Wait im new to your blog (haven’t listened to your podcast yet, but planning to soon!) so im confused what a “jean jacket” is? (I mean I know what it is in the literal sense, but not personified yknow)
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Well our blog (such as it is) is mostly just an adjunct to our podcast. It isn’t updated frequently, but we do try to (eventually) answer all the mail we get here.
If you’re new to the podcast, you can jump in anywhere! I’d suggest you pick a topic that interests you and dive in. 🙂
If you’re into song analysis and extensive discussion of Mary McCartney, check out our Female Protagonists episode
“Jean Jacket” is a term coined by me to denote a Beatles traditionalist, someone who clings steadfastly to the original Lennon-Remembers era narrative -despite new information or evidence to the contrary. I explain it in our introductory episode (but maybe we should post a definition somewhere).
I haven’t really seen it being discussed before, (if it has, my bad! I just haven’t seen it yet) but what songs do you guys think Paul wrote (or just speculated to have written) about his breakup with Jane? I would find it out of character for him to not process it through song in some type of way.
Thanks for the question! Although this type of speculation can be controversial, it can also be fun. We think Jane was the inspiration of SO MANY of Paul’s Beatles songs! Even though both Jane and Paul are quiet/private about their relationship, it is a bit strange that Jane is never discussed as one of rock’s greatest muses (as opposed to say, Pattie Boyd).
In any case, here are a few that I personally think are either directly or indirectly written about Jane:
And I Love Her
Things We Said Today
Another Girl (what an asshole!)
The Night Before
You Won’t See Me (again, asshole)
I’m Looking Through You
We Can Work it Out
For No One
Can You Take Me Back?
Let it Be
Long and Winding Road
To be honest, most of those are sorta break-up songs (or at least lover’s quarrel songs)!
But I assume your original question is about their final breakup in summer 68. In that event, I would say all Paul’s break-up/sad songs of that era (or just all his songs in general) are potentially about Jane in some way. Of course in this late-Beatles era Paul is also processing the estrangement from John, which he also took very hard/seriously, so this could be (and probably was) factoring into those songs as well.
Maybe Paul’s upcoming Lyrics book will shed light on these? (HAHA, just kidding of course they won’t)
Why do you think John publicly insulted Paul all the way into the late 70’s, even after their reconciliation/lost weekend? I usually interpret anger like that as a reaction to fear and rejection. It’s just sad John went back on his positive statements, like during the lost weekend, and started bashing Paul again.
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Well, in a nutshell: I think as much as John tried to forgive/understand Paul and move forward, I think he resented the way things fell apart between them and never completely got over it. I do think they tried to reconcile many times in the 70s, and tried to express their love for each other (through their music at least) but they probably never had the kind of heart-to-heart they truly needed.
I also believe what Yoko told Philip Norman in 1981- that John was more hurt by Paul than anyone else in his life. I can’t explain what happened between them in 68-69 (wish I could!) but my impression is that John believed Paul didn’t value their relationship and felt like Paul threw them under the bus. Basically I think that original hurt never fully healed and kept resurfacing from time to time due to any number of possible triggers (seeing Paul on TV, talking to him on the phone, tangentially-related abandonment issues, etc) and whenever that happened John would resent Paul and feel justified in saying shitty things to newspapers, etc. A random memory of a hurtful thing could likely make John nasty or snide that day and a fond memory could likely make him wistful and affectionate on another day. This isn’t necessarily inconsistent. I think John always loved Paul and always was hurt by him. It was just a matter of what mood you caught him in.
FWIW, I don’t think it would’ve been impossible for them to heal their relationship, but it would’ve required time and privacy, which I don’t think they ever really got (although obviously we don’t know for sure). I personally suspect it would’ve also required an unequivocal declaration of love (and/or apology) from Paul to heal the original wound. Unfortunately that never came. There’s a lot of evidence to suggest they were planning to reconnect in 1980, but it seems like time ran out.
Sorry this got kind of sad! As always, this is just my opinion.
I was wondering if you had any thoughts on any tension that existed between John and Paul’s dad Jim. Particularly John’s “and in the end he chose me.” comments in 1971. We know that Paul in Michael McCartneys words “always did what Dad told him to” and this was obviously a source of tension with John. But was it a control issue? Concern for Paul (we know Jim was still physically disciplining Paul up to the age of 17, but did John?) or was it rooted in something else?
