The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Mop Tops in Action #2


The Mop Tops cross the road

26 comments :

Tommy O'C said...

An alternate take! With Paul wearing sneaks, is it? Far out.

The license plate on the white Volkswagen was 28IF. Some said it was another clue in the "Paul is Dead" hoax, that he would have been 28 "if" he had lived.

And even their procession across the road was alleged to be a clue.

Lennon, in a white suit, was seen as some type of hippie minister. Ringo, dressed in a hip funeral director's finest. Paul, in a business suit, was the deceased. There was speculation whether it was an English custom to bury their dead sans shoes, hence, his barefootedness. And Harrison, all in denim, was the gravedigger.

You can't make this stuff up.

Well, I guess you can.

Maureen said...

I don't think those are sneakers, they didn't look like trainers back then. More likely they are shower sandals or Dr. Scholl's for men, meaning he intended to take them off eventually so this was a practice run (walk).

Trader said...

Another take or an upside-down negative?

(Interesting commentaries about the Beatles cloths of the photographs, though)

swac said...

Definitely sandals on Paul...and I've seen a number of different outtake photos from this legendary shoot. I forget which Beatles book features them...maybe that giant Anthology companion.

Not to mention the National Lampoon all-Beatles issue where they're splattered flat on the pavement, as if a steamroller had just gone by...

Flickhead said...

The Watusi.

The Twist.

El Dorado.

If you people would just listen to "Revolution #9" backward, you'd know what was really going on.

Michael said...

So on the original cover they were just off to retrieve Paul's shoes?

Now everything makes sense.

Tommy O'C said...

"Revolution #9" played backwards is available for streaming or downloading on the Internet.

R9 was experimental and some of its sounds are actually being played backwards. So when you play R9 backwards, you can hear these sounds played forward, that is, normally.

It's common knowledge that John can be heard chanting "Turn me on, dead man," when R9 is played backwards. Also a crowd chanting "No more war, no more war."

Tommy O'C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tommy O'C said...

They were sandals. It was a hot day and McCartney decided to take them off. Rolling Stone interview, 1974:

http://www.rollingstone.com/news/coverstory/9359339

But, as one blog points out, if it was a hot day, wouldn't walking barefoot on the tarmac be even hotter?

This stuff can drive you nuts.

Trader said...

I think the Beatles were perfectly aware how overreactive the fans were.

So they must have started for fun some games of that sort which are still played on years after the dismantling of the band.

Now it's out of reach... ;)

swac said...

Number 9 backwards sounds like "Nyanderman" which can sort of be extrapolated to "Turn me on dead man." Sort of like how the gibberish in the endless groove of Sgt. Pepper's sounds like "We'll fuck you like Supermen."

As for the chanting, I thought it was some sort of football (soccer) chant?

Take this brother, may it serve you well.

Peter Nellhaus said...

Why don't we do it in the road?

Slo said...

Re that Nick Tosches quote, is that where the word 'tosh' comes from?

Huck Caton said...

"Also a crowd chanting 'No more war, no more war.'"

Um, this is actually a readily available sound effect of football crowd chants. "Block that kick!" shows up around 5:05; "Hold that line… block that kick… " starts about 7:46 in. "On the 30… " pops up around 3:52 or so, as I recall.

"It's common knowledge that John can be heard chanting "Turn me on, dead man," when R9 is played backwards."

Um, no.

Here, let's let Richard Lush tell the tale, as he was the engineer on 6/20/68 when it all went down:
"Lennon was trying to do really different things… we had to get a whole load of tapes out of the library and the 'number nine' voice came off an examination tape. John thought that was a real hoot! He made a loop of just that bit and had it playing constantly on one machine, fading it in or out when he wanted it, along with the backwards orchestra stuff and everything else."

Stuart Eltham (he'd worked on the occasional Beatles session since '63) adds, "Abbey Road used to do taped examinations for the Royal Academy of Music. The tapes aren't around now."

Me? I like George Martin (around 2:21) requesting that "Geoff [Emerick]… put the red light on" (from another session, obviously). And Lennon (4:53) "So the wife called, and we better go to see a surgeon, but what with the prices and all, the prices have snow balled, it's so absurd, yeah, no wonder they're closed."

*Obviously* referring to Coleman. Ray is a dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him.

Tom Sutpen said...

This may be the most detailed examination of that landmark in the history of album filler, 'Revolution 9' there's ever been . . . outside of the Manson trial, that is.

Huck Caton said...

The recently discovered pristine mono mix of "Revolution 1" (Take 20) which runs an excruciating 10:46 is in some ways an even more painful listen than "Revolution 9"—if that's possible!

But why take my word for it, when you can judge for yourself (and share the pain):
http://files.me.com/huck/7qate6.mov

Tommy O'C said...

"It's common knowledge that John can be heard chanting "Turn me on, dead man," when R9 is played backwards."

Um, no.
Um, yes.

Nothing quoted after "um, no" refuted my assertions.

