PersonnelGeorge Harrison: lead vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
John Lennon: backing vocals, tambourine, handclaps
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass, piano, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, maracas, handclaps
The song was recorded under the working title ‘Laxton’s Superb’, a type of apple. It later became known as ‘I Don’t Know’, after George Martin enquired of Harrison whether he had come up with a title.
In the studio
The Beatles began recording ‘I Want To Tell You’ on 2 June 1966. Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions notes this exchange prior to take one:
Martin: What are you going to call it, George?
Harrison: I don’t know.
Lennon: ‘Granny Smith Part Friggin’ Two’! You’ve never had a title for any of your songs!
One really got the impression that George was being given a certain amount of time to do his tracks whereas the others could spend as long as they wanted. One felt under more pressure when doing one of George’s songs.
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
On the first day The Beatles recorded five takes of the rhythm track, featuring piano, drums and guitars. The third of these was the best, and onto this were overdubbed Harrison’s lead vocals, backing vocals from John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and tambourine, maracas, handclaps and more piano.