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Saturday, September 5, 2015

What does Paul McCartney's "Take it Away" have to do with The Beatles?

6:20 PM Posted by Nicole M

As Paul McCartney prepares to release the next two remastered albums in his "Archive Collection," the highly acclaimed Tug of War and its follow-up, Pipes of Peace (both due out on October 2, 2015), our friends over at WogBlog have posted a link to a new 2015 remix of the single "Take it Away."

Aside from being a catchy tune with a very McCartney-esque hook in the chorus, "Take it Away" is actually a not-so-subtle tip of the cap to The Beatles and the beginnings of their career. The lyrics tell the story of an "important impresario" who happens to hear a band on the radio while driving, "with a hundred miles to go." He decides to hear the band live ("in the audience, watching the show"), and offers them a contract ("with a paper in his hand").

While the lyrics may not explicitly give the story away, the music video goes a bit further, and Paul's own explicit commentary -- "It's basically The Beatles' story, I think" -- found in the DVD collection The McCartney Years makes everything clear. British actor John Hurt plays the part of the "impresario," and as Paul comments, "So here's John Hurt, who's kind of playing a Brian Epstein type character ... When we were looking for motivation for John, I'd say, 'What about Brian Epstein? Your character is sort of Brian-ish,' and he, I think, knew Brian, so that was one of the things that interested him in playing it."

Another fun connection between The Beatles, John Hurt, and Brian Epstein? Paul explains, "John had been a friend of ours for a long time, since, originally ... funnily enough, with Brian Epstein we went to the theater to see him appearing in Little Malcom's 'Struggle Against the Eunuchs,' which was a favorite play of ours at the time."

The lyrics of the song may not follow The Beatles' story precisely -- Brian Epstein didn't discover them in his car while randomly hearing them on the radio, for example -- but, in the words of Paul, "there was a loose connection with our story of how we'd ... how most bands kind of made it in those days, from the front parlor to things like radio, the stage, getting signed, and, if you're lucky, being a success."

Just remember: you never know who may be listening to you!