Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Originally appeared in the June 1999 issue of the ABA Journal.

Harmless Error - A Truly Minority View on the Law

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:

Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

“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.

Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite

“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.”

Fixing A Hole

“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.”

A Day In the Life

“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.
Oh boy!
A wrongful death case. Victim didn’t notice that the lights had changed.
Eyewitnesses: A crowd of people stood and stared.
Economic damages: Victim may or may not be from House of Lords. Nobody is really sure.
I read the news today.
Oh boy!
Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire. The mother of all products liability cases.
Note to self: Will need expert witness. Holes are very small. Have to count them all.

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 . . .

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Andrew Jay McClurg is a law professor whose teaching and research interests include tort law, products liability, legal education, privacy law and firearms policy. He holds the Herbert Herff Chair of Excellence in Law at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law.
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