Taxman:

"Hold My Hand" (intro) – The Rutles
"You Told Me" (intro) – The Monkees

“One, two, three, four, one, two…”

"Start!" – The Jam
Sound Affects!; 1980
The characteristic features of “Taxman”:

* The bass line: Now that the Beatles had managed (with “Paperback Writer”) to get the EMI boffins to make the bass audible, they really started showing it off.  There’s an occasional tendency in some quarters to pooh-pooh George Martin’s production work with the Beatles -- he didn’t necessarily work the same magic with, say, America -- but at the very least he and the EMI engineers always got good sounds; listen to a record like “Taxman” and it’s very impressive how much great noise comes out of just four instruments.  Of course, the guys in the band could play, too…

* The signature rhythm guitar on the backbeat: Beatles nouveau funk. How much does “Taxman” owe to “I Feel Good”?

* The wild “eastern” guitar solo of Paul’s.

* Cowbell!

The Jam emulate most of those features here – not only the huge Taxman bass line, but also Paul Weller’s interpretation of the guitar solo, aided and abetted by the horns. Not a trace of cowbell, though.

 

“One Hour Cleaners” - The Bluethings
B-side to The Orange Rooftop Of Your Mind; Recorded September 1966
Quick work, this. The first guys to pounce on this bassline -- and link it with “Last Train To Clarksville.” Which was even quicker work, since that had just come out in August. The Bluethings were formed in Hays, Kansas from a bunch of ex folk-rockers, who like many others gave that up for electric guitars and that damn rock’n’roll in 1964.

 

"In My Own Time" – The Bee Gees
Bee Gees 1st; July 1967
The title Bee Gees 1st wasn’t exactly truth in advertising; as we’ve seen, they’d already put out quite a bit of material by the time it was released; a couple of albums, in fact. But the album was their international, “major league” debut -- with a Klaus Voorman cover, no less.  (What greater stamp of legitimacy?)

A bit more rocky, a bit less funky than “Taxman,” but it has the key guitar “honk,” and in each chorus they drop in the bass line and the big group vocals. Garnished with groovy, cryptic lyrics about hot cross buns and the United Nations.

 

"Moonshine Man" – Herman’s Hermits
Blaze; October 1967
From Herman’s Hermits’ final and finest album, for which the band members got to contribute some original, mostly Beatles-influenced songs. Like “In My Own Time,” this too moves along in a bouncier sort of way than "Taxman," but it still has the definitive bassline and the guitar “honk” on the downbeats.

 

"I’m In Line" – The Bangles
Bangles; 1982
From the Bangles’ very first EP (still unavailable at present -- write your Congressman!), from back when they were being touted as the “Female Beatles.” In addition to the signature “Taxman” bass/rhythm guitar combination, there’s another Beatles-ism in the final tacked-on guitar chord, an editing device like the one used at the end of “It Won’t Be Long.”

But hey, won’t anybody play a cowbell on one of these?

 

Eleanor Rigby:

"Undecided Man" – Paul Revere & The Raiders
Spirit of ‘67; November 1966
In the search for material for this project the nuggets can be few and far between, but every once in a while you hit the mother lode.  The Spirit of ‘67 is one such album, with nearly everything on it seeming to match up to one Beatles song or other. “Undecided Man” couldn’t follow the “Eleanor Rigby” blueprint any more closely, and the influence also extends to the lyric: “Look at them, look at you, look at me.”

The strings on this are very well recorded, too; they’re even richer than “Eleanor Rigby’s,” with lots of resonance in the lower range -- great on headphones. Paul Revere’s songs may have been somewhat transparent at times, but they were another band who got great sounds. (Incidentally, when the Beatles first began recording at Abbey Road in 1963, the mixing board apparently had a big switch for either “Classical” or “Pop.” Makes you wonder what kind of dilemma “Eleanor Rigby” would have presented if that had still been the case in 1966.)

