Recording "Taxman"

Thursday, April 21, 1966 • For The Beatles

Part of

Recording "Revolver"

April 6 - June 22, 1966 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Revolver (UK Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Revolver (UK Mono) LP.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Master release

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This was the eleventh day of the recording sessions for the “Revolver” album. This session lasted from 2:30 pm to 12:50 am, and was focused on George Harrison’s “Taxman“. The Beatles had started recording the song on the previous day, but they decided to start from scratch on this day.

They recorded 11 takes of the rhythm track, with George Harrison on electric guitar, Paul McCartney on bass and Ringo Starr on drums. Take 11 was deemed the best and some overdubs were then added onto it. Paul added an electric guitar solo, and Ringo added a tambourine part. George then added his double-tracked lead vocals. Finally, John Lennon and Paul recorded some double-tracked backing vocals (singing “Anybody got a bit of money?” instead of “Mister Wilson, Mister Heath” in the final version).

Take 11 was released on Anthology 2 in 1996 and re-released on the 2022 reissue of “Revolver”.

Take 11. Issued here for the first time is that Take 11, not dissimilar to the master but with some notable differences, principally in the clean, full ending (instead of the repeated guitar solo) and the “anybody got a bit of money?” backing vocals (instead of the “Mister Wilson, Mister Heath” reference).

From Anthology 2 liner notes

Engineer Geoff Emerick and Beatles George and Paul have different recollections about the fact Paul played the guitar solo instead of George:

[My old Epiphone electric guitar is] the guitar that I played the opening riff of ‘Paperback Writer’ on, so it’s a lovely guitar. It can be quite varied — sort of horny and hard, like the ‘Taxman’ solo; that was the other thing I used it on. George let me have a go for the solo because I had an idea – it was the early Jimi Hendrix days and I was trying to persuade George to do something like that, feedback-y and crazy. And I was showing him what I wanted, and he said, ‘Well, you do it.’

Paul McCartney – Interview with RollingStone, 2005

I was pleased to have Paul play that bit on ‘Taxman.’ If you notice, he did like a little Indian bit on it for me.

George Harrison – Interview with Guitar Player Magazine, 1987

I helped out such a lot in all the arrangements. There were a lot of tracks though where I played bass. Paul played lead guitar on ‘Taxman,’ and he played guitar — a good part — on ‘Drive My Car.’

George Harrison- Interview with Crawdaddy Magazine, February 1977

There was a bit of tension on that session, though, because George had a great deal of trouble playing the solo – in fact, he couldn’t even do a proper job of it when we slowed the tape down to half speed.

After a couple of hours of watching him struggle, both Paul and George Martin started becoming quite frustrated — this was, after all, a Harrison song and therefore not something anyone was prepared to spend a whole lot of time on. So George Martin went into the studio and, as diplomatically as possible, announced that he wanted Paul to have a go at the solo instead. I could see from the look on Harrison’s face that he didn’t like the idea one bit, but he reluctantly agreed and then proceeded to disappear for a couple of hours. He sometimes did that—had a bit of a sulk on his own, then eventually came back. Whatever private conversations he would have with John or Paul upon his return occurred in the corridor, where none of us could hear. Sometimes Ringo would be part of the conference, but more often he would stay in the studio with Neil and Mal until the storm had blown over. Paul’s solo was stunning in its ferocity — his guitar playing had a fire and energy that his younger bandmate’s rarely matched—and was accomplished in just a take or two. It was so good, in fact, that George Martin had me fly it in again during the song’s fadeout.

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

Work on “Taxman” would continue and be completed on the following day, April 22, 1966.

Last updated on October 15, 2022

Songs recorded



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 1



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 2



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 3



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 4



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 5



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 6



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 7



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 8



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 9



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 10



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 11



Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto Take 11

Album Officially released on Anthology 2


Musicians on "Taxman"

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Electric guitar, Backing vocals
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Backing vocals
George Harrison:
Lead vocals, Electric guitar

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer

Going further

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual - Volume 2 - Help! through Revolver (1965-1966)

The second book of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC)-nominated series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 2: Help! through Revolver (1965-1966)" follows the evolution of the band from the end of Beatlemania with "Help!" through the introspection of "Rubber Soul" up to the sonic revolution of "Revolver". From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time.

Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

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If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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