Working titles for Beatles songs, albums and films

The Beatles didn’t always get it right first time. When writing or recording songs, they quite often used working titles instead of the ones now familiar to millions of listeners.

These titles were often closely related to the final version. Several times, however – particularly with George Harrison‘s songs – a simple ‘Untitled’ was used, and occasionally the working titles were far removed from the final version.

Here is a list, in the order in which they were used between 1963 and 1969, of the working titles used by The Beatles in the studio. The first titles listed were those noted on the studio notes and tape boxes at the time, followed by the titles as eventually used on the single and album releases.

Some of the entries – notably Scrambled Eggs, That’s A Nice Hat and Miss Daisy Hawkins – were never used in the studio, but were the names by which the songs were known during the songwriting process.

Songs

Albums

George Martin originally wanted to use Off The Beatle Track as the title for the group’s first album Please Please Me. It was eventually used in 1964 for an instrumental album of Beatles songs by George Martin & His Orchestra.

Abracadabra was an early title for Revolver, as were Pendulums, Fat Man And Bobby, After Geography (Ringo Starr’s pun on The Rolling Stones’ Aftermath), Beatles On Safari, Magic Circle and Four Sides Of The Circle.

One Down, Six To Go was a name used during the early stages of the Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This was a reference to The Beatles’ recently-signed contract with EMI, but was dropped once Paul McCartney came up with the Sgt Pepper concept.

The Beatles (White Album) was to have been called A Doll’s House, after Henrik Ibsen’s play of the same name.

The project which eventually resulted in the Let It Be album and film was originally known as Get Back, and two albums of that name were compiled by studio engineer Glyn Johns, but were both rejected by The Beatles.

Some months later, Everest was considered as a title for Abbey Road, and The Beatles considered flying to the foothills of the Himalayas for a photo shoot, before it was noted that the zebra crossing outside the studio was nearer.

Mal Evans also noted in his diary that four other titles were considered: Four In The Bar; All Good Children Go To Heaven; Turn Ups; and Inclinations.

Films

A Hard Day’s Night was initially known as Beatlemania, then Let’s Go!, before Ringo Starr came up with a better phrase at the end of a long day.

Similarly, the group was stuck for a title for their second feature film. It was firstly known as Beatles Production 2, followed by Eight Arms To Hold You, before The Beatles and director Richard Lester settled upon Help!.

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19 Responses to “Working titles for Beatles songs, albums and films”

  1. mr. Sun king coming together

    Another is Why Did it Die?, a working title of For No One. And Everest was the planned name of Abbey Road.

    Reply
    • Joe

      Revolution 9 was part of Revolution 1 until the last few minutes were taken off and used as the basis for the sound collage. While Lennon was compiling the effects tapes it didn’t have a working title in the studio until the “number nine” sample was found and added.

      As for Revolution 1, it was only to be called Revolution until the other Beatles decided it wasn’t commercial enough to be a single. When they recorded the faster version that became Revolution, and the original recording was renamed Revolution 1 – probably because it complemented the Revolution 9 title.

      Reply
  2. Peter Woeckel

    From the English Wikipedia:

    The title (Tomorrow Never Knows”. pw) never actually appears in the song’s lyrics. In an interview McCartney revealed that, like “A Hard Day’s Night”, it was taken from one of Ringo Starr’s malapropisms.[9] The piece was originally titled “Mark I”.[4] “The Void” is cited as another working title but according to Mark Lewisohn (and Bob Spitz) this is untrue, although the books, The Love You Make: An Insider’s Story of The Beatles and The Beatles A to Z both cite “The Void” as the original title.[2]

    Have a nice day!

    Peter from Munich/Germany

    Reply
  3. Andy

    Fun list. Here are a few more possibilities:
    -Paul used “Auntie Gin’s Theme” as a working title for “I’ve Just Seen a Face”
    -Another working title for “A Hard Day’s Night” (the film) was “Let’s Go!”
    -”Abracadabra” was the “Revolver” working title that came closest to sticking, but there were a handful of others: Beatles on Safari, Magic Circle, Four Sides of the Circle.
    -George Martin originally wanted the Beatles’ first album to be called “Off the Beatle Track” and to be recorded at the Cavern. I guess the title was dropped along with the Cavern location, leading to the album “Please Please Me.” But Martin ended up using “Off the Beatle Track” as the title of an orchestral album himself.

    Reply
    • Wildcat

      My biggest laugh was for “Get You In The End” – wouldn’t that have been cheeky?!?

      Also would have loved a “That’s A Nice Hat” song from one of them.

      Reply
  4. Joe Cogan

    I have the 45 of “Ticket to Ride”, with the label reading “From the movie “Eight Arms to Hold You”".

    Reply
  5. Toffeynose Albert

    Tkanks Joe. This is a very interesting page, however, what’s the point of those in the list called “Untitled” when ALL of the songs the Beatles recorded would have been originally untitled while they were being written?

    Reply
    • Joe

      If you read the intro, you’ll see this: “The first titles listed were those noted on the studio notes and tape boxes at the time, followed by the titles as eventually used on the single and album releases.”

      Reply

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