The Beatles song John Lennon dismissed as “manufactured”

In April 1970, The Beatles finally split up, leaving the world to mourn the divorce of rock music’s most influential group. This news came as a shock for some fans, but for many, including the members and their close friends and family, it was an inevitability.

In retrospect, we understand that tensions were reaching a boil in the late 1960s, but at the time, public word of such friction was limited and the subject of conjecture. Over the years since, some fans blamed the all-consuming nature of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s relationship, while others blamed a battle of egos as Paul McCartney became a de facto manager.

Although fans still mourn the end, the Beatles’ demise was artistically liberating for all involved, especially for George Harrison and John Lennon. As for Lennon, he could return to his childhood demons and further explore his personal philosophies. With the arrival of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band in 1970, songs like ‘God’ and ‘Mother’ saw a much more sincere side of Lennon’s creativity.

As Paul McCartney claimed in a recent interview with Conan O’Brien at the Tribeca Festival, Lennon “had a really tragic life” and cited a number of extremely personal events that shaped the musician’s personality traits and creative whim.

The release observed in Lennon’s early solo work suggests he had felt artistically hampered for some time while working with the Beatles. As the band gradually traversed from their more straightforward lovesongs towards more experimental material in the late ’60s, you could always trust Lennon to throw a shade of dark comedy.

Arguably, The Beatles’ most significant artistic transition occurred in 1965. The year began with Help! and ended with Rubber Soul, an album that held the darkness of Lennon’s ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’ and ‘Girl’, the latter holding the unprecedented lyricL “Did she understand it when they said/ That a man must break his back/ To earn his day of leisure?/ Will she still believe it when he’s dead?”

In a quote unearthed in The Beatles: Anthology, Lennon illustrates his sense of detachment from the Beatles’ early work, picking out ‘Eight Days A Week’ as a particularly artistically disingenuous moment.

“Help! as a film was like ‘Eight Days A Week’ as a record for us,” Lennon opined. “A lot of people liked the film, and a lot of people liked that record. But neither was what we wanted – we knew they weren’t really us. We weren’t ashamed of the film, but close friends knew that the picture and ‘Eight Days’ weren’t our best. They were both a bit manufactured.”

“‘Eight Days A Week’ was the running title for Help! before they came up with Help!” Lennon added in his 1980 interview with David Sheff. “It was Paul’s effort at getting a single for the movie. That luckily turned to ‘Help!’ which I wrote, bam! bam! – like that, and got the single. ‘Eight Days A Week’ was never a good song. We struggled to record it and struggled to make it into a song. It was his initial effort, but I think we both worked on it. I’m not sure. But it was lousy anyway.”

Listen to The Beatles’ ‘Eight Days a Week’ below.

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