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The lost years
January 4, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Sir Paul McCartney is quoted a few posts below as having warned John Lennon against making fun of Paul's drug use. The rest of us, luckily, are free to point and laugh. This Paul McCartney Drug Timeline should help you get started!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders (60 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I'd love to see one of these for Dee Dee Ramone or Johnny Thunders. Just endless repetitions of the word 'Heroin.'
posted by jonmc at 12:38 PM on January 4, 2007


Not to mention Sly Stone.
posted by y2karl at 12:49 PM on January 4, 2007


McCartney is turned on to cocaine by Robert Fraser, an art dealer and a central figure in the London counterculture, who did the artwork for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Well, to clarify, Fraser was the art director for Sgt. Pepper's. Peter Blake actually created the collage. [/nitpick]

posted by scody at 12:52 PM on January 4, 2007


Isn't this the sort of thing you add as a comment to a post? Do we need a separate post for this?
posted by Hildegarde at 12:54 PM on January 4, 2007


Not to mention Sly Stone.

I thought his main thing was freebase.
posted by jonmc at 12:55 PM on January 4, 2007


*passes Hilgegarde a Blunt*

just relax, honey..
posted by jonmc at 12:56 PM on January 4, 2007


What a horribly written piece. Mountains of this, vast quantities of that. I assume this is what we're supposed to point and laugh at?

The drug use isn't particularly amusing. Rather common actually.
posted by juiceCake at 12:59 PM on January 4, 2007



Isn't this the sort of thing you add as a comment to a post? Do we need a separate post for this?


Well, I don't know if there an appropriate post recently to put this in as a comment....
posted by eparchos at 1:05 PM on January 4, 2007


Thanks, Jon. I needed that. First day back at work and nothing but messes to clean up everywhere I turn! I forgot to stop when I got to metafilter.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:08 PM on January 4, 2007


I don't care how many drugs he's used, he's still square, man.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:08 PM on January 4, 2007


I wish David Spade would come to my house and read those song interpretations to me.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:12 PM on January 4, 2007


Point and laugh?

I'm frickin' jealous.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:16 PM on January 4, 2007


I bet Paul can get some real good shit. He and Willie Nelson should have a smoke-off.
posted by chillmost at 1:19 PM on January 4, 2007


I mean, seriously. The guy didn't just do acid, he did acid, then he went into the studio and recorded "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds". He might be square, I dunno, but that's pretty cool.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:22 PM on January 4, 2007


All the references to Lennon and McCartney doing drugs together in the 70s are highly suspect. Didn't they totally hate each other by that point?
posted by Afroblanco at 1:26 PM on January 4, 2007


I like this quote:
[McCartney tells us he] “was flattered when he was recently invited by a group of Los Angeles teenagers to share their marijuana.” McCartney was quoted as saying, “To me, it’s a huge compliment that a bunch of kids think I might be up to smoke a bit of dope with them.”"
Though I think the best part of that entire bit was the final paragraph:
In today’s climate, I hate to talk about drugs because it’s not the same. You have someone jumping on your head the minute you say anything, so I’ve taken to not trying to give my point of view unless someone really very much asks for it. Because I think the “just say no” mentality is so crazed. I saw a thing in a women’s magazine the other day: “He smokes cannabis, what am I to do. He laughs it off when I try to tell him, he says it’s not really harmful…” Of course, you’re half hoping the advice will be, “well, you know it’s not that harmful; if you love him, if you talk to him about it, tell him maybe he should keep it in the garden shed or something,” you know, a reasonable point of view. But of course it was, “No no, all drugs are bad. All drugs are bad. Librium’s good, Valium’s good, ciggies are good, vodka’s good. But cannabis, oooh.” I hate that unreasoned attitude. I really can’t believe it’s thirty years since the sixties. I find it staggering. It’s like the future, the sixties, the sixties to me, it hasn’t happened. I feel like the sixties are about to arrive. And we’re in some sort of time warp and it’s still going to happen.
posted by Davenhill at 1:43 PM on January 4, 2007


All the references to Lennon and McCartney doing drugs together in the 70s are highly suspect.

I don't know. I heard they were watching SNL together in New York when Lorne Michaels made the famous offer to pay the Beatles $1000 to reunite, and they seriously considered walking down to the studio and claim half the money. It sounds like they must have been friendly again at that time.

