The Paul McCartney Project

You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Let It Be / You Know My Name 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1970
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” is a song by the Beatles originally released as the B-side of the single “Let It Be” on 6 March 1970. Although first issued with their final single (penultimate single in the United States), it was recorded in four separate sessions beginning with three in May and June 1967, and one in 1969.

Composition

The song is a music hall comedy number. Lennon came up with the lyric/title after seeing a phone book. He said:

That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ That was like a logo, and I just changed it.

McCartney once told Beatles recording analyst Mark Lewisohn, “[People] are only just discovering things like ‘You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)’ — probably my favourite Beatles’ track!” He went on to explain:

It’s so insane. All the memories … I mean, what would you do if a guy like John Lennon turned up at the studio and said, ‘I’ve got a new song’. I said, ‘What’s the words?’ and he replied ‘You know my name look up the number’. I asked, ‘What’s the rest of it?’ ‘No, no other words, those are the words. And I want to do it like a mantra!’

The lounge section includes a reference to Denis O’Dell, associate producer on the A Hard Day’s Night film, whom Lennon had also worked with on How I Won the War. Partway through the song, Lennon introduces McCartney as lounge singer “Denis O’Bell.” The reference prompted numerous telephone calls to O’Dell’s home by fans who told him, “We have your name and now we’ve got your number,” as well as personal visits by fans wanting to live with him.

Musical structure

The song is in the key of D and begins with a I-IV-V7-I-IV-V7-I chord progression: thus “You know” involves F#-D# melody notes against a I (D chord). A point of interest is the raised A melody note against a D/F# chord on “name“, “three” and “name“. A significant moment is the substitution of a #IVdim chord (G#dim) for the more standard II7 as part of the progression to V7 (A7 chord on “You know my name“) and I (D chord after “number“) that closes the verse. The song is also notable for use of the 5th chord tone on the VII chord to produce extra dissonance.

Recording

All four Beatles participated in the first three recording sessions on 17 May, 7 and 8 June 1967. A saxophone part was recorded on 8 June which was played by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

The recording of the song was left unfinished and untouched until 30 April 1969 when Lennon and McCartney laid down all the vocal tracks and added additional sound effects with the help of Mal Evans. George Harrison and Ringo Starr did not participate in this last session. Nick Webb, second engineer on the 30 April session described it this way:

John and Paul weren’t always getting along that well at this time, but for this song they went out on the studio floor and sang together around one microphone. Even at this time I was thinking ‘What are they doing with this old four-track tape, recording these funny bits onto this quaint song?’ But it was a fun track to do.

Despite the fun sessions described by McCartney and Webb, the song was not released for another year.

Release

Although eventually released as a Beatles song, “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” was nearly released as the A-side of a Plastic Ono Band single. Lennon was determined to have this song and “What’s the New Mary Jane” (a Beatles outtake from the White Album sessions recorded by Lennon and Yoko Ono with George Harrison in August 1968) released, and he arranged for Apple to issue both unorthodox songs on a Plastic Ono Band single. On 26 November 1969, four months after contributor Brian Jones drowned in his swimming pool, Lennon edited “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)“, reducing the length from 6:08 to 4:19, a more suitable length for a single. The Plastic Ono Band single was given an Apple catalogue number (Apples 1002) and British release date (5 December 1969).

Apple issued a press release, describing the record as Lennon and Yoko Ono singing and backed by “many of the greatest show business names of today” which the press believed was a thinly disguised reference to the Beatles. The record was cancelled before it was issued.

Three months later, the song was released as the B-side to The Beatles’ single, “Let It Be.” The original Plastic Ono Band single catalogue number is visible, though scratched out, in the runout groove of the original British pressings of the “Let It Be” single.

What’s the New Mary Jane” was not officially issued by the Beatles until the release of Anthology 3 in 1996, although the song previously appeared on several bootleg records.

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” was the last Beatles song from the group’s official canon to be included on an album, issued on an LP for the first time on Rarities (which had been included as a bonus disc in the British and American boxed set, The Beatles Collection in 1978, and released separately as an album in the United Kingdom in 1979). The first American album to contain “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” was the US version of Rarities, which was issued by Capitol Records in 1980.

The first CD version was issued in 1988 on the Past Masters, Volume Two compilation.

You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” was available only in mono until 1996, when an extended stereo mix was finally issued on Anthology 2. However, while this mix restores portions of the song, it omits others that were issued on the original mono single, causing considerable differences between the mono and stereo versions of the track. For example, the ending of the stereo version has an early fade out, whereas the mono version does not. This song is the only song in the Beatles catalogue where the multi-track master tapes are available that has not received a stereo mix of the original edit. […]

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

John had arrived one night with this song which was basically a mantra: ‘You know my name, look up the number.’ And I never knew who he was aiming that at, it might have been an early signal to Yoko. It was John’s original idea and that was the complete lyric. He brought it in originally as a 15-minute chant when he was in space-cadet mode and we said, ‘Well, what are we going to do with this then?’ and he said, ‘It’s just like a mantra.’ So we said, ‘Okay, let’s just do it’.

