It’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, guest-starring the Uptight BBC Voiceover Man:

Don’t criticise what you can’t understand, square-o.

So, like Snooty McDisdain says, this song was essentially tossed off by the Beatles for the Rolling Stones’ benefit, and the Stones got the first release of it – a little musical charity, as by that time anything smelling faintly Liverpudlian leapt off the shelf like a maddened toad. This bit of Beatles-Stones connectivity wasn’t taken from the in-game factoids, but from Wikipedia (DON’T JUDGE ME) and some research on YouTube. Even while I was playing the level, though, this song was definitely the odd one out.

After three very tame songs, this one explodes, all speed and noise – and is that the hint of a snarl? I have no idea whether the Beatles had heard the Stones’ version – slow, sneery menace, all drawl, Jagger’s vocal looking and sounding like he didn’t give a toss about anything or anyone, a dark little proto-chav to the Beatles’ clean-cut youngsters – but maybe a hint of it crept in, like the occasional twang punctuating things hints at Brian Jones on the guitar. If the Stones were doing their take on a Beatles song they’d been given, maybe this is the Beatles doing their version of a song the Stones had now made their own.

Anyway, the Beatles can’t sneer or scowl or brood, not just yet anyway. But they can do an intense burst of manic energy just fine, and that’s what they do – that’s about the only thing I can find here, pure, raw energy, but that’s all the track really needs, especially after you’ve played the other three songs. Technically, the animations remain much the same, but this time the Beatlebots seem infused with some kind of extra  pzazz, and even Ringobot seems mentally normal, despite the Joker-like grin permanently etched into his robotic face. Even the crowd seems to be going wilder than before.

In other news, this is another song that was never on the Ed Sullivan Show. I’m assuming we’ll get more and more historical discrepancy as the game goes on, so the LYING LIARS WHO LIE aspect no longer bothers me, but it does raise the question of why this song was picked, and why here. So far, we’ve had three songs keyed into the rise of Beatlemania – the first big smash, the follow-up, and the Movie song – so I’m guessing this is part of the same pattern. Maybe this is here to represent the British Invasion as a whole – the Beatles and the Stones storming the beaches together, in competition in the charts but in collusion behind the scenes, the Beatles unquestionably on top but never quite able to be as sexy or dangerous as their brother band.

Or maybe it’s just a random choice. There’s nothing in the factoids, after all.

One last thing – I ran into the little black-and-white epilogue to this track when I played through the level myself (the joys of story mode, I assume) and it’s a nod to this bit from the original Ed Sullivan broadcast (circa 2:26):

It’s a brief hint of history among the endless falsehoods that’s very charming to see, and pretty much made the level for me. In the electronic world, though, the roll-call is conducted to screaming rather than to music, we don’t get any mugging to camera, only the simpering plastic expressions of animatronic dolls – once again, Ringobot comes off worst – and there isn’t a helpful addendum to remind screaming fangirls that John is The Married One.

Well, Johnbot isn’t married, after all – he has no offstage existence whatsoever, and besides any hint of such mucky realities must be tastefully obscured for the good of Apple Corps. We’re in the myth business here, people.

NEXT: On to Shea Stadium and an epic tale of babies who don’t care.