PAUL 1966: "It's a happy place, that's all. You know,
it was just... We were trying to write a children's song. That
was the basic idea. And there's nothing more to be read into it
than there is in the lyrics of any children's song."
JOHN 1972: "Paul wrote the catchy chorus. I helped with
the blunderbuss bit."
JOHN 1980: "'Yellow Submarine' is Paul's baby. Donovan
helped with the lyrics. I helped with the lyrics too. We
virtually made the track come alive in the studio, but based on
Paul's inspiration. Paul's idea. Paul's title... written for
PAUL 1984: "I wrote that in bed one night. As a kid's
story. And then we thought it would be good for Ringo to do."
PAUL circa-1994: "I was laying in bed in the Asher's
garret, and there's a nice twilight zone just as you're drifting
into sleep and as you wake from it-- I always find it quite a
comfortable zone. I remember thinking that a children's song
would be quite a good idea... I was thinking of it as a song for
Ringo, which it eventually turned out to be, so I wrote it as
not too rangey in the vocal. I just made up a little tune in my
head, then started making a story-- sort of an ancient mariner,
telling the young kids where he'd lived. It was pretty much my
song as I recall... I think John helped out. The lyrics got more
and more obscure as it goes on, but the chorus, melody and
verses are mine."
GEORGE 1999: "Paul came up with the concept of 'Yellow
Submarine.' All I know is just that every time we'd all get
around the piano with guitars and start listening to it and
arranging it into a record, we'd all fool about. As I said,
John's doing the voice that sounds like someone talking down a
tube or ship's funnel as they do in the merchant marine.
(laughs) And on the final track there's actually that very small
party happening! As I seem to remember, there's a few screams
and what sounds like small crowd noises in the background."
ONLY A NORTHERN SONG(Harrison)
GEORGE 1980: "'Northern Song' was a joke relating to
Liverpool, the Holy City in the North of England. In addition,
the song was copyrighted Northern Songs LTD, which I don't own."
GEORGE 1999: "It was at the point that I realized Dick
James had conned me out of the copyrights for my own songs by
offering to become my publisher. As an 18 or 19-year-old kid, I
thought, 'Great, somebody's gonna publish my songs!' But he
never said, 'And incidentally, when you sign this document here,
you're assigning me the ownership of the songs,' which is what
it is. It was just a blatant theft. By the time I realized what
had happened, when they were going public and making all this
money out of this catalog, I wrote 'Only A Northern Song' as
what we call a 'piss-take,' just to have a joke about it."
ALL TOGETHER NOW(Lennon/McCartney)
JOHN 1971: "I enjoyed it when football crowds in the
early days would sing 'All Together Now.'"
PAUL circa-1994: "When they were singing a song, to
encourage the audience to join in they'd say 'All together now,'
so I just took it and read another meaning into it, of-- we are
all together now. So I used the dual meaning. It's really a
children's song. I had a few young relatives and I would sing
songs for them."
JOHN 1980: "It's a good sounding record that means
PAUL circa-1994: "I remember 'Hey Bulldog' as being one
of John's songs and I helped him finish it off in the studio,
but it's mainly his vibe. There's a little rap at the end
between John and I, we went into a crazy little thing at the
end. We always tried to make every song different because we
figured, 'Why write something like the last one? We've done
that.' We were on a ladder so there was never any sense of
stepping down a rung, or even staying on the same rung, it was
better to move one rung ahead."
GEORGE 1999: "We now have an unreleased video of 'Hey
Bulldog,' as you know. When we were in the studio recording
'Bulldog,' apparently it was at a time when they needed some
footage for something else, some other record (Lady Madonna),
and a film crew came along and filmed us. Then they cut up the
footage and used some of the shots for something else. But it
was Neil Aspinall who found out that when you watched and
listened to what the original thing was, we were recording
'Bulldog.' This was apparently the only time we were actually
filmed recording something, so what Neil did was, he put (the
unused footage) all back together again and put the 'Bulldog'
soundtrack onto it, and there it was!"
