The White Album - Part 2



Hello! Welcome to Part 2. Okay here is a track by track of Side 2 of the White Album.

1. Birthday This song was basically written all in the studio on 18 September 1968 which Paul sings lead but he claims was a joint effort between him and John.

This song was not produced by George Martin but instead by Chris Thomas who says: “So on the day Paul was the first one in, and he was playing the Birthday riff. Eventually the others arrived, by which time Paul had literally written the song, right there in the studio. We had the backing track down by about 8.30, popped around to watch the film as arranged and then came back and actually finished the whole song. It was all done in a day!”

Paul said of the song: “We thought, 'Why not make something up?' So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff. We said, 'We'll go to there for a few bars, then we'll do this for a few bars.' We added some lyrics, then we got the friends who were there to join in on the chorus. So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all on the same evening. I don't recall it being anybody's birthday in particular but it might have been, but the other reason for doing it is that, if you have a song that refers to Christmas or a birthday, it adds to the life of the song, if it's a good song, because people will pull it out on birthday shows, so I think there was a little bit of that at the back of our minds.”

2. Yer Blues This was an angst filled song penned whilst John was in Rishikesh. Although it has not been specifically said by John in any interview that I know of, it is likely that the “girl” in this song is probably Yoko. They weren’t dating by this point I don’t think, but were in correspondence so to me the song is about John pining for Yoko.

John said of its beginnings: “The funny thing about the [Maharishi's] camp was that although it was very beautiful and I was meditating about eight hours a day, I was writing the most miserable songs on earth. In Yer Blues, when I wrote, 'I'm so lonely I want to die,' I'm not kidding. That's how I felt.”

Ringo’s take on the song: “You can't top it. It was the four of us. That is what I'm saying: it was really because the four of us were in a box, a room about eight by eight, with no separation. It was this group that was together; it was like grunge rock of the sixties, really – grunge blues.”

3. Mother Nature’s Son Another song using the fingerpicking style the band learned from Donovan. The song was inspired by a lecture on nature the Maharishi had given the band in India. As I mentioned at the beginning of the initial piece on this, John wrote a song called Child of Nature that became Jealous Guy. That song was also inspired by this lecture.

Paul said of the song: “I seem to remember writing Mother Nature's Son at my dad's house in Liverpool. I often used to do that if I'd gone up to see him. Visiting my family I'd feel in a good mood, so it was often a good occasion to write songs. So this was me doing my mother nature's son bit. I've always loved the [Nat King Cole] song called Nature Boy: 'There was a boy, a very strange and gentle boy...' He loves nature, and Mother Nature's Son was inspired by that song. I'd always loved nature, and when Linda and I got together we discovered we had this deep love of nature in common. There might have been a little help from John with some of the verses.”

4. Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey A song that is often interpreted by fans as being about heroin, given John and Yoko’s use of the drug and that “a monkey on the back” was a jazz term for heroin addiction thought to have originated in the 1940s. The words “The deeper you go the higher you fly" were also interpreted by many to be about heroin but John and Paul both refute the claims. George said of the song’s title that “apart from that bit about the monkey” it was basically something the Maharishi would say when they were in India.