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Heavy (For no one)

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirty years ago, in my 1988 junior high yearbook, I wrote down some of my favorite songs that year, and all of them were – at the time – 20 years old or older, like "Porpoise Song," by The Monkees and featured in their 1968 film Head.

Two of the songs I listed were Paul McCartney-sung songs regarding the “sun.” They were “I’ll Follow The Sun” and “Good Day Sunshine.”

I recently saw some obnoxious list noting the best-to-worst Beatles songs and “Good Day Sunshine” was listed as one of the worst. For one, it’s on 1966's Revolver, a top Beatles record across the board and, secondly, it captures a joyous and lighthearted mood that McCartney was clearly feeling.

I thought about this song while listening to Revolver yesterday. In the second verse, McCartney sings: “We take a walk, the sun is shining down / Burns my feet as they touch the ground.”

It suddenly hit me that McCartney was essentially arguing against his comments three years later when the Abbey Road photo sessions were taking place and as the four Beatles crossed Abbey Road in that iconic photo, McCartney (or his double) is barefoot. Why? Because, as McCartney revealed,it was a hot day. Right. Same day that the Manson Family is orchestrating their murderous rampage of butchery on Cielo Drive in Los Angeles.

But in 1965, while in the Bahamas filming Help!, while looking for Ringo, McCartney jokingly refers to the red footprints they are following (left by a cult member hanging from a Goodyear blimp) as being left behind by a "hot foot" on the way to the temple where Ringo is to be sacrificed. This "foot" theme seems to follow McCartney around, at least during his time with The Beatles (and afterward ...)

DOUBLE FANTASY

A lot of talk about “doubles” of late. Some recent video footage of First Lady Melania Trump coming off Air Force One in Ohio showed a woman who looked darker and heavier than the woman who boarded the same airplane at Andrews Air Force Base. Was this a Melania double, as some suggested?

A close family member is convinced that it is not Paul McCartney who was replaced. Nope. It’s John Lennon. Facial feature changes – particularly with Lennon’s nose – are what convinces this family member the most. I have to say that it is a bit strange, but I am more of the opinion that Paul McCartney today is not the same person last seen at that strange August 1966 press conference the Beatles gave in Los Angeles where Byrds member David Crosby was lurking menacingly behind a curtain.

In any event, I have been reading Peter Levenda’s Sinister Forces series of three books and was reading the chapter on Lennon’s assassin Mark David Chapman and the utterly bizarre things Chapman did in the years leading up to that fateful day in December 1980 in New York City. It was then when Chapman gunned down the former Beatle who was in the midst of a comeback with his and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy album.

It has been speculated that with the historically-outspoken Lennon coming out of retirement, he might have “interrupted” Reagan/Bush/GOP-led criminality in the coming decade, as renewed interest in the Beatles and their musical legacy was beginning to gather steam in 1980.

So, I was thinking about all of this this morning when I got in the car and The Beatles’ song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” was playing. I explained to my companions that this was John singing about his love of Yoko. It’s a very “heavy,” blues-influenced song. A song that speaks to me now, more than it did when I first heard so many years ago. And on the Beatles' LOVE compilation from 2006, Lennon's "I Want You" guitar riff is creepily edited along with McCartney's "Helter Skelter." With the Manson Murders, Lennon made sure to remind people that it was McCartney who wrote "Helter Skelter," not him. This, because of Manson being influenced by songs on the "White Album," which included "Helter Skelter," of course.

It also closes out side one of Abbey Road. Incidentally, Memphis-based soul group Booker T. & The M.G.’s, on the Stax label, released an album in 1970 titled McLemore Avenue (featuring the band members crossing that Memphis street Abbey Road-style) which is Booker T. Jones’ homage to the Beatles album that he said “was just incredible” and that he needed to “pay tribute to it.” I will say here that the music of Stax Records and Booker T. & The M.G.’s has been playing quite a bit in my house of late. That Memphis Soul sound just hits me in the right spot.

