From Curtis Eagal@21:1/5 to All on Mon Aug 9 10:04:14 2021
A big part of the 'Paul is dead' fan rumor hinges on the shoulder badge worn by McCartney visible in the center group image bearing the initials OPD, standing for 'Officially Pronounced Dead,' as if the badge were fabricated with this DOA equivalent -
however it is easily recognizable as an existing official ornamentation having different initials, OPP:
The larger story is the cover image for the album, a tableau where 'BEATLES' are memorialized in red floral lettering for their collective grave, with their wax figures representing the physical shell standing next to their transfigured astral forms, in
a colorful panorama populated by revered beings - the drum for the reborn imaginary band is the tombstone for their former selves. Visually, the front cover, cut-outs, central band photo, album with original swirling reds sleeve, and back with the
lyrics, correspond with each of the five movements of Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony:
allegro ma non troppo ("Joyful Feelings Upon Arriving in the Country") - Shakespeare's "undiscover'd country," the otherworldly ultra-colorful tableau;
andante molto mosso ("By the Brook") - the green backing with round white cut-outs suggested bubbles in the brook, like the bass notes for Beethoven;
allegro ("Peasant Merrymaking") - more precisely, the rustic village band playing, where we see the band close-up in the folded-out center;
allegro ("The Thunderstorm") - this would be the album itself with a sleeve of swirling gradations of red, this oddly inserted movement breaks the format calling for four total, the replication of a physical storm through symphonic music was striking in
a similar way the two crescendos of "A Day In The Life" provoked marveling at the 'monoliths of sound';
and allegretto ("The Shepherd's Song After the Storm") - for the Pepper back cover there are the words to all the songs, for the first time, Beethoven was making the point a visiting traveler might be disturbed by a country rainstorm, the local shepherd
Someone once told me the Sgt Pepper album just made them think 'red,' referring to the back of the sleeve where the lyrics are printed. I have seen several versions of the vinyl sleeve, where the red varies from dull bloody red to day-glo bright red:
but the one from 1967 had a strange combination with the band looking like they were behind gauze, so when you tried to read it, they created an iridescent 'flash' as your eyes tried to move back to the start of the next line. An obvious reason for the
redness is it represents a furnace: since they have shown the denizens of Heaven on the front cover, with everyone seeming planted in the burial ground like trees or flowers, andheavyweight champion Sonny Liston standing as 'Bouncer' with the velvet
snake at his feet.
They must have believed it when Jesus said, 'Every tree not planted by My Heavenly Father will be uprooted, and cast into the furnace.'
Among the sea of faces from life-sized cut-outs is Issy Bonn's hand seen over Paul's head, casting him as the Christ stand-in for this visual encapsulation of the key stage of the Ministry, taking nine months to emerge since Revolver - during that time,
Paul scored the film, "The Family Way" (the title is a euphemism for pregnancy). I explained in my book "A Temple Of Many Mansions" the hand was part of a subliminal joke; the image of the Bowery actor who demanded payment being airbrushed out was also
for a visual joke, lost unless a pre-airbrush version can be analyzed.
The eyes looking upward behind Paul was explained by McCartney as the cartoon of Babujee, who cannot be photographed ("he puts a curse on the film"), a guru who 'transcended his body through planes of consciousness,' and therefore did not decompose after
death, like saints called 'incorrupt.' As for the inner loop, Paul said people can put their own meanings on things to a certain point, but they knew what they meant, and the 'discovery' of an obscenity played backwards was met with disdain - he would
rather it have no meaning, repeated so much that it becomes a 'pure buzz,' like a chanted mantra, although I have found meanings both forward and backward, which justify the concept of sustained continuous repetition, as in praise and supplication.
Even going into each book knowing the basics of the history, and the entire subliminal content from studying the music, I become astounded by things learned doing the requisite research, with a story unfolding that I had often not anticipated. For the
last one about Beatles For Sale, the use of percussion became critical, which is probably why that stage is so under-rated; there was a struggle by George to even remain lead guitarist (let alone advance his compositions). Writing it has been like
perceiving in my mind what they lived through as a touring entity surrounded by mania, who could produce auditory art featuring masterfully tailored vocal-instrumental messages, while keeping their professed references current and fielding continual
public relations issues. Many stories have been clarified from the confusion of when they happened, it is not just hindsight but declarations that change facts materially. Putting together how it all played out is the ton of bricks falling on me that I
did not expect.
From reviewing the film Help!, it is obvious they worked very closely with director Richard Lester, and although the comic-book style was viewed derisively in comparison with their debut's subtle surrealism, the scenes with songs cleverly hint at their
specific subliminal content, in ways that are not obvious if the connections are unknown; the album brought in outside musicians. The 'edit pieces' for guitar flourishes carefully articulate various concepts in tandem with the basic subtext behind the
There was more layering in the Pepper sessions using reduction mixes, so two four-track machines were then used to generally combine about eight for the mono version; the crescendos required the two four-track machines to be linked, since half a symphony
orchestra was recorded four times in synchronization to fill one tape, then mixed down to one of four tracks - and the studio itself had speakers controlling feedback, so it sounds like two full symphony orchestras playing from another world, ironically
as John Lennon's voice takes the instrumental solo role during the break, only augmented by the orchestration. When an unfinished version emerged with Lennon more prominent, Ringo Starr commented, 'Those were things we wanted buried.'