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Wow, this is a humdinger of a question which opens up a much larger discussion. Perhaps better suited for a full episode than a quick post.
Short answer is that John most likely had both: Jealousy over Jim’s influence and anger at anyone hurting Paul.
It’s not difficult to understand why John would be resentful towards a man who hits a person he loves. Easy to understand why John’s resentment would be exacerbated by Paul’s obvious adoration and loyalty for Jim.
I also agree that John enjoyed a certain influence over Paul simply in terms of John and Paul being like-minded besties who dressed alike, talked alike and loved all the same things AND in terms of encouraging Paul to misbehave, skip school, etc (although again I think this is greatly overplayed because Paul has always been a daredevil with a rebellious streak, even if he didn’t tend to openly defy his father).
I don’t think “control” was the issue because I don’t think John ever controlled Paul! That idea is pure science-fiction to me (even if does make a lot of jean jackets horny). However there is no doubt that John was a major influence on the appearance and demeanor of both Early Beatles and Early Lennon/McCartney.
John’s comment about Jim’s controlling behavior concerned Paul’s hair and clothing, which is something John had particular interest in; John and Paul fused their images almost immediately after hooking up in 1957, and John would understandably want his better half looking cool and fresh to death, both for his own benefit (i.e. Paul’s appearance is a reflection on John) and for his own gratification (John likes looking at Paul and takes pleasure in Paul looking good).
The bigger issue to unpack (which I won’t get into here) is John’s resentment and jealousy over Paul and Jim’s close father-son relationship (imperfect though it may be).
And how John wishes Paul (in his words!) to choose John over his own family, in either a sort of pseudo-star-crossed-lovers or pseudo-devoted-parent scenario (take your pick, it’s a matter of interpretation).
I think that as soon as insiders and people who were actually there with the Beatles show even the slightest bias that isn’t towards John without claiming to be impartial, most people (especially boomers and Jean jackets) get riled up and dismiss their stories as false and revisionist.And I agree with you that authors who claim to be objective should not favour one over the others and pick sides.
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Well, it’s usually John but I suppose it could be about whoever your favorite Beatles is (but yes, 99% of the time it’s John, haha).
For instance, I think F. Schwartz’s book is totally trashy and sensationalized (not to mention it’s super dirty to write an expose of someone you knew for a mere three months at one of the most vulnerable times of their life), but it’s still a piece of the enormously complex puzzle of Who is Paul McCartney (albeit one that should be taken with a massive grain of salt).
Likewise with some of the wilder memoirs about John and Yoko, such as Dakota Days by John Green, or even some of the accounts in The Lives of John Lennon. They are small pieces of a broader picture and shouldn’t be given more weight than they deserve. We always have to consider through who’s eyes these lurid stories are told. Even though our brains tend to magnify upsetting pieces of information, it’s best to balance them alongside the less-sensational stuff we know too. A person’s life is long and complex and inevitably includes highs, lows, moments of darkness and shame along with the more glorious moments.
And of course some people are going to have more affection for Paul than John or vice verse. Just as some prefer one’s music over the other’s. That’s just common sense.
I’m glad that these days Paul has the respect he deserves, but do you think it’s appalling that the majority of Beatles bios still paint him as the pretty face singing light-weight ballads? I find it annoying that Paul’s look is something journalists and biographers tend to use to demean him. Rolling Stones or some other rock magazine even called him the girl of the group! That’s some outright sexist attitude there. If Paul looked like George I think this would never happened.
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Well. I don’t know that modern Beatles bios paint him as a pretty face so much. Most of that is gone I think. What has remained are all the other cliches- John was the Alpha Male and the leader and innovator and always in control (except when he relinquished control, which is the only way Paul could’ve ever taken over) and that every move John made was decisive and pro-active whereas Paul was constantly reactive and powerless and tagging behind John, both personally and artistically.
The reason we’ve focused on the light-weight, girly, “pretty face” shit is because it was basically the foundation of all these other bullshit ideas. We have got to resolve that particular issue before we can move forward and challenge all those other tropes.
Ok, fairly controversial, but I’m dying to hear what you guys think about the Fred Seaman memoirs. I just finished it and… wow. And it’s almost impossible to research the situation due to the legal gag order. Seaman doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. I figured since you guys have read so many books, you might be able to shed some light. Thanks for this great podcast and all the interesting essays on tumblr!
