Never trust anybody who says that they don’t like The Beatles. Sure, they might not be your favourite band ever, and they do have such a broad and variable catalogue of material that there’s bound to be something in there you just can’t get away with - personally, I’d rather listen to three minutes of two feral bobcats fighting in a telephone box than have to go through the ordeal of Octopus’s Garden - but by and large, there is a very, very good reason as to why they are the biggest band ever.
Of course, with that sort of messianic status, there comes an unholy amount of scrutiny to boot. The Fab Four’s music has been studied and pored over in the same way that people obsess about the lore and legend that upholds Tolkien’s Middle Earth, or how I can recite the local Chinese takeaway’s menu, savant-like, from memory.
Even things you know inside out can give you a little surprise every now and again. And with that in mind, here are nine hidden details you might have missed in Beatles songs…
9. John's Weird Pot Smoking Quip - For You Blue
The Beatles, believe it or not, dabbled with narcotics here and there, y’know. In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.
Given their choice of extracurricular activities, therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that they had a tendency to mention drugs in their songs, like, a lot. But the references sometimes spilled out beyond the confines of their lyrics too.
On For You Blue, for instance, John Lennon can distinctly be heard, albeit way down in the mix, saying: “The Queen says ‘no’ to pot-smoking FBI members” before that rambling, bluesy riff kicks in. The quip is a bizarre one, and might have conspiratorial fans wondering whether it’s some kind of revelatory Illuminati-confirmed insight into Lizzy’s stance on the war on the old whacky baccy, but the reality is, as reality usually is, a whole lot less interesting.
For You Blue was recorded as part of the the Get Back sessions, a period of studio time that gave rise to Let It Be and were aimed at getting the Fab Four back to basics. That meant no overdubs, a greater sense of informality, and more snippets like this being left in final recordings.
Chances are it was just a bit of banter before a take that the producer saw fit to leave in because of how amusingly out of place it sounded.