 

"Look At Me Now" – Electric Light Orchestra
No Answer; 1972
Besides backwards tape effects, the big sonic innovation of 1966 was the use of strings as a rhythm instrument; specifically in “Eleanor Rigby” and “Good Vibrations.” The staccato strings -- and the absence of a band -- that defined “Eleanor Rigby” are the essential element of all these songs as well. With No Answer, the first ELO album, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne were generally working in the baroque-rock genre that had developed in the wake of “Yesterday,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “For No One,” but they pulled the sound back towards rock’n’roll by recording the strings with tremendous “bite,” giving them the muscle to compete with the electric rock instruments. It wouldn’t seem that their approach inspired a lot of imitators at the time -- but perhaps it did eventually give us Kansas.

 

"Smithers-Jones" – The Jam
Setting Sons; 1979
Not much of a match in its musical elements, but it does fit the “Rigby” prototype: A song by a rock band minus the band, just a rhythmic string section, chugging away like the 8:15 from Uxbridge.* It’s also lyrically correct, depicting about a lonely company man, no doubt some kin to both Eleanor Rigby and Ray Davies’ “Arthur.” And even though this is one of the few Jam songs not written by Paul Weller (it's a Bruce Foxton song), there’s still some Who in here, the melody recalling part of “I Can’t Reach You.”

* Now, "Eleanor Rigby" set the unmistakeable standard for biting cello-driven "rock" songs, but does that mean that every song that uses cellos this way is automatically a "Rigby" derivative? Yes. The answer is "Yes." Thank you for playing.

 

"Life Goes On" – Utopia
Deface The Music; 1980
This “Eleanor Rigby” tribute is complete in every detail; the only shortcoming being that the strings are synthesizer-generated instead of the real thing, but hey, real strings (and real string players) cost real money. One must work with the tools one has.

 

I’m Only Sleeping:

“Dreaming” – The Kirkbys
Demo recording; 1967
Jimmy Campbell sounds amazingly like Neil Innes playing it straight, so his recordings serve as the perfect companion piece to the Rutles. The Kirkbys recorded this song as a demo for and with George Martin, who -- presumably because it sounded too reminiscent of the Beatles -- passed on signing them.

Jimmy Campbell’s material used to be incredibly difficult to find, but now there are 23rd Turnoff/Kirbys and Rockin’ Horse collections available on Bam-Caruso and Rev-Ola Records, respectively; yet another void filled by the digital revolution.(Now if only someone would re-release the Brains.) “Dreaming” is also on Viper Records’ “Unearthed Merseybeat” CD which also has many other rare gems – grab it if you can.

 

“You Know What I Mean” - Justin Heathcliff
Justin Heathcliff; 1971
The Japanese band with the English sound -- and the English-sounding name. Perhaps not even a band; it seems that this was a project by present-day Japanese new-age artist (Dr.) Osamu Kitajima, who lived in England in 1971, rubbing shoulders with notable rockers such as Barry Gibb and Paul Rogers and soaking up the ‘60s Anglo sound. This rare album was probably one of the first overt Beatles tributes, long before the Rutles trademarked the genre. Some of the tracks from this have been released on the Love, Peace and Poetry series of CDs on Normal Records.

 

“Dr. Luther’s Assistant” - Elvis Costello
New Amsterdam EP/Taking Liberties; 1980
The Get Happy CD reissue on Rhino includes this song as a bonus cut, instead of them giving us a “Taking Liberties” CD, more’s the pity. In the liner notes Elvis tells us that it lifts melodically from the Byrds’ “5D,” but he doesn’t mention the “I’m Only Sleeping” connection; the rhythm, the backwards instruments, the way it swims away on sea of fading backwards guitars in the tag. Guess it went without saying.

 

“Shiny Cage” – The Dukes of Stratosphear
Psychedelic Psunspot; 1987 ("Chips From The Chocolate Fireball" CD)
The Dukes’ CD is an indispensable addition to -- and sidetrack from -- the rest of the XTC catalog.  A palette cleanser, as it were. (We’re still awaiting their “Colin’s Hermits” album.) As with “I”m Only Sleeping,” backwards instruments are the hallmark of “Shiny Cage” -- the lead guitars, the verses that fizzle out into the breaks, the “upstrum” on the guitar – even the bits that aren’t backwards sound backwards.  And another sea of guitars to end it.