And high.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:55 PM on January 4, 2007


Isn't this the sort of thing you add as a comment to a post?

Yeah, this appears to be a culture war the daily double. But you just can't get enough hate going for John and friends in a single post.
posted by crispynubbins at 2:01 PM on January 4, 2007


Actually, John and Paul hung out regularly in the 1970s. Not like best-friends, but it would appear that in between fits, Paul
tried to keep the relationship going.

In fact, Paul and John recorded a session with Stevie Wonder. There's no source for this link detailing the session, but there are links to bootlegs of "A Toot and a Snore" and even this TnS Wikipedia link which might be the worst thing ever recorded. I'm grateful for everyone's reputation it's not easily available.
posted by kenneth at 2:18 PM on January 4, 2007


I commented there. I had always kinda liked Paul and didn't understand why John was so deified. Then I started listening to the Beatles with a critical ear and came to realize just how freaking syrupy Paul's music is. He is all about the dough and the art is secondary. I see Yoko as someone who unlocked the artistic potential of John, not as a harpie who broke up the band.

A friend of mine has a theory about the Abbey Road cover and that it doesn't indicate that barefoot Paul is dead, but actually indicates that he will live forever. See, John is in the front in white, and he died first. Then it jumps back to George because (iirc) what is first shall be last or something. Ringo is next because he is next in line, and Paul can walk over death because he doesn't have shoes.

Despite how that last paragraph reads, I would like to state for the record that I am not high.
posted by frecklefaerie at 2:23 PM on January 4, 2007


July 24, 1967

All four Beatles sign a petition published in The Times of London calling for decriminalization of Marijuana.


40 years later: still waiting...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2007


I think it's damn noble of McCartney to speak honestly and truthfully about marijuana and other non addictive drugs, psychedelics. The more people who admit these facts ( that they are relatively healthy) in public, the sooner it will become accepted instead of feared and denied. Hopefully.
posted by Liquidwolf at 2:38 PM on January 4, 2007


MetaFilter: deeply committed to the possibilities of LSD as a universal cure-all.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:58 PM on January 4, 2007


I really can’t believe it’s thirty years since the sixties. I find it staggering. It’s like the future, the sixties, the sixties to me, it hasn’t happened. I feel like the sixties are about to arrive. And we’re in some sort of time warp and it’s still going to happen.

Damn. I... I... I agree with Sir Paul. Give me drugs, now!
posted by languagehat at 3:14 PM on January 4, 2007


I had always kinda liked Paul and didn't understand why John was so deified. Then I started listening to the Beatles with a critical ear and came to realize just how freaking syrupy Paul's music is.

Them's fightin' words, faerie.

I'll just note that very many of the best, darkest Beatles songs were Paul songs-- especially "For No One." I am currently obsessed with "Hey Bulldog," I have no desire to put John down, but the whole "Paul just wrote poppy love songs" meme is a total drag.
posted by ibmcginty at 3:28 PM on January 4, 2007


Umm, I thought "Hey Bulldog" was a John song.

And, yeah, people dog on Paul and deify Lennon, and it's totally unfair. They were a great writing team and worked well together. I think it's just easier to criticize Paul because Lennon's solo work has held up far better over the years.

I mean, Lennon had quite a bit of good solo material, songs about Yoko notwithstanding. Paul had, what, that "Hands across the water" song? And that one song that sounded better when GNR covered it?
posted by Afroblanco at 4:16 PM on January 4, 2007


Wendell's Photoslop presents: "Paul, this is your brain..."
posted by wendell at 4:19 PM on January 4, 2007


McCartney is observed smoking vast quantities of weed with Woody Harrelson and Laurence Fishburne. McCartney’s publicist gives a photo of the red-eyed trio to High Times magazine and encourages them to publish it. High Times published the photo under the heading, “The Three Stoners.”

Anyone have a link to this photo?
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2007


. . . then he went into the studio and recorded "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds".

That's a John song, not that Paul didn't play on it.

Paul's "Magical Mystery Tour" is pretty blatant.
posted by D.C. at 4:28 PM on January 4, 2007


re: Paul just wrote syrupy music

What?! What?!

