Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nowhere Man

Nowhere Man
"Nowhere Man" was the background music for a fabulous scene in "Yellow Submarine."

Nowhere Man

John Lennon wrote "Nowhere Man," which is a Beatles track on "Rubber Soul" and the "Yellow Submarine" soundtrack. Paul McCartney had little to do with writing or singing it (though McCartney does contribute brilliant harmonies). So, why include "Nowhere Man" in a website about Paul McCartney? Well, because Paul, being Paul, helped put "Nowhere Man" together behind the scenes. "Nowhere Man" was Lennon's "Yesterday" in that it came to him after he woke up and did not require a lot of effort. Sometimes, when you work hard, you get those little bonuses.

Nowhere Man

Anyway, regarding Paul's contribution, Paul has this to say about "Nowhere Man":
We were always forcing [the Abbey Road staff] into things they didn't want to do. Nowhere Man was one. I remember we wanted very treble-y guitars, which they are, they're among the most treble-y guitars I've ever heard on record. The engineer said, 'All right, I'll put full treble on it,' and we said, 'That's not enough', and he said, 'But that's all I've got, I've only got one pot and that's it!' And we replied, 'Well, put that through another lot of faders and put full treble up on that. And if that's not enough we'll go through another lot of faders'... 
Anyway, you'd then find, 'Oh, it worked!' And they were secretly glad because they had been the engineer who'd put three times the allowed value of treble on a song. I think they were quietly proud of all those things.
Anyone who listens to "Nowhere Man" recognizes its distinct sound. In effect, Paul was lending a hand as a producer behind the scenes even if he wasn't listed as such. Sure, John was just as intimately involved, perhaps more so, especially on his own songs. However, Paul did a lot of little things other than composing and singing that never get enough credit. Beatles tracks usually were not all the work of one man (at least until towards the end). Well, here Paul McCartney is getting his credit for work on "Nowhere Man."

Nowhere Man

Anyway, this was a hit for the Beatles, peaking a No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 chart and spending 9 weeks on the chart. "Nowhere Man" ranked 75th on Billboard's Year-End Hot 100 Singles of 1967 chart. It did even better elsewhere, going to No. 1 in Canada and Australia. However, strangely "Nowhere Man" was not even released in the United Kingdom. But, then, the calendar is only so long and they had plenty of other stuff to release there. "Nowhere Man" accompanied a brilliant scene in the "Yellow Submarine" film.

Yellow Submarine


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