Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

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"Hello, Goodbye" - The Beatles (1967)

When Paul presented “Hello, Goodbye” to him, John thought it was meaningless and based solely on contradiction was a step in the wrong direction for the band.

Lennon said about the track:

“That’s another McCartney. An attempt to write a single. It was ‘three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions’.”

What further infuriated Lennon was that "I Am The Walrus" was issued as the B-side to McCartney’s A-side “Hello Goodbye” which sold 300,000 copies within a day of its release in the UK.

For all of the record’s considerable success, John’s ego had been indelibly wounded with the relegation of "I Am The Walrus to the single’s B-side.

The track is well-crafted and fun, but putting "I Am The Walrus" on the A-side would probably have encouraged Lennon to lead the Beatles to new heights in the 1970s; as it is, “Hello Goodbye” was one more nail in the Beatles’ coffin.

McCartney commented:

It’s a song of duality- with me advocating the most positive. There are Geminian influences here I think- the twins. It’s such a deep theme of the universe, duality- man woman, black white, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye…The best bit was at the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano. Like Ticket to Ride where we just threw something in at the end.”

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack wrote:

“The style here is campy though it’s not easily pigeon-holed. Yes it’s infectious and clever beyond what initially meets the ear, but it’s also just a tad over-produced. There is an ironic tension between the lyrics and the music, though, has a nervous, pounding, passion that seems to curiously belie the words. They were obviously very fond of the fake/second ending gambit; you get to a point where the gesture of it (‘The End ... or is it?’) starts to feel like a cinematic cliché. All the same, you must acknowledge how clever those Beatles were at finding multifarious ways of playing this same treat.”

Pollack adds that there is an ironic tension between the lyrics and the musical mood of this song that operates on a deeper level than the irony of the lyrics themselves.

"I’m left wondering, is this guy in a hurry, a panic, or in some kind of ecstasy of arrival? And is it even possible to imagine that the musical state conveyed here is a combination of all three?”

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