 

“Cold Inside” – Smack The Pony
“Smack The Pony”; ITV Television, 2001
Smack The Pony was, and were, Sally Phillips (of the Bridget Jones movies), Fiona Allen and Doon Mackichan, in a quirky sketch comedy program shown on England’s ITV between 1999 and 2002. In addition to the comedy, each episode finished with a little music video skewering some recent pop trend or other. Pity that there isn’t a CD release of the music (done by Jonathan Whitehead) -- all that remains is a “Best Of” DVD...not currently available in the U.S., worst luck.

I’m afraid I’m not sufficiently up on the British pop scene of the time to know if this song was a parody of some specific contemporary group, but who -- or what -- ever it was, it was ultimately “I’m Only Sleeping.”

 

“Family Tree” – Ben Kweller
Sha Sha; 2002
Well, Ben Kweller fell into a vat of rock’n’roll as kid, didn’t he; raised in a musical household; immersed in Beatles music; family friend Nils Lofgren no doubt teaching him a musical trick or two in between gigs with Bruce Springsteen. Ben showed an early aptitude for writing -- and rewriting -- music; he’s said that when he first learned how to play “Heart and Soul” as a kid he immediately set about reconstructing it into a new song. Like XTC’s Andy Partridge, he seems to be one of those people who has a huge catalog of music in his head, like a big box of tinker toys which he can reassemble in endless ways. He also bears a striking resemblance to Pete Townshend’s nose, which surely counts for something.

“I’m Only Sleeping” comes through in many ways here; in fact, the lyric even seems to allude to it. Add vibes to this and you’d have the very version that’s on the Beatles “Anthology.”

 

Love You To:

“Kaleidoscope” – Marmalade
Reflections of the Marmalade (U.K.)/Reflections of My Life (U.S.); June 1970
Marmalade had a rather two-sided career, with straight pop fare like “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da” on the one hand, and more creative, psychedelic things like this (or “I See The Rain”) on the other.  After 1966, everybody had to have some kind of drony Indian thing, in one of two styles: Driving pop (a la “Love You To”) or slow and stately (a la “Within You Without You”). This is one of the former. There are several good Marmalade collections out there; one which focuses on their more artistic side of their catalog is a CD called Kaleidoscope, available on Castle Music/Sanctuary Records.

 

“1001 Arabian Nights” – Paul Revere & The Raiders
Spirit of ‘67; November 1966
After 1966 everybody had to have some kind of drony...Arabian thing?  This actually falls into the “slow and stately” category -- although it obviously predates “Within You” -- but its verse melody is straight from the chorus of “Love You To.”

Here, There and Everywhere:

“Birdie Told Me” – The Bee Gees
Horizontal; 1968
Much of the resemblance here may be a matter of feel, such as the gentle pace or the background “oooohs,” but there are also some specific correlations between the two melodies -- like “Birdie told me, I must get...” compared with “I want her everywhere”; or “Knowing my mind” vs. “Knowing that love...” Little things.

The production, however, uses quite a rich orchestral arrangement -- the kind of thing that Paul was adamant about avoiding when he did “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Not a problem for the Bee Gees, apparently.

 

“Blue Sunday” - The Doors
Morrison Hotel; February 1970
Seem to keep stumbling across little Beatle-isms in the Doors’ work, of all people; bits of melodies embedded in their otherwise other-worldly sound. Here it’s the little repeated melody line: “My girl is mine, she is the world...” much like “Love never dies, watching her eyes...” Then the whole song seems to take on the same feel.

 

“Sunshine On My Shoulders” – John Denver
Poems, Prayers & Promises; 1971
The guitar intro is from “I’ve Got A Feeling,” but the bridge (“If I had a day…”) uses the same rising four chord progression as the verse of “Here, There...” There is also a general similarity in its main melody pattern; it ascends for several notes and then comes back down a step, as in “Sunshine, on my shoulders” and “Here, making each day.” And again, the feel of the song is “not dissimilar,” as the English say, especially if you substitute sun for girlfriend in the lyric. This song apparently struck a chord with returning Vietnam veterans in the early 70s, which can give it renewed emotional cache. As with “Birdie Told Me,” though, its rich string arrangement probably accounts for its treacly reputation.

