It’s All Too Much

Yellow Submarine album artworkWritten by: Harrison
Recorded: 25, 31 May; 2 June 1967
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Dave Siddle

Released: 17 January 1969 (UK), 13 January 1969 (US)

George Harrison: vocals, Hammond organ
John Lennon: harmony vocals, lead guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass
Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine
David Mason and three others: trumpets
Paul Harvey: bass clarinet

Available on:
Yellow Submarine
Yellow Submarine Songtrack

Written while under the influence of LSD, It’s All Too Much was the second song by George Harrison to feature on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack.

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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 meditation.
George Harrison

Based on a droning G chord, the song transposed the continuing influence of Indian music onto a psychedelic setting. The lyrics combined the cosmic philosophy favoured by Harrison with some nursery rhyme-style whimsy.

It’s all too much for me to take
The love that’s shining all around here
All the world’s a birthday cake,
So take a piece but not too much

Sail me on a silver sun, for I know that I’m free
Show me that I’m everywhere, and get me home for tea

It’s All Too Much contained a couplet from The Merseys’ 1966 hit single Sorrow: “With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue”. The trumpeters, meanwhile, performed a motif from Jeremiah Clarke’s Prince of Denmark’s March, also known as Trumpet Voluntary.

I just wanted to write a rock ‘n’ roll song about the whole psychedelic thing of the time. 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. And Paul and John just came up with and sang that lyric of ‘your eyes of blue’.
George Harrison

The version used on the film soundtrack was 6’28″ long. An eight-minute mix, meanwhile, has appeared on Beatles bootlegs, and contains a verse which also featured in the Yellow Submarine film.

Nice to have the time
To take this opportunity
Time for me to look at you
And you to look at me.

In the studio

Recording began with the working title Too Much, at De Lane Lea Studios in London. On 25 May 1967 The Beatles recorded a number of rehearsal run-throughs before taping four takes of the rhythm track – Hammond organ, lead guitar, bass and drums.

On 31 May they returned to De Lane Lea, adding percussion, lead and backing vocals, and handclaps.

John and Paul’s backing, meanwhile, started to waver a little, the chanted ‘too much’ eventually becoming ‘tuba’ and then ‘Cuba’. It was that sort of a song.
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

It’s All Too Much was completed on 2 June, with the addition of four trumpets and a bass clarinet. The session took place between 8.30pm and 2am. One of the trumpet players was David Mason, who also performed on Penny Lane, A Day In The Life, Magical Mystery Tour and All You Need Is Love.

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95 Responses to “It’s All Too Much”

    • James Schuster

      George Harrison said in an interview that the opening guitar chord was played by Paul. George said he remembered it took a long time to get the feedback guitar opening right.

      Reply
    • Mike Kirchubel

      The first line is: “To your mother.” I’ve listened to this song hundreds of times and, to me, it’s as plain as day. Of course, I also thought that Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” was saying: “This place is a madhouse, feels like being HOME” for decades until I read the lyrics:”feels like being CLONED.” I still can’t believe that one. I always sing MY version (alone in the car.)

      Reply
      • paulsbass

        Where did you read these lyrics?
        You can’t fully trust the internet on lyrics. Mostly they’re by normal people who can also make mistakes…

        Reply
      • Buck Bixby

        “To Jorma”, as in Jorma Kakaunon (not sure of last name spelling) guitarist with Jeff Airplane whom George was visiting in San Francisco CA during the hippie heyday. Listen again carefully.

        Reply
  1. Dan from Beaverton

    The first line is a dedication to George’s buddy, Jorma Kaukonen of Jefferson Airplane. So,

    “To Jor-ma”

    Reply
    • Michael

      Sorry, Dan…That’s not true. George is not saying “To Jorma.” They were not buddies, and had not met yet when this song was recorded (May/June 1967).

      Reply
      • Malco

        I was just listening the new remastered stereo version, and I noticed that the voice continues speaking, behind the guitar intro. It goes on for almost four seconds. Can’t make out a word, though.

        Reply
        • Paul

          It’s my opinion that John was playing with the phrase “Too Much.” As in “To-om-MUCH!” and in typical John vocalization extends the word “much” over the length of the feedback: “ma-ma-ma-uuch.”

