Originally appeared in the June 1999 issue of the ABA Journal.
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah
BY ANDREW J. McCLURG
Some people blamed Yoko Ono for the Beatles’ breakup, but now comes the discovery that the demise of the Fab Four was rooted in a bizarre artistic dispute over the recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
John Lennon had a keen interest in legal matters, particularly those involving searches and seizures. His various legal run-ins gave him the idea to record a concept album about—you won’t believe this—the law. Unfortunately, the other moptops hated the idea. They rejected his proposed title of Sgt. Pepper & Associates, Limited Liability Partnership: If this Record Doesn’t Hit Number One, You Don’t Owe Us a Dime.
That was the beginning of the end. John was bitterly disappointed as he watched his idea being dismantled night after night during those famous recording sessions at Abbey Road. For the first time ever, here in John’s own words that I made up, are his original psychelegadelic versions of some of the greatest songs in rock history:
“Rumor had it this was some kind of drug song, but that wasn’t it at all. I wrote it about an admiralty case. Lucy was the name of a barge. The first verse went like this (strumming guitar):
Picture yourself in a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies, suddenly a submerged log rips through the hull, the navigable waters grow incredibly high.
It’s original title was Lucy Underwater With Multiple Liens and Judgments.“
“A negligence case, with a tricky charitable immunity issue included. For the benefit of Mr. Kite, the defendants staged a show one night—on trampolines of all things.”
“As if that wasn’t reckless enough, they induced plaintiff to jump over men and horses and, with conscious indifference to his welfare, through a hogshead of real fire. There weren’t even any warnings on the hogshead.”
“Paul wrote this one. He had this line going through his head (singing), I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in and I told him to add to keep my tenant from suing me. I wanted it to be a tale of landlord-tenant oppression. When Paul sang the chorus line, Where it will go-oh-oh-oh, I said ‘Paul, yer daft. Change it to Implied warranty of habitabilitee-ee-ee-ee’ but he wouldn’t have it.”
“My favorite cut on the LP because it stays fairly true to my original idea, which was to track the thoughts of a down and out personal injury lawyer who starts each morning searching the newspaper for clients. The first version went like this (reading lyrics):
I read the news today.
Lest anyone think I’m showing disrespect to the Fab Four, I feel obliged to point out: I love you Beatles, oh yes I do, I love you Beatles, I love you true . . .