Beatles Complete on Ukulele

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46 Responses to “Beatles Complete on Ukulele”

  1. purefog says:

    You know, I coulda SWORE that line was actually “I’d rather see you dead little girl/Than see you with another man. . .”

    But what do I know. I’m old and deaf.

  2. robulus says:

    Mr Frauenfelder, you need to lighten up and stop being so goddam prim.

    Just a point here, Mark is quoting the link in the top of his post, those aren’t his words.

    If you actually follow the link, you’ll discover the “essay” accompanying this piece is a rather lavishly vitriolic little number arguing that Lennon was a wife-bashing homophobic anti-semitic who made fun of retarded kids.

    And we’re only three songs in. By the time these guys are finished with the whole Beatles catalogue I expect they’ll just be jumping up and down on Lennons grave shouting abuse at him.

    Enjoy!

  3. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Under my thumb
    The girl who once had me down
    Under my thumb
    The girl who once pushed me around

    Its down to me
    The difference in the clothes she wears
    Down to me, the change has come,
    Shes under my thumb

    Aint it the truth babe?

    Under my thumb
    The squirmin dog whos just had her day
    Under my thumb
    A girl who has just changed her ways

    Its down to me, yes it is
    The way she does just what shes told
    Down to me, the change has come
    Shes under my thumb
    Ah, ah, say its alright

    Under my thumb
    A siamese cat of a girl
    Under my thumb
    Shes the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world

    Its down to me
    The way she talks when shes spoken to
    Down to me, the change has come,
    Shes under my thumb
    Ah, take it easy babe
    Yeah

    Its down to me, oh yeah
    The way she talks when shes spoken to
    Down to me, the change has come,
    Shes under my thumb
    Yeah, it feels alright

    Under my thumb
    Her eyes are just kept to herself
    Under my thumb, well i
    I can still look at someone else

    Its down to me, oh thats what I said
    The way she talks when shes spoken to
    Down to me, the change has come,
    Shes under my thumb
    Say, its alright.

    Say its all…
    Say its all…

    Take it easy babe
    Take it easy babe
    Feels alright
    Take it, take it easy babe

  4. Ultan says:

    About three years ago BoingBoing linked to the Best of Bootie 2005 top mashup list. #11 on that list was a mashup of The Beatles’ “Girl” & “Run for your Life” and the Black Eyed Peas’ “Let’s get retarded” (plus some Ludacris and Kelis) called “Black Beatles”. It rocks.

  5. David Newland says:

    And then there’s the mind-blowing Beatles uke how-to site, complete with both midis and flash instructionals: http://www.beatlesite.info/

  6. Chinese Jet Pilot says:

    Consider the unfortunate first line. “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.” Happily, the culture has come a long way baby since 1965.

    Mark, if you listened to popular music today, you’d hear much worse!

    The line is just as relevant today as it was in 1965.

  7. Boeotian says:

    It’s just a song, and the line is not that outrageous, when you think of it as a line in a song, even from Beatles. They wrote some pretty bleak stuff. Blue Jay Way, for instance, and it is one of my fav

  8. Moriarty says:

    First and foremost, it’s a song about the selfishness of infatuation. I don’t think it’s misogynistic, which is why it still worked just fine when Nancy Sinatra covered it and switched the genders in the lyrics.

    But even if it is, that doesn’t make it a bad song. Call Lennon an evil bastard if you want, but don’t call him untalented.

    Plus, as others have said, it’s an homage/parody to Elvis.

  9. Toma says:

    Maybe this is the optimist in me, but I was always under the impression that Lennon was kind of playing the role of a character in this song and thus it was satirical. He doesn’t really feel like killing any girl who leaves him; he’s just satirizing those with those kind of feelings. It’s sort of like the songs by the Dead Kennedys. Just because Jello Biafara sang a song from the point of view of an abusive cop doesn’t mean he actually sympathized with them.

