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Yer Blues: The Story Behind The Song | uDiscover

Yer Blues: The Story Behind The Song | uDiscover

Yer Blues: The Story Behind The Song | uDiscover
October 31
11:42 2018

“While we were recording ‘The White Album’, we ended up being more of a band again,” Ringo Starr would reflect, “and that’s what I always love. I love being in a band.” Increasingly over the previous few albums, The Beatles’ recordings had been crafted, layer upon layer of sound painstakingly assembled, rather than performed live in the studio as their earliest records had been. But for “The White Album”, they consciously set out to return to playing the songs as a band, getting closer and closer musically – and, in the case of John Lennon’s ‘Yer Blues’, physically.

By their own admission, The Beatles had started out playing heavy rock. “But when it was put down on the early records, there was never enough bass in it, the guitar solo never came through, because we didn’t know about recording then,” John explained shortly after “The White Album”’s release. “We sounded more like us on this record. We rid ourselves of the self-consciousness bit, so we were doing what we were doing earlier on, but with a better knowledge of the technique of recording. Quite a few of the tracks are just straight takes of us playing.”

“Trying to reach God and feeling suicidal”

‘Yer Blues’ is one of the many “White Album” songs written in India in spring 1968. And while their stay there was an exercise in serenity for many, John was going through something of personal crisis. His marriage to Cynthia was drawing to a close, and his relationship with Yoko Ono was just on the cusp: “The funny thing about the 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. Up there trying to reach God and feeling suicidal.”

The Esher demo of ‘Yer Blues’, recorded shortly after The Beatles all regrouped back in England, offers no warning of the ferociousness that would overtake the song by the time it was complete, with acoustic guitars playing traditional blues licks.

Stylistically, ‘Yer Blues’ could be seen as either a nod to, or a parody of, the current boom of heavy blues bands, such as Cream, Big Brother And The Holding Company and Canned Heat. John’s clever lyrical twists, however, lifted it well beyond pastiche. For example, rather than use the old blues cliché “Black cat crossed my path”, John sang, “Black cloud crossed my mind,” continuing, “Blue mist round my soul/Feel so suicidal/Even hate my rock’n’roll.” This was as dark and heavy a song as any in The Beatles’ catalogue, and demanded an intensity of performance to match.

“We liked being in close contact with each other”

Engineer Ken Scott recalls how, during a session for the then unreleased George Harrison song ‘Not Guilty’, he joked with John about how The Beatles were always trying to find new ways to affect their sound: “Originally with EMI they only had two four-tracks. These particular four-tracks were really large, so they kept them in two small rooms, both next door to Number Two control room… So I stood up next to John, and as a joke, I said, ‘God, the way you guys are going, you’re gonna want to record in there now,’ pointing to one of these two rooms. John just sort of looked over there and didn’t say anything. A little later on we were gonna start a new song called ‘Yer Blues’, and John turns around and says, ‘I wanna record it in there,’ and he points to the room I’d been joking about. We had to fit them into this ridiculously small room. If one of them had suddenly swung his guitar around, he would’ve hit someone in the head.”

Capturing the song across 13, 14 and 20 September 1968, The Beatles hoped that playing in such a confined space would help recreate the feel of the stage at the Cavern in Liverpool. “We liked being in close contact with each other,” said Paul. “We felt it added to the power of our music, and it did.”

And how. Scott was surprised by how much separation they managed to achieve in such a cramped space, simply by turning the amplifiers to face the wall. Paul’s bass is throbbing and heavy, Ringo’s drums sound as meaty as anywhere on the album, the guitars howl on the verge of feeding back, and John’s vocal is as torn up as any of his wildest rock’n’roll performances. So pleased with the outcome was John that it was one of two numbers he performed with The Dirty Mac at The Rolling Stones’ Rock’n’Roll Circus in December, playing it again in September 1969 at the Toronto Rock And Roll Revival festival.

The super deluxe edition of The Beatles’ “White Album” will be released on 9 November. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and pre-order the box set here.

Listen-Buy

The BEATLES (‘White Album’) releases include:

Super Deluxe: The comprehensive, individually numbered 7-disc and digital audio collections feature:

CDs 1 & 2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix

CD3: Esher Demos

– Esher Demo tracks 1 through 19 sequenced in order of the finished song’s placement on ‘The White Album.’ Tracks 20-27 were not included on the album.

CDs 4, 5 & 6: Sessions

– 50 additional recordings, most previously unreleased, from ‘White Album’ studio sessions; all newly mixed from the four-track and eight-track session tapes, sequenced in order of their recording start dates.

