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Beatles Ultimate Experience: Songwriting & Recording Database: The White Album
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The White Album

Originally released in the UK, November 22, 1968

Hey Jude/Revolution (UK release: 8/30/68)


PAUL 1968: "Chuck Berry once did a song called 'Back In The USA,' which is very American, very Chuck Berry. Very sort of, uhh... you know, you're serving in the army, and when I get back home I'm gonna kiss the ground. And you know-- Can't wait to get back to the States. And it's a very American sort of thing, I've always thought. So this one is like about... In my mind it's just about a spy who's been in America a long long time, you know, and he's picked up... And he's very American. But he gets back to the USSR, you know, and he's sort of saying, 'Leave it till tomorrow, honey, to disconnect the phone,' and all that. And 'Come here honey,' but with Russian women. It concerns the attributes of Russian women."

JOHN 1980: "Paul completely. I play the six-string bass on that."

PAUL 1984: "I wrote that as a kind of Beach Boys parody. And 'Back in the USA' was a Chuck Berry song, so it kinda took off from there. I just liked the idea of Georgia girls and talking about places like the Ukraine as if they were California, you know? It was also hands across the water, which I'm still conscious of. 'Cuz they like us out there, even though the bosses in the Kremlin may not. The kids do."

PAUL 1986: "I'm sure it pissed Ringo off when he couldn't quite get the drums to 'Back In The USSR,' and I sat in. It's very weird to know that you can do a thing someone else is having trouble with. If you go down and do it, just bluff right through it, you think, 'What the hell, at least I'm helping.' Then the paranoia comes in-- 'But I'm going to show him up!' I was very sensitive to that."


JOHN 1980: "'Dear Prudence' is me. Written in India. A song about Mia Farrow's sister, who seemed to go slightly balmy, meditating too long, and couldn't come out of the little hut we were livin' in. They selected me and George to try and bring her out because she would trust us. If she'd been in the West, they would have put her away... We got her out of the house. She'd been locked in for three weeks and was trying to reach God quicker than anybody else. That was the competition in Maharishi's camp-- who was going to get cosmic first. What I didn't know was I was 'already' cosmic." (laughs)

PAUL circa-1994: "He (John) wrote 'Dear Prudence, won't you come out and play...' and went in and sang it to her, and I think that actually did help."


JOHN 1980: "That's me, just doing a throwaway song, a la 'Walrus' a la everything I've ever written. I threw in the line 'The walrus was Paul' just to confuse everybody a bit more. It could've been the fox terrier is Paul, you know. I mean, it's just a bit of poetry. It was just thrown in like that... The line was put in because I was feeling guilty because I was with Yoko and I was leaving Paul. I was trying... I don't know. It's a perverse way of saying to Paul, you know, 'Here, have this crumb, this illusion, this stroke, because I'm leaving."


JOHN 1980: "I might've given him a couple of lyrics, but it's his song, his lyric."

PAUL 1984: "A fella who used to hang around the clubs used to say, (Jamaican accent) 'Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on,' and he got annoyed when I did a song of it, 'cuz he wanted a cut. I said, 'Come on, Jimmy, it's just an expression. If you'd written the song, you could have had a cut.' He also used to say, 'Nothin's too much, just outta sight.' He was just one of those guys who had great expressions, you know."


PAUL circa-1994: "We were in an experimental mode, and so I said, 'Can I just make something up?' I started off with the guitar and did a multitracking experiment in the control room... It was very home-made-- it wasn't a big production at all. I just made up this short piece and I multitracked the harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and built it up sculpturally with alot of vibrato on the (guitar) strings, really pulling the strings madly-- hence 'Wild Honey Pie.'"


JOHN 1980: "Oh, that was written about a guy in Maharishi's meditation camp who took a short break to go shoot a few poor tigers, and then come back to commune with God. There used to be a character called Jungle Jim, and I combined him with Buffalo Bill. It's a sort of teenage social comment song, and a bit of a joke. Yoko's on that one, I believe."

PAUL circa-1994: "I remember John singing 'Bungalow Bill' in Rishikesh. This is another of his great songs and it's one of my favorites to this day because it stands for alot of what I stand for now. 'Did you really have to shoot that tiger' is its message. 'Aren't you a big guy? Aren't you a brave man?' I think John put it very well."