John Denver was considered to be “country,” but it doesn’t really feel right to describe this song that way; it’s more a kind of soft pop-rock. Country music was affected by the Beatles, too, and this is kind of thing we got in the 1970s. Thank you very mooch.

Yellow Submarine:

“Lily The Pink” – The Scaffold
Single; October 1968
Hooray for Mike McGear!  If only he’d make another album with brother Paul – "McGear" was as better than many of Paul's solo albums.  The Scaffold, though, was Mike’s group with fellow Liverpudlians Roger McGough and John Gorman, and they formed another part of the Beatles/Bonzos/Python constellation of music-comedy. Their material bore a resemblance to the comic end of the Beatles' output, such as their Christmas records....or, say, Yellow Submarine. Now, the Scaffold didn’t write Lily The Pink -- it’s a traditional song -- but it certainly comes off as “Yellow Submarine Part Two,” with its great big singalong atmosphere and galumphing two-step rhythm.

Along with many other rock celebrities featured on this song, Graham Nash is present, singing the “Jennifer Eccles” verse (almost unrecognizably, he’s so far below his normal range); as well as...Ringo? In the liner notes to the See For Miles Records compilation LP, Mike gave credit here to “Ringo’s bass drum,” but he doesn't say who was actually playing it. (Which raises the question: Did the Beatles have to clear their instruments out of Abbey Road when they weren't recording? I'm sure Mark Llewisohn would know.)


“Words To Sing” – Papas Fritas
Helioself; 1997
Once again, a big singalong, in the same kind of two-step rhythm...sort of. They drop out a step or two, making it a 5/4 step or a 9/7 step. Something, anyway. This also borrows the lyrical theme; your basic kid's song about a jaunty voyage to sea. Full speed ahead, Mister Bos’un.

 

She Said She Said:

“Superman” – The Clique
The Clique, 1969
REM did the definitive version of this song as far as most of us are concerned, but the original dates back to 1969 and the Clique, a group of L.A. studio musicians under the direction of wiz-kid producer Gary Zekley. When you check out the original, you find that it’s...just about exactly the same as REM’s. Just a little lower tech, and perhaps a little more charm as a result. Zekley described the song as being pretty much a throwaway based on the “Sgt. Pepper” riff, but the melody is all “She Said.”

 

“Earn Enough For Us” – XTC
Skylarking, 1987
Something of a family resemblance here -- a couple of generations removed. There’s a melodic pattern in “She Said” where it walks up and down the scale (“I know what it is to be sad,” or “You don’t understand what I said,” or “When I was a boy”), reinforced by the lead guitar. Similar thing going on in “Earn Enough”: the “Glad that you want to be my wife” and “At work and on the bus” lines. (A big chunk of the chorus melody, however, is “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” -- perhaps to throw us off the scent.)

The guitar lick in the intro, the chord changes, the waltz-time finish; this just seems to come from the same stock. Andy Partridge has a ton of influences rattling around in his head, but he only gives himself away when he wants to; this makes an interesting contrast to the Dukes of Stratosphears’ overt homages. But what are "Purple Comics from the Bus?"

 

“I’m In Your Mind” – The Ten Foot Faces
Daze of Corndogs and Yo Yos; 1987
That’s “Faces” as in wave faces.  Surfer talk.  These guys weren’t actually surfers (“I threw up on a beach once,” their bass player once remarked), but they were part of the L.A. music scene for several years in the mid-80's. Not sure where to find any of their stuff these days, except rare vinyl dealers. They had one album, "Daze of Corndogs and Yoyos" which was on the Pitch-a-Tent label in 1987 - it didn’t ever make it to CD, so you’d have to search the net. Great cover of Henry Mancini's "The Party."

 

“You Know The Real” – The Greenberry Woods
Yellow Pills Vol. 3; 1995
From the renowned Yellow Pills series; the magazine isn’t around anymore, nor are any of the 4 compilation CDs they put out.  The liner notes don’t say much about the band, but this is described as a bit of “Lennonish psychedelia.” “And you know I know you know just how I feel.” And you should know by now that you’re not me.

