Thursday, May 1, 2014

STORY SONG: Band on the Run (40th Anniversary)

by StoryPaul

It's no secret that the music of The Beatles has been very influential in helping English learners improve their language skills. And it's a trend that has continued for decades all across the world.

In fact, it's hard to believe that 40 years ago Paul McCartney had already broken up with The Beatles and was enjoying success with his second band Wings.

Perhaps one of the most famous songs from Wings, was one titled "Band of the Run".




The song tells the lighthearted story of an imaginary band that was sent to prison, but manages to break out and escape

The music starts up slow and sad and ends up beat and happy, all with varying musical moments, characteristic of something written by a former Beatle. And of course, it has the signature voice of Sir Paul himself.

If you've never heard it before, here is your chance. It's also a chance to continuing improving your English with the music of this talented musician born in Liverpool seven decades ago.

So, we invite you to practice your English as you WATCH the following special 40th Anniversary LYRIC VIDEO of the Song "Band of the Run" with cool graphics that shows the WORDS of the song as it progresses!



When you finish, we invite you to follow up, by learning some language aspects of the lyrics.

Stuck inside these four walls,
Sent inside forever,
Never seeing no one
Nice again like you,
Mama you, mama you. 
  • Omitting the SUBJECT: Notice they say "Stuck inside these four walls", not "I'm stuck inside these four walls".  Or "Never seeing no one", instead of "I'm never seeing no one". In a song or poem, it's perfectly acceptable to do that, because it's clear the writer is speaking about himself. This would not be acceptable in formal writing or in some cases of oral communication. So the sentence begins with the MAIN VERB, which can either be a past participle (stuck, sent) or a present participle (seeing)
If I ever get out of here,
Thought of giving it all away
To a registered charity.
All I need is a pint a day
If I ever get outta here
If we ever get outta of here
  • Omitting the SUBJECT: Once again in"Thought of giving it all away", instead of "I've thought of giving it all away". 
  • Pint: This is British slang for beer because it is standard measure for how beer is served in the U.K. So basically, Paul is telling us -when he's still in jail- that he will give all his stuff away to a charity after he gets out of jail. All he needs to survive is one beer a day.
  • Get outta here: Paul McCartney knows that formally, it should say "out of here", but in songwriting and poetry, it's perfectly acceptable to spell certain words more as they sound than as they are spelled.
Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash
As we fell into the sun,
And the first one said to the second one there
I hope you're having fun. 
  • "Prison Break" Metaphor: It's interesting that in the song they never explain that they escape from prison literally. But clearly "Well, the rain exploded with a mighty crash as well fell into the sun" is a metaphor for the band breaking out of jail and seeing sunlight for the first time in ages. 
  • First one, second one? Some Beatle experts say this part makes reference to The Beatles breaking up and the first one is John Lennon, while the second one is Paul McCartney. And while that may be true, it's not obvious and is therefore irrelevant to the ongoing story. For most listeners, the first one and the second one are two of the guys that just got out of jail and presumably are enjoying the experience. Unless of course, being stuck in The Beatles started to feel like... being stuck in jail. Experts are free to comment!
Band on the run, band on the run.
And the jailer man and sailor Sam
Were searching every one
For the band on the run,
Band on the run
Band on the run,
Band on the run. 
  • Jailer Man: That's a prison guard
  • Sailor Sam: a character from the classic British kids comic Rupert Bear, who was mostly likely included here because it rhymes.
  • It's clear both have been ordered to search for the ... Band on the run!
Well, the undertaker drew a heavy sigh
Seeing no one else had come,
And a bell was ringing in the village square
For the rabbits on the run.

  • Undertaker: That's a person whose job it is to deal with burying the dead and arranging the funeral.
  • draw a sigh: to take in and let out a long, loud breath in a way that shows you are bored, disappointed or relieved.
  • Clearly, Mr. Undertaker was disappointed because he was waiting for the Band on the Run to be caught and executed. But just like rabbits, the renegade musicians ran fast and were able to escape their date with justice.
Band on the run,
Band on the run.
And the jailer man and sailor Sam
Were searching every one
For the band on the run,
Band on the run
  • Jailer Man and Sailor man are still searching ...
Yeah the band on the run,
Band on the run
Band on the run
Band on the run

Well, the night was falling as the desert world
Began to settle down.
In the town they're searching for us everywhere
But we never will be found.
  • Happy Ending: The day is ending, the story is ending and the good guys have escaped.
Band on the run,
Band on the run.
And the county judge who held a grudge
Will search for evermore
For the band on the run,
Band on the run
Band on the run
Band on the run
  • Hold a grudge: is when you cannot forgive someone for something they have done to you
  • Epilogue: So for the county judge, the Band on the Run's escape is a personal matter. He will search for them until the end of time.