Revolution 7: “All movement is accomplished in six stages/and the seventh brings return.”

Sexy Sadie: For those of you keeping score at home, Sexy Sadie is the Maharishi, just as Yoko was the Monkey and the Walrus was Paul. But if you do an image search for “Sexy Sadie,” many of the top results are for Manson family member Susan Atkins, who was also known as “Sadie Mae Glutz.” It’s a fucked-up world we’re living in.

Martha My Dear: Let me state once again, for the record, that I do not think Paul McCartney committed bestiality with his sheepdog Martha. But I am cleverly staking out the search term “Paul McCartney bestiality” as my own, because there’s no such thing as bad traffic.

Happiness Is a Warm Gun: Mother Superior is Yoko too, of course. My previous coverage of this song was lengthy but far from comprehensive; as with “Glass Onion,” there are a dizzying number of references and allusions. I encourage you once again, if you haven’t already, to read Steve Turner’s writeup on this song (and indeed his whole book, The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write). Here’s a sample, Derek Taylor being quoted vis-a-vis “Happiness”:

I don’t know where the “soap impression of his wife” came from, but the eating of something, and then donating it “to the National Trust” came from a conversation we’d had about the horrors of walking in public spaces on Merseyside, where you were always coming across the evidence of people having crapped behind bushes.

Revolution 8: “Block that kick” is an American football term that mystified Number Nine’s British listeners, who wondered what it was and why you would want to become naked to do it.

I Will: The percussion on this reminds one of the horse sound effects from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, does it not?

Step Inside Love/Los Paranoias: These recordings of the band goofing around between takes of “I Will”  were never intended for the album, but at this point John and Paul had been working on Number Nine for almost 24 hours straight, and were not necessarily at their most lucid.

Not Guilty: Was it a sudden pang of guilt, perhaps, that caused John and Paul to decide at the last minute to add this song back onto the album? George must have been surprised, doubly so because they chose to use his acoustic demo instead of one of the hundred-plus studio takes. Which was, it must be said, the right call.

Cry Baby Cry (acoustic version): Putting multiple versions of the same song on an album, as The Beatles did several times on Number Nine, was a controversial decision at the time. Some fans felt ripped off; some enjoyed hearing the different variations on a theme. This version of “Cry Baby Cry” is nearly identical in tempo and structure to the one that appears on side 2; only the instrumentation is different.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (acoustic version): On the other hand, this take of “Gently Weeps” is very different from the heavy version on side 2: It’s slower and quieter, has an extra verse, and Eric Clapton is nowhere to be heard.

Julia: As previously mentioned, this is the only Beatles song recorded by John alone with no other Beatles. And no Yoko either, though she is referenced in the lyrics (“ocean child” is an Anglicization of her name). But for the most part this is John’s love song to his dead mother; somewhere Sigmund Freud puffs contentedly on his cigar.

Good Night: In the days before the internet made all knowledge accessible, many of us assumed that Paul had written this song. But no, it was John, who originally intended it as a lullaby for his son Julian. Sadly, in the haze of drugs, divorce, and Yoko that enveloped John at the time, he never deployed it for that purpose; Julian didn’t know the song had been written for him until he was a grown man, long after his father’s death. “John Lennon wasn’t just a rock’n’roller,” said Geoff Emerick. “He had a lot of facets to him.” Paul McC adds:

You could almost be forgiven for thinking “Good Night” was mine, because it’s so soft and melodic and un-John…. We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly. John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that’s what has remained with me.

Revolution 9: John Lennon had a special relationship with the number nine. He was born on October 9, 1940; according to The Beatles Bible,

The first home he lived in was at 9 Newcastle Road, WavertreeLiverpool – three names which each contain nine letters. Newcastle Road was his grandfather’s house, and while living there Lennon later wrote One After 909….

Lennon was shot in New York City on 8 December 1980 … [but] … due to time differences, it was 9 December in his birthplace of Liverpool.

And yeah, that last one is a stretch. “It’s just a number that follows me around,” John said, but he went out of his way to make sure it did. He often claimed to have met Yoko on November 9, 1966, though this may not have been true. And in addition to Number Nine and its nine “Revolution”s, he wrote a song called “#9 Dream,” as well as the aforementioned “One After 909.”

It was as a tribute to John’s obsession that, when The Beatles’ albums were rereleased in 2009, the release date was set as September 9 (9/9/09). Today’s date, 12/17/18, has no particular numerological significance that I know of, but it’s well past time to wrap up this excursion to another reality. I’ve enjoyed the trip and I hope you have too; we now return to your regularly scheduled universe.


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