With the whole world enthralled by Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles seemingly had no desire to do anything other than fuck around. Today that took the form of another recording session — the second of many — devoted to “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” the great shaggy dog of Beatles songs.

As I’ve said before, it’s important to have fun at work, even if your work is something that most people would consider fun. As Hunter Thompson put it,

Nothing is fun when you have to do it – over & over, again & again – or else you’ll be evicted, and that gets old. It’s a rare goddamn trip for a locked-in, rent-paying [artist] to get into a gig that, even in retrospect, was a kinghell, highlife fuckaround from start to finish – and then to actually get paid for [recording] this kind of maniac gibberish seems genuinely weird; like getting paid for kicking Agnew in the balls.

“Agnew,” for those too young to know, is Spiro Agnew, who was Richard Nixon’s VP starting in 1969. He left the administration in 1973 after being charged with bribery, conspiracy, and tax fraud, shortly before the whole thing went up in flames.

Just for the heck of it, I decided to see if there was any connection between Agnew and The Beatles, and sure enough, in September of 1970, Agnew mentioned “With a Little Help from My Friends” in a speech (in Las Vegas, appropriately enough):

It’s a catchy tune, but until it was pointed out to me, I never realized that the “friends” were assorted drugs with such nicknames as “Mary Jane,” “Speed” and “Benny.”

And…well, that’s just gold, isn’t it? Agnew may have been so crooked he could hide behind a corkscrew (thanks internet!), but he did have a way with words. He is also gave us (thanks to speechwriter William Safire) the phrase “nattering nabobs of negativism” — which is such a wonderful and obvious band name that I can’t believe it’s never been used (far as I can tell).

Maybe I’ll use it myself. Maybe our first project will be a cover of “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number).” Who’s in?

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