The Paul McCartney Project

And Your Bird Can Sing

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Yesterday and Today (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1966
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

And Your Bird Can Sing” is a song by the Beatles, released on their 1966 album Revolver in the United Kingdom and on Yesterday and Today in the United States. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Paul McCartney claims to have helped on the lyrics, however, estimating the song to be “80–20” to Lennon. The working title was “You Don’t Get Me“. Lennon was later dismissive of the track, as he was of many of his compositions at the time, referring to it as “another of my throwaways … fancy paper around an empty box“.

History

The song is memorable for its extended dual-guitar melody, played by George Harrison and Paul McCartney. A version of the track featuring Harrison on his Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string electric guitar was recorded on 20 April 1966 but was scrapped; the group recorded the regular, released version on 26 April. The rejected version, heard on the Anthology 2 album, features a vocal track on which Lennon and McCartney are giggling hysterically. The Anthology liner notes state that the tapes do not indicate the source of the laughter.

A few incidents have been suggested as inspirations for the song’s cryptic lyrics, which recall in tone those of “She Said She Said“:

  • In his a 2007 book, Can’t Buy Me Love, Jonathan Gould claims that Lennon wrote the song in response to an official press release promoting a Sinatra TV special as a show for those who were “tired of kid singers wearing mops of hair thick enough to hide a crate of melons.” No Lennon biography or Lennon quotation is cited to substantiate Gould’s theory.
  • According to journalist Richard Simpson, Lennon wrote the song in response to Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones boasting about his pop-star girlfriend (“bird” in English slang) Marianne Faithfull.
  • The line “You say you’ve seen seven wonders” may refer to the night the Beatles smoked pot with Bob Dylan in New York in 1964. The experience caused a stoned McCartney to pronounce excitedly that what he had just learned was the key to life: “There are seven levels.

Some have interpreted the lyrics as a message from John to Paul, who was the last unmarried Beatle at the time and the only one living in London. It is theorized that John felt neglected as an artistic partner as Paul feverishly explored the many artistic sights and sounds of London at the time. “You say you’ve seen seven wonders, and your bird is green, but you can’t see me” and later, “Look in my direction, I’ll be round, I’ll be round.

And Your Bird Can Sing” was used as the theme song of the Beatles’ cartoon series during its third season. The song is playable in the music video game The Beatles: Rock Band. In October 2008, Guitar World magazine ranked Harrison’s playing on the song at number 69 on its list of the “100 Greatest Guitar Solos”. […]

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

And Your Bird Can Sing was John’s song. I suspect that I helped with the verses because the songs were nearly always written without second and third verses. I seem to remember working on that middle eight with him but it’s John’s song, 80-20 to John.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 12 May 1966. edited.
    US: Capitol T 2553 Yesterday & Today 1966.
  • [a1] mock stereo made from [a] 1966, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2553 Yesterday & Today 1966 first issue, some later issues.
  • [b] stereo 20 May 1966. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 7009 Revolver 1966.
    US: Capitol ST 2553 Yesterday & Today some later issues, c.1973.CD: EMI CDP 7 46441 2 Revolver 1987.
  • [c] mono 6,8 Jun 1966. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 7009 Revolver 1966.

The editing adds the instrumental ending from a different take. Of the mono mixes, [a] has louder handclaps than [c], and the guitars seem to drop a little more in volume during the verses in [c].

The “some later issues” of Yesterday & Today that have stereo are (1) all tape format copies since 1966 [reel-to-reel YT-2553, eight-track 8X2T-2648 and later 8XT-2553, cassette 4XT-2553, and even the four-track 4CL-2553!], (2) Capitol record club LP copies beginning in 1968, (3) many general release LPs pressed at the Winchester plant [indicated by -<| the sideways wine glass] since 1973, the date I use for the LP reissue. The use of old LP stampers with fake stereo, however, continued as late as 1988, the end of LPs.

Last updated on March 28, 2016

Lyrics

You say you've got everything you want
And your bird can sing
But you don't get me
You don't get me

You say you've seen the seven wonders
And you bird is green
But you can't see me
You can't see me

When your prized possessions
Start to weigh you down
Look in my direction
I'll be round, I'll be round

When your bird is broken
Will it bring you down
You may be awoken
I'll be round, I'll be round

Officially appears on


Revolver (UK Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:01 • Studio versionC • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Handclaps, Lead guitar
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 06, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 08, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Yesterday and Today (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:03 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Handclaps, Lead guitar
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 27, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
May 12, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Yesterday and Today (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:02 • Studio versionA1 • Mock stereo made from [A]

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Handclaps, Lead guitar
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Apr 27, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
May 12, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road


Revolver (UK Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1966

2:01 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass, Handclaps, Lead guitar
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 26, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
May 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Anthology 2

Official album • Released in 1996

2:13 • OuttakeD • Take 2 - John's composition And Your Bird Can Sing appeared on Revolver in remake form, Take 10 form 26 April. Six days earlier, in two takes, the Beatles recorded a different arrangement of the number, the overdubbing of several vocal tracks on to Take 2 indicating that, for a few days at least, they considered that it had the makings of a master. This recording is released here for the first time, counted-in by John. And someone or something - the tape does not reveal what - was causing them to giggle...

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Apr 20, 1966
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

2:04 • Studio version • 1


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

2:06 • Studio version • And Your Bird Can sing (2)


Revolver Sessions

Unofficial album

2:15 • Alternate take • Take 2 mono


Revolver Sessions

Unofficial album

2:15 • Alternate take • Take 2 with Overdubs stereo


Revolver Sessions

Unofficial album

2:15 • Alternate take • RS From Take 2 V1 stereo


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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