Some days you go into work simply to get through the day. Your time is spent playing with the computer, making excuses, drinking bad coffee, chatting, lunching, spacing out, drinking more bad coffee and generally not working.
I’ve done it, you’ve done it , we’ve all done it, so why shouldn’t The Beatles?
“What You’re Doing” feels a little like a band hanging around the water cooler gossiping about last night’s episode of “Glee” telling a few uninspired jokes about The Tea Party and then knocking out a few invoices before it’s time to go home.
The Beatles were going through the motions, and not surprisingly so. They were knackered.
At the time of recording “Beatles For Sale” there was intense pressure to get a album out before Christmas 1964. Beatlemania was thought to be on the wane, and everyone outside the band wanted a quick final payday.
Only six days separated the last full band session for “Hard Day’s Night” and “Beatles For Sale” which was their fourth album in 21 months. This means they were working at almost the same speed as we do at “The Beatles Complete On Ukulele”, which, of course, no one should be asked to do.
Even high-skill hit-machines like John and Paul could not write songs at that pace so they ended up recording six cover songs for the album. The writing process was dull and workmanlike with Paul being driven from his apartment on Wimpole Street to John in the suburbs every day to get the work done.
Paul: “We would normally be rung a couple of weeks before the recording session and they’d say, ‘We’re recording in a month’s time and you’ve got a week off before the recordings to write some stuff.’ …so I’d go out to John’s every day for the week. We always wrote a song a day, whatever happened we always wrote a song a day…. So John and I would sit down, and by then it might be one or two o’clock, and by four or five o’clock we’d be done.”
It is my guess that “What You’re Doing” was completed around 2.07pm.
I can’t think of another Beatles song that starts with that laziest of intro’s, a four bar drum pattern. This kind of behavior one expects from Gary Glitter, Phil Collins or Twisted Sister but not The Fabs. I think there is only one man that can pull this off and he is sadly no longer with us. John Bonham’s intro’s to “When The Levee Breaks”, “D’yer Mak’er” and of course “Rock’nRoll” are the exceptions to this rule.
My favorite part of the recording is George’s shimmering 12 string guitar that I suspect may have inspired The Byrds version of “Mr Tamborine Man” which was recorded few months later.
“What You’re Doing” was of the earliest songs about Paul’s tempestuous relationship with Jane Asher.
It’s not one of his best lyrics.
Please stop your lying, you’ve got me crying, girl,
Why should it be so much to ask of you,
What you’re doing to me?
It’s all a bit Moon/June.
C+ at best.
Of Lennon and McCartney, Paul is thought to be the one who has the brighter disposition, but that is not always the case when he writes about Jane. “I’m Looking Through You”, “You Won’t See Me” and “For No One” are songs that show Paul’s darker side. In those songs Paul expresses a genuine sense of mystery about his muse. The bafflement is much deeper than the simple “WTF” of “Doing”
Jane and Paul were often struggling for power within the relationship, which must have been particularly familiar for Paul as he was going through exactly the same battle with John.
The ukulele version of “What You’re Doing” by actress and singer Carolee Goodgold is from the unrecorded soundtrack of an unreleased gangster movie by David Lynch called “Happy Town”.
In the scene where our version is featured Little Danny (played by Harry Dean Stanton) is seen alternating between flash back and present, similtainiously beheading a neighbors dachshund puppy when he was 11 years of age, and a gangland rival many years later.
Though out the movie Little Danny is seen to play out his childhood fantasies as a gangland boss in modern day Los Angeles. However as the movie progresses the timeline becomes blurred and we see Little Danny confusing his childhood more and more with his adult life. The movie climaxes with a fully grown Stanton feeding at the breast of his young mother played by Naomi Watts.
Lynch shot the film without a complete screenplay. Instead, he handed each actor several pages of freshly written dialogue each day. The few critics who have seen the film are severely divided some saying that it is Lynch’s best work, redefining what cinema can be and others who preferred “Avatar”.
The movie was due to be released by Unversal in Spring 2009 but after a series of angry and sometimes violent meetings between the director and producer Ronnie Fayre the film, soundtrack and this performance was shelved indefinitely.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Carolee considers herself very lucky because there are actually a few Beatles songs she doesn’t know. Something to live for!!
She started singing and dancing at 2 1/2, a little peanut with a huge voice performing "I’m a Little Hula Hula Baby" at Brooklyn College.
Her first album was "The Lord’s Prayer" as performed by the Brothers and Sisters for Peter Pan Records. She was the Singing Nun.
She starred in many theatrical productions until she fell in with a bad crowd…musicians. Followed by another nefarious group…voiceover talent!
You are subliminally controlled by her voice to buy many products. She sings, she acts, she sews, she talks…it’s a beautiful thing!