~ Our Tumblr Asks
I enjoyed it. I mean, Fred isn’t the sharpest or most insightful person of all time, but I appreciated his recollections.
I totally understand (and support) Yoko’s hatred of him- he violated his non-disclosure which besides being illegal would surely be a personal betrayal. And then he literally stole personal items of John’s (most notably his diaries!).
OTOH, I’m infinitely grateful for his accounts because without Fred (and May Pang) we would have no idea what John’s post-Beatles life was really like. The PR version of the Dakota Years issued and maintained by The Estate and Rolling Stone (and oddly perpetuated by people like Ken Womack, etc) is obviously complete bullshit. It’s a semi-fictional alternate storyline that is happier and more palatable to fans/media. I suppose it’s Yoko prerogative to invent and tell whatever story she wants. Obviously we feel no obligation to preserve her narratives.
I understand that it’s hard to suss out the motives of various players in this game (Who is trying to protect John? Who’s trying to tell John’s story honestly? Who is trying to cover their own ass? Who’s out to make a buck? grind an ax? etc) But IMO John didn’t come off too badly in Fred’s book! He was often anxious/neurotic, emotionally frail, bitter, paranoid, superstitious, etc. But he also came off as funny, creative, interesting, insightful and charismatic also. I think this portrayal is pretty consistent and realistic.
How do you ladies feel about Geoff Emericks book? It seems quite controversial in the fandom.
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Personally I really enjoyed it. Found it well-written (or ghost-written, or ghost-edited or whatever) and entertaining. I have no idea why it would be controversial, except I guess that people are upset because Geoff prefers Paul to John and doesn’t care much for George Harrison. Of course that’s just Geoff’s POV. People who like and respect Paul are allowed to say so and can dislike George Harrison (just as people dislike Paul, John, Ringo, etc). I DO understand why this would bum people out, or be a thing they’d not take pleasure in reading but again it’s a memoir, from Geoff’s POV, so it naturally reflects his opinions and feelings.
I think people sometimes expect memoirs to have the same objectivity as a historical narrative, which IMO isn’t realistic or even appropriate. Memoirs are based on personal accounts and subjective impressions. We don’t have to agree with Geoff’s opinions, but his observations on his personal experiences are valuable. As Kristen observed in our AHDN/Maysles episode, there are many versions of these famous individuals, and all of them are true. I love the books written by Cynthia, Pete Shotten, May Pang, George Martin, etc because they are personal and subjective and they provide important puzzle pieces to our understanding of these complicated individuals.
On the other hand, biographers that claim to be objective like Lewisohn, Doggett, Norman, etc. should not pick sides, play favorites, elevate one person’s POV above the others’ etc. Obviously that’s something we do push back on because we hold those books to a higher standard in terms of bias. Readers assume those books are objective and factual. Aspects of history that are ignored in these books are assumed to be unimportant. It’s vital that they be subjected to peer review.
Hi, I just wanted to thank you all for your great and informative podcast. I’ve really seen a change in the way people discuss the beatles (paul particularly) on tumblr over the last year and I think much of it is down to you guys. People no longer seem to refer to paul as “feminine” or “a diva” as they once did, and I’ve seen more posts delving into his musicianship and things that the jean jackets ignore like his poor treatment during the breakup. Anyway, thank you, and keep up the good work!
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Well, thank you very much for this terrific ask. We really appreciate this! I posted on the whole feminization issue recently because I’d seen it pop up.
We’re aware we have very vocal haters too (which is flattering in its own way), but if we’ve had a positive influence on tumblr-Beatles discourse, we’re thrilled and humbled.
You guys are my heroes! What does it take to be a “Beatles Expert?”
~ Our Tumblr Asks
Thanks, buddy! We aim to please.
What does it take to be a Beatles expert? Depends on who you ask! According to most fans, it just requires reading a lot of books. We think reading Beatles books is the bare minimum for forming your own opinions and theories. Beyond that we use our own research, critical thought, personal experience and consideration of others’ POVs. Then we weigh all of that against the Beatles’ own words/perspectives. Finally, we try to remain open to evolving our own ideas and opinions according to new information, persuasive evidence or the well-reasoned arguments from people we respect.
All that said, none of us at AKOM consider ourselves “Beatles experts.” (nor do we even consider that a real thing!) We are just informed, opinionated fans who like to discuss the Beatles and encourage people to read and think critically.