Sunday, April 22, 2018

176. “We’ll go back in the past } just once.”

Come together over dirty messiah John ‘n’ Yoko over me—what do I know? You and “you’ve got to be free.” On Abbey Road, “Come Together” mocks unclean hippy Kurtz whose wisdom is diseased. The third “shoot” is “shoot me” (Anthology 3 “Come Together”: shoot… shoot… shoot… look out!). “He’s one” becomes “he one” but sounds like “he wants”—“he’s one holy roller,” “he’s one spinal cracker” “he’s one jo jo [go-jo? mojo?] filter.” But Live In New York City “Come Together” wants to be a piece with Lennon’s political songs (“Woman Is the Nigger of the World,” “Attica State,” “Luck of the Irish,” etc.). Come together “over you” and “over me, over you, over there” and at the One to One concert “come together, right now, stop the war!” For “Come Together” to work as a rallying cry slogan (akin to “Give Peace A Chance” and “Power To the People”), you’ve gotta ignore “old flattop” who “just do what he please” and hear only “one thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free / come together / right now / over me.”

Lennon’s attempt to recast “Come Together” points toward its origin as a campaign song for Mr. Timothy Leary.

[At Madison Square Garden, August 30, 1972, someone in the crowd shouted “Help!”; Lennon laughs (“Ha”) then says, “We'll go back in the past, just once. You might remember this better than I do, actually.” To the band he says, “Okay. Something about a flattop. That's all I know. One two a one two three four!” When they finish performing “Come Together” Lennon says, “Thank you thank you, I nearly got all the words right, too.”]


  1. if you continue these wonderful hyper-concise summaries I may be in danger of ending up not disliking the Beatles.

    . . . a troubling thought . . .

  2. Far be it from me to change your head. I'll write less wonderfully in the future.


  3. I'll see to it me head is toppled off so's to retain for the world any future writings you may produce.

    Actually I am studying this, I can't write about music. Follow a small motif through entirety of the music-in-question's career; is a note I have made. This is helpful.

    What if the music is so obscure you are worried no-one will be able to listen to it no matter how well you write about it? I find this stymies me.

  4. A goal (not "the" goal) of music writing is to make readers want to listen. A reader shouldn't *have* to listen to enjoy the writing, even if they would enjoy the writing more. "Come Together" is a well-known song, but well-known songs tend not to be *listened* to. And really, I don't write that much about the song--in this piece, I'm more interested in the way the song was repurposed by Lennon.

    A piece of music would have to be pretty damn obscure not to be readily available online. Are we talking about music that was recorded onto tape and shelved? Music not-yet-written?

  5. there is a 1 of 1 merzbow recording that is purposefully stuck in a tape player in an car. I think thurston moore bought it (he had to buy the car. basically) -- that is likely not online.

    There are all sorts of things still not online in fact. But there is dropbox.

    More sometimes I think it would be nice to have someone acknowledge my thinking re: a piece of music. An agreement, or "oh I see what you mean". A nod would do it.

    To have someone approach a music because of what I had written about it, that would seem like a success to me, & I cannot imagine it happening. I think I have tried now and then.

    Is it about loneliness? Music has a particular loneliness? Despite it being made by a group &c . . . ?

    Feel free to email to continue this conversation if blog comment is unpleasant.

    Tho let me say I enjoy sending these thoughts out to you and your responding.

    "well known" songs tend not to be listened to you -- you say, that is an interesting point, another tendril . . .