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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “How Do You Do/Blackbird” (Paul McCartney at Post Card sessions, 1968)

Posted by on June 17, 2013 at 5:00 am.

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity of the Week. Back in January (2013) I offered up a BROW tune called “Heather,” improvised for the amusement of who it was named after – Paul McCartney’s 5-year old future adopted daughter, Heather, who happened to be with him (check this out here). Since Paul will be seventy-one years old tomorrow, I’ve elected to put the focus on him is week by featuring another couple of selections from this same session. Although never officially titled, I’m going with the only logical name for the first one which would be “How Do You Do.”

Paul McCartney, 1968

Paul McCartney, 1968

As with “Heather,” “How Do You Do” is also a made-up-on-the-spot tune that is very much like a nursery rhyme, however some of the lyrics are “questionable” as to how appropriate they would be for the little ones. How to suck a lollipopper might be gotten away with, but then sitting on a woody pecker? – I’m not so sure about that one.

Anyway, this was recorded around the 22nd of November 1968, which was the very same day the White Album was released in the U.K. Both Paul and Donovan Leitch were in EMI studios warming up before assisting Mary Hopkin with her Post Card LP. Paul demos the song and chats with Donovan a bit between verses about songwriting. Donovan harmonizes in spots and a couple of times Paul breaks into a rapid-fire version with double-timing on the verse, mentioning that this is how American singer/comedian Danny Kaye would have done it. While not up to par as a completed song, it’s a fun listen nonetheless. Paul then hums a few bars leading himself into “Blackbird” from the newly released Beatles 2-LP set. Mary Hopkin sings along for part of the performance. As he plays, Paul jokes with Donovan about playing the song to Diana Ross (a black “bird”) and that she was offended. He then admits seriously that the song was inspired by reading about race riots in the newspaper. Interestingly Donovan refers to his song “The Magpie” explaining how magpies seemed to follow him around everywhere after he recorded it. He warns Paul that blackbirds will now follow him everywhere.

The Beatles Rarity wishes Sir Paul the happiest of birthdays this year of his 71st and just in case you aren’t aware, there are some great gems by him to hear and read about all over this website (and much more to come!) so feel free to look around.


Paul McCartney (w/Donovan) - How Do You Do/Blackbird


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music and media related to this post:

1) The White Album 2009 remaster of original 1968 double LP on 2 CDs, including original version of “Blackbird.”

2) Wings Over America [Standard Edition] 2013 remaster of original 1976 3-LP set on 2-CDs. Deluxe version also available.

3) Rockshow [Blu-ray] – 1976 concert by Paul McCartney & Wings fully restored for 2013 remaster from original 35mm film with extra footage. BluRay or DVD available.

4) Post Card – Mary Hopkin’s original 1969 Apple LP remastered in 2010. Featuring contributions from Paul McCartney and Donovan.

5) Any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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Want to make a suggestion for a future Beatles Rarity of the Week? If so, I will do my best to deliver, so let me hear from you. To browse for ideas, check out this search-able listing of 10,130 Beatle-related recordings to choose from. Then let me hear from you here.


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