  10. gpeare says:

    Don’t miss Peter (son of Warren) Buffet’s version of “You Don’t Give Me Your Money”. Irony Lives!

  11. mcgringostarr says:

    “According to several people close to Lennon, he beat his first wife, Cynthia.”

    according to one of Gleason’s ex-wives, the reason he came home late one night was because Nixon drove him to the air force base to see dead aliens.
    Your move…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Besides what’s already been said in defense of Run For Your Life (which, to me, is a pretty good song and obviously not meant seriously): worst Lennon Beatles song? Come on… it’s better than Sexy Sadie, and Glass Onion, surely. Not to mention Revolution 9.

  13. Seedouble says:

    Do not miss this, it’s beautiful.
    Ukulele Weeps by Jake Shimabukuro

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puSkP3uym5k

  14. kenahoo says:

    That song was always one of my favorite Lennon songs. Saying that a song is bad because its subject matter is dark is just bizarre.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      Saying that a song is bad because its subject matter is dark is just bizarre.

      Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
      Ãœber alles in der Welt,
      Wenn es stets zu Schutz und Trutze
      Brüderlich zusammenhält.
      Von der Maas bis an die Memel,
      Von der Etsch bis an den Belt.
      Deutschland, Deutschland über alles,
      Ãœber alles in der Welt.

      Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen!
      SA marschiert mit ruhig festem Schritt.
      Kameraden, die Rotfront und Reaktion erschossen,
      Marschieren im Geist in unseren Reihen mit.

  15. mcgringostarr says:

    *cripes, coffee* “jackie gleason” that is.

  16. Takuan says:

    Germany, Germany above everything,
    Above everything in the world,
    When, for protection and defence, it always
    takes a brotherly stand together.
    From the Meuse to the Neman,
    From the Adige to the Belt,
    |: Germany, Germany above everything,
    Above everything in the world. :|
    Second stanza
    German women, German loyalty,
    German wine and German songs
    Shall retain in the world
    Their old beautiful Chime
    And inspire us to noble deeds
    During all of our life.
    |: German women, German loyalty,
    German wine and German song! :|
    Third stanza
    (Germany’s National Anthem)

    Unity and justice and freedom
    For the German fatherland!
    For these let us all strive
    Brotherly with heart and hand!
    Unity and justice and freedom
    Are the pledge of fortune;
    |: Flourish in this fortune’s blessing,
    Flourish, German fatherland. :|

  17. Phikus says:

    Roger@44/45: I love Don’t Bother Me simply because it runs counter to the grain of most Beatle love songs. It was George’s first tune he penned. I’ll take it any day over She Loves You or I Want To Hold Your Hand. Give ‘em a break for exploring all sides of relationship issues. They would be boring and flat if they had only written the same kind of tune, and would not have been as timeless as they are.

    Any reason you had to double up your comment under different logins?

  18. Phikus says:

    Anon@12: “Sexy Sadie, and Glass Onion, surely. Not to mention Revolution 9.”

    Those are great songs! Sexie Sadie was John’s scathing satire of the Maharishi. Glass Onion is a self-reflexive masterpiece, spoofing the “Paul is dead” made up mystique and exploring their own mythology, tongue firmly planted in cheek. Rev 9 may be a little too experimental for you, but for those of us who love John Cage, Edgar Varese etc. it is a real treat. The White album would not hold nearly as much magic w/o these gems.

    My nom for all time worst Beatles’ song remains “Good Night”, thank you very much, from the same album. Who among you thinks we would have suffered w/o its Disney-esque sickly sweetness and Ringo’s nasal vocal treatment?

  19. Anonymous says:

    That unfortunate line was Lennon’s homage to Elvis and his record “Baby Let’s Play House” from the 1950s:

    “Now listen to me, baby
    Try to understand.
    I’d rather see you dead, little girl,
    Than to be with another man.
    Now baby,
    Come back, baby, come.
    Come back, baby, come.
    Come back, baby, I wanna play house with you.”

