Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Asharella, May 5, 2019.
Finally finished this update.
In Penny Lane
(OTL's Penny Lane)
"I found this." Jane had called John and asked him to come by. She'd explained that the replacement would be gone out to George's with Ringo and wouldn't be there that afternoon. Now they were in Paul's room where he had his piano and tape recorder. Jane was holding out a square of cardboard that was the typical case for a reel of tape. "It's the last song he wrote."
John took the case. On it in the proper place was written in Paul's neat handwriting, "Penny Lane."
"He said," Jane went on, "That he was inspired by your new song and he wanted to write a companion piece about Liverpool too."
John had gotten home from Spain on Monday the 7th of November. One of the first things he'd done was visit Paul and share his new song with him, not the demo he'd made in Spain, but he and his acoustic singing it right here in this very room.
Now John sighed and wiped a tear away. "We must have time to listen to it here."
They put the tape in Paul's tape recorder, spooling the tape through the heads and onto another empty reel. The recorder was set up to Paul's nice sound system. He had stereo, but the tape would be mono, as it was a one track tape recorder, unlike what they could do in the studio.
Sometimes Paul had to work on a song. Other times he was inspired and took his guitar or sat at his piano and played a new song whole the first time through. That had been the case on Tuesday, the 8th. Out of the sound system came Paul's voice saying, "Penny Lane."
Then the piano began playing and Paul began singing, "In Penny Lane there is barber showing photgraphs..."
John listened to it and said, "That's a number one hit. Even if we just put out that demo, it would be a number one hit."
"No. But we'll build on it. We don't need that wanker to imitate him. We'll add other instruments. Jane, thank you. I was dreading having to write a song that was a Paul song and have the faker sing it."
John rewound the tape, took it off the machine, and put it back in the case. "I'm taking this to G.M. right away."
What "Penny Lane" as a final product would have been like if the real Paul had been alive to oversee it and work with George Martin, who John had called G.M., the Beatles and their entourage would never know. The new Paul was not invited into the studio. He was required to go there when they recorded and then sit in a side room. They didn't want anyone to realize the Beatles were recording without 'Paul.' But the actual studio or control room was off limits as they recorded "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane."
John had the idea that what Paul's song needed was saxophone over the 'do do do do' part that Paul had sung on the demo. That part of the song didn't have the demo in it, it had G.M. playing the piano and a studio musician on the saxophone.
When the others would leave, Ringo would let 'Paul' in and George Martin would let him listen to what the band had done. Martin always was professional with him.
When it was just him and Ringo he said, "You know I don't think the saxophone works. When I listened to the demo it sounds to me like Paul was thinking of trumpets."
Ringo looked at him and smiled shaking his head. "You just might be right, but you don't have any say, now. John's got his name on the song writing team so he decides."
"And it sounds great. It's just not what I heard when I heard the demo."
The truth was that Jane discovered the demo because she heard him playing all of Paul's tapes. The truth was that he knew if he told John that John would be upset. So he suggested to Jane she call John up and not tell him how she'd discovered it, do it the day he'd be out in Esher.
OOC: In OTL Paul did write "Penny Lane" as a companion to John's "Strawberry Fields Forever," which John wrote while in Spain filming. So TTL is the same on that.
But in OTL Paul was already out of the country in France when John got home. So he didn't hear John's song until later and didn't write his until later. So even the demo in TTL is not the same as the song in OTL.
I don't know if in OTL it was one of those time that Paul just got the song full blown first time he worked on it or if he had to craft it. But there were times he did just get songs full blown the first time. The most famous is "Hey Jude," which of course will never exist in TTL.
OOC: I should add that TTL's "Strawberry Fields Forever" will be different than OTL's in that there is no Paul to compose the Mellotron parts at the beginning or end or add his lead guitar part at the end. How that will butterfly the rest of the song is beyond my ability to tell you. Just know it means a different arrangement.
this a really sad and dark timeline.. part of me hopes fake paul somehow grows on John and George or maybe John does not get murdered and lives to current time
When I'm 64
The three real Beatles continued to work in the recording studio for their new album in early 1967. He would be required to be there in a side room, but George Martin had set it up so he could hear what went on in the studio by having Emerick set up a speaker in there.
