Monday, February 6, 2006

For Ms. Kate

I must confess that I'd never even heard this name before Kate asked about it. But, as a public service (for those who prefer not to wander over to Wikipedia--and don't bother now, since it's all here) here's what I came up with!

Billy Shears
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Billy Shears was Ringo Starr's alias on the Beatles 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often credited as a concept album. Billy Shears is only mentioned in the title song and, implicitly, as the singer of the segued-into "With a Little Help from My Friends," and even more implicitly, in the title song reprise.

It is sometimes rumored that Billy Shears is in fact William Shears Campbell, supposedly a replacement for Paul McCartney after his "death."

Billy Shears was later mentioned in Ringo's 1973 hit "I'm the Greatest", written by John Lennon: "Yes, my name is Billy Shears / You know it has been for so many years."
In the 1978 RSO movie Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a character called Billy Shears is played by Peter Frampton.

In the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine, John asks Jeremy "Who the Billy Shears are you?"


wunelle said...

The one half-decent photo I was able to find of Sir Paul playing his bass looked as though he had it properly strung (that is, he reversed the stringing when he turned the instrument over).

Other names of guitar players who have cropped up in my little search:

Richard Thompson (British fella)
Wes Montgomery

Kate said...

Are you implying that I'm lazy? ;-) I've been told that Billy Shears as a replacement for Paul is the only thing that can explain Silly Love Songs.

Yes, I am lazy.

wunelle said...

Hey, I like Wings! (Maybe it's the airplane reference.) If Billy Shears is really the one singing (and not Ringo) then he's really bad and doesn't even have his dubious drumming to fall back on!

Total nonsequitur: Billy makes me think of Billy Strayhorn. Ever note to the words to "Lush Life?" In that time of jazz, a gay American bouncing around Europe in the '20s--such a sad song.

OK, I'm paying attention again.

Kate said...

I like Wings too. This comment was made to me during one of my regular Lennon vs. McCartney arguments that I have with my sister. Paul will always be the talented one to me.

By the way here's a quote from McCartney from a Tony Bacon interview.

You may have seen the Beatles' Hamburg period portrayed in the movie Backbeat, and in one scene McCartney/s character picks up Sutcliffe's right-handed bass and plays it left-handed and upside down. Did you really do that, Paul? "I did, yes. I had to! Guys wouldn't let you change their strings around," he laughs. "When John wasn't there, I'd pick up his guitar and play it upside down. John did that [with my guitar] as well - he got pretty good playing upside down because of me.

wunelle said...

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I own not a single Beatles CD, but I'm certainly aware of how much innovation came out of the group. I much prefer Paul's voice, and that inclines me toward him. I can hardly bear to listen to Lennon sing, and my anal obsession with detail and precision makes their sometimes haphazard-sounding approach a tough sell for me. Some of their recordings sound like someone with a pocket tape recorder captured a rehearsal session of new material. That's how it sounds to me, anyway.

That's a great quote. I'll have to look at the link.