This is one of my favourite songs that I’ve written. My subconscious wrote it. Many songwriters have described how their songs were ‘transmitted’ to them and all they had to do was write them down. Sometimes they had to leap out of bed to catch the tune that played in their head before it was lost.
This has happened to me quite a few times, the first and greatest was this song, Pipedream. I awoke in the night with the song fully formed, with music, lyrics and title complete. I jumped out of bed and played and sang it on the guitar as quickly as possible. It shows that creativity is something that can happen in your sleep and that you should always keep a notebook or some recording device to hand as you never know when inspiration may spark a wonderful idea.
Paul McCartney said that about the creation of ‘Yesterday’, (which became the most recorded song ever). In early 1965 he woke with a melody in his head. It was so powerful that he was sure it must be an old jazz tune. He played it to a few people, but no-one knew it. At that time he didn’t have the words, and as it was breakfast time it came out as “Scrambled eggs… oh how I love your legs…”.
He later worked out the real lyrics and the song was released on the Help! LP in the UK and as a No.1 single in the US. (At the time the Beatles found the song too sentimental to release as a single in the UK). Paul McCartney nearly always wrote about other people in his songs, unlike John Lennon who nearly always wrote about his own feelings.
It wasn’t until 1995 that Paul realised, while compiling the Beatles Anthology that his 1965 song about the loss of a lover was actually about the very real loss of his own mother a few years earlier from cancer. Have a listen to the song again with this context in mind and you’ll hear a pain coming directly from Paul’s unconscious that he wasn’t aware when he wrote it.
Pipedream became my second music promo from the 50 minute film ‘Ayd & Jase – The Visitation’. Filmed on cine Super8 in August 1991 in and around Odiham and Hook in Hampshire by John Bloor. Like ‘The World Turns All Around’ it was featured on ITV’s ‘Freescreen’ programme in 1992. The song was written and recorded that same month, again with me playing all the instruments.
See the Pipedream video on YouTube here.
Pipedream became a live favourite and I perform it to this day. There are other recorded versions (some with mandolin instead of harpsichord) but this is still the definitive. Perhaps in 2021 I’ll suddenly realise what it was really about…
You can see the other song from the film, The World Turns All Around, here
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