543 Day Writing Journey

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Day 190.

*Click here to see why I’m writing: 543

Bludgeoning a person in the head with a hammer is not something I want people to think of when they hear my son’s name, and it was not my intention, but it’s done, so we have fun with it.

I’ve loved the Beatles as long as I can remember, all of them, and I also appreciate each of their incredibly different phases of their existence and styles.

The song I am talking about is “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” which sleeps peacefully on their well-known Abbey Road album. To learn more about the song, click HERE, and HERE to listen to it.

The song was written on July 9, 1969. It was John Lennon’s first time back in the recording studio after being hurt in a car crash. The reviews were mixed, but the song lives on over half a century later, shocking listeners with images of a person who has had enough so he simply swings his hammer. Where it lands is where the nightmares begin. It’s the choice of weapon that so offers a cringe to people’s bodies, and maybe even a tiny headache. Although the lyrics are quite shocking, it’s Paul’s innocent voice and typically vanilla brand that adds a syrupy contrast. It’s chilling yet refreshing.  

I remember singing “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” when I was little, not knowing what I was saying. The tune is quite chipper which juxtaposes the darkness of the lyrics. It’s classic sixties music with dark and creepy, yet sweet and sour mixtures of words and notes.

Fast forward to 2001 when Roger and I were trying to choose a name for Max.

“What about Maximillian?” I asked Roger. We were sitting in the living room of our base house on Tarawa Terrace in NC.

“Hmmm. It’s so long and formal sounding,” he said. “Maximus?”

“No, there’s that commercial about that sex enhancing drug with that name,” I said. I wasn’t laughing, yet he turned into a middle school boy.

He composed his immature self. “Oh yea. Maxwell?”

“I like that,” I said.

So, that would be his new name. Maxwell Forester Adams. Apparently, I forgot about the Beatles song I used to know and love.

Fast forward again to 2020.

We were sitting around a fire at our Wolcott house in Southampton, MA, and the song came on. I kept starting the song over, singing along, but for the first time actually hearing the words, a final comprehension.

“Oh my gosh. I can’t believe I named my son Maxwell!” I said to Sammy.

“Welp,” he said. Which means what’s done is done.

He’s right. It’s already done, and I really love the name Maxwell and I so adore the Beatles. What’s there to do now but have fun with it and be a little nicer to Max, right?

Here are the lyrics:

“Joan was quizzical

Studied pataphysical science in the home

Late nights all alone with a test tube

Oh, oh, oh, oh

Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine

Calls her on the phone

“Can I take you out to the pictures, Joa-o-o-oan?”

But as she’s getting ready to go

A knock comes on the door

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Came down upon her head

Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Made sure that she was dead

Back in school again, Maxwell plays the fool again

Teacher gets annoyed

Wishing to avoid an unpleasant scene

She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away

So he waits behind

Writing fifty times “I must not be so”

But when she turns her back on the boy

He creeps up from behind

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Came down upon her head

Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Made sure that she was dead

P. C. Thirty-One

Said “We caught a dirty one”

Maxwell stands alone

Painting testimonial pictures

Oh, oh, oh, oh

Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery

Say he must go free (Maxwell must go free)

The judge does not agree, and he tells them so

But as the words are leaving his lips

A noise comes from behind

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Came down upon his head

Clang! Clang! Maxwell’s silver hammer

Made sure that he was dead

Wo-wo-wo-woh

Silver hammer man”

3 thoughts on “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. Day 190.”

  1. Dear Teri,
    Well, the Maxwell we know and love, has a calm manner, and could do no such evil thing!!! (I don’t even think he owns a “silver hammer”)?!? :0
    Also; looking at his photo from years past, I can see what Roger must have looked like at his age!!! 🙂
    Love,
    Uncle Lee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The song is not written about your Max…you are overthinking things, switch channels and think good stuff…
    Like Sam being named after “Beer” and “Baylee” being named after your favorite uncle…
    :),,,,
    Love you,
    auntie sue

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Teri,
    Why didn’t I think of that??? “Sam Adams beer”!!! “Baylee’s Irish Crème”!!! (Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow)!!! And, last, but not least, “Maxwell House Coffee”!!! 🙂 “Good to the last drop”; see; he’s not a “silver hammer” thug!!! 🙂
    Love,
    Uncle Lee 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Bennie Forester Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.