316a: Beatles Quiz–The Answers!

[Caution, Spoilers Ahead. To try your unbiased luck, click here.]

Well, it’s been an exciting week, trying to keep up with all the entries and queries and suggestions and quibblings and complaints about our Beatle quiz. Surprise surprise, not a single correct solution. I know you’ve all been edge-of-your-chaired with bated breath to hear The Answers, so without further I do, here goes: The Answers.

1: What Beatles song quotes (almost) verbatim a line from another song?

Flat-top (Recognize him?)


Mr Rock and Roll.
The quote appears as the first line of the Beatles song.
The quote features a word that can refer to a type of haircut or automobile.
They’re the first words on the album.


Come Together’, the very first line: “Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly.”
You Can’t Catch Me’, by  Mr Rock and Roll himself, Chuck Berry. “Here come a flat-top, he was moving up with me.”

Flat-tops were popular in the late ‘50s, both on the road and on the head. Ah, I remember both well.

Admittedly, not a precise quote, but close enough to get John sued. As part of the out-of-court settlement, John recorded a forgettable, regrettable cover of  Chuck’s song in 1975. John famously said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.”

Flat top

‘You Can’t Catch Me’ is a really fine, classic Chuck Berry song about him and his custom-made air-mobile outrunning the fuzz. It’s worth your time to check out the lyrics included below here. Check out the references to ‘Maybelline’ and ‘Wee, Wee Hours’ (here with Keith Richards and Erik Clapton). All 3 songs were recorded at the same session. Chuck was probably inspired by the Aerocar, of which 6 were manufactured in 1949.

There are some other noteworthy covers of the song. The Rolling Stones did a nice job on it in 1965. The Blues Project covered it in 1966, not a memorable performance, but a significant group, one of the very first American rock bands. This was Al Kooper’s first group, which later morphed into Blood, Sweat and Tears. Remember their lovely ‘Flute Thing’? Stephen Stills used to play it live. Woo, Stephen!! And while we’re here, we might as well throw in a cover of Lennon’s riff on it as performed by Blind Rabbi Mendel Shochenstein.

2: In what Beatles song is the title of a French song sung as backing vocals?


Not ‘Michelle’. An early Paul bass showpiece.
A non-album track.
From a double-A-side 45.
The speaker in the song is looking to change profession.


Paperback Writer’. At 1’03” Lennon and Harrison’s backing voices sing “Frère Jacques” twice. You can hear it more clearly on the isolated vocals.

Frère Jacques

‘Paperback Writer’ is noteworthy for a bunch of other more imprtant reasons. What a single, b/w ‘Rain‘! It was the subject of one of the earliest (and greatest) video clips. People have said The Beatles invented that genre here. The single release used the infamous ‘butcher photo’. The song is an early attempt to write about subjects other than love, and it features Paul’s pumped up bass for the very first time.

3: On what Beatles track is the bass part sung?


Late Paul song.
Ringo plays bongos.
The song’s rhythm suggests a rhumba, which they had to learn to play for requests during their Hamburg years.
It’s a sweet Paul song


I Will’. Written in India, with a little help from Donovan, as shown in the official video, one of Paul’s lovely silly love songs.

Here’s a early rare recording of Paul playing around with it. Here’s Sir Paul singing it live, solo.

Vocal bass parts became a central feature in contemporary a cappella music. Here’s one fine example, The Real Group singing Paul’s ‘Blackbird’. I spent years of my life singing that stuff.

And last but not least, the killer—

4: On what Beatles track are the words “Nobody knows” sung as background vocals?


Late Paul song.
The last song on which John plays harmonica.
John plays 6-string bass on the track.
From The White Album (not ‘Revolution #9).


Rocky Raccoon’. At 2’54”, several backing voices (including Yoko) sing something over “Now Gideon checked out/And he left it no doubt”. My best guess would be that they’re singing “Nobody knows”, but I wouldn’t bet the family farm on that. But they’re singing something. What do you think they’re saying?

Howard Carter discovering that Paul is Dead.

SoTW 207: The Beatles, ‘Rocky Raccoon’; and Bob Dylan, ‘Frankie Lee and Judas Priest’/’Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts’

Up until this minute, this juicy little tidbit has been my own little private Beatle trivia gem. I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere. Just me, mining the Beatle trove, excavating something ‘nobody knows’. There you go. It’s out of the bag. Now all we need is some Millennial to parse it using AI or whatever. My only hope is that it will be forever known as the Jeff Meshel Beatle Trivia Discovery.

‘You Can’t Catch Me’–Chuck Berry

1949 Moutoun Taylor Aerocar

I bought a brand-new air-mobile
It was custom-made, it was a Flight De Ville
With a powerful motor and some hideaway wings
Push in on the button and you will hear her sing

Now you can’t catch me, baby you can’t catch me
‘Cause if you get too close
You know I’m gone like a cool breeze

New Jersey Turnpike in the wee, wee hours
I was rolling slowly ’cause of drizzling showers
Here come a flat-top, he was moving up with me
Then come waving goodbye in a little old souped-up jitney
I put my foot in my tank and I began to roll
Moaning siren, it was a state patrol
So I let out my wings and then I blew my horn
Bye-bye New Jersey, I’ve become airborne

Now you can’t catch me, baby you can’t catch me
‘Cause if you get too close
You know I’m gone like a cool breeze

Flying with my baby last Saturday night
Wasn’t a gray cloud floatin’ in sight
Big full moon shining up above
Cuddle up honey, be my love
Sweetest little thing I ever seen
I’m gon’ name you Maybellene
Flying on the beam, set on flight control
Radio tuned to rock and roll
Two, three hours done passed us by
Altitude dropped to 505
Fuel consumption, way too fast
Let’s get on home before we run out of gas

Now you can’t catch me, no baby, you can’t catch me
‘Cause if you get too close
You know I’m gone like a cool breeze