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Class A

Beatles Yesterday

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Class B:


Later influences?, August 13, 2006
By Mark DiMartino (East Glenville, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

First of all, Bob Spitz wrote a complete (as complete as anyone is ever going to obtain) and comprehensive biography. Despite some of the criticisms of the many pages spent on their early lives in Liverpool and honing their musicianship in Hamburg, I found them crucial in better understanding their personalities, motivation and drive to be successful. I found myself not liking them any more or any less just with a deeper understanding of them as sons, mates, husbands and fathers as well as musical geniuses.

Just as in previous biographies, we read about the artists who influenced their desire to make music: Little Richard, Buddy Holly, and most importantly, Elvis. What was lacking in the book was an examination of the artists later in their career that influenced the Beatles in shaping their music. For example, what did they think of the other British Invasion groups such as the Rolling Stones and especially the Dave Clark Five who ran neck and neck with the Beatles for much of 1965? Were they supportive of the music or see them as being in direct competition?

It's well known that Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys was a direct influence in the recording of Sgt. Peppers but this is never discussed. Sgt. Peppers semi-officially ushered in the 'Summer of Love' in 1967. I wanted to know what they thought of the groups that came out of San Francisco and Southern California as well as English groups such as The Small Faces, the experimental and evolving Yardbirds and powerful Who. They did go to see Jimi Hendrix when he had to come to England in order to make a name for himself. What was that meeting like? And what about Woodstock? Although by this time they wouldn't have performed there or anywhere, did they have an opinion?

The book is highly recomended however, despite my unfullfillment of the above.

4.0 out of 5 stars The Whole Story, October 15, 2006
By S. Cornforth "Steve Cornforth" (Liverpool, UK England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)       
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

This is certainly the most comprehensive biography of the Beatles that I have read. Bob Spitz leaves no myth unexamined as we see nightmare of Beatlemania, the tortured life of Brian Epstein and the eventual self destruction of the greatest band in history. It is surprisingly readable although it is often more like a horror story than a rock bio.

We see the excitement of the early days in Hamburg and the release of their first real 'record.' In many ways this was the highlight. Despite the fame and fortune it was all downhill after that!

Only Ringo comes across as particularly likeable. George becomes increasingly bitter (listen to Piggies). John and Paul are seen as unabashed control freaks - Pete Best being sacked as much for his threatening good looks as his inability to hold a good backbeat. This was a key to their early success but also their almost inevitable demise.

There some warm moments such as the night when John inadvertantly took LSD and Paul took him home and 'tripped' with him throughout the night despite his dislike of the drug. But it is fair to say that there are far more 'warts' than 'and all'.

In the past I have read these books and then felt the need to get out my entire Beatles Collection and listen to the lot. After this I was left more reflective. I just put Abbey Road on - how could they harmonise so beautifully on Because when they so obviously hated each other.

This is certainly the best since Ian Mcdonald's Revolution in the Head - which is still the best of the lot. Recommended.

4.0 out of 5 stars Was ready to hate this book - but I loved it!, July 30, 2006
By WNY Reviewer (Western NY, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

I was completely prepared to dislike this book. First, I found another of Spitz's books ("Shoot Out the Lights," about the 1969/70 New York Knicks) to be flip and breezy, with too much gratuitous profanity. And second, several of the negative reviews of this book mentioned that he gets his facts wrong, and I'm a stickler for accuracy.

I'm happy to say I was wrong. The book is wonderfully detailed, there's probably less author-inserted profanity in this book than in the 70% shorter "Lights," and the accuracy is fine by me (I'd rate my Beatles knowledge as being quite high, although not in the league with that of truest fans or musical historians).

Spitz is thorough in his presentation. The advantage of this is that virtually everything that matters from the Beatles' career is covered here, including often-glossed-over things like the substitution of Jimmy Nichol for Ringo on their 1964 Scandanavian tour, or the frightening chain of events surrounding their 1966 Manilla concerts. The disadvantage is that, in making sure to include so much, Spitz often short-shrifts things some readers might like to know more about. For example, more pages are devoted to speculation on what happened between John Lennon and Brian Epstein on a 1963 trip to Spain, than on the band's groundbreaking 1965 Shea Stadium concert.