That idea of “heavy.” Recall in Back to the Future, when Marty McFly realizes his teenaged, future mother “has the hots” for him, he says it’s “heavy.” The slang confuses Doc Brown who replies, “There’s that word again, ‘heavy.’ Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?

So, the lengthy song ends. I jump out of my car for about five minutes to take care of something and then hop back in. This time, “The Ballad of John & Yoko” is playing, a song that has been getting a lot of airplay on SiriusXM’s “The Beatles Channel.”

Every time I hear the song I think back to my days at Robinson Junior High in Wichita, Kansas in about 1987. On the backside of a Dillon’s grocery store, some Beatles fan had spraypainted lyrics from the “John & Yoko” song. It was: “Last night the wife said, ‘Oh boy, when you’re dead, you don’t take nothin’ with you but your soul. THINK!” And that “THINK!” was spraypainted in large letters with the exclamation point emphasized. Before I heard "THINK!" I thought Lennon said "SYNC!" Heh.

I got to thinking about the lyrics to that song as I sat in the car, having read Levenda’s account of Chapman’s international travel (paid by persons unknown) and his seemingly split personality and obsession with the Beatles and religion and always doing things ‘the hard way.’

Also, he notes that Chapman, when he was working for Atlanta-area YMCA's in the early 1970's, took on the nickname "Nemo," as in Captain Nemo from Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (referenced in 1990's Back to the Future Pt. III). Levenda suggests that Chapman simply liked the name for some reason and did not understand.

In Fenton Bresler's 1989 book Who Killed John Lennon? this "Nemo" nickname coincided with the Y kids' love of Chapman's personality, which he compares to the "Pied Piper of Hamelin." And Chapman would make things like finding watermelons in a field fun by saying they were "looking for dinosaurs' eggs." Interesting example, particularly with the "dinosaur" syncs I've been noting of late, including memories of watching The Last Dinosaur on ABC in a Bristol, Virginia hotel room on Feb. 11, 1977 with my family as we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas. A colleague is in Bristol's stateline sister city in Tennessee today, coincidentally enough, and on Twitter, there was a reference to the Republican senators leading the Senate confirmation hearing this week for Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Kavanaugh being a main street in Little Rock, which I lived near) for the US Supreme Court as being old "dinosaurs."

Levenda notes that "Nemo" translates as "no one." This was a few years after his Beatles obsession and hippie phase. We should note that one of John Lennon's favorite Paul McCartney songs was "For No One," which is on Revolver. It's a melancholy baroque-pop song about the end of a relationship, complete with a French horn that tears your heart out.

Today, Paul McCartney's newest album, Egypt Station, was released. McCartney's envious nature played a role, I believe, in seeing to it that bassist Stuart Sutcliffe and drummer Pete Best were out of the Beatles. We all know how that turned out in both cases.

And while McCartney is flogging his new Egyptian-inspired record, his old songwriting partner, John Lennon, is honored today with his own postage stamp by the US Postal Service. And to think in the early 1970's he was being spied on and targeted by the same government. How times have changed ... or have they remained the same but with better propaganda?

I think I'd rather spend my money on these stamps than Macca's new LP, which I hear is mostly filler.

SAM LOWE?

Who is Sam Lowe? I really don’t know. But in the intense dream I had last night he struck me as very important. Very key.

No. It’s not some athlete. Or a guy with the Center for European Reform in London.

Anagram of “Sam Lowe” includes “Owls” with “a,” “m” and “e” left over.

We have written about owls before. As "watchers" - or something overtly supernatural. A seer helped me understand that the owl is an important animal in my life.

There will be more on this, the significance of the year 1969 and the growing interest in Hollywood and the wider culture in cults and cult leaders, as evidenced by the aforementioned Charles Manson, the forthcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the end of the Beatles and more. Who knows where this will take us?

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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