Yellow Submarine Week, It's Only a Northern Song

Most people point to John Lennon as the group’s most rebellious member, but the title really belongs to George.  He had no problem writing songs about telling girls, the media, and his fans to sod off.  Some people say he was preachy, especially when he started incorporating Eastern Mysticism in his songs, but I always saw him as just expressing his individuality, and really, what choice did he have?  John and Paul had left him to be a solo songwriter in the world’s greatest group, so when George built up his songwriting confidence, which really didn’t take that long in the scheme of things, he started speaking his mind, very clearly.  “It’s Only a Northern Song,” shown below in the awesome psychedelic sequence from Yellow Submarine, features George at his most sarcastic and rebellious.  He is writing a letter, in the demented pop song format, to his music publishing company, “Northern Songs,” in regards to the shitty royalties deal he signed when he was 19 years old.  George would actually end up being the lucky Beatle (along with Ringo), for when the general Beatle song publishing contract expired in 1968, he started his own publishing company called “Harrisongs,” allowing him to own a bunch of his later Beatle hits like “Something,” and “Here Comes the Son.”  Ringo started a similar company called “Startling Music,” which allowed him to own his few Beatle songs, while John and Paul reupped their contract, damning them to a lifetime of low royalties and the eventual non-ownership of all their wondrous hits.  However, until 1968, all the Beatles were under the oppressive umbrella of “Northern Songs,” the product of a contract signed before they were famous and before no one could predict the billions of dollars their songs would generate.  Luckily we have “It’s Only a Northern Song,” forever standing as a grim reminder to aspiring musicians everywhere on the verge of signing horrible record publishing deals.  Thank you George.

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