Saturday afternoon I got into this discussion about the song “No Reply” by the Beatles & how it was a stalker song. The rich harmonies in Beatles songs often masked a foreboding sense of misogyny. It’s also worth mentioning that the songs that are the most misogynistic or edgy are sung by John Lennon. “No Reply” is no different. It could be that it was about an unfaithful girlfriend, but Lennon himself said it was his version of the 1957 Rays song “Silhouettes”.
The Beatles, Lennon in particular, have a number of songs that would give off that sense of danger to most women. The Rays song (written by Bob Crewe) is a sweet genuine song, at least until the end. It, too, is about watching a couple through the silhouettes in the shade, but then he:
Lost control and rang your bell (I was sore)
Let me in or else I’ll beat (down your door)
When two strangers who had been two silhouettes on the shade
Said to my shock “you’re on the wrong block”
He then rushes off to his girlfriend & thus a happy ending. Lennon took it a step further & made it a little less of a happy ending.
I nearly died, I nearly died,
‘Cause you walked hand in hand
With another man in my place.
No reply, no reply.
There is nothing to indicate in the song that he knew the girl in any way. In fact, it seems throughout the entire song she is doing her best to avoid him. It made me wonder if this was the same girl Lennon referred to in his Rubber Soul classic “Run For Your Life”. An example of that songs lyrics:
Let this be a sermon
I mean everything I’ve said
Baby, I’m determined
And I’d rather see you dead
You better run for your life if you can, little girl
Hide your head in the sand little girl
Catch you with another man
That’s the end little girl
This makes me think that John Lennon was the last guy you wanted to fuck with if you were a woman. No wonder he liked the Asian girls. Dumb white girls can’t fall in line & do what they’re told, but Asian girls are as submissive as a tranquilized bear. Of course, it is quite ironic that it was he who ended up dead. We lionize our heroes as mythic infallible creatures. We blamed Yoko for the end of the Beatles, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but let’s not be confused here, John Lennon was no saint.
While a fantastic songwriter & musician, he was basically a prickly human being. A deadbeat dad, cheated on his first wife Cynthia numerous times & eventually in her kitchen, cheated on Yoko & was a heavy drug user. That is not to say that I will stop listening to music, it is merely a plea to stop treating rock icons like Gods. Eminem is another who is supremely talented but has his own demons & misogynistic songs. On his new album, Recovery, he has a duet with Rhianna about spousal abuse, but it deals with it in an honest almost perversely sweet, loving way.
Rhianna, a victim of abuse herself, sings the chorus, but it’s Eminem who talks about the love he feels for the woman he hits in a fit of rage. He speaks of out of control emotions & not wanting to lose the one person that makes him feel something, but in the end he burns the house & them both to the ground. Take the music for what it is & leave the personal life to the person.
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No Reply – The Beatles
Run For Your Life – The Beatles
Silhouettes – The Rays
Silhouettes – Frankie Lymon
Love the Way You Lie – Eminem (Featuring Rhianna)