The A side of Band on the Run ends with “Let Me Roll It,” a song with a lot of Beatle resonances. I’ll let Wikipedia explain:

The song’s title was inspired by a quote from George Harrison’s “I’d Have You Anytime,” the opening track from his critically acclaimed All Things Must Pass. According to Ultimate Classic Rock contributor Nick DeRiso, John Lennon incorporated the riff from “Let Me Roll It” into his 1974 song “Beef Jerky.”

Alternatively, Rolling Stone’s critic Jon Landau saw the song as a pastiche of John Lennon’s sound, particularly the riff and the use of tape echo on the vocals. McCartney, however, [says he] didn’t intend the song to be a pastiche of Lennon. He did say the vocal “does sound like John… I hadn’t realised I’d sung it like John.”

The song has sometimes been described as an answer or response to Lennon’s song “How Do You Sleep?”, a stinging attack on McCartney on the 1971 Imagine album. However, Philip Norman’s authorized biography Paul McCartney: The Life, recounts that in 1972 – after the release of Imagine and before the release of Band on the Run — McCartney and Lennon met and “agreed that slagging one another off, on albums or through the music press, was stupid and childish.” Norman quotes Lennon as saying that Band on the Run was “a great album.”

“Let Me Roll It” is one of the most-covered of Paul’s solo songs, having been assayed by everyone from Jerry Garcia and Elvis Costello to the Melvins and Lake Street Dive. I see one version on Spotify that is credited to the duo of Richie Sambora and Les Paul, which I assume is a guitar showcase. Maybe I ought to listen to it. Maybe later.

The A-side of Ringo ends with “You’re Sixteen,” one of those songs that always makes me think of Scum of the Earth:

Was it creepy for Ringo, then 33, to be singing about a 16-year-old? Was it creepy for him to appear in this video with Carrie Fisher, who was just 17 when the song came out?

Further research indicates that the above might have been filmed for a Ringo TV special in 1977, post-Star Wars. Which makes it OK I guess. And also makes it OK for me to be feeling the way I am about Carrie right now, which I suppose technically qualifies as necrophilia.

Anyway… the last song on the A-side of Mind Games is “Bring on the Lucie (Freda Peeple),” which to my ear sounds very George Harrison-ish.

For a minute I thought George was playing on it, but that’s actually Sneaky Pete Kleinow — a Flying Burrito Brother who also played with George and Ringo at times — on pedal steel. “Kleinow is also noteworthy,” says Wikipedia, “for having composed the Gumby theme song as well as being an animator on the 1960s iteration of the show.” A true Renaissance man.

The lyric is also George-ish, advocating for a better world by pointing the finger at those who are falling short of the singer’s standards:

We understand your paranoia
But we don’t want to play your game
You think you’re cool and know what you are doing
666 is your name

So while you’re jerking off each other
You better bear this thought in mind
Your time is up, you better know it
But maybe you don’t read the signs

Well, you were caught with your hands in the kill
And you still got to swallow your pill
As you slip and you slide down the hill
On the blood of the people you killed

That last bit could plausibly be aimed at Henry Kissinger, whose death this week elicited from many people the kind of glee I felt when Jerry Falwell croaked. I think I’m just a shade too young to feel the kind of visceral rage many felt toward the Kiss, though I know he was a Bad Man.

OK, finally: the actual final track on the first side of Mind Games is four seconds of silence that John calls the “Nutopian International Anthem.”

Tim Riley’s Lennon explains:

On April 1 [1973], John and Yoko held a press conference in New York… to announce the formation of a new conceptual country, Nutopia. “Citizenship of the country can be obtained by declaration of your awareness of Nutopia.” To Lennon, this seemed no less ridiculous than the constant runaround his immigration status had been subjected to. “Nutopia has no land, no boundaries, no passports, only people. Nutopia has no laws other than cosmic. All people of Nutopia are ambassadors of the country. As two ambassadors of NUTOPIA, we ask for diplomatic immunity and recognition in the United Nations of our country and our people.”

The Nutopian flag looks like this:

Wikipedia tells us that ”a plaque engraved with the words ‘NUTOPIAN EMBASSY’ was installed at the back (kitchen) entrance to the Dakota apartment where Lennon and Ono lived.” (Yoko finally moved out of the Dakota earlier this year.) But the “official” Nutopian embassy is at One White Street in Manhattan, in a townhouse John and Yoko owned but never lived in:

It’s all very cute and I’m quite pleased to now be a citizen of Nutopia. But I wish John had gone ahead and made the anthem longer — three or four or five minutes — and stuck it in the middle of an album side, where it would piss people off, instead of at the end of a side where it was easy to ignore. But I guess that’s Nutopian of me.

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