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Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Fingerpicking guitar solo

Maxwell's Silver Hammer


The music is also on my compilation CD
Flamingo Eyeyball CD
Video Details

Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Artist: Sal Bonavita

Composer: Lennon/McCartney

Arrangement: Eric Schoenberg

Playing time: 0.54

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Maxwell's Silver Hammer

This song performed by The Beatles, with Paul McCartney singing the lead, and is included on their album Abbey Road. It was written by McCartney, though the songwriting credit is Lennon-McCartney.


George Harrison described it in 1969 as "one of those instant whistle-along tunes which some people hate, and other people really like. It's a fun song, but it's kind of a drag because Maxwell keeps on killing everyone like his girlfriend then the school teacher, and then, finally, the judge." (In 1977, Harrison would be less charitable, saying of the song, "I mean, my god, 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' was so fruity.")


The vaudevillian-style song is about medical student Maxwell Edison, who uses his silver hammer to murder his girlfriend, then his teacher, and finally the judge during his murder trial. Despite the grim subject matter, the song is bouncy and upbeat. Although thought by many fans to be a thinly-veiled allegory on the Charles Manson scandals, McCartney says it merely epitomizes the downfalls of life. He said in 1994:


"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is my analogy for when something goes wrong out of the blue, as it so often does, as I was beginning to find out at that time in my life. I wanted something symbolic of that, so to me it was some fictitious character called Maxwell with a silver hammer. I don't know why it was silver, it just sounded better than Maxwell's hammer. It was needed for scanning. We still use that expression now when something unexpected happens."


The song took three days of overdubbing because McCartney imagined that it could be a future single. John Lennon later recalled, "he did everything to make it into a single, and it never was and it never could have been." According to Lennon, the band spent more money on that song than any other on Abbey Road.



Fingerpicking Beatles

Arrangements: Eric Schoenberg
Publisher: Amsco Publications

Order No: 30941

US Code no: 020234.1

ISBN: 8256.2234.4


Sixteen original arrangements of songs for fingerstyle guitarists of all levels, in standard notation and tablature, with tips on learning each arrangement, by Eric Schoenberg.


This is a great little book full of amazing arrangements. Just when I thought I had a reasonable mastery of left hand technique, along comes a book like this to prove me wrong. Getting started with any of these pieces can be a huge challenge if you are not used to syncopated, polyphonic melodies. But these pieces are such a joy to play it's definitely worth the effort. If I had to rate this book, I would give it 5 out of 5 stars.


I used to play this arrangement of Maxwell's Silver Hammer in flamenco dance classes while the dancers were doing repetitive footwork drills. Some dance teachers would tell me off for playing non-flamenco stuff but others didn't mind at all. The usual request by a teacher during these drills is a steady SoleĆ” or Farruca or whatever. But what the hell. It's gets pretty boring playing basic SoleĆ” for 20 minutes. Other tunes I sneaked in during footwork drills included Coney Island Cakewalk and Angie.


All My Loving
I Feel Fine
Things We Said Today
It's Only Love
I'm Looking Through You
I Should Have Known Better
Maxwell's Silver Hammer

Hey Jude
Your Mother Should Know
Here, There & Everywhere
I'll Get You
Lady Madonna
Mother Nature's Son


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