Music on Mondays (10-13-14): The only thing you done was yesterday

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

If you’ve been around rock ‘n’ roll music as long as I have, you’re probably familiar with The Beatles, and if you’re familiar with The Beatles, you probably know that their breakup in 1970 was rather nasty, especially between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. That nastiness continued until Lennon took a break from music when Sean was born on October 9, 1975.

Lennon believed that McCartney’s song “Too Many People,” from 1971’s “Ram” album, reeled off a laundry list of complaints directed at him, including most specifically the line, “too many people preaching practices.” Lennon hit back, and he hit back hard with “How Do You Sleep?” from Lennon’s 1971 masterpiece album, “Imagine.”

Here are the lyrics to “How Do You Sleep?”

So Sgt. pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was  in your head
How do you sleep?
Ah how do you sleep at night?
You live with straights who tell you, you was king
Jump when your mamma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
and since you’ve gone it’s just another day
How do you sleep?
Ah how do you sleep at night?
A pretty face may last a year or two
but pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is Muzak to my ears
You must have learned something all those years
How do you sleep?
Ah how do you sleep at night?

The whole song is one big dig at McCartney.

“Those freaks was right when they said you dead” is a reference to the “Paul is dead” hoax of 1967 (and onward).

“The only thing you done was yesterday [a reference to The Beatles’ 1965 classic “Yesterday,” written and sung by McCartney] and since you’ve gone it’s just another day [a reference to McCartney’s 1971 classic “Another Day”]. Since McCartney’s “sound … is Muzak to my ears,” at least we know he liked “Another Day.”

Here are “Yesterday,” “Another Day,” “Too Many People,” and “How Do You Sleep?”.

“Yesterday” by The Beatles, 1965
One of the most covered songs in history
with over 2,200 cover versions so far.

“Another Day” by Paul McCartney, 1971

“Too Many People” by Paul & Linda McCartney, 1971

“How Do You Sleep?” by John Lennon, 1971

There is much more, with each artist getting in digs at the other up until Lennon’s sabbatical beginning in October 1975.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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7 thoughts on “Music on Mondays (10-13-14): The only thing you done was yesterday

  1. colltales

    Oh, and what a ‘lovely’ war that was. The music output, however, was unmatched despite all the pettiness and hurt feelings. I’m glad they’ve patched it all together not long after. Thanks for this.

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