This book might turn off those wishing to have a romanticized view of the Beatles. Of the main figures in the book, only patient and sometimes taken-for-granted producer George Martin comes off nicely. John is often bitter and cruel, and more anti-Semetic than I'd imagined. Paul is selfish and controlling by the late 1960s. George has a bad temper and is prickly, at least before he becomes spiritual. Ringo lacks the self-confidence to assert himself within the band. Manager Brian Epstein's self-loathing and penchant for rough trade mark him as a tragic figure.

There are three main knocks I have on the book. One is its factual errors (although there are so many legends about the group, many from the members themselves, that Spitz deserves high praise for being able to mostly sort truth from fiction). The second is the underemphasis, noted above, on some of what I'd have considered the most important moments in the group's history. Finally, after a detailed recounting of the 13 years from Lennon and McCartney meeting to the breakup of the Beatles, Spitz throws in a maddeningly-brief epilogue covering 1970 and beyond. A bit more detail concerning solo careers and lives would have been welcome.

Nonetheless, it is easy to give this informative and readable biography four stars. Unless you're among the very elite in your Beatles knowledge, you'll enjoy the story and learn a few things along the way.

4.0 out of 5 stars Second section doesn't keep this from being a great read., March 4, 2006
By finulanu "no comment" (In Aruba) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

Before I go on, let me warn you; the "Beatlemania" section of this book gets old, fast. It's basically a 200-page account of every concert the Beatles played and every woman they laid. And it really gets old. In fact, I found myself skipping over it. Actually, there are several other moments of overkill in this book, such as when they go through the backstories of George Martin, Brian Epstein, Yoko Ono and Allen Klein. Even Ringo's seems unneccassary, considering how small of a mark he made compared to John, Paul and George.
Those minor complaints aside, this is worth reading. Here we have those bits of the Beatles' story that I find most interesting; the beginning, featring the masters of the three-minute pop song cutting half-hour versions of such 50's rock classics as Whole Lotta Shaking Goin' On at German strip clubs, sneaking smokes and popping pills in between shows; and the end, with the once-enthusiastic Lennon now completely broken, reverted to getting high, watching TV and screaming at Paul.
The biggest revelation made to me by this book was that the Beatles' breakup wasn't entirely Yoko Ono's fault, as some people believe. As it turns out, John, Paul and George were not getting along around this time in the first place, with their rock star-sized egos and the drugs.
Of course, this book is mainly about the music, and the stories of such landmark recordings as Strawberry Fields Forever, A Day in the Life and the Abbey Road album are all chronicled quite well here, as are their failed Indian retreat and failiures with Apple Corps. All in all, a worthy biography for this group of legends.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good, December 31, 2005

By Steve Trowbridge - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

With some exceptions, this biography goes into far more detail than any book about the Beatles I've ever read. It's depiction of the pre-Beatles years and people like Brian Epstein and Yoko Ono is extremely vivid. Despite being over 800 pages I read it in under two weeks.

In fact, I think it could, and should, have been longer. Spitz's dicussion of the songs is fitful-very detailed in many cases and quite skimpy in others. It's true that much of this is covered in other books but is this a comprehensive book about the Beatles or not?

It also fails to paint a complete picture of two Beatles in particular, in my view. Ringo is practically reduced to a peripheral figure-accurate as to his song-writing contributions but VERY mis-leading as to his contributions to the Beatles as a whole. Spitz obviously had very little respect for Ringo.

He also fails to present John Lennon in a complete light. I have no doubt that the he-did-this, he-did-that is accurate but that merely points out the difference between facts and truth. NO ONE would have wanted to know the John Lennon in these pages, whereas in real life he was truly viewed with affection by many people who knew him. That aspect is completely missing here, a great defect in my opinion.

Yoko gets even worse treatment but I have to admit that I quite enjoyed this. I've never seen or heard anything from her that I thought had any value and John's infatuation for her remains as puzzling to me today as ever. I suppose you have to admire him to some degree for not going out and grabbing the latest super-model, as many before and since have done, but that's about all the credit I can give him for this disastrous choice he made in life. She's a true witch in these pages.

