Um... "All You Need Is Love"?!
Wait, this is about The Beatles right? There's no way they can be scary, right? Wrong.
The Beatles used the Last Note Nightmare trope so often that examples now have their own page.
Albums Rubber Soul
- "Run For Your Life," despite its pleasant jangly sound, is about a man threatening to murder his girlfriend if she is unfaithful. Even Lennon regretted making it due to its misogynistic lyrics.
- "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" tells the story of a man who gets invited to a girl's house. When she won't let him into her bed, he sleeps in the tub. When she leaves the next morning, he sets the place on fire ("So I lit a fire / Isn't it good? / Norwegian wood"). Especially chilling was Paul explaining it, just in case someone though that the man was talking about, say, making a fire on the chimney to keep himself warm and then complimented the house decor.
Paul: In our world the guy had to have some sort of revenge. It could have meant "I lit a fire to keep myself warm, and wasn't the decor of her house wonderful?" But it didn't, it meant "I burned the fucking place down as an act of revenge."
- Those electronic "seagulls" on "Tomorrow Never Knows". It's a heavily distorted clip of Paul laughing.
- It's not just the "seagulls" that are terrifying: the distorted quality of John's vocals, occurrences of percussive sound-effects played backwards, and the sound of tape being looped rapidly through a tape-recorder, in addition to this song's overall freakishness.
- Not to mention the drum part. Paul had the idea for it, but it was Ringo who played it.
- "Eleanor Rigby". Where to start... First, there's the haunting instrumentals featuring several strings instruments. Then there's the lyrics, which are about a two very lonely people: The title character and a lonely priest named Father Mackenzie. Their story is very disturbing on its own, considering that they never had the chance to meet. Eleanor Rigby died lonely with Father Mackenzie being the only one at her funeral.
Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from her grave.
All the lonely people,
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people,
Where do they all belong?
- Though probably a reference to makeup, it's easy to bring to mind something more literal upon hearing the line, 'Eleanor Rigby, wearing a face which she keeps in a jar by the door."
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
- "A Day in the Life" is a disturbing psychedelic piece, considered by many to be the greatest Beatles track, that can be interpreted as a song about a depressed man, very likely John himself, whose constant use of psychedelic drugs has left him disconnected from his world. The middle section featuring Paul is a cheery track about a man's morning routine, which can be perceived as the first man's nostalgic flashback to when his life was simpler, before he lost control of it.
- The deranged string crescendo, which qualifies as a Middle Note Nightmare, and the creepy looping voices at the very, very end of the song, which qualify as a "secret" Last Note Nightmare.
- Technically, those looping voices are in a secret track - the "Inner Groove." "A Day in the Life" ends with very faded piano and ambient air conditioning. Which are still Last Note Nightmare.
- One of the creepier aspects of the aforementioned "Inner Groove" is that at least in original vinyl version, it was a loop in the literal sense of the word - it would play endlessly until you turned off your record player. Considering the fact that it was one of the first records to do such a trick, it was pretty much enough to make you believe that your player was haunted.
- The Wham Line "He blew his mind out in a car
"note Made worse by the revelation that the line refers to a real person whom John was friends with: socialite Tara Browne, son of a House of Lords member and an heir to the Guinness beer fortune, who really did die in a car accident at the age of 21.
- "Within You Without You", while a bit eerie in and of itself, ends with a cacophony of voices that you can't really decide whether are laughing, or crying. George said he put it there to "lighten the mood"... umm, good job?
- "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Whether it's the creepy circus organ sound-alike (an actual organ accompanied by John, George and Ringo on harmonicas — Anthology 2 shows their monstrous size), the "waltz" in the middle, or the seemingly ceaseless Last Note Nightmare, you will be scared.
Magical Mystery Tour
The White Album
- The White Album in general has plenty of bizarre, dissonant chord progressions, textures and voicings throughout, and a loose, disjointed, hodgepodge feel, all of which create a tense and at times unwelcoming atmosphere throughout most of the songs. There's also a distant, eerie, often distorted or lo-fi tone to how it was recorded, which doesn't help matters. The album often sounds like it's a collection of lost solo recordings (some of which weren't finished) that was assembled by some unknown agent on the band's behalf. Some of its songs are so strange that they sound like they aren't even by The Beatles at all, but rather by a group of impostors, and there's little to no sense of unity to the songs due to the album's deliberate eclecticism. The end result is a disturbing mixture of oddities that never coalesce, and instead leave the listener perplexed.
- The album's haunting tone is made even scarier by reading the lyrics to "Piggies" and "Helter Skelter" as the lyrics of both songs inspired murders that were organised by Charles Manson (see "Piggies" below).
- Ringo's scream of "I got blisters on mah fingers!" at the end of "Helter Skelter"note also has an unsettling, deranged quality that is likely to make new listeners jump. The song also has a false ending, fading out and then back in again after a few seconds, shortly before Ringo's "blisters" line.
- The ending of "Long, Long, Long" when everything starts shaking and rattling (achieved by placing an empty bottle on top of a Leslie speaker) and Harrison starts howling into the night.