Martin wanted to release "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" as soon as they were mixed as a single. But since the tradition was to not put tracks on the album that were released as a single, that meant they wouldn't go on the album. As he listened to the discussion on this he could tell that it was only John that was objecting, but he was couching his objection only in feelings.
It had become standard now for him to meet with Ringo and Martin after each session and for the first time he spoke up instead of just listening, when he was with both of them. Before this he'd shared ideas with Ringo, who sometimes would pass them on as his own, as he'd suggested. But this time he spoke for himself.
"Look, I know I'm just a glorified stand in. But John is right about the single even though he couldn't really tell you why. He's having trouble coming up with songs, that's the problem. He's having to write his own stuff and write stuff for me to sing for Paul. If you want this album out in a reasonable time, you can't take away the only song he wrote that he wrote from inspiration instead of duty so far and the last Paul song, real Paul. You had three song writers and Paul was the most prolific in the last year. Now you've only got two. You're going to have to do more of George's music and keep the two songs for the album. I don't mean to over step here. But John is right on this and I know he doesn't like me, but he's still right."
"How many possible songs do we have?" Ringo asked.
Martin said, "We've got the two so far, John's working on that childhood one about a flying girl, the one from the circus poster, and the 'bad finger boogie' one for you, Rich. George has the Indian one, the Northern Song one, and that Pity one, that John finally is approving. That's eight. We need six more."
He said, "The six Paul would have written if he was alive.
Ringo laughed. "We could use that old ditty he used to play between sets at the Cavern. It was kind of a joke then, but with the changes in music, I mean after "Yellow Submarine" and the whole music hall thing, it being a number one, his music hall ditty could work now."
He started singing, "When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now, will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine? Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64?"
"I've seen a chart for that among his papers. You know just lyrics and chords." He turned to Martin. "You should run it by John and see what he thinks. I'm going to have to sing for Paul sooner or later. But if not yet, Ringo could do it."
"I think it might be best," Ringo said, "If you sang it. You doing a real Paul song and not a John one trying to sound like Paul."
"What do you think?" He asked Martin.
"I see your point. Perhaps we could release some of the old Revolver ones as a single. I mean the idea is we don't want to force people to buy an album with material they already own. But if someone owns the album and then months later chooses to buy a single, no one's forcing them."
"We did do 'Yellow Submarine' and 'Eleanor Rigby;' we've already done it." Ringo pointed out.
"'Good Day Sunshine' could be a big hit as a single." He said.
"And 'She said She said,' give the public some of John. That has so many hooks in it that won't leave your head. Could be a double A." He said to Martin. "Again, I don't want to over step, just share some ideas."
Martin had a strange look on his face. "For a moment I forgot you weren't Paul. You look like him, you sound like him, and it turns out you think like him too."
"I wish I could write songs like him. Maybe you're going to need another ghostwriter?" He wasn't going to say he did write songs and he thought some were good. "Take some of the pressure off John?"
John was excited when Martin reminded him about Paul's old music hall song. It was a relief to him to have another Paul song. Maybe he wouldn't have to give into that other terrible George song, the one about dying being some kind of bloody art. He accepted that the fake Paul would have to sing it. "But not when I'm there. We'll record it all and then he'll come in later and add his vocals."
"You know," Ringo said to John, "I got replaced to. I didn't like Jimmy taking my place, but the show had to go on and you didn't hate him. It's not Billy's fault."
"Jimmy." John laughed, "Old 'It's getting better' Jimmy. Hey, I've been having trouble coming up with lyrics for 'Bad Finger Boogie' for you." John didn't say he knew Paul would have had an idea that fit Ringo. "What if we have you sing about it getting better?"
Martin said, "Great John. I've heard Jimmy Nichol is not doing well. His substituting didn't help his career. If he came up with that phrase," He knew he had, back in the day when the drummer filled in for Ringo in Australia, the Beatles loved telling the story how he'd say that when ever asked how he was doing, "you could really help him out by giving him a co-credit on the lyrics, send some cash his way."
It was a big moment for him when he finally went into the studio. He, or course, due to his side room being wired, had heard all the recording of the song. He'd spent hours playing the piano at 'home' and singing it with guidance from Ringo. He'd listened to some old 78 records Paul had of 1930s music hall songs to get an idea of what Paul would have wanted to sound like.