I don't agree, however, that he favors Paul. Paul is raked over the coals for his insincerity and manipulative behavior. As bad as John comes across I would even less like to know the McCartney presented here: callous and arrogant. Still, one gets the impression here that it was Yoko and John's drug-taking that caused the break-up more than anything, but from other accounts I really got the impression it was more that the other Beatles couldn't stand to be in the same room with Paul anymore.

One of the strange things about the book was its matter-of-fact presentation of a few events that are completely contradicted in other accounts. The most glaring was the Beatles/Elvis meeting. He has the Beatles jamming with Elvis-John also said that this occurred, but this occasioned great laughter from the other Beatles, who insisted that nothing of the sort happened. I've also NEVER read that Elvis expressed exasperation with them to Priscilla or that John blatantly insulted him at the end of the visit. I'm not sure what to make of all this.

But in the end I have to say I enjoyed the book a great deal. Like no other book about them I've read it hits you with the incredible truth that the majority, and certainly the most interesting, of these events took place in a mere 6 years. No wonder that it remains such a compelling story.

4.0 out of 5 stars New Tones For An Oft Told Tale, April 4, 2006
By Mark Ross (Novato, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

Spitz does a great job of detailing the pre-mania days in Liverpool and Hamburg, from which the Beatles exploded into super-stardom. Understanding the influences and timeline of these early days provides huge insight into their makeup. The story is well known, yet Spitz adds new perspective and facts.

He also adds new perspective on the psychology of Brian Epstein. Again, his homosexuality is common knowledge, but the "rough stuff", self-loathing and extent of drug abuse by Eppy is a revelation.

The second half of the book also tells a well-known story but colored with a deeper sadness as John is even more drug-ridden, angry, irrational and egotistical than we had known. Yoko whispers in his ear fanning the flames. Paul tries to save the band, but nobody is buying his act either.

The book ends abruptly with the breakup of the band. The release of Abbey Road and Let It Be are barely covered.

Spitz's The Beatles is a good addition to the history, required reading for Beatle-philes. There are some glaring mis-facts, that are unfortunate, especially since the material for the first half is so well researched.

The Beatles' story, like their music, is complex and multi-dimensional. There is no single book that gives you a full picture. But you start with Hunter Davies, go through the Beatles own Anthology and you add this book to the mix.

4.0 out of 5 stars Great on the Early Years, August 6, 2006
By Jonathan H. Sadowsky (Shaker Heights, OH United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

I thought this was one of the most engrossing and informative books I've read this year, though it does have flaws. The prose is very smooth, and I did lose sleep some nights because I was so absorbed. Spitz is strongest on the years before Beatlemania; this era is lavishly detailed. The portrait of John Lennon in the period between Revolver and the White Album is not wholly plausible--look, we all know he took a lot of drugs, and I'm sure he watched a lot of TV, but Spitz presents an almost hopless case, a shell of a man, staggering around aimlessly. Sorry, the man who wrote most of "Lucy in the Sky," "I Am the Walrus," "A Day in the Life," and "Strawberry Fields" was at the height of his creative powers. Spitz seems too quick to cite, without evaluating, Paul McCartney's retrospective views on their respective creative input. McCartney was huge for the Beatles's success, of course. It's not our fault his post-Beatles output included "Silly Love Songs," and a James Bond theme song, while John Lennon's included "Imagine" and "Instant Karma." There's no question that the end of this book is rushed. Although a number of individual late songs get attention, "The White Album" and "Abbey Road"--three of the greatest pieces of vinyl ever pressed in rock history--are dashed through as afterthoughts. Spitz is entitled to his opinions, but I also found some of the judgments odd. "Because," a good but minor song, is highly praised here, and the best Spitz can say about an awesome and classic rocker like "Helter Skelter" is that it is "imperfect." Finally, there's a bit too much of the "blame Yoko" effect here. As Buffy Summers once put it in the analogous context, if things were stirred up, it's because they were stir-up-able. But while I disagree with some of Spitz's emphases, I found the book very much worth buying and reading.

4.0 out of 5 stars A very entertaining read..., March 8, 2006
By Tubescreamer (North Dakota) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Beatles: The Biography (Hardcover)

I've never been a real big fan of fiction, but I am a lifetime Beatles fan and probably appear mildly obsessive to some. The reason I bring up fiction is, well, I too went straight to the photo sections of the book at the store before reading one word of the text, and decided I wasn't buying. I'm still a little unnerved, not just about the quantity of caption errors (I don't have the book with me right now so counting them isn't possible), but the quality of the errors made me see this book as unresearched and written by someone that is not even a casual Beatles fan. I generally steer clear of those kinds of people anyway, why on earth would I buy a book written by an outsider? We Beatlepeople are a fickle bunch, and there are numerous books on the subject. So I didn't buy it.

