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Reference Library: Clues in Free As A Bird

From: nicklby@primenet.com (nicklby)
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles
Subject: LIST OF FAAB REFERENCES
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 95 07:24:39 GMT

As promised, my revised list of references in the FAAB video.

I went over the video a few times in slow-motion, and armed with postings from rec.music.beatles as well as hints kindly emailed to me, found the following. I acknowledge the work of others at the end of the list.

I separated obvious references from some personal interpretations as well as some references that may not *really* be references. As with many things Beatle, things are open to interpretation (I think it was downright decent of the boys to give us something new to argue about for the next 30 years or so).

I also used the dubious counter on my VCR to time the references, so if there's a discrepancy, blame the hardware.

I by no means consider this list to be definitive, so if you have corrections or additions, please feel free to E-mail them to me. If I get enough corrections or a really outstanding addition to the list, I'll repost.

But for the time being, I remain, most humbly, your obedient servant ...

nicklby
who hasn't spent this much time with his VCR on slo-mo
since first seeing Helen Hunt in "The Waterdance."


BEATLE REFERENCES IN "FREE AS A BIRD" VIDEO

***Obvious references***

:07 - portraits of Beatles as children on mantle (from left to right, John, George, Paul. Ringo in front) :14 - more portraits (left to right, Paul, John, Ringo, George) :38 - Beatles walk through dock workers :48 - Cavern Club (club where Beatles played many shows before becoming famous) :52 - Beatles performing at Cavern Club 1:06 - Strawberry Field ("Strawberry Fields Forever") 1:18 - Eggman appears ("I Am the Walrus") 1:27 - Beatles begin to walk off curb behind eggman 1:33 - Pretty nurse selling poppies from tray ("Penny Lane") 1:42 - Barber shop, with pictures of every head he's had the pleasure to know, including the Fab Four ("Penny Lane") 1:47 - Sign on wall reads "Help" ("Help!") 1:49 - Boy holds up hand to whisper to girl ("Do You Want to Know a Secret?") 1:50 - Ringo jumps from doorway 1:54 - Beatles stand by car 1:56 - Window has Beatles montage. First third looks like Anthology 1 cover. Other panels may be covers of other two volumes. [They Are, ed.] 2:02 - Birthday cake ("Birthday") 2:02 - Cake has a 6 and a 4 on it ("When I'm Sixty-Four") 2:07 - George appears on street 2:13 - George walks into office (In reality, Apple headquarters) with sign that reads "Dr. Robert" ("Dr. Robert") 2:18 - Ringo runs by 2:22 - John in crowd scene at car wreck, craning neck while others turn away ("A Day in the Life") 2:26 - Car wreck ("A Day in the Life" definitely, "Don't Pass Me By" possibly) 2:27 - Fire engine ("Penny Lane") 2:29 - Policemen in a row ("I Am the Walrus") 2:32 - Fireman ("Penny Lane") 2:38 - Helter Skelter slide (It looks like a lighthouse, but you can see the slide circling the building. "Helter Skelter," of course.) 2:38 - Kite ("Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite") 2:42 - Children run by in pig masks ("Piggies") 2:43 - Someone enters house through window from ladder ("She Came in Through the Bathroom Window") 2:51 - Writer working at desk ("Paperback Writer") 2:54 - Beatles walk behind children in pig masks (It's small, but it's obvious it's them) 3:05 - Beatles on TV 3:06 - John sitting in chair 3:08 - Copy of Daily Mail on table ("Paperback Writer") 3:08 - Bowl of green apples (reference to Apple Corps, Ltd.) 3:08 - Box of Savoy Truffles sits on table (kind of hard to make out, but that's what it says: "Savoy Truffle") 3:10 - Picture of Chairman Mao in window ("Revolution") 3:13 - Workers repairing hole in roof ("Fixing a Hole") 3:13 - Blue Meanie pops his head through hole (the film "Yellow Submarine") 3:18 - Newspaper taxi appears ("Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds") 3:22 - Woman leaves home ("She's Leaving Home") 3:22 - Picture of Mao being carried across street ("Revolution" definitely, "Carry That Weight" possibly) 3:22 - John and Yoko waltz by (taken from film "Let It Be" and probably representing "The Ballad of John and Yoko.") 3:23 - Blue Meanie pops head up from out of sewer (the film "Yellow Submarine") 3:25 - Magical Mystery Tour bus passes in far background (Hard to see, but it's there) 3:31 - Big game hunter leads procession, including elderly lady and elephant, out of party ("The Continuing Adventures of Bungalow Bill," who always went hunting with his elephant and gun and always took his mum.) 3:33 - Ringo at table near door 3:45 - Brian Epstein begins to put on his scarf 3:47 - Head of Stu Sutcliffe on body of James Dean from "Sgt Pepper" cover 3:48 - Flowers, drum and tuba from "Sgt Pepper" cover 3:49 - H.G. Wells and Lawrence of Arabia from "Sgt Pepper" cover chat (I know other guests are supposed to be rest of people on the cover, but they aren't as clearly identifiable as these two) 3:58 - Eleanor Rigby headstone ("Eleanor Rigby") 4:00 - Priest walks from grave ("Eleanor Rigby") 4:01 - Sheepdog runs through cemetery ("Martha My Dear" definitely, "Hey Bulldog" possibly) 4:04 - Long and winding road in background ("The Long and Winding Road") 4:05 - Paul romps on hill ("The Fool on the Hill") 4:12 - Crosswalk from the cover of "Abbey Road" 4:14 - Meter maid with bag across her shoulder steps onto curb ("Lovely Rita." She's definitely wearing a uniform and carrying a little white book.) 4:30 - Beatles walk into theater (taken from "A Hard Days Night")

