Straussian Beatles: Baby’s in Black

Here is the song, and yes I know all about Astrid Kirchherr (who often wore black) and the deceased Stu Sutcliffe.  The song has yet another meaning, related to the girl chasing of John and Paul, and Liverpool’s longstanding role as a center for English Catholicism, with about half of the population being Catholic in background.  Here are some of the lyrics, with commentary from me in brackets, and note I capitalized the “H” for my own purposes:

Oh dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue [she’s in line to become a nun, and won’t screw me]
Tell me, oh what can I do?

She thinks of Him [Jesus, God, etc.]
And so she dresses in black [garb of a nun]
And though he’ll never come back [no second coming!]
She’s dressed in black…[pretty futile this nun thing, isn’t it?]

I think of her
But she thinks only of Him
And though it’s only a whim [she doesn’t really believe all that stuff, does she?]
She thinks of Him

Oh how long will it take
‘Til she sees the mistake she has made?
Dear, what can I do?
Baby’s in black and I’m feeling blue [“blue balls”?]
Tell me, oh what can I do?

One interesting non-lyrical feature of the song is how it features dual melodic lines, one sung by Paul the other by John.  As this was 1965, Paul is singing the higher part, as was typically the case in those years.  Yet somehow by 1967, John ended up with the much higher vocal parts and Paul the lower.  It wasn’t just the helium.

Here is the previous edition of Straussian Beatles.


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