Someone I know and love bought it for me, and I groaned a little because I figured I HAD to read it now, and the book is HUGE, and I don't care much for reading fiction. Immediately after opening it to a random passage, I was hooked. This book is very well written and downright gripping at times, and how couldn't it be? The Beatles story is so incredible in itself that the wildest imagination couldn't dream up a tale so astonishing, but when an author puts you right in the middle of it like Bob Spitz does, it's a hard book to put down. It seems to fairly portray the Beatles as the uber-talented music-making geniuses they were, and unsympathetically tells the story of young men unprepared for the mammoth stardom that was beyond their dreams. Of the Beatle books I've read (not that many), this one touches on many sub-plots I hadn't considered before, notably how difficult and oftentimes dangerous it was to be a Beatlewife or girlfriend, and Brian Epstein's numerous botched business deals.

If there are any innaccuracies in the text, they are trivial at worst and easily dwarfed by the abundant information provided. According to an interview with the author, the second printing will have some corrections provided by real Beatlepeople, and hopefully the photo section will get a much needed overhaul as well. I'll give it four.

Edited to add: I'd written this review before I was finished with the book, and am a little surprised at how the events from about 1968 to 1970 are presented. All of the Beatles come off as bumbling fools in the end, and Yoko Ono as a hair short of evil. As said in other reviews, Harrison's great compositions on the latest Beatle recordings are unjustly ignored, as is Ringo's role as the most professional member of the group. The all-too-brief end notes fail to tie the story up and give any kind of closure or meaning to the odyssey.

The massive "Anthology" book, written in The Beatles' own words gives far more insight, but Phillip Norman's "Shout" tells the Beatles story while putting it in better context with the other historical events of the era than Spitz's book. "Shout" gets the edge for the broader scope, and is still the definitive biography as far as I'm concerned, but Spitz gave it a very good try, and his book is well worth reading.

Album: The White Album     Released: 1968

     UK Chart: 19

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Mike Love from the Beach Boys was sitting in a hotel lobby when Paul McCartney came down for breakfast. The two of them chatted for awhile, and Love suggested that The Beatles incorporate a little bit of a Beach Boy sound in a song, "Like we did in California Girls." McCartney was impressed with the idea and used some Beach Boys' elements in this song: Instead of "California Girls" is was "Moscow Girls." Plus, the definitive Beach Boy "Oooeeeeoooo" in the background harmonies. (Thanks to Ron Foster. More from Ron at
The title was inspired by Chuck Berry's "Back In The U.S.A."
Things were tense when they were working on this album, and Ringo walked out during recording, briefly quitting the band. Paul McCartney played drums in his place.
The Beatles originally wrote this for wafer-thin actress and model Twiggy.
The line "Georgia's always on my mind" in a play on the Ray Charles song "Georgia On My Mind." It has a double meaning, since Georgia was part of the U.S.S.R.
Elton John performed this when he toured Russia in 1979. Billy Joel also played it when he toured Moscow in 1987. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
Paul McCartney used this as the title to an album he released only in Russia in 1989. In 2002, McCartney called his US tour the "Back In The US" tour.
This opens with the sound of an airplane flying from left to right across the speakers. Stereo was relatively new, so this was very innovative for the time.
People who dig this song also like "A Day In The Life" "Eleanor Rigby" and "Let It Be"
Get Artistfacts for The Beatles
More songs by The Beatles
More songs with names of countries in the title
More songs written for a girl

