Wednesday, July 7, 2010


PMCPP Analysis #22
KEY: C Major (Or fake C# Major)

It's Ringo's birthday! Yay! And what better way to celebrate than with an analysis of the only song Ringo ever actually wrote on his own for the Beatles? (Sorry Octopus' Garden, we all know about your dirty collaboration with George.) Anyway, this song is about as good as you'd expect Mr. Ringo "Can't play the Guitar in a key other than E or A or Piano in anything other than C" Starr to create.

THE PIANO: Upon first listen this song sounded like it was just an ostinato of two notes, E and D. Seriously, with all the layering going on with other instruments it almost sounds like it's just playing an eighth note rest followed by E-D-E over and over. I was surprised then when I listened closer and realized that there were not only chords going on, but a bass line containing more than one note as well! The bass is jumping around the root and fifth of every chord, but at least it's something. Suddenly this song goes from "how the hell did he write this and think it was good enough to record" tier to "sounds like something Paul would have written" tier. Except that bassline might be a bit too complicated for Pauly-O. Heh.

After the little E-D-E ostinato whenever the song is on the I chord, it gets real boring real fast. Over the F chord it just becomes the same bassline with F-C rather than C-G bouncing around. The treble bores itself up as well, turning into just straight quarter notes after an eighth rest. In Ringo's defense, at least the eighth rest for the treble makes it a somewhat interesting chunking pattern being followed. Not nearly interesting enough to make me think DEAR GOD I MUST LEARN THIS KICK ASS PIANO PART but still better than just Paul's oft-used "four on the floor" style.

By the way, it does the exact same thing over the G chord, if you hadn't guessed. And if you hadn't guessed, it probably means you've never read this blog before. Seriously, it's always that damn way. There are no other tweaks to be found all song long, it's basically the same 3 measures repeated depending on the chord they're representing. Fortunately we have the utter horrific chaos provided by the fiddle to lighten the mood - or drive you insane - but more on that later.

LAZINESS IN SONGWRITING: Well, it's in the key of C, which should surprise almost nobody. After all, when he wrote a song based around the guitar with Octopus' Garden, it was in the guitar-friendly key of E, so expecting his more Piano based song to be in C is akin to expecting the sun to rise in the morning or expecting Justin Beiber fans to show complete outrage on twitter every time #RIPJustinBeiber starts trending. Which is to say, you should reeeeally expect it. As a fun bonus for seemingly no reason whatsoever, the mono version of the song is mixed in... C# Major instead. It's so blatantly obvious that it was recorded in C and mixed up though, it's really not funny. Ringo sounds like he's on helium for Christ's sake.

The chord selection by Ringo is about as varied as the selection of songs on most of Paul's new albums. (Ballad, ballad, power ballad, ballad, acoustic ballad, ballad in a minor key...) Nothing but I, IV and V to be seen all song.

The instrument selection is strange as well. The drums are in a basic rock beat style, except for a floor tom that seemed to be recorded later hitting random 16th notes randomly throughout the song. There's a fiddle player, but the only instructions that said fiddle player received seem to be "take this Speed, then play whatever you want". There is no rhyme or reason to the fiddle's playing, and goes sporadically in every direction you can think of. The anti-piano part, if you will.

HOW RINGO GOT AWAY WITH IT: You honestly think anybody expected the next I Am The Walrus out of the guy?

Happy birthday, Ringo!


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Anonymous said...



This series and blog is totally tongue in cheek. I really do love Paul McCartney.