GEORGE 1980: "I had a copy of the I Ching-- the Book of Changes, which seemed to me to be based on the Eastern concept that everything is relative to everything else, as opposed to the Western view that things are merely coincidental. The idea was in my head when I visited my parents' home in the North of England. I decided to write a song based on the first thing I saw upon opening any book-- as it would be relative to that moment, at that time. I picked up a book at random, opened it-- saw 'gently weeps' --than laid the book down again and started the song. Some of the words to the song were changed before I finally recorded it."

GEORGE 1987: "I worked on that song with John, Paul, and Ringo one day, and they were not interested in it at all. And I knew inside of me that it was a nice song. The next day I was with Eric Clapton, and I was going into the session, and I said, 'We're going to do this song. Come and play on it.' He said, 'Oh no. I can't do that. Nobody ever plays on the Beatles records.' I said, 'Look, it's my song, and I want you to play on it.' So Eric came in, and the other guys were as good as gold-- because he was there. Also, it left me free to just play the rhythm and do the vocal. So Eric played that, and I thought it was really good. Then we listened to it back, and he said, 'Ah, there's a problem though; it's not Beatley enough.' So we put it through the ADT (automatic double-track) to wobble it up a bit."


PAUL 1968: "The idea of 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' is from an advert in an American paper. It said, Happiness is a warm gun, and it was 'Get ready for the long hot summer with a rifle,' you know, 'Come and buy them now!' It was an advert in a gun magazine. And it was so sick, you know, the idea of 'Come and buy your killing weapons,' and 'Come and get it.' But it's just such a great line, 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' that John sort of took that and used that as a chorus. And the rest of the words... I think they're great words, you know. It's a poem. And he finishes off, 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun, yes it is.' It's just good poetry."

JOHN 1972: "They all said it was about drugs, but it was more about rock 'n roll than drugs. It's sort of a history of rock 'n roll... I don't know why people said it was about the needle in heroin. I've only seen somebody do something with a needle once, and I don't like to see it at all."

JOHN 1980: "A gun magazine was sitting around and the cover was the picture of a smoking gun. The title of the article, which I never read, was 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun.' I took it right from there. I took it as the idea of happiness after having shot somebody. Or some animal."


PAUL 1968: "You see, I just start singing some words with a tune, you know what I mean. Mainly I'm just doing a tune and then some words come into my head, you know. And these happened to be 'Martha My Dear, though I spend my days in conversation.' So you can read anything you like into it, but really it's just a song. It's me singing to my dog." (laughs)

PAUL circa-1994: "When I taught myself piano I liked to see how far I could go, and this (song) started off as a piece you'd learn as a piano lesson. It's quite hard for me to play, It's a two-handed thing, like a little set piece. Then when I was blocking out words-- you just mouth out sounds and some things come-- I found the words 'Martha my dear.' So I made up another fantasy song... I mean, I'm not really speaking to Martha, it's a communication of some sort or affection, but in a slightly abstract way-- 'You silly girl, look what you've done...' Whereas it would appear to anybody else to be a song to a girl called Martha, it's actually a dog, and our relationship was platonic, believe me."


JOHN 1980: "'I'm So Tired' was me, in India again. I couldn't sleep, I'm meditating all day and couldn't sleep at night. The story is that. One of my favorite tracks. I just like the sound of it, and I sing it well."

PAUL circa-1994: "It has that very special line, 'And curse Sir Walter Raleigh/ He was such a stupid git.' That's a classic line and it's so John that there's no doubt who wrote it. I think it's 100 percent John."


PAUL 1968: "It's simple in concept because you couldn't think of anything else to put on it. Maybe on 'Pepper' we would have sort of worked on it until we could find some way to put violins or trumpets in there. But I don't think it needs it, this one. You know, it's just... There's nothing to the song. It is just one of those 'pick it and sing it' and that's it. The only point where we were thinking of putting anything on it is where it comes back in the end.... sort of stops and comes back in... but instead of putting any backing on it, we put a blackbird on it. So there's a blackbird singing at the very end. And somebody said it was a thrush, but I think it's a blackbird!"

JOHN 1980: "I gave him (Paul) a line on that one."