Sources were cited, pertaining to the how and why of the making of Revolution 9, that in no way supported contradiction of my assertion of "common knowledge" or my interpretation (open to disagreement, of course) that the chant was "No more war." It was a tangent. Interesting to read, yes, but something of a non sequitor as a rebuttal.

Information about the “Paul Is Dead” hoax has only been out there for over forty years and is now easier than ever to access (with varying degrees of validity) on the Internet.

As a quick example, do a Google search of "turn me on, dead man" and you'll get a full page of hits, most of them relating to Revolution 9. Even Scientific American has attempted to address the issue. There are also a number of sites devoted to the "Paul Is Dead" hoax and the "turn me on, dead man" clue is a mainstay.

Personally, I first heard about all this when I was a child and it was in the news. I have a pdf of a 1969 New York Times article entitled: “No, No, No, Paul McCartney Is Not Dead.” I would dare say that, in my experience, most serious Beatles fans have at least some awareness of the “Paul Is Dead” hoax.

As for my interpretation of the chant as "No More War," according to the version I heard, that's what it sounded like. Another post on here thought "turn me on, dead man" sounded like "nyanderman," at first. Maybe others have a better ear for gibberish.

But I’ve now found that YouTube has a backward version of R9 played against a black screen with white captions of the dialogue and sound effects, sort of a Cliff Notes to “Revolution 9” played backwards. I’m sure this would prove helpful.

Emerick, essential and terrific reading that he is, offers us an inside look at the tensions created by John’s (and Yoko’s) insistence that Revolution 9 was “the direction the Beatles should be going in,” that it should be their next single, and that John and Paul were said to have had a terrible “row” over it.

But there’s nothing there about the points I raised. Certainly no analysis of the backward masking of the tape or about the “Paul Is Dead” controversy.

*Obviously* referring to Coleman. Ray is a dead man, miss him, miss him, miss him.Cute.

The assertions I made in this post were either mine, alone, or taken from sources other than Coleman. I don't understand the sarcasm about Coleman except that I seem to have gotten someone's goat while using him as a definitive source of essential bits of information otherwise known as “facts.”

Tom Sutpen said...

Gentlemen, please. I'm not pointing fingers at anyone here, but I would only ask that we be civil. I mean, this is 'Revolution 9' we're talking about here, after all; a piece that's only memorable for its effect on how one experiences the rest of The beatles (I mean, would 'Good Night' be as chilling as it is if it had been preceded by, say, 'Dear Prudence'?). Separate it out and what you have is a somewhat paint-by-numbers article of avant-garde tomfoolery (the fundamental solemnity of the thing is what kills it, y'ask me).

Which is all beside the point. I just wanted to head-off any ugliness in this exchange before it got started.

We now return you to our comment thread; already in progress.

Huck Caton said...

We're all about love here in the Sound Department.

Tommy O'C, "hold that line" and "block that kick" originate from the "College Cheers" track on:
Authentic Sound Effects Vol. 10: Sound Effects
Elektra EKL 260 (Mono)
EKS 7260 (Stereo)

The album was released in 1964. Richard Lush believes "College Cheers" was chosen for inclusion mostly because it was the first track up. I think John also made use of the "Football Game" effects track for "Revolution 9" but I don't have the Elektra album handy, at the moment, to check it out.

Anyway, sorry if I said anything to make anyone unhappy.

But try *not* tapping your toe to, "So anyhow, he went to see the dentist instead who gave him a pair of teeth, which wasn't any good at all."

Ooh, chills!

Stu said...

A day in the life of Abbey Road.
Great footage of tourists almost getting killed as they step in front of traffic whilst attempting to recreate the above picture at the cross walk. Hilarious.

You'd have to be a patient driver to put up with this crap every day

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKCG3zMEsYs

Fred said...

Is it just me, or is it kind of odd that we are debating Revolution No. 9 from the beatles in response to a picture from Abbey Road?

swac said...

Debating Revolution #9 would be odd no matter what the circumstances.

Trader said...

comparable to the McCartney post that evolved into a Lennon topic... ;)

Tom Sutpen said...

Wellllll . . . the image did bring forth some of those fruitcake 'Paul is dead' theories, of which 'Revolution 9' is an oft-cited resource.

Besides, there are no rules governing the trajectory of discussions here (apart from 'Play nice, chillens'). If a flurry of comments on, say, Ray Price's 1966 recording of 'Danny Boy' emerged from this, you wouldn't hear me squawk none . . . though I might wonder how that thing generated any commentary at all.

Trader said...

In McCartney's topic, it was just symbolic to see how the attention switched to Lennon in regard scandals and all.

Like in the Beatles' real glorious life... (McCartney is out of reach, as usual) ;)

Tommy O'C said...

Peace and love, gentlemen.

Please excuse the pointedness of my last post.

Debating Revolution #9 would be odd no matter what the circumstances.It does seem odd. Backward or forward.

comparable to the McCartney post that evolved into a Lennon topic... ;)I think I may have been involved in that one, too. :)

it was just symbolic to see how the attention switched to LennonLennon/McCartney are so inextricably related that it can be difficult to discuss one without the other. Unfortunately, comparisons of L&M often play out as a zero-sum game.