As a note to Alan from Milwaukee, I think Miami Beach BOAC is a reference to the airport, but don't quote me on that. This song is so cool!
- Meredith, Wauwatosa, WI
Well, it obviously was a reference to the song "Georgia on my Mind" (made famous by Ray Charles). Maybe you knew that already, but I just thought it was worth clarifying.
- N.I., Baltimore, MD
"Georgia's on my mind"-Hah, you'd think this meant the state Georgia, but I like it how they meant the Georgia that was part of the USSR. (Which is now its own independent country)
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
I know Micheal! Its gross. But I would keep that bag even if i really really hate throw up. Cos you know Its Pauls!
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
Katie from Tallahassee, he definitely says the paper BAG was on his knee, because he had a dreadful flight. It's in the booklet.
- Lissa, Houston, TX
He isn't saying 'a paper bag was on my knee', he's saying 'a paper back was on my knee'.
- Katie, Tallahassee, FL
Bianca Sanchez, you're absolutely right about that line. Disgusting, isn't it?
- Michael, Oxford, -
Listen to this song and then immediately listen to Dear Prudence. The airplane in the end carries over to Dear Prudence.
- luke, Camp Hill, PA
I wanna know what "Oh, the way the paper bag was on my knee." means. I Think it means he was throwing up all the way cos after he says "Man I had dreadful flight" -Bianca, Alburquerque, NM
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
I LIKE THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)))))
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
Hellllooooooooooo? Any one gonna answer my question?
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
Dear all, Just a few remarks from the Ukraine-2007 (former U.S.S.R). 1. My name is Mikhail Yurlov, 50. Writing from the city of Sevastopol (way down South). 2. There are so many political-factological-musical - and so on... delusions in the comments around "Back in the U.S.S.R" song, that a Russian (former Soviet) cannot but step into discussions. 3. Think it should really surprise: is it 2007 or still 1968 (when this song was composed). Anyway I can completely back Mr Dirk from Nashville, TN, who underlines that "after three decades it (this song)still kicks". 4. And the latter is really a reply to all those who name this song as "ordinary". It might be not the best Beatles song, but the fact that there are so many comments proves that this song makes us all ponder over. 5. Now, let us go position by position. A. Politics. Very interesting to come across "Czechoslovakia events, Soviet Federated Socialist Republic of Georgia (the latter never existed - it was Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic), Stalin and Khruschev policies, I'm backin Britain" (not U.K. -!) campaign and many more of this type. Personally, I do not think that Paul or John could even go so deep into politics - there are no any proving indications of them being involved into politics, except for John's "We are now bigger than Jesus Christ" (1966, John was only 26). Later in "The Revolution" (1968, students movement in France, etc) John was singing - "But when you talk about destruction, Don't you know that you can count me out... But when you want money for people with minds that hate All I can tell is brother you have to wait... you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao... You better free you mind instead" - so, no real participation in all that sort of action... It was only after The Betles split, that John sang about "The Working class hero is something to be..." and Paul reminding "Give Ireland back to the Irish". So, finally, "Back in the USSR" could hardly be a campaigning song to promote the USSR, or any deep political hints... rather the Beatles used a catching word-combination (The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which they NEVER visited) to promote THEIR OWN new album, and this was quite a normal thing to sustain at the musical market of that time. But yes, of course, there are some intricate things: remember when Paul stumbles, singing Back in U.S., Back in U.S.,, Back in U.S.S.R.? Is that not a specific hint? Or as Mr Blake, Kennesaw, GA, USA pin points: "satirical, poking fun at Western culture/greed, whatever, while emphasizing the plight of citizens under communism (You don't know how lucky you are, boys.)". Very symbolic observation of Mr Blake. We can add - as very many things with the Beatles and all the British humour: ambiguity (like backing Britain - backin' USSR, who knows? By the way why "in", and not "to"?!). B. Facts. - In the beginning I would definitely omit all that stuff concerning unprintable words ostensibly used by Paul. Just bs. The Beatles were brilliant enough in expressing themselves to the world without this kind of lexics. - I