Monday, October 13, 2008

Charles Hansen Publishing

Back in the days before their was an Ultimate Guitar Tabs Archive, budding musicians would purchase songbooks that contained guitar chords, lyrics and musical notation. The Official Publisher of Beatles songbooks in the United States was Charles Hansen. These books weren't exactly note for note or word for word perfect, but that might not have been the publisher's fault. How many different versions of the lyrics of "Strawberry Fields Forever" have you seen?

Most of the Hansen songbooks were compilations of songs from various Beatles albums and even solo projects. One oddity was the frequent appearance of the Little Richard song "Good Golly Miss Molly" in these songbooks. Although the Beatles were big fans of Little Richard, I know of no documented case of the Beatles recording or even performing that song. Although it is likely that the Beatles would have performed it at some point during the early days, it has never appeared on a bootleg, or a published set list, or even during the "Get Back" sessions when they played, hummed, or whistled just about every old rock and roll song in history. But that didn't stop it from appearing in several Hansen Beatles songbooks including "The New Beatles Top 40 Pop Song Book."



The most peculiar item in the Charles Hansen collection was a document called "The Beatles Illustrated Thesaurus in Dictionary Form" that appeared in several different songbooks.


The interesting thing about this curious document was that it was first released in 1969, right around the release of Abbey Road. In other words, this document coincided with the initial emergence of rumors surrounding the death of Paul McCartney. This is not to imply that the Beatles were sitting around planning clues for inclusion in songbooks. But it is interesting to see how the author of this document interpreted some themes in Beatle songs that we now regard as clues.

Although it often reads like a 4th grade English project, the Thesaurus appeared in several Hanson songbooks over the next few years. In addition to the "Top 40" book pictured above, the Thesaurus can be found in "The Golden Era of The Beatles 1963-1972"

and "20 All-Time Hit Paraders."

This "Dictionary Form" document is only eight pages long, so the author had to be discriminating about what to include. Most letters only contain a handful of entries, for example, there are only three items beginning with the letter "T" (Ticket to ride, Topping the bill, and Turtle Turks). So, it is baffling that there would be an entry under the letter "S" for the phrase "Someone with a name." The third synonym for this entry can raise an eyebrow when one remembers this came out around the same time as the Paul is Dead rumor.

The word "Love" is interestingly set apart from others, followed by "Lucy" which parenthetically defines terms like "Rocking Horse People" (going nowhere people) and "Marshmallow Pies" (devil cake).

Another curious entry is for "Monsters." This entry contains a rather esoteric allusion to the "manicheistic struggle." Obviously the 1969 publication date caused "Yellow Submarine" to be in the author's consciousness, but it was quite a leap to tie "fighting sea monsters" in with Manichaeism.

The first entry under the letter "W" confidently answers the question "Who was the walrus?"

The entry for Mr. Kite is interesting.

Flying Officer Kite was a character in "It’s That Man Again" the show featuring Tommy Handley, who was on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

The heroic Flying Officer Kite was known for his magnificent mustache.

Although it was too new to include in the Thesaurus itself, the Beatles latest album, Abbey Road was included as an addendum to the document after the letter "Y" (There were no items under the letter "Z").

The author took some liberties in the interpretation of lines in the song "Come Together." You can click on the picture for a larger version, but I caution you, you will never hear the line "He got early warning" the same way again.

This strange document does give some insight into how people were guessing to try to figure out the meanings of Beatles songs. From this point on, all of their music underwent scrutiny unlike any popular music in history.

More information on Beatles songbooks can be found at rarebeatles.com.

___________________________________________________________

ADDENDUM

I should also share these two screen captures from Nothing Is Real today.


48 comments:

MikeNL said...

interesting post, tafultong :- )

mike said...

AW MAN, i knew you'd be first mikenl lol.

great post taf!
would you be able to post a link to the whole thesarus?
does it have any accronyms?

Anonymous said...

Neil Aspinall was born on October 13, 1942.

While his true identity remains a mystery, it is for certain that apollo c vermouth was at least passing himself off as Neil Aspinall.

Anonymous said...

juli second 2008???
Why do you people think that he had anything to do with Mr. Aspinall?
Jezz.....

Anonymous said...

it doesn't add up, folks!
Look at the register day..
Fake!

Anonymous said...

yes it is a fake...... a homage, a dedication, a late joe epitaph to someone who made a difference.

nothing more, nothing less.

Tafultong said...

Anonymous said...

it doesn't add up, folks!
Look at the register day..
Fake!


Yes, there is a spelling error in the name as well. It doesn't tell us anything, but it was an invitation for anyone to tell us something.

Anonymous said...

The core teaching of Mani, which it shares with Zoroastrianism (and for certain Christians who don't understand their own doctrine), is the supposed Grand Conflict between the forces of Light and Dark or Good and Evil, which is the theme of Yellow Submarine.

T

Anonymous said...

yes, the "r" is missing:

"The original Semitic letter was probably inspired by an Egyptian hieroglyph for "head", pronounced t-p in Egyptian, but it was used for /r/ by Semites because in their language, the word for "head" was Rêš (also the name of the letter). It developed into Greek Ρ ῥῶ (Rhô) and Latin R. It is likely that some Etruscan and Western Greek forms of the letter added the extra stroke to distinguish it from a later form of the letter P."

Anonymous said...

A Ringo update: According to the AbbeyRd Beatles site, Ringo has indeed been signing and sending back items to fans which is awful nice of him, donchathink? As one commenter put it, it's not uncommon for said items to show up on EBay and command top dollar (which means these "fans" were not true fans). The story has been picked up by mainstream media and I think we can expect some clarification from Ringo soon.

Tafultong said...

