Good Morning Good Morning
Composer(s) : Lennon and McCartney
Year : 1967
Chords/Tabs: Good Morning Good Morning
Notes On "Good Morning, Good ..."
- Not so fast! We've got unfinished business to deal with.
Rita's Outro Revisited
- An uncommonly serious and thoughtful reader of these notes sent email
asking why the previous note on "Lovely Rita" gave what he considered
to be unfairly short shrift to the song's climactic outro. No, I
responded, you shouldn't chalk this up to my necessarily being bored
or tired of working on the series :-) But his underlying question forced
me to carefully re-consider why, indeed, I had failed to remark, even in
passing, on the rather blatantly sexual overtones of the song's closing
- If I have it to do over again, I will at least acknowledge that
the voluble, wordy rest of the song is capped by a virtually wordless
outro that provides a modicum of release to the heretofore only "nearly"
consumated build up of horny energy accumlated along the way. Indeed,
I suppose most people have, at one time or other, come home for a "date"
feeling "frustrated" and in need of some ultimate relief however solitary
or makeshift. Fine, as far as it goes.
- I split paths with my reader though when he goes on to chide me for
not appreciating what he considers to be the Beethovenian and realistic
passion of this song's climax. (Hey, for a change it was someone else
other than *me* who mentioned LVB :-)).
- Put simply, if the outro of LR was intended to convey a sense of
raw, overwhelming and inescapable climax, then I believe it is undermined
by its own attempt to be simultaneously cute and realistic. "Less is
more," I'd advise Paul. Beethoven manages with chord changes and
harmonic rhythm, alone; no need to weaken it by making it so obvious
with the moaning and heavily breathed vocal effects. On grounds of
strictly musical technique, the use of i-iv-i (instead of the more
kinetic V chord) plus the rather flacid application of harmonic rhythm
in this song's outro work at cross-purposes with whatever build up
of tension is happening elsewhere in the musical fabric.
- Let's try and state it positively though. I more strongly suspect that,
in keeping with the comic subtext of what precedes the outro, that this
climax here is intended in the much the same arch spirit. No seed is
literally spilt here, you should pardon the expression; no heart races
wildly; we're just kidding around for shits and grins. "Playing tigers,"
Anthony Blanche called it. It's not that I personally believe there's
no room for fun or humor in the midst of sharing sex, but I *do* believe
that getting all the way there requires shifting ones focus to some level
of serious concentration. (Oh, momma -- I can't believe I'm saying any
of this, and on the Internet, no less!! :-)
Look it: if you cannot rely on personal experience in this regard, then
at least consider the bridge section of "Day Tripper" as an object lesson.
At any rate, then, let us move onto the song which gives a whole
new dimension of meaning to the phrase "rude awakening"? (Clear the
throat, and wipe clean the slate ...)
Notes On "Good Morning, Good Morning" (GMGM)
KEY A Major
METER 4/4 in intro, bridge and outro; anything but predictable in verse
FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse' -> Bridge ->
Verse -> Verse' (guitar solo) -> Bridge ->
Verse -> Outro (fadeout)
GENERAL POINTS OF INTEREST
Style and Form
- This is truly, truly, one of the great songs; with its uneven meter,
blisters-on-fingers drumming, washed out horns and silver saxaphones,
and rapid fire verbal slide-show imagery; inspired by no less than a
mass media commercial effort on behalf of Kellogg's Corn Flakes; "the
best to you each morning," indeed. (Doesn't *your* alarm radio ever
trip off on a Blue Monday Morning in the middle of some piece of
equally insipid and insidiously cheerly bit of nonsense?)
- And yet, for all its (you say you want a) revolutionary gestures, you
must acknowledge how, at the same time, well grounded it is on a
classic-pop/rock formal design.
Melody and Harmony
- Both tune and chord changes are frugally funded here, as is John's
wont; I am tempted to assign this to an type of "impatience" on his
part in wanting to get out a strongly felt message with such urgency
that it overwhelms whatever counter balancing desire he might have
to linger over the design of certain musical details.
- The tune contains an uncanny number of phrases that span a fourth that
is then subdivided into a third and a second, or vice versa. A unexhaustive
list of examples (collect them all!):
- Nothing to do A-F#-B
- To save his life E-G-A-E
- Call his wife in G-A-F#-A
- I've got nothing D-C#-A-A
- (nothing) to say A-A-F#-B
- Everybody knows C#-C#-C#-A-D
- Good morning A-F#-E
- The chord set is limited to I, IV, V, and flat VII. For a small
set, it packs a surprisingly piquant punch in the cross-relation
that recurs between V and flat VII, and you might say this is a
favorite progression of John's;
"You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"
of all things is an example of an earlier song written to the
same harmonic spec.
- The basic backing track with single-tracked lead vocal recently
released on the 2nd Anthology underscores with textbook example-
like clarity everything we've read over the years about how they
would build up the several overdubbed layers of a complex track.
As busy as the finished piece is, you can see how the backing
vocals, brass instruments, and animal effects were each modularly
applied to the basic outline.
- This is John's most extreme attempt at craziness with meter since
"She Said She Said."