          Reply
  2. Jeff

    Honestly, one of my absolute favorite songs (Beatle or otherwise) of all time! What an underated gem, worhty of a far more prominent position on, say MMT or the White Album. Trippy tune with hypnotic organ note reverberating throughout, accompanied by George’s excellent vocals, guitar and fine rhythym work by Paul and Ringo!

    Reply
    • grego mac

      Wow! I thought I was one of the only people that thought this song was under rated. I LOVE Ringo’s drums in this. That fill at the beginning is priceless.

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    First the original mono long version of I’ll Cry Instead with extra verse, then the original mono long version of I Am The Walrus with extra bar and now this song.

    Reply
    • Jim

      If indeed John did the lead guitar, then Edge owes a debt of stealing to him – one phrase of “With Or Without You” is identical to the guitar here.

      Reply
  4. Malco

    Glad I found this. Usually whenever I mention to a fellow fan that It’s All Too Much is one of my favorite songs, they either don’t even know the song, or they say something like “Ugh, really, you like that song? ‘All the world is birthday cake’? Really?” I was starting to think I was only one who loved it.

    Reply
    • andy

      correct, mate, in fact it is one of the most interesting songs in the fabs catalog. But the history tells us , that George songs are not that important. Assholes like George Martin nurtured this story….. thanks for your great comment

      Reply
    • Chris

      Yeah, that sounds like the best guess. John did do it, must be more of his nonsense like the “monsieur” bit in “I’m So Tired”…

      Reply
            • Richard Boene

              I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s Harrison and not Lennon saying that opening phrase (whatever it is), but to be honest, I’m having a lot of trouble doing so. I don’t really understand why Harrison would not have done it since it’s his song, though it’s pretty understandable now why some people here believe it’s Lennon. I just don’t know.

              Sigh…

              Reply
  5. Ray

    I can’t believe George plays the guitar on this. He was good but not that good. I always thought it was Eric Clapton.

    Reply
    • grego mac

      George was a great guitarist!!! I don’t understand why he is SO underrated by some. YES…HE WAS THAT GOOD!!!

      Reply
      • Terry

        Not that good? Really??? He was the lead guitarist in The Beatles for goodness sake! Underrated for sure! Just check out the tasty licks he played on the Ed Sullivan shows and that was early stuff, of course they had already been playing together for about 7 yrs by then and George probably was playing for 10 yrs or so by 1964. I too love IATM it’s always been a fave. Steve Hillage does a good cover of it on the album “L” from 1976 produced by Todd Rundgren. It can be found on itunes or amazon, it also has a fanastic version of Hurdy Gurdy Man.

        Reply
        • John

          George’s guitar is believable, its Ringo’s drumming that sounds like Keith Moon that amazes me. Its just not Ringo’s style in this song.

          Reply
          • Britta

            Ringo’s versatility was/is one of his hallmarks, as much as was his restraint. I’ve been listening to his ’66-’69 work for years and years and am still amazed. It’s such a pity they parted ways in ’70 — I can’t imagine what else Richard Starkey had in store for us, when inspired by the talent and brotherhood of the Fabs.

            Reply
    • applescruffs

      What do you mean, “you can’t believe George Harrison plays guitar on this”?? Every competent guitarist will know that Harrison played far more complex solos BEFORE and AFTER this track ( T’il There Was You, And Your Bird Can Sing, Fixing A Hole, Dear Prudence, Savoy Truffle, Old Brown Shoe, etc.).

      There is nothing on this track that is beyond Harrison’s abilities. More to the point, what he DID play (suspended fourths, pentatonic major, etc.) on this track was great: swirling, melodic noise, redolent of Indian, folk, and Lucy’s influences.

      George Harrison was more than merely a “good guitarist”; he was a groundbreaking player. And by the way, Eric Clapton played lead on only ONE released Beatles’ track, the celebrated While My Guitar Gently Weeps––more than a year AFTER It’s All Too Much was recorded.

