Thursday, May 15, 2014

Yellow Submarine

Recording: 26 May, 1966-
                 11 February, 1968   
                 (The Beatles)    
                22-23 October, 1968
    (George Martin and Orchestra)
Release: 13 January, 1969 (US)
               17 January, 1969 (UK)
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick
John Lennon: Vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, banjo, hand-claps, harpsichord
Paul McCartney: Vocals, bass, hand-claps, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, string bass
George Harrison: Vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, tambourine, organ, harmonica, hand-claps, violin 
Ringo Starr: Vocals, drums, finger cymbals, hand-claps, cow bell
George Martin and Orchestra

The Beatles tenth studio album was created for their fourth movie, Yellow Submarine. The film would be the groups first cartoon taking place in a mystical land called Pepperland that was soon taken over by the dreaded Blue Meanies who robbed the place from music, froze the citizens, changing positives to negatives and yes to no. With help from Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles, Pepperland is set free from the Meanies and all is well. But we're not talking about the movie in the post, that will be for later, this post is about the wonderful works of George Martin and the orchestra who made the film what is is by their music pieces.

Side One consists of two already released songs, Yellow Submarine and All You Need Is Love. It also featured three new songs including, Only A Northern Song, All Together Now, Hey Bulldog, and It's All Too Much. Side Two is filled with instrumental orchestra pieces by George Martin.

  1. Yellow Submarine
  2. Only A Northern Song
  3. All Together Now
  4. Hey Bulldog
  5. It's All Too Much
  6. All You Need Is Love
  7. Pepperland
  8. Sea Of Time
  9. Sea Of Holes
  10. Sea Of Monsters
  11. March Of The Meanies
  12. Pepperland Laid Waste
  13. Yellow Submarine In Pepperland
Yellow Submarine
 A song written by both Lennon and McCartney (with help from Donovan), a children's song in which Ringo sings vocals that was first featured on The Beatles seventh studio album, Revolver
"I remember lying in bed one night, in that moment before you're falling asleep - that little twilight moment when a silly idea comes into your head - and thinking of  'Yellow Submarine /' ; 'We all live in a yellow submarine...'" -Paul McCartney
 "I don't actually know where they got the idea for it, I just felt it was a really interesting track for me to do. I'd been doing a lot of covers. At The time I did either covers or something they wrote specifically for me."- Ringo Starr
Ringo also says that during this time it was hard to come out with an original song and when he did come up with an original song they'd find out it was just a re-written, lyric changed Jerry Lee Lewis or an older standard which become a little joke amongst the group.
"It was a perfect song because it was so simple. It was a great excuse to go right in the middle of that whole culture that was happening and  give them a theme tune."- George Harrison
Only A Northern Song

George  wrote the song during the Revolver sessions.

"'Only A Northern Song' was a joke relating to Liverpool, the Holy City in the North of England. In Addition, the song was copy righted Northern Songs Ltd., which I don't own, so: 'It doesn't really matter what chords I  play ... as it's only a Northern Song.'"- George Harrison, Anthology/ I Me Mine

 All Together Now
The idea for the song came from The Beatles stay at a Transcendental Meditation camp in India where Paul Horn, a jazz musician, recalls Paul singing 'E,F,G,H,I, Jai Guru Dev' instead of "E,F,G,H,I,J I love you' to honor the Maharishi. Read more about The Beatles Meditation by clicking here.
"It's really a children's song. I had a few young relatives and I would sing songs for them. I used to do a song for kids called Jumping Round The Room, very similar to All Together Now, and then it would be 'lying on your backs', all the kids would have to lie down, then it would be 'skipping round the room', 'jumping in the air'. It's a play away command song for children. It would be in G, very very simple chords, only a couple of chords, so that's what this is. There's a little subcurrent to it but it's just a singalong really. A bit of a throwaway."- Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now
 After the song was released it became a chant at football games,
"I loved it when football crowds in the early days would sing 'All Together Now.'"- John Lennon
Hey Bulldog

 "...a good sounding record that means nothing"- John Lennon
This song was also the first recording that John's new inspiration, Yoko Ono, attended. The track was originally titled "You Can Talk To Me" but was switched to "Hey Bulldog" during the recording where Paul and John both began to bark.
" One of the things that I like about John's song writing style, is it quirkiness, and I think Hey Bulldog is very surreal. And Obviously, I like the moment when we're in there and I'm harmonizing with him and I start being a dog, you know, and then he sort of says, 'You got any more?;', and like - 'Woooooow!'"- Paul McCartney
The following video is the video for 'Hey Bulldog'

It's All Too Much

"It's All Too Much was written in a childlike manner from realisations that appeared during and after some LSD experiences and which were later confirmed in meditation:
As I look into your eyes
your love is there for me -
and the more I go inside
The more there is to see
-it's all too much, etc."- George Harrison, I Me Mine

All You Need Is Love

An anthem of Love and Peace. Read about The Beatles Our World performance about why the song was written, also to watch The Beatles preform the song on 25 June, 1967 by clicking here.


The song was performed by the 41- piece orchestra and conducted by composer George Martin. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 22 and 23 of October, 1968. The song was produced by George Martin, John Burgess, and Ron Richards and would be played repeatedly throughout the film  becoming the theme of the movie.

Sea of Time
Recorded by the same orchestra on the same days as Pepperland. The song was also written by George Martin and produced by Martin himself, John Burgess, and Ron Richards.

Sea of Hole

The song features backwards recordings by a harp which reversed the sound. In George Martin's autobiography, All You Need Is Ears, he describes his visual ideas of the film and applying it to the song;
"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 35mm 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 fitted."
 Sea of Monsters
Another visual work
"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 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 an orchestra!
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."- George Martin, All You Need Is Ears
 March of The Meanies
"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."- George Martin, All You Need Is Ears
Pepperland Laid Waste

Yellow Submarine in Pepperland
The final track of the album

The following video is The Beatles 'All Together Now' from the Yellow Submarine film