He wrote Eleanor Rigby, the straight-up bleakest song ever to grace a Beatles album. Probably also the bleakest ever #1 UK single (The Specials' Ghost Town not excepted).

Oh, and Helter Skelter. And and and and and...

And I personally think that Paul's best solo stuff is considerably better than solo John. To take two examples from two ends of his career, Maybe I'm Amazed and English Tea are both stunning songs.


I have a weird love-hate relationship with John Lennon, based largely on the fact that Imagine makes me feel sick to my stomach.


As to the article, I liked it. I found this little bit amusing in a funny-'cause-it's-true kinda way: "In The Beatles version of “Across The Universe”, the line “nothing’s gonna change my world” comes across as a sort of cosmic meditation on the divine perfection of the eternal now. In Bowie’s version, the same line becomes an expression of terrified desperation. This might be interpreted as the difference between psychedelics and coke, as well as the difference between the 60s and the 70s."
posted by Kattullus at 5:40 PM on January 4, 2007


I agree with Kattullus: it's a ridiculous overgeneralization to say that Paul only wrote syrupy music (and I say this as someone who often has plenty of criticism of Paul!). In addition to the examples already cited, give a listen to something like "Things We Said Today," which I think is really one of his early gems. On one level, it's simply about being in love. But on another, it's more poignant and kind of ambiguous (especially with its use of minor key) -- it's actually about the expectation of a future moment of loneliness and reminiscing about feeling so close to his girl. Not an elaborately complicated turn, I'll grant, but certainly not mere syrup from a pop hack.

All that said, George is the man. ;)
posted by scody at 6:06 PM on January 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Though that was the winter when late each night
I’d put away Cicero or Caesar
and pour new milk into an old saucer
for the hedgehog which, when it showed up right

on cue, would set its nose down like that flight
back from the U.S. … back from the, yes sir, …
back from the … back from the U.S.S.R. …
I’d never noticed the play on “album” and “white.”


'The Beatles'
Paul MuldoonMuldoonesbury

posted by y2karl at 7:04 PM on January 4, 2007


Oh, poo, my blockquote broke. Oh, well...
posted by y2karl at 7:05 PM on January 4, 2007


I agree with Kattullus: it's a ridiculous overgeneralization to say that Paul only wrote syrupy music

And I agree with scody agreeing with Kattullus. People who say that about McCartney's music are being lazy, probably just repeating something they've heard others say without really thinking about it too much and looking at Paul's total output. I mean, hey, Helter Skelter, man. Huh? Am I right? Am I right?

He was a good screamer, too. And anyway, you gotta love somebody who said (after getting busted coming into Japan with a 1/2 pound of pot) that he just couldn’t leave it behind because “it was such good stuff."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:45 PM on January 4, 2007 [1 favorite]


Paul and John both did good stuff and crap during the Beatles and as solo artists. Half the songs on The John Lennon Collection are crap, and half the songs on All the Best are crap.

He was a good screamer, too.
Two words: "I'm Down."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:56 PM on January 4, 2007


Why oh why won't my dentist get me high?
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 10:20 PM on January 4, 2007


Goddamn. I was all set to argue with the person who liked "Eleanor Rigby" that I think that it's the worst Beatles song in the history of Beatles songs and then I see the comment was written by my husband. And we've had this argument before.

We've also had the argument before that Paul's songwriting prowess is inferior to John's and John should be forgiven the sins of "Imagine" because "Watching the Wheels" and "Oh Yoko" are fan-fucking-tastic and furthermore, John Lennon was shot down for our sins.

I guess now we'll just have to argue about it again.

At least the argument that I don't think "Ghost Town" is especially bleak will be a new one.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:25 PM on January 4, 2007


I was all set to argue with the person who liked "Eleanor Rigby" that I think that it's the worst Beatles song... and then I see the comment was written by my husband... I guess now we'll just have to argue about it again.

Hey, since you're both MeFites, why don't you just duke it out right here in this thread? A nice little domestic squabble right here in the blue!

I wonder if that would be a first?

Heck, might even lead to a husband and wife flameout...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:21 AM on January 5, 2007


"Revolution 9" is pretty unforgivable though, and that was Yoko's influence.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:03 AM on January 5, 2007


and that was Yoko's influence.