      Reply
  6. David

    This is certainly a good song, the more nonsensical the better with the Beatles, but Hey Bulldog is probably my favorite song on this album

    Reply
    • Anthony J. Maldonado

      to me it seems perfectly clear (granted it took me at least 25 listens (or more I dunno). He’s talking to Patti, ’cause she was a big flirt… saying to his wife something to the effect of “Hey, take it easy on my heart… enjoy the love of others but don’t go too far… “every day is birthday cake, so take a slice but not too much.”

      Reply
  7. BIRCHY

    i’m from Liverpool and understand the accent, the voice at the start of this song is John Lennon and he says “To Your Mum” then says “Aagh, Aagh” a couple of times as though in pain, great song!

    Reply
  8. Tom Wotus

    1 of my least faves. decent lyrics, but weak & monotonous, otherwise…maybe hearing the orig. mono mix will change my mind,somewhat…ditto 4 blue j. way.

    Reply
  9. Tony

    i have a version of this song that has isolated tracks and lennon clearly says “to your muff” and then breaks off.

    Reply
  10. Lolly

    In Billboard June 1999, in an interview with Timothy White, George Harrison says that Paul McCartney played the feedback, when he was asked question about the feedback on that song, so I think Paul probably needs a guitar credit up there as well. If anyone is playing the second lead it is probably Paul, given he’s playing the feedback.

    Reply
    • Julio

      Paul does not play guitar on this track. He may be responsible for the feedback but it was Lennon who realized its use. The bit was clipped on to the intro and you cannot infer a full guitar performance by Paul.

      Reply
      • Vonbontee

        What do you mean by “He may be responsible for the feedback but it was Lennon who realized its use”?

        Reply
          • iconia

            Which has to do exactly with what exactly? The original poster said Paul played the feedback on this song, not that he invented it. George himself said Paul played that, so Paul still ought to have a guitar credit up there because he does in fact play guitar on the song, at the very least, the rather striking intro. It was George’s song so I’m not sure why Lennon should be given credit for it or brought up at all. George wrote the song and Paul played at least the feedback. So yes he’s playing guitar on the song.

            Reply
            • Scoun

              I mean that John was probably the first person to purposefully use feedback on record (I Feel Fine) and revealed it to the others. I’m not saying that John should be credited with actually playing the feedback bit on this track, which of course he didn’t, but I think he used it before any of the others three years prior to It’s All Too Much. I am not trying to discredit Paul in any way. So, John’s use of feedback probably inspired other guitarists (Hendrix, Townshend) and may have encouraged Paul to use it here.

              Reply
  11. J. D. Mack

    What are the rest of the words after “”With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue”? It goes “You’re too much-ah” and then . . . ? Someone once suggested the next bit is “we are dead” but there’s still some syllables after that.

    Reply
    • Paul

      The mono mix along with the three other Yellow Submarine numbers are available on the Mono Box Set. Wish fullfilled!

      Reply
      • Von Bontee

        I think he meant the uncut, unreleased 8-minute version, with the extra verse that was never mixed for stereo. I wish that was released too!

        Reply
        • Richard Boene

          Seek it out on YouTube. I don’t know how it got there but it IS there. Let’s just hope they don’t take it down anytime soon.

          Reply
  12. George Demake

    I could never embrace this song. I always felt as though George was trying to create his own Strawberry Fields with this one. The percussion has too much high end as do most of the instruments. His ideas seem incomplete and he loses his way after about three minutes. Sorry, can’t dig this one.

    Reply
  13. George the mexican

    Superb song!!! I can’t think why this is a very underrated song, you will never find it in a Beatles’ collection disgracefully (would it be because of its length? and what about Hey Jude?) and as far as I can see it has, as many Beatles songs, several hidden facts. I was always sure they sang “we are dead” at the end, but never understood the rest. Outstanding play by Ringo!!! (an also very underrated drummer, but I think he’s one of the best, little excelled but most effective!!!). Somebody told me there’s a bootleg version almost 20 minutes long, have you heard it?

    Reply
  14. DB Cooper

    found the 8-minute version on an alternate release of sgt pepper’s … not on any mono boxed set … wonder why… . . . would love to hear a 20-minute version . . . love the guitar and feedback . . . and the lyrics . . . come on …. this is a classic . . .

    Reply
  15. James B

    One of my favourite Beatles songs. Joyful, exciting and noisy (in a good way). The guitar and drums are amazing. And to think it was made in 1967…!

