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Within You Without You

In TV on May 11, 2012 at 5:38 am

BY EMILY VIVIANI

The “Sgt. Pepper”/”Mad Men” theory has grown in credence during the last week. (Credit: Capitol Records/E. Viviani)

Editor’s Note: Last week, our resident “Mad Men” expert Emily Viviani posited that the Beatles’ classic album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is actually serving as a structural and thematic template for the fifth season of the series. The theory was quite a hit on “Mad Men” message boards and chat rooms across the country, and Sunday’s episode only made the idea more credible. Below is an update on the theory and how it fits into the season’s most recent episode. A recap and analysis of the episode (“Lady Lazarus”) can be read here.

SIDE TWO

1. Within You Without You (Lady Lazarus)

2. When I’m Sixty-Four (Dark Shadows)

3. Lovely Rita (Christmas Waltz)

4. Good Morning, Good Morning (The Other Woman)

5. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band (Commissions and Fees)

6. A Day in the Life (The Phantom)

508: “Lady Lazarus” (“Within You Without You”)

About the song: “Within You Without You”

“‘Within You Without You’ was composed on a harmonium following a dinner party at the London home of Klaus Voorman, the German artist and musician whom the Beatles first met in Hamburg. Written by George Harrison, it was the only non-Lennon-McCartney song on the Sgt. Pepper album. The song was George Harrison’s second full-blown Indian recording, after Revolver‘s “Love You To.” Although regarded by some as a dull interlude in the otherwise masterful Sgt. Pepper, ‘Within You Without You’ encapsulated the exploration of spiritual themes that had become popular in 1967’s Summer of Love.” [1]

How it relates to the song “Tomorrow Never Knows”:

“The song was also included on the 2006 remix album Love. For this album, George Harrison’s vocal and sitar parts were mixed over McCartney’s bass and Ringo’s drum parts from “Tomorrow Never Knows,” although the opening lyric, ‘Turn off your mind…Relax and float downstream…It is not dying…it is not dying,’ comes from ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ as does the set of reversed sound effects utilized in the mashup. During part of the second verse of the mashup version, the drums and bass of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ are silenced, replaced by the tabla percussion parts of ‘Within You Without You.’ Also, Harrison’s vocals are heard in the song’s intended key of C major. The blending of these two songs is considered the most effective form of mashup on the album.” [2]

How it relates to episode 508, “Lady Lazarus”:

Thematically, the song relates to several of the spiritual allusions touched upon in this episode. Sylvia Path’s “Lady Lazarus” was textually based on the concept of reincarnation, which correlates with the Indian instruments and Hindu beliefs that inspired Harrison melodically and lyrically to create this song. The concept of divorcing oneself from their ego is also explored in this episode, as Don allows Megan to leave his kingdom at SCDP and pursue her dream.

Love healing the world is touched upon during Pete and Beth’s drive from the train session when Beth explains that she could never live in the city because of her empathy for all the homeless people. Pete says, “I guess were supposed to get used to not seeing them,” and Beth replies, “Yes, that’s exactly what happens.”  Beth also suggests the smallness of humanity through her comparison of Pete’s eyes and the photographs of earth from space. “It didn’t bother you to see the earth tiny and unprotected, surrounded by darkness?” Later, Pete and Harry discuss the images, with Pete asking Harry if they made him feel small and insignificant.

The notion that internal change comes from within oneself is touched upon in Don and Pete’s attempts to transcend themselves through another person (Megan and Beth), and finding they are still alone. The idea of one’s material success contributing to the loss of their soul could relate to Megan’s artistic appetite, feeling better failing at something she loves than succeeding at something she’s good at, etc. and to Don’s reluctance to get with the times.

Applicable lyrics:

We were talking-about the space between us all

And the people-who hide themselves behind a wall of illusion (Everyone’s playing a part, also could be referenced through the numerous strange telephone calls)

 

With our love-we could save the world-if they only knew (Beth hates poverty)

Try to realize it’s all within yourself

No one else can make you change (Megan and Beth will not solve your problems)

 

And to see you’re really only very small,

And life flows on within you and without you (Photos of earth from space, reincarnation)

 

We were talking-about the love that’s gone so cold and the people,

Who gain the world and lose their soul-

They don’t know-they can’t see-are you one of them? (Don, turning off the Beatles)


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