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There were a bunch of brass musicians in EMI Studios today to work on “Got to Get You into My Life” (by which I mean that they played brass instruments, not that they were made out of brass).

When “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” came up on the shuffle machine the other day, it struck me that Paul never sounds whiter than when he tries to co-opt some form of black music. I would never have known that “Ob-La-Di” was supposed to sound Jamaican if I hadn’t read it somewhere; in Paul’s hands it’s more like polka. Charming polka, to be sure; but still.

Likewise, I think “Got to Get You into My Life” is supposed to be soul music, but it doesn’t end up being that, exactly. It’s just too…chirpy. Paul’s Achilles heel was that while it seems he genuinely loved many forms of black music, he couldn’t do them successfully, and when he tried the results could be embarrassing. Conversely, though, many artists have done very soulful cover versions of Paul’s songs. Marvin Gaye’s version of “Yesterday” gives me shivers; let’s have a listen to that maybe.

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