…continued

“I Will” (take 13): A fun alternate take with some goofy studio banter. “Rattle them skulls,” says John.

“Blue Moon”: I think was was done between takes of “I Will,” with the same setup of vocals, acoustic guitar, and percussion. Paul can’t remember the lyrics, but then he was just fucking around; doubt he had any idea people would be listening to it 50 years later;

“I Will” (take 29): Paul ends this one at :24 by saying “I won’t.” John interjects: “Yes you will!”

“Step Inside Love”: We already heard this on Anthology 3. I guess it’s here to serve as an intro to…

“Los Paranoias”: …which appears here at its full length, having been truncated to a minute or so on Anthology 3. A minute was about right; at this length “Los Paranoias” ceases to be amusing and becomes irritating.

“Can You Take Me Back” (take 1): Likewise, this previously unnamed songlet — which appeared in fragmentary form between “Cry Baby Cry” and “Revolution 9” on the White Album — does not benefit from greater length.

“Birthday” (take 2/instrumental): Good for karaoke, I guess.

“Piggies” (take 2/instrumental): I think we’ve already established a consensus that “Piggies” works better as an instrumental. I also like the part at the beginning where John says, “I’m a fabulous, fabulous vegetarian.”

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” (take 19): I’m not quite sure why this is here; it’s not very different from the finished version, just … not as good. But it does contain this illuminating bit of commentary at the end:

John: Is anybody finding it easier? It seems a little easier. It’s just no fun, but it’s easier.
Paul: Easier and fun.
John: Oh alright, if you insist.

“Honey Pie” (instrumental): I like this one better as an instrumental too. As a matter of fact, much better. Without Paul’s cutesy lyrics, it sounds like a pretty authentic period piece.

“Savoy Truffle” (instrumental): Also works well as an instrumental. You can really hear those distorted horns.

“Martha My Dear” (without brass and strings): In this arrangement the guitar, drums, and piano play more prominent roles — especially the guitar, which is pretty much obliterated by the brass in the album version. It’s quite nice this way; not necessarily better, just different.

“Long Long Long” (take 44): Just for a second, this sounds like it’s going to be a Who song. Then George cuts in: “Right, here we go. Here we go lads,” then adds cryptically, “We’re not really what we make out to be, that’s all I can say.” There’s also an India reference: “Where did Mal get those joss sticks? Very Rishikesh.” George sounds a little hoarse, and at 2:08 he seems to give up on the take, launching into a long list of gerunds (“lacquering, lecturing, laboring, lumbering, mirroring…”).

“I’m So Tired” (take 7 ): John: “If you think it was good, keep it; if you don’t scrap it.”

“I’m So Tired” (take 14): I think this is the same take that appears on the album, but with extraneous backing vocals and keyboards that were later removed. Good call.

“Bungalow Bill” (take 2): Less bombastic than the album version, this plays like a duet between John and Yoko. It actually works pretty well, though it lacks an ending.

“Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” (take 5): “I want to just try and do one quiet verse and one loud verse, and that’s it, really.”

“Julia” (two rehearsals): “It’s very hard to sing this, you know.”

“The Inner Light” (instrumental): I could swear I’ve already heard this somewhere, but I can’t remember where. Nice to be able to hear all the instruments; would make good soundtrack music. (Paging Wes Anderson.)

“Lady Madonna” (take 2 piano & drums): Gives you some appreciation for the complexity of the piano line and the simple perfection of the drums. In fact I think I like “Lady Madonna” 20% more after hearing it.

“Lady Madonna” (take 2 piano & drums/backing vocals from take 3): Mostly goofing around and banter, with another Marmite reference.

“Across the Universe” (take 6): This is not the definitive version of “Across the Universe” that Beatle fans fantasize about — John’s voice gives out in the last minute. But still a hell of a song; I’ll take it however I can get it.

One last note: It was on this day in 1968 that Yoko miscarried the baby boy that she and John named John Ono Lennon II, and subsequently buried in an undisclosed location. This being sad news, I won’t make a big deal of it. There will be a happier subject to talk about tomorrow.