Recording: You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

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.

Let It Be single artwork - Portugal

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’.

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.
John Lennon
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.

Last updated: 10 May 2018
Paul McCartney meets Linda Eastman
Press launch for Sgt Pepper
Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

Latest Comments

  1. Virginia Abreu de Paula Thursday 17 May 2018
  2. david Friday 22 May 2020
  3. Kevin O'Malley Wednesday 17 May 2023
  4. Geoffrey W Smith Wednesday 12 June 2024

Leave a Reply