Moscow Girls Make Me Sing and Shout

As we plow through all those Sgt. Pepper's retrospectives, let us not forget the pioneering work of Gary Allen of the John Birch Society, who in 1969 exposed the Beatles' links to world communism. ("That Music: There's More To It Than Meets The Ear," American Opinion, February 1969.) Weirder than Greil Marcus, wilder than Lester Bangs, more attuned to Marxist messages than Dave Marsh, Allen had a surprisingly simple approach: Take "Back in the U.S.S.R." literally, and assume everything else has a hidden meaning.

Thus, "Magical Mystery Tour" is about drugs ("Roll up, roll up [your sleeve] for the mystery tour," he decodes), as is "Hey Jude" (cf. "let her under your skin"). And "Revolution"'s slap at Chairman Mao is "simply telling the Maoists that Fabian gradualism is working, and that the Maoists might blow it all by getting the public excited before things are ready for 'Revolution.'...In short, 'Revolution' takes the Moscow line against Trotskyites and the Progressive Labor Party, based on Lenin's Leftwing Extremism: An Infantile Disorder."

Which isn't to say the Beatles themselves were necessarily responsible for those messages. Allen cites "Chicago Police Department undercover operative David Gumaer," who believes "the reason the Beatles and other folk-rock groups received such success in the music field was because they were backed by the Entertainment Section of the Communist Party." He also quotes trumpeter Joseph Crow, "possibly the country's Number One expert on musical subversion":

Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music. For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb. It's possible, but not very probable. Because of its technical excellence it is possible that this music is put together by behavioral scientists in some "think tank."

I know from personal experience that it takes a great deal of time to create complicated music and lyrics, and I don't know when The Beatles would have time to put this kind of stuff together. They are always on tour, vacationing, or making a movie.

So was George Martin on the RAND payroll? Did the KGB send Mark David Chapman to ensure Lennon's silence? And most important: Who killed Stu Sutcliffe? Don't expect Rolling Stone to give you the answers!

A more naive take on the Beatles' appeal is here. For further musical conspiracies, go here.

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  • Grotius||

    Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music.

    Something which is true of a ton if great musical artists.

  • ||

    folk-rock?

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    I wonder what Gary Allen would have to say about the British rock group Bush?

  • Jackson Kuhl||

    What's more, "Liverpudlian musician" is not listed as a privileged occupation on form 720.

  • M||

    And tourists in Central Park have daily to ask directions to "the Lenin memorial". Guerilla marketing.

  • ||

    Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music. For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb.

    Did I miss the Penny Lane Symphony in C minor? How much extensive training does a person need to write Love Me Do?

  • ||

    But what of "Revolution No. 9"? Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, . . . .∞

  • Edward||

    Allen himself was working for the Soviets. His book None Dare Call It Conspiracy was a coded message to attack Cony Island. An anagram of "conspiracy" is SCRAP CONY I. The plan was never carried out. But what is the connection between the planned attack on Cony Island and 9/11? Whatever it is, it is a chilling thought that the Commies penetrated the Birch Society.

  • ||

    Lennon was a reptoid!

  • ||

    . . .number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, . . . .∞

  • ||

    Edward, you realize that it's Coney Island? Home of The Warriors. al-Qaeda would have to had to send in some tough boppers to scrap Coney Island.

  • Plant Immigration RIghts Suppo||

    David, many of their songs WERE sophisticated. Listen to their later albums like St. Pepper's, Revolver and their self-titled album.

  • ||

    clink clink clink

    Infidel do-oogs

    clink clink clink

    Come out and pla-aay...

  • ||

    "Because of its technical excellence it is possible that this music is put together by behavioral scientists in some "think tank."

    I love that one. I wonder if this guy is working for the Soviets. Only a communist apparatchik would be dumb enough to think that a bunch of behavioral scientists working in a think tank could ever produce anything of value much less music of "technical excellence".

