Recording "I Want To Tell You", mixing "Yellow Submarine"

Thursday, June 2, 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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From Wikipedia:

Untitled at the time, “I Want to Tell You” was the third Harrison composition that the Beatles recorded for Revolver, although his initial submission for a third contribution was “Isn’t It a Pity”. It was the first time he had been permitted more than two songs on one of the group’s albums. The opportunity came about due to Lennon’s inability to write any new material over the previous weeks. Exasperated by Harrison’s habit of not titling his compositions, Lennon jokingly named it “Granny Smith Part Friggin’ Two” – referring to the working title, derived from the Granny Smith apple, for “Love You To”. Following Lennon’s remark, Geoff Emerick, the Beatles’ recording engineer, named the new song “Laxton’s Superb” after another variety of apple.

The Beatles taped the main track, consisting of guitars, piano and drums, at EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios) in London. The session took place on 2 June 1966, the day after Harrison met Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar for the first time and secured Shankar’s agreement to help him master the sitar. The band recorded five takes of the song before Harrison selected the third of these for further work. After reduction to a single track on the four-track master tape, their performance consisted of Harrison on lead guitar, treated with a Leslie effect, McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums, with Lennon adding tambourine. The group then overdubbed vocals, with McCartney and Lennon singing parallel harmony parts beside Harrison’s lead vocal. Further overdubs included maracas, the sound of which Pollack likens to a rattlesnake; additional piano, at the end of the bridge sections and over the E7♭9 chord in the verses; and handclaps.

Created during a period when the Beatles had fully embraced the recording studio as a means of artistic expression, the recording added further to the message behind the song. Like “Eight Days a Week“, the completed track begins with a fade-in, a device that in combination with the fadeout, according to Rodriguez, “provided a circular effect, perfectly matching the song’s lack of resolution”. Everett similarly recognises McCartney’s “clumsy finger-tapping impatience” on the piano over the E7♭9 chord as an apt expression of the struggle to articulate.

The final overdub was McCartney’s bass guitar part, which he added on 3 June. The process of recording the bass separately from a rhythm track provided greater flexibility when mixing a song, and allowed McCartney to control the harmonic structure of the music by defining chords. As confirmed by the band’s recording historian, Mark Lewisohn, “I Want to Tell You” was the first Beatles song to have the bass superimposed onto a dedicated track on the recording. This technique became commonplace in the Beatles’ subsequent work. During the 3 June session, the song was temporarily renamed “I Don’t Know”, which had been Harrison’s reply to a question from producer George Martin as to what he wanted to call the track. The eventual title was decided on by 6 June, during a remixing and tape-copying session for the album.

Last updated on September 16, 2022

Songs recorded


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 1


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 2


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 3


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 4


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Take 5


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Recording • SI onto take 3


I Want To Tell You

Written by George Harrison

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 3 into take 4


Yellow Submarine

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing • Mono mixing - Remix 1 from take 5


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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