The Beatles: “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
I wasn’t even sure I was going to include Beatles songs on this blog, partly because it almost seemed like a redundancy, highlighting Beatles songs as “great songs,” but even more so because there are maybe only a handful of Beatles songs that I’m not crazy about, and everything else I would have no problem including here. So maybe it would be better not to start down that (long and winding) road, because who knows where it would (The) end. It might just get me nowhere, man — or maybe it would just lead me to make a series of rather dumb jokes.
In any case, I’ve made the executive decision to now and then post a Beatles song here, because what would a blog about great songs be without some Beatles in it? No need to overanalyze the issue…it’s just music, after all, might as well write about it if I feel like it!
So I’m starting off with John Lennon’s composition, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” not necessarily because it’s my favorite Beatles song — although it’s certainly very high-ranking, if I had to decide — but partly because I wanted to include the great “video” that goes with it: the section of the Beatles’ movie Help! that has them all sitting around looking very bored and playing this song like it wasn’t one of their best compositions to date at that point. Watch for some interesting facial tics along the way as well. (And on a related note, you won’t find this on the Complete Reselect Playlist, because Grooveshark has no Beatles songs performed by The Beatles — instead, I’ve put Eddie Vedder’s excellent and faithful cover of the song.) The song itself was featured on their 1965 LP, Help!, which in its British form was an album only 50% tied to the movie (all the songs on Side 1), but in America was the actual movie soundtrack, complete with instrumental passages written by George Martin and inspired by other songs from the Beatles canon. Heavily influenced by John’s interest in Bob Dylan’s music, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” nonetheless wouldn’t work nearly as well if played by Dylan…while simple in its instrumentation, it’s more melodic and personal than Dylan usually was at that point. It’s a good demonstration of how the Beatles incorporated the inspiration of others into their songs but were incredibly good at making it their own (another example of that might be how “Ticket to Ride” was influenced by the sound of the Byrds, but doesn’t really sound like them either).
With nothing more than a guitar, bass, shaker, and tambourine (oh, and a little bit o’ flute at the end), they created a classic song of self-pity and depression — the mood of the song perfectly complements the lyrics and Lennon’s vocals sound like he can barely stand to go another day feeling the way he does.