    Interestingly, although Elvis never objected to singing that line, there was another part of the song he seemed offended by:
    “You may go to College, You may go to School, You may get religion, but don’t you be nobody’s fool.”

    Elvis was religious, so he changed it to “You may drive a pink cadillac, but don’t you be nobody’s fool”

    Lennon took one line from an Elvis song, and created an entire song from it. Very creative guy. It’s a great song, with a rather horrible sentiment.

  20. Phikus says:

    Why do all Beatles posts here bring out all the Lennon-bashers from the woodwork? Any old excuse will do, hunh?

  21. robulus says:

    Sounds a lot more sinister in the original German.

  22. cycle23 says:

    To contextualize that song,
    To place a house of play upon the lift did John to Elvis:
    Syncopate my sequitur, non-song, cool line, same time.
    John the writer, whose pen was a song, centralized his line.
    I am disturbed.
    Beatles’ vast list of music is not entirely composed of popular up-beat tunes.

  23. LouisianaDan says:

    Lennon once stated in an interview that he considered the song a throw-away…wish I had written a few throw-aways like that…on the other hand consider his lines on the song “Getting Better”:
    “I use to be cruel to my woman I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved, Man I was mean but I’m changing my scene…” The 4 guys grew up in a culture that was not necessarily “enlightened”. Lennon did show signs of actually trying to change his preset.

  24. FoetusNail says:

    This line is nothing compared to the original “Butcher” cover for Yesterday and Today. See John Brownlee’s Wired Blog post from 2007.

    The original copies were brought back and had the new art pasted over the old art. In fact so many pasted covers have been peeled off, usually with poor results, that an unpeeled pasted cover is quite valuable, in keeping with Cory’s Trough of No Value post.

  25. justanotherusername says:

    “And we’re only three songs in. By the time these guys are finished with the whole Beatles catalogue I expect they’ll just be jumping up and down on Lennons grave shouting abuse at him.”

    Indeed.

    Strange, they seem to make a point of trying to list every negative thing but then why do the whole catalogue if they hate the Beatles?

  26. elguapostrikes says:

    “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.”

    Hey. He did it before-

    `Fifth Beatle’ died after fight with Lennon, sister’
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4159/is_20030713/ai_n12742839/pg_1

    I also like Nancy Sinatra’s cover of the song where she swaps “little boy” for “little girl”.

  27. pheidole says:

    To give the song a bit into context,
    John lifted that line from Elvis Presley’s “Let’s place house”.
    The line in question is delivered by Elvis with a strange syncopation and was a bit of a non sequitur.
    So John, ever the writer, decided to pen a tune in which that line is the central them of a song. It *is* disturbing, but the Beatles didn’t solely write pop tunes.

  28. David Newland says:

    “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.”

    Actually, this parses as both sexist AND homophobic (in for a dime, in for a dollar.) He’s saying he’d rather his girl was dead than that HE be with another man.

    Dangle your modifier that way and it’s bound to get rung.

  29. pheidole says:

    To put that song in context,
    John lifted the line from Elvis’s “Let’s Play House”.
    In that song, the line is given a cool syncopation, and at the same time, is an almost complete non sequitur.
    So John, ever the writer, decided to pen a song with that line as the central theme. Disturbing yes. But not all of the Beatles’ catalogue are sprightly pop songs.

  30. tahewitt says:

    I look forward to the ukulele version of Revolution #9.

  31. Roger Ukulele says:

    Darlings, this is Roger Who Wrote The Piece:

    I’m thrilled and humbled by the commentary.

    A) Obviously I LOVE the Beatles. But;

    To love a body of work truly, one must include the ability to criticize the weakest part of said body of work honestly.

    In the case of the Beatles, you must admit what sucks in order to justify your opinion of what is excellent. Run For Your Life, Don’t Pass Me By, Don’t Bother Me, and any song that begins with with the word “Don’t” fails the excellence test.

