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whatsthatsound On March - 20 - 2010

(with apologies to Klaus Voormann)

Aw, two of my favorite subjects brought together, The Beatles, and animals (not The Animals, sorry Eric Burdon)! I remember reading a review of The White Album in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 10th anniversary issue opining that not since Aesop’s Fables, or Toba Sojo’s rabbit and frog scrolls of the 11th century, had animals commingled their lives with humans so revealingly. Although that might be a bit of a stretch, it is certainly part of the legendary Liverpudlians’ charm and appeal that they spiced up their repertoire with such whimsical oddities as “Octopus’ Garden” and “Hey, Bulldog!” More so than other bands of the time, and perhaps before or since, they were fabulists at heart, and that is a key part of what has made them so endearing and enduring.

Dylan was cleverer. Hendrix rocked harder. Pink Floyd was weirder. And the Stones were just plain badder! But The Beatles captured the energy of their time better than any of their manifestly talented rivals. With titles such as “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Come Together”, they seem to have clearly, almost mystically, understood and embraced their roles as cultural guides through a period of mystery and excitement and wonder. The times were fraught with peril, but The Beatles, accompanied by their animal familiars, were charging out in front, wanting to hold our hands as they guided us on a journey that included herbs, gurus and revolutions.

So, here then, is my tribute to the Fab Four and their four legged (or eight tentacled, etc.) companions. Fans will have fun picking out the songs the critters are culled from, and will also be aware of what is about to befall poor Edgar Allan Poe!

Written by whatsthatsound

Writer, Illustrator, Curmudgeon. Ferret Owner. Tokyoite, formerly Ohioan. Much nicer in person.

73 Responses so far.

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  1. Questinia says:

    Across the Unicorn
    Horsey, You Can Drive My Cart
    From Me to Ewe
    I Wanna Be Your Mandrell
    I’m a Goose, Sir
    Lady Madcow Disease
    Obla Deer Obla Dog, Git Along
    Humpback Whale Writer
    Polythene Hamster

  2. KQuark says:

    WTS I love the Yellow Submarine but I miss the little blue meanies.

    For some reason I always thought of little blue meanies when McCain spoke. Maybe it was the varicose veins that gave his face a blue hue and the yellow teeth.

    ” alt=”ff” />

    OK that was 😈

  3. AdLib says:

    Love it, WTS! And think of all the famous animal songs you didn’t include by The Beatles, “I Want to Hold Your Leash”, “Evolution” and “Helter Shelter”.

  4. Kalima says:

    This is great wts, I’m sure that Klaus wouldn’t mind, your’s is more colourful and fun.

    We have the album/record upstairs, along with about 300 other albums we shipped from London. We also still have two turntables although finding a stylus is becoming harder and harder, Tokyu Hands still stocks a few. There is nothing quite like listening to the original vinyl LP’S, scratches and all.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Thanks, K! Revolver is such a fantastic album, although each song is almost unforgivably short. I want them to go on and on! Those birds could sing! (And Your Bird Can Sing reference….)

      It will be a sad day when nobody makes the replaceable parts to old style record players anymore….

  5. SueInCa says:

    Gee, WTS, I can remember gathering in front of the TV to watch their debut on Ed Sullivan. I saw them at Candlestick Park and it was the highlight of my jr high school years, unless you count sneaking on the bus over to Telegraph Ave on a saturday afternoon. I still have alot of their vinyls and we bought a “vintage” record player a few years ago so we could pull them out from time to time. They are surprisingly still in pretty good condition despite moving around about 12 times or more.

  6. Questinia says:

    Still, no Rosie? Hmmm… If the Beatles had known her:

    Now somewhere in the metropolitan area of Tokyo
    There lived a young girl named Rosie the Ferret
    And one day her master ran away with some cheap tawdry nekko…

  7. FrankenPC says:

    LSD…it’s a magical mystery tour.

  8. choicelady says:

    I am a lifelong radical who absolutely hated the 60s. My only sweet memories are of the Beatles. WTS -- you really got to me when you said they were our cultural guides. They wrote music that was joyous and serious, emotional and playful -- and they always spoke, I felt, to the best in us. Even the darker things asked us to rise above what we were to what we could be. They made me feel happy.

