Beatles BELTers

Beatles resources for #elt & #esl

The Beatles for ELT; Nice idea! Here is the playlist on YouTube. Well The Beatles were just a bunch of layabouts with only one A level between them. Paul got English and was going to train as a teacher, but then went to Hamburg instead of staying in Liverpool. This is his chance to make up to us for being so selfish and becoming a musician instead of a teacher. Here is his song about where he lived in Liverpool featuring the Number 46 bus. Pictures and Map of Penny Lane;  

John Lennon’s son Julian, aged about four, came home from school one day with a drawing (you can see it here). As you can see it is a very pretty drawing for a young boy. When his father asked Julian what the drawing was about was he said it is “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds” and inspired John Lennon to write the song of the same name. Here it is in the version from the film Yellow Submarine, Lucy in The Sky with Diamond;

In the Beatles Ringo Starr usually sang the sing-a-long songs, some of which became favourites of children and were sung in school playgrounds. John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote a song specifically for Ringo to sing on Sgt Pepper and they recorded it on 29th March 1967. They came up with perhaps the best sing-a-long song Ringo ever sang, the very popular With A Little Help From My Friends;

Another classic track on Sgt Pepper featured a real collaboration between Lennon & McCartney. As an Art Student at the Liverpool Institute Lennon had learnt to use ‘found objects‘ in his work and often picked stories out of newspapers for inspiration. McCartney was ‘turned on’ by the opening line ‘I read the news today, oh boy’ and they quickly wrote this song together over Christmas 1966. A Day in the Life;  

Paul McCartney had worked with record producer Sir George Martin to make Yesterday, after which Martin said he felt like a musical collaborator with the Beatles. Like Yesterday this is a song on which The Beatles didnt play as a band and it was based on the true story of Melanie Coe who really did run away from home. Curiously she had won a prize to meet The Beatles in 1964 before they wrote a song about her in 1967 after being saddened by reading in a newspaper that she had run away from home. They didn’t not realise that they had actually met her three years earlier! Recorded in a day using Mike Leander’s string arrangement because Paul couldn’t wait for George Martin to be free from recording Shirley Bassey, here is She’s Leaving Home

The Beatles were Pop musicians, but they all fell in love with the work of Bob Dylan who told them off about the poor quality of their early lyrics when they met at Delmonico’s Hotel New York in 1964. The Beatles then had a ‘folk-rock‘ period which resulted in their Rubber Soul album, on the cover of which they look like The Byrds. Lennon was particularly keen to be more personal in his lyrics and, whilst famous for George Harrison playing sitar, this is a sort of true story Norwegian Wood

Perhaps the most personal song that John Lennon wrote after being inspired by Bob Dylan was his first ‘nostalgic‘ song reflecting back on his life, and friends in Liverpool such as Stuart Sutcliffe, before he became famous. He regarded this song as one of the two most satisfying songs that he wrote with The Beatles. In My Life

Paul McCartney meanwhile took time out from being a Beatle in 1966 and composed and recorded the soundtrack for an English film, The Family Way. Refeshed and inspired by this he continued developing his orchestral skills with George Martin, who wrote a double string quartet score for one of Pauls’ best songs, Eleanor Rigby;  

Released as single in the USA this is their second most covered song by other artists, including Diana Krall, Roberto Carlos and Smokey Robinson. Probably written about Paul’s girlfriend the actress Jane Asher this is The Beatles first song recorded entirely with acoustic instruments.  This tribute video is full of movie stars from Hollywood’s Glamour period, appropriately for the song And I Love Her;  

This is the first song on their second album and it was recorded in a classic ‘call and response‘ style to re-assure their fans that they were exactly the same as they had been at the start. This has a great video of The Beatles having fun on holiday and the song is It Wont Be Long;  

The Beatles started as the Quarrymen in 1957 playing a simple form of acoustic music called Skiffle. You can read about how they became the Beatles here. This is the most skiffle sounding song they recorded as the Beatles. I’ve Just Seen A Face;  

In 1968 Paul McCartney met Linda Eastman and she encouraged him to escape from the pressure of his fame by driving in the countryside without having a route, or a map or even knowing where he was going. He wrote this song to celebrate the two of them getting lost and having fun. This is a delightful video to match the lovely words of  Two of Us, ; 

This is a personal favourite of mine which is featured in the film Yellow Submarine as it was written and recorded live in their favourite studio 2 at Abbey Road in one day. The Beatles were filming the video for their hit single Lady Madonna (See how similar it is) but found it so boring they made this song up whilst they were waiting for the film director to do his job. Look at how John Lennon is reading the lyrics which he had just written. And he is barking like a dog too, Hey Bulldog

Another live recording in the studio, this time with Billy Preston, was undertaken by The Beatles as part of the Get Back Sessions on January 31st 1969. They had completed their last live performance on the roof of the studio the day before the police stopped them, and then recorded 4 songs that day in the studio to finish the album of Let It Be

Paul wrote this a fun song for The Beatles White Album on 18 September 1968. This is another song they made up in the studio and recorded in a day, but everyone can relate to it. Perhaps the video is a bit long but it is a funny animation. Birthday

And the inimitable Beatles Lego I Saw Her Standing There


2 Responses to “Beatles BELTers”

  1. […] If you came for #ELT Resources try Beatles BELTers […]

  2. […] Beatles Belters by Fred Garnett in response to the #ELTchat on using songs You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Tags: Resources, Songs, Teaching Methods […]

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