 

Good Day Sunshine:

“What A Day” – Buffalo Springfield
Unreleased; January 1968; Box Set
As their box set reveals, the Springfield had a tremendous amount of unreleased material. However, the booklet that comes with it, while richly filled with old photos and clippings, is nearly impossible to read, since they went for such a soaked-in-turpentine look. So I’m not certain, but it doesn’t appear to give us any background information about this song, although I have been able to ascertain that it was written by Richie Furay, and produced with Jim Messina. The only musicians credited are Richie and Stephen and L.A. studio bass ace Carol Kaye. In essence it’s proto-Poco, with the banjo, dobro and fiddle in its “novelty” breaks.

One of the key hooks of “Good Day Sunshine” is the dropped beat in the chorus; “What A Day” does a similar thing, and includes other key elements such as the drum-build intro, the piano/bass riff, the repetitive coda, the “Good Day” theme itself.

 

“Harry Braff” – The Bee Gees
Horizontal; Recorded April 1967
This virtually “samples” the piano/bass build from the intro, and then uses it as the basis for the verses. As the song develops it rocks harder than “Good Day” ever does, but it has the key chorus vocals (“Good-bye” instead of “Good Day”) and the dropped beats in the chorus. Plus soaring bass fills, overlapping vocals and the Eastern-tinged vocal trills which pervade so many of the songs on Revolver. Everyone’s crying (out) for Harry Braff: he sounds like a regular David Watts.

 

“Hello Hello” - Sopwith Camel
Single; December 1966
When the term “Psychedelia” expanded to include Vaudeville and Music Hall, you knew the end couldn’t be far off. These guys shared a producer (Erik Jacobsen) with the Lovin’ Spoonful, so perhaps not coincidentally, their sound is Spoonful-redux; and to tell the truth, this song may actually be more “Daydream” than “Good Day Sunshine.” (Paul McCartney has also described how “Good Day Sunshine” itself was his rewrite of “Daydream,” so obviously there’s a lot of back and forth among going on here.)

While “What A Day” and “Harry Braff” take their cue from “Good Day’s” chorus, “Hello Hello” is more reminiscent of its verse and piano break. However, Nandi Devam (aka Terry MacNeil, the Camel’s piano player), has pointed out that the intro was a lift from Chet Atkins’ “Trambone,” as interpreted on piano instead of guitar. (Neil Young would use the same piece of music much later in his “Winterlong,” for what that’s worth.) So this could well be as much Atkins/Sebastian as Lennon/McCartney. But it did come out just a few months after Revolver, so they’re not off the hook.

 

“Mellow Yellow” – Donovan
Single, October 1966
This might just as logically be placed under “Yellow Submarine”; it’s another song of the same color, it has a party in the middle, and it too has both Donovan and Paul as vocalists. But “Yellow Submarine” is a rollicking march, while “Good Day” and “Mellow Yellow” are much more...well, mellow. More specifically, there’s a similarity to “Good Day’s” chorus that’s apparent, especially in “Mellow Yellow’s” instrumental section; in the descending melody line and “jumped beat” of the horns. (At about the 2:10 mark.)

Given Donovan’s insider position with the Beatles, he had probably been familiar with “Good Day Sunshine” ever since it was recorded in June -- just a few months earlier.

 

And Your Bird Can Sing:

“My Kind of Love” – Buffalo Springfield
Unreleased; January 1967
The Springfield’s variation of the guitar riff from “Bird,” but instead of tandem guitars in harmony, it’s one frenetic lead, which sounds like it may have been recorded at a slower speed and sped up on playback -- another trick the Beatles taught everyone. (However, Neil did have a pretty wild pickin’ hand back then, so you never know.)  Underneath the solo is the same basic chord progression as “Bird,” and the lyric is similar as well in its subject and rhythm -- kind of a vocal outpouring. The song also ends on the same unresolved chord – you half expect to hear Paul’s little bass ‘ellipsis’ as it fades.