PAUL circa-1994: "The original inspiration was from a well-known piece by Bach, which I never know the title of, which George and I had learned to play at an early age-- he better than me actually. Part of its structure is a particular harmonic thing between the melody and the bass line which intrigued me... I developed the melody based on the Bach piece and took it somewhere else, took it to another level, then I just fitted words to it. I had in my mind a black woman, rather than a bird. Those were the days of the civil-rights movement, which all of us cared passionately about. So this was really a song from me to a black woman, experiencing these problems in the states... 'Let me encourage you to keep trying, to keep your faith, there is hope.' As is often the case with my things, a veiling took place. So, rather than say 'Black woman living in Little Rock' and be very specific, she became a bird, became symbolic, so you could apply it to your particular problem."


GEORGE 1980: "'Piggies' is a social comment. I was stuck for one line in the middle until my mother came up with the lyric, 'What they need is a damn good whacking' which is a nice simple way of saying they need a good hiding. It needed to rhyme with 'backing,' 'lacking,' and had absolutely nothing to do with American policemen or Californian shagnasties!"

JOHN 1980: "I gave George a couple of lines about forks and knives and eating bacon."


PAUL 1968: "I was sitting on the roof in India with a guitar-- John and I were sitting 'round playing guitar, and we were with Donovan. And we were just sitting around enjoying ourselves, and I started playing the chords of 'Rocky Raccoon,' you know, just messing around. And, oh, originally it was Rocky Sassoon, and we just started making up the words, you know, the three of us-- and started just to write them down. They came very quickly. And eventually I changed it from Sassoon to Raccoon, because it sounded more like a cowboy. So there it is. These kind of things-- you can't really talk about how they come 'cuz they just come into your head, you know. They really do. And it's like John writing his books. There's no... I don't know how he does it, and he doesn't know how he does it, but he just writes. I think people who actually do create and write... you tend to think, 'Oh, how did he do that,' but it actually does flow... just flows from into their head, into their hand, and they write it down, you know. And that's what happened with this. I don't know anything about the Appalachian mountains or cowboys and indians or anything. But I just made it up, you know. And the doctor came in stinking of gin and proceeded to lie on the table. So, there you are."

PAUL circa-1994: "I like talking-blues so I started off like that, then I did my tongue-in-cheek parody of a western and threw in some amusing lines. The bit I liked about it was him (Rocky) finding Gideon's Bible and thinking, 'Some guy called Gideon must have left it for the next guy.' I like the idea of Gideon being a character. You get the meaning, and at the same time get in a poke at it. All in good fun."


JOHN 1968: "We've just done two tracks, both unfinished. The second one is Ringo's first song that we're working on this very moment. He composed it himself in a fit of lithargy."


JOHN 1972: "Paul. One of his best."

JOHN 1980: "That's Paul. He even recorded it by himself in another room. That's how it was getting in those days. We came in, and he'd made the whole record. Him drumming, him playing the piano, him singing. But he couldn't... maybe he couldn't make the break from the Beatles. I don't know what it was, you know. I enjoyed the track. Still I can't speak for George, but I was always hurt when Paul would knock something off without involving us. But that's just the way it was then."

PAUL 1981: "There's only one incident I can think of, which John has publically mentioned. It was when I went off with Ringo and did 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road.' It wasn't a deliberate thing, John and George were tied up finishing something, and me and Ringo were free, just hanging around, so I said to Ringo, 'Let's go and do this.' I did hear John some time later singing it. He liked the song, and I suppose he wanted to do it with me. It was a very John sort of song anyway. That's why he liked it, I suppose. It was very John, the idea of it, not me. I wrote it as a ricochet off John."


PAUL 1968: "We're not just completely rock & roll. We're not just completely one kind of group. 'Cuz like, when we played in Hamburg, we didn't just do rock all evening 'cuz we had to have these sort of fat old businessmen coming in and saying... (jokingly) or THIN old businessmen, as well, were coming in and saying 'Play a mambo. Can you do a rhumba?' And we couldn't just keep saying no, you know, so we had to get into mambos and rhumbas a bit. So this kind of thing is like a pretty sort of smootchy ballad-- 'I Will.' I don't know if it's getting off the subject, but that's why there's great variety in this LP-- 'cuz in everything we do, you know, we just haven't got one bag, you know. And 'cuz on one hand you'll get something like 'I Will' and then you'll get 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road,' you know. Just completely different things-- completely different feelings... But it's me singing both of them. It's the same fella. Uhh, and I've wrote both of them, you know. So you can't explain it. I don't know why I do 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road' shouting it like that... and then do this sort of smootchy laughing American 'Girl From Ipenema.'"