He did it in one take with Martin, Ringo, and Geoff Emerick in the control room.
Martin had not heard him before. He turned to Ringo, "This could work."
"I told you so. Maybe once John hears this he'll be inspired to write a song or two that fit our new Paul?"
"If not I'm thinking of that American you all are crazy about."
"You mean Harry Nilsson?"
"But I don't know if we can trust him with the secret."
OOC: So let's talk about what's happened.
We have no Paul songs that were written after 11/9 in OTL. That means no "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and no Sgt. Pepper concept for the album or it's name. No OTL's "It's Getting Better," no "Fixing a Hole," no "She's Leaving Home," no "Lovely Rita," and no 'woke up' bridge for "A Day In the Life."
It also means that the song known as "With a Little Help From My Friends" has totally different lyrics, since Paul was the main lyric writer on that with John the main music composer. In TTL John composes lyrics based on the Jimmy Nichol quote for that song instead of Paul writing a different song from it.
I'm figuring that they all are a bit more compassionate after losing Paul and so actually figure out that Jimmy deserves a co-writing credit on those lyrics.
George's "Only a Northern Song" will go on the album, it was recorded in the sessions in OTL, and his already written "Isn't It a Pity" gets approval then due to the glaring need for material. John in TTL hasn't yet started on "A Day In The Life," but he will. It, of course, will be different than OTL's with Paul's bridge and the need to put the two parts together. We may thus lose the great final chord. But if we're more sad about losing that chord than we are about losing the real Paul.... what can I say?
As @Somedevil said, this is a really sad and dark timeline.
Strawberry Fields Forever
Album Front Cover
Remember this is OTL's song, TTL's has no Mellotron at the start
and the coda is longer and is a reprise later with the chorus repeated
"I have someone I want you to meet." Harry didn't know what to say. He was doing well with the critics and he was appreciated by those in the music industry. But he hadn't had any hits yet and never performed anywhere. Yet here he was in the fruit and vegetable aisle at his local supermarket here in L.A. checking out the limes and this man in a gray suit, sunglasses, and a hip hair style from six years earlier had walked up to him as if he knew him.
"I know who you are, Mr. Nilsson. You do not need to know who I am. But you can call me Felix. Do you love your country, Mr. Nilsson?"
"Ah, yeah, of course. What is this about?"
"National Security, Mr. Nilsson."
"This is a gag, right? Chip sent you." Chip Douglas, same name as the TV show kid, was a music producer and he'd been working with him on a Monkees song.
"President Johnson sent me, Mr. Nilsson." Felix pulled a wallet out of his suit coat pocket and flipped it open. There was a CIA badge, but it had no name on it. Felix flipped it closed and put it away. "The man I want you to meet is in the parking lot. My friends," he nodded at two men in cheap black suits and black fedoras standing over by the potatoes, "will get you your limes and pay for them, a gift from your country."
"I wanted a coconut too."
"They'll get that for you too."
Felix nodded. "Of course."
Felix took him by the arm and escorted him away from his shopping cart and out into the California sunshine. A large white limousine was in the parking lot and as they came out of the automatic glass doors, it drove through the lot and pulled up. Felix opened the back door and motioned for Harry to enter.
Sitting in the limo in the modest of Carnaby fashion with a mustache that Harry had never seen in any pictures of him was Paul McCartney. He noticed Felix closed the door and got in the front. The limo drove away.
"Do you know who I am?" Paul McCartney said.
"You're Paul McCartney. I'm surprised you know who I am."
"Everyone with the Beatles loves your music and are anxiously awaiting your second album. Yes, I know who you are. But you don't know who I am."
"Yes, I do. You're Paul McCartney."
"No. I'm Will Campbell. I've got bad news. Paul is dead. I'm his stand in. It was their idea. Those CIA and MI6 guys. They fixed me up to make me look even more like him than I used to. I won a look alike contest last year. I can imitate his singing too."
"Is this a joke? Are you doing this for Chip and Peter?"
"I look like him. I can sing like him. But I can't write songs like him."
"This is crazy."
