March 9, 2016

I'm thinking about The Beatles this morning.

The George Martin memorial post is 2 posts down. This post is just a Beatles trivia question that occurred to me. See how far you can get before looking it up.

Many Beatles songs include names of fictional characters, for example, Vera, Chuck, and Dave in "When I'm 64." But some fictional characters in Beatles' songs have full names — given name + surname. I'm not looking for 2-word names like Bungalow Bill or 2-word first names like Mary Jane, but first + last name, such as you would find of a birth certificate.  I believe there are 6 8 such names.

There are 7 9 if you try to make sense of the list of names in "Dig It." I've read that none of these are fictional characters, but if you don't count "Georgie Wood" as George Harrison, then there is a 7th fictional character. And all the characters in "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" were real people, from Pablo Fanque on down, so don't get distracted by that song.

37 comments:

Bob Ellison said...

You're counting Rocky Raccoon and the object of his fancy, Nancy "Lil" MacGill, right?

David Begley said...

Eleanor Rigby.

EDH said...

Not exactly in the song,,, "Two of Us"

At the beginning of the recording Lennon shouts,

"'I Dig a Pygmy', by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids... Phase One, in which Doris gets her oats!"

The shout was mixed in by Phil Spector for the Let It Be album and also appeared in the Let It Be film, both released in 1970. "The deaf aids" was the nickname given to the Beatles' Vox amplifiers.

Laslo Spatula said...

Maxwell Edison
Desmond Jones
Molly Jones
Eleanor Rigby
Loretta Martin
Billy Shears
Semolina Pilchard
Rocky Raccoon

I am Laslo.

wendybar said...

Desmond and Molly Jones Ob-la-di-ob-la-da

wendybar said...

http://beatles.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_characters_in_The_Beatles_songs

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't count Rocky Raccoon. I think that's like Bungalow Bill. But I see the argument. If it were Bill Bungalow, it would be a name and Rocky is not a raccoon (like Henry the Horse is a horse). So Raccoon must be his last name.

Ann Althouse said...

"Her name was Magill and she called herself Lil/But everyone knew her as Nancy."

I guess that does count as a full name if Magill is the last name.

Ann Althouse said...

So I amend my statement to say I believe there are 8.

Ann Althouse said...

@EDH That's the "Dig It" material referred to in the post. My understanding is that the names are all real people.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm counting Eleanor Rigby as not a fictional character: "The name is a compound of "Eleanor Bron" and the sign of a Bristol shop, "Rigby & Evens Ltd." However, the graveyard of St Peter's Church in Liverpool contains the tombstone of a real-life Eleanor Rigby, and Paul has admitted that this may be an example of cryptomnesia."

But add one more if you read that as making the character fictional. No reason to think that the real Eleanor Rigby picked up the rice and all that.

Ann Althouse said...

"Who Was Semolina Pilchard??... Detective Sergeant Norman "Nobby" Pilcher, who built his drug squad career targeting musicians, including Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton and Donovan, finally turned his attention to the biggest prize of all — a Beatle — in October, 1968.... It was widely believed that Lennon had already immortalised Det Sgt Pilcher as "Semolina Pilchard" in the Beatles song "I Am the Walrus." The Beatle described him as a "head-hunting" cop: "He went round and bust every pop star he could get his hands on, and he got famous. Some of the pop stars had dope in their house and some of them didn't.""

I didn't count Semolina Pilchard as a fictional character. He's not really doing much in the song, so he's not much of a creation. I think it's a stray insult aimed at a real person. Like mentioning Tricky Dick or something like that.

Fred Rawlings said...

did you mean to channel the Beatles with the earlier post, " Before I woke up, got out of bed, and read the news today, oh boy"

Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, 14 August 1978

Beatles – A Day In The Life Lyrics
"I read the news today, oh boy..."

"Woke up, fell out of bed..."

Laslo Spatula said...

Take this a step further: note the Beatles songwriters that used fictional names in songs.

McCartney for the sweep as far as i can tell.

A 'Paperback Writer' needs to come up with fictional names.

I am Laslo.



Ann Althouse said...

