“Peppered” – with Insults…

Weekends are a wonderful thing.

That two day break from the day to day grind of your hard working/low paying job that you love so well. Yes, you love that job so much that you can’t wait until 4:59pm every Friday to get the heck out of there and then what do you do?

You head home and grab some dinner and a beer and try to watch some television before realizing – at about 10pm – that you’re so tired you are no longer even paying attention to what’s on anymore. So, off to bed you go so you can get up in the morning and work around the house. No alarm clock this Saturday…


Well, you wake up about 6am any way because your stupid internal alarm clock knows that you went to bed at 10pm instead of the usual midnight so, at 6am, you’re up – and you can’t get back to sleep. That always leaves me feeling kind of ripped off.

Now it’s the same darn time I usually get up to go to work and I can’t get back to sleep. Then I remember, I’ve got to get some work done in my yard. Not a little bit of work – a lot of work.

I do love living up here in the high desert. I just really hate what the odd combination of dirt, monsoonal rain in July and weeds the size of small buildings that propagate around the yard seemingly overnight. Seriously, one day you are heading off to work in the morning and the entire yard looks like the Sahara. When you get home twelve hours later, you have to use the bumper of your car to push the gate open the weeds have gotten so damn high.

That’s when the frustration sets in. My only days off and I have to spend them digging, cutting, dragging, bailing, carrying and packing all this crap that descended on my yard during the day while I was at work. (I’ve long suspected outside influences here but I can never prove it.)

Is it possible to feel betrayed by your yard?

We all know what it feels like to be betrayed by a friend. That’s not one of life’s better feelings of course. The music biz being what it is, has a tendency to generate that feeling whether real or imagined.

What if you just spent the last decade of your life being a member of the biggest band in the world? Probably, the biggest band ever and it’s just blown up and you’re really kind of pissed off – at your best friend.

Being a, now – former – Beatle, you’d write a song about it. That’s exactly what John Lennon did.

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“How Do You Sleep” is a rather angry attempt at a take-down of Paul McCartney. For what it’s worth, it achieves that goal.

“So Sgt. Pepper took you by surprise
You better see right through that mother’s eyes
Those freaks was right when they said you was dead
The one mistake you made was in your head.”

This coming from John Lennon is pretty cheeky. The intro to “How Do You Sleep” has more than a few elements of the intro of “Sgt. Pepper.” The little splashes of violin and some background conversations are more than a little remanisent of “Pepper.”

They were meant to be.

This is John Lennon at his petulant best.

Starting with a cheap shot about “Sgt Pepper” when Lennon knew darn well that that was when the entire band was working together better then they ever would and were as creative and experimental as they possibly could have been, is simply, cold.

That was his point no doubt, as Lennon never really seemed to let much go once he got started. The “Paul is dead” reference is actually pretty funny. Lennon at this time didn’t really think much of McCartney’s solo work or much of the McCartney penned work in the later years of The Beatles.

“You live with straights who tell you you was king
Jump when your momma tell you anything
The only thing you done was yesterday
And since you’re gone you’re just another day.”

As trying as Lennon could be, he did have a marvelous way of cutting to the bone. In one verse he jabs at the – post Beatle – McCartney success hitting Paul’s wife Linda in the process, (“Jump when your momma tell you anything,”) and the most popular Beatle song ever, McCartney’s “Yesterday” with the line, “The only thing you done was yesterday.” (Nice shot!) Rounding out the verse is a last second hit on McCartney’s major hit at the time, “Another Day.”

This takes not only a bit of cleaverness to pull off but also a mean streak of epic proportions.

Lennon, is not done yet. The final verse is particularly biting.

“A pretty face may last a year or two
But pretty soon they’ll see what you can do
The sound you make is muzak to my ears
You must have learned something in all those years.”

I must say, that if you are going to slam someone in a song, this is a pretty darn good way to do it.

“A pretty face may last a year or two.” Ouch! Lennon may be just a bit bitter here?

He certainly didn’t refrain from going for the throat. And, following that with “Muzak to my ears” is delightfully cutting.

In the grand scheme of things, I do tend to be more of a McCartney then Lennon guy. But when it comes to a vicious, biting, slash and burn, nasty put down song, John Lennon wins. Hands down.

About Pete

Pete is a professional-musician-with-a-day-job based in California's Inland Empire, as well as a veteran sound engineer in the studio and for live shows. He's been a lover of classic rock since back when it was known as "rock" and has in more recent years developed a country habit as well.
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One Response to “Peppered” – with Insults…

  1. Michele says:

    First off, the desert seems to behave that way, anytime it wants to…sounds like you got the worst of it though.

    Not much I can add about the song except ouch. The song is wonderful, of course, the lyrics biting and pointed, and the instrumentals behind, wonderful. The drums understated except when necessary and I loved the rest of it as well. ♫

    Thanks for this one Pete