Ahh, the Dragon Lady rears her inscrutable head in a Paul McCartney thread! But "Revolution 9", unforgivable? No way, man, that was an act of bravery! Of course like many acts of bravery, it was also a little foolish.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:23 AM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Revolution 9" is bad, but the Beatles were smart enough to put it at the end of the album where it was easy to skip.

Compare that to the Stones, who put their weird-ass jam, "Sing this all together," smack in the middle of their album.

To this day, people still look at me weird when I say that Satanic Majesty's Request is a great album.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:22 AM on January 5, 2007


You Paul fans are so cute.
posted by languagehat at 7:55 AM on January 5, 2007


You Paul haters are soooo hip...
posted by stenseng at 8:19 AM on January 5, 2007


I do like the Elvis C. line, "Was it a millionaire who said imagine no possessions?" Elvis the C., of course, was a one-time Macca collaborator. I used to be a more in favor of John, but I've come to appreciate what a great songwriter Mr. Thumbs Aloft was/is. And a great bassist to boot. (For some interesting insights into John/Paul/Beatles, try Geoff Emerick's book about the recording process. He's definitely in Paul's camp, and he provides some fascinating stories about how the Beatles recorded, at a time when dinosaurs ruled the earth and technicians at Abbey Road Studios had to wear white lab coats on the job.
posted by Man-Thing at 10:07 AM on January 5, 2007


flapjax at midnite: We might have to duke it out right here in the Blue as we have opposite sleep/work schedules. Not that we don't also have the John v. Paul debate on a near daily basis, but, y'know.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:51 AM on January 5, 2007


(would love to date/marry someone with whom I could have a John vs Paul debate.)


(Just sayin'...)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 4:56 PM on January 5, 2007


By the way, they both wrote drek and they both had moments of genius. And in both John's and Paul's case, many of the moments of genius happened before they were 30. "She's Leaving Home" - Paul was 25. In My Life? Dr. Winston O'Boogie was also 25. I could have chosen countless others, of course - or pointed to their tireless performing, or their uncanny instrumental skills, or their sheer ability to live at the center of the public eye and CONSISTENTLY DELIVER extremely good product at a pace that, simply put, shatters the output of virtually everyone else who has ever put pick to guitar string. You don't have to love everything that they did, but you can't deny their genius, on many levels. The Beatles were freak of nature shit.

And Paul ROCKS - I give you Back in the USSR, I Saw Her Standing There, Long Tall Sally, The End, Get Back, Helter Skelter, Sgt Pepper, the guitar solo on Taxman, Paperback Writer, I've Got A Feeling, I'm Down, Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey, and so on. And whether or not you like the music, Paul's vocals on the live Wings record "Wings Over America" are fucking slamming.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 5:04 PM on January 5, 2007


would love to date/marry someone with whom I could have a John vs Paul debate

Heh. I don't think I've ever dated (or married, for that matter!) someone with whom I couldn't have that debate!

posted by scody at 5:06 PM on January 5, 2007


...In My Life ? Dr. Winston O'Boogie was also 25.
And that is one for the ages.
posted by y2karl at 6:37 PM on January 5, 2007


It's true that Paul penned many of the best (and some of the very darkest) Beatles tunes, but he also contributed unforgiveable tin-pan alley schlock which marred at least a couple of otherwise sterling records. From "Eleanor Rigby" to "She's Leaving Home" to "Helter Skelter" (which is arguably one of the first balls out metal tunes ever written) there were so many gems. Further, "Hey Jude" and "Yesterday", overplayed though they may be, pop masterpieces. But you can't recognize such excellence without giveng nod to the abysmal drivel, too (many of which are thankfully filed away on the intensely overrated Sgt. Pepper and the perfectly imperfect White Album).

That said, my strong preference was always for John (even though my mom named me after the other guy).