do not know whether any of The Beatles songs were banned in the US, but to be exact - The Beatles were NOT banned officially in the USSR. Still, one could not find their music at the shops, only for a few exclusions, like "Girl" (with the indication, that it was a folklore song!!), or a poor edition of "Can't buy me love" or "Lady Madonna"(the songs that critisize capitalism). In the late 60s - early 70s there was also a very popular political TV programme "America in the object-glass", shown at the prime-time on the First Governmental TV channel. And the opener for the programme was "Can't buy me love" with the most important "Much for money". (In fact, absolutely correct.). Anyway, The Beatles LPs were not "for sale" officially, but all those who wanted to get their music - did it. Of course not at the extent the fans would love to. - One more important fact. I do not know how Paul came to know about all these things (maybe from Linda, whos distant origin was from Russia), but he was absolutely correct stating that the Ukrainian girls leave the West behind, and how specific are Moscow babes... I wonder why he is mentioning Georgian ones - nothing to be compared to the Ukrainian ones... And what is final: we all can discuss a lot what Paul and his friends thought when composing this song, but the only truth could come from Paul (Sir Paul McCartney). If he would wish to do so.
- M.Yurlov, Sevastopol, Other
P.S. I would like to ask your WEB-master why there is no Russia, Ukraine or at least the USSR (CIS) in the list? If you mark Russia as "other", then there is not much to say
- M.Yurlov, Sevastopol, Other
What the heck is a "Miami BOAC"? Something to do with Miami Vice?
- Alan, Milwaukee, WI
The campaign was not "I'm backing the UK", it was "I'm backing Britain" and there was a Labour (socialist) government at the time, not a Conservative one. And I've got a feeling that this song was written by the beatles
- John, Grantham, England
"the Ukraine girls really knock me out, they leave the West behind" - I am from Ukraine, I fully agree with John Lennon ;))
- Dmytro, Kharkiv, Other - Europe
I think it's a great song. At first I thought it was the Beach Boys but then not.
- krissy, Boston, MA
I had a social studies teacher this past year who loved the Beatles and Europe. He played this song alot. When I hear this song on my Ipod, I always think of it as a tribute to my favorite teacher.
- Michelle Harris, Littleton, CO
Hah.. thats funny I always thought this sounded like a beach boys song. Anyways, great tune.
- Poop, Poopville, MO
GREAT SONG I LOVE IT! When they sing about the girls, it confused me at first. I was listening 2 it on my mp3, and I thought it skipped to a Beach Boy song! LOL LOL
- Krista, Elyria, OH
Anyone who interprets this song as pro-Soviet isn't thinking straight. The Beatles were no friend of the USSR--their music was banned there! The main underlying point of this song is the absurdity of advertising the USSR using rock 'n' roll, a genre that would never have been permitted to develop under such a repressive government.
- N.I., Baltimore, MD
Not one of my favorite songs on a very ordinary album. History will make it better than it really is.
- Paul, Adelaide, Australia
One of the basic problems with the drum track on U.S.S.R was "mannerism". The band sorely missed Ringo's 'feel and soul' for a song, even Paul admits this in Anthology. All three had to patch together a composite drum track in order to make it 'listenable'.
- Jade, Sacramento, CA
Maybe you guys should hear this the beatles have never been to the Ussr so the play on words is the only option for the title
- Ben, Hamilton, Canada
Hey Austin, CBGB stands for Country, Blue Grass and Blues. When we walked in to set up, It was so messy looking, I thought the real club was in the back. It's long and narrow. I remember them having movie theater seats up 2 steps on the left but, of course that was back in the late 70's. Many great bands got their start there.
- teri, chicago, IL
This was a big inspiration for David Bowie's "Suffragette City."
- Chuck, Joppa, MD, MD
paul doesn't drop the f-bomb at the end of this song. taking the DE MFSL vinyl bootlegs and doing some clever tricks using FFT and phase reduction...i removed all the stereo content, leaving the middle..similar to the "remove vocals" effect on many mp3 players...only reverse. now, yes, it sounds like paul drops the f-bomb at the end..only because of the way things were mixed. the end of the song is pretty phase-busy (lots of stuff going on left/right) it drowns out his does he say? "ohhh let me tell you honey. hey i'm back! back in the ussr. hey it's so good to be here...........back in the ussr" listen to the original all you'll either fit in or not make sense..but i've got the clip.
- Jay, Manassas, VA
Paul McCartney wrote this song because he hated the "American Dream" sugary lyrics used in California Girls