- "Revolution 1": John shouting "all right" over and over and over.
- In 2009, an audio tape of an almost 9 (!) minute unreleased take of the song, titled "Take 20" leaked to the internet. It descends from a blues anthem into a deranged, psychedelic jam, and at the same time, it showed what scary influence Yoko Ono had on the Beatles. Not that her Fluxus work was confusing enough already...
- "Cry Baby Cry", where Lennon sings a cryptic song about a royal family that sounds innocent at first but eventually mentions a "seance in the dark" implying that the family may have a particularly dark secret; it's as if the lyrics are slowly describing the events before a murder or some kind of deadly ritual. The song's name implies that something bad happened to the children as well.
- And just when the song ends, an unrelated, unfinished song comes out of nowhere: "Can you take me back where I came from, can you take me back... Can you take me back where I came from, brother can you take me back?" The song has a very unsettling feel and Paul sounds like he's desperate for help - or perhaps warning the listener to turn back before it's too late, because the next track is...
- "Revolution 9". Dear God, "Revolution 9"...
- Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine. Number nine.
- Number nine.
- TAKE THIS BROTHER MAY IT SERVE YOU WELL
- The normal version is TAME compared to the backwards version. "Turn me on dead man..."
- SATAN LOOK AT ME!!! And Yoko Ono said that.
- S-since the (pause) His suicide was...
- "GET ME OUT!"
- There's also a part where you can hear gunfire with people hollering in the background. Some poor listener can easily chalk it up as a mass shooting, a crowd firing at people in a riot, or even war.
- Throughout the track, the sound of a crowd shouting in anger plays, and this was at a time when race riots were rampant in America, not to mention, a relatively short time after Lennon himself had inspired mob violence with his infamous statement about the Beatles being "bigger than Jesus."
- There is a part towards the middle where a frenzied moaning and heavy breathing fades in and out. To some, it sounds sexual, but to others it sounds like someone having a panic attack while being tortured. Given that John Lennon wanted this track to portray an actual revolution under way, it may have been intended to be the latter.
- There is another part where it sounds like someone's panicking while being suffocated!
- Made worse for being the longest track (8:15) the group released. If you can sit through the whole thing, congratulations.
- Fittingly enough? The Japanese word for the number 9note is pronounced the same as the japanese term for pain and sufferingnote . This may or may not have been intentional.
- "Piggies": In which "bigger piggies" whack the smaller "piggies" to death and eat them afterwards! Its nursery rhyme style makes it a shocking Lyrical Dissonance with a Twist Ending.
- Even more disturbing is the fact that Charles Manson took this song literally. He orderded his cult members to start killing random people. On the wall of Sharon Tate's apartment the word "pig" was found being smeared in her own blood.
- "Yer Blues" is a slow blues song about a lonely person longing to die, and John's shrieking vocals make it even worse than it sounds.
- There's also the song "I'm So Tired" which is about someone going insane from depression, insomnia, stress and unrequited love. It's not as explicitly suicidal as "Yer Blues" but the song's lyrics imply that the man is going down that path.
- "Happiness is a Warm Gun", also from John, is about a mentally ill man who is deeply passionate about his gun and his desire to shoot someone with it... a grim accidental foreshadowing of what would later happen the singer.
- "Glass Onion" ends rather abruptly on a discordant, depressing string section that doesn't so much "end" as it just dies out... going directly into the super-cheery "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da". Early mixes of the song featured a different ending; the sound of glass shattering out nowhere, and someone repeating the sentence "It's a goal!".
- "Rocky Raccoon", anyone? A bright, happy and cheerful little ditty about a young boy murdering his love interest's new boyfriend... only for the antagonist to end up winning. One must wonder what the boys' stance on relationships were by this song alone... -shudder-...
- "Wild Honey Pie," while only 53 seconds in length, can be pretty frightening, as it consists of a creepy guitar and drum track, while Paul chants "HONEY PIE!" (The name of a song sequenced later in the album) over and over. What's worse is that the song is placed in between 2 normal tracks (Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da and The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill), so it can easily catch a new listener off guard.
- At the end of the song, Paul says "I LOVE YOU, HONEY PIE!" in a normal, non-chanting voice. It can be unnerving, to say the least.
- Not helping is the fact that "Wild Honey Pie" and "Honey Pie" are two completely different sounding songs makes them both creepy at the same time; the former is like a corrupted, dark reprise of the latter, and yet the band chose to place the reprise before the actual song in the tracklisting, and separate them far apart from each other (there are twenty tracks in between the two).
- The ending of "Hey Bulldog" could definitely frighten those caught off guard; as John and Paul are singing, out of nowhere, Paul starts barking like a dog, and John talks back as if he was the dog's owner. Then, out of nowhere, John starts screaming loudly as he and Paul start shouting nonsensical phrases such as "You've got it! You've got it!" and "Don't look at me man, I only have 10 children!", as well as undistorted loud laughter from both of them, as the main guitar track continues to play.