"I can't write songs like him. John is having trouble writing, he's in a dry spell."
"You're almost making me believe you."
"I can't write songs like him. But you can. You have. We need your help. We need you to write a song for me to sing. You write a Paul song. I'll sing a Paul song."
"You think I write songs like you? Thank you. I don't know what to say."
"Not like me. I write but not like Lennon-McCartney. I wish. I need a ghost writer. It means no credit. You'll have to give that to John and me. Legally now I am Paul McCartney, some act of the Queen. But I'm not. I'm doing my best to see a lot of the money goes to his dad and brother, his girl friend, soon to be 'my ex.' And my own Ma. But still I'm richer than my wildest dreams. But we need more songs for the album. We had one that he wrote just before he died and demoed. We have an old one they never recorded. John has been able to write one for me, it's really about Brian Epstein, I think John could do it better justice, but it sounds good with my voice sounding like Paul. But we need another. Three Paul songs on a Beatles album is not enough."
"You are serious. No. This has to be a joke."
Paul tapped on the window. Felix pulled it back. "He won't believe me."
"He will." Felix had some kind of remote in his hand. Harry could see they were driving through neighborhood streets. He'd been so caught up in this he hadn't noticed where the limo had been going to.
There was a beep and a panel slid back on the wall between them and the front. Felix pulled the window above it shut. Behind the panel was a little TV. It went on.
There on the screen was an old hound dog. A gnarled male hand was petting it. The screen pulled away and Harry could see who the hand belong to. In his thick Texan accent the President of the United States said, "We are letting you in, Harry, on the biggest kept secret of our time because your country needs your help. Everything the agent has told you and the man who looks like that Beatle has told you is all true. I expect you to do your duty, you hear me, boy?"
"Good. Do you want to see my scar from my surgery?"
"No, that's all right sir. I saw it when you showed it on the news."
"Thought I was going to never wake up when they put me under. You take care now."
The TV went blank.
The man who looked like Paul McCartney said, "You believe now?"
"I have to. What happened?"
Will told him everything. When he finished he asked, "Can you do it? Will you do it?"
"I have a song I already finished, but too late for the next album. I wrote it while after I called someone and got a busy signal. The busy signal just inspired me."
"That sounds like the Paul I've learned about."
Thus it was that the supposed Lennon-McCartney song "One" actually was written by Harry Nilsson. He still put it on his third album, Aerial Ballet, but by then it was thought to be a cover."
Will and Harry ended up at Harry's house where Harry taught it to him, and spent a lot of time explaining what he heard in his head for the recording. Because he was the one who got the instructions, he finally got into the studio to tell the three Beatles how it should go and to tell George Martin how it should be arranged.
George listened silently as he told him Harry envisioned only a little guitar in the back ground near the end. Ringo frowned when he found out it had no drums at all. John listened with a frown and said, "Sounds like you don't need me. Good luck." He left. George Martin nodded as he told him it would have cello and flute. The rest would be electric piano and upright bass.
"I think I can do those, if you'll let me. I actually thought John would do all that, but..."
George actually was happy, he had three of his songs, just like the last album.
John had added two more songs for himself, "Good Morning Good Morning" and "A Day in the Life." With the faux Paul song ghost written by Harry Nilsson, they had a full album.
They made promotional videos for the two big songs, the title song and "Penny Lane", but Will's part was always kept small in the video. In "Strawberry Fields Forever" it had John singing. In "Penny Lane" they had none of 'Paul' singing, instead they rode horse through Liverpool.
Strawberry Fields Forever was a smash album. It was considered a game changer in music. The first concept album with its two songs about their childhood in Liverpool, that seemed to tie everything else together.
Here is OTL's original Harry Nilsson version of his song "One." The Beatles version in TTL is almost exactly the same except it's Will singing and sounding exactly like Paul McCartney.
wow One with "Paul" singing I could see it. for sure one of my favorite Nilsson songs and nice Put the lime in the coconut reference. But what I wanted to talk of is that Back Cover will get people talking how John is looking away from "Paul"
What is this "How does it fell" song? New one?
I am expecting lot's of secret hints. That is something that John Lenon would do, really. That's why the conspiracy worked so well in OTL.