- Philip, Widnes, England
This was orginally written as "I'm Backing The U.S.S.R.", Paul's parody of the British PR campaign "I'm Backing the U.K.". But when it became time to record the song, the orginial campaign had evaporated and Paul was afraid no one would remember it. John suggested that Paul re-write this as a send-up of Chuck Berry's "Back In The USA", and Paul threw in the Beach Boys' "California Girls" bit as a freindly shout-out to them (he was quite friendly with the Wilson brothers and Mike Love).
- Ken, Louisville, KY
"Stereo" was NOT "relatively new" when this song was put together, in 1968; there were many innovative things done with stereo in the midfifties, for example. In fact, the technology, itself, was developed, I would assume, long before that (in the 40's or earlier?). But, this is not to take away from the overall great quality of the song or even the excellence of the use of stereo in it - it just wasn't that new, that's all. - Pete Pearlman
- Pete, Sherman Oaks, CA
I think they may be mentioning Georgia as the Georgian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (or GSFSR for short) because that's where Stalin came from. While Khrushchev did try and reverse much of the Stalinization of the USSR during his time, he was removed from office in 1964 and replaced with Brehznev, a much more ardent supporter of Stalin's policies. At a time when the USSR was becoming much more outwardly hostile, images of Stalin may have been in the public psyche (either by association or placement), hence the reference.
- Peter, Calgary, Canada
cbgb is a bar in NY (i think) where alot of new wave bands got their start like the talking heads. he is saying u like c/rap music
- Adrian, Kingston, Canada
A great song by a great band. I believe it as stated elsewhere that it had a Beachboy influence. Good old Rock and Roll. If the Beatles where trying to do their best Beachboys imitation..they suceeded. Great song!I play it regularly.
- greg, Victoria, Canada
Tom, what the hell is CBGB?
- Austin, Boston, MA
Never mind on my last comment I found it.
- Austin, Boston, MA
Austin in Boston, define "much better." If "much better" means barely discernible vocals, guitar solos that make no sense, and overall mediocrity, you're right, it is "way" better than the original. Go back to CBGB.
- Tom, North Attleboro, MA
The Dead Kennedy's cover of this song is much better than the original.
- Austin, Boston, MA
To Hank in NJ... The beatles weren't mocking the beach boys... in fact Mike Love suggested it...
- Ryan, BFE, MI
In the end of the song Paul says "Ohhhhh yeah I tell you honey, I'm back F**k the, S.S.R!"
- Or, Holon, Israel
that would be funny if all along it was about sex even though everyone thought it was about the cold war.
- Jeanette, Irvine, CA
Phish does a cover the White Album on Halloween night. The album is sick definently look for it
- Jon, Pittsburgh, PA
The Beatles had a song called "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." John Fred & His Playboy Band did a lyrical parody with "Judy in Disguise with Glasses." That song was a double parody b/c musically it was a bubble gum song but the Playboys were not a bubble gum band. McCartney liked the idea of a double parody: lyrically Back in the USSR mocks communism, musically it mocks the Beach Boys and surf rock.
- Hank, Hillsborough, NJ
As the song is ending, you can hear Paul go: "...Back in the U.S.S.R. Oh let me tell you honey, hey I'm back, f**k yeah (or) that!" I've asked a couple of people and they agree with me. I'm probably wrong, but it's amusing.
- Lisa, SF Valley, CA
This ones not he best song in the world, but its OK, not that good.
- Ben, Cheverly, MD
You guys are missing the most salient point about this song (other than the fact that after three decades it still kicks). The Beatles were always looking for an outlet for thumbing their noses at B.S. At the time this song was recorded, there was a major political campaign in England (sort of like the USA in 2000, only uglier). The British conservatives had a huge re-take-the-government campaign with the slogan "I'm Backing the UK"... Paul twisted that into "Im Back In (backin') the USSR." Instead of sounding like the conservative capitalists, he is mischieviously taunting the right-wingers by praising the "snow-peaked mountains" and beauty of the great wicked empire and its beautiful women. It's the Beatles tweaking the nose of the political establishment.... (not to mention the fact that a plane flying from Miami Beach to Russia in 1968 would have shot out of the sky.) End of history lesson. Sorry to drone on like an old fart.
- dirk, Nashville, TN
At the time, Russian women had a Babushka--Mrs. Kruschev--image in the US and perhaps the UK. Sort of the polar opposite of the 'California Girl' stereotype. We were so, so, misinformed.