Anonymous:

The story has been picked up by mainstream media and I think we can expect some clarification from Ringo soon.

I hope so because the press is linking this to the unfair overblown story about his supposed negative Liverpool remarks.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw that too. I don't see any connection between the Liverpool comment and this video. There's our wonderful news media just making something up to make it seem juicier.
Ringo may have just been in a grumpy mood. Of all the Fabs he seemed the most annoyed at fan intrusion (listen to The 1965 Interviews CD) but for some reason always seemed like he would be more approachable than the other Beatles.
I know someone who met McCartney and came with 60's memorabilia he wanted signed and Paul told him no offense but he doesn't like doing that because they always wind up on EBay. He said "I'd rather not sign all that stuff but I'll certainly shake your hand."

Felipegcs said...

Just as a curiosity:

There was a gnostic AND Manichaeism order called... the "Paul"icians

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulicianism

:P

But there seems to be a lot of gnostic references in the Beatles music, artworks, etc.

By the way,Crowley based a lot of his ideas in gnosticism... the OTO is a gnostic-based tendency, for example.

Anonymous said...

Here's something McCartney used to do to get away from pushy fans. He had a secret signal only his security team knew...whenever he scratched his elbow while talking to a fan it was a signal for security to come and hustle him out of there. This worked well for many years because it made the security team look like the "bad guys" and Paul would say "Oh I'm terribly sorry, I'd love to stay and chat but they need me for something and I better go". With this method, the fan feels good about the interaction and blames security for the abrupt ending and McCartney gets the hell out.
Maybe Ringo should've just scratched his elbow in his video.

Anonymous said...

I think Ringo has more than enough right to put a stop to the autographs, he can't just sit around and do it all day and it's admirable of him to give a warning, otherwise people would be upset that they mailed an album cover to him and it never came back at all.

I think that the news media is attaching the liverpool thing to this story because it's the latest news on ringo. Seeing as how he didn't really do much to explain, he should expect as much from the media, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I don't think his fans are interpreting it that way judging by the comments I've seen on Youtube and on Beatle forums. This is a PR disaster. I bet you anything Ringo backpedals in a day or two.

Ringoooooo....you ga some 'splainin' to dooooo!

Anonymous said...

So far the funniest comment from the avalanche of newly inspired Ringo-Hate on You Tube:

"I won't be listening to any of your music after October 20...I'm too busy...Peace and Love...Peace and Love...So don't make any more music after October 20 I'm too busy to listen or buy...Peace and Love..."

Hey, ya gotta laugh sometimes.

Anonymous said...

This kinda confirms Ringo's position on autographs:

/watch?v=FPjmtF7IV_o

Anonymous said...

Hey Iamaphoney fans look on the bright side. Ringo has managed to do in one weekend what Iamaphoney has failed to do in two years...make the world hate a Beatle.

Anonymous said...

*****Hey Iamaphoney fans look on the bright side. Ringo has managed to do in one weekend what Iamaphoney has failed to do in two years...make the world hate a Beatle.*****


Your mother is paying lip service to both of them.

Anonymous said...

*****The first entry under the letter "W" confidently answers the question "Who was the walrus?"*****

But it answers the question incorrectly.

It says, "Paul is the walrus", and its source is the song "I Am The Walrus".

But that song identifies John as the walrus. It's "Glass Onion" which identifies Paul as the walrus.

Tafultong said...

That was why I called it the "Walrus Question." That's also why I thought it was a significant entry.

The ambiguity about the walrus started with "I Am The Walrus" because the album followed the title with "No you're not," said Little Nicola.

It had nothing to do with the film. It made no sense at all in 1967, but it started to make sense in 1968 when John sang "Glass Onion."

Anonymous said...

They are saying on the news something about the fire in the San Fernando Valley and it threatening the Santa Susana Pass. Hope if that 2nd suitcase is still there, it wasn't anything important.

Anonymous said...

CERN - the rotten apple 70
Spahn Ranch - the rotten apple 111
Rome 32 GO
Berlin 42 60


When did iamaphoney rename all these videos?

I know I know you mean person out there.. I am a "dumbass retard" for asking, but if someone nice could answer this "stupid" question I would be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Jude thinks you are stupid, not me

Anonymous said...

good question
last I checked they were the same, news to me

Anonymous said...

where do you see this?

Anonymous said...

"CERN - the rotten apple 70
Spahn Ranch - the rotten apple 111
Rome 32 GO
Berlin 42 60"



Old news, been this way awhile

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry....

"had not noticed that the lights had changed"

Anonymous said...

old news as in 5 hours ago old news? (iaap last sign in)
or days ago old news?

Anonymous said...

months ago

Anonymous said...

months ago??? my bad, sorry

Anonymous said...

hours ago actually

Anonymous said...

asky mikey he'll knowy

Anonymous said...

Ringo was sending out a signal. He's giving someone an ultimatum, and won't be "signing" after the 20th.

Somebody has to make up their mind.

MikeNL said...

no more signing after the suitcase has been retrieved :- ).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

asky mikey he'll knowy

October 13, 2008 10:24 PM


told ya

MikeNL said...

yeah.
i'm getting the suitcase on the 20th.

maybe because of next level or something... ringo doesn't want to sign anymore?

it could be possible, but i think it's for another reason.

Anonymous said...

Mike, are you really going get the suitcase on October 20th?

MikeNL said...

Yes.

if one suitcase is opened, it will start a domino effect on the others. the contents are mindblowing.

Anonymous said...

how can you be sure that it is still there mike?

Anonymous said...

mindblowing like the video CD in the first suitcase?

Anonymous said...

I heard someone is picking up the briefcase, is it true?

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