I think some people in the East really thought that Rock'n ROll was some kind of conspiracy to disrupt the socialist order.
A West-Berlin radio DJ joked that the Stones would play on top of the Springer building on October 7th 1969 to disruptn the celebratoion of the 20th anniversarry.
Totally nuts, but the rumour spreed, Stasi tried to find out if it could be true, even bought teen magazines to figure out the Stones timetable, etc...
Eventually lot's of Staones fan gathered near the wall, because if it was really true, they would not want to miss their one and only chance.
Many were arrested actually and even send to prison.
Hillarious, but sad story.
"How Does It Feel" is TTL's version of "Baby You're a Rich Man" without Paul's contribution, which is the "Baby You're a Rich Man" chorus in OTL. So instead it's got some other chorus John writes and it is titled after the opening line of the verse:
How does it feel to be
One of the Beautiful People?
In OTL that was the first John song written after the Sgt. Pepper sessions, so in TTL it is on SFF.
She's Leaving Home
Melanie Coe still left home, but the Beatles never sang about it, like OTL's song above
Melanie was not happy. Here she was a young woman in Swinging London, enjoying the night life, clubbing, and loving and being loved. But mom and dad were stuck in a previous age and they wanted their little girl to be a proper little girl. They wanted her to be like her friends, working as a meter maid like Meta, or being a nurse, like Beth, but she wanted to be more a 'bad girl' like Rose and Valerie. Meta and Beth were 'bad girls' too, but only on weekends. Melanie was only 17 and she had her life ahead of her to get serious. Right now she was happy working as a clerk in a store and swinging.
But then mom and dad found her pills. They threw such a fit and they threw them out, right down the toilet. As if that was going to stop her. She didn't want to get pregnant, but she wasn't going to be a nun. So she decided she'd leave home, slip out at 5:00 in the morning. She was going to meet Barry on Friday and they'd go off together to Brighton or some other place. But she couldn't wait. So instead of slipping out Friday morning before they'd get up, she slipped out Wednesday.
Rose and Valerie said she could stay with them in their flat until Friday. So it was that night they were all visiting in the flat. Beth and Meta had come over and the five girls were chatting up a storm.
Finally they'd talked out Melanie's situation. So they switched to gossip.
"Did you see the paper?" Meta said. "Jane Asher has left Paul McCartney!"
"Really?" Rose said, her eyes getting big.
Valerie laughed, "Come on, girl, just 'cuz he's on the market now doesn't mean he'll come knocking on our door."
"A girl can dream."
Beth made a funny expression. Melanie wanted to ask her what she was thinking, but Meta spoke first.
"You know I met him."
"Really?" Rose almost screamed.
Melanie didn't say she'd met him too, back when she was 13 and he'd been the judge on Ready, Steady, Go! for a dance contest. He'd picked her. It was a high point in her young life.
Meta was already telling her story. "...so I'd written out the ticket and was putting it on the glass under the wiper, having no idea who owned this beautiful, hot, little car when a voice says to me, 'Why doncha just hand it to me?'
"I turn and there he is, a big smile on his face. I told him I'd rip it up and he insisted that he take it. Then he flirted with me."
"REALLY?" Rose actually screamed this time.
"He tells me how pretty my little cap is. Asks me my name and I tell him. He says 'Lovely Meta Meter Maid- I could write a song about you.' But nothing happened. He took the ticket and left. I scrawled my number on it, but he never called.
"But then he had that accident, probably drove me right out of his mind. Plus he did have Jane Asher as his girlfriend. Such a wonderful car that was, too bad the accident ruined it. Just glad it didn't hurt him too much."
Beth said, "I wish." She put her hand over her mouth. "I shouldn't have said that. Forget it."
Valerie said, "You don't do that to us. What do you mean you wish?"
Beth sighed, "I've been keeping this inside for months. He died in that crash. I saw his body. Horrible. His head smashed into the windshield and cracked open. I wasn't supposed to be down in the morgue. I was catching a puff of the Mary Jane on a break, it's the safest place, do it all the time. I knew that no one had died recently, but there was a new tag on one of the drawers. I was worried that one of my patients had passed and no one told me. Maybe that sweet old Mabel. So I go over and read the tag and it says 'Unknown.'