Ditto fingers_of_fire on Wings Over America. That was the first (triple!) live Album in current release I ever bought with my own money (4th grade). Probably influenced me to badger my parents to pay for guitar lessons almost as much as Kiss's Destroyer. Scary.
posted by psmealey at 7:27 PM on January 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


disagree, psmealey - in fact, I pretty much EXPECT the pen that delivers such brilliance to occasionally misfire. Personally, I'll sit through 10 "Honey Pie"s in exchange for one "I Saw Her Standing There". Of course, all of this is a matter of choice. Nonetheless, it still blows my mind that Paul was fifteen fucking years old when he wrote "When I'm 64". As I said before - freak-of-nature shit.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:25 AM on January 6, 2007


It's true that Paul penned many of the best (and some of the very darkest) Beatles tunes, but he also contributed unforgiveable tin-pan alley schlock

Exactly. Paul was unquestionably a genius, I'd never deny that, but I like John's bad stuff better than Paul's. That may be what the whole debate boils down to.
posted by languagehat at 8:43 AM on January 6, 2007


Well, yes, Paul wrote some schlock, and he has an inborne hipness deficiency. Charles Dickens was the same. Oscar Wilde got at something very true about ol' Charlie when he said "It would require a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of Little Nell." The Old Curiousity Shop is an absolutely dreadful book, not just by the Dickens' standards, but by anyone's. That doesn't make Great Expectations, David Copperfield or A Christmas Carol any less amazing.
posted by Kattullus at 9:58 AM on January 6, 2007


I don't believe that those tunes do anything to diminish his genius, Kattullus and f_of_f, it just makes me wish that McCartney had had a concurrent side project where he could have released "Lovely Rita", "Rocky Racoon", "64", etc., songs that would have been perfectly fine Wings tunes, and kept them off of the Beatles catalogue.

But then, I'm one of those Beatles fan that thinks if the White Album could have been edited down to a single-disc LP, it would be right up there with Rubber Soul and Revolver as one of their best ever. Yeah, sacrilege, I know.
posted by psmealey at 10:26 AM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


And there we get down to personal preference. The White Album is my favorite (though I skip over Bungalow Bill, Piggies and Revolution 9* quite often) and Rubber Soul my least favorite album. I also think that popular critical agreement of Sgt. Pepper's not being all that is mistaken. For one, the CD transfer that's out there is pretty weak. Also, it really needs to be listened to on LP, not because of fidelity, but because it's structured for the vinyl format. The jump from Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite to Within You Without You is jarring, and the endless loop at the end is truncated to a few seconds.

But anyway, de gustibus non est disputandum and all that.


*I feel the need to point out that I love noise music, have even dabbled in it myself, I just don't think R9 is particularly good as such.
posted by Kattullus at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


de gustibus non est disputandum

Of course there's no disputing it but it's just that that is at the core of every Lennon v McCartney, Beatles v Stones, Clash v Pistols debate... and what makes it all so damn fun.
posted by psmealey at 2:30 PM on January 6, 2007


Kattullus, after 30 years of listening to the White Album, I've come to the realization that Bungalow Bill (which I happen to like, by the way), is an absolutely perfect set-up for While My Guitar... We've been bopping along happily through Lennon and McCartney land, with greater and lesser degrees of profundity (Dear Prudence and Wild Honey Pie, respectively) - when, all of a sudden, George Harrison kicks in the door and unleashes some pretty heavy shit. It's a great effect, I think.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:14 PM on January 6, 2007


Fingers_of_fire, you've brought up an important point here, which is steadily being forgotten in the age of downloads and iPods, and that's sequencing. It's been such a massively important consideration in the creation of albums for decades, but due to the aforementioned developments in the way people obtain and listen to music these days, it's just not as important anymore. The upshot is that tunes like, say, Bungalow Bill, which is arguably a bit of a throwaway and was never intended, I think, to stand alone, is now scrutinized in a kind of vacuum, an absolute 'good song or bad song' way. Your assessment of Bungalow Bill's worth then, is spot on: in context it's a great song. This holds true for a lot of other tunes by a lot of other artists. Ironically, iTunes and downloading by individual song is ushering in a new era of the single, and the whole concept of an album being a total work (a unified statement depending in great part on the flow of its component songs) is less and less relevant.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:43 AM on January 7, 2007


f_at_m, I've been thinking about posting to askmefi about this for a long time, thanks for providing the inspiration.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:12 PM on January 7, 2007


Hmmm... I see it got deleted. As for the reason:

"this really seems like a "what's your favorite x" question, but it would make a good FPP with a slightly different approach"

I think mattamyn made a balanced call. Now, how to go about making an FPP on this? You gonna try it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:48 PM on January 7, 2007


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