***References with more than one possible interpretation***

:01 - Bird flying. (Interpretations range from "Blackbird" to "And Your Bird Can Sing" to "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" to even "Blue Jay Way." The flapping of the wings, though, sounds like the intro to the original version of "Across the Universe" which I think it's meant to represent. The entire concept of flying in the whole video could be taken to represent "Flying.") 1:27 - Children run by holding hands ("Lady Madonna" is most likely, but "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" is another possibility.) 1:45 - Woman appears in plastic-appearing coat (Some say, and I agree, that she is "Polythene Pam," but others have suggested she is "Sexy Sadie," or that her companion in the white coat is "Sexy Sadie." Since I can't locate a "Sexy Sadie" anywhere else in the video, I'll play it safe and place it in this category.) 1:53 - Couple kissing in car (may be banker on corner with a motorcar from "Penny Lane" or amorous couple from "Drive My Car." Most likely, though, it's "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?") 2:45 - Sunflowers. (I lean toward saying they're "the flowers that grow so incredibly high" from "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Other interpretations are "I'll Follow the Sun" (since that is what flowers do), "Sun King" and "Here Comes the Sun," hence its inclusion here.) 3:08 - Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II sits on floor ("Her Majesty" or portrait of the Queen from "Penny Lane," though it's hardly pocket-sized) 3:53 - Statue in cemetery turns head (Statue could be of the Madonna ("Lady Madonna") or could be Mother Mary ("Let It Be")

***Reference that may not actually *be* references***

1:18 - Marketplace (Could be reference to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," but since I see no one with a barrow in the marketplace, I'm unconvinced.) 3:38 - Last boy in Bungalow Bill's entourage looks very much like Sean Lennon. Could be a cameo or just a coincidence. 3:50 - Sun through panes in roof (It's the only intentional shot of the sun in the whole video. It could be meant to represent "Here Comes the Sun," "Sun King," "Good Day Sunshine" or "I'll Follow the Sun.") 4:06 - Woman walks down road with suitcase (could be "She's Leaving Home," but since we already had that song done with the woman leaving home in the newspaper taxi at 3:22, would she need to appear again?) 4:06 - Car heads up long and winding road ("Drive My Car"? Not many other cars in video, and one of few that's moving)

and let us not forget ...

***The Voice***

4:36 - Voice at end of song. It sounds like backward masking, and it is definitely John's voice. Interpretations I've seen include: "Turned out well at the end" "There's that noise again" "Turned out nice again."

Strangely, though, the backward tape sounds like John saying "My name is John Lennon" to me. It's possible the Fab Three put the tape on the end not only because it's a throwback to their backward tape use in the '60s, but also because it SOUNDS like "My name is John Lennon" when it's played backward.

CREDITS

I must acknowledge the work of Fred Bergen and Scott Caplan for their earlier lists, which I referred to AFTER I made mine, but used to double-check mine. (Fred, I'm pretty sure the woman with a baby at her breast is John and Yoko. The Freudian overtones are staggering.)

Also Steve of mindspring.com (sorry, no last name on posting) for "Do You Want to Know a Secret" and "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?", Paul Winters for "Helter Skelter," Tobias Tornell for Brian Epstein, The Director for "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" in the sunflower, Thom Blanton for "Lady Madonna" and Kim A. Merrill for the Magical Mystery Tourbus and the possible Sean sighting. Also to those whose postings I thoughtlessly deleted before giving them credit for their ideas (namely, the possible interpretations of the sunflower and the backward message). You know who you are, so thanks.

Also, thanks to those who E-mailed. Happiness is a full mailbox.


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