Monday July 15, 2024

‘No Pakistanis’ by The Beatles: Satire or a racist attack on the influx of immigration?

Paul McCartney recapped the public about The Beatles' song’s tongue-in-cheek nature during an interview

By Web Desk
September 03, 2020
Paul McCartney recapped the public about The Beatles' song’s tongue-in-cheek nature during an interview

Musical history’s most revered rock group, The Beatles, had once stirred chaos all across Britain as well as parts of the world, over their infamous song, Get Out

Originally titled as No Pakistanis, the single had ensued furor all across Britain over its supposed anti-immigrant sentiments on one hand and won over neo-Nazi groups like Stormfront and oblivious white supremacist bands such as Battlecry, on the other.

According to a piece by Salon, this was something the British group—known as the flag-bearers for spreading social and political awareness through music—had hardly predicted since the song was always meant to be satire, as insisted by co-lead vocalist and bassist of The Beatles, Paul McCartney.

The fiasco ascended courtesy of the bootleg versions of the track with the original title circulating all around in 1986, at a time when racial, political and social mayhem was rampant.

McCartney recapped the public about the song’s tongue-in-cheek nature as he told the Rolling Stones back in 1986: “When we were doing Let It Be, there were a couple of verses to ‘Get Back’ which were actually not racist at all – they were anti-racist.”

“There were a lot of stories in the newspapers then about Pakistanis crowding out flats – you know, living 16 to a room or whatever. So in one of the verses of ‘Get Back’, which we were making up on the set of Let It Be, one of the outtakes has something about ‘too many Pakistanis living in a council flat’ – that’s the line,” he had explained further.

“Which to me was actually talking out against overcrowding for Pakistanis… If there was any group that was not racist, it was the Beatles. I mean, all our favourite people were always black. We were kind of the first people to open international eyes, in a way, to Motown,” McCartney said.

The report further solidified the band’s pro-immigrant stance through their blatant condemnation towards former British MP Enoch Powell who became the target of a number of their songs for venting his rage on the ‘influx of immigration’, from time to time.

“Dirty Enoch Powell said to the immigrants, immigrants you better get back to your commonwealth homes/Heath said to Enoch Powell you better get out, or heads are gonna roll.”

These are some of the lyrics of the song titled Back to the Commonwealth aka The Commonwealth Song, featuring McCartney harking back to his voyages across the old British empire from West Indies to Pakistan, along with bandmates, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.