PAUL circa-1994: "I was doing a song, 'I Will,' that I had as a melody for quite a long time but I didn't have lyrics to it. I remember sitting around (in India) with Donovan, and maybe a couple of other people. We were just sitting around one evening after our day of meditation and I played him this one and he liked it, and we were trying to write some words. We kicked around a few lyrics, something about the moon, but they weren't very satisfactory and I thought the melody was better than the words... it's still one of my favorite melodies that I've written. You just occasionally get lucky with a melody and it becomes rather complete and I think this is one of them-- quite a complete tune."


JOHN 1972: "Me. Yoko helped me with this one."

JOHN 1980: "Julia was my mother. But it was sort of a combination of Yoko and my mother blended into one. That was written in India... We wrote tons of songs in India."

PAUL circa-1994: "The interesting thing for me on 'Julia' is the finger-picking (guitar) style. He learned to fingerpick off Donovan or Gypsy Dave... That was John's song about his mum, folk finger-picking style, and a very good song."


PAUL 1968: "What happened was 'The Girl Can't Help It' was on television. That's an old rock film with Little Richard and Fats Domino and Eddie Cochran and a few others... and we wanted to see it, so we started recording at five o'clock. And we said, 'We'll do something, We'll make up a backing track.' So we kept it very simple-- twelve bar blues kind of thing. And we stuck in a few bits here and there in it, with no idea what the song was or what was gonna go on top of it. We just said, 'Okay. Twelve bars in A, and we'll change to D, and I'm gonna do a few beats in C.' And we really just did it like that... random thing. And we came back here to my house and watched 'The Girl Can't Help It.' Then we went back to the studio again and made up some words to go with it all. So this song was just made up in an evening. Umm, you know. We hadn't ever thought of it before then. And it's one of my favorites because of that. I think it works, you know, 'cuz it's just... It's a good one to dance to. Like the big long drum break, just 'cuz, normally we might have four bars of drums, but with this we just keep it going, you know. We all like to hear drums plodding on."

JOHN 1972: "Both of us (wrote it.)"

JOHN 1980: "'Birthday' was written in the studio. Just made up on the spot. I think Paul wanted to write a song like 'Happy Birthday Baby,' the old fifties hit. But it was sort of made up in the studio. It was a piece of garbage."

PAUL circa-1994: "We thought, 'Why not make something up?' So we got a riff going and arranged it around this riff. So that is 50-50 John and me, made up on the spot and recorded all in the same evening."


JOHN 1980: "'Yer Blues' was written in India, too. Up there, trying to reach God and feeling suicidal."


PAUL 1968: "It says 'Born a poor young country boy' and I was born in Woolton hospital actually-- so it's a dirty lie."

JOHN 1980: "Paul. That was from a lecture of Maharishi where he was talking about nature, and I had a piece called 'I'm Just A Child Of Nature,' which turned into 'Jealous Guy' years later. Both inspired from the same lecture of Maharishi."

PAUL circa-1994: "I seem to remember writing 'Mother Nature's Son' at my dad's house in Liverpool... I've always loved the song called, 'Nature Boy' ...'Mother Nature's Son' was inspired by that song. I'd always loved nature, and when Linda and I got together we discovered we had this deep love of nature in common. There might have been a little help from John with some of the verses.


JOHN 1980: "That was just a sort of nice line that I made into a song. It was about me and Yoko. Everybody seemed to be paranoid except for us two, who were in the glow of love. Everything is clear and open when you're in love. Everybody was sort of tense around us-- you know, 'What is SHE doing here at the session? Why is she with him?' All this sort of madness is going on around us because we just happened to want to be together all the time."


JOHN 1980: "That was inspired by Maharishi. I wrote it when we had our bags packed and we're leaving. It was the last piece I wrote before I left India. I just called him, 'Sexy Sadie,' instead of (sings) 'Maharishi what have you done, you made a fool...' I was just using the situation to write a song, rather calculatingly but also to express what I felt. I was leaving the Maharishi with a bad taste. You know, it seems that my partings are always not as nice as I'd like them to be."


