Recording "Taxman", "Tomorrow Never Knows"

Friday, April 22, 1966 • For The Beatles

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

Songs recorded



Written by George Harrison

Recording • Tape reduction take 11 into take 12



Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto take 12


Tomorrow Never Knows

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 3


Musicians on "Taxman"

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Backing vocals

Musicians on "Tomorrow Never Knows"

Paul McCartney:
Guitar, Piano
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
George Harrison:
Tamboura, Sitar

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Phil McDonald:
Second Engineer


This was the twelfth day of the recording sessions for the “Revolver” album. Work continued on “Taxman” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” from 2:30 pm to 11:30 pm.

The basic track for “Taxman“, as well as most overdubs, had been recorded the previous day, April 21, 1966. On this day, a reduction mix of Take 11, named Take 12, was first made to free up a track. Ringo Starr then added a cowbell and John Lennon and Paul McCartney replaced the backing vocals they had recorded the previous day. Instead of “Anybody got a bit of money?“, they now sang “Ah! Ah! Mister Wilson… Ah! Ah! Mister Heath”, in reference to Prime Minister Harold Wilson (leader of the UK Labour Party) and Edward Heath (leader of the UK Conservative Party).

A final overdub would be added onto Take 12 on May 16, 1966.

The basic track of “Tomorrow Never Knows” had been recorded on April 6, 1966. The following day, April 7, 1966, The Beatles added tape loops and John Lennon recorded his lead vocals. On this day, April 22, they recorded the final overdubs, including some more vocal parts from John, George Harrison on sitar and tamboura, Paul McCartney on guitar and piano, Ringo Starr on tambourine, and also an organ part.

Lennon double-tracked his vocal performance from the 7th in places and then replaced the original vocal for the back half of the song with a new performance, this time utilizing the Leslie 122 speaker cabinet. […]

Other brush strokes added to finish the masterpiece included Harrison on sitar […] and tanpura/tambura (a traditional Indian four or five-stringed droning instrument), McCartney’s backwards lead guitar […], Starr on tambourine, McCartney on […] the “Mrs Mills” upright piano, and an unknown musician on organ.

From The Beatles Recording Reference Manual – Volume 2 – Help! through Revolver (1965-1966) by Jerry Hammack, 2021

A couple of weeks later, George Harrison showed up with the tamboura he had so eagerly talked of during the first night’s session. Actually, he’d been talking about it almost nonstop since then, so everyone was really curious to see the thing. He staggered into the studio under its weight – it’s a huge instrument, and the case was the size of a small coffin – and brought it out with a grand gesture, displaying it proudly as we gathered around.

“What do you think to that, then” he asked everyone in sight. Not willing to trust his precious cargo to either of the two roadies, he had actually stuffed the tamboura case in the backseat of one of his Porsches, which he parked right in front of the main entrance so he could carry the instrument by hand up the steps. […]

But George Harrison had said that the tamboura drone would be the perfect complement to John’s song, and he was right. Having seen how well Paul’s loops had worked, George wanted to contribute one of his own, so I recorded him playing a single note on the huge instrument – again using a close-miking technique – and turned it into a loop. It ended up becoming the sound that opens the track. Another sonic component — the little bit of tack piano at the end — was a fluke. It actually came from a trial we did on the first take, when the group were just putting ideas down, but Paul heard it during one of the playbacks and suggested that we fly it into the fadeout, and it worked perfectly.

Tomorrow Never Knows” would be mixed on April 27, June 6 and June 22, 1966.

From The Beatles announce ‘Revolver’ Special Edition with new stereo and Dolby Atmos mixes (

Last updated on November 1, 2022

Exit mobile version