Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Carry That Weight


Carry That Weight paulmccartney.filminspector.com
A photo that was taken during the Beatles' last session in 1969.



"Carry That Weight" is a Beatles song with a serious identity crisis. As the middle of the climactic medley on Side 2 of "Abbey Road," part of what some consider to be the greatest burst of sustained music in rock history, "Carry That Weight" serves as a kind of grumbling bridge between the positive high points "Golden Slumbers" and "The End." "Carry That Weight," though, more than carries its weight, and it's a shame that it works as little more than a stanza in a larger masterpiece. This effect is magnified by the way "Carry That Weight" initially carries through the "lullaby" theme from the song that precedes it, "Golden Slumbers," by referring to a "pillow," and then radically transitions into the accepting "The End," which sort of answers the grumbles of "Carry That Weight" by saying be nice and carry on and everything will be all right after all.

Carry That Weight paulmccartney.filminspector.com


"Carry That Weight" is a distinctively a Beatles song in convincing fashion, and there's a reason for that. PaulMcCartney has said:
I'm generally quite upbeat but at certain times things get to me so much that I just can't be upbeat anymore and that was one of the times. We were taking so much acid and doing so much drugs and all this Klein [stuff] was going on and getting crazier and crazier and crazier. Carry that weight a long time: like forever! That's what I meant.
Allen Klein was in some ways the reason that the Beatles broke up, but that's another story. Referring to Klein reveals that this was a very personal song for Paul and not something that he dashed off about his sheepdog or made up as a riff on bluegrass or something like that.

Carry That Weight paulmccartney.filminspector.com
"Carry That Weight" is a deceptively simple song but packs a big punch.

The evocative lyrics stand up to any that Paul ever wrote, and it's a shame that they don't get more recognition. This was a man criticized only a few years ago for never using words of more than two syllables, and here Paul goes wild with fantastic connections that flow seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly.

Carry That Weight paulmccartney.filminspector.com


Given the obvious references to the Beatles struggles of the time, many listeners like to interpret the lyrics as providing insight into the Beatles themselves. "Funny paper," for instance, apparently is a reference to shares or bonds that Klein wanted to give the Beatles in exchange for certain rights. Paul, being advised by Linda's family, would have none of it despite John, George, and Ringo pressuring him to accept - thus the complaining nature of the song. What a tremendous theme for one of the last songs on the Beatles' last recorded album - it's almost like an explanation in advance for what was to come. It's just a shame that "Carry That Weight" feels awkward to hear it without the songs of the medley that surround it.


Carry That Weight paulmccartney.filminspector.com


You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down

I never give you my number
I only give you my situation
And in the middle of investigation
I break down

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money's gone, nowhere to go
Any jobber got the sack
Monday morning turning back
Yellow lorry slow nowhere to go
But oh, that magic
Feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling
Nowhere to go

I never give you my pillow
I only send you my invitation
And in the middle of the celebrations
I break down

Boy, you gotta carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time
Boy, you gonna carry that weight
Carry that weight a long time

You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations
You break down

The Beatles paulmccartney.filminspector.com

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