Don't Pass Me By

Written by Ringo Starr

Album This song officially appears on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1968

Master album


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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Don’t Pass Me By” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 double album The Beatles (also known as the “White Album”). A country rock song, it was the first solo composition written by drummer Ringo Starr.

The song was released as a single in Scandinavia (albeit mis-credited to Lennon–McCartney) and peaked at number one in Denmark in April 1969.

Origin

Starr first played the song for the other Beatles soon after he joined the group in August 1962. During an interview, Starr commented on the songwriting process, saying: “I wrote Don’t Pass Me By when I was sitting round at home. I was fiddling with the piano – I just bang away – and then if a melody comes and some words, I just have to keep going. It was great to get my first song down, one that I had written. It was a very exciting time for me and everyone was really helpful, and recording that crazy violinist was a thrilling moment.”

The earliest public mention of the track seems to have been in a BBC chatter session introducing “And I Love Her” on the radio show Top Gear in 1964. In the conversation, Starr was asked if he had written a song and Paul McCartney mocked him soon afterwards, singing the first line of the refrain, “Don’t pass me by, don’t make me cry, don’t make me blue, baby.”

Recording

The song was recorded in four separate sessions in 1968: 5 and 6 June, and 12 and 22 July. Despite references to it in 1964 as “Don’t Pass Me By”, it was called “Ringo’s Tune (Untitled)” on 5 June session tape label and “This Is Some Friendly” on 6 June label. By 12 July, the title was restored.

During a lead vocal track recorded on 6 June, Starr audibly counted out eight beats, and it can be heard in the released song starting at 2:30 of the 1987 CD version. The monaural mix is faster than the stereo mix, and features a different arrangement of violin in the fade-out.

George Martin arranged an orchestral interlude as an introduction, but this was rejected. It would eventually be used as an incidental cue for the Beatles’ animated film Yellow Submarine. In 1996, the introduction was released as the track “A Beginning” on Anthology 3.

At the start of the Beatles’ filmed rehearsals at Twickenham Film Studios in January 1969, George Harrison, having recently visited Bob Dylan and The Band in Woodstock in upstate New York, reported to Starr and McCartney that “Don’t Pass Me By” was The Band’s favourite track on the White Album. He added that the song’s country mood was “their scene completely” and told Starr, “You’d go down a bomb with them.”

Critical reception

Among contemporary reviews of The Beatles, Record Mirror said that “Don’t Pass Me By” had a “carnival atmosphere” and a “‘gay Paree’ sound”, adding that, with Starr’s vocal, the track was “very appealing”. Writing for the same publication in January 1969, however, David Griffiths said that although he considered The Beatles to be the best album of the past year, the song’s arrangement “has quickly palled on me” and “I do tend to jump the needle here.” Barry Miles of International Times described “Don’t Pass Me By” as “Ringo’s C&W number” and a “great song”, and highlighted the “excellent fiddle player” and “bag-pipe effect”. In his review for The New York Times, Nik Cohn recognised the track as “the Beatles five years back, straight ahead and clumsy and greatly enjoyable, backed by a beautiful hurdy-gurdy organ and made perfect by Ringo’s own vocal, sleepwalking as ever”.

Writing in 2014, Ian Fortnam of Classic Rock magazine cited “Don’t Pass Me By” as one of the four songs that made the Beatles’ White Album an “enduring blueprint for rock”, along with “Yer Blues“, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Helter Skelter“, in that together they contained “every one of rock’s key ingredients”. In the case of Starr’s song, he said that the track was poorly served by the McCartney-led arrangement, yet it represented a “southern rock exemplar par excellence” for musicians to come. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 11 Oct 1968. edited.
UK: Apple PMC 7067 white album 1968.
US: Capitol SHAL-12060 Rarities 1980.

[b] stereo 11 Oct 1968. edited.
UK: Apple PCS 7067 white album 1968.
US: Apple SWBO 101 white album 1968.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46443 2 white album 1987.

[c] stereo 1996.
CD: Apple CDP 8 34451 2 Anthology 3 1996.

Mono [a] runs faster, and it has more fiddle throughout the song, and different fiddle at the end. The fiddle at the end of stereo [b] seems to a repeat of a bit of the chorus. The edit added the intro.

Stereo [c] has only work from 5 and 6 June without the fiddle or intro added in July. It’s at the speed of the stereo mix [b].

Last updated on May 23, 2021

Lyrics

I listen for your footsteps coming up the drive
Listen for your footsteps but they don't arrive
Waiting for your knock, dear, on my old front door
I don't hear it, does it mean you don't love me anymore?

I hear the clock a ticking on the mantel shelf
See the hands a moving but I'm by myself
I wonder where you are tonight and why I'm by myself
I don't see you, does it mean you don't love me anymore?

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

I'm sorry that I doubted you, I was so unfair
You were in a car crash and you lost your hair
You said that you would be late about an hour or two
I said that's all right, I'm waiting here, just waiting to hear from you

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You'll never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

One two three four five six seven eight

Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue
'Cause you know darling I love only you
You never know it hurt me so, how I hate to see you go
Don't pass my by, don't make me cry

Officially appears on


The Beatles (Mono)

LP • Released in 1968

3:51 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Stereo)

LP • Released in 1968

3:51 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Rarities (US - 1980)

Official album • Released in 1980

3:51 • Studio versionA • Mono • Sped-up version with different violin in places; available on The Beatles in Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

2:42 • OuttakeC • Stereo • Takes 3 and 5. This recording of Don't Pass Me By - Ringo's first song composition - is a variation of the White Album basic master, before the distinctive country fiddle part was added. It combines the instrumentation from Take 3 with a vocal that Ringo overdubbed the following day on to Take 5 (which was in itself a reduction mix or "bounce" of the third take).

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Jun 06, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Mono - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

3:51 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

3:51 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (Mono - 2014 vinyl)

LP • Released in 2014

3:51 • Studio versionA2014 • Mono • 2014 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Steve Berkowitz :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 11, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2016

2:42 • OuttakeC2016 • Stereo • Takes 3 and 5. This recording of Don't Pass Me By - Ringo's first song composition - is a variation of the White Album basic master, before the distinctive country fiddle part was added. It combines the instrumentation from Take 3 with a vocal that Ringo overdubbed the following day on to Take 5 (which was in itself a reduction mix or "bounce" of the third take).

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Jun 06, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


The Beatles (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

3:51 • Studio versionD • Stereo • 2018 stereo mix

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Drums, Piano
Ringo Starr :
Percussion, Piano, Sleigh bell, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Geoff Emerick :
Recording engineer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Ken Scott :
Recording engineer
Jack Fallon :
Violin
Sam Okell :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Jun 05, 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
6 Jun, 12,22 Jul 1968
Studio :
EMI Studios, Abbey Road


The Beatles (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

5:05 • Outtake • Medley with "A Beginning (Take 4)"

Bootlegs


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

0:18 • Studio version • Take3 Video Mix stereo


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

0:17 • Studio version • Take 3 DVD Mix Stereo


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:41 • Studio version • RS From takes 3 & 5 Stereo


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

0:18 • Studio version • Unknown Take Mono


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

4:23 • Studio version • RM4 From Take 7 Mono


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Amy Gdala Godiva 3 years ago

The re-release of the white album shows that Paul played drums on this track.


The PaulMcCartney Project 3 years ago

Thanks @amy ! I need time to digest everything that in the white album boxset !


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