Thanks for the memories

We are on the Amalfi Coast today, having down time. We are meeting our daughter for dinner later this evening, and the town of Almalfi is just wall-to-wall shops and tourists, so inside is better than outside. So I have been laying here on the bed looking at old photos of the Beatles, trying to figure out the Paul/Mike dynamic.

It isn’t as hard as I imagined it to be. The song above, Till There Was You, is sung by the original Paul. Notice several things about him – he cannot sing without moving his head, and his eyes dart about too. He was good, but not self-confident. Mike was the better performer of the two.

I think the switch from Paul to Mike happened early on, so that by the time they made the movie Help! in 1965 it had all but been decided that Mike was the guy. And, to his credit, he apparently has learned in the intervening years to play guitar and bass left-handed. He also has a better vocal range than original Paul. If you doubt that, listen to the song above, and then to the song Lady Madonna … the crooner above could no way sing in the deep baritone notes that the song exhibits. That was Mike.

To settle the matter, there is the question of relative height. Below are the Beatles after their original 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance.

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Paul, original Paul, on the left, has very dark hair, is the same height as George, and just a shade shorter than John.

Here they are again:

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This is after they received their MBE (Members of the British Empire) medals from the Queen in 1965. “Paul” is now two inches taller than  George, one inch more than John. He’s had a growth spurt.

I chose these photos because they are all standing next to each other on a level floor, and without those silly high-heel pumps they had to wear in the beginning. (It is very hard to find photos of them for comparison.)

Since they had two Paul’s to work with, the managers of this group had some fun with it. They moved the two boys in and out of the same role in Hard Day’s Night, and put Mike behind mustache and beard in that movie as concealment.

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The hair, thought just to be a gimmick, actually served to conceal the eyebrows, which are quite different on the two, original Paul’s wrapping around more than Mike’s.

Later still, more fun and games, came the album clues and the Paul is Dead project. That is, to my knowledge, still going on.

I have to say that behind these four boys was some genuine creative talent. Kudos to all involved, and thanks for the entertainment.

13 thoughts on “Thanks for the memories

  1. It’s not hard to pick them out on Hard Days’ Night. Not just the height, the voice, the features, but the teeth. Mike/Faul, today’s Paul has prominent upper incisors (front teeth bunny-like), John Paul (Halliday) less so. There’s a Youtube interview with cute John Paul on which he can barely converse. Mike/Faul holds his own very well. John Paul isn’t super-articulate on the Halliday videos either….

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    1. I sense a lack of self assurance in him, original Paul, even as he sings very well and does a decent bass. He had it, but not on a superstar level. He was destined to be another Herman of Herman’s Hermits, and that would have been the end of it. He would be hosting 3 AM videos selling 60s rock band stuff, but Mike took it up several levels. He stepped in with assurance and gravitas, made “Paul” into an icon. I guess I will never know how much real talent is there … beyond the confident performer, the key-banging pianist, has he written any music? Some of the bad stuff? The Standing Stone debacle? Even today in concert, is he being ghosted?

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  2. I suspect there are three Paul’s at work in AHDN. The third does the clownish acting, especially in the commuter car with the older fussbudget. This Faul was spotlighted at the now mysteriously defunct site The Beatles Never Existed as the “wiseguy Paul” in pre-Beatlemania days. He also has a longer torso than the musically inclined twins.
    The three other Beatles have individual scenes in the film of varying length but “Paul” does not. The only spotlight scene is very brief in the dressing room where he intones about too too solid flesh melting and thrusts a false nose at the camera. Smells like a clue, don’t it?

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  3. Tyrone, we do know there were at least three different voices representing Paul on the Beatle recordings. This is thanks to Dr. Henry Truby of the U. of Miami. He talked to Life Magazine, I believe in 1969, about his findings from his voice print analysis. UPI also reported on this.

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    1. “Why so seriousssss….?” Jean Shepherd covered the Beatles for Playboy and he told Lennon the act was a goof, a parody of an act. Lennon had admitted to him that they really did take themselves seriously at the beginning but they came to realize that what ten year olds think is great looks silly to grown ups. I suspect at this point, heading into their first studio recordings, they took themselves very seriously.
      Well, that shit eating smirk on Pete’s face tells me he was the first to realize what was really going on.
      Pete- you’re fired!

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    2. Silver Beetles with arrows

      Surprise surprise! It is the original Paul, even as they look very much alike at this age. Later they diverge into Macca/Halliday, easily seen to be two people. I put the arrows in there because on the left you can see the wraparound eyebrow, not openly obvious, and on the right the droopy eyes, much more a facet of Paul than Mike.

      I honestly thought it was going to be Mike.

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  4. I just dont have a background in Beatleology… It’s something you have to study over years probably, there’s so much media content around them. And I only sort of get their appeal. Maybe I’m just not musically sensitive/ literate enough to be an obsessed fan.

    In other news… Is Biden playing the part of senile old man, or really in mental decline?

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    1. I’ve always seen Biden as a placeholder for Hillary. The idea being to limit the rise of the Sanders-Warren wing, and then, at the convention or soon after, have him reveal a medical issue that necessitates Hillary to sweep in and “save the day”, perhaps with M. Obama as a Veep candidate. I’m sure Hillary would like a rematch while avoiding a grueling primary run. But, in any case, Biden is in his late 70s and cognitive decline is also truly possible.

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    2. He’s 77 … but photos of him make him look much younger, like he borrowed Joan Rivers’ face. Had to be some procedures there, more than just hair plugs. He’s obviously missed his chance but isn’t going down easily, a massive ego, narcissist? Think of it, he’d be 82 after one term, and probably, like Reagan, need round-the-clock management.

      Spoken like a 69 year old, like I ain’t old yet.

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