The Beatles’ Black Album

beatles black albumI didn’t know what a bootleg album was until my friend Kevin stumbled on The Beatles Black Album in a used record store on the corner of Barrington and Prince Streets in Halifax, back when we were 16 or 17 years old. I think he bought it for around 50 bucks. We couldn’t believe our luck.

Its quality was pitiful: the warped vinyl (three records!) had bubbles and scratches in it, but we still listened to it a lot.

The Black Album is outtakes from around the Let It Be sessions, when they were recording songs like I’ve Got A Feeling and Don’t Let Me Down – that era. The bootleg’s packaging was attractive: completely black, copying the The White Album style, with a poster inside that included photos from the sessions, track listing, and lyrics. Some of the songs included No Pakistanis (sung to the tune of Get Back), Moma You’ve Been On My Mind (a nice acoustic tune by George, I think. Maybe Paul – I don’t remember), in addition to rough takes of their classic tunes.

I don’t know if I still have my copy of the album; Phillip might. It’s worth a listen for Beatles’ fans.

Technical Songs

Yellow Subroutine:

In the town where I was born,
Lived a man, who played with ‘C’.
And he coded his whole life
On a stack of Function Keys.
So we traced to his data schemes,
Til we found a ‘C’ routine..
And we lived beneath the SAVES,
In our yellow Sub-Routine…

Lots of Computer songs and poems available. Here’s a portion of Purple Hacks (i.e. Purple Haze):

Purple hacks
are all around
Fingers so fast my feet
don’t touch the ground
It’s inspiration
it’s a mystery
Whatever it is, these hacks
put a spell on me
(Help me … help me … )

Beatles Song Analyses

This is a cool reference for Beatles’ fans:

In 1989 the American musicologist Alan W. Pollack started to analyze the songs of the Beatles. He published his first results on internet. In 1991 — after he had finished the work on 28 songs — he bravely decided to do the whole lot of them. About ten years later, in 2000 he completed the analysis of the official Beatles’ canon, consisting of 187 songs and 25 covers.

Here’s an example from Rocky Raccoon:

Compositionally, the song is a clever triumph of formal articulation over rote monothematicism by virtue of controlled, subtle variation in a number of departments. That’s an excessively highfalutin way of saying, gee, the whole three and a half minute track is played out over the same unvarying eight-bar chord progression, and yet, rather than sounding painfully monotonous, it creates the impression of a something developed with the full formal scale and variety you typically expect from a "song"!

(via J-Walk Blog)