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Old Sep 14, 2007, 02:45 AM   #1
taxman
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Default Paperback Writer “disappointed” in 1966

The Best Of The Beatles Book has an interesting article on how Paperback Writer was not very well received both by critics and fans back in 1966:




I like Paperback Writer, it certainly was different from what the Beatles were doing at the time, but that's what Beatles is all about, always seeking new directions. And the last paragraph says it all!
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 03:58 AM   #2
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Very interesting!

I might consider Day Tripper and Paperback Writer as a bit weaker single songs that count only because they are Beatles songs. I am not quite sure about this but I think in Sweden "Rain" was promoted as the A-side of the single.

The substance of Paperback Writer is the rocking bass that were put through an amplifier before a mic. The lyrics aren't anything too brilliant except for that it states "I need a chance" which was true.

The Beatles was going off in 1966, which people today even hardly bother to consider because of Revolver album, but the other bands had become more popular than the Beatles. The Beatles was probably losing all the screaming fans with their new way.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 05:34 AM   #3
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NO WAY! PW is one of my faves!
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 05:36 AM   #4
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I love Rain more than Paperback Writer, but then I do like Paperback Writer a lot. It's one of my favs of Paul's. Somebody must have liked it because it's included on every 'hits' collection that's been put out. And um okay, does a song need to have romance to be good?
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 08:11 AM   #5
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I read in a book that "Paperback Writer" wasn't well-received at the time. The guitar work was considered to be a mere rehash of "Day Tripper". "Rain" was, is, considered to be more creative and deeper.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 11:03 AM   #6
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PW and especially Rain represent a huge departure for the band from their pre 1966 material. It's not too difficult to imagine these tracks being viewed as a "disappointment" by mainstream fans at the time of their release. In 2007, we see the band through the prism of their post PW material, but in the spring of 1966, no one knew what was to come next (in rock in general or the Beatles in particular), so I can see how the the single COULD have been a sign the band was fading, or at the least becoming less commercial.
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Old Sep 14, 2007, 11:17 PM   #7
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It's interesting to see how the songs were viewed upon back then. It was a depature from their normal style, for some perhaps to much so. We might see it diferently today viewing them both as among the best the Beatles did, but back then it was a different experience.

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Originally Posted by portcreditdave View Post
PW and especially Rain represent a huge departure for the band from their pre 1966 material. It's not too difficult to imagine these tracks being viewed as a "disappointment" by mainstream fans at the time of their release. In 2007, we see the band through the prism of their post PW material, but in the spring of 1966, no one knew what was to come next (in rock in general or the Beatles in particular), so I can see how the the single COULD have been a sign the band was fading, or at the least becoming less commercial.

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Old Sep 14, 2007, 11:30 PM   #8
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Well I was there at the time when it was released and I received it pretty good and do not recall any bad reviews at the time. Does anyone remember the reference to Last Train To Clarcksville?
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 12:50 AM   #9
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I remember people being surprised and intrigued but not hostile.It wasn't a huge hit but it made number one (unlike Strawberry Fields!).
On Juke Box Jury I think it was Petula Clarke who said that when the she heard it for the first time she was in her car and it was so different that she had to stop the car so she could really listen.
In a way she was saying that people were beginning to realise that the Beatles were doing something that no other group could do.They were so far ahead musically that everyone else was just running to catch up.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 01:06 AM   #10
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I don't believe that departure thing counts really because there had been such things on Rubber Soul already and they had received rather good welcome.

If a band who creates Revolver loses popularity to Doo Wah Diddy band then the reason is not in the band. SFF being "only" number two and Shea Stadium filling "pathetic" 40,000 are about the same phenomenon.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 02:56 AM   #11
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Paperback Writer had a radically different sound (greatly due to the upfront bass and the echo) unlike Rubber Soul which was fairly laid back.
Revolver, of course, had not yet been recorded.
And in any case we're talking more singles here than albums.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 05:51 AM   #12
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OK I can see that but if you talk 'singles', was there a 'new sound' in Paperback Writer compared to "Day Tripper" which came before that?
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 06:07 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FPSHOT View Post
OK I can see that but if you talk 'singles', was there a 'new sound' in Paperback Writer compared to "Day Tripper" which came before that?
Not really.

Mybe we can consider the bass line in PW prominently driving the melody, which was very unique for the times.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 06:11 AM   #14
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as in Day Tripper?

I do agree to what you say btw.. the way Paul played bass in a 'rock' band doing melody lines was at that time unique.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 06:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
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OK I can see that but if you talk 'singles', was there a 'new sound' in Paperback Writer compared to "Day Tripper" which came before that?
I think you should ask Geoff Emerick!
To my ears Day Tripper is lead guitar based, mainly a riff song in the tradition of I Feel Fine with a vocal guitar climax.
Paperback is vocal based with unheard of bass lines.For me it's the first song they couldn't really do live on stage.And it doesn't even have a guitar solo or a solo of any kind.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 06:46 AM   #16
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I don't think that too many of the masses would pick up on the uniqueness of the bass lines in the over all sound. We are students of the music so our opinions don't speak as true to the opinions of the masses of the day.

The sounds of Day Tripper and Paperback coming out of most people's crappy transistor radio, AM car radio, or kitchen table radio, could easily be heard in a similar way.

I totally agree that the bass of PW is used very differently than in DT.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 07:28 AM   #17
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They did all those songs on stage. "Nowhere Man" was very similar with the harmony part but they did that on stage as well. No problemo with Day Trip and Feel Fine. Nowhere Man had also been a single in USA. And that is the first song that was not a love song.
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Old Sep 15, 2007, 08:04 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Nowhere Man had also been a single in USA. And that is the first song that was not a love song.
The article is referring to the situation in the UK, so in their home country it was the first single not to be about a woman.
In any case I think the American press wouldn't criticise the Beatles at that time as much as the British press would.
But, as I've already said, Paperback Writer was not the moment that the fabs fell on their faces.For that we had to wait for the Magical Mystery TV film.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 07:36 PM   #19
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Apart from the bass parts which as kmac says, we here now study on more than the average fan probably did in 1966 - I sure didn't - Paperback Writer was a different song that for instance what was on Help, the album, the original UK one. And yes the UK press was following The Beatles a bit more and longer than the US press.

The article we talk about here says that the fans could not dance to the song as to the previous ones, well that can do with a giggle I think. And yeah the commercial value compared to the love songs where the female audience could identify themselves with is different here, but that was the changing Beatles. They did do the song live btw.
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Old Sep 16, 2007, 11:50 PM   #20
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How many people at the Shea Stadium audience knew about bass guitars anyway. Or amplifiers?
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