In spite of whatever superfical similarities
exist betweeen them, however, these two songs bear as much contrast with
each other in this regard as they do comparison. In
"She Said She Said." the metrical
hijinks are saved for the contrasting "off" sections, whereas here in
GMGM, the pranks are featured prominently in the main verse section
which gives them more airplay as well more share of your attention.
You might also note that the metrical shifting of the earlier song
is rather passively wobbly in effect, while our current example is
more aggressively agitated.
BTW, did you ever notice how both these song *titles* share the unusual
trait of repeating themselves?
- The opening rooster call would seem arbitrary if not for the return
of it with a whole menagerie in the song's coda. I wonder if the
scratchy sound underlying the rooster is intended to be a
conjuring of 78 rpm era surface noise, birds chirping, or perhaps both.
- The intro is four measures in length. In spite of its four-square
dimensions, the first and last measures place the intermediate
chord change on a strongly syncopated offbeat. While it doesn't
literally start off with an uneven meter, the opening surely hints
at what is to come before much longer:
----- 2X ------
1 2 & 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 & 2 3 4
|A D |A D |A (E) |
I IV I IV I (V)
- And that sung title phrase, coming after the call of the cock, sure
seems relentless and cheerlessly unsympathetic.
- The primary verse is a traditional four phrases long, but each
phrase is of an anti-traditionally different length; your own parsing
of the bar lines may differ from mine, but I do think the number of beats
per phrase will come out the same, 10/12/9/14:
1 2 & 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
|A E |G |- A (E) |
I V flat-VII I (V)
1 2 & 3 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 & 3 & 4 & |
dum dum- d'dum-dum dum-dum
|A E |G |A
I V flat-VII I
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
|D |E |
1 2 & 3 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4
dum dum'd dum dum'd dum
|A E |G |A D |E |
I V flat-VII I IV V
- This would, indeed, be much more easily documented on music paper,
though if necessary, you can apply directly to me for a scanning of
the words across this metrical analysis; maybe. I mean, for crying
out loud, "Have you no natural resources of yer own?" :-)
- At the very end, like a chronic headache, the title phrase reprises.
- What I label as "verse'" opens exactly like the primary verse, but
it's second phrase cuts way to the end of what is the fourth phrase
of the primary verse (with its tell-tale title phrase chord progression),
nicely setting up a direct segue into the bridge:
1 2 & 3 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
|A E |G |- A (E) |
I V flat-VII I (V)
1 2 & 3 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4
dum dum-d dum dum'd
|A E |G |A D |
I V flat-VII I IV
- The bridge momentarily regularizes both the meter and the chord
progression (a bit of respite is needed by this point, no?); it is
only in the rhetorically motivated section length of five measures
that "irregularity" persists:
|A D |A D |A D |A D |A |
I IV I IV I IV I IV I
- This here is a right ironically optimistic little Rock March, rather
in the same spirit of
"Fixing A Hole's" own break section; the ironic
difference between the two being one of sincerity versus mordant irony.
- The middle section of the song is nicely put together from a guitar
solo (for the repeat of Verse'), followed by a repeat of the bridge in
which the lead guitar continues to make his conversational point long
after the return of the vocalists would have seem to cut him off.
- The outro grows directly out of a seemingly endless repeat of the
title phrase into the fadeout. There is a point, after about the
sixth repeat of this phrase, where the musical backing can still
be heard though the animal sound effects are dominant. The last
few second of the track present the last animals "a capella."
- The common wisdom says that the animal sounds are placed in increasing
order of size-of-beast. I'm not so sure about that; besides, for my
money, the image suggested by this collage is an Orwellian allegory
of "people running round;" or, if you wish, I can quote the earlier,
"running everywhere at such a speed."
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS
- In muckle-mouthed enthusiasm, I offer the following laundry list
of free associations, several of which, in all humility, are worth
a good term paper if not a modest Master's thesis :-)
- The song promotes a wonderfully agonizing blend of feelings that
are incongrously both cheerful and sinister. I'm reminded of the
old MAD magazine parody of a once popular Kool-Aid ad (way before
Jim Jones' Jonestown Guyana stand of '78), in which the mindlessly
smiley face painted by a childs finger on the frosty body of the
pitcher is replaced by a poisonous-warning skull and cross bones.
- This is
without the preachies; an equally worthy successor
to "And Your Bird Can Sing" and warm up for
"A Day In The Life." A
landmark desision in the art of offering commentary without making
- The Maureen Cleavian irony that in a life whose ups and downs are as
unpredictable as the measure lengths of this song's verse, one can
still feel boredom and jadedness as a predominating emotion.
- No matter how "satisfied" you are with your life, oh my brothers, --
and take your pick: say you've done it professionally, avocationally,
spiritually, intellectually, epicurially, or even sexually (!! :-)) --
is there anyone among you who can listen to this song without an uneasy
prick of the conscience; and an against-one's-will peer over the side
into that deep, deep, existential abyss?
- The hidden, and ultimately encouraging, comforting truth -- that in
a world where I'm told that Dilbert's upward bending necktie symbolizes
his inability to exert a personal influence his work environment, no less
his Life, that if you *really* want to make it happen, according to John,
then "it's up to you." That simple, really.
"Nothing has changed." 052696#116
Copyright (c) 1996 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved
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