    Reply
  16. KKS

    Probably my fave of the Beatles catalog. I was hooked on this album as a tween in the late 70′s/early 80′s. Side 2 with the George Martin soundtrack stuff was great as well.

    This song is interesting because it is so heavy but silly at the same time. It’s a very mystical song from a (music) writer’s perspective, but there’s this lovely, enthusiastic (dare I say drunken) sloppiness to it that makes it wonderful.

    I wonder if John was egging Paul on to goof off because he thought the lyrics were infantile.

    I’d so love it if there were a 24-track master to do a remaster from, but I bet it’s 8 track at best.

    Reply
    • anr raff

      you can be sure it was George Martin (arrogant bastard) who – in combination with Paul – said the song isn t good enough. John liked the lyrics, it is exactly his humour.

      Reply
  17. George Demake

    Wow, never imagined there were so many fans of this song. I tend to measure George’s compositions against one another.His classics such as “Within you Without you”,” While My Guitar Gently Weeps “, “Something”, etc. verses those I consider less classic “Only a Northern Song”,” Blue Jay Way,”All Too Much”. Perhaps I give George less leeway as I do John and Paul. Still don’t like this one though.

    Reply
  18. deeaiden

    I’ve always thought that you could only play one song for someone who wasn’t around during the Sixties to explain what they were like, this would be the song…a beautiful mess.

    Reply
  19. Matt

    One thing that’s always bothered me about this song is the George Harrison lead guitar credit. Yes, it’s a George song and yes he was their lead guitarist but this doesn’t automatically mean he played lead. I read an article with George in Guitar Word for the Yellow Submarine re-release on DVD and remixed Song Track where he talked about this song specifically. He mentioned that he wrote it on his Hammond organ at home and played that instrument on the recording. The part that annoys me to no end about these credits is that no one seems to bother to look at the session details. The basic track was cut live with four tracks (Hammond Organ, Lead Guitar, Bass, & Drums.) The only overdubs were vocals, additional percussion & handclaps and the horns. There were no guitar overdubs done to this song, so George could not have possibly played guitar as he was on the organ for the basic backing track. I don’t know why anyone would think for a second the opening shout is anyone but John. Lennon was fairly notorious for counting off songs with his unusual comments (like his Sugar Plum Fairy remark on the 1st take of a Day In The Life). If George was asked about the feedback and he said Paul did it, I think you need to take the man at his word. But I’m not sure this means Paul necessarily played the lead guitar as many assume. Since Paul is credited as playing bass on this track is it possible that the bass produced the feedback? The feedback on this track has a high pitched wailing. The question is, is bass feedback capable of making this sound or is only a guitar capable of this kind of feedback? I certainly don’t hear a traditional bass-line on this song. (But the production is admittedly dense and muddled, although I must say brilliantly so!) Paul is known for his distinctive bass part and there isn’t one of those to be found on this track that I can hear. Perhaps this is indicative of the bass doing the feedback. The lead guitar part on this song sounds separate than the feedback section.

    So the possibilities of the recording personnel on the basic track (besides George on Hammond Organ and Ringo on Drums) are:
    1.) John on Lead Guitar. Paul on Bass (doing the feedback)
    2.) John & Paul sharing the Lead Guitar duties (with Paul on feedback) The lack of bass being covered by George’s Hammond holding the bottom end. (If there is a standard bass-line on this song someone please point it out to me!)
    3.)John on Feedback Guitar and Paul on Lead Guitar. (If George was wrong in his recollection) To be fair to Lennon he was quite capable of pulling off the feedback himself (not to mention being quite fond of it-especially in his work with Yoko)
    4.)Paul on Lead Guitar/Feedback (assuming they are one part) John on Bass (which by all accounts he hated with a passion) Perhaps his lack of enthusiasm (and skill on bass)accounts for the bass being mixed low or indeed out of the track.