Laslo has:

Maxwell Edison
Desmond Jones
Molly Jones
Loretta Martin
Billy Shears

Those are all in my original group. I had one more (one that's much harder to think of).

I didn't have Rocky Raccoon but accept that as an answer.

I also accept Bob's Nancy "Lil" MacGill.

Laslo Spatula said...

8:36 comment removes semolina Pilchard from my previous list per Althouse's 8:34 comment. The only lennon, I believe.

I am Laslo.

Kevin Walsh said...

Peter Brown called to say, you can make it OK. He was an Apple aide and wrote a tell-all, or tell some stuff.

St. George said...

Edgar Allen Poe

Bob Ellison said...

Word on the street is Sgt. Pepper never actually served in the military. Sargent was his first name.

Bob Ellison said...

His brother, Wm. Pepper, acquired some fame as the stunt double for Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka.

Jeff Gee said...

Well, there's Pam Mustard, Mean Mr. Mustard's sister. I've always assumed she was also Polythene Pam.

St. George said...

Edmund, Earl of Gloucester

Laslo Spatula said...

Re: "Get Back" and Loretta Martin.

When I was younger I always thought the line was "Sweet Loretta Modern..."

I liked 'Loretta Modern' -- I thought it was great way of describing a person.

When the song comes on I still pretend that is what is being sung.

I am Laslo.

PDG9 said...

I remembered Dennis O'Bell from You Know My Name (Look Up That Number), but I wasn't sure if he was fictional so I did just research it. It does appear that the name is fictional, however, it is likely based on the name of the movie producer for A Hard Day's Night, one Dennis O'Dell. (Later that same year he produced the TV movie Magical Mystery Tour, which he probably kept quiet about, and - the Internet reveals everything - he was the executive producer for Heaven's Gate, which probably finished him off.)

Jeff Gee said...

Nobody's gonna go with Kay CanEatIt, huh?

AMDG said...

Fr. Mackenzie

Curious George said...

Speaking of Beatles and names, there has been more than one occasion where is have been been put into a golf foursome with a John and Paul, and we called the fourth Ringo for the whole round.

Char Char Binks said...

Was the The Reverand Mr. Mckenzie's first name "Father"?

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, thank you for your comment at 8:31. I used to idly wonder whether there was a real Eleanor Rigby.

Ann Althouse said...

PDG9, you got the last one I had on my list: Dennis O'Dell!

Bob Ellison said...

Curious George, the real fun is when you book a group of four under the name Winsome.

Over the loudspeaker: Now at the first tee, the Winsome Foursome. Expecting at the first tee, the Winsome Foursome.

You can also go with Gruesome, but that's more of a duo.

Graham Powell said...

@Kevin Walsh: Peter Brown was a real person, the Beatles' road manager as I recall.

I only got three on my own: Loretta Martin, Eleanor Rigby, and Billy Shears. Glancing over a list of Beatles' songs I get a couple more, including Desmond and Molly, but couldn't come up with all of them.

eddie willers said...

When the song comes on I still pretend that is what is being sung.

Speaking of mondegreens, there is a poster here named 'Guildofcannonballs'. Now that was what I always heard when I listened to "Uncle John's Band" by the Grateful Dead.

When I first saw his name here I thought, "cool", and Googled the lyrics expecting us to both be right in that it said "There was a guild of cannonballs"...except all the lyric pages use, "Their walls are built of cannonballs".

That may make more sense, but mine and Guild's is better.

Jeff Gee said...

If it were Bill Bungalow, it would be a name and Rocky is not a raccoon (like Henry the Horse is a horse). So Raccoon must be his last name.

When I lived on East Tenth Street there was a guy everybody called Joey Dogbreath but I don't think it was his real last name. Rocky Raccoon probably had two dark circles under his eyes.

eddie willers said...

Rocky Raccoon probably had two dark circles under his eyes.

It was only a scratch.

Dave in Tucson said...

According to Wikipedia, there was a British actor/comedian named [Wee] Georgie Wood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wee_Georgie_Wood

It's not a stretch to suppose Lennon knew of him.

rastajenk said...

Bob Ellison, I would go with Fearsome to name my foursome.