Jeremy Hillary Boob
The Beatles music is something that my Mother passed down to me and my life, their songs forever alive in the musical spine and soul of who I am. The most significant loves of my life have all had an affinity for their music, as well, which has led to me passing on the love of their music to my children. The musical animated film Yellow Submarine is a favorite of my three children, one that my two youngest kids were obsessed with for a long spell of time, playing it over and over again in our living room. I can still put on any of the songs from it and they will recognize it immediately, often singing-a-long. They loved the movie far more than I ever did. For me, it was the albums and the songs themselves that I grew inseparably attached to. Nowhere Man, thus does not readily remind me of Jeremy Hillary Boob, but of lying on the floor of the living room in the house I grew up in, next to the big speakers, letting this song, and the album wash over me. In my mind the “Nowhere Man” was my absent Father whose whereabouts I did not know, he was nowhere, and everywhere, to me, and he did not know what he was missing.
Nowhere Man is a song by the Beatles, from their album Rubber Soul. The song was written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney).
It was recorded on October 21 and 22, in 1965. Nowhere Man is among the very first Beatles’ songs to be entirely unrelated to romance or love, and marks a notable instance of Lennon’s philosophically-oriented songwriting.
It was released as a single (although not in the United Kingdom) on February 21, 1966, and reached # 1 in Australia and Canada and # 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison sing the song in three-part harmony. The song appears in the film Yellow Submarine, where the Beatles sing it about the character Jeremy Hillary Boob after meeting him in the “nowhere land“.
George and John play identical “sonic blue” Fender Stratocasters—John plays in the verses and George on the solo.
Lennon claimed that he wrote the song about himself. He wrote it after racking his brain in desperation for five hours, trying to come up with another song for Rubber Soul. Lennon told Playboy magazine:
- “I’d spent five hours that morning trying to write a song that was meaningful and good, and I finally gave up and lay down. Then ‘Nowhere Man’ came, words and music, the whole damn thing as I lay down“.
McCartney said of the song:
- “That was John after a night out, with dawn coming up. I think at that point, he was a bit…wondering where he was going, and to be truthful so was I. I was starting to worry about him“.
Typical of many John Lennon compositions are the “falling” melodies, which can be heard in Nowhere Man. Folk music often has falling melodies, indicating melancholy. In Baroque music, a falling melody means sadness.
There is a very audible feedback 38 seconds into the song after the word “missin’.”
In 2003, John Lennon’s original handwritten lyrics to this song were auctioned at Christie’s of New York for $455,500.
Nowhere Man (live) :: Natalie Merchant
My choice for favorite cover version of Nowhere Man is the live version from when Natalie Merchant performed the song at the 2001 special, Come Together: A Night For John Lennon’s Words And Music. The show was also a tribute to victims of the terrorist attacks on America.