Thursday, July 2, 2020

Looking Forward: I'll Follow the Sun

purchase [ I'll Follow the Sun]

Looking back or looking forward. There's something about the human condition that goes like : "the grass is always greener on the other side". My co-horts here have referenced both directions: looking  forward to  a time of live music, looking back to a time before for the guidance and wisdom of those who came before us.

There's a rather extensive "play-by-play" of the history of <I'll Follow the Sun> at and more at their sister site - both of them worth the few minutes you'd spend perusing them.

For  my second Beatles post in a month, it need be the theme that carries this: Forward, as in better days ahead (as in 'getting better all the time') or, possibly, moving on. Actually, the song's lyrics appear open to interpretation as to for whom the future looks better and who is moving on. Is it the singer leaving for better days or is it the girl who's going to know in the end that times were better with him. The lengthy beatlesebooks article makes the remark that you probably shouldn't dig too deep for meaning from a song that was, after all, written by a 16-year-old McCartney.

For the final 1964 recording, the original lyrics  ‘Well, don’t leave me alone, I need you now hurry and follow me my dear’ were replaced with 'and now the time has come ...'.  How does this color our interpretations of the lyric meanings? The words 'I need you' and 'follow me' only seem to muddy the overall message: who's looking forward to a better day for who? As for following the sun, it would seem pretty indisputable that (a) the sun is a symbol for the day ahead/future - especially if you set out to follow it -  and (b) sun is better than rain - something to look forward to (when the rain comes ...). Chalk the  mud up to the lyrics skills of a 16 year old?

Most Beatles songs at the time were pretty much R&B with little room for a more melodic, more romantic musical style. And that is certainly true of the original version of the song from 4 years before the version you probably know. The tempo of the 1960 recording is much more in keeping with the R&B persona they thought they needed to project to keep their fans. And my two sources note that even a year later, their next "melodic" piece, Yesterday, was initially released in the US before the UK - again aiming not to alienate the R&B-expectent fan base.

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