    Reply
  20. Matt

    On second thought. After carefully listen to this on headphones, it’s so clearly a guitar playing the feedback part with a whammy bar bending the notes. (John & George both had Sonic Blue Strats they payed in this period). From looking on youtube it doesn’t seem all that difficult a part to play. So all the it couldn’t be John it had to be Paul because he wasn’t as accomplished a guitarist is moot. I know George said the feedback was Paul but the Beatles themselves aren’t always the best at remembering who did what so many years ago and many cups of tea later. The spirit was very much as Ringo has said “whoever had the best idea, that’s what we did.” I also listened on head phones and boosted the bass and EUREKA!!! The bassline! It is there and it’s really good. A very simple but effective part. If its John then it proves he could play bass if he applied himself. But overall I just think it’s more likely that he’d play guitar here given his love of distortion and feedback and his established loathing of bass. Plus he may have been given free reign as it was a George song that was going on a soundtrack album. Interestingly, this was almost dusted off and put on the White Album at the last minute. I’d love to hear what others think.

    Reply
  21. Matt

    In regard, to those who still may think Paul played the guitar (see my comments above why their can only be one guitar on this track) John would have been the bass player on this track. (I’m 100% with everyone who defended the guitar chops of Lennon & Harrison. They may have not been virtuosos but they were both more than capable of kicking out the MF’ing Jams!) While it is true that John was no maestro on guitar, he was even less capable a bassist. This alone, really makes him an unlikely bassist for this song. I think there’s a real logic to the idea that if you have Paul McCartney in the studio and you need bass on track, you go with Macca. Especially as the backing was cut live with no overdubs. It also makes a certain amount of sense that John would make his opening proclamation as he dug in for the feedback.(After all he handled the Beatles first foray into feedback on I Feel Fine.) A John (Guitar) Paul (Bass) configuration was more practical as it was their default setting. The guitar does “fucking howl & move” which is how Lennon characterized his sound. The times Lennon was pressed into service on bass are almost exclusively when Paul was on the keys and George was needed to provide his normal classy lead chops.

    Reply
    • Joseph Brush

      On Youtube no less a personage than Earl Slick comments that in his humble opinion John Lennon was a fine guitarist.

      Reply
    • iconia

      But this feedback is rather different than “I Feel Fine” and Paul and George in particular were very into Jimi Hendrix during this time. Paul also played a lot of guitar during this time period.

      Given the givens I’m pretty sure George wouldn’t credit Paul with something unless he was fairly sure about it. So if he says Paul played the feedback there is no reason to believe he didn’t. Especially because if George wasn’t playing lead guitar on a song , as often as not, it was Paul. Now this isn’t lead, it’s just feedback but there is no reason whatsoever that Paul wouldn’t be playing it. I mean geez it’s not like the guy couldn’t be heavy. LOL

      The bass on the song is very simple and definitely something John could have played and if George asked Paul to play the feedback then it’s quite likely John, dislike for the bass or not, was pressed into playing the bass. Given the part I’d say it’s entirely possible. Either that or Paul put the bass on afterwards and purposely made it simple to compliment the denseness of the rest of the song. But as the song was recorded at a different studio, I’d say it’s unlikely so more probable that John was asked to play bass.

      Either way it seems far more likely to me that Paul is playing at least the feedback, as otherwise the guitar parts are fairly unJohnlike, imo. Definitely more George and if not George, then Paul. And feeback is feedback, they could ALL play feedback, John didn’t have a corner on it as shown by the fact that George decided he wanted to put it in HIS song, on his own.(And he was quite clear on that in the interview, it was HIS idea, probably because he knew people would be quick to try and credit someone else for it).

      Reply
      • Matthew Cappadona

        Iconica,

        I’ve very much enjoyed your response to my post. I love debating the finer points of these recordings with people with intelligent insights. It does seem more likely that Paul would have handled the guitar with George on the Hammond. (Not to mention the fact that George credited him….he’s not likely to forget that, seeing as how he got so few songs on the albums back then!) You’ve convinced me: I’m now inclined to believe that the backing track lineup was:

        George: Hammond Organ
        Paul: Lead Guitar & Feedback
        John: Bass
        Ringo: Drums

        My post was sort of mix of my own frustration “don’t people pay attention” to the known details* & my own “John was/is underrated as a guitarist” frustration. But, I was mixing my metaphors/points & was admittedly way off bass here.

        Thanks,

        Matt

        P.S: I know Paul can do heavy!!! I love his funky/raunchy guitar playing. He’s got a wonderfully unique guitar style doesn’t he?