Blu-ray:

– 2018 album mix in high resolution PCM stereo

– 2018 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 album mix

– 2018 Dolby True HD 5.1 album mix

– 2018 direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix

Deluxe: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix + Esher Demos

The 3CD; 180-gram 4LP vinyl box set (limited edition); and digital audio collections pair the 2018 stereo album mix with the 27 Esher Demos.

Standard 2LP Vinyl: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo mix

180-gram 2LP vinyl in gatefold sleeve with faithfully replicated original artwork

Super Deluxe [6CD+1Blu-ray set / digital audio collection]

CD1: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

Back in the U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Wild Honey Pie
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness is a Warm Gun
Martha My Dear
I’m so tired
Blackbird
Piggies
Rocky Raccoon
Don’t Pass Me By
Why don’t we do it in the road?
I Will
Julia

CD2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

Birthday
Yer Blues
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Sexy Sadie
Helter Skelter
Long, Long, Long
Revolution 1
Honey Pie
Savoy Truffle
Cry Baby Cry
Revolution 9
Good Night

CD3: Esher Demos

Back in the U.S.S.R.
Dear Prudence
Glass Onion
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Happiness is a Warm Gun
I’m so tired
Blackbird
Piggies
Rocky Raccoon
Julia
Yer Blues
Mother Nature’s Son
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey
Sexy Sadie
Revolution
Honey Pie
Cry Baby Cry
Sour Milk Sea
Junk
Child of Nature
Circles
Mean Mr. Mustard
Polythene Pam
Not Guilty
What’s the New Mary Jane

CD4: Sessions

Revolution 1 (Take 18)
A Beginning (Take 4) / Don’t Pass Me By (Take 7)
Blackbird (Take 28)
Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (Unnumbered rehearsal)
Good Night (Unnumbered rehearsal)
Good Night (Take 10 with a guitar part from Take 5)
Good Night (Take 22)
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (Take 3)
Revolution (Unnumbered rehearsal)
Revolution (Take 14 – Instrumental backing track)
Cry Baby Cry (Unnumbered rehearsal)
Helter Skelter (First version – Take 2)

CD5: Sessions

Sexy Sadie (Take 3)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Acoustic version – Take 2)
Hey Jude (Take 1)
St. Louis Blues (Studio jam)
Not Guilty (Take 102)
Mother Nature’s Son (Take 15)
Yer Blues (Take 5 with guide vocal)
What’s the New Mary Jane (Take 1)
Rocky Raccoon (Take 8)
Back in the U.S.S.R. (Take 5 – Instrumental backing track)
Dear Prudence (Vocal, guitar & drums)
Let It Be (Unnumbered rehearsal)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Third version – Take 27)
(You’re so Square) Baby, I Don’t Care (Studio jam)
Helter Skelter (Second version – Take 17)
Glass Onion (Take 10)

CD6: Sessions

I Will (Take 13)
Blue Moon (Studio jam)
I Will (Take 29)
Step Inside Love (Studio jam)
Los Paranoias (Studio jam)
Can You Take Me Back? (Take 1)
Birthday (Take 2 – Instrumental backing track)
Piggies (Take 12 – Instrumental backing track)
Happiness is a Warm Gun (Take 19)
Honey Pie (Instrumental backing track)
Savoy Truffle (Instrumental backing track)
Martha My Dear (Without brass and strings)
Long, Long, Long (Take 44)
I’m so tired (Take 7)
I’m so tired (Take 14)
The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill (Take 2)
Why don’t we do it in the road? (Take 5)
Julia (Two rehearsals)
The Inner Light (Take 6 – Instrumental backing track)
Lady Madonna (Take 2 – Piano and drums)
Lady Madonna (Backing vocals from take 3)Across the Universe (Take 6)

Blu-ray: The BEATLES (‘White Album’)

Audio Features:

: PCM Stereo (2018 Stereo Mix)

: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (2018)

: Dolby True HD 5.1 (2018)

: Mono (2018 Direct Transfer of ‘The White Album’ Original Mono Mix)

Deluxe [3CD digipak / 180-gram 4LP vinyl box set (limited edition) / digital audio collection]

The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

Esher Demos

Standard 2LP Vinyl [180-gram]

The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 Stereo Mix

Explore our The Beatles Artist Page.

Source: Yer Blues: The Story Behind The Song | uDiscover

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Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

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