I recently had a nice comment from a lady who was trying to compliment me, I think: “That was a really interesting column. You should try to write interesting columns more often.” I agree with her, so here is my latest feeble attempt at reader approval..
The Beatles’ Day Tripper was about a “novice” drug user, one that wasn’t a serious user but a recreational one, hence a “day tripper.” This according to Paul and John, who should know. I often manage to get that song confused with “Ticket to Ride.” For Paul, Ryde, on the Isle of Wright, was his impetus for the song, where ladies of the night plied their trade. Guys would go to the island for a quickie visit of sorts and needed a ticket for the ferry. For John it was about the prostitutes in Hamburg, where the Beatles practiced their craft. The ladies had frequent doctor visits to get a clean bill of health. That was called a ticket. Next time you hear the song, this information will forever tarnish your puritanical images of the meaning of the lyrics.
The Who’s song “5:15” is not 5 minutes and 15 seconds long, although with a little tweak, it could have been. 5:15 refers to a train departure. The Beatles’ had a song, One After 909. Same thing, 909 was a train departure time according to Paul, or John’s explanation that 9 was his magic number. I’m not sure John really remembered much after all the drugs. .He did set out to confound the critics and professors of the day with “I Am The Walrus”. There were college professors deciphering Beatles’ lyrics and John thought he’d have a laugh on them. There is no meaning to the song.
Chicago’s (technically Chicago Transit Authority, but that is for another day) song, “Questions 67 and 68” does not mean he had at least 68 questions about his love relationship. 67 and 68 refer to the years 1967-8 when the relationship was budding. This is, perhaps, my favorite Chicago song, but they had many great ones.
Creedence Clearwater Revival, a San Fran band despite their Cajun sound and lyrics, wrote a song called “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” It’s not about rain, but contrary to any previous posts you have seen (maybe from me), it is about the pending breakup of the band due to depression. Money and fame aren’t enough it seems.
Led Zep’s rocking song, “D’yer Mak’er” is a play on the phrase “Did you make her” and “Jamaica.” It comes from this old joke: “My wife’s gone to the West Indies.” “Jamaica?” (or “did you make her?”). “No, she wanted to go.” The title is not in the song lyrics but was simply to convey the reggae feel of the song.
Alice Cooper’s “No More Mr. Nice Guy” was about his mother’s church after all. “When everybody rose, the Reverend Smith, He recognized me, And punched me in the nose, he said: No more Mister Nice Guy, No more Mister Clean,”
The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” is named after an Indian mystic and a music composer. It references the teenagers at Woodstock who were all wasted on drugs. The Who hated Woodstock and said it was the worst festival they ever did.The song was not a celebration of being wasted, but a critique of it.
Speaking of Indian influences, John wasn’t happy with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for allegedly making sexual advances on Mia Farrow. John’s stinging rebuke, renamed Sexy Sadie after George protested, is point on. It’s as early of a rebuke in rock of unwanted sexual advances as I can think of. John, however, was no saint in this regard.
If Walmart knew the theme of these songs, they’d never play them over the store speakers again: Love Shack by The B-52s, Pearl Necklace by ZZ Top, Summer of ‘69 by Bryan Adams, Tusk by Fleetwood Mac, Ticket To Ride by The Beatles, Lightnin’ Strikes by Lou Christie, All My Life by the Foo Fighters, (I Just) Died In Your Arms Tonight by Cutting Crew, Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel and, well the list is too long to detail, which is why Walmart doesn’t even bother. Otherwise you’d hear The Carpenters or Captain & Tennile all the time. Curious? Look them up. This is a family newspaper after all.