The Word - Terry Radigan

from by The Beatles Complete On Ukulele

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The Word is pivotal song for The Beatles and John Lennon in particular. It marks the transition of the word love being used as a weapon to posses an individual, (Run For Your Life, I’ll Get You) to a more universal all encompassing love of all existence.
How did John Lennon make this transformation?
Was it through hours of study of ancient texts?
Did he have access to a wise guru who imparted the knowledge of the ages upon him?
Was he visited by a Flaming Pie?
All he did was drugs.
Users of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide otherwise known as LSD or acid often experience a dissolution between themselves and the "outside world". See
There is little doubt that Lennon experienced something like this before writing The Word.
President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs in 1969. Unfortunately the war had been lost several years earlier. Surrender was finally acknowledged by Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy on May 13, 2009, when he announced that The Administration would not use the term "War on Drugs," in future as it was thought to be counter-productive. Many believe that this will lead to the full legalization of narcotics in the 3rd or 4th Obama administration.
We firmly believe that drugs should not be legalized as it will lead to decreased quality and a substantial rise in price.
Enough politics, back to the music
The song itself is a re-worked 12 bar blues not unlike Dr Robert or Little Child. Musically they could write this kind of song in their sleep, which they often had to do due to the touring, recording, promotional schedule of 1964/7 .
Ringo is is extremely tasteful and the usual horribly loud tambourine is nowhere to be heard. We may be mistaken but it sounds like there are two bass parts on this recording. On the left Channel a simple part follows the bass drum while on the right a more McCartneyeque riff twists and turns it’s way through the song.
The most druggy element of the recording is performed by the least druggy of humans. George Martin plays a distorted harmonium that references the indian influences that were to become standard during the next few years of Beatle recordings.
The Word was, of course, love.
The Beatles used the word Love 613 times in the lyrics of their songs. Strangely this is the same number of commandments in the Old Testament.

Coincidence? We think so.

The word “Beatles” was used only once in all of their songs but as you can see by the graphic insert that they used one word more often than any other by a very wide margin.
Sing the word – the word is YOU. Used a massive 2,262 times in Beatles songs.

Don’t believe us? Count them yourselves at

When J&P finished the song they wrote out the lyrics and decorated them with psychedelic imagery and gave them to John Cage for his 50th birthday. JC liked this gift so much that he threw it in a waste basket.

Sorry… That was a lie.

That should have read John Cage liked this gift so much that he reprinted it in his book “Notations.”

Our recording features the stylish Terry Radigan. Terry wore a very tasteful Stella McCartney jacket at the 1st Beatles Complete On Ukulele Festival last year and expect her to blind us with her fashion sense again when we repeat the performance on Dec 5/6 at n8 in Williamsburg.

This is the second version of The Word that we recorded. To try and catch the atmosphere of the original Beatles recording we added weapons grade LSD to her camomile tea. This was an error. Terry mistook my dog for The Angel Gabriel then knelt down and started worshiping it on the studio floor. She kept repeating that she knew the secret of the Magic Potato and demanded that we see the wisdom of the Eternal Bass Firestorm.


Some would say that Radigan sings like a bird, which is true because she is one. Not some delicate, fragile thin boned lark or hummingbird, more like a Sulawesi Goshawk or Nankeen Kestrel.

Focused, graceful, deadly.

She sings of love from the cradle, to the altar, from the divorce courts, to the grave, referencing the Great American Songbook, Nashville and Detroit.

Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill and others have covered her songs but none sing them with emotional precision of the author

hear more of her work at:


from Rubber Soul, released August 14, 2012
Ukulele Version #039 recorded April 14 2011

Radigan, Vocals, Guitar, Percission
David Barratt – Ukulele and everything else

Produced by David Barratt and Radigan at The Abattoir of Good Taste Brooklyn.

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The Beatles Complete On Ukulele New York, New York

Every Tuesday from January 20, 2009 until July 31, 2012 The Beatles Complete On Ukulele released a new recording of a Beatles song* featuring a ukulele sung by a different artist.

These albums are a compilation of those recordings.

*we consider a Beatles song to be one of the 185 original compositions released by The Beatles between 1962 and 1970.
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