Helter Skelter bass

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quasarwutwut
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Helter Skelter bass

Postby quasarwutwut » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:12 pm

I learned something last week that has completely blown my mind: apparently Lennon played bass on Helter Skelter. I am a huge Beatles fan and somehow I had never heard that and of course assumed that it was Paul. This probably doesn't matter to anyone else, but it totally fucks up my shit, because I've always used that song as my "Dude, people don't give him credit for it, but Paul ROCKS. Listen to the bass on Helter Skelter and tell me that isn't balls-to-wall playing. That guy could totally bring it when he needed to." NO! It was JOHN! Of Course John could bring it, John could always bring the angry rock to the Beatles! He had the edge! I thought Paul had the edge too! Goddamn it. I mean, I've heard Paul in solo years doing some fairly rocking stuff, but... Did he play bass on Glass Onion? That's a mean bass. sigh. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Helter Skelter, particularly to the bass, just thinking, "Man, in the context of the Beatles, this is sooooo heavy." But... I just don't know anymore. I was thinking about finding religion, but now... sigh. Forget it. It's all lies. Lies!

Next thing you're going to tell me is that Elton John didn't write the words to "Tiny Dancer".

Sugarcubes Forever
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Re: Helter Skelter bass

Postby Sugarcubes Forever » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:13 pm

quasarwutwut wrote:I learned something last week that has completely blown my mind: apparently Lennon played bass on Helter Skelter. I am a huge Beatles fan and somehow I had never heard that and of course assumed that it was Paul. This probably doesn't matter to anyone else, but it totally fucks up my shit, because I've always used that song as my "Dude, people don't give him credit for it, but Paul ROCKS. Listen to the bass on Helter Skelter and tell me that isn't balls-to-wall playing. That guy could totally bring it when he needed to." NO! It was JOHN! Of Course John could bring it, John could always bring the angry rock to the Beatles! He had the edge! I thought Paul had the edge too! Goddamn it. I mean, I've heard Paul in solo years doing some fairly rocking stuff, but... Did he play bass on Glass Onion? That's a mean bass. sigh. I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Helter Skelter, particularly to the bass, just thinking, "Man, in the context of the Beatles, this is sooooo heavy." But... I just don't know anymore. I was thinking about finding religion, but now... sigh. Forget it. It's all lies. Lies!

Next thing you're going to tell me is that Elton John didn't write the words to "Tiny Dancer".


Dude, they could BOTH "bring it."

And you've got to be so stoned posting that. Nice!

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Re: Helter Skelter bass

Postby Jake » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:40 am

quasarwutwut wrote:I learned something last week that has completely blown my mind: apparently Lennon played bass on Helter Skelter.

Says who?

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Postby DJMurphy » Wed Jan 20, 2010 1:32 am

There have to be 1,001 Beatle-obsessive books that do delineate who played what on which tracks, which could settle this argument.

...Too bad I don't own any of them. Either way you slice it, "Helter Skelter" was a high watermark for Sir Paul.

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Postby Jake » Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:16 am

Lewisohn confims. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, page 154:

All sorts of instruments were being bandied about. The end result -- take 21 and additional overdubs recorded the next day, 10 September -- was a song in which John played bass guitar and, of all things, a decidedly unskilled saxophone, Mal Evans played an equally amateurish trumpet, there were two lead guitars, heavy drums, a piano, built-in distortion and feedback, backing vocals from John and George, various mutterings and -- the icing on the cake -- a supremely raucous Paul McCartney lead vocal.

Wow. I knew John (or George) sometimes played bass on recordings ("Hey Jude") but this one surprises me. Nice work, John, you fucking monster.

For what it's worth, Ian MacDonald's Revolution in the Head (page 239) credits both John and Paul on bass.

quasarwutwut
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Re: Helter Skelter bass

Postby quasarwutwut » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:20 pm

Sugarcubes Forever wrote:Dude, they could BOTH "bring it."

And you've got to be so stoned posting that. Nice!

You're right, you're right. Paul rocks, no doubt about it. I just always held that as his most rockin' bass part, and it threw me for a loop when I found out it wasn't him. But it's his song, it's one of my favorite Beatles songs, so I take nothing away from Sir Paul. And, to be fair, he's not playing bass because he's playing guitar, and it's a mean guitar part. But I do sound stoned in that, don't I? I was at work late (again), so that's Sort of like being stoned... no, wait, it's nothing like being stoned. sigh.

And I learnt them facts from both The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and my favorite, Recording The Beatles. Both said it, so's I's believes it.

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Postby Jake » Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:38 pm

Wouldn't you kill to see footage of this recording session? I'd kill a fish or a bird or a frog without a second thought. Maybe even an ugly cat.

I wonder how many Beatles songs Paul doesn't play bass on... Will report back after a little googlation.

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Postby Jake » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:03 pm

Image

Beatles songs with George on bass:

Drive My Car
She Said She Said (probably)
Hey Jude (possibly)
Back In The USSR
Honey Pie
Old Brown Shoe (doubled with Paul)
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight
Two Of Us (on his Telecaster)

I'll see if I can find anymore when I'm home with my books.

Image

Jake
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Postby Jake » Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:32 pm

Image

John on bass (Fender Bass VI):

Helter Skelter
The Long and Winding Road (poorly)
Let It Be

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Re: Helter Skelter bass

Postby worpswede » Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:26 pm

quasarwutwut wrote:And I learnt them facts from both The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and my favorite, Recording The Beatles. Both said it, so's I's believes it.

I don't have Recording The Beatles. Is it any good? When I first read this post I was going to grab my copy of The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions and challenge it. I totally would have guessed it was Paul-particularly when the bass line reaches the upper frets on the final "When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide" part. That just sounded like such a Paul thing to play.


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