From Me To You - The Beatles
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"From Me To You" - The Beatles (1963)
“From Me To You” was the title was taken from a letters column that ran in the British music newspaper The New Musical Express. The column was called From You to Us. The song speaks directly to their audience. On stage, they changed the lyric from us to you.
“This song was a bit on the complicated side. Actually, we both thought it would never catch on with the fans, and I think it was Paul’s dad who persuaded us that it was a nice little tune. It was far bluesier than that when we wrote it. We nearly didn't record it because we thought it was too bluesy at first”
McCartney wrote in his autobiography:
“It could be done as an old ragtime tune... especially the middle-eight…… It was a pivotal song. Our songwriting lifted a little with that song. We were starting to meet other musicians then and we'd start to see other people writing.”
Listeners were being explicitly invited to identify with the speakers in their compositions.
Says Beatle scholar Ken Womack:
“The notion of “longing”- of enjoying the sweet thrill of reuniting with one’s beloved- is a mainstay of popular music- yet it is also an early Beatles hallmark that establishes an identificatory relationship between the vocalists and their growing horde of female fans”
“From Me To You” was the first song to feature The Beatles falsetto "whoooo." McCartney had learned the "whoooo" from listening to Little Richard. Besides a catchy tune and deceptively complex arrangement, it is difficult to classify this track as it could be pop, rock and roll, blues- or even, skiffle. It sounds like a special blend of English folk melody and American rock and roll, written with great care and performed with wild enthusiasm.
Lennon is to the fore throughout the song, with his commanding lead vocals and harmonica riff. McCartney's bouncing harmony lines sprinkled throughout the song are testament to his natural musical ability and sense of harmony.
Musicologist Tim Riley writes:
“The song is a melodic teaser, sung rather than played on guitar to voice the nameless feelings that live insider every teenager. It draws the listener in even before words are sung, tripping Ringo’s brief tom-tom fill into the final seconds before the verse. The song amounts to a formal arrival: translated into song, John and Paul’s vocal duo gives everything else contour.”
In the lyrics, the listener is presented with an expression of love that is ready and willing to be given is so completely unencumbered and unobscured- but without the slightest hint as to why or what motivates the narrator.
The song also accentuates the unique way The Beatles could end a song. In much of their early efforts the most innovative parts are the intros and endings- and the bridges and middle eights- the exact parts of a song that tie everything together. It is with “From Me To You” that The Beatles begin to express a phenomenal sense of “theme” - and the direction it should take giving it a unique sense of being in and of itself.
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