 

“Oh, Carol I’m So Sad” – Rockin’ Horse
Yes It Is; 1971
One of the iconic aspects of Revolver is the guitar sound. The EMI techs had just created “Artificial Double Tracking,” an electronic process which, as the name implies, replicated the effect of a double-tracked vocal or instrument. Lead vocals had been double tracked on pop songs ever since multi-track recording first made it possible a few years earlier, but that always had to be done “manually,” by having the singer repeat the performance -- a tedious and exacting process. (On Day Tripper, you can hear how the Beatles manually double tracked the lead guitars, which occasionally drop out of the mix.) With ADT, or what’s called “chorusing” now, they no longer had to waste a track on double tracking (they only had 4 back then); they could simply apply the effect to the track during mixdown. And since it was so easy to do, they started applying it to everything. On Revolver the guitars have a kind of ringing, shimmering sound to them, which is the effect that ADT has.* (It’s actually probably most apparent on “She Said She Said.”)

Unlike the other songs mentioned in this group, this Jimmy Campbell song doesn’t have an “And Your Bird”-style guitar lick, but it does have the ringing Revolver guitar sound down. It also has the same drive and rhythmic feel, complete with Lennon-esque change of tempo at the end of each verse. And of course, Jimmy’s John-like vocal delivery.

* Just to note: We’re not talking about the riff of “And Your Bird” here; that’s double tracking (in harmony) of the manual kind. In fact, Joe Walsh once described how, as a kid, he taught himself -- with extreme difficulty -- to play the riff in harmony all by himself, and how, years later he met John, who explained to him that it was actually George and himself playing the two lines together simultaneously. D’oh!

 

“I Think I Know” – Vinyl Kings
A Little Trip; 2003
Here’s a proper variation of the riff, although the song itself seems to bear as much of a resemblance to Paul’s “Get Out of My Way.”  And then, to shake things up still further, there’s a kind of Abbey Road/Beach Boys thing going on at the end.  The members of this band are all pros who've been around and done it all, backing a lot of rock greats; now they’ve put together a couple of ace rock tribute albums (available at cdbaby.com). “A Little Trip,” their Beatles homage, deftly touches all the bases.

 

“Time Will Tell On You” - The Rock Club
Yellow Pills, Vol. 3; 1995
This song is modeled more on the Byrds and the Searchers than the Beatles, but it likewise has a reworking of the “Bird” guitar riff. This is another from Yellow Pills Vol. 3; however, that disc doesn’t tell us much about the band, so I really have nothing to offer in that regard.


For No One:

“Wonderful” - The Beach Boys
"Smile" Recording Sessions; August 25, 1966
“For No One” is based on a kind of “baroque” piano motif consisting of a single note followed by a little triplet. (Daaa-dit-dit-dit. “B” in Morse Code, for the cryptically-minded.)  Same thing applies to the songs mentioned here. Interestingly, many of them are quite different from “For No One” in their melodies and chord patterns, but the keyboard motif is always unmistakeable.

Brian Wilson’s music always seemed to come from his own home planet -- and as often as not, he set the pace for the Beatles anyway -- but we’re just a few weeks after Revolver is released here, and Brian’s recording his own variation of a “baroque” keyboard theme.

 

“A Rose For Emily” – The Zombies
Odessey and Oracle; 1968
It’s common knowledge now that “Odessey and Oracle” is one of the great albums of the sixties -- pity that people didn’t realize it while the band was still around. It’s also common knowledge that the Zombies reworked the Beatles sound on more than one occasion, as here.

 

“The Soft Parade” - The Doors
The Soft Parade; July 1969
Another snippet from the Doors, during the first section of this “suite.” Another harpsichord -- same baroque motif.

 

“Sea” - Justin Heathcliff
Justin Heathcliff; 1971
The Japanese band with the English sound and English sounding name. Did we mention that?

 

“Our House” – CSN&Y
Deja Vu; 1970
CSN&Y, the 1970 edition of “the American Beatles,” with Graham Nash as the all-important English connection. The piano track here is a virtual ringer for “No One”; but with trademark CSNY harmonies in lieu of French Horn.  Lyrically, it’s the very picture of domesticity -- i.e. “A love that should have lasted years” -- before the acrimony sets in; I think the relationship on which this song was based was over before Déjà Vu was even released.

 

“When Tomorrow Comes” – The Redcoats
Meet The Redcoats! Finally; 1966/2001
The vocal is all John, but the rest is all Paul. The “you won’t miss her” and “you don’t need her” lines put it squarely in this slot.