  • ||

    The Beatles had their own conspiracy. Remember the "Paul is dead" publicity scheme?

  • Edward||

    David

    The message was directed to Soviet agents. In Russian Coney Island is КОНИ-АЙЛЕНД. The first part transliterates as Koni. Writing in English, Allen spelled it Cony. It's also possible that Allen was a sleeper agent whose mother tongue was Russian.

  • ||

    You mean that Paul is not dead? I'm so confused.

  • ||

    David, many of their songs WERE sophisticated. Listen to their later albums like St. Pepper's, Revolver and their self-titled album.

    I know. Their material got more sophisticated as they grew more experienced. I was just having fun with Crow's premise that this couldn't happen without external training.

  • ||

    "You mean that Paul is not dead? I'm so confused."

    Paul made it to 64 and still ticking with a new CD.

  • Chris Farley||

    You 'member that time everybody thought you were dead?

    That was just a hoax, right?

  • ||

    I don't know about this Beatles' hidden communist stuff. I always thought the Beatles were the archangels telling us to start a race war in order to usher in the new apocalypse.

  • ||

    Jesse kind of alludes to this, but it is true that neither Lennon nor McCartney were sophisticated enough to do a lot of the musical arranging on any of the post Rubber Soul albums - all credit should go to George Martin, who truly was the 5th Beatle. And I think it would be very difficult to produce an album like Sgt Peppers without extensive musical training - but Martin had that in spades.

  • ||

    Rattlesnake Jake,

    That can't be right. After all, the Walrus is Paul.

    The Starbucks/HSN thing promoting "McCartney's" album is just an example of modern technology at work.

  • ||

    Tell me this: How come Ringo is the only Beatle to obtain and retain a hottie? I quit the Bond role too soon, if you ask me. What a babe!

  • ||

    He also quotes trumpeter Joseph Crow, "possibly the country's Number One expert on musical subversion"

    Huh?

  • ||

    I can't believe they didn't mention Beatles' 1959 demo record "A Spectre Is Haunting Europe."

  • ||

    the reason the Beatles and other folk-rock groups received such success in the music field was because they were backed by the Entertainment Section of the Communist Party.

    Yes, and Yoko and Linda being allowed to sing was backed by the Torture Section.

  • ||

    I know from personal experience that it takes a great deal of time to create complicated music and lyrics, and I don't know when The Beatles would have time to put this kind of stuff together.

    He thinks The Beatles' music and lyrics are complicated?

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Let it be.

  • ||

    This makes perfect sense if you think about it. Once they split up they lost the backing of the communist music conspiracy and their solo music sucked.

  • ||

    Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music.

    That's not true. Both were trained by parents and relatives (who were musicians)and Paul took classes outside the home.

    For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb. It's possible, but not very probable.

    Yeah, great analogy.

    Because of its technical excellence it is possible that this music is put together by behavioral scientists in some "think tank."

    Yeah, all those behavioral scientists with extensive musical training. But to be fair, let's test this one out. Let's have a song contest only behavioral scientists in think tanks may enter. My prediction: crap will ensue.

  • ||

    Rattlesnake Jake: But do we still need him and do we still feed him?

  • ||

    "the country's Number One expert on musical subversion"

    That is so going to my next job title. Totally cool.

  • John Rhoads||

    Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music. For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb.

    Wow, what a monumentally stupid statement. As someone who has had a fair amount of technical training as a songwriter and as a drummer, I've met countless examples of both who are significantly better than I am with no formal musical training at all. Music training is useful, but certainly not necessary.

    I guess the reason why everyone hates Mississippi Delta blues so much is the lack of music training. Oh wait, those guys were fucking awesome.

  • ||

    I guess the reason why everyone hates Mississippi Delta blues so much is the lack of music training.

    Selling your soul to the devil doesn't count as musically training?

  • Tony||

    "Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music. For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb."

    What an absurd statement.