    The Beatles were about “Do” as in Love Me Do.

    And at the end of this piece I said I liked it any way like you love the runt of the litter.

    Roger

  32. Simon Cameron says:

    I love the weird juxtaposition between ‘Run for your Life”s happy melody and depressing lyrics. Maybe I’m just odd.

  33. Mr_Voodoo says:

    That woman’s uke looks alot like a dog.

  34. mikep says:

    Just wanted to add my old fart phooey to all the other phooeys up above…Mr Frauenfelder, you need to lighten up and stop being so goddam prim. It’s a great pop song that encapsulates perfectly Lennon’s ironic take on what pop songs were supposed to deliver, plus there’s the tip of the hat to Elvis. I guess you had to be there. Thanks for the link though!

  35. mikep says:

    Now that I’ve looked at the blog, I see you were quoting. So I see that it’s me who needs to lighten up. And Messrs Greenawalt and Barrett. Apologies.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I believe “Run For Your Life” is actually one of George Harrison’s favorite Beatles songs, or at least one of his favorite Lennon songs – despite Lennon’s own opinion of it.

  37. Lyzard says:

    Greg Hawkes of the Cars has a full Ukulele album called “Beatles Uke”
    15 tracks
    http://www.amazon.com/Beatles-Uke-Greg-Hawkes/dp/B001FWPXYA

  38. RogerAndDave says:

    I’m thrilled and humbled by the commentary.

    A) Obviously I LOVE the Beatles. But;

    To love a body of work truly, one must include the ability to criticize the weakest part of said body of work honestly.

    In the case of the Beatles, you must admit what sucks in order to justify your opinion of what is excellent. Run For Your Life, Don’t Pass Me By, Don’t Bother Me, and any song that begins with with the word “Don’t” fails the excellence test.

    The Beatles were about “Do” as in Love Me Do

    Keep checking in at
    http://thebeatlescompleteonukulele.blogspot.com/

    and if you want to see us give money to Warren Buffett go to
    http://forthebenefitofmrbuffet.blogspot.com/

    We love you all

  39. technogeek says:

    Oh, the American _Dandelion_Wine_ rather than the Canadian duo. Pity.

  40. takeshi says:

    According to several people close to Lennon, he beat his first wife, Cynthia. I’m not sure that stealing a line from an Elvis song is really so awful.

    Incredible songwriter, but certainly no Saint. Lennon had a thing, also, for making fun of disabled and retarded kids. But hey, Charles Baudelaire’s Fleurs du Mal is still a classic, no?

  41. pAULbOWEN says:

    “”I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.”

    Happily, the culture has come a long way baby since 1965.”

    Yes, but not all of parts of it in the right direction. Check the band names, song titles, lyrics of some grindcore bands to see what the misogynist id is spewing today.

  42. Phikus says:

    Here are three of the actual Beatles, accompanied by a uke, filmed for the Anthology.

    George became rather fond of the uke in his latter years, evidenced here, and Sir Paul also has embraced the uke recently, as well as discovered the mandolin.

  43. hassan-i-sabbah says:

    Not as nasty and misogynist as most of the Jagger /Richards early work- see “Under my Thumb”,”Paint it black” and more,The sixties were renowned for progressive thought and ideas,but,I think that it took a while for these concepts to trickle down.Don’t for get these were children of the War generation,full of hate and fear,anger and violence.They may have been desperate to throw of the shackles of the previous generation,but this kinda stinkin thinkin is hard to shake off.Some of the shit my Grandfather comes out with would curl the hair of the average boingboinger. Its a generational thing.

  44. Metronicity says:

    “While not the worst Beatle song it might be the worst one written and sung by John.

    Consider the unfortunate first line.

    “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man.” ”

    What? I had to read this twice to make sure. The worst Beatle song? C’mon – “Yellow Submarine” takes that honour surely. And I always found “Run For Your Life” a great song with a great lyric line in “I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man”.

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