PAUL 1968: "Umm, that came about just 'cuz I'd read a review of a record which said, 'And this group really got us wild, there's echo on everything, they're screaming their heads off.' And I just remember thinking, 'Oh, it'd be great to do one. Pity they've done it. Must be great-- really screaming record.' And then I heard their record and it was quite straight, and it was very sort of sophisticated. It wasn't rough and screaming and tape echo at all. So I thought, 'Oh well, we'll do one like that, then.' And I had this song called 'Helter Skelter' which is just a ridiculous song. So we did it like that, 'cuz I like noise."

JOHN 1980: "That's Paul completely. All that (Charles) Manson stuff was built 'round George's song about pigs and this one... Paul's song about an English fairground. It has nothing to do with anything, and least of all to do with me."

PAUL 1985: "The Who had made some track that was the loudest, the most raucous rock 'n roll, the dirtiest thing they'd ever done. It made me think, 'Right. Got to do it.' I like that kind of geeking up. And we decided to do the loudest, nastiest, sweatiest rock number we could."


GEORGE 1980: "The 'you' in 'Long Long Long' is God. I can't recall much about it except the chords, which I think were coming from (Dylan's) 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands'-- D to E minor, A, and D-- those three chords and the way they moved."


JOHN 1980: "Completely me. We recorded the song twice. The Beatles were getting real tense with each other. I did the slow version (Revolution 1) and I wanted to put it out as a single: as a statement of the Beatles' position on Vietnam and the Beatles' position on revolution. The first take of 'Revolution' ...well, George and Paul were resentful and said it wasn't fast enough. Now, if you go into the details of what a hit record is and isn't, maybe. But the Beatles could have afforded to put out a slow, understandable version of 'Revolution' as a single, whether it was a gold record or a wooden record."


PAUL 1968: "My dad's always played fruity old songs like that, you know. And I liked 'em. I like the melody of old songs, and the lyrics actually as well. There's some old lyrics, like, you know-- the woman singing about the man, and she's saying something about 'I wanna have his initial on my monogram.' You know what I mean? There's good lyrics and just good thoughts that you don't sort of hear so much these days, you know. And so, I would quite like to have been a 1920's writer, 'cuz I like that thing, you know. Umm, you know, up in top hat and tails and sort of coming-on to 'em. So this kind of number, I like that thing. But, uhh... So this is just me doing it, pretending I'm living in 1925."

GEORGE 1987: "John played a brilliant solo on 'Honey Pie' --sounded like Django Reinhardt or something. It was one of them where you just close your eyes and happen to hit all the right notes... sounded like a little jazz solo."

PAUL circa-1994: "I very much liked that old crooner style-- the strange fruity voice that they used, so 'Honey Pie' was me writing one of them to an imaginary woman, across the ocean, on the silver screen, who was called Honey Pie. It's another of my fantasy songs. We put a sound on my voice to make it sound like a scratchy old record. So it's not a parody, it's a nod to the vaudville tradition that I was raised on."


GEORGE 1977: "'Savoy Truffle' on The White Album was written for Eric (Clapton). He's got this real sweet tooth and he'd just had his mouth worked on. His dentist said he was through with candy. So as a tribute I wrote, 'You'll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle.' The truffle was some kind of sweet, just like all the rest-- cream tangerine, ginger sling-- just candy, to tease Eric."

GEORGE 1980: "'Savoy Truffle' is a funny one written whist hanging out with Eric Clapton in the '60s. At that time he had alot of cavities in his teeth and needed dental work. He always had a toothache but he ate alot of chocolates-- he couldn't resist them, and once he saw a box he had to eat them all. He was over at my house, and I had a box of 'Good News' chocolates on the table and wrote the song from the names inside the lid. I got stuck with the two bridges for a while and Derek Taylor wrote some of the words in the middle-- 'You know that what you eat you are.'"


JOHN 1968: "I've got another one here... a few words... I think I got them from an advert. 'Cry baby cry, make your mother BUY.' I've been playing it over and over on the piano. I've let it go now, but it will come back if I really want it. Sometimes I get up from the piano as if I've been in a trance, and I know I have let a few things slip away which I could have caught had I wanted something."

JOHN 1980: "A piece of rubbish."


GEORGE 1969: "Revolution Number 9 was all right, but it wasn't particularly like a Beatles thing. But then again, you know, it worked very well in the context of all those different songs."

JOHN 1971: "I thought I was painting in sound a picture of revolution, but I made a mistake, you know. The mistake was that it was antirevolution."

