- Album This song officially appears on the Anthology 2 Official album.
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“12-Bar Original” is an instrumental 12-bar blues by the Beatles. It was recorded in 1965, but was not commercially available until 1996 when an edited version of take 2 of the song was included on the Anthology 2 album. Prior to editing, the length of take 2 was 6:36.
It is one of the few songs credited to Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey Other songs credited to all four Beatles include “Flying” from Magical Mystery Tour, “Dig It” from Let It Be and “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)“, the B-side to the 1995 single “Free as a Bird“.
Of the Beatles, only John Lennon and Ringo Starr ever commented on the song. During some US radio interviews, Lennon was asked if there were any unissued Beatles recordings, he replied that all he could recall was “some lousy 12 bar“. Starr told journalist Peter Palmiere that “we all wrote the track and I have an acetate of one of the versions“. The quote was later used by Palmiere in a Ringo Starr cover interview/story in DISCoveries magazine in 1993 and by Jim Berkenstadt and Belmo in their book Black Market Beatles.
“12-Bar Original” was the Beatles’ first instrumental after signing for EMI, and was produced by George Martin at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, London. Four other instrumentals by the group are the aforementioned “Flying“, an outtake version of that song called “Aerial Tour Instrumental”, “Cayenne” and “Cry for a Shadow“.
From Anthology 2 liner notes:
An instrumental recording by The Beatles, their first since signing with EMI in 1962, featuring drums, bass, two electric guitars (with Geroge Harrison adding tone-pedal effects) and a harmonium (played by George Martin). Two takes were attempted, the first breaking down, the second complete at a lengthy 6.36 and from which this 2.54 Anthology edit has been produced. It is not clear if 12-Bar Original was intended for Rubber Soul but, certainly, the song was not mixed until the album was being pressed so it was never a serious contender. Indeed, the recording has remained unissued until now.
Last updated on May 4, 2019
Officially appears on
Official album • Released in 1996
Official album • Released in 2016
Unofficial album • Released in 1989
Unofficial album • Released in 2012
Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.