The Paul McCartney Project

Think For Yourself

Written by George Harrison

Album This song officially appears on the Rubber Soul (UK Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1965

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions



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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Think for Yourself” is a song by English rock band The Beatles, and written by George Harrison who sings and plays guitar on the track. First appearing on their 1965 album Rubber Soul, it is a warning against listening to lies, and the first of Harrison’s songs not to be a love song. In a departure from all precedent at the time, the song has two bass lines, a normal one and one created by Paul McCartney’s then-unique application of a fuzzbox to his bass. A brief repeated clip of the song was featured in The Beatles 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine and was reissued for the 1999 Yellow Submarine Songtrack album.

Origin

In Harrison’s book I, Me, Mine he writes, “But all this time later, I don’t quite recall who inspired that tune. Probably the government.” As the song was recorded about six weeks after Pete Best’s libel suit against Ringo, the Beatles, and Playboy magazine was filed, and contains such lyrics as “you’re telling all those lies about the good things that we can have if we close our eyes,” “I left you far behind, the ruins of the life that you have in mind” and “I know your mind’s made up, you’re gonna cause more misery,” some have speculated that it might be about Best — which Harrison likely would have been reluctant to ever admit.

Musical structure

The song is in the key of G major, but its musical premise appears to be permanent tonic key ambiguity and restless root movement (musically echoing the title) through extensive borrowing from the parallel G minor. Thus, the G7 introduction appears to ground us in G major (G Mixolydian); yet the verse soon opens (“I’ve got a word or two“) with a ii chord (Am) that suggests we are in A Dorian mode or even A Aeolian mode with the following move to a Dm chord on “word or two” being a iv rather than a v in G major. The immediate shift to B♭ chord (♭III in G major) on “to say” and the C chord (IV in G major) on “about the things” again confuses as the Bb and C chords seem to hint at a ♭Vi- ♭VII rock run in D Aeolian. When we arrive at the chorus (“Think for yourself…“) the anticipated tonic-identifying V-I (D7 chord-G7 chord) shift, is preceded (pointedly on “Think“) with a strange ♭VI (E♭/B♭) chord in second inversion that undermines its tonal direction. This overlapping of major and minor harmony and restless root movement is an intriguing characteristic of Harrison’s songwriting as far back as “Don’t Bother Me“. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 9 Nov 1965
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1267 Rubber Soul 1965.
    US: Capitol T 2442 Rubber Soul 1965.
  • [b] stereo 9 Nov 1965
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3075 Rubber Soul 1965.
    US: Capitol ST 2442 Rubber Soul 1965.
  • [c] stereo 1987
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46440 2 Rubber Soul 1987.

Last updated on May 20, 2017

Lyrics

I've got a word or two
To say about the things that you do
You're telling all those lies
About the good things that we can have
If we close our eyes

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

I left you far behind
The ruins of the life that you had in mind
And though you still can't see
I know your mind's made up
You're gonna cause more misery

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Although your mind's opaque
Try thinking more if just for your own sake
The future still looks good
And you've got time to rectify
All the things that you should

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Do what you want to do
And go where you're going to
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you
Think for yourself
'Cause I won't be there with you

Officially appears on


Rubber Soul (UK Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:16 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon :
Harmony vocals, Tambourine, Vox continental organ
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 08, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


Rubber Soul (US Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:20 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon :
Harmony vocals, Tambourine, Vox continental organ
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 08, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


Rubber Soul (US Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:20 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon :
Harmony vocals, Tambourine, Vox continental organ
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 08, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


Rubber Soul (UK Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:16 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums, Maracas
John Lennon :
Harmony vocals, Tambourine, Vox continental organ
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Martin :
Producer
Norman Smith :
Recording engineer

Session Recording:
Nov 08, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Nov 09, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Room 65, Abbey Road


Yellow Submarine Songtrack

Official album • Released in 1999

2:18 • Studio version

Bootlegs


Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes - Volume 1

Unofficial album

18:32 • Studio version • vocal rehearsal


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

18:59 • Alternate take • (Session chat) (mono)


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

2:21 • Alternate take • (RS from Take 1) YS Soundtrack (stereo)


Rubber Soul - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

2:23 • Alternate take • (Rockband Mix) (stereo)


Uncovered! 45 tracks

Unofficial album • Released in 2012

2:20 • Studio version • No Overdubbed Fuzz Guitar


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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