JOHN 1980: "The slow version of 'Revolution' on the album went on and on and on and I took the fade-out part, which is what they sometimes do with disco records now, and just layered all this stuff over it. It was the basic rhythm of the original 'Revolution' going on with some twenty (tape) loops we put on, things from the archives of EMI. We were cutting up classical music and making different-size loops, and then I got and engineer tape on which some test engineer was saying, 'Number nine.' All those different bits of sound and noise are all compiled. There were about ten (tape) machines with people holding pencils on the loops-- some only inches long and some a yard long. I fed them all in and mixed them live. I did a few mixes until I got one I liked. Yoko was there for the whole thing and she made decisions about which loops to use. It was somewhat under her influence, I suppose. Once I heard her stuff-- not just the screeching and the howling but her sort of word pieces and talking and breathing and all this strange stuff, I thought, My God, I got intrigued... so I wanted to do one. I spent more time on 'Revolution 9' than I did on half the songs I ever wrote. It was a montage."


RINGO 1968: "Everybody thinks Paul wrote 'Goodnight' for me to sing, but it was John who wrote it for me. He's got a lot of soul, John has."

PAUL 1968: "John wrote it, mainly. It's his tune, uhh, which is surprising for John-- 'cuz he doesn't normally write this kind of tune. It's a very sweet tune, and Ringo sings it great, I think. The arrangement was done by George Martin, uhh, 'cuz he's very good at that kind of arrangement, you know-- very sort of lush, sweet arrangement."

JOHN 1980: "'Good Night' was written for Julian, the way 'Beautiful Boy' was written for Sean... but given to Ringo and possibly overlush."

PAUL circa-1994: "I think John felt it might not be good for his image for him to sing it, but it was fabulous to hear him do it, he sang it great. We heard him sing it in order to teach it to Ringo and he sang it very tenderly. John rarely showed his tender side, but my key memories of John are when he was tender, that's what has remained with me-- those moments where he showed himself to be a very generous, loving person. I always cite that song as an example of the John beneath the surface that we only saw occasionally... I don't think John's version was ever recorded."


JOHN 1968: "Well, when Paul first sang 'Hey Jude' to me... or played me the little tape he'd made of it... I took it very personally. 'Ah, it's me,' I said, 'It's me.' He says, 'No, it's me.' I said, 'Check. We're going through the same bit.' So we all are. Whoever is going through a bit with us is going through it, that's the groove."

JOHN 1972: "That's his best song."

PAUL 1974: "I remember I played it to John and Yoko, and I was saying, 'These words won't be on the finished version.' Some of the words were: 'The movement you need is on your shoulder,' and John was saying, 'It's great!' I'm saying, 'It's crazy, it doesn't make any sense at all.' He's saying, 'Sure it does, it's great.'"

JOHN 1980: "He said it was written about Julian. He knew I was splitting with Cyn and leaving Julian then. He was driving to see Julian to say hello. He had been like an uncle. And he came up with 'Hey Jude.' But I always heard it as a song to me. Now I'm sounding like one of those fans reading things into it... Think about it: Yoko had just come into the picture. He is saying. 'Hey, Jude'-- 'Hey, John.' Subconsciously, he was saying, 'Go ahead, leave me.' On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead. The angel in him was saying, 'Bless you.' The devil in him didn't like it at all, because he didn't want to lose his partner."

PAUL 1985: "I remember on 'Hey Jude' telling George not to play guitar. He wanted to do echo riffs after the vocal phrases, which I didn't think was appropriate. He didn't see it like that, and it was a bit of a number for me to have to 'dare' to tell George Harrison-- who's one of the greats-- not to play. It was like an insult. But that's how we did alot of our stuff."

PAUL circa-1994: "There is an amusing story about recording it... Ringo walked out to go to the toilet and I hadn't noticed. The toilet was only a few yards from his drum booth, but he'd gone past my back and I still thought he was in his drum booth. I started what was the actual take-- and 'Hey Jude' goes on for hours before the drums come in-- and while I was doing it I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums. And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable."


JOHN 1968: "On 'Revolution' I'm playing the guitar and I haven't improved since I was last playing, but I dug it. It sounds the way I wanted it to sound."

JOHN 1972: "I should never have put that in about Chairman Mao. I was just finishing off in the studio when I did that."