Dr. Robert:

“I Call My Woman Hinges” – Steve & The Board
Steve & The Board And The Giggle Eyed Goo; Single; June 1966
“...’cause she’s something to adore.” Fa-dum bum. Several members of this Australian band had or would go on to have other notable showbiz credentials: Guitarist Carl Keats who wrote much of their material, would later write Status Quo’s hit “Down The Dustpipe”; Colin Peterson had been a child star on Australian TV and would go on to join the Bee Gees; and (Chairman) Steve Kipner would have a career on the ‘70s and ‘80s L.A. music scene as a performer, producer and writer, penning fellow-Australian Olivia Newton-John’s “Lets Get Physical.” More significantly for our purposes, however, he was the son of Nat Kipner, an American expatriate who’d been living in Australia since the ‘50s, and who had become a producer-songwriter-entrepreneur on the Sydney music scene during the early days of rock’n’roll. Among other things, he created the Spin Records label just in time to nab the Bee Gees and produce their first big hit, “Spicks And Specks.” (Nat also produced much of the other early Bee Gees’ Beatles-flavored material we discuss in this book, such as “Where Are You”; “Tint of Blue” etc.)

In early 1966 Nat made friends with a bloke who’d just opened a small recording studio in Sydney called St. Clair, which for its one year existence became essentially synonymous with Spin Records. Steve & The Board were the first artists to record there, and the Bee Gees virtually took up permanent residence. (See www.hurstville.nsw.gov.au/beegees/index.htm for more about the studio and Nat Kipner.)

Now, back to “I Call My Woman Hinges”; the verse is a kind of juiced up bossa nova (think the Kinks’ “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy”) befitting its novelty lyric, but in the tail of each verse it goes into a real “Dr. Robert” segment, with that distinctive Revolver guitar sound. At least, that's how it had seemed to my ears; but then I learned that this song was released in June of 1966 - more than a month before Revolver came out. Hmmm.

However, as we noted, Nat Kipner owned and ran Spin Records, and had great industry connections -- not just within Australia but around the world -- including some to Brian Epstein and EMI. Now, the Beatles had recorded “Dr. Robert” in April, and EMI did a mix of it in the middle of May for Capitol to release on the American album Yesterday...And Today, along with a couple of other “preview” tracks from the forthcoming Revolver album. Which creates just enough of a window of plausibility here. So a possible scenario would be that Nat got a hold of the early mix of “Dr. Robert,” and Steve and Karl Keats got a listen and...well, who, if they had the chance, wouldn’t nick something from a Beatles song that nobody else had heard yet? Never underestimate the power of nepotism.*

An Australian label (Ascension) put out a compilation of all of Steve & The Board’s material just a couple of years ago, but it already seems pretty hard to find; I had to dig it up on the Giggle Eyed Google.

* Now, the slender thread from which this entire discussion hangs is whether or not you agree with me that the guitar actually sounds like Revolver in general and "Dr. Robert" in particular. See how the subjective aspect of aesthetics always gives me an "out"?

 

“You’re Against” – The D-Coys
Single; September 1966
Here are those Revolver guitars again, and there’s a similarity in the riff as well. The D-Coys were products of the Adelaide rock scene, which also gave us the Twilights and the Masters' Apprentices. (It was all those British immigrants Adelaide had in the ‘50s. Refer to the Kink’s Arthur again for more on that.) Research shows that the D-Coys performed this song on the Go! Show (an Australian pop television program patterned after England’s Ready Steady Go!) on September 19, 1966 -- 6 weeks after Revolver came out. (Although, as we noted, “Dr. Robert” had also been released on Yesterday...And Today in early June, so there’s even more possible wiggle room.)

The D-Coys left just a few singles as their recorded legacy, some of which have shown up on collections on the Raven label.

 

 

I Want To Tell You:

“Time To Fly” – Status Quo
Unreleased; 1971
This is a groove based on the “I Want To Tell You” riff, with the same three chord pattern, stretched out to twice the length -- and in case you don’t pick up on it, they go ahead and quote the riff directly at the end of the song. Apparently it’s just too much fun to resist.

“Time To Fly” was an unreleased recording which first came out on the LP Fresh Quota in 1981, but the song dates from earlier than that; it’s now available on the CD re-release of the Dog of Two Head album originally released in 1971, so that would appear to be the time frame.