        * The helpful “In The Studio” section of this website has four instuments on the basic track & lists various overdubs (none of which included additional guitar), yet the track personnel still lists George & John as guitarists. I’m just questioning the logic here. Just because Ian McDonald wrote that lineup, doesn’t mean it’s gospel Food for thought my friends…

        Reply
        • Joe

          Hi Matt. Thanks for your comments – it gave me food for thought!

          There is definitely a bass guitar part in the song, though it’s mixed way down in the mono, stereo and Songtrack versions. You can hear it drop out and back in during the line “With your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue”.

          Regarding that line, George said of it: “And Paul and John just came up with and sang that lyric of ‘your eyes of blue’.” They clearly didn’t sing the line; George did. His memory wasn’t infallible, which means we can’t definitively clear up the line-up uncertainty based on what he said in interviews (I’ve tried in vain to find the 1999 Billboard interview – could someone please post a link?).

          The bass playing is quite basic, essentially the root note, so it could well have been Lennon. However, McCartney wasn’t averse to writing a simple bassline when the song required it (see Tomorrow Never Knows for a similar line played throughout a song). The howling guitar, meanwhile, could well be Lennon – it’s not that far removed from some of his stuff on Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band a few years later.

          It’s all too much! For now I’ll stick with Harrison on Hammond, and Lennon and McCartney on their usual instruments.

          Reply
    • Jim

      I’d disagree that John wasn’t a capable bass player. Believe it or not, he played bass on “Helter Skelter” and was brilliant.

      Reply
  22. George Demake

    I think we’ve spent far more time analysing this song then the Beatles could have possibly spent recording it.

    Reply
  23. absoluteabsence

    One of my very favorite songs of the Beatles…I love the melody, the lyrics & just the overall ‘up’ mood of the song..I do not fund the lyrics trite or silly, I see them as quite profound as I truly view the world & the true nature of what we are & where we belong (& never left by the way)in this way. We are loved perfectly & never left paradise…we left only in our minds

    Reply
  24. Ken's Last Ever

    On 21 Dec 2010, B Cooper said:
    “would love to hear a 20-minute version”

    Maybe not exactly what you had in mind, but 9 years ago I spontaneously performed a live experimental remix of this song on the radio that happened to clock in at 20 minutes:
    Stream/download: http://lastever.org/ken/extrav/audio/020728.shtml
    Flash player: http://wfmu.org/playlists/le/020728

    (You have to skip ahead about 65 minutes for the It’s All Too Much mix, which then closes out the final 20 minutes of the show.)

    This could easily be my favorite Beatles song ever. I believe I used the 8-minute version (from “Studio Mystery Tracks” bootleg) as source for this mix.

    Reply
  25. Tweeze

    I thought the ambience implied at the beginning of this came across as more raucous than ‘Helter Skelter’. Fantastic and frankly very scary feedback. A monster trying to leap off of the track. And then that organ overloaded to the stratosphere… the rest of the song, unfortunately, sucked the life out of this introduction, but it is still fascinating psychedlia.

    Reply
  26. GabrielAntonio

    The first time I listened to this song I got extremely impressed. It’s totally ahead of their time. You just keep thinking: Is this really from the 60′s ?

    Reply
  27. Jammy_jim

    Has anyone mentioned the bass ‘line’? It’s crazy – almost a single note throughout – and not the root note. But it’s cool nonetheless! Further, during the break he deviates from the drone and plays a bass SOLO of sorts! Very wild idea – and very un-McCartney. Anyone have any insight into this bass part? Given how simplistic it is, perhaps it wasn’t Paul.

    Reply
  28. EltonJohnLennon

    Who did the score for the brass players? I guess it was George Martin – as usual – but the article mentions nothing about it.

    Reply
  29. Ricardo

    What a beautiful collage of sounds, i really love this wonderful piece composed by Harrison.