JOHN 1980: "The statement in 'Revolution' was mine. The lyrics stand today. It's still my feeling about politics. I want to see the plan. That is what I used to say to Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Count me out if it is for violence. Don't expect me to be on the barricades unless it is with flowers. For years, on the Beatles' tours, Brian Epstein had stopped us from saying anything about Vietnam or the war. And he wouldn't allow questions about it. But on one of the last tours, I said, 'I'm going to answer about the war. We can't ignore it.' I absolutely wanted the Beatles to say something about the war."

ON THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE WHITE ALBUM (during the time of its initial release)

JOHN 1968: "What we're trying to do is rock 'n roll, 'with less of your philosorock,' is what we're saying to ourselves. And get on with rocking because rockers is what we really are. You can give me a guitar, stand me up in front of a few people. Even in the studio, if I'm getting into it, I'm just doing my old bit... not quite doing Elvis Legs but doing my equivalent. It's just natural. Everybody says we must do this and that but our thing is just rocking. You know, the usual gig. That's what this new record is about. Definitely rocking."

PAUL 1968: "People seem to think that everything we do and sing is a political statement, but it isn't. In the end it is always only a song. One or two tracks will make some people wonder what we're doing, but what we're doing is just singing songs."

JOHN 1968: "We've gone past those days when we wouldn't have used words because they didn't make sense-- or what we thought was sense. But of course Dylan taught us alot in this respect."

PAUL 1968: "It's a return to a more rock and roll sound. We felt it was time to step back because that's what we wanted to do. You can still make good music without going forward. Some people want us to go on until we vanish up our own B sides."

JOHN 1968: "Most of this session has been written on guitar 'cuz we were in India and only had our guitars there. They have a different feel about them. I missed the piano a bit because you just write differently. My piano playing is even worse than me guitar. I hardly know what the chords are, so it's good to have a slightly limited palette, heh heh."

PAUL 1968: "On 'Sgt Pepper' we had more instrumentation than we'd ever had so it was more of a production, but we didn't really want to go overboard like that this time. And we've tried to play more like a band this time-- only using instruments when we had to, instead of just using them for the fun of it. We wrote them with guitars. And, on alot of his, John picks the guitar because he learned off Donovan when we were in India-- Donovan showed him how to fingerpick. And while he was learning fingerpicking, I was sort of playing acoustic as well, you know. We decided not to try and cover them up like we might do normally."

JOHN 1968: "We wrote about thirty new songs between us. Paul must have done about a dozen. George says he's got six, and I wrote fifteen. And look what meditation has done for Ringo-- after all this time he wrote his first song."

GEORGE 1969: "I think in a way it was a mistake doing four sides. Because first of all, it's too big for people to really get into it. For reviewers and also the public. Maybe now people have bought it, and if they've really listened to it since it was out, then you know, they'll all have their own favorites. That was the great thing about it-- there was all different types of music and types of songs. I find it heavy to listen to myself. In fact, I don't listen to it myself. I listen to mainly side one which I like very much, with Glass Onion, and I like (Happiness Is A) Warm Gun."


RINGO 1976: "I had left the band on the White Album. We're doing this album, and I'm getting weird-- saying to me-self, 'I've gotta leave this band. It's not working,' you know. So I just said, 'Okay, I'm going on holiday,' and I went away for two weeks. (laughs) And, uhh, that's when I left the band. And then I got a telegram from John saying, 'Great drums' on the tracks we'd done. And I came back and it was great, 'cuz George had set up all these flowers all over the studio saying welcome home. So then we got it together again."

PAUL 1987: "The White Album was the tension album. We were all in the midst of the psychedelic thing, or just coming out of it. In any case, it was weird. Never before had we recorded with beds in the studio and people visiting for hours on end, business meetings and all that. There was alot of friction. It was the weirdest experience because we were about to break up-- that was tense in itself."


- Beatles At The Movies- Roy Carr, 1996
- Beatles Book Monthly
- Beatles Recording Sessions- Mark Lewisohn, 1988
- Beatlesongs- William J. Dowlding, 1989
- Billboard Magazine/Harrison, 1999
- David Frost Interview/McCartney
- Final Testament: 'Unedited' Lennon/Playboy Interviews
- Let It Be- movie/sessions dialog
- Many Years From Now- Barry Miles, 1997
- Playboy Magazine/McCartney
- Press conferences and archived audio interviews
- Rolling Stone Magazine/Lennon
- The Beatles- Hunter Davies
- The Beatles In Their Own Words- Barry Miles 1978