"There weren't any patients not known. So I couldn't help myself. I pulled it open, unzipped the body bag and..."
Everyone was quiet.
"He supposedly was in a luxury room in stable condition, but they were lying. There he was. Then a day later he is getting surgery and is in bandages. Jane comes and visits. John Lennon comes and visits. Ringo Starr comes and visits.
"I was thinking I was going crazy. So I check again. That's when I knew they had a ringer up there."
Melanie found herself crying. Meta got up and fixed herself a drink. Beth went on, "You can't tell anyone."
But Rose and Valerie did.
By the time the Strawberry Fields Forever album came out the rumor was all over London. Paul is dead. They replaced him with a fake.
Melanie and Barry did go to Brighton. But a week later it was over. She moved in with Rose and Valerie. Then one night they were at a club and in he walked. They were there to hear this new guitar sensation from America, a Black man who played guitar like he was ringing a bell. She couldn't keep her eyes off 'Paul.'
He thought it was something else. So during a break in songs he came over to her table. "Hi. I recognize you. You had your picture in the Guardian because you left home. How are you doing?"
Rose screamed. Valerie's eyes got really big.
"I'm doing well thank you. I'm having fun. I'm Melanie. Excuse Rose and Valerie, they're excitable."
"Don't get too excited ladies, save it for Jimi. He's a real experience." He turned back to Melanie, "Can I buy you a drink?"
Finally Rose blurted out, "I heard you were dead. I mean that you aren't you. I mean that he isn't you, I mean... oh crap."
He just smiled. "Here I am, alive and well. Melanie? What do you say?"
They set together the rest of the night. She moved in a week later. He told her the truth the first night.
"The picture of us on the back. John insisted everyone ignore me. Now people are saying it is a clue. I don't know what's going to happen. I guess we're both infamous now, Mel."
OOC: The pretty nurse in "Penny Lane" was based on a real nurse named Beth- so I named our nurse here that. Melanie Coe was real and she did meet Paul as described above in 1963. Paul did get a ticket from Meta in OTL and changed her name to Rita when he wrote the song. As far as we know, he didn't have a date with her, but he did flirt with her.
I hope it's OK, but I thought I'd try giving Strawberry Fields Forever a front cover by using part of the rejected gatefold design by The Fool
Actually I posted the front cover in the article about the album and getting "One" from Nilsson.
Yes, this is a very sad and dark timeline, but at the same, it is incredibly fascinating to see the "Paul Is Dead" rumour brought to life, more so than ever before (at least, in my eyes). The album is a wonderful listen, and the cover is great too! My only criticism is in regards to the missed opportunity for Beth to say "Listen... do you want to know a secret?" LOL. But seriously, with a secret of this proportion, how many more people can you let in on it before it blows up? Quite a few people know. The story could go almost anywhere at this point - more ghost songwriters for Paul, the band breaking up earlier, lasting even longer than OTL, or others in on the secret "dying mysteriously" or killed in fear of exposing the truth. Whatever the turnout, I can tell it will be most intriguing!
One of the biggest problems with the whole idea in OTL that Paul really did die in 1966 and the current Macca is a fake is the idea that such a secret could really be kept for so long when so many had to know it to do the conspiracy.
That's why I have the rumors begin in Spring of '67 in TTL instead of over years later. In reality sooner or later a Beth is going to spill the beans to a Rose and Valerie and they're going to scream from the gallery.
The other big problem I have with the Paul is Dead idea is that somehow they found someone who could write a series of number one hits for years, as well as looking and sounding like the real deal. So in this TTL I had him sound like him and look like him, but he can't write like him and John is just not capable at this point of writing that much to do songs for himself and for fake Paul.
But things are going to get real interesting soon in TTL.
What's surprised me as I've told this story (or it told itself through me) is how much I'm liking Will. He's a real gem it turns out.
This story starts off with Paul getting a very unhappy ending. I'm hoping we can get Will a happy ending- but I'm worried about that.
Alternate Cover for Release in Japan maybe?
Or the 25th anniversary box set?
No. We'll say they release "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane" as a double A single a month after the album. That can be the cover of the SFF side. Want to design the other side for PL?
This puts you're design out to the entire world.
Separate names with a comma.