Prudence’.

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