Beatles’ Worst Moment?

Overall, I wouldn’t rate this as their worst track.  I don’t much like the song, but it goes well enough until that cheesy organ break comes along.  That break might be their worst moment.  I went back to All The Songs to refresh myself on just what they were thinking.  Turns out George played a fast-vibrato guitar part that John liked but George Martin rejected as too edgy.  So Paul recorded an organ solo worthy of a déclassé 60’s supper club.  Was he being funny on purpose?  Were they just ready to be done with it so thought, “fuck it, it’s filler anyway,  leave it there and let’s move on?”  

Of course everyone, no matter how great, steps in it every now and then.  Beethoven wrote Wellington’s Victory, an embarrassing piece of garbage celebrating, as the name suggests, Napoleon’s defeat. He’d once been a fan of Napoleon, dedicating his explosively innovative 3rd symphony to him.  He later removed the dedication in disgust after Napoleon crowned himself emperor, and subsequently wanted to rub Napoleon’s nose in it after Waterloo.  Defensive and touchy about the work, Beethoven probably knew it was trash. It seems to me that such music (i.e. written for overtly political or moralistic  purposes) is usually garbage.  John Lennon’s preachy songs  come to mind.  But I’d love to hear what pops into your bastardly heads in the Great Artist/Shitty Work category.

7 Replies to “Beatles’ Worst Moment?”

  1. Slow work day sent me down the rabbit hole. You didn’t say if artist motivation should be a factor – contractual obligation, label fuck you, what-have-you, but these came to me first. Entire albums where indicated.

    Cut The Crap – The Clash
    “Mother” – The Police
    Metal Machine Music – Lou Reed
    “You Say France and I’ll Whistle” – Van Morrison
    “Revolution No. 9” – The Beatles
    “Who D’King” – Cheap Trick

      1. That’s the only way it makes sense. I actually remember hearing it for the first time, and my brother and I cracked up when the organ began.

    1. Great(?) choices. I was thinking of genuine fuck-ups, unintentional self-sabotage. I’d throw in the Kinks’ 70’s run of concept albums. It got to the point where Arista signed them with the agreement that they would reject any concept album. Thus beganneth their arena rock phase. And there was much rejoicing.

  2. I thought of directors and authors first.

    For great musicians, who write dozens or even hundreds of songs in their careers, somehow I don’t mind as much. I wish they’d leave the inferior product off the album, I guess. But I can always zip to the next song.
    GBV churns out musical chum units by the barrel but I don’t care because when Bob Pollard is on his game, I like him as much as anyone.

    I didn’t need to hear Revolution No. 9, or Horse Latitudes, or any Mike Love-heavy song in a band with the fucking Wilson brothers. Ebony and Ivory should be launched into the sun. I listened to the Top 40 every Sunday and it was No. 1 in the US for several weeks. This is a crime.

    But what really pisses me off is when a great director or writer blows it. There’s a wonderful passage in Silence of the Lambs

    “Nothing happened to me, Officer Starling. I happened. You can’t reduce me to a set of influences. You’ve given up good and evil for behaviorism. You’ve got everybody in moral dignity pants—nothing is ever anybody’s fault. Look at me, Officer Starling. Can you stand to say I’m evil?”

    Clarice is trying to place Hannibal under a familiar label or category. The idea that he just is, he’s just that way requires her to stretch her mind and preconceptions about humanity, behavior, agency. It’s awesome.

    Years later, Thomas Harris, the author, went back and wrote an entire book (Hannibal Rising) that does exactly what he says you can’t do: he reduces Hannibal to a set of influences. He writes a cookie-cutter psychological backstory. I was so mad, it felt like he was cheapening the incredible character he created. How could he not know better??

    There’s a little bit of an excuse, as the producer Dino de Laurentiis owned the film rights to Hannibal Lecter, and told Harris he would have someone else write the backstory if Harris wouldn’t do it. So it was under duress. Maybe it’s his analog to van Morrison’s Bang Records contractually obligated album.

  3. On almost every Dylan album there’s a dumbass song that I skip over. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts? I lost the plot. Rainy Day Women #12&35? I will never be stoned enough to listen to that song again as anything other than a novelty song. If Dogs Run Free? Scooby Dee Doo Doo. There’s an album just called Dylan that Columbia released to be dicks because he went to Asylum for a bit that’s pretty egregious, but most of it was never meant to see the light of day. I actually like Self Portrait, though.

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