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4.06-GOOD MORNING GOOD MORNING (Beatles)

John Lennon
John Lennon

LISTEN

[Intro]

         Good morning (5x)

Nothing to do to save his life.
Call his wife in.
Nothing to say but what a day
How's your boy been?
Nothing to do. It's up to you.

         I've got nothing to say but it's O.K.
         Good morning (3x)

Going to work don't want to go
Feeling low down.
Heading for home you start to roam
Then you're in town.

                   Everybody knows there's nothing doing.
                   Everything is closed, it's like a ruin.
                   Everyone you see is half asleep.
                   And you're on your own, you're in the street.

After a while you start to smile
Now you feel cool.
Then you decide to take a walk
By the old school.
Nothing has changed. It's still the same.

         [Chorus]

[Break]

                   People running round; it's five o'clock.
                   Everywhere in town is getting dark.
                   Everyone you see is full of life.
                   It's time for tea and meet the wife.

Somebody needs to know the time.
Glad that I'm here.
Watching the skirts you start to flirt
Now you're in gear.
Go to a show. You hope she goes.

         [Chorus with animal sounds coda and fade]


There is a boredom creeping into Lennon’s depiction of everyday life. Whereas McCartney would continue to discover wonder in the ordinary in accordance with the British Romantic aesthetic, Lennon was beginning to depict such as life as mundane, something he sought escape from. The laziness of the “school” and “cool” rhyme accentuates a point that the lyric does not shy from making: I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK. Most of what is interesting aurally is added on top of a rather bland song. Richie Untermeyer of allmusic noted that “There are almost circus-like punctuations / interruptions of the rhythm by a drum thud at the end of lines of the verses, as if the protagonist is desperately trying to invest his mundane existence with at least a little drama.” The B section speeds things up and adds a little urgency, depicting a harried world in contrast to the singer’s inner sighing. The chorus repeats Good Morning insistent as an alarm clock for a man with a hangover. The repetition of the greeting in the title recalls the doubling up of She Said She Said.

Three things add more texture to this weariness and make it something more palatable to the ear. Horns are brought in to blare and call to the listener’s attention. McCartney’s guitar improvisation in the break is blistering and psychedelic. But the most outstanding psychedelic feature is the use of animal sounds in order to transition to the Sgt. Pepper Reprise. A series of farm and animal sounds, including dogs barking at a horse drawn cart, move from one stereo speaker to the next. This took Caroline No’s sound effects a bit further, with complexity and a (silly) logic. According to Geoff Emerick, the engineer on the project, in his book Here There and Everywhere (2007), Lennon wanted each animal sound to be that of animal that would be able to devour the one preceding it. Not that it turned out that way.

I learned while researching this project that the lyric Time for tea and meet the wife may be referring to a popular British TV situation comedy show in the mid-1960s called Meet the Wife. This perhaps resolves the lyrical problem that the singer seemed to be a philanderer, flirting on the street while the wife was at home.

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