 

“Spent a Week With You Last Night” – The Records
Crashes; 1980
The Records put out 3 albums in the ‘80s, and mainmen Will Birch (www.willbirch.com) and John Wicks (www.johnwicksandtherecords.com) are still going at it these days, with new projects and old (www.therecords.com).

As for this song, it switches those three chords around, but there’s no mistaking the ghost of George’s classic riff.

 

“Sunny Day” – Jeremy
Open Your Heart; 1987
The inimitable, prolific Jeremy (Morris), mastermind of Jam records (www.jamrecordings.com), purveyor of fine powerpop. In addition to I Want To Tell You’s pounding rhythm, this features the Indian-style vocal intonations that were characteristic of many of the songs on Revolver.

 

“Only A Memory” - The Smithereens
Green Thoughts; 1988
This rearranges those three chords just as the Records song did (and puts them to a straight 4/4 beat, too), but you can’t hide a great riff.

 

Got To Get You Into My Life:

“We Had a Good Thing Goin'” – The Cyrkle
Single; March 1967
The blueprint for “Got To Get You Into My Life” includes the big beat, with insistent one-note bass, and the brass section with Spartacus-style fanfare to kick it off. Those elements are in this Neil Sedaka song, although heavily disguised -- lots of key changes and varispeed effects. And while the intro fanfare is there, it’s done with clarinets; more Donald Duck than Spartacus. The lyric in the coda hints at the connection as well; “Got to get that good thing goin’,” as it were.

 

“Open Doors” – John Fred & His Playboy Band
Love My Soul; 1969
John Fred is an obvious candidate to have done a rewrite for this, since his big brass soul band would almost seem to have been assembled for the very purpose. And, good man, he didn’t let us down. Big beat, great big opening horn riff and a brief guitar build a la George’s solo. It works a similar subject matter as well: John Lennon told us that “Got To Get You” came out of Paul’s mind-expanding LSD experience, and this continues in the same lyrical -- if not necessarily pharmaceutical -- vein.

 

“Is There Anyone There?” – The Direct Hits
The House of Secrets; 1986
The Tangerine Records compilation of the Direct Hits material didn't include this song, and they never got around to doing a Volume Two. So I suppose the only source for this is your usual rare-records outlet. Go forth and Google.

This time we have a big synth-horn intro -- it was 1986, after all.

 

Tomorrow Never Knows:

“I Hope You'll Like It 042” – The Shakers
Shakers For You; November 1966
The “ad lib” cough might be a little forced, but the song itself is a great piece of jazz raga.  The Shakers had come from a jazz background before discovering the Beatles, so their chops were good and their chordal knowledge extensive, as illustrated here.

042? Well, that's what it says.

 

“No One Receiving” – Brian Eno
Before And After Science; 1977
Boy, for someone who claims not to be a musician, Brian Eno really is a master of pop when he decides to do music you can listen to outside of airports. This gets good mileage from the mantra-like feel and D-C-D chord change that make up the foundation of “Tomorrow.”

 

“The Light That Shines In” – The Direct Hits
The House of Secrets; 1986
Backward drum loops and guitars, droning offbeat rhythm, tape effects, audience noises -- the whole shebang. And what would a pastiche of “Tomorrow” be without some cryptic, surreal philosophizing? “Don’t look at what you’re seeing.”

 

“Lost My Mind” - Matthew Sweet
100% Fun; 1995
Matthew Sweet, well-known ‘60s-pop channeler and member of Austin Powers’ “Ming Tea” -- who really do owe us a full album, by the way.

 

“Joe Public” – The Rutles
Archaeology; 1996
Typical in(nes)-version of the subject matter; “Tomorrow Never Knows” quotes Eastern philosophy (from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) so naturally Neil espouses the Western “Everyman's” philosophy:  “I put my faith in the powers that be.”  Same thing really, I suppose.

 

“Big Sea” – The Gurus
All The Children Sing; 2002
The Gurus are another band from the crop of Beatle-esque powerpoppers coming out of Spain these days; they’re available from Jam Records and Not Lame. All the necessary musical elements here, including screeching seagulls, but with enough power to actually reach the cheap seats in Che Stadium.