    When was the last time pop music did that?

    I recently thought that one of the reasons Susan Boyle was SO popular is that she has some of that in her life and music. She’s not innovative, but the surprise of her voice and the story of her life appeal to what’s better in us -- finding beauty in unexpected places. The Beatles gave us that. She reflects some of what they gave us. She makes us smile as they did.

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Interesting. I never thought about that, because I always thought the Susan Boyle story was somewhat manufactured, or at least massaged. But I see exactly what you’re saying. People love stories. And The Beatles were exactly that, a story. That’s why it must have been a real shock to the system when John sang, on his first solo album, “The dream is over, and so dear friends, you’ll just have to carry on….”

  9. escribacat says:

    Funny, I was just thinking about a story I heard somewhere about the origins of “Lucy in the sky with diamonds.” It was little Julian Lennon showing his dad a picture he had drawn. It was his friend Lucy from school and she was in the sky with diamonds. Of course the other story is the LSD story!

  10. Chernynkaya says:


    Standing in the rain,
    Doing it again
    Some think that happinness is measured out in years
    You don’t know what it’s like to listen to your fears

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Great, Cher….but let me correct you a tad. The “sheepdog” IS from that song, but it’s also “Martha” from The White Album. And that’s not a frog, it’s a lizard. “She’s well acquainted with the velvet touch of a hand like a lizard on a window pane” from “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”.

      Henry the Horse is right, of Corse!

  11. Chernynkaya says:

    And of course
    Henry the Horse
    dances the waltz!

  12. KQuark says:

    Fab article WTS. The Beatles will always be my “first love” musically speaking. Fitting with the other theme in your article, “Animals” by Pink Floyd is my favorite album of all time with it’s pigs on the wing, dogs, pigs and sheep. 😎

    • whatsthatsound says:

      Yeah, that’s the album where animals were chosen so intentionally to reflect humans’ faults and foibles. It’s pure satire in that sense, where The Beatles were doing something more organic, just letting the animals speak for them. Except for “Piggies” of course, which could almost be a Roger Waters’ song.

    • Kiba says:

      Hey you, Whitehouse! Haha, charade you are.

      Great rip on the Puritanical social conservatives, personified in Britain by Mary Whitehouse.

      • KQuark says:

        I quote “Pigs” often to describe Republicans. I also love quoting Monty Python’s Denis Moore skit, ‘Steal from the poor, give to the rich, stupid bitch’, well something like that.

    • Khirad says:

      ‘Tis true, though, that the Beatles best exemplified this time (or so I must be told!).

      Pink Floyd was ahead of its time -- and beyond it.

  13. Kiba says:

    Elementary penguins singing Hari Krishna
    Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe.

    Oddly enough I just listened to that song a couple days ago for the first time in ages. A friend had taken a “Which Alice in Wonderland Character Are You” quiz on Facebook, and posted the results. I replied, “I am the Walrus, goo goo g’joob.”

  14. whatsthatsound says:

    I was going to hold off on posting this, because I posted recently, but this one seems to dovetail so well with KQ’s music page that I couldn’t wait!

    • Chernynkaya says:

      Post more! We want more!

    • Questinia says:

      We want you to post every day.

      This could have been a poster from the 60’s. Were you influenced by early album art? (What a dumb question!)

      I love it!

      Rocky Racoon
      Octopusses Garden
      I am the walrus
      Little Piggies

      Don’t get the rest.

      • whatsthatsound says:

        It’s basically lifted from Klaus Voormann’s masterpiece, the cover of Revolver, with the animals substituting for the myriad images of The Beatles that Voormann cut and pasted into the middle. The animals are closest to the one who wrote or sang about them. For instance, Ringo sang Yellow Submarine and wrote Octopus’ Garden. George wrote and sang “Piggies”.

        John sang about the lizard, the Walrus (eponymous, of course), Henry the Horse, the monkey (Everybody’s got something to hide, ‘cept for me and my…) and the penguins kicking Edgar Allan Poe.
        Paul sang about his own dog, Martha, Rocky Raccoon and Blackbird. You did pretty good, for a Dylan fan.;)

      • Khirad says:

        I noticed that about WTS’ groovy art as well. 😉

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