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"Piggies"

(19. September 1968, Abbey Road Studios)




Also one of the songs that George has written in Rishikesh, a kind of spoof of the establishment. Little pigs in the mud and larger pigs in white shirts who ate bacon for supper, but were so taken by themselves, that they didn't recognize their own sick cannibalism.

Grandiose harpsichord decorations accentuated the absurdity of their predicament. In the middle George remained stuck at a line that should rhyme with "lacking", and it was his mother suggesting "a damm good whacking" - a method that she as a mother never used herself.

Nicolaus Schaffner adds in his book "Beatles Forever":
"Nonetheless, the four Harrisongs that did surface on the White Album firmly established him as a contender. George, having finally concluded that his mystical tracts needn't necessarily be accompanied by Hindu music, managed to turn in a quartet of more conventionally accessible pop songs that many felt were among the finest on the album. George Harrison had begun to reap the rewards of all those years of subservient apprenticeship to Lennon and Mc Cartney : now he was writing melodies as strong as their own. George's music works best when soft and sweet, when it caresses and envelops his listeners like fine Indian silk.

He may not have what it takes to belt out a song like John or Paul, but when he tones his voice down to an ethereal near whisper, as in " Long Long Long " he can evoke as well as anyone the magic and the mystery of what Jonathan Cott has called " the music of deep silence "

But with 'Piggies' George Harrison turns from the spirit to the flesh, to sling some caustic barbs at a greedy and materialistic establishment. 1968 - the year of Daley's convention, Nixon's election, and unprecedented numbers of student and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations - was a time, when any representative of 'the system' particularly a politician or a policeman, was fated to automatically take on the guise of a 'pig' in the view of much of the counterculture. Although this song was created bevor George's drug bust, Harrison's 'Piggies' are merciless stereotypes. All dressed up in their starchy finery, they wallow in their 'clean dirt' and gorge themselves on bacon (the Beatles themselves had all become vegetarians) to the accompaniment of a drawingroom harpsichord, as the boys oink derisively in the background."

Some of the greatest cover versions of Beatles songs indeed are by the "Beatles Barkers': dogs, cats, sheep and even elephants interpreting songs like "Love Me Do" or "We Can Work it Out".





(Beatles "Piggies" at YouTube)






The only Beatle who had anticipated this development congenial, George Harrison was with his song "Piggies"and it's wonderful Schweinegrunzen in the background certainly a jewel of the White Album, in my opinion, and also the most explicit social opinion of the elusive thoughtful guitarist of the Beatles.

Until then turned to more profound love poetry, thoughtful George Harrison under the influence of Bob Dylan's suddenly "pigs in starched white shirts with lines like" In their eyes there's something lacking, what they need's a damm good whacking. " To Georges horror was the song chosen later by Charles Manson and his murderous path to a kind of leitmotif, as well as "Helter Skelter" Manson saw it as secret messages.

George Harrison, said in his autobiography I Me Mine:
"Piggies is a social comment. I was stuck for one line in the middle until my mother came up with the 'What they need is a damm good whacking!' (a damned good throttling), which is a nice simple way of saying they need a good hiding. It needed to rhyme with backing, lacking and had absolutely nothing to do with American policemen or Californian shagnasties.! You can see from the facsimile ( in I Me Mine ) that an extra vers was written but not used:

Everywhere there's lots of piggies - playing Piggy Pranks
You can see them on their trotters - at the Piggy Banks
Paying Piggy thanks - to thee Pig brother. ! "










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