Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer, engineer: Geoff Emerick
Recording began for one of The Beatles’ most bizarre songs on this day. ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’ was taped, mixed and edited over a number of sessions between this day and November 1969, and it remained unreleased until March 1970.
The Beatles arrived at Studio Two on this day with no songs in mind, and without the presence of producer George Martin; in his place the session was supervised by balance engineer Geoff Emerick.
John had arrived one night with this song which was basically a mantra: ‘You know my name, look up the number.’ And I never knew who he was aiming that at, it might have been an early signal to Yoko. It was John’s original idea and that was the complete lyric. He brought it in originally as a 15-minute chant when he was in space-cadet mode and we said, ‘Well, what are we going to do with this then?’ and he said, ‘It’s just like a mantra.’ So we said, ‘Okay, let’s just do it’.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
In fact, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) was inspired by a slogan on the front of the 1967 London telephone directory, which John Lennon saw at Paul McCartney’s London home. It was originally envisaged as a 15-minute mantra.
That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house, and I saw the phone book was on the piano with ‘You know the name, look up the number.’ That was like a logo, and I just changed it. It was going to be a Four Tops kind of song – the chord changes are like that – but it never developed and we made a joke of it. Brian Jones is playing saxophone on it.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
The final recording was made up of five discrete parts, and during this session the first part was recorded. The Beatles taped 14 takes of the rhythm track, with guitars, bass and drums, and take 10 was labelled the best for the time being. The song was then set aside until 7 June 1967, when overdubs were added to take nine.
Also on this day...
- 2022: Paul McCartney live: Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas
- 2021: McCartney 3,2,1 documentary coming to Hulu in July 2021
- 1971: US album release: Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney
- 1963: Live: Grosvenor Rooms, Norwich
- 1962: Live: Star-Club, Hamburg
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
I love this song. But then…I love all The Beatles songs.
Thanks Mon, still a fav tune with me… it also makes me smile thinking about the guys having a laugh together [though done in parts]. Geoff Emerick must have a lot of laughs over it too. Am guessing that George Martin would have been smiling at least when hearing the recorded composition.
In the mid 1980’s, I was bothered that the weekly Beatles radio show I listened to [on weekends] wasn’t playing the tune and it wasn’t being requested. I finally began calling up on Saturdays over a period until others began requesting what I consider a classic. Henceforth, it became a local favourite around the UO [Oregon]. Also, having had worked as a directory assistant for the phone company, I put together an audio tape with John singing tunes with “you know my name, look up the number” between the medley. It worked together well and the results were pleasing though unfortunately, I gave it to a former girlfriend…