- The beginning of "Only a Northern Song" is a bit unnerving and spooky. And then the deliberately-dissonant music kicks into high gear, with shrieking trumpets and weird noises.
- The way "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" just cuts off abruptly.
- It is said that John had this done intentionally during the final edit. The Beatles: Rock Band does a fine job putting a visual to the increasing volume and distortion before the cutoff.
- Furthermore, the distorted electric guitars and minor chords are almost prescient of Black Sabbath.
- After listening to the strings fade out on "The End" in Abbey Road, you sit there letting the musical food digest in your brain. All is quiet, until DUNNNN! "Her Majesty", ladies and gentlemen. Of course, this is a subversion, since "Her Majesty" turns out to be a cheerful little ditty.
- The Scare Chord is what would have been the end of "Mean Mr. Mustard". That's where "Her Majesty" was originally supposed to go, but Paul thought it didn't sound well in the medley, so it was taken out, though it ended up being tacked on to the end of the album.
- "Gnik Nus" sounds spooky thanks to the backmasking.
- John is actually chanting "Shoot me" in the background of the song "Come Together" (according to Bob Spitz's biography) - Paul was supposedly so disturbed by it that he covered up the end of the phrase with a loud cymbal hit, so that it sounds like "shooook!"
- Five words make that even more disturbing: "I just shot John Lennon".
- "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". MY GOD, talk about Lyrical Dissonance. A very cheerful and happy tune about some guy who kills other people with his hammer. So, yeah.
- To put it bluntly, it has the same lyrical theme as Hammer Smashed Face.
- Crosses the Line Twice: Gets to ridiculous proportions when Maxwell kills the judge at his own trial while people were previously demanding he be set free.
- John gleefully anticipates the judge's murder in an odd, sadistic way.
- "Because" can be found unnerving to some, least of all for its unresolved ending. One wonders how high John must have been when he wrote it. The Beatles Anthology has an a capella version of the song that sounds scarier, and it was revealed to have nine voices — three each from John, Paul and George.
The Beatles Anthology
- The "Butcher Cover" (see image) which at least was nightmare fuel in its time. It still is, really, with the band's cheerful posing amongst chunks of meat and naked, dismembered dolls, but when the album first dropped, you can bet that the cover got replaced pronto.
- The "Paul is dead" urban legend.
- Many of these examples involve the name "Paul" usually in the context of a misheard lyric or line being played backwards. In 1969, a rumor circulated that band member Paul McCartney had been killed in a car accident and replaced with a double, while the rest of the Beatles supposedly put clues in the album covers or the lyrics. Most people would agree that this was a complete invention of obsessed fans (or perhaps a publicity stunt by the band), but it has found new life in the internet age.
- The details of the "Paul is Dead" story (which have had the better half of a century to fester and grow):
- The idea that the entertainment industry (or someone within it) could be powerful enough to conceal the death of a member of the most world-famous band, for decades
- And Paul buried in an unmarked grave (or under a false name)
- The details of Paul's "accident," specifically what happened to his head and face
- Oh yes, and there are photos. (Courtesy a freeze frame of the "Free as a Bird" video, and who knows where else). The face is mauled enough and Paul's hairstyle generic enough that there's no reason to think it's truly him, but it does look like a real photo of some poor young man's head. The idea of it being Paul is just an added bonus of Nightmare Fuel.
- "Billy Shears" living as "Paul" for decades: either a man has been pressured or forced to give up his entire self to perpetuate this lie, or a sociopath has delighted in stealing a stranger's life and legacy.
- ... to climb out of this particular Nightmare Fuel, just try finding out when and where and how the tinfoil hats got all of these details in the first place, and then breathe a giant sigh of relief. (Basically the only "source" for most of these details are the supposed "clues" in the albums and videos; in other words, the conspiracy theorists just went cherry picking and grasping.) Still, it's best not to Google "Paul is Dead" right before going to sleep. And definitely don't listen to the backwards song clips right before bed...
- The LOVE mash-up album is filled with a bunch of strange transitions that make heavy use of stuff like clips of the boys laughing, Paul's aforementioned "seagull" noises, and other elements from the more psychedelic tracks. Due to the way song elements are combined, sometimes it's hard to make out what songs are used, rendering the final product unfamiliar and difficult to place, often making you doubt whether they really are Beatles-sourced elements...
- The version of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" on LOVE proceeds as normal for about a minute and a half, right up until the line "And tonight Mr. Kite is topping the bill!", at which point it segues not into the circus music you're expecting, but rather the riff from "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", with various sounds - including the vocals from "Helter Skelter" - laced through it. Also a major case of Mood Whiplash.
- Bonus points for combining the scariest parts of the scariest Beatles songs into one, complete with ominous winds following the negative Scare Chord. Brr!
- The point where "She's So Heavy" comes thrashing in can also be counted as a Jump Scare. What with the screams from Paul and the scary laughter coming in from nowhere, it sounds like you just jumped into the darkest pit of Hell itself.