- Laura, Santa Fe, NM
This song is about one thing and one thing only. Sex. Just sex. I am not joking.
- Ash, cary, NC
John played a six-string bass on this recording. At this point in the Beatles John and George would occasionally play bass instead of Paul (while Paul played keyboards) to break the monotony of studio recoding.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
This is a cool song, one of my favs by the Beatles, "im back in the USSR, you don't know how lucky you are boy" is this anti- USSR? or promoting it, i guess it goes both ways. The lyrics are the typical 60's stuff i guess.
- Mistik, Sydney, Australia
I saw Paul McCartney parform this on a special he did in Moscow a few years ago, and when he did the line "And Moscow girls make me sing and shout," rhere were a bunch of screams from the audience. It was pretty funny.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
Blake, you're right.
- Nessie, Sapporo, Japan
Communism is awesome. CLASS MOT KLASS! "Workingmen of all countries, unite!" - Marxx & Engels
- Joseph, Manteca, CA
Oooooh! Promoting communism! What a terrible thing to do! I sometimes wonder if there are any Americans who realize why the powers that be in their country were (and probably still are) so afraid of communism?
- Martijn, Helmond, Netherlands
At first I thought the song was about the devil, because when he said Georgia, I thought he was talking referring it to "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" by Charlie Daniels
- Roy, Little Rock, AR
Strangely enough my dentist (at the UMKC dental college is from the Ukraine, and yes, she did, literally "knock me out"! Rudy....
- Rudolpho, Waverly, MO
In approach it's really a cross between 'California Girls' and 'Help Me Rhonda' (with Mike Love-style bass-note "doh-doh-doh-doh"s -- and so it's ironic it's the favorite of a lot of Beatle fans!
- Gary, Auckland, New Zealand
I was under the assumption that this song was sort of satirical, poking fun at Western culture/greed, whatever, while emphasizing the plight of citizens under communism (You don't know how lucky you are, boys.)
- blake, Kennesaw, GA, USA
love this song!russia is great
- melania, moscow, Other - Europe
Actually Paul never said Ringo wasn't the best drummer in the beatles. It was John who said it when he was asked in an interview is Ringo the greatest rock drummer in the world. In which he replied, "He's not even the best drummer in the Beatles."
I would really like to go to Russia one of these days.
- Scott Baldwin, Edmonton, Canada
Whenever I see a Moscow girl, I sing and shout. Whenever I see a Ukranian girl I pass out. This can make tourism in Russia rather conspicuous.
- Don, Philadelphia, PA
Nice Monty Python allusion with "wafer thin"!!
- Michael, GSO, NC
The Beatles never were in the USSR, but their plane flew over it during one of their tours. McCartney didn't write about "all the girls he met in the USSR". Just the country was talked about so much, and the band wanted to do a rebellious song. -Jamieree,Edmond,OK
Because this was recorded when Ringo had walked out of the sessions for a while, Paul played drums on it. When he heard himself on the recording he bragged: "Ringo can't be the best drummer in the world, he's not even the best drummer in the Beatles!" A real rock classic, topical and cleverly satirical. The Beatles' humour and subtle wit is often underrated. During the "Get Back" sessions when George walked out for a while, the rest of the band started to play the Who's 20 minute classic, "A Quick One While He's Away," which can be found on certain bootlegs.
- Mike, London, England
LOVE THIS SONG!!! This is one of paul's most famous songs, and rightfully so. The song is a wonderful parody of the beach boys that incorperates a little beatles texture. The song is amazing and if you don't already have the white album, it is worth buting if not just for this song. It also helps this song that is is on the same album as "while my gitar gently weeps.
Originally titled 'I'm Backing the UK' as a response to a pro-British industry ad campaign. Song was recorded as Soviet tanks rolled into Czechoslovakia.
- Charles, Charlotte, NC
The song not only immitated the Beach Boys, it was written in part by a Beach Boy!! While in India at a retreat with the Maharishi, Paul McCartney was strumming a few chords while writing the song. Mike Love, one of the Beach Boys, told Paul to write about all the girls he met in the USSR, just like the Beach Boys would write. Together, the wrote the "Ukraine Girls Really Knock Me Out.." section as if it was a Beach Boys song.
- Matthew, New York, NY
This song was banned from many radio stations upon the release of The White Album. People thought the lyric 'U.S.S.R' promoted communism.
- Tyler, Murfreesboro, TN



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