IT'S ALL TOO MUCH(Harrison)
GEORGE 1980: "'It's All Too Much' was written in a
childlike manner from realizations that appeared during and
after some LSD experiences and which were later confirmed in
GEORGE 1999: "I just wanted to write a rock 'n roll song
about the whole psychedelic thing of the time-- 'Sail me on a
silver sun/ Where I know that I am free/ Show me that I'm
everywhere/ And get me home for tea.' (laughs) Because you'd
trip out, you see, on all this stuff, and then whoops! you'd
just be back having your evening cup of tea! 'Your long blond
hair/ And your eyes of blue' --that was all just this big ending
we had, going out. And as it was in those days, we had the horn
players just play a bit of trumpet voluntarily, and so that's
how that 'Prince Of Denmark' bit was played (in the fade-out).
And Paul and John just came up with and sang that lyric of 'your
eyes of blue.'"
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE(Lennon/McCartney)
PAUL 1967: "We had been told we'd be seen recording it
by the whole world at the same time. So we had one message for
the world-- Love. We need more love in the world."
PAUL circa-1994: "'All You Need Is Love' was John's song.
I threw in a few ideas, as did other members of the group, but
it was largely ad libs like singing 'She Loves You' or 'Greensleeves'
or silly little things like that at the end, and we made those
up on the spot."
INSTRUMENTAL TRACKS BY GEORGE MARTIN
(excerpted from his book, 'All You Need Is Ears.')
MARTIN 1979: "Everything had to be tailor-made
for the picture ('Yellow Submarine' film). If a door opened or a
funny face appeared at a window, and those moments needed to be
pointed-up, it was the musical score that had to do the job.
"The answer is really very simple. You plan whatever tempo
your rhythm is going to be, and then you lay down what is called
a 'click track.' That is, a separate track which simply contains
a click sound which appears every so many frames of film. You
know that 35-mm film runs at 24 frames per second, so knowing
what tempo you want, you simply ask the film editor to put on a
click at whatever interval you want.
"Then while conducting the orchestra, you wear headphones
through which you can hear the clicks, and by keeping to that
particular beat you 'lock in' the orchestra to the film. In that
way you can write your score knowing that, even if something
happens a third of the way or halfway through a bar, you can
safely put in whatever musical effect you want, with absolute
certainty that it will match the picture... that is how I did it
with 'Yellow Submarine.' I wrote very precisely even with
avant-garde and weird sounds like 'Sea Of Holes,' keeping to
their bar-lines, knowing that the click track would ensure it
"'Yellow Submarine' saw some pretty strange experiments, too.
In one sequence, in the 'Sea Of Monsters,' the yellow submarine
is wandering around and all kinds of weird little things are
crawling along the sea floor, some with three legs. One monster
is enormous, without arms but with two long legs with wellington
boots on, and in place of a nose there is a kind of long
trumpet. This is a sucking-up monster-- when it sees the other
little monsters, it uses it's trumpet to suck them up.
Eventually it sucks up the yellow submarine, and finally gets
hold of the corner of the (movie) screen and sucks that up too,
until it all goes white. I felt, naturally, that scene required
special 'sucking-up' music-- the question was how to do it with
"Suddenly, I hit upon the obvious-- backwards music. Music
played backwards sounds very odd anyway, and a trombone or
cymbal played backwards sounds just like a sucking-in noise. So
I scored about 45 seconds for the orchestra to play, in such a
way that the music would fit the picture when we played it
backwards. The engineer working at CTS at that time was a great
character named Jack Clegg, and when I explained the idea to him
he said, 'Lovely! Great idea! I'll get the film turned 'round,
and you record the music to the backward film. Then, when we
turn the film 'round the right way, your music will be
backwards.' It sounded like something from a 'Goon' script.
"Once all the music had been recorded, we dubbed it onto the
film, and even then there was more messing about. In some places
we cut out the music because sound-effects worked better-- in
others we eliminated sound-effects because what I had written
sounded better. Yet, in spite of everything, that score proved
enormously successful and earned me a load of fan mail."