[…] [Brian Jones] arrived at Abbey Road in his big Afghan coat. He was always nervous, a little insecure, and he was really nervous that night because he’s walking in on a Beatles session. He was nervous to the point of shaking, lighting ciggy after ciggy. I used to like Brian a lot. I thought it would be a fun idea to have him, and I naturally thought he’d bring a guitar along to a Beatles session and maybe chung along and do some nice rhythm guitar or a little bit of electric twelve-string or something, but to our surprise he brought his saxophone. He opened up his sax case and started putting a reed in and warming up, playing a little bit. He was a really ropey sax player, so I thought, Ah-hah. We’ve got just the tune.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 9 Jun 1967, 30 Apr, 26 Nov 1969. edited.
    UK: Apple R5833 single 1970, Parlophone PSLP 261 and PCM 1001 Rarities 1978-79.
    US: Apple 2764 single 1970, Capitol SHAL-12060 Rarities 1980.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 90044 2 Past Masters 2 1988, EMI single 1989.
  • [b] stereo 1995. edited.
    CD: Apple CDP 8 34448 2 Anthology 2 1996.

Recorded in 5 parts, part 1 on May 17 and the others on Jun 8, 1967; edited together Jun 9; all vocals (and some other sounds) added Apr 30, 1969; copied and edited Nov 26, 1969.

The deliberately different Anthology mix [b] shows the 5 parts clearly with the inclusion of part 2 (ska beat) that was cut entirely from [a], as well as a little bit of new material from part 3 (Slaggers). However almost half a minute of part 4 (high voices) heard in [a] is missing in [b], and the ending fades out just before the true ending heard in [a].

From Anthology 2 liner notes:

One of the Beatles’ most unusual recordings – sometimes named by Paul as “probably my favourite” for that reason – You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was written by John and created over a two year period, the basic track in 1967, and the vocals (by John and Paul only: George and Ringo were not at the session) in 1969. It then took a further year to see release, as the B-side of Let It Be, the Beatles’ last single in their home country, in March 1970.

That B-side lasted a little over four minutes and (because John created the master by editing an existing mono mix tape) the sound was monaural. Here it is issued in stereo and , at almost six minutes, in extended form for the first time, including never-heard-before sections cut out by John and newly restored. Now as then the emphasis is on fun, and there is plenty to enjoy, including the sound of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones playing saxophone.

Last updated on May 6, 2017

Lyrics

You know my name
Look up the number
You know my name
Look up the number
You, you know, you know my name
You, you know, you know my name

Good evening and welcome to Slaggers
Featuring Denis O'Bell
Come on Ringo, let's hear it for Denis

Good evening
You know my name
Look, look, look up the number
You know my name
That's right, look up the number
You, you know, you know my name
You, you know, you know my name
You know my name, ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba
Look up the number
You know my name
That's right, look up the number
Oh, you know, you know, you know my name
You know, you know, you know my name, huh huh huh huh
You know my name, ba ba ba pum
Look up the number
You know my name
Look up the number
You, you know, you know my name, baby
You, you know, you know my name
You know, you know my name
You know, you know my name, go on Denis
Let's hear it for Denis O'Bell

You know my name
You know, you know my name
You know, you know my name
Prrr, you know my name and the number
You know my name and the number
You know, you know my name, look up the number
You know my number three, you know my number two
You know my number three, you know my number four
Oh, you know my name, you know number too
You know my name, you know my number, what's up with you?
You know my name, that's right?

Officially appears on


Let It Be / You Know My Name

7" Single • Released in 1970

4:19 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Handclaps, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Bongos, Drums, Handclaps, Vocals
John Lennon:
Guitar, Handclaps, Harmonica, Maracas, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Guitar, Handclaps, Vibes
George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Mal Evans:
Spade in gravel
Brian Jones:
Alto saxophone

Past Masters

Official album • Released in 1988

4:20 • Studio versionA


Anthology 2

Official album • Released in 1996

5:43 • OuttakeB • Extended version. Here it is issued in stereo and , at almost six minutes, in extended form for the first time, including never-heard-before sections cut out by John and newly restored. Now as then the emphasis is on fun, and there is plenty to enjoy, including the sound of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones playing saxophone.

George Martin:
Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Engineer
Chris Thomas:
Producer
Jeff Jarratt:
Engineer

Session Recording:
May 17, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Jun 07, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Jun 08, 1967
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Apr 30, 1969
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Complete Acetate Collection 1961-1970

Unofficial album

4:20 • Studio version


Complete Home Recordings 1967-68

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

1:10 • Demo


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 14th, 1969 - 3 & 4

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:17 • Rehearsal • Jan.14 - D3-15 - You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) 14.45

Session Recording:
Jan 14, 1969
Studio:
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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