The Paul McCartney Project

Yes It Is

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1965
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Yes It Is” is a song by the Beatles, released in 1965. Written by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney) it was first released as the B-side to “Ticket to Ride“. It features some of the Beatles’ most complex and dissonant three-part vocal harmonies and showcases George Harrison’s early use of volume pedal guitar.

Composition

In his 1980 interview with Playboy, John Lennon described it as an attempt to rewrite “This Boy” (the style of the song) that “didn’t quite work“. Paul McCartney on the other hand described it as “a very fine song of John’s“, and said he was present when Lennon finished writing it.

Musical structure

The song is in the 12/8 time signature, in the key of E and begins (on “If you wear red tonight …“) with a I–IV-ii7-V7 chord progression (E-A-F#m7-B7) in which the word “tonight” (B melody note) appears as a “delicately haunting” 4th above the F#m7. The melodic pitches of this first two bar phrase are repeated (with initial repetition of the G# melody note) on “remember what I said tonight,” except that the B melody note on the second “tonight” is now backed by a ♭VII (D) chord that shapes the B melody note into a more “luscious” 6th. The chorus (“Yes it is, it’s true. Yes it is, it’s true“) involves a I (E chord)- III (G# chord)- IV (A chord)- I (E chord) progression in which the major III (G#) chord appears for the first time in the Song to propel the Plagal drop from IV (A) to the tonic I (E) chord.

Recording

Over the course of a five-hour recording session, the Beatles attempted 14 takes of the basic track before perfecting it, more than any other song they recorded in 1965. It was recorded on 16 February, the same day that they completed Harrison’s “I Need You“. After completing the rhythm track, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison recorded their vocal harmonies in three hours, singing live together.

Release and reception

Yes It Is” was released as the B-side of “Ticket to Ride” in both the UK and the US. American pressings of the single erroneously show “Yes It Is” as being from the film Eight Arms to Hold You (the original title for the film, Help!), in which it did not appear.

The song was included on Beatles VI in the US, and on subsequent compilation albums including Love Songs, the British version of the Rarities album, Past Masters, Volume One (on which it made its first true stereo appearance), and also on Anthology 2 in an alternate version that combines the second and fourteenth takes. The original mono single mix appears on the Mono Masters CD as part of The Beatles in Mono box set.

Author Ian MacDonald praised “Yes It Is” along with its accompanying a-side “Ticket to Ride“. He described the both songs as “[…] psychologically deeper than The Beatles had ever recorded before” and declared that they marked a huge step forward in the Beatles development as songwriters. […]

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

I was there writing it with John, but it was his inspiration that I helped him finish off. Yes It Is is a very fine song of John’s, a ballad, unusual for John. He wrote some beautiful ballads but I’m known generally as the balladeer.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 18 Feb 1965.
    UK: Parlophone R5265 single 1965, Parlophone PSLP 261 and PCM 1001 Rarities 1978-79.
    US: Capitol 5407 single 1965, Capitol T 2358 Beatles VI 1965.
    CD: EMI single 1989.
  • [a1] mock stereo made from [a] 1965, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol ST 2358 Beatles VI 1965.
  • [a2] mock stereo made from [a] 1977.
    UK: Parlophone PCSP 721 Love Songs 1977.
    US: Capitol SKBL 11711 Love Songs 1977.
  • [b] stereo 23 Feb 1965.
    UK: Stilletto/Parlophone SMMC-151 (Heineken beer promo, cassette) Only the Beatles 1986.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 90043 2 Past Masters 1 1988.

The stereo mix [b] must have been well hidden away, not used in 1977 or 1979 for collections. It first appeared on a promotional offer tape from Heineken Beer in 1986, available by mail order for a few weeks. It has a dropout (a tape defect) in verse 1 on the word “I” in “remember what I said tonight”, and an extra tone-pedal note under the first word “if”.

Part of this same take was remixed to complete the outtake (see above) for Anthology 2.

Last updated on March 17, 2016

Lyrics

If you wear red tonight
Remember what I said tonight
For red is the color that my baby wore
And what's more, it's true
Yes it is

Scarlet were the clothes she wore
Everybody knows I'm sure
I would remember all the things we planned
Understand it's true
Yes it is, it's true
Yes it is

I could be happy with you by my side
If I could forget her, but it's my pride
Yes it is, yes it is, oh, yes it is, yea

Please don't wear red tonight
This is what I said tonight
For red is the color that will make me blue
In spite of you, it's true
Yes it is, it's true
Yes it is

I could be happy with you by my side
If I could forget her, but it's my pride
Yes it is, yes it is, oh, yes it is, yea

Please don't wear red tonight
This is what I said tonight
For red is the color that will make me blue
In spite of you, it's true
Yes it is, it's true
Yes it is, it's true

Officially appears on


Beatles VI (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:40 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is

7" Single • Released in 1965

2:40 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Beatles VI (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1965

2:40 • Studio versionA1 • Stereo • Mock stereo made from [A] by Capitol

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 18, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Past Masters

Official album • Released in 1988

2:42 • Studio versionB

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Tambourine
John Lennon:
Acoustic rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 23, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Anthology 2

Official album • Released in 1996

1:50 • OuttakeC • Take 2. Because the take broke down it is completed here with a section (in newly remixed and edited form) from the master, Take 14, distinguished by George's tone-pedal guitar sounds and some fine three-part vocal harmony by John, Paul and George, emphasising how well the recording blossomed - and how quickly too: the Beatles recorded Yes It Is form start to finish inside five hours.

George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Take It Off!

Unofficial album

5:56 • Outtake • Takes 1 & 14


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

2:55 • Studio version


Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2 (1964-1965)

Unofficial album • Released in 1989

4:14 • Outtake • Take 1 and 2


Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 7 (1962-1969)

Unofficial album • Released in 1991

2:51 • Alternate take • tk 14


Help! - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

2:56 • Alternate take • Take 1 Stereo

Session Recording:
Feb 16, 1965
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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