    Reply
  30. Bungalow Bob

    I’ve always felt that neither John, Paul nor George Martin took George’s songwriting very seriously. They would allot him a small amount of studio time, and then use that time to half-heartedly “pitch in” on his tunes. I can imagine John and Paul conspiritorially try to “out-goof” each other on this song, with a very bored George Martin constantly checking his watch. Which is why “It’s All Too Much” got “dumped” onto the Yellow Submarine soundtrack, along with “Only A Northern Song.” The rest of the Beatles team didn’t know or care what to do with tunes like this. I LIKE the song, and wish that the rest of the gang HAD cared enough to put more creative collaborative effort into it.

    Reply
    • andy

      bob oh bob, this is so true what you say: when you watch Let it be, in the studio, Mccartney is moaning and bored stiff when George play one of his songs, at least Mccartney could not resist to play on Geroge’s songs, he tried out stuff, on the bass ( something) or other things. Lennon had no idea about what to do on his songs. Arrogant bastard Georg Martin did not even consider him important , he always thought of the Beatles as John Paul and Georg (MARTIN!!!!!), bloody ashole he was. Hits like allthings must pass or isnt it a pity were not even ignored. How could Harrison survive???? JOhn and Paul were on an icredible ego trip , they were not willing to listen to his songs, every third class JOhn or Paul song was regarded better than a Harrison tune. so incredible arrogant, that’s what it was.

      Reply
  31. Jonathan

    Incredible song. Probably ousted from Magical Mystery Tour by Mr:s Ego Excellencium Lennon & McCartney. So why did they accept Blue Jay Way on there? What a bummer

    Reply
  32. derek

    one of the best ,top 5 of their “trippy” era (Revolver-white album) this track,only a northern song and Bluejay Way most definatly studio masterpieces! in my opinion….It was the movie “Yellow Submarine” and some LSD that hooked me on the beatles ….and the music from this movie ! the Beatles cant be touched! no one comes close!

    Reply
  33. abjr

    some of the 20 min version is reverse recorded and the last part is the 8 min version and it is guitar feedback. lots of layers and loops and tape splicing and tape speed changes.

    Reply
  34. Dennis

    This song still gives me chills, especially the introduction. Without a doubt one of my favorite Beatle songs. Figures it was completed on June 2.

    Reply
  35. Gripweed

    Interestingly it was recorded at De Lane Lea Studios, the same studio Hendrix recorded his first album in late 66/early 67.

    Reply
  36. Randy Allen

    I Love this song!! I blended it in to the tracks on Magical Mystery Tour and it’s a perfect fit (right after “Your Mother Should Know”) It was kinda George’s Strawberry Fields

    Reply
  37. GeorgeMartin'sTie

    This recording is a very good basis for a potentially great song, but it sounds like more thought needed to be put into the arrangement (and even the lyrics). It starts off with a bang, but after a while it just kind of meanders around without any sort of direction. I usually find myself reaching for the skip button at around the 3 minute mark. The song needs a strong middle eight, and more dynamics. I love the main melody though – I get a kick out of the fact that it’s all based on a single chord. With a bit more time and effort this would have been one of the stronger tracks on MMT. I’m not sure why Blue Jay Way was given priority over this song. It certainly had potential.

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  38. joe colone

    Absolutely fantastic song! One of my very favourites–Beatles or otherwise.
    Never could figure out how they got that great percussion/clapping/chopping sound that runs through the song in a really wide stereo spread. I always picure a bunch of guys chopping trees :-)

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  39. Ralph

    This is my theory: John – bass, George – Hammond, Paul – guitar, Ringo – drums I’ve listened to this song on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack countless times on headphones cranked. Good headphones (HD 800s). The remix really helps you isolate each performance. What I can hear is one single guitar performance. If you listen closely, the feedback, and the rhythm work never overlap. There is only one guitar on the track. As McCartney at that point was really inspired by Hendrix, and was doing the most off the wall solos, and the bass playing is decidedly un-Paul like, this is what I think. The only clue I have is an interview with George from 1999 where he says Paul is doing the guitar on the song. It’s definitely not John, in my humble opinion. What is odd to me, is Paul has never stepped up and talked about it. My thinking is, the track was pretty much forgotten after it was done, and being that it was recorded at De Lane Lea, no definitive paper work exists. All conjecture. Even Lewisohn says very little about the song in the ‘Sessions…’ book.

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  40. Tom Gavin

    There is no question it’s JOHN LENNON at the beginning. I’ve listened to it over 100 times.

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