Books and Beatles (A Thousand Pages, Give or Take a Few)

Single Cover: The Beatles Paperback Writer RainTwo things I am to my core are a librarian and a Beatles fan.

This decade, it seems as if we Beatles fans are always celebrating the 50th anniversary of a major milestone. In 2014, we commemorated their arrival in the United States and first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. In 2017, we'll mark the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper. This month, we are looking back at the release of Revolver and The Beatles’ final concert tour, which ended right here in the Bay Area (Candlestick Park, August 29, 1966).

Because of who I am, I don’t actually need a particular reason to celebrate books and Beatles, but I’ll take the excuse of these anniversaries to write about them. Here’s a look at some of the literature that inspired some of those marvelous songs:

 

Walrus from The Walrus and The CarpenterThrough the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

In the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, we meet The Walrus and the Carpenter in a poem. So did John Lennon, and the Magical Mystery Tour masterpiece “I Am The Walrus” was born. Years later, Lennon remarked that he hadn’t realized he’d picked the bad guy from the poem, but concluded “I Am the Carpenter” would not have been the same.

 

 

Elizabethan cradleCradle Song by Thomas Dekker

In the medley that closes Abbey Road, some of the lyrics for “Golden Slumbers” are taken from this poem by Elizabethan playwright Thomas Dekker. The poem appears in his stage comedy Patient Grissel, which in turn is an adaptation of a story in The Canterbury Tales.

 

Ubu Roi PosterUbu Roi by Alfred Jarry

Around the time of Abbey Road, Paul McCartney became interested in the works of avant garde French playwright Alfred Jarry, who coined the term “pataphysics,” to go a step beyond metaphysics. In the song “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” quizzical Joan studies “pataphysical science in the home.”

 

 

Tibetan Book of the Dead Book CoverTibetan Book of the Dead

Of the meditative and psychedelic “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the final track on Revolver, John Lennon said, “That's me in my Tibetan Book Of The Dead period.”

 

 

 

yin and yangI Ching: The Book of Changes

Reading this ancient Chinese book of divination inspired George Harrison to open a nearby book at random and write a song based on the words he saw there. Those words were “gently weeps,” and so we were gifted with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on The White Album.

I do wish I knew what that nearby random book was.

 

Comments

Without the Everly Brothers, there would be no Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Bee Gees.ABBA and many more.Although the Everly s sound was more natural and thes e groups envied or idolized them.Get more Everly Brothers stuff in the library.

The Beatles and this blog rock !

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