Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beatles – "Good Night" (1968)

Now the sun turns out his light
Good night, sleep tight

I was mildly excited to learn a couple of weeks ago that SiriusXM satellite radio was adding “The Beatles Channel” to its lineup.  

I gave “The Beatles Channel” a shot before I gave up on it.  Actually, I gave it several shots.  But the dross-to-gold ratio is unacceptably high.

“The Beatles Channel” is a misnomer.  The music on that channel includes a lot of non-Beatles stuff.  (The Beatles released only 12 studio albums.  That’s not a lot of content when you’re a satellite radio company and you’ve got 24 hours of programming a day to fill.)

There are a fair number of covers of Beatles songs on “The Beatles Channel” – like Regina Spektor’s cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

There are also a fair number of Beatles covers of songs by other artists – like their forgettable 1964 cover of Carl Perkins’s forgettable 1957 record, “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby.”

“The Beatles Channel” also plays the original recordings of some of the songs the Beatles covered – like Buddy Holly’s 1958 recording of “Crying, Waiting, Hoping.” 

It seemed like about every third song on “The Beatles Channel” was a live Paul McCartney recording of a non-Beatles song.  (I’m guessing that SiriusXM must have been able to negotiate some rock-bottom royalty payments for the McCartney solo catalog.)

There were also a fair number of John Lennon songs.  The typical McCartney solo song is pretty bad, but the typical Lennon solo recording is worse – especially when he teams up with Yoko Ono.

As Exhibit A, the prosecution would like to offer into evidence Lennon’s 1980 recording, “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” which was written for John and Yoko’s son, Sean.  

(That song contains a famous John Lennon quote: “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”  It looks like Lennon “borrowed” that line – perhaps from a 1957 issue of Reader’s Digest.)

“The Beatles Channel” also programs plenty of miscellaneous gasbaggery – call-in shows, recorded interviews with celebrities or self-proclaimed Beatles experts, etc., etc.  For example, the first day’s programming featured Larry King yakking about meeting Paul McCartney backstage before one of Sir Paul’s Las Vegas appearances.  (Would you believe me if I told you that interview was more about Larry King than it was about Paul McCartney?)

When “The Beatles Channel” finally gets around to playing an actual Beatles record, the odds are that it will not be a good one.

Let's face it.  The Beatles recorded a number of great songs, but they also put out a lot of crap.

To wit: 

*     *     *     *     *

John Lennon had two sons by two different mothers, and he wrote both of them a lullaby.

The less said about “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)” – which was inspired by his younger son Sean (whose mother was Yoko Ono) and which I mentioned above – the better.

I second that emotion for “Good Night,” which was written for his elder son, Julian, whose mother Cynthia was pregnant when John married her in 1962.  

John said shortly before his death that he didn’t love Julian any less because he wasn’t a planned child: 

He’s still my son, whether he came from a bottle of whiskey or because they didn't have pills in those days.

That's nice.

*     *     *     *     *

“Good Night” is the last song on The Beatles, the two-record album that is better known as the “White Album.”  When I heard it the first day that “The Beatles Channel” was on the air, I did not recognize it – I don’t remember ever hearing it before.

Since everyone I knew in college owned a copy of the “White Album,” that’s hard to explain.  

The only Beatle who had anything to do with the recording of “Good Night” was Ringo Starr, who sings the song’s clichéd lyrics over a lush orchestral arrangement.  (God only knows why John asked Ringo to sing a lullaby written for his child rather than singing it himself.)

One versatile musician and Beatles aficionado of my acquaintance told me that “Good Night” is widely regarded as the worst of all Beatles songs.

To that, I reply “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Yellow Submarine,” and – last and almost certainly least – “When I’m Sixty-Four.”  Which is not to say that “Good Night” isn’t a very bad song.

The Beatles’ army of copyright lawyers has managed to keep even a mediocrity like “Good Night” off Youtube.  So i'm not able to share it with you.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

No comments:

Post a Comment