    I've had no musical training whatsoever (unless you count reading the encyclopedia when I was 10 to learn what notes correspond to what keys on the piano). And I can write a song from scratch in 10 minutes that is more 'complex' than any recorded Beatles song. Well, at least the music, not the lyrics.

    I'm not a big fan of the Beatles, don't have any albums, but why the smears?

  • stephen the goldberger||

    jealousy

    I don't really like the beatles, but the impact of their music and lyrics on so many people's lives cannot be ignored.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I don't know about this Beatles' hidden communist stuff. I always thought the Beatles were the archangels telling us to start a race war in order to usher in the new apocalypse.

    Can't both conspiracies be true. I'd like to think so.

  • M||

    Hier ya go, guys.

    On the other hand, without the Beatles, there wouldn't be this.

    Or would that be a good thing?

  • wingnutx||

    Did somebody mention Russian Girls?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve6KkoXyucM

  • george martin||

    And I can write a song from scratch in 10 minutes that is more 'complex' than any recorded Beatles song.

    Really? Including arranging string and brass sections? Bring it on big boy.

  • ||

    What kind of libertatian crowd is this?
    "I've had no musical training whatsoever (unless you count reading the encyclopedia when I was 10 to learn what notes correspond to what keys on the piano). And I can write a song from scratch in 10 minutes that is more 'complex' than any recorded Beatles song. Well, at least the music, not the lyrics."

    I haven't had much physics, but I'm pretty sure I could build an A-bomb, and if it weren't for the federal government's infringment of my second amendment rights, I probably would. (fer duck huntin')

  • ||

    For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb. It's possible, but not very probable.

    Two words: Albert Einstein.

    I can't believe they didn't mention Beatles' 1959 demo record "A Spectre Is Haunting Europe.

    Actually, it was PHIL Spector haunting Europe...

  • ||

    Two words: Non Sequitor.

    Einstein (1) had extensive training in physics and math, and (2) never built an A-bomb. The man was a theoretical physicist.

    That said, the lyrics are not terribly complex or innovative in Beatles music, though much of it is pretty good by pop/rock standards.

  • ||

    I'm a huge Beatles fan, so my opinion is completely self-interested here. First of all, the statement that four kids from the wrong side of England couldn't write such complex music because they didn't get formal training is, as everyone upthread noted, complete and utter nonsense. Mozart got all his training from his father and spent not one nanosecond in a classroom, yet no one doubts that he wrote his own stuff.

  • ||

    Einstein (1) had extensive training in physics and math, and (2) never built an A-bomb. The man was a theoretical physicist.

    When he published Special Relativity he was a patent clerk. Besides Jesus invented a new religion AND rose from the dead and he was just a carpenter.

  • George Martin||

    What the hell is wrong with you people? Are you all purposely obtuse? You all keep claiming over and over again that it was possible for the four Beatles to write "complex music with no musical training." Except they didn't, George Martin did. That is why Gary Allen is an idiot - because he apparently didn't who know George Martin was. Gary is possibly quite right that people with no musical training could never have made Sgt. Pepper or the White Album - but it's an irrelevant argument because Martin was classically trained. The Beatles would never have got beyond the Rubber Soul stage without Martin.

  • Jesse Walker||

    That is why Gary Allen is an idiot - because he apparently didn't who know George Martin was.

    I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that this is not the only idiotic thing about Gary Allen's article.

  • ||

    Paul made it to 64. But she didn't still love him.

    Oh crap.

    Dave 61

  • ||

    "Neither Lennon nor McCartney...had technical training in music. For them to have written some of their songs is like someone who has not had physics or math inventing the A-bomb."

    Hummm, sounds like sour grapes to me. Or to put it into a Europian musical context, like Antionio Salieri's inability grasp how a brash, young commoner like Mozart, who spent most of his time partying and covorting with actors and women of questionable virtue could consistantly produce the greatest music of his or any era. It's called talent. You can't teach it or learn it. You've either got it or you don't.

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